Eric Bana

Eric Bana in DELIVER US FROM EVIL

With horror movies hitting theaters left and right, it’s often hard to tell new releases apart. After all, it’s easy to stick with a tried and true formula if it’s guaranteed to get the maximum amount of scares and screams. Take some nice, normal people, for example, and have them get plagued by a demon or a malevolent poltergeist. It’s been working for the last 30 or so years, hasn’t it? Have their plight be viewed through the grainy green haze of found footage and there’s an even bigger chance that it’s going to be a hit. Or stick that nice family in an even worse situation — maybe it’s some facet of the house itself that’s turning on them, like a cursed mirror or family heirloom. It’s the “call is coming from inside the house” of ghosts. While these methods of spookiness are effective and often masterful, they’re also becoming another thing — expected. There can only be so many Paranormal Activity sequels before Paranormal Activity: Maybe We Should Just Move makes it into the mix. That’s why the trailer for Deliver Us From Evil, the new horror from Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) looks so refreshing. While Derrickson is guilty of a few genre sins in his last couple films — that nice family plagued by demons, getting a pretty Catholic girl mixed up with Satan — Evil appears to be unlike what the genre’s been churning out for the last few years. Check out […]

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review closed circuit

Conspiracy theory thrillers are almost a genre unto themselves, and the best ones all share a few things in common. The everyday folk caught up in the web should be somewhat relatable, the details of the cover-up should be shocking but believable, and there should be a surprise or two along the way. Closed Circuit barely gets one of those three elements right, but unfortunately it’s the least thrilling of the bunch. A bomb goes off in downtown London killing 120 people, and the evidence leads back to one surviving suspect. He’s quickly arrested by police and identified in the press, and several months later he’s ready for trial. Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is assigned to defend him in court, while another barrister is set to represent him in a secret court where evidence not for public consumption will be discussed, argued over and kept from Rose and the client. But tragedy leads to a change up and Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall) is brought in to handle business in the covert court. Rose and Simmons-Howe had an affair once, and in addition to having wrecked his marriage it also complicates their current assignment. They lie about it but soon discover that their secret is a small fish compared to the leviathan details of the case.

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bana

A few nights ago, because I’m a rather busy man, I spent three hours revisiting the 2004 Cannes Film Festival gem, Troy. That’s the Wolfgang Peterson movie where much of its buzz was based on Brad Pitt’s abs and, to my disappointment, only semi-nude scenes, not the fact that it featured Peter O’Toole, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, and other seasoned pros. Also in that cast was Eric Bana – shortly after grabbing attention with Andrew Dominik’s Chopper and Ridley Scott’s Blackhawk Down. Troy wasn’t exactly up to snuff with those two films, but, in a big ‘ol cheese ball of a movie where even O’Toole hammed it up a little too much, Bana brought a much needed gravitas to Peterson’s light popcorn epic. He was stoic and imposing as Hector, and you’ll see him as the opposite in this week’s Closed Circuit, where he plays a jaded lawyer who probably wouldn’t even know how to fire a gun if you handed him one. We spoke with Eric Bana about Closed Circuit‘s old-school vibe and the longevity a few of his films have enjoyed over the years:

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Closed Circuit

If recent spy thrillers (and, ahem, Fast Six) have taught us anything, it’s that nefarious people in positions of power are always able to access government-run closed circuit videos for their own means. But what if it’s the actual government that’s collecting tape like a geeky collector at a neighborhood flea market? That’s the question (sort of, not really at all) at the heart of John Crowley‘s Closed Circuit. The film sounds like a relatively straightforward thriller (albeit one with a stellar cast that includes Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Julia Stiles, and Jim Broadbent) with some added sex appeal. Oh, and also this closed circuit thing. Bana and Hall star as lawyers (and ex-lovers) who get tasked with defending a man accused of a terrorist act that left many dead (he allegedly rigged a bus with explosives and set it off in a crowded area). It seems like a relatively thankless gig, but they soon discover that their client may in fact have been set up as a double agent by their own government, until everything went terribly wrong. Also? Again? Still something about CCTV. Who wants to place bets on how long it takes Bana and Hall to break into some video vault? Make sure your webcam is off first, and check out the first trailer for Closed Circuit after the break.

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Deadfall

Deadfall is a prime example of a film losing steam too quickly, making it an exceedingly weak and limp effort from The Counterfeiters director Stefan Ruzowitzky. What starts off as a promising, chilly crime yarn turns out to be another generic thriller, always hitting the beats we expect. The structure is in place to make for a decent B-movie, but Ruzowitzky deflates almost every scene with standard, by-the-book flat filmmaking. How formulaic is it? This formulaic: Jay (Charlie Hunnam) has just been released from prison. Don’t worry, though, he’s really a (mildly) innocent man. He also isn’t your “average criminal,” because most criminals don’t happen to be former Olympian boxers. Who live by the border of Canada. Who get tangled up in some bad (read: nearly wacky) situations. It’s  just a real shame for Jay that two casino-robbing siblings, Addison (Eric Bana) and Liz (Olivia Wilde), attempt to take advantage of him and his family on Thanksgiving. Their plan heats up, though, once Liza and Jay start to feel something for one another. Obviously, nothing new going on there. What is missing to make it work is any sense of investment from Ruzowitzky. He takes joy in constructing some of the film’s action, but when it comes to Hunnam’s character, his dopey love story, and his conflict with his parents, Ruzowitzky appears more bored with it all than we are.

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George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? The day’s casting news, all in one place, because you’re a very busy person. At this point we don’t know anything concrete about the secret project Brad Bird is directing over at Disney. It’s largely being developed under the code name 1952, but for a minute it was being called Tesla. It’s rumored to be a science fiction film involving aliens, but in what regard isn’t clear. It’s said that Disney is thinking of it as a major tentpole release, but why it would have such mass appeal is being kept under wraps. All we have is rumors. And the latest rumor for the pile, courtesy of Variety, is that The Facts of Life star George Clooney is currently negotiating to star. If this proves to be true and Bird lands Clooney, that would be a pretty big step toward making this the blockbuster sort of feature that Disney wants it to be. And, generally, what Disney wants, Disney gets.

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Deadfall 2012

There was a time in Stefan Ruzowitzky‘s career that he was directing Matt LeBlanc as he tried to end WWII. Things have progressed from there. Now, Ruzowitzky has Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam and more notables all trying to survive the cold of the Canadian border. In Deadfall, Bana and Wilde play a brother-sister set of robbers who snagged a bunch of bills from a casino and are trying to make it out of the country. Hopefully everything goes smoothly! Just kidding. They crash a car, kill a cop, and then frozen feces really hits the fan. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Eric Bana in Lone Survivor

Though there weren’t many people out there who appreciated Peter Berg’s recent board game cash-in, Battleship, he was generally a well-regarded director before he laid that one on us, so there should still be interest out there for what he’s doing next. Especially since he’s already assembled a fairly impressive cast for it. The film is called Lone Survivor, and it tells the true story of a Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan gone bad, as adapted from the biography of soldier Marcus Luttrell. While on a reconnaissance mission along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Luttrell and three of his fellow SEALs made a fatal error. After showing a bit of compassion and letting an old man and three boys who came upon them walk away, they soon became victims of a Taliban ambush, which took the lives of every member of the team other than Luttrell, the titular lone survivor.

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You’d think the words “Gerard Butler” and “diamond heist flick” would spell out something fantastic, but in the case of Robert Luketic‘s Brilliant, they seem to signal something less than shiny. Butler has just replaced a previously in-negotiations Eric Bana to star in the film (and that’s already a black mark against it in my book, I’d much rather watch Bana on screen than Butler), which will be directed by his The Ugly Truth helmer. Yeah, that’s not good. Variety reports that Brilliant centers on “a small-time criminal who partners with a female thief to pull off a daring diamond heist.” While that’s certainly a fun premise, the closest that Luketic has come to a heist flick is 2008’s missed opportunity 21. And the film’s screenwriter will be of little help when it comes to crime expertise, as the film is writer Gillian Gorfil‘s first project.

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The film adaptation of Claire Messud’s gorgeous novel The Emperor’s Children has faced an unfairly bumpy trip to the screen. Back in 2009, Ron Howard was slated to direct the film from a script by Noah Baumbach. Then the project seemingly fell dead, with no news until March of 2010, when Howard left the project entirely, leaving both writing and directing duties to Baumbach. At that time, a list of attached cast members was announced (including Keira Knightley, Eric Bana, and Richard Gere, with buzz about some other names like Michelle Williams). Production was supposed to start last summer, but of course, it didn’t, and know Baumbach appears to be back out of the director’s chair, with Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper stepping in to direct from Baumbach’s script (according to an insider report from Twitch). Cooper burst on to the scene with his Jeff Bridges-starring Crazy Heart back in 2009, a directorial debut so lovely and assured that it earned its star his first Oscar (after being nominated no less than six times). Since then, Cooper has had his own fair share of project whiplash, with rumors that he was on the shortlist for Gangster Squad, news that he was developing his own take on The Hatfields and the McCoys, and attachments to the Carancho remake, Empire of the Summer, and Black Listed The Low Dweller. Which is all a nice way of saying that, just like The Emperor’s Children, there’s been a lot of talk about Cooper, but no […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spends a long day in the multiplex, checking out a variety of films from alcoholic romantic comedies to nature documentaries with elephants and orangutans. He drinks himself silly and hits on Greta Gerwig in Arthur, narrowly escapes being killed by ass-kicking teen assassin Hanna, narrowly escapes getting his arm bitten off by a tiger shark in Soul Surfer and peeps in on Natalie Portman undressing for a swim in Your Highness. Too bad she’s pregnant now, ‘cause Kevin just ain’t into that scene.

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Late yesterday evening I received a text from my loving girlfriend. Just walking out of an advance screening of Joe Wright’s Hanna, she was ecstatic. Great action, emotional depth, and a killer score from The Chemical Brothers were the order of the night. I was instantly resentful of the experience she’d had, as I too wanted to see Hanna badly. But I adore my girlfriend, so the feelings faded quickly. Later on, I vowed not to miss my opportunity to see this movie. And I shall do so next Thursday night in Austin. Would you like to come along, as well? Here’s your chance.

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Because of his luck, Rob Hunter has already seen Hanna, and he had some positive things to say which he’ll expand on in review form as soon as the embargo on reviews gets lifted. It’s no surprise though. The film is about a teenage girl who is trained from childhood to be a killer, and to kill one specific person. The talent here is tremendous from Saoirse Ronan to Cate Blanchett to Eric Bana to director Joe Wright. Now, this featurette digs deeper into what Blanchett called “the most terrifying script [she'd] ever read in her life” by looking briefly at the action, the actors, and the motivations behind a young killer.

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Damn. It’s been a tough world for movie marketers lately. Stars aren’t selling as strongly, companies are forced to crib from other designs if a movie is ultra popular, and there just aren’t that many pre-pubescent assassins out there to brag about. Hanna, the story of a young girl (Saoirse Ronan) trained to kill by her CIA father (Eric Bana), looks incredible. Now it’s got an incredible poster. Check it out for yourself:

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It’s best to go into this trailer with no expectations which explains the absence of an introduction. Also, I didn’t write one. But back to the trailer…

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr breaks down the week’s releases, looking at District 9, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Bandslam, and Ponyo.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Neil is whisked away for an “emergency” surgery in the Netherlands, so Kevin welcomes guest host Emily McFadden. Together, they take a trip to District 9 and galavant with The Time Traveler’s Wife. Kevin and Emily also talk Bandslam and Vanessa Hudgens in pictures.

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time-travelers-wife-header

We hate being manipulated and manipulation is all ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ has to offer.

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FSR

Kevin Carr breaks down the week’s releases, looking at Funny People, Aliens in the Attic, and The Collector.

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2009_funny_people_034

Our man on the scene Kevin Kelly reports in with his Funny People junket report, including interviews with Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and more.

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