Eva Mendes

PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

Note: Andrew Robinson’s review originally ran during TIFF 2012, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines is broken up into three chapters. We open with Luke (Ryan Gosling) coming back into town with the circus and finding out that he has a son. He decides to stick around, but since he’s unable to make a living to support his family, he begins robbing banks using his skills as a professional motor bike rider. The narrative is then handed over to Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a police officer heading into politics and struggling with family matters. The film takes its time in making sure that we get a good grasp on each character as there’s very little overlap in screen time between each. The reckless rise of Gosling’s bank robbing spree and the troubled rise of Cooper’s political/social standing in the world parallel one another beautifully. What the film truly discusses is what someone is willing to do selflessly for others. While, morally, Cooper and Gosling’s acts are complete opposites of each other, their motivations start out in the same place, the intention to provide for their family. Luke’s robbing banks was never about himself; he never wants to take credit for them, reflecting his clear shame. Cross’s actions are one of motivations head-butting his own desires, even at the expense of his son’s affection.

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Michael Keaton

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that’s been rich with reports all week thanks to deals coming out of Berlin. Also, today we find out what Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman are teaming up for next. There was a period in the ’80s where Michael Keaton may have been the most famous man on the planet, and everything just seemed to be in its right place. While he’s worked fairly steadily ever since, it just never seems like we get to see him in enough movies these days, so every new announcement ends up being exciting. The latest, from Heat Vision, is that Keaton has joined the cast of that video game-inspired car chase movie, Need For Speed. According to the trade, he’ll be playing the eccentric host of an underground race that attracts all the best drivers from around the world—sort of like the Kumite, but with wheels doing burnouts instead of feet kicking faces. Hopefully this affords Keaton plenty of opportunity to snort and chomp gum.

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The Place Beyond the Pines

Have you guys heard about this movie? The one where everyone’s darling, Ryan Gosling, has a facial tattoo and also rides a motorcycle and is also a bank robber and also Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes are there? No? It’s called The Place Beyond the Pines? And it’s from the guy who did Blue Valentine? Still not ringing bells? Then this first poster for The Place Beyond the Pines is for you. Admittedly, its Instagram-y feeling sort of works for me, though I would like this poster much more if it just jettisoned the ol’ floaty faces and stuck to the image below, of a tattooed, motorcycle-riding Gosling gazing at his small town’s bank. That’s your imagery right there. That will stick. Besides, everyone just looks so damn sad up top. Pep up, kids, if you can’t be happy in a dramatic, multi-generational film about violence and families, when can you– oh, nevermind. You’re right. The Place Beyond the Pines opens on March 29th. [IMDb, via FirstShowing]

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Holy Motors

Have you spent the past month or so hearing whispers about some movie called Holy Motors, and how someone you know has seen it at this festival or that, and how it’s probably the most amazing movie of all time, but you still haven’t really gotten a good idea of what it is or what it’s about? Then you’re in luck, because a trailer promoting the film’s U.S. release has just hit the net, and now we can all get a glimpse of what festival goers have been raving about. The latest film from French writer/director Leos Carax, Holy Motors is said to be about a day in the life of a character named Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant), a mysterious figure who is able to jump from one life to the next. That’s the gist of the official synopsis, at least. But it only takes a couple seconds of getting into this trailer to realize that Holy Motors is the sort of abstract, fantastical film that refuses to be adequately summed up with a synopsis.

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Holy Motors Movie Leos Carax

The question is, do you open the sack? Simon’s review from Cannes praises the positive brand of bat-shit insanity that Leos Carax‘s latest flick, Holy Motors, has going for it: “Really, the film is no more than a Kafkaesque short story idea, stretched out into a high-high-concept film that is baffling, infuriating and brilliant in equal measure. It will undoubtedly pick up five star reviews, and the only restraint on this review comes from my own refusal to cast off the conventional entertainment gauge: it’s hard to imagine anyone enjoying their popcorn when confronted with a naked man with an erection eating Eva Mendes‘s hair.” The trailer has a violent tone to it, a dangerous smoke that lingers, something felt but not always seen. There is an angry potential to it (hence the cat simile). Essentially, it feels like the kind of movie that dares you to see it. Check out the trailer for yourself, and get ready to scratch your head:

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Holy Motors Leos Carax

Cannes films have a tendency to provoke reaction, with selections chosen for their impact more often than any conventionally commercial appeal, and as a result, responses from those who attend tend to polarize. In that context, it is no surprise that Leos Carax‘s weird and wonderful Holy Motors was chosen to screen In Competition, judging by the number of walk-outs and the final standing ovation. The film follows Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant), an inexplicable figure who is driven around Paris in a stretch limousine by his chauffeur Celine (Edith Scob), fulfilling “assignments” around the city. The angle is that Mr. Oscar is an actor, and his assignments are characters, each requiring precise and preposterous costumes as he seeks the ultimate performance, in front of invisible characters for an unknown audience. As the film progresses, Mr. Oscar advances through his list of jobs – an old beggar woman, an assassin, a businessman, a father, a dying old man, a deranged, violent monster who eats flowers and kidnaps supermodels – committing himself entirely to the art of character. We are never afforded an insight to who he really is, how he came to be, or even whether there is any reality in any of the situations at all.

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I’ve been praising the moves Derek Cianfrance has been making with The Place Beyond the Pines ever since I first learned of the project. First there’s the plot of the film; a professional motorcycle rider turns to bank robbery in order to support his newborn son and a rookie cop vows to start his career off right by taking the robber down. Just hearing those words arranged in that order makes my inner five-year-old squeal. Then there are the actors Cianfrance cast in the leads. He got the quirky, charismatic Ryan Gosling to step in as the bank robber and the newly crowned, proven leading man Bradley Cooper to sign up as the cop. Those guys are both good, and watching them play off each other should be fun. Finally, Cianfrance wrapped the package up in a nice little bow by picking a couple of actresses I enjoy to play the love interests. He got Eva Mendes, who is crazy-gorgeous and seems to have real potential as an actress, to be Gosling’s baby mama, and he got one of my favorite young actresses working today, Greta Gerwig, to play Cooper’s character’s wife. Things were great, I was all ready to sit back and wait for this one to come to theaters. But now we’ve hit a stumbling block.

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There’s some more casting news about Derek Cianfrance’s upcoming crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines. We already knew that the Blue Valentine director’s latest would pit a pro motorcycle rider who decides to start robbing banks (Ryan Gosling) against a cop who needs to take him down (Bradley Cooper), and now there’s word that they’ve cast some pretty ladies to play opposite these two fellas as well. Eva Mendes is on board to play the Gosling character’s baby-mama, whose pregnancy is the impetus of his decision to start acquiring gobs of money illegally. And Greta Gerwig is set to play Bradley Cooper’s character’s wife, because motorcycle-riding jerks have illegitimate children and police officers have nice marriages. You probably know Gerwig as being the girl who started off being in every Mumblecore movie ever, but then moved up to more mainstream affairs like Greenberg and No Strings Attached. And probably you know Eva Mendes as that really attractive person on the covers of magazines and whatnot. I give this casting news my personal stamp of approval as Gerwig is one of my favorite young actresses working today, and Mendes impressed me with her comedic chops in the otherwise bland The Other Guys. I’m interested to see what else she has up her sleeve, especially when working with a director like Cianfrance. [Deadline Highland]

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Oh, infidelity. Apparently it’s tough to stay faithful when Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet come knocking at your bedroom door. At least if you’re Keira Knightley or Sam Worthington. Last Night is the directorial debut of The Jacket writer Massy Tadjedin, and if this trailer is any indication it looks like 1) it’s fraught with internal strife and smart hand-wringing, and 2) Sam Worthington is getting a chance to act finally. This is the perfect teaser. Everything about it looks sharp, and it leaves the question of whether they will or won’t cheat on each other dangled like a chocolate-dipped carrot maddeningly out of reach. Check it out for yourself:

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So, in case you didn’t know, Len Wiseman is directing a remake of Total Recall for Sony Pictures. I know what you’re thinking, “Total Recall was a perfect film, how could they possibly remake it and not make something disappointing and stupid, especially in this age of homogenized action movies?” Well shut up you, we will have none of that negativity here in this casting rumors article. Even though Arnold Schwarzenegger is once again free to start acting, this update has Colin Farrell signed on to step into the Hauser/Quaid dynamic. So what we need is a couple of chicks for him to knock boots with. If you recall, the Paul Verhoeven classic had four big female roles. The first is the undercover secret agent playing Quaid’s doting wife. The second is his spicy space mistress Melina, who he hooks up with as part of a rebel uprising on Mars. The third is the hooker with three boobs. And the fourth is the midget hooker who blows a bunch of guys away with a machine gun. We have yet to get any word on the casting of the second two roles, but Deadline Thal has dug up some info on the process behind filling the first two.

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badlieutenant-review1

Remember Nicolas Cage? He doesn’t make a lot of movies. The good news though is that after a multi-year absence from movie screens he’s finally returned in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

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bad-lieutenant-header

Have you ever wanted to watch Nicolas Cage, complete with bad haircut and way over-the-top acting, go completely insane in a movie directed by the equally unbalanced Werner Herzog? Well, here’s your chance.

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eva-mendes-header

Way I see it, the one upside to the US endlessly perpetuating the drug war is hot people making movies about the US endlessly perpetuating the drug war.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil bring on the fruitcake with their big, fat Christmas special. They question the correlation between Nazis and Christmas with the release of Valkyrie and The Spirit.

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FSR

FSR’s resident chubby film critic Kevin Carr runs down the reviews on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, The Spirit, Marley & Me and Bedtime Stories.

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Gabriel Macht is The Spirit

Frank Miller’s latest directorial effort goes all-out for the camp and ends up in the toilet.

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Scarlett Johansson in The Spirit

While I still cannot in good conscience recommend that you be very excited about Frank Miller’s upcoming adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, a featurette that debuted this weekend over at MTV does give us a few titillating reasons to pay attention.

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Ten Hotties Who Got Their Start in Horror

This weekend’s release of Quarantine will see Dexter hottie Jennifer Carpenter continue her cinematic career. But while she might not yet be screaming her way to the top, here’s a list of ten actresses who already have.

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Gabriel Macht as The Spirit

in this second full-length trailer, the folks behind The Spirit seem to want to reach out a hand of reassurance — reassurance that this movie will be action-packed and possibly fun. Whether we reach back is yet to be seen.

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Sam Jackson as The Octopus in The Spirit

Great minds must think alike — because that is the same parallel that we’ve been drawing all along.

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