Evan Rachel Wood

Manhattan Movie

Friday is Manhattan‘s 35th birthday, and while Woody Allen‘s black and white love story may not have the prestige of an Annie Hall or the out and out hilariousness of a Love and Death, it does have one unique aspect — one of greatest May/December affairs in cinema. Plus we’re still three years from Annie Hall‘s 40th anniversary, and we’ve got to kill time somehow. But what is it that’s so special about the love between Allen’s balding, bespectacled Isaac Davis and Mariel Hemmingway‘s genteel young Tracy? Well, part of it is that Manhattan isn’t the story of Isaac and Tracy. It’s not really about anyone. It’s a film about a city; something made achingly clear in the title and the first three and a half minutes. We view the scenery of New York, we hear the music equivalent of New York (George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”), and we hear a nerdy, neurotic New Yorker describe himself as having “the coiled sexual prowess of a jungle cat.” Together, those three elements (and Manhattan itself) are Woody Allen’s New York.

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Blue Valentine Oral Scene

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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

Editor’s note: Our review of what was then called The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman originally ran during this year’s Sundance film festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited release today. A close up of a beaten and bloodied Shia LaBeouf (who plays the title character) hanging upside down is the first image of The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman and brings one question to mind: what did Charlie do? A voice over (from John Hurt) explains simply that “love is pain” as the story takes us “back to the beginning” to a stark hospital room where Charlie’s mother (Melissa Leo) lies dying. As she takes her final breath, something strange happens, and suddenly a healthy looking Leo sits next to Charlie to impart some last words and wisdom. This idea that Charlie can hear from the dead (complete with a tongue-in-cheek joke about The Sixth Sense) is touched upon throughout the film, but unfortunately ends up being more distracting (and sometimes laughable) than a necessary trope to help drive the story along. Charlie’s mom tells him he should go to Bucharest, essentially because she thinks he will “have fun” there. So he does.

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The Dink

I’ll be honest with you, folks. A Case of You doesn’t seem like it has a lot going for it. It’s got a basic romantic/indie comedy setup, and (as our own Caitlin Hughes pointed out), it holds hard and fast to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype that’s been so badly overworked these past few years. A Case of You has a pretty basic setup. Justing Long is fast approaching the time where all his friends are getting married, and yet he’s hopelessly alone. But then the Rom-Com gods grant him a love interest in the form of Evan Rachel Wood. Not wanting to screw things up, he begins stalking her on Facebook, using every page, activity and lifestyle choice she’s “liked” to craft himself into her perfect man. As you can probably guess, something goes horribly awry and then Long must save his last shot at love (or something like that, anyway). But here’s what A Case of You does have: Peter Dinklage. With a mustache. Playing a sassy barista. What more could you possibly ask for? Witness his mustachioed glory in the trailer below:

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Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 11.18.51 AM

Director Kat Coiro‘s (L!fe Happens) latest feature,  A Case of You will undoubtedly enter the pantheon of “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” movies. You know the kind – movies that glorify the precious nature of spritely, eccentric leading ladies who make their “normal” suitor’s heart got pitter-patter. Our MPG here is named Birdie Hazel (Evan Rachel Wood), a barista at a Brooklyn coffee shop – she wears fedoras, draws caricatures in Prospect Park, and takes ballroom dancing with a pack of admiring senior citizens. She also has an unparalleled taste in music literature, as she appreciates the likes of both Joni Mitchell and Walt Whitman. When struggling writer Sam (Justin Long, who co-wrote the film with his brother Christian Long and co-star Keir O’Donnell) falls for her, he looks to her Facebook page as inspiration and makes all of her quirky interests his so that she will fall for him.When Birdie does fall for Sam, will he need to keep up the façade forever so that he remains interesting in her eyes? A Case of You rests on this game of Sam’s, which is somewhat of a flimsy premise. This and other problems aside, Long and Wood are delightful to watch and have great chemistry, and on the whole, the film is, despite my better judgement, quite enjoyable.

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Louis CK

What is Casting Couch? It’s the column that’s rounding up all the casting announcements the studios have released now that the buzz surrounding the Golden Globes has died down. They’ve been hoarding. Before his show on FX became such a well-respected thing, people thought of Louis CK mostly as being a stand-up comedian and not really as an actor, despite the fact that he’s shown up in a few small roles here and there. That might be about to change though, because not only does CK  star in Woody Allen’s upcoming movie, Blue Jasmine, but THR is reporting that he’s also in talks to join David O. Russell’s next project: that con-man movie starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Amy Adams that used to be called American Bullshit. If CK’s involvement becomes official, it will see him rubbing onscreen elbows with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, which is probably going to feel a little weird at first.

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Sylvester Stallone in Cobra 2: Axing for Trouble

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news roundup that’s jam-packed with updates about big star doing big things. Look at this list of names! There’s barely a second-stringer on there. When you shoot as many people in the head and blow as many things up onscreen as Sylvester Stallone, every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from all of the insanity and do a quiet little indie drama. So, according to Variety, that’s exactly what he’s doing with his next film, Reach Me. Written and directed by Stallone’s Cobra co-star John Herzfeld, Reach Me is an ensemble piece about a group of characters who were all touched by a self-help book that was written by a reclusive football coach. There isn’t yet any word on what role Stallone will be playing, but, for the sake of his old knees, let’s hope it doesn’t involve any running. Those hobbling away from the explosion scenes in the Expendables movies are starting to look pretty painful.

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Evan Rachel Wood

According to Deadline Hollywood, Evan Rachel Wood is now attached to 18 Wheel Butterfly, the forthcoming throwback film from director Michael Polish (The Astronaut Farmer, For Lovers Only). The film was written by newcomer Christian Divine and tells the 1977-set story of a female truck driver named Rainbeaux who is wrongfully accused of a crime which forces her on a highway chase away from Smokey and some fellow truckers. The project, headed by Aaron Magnani at Water Bear Productions is looking for financing. It’s definitely got a unique tilt to it as well as some magnetic talent, although it’s curious why both Polish Brothers aren’t working together on this or on Michael’s forthcoming Big Sur. If the money gets its budget and becomes a success, it’s easy to imagine studios following suit with movies about women truckers or figuring out what 1977 titles are in their libraries for the remaking. At any rate, hopefully this project has room for a Burt Reynolds cameo.  

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We haven’t reported much yet on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, which is a shame, because it’s a promising sounding project. So, seeing as there’s a new bit of casting news regarding the film, let’s use that as an excuse to cover all the basics, shall we? The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman started off as a Black List script by a screenwriter named Matt Drake (Project X) that was eventually picked up by Voltage Pictures and given to Fredrik Bond to direct. A studio synopsis for the film explains it by saying, “Charlie Countryman was just a normal guy…until he fell in love with the one girl who will probably get him killed. When Charlie meets the absolutely irresistible Gabi she’s already been claimed by Nigel, an insanely violent crime boss with a gang of thugs at his disposal. Armed with little more than his wit and naïve charm, Charlie endures one bruising beat down after another to woo Gabi and keep her out of harm’s way. Finally his exploits of blind valor create such a mess that he’s left with only one way out; to save the girl of his dreams, must Charlie Countryman die?” These aren’t the truly exciting aspects of the film, however. The real appeal of this project is the cast that Bond has assembled. He’s got Shia LaBeouf in the title role, Evan Rachel Wood playing Gabi, Mads Mikklesen on board as the Nigel character, and names like Rupert Grint and Melissa Leo […]

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This year’s Young Hollywood panel (presented by the Los Angeles Times) brought together rising stars Anton Yelchin, Evan Rachel Wood, Armie Hammer and Kirsten Dunst to discuss how they got started in acting, what it is like working with impressive (and at times intimidating) directors like Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and David Fincher and how their success is shaping their careers. Hammer and Dunst are each featured in films screening at the festival (J. Edgar and Melancholia, respectively) with Hammer as Edgar’s right-hand man and Dunst as a depressed bride. Yelchin and Wood have been getting attention for their performances as one half of a long distance relationship in Like Crazy and the tempting intern who may undo an entire presidential campaign in The Ides of March. The four came together Friday night (with Hammer fresh off the premiere of J. Edgar the night before) and there was a palpable energy between them as they would get so excited or intrigued by another person’s answer it would sometimes feel like we were simply overhearing a conversation between new friends. It was interesting to see Hammer surrounded by three actors who have been doing this since they were young (as he is just getting started in his career) and how he was just as engaged in their answers as the audience, asking which project they would be referring to in a story or simply being shocked over hearing about directors who preferred to do scenes in a single take.

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If there’s any true horror movie this Halloween, it’s eclectic filmmaker George Clooney‘s The Ides of March. The play adaptation follows a hopeful and naive young hotshot, Stephen Myers, as he loses all of his morals to get ahead, which is apparently what the world of politics requires. If someone in the film sticks to their respectable rules, things most likely won’t turn out too well for them. Like a great paranoia thriller, everyone’s constantly on edge about their place on the political food chain. However, The Ides of March isn’t so much a film about politics, but the downward spiral of a once idealistic campaign runner. Clooney’s fourth directorial feature is a dark and cynical character drama underneath the surface of a low-key thriller. Co-writer/producer Grant Heslov (director of the very underrated The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Clooney delved into the idea of trying to stick to one’s rules in a bloodthirsty world with Good Night and Good Luck, but while that story lent itself to a more optimistic feel, the duo took a far more cynical approach with The Ides of March. Here’s what Heslov had to say about getting this dark character drama made, the film’s idealist-turned-ruthless protagonist, and why he doesn’t wake up dreaming about writing in our spoiler-filled conversation:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strips down to his boxers and starts a new training regimen to make him look more like Huge Jackman. He’s got a head start, considering his torso looks almost like Jackman’s… if you turn it upside down. After duking it out with some robots in a boxing ring, Kevin tries his hands at politics because it’s the kind of business where you don’t necessarily have to look like Ryan Gosling to get a young hottie like Evan Rachel Wood. But the primary system leaves him depressed and cold, so he takes a trip to the Sudan to play target practice with some warlords. He hears the Sudan is simply lovely this time of year.

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Let’s just be honest here and admit that George Clooney is one incredibly attractive guy. I’m referring to more than just his roguish charm, unflappable sense of humor, and boyish grin of course as his most appealing characteristic is his professional ethos. He’s popular, wealthy, and capable of being cast in as many big budget films as he could want, but he consistently returns to to smaller, more personal films that tell stories and explore ideals that he values even when it earns him flack. That and his villa on Italy’s Lake Como make him someone that I would not rush to kick out of my hypothetical, friends only, no-touching-unless-we’re-having-a-pillow-fight bed. As an actor he’s balanced studio pics like the Ocean’s Eleven films with smart, adult thrillers like Michael Clayton and The American. As a director he’s countered the brilliant Good Night, and Good Luck with… Leatherheads. Okay, bad example, but the point is the man has range. Check out the trailer for his latest directorial effort below.

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Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard that President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. I was in third grade, under the creepy Catholic tutelage of Sister Hermina (she refused to die!), and the lesson on Lincoln’s presidency had come to dramatic and shocking conclusion. Granted, those aren’t the words I would have used to describe it at the time, but I do recall feeling frustrated, confused, and angered at the tall, bearded man’s death. So why open a film review with a reference to a grade school history lesson? Because the film in question, Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, feels like a two-hour lecture on some of the very same material. Viewers learn about the coordinated assault against Lincoln and two members of his cabinet, the capture and conviction of those responsible, and their subsequent hangings for the crimes. While the material here is more detailed than the lesson taught by zombie nun it’s also presented dryly, without any real energy, emotion, or drama, and very much in the spirit of a made-for-television movie. It doesn’t help matters that Redford uses his directorial lectern to include some incredibly unsubtle and politicized comparisons to our own modern day battles between personal freedoms and national security.

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Robert Redford has directed a movie starring James McAvoy, Robin Wright Penn, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Stephen Root, Colm Meaney, Toby Kebbell, and Evan Rachel Wood. That should be enough to cause excitement. The Conspirator tells the story of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the ensuing police action and trial of the conspirators – including Mary Surratt, who became despised by an entire country. She was guilty until proven innocent. Check out the intense trailer for yourself:

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conspirator-set-1

Collider has the first photos from the set of Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, his film about Mary Surratt’s role in the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln.

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whatever-works-1

The combination of Woody Allen’s return to New York City and Larry David’s presence as the lead in his new film never pays off as it should.

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evan-rachel-wood-1

Earlier this week we reported that Evan Rachel Wood, star of The Wrestler and better half of Marilyn Manson had been replaced in Zack Snyder’s upcoming film Sucker Punch by Jena Malone. And now assuming that our powers of logic are still strong, we know why.

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sucker-punch-cast

Snyder works to assemble an all-female cast for his upcoming Sucker Punch, an action fantasy set in the 1960s featuring crazy people.

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terra-header

If you are like me, then you are sick and tired of Earth and humanity being the victims in alien invasion movies. Get over it, pesky humans — no one really wants to come down to our dying planet and take over. Now we finally have a movie that tells it like it is…

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