Frances McDormand

  Editor’s note: With This Must Be the Place now officially released in theaters, here is a re-run of our Cannes review, originally published on May 20, 2011. Sean Penn‘s second appearance at this year’s fest – though in truth his first main once, since he was relegated to a side player in The Tree of Life – sees him don his finest goth garb and make-up to take an impressive shot at a Robert Smith type character. He plays Cheyenne, an aging former rock star, who seems happy to live off his royalties in a grand country house in Ireland with his wife (Frances McDormand), though really he is stagnating: depressed or bored, he can’t work out which. He gets an opportunity for respite when his father dies and he travels home to America for the funeral, subsequently learning that his father had been obsessed with tracking down a former Nazi Auschwitz guard who tormented him, and using the information he had already compiled to take on the task himself. In essence Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place is a one-man road movie, and in traditional fashion it presents both a metaphorical and a physical journey through undiscovered or at least unfamiliar lands. And it all hangs on yet another stellar performance by Mr. Penn, who now must be getting close to being sick of the praise.

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Acting is like anything in that success doesn’t come quickly. It’s why we can go back and watch old clips of Brad Pitt whoring for Pringles or Tina Fey talking about the interest rate at Mutual Savings Bank. You have to start somewhere, right? Same goes for motion pictures – for most actors, your first role is going to be some mediocre piece like Return To Horror High or Revenge Of The Creature – but every once in a while an actor or actress starts off at a high point. Here are such high points, awesome first films that you’d be proud to be a part of even if you never did another film ever again.

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Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward in Moonrise Kingdom

It’s the summer of 1965, and a storm is heading towards New Penzance Island. The small dot of land is home to a few permanent residences, but it’s also a seasonal destination for a troop of Khaki Scouts who camp amidst the lush green forests and golden fields. Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) awakes one morning to discover the troop’s least liked member, Sam (Jared Gilman), has gone missing. Elsewhere on the island the Bishop family realizes their daughter Suzy (Kara Hayward) has also disappeared. The two pre-teens fell for each other the year prior during a brief, chance meeting, and have now taken off on an adventure as young lovers are prone to do (in movies at least). Sam and Suzy soon have half the island searching for them, but being such a small, sparsely populated place that search party consists almost entirely of the Scout Master, the local constable, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and Suzy’s parents, Walt and Laura (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand). Wes Anderson‘s latest film splits its time between the kids on the run and their mostly adult pursuers, and in doing so it tells two sides of a story that offer equal amounts of humor, whimsy and heartbreak. It’s a return to form for the director and his first to follow-up on the promise of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums as it highlights the wide-eyed possibilities of youth and the harsh reality of adulthood.

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Filmmaking Tips from The Coen Brothers

There are a lot of stories about colleagues and reporters asking Joel and Ethan Coen questions only to get the same exact answer from both (or to get one finishing the other’s sentence), so it seems at least plausible that they’d both agree on all these tips – no matter which brother they came from. Joel Coen got his start as an assistant editor on Fear No Evil and The Evil Dead. He and his brother then partnered for their first movie without the word “evil” in the title, Blood Simple., which rightly launched them to prominence where they’d go on to craft Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, countless other modern classics and a trophy case for all their awards. All of this fulfilled a childhood dream of making movies that started with a Super 8 camera and a hobby of remaking what they saw on television. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from two young masters who think exactly alike.

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Moonrise Kingdom appears to be a delicate fancy of a film – an assessment you suspect might entertain Wes Anderson – offering no more ground-breaking a story than young love, with the director’s traditional preoccupation with whimsy, and creating such artfully created landscapes and characters that they flirt outrageously with magic realism, though without explicit realisation of that concept. But there are weightier issues at hand, of parental neglect, of revolution (not just sexual but also anti-establishment), and it seems completely appropriate that Anderson chose to set it in as provocatively important a time as 1965. The film follows two young lovers – Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) – who escape their lives to run away together, and the ensuing chaos of their parents and the local authorities’ attempts to find them: no more than a gentle plot that suggests nothing of the drama and comedy that subsequently unfolds.

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Hooray! On May 25th, Wes Anderson‘s latest movie Moonrise Kingdom will enjoy the warm glow of the silver screen. The movie stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban, and it tells the story of young love that leaves town and causes a search party to form. No doubt, Balaban is looking stately here. Like a young Santa Claus. Ahead of the release, Focus Features has released a team photo of the whole crew, and if you didn’t know it was from Wes Anderson before, this photo definitely isn’t hiding it. Check it out for yourself and click it to make it even bigger:

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I don’t know where you stand on the issue, but the release of a new Wes Anderson movie is pretty much cause for a gigantic celebration around my house. I know that he’s kind of a love him or hate him director, but personally, his dry humor, fairy tale tone, and satirical yet sentimental look at neurotic intellectuals hits my funny bone in a way few other things do. And his meticulous attention to production design detail make his movies a joy to pick through and study over the course of multiple re-watches. These are films that grow in my esteem over time, and his newest work, Moonrise Kingdom, looks like it’s going to fit, perhaps quite predictably, right in that oeuvre. Anderson’s movies always feel like they’re taking place in a world slightly more magical than our own, but his last film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, went a step further by being an animated film starring talking animals. Though Moonrise Kingdom sees the director stepping back into the world of live action, it looks like he’s bringing more of that animated absurdity back with him. This trailer has impossible tree forts, Ed Norton in a Cub Scout uniform saying things like “Jiminy Cricket, he flew the coop,” lightning strikes, and little kids brandishing homemade weapons. Make no mistake, Wes Anderon’s latest movie looks absolutely bat-poop crazy, and I’m super stoked to see how far he’s willing to take things. The final scene, where Bill Murray interacts with some children […]

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This is the kind of story that sounds too absurd to be true. According to an insider for Vulture, Matt Damon will no longer be making his directorial debut with the project previously reported on. The idea came from Dave Eggers and John Krasinski, and the script was co-written by Krasinski and Damon, but the insider is citing “script issues” as the reason for Damon getting up from the director’s chair. Thus, Matt Damon is having trouble with the script from Matt Damon. The best part? Apparently he’s still on board to star. So there are 3 options here: 1) Either Matt Damon thinks the writing he (and Krasinki) did is good enough to star but not good enough to direct 2) he is having an existential crisis where he’s arguing with himself or 3) the insider is wrong. Maybe Damon really is stepping back from directing, but the reasoning here sounds ludicrous in light of the work he’s already done. Hopefully some clearer information will come out before the FSR offices run out of aspirin.

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We reported back in October that Matt Damon was planning on following his life-mate Ben Affleck’s lead into the world of directing by putting together a movie about a salesman traveling to a new town and having his life dramatically changed by the experience, and that hasn’t changed. And neither has their been much additional news on the project’s development. He’s still co-writing it with The Office’s John Krasinski, who will co-star with Damon as well, and they’re still working off of an original idea that came from Dave Eggers (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” Away We Go). But, finally, something new has broke. Damon claims that they’re getting to the point in development where they’re looking to fill out the rest of the cast, and when talking to public radio show The Business, Damon says that they’ve started the casting process strong by signing up veteran actress Frances McDormand. McDormand, of course, is a living legend at this point, and going down her filmography would be a little ridiculous. Damon didn’t give up any info about what sort of character she would be playing, but her inclusion in any cast playing any role has to be seen as a positive at this point. She’s slated to next show up in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, which is set for release this summer.

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Some set photos from the latest Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom have surfaced online. If you’re wondering why Edward Norton is ridiculously dressed as a camp counselor, then Focus Feature’s press release on the film could be of some help. Official word on what the film is going to be is as follows: “Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, Moonrise Kingdom follows a young boy and girl falling in love. When they are moved to run away together, various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down – which might not be such a bad thing. Bruce Willis plays the town sheriff; two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton is cast as a camp leader; Academy Award nominee Bill Murray and Academy Award winner Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents; the cast also includes Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman. The young boy and girl are played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.”

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Drama fans have been fairly under-served in the past few years. There have been some phenomenal films, from Blue Valentine to Rabbit Hole to foreign fare like Dogtooth, but there haven’t been a huge number of them, and the ones that came out sometimes barely saw theaters outside New York and LA. So it’s good news that David Lindsay-Abaire will be adapting his own play, “Good People” for the screen, following the success of Rabbit Hole. The great news is that the personnel involved is stellar. According to LA Times Blog, the movie will focus on Margie Walsh (played by Frances McDormand, reprising her role from the play). Walsh is a sharp-witted woman who left high school to take care of her mentally handicapped daughter, loses her low-paying job, and seeks employment working for a successful former classmate. Laughter and tears ensue.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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This past weekend saw the cinematic glory of Resident Evil: Afterlife pushing past security to get into your local theater even though it was moving slower than an instant replay in a curling match. The absolute atrocity of this film raises a lot of questions, but one of the first and foremost is whether or not directors should work with their spouses in a leading role. Paul W.S. Anderson, who thinks Milla Jovovich is as big an action star as Sigourney Weaver, is also married to Milla Jovovich, and while we can’t prove causation for the low marks in her performance here – we can certainly point to correlation. We can also point to 9 more husband and wife teams in order to find out if working with your legally bound significant other is really such a great idea.

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Michael Bay seems to be trading one type of bloat for another.

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Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong

One thing that is not lost on director Michael Bay is the need to get legitimate actors to star in roles that support giant CGI robots. Jon Voight and John Torturro come to mind. So it should come as no surprise that the director is reporting via MichaelBay.com that John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and Ken Jeong have all been locked into the cast for Transformers 3.

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mwl-fargo

This week we feature the best movie the Coen Brothers have made and one of the greatest of all time.

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George Clooney and Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading.

Archibald Cox is fired from the CIA because he has a drinking problem. Here’s your chance to sympathize with him while watching the movie.

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post-fatguys.jpg

Kevin and Neil struggle to make it through the movie doldrums with some sub-par September releases and a challenge to offend those who claim they can’t be offended.

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Burn After Reading is not the best Coen film, or even the best Coen comedy ever made, but I’d put it up next to any other comedy released this year.

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Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading

The Coen Brothers are headed back to a more comedic place with Burn After Reading, delivering a few characters that could have you laughing your ass off.

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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