Gael García Bernal

bernal

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the last bits of casting news coming in for the week. That’s it, it’s the weekend, it’s time to see movies that are out, not read about movies that haven’t been made yet. Before we go though, let’s cap things off with news about Bond Girl Rosamund Pike. As sad as everyone is over Jon Stewart taking a 12 week hiatus from The Daily Show, the silver lining in the story is that he’s taking the time off to try his hand at directing movies, so at least we’ll get to see what a Jon Stewart-directed movie looks like. So far what we know is that it looks like a dramatization of the life of Maziar Bahari, a journalist who was imprisoned and tortured in Iran for 118 days, and that it’s going to be called Rosewater, because that’s what the guy doing the torturing smelled of. The new news here is that we now also know what Stewart’s version of Bahari is going to look like, because The Wrap is reporting that he just cast Gael Garcia Bernal in the role. Who he’ll cast as Jon Stewart in the scene where Bahari goes on The Daily Show is anybody’s guess, but I vote Jason Momoa.

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Diane Keaton Morgan Freeman

What is Casting Couch? It’s a rundown of recent news about actors getting new jobs. Today it’s mostly focused on handsome young fellows like Gael Garcia Bernal, Hayden Christensen, and Dylan O’Brien. Due to the fact that they’ve both been constantly working, prolific actors for an unmentionable number of decades, it’s kind of hard to believe that Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman have never appeared in a movie together; but apparently that’s the case. There’s one for the trivia buffs out there. Now one for the news hounds: apparently that streak is about to be broken. Myriad Pictures has announced [via Coming Soon] that the duo are now set to co-star in a comedy called Life Itself, which will see them playing a married couple who decide to make a mint by putting the New York City apartment they’ve spent most of their lives in on the market, but who then end up having second thoughts about trading all of their memories for cold, hard cash.

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review no

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during the 2012 NYFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. The revolution will not only be televised, it will have commercials. At least that’s how it happens in No, Pablo Larraín’s new chronicle of the last days of Augusto Pinochet’s rule in Chile. It is the story of a military dictatorship that fell to an ad campaign, a cheerful one at that. This causes contradictions. On the one hand, the film emphasizes the joy of mass political action. Liberation is exciting, and people get excited about it when they are shown a brighter future. However, advertising is also the great commercial and consumerist art form, here being used as a tool by socialist and other left-wing opponents of the regime. On paper this seems extremely counter-intuitive, and No doesn’t lose sight of these tensions. To turn this whirlwind of politics and confusion into a human story, Larraín builds his film around a single young man caught at the very center of the drama. René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal) is an up-and-comer in the world of advertising, making a name for himself in a particularly important firm. Yet he suddenly finds himself faced with a life-changing decision. It is 1988, and due to international pressure on the Pinochet regime Chile is going to have a national plebiscite regarding the dictatorship. It would be the first free election in almost two decades. It was a simple proposition: “Yes” to keep […]

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Gael Garcia Bernal No

Augusto Pinochet was not a good guy. He rose to power in Chile through a military coup, and he’d go on to amass nearly 300 criminal charges throughout his brutally corrupt reign. Through increasing internal and international pressure, he legalized political parties and called for a public vote in 1987 on whether he would stay in power for another 10 years. If you voted YES, you wanted him to remain president. If you voted NO, you wanted him out. In No, Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a marketing expert who spearheads the effort to oust Pinochet through a series of political campaigns to encourage voters to have the courage to kick him out. The trailer (via Yahoo!) shows a slick production trying to convert a powerfully complex political reality into a positive message about what life might be like with democracy.

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The Loneliest Planet

Is it a bad idea to test your love? It could be argued that a life spent together is one long test, and obviously arranged tests like hiring someone to try and seduce your partner is a recipe for disaster, but what about the unplanned tests? The kind that just happen unexpectedly. The kind that make you rethink the entirety of your relationship. The kind that threaten love’s very survival. Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Nica (Hani Furstenberg) are a few months away from their wedding date and many miles away from home. Hiking through Eastern Europe’s Caucasus region the couple stop to spend time in small villages and interact with locals over food, dance and the occasional game of catch. Their adventure takes them in to hills and mountains where they spend several days and nights hiking and camping while accompanied by a guide named Dato (Bidzina Gujabidze). The trio eventually cross paths with three men, one of whom is armed, and their interaction escalates into an incident that passes quickly but with a lasting and devastating effect. The incident in question won’t be revealed here except to say that it’s near genius in its simple detail and complex fallout. It’s believable, thought provoking and an entry point for some fascinating commentary and discussion… all of which gets sidestepped by writer/director Julia Loktev in favor of a dedication to meandering minimalism. Instead of allowing the incident to become a focal point for story it simply gets added to a […]

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Michael Fassbender

What is Casting Couch? It’s where you go to make sure Elijah Wood is adding another new job to his calendar every day. Turns out, today he kept the streak alive, read on… Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender are two of the best actors on the planet Earth; objectively, inarguably. What a coup, then, that director Michael Grandage has landed both of them for his upcoming project, Genius. Based on a book by A. Scott Berg, Genius is a biopic that explores the relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his editor Max Perkins (Firth). Turns out Wolfe and Perkins were great friends, but the kind who butted heads over everything. Sure, listening to two guys argue over word choice wouldn’t normally sound like a very exciting idea for a movie, but with these two actors on board it absolutely does. Add this one to your to-do list. [Variety]

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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The advertising for The Loneliest Planet seems to be selling it on the fact that, while you’re watching it, you’ll have no idea what’s going to happen next. If this is the strategy, then so far they’ve succeeded, because even after watching the trailer, it’s still not all that clear what this movie is about. Two young lovers (Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) are on a backpacking journey together. At first everything seems to be going great – there are images of people kissing in the soft glow of natural light, parading around in their panties, and frolicking together in the glorious majesty of nature; nice stuff – but then things take a turn for the worse. Suddenly there’s creepy whispering in the dark, people frolicking around in their panties, and a horrible, repetitious hacking noise playing in the background. What’s the source of the change in tone? That’s where the trailer plays coy. The promise it provides is that even a small incident, something that takes just a second or two to happen, could completely change our lives and alienate us from the people we love. Which, the suggestion seems to be, would inevitably lead to our lives being full of dread, horror movie imagery, and creepy things happening in the dark (but still plenty of girls in panties).

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Kate Hudson seems doomed to never get a chance to repeat her Almost Famous glory, stuck in a rut of endless romantic comedies, from the passable (Alex & Emma, How to Lose a Guy in 1o Days) to the horrific (Bride Wars, Something Borrowed). Nicole Kassell‘s A Little Bit of Heaven attempts to give Hudson just an, ahem, little bit more to work with, but the film is bogged down with too many shabby and shopworn rom-com tropes to ever rise above the sum of its tired and worn-out parts. Hudson plays Marley Corbett, who comes complete with all the hallmarks of a modern romantic comedy heroine – she’s dead-set against committed relationships (despite being quite in control of her sexual conquests), she depends on a Bridget Jones style urban family made up of friends and co-workers, she has a hip job, and she’s got a bawdy sense of humor that endears her to the most random of people. Marley is the last person you’d ever expect to get cancer (especially, as she so eloquently calls it, “ass cancer”), but her rapid weight loss and general malaise are not due to work stress or her wild social calendar – it’s the big c.

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Casa de mi Padre

To Say Will Ferrell is an incredibly polarizing figure in comedy is to just point out something all our mothers already knew. Is he a comedy genius, or a man-sized enfant terrible? Is he one step ahead of us, or are we justified shaking our heads at his absurdity? This is the constant tango most movie-goers partake in when setting foot into one of his new films, never knowing for sure if Ferrell is going to leave us sated or enraged. While we all have our favorite (or not so favorite) Ferrell offerings, his newest film Casa De Mi Padre is so full of heart and balls that it is almost impossible to not see it taking a cult favorite status amongst film lovers. Set on a Mexican ranch with a nearly entire Spanish speaking cast, the film explores the tumultuous relationship between brothers Armando (Ferrell) and Raul Alvarez (Diego Luna) as they try to protect their family’s land from the looming threat of drug lord Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal). Raul is the prodigal son whose return brings joy to his father Miguel Ernesto (Pedro Armendariz Jr.) with the news of a wedding to his new fiancé Sonia (Mexican pop sensation Genesis Rodriguez) but also a sense of change for Armando, who is less than trusting of his brother’s new riches (spoiler alert, he dabbles in the illegal). Unlike the typical idiot savants Ferrell normally plays, Armando reveals himself to be quite intelligent and forward thinking. His love of his […]

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in skinny jeans and bling-bling (‘cause that’s what the kids nowadays are wearing, right, dawg?) so he can sneak into his old high school and pose as a student. After spending the following night in jail, he heads to the multiplex to watch the biweekly Channing Tatum movie spectacular. Unfortunately, he goes in the wrong theater and ends up seeing a movie that requires him to read the whole time. And he doesn’t even get to see Genesis Rodriguez’s breasts. It’s a sad day.

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Not to be hyperbolic, but this is the kind of role that earns Oscar nominations. Iconic public figure? Check. Oscar nominated screenwriter? Check. An actor capable of pulling off a rounded, difficult role? Triple check. Variety is reporting that Diego Luna has hired Michael Peña to star as Cesar Chavez for Chavez – the story of the celebrated labor rights advocate and the guy that 489 streets in the southwest are named after. The man is an idol, and Peña may be the perfect choice to play him. The actor has been all over the map, proving to be versatile and powerful no matter the genre or the role. Plus, the Academy apparently loves it when people play real people – regardless of whether they’re minority figures or old white leaders. But the awards talk is way too early, and it’s secondary because this project sounds like a fantastic movie no matter the gold potential. Keir Pearson (Hotel Rwanda) has written the script, Luna is a strong creative force, Gael Garcia Bernal is producing, as is John Malkovich (unless it’s John Cusack simply pretending to be John Malkovich), and Rosario Dawson and American Ferrara are co-starring in prominent roles. The puzzle pieces are all there to create something phenomenal. Not to mention, award worthy.

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Last April, an amazing trailer hit the web that was subsequently taken down. While it lasted, it showed Will Ferrell playing a character named Armando Alvarez in a ridiculous Spanish-language film that looked a heck of a lot like one of those super-sexy and deadly dramatic Mexican telenovelas that you can catch on Telemundo during the day. It had comedic actors like Nick Offerman, dramatic actors like Gael Garcia Bernal, and a mocha-skinned (TM Ricky Martin) hottie named Genesis Rodriguez. It instantly became one of my most highly-anticipated films on the release date horizon, but after the trailer got jerked, I had not heard hide nor hair of it. That all changed today when I read a report from THR that Pantelion Films has announced that they have acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the film, and will be putting it out in theaters on March 16, 2012. Pantelion CEO Paul Presburger said of their acquisition, “We cannot imagine a better vehicle than Casa de mi Padre to demonstrate how a Spanish language film can appeal to a broad mainstream audience. We are enthusiastic about joining forces with NALA Films on this project and feel that Will, Matt and Andrew have proven that if it’s funny, we all laugh in the same language.” These are, truly, deeply poetic and moving words from Mr. Presburger. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go call my Mexican friend Eric.

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In a week where a trailer was released where apes take over the planet, I think that this trailer for the upcoming Will Ferrell comedy Casa de mi Padre is still the coolest, weirdest thing I’ve seen. In former SNL writer and Funny or Die contributor Matt Piedmont’s first film, you’ve got Will Ferrell playing a Mexican named Armando Alvarez and speaking only in Spanish, Nick Offerman in full Ron Swanson mustache asking people if they speak American, awesome dramatic actors like Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal trading ridiculous dialogue, and a hottie named Genesis Rodriguez two palming Will Ferrell’s bare ass. The film plays like a big budget telenovela, and while it is clearly a ridiculous comedy, it seems to get the telenovela feel right by taking itself terribly seriously. In Casa de mi Padre’s own mind, it is the awesomest movie that ever existed. The trailer goes as far as listing for you all of the awesome things it features, up to and including, guns, cigarettes, special effects, and slaps. I don’t know how you can argue with that.  Take a load off and give it a gander, you won’t be sorry.

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The last few weeks have been emotionally exhausting and utterly surreal for me, and visiting with some of my favorite movies for advice has been a big help in moving forward. Of course this isn’t the same as talking with a good friend or crying into a whole box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins (with sprinkles!), but sometimes the stories unfolding on screen just make you feel better in a way talking and eating just can’t. All my time watching movies has taught me if a heartbroken soul can get through it, head held high and sane, so can I. But where do we draw the line between real and too real when it comes to romance and sex in film? Sex complicates, but does it also have to destroy the lives involved? In Cruel Intentions, sex is used as a key element in an emotionally manipulative game between Kathryn and Sebastian, whereas in Y Tu Mama Tambien sex leaves best friends confused about their future, and in Blue Valentine sex brings upon the end of a relationship representing so many couples before and after. In each of these films, the act itself is both poignant and flawed, and no one walks away uninjured.

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Depp was once believed to be a lock for playing the titular character in Emir Kusturica’s upcoming film The Seven Friends of Pancho Villa and the Woman With Seven Fingers, but delays on the project and too many upcoming obligations on his plate have forced him to step back from the role. This couldn’t have been an easy decision as reportedly he and Kusturica are pretty chummy. But what could be seen as a fairly big blow for the developing feature might not be so big of a deal after all. Blic reports that there are already two possible stars likely to step in and take Depp’s place. More good news abounds due to the fact that they are both accomplished actors, and they are both actually Hispanic to some degree. Maybe Pancho Villa didn’t need to be played by the kid from 21 Jump Street after all? The first guy rumored to play the role is Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal. He’s already sucked up big time trying to land the part at the Kustendorf film festival by saying, “I believe Emir is the only director who can do the Pancho Villa story. Even better than any Mexican director. You know why? Because he is a kind of Pancho Villa in his own right.” Okay. Really? In what respect? And if that killer quote wasn’t enough, Bernal goes on to posit, “I will probably land the leading role because of physical resemblance with Pancho Villa.” Can’t argue with that logic, […]

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There are few things better in this life than realizing something ridiculous is real. It’s like the first time you found out chocolate chip pancakes weren’t some elaborate ruse invented by your parents to get you to the oatmeal-filled breakfast table. Come on. Seriously? It’s pancakes with chocolate in them? The cinematic chocolate chips in this case are falling where they may, and that happens to be in the big warm pancake of Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language comedy Casa de Mi Padre. Not only is the project real, it’s also got a hell of a cast lined up. Both Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are phenomenal talents – the kind of talents that would be challenged by something like this to great result. Bernal will play a friend of the Ferrell/Luna family with Luna filling in for John C. Reilly this go round as Ferrell’s brother. Before you ask, yes, theoretically they could end up naked in bed together again. Although it’s great that Ferrell has gotten some great help for the film, it won’t matter if he keeps thinking everything in the language means “Whale Vagina.” [Collider]

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr isn’t a very merry man, taking a look at Robin Hood, Letters to Juliet and Just Wright.

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‘Letters to Juliet’ is a predictable, bland romance without much appeal, but then it wasn’t made for me and probably, FSR reader, wasn’t made for you either.

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limits-of-control-header

Since I quit sniffing baboon blood to get high, the only thing I have left that’s on par is this new trailer for Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control. It seems fairly par for the course considering the filmmaker’s track record.

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