Garrett Hedlund

2013review_performances

Christian Bale, Sanda Bullock, Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Michael Fassbender, and Meryl Steep, because she’s Meryl Streep, have all had heaps of praise thrown their way this year by both fans and critics. They’ll continue to see even more acclaim in 2014 and beyond, but with all those fantastic movie star performances, not all of 2013’s best have gotten the attention they deserve. That happens most every year, of course. Only so many performances can be nominated for statuettes. After all, even after listing these 13, another 13 could have easily followed (it was a good year). In that spirit, hopefully you’ll share your picks in the comments section, but for now, here are 13 performances from 2013 not to forget when someone else is being played off stage for making their acceptance speech too long.

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inside llewyn davis 01

Editor’s note: Our review of Inside Llewyn Davis originally ran during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens today in limited theatrical release. The eighth In Competition banner for the Coen Brothers at the Cannes Film Festival is their first in six years, since their eventual Best Picture Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. Though there isn’t a chance for the intrepid filmmaking duo to repeat the same success here, the feeling coming out of Inside Llewyn Davis is that the brothers would not have it any other way. Indeed, while terming their latest work the worst thing they’ve put out since The Ladykillers might send alarm bells ringing, when you consider their body of work since — No Country, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man and True Grit – it begins to seem not quite so bitter a pill to swallow. Tackling the New York folk music scene of the 1960s, the Coens’ latest sees the titular character (Oscar Isaac) stumbling through the city by the seat of his pants, trying to make it as a musician in an ostensibly difficult niche. Hopping from sofa to sofa, LLewyn drifts through life, propelled almost singularly by a desire to meet music maestro Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) while his personal life, namely a surprise pregnancy by way of occasional partner Jean (Carey Mulligan), crumbles around him.

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On the Road Movie

Editor’s note: On the Road cruises into limited release this Friday, so put your brains into gear and enjoy this re-run of our Cannes review, originally published on May 23, 2012. Some books demand adaptation, offering immediate and easily translatable promise as film projects, whether that is thanks to the power of the plot, or characters or certain ideas that would lead to a looser adaptation. Jack Kerouac‘s seminal “On The Road” is not one of those books – like the work of James Joyce, the book is explicitly literary, its content inherently bound by its form and its author so fundamentally a writer before a storyteller that many, including myself, believed it to be unadaptable. In that context, the presence of Walter Salles‘ adaptation, imaginatively called On The Road, on the In Competition list here always stood out as an intriguing prospect. How would the director who made that other road movie The Motorcycle Diaries cope with the very specific problem of adapting something that is so explicitly literary? The answer, unfortunately, is not well. For a tale which so obviously values hedonism and free expression, On The Road is ultimately joyless and unengaging, and for a self-discovering road movie to fudge the journey so much and lose almost all lasting meaning is downright criminal.

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Garrett Hedlund

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that was compiled today with the help of Daft Punk musical accompaniment. You may not remember much about TRON: Legacy’s story, because other than its glowing lights and its pumping soundtrack, that 2010 sequel to Disney’s cult classic TRON was pretty dull. So, let’s refresh your memory. The movie starred Garrett Hedlund as the son of Jeff Bridges’ character from the first film. He went into the computer world, found his dad, and then there was a big battle. Remember all this? Good, because Next Movie just confirmed that Hedlund will be back for whatever TRON 3 ends up being called. Disney apparently started getting a script together for a third film just last week. This, of course, means that we’ll all now be keeping our eyes open for the real news regarding this new sequel: whether or not Daft Punk is coming back to do another soundtrack.

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If you’ve ever spent any extended time in a coffee shop or a freshman dorm, chances are you’ve seen a good number of young people with open hearts and confused eyes dutifully thumbing through the pages of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” It’s one of those books you just have to get into when you’re coming of age, like “The Catcher in the Rye,” or, if you’re a sociopath, Ayn Rand’s stuff. Given the book’s enduring popularity, it’s strange that it’s taken so long for Hollywood to make a big screen adaptation, but, nevertheless, the wait is over, and the first trailer for the film is here. How does it look? Well, it looks like director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) and his camera crew have shot a beautiful film. And seeing as the narration put over this trailer quotes one of the most famous passages from Kerouac’s novel, it looks like he’s made a film that’s very much On the Road. This seems to be a straight adaptation; the essence of the book put up on the screen, without any unexpected detours.

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Based on Jack Kerouac’s novel of the same name, On The Road begins in 1947 in New York City, where a young writer, Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), finds himself introduced to the larger-than-life Dean Moriarty (played with charm and conviction by Garrett Hedlund.) Thanks to Dean’s slightly “mad” outlook on life, Sal thinks that spending time with him may lead to some good stories — and hopefully fix his current writer’s block. But more than that, Dean reminds Sal of someone. As their relationship grows, Sal gets more and more embroiled in Dean’s life, and instead of simply observing and being around it Sal starts to become an integral part of it. When Dean decides to move back to Denver to win back his young wife Marylou (Kristen Stewart), Sal takes him up on his offer to join him. As a “young writer trying to take off,” Sal literally takes off, hitchhiking his way across the country and meeting even more interesting characters and jotting more and more notes in his tiny notebooks along the way. Once in Denver, Sal finds himself quickly falling into Dean’s life of sex, drugs, and jazz, and the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur.

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The Paperboy John Cusack

Last year’s Cannes Film Festival featured this year’s Oscar winning Best Actor performance thanks to the inclusion of the wonderful The Artist in competition, and though the films seem to have been chosen for their artistry and provocative subtexts more than any really commercial pointers (as always happens the year after the festival is deemed “too commercial”), there have been some seriously fine performances this year as well. There wasn’t an Uggy this year, but there was a murdered pooch in Moonrise Kingdom, a bitey Killer Whale in Rust & Bone, and a striking performance from an armadillo in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Me and You, so we’ll have to wait and see who emerges with the best animal performance. Probably won’t come from Madagascar 3 though…so for the time being, let’s stick to the humans.

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Jack Kerouac‘s “On the Road” is so thoroughly based on the beauty of language that it will be interesting to see what kind of movie it will make. It’s the kind of dream project that elicits nightmares because it’s incredibly popular, but it’s also that rare case where a book is fiercely personal no matter how many millions of people read it. Walter Salles took on the challenge, and his background in road movies certainly helps, but there are some x-factors here to be sure. Sam Riley sounds appropriately gruff and wandering in voice over in the new trailer, but the movie will also be a test of whether Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart can really act or if they can only chew gum and walk. Check it out for yourself:

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Here’s yet another upside to the Akira shutdown (beyond the immediate benefit of the project hopefully just not getting made in its current, bizarrely tone-deaf state) – its star Garrett Hedlund is negotiating for a role in a film that actually sounds somewhat suitable for him. Imagine that! Variety reports that, with Hedlund’s schedule currently much more open post-Akira-shutdown-gate, he’s negotiating for a role in the Coen Brothers‘ next film, Inside Llewyn Davis. The film is already set to star Oscar Isaac in the titular role, and follows the character of Davis, a 60s folk singer based on Dave Van Ronk. While Hedlund’s role is not yet specified, the film is set during the 1960s in New York’s Greenwich Village and will likely be populated with a number of characters that, like Isaac’s, will be based on famous performers. While Hedlund might have underwhelmed in Tron: Legacy, his singing work in Country Strong was lovely and more than capable, and he exhibited a true country twang that should cross over nicely to a folk singer role.

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The live-action adaptation of the legendary manga and anime property Akira has had one of the rockiest roads to the big screen of any movie I can remember. There is a lot of disagreement out there about what a Hollywood version of Akira should look like, but I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that nothing Warner Bros. has tried to do with the property so far has come close to hitting the mark. Back when Albert Hughes was still going to direct the project there were fan gripes about the film being forced into a PG-13 rating, after Hughes left the project everyone was left to complain about a new director and a slashed budget, and I don’t think anybody has been thrilled with any of the casting that has been done. But, finally, the time for tears may be over. Heat Vision is reporting that a stop has been put to all work on the project. Offices are closing, talent is being sent home, and the whole thing is being re-thought. Director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar will spend the next couple weeks ironing out issues with the script and trying to once again cut the budget, this time from the $90m range down to the $60 or $70m range, so that deals can be made with more actors. As of now, Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) is the only name that they’ve been able to secure, with actors like Kristen […]

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After Gary Oldman reportedly passed on the role, Ken Watanabe (an actual Japanese person!) has been offered the part of The Colonel in the remake of Akira. The fine folks at Twitch dropped the news, and they also point out that Watanabe’s work in the United States has all been through Warner Bros. so the partnership makes a lot of sense. What doesn’t exactly make sense is why they didn’t go to him first. His profile is fairly high after so many years in the spotlight, especially after coming through strong in Inception. What also still doesn’t make sense is why all the characters are keeping their Japanese names while being completely white bread. If everyone signs on the dotted line and Watanabe ends up calling Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart by the names from the Manga (while they simply call him The Colonel), it’s going to sound more than a little bizarre. Hooray for Americanized remakes!

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Casting continues to come together for Jaume Collet-Serra’s live-action adaptation of the dystopian anime Akira. Or, at least, casting rumors continue to come together. I’m not certain that any of this has been officially announced by the production. For a while now it’s been thought that Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund is signed to play the character Shotaro Kaneda, the motorcycle gang-leading protagonist of the story. That one seems to be a pretty sure lock. Recently, word came out that roles had been offered to veteran actors Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter as well. That announcement seems a little less certain than Hedlund’s involvement, but it hasn’t been refuted by any official sources. And now Twitch is adding to the casting rumor pile by saying that Kaneda’s sometime adversary, sometime love interest Kei has been cast as well. Apparently, an offer is on the table for Kristen Stewart to play the psychic medium with terrorist ties. If this is the case, then it would put Stewart in yet another high profile role in yet another high profile genre picture. Factor in that next year she is starring in Snow White and the Huntsman, and that’s a lot of mystical lasses for one young actress to take on. When you’re cast in something that’s as big of a phenomenon as Twilight, the threat of being typecast is always there. Is Stewart having trouble finding non-genre roles after being ingrained in most of the world’s head as Bella Swan, or are these […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads into the January movie season with a heavy heart. He checks out Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest award bait flick, Country Strong. Hint, hint… no one is taking the bait. Then he tries like hell to see Season of the Witch, but the lack of regional press screenings and midnight shows keep him and Nicolas Cage’s mullet sadly apart. What else would you expect from the industry coming back from winter break. After all, this is the time of year that the mega-hits Leprechaun, BloodRayne and Bride Wars came out.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr enters the grid (which is what he likes to call his local IMAX theater) to try and find an old and hairy Jeff Bridges amidst a bunch of young-looking sexy-time people in tight body suits. Afterwards, he has a pic-i-nic at Jellystone Park and faces a bear attack. It’s a good thing he had his hunting rifle with him… but he still wonders why that grizzly he shot was wearing a hat and tie. Finally, he hands out some grades on two limited release award flicks that really don’t jazz him as much as a big, dumb IMAX 3D movie.

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Tron: Legacy is a thing of beauty. This is what everyone seems to be ignoring this week as Disney’s latest titan of budget and marketing roars into theaters, hell bent on whipping the masses into a consumerist frenzy just before ‘Oh holy night.’ But it’s true: Tron: Legacy, born of concept footage from young director Joseph Kosinski and a Comic-Con crowd who, at the time, had zero expectations for such a project, is a beautiful experience. It may be remembered as a beautiful disaster, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. The great problem is that after several years, three Comic-Cons and millions of dollars in marketing later, it’s hard for heavily invested fans to accept that a concept so cool could yield a film so mediocre. That’s a hard notion to swallow. What we saw on that fateful July day at Comic-Con in 2008 was The Grid, fully realized in a new and exciting way. It was bold and sleek, fast-moving and exciting. It also included Jeff Bridges, our own champion du nostalgia. This final version has all of those things. It’s what’s been added that becomes problematic.

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Tron Legacy

You know how “they” say sometimes that a movie will “blow your mind”? That’s one of those over-used cliches here in the movie blogosphere. Because in fact, it would be — as far as I and science know — impossible for a film watching experience to cause your brain to spontaneously combust. In a literal sense, this is impossible. However, I’m willing to delve into the realm of figurative for Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy, as this brand new trailer — which debuted earlier today at Comic-Con in San Diego — shows a cinematic experience that could be, in all honesty, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. So hit that full screen button, crank that Daft Punk score to 11, sit back and let Tron of the future blow your damned mind.

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The long-gestating project might be putting its rubber to the asphalt soon. Does this mean Francis Ford Coppola is going to stop making wine?

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It seems fitting that just a day after Jeff Bridges won a very deserved victory on Oscar night, for his performance in Crazy Heart, that we find ourselves in the possession of the trailer for Tron Legacy, a movie that is not likely to earn him a Best Actor nomination. However, if this trailer tells us anything, it’s that this damn movie is going to be very cool.

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tronlegacy-still1

With the December 17, 2010 released date not so quickly approaching for Tron Legacy, Disney is already on the marketing warpath. At least, they’ve begun to do their work internationally. Thankfully, there are no borders on the internet.

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TRON_Legacy

Walt Disney Studios has sent over the title treatment for their upcoming Tron sequel, the newly retitled Tron Legacy. Also, we’ve got some concept art directly from Hall H.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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