Geoffrey Rush

The Book Thief

“If your eyes could speak, what would they say?” So postulates Max, a young Jewish refugee seeking shelter in Liesel’s house during WWII. It’s a pretty big question to ask a little girl, but as the trailer for Brian Percival‘s The Book Thief suggests, just her mere presence changes the lives of everyone in that small German town forever. Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is sent to live with new parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) after losing her own family in the middle of WWII. Fitting in as a new girl in a town full of Nazis is clearly hard, but spirited little Liesel learns to cope with a combination of her fists, and through the magic of the written word. Bonding with Papa Geoffrey Rush and Max (Ben Schnetzer) are fun as well. It’s still a little unclear from the trailer exactly what it is that Liesel does to “transform the lives of everyone around her,” as the official synopsis states. Does she incite a revolution? Is it just her precociousness? The Book Thief is an adaptation of a best-selling novel, so my answer is probably there, but I’m not looking to spoil anything. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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As many fellow conflicted yet faithful Netflix subscribers know, last week marked the beginning of the separation of Instant and disc-only memberships. I had been trying to whittle down my streaming queue for a few months, but we all know that is a nearly impossible task with that devilish recommendation list appearing every time you go to the site’s homepage. Suffice it to say, my queue had actually grown since the announcement, making the budgeting decision for me. One of the films at the top of my queue was 2010’s long-awaited gay love story I love You Phillip Morris starring the forever not-sexy Jim Carrey and the always delicious Ewan McGregor as two convicts head-over-heels in love with each other. I could spend an entire column writing about this rapid, surprisingly honest and tender romance sprinkled with deception and humor, however my greatest take away from this man on man sexiness was the unexpectedly hot chemistry (and subsequent love scenes) between Carrey and McGregor.

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Ahoy! Yeah, I know that’s a lame way to start. Especially when you consider this week’s Commentary Commentary, our third, goes from essential classics like The Thing and Die Hard to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. We’re not scraping the bottom of the barrel just yet, and even though Curse of the Black Pearl is by no means a bad movie, it just hasn’t reached a level of beloved nostalgia like our first two. Okay. Enough preamble. This DVD offers three separate commentaries featuring various members of the cast and crew, but rather than hear the insight Jack Davenport had to offer – we love you, Jack – it’s probably best to hear from the film’s director and star. So here, without any further waggery or warm-up, is what was learned from their commentary.

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So much potential and so much promise… and yet so much blandness. I had been trying to stay as hopeful as one could when it came to Green Lantern. Even after Neil – who I usually think is spot on when it comes to his criticisms – posted his review, I still held on to what little optimism I could maintain. “Perhaps Green Lantern would be this summer’s G.I. Joe, a film that is so cartoonish that you just can’t help but to laugh with it,” I thought. But, boy, was I wrong. Green Lantern is no laughing matter. Green Lantern + The guy who reinvented Bond twice + Reynolds’ mojo + Great Sarsgaard + Potential for Space Battles + Mark Strong as Sinestro = what should’ve been a real event film. Wha happened?

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Disney’s latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise arrived in theaters nationwide yesterday, and in keeping with all things peg-leggy and swashbuckly, I present selections from the On Stranger Tides press conference. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Rob Marshall, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush were front and center for the press event, with moderator Pete Hammond at the helm. Here’s what they had to say.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets shanghaied by a group of drunken, smelly people he met in a pub. If only, if only these were really pirates taking him aboard a haunted ship. Alas, they weren’t. Let’s just say that there might be a few trips to the pharmacy in store for him. After surviving his if-only-it-were-real-pirates experience, Kevin took a shot at seeing Jodie Foster’s Beaver. Unfortunately, no one told him this was a title to an actual film, so he spent another few days in jail, missing any opportunity to see that new Mel Gibson film at all.

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After the nadir that was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, it was clear that the most lucrative movie franchise of the new millennium needed some freshening up. So, out (reportedly by their own choosing) went director Gore Verbinski and co-stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. In their stead, new helmer Rob Marshall is relied upon for his eye for grandiose theatrical imagery and staging, while Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are meant to add spice and character to the proceedings. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is, well, Captain Jack. Yet On Stranger Tides, the fourth Pirates flick, proves an age-old maxim: the more things change, the more they stay the same. However much the franchise has cosmetically shifted, the new picture is rooted in the familiar: Supernatural-tinged storytelling, murkily-shot battles fought against pristine backdrops, colonial-era costumes and the admittedly unforgettable protagonist, who has become an icon thanks to Depp’s epicene, offbeat take. It is by now a tired formula, rendered in such a way that emotional investment is muted and the more adventuresome aspects are diluted by their adherence to this static aesthetic. Character and atmosphere are sacrificed to spectacle, and the spectacle — sprightly chases, dull sword fights and sweeping, zooming shots of the lush Caribbean sea/countryside — has worn down.

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Last year, I had the honor of traveling down to New Orleans, piling in a van, heading to a secluded warehouse and talking to an alien. I also spoke with the first human member of an elite group of interstellar heroes, a director who has more energy than anyone at his age has a right to, and I got a glimpse into a world beyond our own. So before comic book purists protest the insanely small number listed in the headline, these are the Green Lanterns hanging up on a wall somewhere in New Orleans – character design sketches to fill out the alien landscape of those who bravely, selflessly, and fearlessly patrol the universe. Some were born from the comic books, others from the minds of the production team. Some will be featured heavily, others will be hanging out (valiantly) in the background. We’ll be bringing Green Lantern set visit coverage to you all week, but to get things started, we figured it would be a good idea to do a round of introductions. Some you already know, and some you haven’t yet had the pleasure, so we wanted to make it official. Green Lanterns, meet the world. The world, meet the Green Lanterns.

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The fourth step in a franchise can often be the sticking point, especially when that franchise has taken a break of sorts after the third installment – just ask fans of Die Hard, Indiana Jones, Alien and Scream. The issues are generally two-fold, as the filmmakers are charged with somehow making a high-numbered sequel that retains the spirit of the original, at the same time as offering something new and compelling enough to entice new fans. Add to that the fact that that gap generally means that the fourth installment has to make enough money to turn heads, and certainly a lot more than would traditionally accepted of a third sequel, and you have a minefield of potential pitfalls. But surely Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides would be okay? Regardless of the critical reaction, the film will make an obscene amount of money, so that won’t be an issue, but the pre-release noises coming from the Mouse House, and director Rob Marshall actually seemed to suggest that this particular number 4 was going to address the problems of the preceding two sequels, which for fans and filmmakers alike set some exciting bells ringing. So swelled by that excitement, I donned a pair of the Palais’ frankly ridiculous 3D glasses and settled in to watch a rum and gunpowder caper.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like your collegiate sex life, it will be in and out quick with nothing very interesting to say. It will, however, deliver unto you all the magical and wondrous movie news of the day. And it promises to call you the next day, because you’re a person, dammit. We open tonight with images of humans running away from fireballs. It must be time for a Michael Bay update. This one is from Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and it includes zero robots. Not quite as interesting as the ones that include robots, but still quite ‘splosiony.

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran in November 2010, but since The King’s Speech just won the Academy Award for Best Picture, it seemed incredibly relevant. Enjoy. According to the dictionary, to be kingly is to be “stately or splendid, as resembling, suggesting, or befitting a king; regal.” The great movie kings — Henry II, Richard III, Arthur — fit that description, being strong, alpha male types, domineering presences unafraid to exert their authority and make their reign felt. What a surprise, then, to encounter George VI (Colin Firth) in Tom Hooper’s eloquent, emotional The King’s Speech. The current Queen Elizabeth’s father ascended to the throne in 1936, at a time that called out for a forceful leader. With scandal in his wake, spurred by his brother Edward’s abdication, and the European continent on the precipice of war, the new king faced the daunting task of inspiring an empire rife with tumult.

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. The Best Supporting Actor category is one of the most interesting. As Cole and I discussed last week, there really is no stable definition of what constitutes a “supporting” role, so this category can run the gamut from scene-stealers (Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight) to memorable parts with a limited amount of screen time (Hal Holbrook for Into the Wild) to nominations that seem only to be banking off the presence of a film in other categories (Matt Damon for Invictus). Fortunately this year saw five pretty strong nominees (and three first-time nominees), but this year also exhibits the potential variance of the category. Here we have a crack addict, a sperm donator, a townie gangster, an unqualified speech therapist, and somebody named “Teardrop.” Let’s see how these five incredibly different performances size up against one another. With my winner prediction in red, here are the nominees:

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Disney has released the first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides this week, and it’s more of the same from Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and crew. From the familiar score to the wobbly mess that is the series’ lead character to the subtle hints that two young stars may be central to the actual story (keep an eye on the young lad and the mermaid), we’ve seen this act before. It doesn’t make it appear to be any less fun, however.

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Yes, that one shot does make The Warrior’s Way look like a remake of The Birds featuring ninjas, and the rest of it looks like an effects-driven martial arts movie. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, but it honestly feels like the natural evolution from the Wire Fu movies of the past, and here it looks like everything is carefully done. Plus, it’s cowboys vs ninjas. How can that go wrong? Cross your fingers for decent-looking CGI blood (or no blood at all). The film stars Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, Korean star Dong-gun Jang, and Danny Huston. What do you think?

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Legend of the Guardians

It may just be me, but the first several moments of this brand new Legend of the Guardians trailer — the new animated film from director Zack Snyder — feels a lot like 300. Super slow-motion and angry warrior faces. All that’s missing is the voice of Gerard Butler screaming “This is Ga-HOOLE!” while one owl kicks the other one down a pit of despair. That doesn’t exactly happen, but some other cool stuff certainly does.

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Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham have joined the voice cast of Zack Snyder’s next film, the 3D animated feature Guardians of Ga’hoole. But wait, there’s more.

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geoffrey-rush-pirates

Geoffrey Rush isn’t dead? Apparently not. And he’d also like a call-back from Jerry Bruckheimer.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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