Gina Gershon

Liam Neeson Taken 2

The new act in Liam Neeson’s career that began with 2008’s Taken has made it hard to remember that he was in stuff like Kinsey just a couple years before that. It turns out, Liam Neeson killing lots of people is exactly what the movie-going public needs this time of year, after a long winter and irritating award-season political sniping. Now Kevin Costner is getting in on the act, with 3 Days To Kill, from EuropaCorp, the company behind Taken and such other notable titles as the Transporter series. It remains to be seen whether Costner’s effort will meet with Neeson-like glorious success or falter like EuropaCorp’s John Travolta (From Paris With Love) and Zoe Saldana (Colombiana) vehicles. Until then, let’s consider 11 actors we’d like to see go the Neeson route:

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trailer house of versace

Buckle up, dahlings. Lifetime’s latest revered celebrity to get the Original Movie treatment is Donatella Versace in all her tanned, diamond-encrusted glory. House of Versace has given us the gift of Gina Gershon doing her impeccable slur as she portrays Donatella in the years after Gianni Versace’s (Enrico Colantoni) murder, as she attempts to rebuild the fashion house into its former glory. The reason it’s in shambles is because Donatella is the fabulous trainwreck we’ve all come to know and admire; drug addiction and her general craziness cause her to almost bankrupt the company, so she takes a little trip to rehab to strengthen back up before running the fashion house again (I imagine it’s like that wealthy women’s prison Lucille was stuck in during the last season of Arrested Development). Fortunately, it looks like most of her behavior wasn’t dependent on drugs, because we’re treated to sequences like where she tells preppy women on the street to buy Versace clothing because “your hussssbands will be happy.”

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gershon

Everyone has an image in their head of what a Lifetime Original Movie is. We think of them as starring washed up television actors who are giving terrible performances in overly schmaltzy stories centered on serious topics like domestic abuse and human trafficking. I mean, don’t we? Well, it looks like that standard operating procedure is changing over at the Lifetime Network, because THR has just released casting info for their upcoming biopic of fashion mogul Donatella Versace, and it’s actually loaded with great people. The movie is going to be called House of Versace, and it’s set to star Gina Gershon as the blonde-haired, tan-skinned head of the Versace Group, which she took over after her icon of a brother, Gianni Versace, was murdered in 1997. Gershon, in addition to being a lady who will likely look appropriately ridiculous in a bleach blonde wig, is still a damn strong actress who has given a great performance just as recently as last year’s Killer Joe, so this has to be seen as a real coup for the Lifetime Network—and she’s not even where the talent in this cast ends.

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Brian De Palma’s Passion, as alluded to in this review, teeters on a level of badness that, in turn, becomes camp. This female-vs.-female rivalry film with strong Sapphic overtones and a constant back and forth of ludicrous backstabbing can’t help but draw comparisons to Paul Verhoeven’s “epic,” Showgirls. Without revealing too many spoilers, below is a list of categories with which to pit the two films against each other in a brutal cat fight. Will the newcomer reach the near-impossible Razzie-winning, midnight screening heights of the Paul Verhoeven disaster? Let’s find out with these seven totally scientific, head-to-head category comparisons!

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For such an unrelentingly graphic and blood-spattered NC-17 thriller, William Friedkin‘s Killer Joe is more romantic than one would expect. The filmmaker behind The Exorcist and Sorcerer (a movie he’s currently fighting to get back out to the public) has crafted, as he puts it, a romantic comedy for the new age. That title isn’t a whole lot different than his previous collaboration with playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, the even more claustrophobic and humanistic Bug. They’re stories of characters wanting more, but mainly love, which Dottie (Juno Temple) finds in the titular psychopathic (Matthew McConaughey). Here’s what director William Friedkin had to say about making Cinderella for the 21st century, the importance of reading between the lines, and how one of cinema’s finest chase scenes was completely unscripted:

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Killer Joe

Exploitation cinema is good for the id. Because the great majority of us are not thieves, murderers, sociopaths, or people with problematic sexual instincts, exploitation cinema provides a safe space and an opportunity to view characters who may be any of the combinations noted above without having to experience the debilitating guilt, life-ending consequences, or moral panic that would incur if we ever engaged in such activities ourselves. In other words, exploitation cinema is a brief respite from a reality mostly determined by standards of law and order, rational behavior, stability, and long-term thinking. Exploitation cinema provides the exhilaration of chaos that is enthralling to witness onscreen, but that one wouldn’t want to encounter in anything resembling reality. While William Friedkin’s Killer Joe is a film that fully earns its NC-17 rating with its portrayals of abject cruelty, predatory sex, and strange and unusual acts of punishment, it’s never a film that asks audiences to take the events onscreen all to seriously as Killer Joe doesn’t even seem to even take itself at face value. The movie’s mood and ending will certainly polarize audiences, but if one is willing to accept and go along with the esoteric tone Friedkin strikes (and there are perfectly legitimate reasons not to do so), then Killer Joe is likely one of the more engaging films of the year if for no other reason than its sheer audacity.

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Killer Joe

William Friedkin’s (The Exorcist, Bug) latest thriller, Killer Joe, looks gritty, greasy, and gross, the sort of crime movie that makes you feel like you have to take a shower after you watch it. It’s full of bad people making evil decisions; which, according to noir morality, is going to spell certain (and likely bloody) doom for everyone involved. Sometimes watching a movie like that can be a masochistic experience, but when the film in question stars names like Thomas Haden Church, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, an adorable-while-spinning Juno Temple, and a seemingly motivated Matthew McConaughey, more likely than not the experience is going to be fascinating. Killer Joe’s new trailer has violence, matricide, deep shadows, rain storms, Southern accents, dilapidated pool halls, people putting their sister up as collateral, and I think someone gets killed with a can of pumpkin pie filling. It looks moody, and dangerous, and it warns us that the film has an NC-17 rating.

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Killer Joe

After walking out of Killer Joe, one of my favorite films of SXSW, the NC-17 rating was one of the first things that hit me. It’s easy to see why the MPAA slapped it with that box-office death rating. When William Friedkin‘s film gets nasty, it gets nasty. The film is about the rough and real kind of violence, not the goofy fun type. However, Killer Joe‘s violence and sex is still plenty steps down from a handful of R-rated releases. We’ve seen violence of this magnitude done on-screen before, so it’s most likely a tonal issue the MPAA has with Friedkin’s stage adaptation. LD Entertaiment recently attempted to appeal the NC-17 rating, but it has now been denied. Rumors are that they’ll appeal again soon. David Dinerstein, the president of LD Entertainment, and the film’s screenwriter Tracy Letts both gave statements to the appeals board, and I happened to have interviewed Letts the other day at SXSW.

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Officially Cool

We don’t like to get too political here on FSR, at least I don’t think so.

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The screen adaptation of Cecelia Ahern’s novel was originally set in Ireland but has been transported to New York City to create a vehicle for Hilary Swank to show her softer, funnier side.

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