Glenn Close

Tribeca Film Festival

Some movies do not seem possible. Their very existence is an absurdity of hubris, their production something of a financial miracle. Or, rather, a financial eccentricity. The largest projects are the ones with the most to prove, disastrous flops like the Korean War epic Inchon financed by the Unification Church or that time Richard Burton played Yugoslav president-for-life Josip Broz Tito. Yet there’s a smaller version of this bizarre passion project, fantasies designed not to stroke the egos of cult leaders or dictators but Hollywood moguls. This time around we are in the hands of writer/director Victor Levin, Emmy-award winning co-executive producer of Mad Men and screenwriter of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! The film is 5 to 7, a romance of almost unfathomably terrible proportions. The hero is Brian (Anton Yelchin), a young man without any sense of his own enormous privilege. Sure, he’s currently a failed writer. He’s also 24 years old, the son of very wealthy New Yorkers who presumably pay for his Manhattan apartment and, as we learn later on in passing, have already put away enough money for law school just in case. He sits at home all day re-writing his short stories and pasting rejection letters from literary magazines to his wall. The film gives him the luxury of near-constant voice over as the story begins, the first sign that Levin is entirely complicit in the narrative excesses that follow. Brian is the most inherently irritating protagonist of the year, but neither he nor his creator has any inkling thereof.

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Glenn Close

Continuing her track record of portraying mentally unstable, fabulously coifed broads (see: Fatal Attraction, 101 Dalmatians), Glenn Close has signed on to play Anna Anderson, the real woman who once claimed to be the famed Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova of Russia. You know, the one who’s definitely dead and not a lady named Anna Anderson. Duchess, helmed by Close’s The Chumscrubber directer Arin Posen, follows the imposter through a “dark road trip comedy based on true events.” Anderson, a formerly institutionalized Prussian woman, changed her name to that of the doomed Russian royal and convinced the public that she was actually the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra, the girl thought to have been executed along with the rest of her family in 1918. Even though people eventually wised up and decided to check that she was actually a Romanov (Surprise! Just Crazy!), the media and public kept the story going because it’s hard to resist the tale of royalty come back from the grave.

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closecop

While most studios who make big blockbusters seem to pick from the same of-the-moment list of actors when casting their tentpole releases, Marvel Studios has set themselves apart by thinking outside the box a bit. They cast an actor many thought was a has-been as Iron Man, one who was mostly known for wisecracking as the stoic Captain America, and one who nobody had ever really heard of as Thor—and so far all the gambles have paid off. Perhaps not coincidentally, their next big property, Guardians of the Galaxy, seems to be the epitome of outside the box thinking. The film is adapting one of Marvel’s more obscure hero titles, it’s going to be populated largely by strange alien creatures, it’s set a sitcom actor up as its star in Chris Pratt, and it’s looking to give feature roles to awesome but lumpy-looking character actors like John C. Reilly and Michael Rooker. The movie is basically someone who roots for underdogs’ wildest dream. And now it’s being reported that director James Gunn is making one of his most interesting left field moves yet, as he’s taking Glenn Close, an actress most associated with high-minded, dramatic roles, and he’s putting her in a superhero movie.

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Kevin Hart

What is Casting Couch? It’s a handy one-stop source for all the casting news that broke while you were sleeping in over the weekend. Not only are Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart two of the most hilarious comic actors working today, they’re also two of the most famous funny people on the planet. So the fact that they’re going to be teaming up for a new comedy from Key & Peele showrunners Ian Roberts and Jay Martel is potentially big news. The pitch they’ll be working from, which Deadline says Warner Bros. is currently negotiating to acquire, is for a film called Get Hard, which will cast Ferrell as a yuppie investment banker who gets sentenced to a maximum security prison, and Hart as the streetwise guy he hires to teach him how to handle life on the inside before he has to report in 30 days. Montage fans should take note, because it sounds like this is the sort of movie that’s going to have a lot of them.

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Up-and-coming actor Oscar Isaac seems determined to round out his slate with interesting and very different roles – after both his solid work in Drive and turning in the best performance in the blood-and-trash-splattered trainwreck that was Sucker Punch, we will next see him starring in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, The Bourne Legacy, and Ten Year. Past that, he will now reportedly star in Charlie Stratton’s Therese. The film, previously known as Therese Raquin (it appears that the title has been officially changed or everyone over at Deadline Orleans is too lazy to type it out completely), is based on the Emile Zola novel and play of the same name, and will star Elizabeth Olsen in the eponymous role. Set in the late 1800s, the film centers on Therese and the loveless marriage she’s been forced into with her sickly mama’s boy of a cousin, Camille (Tom Felton). Her overbearing aunt (Jessica Lange) is the ostensible matchmaker of this disastrous pair and her continued pressure on Therese, combined with the intolerable Camille, ultimately force Therese to look for love elsewhere – with Camille’s friend Laurent (to be played by Isaac). Even if you’re not familiar with the story, you can probably guess that it doesn’t end well. I mean, really, really not well.

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Actress

In recent years, the Best Actress Oscar has been a far more compelling race than the Best Actor Oscar. Where Best Actor winners have been those whose time has come (like Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart or Colin Firth in The King’s Speech), the Best Actress Oscar has been a tighter and less predictable race. The roles that have won Best Actress have been increasingly edgy over the past decade or so, as well as honoring relatively younger actresses (including Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, and Hilary Swank). This year offers an interesting mix of candidates who cover a range of ages and experiences. The actresses in Hollywood should be proud that their top roles are about such challenging subjects as sexual identity and female empowerment. This is a more radical turn from the Best Actor field, which has roles dealing with relationship drama, sports and spying. To quote an old cigarette campaign for Virginia Slims, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” It’s been a long way from the early days of Hollywood where more traditional damsel roles were far more prominent. The meatier roles and blockbuster heroes continue to go to male actors, but the real depth of character and challenging subject matter has been making its way to the women of Hollywood, if in a smaller degree at least a more noticeable degree. Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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Thérèse Raquin, the period drama that Elizabeth Olsen and Glenn Close are teaming up for, has got some new casting news. In case you don’t remember, Thérèse Raquin is an adaptation of an Émile Zola story penned and set to be directed by Charlie Stratton. It tells the story of a Parisian girl in 1867 who is forced into a loveless marriage with her sniveling, weakling cousin at the behest of her domineering aunt. Eventually the girl, Thérèse, becomes enamored of one of her husband’s friends, and then murder and infidelity ensue. Olsen, of course, it set to play the young girl, and Close the aunt. But what of the two male characters? Originally I tried to spread the false rumor that Giovanni Ribisi would be playing the sickly husband, but thankfully nobody pays attention to what I say and the rumor didn’t spread. Now the role actually is in the process of being cast and the good news is that the actor who’s negotiating is probably the only person who has just as much experience at being sniveling and weird as Ribisi. Who better to play a sickly, annoying little turd than Draco Malfoy? That’s right, Daniel Radcliffe’s sneering nemesis from the last decade or so, Tom Felton, is looking likely to join the cast.

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Jonah Hill

As you may have noticed if you’ve gone online or been anywhere near a TV today, the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning. Along with that always comes the scrambling to contact those nominated to get their reaction to the honor. Usually what they have to say is pretty boring, but hey, it’s a tradition. And it’s one that Variety has been hard at work keeping all day long. As a service to the world, I’ve compiled some of the more high profile reactions they’ve received here in one place.

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It’s been a year filled with silent screen stars seeking redemption, the 1920s coming alive in Paris, a young boy searching for the first great director, sex addicts in New York City, horses going to war, maids of dishonor, and skulls getting crushed in elevators. Now it’s time to celebrate all of those things and more with the 84th annual Academy Awards. They’ve come a long way since the Hotel Roosevelt in 1929 (although sex addicts have almost always been a fixture). Get to ready to smile, ball your fists with snubbed rage, or be generally unsurprised. Here they are. The 2012 Oscar nominees:

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Albert Nobbs is a study in tasteful restraint. But that doesn’t mean it’s slow, passionless or dry. Rodrigo Garcia’s film trades in subdued emotions and subtle currents of longing that are deeply felt, driven home by the great performances of leads Glenn Close and Janet McTeer and a screenplay that’s attuned to the sense of wonder — and the longing for something better — that accompanies the pursuit of an unlikely dream. Close stars as the title character, a devoted and rigid butler at a small 19th century Dublin hotel. Albert has a secret, of course. He’s a woman, living as a man to work and save enough money to open a small tobacco shop. When the obsessive, justifiably paranoid Albert meets Hubert Page (McTeer), a handyman facing the same predicament, he’s inspired to begin opening up, moving forward in his store-owning aspirations and fomenting a romance with the deceptive maid Helen Dawes (Mia Wasikowska).

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr pulls out his screening schedule, which looks like a gambling addict’s racing form. He bounces from huge, mainstream releases to minor indie award contenders. Facing motion-capture CGI, tattooed bisexual investigators, cross-dressing waiters, silent film actors, and a lead star who is literally hung like a horse, Kevin tries to make sense of the seemingly countless releases this holiday week. Exhaustion from this process makes it impossible to buy a zoo or face the 3D end of the world, but his movie stocking is full, nonetheless.

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Elizabeth Olsen

Coming fresh off her head turning performance in the recently released Martha Marcy May Marlene, relative newcomer Elizabeth Olsen is now starting to line up future roles. The latest of which will be in a movie called Thérèse Raquin, which is an adaptation of an Émile Zola story that was first published as a novel in 1867 and then became a play in 1873. The story, set in Paris in 1867, centers on a young woman named Thérèse who is forced into a loveless marriage with her first cousin by her domineering aunt Madame Raquin. Raquin’s son Camille is sickly, weak, and something of a mama’s boy, so Thérèse is anything but happy with the marriage. Sexy affairs and scandalous murder plots follow.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets in his car and hits the road with a can of NOS energy drink and his shaved head. Too bad his car is a 2006 Dodge minivan with collapsible seats and a back-seat DVD player for the kids to use. He didn’t stand a chance in the street racing against Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. After recovering from the cold, hard truth that The Rock stole his look for Fast Five, Kevin goes stag to Prom and suffers through the direct-to-DVD theatrical release of Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil.

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Have you ever sat at coffee shop, minding your own business and munching on a tasty croissant, when pleasantly and unexpectedly a handsome man or beautiful lady sits down across from you? If life were a movie, one of you would drop something, reach to pick it up at the same time, and charmingly knock heads. Engaging conversation would ensue, you’d fall madly in love, music would swell, and credits would roll like the tears down your movie-self’s cheek. Le sigh and scene. But like movies are oft to show, so much sexual passion can just as easily bring out the evil in characters as it does the good. Movie love can be so intense it borders on destructive, and a budding couple’s sanity can unravel before the audience’s eyes as the story reaches its climax. Sex unites the couple and keeps them together longer than it rationally should, until both partners become weaved so heavily in a tangle of sex-caused insanity neither can see where reality and delusion lie.

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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 stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Just as we wrap up our two most recent Caption This entries — one for Terminator Salvation and another for The Hangover — it is time to give away yet another awesome little prize to you, our beloved readers.

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Damages can best be described as The Devil Wears Prada meets Basic Instinct, and not in a good way.

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