Guy Pearce

The Rover Movie

The Rover opens with a man at the end of his rope. Eric (Guy Pearce) has nothing. Except for his car. Naturally, when Eric steps out of his vehicle to grab a drink, it’s stolen by a group of bandits, and for the first time in a while, Eric has a purpose: get his car back. It’s deliberate in its simplistic structure, but sweating from point A to point B is only the surface of director David Michôd‘s layered second feature film. It’s a lean movie compared to Michôd’s directorial debut Animal Kingdom, and that was by design. “I wanted to make something much more elemental and an intensely intimate about a small number of characters in vast and empty landscape,” Michôd tells us, reflecting on The Rover‘s stiflingly hot environments while sitting in the air conditioned meeting room of the Four Seasons Hotel. “I love the idea of making a movie that would work in a similar tonal world as Animal Kingdom, but be of a different form.” But Animal Kingdom and The Rover are kindred spirits in more ways than tone. Both films focus on introverts facing an internal struggle within the framework of the more obvious, more aggressive external threat. However, this time around Michôd’s lead is far less passive, stopping at nothing until he retrieves his property. At the center of this “dark fable that plays by slightly different rules,” Eric roams through a quasi-post-apocalyptic Australian desert. Who Eric was before the economic collapse is mostly a mystery, but the man in his mid-40s was never an enigma to Michôd. “He’s old enough to remember […]

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Memento Movie

We can learn a lot from the movies. Of course, sometimes what we learn has no basis in reality. For example, lawyers should not take their cross-examination techniques from Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men, and doctors shouldn’t be too quick to use a defibrillator as demonstrated in… well… pretty much every medical drama ever made. Certain real-life afflictions make excellent plot points in movies and television, and one of the biggest cliches that’s still used today is amnesia. Whether it’s Jason Bourne trying to get a hold of his past or a poor widower chasing down a man named John G., amnesia makes for a compelling story where we get to learn alongside a person who already knows the thing that they don’t know. But is movie amnesia realistic, or is it total crap?

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Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in THE ROVER

Robert Pattinson is an idiot, or at least he plays one in The Rover. A dopey criminal with a mealy mouth and a gunshot wound, he’s the Lennie to Guy Pearce’s George as the reluctant duo hit the road in a vaguely post-apocalyptic Australia. Here’s what we know: ten years after an ill-defined economic and social collapse, the Seventh Continent has attracted all manner of men seeking to capitalize on its mineral-rich resources. Bearded loner Eric (Pearce) doesn’t seem so ambitious; all he has is his car, and all he wants is his car back once a robbery goes south, prompting ringleader Henry (Scoot McNairy) and his panicked partners to steal Eric’s silver sedan and leave Henry’s little brother, Rey (Pattinson), behind. And so Eric and Rey give chase, with the former displaying little sympathy for the latter’s slowness or general well-being. To be more precise, our protagonist is a single-minded sociopath whose reasons for so prizing his vehicle are left unanswered for much of the film’s running time. A series of vignettes ensue, often comprised of the same few questions (“Where is my car?” “Have you seen my car?” etc.) and riddles in return, alleviated by the occasional evacuation of brain matter from its natural home. If Animal Kingdom was director David Michôd’s character-driven love letter to classic crime family films, then his much-anticipated follow-up evokes any number of precedents: the near-future desolation of The Road and The Road Warrior, the Old West grit of The Proposition and 3:10 […]

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A24

As it turns out, you can take the vampire out of Twilight and find some pretty unexpected results. With The Rover, the new film from director and writer David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), Robert Pattinson sheds his sparkly teen vampire image yet again to take part in a dark and dreary drama devoid of all supernatural intervention. Pack all your girlish screams away somewhere, because this isn’t the time or place. “Anarchy is loosed upon the world,” and it’s up to Eric (Guy Pearce) to dig through that chaos as “things fall apart” in the Australian outback (things are really bleak out there). His quest: to hunt down a strange band of criminals who have taken hold of his last possession as he attempts to stay alive and keep his head above water in the process. In his journey, he meets Rey (Pattinson), one of the members of the gang who have messed with his life. Rey is injured and alone, no longer the menacing threat he used to pose to Eric when he and his gang stormed into his life long before. But now Eric recognizes that Rey can no longer hurt him, and scoops him up along for the ride. With Rey’s gang leaving him in the dust by himself at the beginning of the trailer, he doesn’t have much of a choice, now does he? Check out the trailer for The Rover below.

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Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones in BREATHE IN

The first time I made a serious attempt at jogging as an “adult” it was in a sad attempt to impress a foreign exchange student named Isabelle. I was 22 and she was 18, but wait, it gets even more pathetic. She was staying with my girlfriend’s (at the time) family. That was the beginning and the end of it, but I share the embarrassment to acknowledge that the appeal and temptation of the “exchange student” is more than just a late night Skinemax cliche. Breathe In, the new film from c0-writer/director Drake Doremus, explores that dynamic but takes it to far more serious extremes than a simple run around the block. Keith Reynolds (Guy Pearce), his wife Megan (Amy Ryan), and their teenage daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis) are living a seemingly content life in New York State. He plays cello, teaches music at his daughter’s school, and is preparing to audition for an important chair position with the Philharmonic, but he has an underlying desire to return to the simplicity of his youth. The family takes in a British foreign exchange student named Sophie (Felicity Jones), and it’s not long before their illusory happiness is threatened.

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_ROV7508.nef

Here’s a tip for your own survival: don’t steal Guy Pearce‘s car. Any joy you might get from it will be swallowed whole by the crushing debt you’ll endure as a result of your hospital bills. Animal Kingdom writer/director David Michod knows this, and he’s gracefully created a reminder for all of us in the form of The Rover. The film features an idiotic gang that steals Pearce’s characters car, leaving their injured comrade (played by Robert Pattinson) behind and futilely hoping that Pearce won’t force Pattinson to help track them down for revenge. Guess what happens. The teaser trailer for the film is a struck match. Angry and desperate, it’s an aggressive introduction to a world built by men who have nothing left to lose. Enjoy it, and ask Pearce nicely not to beat you to death next time you see him.

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It must be tough, living life in Hollywood as an Australian actor or actress. There will always be that great Pacific gap between work and family, between new life and old, between lush palm trees and an endless parade of lethally venomous snakes and spiders. Strangerland is an opportunity for a few Australians to head back home – specifically, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, and Hugo Weaving, who’ve all been cast in the upcoming film (according to a scoop at Variety). Strangerland, which is billed as a “mystery drama,” is about a couple who loses their children in the harsh and unforgiving terrain of the Australian Outback. If one were to make a few educated guesses about the cast, one might find it likely that Kidman and Pearce will play the worried parents, while Weaving will play some kind of raving lunatic holding the kids at bay. Or perhaps he’ll be a friendly law enforcement officer. Or the film will go the Cloud Atlas route and have Weaving play a menacing Nurse Ratched-type for some reason.

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ironman3-commentary1

Much like The Avengers last summer, Iron Man 3 was the undisputed box office champion of the season in 2013. Building off the good buzz from The Avengers and the events in the end of that movie, Iron Man 3 offered the new director of the series Shane Black a chance to take Tony Stark to new places. Namely, he got him out of the Iron Man suit and toyed with the notion that Tony Stark was the real hero, even without all the technology. Following up two massive movies before it, and one of the biggest box office successes in history as an ensemble piece, Iron Man 3 was still a bit of a gamble. It paid off for all the parties involved. However, when Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce recorded their commentary to the film, the film had not yet proved itself completely. They had only been open for a week overseas, with the American opening on the horizon. Sure, it was a huge success at that point outside of the U.S., but so was Battleship. Still, Black and Pearce move through the commentary with confidence that it’s a hit, and that gives them the stones to explain why they chose to change some character elements from the original source material and why there were about as many revisions to the scripts as revisions to the Iron Man suit in Tony’s basement. Iron Man 3 comes out on DVD and Blu-ray next week, so take a few […]

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review iron man 3

We can probably all agree that Iron Man 2 is the Green Lantern of this particular franchise in that it just isn’t good. There’s a lot going on and even more characters to keep track of, but none of it congeals into anything remotely compelling or more than slightly entertaining. Well the good news is that Iron Man 3 is a better movie. The bad news is that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot. As befits the third film in a comic book franchise, our hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is finally being forced to look within for his greatest challenge. He became a hero in part one, fought off powerful enemies in part two and is now coming to grips with the toll his superhero lifestyle has incurred. The events in The Avengers have left Stark suffering from PTSD, insomnia and anxiety attacks, and his romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is on the rocks. Coincidentally enough, his beautiful Malibu mansion is heading the same direction courtesy of two new threats. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is a jihadist of indiscriminate ethnic background with a penchant for blowing up Americans, and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is a hotshot scientist still smarting from one of Stark’s pranks many years before.

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BI_SudanceStill

People will hate Drake Doremus’s Breathe In. They will walk out of the theater and be sad and confused and maybe even (probably, really, more than anything) angry. They will hate it because they will hate the characters that exist inside of the film, and they will hate it because they make them mad, and they will hate it because it is not Like Crazy 2. And that’s okay, because while Breathe In will elicit all these emotions (and, quite likely, more), it is an immensely accomplished and measured film, an assured follow-up to Doremus’s other Sundance hit, 2011’s Like Crazy, and even more assured because it is not like Like Crazy, not at all, and that is something to marvel at. While Doremus and his co-screenwriter, Ben York Jones, turned their eyes on a couple that should be together in Like Crazy, when it comes to Breathe In, they go in the complete opposite direction, to a couple that should, by no means, be together. And while we all know that as every minute of Breathe In steadily ticks by, they don’t know that (or, at least, they refuse to believe that), and the result is car crash cinema done right. You can’t look away. But you can’t cheer for it in the slightest.

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Cate Blanchett

What is Casting Couch? It’s a round-up of Hollywood casting news, not one of those porn videos where a 19-year-old gets exploited in a grimy-looking office. Move along, perv. Now that we’ve got all of those live action Snow White movies out of the way, it makes sense that we would move down the fairy tale lineup and start seeing a rash of new Cinderella projects popping up. And, if Disney has their way, their Mark Romanek-directed Cinderella script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna will be the hit that starts the trend. They’re trying to get casting for the film off on the right foot with the acquisition of a big name, as Deadline reports that the House of Mouse is in serious negotiations with Cate Blanchett to come on board to play a character called Lady Tremaine, known in some circles as the wicked stepmother. Given her experience playing a creepy elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, this seems like something of a perfect fit.

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Whether you loved Prometheus or hated it with every fiber of your being, you can’t deny the fact that it was at least successful in continuing a cinematic conversation about it long after it debuted in theaters. After the film’s Blu-ray release in October, the original script was leaked online, sparking a slew of articles to be written about the differences between it and the final film. (For a look at FSR’s take on that, check out J.F. Sargent’s The 8 Worst Parts of Prometheus Made Sense In the Original Script.) This week, coinciding with the leaking of that script, we’re going straight to the horse’s mouths about the writing of Prometheus. As interesting as Ridley Scott is, let’s lend an ear to the writers of the film as they discuss the differences in the many drafts of the film. If you haven’t seen the film yet, be warned: there are many spoilers in the discussion below. And on to the commentary…

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John Hillcoat and Tom Hardy

Director John Hillcoat isn’t entirely known for crowd-pleasing studio fare. After putting The Road and The Proposition under his belt, Hillcoat showed he’s the type of filmmaker never to shy away from bleakness. One would think that’s what made Lawless such a difficult project to get off the ground, but surprisingly, Hillcoat has made a real summer movie. However, even when striving for some of those cinematic thrills, the acclaimed director never pulls his punches. One major difference between Lawless and his previous films is the fact Hillcoat shot the picture digitally. Although he sounded quite sensitive about going that route, Hillcoat approached the film with a futurist point of view. Still, the director states there’s nothing more magical than celluloid, even after dealing with advantages and disadvantages of digital. Here’s what Lawless director John Hillcoat had to say about his attraction to brutal violence, the film’s sociopathic villain, and his experience with the ARRIRAW:

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Memento (2000) The Plot: Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man with some problems. Foremost, he has an inability to formulate new memories, which means his entire life is dictated by his note taking abilities and his tattoo reminders. A close second is the fact that he’s hunting the man who murdered his wife.

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Expectations can be dangerous things. Ridley Scott‘s twentieth feature film is a return to a genre that he hasn’t visited in thirty years, but it’s also one that’s simultaneously been quite good to him. Alien and Blade Runner are seminal works of science fiction that went on to influence a multitude of future films, and by any stretch of the imagination they set an impossibly high bar for anyone to reach (let alone the director of A Good Year). Like some ambitiously misguided mash-up of those earlier movies Prometheus features stark futuristic settings, scenes of graphic biological horror and grand questions on what it means to be human, but while its pieces excite and engage its whole fails to form anything resembling a finished thesis. Instead we have big ideas in the form of casual statements destined to go unchallenged. It can’t be overstated how frustrating this is when so many of the film’s smaller elements leap from the screen (in 3D or 2D) to make our eyes widen, our pulses race and our minds quiver at the possibilities. Stunningly beautiful visuals, both natural and effects-wise, help create a dangerously seductive world that wraps viewers in slime covered tentacles and thoughts. Call-backs (call-forwards?) to Alien tease us with answers and even more questions while other parts offer enticing glimpses of creation itself. This is epic science fiction storytelling that too frequently forgets it’s telling a story and yet still manages to be worthwhile spectacle in spite of itself.

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The Proposition

You see, Ray Winstone plays Captain Stanley – and delivers an amazing monologue – in The Proposition, but he’s also one of the dwarfs in this Friday’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Yes, that is a stretch, and it’s not the real reason we decided to cover The Proposition in this week’s Commentary Commentary. It’s the John Hillcoat connection. It’s the fact that the director’s latest, Lawless, played Cannes last week and guess who saw it. We can all torch Simon out of jealousy later. There’s a commentary to get to first. The Proposition, a Western set against the Australian backdrop and a very realistic depiction of life at that time, was Hillcoat’s first feature film collaboration with Nick Cave, singer, songwriter, screenwriter, rustic harbinger of death. Friends call him Nicky. The film is every bit as somber and depressing as you would expect from the head of the Bad Seeds. The Proposition is so melancholic, you half expect Lars Von Trier to throw a planet in its general direction. You also can’t wait to see what went on with the making of this movie. And that’s where we come in. So sit back, crack open a Foster’s – which no decent Australian would be caught dead drinking. – and have a gander at all the wonderfully tenebrous and fly-ridden items we learned from listening to Hillcoat and Cave talk about The Proposition.

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It’s been no secret that Shane Black’s upcoming entry into the Iron Man franchise has quite a few villains incorporated into its plot. Ben Kingsley is in the film as a shadowy string puller who may or may not be a version of classic Iron Man villain the Mandarin, Guy Pearce is playing the scientist who invents the dangerous and tech-based Extremis virus, and James Badge Dale has been recruited to play a guy named Eric Savin who, in the comics, gets turned into a cyborg named Coldblood. That’s quite a few heads for Tony Stark to bust already, so why is SuperHeroHype reporting that yet another Iron Man character, the Iron Patriot, is also going to be featured in the film? Before any theories can be concocted, first it’s necessary to give a rundown on who exactly the Iron Patriot is. In the comic books, there was recently a storyline where Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn took control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and put together his own dark version of The Avengers, which included Osborn himself wearing a version of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor that was all painted up like the American flag to give people warm and fuzzy Captain America feelings. It was a nefarious plot that might make for a good superhero movie, if not for the fact that Norman Osborn is a Spider-Man character, the rights of which are still in the clutches of Sony…aren’t they?

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Last year, I kicked off the FSR Cannes Awards by taking the opportunity to give three awards to The Artist (three of the Oscars it won actually, if you’re interested in just how much of a boss I am), and though there isn’t quite the same standout type of film at this year’s festival, there were some notable highlights. The rain was not one of them. This year, I saw 21 of the hundreds of films available to see, so these awards obviously only take in those that I deemed worthy of my attention (or which were possible to see given the intense mathematical equations required to see everything and write reviews of them all in timely enough fashion that all of the key information doesn’t bugger off out of your head). Here are my own highlights of the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival:

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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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There are somewhere around a million reasons to look forward to John Hillcoat’s upcoming movie about Depression-era bootleggers, Lawless. Not the least of which is that it’s got one of the most exciting up-and-coming actors on the planet, Tom Hardy, in a prominent role. Hardy has already proven to be a versatile enough talent, but it’s clear that he’s always at his best when he’s projecting an aura of extreme manliness, and these two new clips from Lawless give us a chance to watch him do just that. In the first his bootlegger character, Forrest Bondurant, is trading some snarky dialogue with the new authority in town who’s been tasked to take him down, as played by Guy Pearce. You see, Pearce’s character is all snooty and from the big city of Chicago, so he thinks he’s going to roll into town and run the joint, and Hardy’s character is from the backwoods and doesn’t get impressed by fancy big talk, so he’s not going to listen to anybody. When they get nose to nose and start poking at each other you could swear that you’re watching a hype video for this year’s Wrestlemania. It’s glorious.

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