Holly Hunter

Manglehorn Movie

In one of his more infamous reviews, Roger Ebert wrote “Only enormously talented people could have made Death to Smoochy. Those with lesser gifts would have lacked the nerve to make a film so bad, so miscalculated, so lacking any connection with any possible audience. To make a film this awful, you have to have enormous ambition and confidence, and dream big dreams.” This philosophy — which suggests only the most creative minds are capable of making the best and worst films — aptly describes Manglehorn, the latest film from director David Gordon Green. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s damn near impossible to classify or categorize Green’s work. Varied and eclectic, the only throughline in Green’s career is that there’s is no throughline – no theme or aesthetic that ties his films together. A master in indiscrimination, one has to look no further than George Washington, Your Highness, and Prince Avalanche, all of which appear to have been created by an entirely different human being. Manglehorn does not buck this trend. Described as a “naturalistic fairy tale” by Green himself, the movie stars Al Pacino as the eponymous character — a forlorn man still working through the heartbreak of a woman he lost many years ago. Living alone with one (albeit estranged) son to keep him company, his only source of interaction is through his work as a locksmith and his banking transactions. Over the course of depositing money at the same bank on the same day […]



As excited as we all already were that David Gordon Green is getting back into making indie dramas with this year’s Prince Avalanche and Joe, and his upcoming project, Manglehorn, some new news has come along that has made the idea of getting to see Green moving back toward doing heavier material look even more promising—soon we’re going to get to watch the results of him directing Holly Hunter in a featured role. Today it was announced [via Deadline] that Hunter has taken the female lead in that upcoming, Al Pacino-starring drama, Manglehorn, which we’ve already heard a little about. Plus, in addition to Hunter’s involvement, the same report also says that Argo’s Chris Messina and Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine have joined the film in supporting roles. That’s a really talented but fairly strange ensemble that’s been put together there. Perfect for David Gordon Green.


Grade: C

Diablo Cody isn’t for everyone. She has a voice of her own, and because of that, her films can be polarizing. Cody is a writer with plenty of strengths, and her last film, Young Adult, showed them off to their fullest. That’s her most honest, funny, and often brutal work to date. However, it left certain people cold, and her directorial debut, Paradise, may have that effect for a different (and more disappointing) reason. With her first bat behind camera Cody takes on a new kind of character: a Montana girl who is vanilla by most standards. Lamb (Julianne Hough) has been sheltered for all her life from what the real world has to offer, and while she was the popular Catholic girl that dedicated her life to God growing up she was left scarred by a plane crash. Her faith is shaken, and in response she attempts to live life to the fullest by committing a series of “sins” in Las Vegas. She wants to act like a “regular American,” indulging in characters traits Cody’s previous protagonists would’ve poked fun at.


WBD-116 - Viola Davis, left, and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in WON’T BACK DOWN.

The public school system-targeted message drama Won’t Back Down is a kind of war film. It opens on a hazy classroom scene in which a little girl is attempting to read a sentence on the blackboard as her fellow grunts are half-dying (learning-wise) around her. The sound is muffled, as if a bomb has just gone off and the blast has damaged the characters’ hearing. Machine gun fire is heard nearby, from another student’s video game. Their leader is preoccupied with her own life and useless to them. The enemy that the girl is currently up against is the word “story.” If that’s not a baited call for criticism with the film’s own story… And indeed it’s a fitting moment, but not because the story is badly told so much as the children get lost in it. The film recognizes that there is an education war going on, with revolutionary parents battling powerful teachers unions, and it’s the children stuck in the trenches, caught in the crossfire. But at the same time, Won’t Back Down is not really about the kids, either.


Nick Offerman

When I first heard details about Diablo Cody’s upcoming inaugural foray into the directing world, Lamb of God, I was kind of on the fence with whether or not I was looking forward to seeing it. I hadn’t liked any of Cody’s work up to that point, but a cast that included names like Holly Hunter and Octavia Spencer didn’t sound so bad at all. Add in names like Julianne Hough, who surprised me by doing a good job in Footloose, and Russell Brand, who is always more enjoyable in movies than I give him credit for, and I was thinking that I might be ready to give Cody another chance to get on my good side. Things have changed since then. First off, the latest movie penned by Cody, Young Adult, came out and was generally well liked. I wasn’t as enamored with it as most seemed to be, but it did show me that there was some potential in Cody as a filmmaker, and I liked the way she handled Patton Oswalt’s character in that one quite a bit. And now a bomb has been dropped that completely changes the whole complexion of Cody’s career in my eyes. According to Deadline Pawnee, Nick Offerman has agreed to join the Lamb of God cast.



Diablo Cody’s upcoming inaugural effort as a director has yet to get a title, but it now has an Oscar winner in its cast. The Julianne Hough-starring film about a religious young woman who loses her faith after surviving a plane crash has just picked up Holly Hunter. Hunter will play Hough’s character’s super-strict, super-religious mother, who I imagine will be none too happy that her now-faithless daughter decides to go out to Las Vegas to get a taste of the naughty side of life. I’m not a fan of Juno and I’m not a fan of dancers turned actors, so if you would have told me about this project a couple months ago, I would have probably dismissed it completely. But after seeing Hough in the Footloose remake and not being horrified by her acting abilities at all and after hearing all of the positive buzz about this week’s Cody-penned release Young Adult, I’m definitely willing to give this one a try. When you add in a top-tier actress like Holly Hunter and solid additions to the supporting cast like Russell Brand, who always pleasantly surprises me, and Octavia Spencer, who impressed in The Help, it’s starting to sound to me like Cody’s first effort is coming along rather nicely in its pre-production stages. I guess my final decision on whether I’ll see this one or not will come down to how quippy and clever the title ends up being. I demand puns and wordplay! [Deadline Lemont]



Does the world need another Romeo and Juliet? It’s unclear. The work is so heralded that it’s almost become a cliche, but there’s no denying the power of star cross’d lovers fighting against they’re own nature to make their secret marriage work. According to Variety, Hailee Steinfeld and Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick have already been cast – Steinfeld playing the iconic, title female role and Westwick playing Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin who ends up challenging Romeo to a crucial sword fight. Oscar winner Julian Fellowes is adapting the script from the play by Old Bill Shakespeare for director Carlo Carlei (who hasn’t done any directing since the mid-90s). Holly Hunter is also on board as The Nurse, so try and figure out what to make of all of this based on that list of names. It’s baffling, but sometimes that’s how great art gets made, right? Right?



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s probably the last great nightly movie news column you’ll ever read, seeing as tomorrow is the apocalypse. And since it’s the end of days, we’re keeping things simple around here. Just a little trip down relevant street with a few detours along the way. If we don’t see you on the other side, just know that we loved you all. Even you. Tom Cruise feels like the perfect guy to feature on this, the last ever edition of Movie News After Dark. For one, he and the church of Scientology must have something to do with why God hates us. Also, he’s just been confirmed for Horizons, the $100 million dollar sci-fi flick that Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski has set up at Universal. Just when Cruise was starting to do awesome movies again, here comes the apocalypse to ruin it all. Thanks, L. Ron.



You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek. But first, first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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