Isla Fisher

The Lookout

Scott Frank wrote some of the best films of the past 20 years. His work on Out of Sight, Get Shorty, and Minority Report is nothing short of fantastic. After plenty of experience as a screenwriter Frank finally got behind the camera in 2007 with The Lookout. His snowy neo-noir was a hit with critics, but didn’t perform quite as well at the box office. That’s a shame, because it’s an exceptional dramatic thriller, boasting outstanding performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Isla Fisher, Matthew Goode, and Jeff Daniels. You also couldn’t ask for a more rewarding script: it takes its time for quiet moments, and yet moves at an exceedingly fast clip; everything set up has a satisfying payoff; and Frank’s original story plays with archetypes. The friendly cop could’ve been a bumbling moron with a gun, but when he’s in a shootout, he’s portrayed as a genuinely competent enforcer. Frank also subverts expectations with Lovlee (Isla Fisher), an empathetic, three-dimensional femme fatale. There’s so much to love about this movie, which is why it’s disappointing Frank hasn’t directed more the past few years. After a seven year gap we’re seeing his sophomore effort A Walk Among the Tombstones hit theaters in a few weeks. It’s a detective story perfectly suited to Frank’s talents. As for The Lookout, Frank begins the commentary welcoming us “to another episode of how the rookie director screwed up.” What he meant to say is, “Here’s another episode of how the rookie director got it right.”

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Kill Bill Five Point Punch

In the midst of insane fight sequences and impossible violence, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill gave me a moment of pause. In the second part of the movie, The Bride (Uma Thurman) finally confronts Bill (David Carradine), and ultimately dispatches him with a secret technique from their old master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) known as the five-point-palm exploding heart technique. This closely-held secret move uses pressure points on a man’s chest that will stress the heart to a point that the victim can only travel five steps before his heart explodes and he falls dead. That’s a pretty cool technique, and would be quite handy in a pinch, so it got me thinking: Which martial art will teach it to me?

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nowyouseeme

Louis Leterrier’s heist thriller Now You See Me looked like it had a lot of potential. Not only was it put together by a director who seemed to have a penchant for making on screen action sing, but it boasted an ensemble cast of actors so talented, and so varied in their talents, that the chance to see them working together seemed like a can’t miss prospect. But, in practice, the film had a whole lot of problems. Leterrier’s flare for action was undermined by the fact that the script made us sit through lengthy, boring presentations of magic tricks that wouldn’t be possible outside of the context of a movie. The heist element of the film was undermined because, instead of being tense sequences where you knew the plan and you waited for everything to either come together or fall apart, the robberies were fantasy nonsense that relied on CG trickery, impossible physics, and flat-out cheating in the writing in order to be pulled off. Plus, the characters couldn’t even get developed properly, because to focus too much on the ones who were most interesting would have ruined the obvious, unsatisfying plot twists the third act thought were so important. The screenplay for Now You See Me was so bad, in fact, that our own Rob Hunter went as far as to refer to it as, “shameless, lazy stupidity.” There is one big thing that the movie managed to do right though. It made so much of our money […]

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review now you see me2

2013’s summer movie season will likely go down as one of the biggest and be remembered for Iron Man 3‘s record-breaking box office, but there’s an unfortunate common theme developing here too. From Marvel’s film to Star Trek Into Darkness to the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, this summer’s big studio releases appear to have given up even the pretense of intelligence in exchange for plain, dumb fun. That’s not a bad thing on it’s own, and to be clear, this isn’t an issue of believability as much as it is about shameless, lazy stupidity. Louis Leterrier‘s new film, Now You See Me, gleefully jumps into the fray hoping to skate by on the same “dumb but fun” mentality, but while the three movies above featured spectacular action set-pieces and big stunts to distract from their half-assed scripts this one instead has… magic tricks?

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NYSM

Let’s hope that Louis Leterrier‘s upcoming magician film, Now You See Me, fares a bit better than The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, because the director’s latest star-studded outing just looks cool as hell. The film centers on “The Four Horsemen” (totally a cooler name than just “The Incredible”), a pack of illusionists who pull off some mighty cool (yup, still cool) heists under the guise of magic shows. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco as the Horsemen and Melanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Common in other, probably still cool roles, Now You See Me should shape up to be a, wait for it, cool time at the movies. Check out its stylish new poster up above. Now You See Me appears in theaters on May 31st. [Press Release]

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How awkward that the first piece of marketing for Baz Luhrmann‘s still-ludicrously-3D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s most famous work to strike any sort of literary chord is this brand new batch of character posters for The Great Gatsby.Featuring the film’s six principle stars (that’s Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker), each crisply-designed poster features a quote from the novel about their respective characters. What an idea! Using text to illuminate a new adaptation of a text. Drop the 3D, Baz, this stuff is what looks good. After the break, brush up on your high school lit, and meet Daisy, Nick, Jordan, Tom, and Myrtle.

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Now You See Me

Seeing as it’s a Louis Leterrier movie, of course the first trailer for Now You See Me is high energy and loud. Jesse Eisenberg is yelling into a microphone, people are disappearing with flashes of electricity, Isla Fisher’s smile is blinding you, and the contents of a bank’s vault are raining down on a jacked up theater audience. And this is all before the action starts. Then you gets showdowns and chase scenes, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine trading dialogue about grizzled old man doom and gloom, and Mark Ruffalo looking like he’s right in his wheelhouse playing a frazzled and out of sorts police inspector trying to keep up with a team of ultra-competent, bank robbing magicians. Sounds like this movie has something for everyone, no? Check it out after the break, and let us know what you think.

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Isla Fisher

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s relying on the dreaded “short list” for content. You can’t really say that The Switch is a Jackie Brown prequel. Its story doesn’t really connect with the goings-on of Jackie Brown in any way, and Quentin Tarantino isn’t involved or anything. But it is an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel that features many of the same characters Jackie Brown did. Case in point: Variety reports that fiery redhead Isla Fisher is in negotiations to play Melanie, the same stoner surfer girl that Bridget Fonda played in Tarantino’s film. The Switch also features Mos Def and John Hawkes in the roles Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro originally played, and Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped housewife. Fisher’s character is said to be the manipulator of the story, and isn’t that always the case with these pretty girls?

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Bachelorette Movie 2012

Editor’s note: After big success on VOD, Bachelorette hits theaters today, so ready your champagne flutes and raise a glass to our Sundance review of the film, originally published on January 24, 2012. We’ll get this out of the way right off the bat – Bachelorette is not Bridesmaids, though the film’s premise (three girls embark on a bachelorette party adventure for a bride they hate!) sounds like the perfect post-Bridesmaids feature for a ladies’ night out. In reality, Leslye Headland‘s film is a production that’s perfectly crafted for people who hate their friends. Toxic, nasty, and ugly, Bachelorette reaffirms stereotypes about women (they are bitches! they are sluts! they are emotionally unstable!) and their relationships (they secretly all hate each other!) that should have disappeared from cinema (and the world) long ago. We never quite know why Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Katie (Isla Fisher), and Jenna (Lizzy Caplan) are still friends – we can only assume it’s because no one else wants to associated with such horrible shrews. Pals since high school, the trio call themselves “the b-faces” and appear to spend most of their time bitching about other things and people. They are all unhappy in different ways – control freak Regan thinks she’s done everything right and still nothing is happening to her (hint, no one cares if you went to Princeton if you’re a huge, raging bitch to every single person you meet), airhead Katie is sick of work retail but thinks she’s not smart enough for anything else […]

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Bachelorette Movie 2012

Not all of the creative talent on board Bridesmaids were interested in a sequel, but fortunately a sequel already exists. To be fair, while writer/director Leslye Headland‘s Bachelorette might prove to be a different animal altogether, the surface level similarities are impossible to ignore. Girls behaving badly. A bride-to-be. Old high school friendships. Disaster around every corner leading up to the big day. After seeing it at Sundance, Kate even called it Bridesmaids for people who hate their friends. So there’s that too. But check out the trailer for yourself and be the judge. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher as terrible friends all throwing a wedding for a girl (Rebel Wilson) they made fun of in high school.

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Heist movies are usually about that one big score. That one massive job that’s too risky to take on, but too enticing to pass up. In order to motivate heist movie characters to step out of their comfort zones and take big risks, whatever they’re breaking into has to have a pretty big booty. But with each passing announcement, it becomes clearer and clearer that in Louis Leterrier’s upcoming heist film Now You See Me, the most valuable thing on screen won’t be the stockpiles of cash the illusionist characters steal from the world’s banks, but the amazing cast that he has assembled to bring these characters to life. It seems like almost on a bi-weekly basis some new casting announcement is made about this film that tops the last, and the latest comes from Movie Hole, who reports that Michael Caine has become the latest actor to join an already bursting at the seams ensemble. This puts him in a group of actors including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Melanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Woody Harrelson. Admittedly, Movie Hole’s accuracy rate at breaking news stories has been a little bit dubious, but The Playlist, a publication with a better batting record, has confirmed the story as well, so there must be some legitimacy to what Movie Hole’s secret source is saying. And if Movie Hole’s source knows what it’s talking about, then it raises another question about the film. Their source mentions the fact that Woody […]

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I’m not going to go on too long here. I’ve already written pages about how excited I am about the casting process for Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me. Leterrier and company started out strong by casting Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role, then in rapid succession they added names like Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, and Isla Fisher. This movie about bank robbing magicians has a next level cast, and it just keeps getting better. Variety is reporting that Woody Harrelson is the latest name to join the ensemble. Harrelson, one of the most delightful to watch and underrated actors in Hollywood, will be playing the role of Merritt Osbourne, a hypnotist and mentalist who can pull Jedi mind tricks on people. He used to perform for the Queen of England, but some sort of vaguely violent incident has forced him to relocate to Las Vegas where he becomes a member of the Four Horsemen, Eisenberg’s group of bank robbing magicians. Well, that about takes care of that; best movie ever.

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The casting process for Louis Leterrier’s upcoming heist film Now You See Me has played like a magician’s stage show up to this point. One after another, Leterrier has pulled actors I love out of his hat to fill the roles of the bank robber magicians and the government agents who will be tracking them down. But recently that process has hit something of a snag. The genie has been taken out of the bottle, because Variety is reporting that Amanda Seyfried has passed on playing the role of Henley, the master technician of the magician crew. For her sake, I hope that she isn’t passing up on this interesting sounding film to do yet another terrible movie like Red Riding Hood, but I guess we both need to just move on. Breaking up is hard. Moving on might be kind of easy though, as that same Variety article is also reporting that now that Seyfried is done sniffing around the role, the next step to finding a gadget gal for Jesse Eisenberg and his crew of bank robbing illusionists is to negotiate with Isla Fisher for the role. Fisher is charming, funny, and nice to look at, plus she doesn’t do nearly enough live action stuff, so I approve of this decision. That loss of Seyfried is going to hurt, I’m not gonna lie, but sticking a bubbly redhead in her place is a damn good way to make up for it. And more good news is that Mark […]

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Heat Vision is reporting that Baz Luhrmann’s film version of The Great Gatsby is one step closer to filling out its principle cast. Most of the main roles have already been grabbed up at this point, and by actors that fit the bill pretty nicely; but this latest news gives me pause. Reportedly Isla Fisher is in negotiations to join the cast as Myrtle Wilson. Leonardo DiCaprio is playing the charming and mysterious Gatsby, which makes sense because of DiCaprio’s leading man looks. Tobey Maguire is playing the film’s everyman narrator Nick Carraway, which makes sense because everyone already thinks of him as the ultimate everyman Peter Parker. Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy Buchanan, which makes sense because Mulligan can do anything, and being a rich white girl is probably something she can pull of in her sleep. Ben Affleck was playing Tom Buchanan, which made sense because Buchanan is a jerk that cheats on his wife and slaps ladies around and, love him or hate him, you have to admit Affleck naturally projects a bit of that doucher vibe that would fit the character perfectly. However, Deadline East Egg is reporting that Affleck has been locked to direct and star in Argo, and won’t be available for Gatsby. And now Isla Fischer is playing Myrtle Wilson, the frumpy, plain, wife of a mechanic, which makes sense because, uh… I got nothing. I sure like looking at Isla Fischer though, so good news all around!

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All throughout the development of Paul Feig’s upcoming comedy Bridesmaids we’ve heard it be described as “the female Hangover”. Well, it hasn’t even hit theaters and already we’re being given news of another “female Hangover”. This one is going to be called Desperados, and it tells the story of three female friends who go to Mexico to try and deal with a scathing message one of them left a guy she likes (presumably before he can hear it?). Sounds like an episode of Three’s Company or something. The screenplay was written by Ellen Rapoport, who wrote a bunch of episodes of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and it is being directed by Betty Thomas, who last made Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, so obviously I have enormous faith in this project already. The good news is that the first actress signed to fill out the trio is Isla Fisher. She impressed me with her comedic chops in Wedding Crashers and recently did a phenomenal job voice acting in Rango, so I’m interested to see what other tricks she has up her sleeve. I just hope this movie doesn’t end up being a load that she has to carry.

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Gore Verbinski’s Rango is not a spoof or satire of westerns. It is, in fact, a genuine western. Keeping that in mind, Verbinski hasn’t made an animated film with modern “of-the-moment” pop-culture references and a wacky hip soundtrack. Rango is no Shrek or Madagascar. The archetypes, the story, the score (courtesy of Hans Zimmer) and style is done in an old-school fashion, but with a slight twist. This isn’t Verbinski’s first western outing. The Pirates of the Caribbean films are total odes to the western and even some of Verbinski’s smaller-scale films – such as The Weather Man and The Mexican – feature the stampings of the genre. As for the realism, Verbinski wanted to keep his animated feature as grounded in live-action filmmaking as much as possible. Here’s what the soft-spoken eclectic director had to say about not making a western spoof, avoiding perfection in animation, and the meta aspect of Rango:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets an added dose of tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA to make it through all the movie-watching he endures. He bats about .500 in his screenings, really liking some but struggling through others. After a visit to the wild west of Rango, he finds his fate adjusted by a mysterious fleet of men with stylish hats. Then, he realizes how ugly Number Four really is before staying out all night, drinking with Topher Grace and Teresa Palmer… who looks a lot like Number Six.

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Rango is the first animated genre movie I’ve seen that, with no exaggeration, works as well as its live-action counterparts possibly could. Gore Verbinski’s latest is a damn fine western, an entertaining throwback to classic B-pictures that pays clever tribute to its predecessors. Sure, it’s populated by walking/talking lizards, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters. So what? A lizard suffering from some serious existential torment, Rango (Johnny Depp) knows not who he is or of the world beyond the tank he’s called home and the pseudo-tropical knickknacks he’s made his friends. That changes forever when a karmic car accident finds the good-humored, tropical shirt-baring reptile abandoned in the Mojave Desert, his domicile destroyed forever. Making his way through the treacherous terrain, our hero dodges an enormous falcon, befriends roadkill named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) and is eventually escorted by fiery fellow lizard Beans (Isla Fisher) to the long-forgotten, crumbling town of Dirt.

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I know what you’re thinking: they’re making a sequel to Legend of the Guardians? There. I proved I’m psychic. James Randi owes me a million dollars. The answer, though, is no. They aren’t. Rise of the Guardians is simply a confusingly-titled also-animated also-children’s movie that Dreamworks is prepping for 2012. Apparently the book’s title “The Guardians of Childhood,” was too good for the movie version. Fortunately, the story is a contemporary slant on Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost as a heroic foursome. According to Variety, Alec Baldwin will be voicing Claus, Hugh Jackman will be voicing The Bunny, Isla Fisher will be voicing the Fairy, and Chris Pine will be voicing Jack Frost as played by Captain Kirk. The heroes will be battling the demon Pitch (voiced by Jude Law) in what is most likely a plot to destroy the magic of childhood. I came up with that using ESP as well. The strong cast  is complimented by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) delivering the script for an expected release at the end of November 2012. It sounds like a huge adventure and a continuation of Dreamworks’ continued growth in the quality department (even if they pushed the release date to avoid sparring directly with Monsters Inc 2…). The most important thing? Alec Baldwin as Santa. You’ve been daydreaming about it already, haven’t you?

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Paramount Pictures has released the first teaser for Gore Verbinski’s upcoming animated flick Rango, starring Johnny Depp as a Hawaiian shirt wearing lizard who wanders through the Mojave desert in search of himself. Much of his world feels like a good peyote trip and everything around him is a talking animal of some kind. And we’re being told that it has nothing to do with Hunter S. Thompson. I’m not convinced.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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