Jean Dujardin

Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Foreign Objects - Large

The difference between friends and lovers is usually penetration, but even that isn’t a hard line distinction. Intimacy goes beyond sex, especially when it comes to the closest of friends, but no matter how open people are with each other there are always truths they keep hidden. Truths, and lies. Ludo (Jean Dujardin) makes his rounds through a packed bar, drinking, snorting and leering along the way, before heading outside at the first hint of dawn. He hops onto his scooter and heads home through the quiet streets of Paris. And is promptly slammed into by a large truck. Max (Francois Cluzet) and his wife Veronique (Valerie Bonneton), Vincent (Benoit Magimel) and his wife Isabelle (Pascale Arbillot), Antoine (Laurent Lafitte), Marie (Marion Cotillard) and Eric (Gilles Lellouche) all had vacation plans that included Ludo, but they decide it would be best if they went on without him instead of hanging around his hospital bed. The group of friends head to Max’s beach-side villa in the South of France for good times and fun in the sun, but soon the lies they’ve been telling themselves and each other come pouring out as freely as the wine.

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Okay, so maybe screen legend is pushing it, but it’s kind of hard not to get excited about the career resurgence that Matthew McConaughey has experienced in the past year. Remember all those years he was doing lame romantic comedies and cashing checks? Well, forget them, because hopefully that’s all over. This year the man famous for his bongos, his abs, and his southern drawl has already shown up in worthwhile projects like Bernie, Magic Mike, and Killer Joe, and now Variety has word that he’s keeping that momentum going by being the latest to sign on for Martin Scorsese’s next, The Wolf of Wall Street. You remember what The Wolf of Wall Street is, right? We’ve only written up about a thousand casting announcements for it so far. It’s Scorsese’s look at the real life adventures of decadent day trader Jordan Belfort, and all of the drug and adrenaline fueled shenanigans he got himself into back in the ’80s (you know, before he got caught being involved in illegal trading and money laundering and had to go to jail).

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Little White Lies

The trailer for director Guillaume Canet‘s film Little White Lies starts off with some rock ‘n’ roll and a party atmosphere. A boat cuts through beautiful waves, a group of friends yells with delight while celebrating each other on the beach, and then a motorcycle is demolished by a speeding service truck. That terrible accident acts as the catalyst for a host of secret feelings and emotional outbursts that  emerge to threaten friendships. However, it sounds more like dramedy than all out melodrama. Starring Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin alongside the impeccable talents of Francois Cluzet, Benoit Magimel, Gilles Lellouche and others, the movie from the man behind Tell No One looks like a stunner of an ensemble achievement. At the very least, it looks like it will be at home during awards season. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Jean Dujardin

Seeing as it’s been confirmed that Martin Scorsese’s next film, The Wolf of Wall Street, is going to start shooting in August, the clock is starting to tick when it comes to getting the cast together. Already we know the obvious part, that frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio is going to star as the titular bad boy investor. And we also have word that intriguing supporting players Jonah Hill and Kyle Chandler have signed on as DiCaprio’s wing man and the FBI agent trying to take him down, respectively. But Scorsese’s job doesn’t stop with just a recruiting of three big names. Variety is reporting that casting on the film has continued, and Scorsese is close to landing a fourth big name as well.

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The Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars never agree. Well, almost never. In 28 years of co-existing, the two organizations have only agreed once before – on Oliver Stone’s Platoon back in 1986. It’s not surprising since the Spirit Awards focus on celebrating a particular method of filmmaking that is often overlooked by the red-carpet-ready Academy Awards, but if both honor prestige movies, it seems at least likely they’d agree from time to time, right? They didn’t until last night. The more-than-two-decades-long drought was finally broken when The Artist took home Best Picture less than a week after bringing home the top Spirit prize. It became the first movie since 1986 to win both the Oscar and the Indie Spirit Award. One was in an ornate theater, the other was in a tent on the beach, but the implication is clear: independent movies are breaking more and more into the mainstream.

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. It’s finally here! The time of year where I can write a paragraph that no one will read because they’ve already scrolled down to see who’s won. But even though this won’t be seen by humans, here’s a personal reminder that this night may be about politics and back-slapping, but it’s also about the splendor of cinema. It’s about the magic of movies. The genius of thousands of images all strung together with blood, sweat and tears to create characters and a journey through the heart of a story. There are some great stories on display tonight. That’s what matters second most. What matters most, of course, is crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentation of their women. Let’s get to the winning, right? And the Oscar goes to…

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Actor

Each year, there’s a certain group of people who bemoan the Oscars (and pretty much every other organization’s awards) for being nothing but a popularity contest. They’re right, of course, but the Oscars also helps set the standard for quality films… at least quality films from those who are popular in the industry. However, when it comes to the Academy Award for Best Actor, it’s probably the biggest popularity contest out there (only to be matched by the battle for the Best Actress Oscar, of course). It’s not just about who gave the most solid performance in a motion picture, but also who schmoozes the best at parties and on the red carpet. These awards are also often sewn up early and are less unpredictable than the lower profile awards for Costume Design and Sound Editing (Jane Eyre and Transformers represent, yo!). Still, as one of the “big six” awards, Best Actor is an important one. A nomination alone can breathe new life into a career. Just look at what it did for John Travolta in the mid-90s. Likewise, winning an award can help make you a superstar, like it did for Nicolas Cage around the same time. (Of course, now the Academy claims no responsibility for Cage’s more recent career choices.) In any respect, this year’s race for Best Actor presents a slate of great performances from newcomers and veterans alike, even if it’ll all be a popularity contest in the end. Read on for the nominations and my […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie and television news that throws caution to the wind, but never ever pees into the wind. That’s just not smart, friends. We begin this evening and this week with artist Kinjamin’s depiction of the Community cast as the characters from Street Fighter. It was found via Twitter, as posted by the show’s executive producer Dan Harmon. Needless to say, it’s inspired. So inspired, perhaps, that it makes us hope that Harmon is writing this one down. How about a Street Fighter episode in season four? Hey NBC, how about a season four?

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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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Star of film The Artist and all-around charming guy Jean Dujardin is probably going to be getting a lot more attention now that he’s won a Golden Globe for his work on Michel Hazanavicius’ well-liked silent film throwback. As a matter of fact, The Hollywood Reporter already has word of a project in Dujardin’s future that has my interest peaked. The Artist producer Thomas Langmann has told the trade that his next project will be a remake of Claude Berri’s 1977 French release One Wild Moment (Un moment d’égarement), a film that was about two adult best friends running into some issues when one of their daughters falls for the other. You know, romantically. If that plot sounds familiar to you, maybe that’s because One Wild Moment has already been remade once, as the 1984 English language film Blame It On Rio, which starred names like Michael Caine and Demi Moore and had some sweet boobs in it if my pubescent self is remembering correctly.

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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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We all know that music is an important part of the film experience. It helps set the mood and has the power to completely influence a film’s tone. Changing the music, regardless of what is happening on screen, can suddenly alter the feel or perception of a scene. You take the sound out of a horror film (as I explored here) or replace intense score with cheesy pop music (as spoofed in Funny or Die’s mock Drive trailer) and suddenly the fear and the anxiety are taken away. You are less likely to jump at a sudden reveal without the musical jab that goes along with it and watching Ryan Gosling bash a man’s head into a wall goes from unsettling to humorous when set to Enrique Iglesias’ “I Can Be Your Hero.” Back before there was talking in film, music was the only thing to accompany the moving images and was used to not only convey the emotions being acted out on screen, but to also provide all the sound in the film. The Artist does a brilliant job of not only taking us back to a time of full and vibrant orchestrations, but also reminding audiences how different films were then from what we are used to seeing (and hearing) on screen now. In one of The Artist’s first scenes, this difference proven handily when the audience bursts into applause and you do not hear a single clap.

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Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is not only a throw back to the days before people spoke in films; it almost makes you wonder why we ever added sound in the first place. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo shine as the film’s two leads able to say more with a look or a soft shoe than most of us can in 140 characters. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, The Artist takes us back to a time when men wore suits, women wore hats and a simple dance could lead to love. The movie tells the story of silent film star George Valentin (Dujardin) and how his world and career are threatened when sound and talking are introduced into art form. At the same time, aspiring actress Peppy Miller (Bejo) finds herself the sudden face of this new style of filmmaking with her star rising as George’s falls. After a chance encounter at one of George’s film premieres, Peppy wins a role as an extra on his next film (much to George’s surprise and delight). It is clear Peppy is a natural star from the start with a contagious personality and bright eyes that play right to the camera. Audiences quickly fall in love with the new starlet, and they are clearly not the only ones.

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It feels like every year when The Weinsteins are pushing, shoving, and clambering for Oscars, everyone responds, “Really? That movie? It was good, but… really?” This year, that will not be the case. If a viewer doesn’t get a goofy smile planted on their face during Michel Hazanavicius‘ The Artist, then something is probably wrong with them. Their brains must not be ticking right, they could very well be part monster, or perhaps their hearts are missing up their cynical *expletives*. Why would that be? Because The Artist oozes with undeniable charm.

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Director Michel Hazanavicius’s newest film The Artist made a big splash at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Not only did it walk away with some decent praise from critics to plaster on its ads, it also earned the film’s star Jean Dujardin the Cannes award for Best Actor. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And also nothing to sneeze at is the visual ecstasy that is the new US trailer for this French film. The Artist is shot in black and white, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The story takes place in late 20s Hollywood, and it tells the tale of a romance between a big star who is entering the twilight of his career and a bright young starlet who is just coming into the prime of hers, as the movie industry in general transitions from silent films to talkies. Not only is it set in old Hollywood, it’s made like a film would have been in old Hollywood, complete with no sound and including all of the old school, broad stage acting that one would have expected from silent films of the time. So why it would need a trailer specifically for the US is beyond me, but let’s continue.

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22 films in 11 days. One walk-out. One mighty fine steak. Such is the story of this writer’s coverage of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and now that Robert De Niro and his panel of the great and the good of world filmmaking have sat down over coffee and cheese to decide the real winners, I’d like to offer my own thoughts on who I would have liked to see win. This is all based on my personal experiences of the films, and you might notice the categories don’t match up to the split competitions of the festival itself, but I’m in charge here, and I can do what the flaming hell I want. So here we go with the best parts of the 64th Cannes Film Festival…

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Wouldn’t you bloody well know it. Before the festival was tarnished by the Von Trier/Nazi scandal, all anyone seemed interested in talking about was the way Terrence Malick‘s latest had split the audiences in attendance almost straight down the middle. Not only that, The Tree of Life also inspired a rejuvenated debate over the nature of film, and the sometimes opposing ideals of entertainment and art. I ended my review stating that your reception of the film would depend entirely on what you valued more in your film-making experience, and it seems we now know that the Jury values the art of something over its entertainment value. Neither approach is necessarily right or wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the film was already chosen before even the first minutes of footage rolled. Held up to the light, The Tree of Life looks exactly like a Cannes film, something eccentric enough, with grand enough aspirations and some sort of importance that extends beyond what we can actually see. And that troubles me somewhat: should a film win because it fits the artistic manifesto of the festival, or should it win on quality? Robert DeNiro‘s comment after the decision answers precisely that: It seemed to have the size, the importance, the tension to fit the prize. Not, “it was fantastic,” not “it moved me,” but it fit the bill.

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On paper, Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Artist looks a fairly difficult sell. Tell anyone you’re off to see a black and white, silent movie that runs over 90 minutes long and they might look at you with a mix of pity and downright confusion, and it will probably take a Herculean effort by Warner Brothers and The Weinstein Company to convince audiences to come out to see it. But make no mistake, the film is as good as any cinematic experience gets, and will have a far more lasting effect on the world of film than any bloated 3D “epic” that screens out here. The Artist is an infinitely charming, and incredibly clever homage to the Golden Age of silent film: as authentic and believable as if it were made circa 1927, right from the opening credits which are so subtly unquestionable that you’re immediately gripped by the glamour and romance of the era, before we’ve even met a character. When we do, it’s Jean Dujardin’s George Valentin, an intoxicatingly charming mega-star of the silent period, who has the whole Hollywood world on their knees before him – the film subsequently charts his peek, before the advent of the talkies arrives, and he finds himself cast out overnight in favor of the new breed of speaking stars. Along the way he meets Berenice Bejo’s Peppy Miller, a wannabe who miraculously finds her way to stardom when she bumps into George during a photo shoot, and takes her fate in her own hands to […]

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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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