Jeff Bridges

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column. But would you say that El Column has a plethora of news items? Yes, yes, I know it has a lot of news items. But does it have a plethora? Empire recently brought Martin Short, Chevy Chase and Steve Martin back together to recreate some of the Three Amigos magic that delivered one of the most underrated comedies of the last 25 years. Even director John Landis was on-hand for the photo shoot, celebrating the quarter decade anniversary of the film. It’s a personal favorite of mine, and part of my “cinematic friend litmus test.” If you don’t like this movie, we simply won’t ever be close friends. Them’s the rules.

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Drinking Games

Greetings, Programs! There was a time when Tron was as cool as it could get. Then, in a world of liquid metal and computer-generated dinosaurs, it suddenly wasn’t… and it disappeared off the grid. But like anything buried for years in the sand, it has become cool again. Some may argue that the original 1982 classic is cooler than the long-awaited sequel Tron Legacy. Now that both are available – and on stunning Blu-ray, no less – you can be the final judge. This game works for either flick, so you might just end up like the geriatric Kevin Flynn by the end, but you’ll have fun going for the ride and knocking on the sky.

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The young adult series “The Last Apprentice”, or “The Wardstone Chronicles” as it was originally published in the UK, is going to go forward toward a big screen adaptation with actress Julianne Moore in a key role. Originally this film was to be called The Spook’s Apprentice and it had Alex Pettyfer, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeff Bridges signed on. Things have changed. Pettyfer and Lawrence have both dropped out of the project, Lawrence for Hunger Games reasons and Pettyfer perhaps for the same. The film is now tentatively titled The Seventh Son and while Jeff Bridges is still attached, it’s going to have to find new young actors to fill out the cast. Moore has been cast as the character of Mother Malkin, who is apparently a great and powerful witch. Bridge’s character is known as The Spook, and he is an expert in exorcism. Seeing as the film was originally title The Spook’s Apprentice, I would imagine that Bridge’s would have a mentoring role in the story. The Amazon summary for the first book in the series, also called “The Spook’s Apprentice”, reads as follows:

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. If you want to separate the actors who are just good from the ones who are truly great, the best way to do it is to look at the winners of the Best Actor Oscar. Without exception the greats are the ones who win the award, and the ones who don’t are proven to just not be elite level actors. It’s science. Or, probably, none of that is true at all. The fact is: there are a lot of reasons someone might be nominated for an Academy Award and someone else might not be. And there are even more reasons why one of those nominees goes on to win and the others don’t. Quality of performance is not necessarily the end-all be-all. But the Best Actor award is probably one of the Oscars that has best retained its credibility over the decades. There aren’t a lot of stinker performances that have been wrongly praised muddying up the list. To have your name appear alongside greats like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, Robert De Niro, and Sir Nicolas Cage is still seen as being a rare honor. So what does the field look like this year? With my guess highlighted in red, the nominees are…

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Culture Warrior

It’s become common wisdom to say that the best remakes are those made of non-canonical, non-classic films; that is, it’s typically better to give a second go to a film that – while possibly venerated, is hardly deemed a work of perfection that can’t be improved upon – than to redo a classic. Such a rule isn’t set in stone, of course, but it can be argued through example via some of the most celebrated of remakes (like The Thing or, in a more modest and more recent example of improvement-on-imperfection, The Crazies), and are often a result of a genuine inspiration from the source material rather than a simple means of capitalizing from its name. With the Coen brothers’ quite popular and much celebrated remake of True Grit, however, the distinction of what kind of a remake it is isn’t exactly so clear, as what kind of movie the original is proves to be something of an enigma in of itself.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a big red suit and sneaks into people’s houses. The only difference is that he sneaks into the houses of all the naughty girls. But before he can manage that undertaking, he sets his sights on the last wash of movies hitting the multiplexes this season. He travels with Jack Black to the Bermuda Triangle in Gulliver’s Travels then heads out west to catch a killer with True Grit. Finally, he brings his Christmas movie watching to a close by stabbing himself in the face with Little Fockers. Ho ho ho, the humanity!

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There’s a core lesson somewhere inside the remake (or novel re-adaptation) of True Grit about pulling on bootstraps, feeling the bitter cold of the ride, and doing what needs to be done. Of course, that lesson is buried beneath a lot of snide remarks and funny moments. Even if the lesson is hard to find, the film itself is a reminder that there are few things quite as entertaining as seeing a snotty little girl and an eye-patched drunkard go exact a little buck shot revenge. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) is desperate to track down the man who killed her father, so she enlists the reluctant help of sodden U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who takes every opportunity to brag about himself. Through a tough ride in Indian Territory, Mattie comes gun barrel to gun barrel with murderer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) with a chance to pull the trigger and right his wrong.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr enters the grid (which is what he likes to call his local IMAX theater) to try and find an old and hairy Jeff Bridges amidst a bunch of young-looking sexy-time people in tight body suits. Afterwards, he has a pic-i-nic at Jellystone Park and faces a bear attack. It’s a good thing he had his hunting rifle with him… but he still wonders why that grizzly he shot was wearing a hat and tie. Finally, he hands out some grades on two limited release award flicks that really don’t jazz him as much as a big, dumb IMAX 3D movie.

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Tron: Legacy is a thing of beauty. This is what everyone seems to be ignoring this week as Disney’s latest titan of budget and marketing roars into theaters, hell bent on whipping the masses into a consumerist frenzy just before ‘Oh holy night.’ But it’s true: Tron: Legacy, born of concept footage from young director Joseph Kosinski and a Comic-Con crowd who, at the time, had zero expectations for such a project, is a beautiful experience. It may be remembered as a beautiful disaster, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. The great problem is that after several years, three Comic-Cons and millions of dollars in marketing later, it’s hard for heavily invested fans to accept that a concept so cool could yield a film so mediocre. That’s a hard notion to swallow. What we saw on that fateful July day at Comic-Con in 2008 was The Grid, fully realized in a new and exciting way. It was bold and sleek, fast-moving and exciting. It also included Jeff Bridges, our own champion du nostalgia. This final version has all of those things. It’s what’s been added that becomes problematic.

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Through the latter part of this week, we will be unleashing a series of interviews focused on what might be the last big blockbuster of the year, Disney’s TRON: Legacy. Members of the FSR staff were in attendance for the recent press junket, where roundtable interviews galore were held with cast and creators. For this installment, we’ve got Jeff Bridges. You know, the star of the original TRON who has returned to the sequel 28-years later to not only reprise his role as Kevin Flynn, but also play himself in several digital formats, including a maniacal piece of software known as Clu. You can read below to see his thoughts on the crossover between Flynn and Lebowski, his thoughts on the technology that made Clu possible and why recycling your plastic bottles is important, you know?

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; try it with bacon! This is the weekly internet column that proves to within an inch of certainty that any idiot can be a writer. I take all the lessons I failed to learn in film school, warp them with demented abandon, and splatter the resulting abomination all over cyberspace. Who doesn’t like bad movies? If you are currently raising your hand, you should know that I cannot see you through the screen and you just look ridiculous. Everybody has one or two guilty pleasure films to which they subject their brains in full awareness of the film’s shortcomings. Personally I have a library of bad movies I love and I will examine one every Friday; giving the celebrated, if dubious, highlights as well as the technically existent flaws. In an effort to make this experience twice as unhealthy for you, I will also pair the film with a snack food item linked to the shenanigans in the film. Last week saw the fall of a titan. For lovers of over-the-top, schlocky, or otherwise cheesy cinema, few names are spoken with more reverence than that of Dino De Laurentis. The guy is a legendary producer who had a Corman-like prolificacy. There is something incongruently grandiose about his productions that belie their actual budget or ultimate quality. In the short span of time that JFC has been in existence, two of his films have already been showcased: Danger: Diabolik and Flash Gordon. In honor of the […]

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There’s a gun slingin’, Johnny Cash song usin’, eye patch wearin’ new trailer for True Grit out today, and it looks like the Coen’s have crafted another beautiful lookin’ film. We’ll have to wait to see the film to judge it on its own merits (and not just two minutes of clips), but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Plus, check out the 2:11 mark for a guest appearance by Mary Poppins.

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Retribution. Revenge. That’s the theme at the core of the Coen Brothers’ upcoming reimagining of True Grit, based on the book by Charles Portis. The film follows Mattie Ross (played by newcomer Hailee Steinfeld), a 14-year old girl whose father is murdered by a vicious man named Chaney (Josh Brolin). To get the revenge she feels she deserves, she hires a trigger-happy, boozed up US Marshall named Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). Together, they set out to avoid other more noble lawmen (Matt Damon) and bring Chaney to justice. All of this, as you’ll see, can be gleaned from the first trailer…

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Tron Legacy

You know how “they” say sometimes that a movie will “blow your mind”? That’s one of those over-used cliches here in the movie blogosphere. Because in fact, it would be — as far as I and science know — impossible for a film watching experience to cause your brain to spontaneously combust. In a literal sense, this is impossible. However, I’m willing to delve into the realm of figurative for Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy, as this brand new trailer — which debuted earlier today at Comic-Con in San Diego — shows a cinematic experience that could be, in all honesty, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. So hit that full screen button, crank that Daft Punk score to 11, sit back and let Tron of the future blow your damned mind.

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Is Iron Man 2 an escapist, crowd-pleasing piece of big-budget popcorn entertainment, or a two-hour ad for neo-capitalism? Can it be both?

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It seems fitting that just a day after Jeff Bridges won a very deserved victory on Oscar night, for his performance in Crazy Heart, that we find ourselves in the possession of the trailer for Tron Legacy, a movie that is not likely to earn him a Best Actor nomination. However, if this trailer tells us anything, it’s that this damn movie is going to be very cool.

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The most illustrious of all the individual awards except for all the others, Best Actor is a coveted prize sought after by everyone working in the industry including actors, producers, gaffers, best boys, and that guy in your high school that plans on moving out to L.A.

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Finally, two Jewish men will be delivering a remake of a John Wayne film on Christmas. My 2011 is complete.

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‘Crazy Heart,’ better known as the movie that Fox Searchlight thinks will get Jeff Bridges an Oscar, is an admirably low-key venture that never packs much of a punch.

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awards-thehurtlocker

It’s been a busy weekend for Awards season, the busiest thus far. The folks at AFI, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and our friends at the New York Film Critics Online group have all weighed in with some big pre-Oscar rewards to some major favorites.

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