Jeremy Renner

2013review_performances

Christian Bale, Sanda Bullock, Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Michael Fassbender, and Meryl Steep, because she’s Meryl Streep, have all had heaps of praise thrown their way this year by both fans and critics. They’ll continue to see even more acclaim in 2014 and beyond, but with all those fantastic movie star performances, not all of 2013′s best have gotten the attention they deserve. That happens most every year, of course. Only so many performances can be nominated for statuettes. After all, even after listing these 13, another 13 could have easily followed (it was a good year). In that spirit, hopefully you’ll share your picks in the comments section, but for now, here are 13 performances from 2013 not to forget when someone else is being played off stage for making their acceptance speech too long.

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justin lin bourne legacy 2

When it was announced earlier this year that James Wan would be taking the reins for the seventh Fast & Furious film the focus was understandably on Wan’s move from micro-budgeted and highly profitable horror films to the blockbuster world of Universal’s biggest franchise. Fast & Furious 6 cost $160 million to produce, while the most expensive of Wan’s films (The Conjuring) topped off at only $20m. The unasked question, at least at the time, was where Justin Lin would go next. As the director of the last four films in the series, Lin has injected nearly $2 billion into Universal’s coffers over the past seven years. He’s been loosely attached to a handful of projects since then for both film and television, but none have seemed very solid or calculated. Until now anyway. Per Deadline, Universal has set Lin to direct and hopefully rejuvenate one of their other franchises. That’s right. We’re getting another Bourne-less Bourne film.

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immigrant

Does it sound like a super-dramatic period piece featuring beautiful, warm cinematography and starring first-rate actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Renner would be the sort of thing that you’d be interested in? Then you’re probably going to want to watch the trailer for co-writer/director James Gray’s (We Own the Night, Two Lovers) new film, The Immigrant. It tells a complex tale that involves starting over in a new land, searching for lost family members, sex trafficking, and the seedy world of stage magicians. The Immigrant’s basic setup seems to be that Cotillard is the title character, who has traveled to 1920s New York in order to find a better life, Phoenix is a sleazy pimp, who offers to provide her this new life but ends up exploiting her, and Renner is a mustachioed gentlemen, who, upon meeting her, attempts to liberate her from the unseemly situation in which she’s found herself. Click through to give the movie a try, but be warned—this is an international trailer, so it features bare bosoms and, even worse, French subtitles.

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jason-bourne

Update: According to Variety, Universal is denying that they’re talking with Damon or Greengrass about returning to the franchise. This might be a tactic to futilely keep the possibility quiet until they can nail down specifics, or it may be the straightforward truth about a project that’s purely wishful thinking. Even though Matt Damon wasn’t down to do another Bourne movie around the time Universal was putting together The Bourne Legacy—which led to the studio going ahead and doing one without him—he’s always been hesitant to make it look like he was handing over the reins of the franchise to Legacy star Jeremy Renner permanently. As a matter of fact, he’s often made it clear that he and Paul Greengrass, who was Damon’s director on the second two Bourne movies, Supremacy and Ultimatum, intend on someday teaming up on another Bourne movie, but on their own schedule and not the studio’s. Well, now there’s a report out there that Universal has once again been getting an itchy trigger finger, and have recently been putting feelers out to see if enough time has passed for Damon to want to once again don Jason Bourne’s trademarked, um—t-shirt and gun, I guess—and go on another adventure. How do their efforts seems to be going this time?

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The Immigrant

James Gray has steadily gained a head of steam over the four pictures he has released to date, culminating with the grand critical success of his compelling 2008 romantic drama Two Lovers. With another film again appearing In Competition at Cannes, Gray raises the curtain on what is easily his most-anticipated work to date, The Immigrant, which has previously gone by the names The Nightingale and Lowlife, though has no doubt landed on its final moniker for ripe positioning by the Weinstein Company in the impending awards season. As soon as Polish immigrant Ewa Cybulski (Marion Cotillard) and her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) arrive in the United States, their circumstances are dire. Magda is immediately quarantined with tuberculosis, while Ewa is questioned for reportedly being a “woman of bad morals,” due to her apparent conduct on the ship over from Europe. Appearing sympathetic to her plight, Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix) bribes an official to allow Ewa passage, at which point he introduces her to his Prohibition-era bar and theater, and soon enough has her turning tricks in his employ. As Ewa finds little possibility to escape from this life, only Bruno’s magician cousin Orlando (Jeremy Renner) seems to offer any respite, locking the two in a fierce battle over the woman.

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Jeremy Renner

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that’s for some reason talking a lot about suicide today. Um…enjoy your weekend, everybody! Tired of Jeremy Renner playing the angry little tough guy in all his movies? Then maybe his next project, Kill The Messenger, is what you’ve been waiting for. Deadline confirms that Renner will be starring in this Michael Cuesta-directed feature that tells the true story of Gary Webb, a journalist who was the victim of a CIA smear campaign after he wrote articles accusing the organization of arming rebels in Nicaragua and aiding with the smuggling of cocaine into California. The mounting pressure of said smear campaign eventually got to the point where Webb took his own life, so don’t expect Renner to go into a rage and shoot his way out of this one. Instead, expect to see yourself leaving the theater puffy-faced and pretending that you’re not crying.

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hansel and gretel witch hunters 04

The other day I received an email from a reader who is quite familiar with Tommy Wirkola’s background. He tells me that, while at film school, the director pitched something with the title “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and received the following response from a professor: “never mention it again before you’re standing in front of Hollywood executives.” Even if the story is embellished at all (our reader says it was in the Norwegian press), it’s a perfect prologue for the fairy tale-like fantasy of the film industry and a harsh set up for the sad truth about million-dollar ideas. Wirkola did wind up in Hollywood and has made a feature called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Of course he did, because it’s the sort of title that goes a long way in the business. The only pitch necessary is in those four words — we have well-known characters and a simple premise all spelled out right there. But just because it’s a genuinely clever concept and, more importantly, an easily sellable product, that doesn’t make it a movie worth seeing. Wirkola never gives us anything more creative than those four words, unfortunately, and even worse, he directs his unimaginative script with so little care and spirit that you’d think he hadn’t been sitting on this project for so many years.

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Louis CK

What is Casting Couch? It’s the column that’s rounding up all the casting announcements the studios have released now that the buzz surrounding the Golden Globes has died down. They’ve been hoarding. Before his show on FX became such a well-respected thing, people thought of Louis CK mostly as being a stand-up comedian and not really as an actor, despite the fact that he’s shown up in a few small roles here and there. That might be about to change though, because not only does CK  star in Woody Allen’s upcoming movie, Blue Jasmine, but THR is reporting that he’s also in talks to join David O. Russell’s next project: that con-man movie starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Amy Adams that used to be called American Bullshit. If CK’s involvement becomes official, it will see him rubbing onscreen elbows with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, which is probably going to feel a little weird at first.

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The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty is currently in limited release and about to go wide, but while it’s unclear what the film’s box-office reception will be the critical one has been fairly unanimous. Unless you count the Academy Awards. Bigelow’s previous visit to the Middle East netted six Oscars including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (for Mark Boal), and like her new one, it faced its fair share of criticism over accuracy. Director and writer both sat down for a commentary track, and while they don’t comment directly on those claims, Boal in particular seems very aware of them. Keep reading to see what I heard with this week’s The Hurt Locker Commentary Commentary…

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

While we may often joke about the provenance of many films that Hollywood churns out, truth be told, there are few projects that leave me scratching my head as much as Tommy Wirkola‘s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Surely, someone, somewhere, was itching for this tale of grown-up fairy tale kids turned bounty hunters, but I can’t rightly decide who the hell would conceive of such a thing. Yes, yes, of course Wirkola and co-screenwriter Dante Harper had the idea first, but the whole thing sounds like such a ludicrous pitch that it’s boggling that they weren’t laughed out of the room. It’s Hansel. And Gretel. Grown-up. As bounty hunters. And it sort of looks like 300. Sure? However the hell this thing got the screen, the film is finally being released later this month, so let’s all ponder its origins with a new red band trailer that, at this point, seems pretty tame.

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Movie Stars

As if answering our well-established hypothesis about Hollywood shutting down the production of genuine movie stars, the industry offered a positively scientific blitz of testing this year to challenge that assertion and ultimately prove it correct. The home version of the game is to try and name the last movie star minted by the studios, the last big name to emerge and become wildly popular because of their appearances in motion pictures, the last figure to be crafted by the system in order to help secure a bigger box office for it. However, filmmakers gave us something much more concrete this year in order to prove once and for all that — while a face or two still rises from the periphery to the forefront in movies – we should be mourning the concept of “The Movie Star.” They gave us Channing Tatum and Taylor Kitsch. Let’s start with some magic.

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A Look Back at the Cinematic Facial Hair of 2012

The movies released in 2012 have been notable for many reasons, impacting or reflecting news events both positively and negatively. It’s also seen new innovations, the most notable being the first release of a film in 48 frames per second. However, cinematic historians will also look back on 2012 as being a banner year for facial hair. The entire crew of Film School Rejects relishes glorious facial hair (and yes, that also includes the ladies on staff). We all wish we could have half the style that characters in the movies this year displayed on their lips, chins and cheeks. Now, as the year draws to a close, we reminisce on the many styles we’ve seen on movie screens in 2012, and maybe give some tips on how to grow your own face so glorious.

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Hansel and Gretel

The new red band trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring the dynamic duo of Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) and Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) as the old Grimm’s tale grown up, is a little bit rock and roll. The 3D action film from Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola and producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (no, seriously) appears to sport plenty of blood, a number of snide remarks and a buffet of creative deaths for witch kind, not the least of which is burning at the stake. Because that’s what happens to witches, kids…

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It was all the way back in June of last year that we first heard about Dan Fogelman’s Imagine, a movie he plans to tackle as both writer and director. Imagine was said to be a story about an aging rock star who gets inspired to reconnect with his estranged son after receiving a posthumous letter from John Lennon, and the rumor at the time was that Al Pacino was being courted to star. Well, here we are, a year and some change later, and not only has Pacino’s casting solidified, but it turns out he’s brought a couple of other big names along with him. And, in addition to that, new reports give us a little bit more of an idea what this story is all about. According to Deadline Hollywood, in addition to Pacino playing the aging rocker who’s still out there on the road playing all of his old songs, Fogelman has recruited Jeremy Renner to play the part of the adult son, as well as Julianne Moore to play the part of a hotel manager Pacino’s character befriends. Now, about that letter from John Lennon. The additional story bits here are that it was originally meant for a 19-year-old version of Pacino’s character, who had written to his music hero. Unfortunately, the letter was lost in the mail for decades, and delivered its words of wisdom quite a bit too late to get the guy’s life on the right track. All is not yet lost, however, […]

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Jeremy Renner Ingenious

There’s a scene in Ingenious where Sam, the seat-of-his-pants flying salesman, convinces Matt, the quirk-filled inventor, to gamble away the money they have to re-invest in their novelty gift business at the dog track. His brilliant can’t-lose method? Bet large on the dog that drops a deuce before getting into the gate. It’s slightly less than scientific, but there’s a good chance that writer/producer Mike Cram was feeling a blend of what Matt and Sam felt at the track when he and director Jeff Balsmeyer emerged from the festival circuit without any viable distribution offers. There were deals on the table, but nothing close to ideal, meaning Cram and company were about to take a massive gamble. It’s a position that thousands of filmmakers find themselves in every year, but Ingenious was different in one specific way: the guy playing the slick co-lead had just been nominated for an Oscar after bursting onto the national scene. The movie had (by a standard business measure) crapped out during its festival run, but Jeremy Renner (and a firm belief in the quality of the film) gave the production team good reason to bet on themselves to win.

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David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper

In a nice bit of Friday confirmation clean-up, Atlas Entertainment and Annapurna Pictures have just circulated a press release that firms up a spat of casting buzz we’ve long been reporting on. The release confirms that David O. Russell‘s formerly-titled American Bullshit (which is currently looking for a perhaps more marketing-friendly title) will star Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Amy Adams, along with a somewhat unexpected Christian Bale. Russell is writing the film’s screenplay with scribe Eric Warren Singer, who first wrote his own original script for the project (a script that appeared on the 2012 Black List with the title American Bullshit). The press release also provides our first official synopsis of the film, which we’ve long known would revolve around the true story of an F.B.I.-launched sting attack aimed at rooting out corruption on Congress, one that was notably conceived of by “the world’s greatest con man.”

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Everybody has heard the old fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. It’s a story about two little German children, a cannibal witch with a taste for tender flesh, a ginger bread house, and a blazing hot industrial oven. One question most people probably have never asked, however, is what happens after the story ends. Well director/co-writer of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), did ask that question, and what he decided is that those little scamps probably “got a taste for witch blood” and grew up to be leather-clad badasses who hunt down witches with their extensive knowledge of kung fu and never-ending arsenal of futuristic firepower.

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Russell Crowe in Noah

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a column about movies and stuff. With a particular focus on “and stuff.” We begin tonight with a shot of Russell Crowe as Noah, in the upcoming vision from director Darren Aronofsky. He’s looking quite grizzled, like an older version of his character from Gladiator. And that’s alright. Because that situation worked out pretty well. Then again, he also looks like a slightly older version of his Robin Hood…

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Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

Closure is a funny thing. Many great stories feature the quest for closure. It’s something that, as humans, we are often looking for with great intensity. Where have we come, how did it end and what did it all mean? For the Bourne franchise, based on the books by Robert Ludlum and launching Matt Damon as a righteous American answer to James Bond, closure is something that came along in 2007 with The Bourne Ultimatum. A franchise that came on with a flurry of excitement and pulse-pounding action was brought to a rest with the dizzying style of director Paul Greengrass. And it was good. It was over. Until Universal and Tony Gilroy, who served as writer on the second and third Bourne films, decided that it was time to give this story one more chapter. The only problem with The Bourne Legacy is that even though they brought down the paddles of the defibrillator and shocked this franchise back to life with great electricity, they missed the part of every movie that is important, be it the first part of a trilogy or a stand-alone effort: they missed the closure.

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From the aesthetic to its own protagonist, Tony Gilroy did some work to distance The Bourne Legacy from the previous, Jason Bourne-led trilogy. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) isn’t Bourne, and The Bourne Legacy isn’t a carbon copy of the voices Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass helped shaped this series with. His mythology-expanding feature focuses on one man with one simple goal – which doesn’t involve his identity, finding forgiveness, or getting revenge for his girlfriend’s death. As Tony Gilroy told us at the start of the summer, the Michael Clayton director didn’t want to “lose the balls.” With an edgy anti-hero in the lead – one who’s capable of using either a wolf or a fire extinguisher to save his own skin – Gilroy kept the balls of this series intact while also exploring new thematic corners of the Bourne universe. If Gilroy is correct, we’ll soon see more episodic and expansive mega-blockbusters told in the vein of The Bourne Legacy, and it’s a prediction the Academy Award nominee seemed excited by.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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