Jesse Eisenberg

Night Moves

Editor’s note: Our review of Night Moves originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Early in Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, a film about pollution and its effects on the environment is shown to a group of Oregon environmentalists, including Dena (Dakota Fanning) and Josh (Jesse Eisenberg). Post-screening, the film’s director is bombarded with the usual kinds of questions any filmmaker is forced to field at such an event (surely there’s a cut featuring someone asking what the budget was somewhere out there), but a defiant Dena only wants to know what sort of “big plan” can be put into action to right the wrongs against our planet. With just one question, Dena puts all of her cards on the table, and so does the film. Dena and Josh are primarily concerned with big plans – and they’ve got one. Intent on blasting a hole in the burgeoning industrialization taking over their state, the two have been slowly cooking up a plan to do just that, by busting a hole in a nearby dam. Aided by Josh’s friend Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), the three are already in the final stages of their ecoterrorism scheme by the time Night Moves kicks up, and the film’s first act ticks steadily toward to their criminal (and perhaps criminally stupid) act.

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The Double Jesse Eisenberg

Editor’s note: Our review of The Double originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in theaters. Having previously delighted festival audiences with his charming debut, Submarine, filmmaker Richard Ayoade again returns to the oddball indie fold with his deeply bizarre and incredibly entertaining The Double. Based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name – no, you wait right there, this isn’t your high school English class Dostoevsky, you’re going to have fun here – Ayoades’s second feature centers on timid office worker Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), a man incapable of getting (or even asking for) anything he wants whose existence is forever changed by a new co-worker – one who looks just like him but acts in a completely opposite manner. James Simon (also played by Eisenberg, because duh) is a smirking go-getter, a ladies’ man, and a carouser who everyone adores. Simon can’t even get his company’s security guard to recognize him (and he’s worked there seven years). Ayoade’s decision to place his film in a demented dystopia, equal parts Brazil, 1984, and 1950’s-inspired set dressing, is a brilliant one. By not grounding his film in reality, he is given immense freedom and is able to raise the “well, this ain’t believable” level quite high. We may never know where James came from (or where Simon came from, if you want to get philosophical here) or exactly how they’re linked, but the world they exist in is already so fantastic […]

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Rio 2

These days animated films can go one of two ways: either you’re making something original and potentially interesting, or you’re making a sequel to that something original and potentially interesting you made previously because there’s a studio behind it that likes money. Such is the story of Blue Sky Studios and filmmaker Carlos Saldanha. Several times now Saldanha and the very talented animators at Blue Sky have given us something interesting. This includes Ice Age in 2002, Robots in 2005 and Rio in 2011. And with the exception of one (the sadly underrated and clever Robots), they’ve come back for more every single time. Four times in the case of Ice Age. Why? Because kids like it, parents will pay for it and these movies sell toys of prehistoric squirrels just trying to find a nut. Does the mere idea of a sequel discount a movie’s quality? No. Does the fact that they are treading on well-worn narrative ground take anything away from the vibrant animation? Not at all. These movies have plenty of right to exist. Most of them are financial, but some of them are creative. Still, that doesn’t make it any less sad to see talented teams doing pre-merchandising work when we know they’re capable of telling us original and unique stories. As I sat in a mostly empty Thursday evening screening of Saldanha and Blue Sky’s latest sequel, Rio 2, I was struck with a thought as that prehistoric squirrel scampered around the Blue Sky introduction logo: I wish that guy who co-directed Robots would […]

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Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning in Night Moves

Kelly Reichardt, the director of Wendy and Lucy, Old Joy and Meek’s Crossing, is known for her collected and measured filmmaking, and her ability to attract fantastic talent to her projects (like Michelle Williams in two of the above mentioned). With her latest feature, Night Moves, those eerily calm undertones leftover from her previous work are still present, but the stakes are higher in a more nervewracking plot. Reichardt has again attracted a wealth of talent to star in her new film, this time gathering Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as a group of ecological activists (whatever you do, just don’t even think about calling them ecoterrorists — Sarsgaard isn’t too keen on that label) who hatch a plot to bomb a hydroelectric dam. The first (French-subtitled) trailer for Night Moves (which, if we’re being honest, sounds like a groovy dance flick about an up-and-comer in 1970s NYC and less like a high-stakes ecodrama) has launched, and it shows something different than the average heist or crime thriller. It’s about what happens after the crime has been committed and the bomb has gone off.

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Jesse Eisenberg in

Anyone who’s experimented with watching modern British sitcoms at all knows who Richard Ayoade is. As more and more people get hip to things like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and The IT Crowd, more and more people fall in love with his peculiar energy and geeky charm. It turns out acting isn’t the only skill that Ayoade has in his bag of tricks though. He’s also been writing and directing movies recently, with his 2010 film Submarine being both a strong debut for a filmmaker and an underrated coming of age tale that more people probably still need to see. It looks like fans of Ayoade’s acting who have been slacking when it comes to getting hip to his career as a filmmaker are going to have another chance to hop on board soon enough though, because the second film that he served as writer/director on, The Double, is fresh off of a successful debut on the festival circuit, and is getting ready ready for a limited run in theaters. And seeing as this one looks to be a noir-influenced thriller that features already well-regarded actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, and the legendary Wallace Shawn, maybe more people will actually give it a look.

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eisenberg

When Warner Bros. announced that their sequel to Zack Snyder’s Superman relaunch, Man of Steel, was going to be a team-up movie that finally got a live action Superman and a live action Batman together in the same place, the world cheered. You see, Warners owns all of the DC superheroes, and they were kind of late to the superhero team-up party. After that, they announced that Ben Affleck was their pick to play Batman though, and people booed. You see, nobody really likes what Affleck brings to the table as an actor, and everyone was just getting used to liking him as a director. Plus, Batman fans are kind of hardcore, and really would only have been satisfied if it was announced that Batman was going to be played by himself. Affleck was a momentum killer on several levels. After that it was announced that Wonder Woman was also going to be appearing in this movie that, as far as we knew, wasn’t announced as being Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman, and she was going to be played by Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot. Suddenly the world’s comic book fans found themselves simultaneously asking the same question, “Isn’t Wonder Woman supposed to be swarthy and big-boned?” Ha, don’t bet on it. And don’t get comfortable with Gadot’s casting being the biggest curveball this production is going to throw at you, because Warners just sent out a press release that they’ve also cast the villainous Lex Luthor, as well as Batman’s subservient […]

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76046

No, you don’t need to adjust the prescription on your glasses; your vision is just fine. It’s the posters for Richard Ayoade‘s The Double, featuring stars Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, that are a bit off. The Double, based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name, centers on the meek Simon James, whose world is turned upside down with the arrival of his doppleganger. Everything Simon is not, the doppleganger takes over his life, sliding into his job and wooing his girl without anyone even remembering Simon existed. Watch the trailer here.

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Rio 2

Our latest edition of upcoming films featuring Sassy Animals Doing Things (click each link; they all lead to different animated critter movies) features the trailer for Rio 2, the sequel to the cutest depiction of smuggling ever depicted on film. Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and their three little bird-children are still living happily in their sanctuary, but life gets a little bit boring when you have wings and you can’t stretch them. So they decide to take a trip to the Amazon to spice things up. “We’re not people, we’re birds,” Jewel says to her husband. Could have fooled me, talking bird-wife who lives in a house. Once in the mighty rainforest, they meet a host of new crazy macaws (like Jewel’s father), and attempt to reconnect with their roots. Even in animated bird form, Eisenberg still gets stuck playing the neurotic one who has a Very Bad Feeling About All Of This and needs to use a Swiss Army Knife as an extension of his claws. Note the bird who is there to make wacky remarks like “AMA-WHAAAT?” when they announce the gang is going to the Amazon, or “the Amazon is pop pop poppin!” South America has such a beautiful array of birds. Like the original, Rio 2 is saturated by gorgeous colors and music that will keep it captivating after the dialogue stops poppin. Check out the trailer here:

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The Double Jesse Eisenberg

If there’s anything that could make Jesse Eisenberg more jittery than the man usually seems, it’s the presence of a menacing dopplegånger that nobody else has seemed to notice. The first teaser trailer for The Double, written and directed by Richard Ayoade (Submarine), doesn’t feature any dialogue, but it’s apparent from the little shown that we’re getting a glimpse at someone’s descent into madness. The Double, loosely based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella of the same name, follows Simon as he struggles to comprehend the fact that there’s an identical version of himself out there who’s much more outgoing and confident, who’s starting to take over parts of his life. As he walks hard through scene after scene of dramatic lighting to Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” it’s clear that his moodiness will likely develop into something more sinister. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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news dakota fanning night moves

Our real-life world is fraught with with espionage, whistleblowers and radical political movements, so it’s only fitting that the film world is following suit. Kelly Reichardt‘s Night Moves explores a little bit of all three in the form of extreme environmentalism. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard play three radical environmentalists attempting to pull off the most dangerous, ballsy protest of their lives: blowing up a hydroelectric dam that represents the industrial culture they hate so much. The film focuses as much on the build-up to the plan as it does the execution, as seen in these newly released stills, courtesy of The Playlist. Check out the other two stills below.

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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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Jesse Eisenberg

Watching an interview gone south is like witnessing the funniest car wreck ever unfold. It’s cringe-inducing, but you just can’t look away. Now, when you’re actually in that interview situation, for the most part, it’s not very funny. The best way to get past a rough experience is to laugh it off or remember that one interview gone south, especially if you do a lot of them, is bound to happen. Not every interviewee you come across you’re going to gel with and, in other cases, they’ll express zero interest in speaking with you and are only there because they have to be. Some talent see their time as precious, and if an interviewer isn’t respecting that with a poor attitude or a bizarre line of questioning, sometimes they’ll let the interviewer see their frustration in grouchy or comedic ways. The latter was the case for a recent Jesse Eisenberg interview, where his non-Now You See Me jokes didn’t quite land with the interviewer. Since the video has made waves, Eisenberg has taken some flack for his demeanor.

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NOW YOU SEE ME

Now You See Me must’ve been director Louis Leterrier‘s way of cleansing his palate. He’s coming off Clash of the Titans, a movie’s which problems were well covered upon its release. That hokey 3D conversion aside, it’s a film Leterrier doesn’t sound exceedingly pleased with. He’s not ashamed, as he points out in our chat, but the final product isn’t a representation of who he is as a filmmaker: someone who wants to make adventure movies, not “action” movies. Now You See Me is more in tune with Leterrier’s interests. It’s a movie that doesn’t rely solely on set pieces, but rather the charm of its cast and the strength of the script. If there’s a dull spot, a big ‘ol Kraken or a heavily bearded Liam Neeson can’t show up to provide the missing energy. It has to always be there for this type of movie to work. Good thing Leterrier’s movie is chalk full of actors who can make IKEA directions sound exciting. Speaking of excited, that’s something Leterrier certainly was in our extended chat with the man. If you want to know why he never needs to own a suit, read ahead.

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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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Free Samples

If you’ve somehow avoided the charms of actress Jess Weixler thus far, this first trailer for Jay Gammill‘s Free Samples may grate on your nerves. Who is this flighty chick fucking up something as simple as giving out free samples of ice cream from a truck? Who is this young lass breaking Jesse Eisenberg‘s heart? Who drops out of law school to be a loser? Why should I care? You should care precisely because it’s Weixler who is playing shiftless leading lady Jillian as said law-school-drop-out-ice-cream-loser and she is nothing short of consistently wonderful throughout her myriad indie roles. From The Lie to Peter and Vandy to Teeth (yup, that’s her!), Weixler is the best thing about every film she’s ever starred in, so if she’s headlining a lo-fi outing about ice cream shilling and deferred dreams, we’re sold. No wonder Eisenberg wants to get into “the good stuff” with her. Do you want chocolate or vanilla? Decide while watching the first trailer for Free Samples, after the break.

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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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Tom Hardy

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that continues its jam-packed week with stories involving Jesse Eisenberg, Emile Hirsche, Matt Smith, Kristen Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, and even more. We’re bursting at the seams here, people. Hearing that übermensch Tom Hardy is going to get a chance to beef up and kick some ass on screen is never a bad thing, so rejoice in the news that he’s just been cast as the lead of an action film called Locke. Anthem announced today [via ComingSoon] that they’ll be financing the film, which comes from a script by and will be directed by Eastern Promises writer Steven Knight. Locke is said to be about a man named Ivan Locke who receives a fateful phone call one day that forces him to put his entire life on the line in a “tension-fueled ninety minute race against time.” Title is the main character’s last name, plot has a real-time element…yeah, this definitely sounds like it was supposed to be a Jason Statham movie. Looks like somebody’s got some competition.

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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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Over Under - Large

The 90s were a dark decade for fun stuff aimed at teens and tweens. Grunge music and gangsta rap ruled the airwaves, and young people were into acting sullen and disturbed. Any entertainment that could be considered kiddie or corporate was rejected outright in favor of culture stuff that was gritty and dark. But, by 1999, change was in the air. The prevailing trends of the decade had run their course, boy bands and Britney Spears started showing up on the radio, and the first movie that attempted to bring back the raunchy teenage sex comedy, American Pie, became a runaway success that launched a long-lived, multi-film franchise. Kurt Cobain was dead, long live Stifler. In 2005 Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale got a lot of attention in the world of indie and art films, much of it due to the performance of its lead actor, a young kid named Jesse Eisenberg. Over the next few years Eisenberg’s fame rose as he accrued another handful of indie credits, and eventually his career hit a peak when he anchored a mainstream horror comedy in Zombieland, and then got to work with one of the biggest directors in the business, David Fincher, on The Social Network. After Eisenberg played Zuckerberg it was official, the guy was a bonafide celebrity. But, despite his fame, one of his earliest films, 2002’s Roger Dodger, still hasn’t been seen by very many people, and very rarely gets brought up even in film geek circles, […]

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Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning in Night Moves

In somewhat disappointing casting news, Variety reports (via FirstShowing) that Kelly Reichardt‘s next film, the eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves, will not star Paul Dano and Rooney Mara as had been previously reported. Dano had been linked to the film earlier this year, while Mara’s name had been consistently mentioned, though she had never been officially attached. Instead, the film will star Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning, who join the long-attached Peter Sarsgaard to round out the main trio, three eco-terrorists who hatch a plan to blow up a dam. Sarsgaard will be the “mastermind behind the bomb,” with Eisenberg set to play the “ringleader” and Fanning as a rich girl who backs the plan financially. While both Eisenberg and Fanning are interesting actors, Dano and Mara have always struck me as much more compelling, so it’s hard not to feel as if this is a trade down. However, Eisenberg’s role will likely call for him to exhibit some new facets to his craft (it’s hard to imagine that a eco-terrorist ringleader won’t have to rely on something like charisma to pull in new recruits), and working under a performance-minded filmmaker like Reichardt should be good for everyone involved. Also, they don’t really seem to have as much to lose.

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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