Jim Sturgess

The Silence of the Lambs

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken‘s plot is right there in the title, but as the trailer reveals, there’s a lot more going on under the surface of this simple heist film. Now, if the real-life story of a beer baron’s grandson being kidnapped and ransomed for a large sum of money sounds like a silly concept for a movie, just think of how ridiculous a movie based on a federal agent faking a sci-fi movie in Iran to pull out hostages would be. Also consider that the powerful target of the person theft is played by Anthony Hopkins, and it looks as if director Daniel Alfredson told Hopkins to renew his role as Hannibal Lecter because he continuously prods his kidnappers with unmitigated bravado. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Beer ads may be a cornucopia of cheap jokes, swimsuit models and burly bearded men stirring great barrels of barley, but it’s not always easy cooking up those brews. Especially if you’re Freddy Heineken, the grandson of the Heineken beer founder and a victim of kidnapping in 1983. But the world will soon become far more acquainted with the Heineken heir and his story, as the aptly titled Kidnapping Freddy Heineken has just filled out its cast with a slew of recognizable names. The most recognizable being Anthony Hopkins, who’ll be portraying the titular victim. As well, The Hollywood Reporter has Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten joining the cast, along with the lesser-known Dutch actor Mark van Eeuwen and the Australian Tom Cocquerel (who’ll be making his debut performance in a feature film). Heineken was kidnapped by five men, so it’s fairly safe to assume that at least a few of these new male additions will be stepping into the shoes of his kidnappers. Heineken’s driver was also kidnapped alongside him, though, so expect at least one more name to be added to the cast. Daniel Alfredson, director of the first two Swedish Dragon Tattoo films, will be helming Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, and filming will take place in Belgium, Amsterdam and New Orleans, so the film will likely have some Northern European flair to go along with its Dutch protagonist.

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Ashes Movie

In Ashes from director Mat Whitecross, Ray Winstone plays a curiously blond-headed man with Alzheimers who used to be rough but now finds himself walled in by a nursing home. Jim Sturgess‘ character hunts him down after months of searching and takes him on a dangerous road trip fueled by a failing mind and some unclear intentions. The film noir certainly had a lot going for it. From financial backing from Coldplay to a stellar cast, the potential was there, and what few reviews are out there aren’t unkind, but the film itself has been relegated to direct-to-dvd status. At least it won’t end up in a bin at HMV, right? Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Joseph Gordon Levitt

Now that Marvel Studios has been wildly successful at turning some of their most popular comic book properties into hugely profitable feature film series, the publisher turned movie house is taking the next step in their development by trying to prop up one of their more off-the-beaten-path properties as the next big thing. Said property is a ragtag team of intergalactic superheroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The team, which includes characters like Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Gamora, is going to be brought to the big screen by director James Gunn (Super) in a big budget feature that’s scheduled for an August 1, 2014 release.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the movie news column that’s easing into Christmas with a cup of coffee and some casting reports. Let’s take this one step at a time. Marvel Studios is on such a roll now that any movie they make that ties directly into their upcoming Avengers 2 is going to be a big deal—even if it’s based off of a comic book that nobody’s ever heard of like Guardians of the Galaxy. So, the competition among young actors to get cast as the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, is pretty fierce. According to Variety, that competition has been narrowed down to two guys. The trade reports that Jim Sturgess is the sole survivor of the original crop of five actors the studio screen tested for the role, and Zachary Levi impressed so much playing the smaller role of Fandral in Thor 2, that Marvel is looking to give him a larger role in their universe by maybe making him the half-human, half-alien leader of this ragtag crew. Who would you find more believable commanding a gun-toting space-raccoon?

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Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.

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Cloud Atlas Review

Editor’s note: Cloud Atlas finally arrives in theaters today, so please dive deep into it with this review, first published as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage on October 3, 2012. It starts with an old, scarred, and obviously hard-lived man sitting near a campfire speaking to the audience, and it ends with the same scarred old man concluding his story at that same campfire talking to a group of children about past adventures. As the credits start to roll, it evokes a nostalgia that you may have just sat through the kind of immersive and imaginative tale that you wish you could recall all the details to tell it to your children exactly as it was told to you. All that was missing was a stick and a bag of marshmallows. In between these comforting bookends is a story that transcends time, tonal cohesiveness, or convention of almost any kind. Cloud Atlas an elaborate, beautiful, and ever-growing spiderweb of human causality and inter-connectivity that’s woven together by themes that support an idea that we are never unbound from one another or a purpose. Your life is not necessarily your own as you are tied to others in your time, others who came before you, and those who will come long after. What you do is what will define you and will determine the living conditions of those who follow. What you do may seem insignificant, or irrelevant to the plan at large, but most everything matters – and if […]

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Upside Down

There always seem to be a few projects that roll around in my head like so many brain marbles – films I hear about, wonder about, and think about that, for whatever reason, seemingly drop off the face of the Earth. One such project is Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer Slayer, which we’ll finally see in March of next year, and another is Juan Solanas‘ Upside Down, that Kirsten Dunst- and Jim Sturgess-starring romance that was filmed over two years ago. We got our first look at the film’s trailer back in January (when I might have been a touch unkind to the project), but it’s been radio silence ever since then. Where the heck was this thing? Now Variety reports (via The Playlist) that Millennium Entertainment has acquired the U.S. rights to the project and plans to release it sometime in 2013. The outlet also provides a hint as to why it’s taking so long to hit theaters – it will be available in both 2D and 3D. Since we’ve never heard a thing about the film being presented in 3D (though, admittedly, it does sound like a natural fit), it seems highly likely that its release has been delayed by post-conversion. Ready your eyeballs now.

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The novels of David Mitchell are densely layered affairs concerned with a complicated multitude of characters facing big and complex issues. Or so I hear. His novel Cloud Atlas is a favorite of many, but even those who would love to see a film version have been adamant that such an endeavor would be a foolish and fruitless undertaking. That opinion didn’t change when Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski announced they had written a screenplay and were looking for funding and distribution. It wavered slightly when the casting announcements started rolling in, but it otherwise stayed steadfast. But now the first official trailer has dropped, and while the possibility of a disaster remains it looks like these three writer/directors have accomplished something amazing. Will it live up to the novel? Who knows, but there’s no doubting anymore that they’ve accomplished something audacious and wonderful here. Check out the extended trailer below (courtesy of Cinema Blend).

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Juan Diego Solanas‘s Upside Down was first announced back in 2009, and since then, I’ve often wondered when we’d see our first meaty piece of marketing for the writer and director’s Kirsten Dunst- and Jim Sturgess-starring romance. Turns out, it’s today. Turns out, the film looks just as bizarre, occasionally inspired, kind of derivative, slightly silly, somewhat hammy, and potentially headache-inducing than I could have possibly expected. Yow. Star-crossed (or make that world-crossed) lovers, Adam and Eve (yes, really), live in two different worlds – really different. Poor Adam lives “down below” and Eve lives “up top” – two different worlds that exist on top of and inverted of each other. Sound weird? It is. However, the film’s official synopsis (which has been kicking around for awhile now), combined with the trailer, does pretty effectively communicate the laws and look of the dueling worlds. The synopsis informs us that “Adam is a seemingly ordinary guy in a very extraordinary universe. He lives humbly trying to make ends meet, but his romantic spirit holds on to the memory of a girl he met once upon a time from another world, an inverted affluent world with its own gravity, directly above but beyond reach… a girl named Eve. Their childhood flirtation becomes an impossible love. But when he catches a glimpse of grown?up Eve on television, nothing will get in the way of getting her back… Not even the law or science!” Damn you, law! Screw you, science! Breakin’ all the rules […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr flexes his rippling muscles and sets out to live a warrior lifestyle, just like Jason Momoa in Conan the O’Barbarian. But before he can do that, he has to drive a stake through his neighbor’s heart, since he’s certain he lives next door to a vampire. What else could all those sparkles be about? Meanwhile, he sends his kids off to a dangerous 3D, Aroma-Vision mission, hoping they can make it as real spy kids so they can teach him to put on a fake British accent and woo a not-quite-British Anne Hathaway.

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Without a synopsis beyond being called a contemporary noir movie, Ashes nonetheless earns some respect for the cast it just hired. Ray Winstone and Leslie Manville are veterans, and Jim Sturgess is a rising actor who has the talent to back up his growing fame. According the The Hollywood Reporter, those actors will be joined by Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block) and the consistently strong Luke Evans (Robin Hood, Clash of the Titans) for the project written by Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll team Mat Whitecross (who will direct) and Paul Viragh. Any noir news is good news, and this cast is something to look forward to. Oddly enough, the film is being financed partially by the band Coldplay which creates the interesting possibility of the pop band also scoring a dark drama. That’s speculation, but it would either be a fascinating success or an unmitigated disaster, and that’s the kind of scenario to get out of bed for in the morning. Production starts next week.

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One Day Movie

Lone Scherfig proved to be a directorial talent with An Education, and, according to Variety, she’ll be tested even harder this time around as her film One Day goes up against Kevin James falling down with the help of talking animals (The Zookeeper), and Katherine Heigl falling in love without the help of talking animals (One For the Money) when it sees its release on July 8th. The movie, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, tells the story of two friends who spend the night of their college graduation together. The focus returns to that day year after year – sometimes seeing the friends together, sometimes seeing them apart. Of course, the true competition comes from being sandwiched in between Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, but it’s inspired counter-programming for an audience that might not want to see giant robots, zoo creatures voiced by actors or teenage wizards.

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Back in 2006, book critic Barbara Scott claimed that “‘The Long Walk’ is so cinematic that you have to wonder why it has never been made into a movie.” That statement proved to be prescient because now that novel about a handful of prisoners crossing over the planet’s harshest terrain in order to see freedom has been turned into a film by the phenomenal Peter Weir. The director of masterful human stories like Master and Commander, Dead Poets Society, and Witness now has a trailer out there in the world for his latest – The Way Back. It looks treacherous and raw. It appears to be Man vs Nature in all its glory. See for yourself:

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The opening and initial set up of Heartless is incredible. Sadly, it takes a wrong turn almost immediately afterward and slowly crawls its way deeper into a hole it can’t quite ever get out of. It’s not at all a terrible movie, but it’s the kind of movie that frustrates with how many good ideas it has that it’s unable to flesh out or capitalize on. Jim Sturgess delivers another empathetic performance as Jamie Morgan – a young man whose self-confidence is completely wracked by a heart-shaped birth mark covering the side of his face. He learns that there’s a gang of demons wandering through London creating chaos, makes a Faustian pact with a sideburned Satan, and lives to regret the decision.

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There’s an endless debate raging about whether names alone can be enough to draw someone to a film. It’s something you and your movie friends talk about from time to time whenever a particular project sparks that sort of interest. It’s something that will never end because it’s different for each person. It’s something that gets denied for the most part until the right project emerges. In the interest of science, here’s an experiment to test the question: An Education director Lone Scherfig. Anne Hathaway. Jim Sturgess. One Day. Interested?

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Heartless suffers from trying to do too much to the point where it accomplishes too little. What begins as an effective-looking thriller quickly drowns under the weight of personal drama, Faustian implications, social commentary, and an ultimately unsatisfying ending.

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Legend of the Guardians

It may just be me, but the first several moments of this brand new Legend of the Guardians trailer — the new animated film from director Zack Snyder — feels a lot like 300. Super slow-motion and angry warrior faces. All that’s missing is the voice of Gerard Butler screaming “This is Ga-HOOLE!” while one owl kicks the other one down a pit of despair. That doesn’t exactly happen, but some other cool stuff certainly does.

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Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham have joined the voice cast of Zack Snyder’s next film, the 3D animated feature Guardians of Ga’hoole. But wait, there’s more.

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50-dead-men-header

While there’s a lot to admire about Kari Skogland’s ‘Fifty Dead Men Walking,’ one can’t help but wish it had found a more original way to approach its subject, the Irish Troubles.

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