John Goodman

Monsters University

Pixar and Disney are going back to college (and back into sequel/prequel territory) with Monsters University. The movie, of course, acts as a feeder school into Monsters, Inc., and features John Goodman and Billy Crystal in their old/younger voice roles. The film is being directed by Dan Scanlon (one of the writers on Cars), and while it’s not at all an indicator of quality, this first teaser trailer is pretty dull. It’s not at all imbued with the kind of Pixar magic we’ve come to love – with its generic voice over and obvious gags. The timing doesn’t even seem right. Check it out for yourself:

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Remember when Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, and Tate Donovan all got together to make a movie about a fake movie being made in order to rescue hostages being held in Iran? This trailer is one more slice of proof that Affleck knows what the hell he’s doing behind a camera, especially when it comes to the slightly funny world of serious issues. Instead of crime-riddled Boston, this time it’s the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a fake script called Argo and a crazy attempt at rescuing 6 people. It’s Ocean’s Eleven except the stakes are real, and they’re life-or-death. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Have you been following the development of this baseball drama Trouble With the Curve? It started out as just a glimmer, a hope. It was maybe the project that would bring Clint Eastwood out of acting retirement. A story about an aging baseball scout who is losing his vision and who is embarking on one last recruitment trip in the company of his adult daughter sounded perfect for an old grizzly bear like Eastwood, and since those first days of maybes the project has developed quite nicely. First it became official, and got a release date of September 28, 2012. Then it started filling out its supporting cast with exciting names. Amy Adams came on to play the role of Eastwood’s daughter, and Justin Timberlake got picked up to play her love interest. This thing was looking like an all-star lineup already. But with news that they’re bringing one of the most underutilized players in Hollywood on board, I think this one might go all the way. According to Variety, John Goodman has just signed on to play a baseball scout and longtime friend of the Eastwood character’s named Pete Klein. That’s right, The Babe himself is returning to the world of onscreen baseball.

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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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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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By now everyone knows that after his upcoming two-part hockey flick Hit Somebody, Kevin Smith is done making movies. If Red State is any indication, the time’s right for his exit. Smith’s Westboro Baptist Church-inspired horror-thriller has been making headlines since his ill-fated fake auction following January’s Sundance premiere. He’s taken it on the road, showing it to packed houses across North America. It played a week at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. The filmmaker’s tweeted about it incessantly. Now, it’s on DVD. And it’s still really, really bad, a simplistic, poorly-constructed exercise in low-rent genre moviemaking. It’s as if Smith made the movie just so he could promote it. Horny Midwestern teens (Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner and Nicholas Braun) sneak away one school night to have sex with an older woman they’ve met online. Turns out the woman, Sara (Melissa Leo), is the daughter of the psychotic fringe preacher Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) and Abin really, really doesn’t like fornicating.

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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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I’ve already written a couple of different stories about the casting process of Ben Affleck’s next film as a director, Argo. His CIA drama includes an impressive list of names like Alan Alda, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, and Affleck himself; and it tells a globe-hopping story that should push the limits of what Affleck can do as a director like nothing else he’s made up to this point. I’m really looking forward to it. So I’m pleased as punch that Warner Bros. has sent out a press release which not only states that filming is set to begin, but also confirms a few more interesting last minute names to fill out the cast. Joining that bevy of powerful presences up top will be veteran character actor Michael Parks, who recently has been used by directors like Kevin Smith in Red State and Quentin Tarantino in the Grindhouse movies, Clea Duvall, who’s been in movies like Zodiac and 21 Grams, Richard Kind, who you’ll recognize from things like Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Coens’ A Serious Man, and Tate Donovan who has done, well…uh, not much that I’ve liked. Still, add them all together and that’s a seriously awesome group of actors. I’ve done the plot synopsis thing on this movie before, but for the sake of posterity, let’s take a look at Warner’s official word on what this movie is about after the break:

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I’ve recently been using the magic of streaming video services to catch up with Peter Berg’s high school football melodrama Friday Night Lights. The show isn’t great, it’s got its good points and bad points, but easily the strongest aspect of the whole thing is not the teenagers or the football, it’s the marriage between main character Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tami (Connie Britton). A lot of why it works is that their relationship is written more real, and with less forced crisis than any other marriage I’ve seen on a prime time drama, but the other part of why it works is because Kyle Chandler is just such a warm, engaging presence on the screen. And now that the show is over he’s going to need to find some more work. I’m rooting for the guy. He landed a pretty big role in J.J. Abrams Super 8 earlier this summer, and that’s got to help some with his visibility. And in a current piece focusing on the actor in USA Today, they’ve revealed that he has a small role in Ben Affleck’s upcoming hostage thriller Argo. I hadn’t heard his name attached to that film yet, and a quick look at the IMDB page reveals that it hasn’t been added there, so let’s treat this as news. And also I’ll treat it as an excuse to talk a bit more about the cast that Affleck has assembled. I already reported on the story that John Goodman […]

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Drinking Games

What would you do if someone broke into your house, peed on your rug and demanded that you pay a pornographer a boat-load of money that you really don’t owe him? Would you track down a millionaire with your name and demand a new rug? Would you get involved in a kidnapping scheme? Or would you just abide? Now that the Coen Brothers’ masterpiece The Big Lebowski is available on Blu-ray, you can contemplate these questions in high definition. And you might want to do so while drinking a white Russian.

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Speed Racer is the young, hotshot kid that’s going to shake up the world of racing. With the help of his loving family and hot girlfriend (?), he’ll be able to stop the stock scheme of some villain and change the face of race car driving forever. Will Speed find the will to defeat some evil corporate schmuck? Since this is intended to be a kid’s movie, yes, you bet he will! Why We Love It: Dick Tracy + Sin City + The Matrix + The Wizard of Oz + Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory + Wall Street (yes, that Wall Street) + whatever visually eye-titillating movie you can think of = Speed Racer. This film is totally “cool beans,” and that, while featuring flavors of those movies listed, is its own colorfully bombastic beast.

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The way I see it, the upcoming third film by director Ben Affleck has three big things going for it. The first is that with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Affleck has proven himself to be a very strong director. The second is that the premise sounds like something that could make for a really great movie, and it even gets Affleck out of his comfort zone of telling stories about Boston. And the third is that it just cast one of the best and perhaps most underutilized actors in the world, John Goodman, in an interesting sounding role. So, what is Argo? It’s an adaptation of a 2007 article that appeared in “Wired” called “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Tehran”. It tells the story of six American Embassy Workers who escaped from captivity and went into hiding in Tehran for months during the Iran Hostage Crisis. In order to get into the country and get the escapees out, the CIA created a fake film crew for a fake science fiction film that was supposedly going into Iran to do some location scouting. The film was supposedly called Argo, and they went as far as to come up with a script, concept art, and promotional ads that ran in “Variety”.  Goodman will be playing John Chambers, a real life makeup artist who won an Oscar for his work on Planet of the Apes, and who was brought in to help sell the […]

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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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In this ambitious but failed departure from the guru of fanboys, Kevin Smith meditates on the current philosophical extremism in fundamentalist Christianity and government. What starts out as a possible teen titty movie about three Midwestern kids trying to get laid quickly turns into an American Gothic tale about an extreme right-wing church lead by Pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks in a fearless and ferrous performance) and their biblical battle with portly ATF officer Keane (John Goodman in a hero of the day moment). With recent tragedy in Arizona, the film does take on a timely quality, but never fully develops into the balls-out horror movie Smith promises.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. There has been a lot of commotion and debate surrounding the new edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” because it waters down the language (at least a certain part of it). It has shocked people that a classic could be so obliterated for the sake of political correctness, but the book was weakened years ago considerably – by movies. It’s time for a fresh cinematic take on Mark Twain‘s – a take that is gritty and hilarious and strongly-worded as the book truly is.

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It will be interesting to see how audiences respond to a film about 9/11 being released on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. On the one hand, it feels like a great reminder and bittersweet tribute. On the other, it could be the hand that rips the bandaid off uncovering the wound again. Still, since the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is based off the superb writing of Jonathan Safran Foer (check out Everything is Illuminated as well), and being helmed by poetic Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry, there’s little chance that it won’t be soaring and heartfelt. Now, John Goodman has joined Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks for the story of a young boy who loses his father in the 9/11 attacks and goes on a journey with a key his father gave him to find where it fits. [THR]

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And it was worth it, too. As you are about to see if you click through the break below, the first trailer for Kevin Smith’s indie horror flick Red State has made it online. It even has a cute little tag about the trailer being stolen from Smodcast.com — because you know, Kevin Smith likes to take unnecessary shots at the world of movie bloggery. We were going to credit him anyway, so there wasn’t much of a reason to do that. In fact, we can’t wait to credit him with the making of this teaser, because it’s a damn fine tease. Prepare yourself for something special — your first glance at the newly poetic, chaotic world of Kevin Smith’s departure from the past and entrance into the new.

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The first official images from Kevin Smith‘s upcoming horror flick Red State have hit the web. And if you’re looking for answers as to what the film is all about (in the realm of plot, tone and visual style), you’re not going to find it here. A few character shots is all we could gather from the photos, which were discovered on the Sundance Film Festival website this week. But it’s not all bad. John Goodman is still in the thing, looking startled as ever. He stars alongside a few knowns and several unknowns in Kevin Smith’s return to doing his own thing (after the studio-funded disaster that was Cop Out.) In short, he’s reason enough to be optimistic. Even if he’s just sitting there.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man joining an ad agency in the early 1960s, but instead of drinking scotch, chain smoking, and wearing nice suits all day, he stumbles upon the Milgram Experiment, a mysterious suicide of a close friend and is haunted by his true murderous nature.

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Every few months, a new project is announced that focuses either on Katrina itself, or more often the aftermath that the city is going through. However, HBO’s Treme is the first time I’ve actually felt like some compelling “dramatic entertainment” might have come out of it.

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