John Malkovich

WARM BODIES

Warm Bodies really messes with zombie mythology. If zombies try hard enough they can talk. They can also have zombie friends. They can also fall in love. And mostly skeletal zombies, called Boneys, can run faster than any human, while regular zombies lurch along at a rigamortis-ridden, glacial pace. With these and other transgressions aside, Warm Bodies never ceases to be entertaining. Written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), the film features winning performances from all of its lead actors, a cleverly written script, and most importantly, an innate heart that makes it easy to overlook any mistakes. Our protagonist and narrator is R (Nicholas Hoult), so named because he can’t remember his name from when he was alive… only that it might have begun with an “R.” R is a zombie, and yes, he does eat people, but at least he’s conflicted about it, right? Death has also been kind to him, as while he is slowed down some, and is really pale and quite banged up,  his hair looks artfully tousled and his eyes have turned a dreamy ice blue.

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John Krasinski

The deluge of rumors concerning James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy continues unabated. This time around the source is Comic Book Movie, who says they have a shadowy operative close to the production and his or her latest round of snooping has led them to believe that not only is The Office’s John Krasinski the latest in a parade of actors to read for the role of Peter Quell, but that there’s also a shortlist of actors being considered for the role of the Guardians’ resident green guy, Drax the Destroyer. Rumor has it that Generation Kill actor Brian Patrick Wade; that guy from the Old Spice commercials, Isaiah Mustafa; and former professional wrestler Dave Bautista are all being looked at. Presumably they’re in some Hollywood back lot right now, letting Gunn take test footage of them destroying things.

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Warm Bodies Trailer

Zombies don’t exactly lend themselves to teen romance stories as well as vampires do, what with their flesh being all gross and decaying, like a jack o’ lantern in November, rather than pale and smooth, like a porcelain doll. But that’s not going to stop the creators of Warm Bodies from capitalizing on the current zombie crazy by making a teen zombie romance anyway. Ridiculous idea or not, one has to admit that the zombie apocalypse genre can get pretty homogenous and predictable, and could use some sprucing up. It feels kind of refreshing to see a zombie movie where the walking dead have thoughts and emotions, but have trouble acting on them due to their newly unresponsive bodies and overpowering craving to consume living flesh. Not only does the conceit seem to make for good comedy, but there are hints in this new Warm Bodies trailer that it could make for an effective character moment or two as well; which kind of makes sense, because this one is being brought to us by Jonathan Levine, the director of the funny, yet affecting cancer drama 50/50.

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Over Under - Large

Being John Malkovich was an amazing success story upon its 1999 release. Not only was it a critical darling that got nominated for a bunch of awards, but it also successfully launched the big screen careers of a music video director named Spike Jonze and a lowly TV writer named Charlie Kaufman. In case you didn’t know, those guys have gone on to be big names, and Being John Malkovich earns quite the pedigree by being the start of their careers. On a personal level, I walked out of the movie in ’99 shocked at how unique and inventive it was, and loving how it melded progressive filmmaking with a comic sensibility. Revisiting it all these years later though, I realize it hasn’t aged as well as I’d hoped, and I find myself wondering if it still deserves the level of reverence that it gets. Mabrouk El Mechri’s 2008 film JCVD didn’t get near as much buzz or recognition as something like Being John Malkovich. Maybe that’s because a big chunk of it wasn’t in English, or maybe it’s because it just wasn’t as good—that’s debatable. But the opinion that it showed us a different side of its star, Jean-Claude Van Damme, was pretty universal, and it seemed like it was going to be something of a rebirth for the action star’s career. It’s four years later though, and nothing has really come of it. The man has still been largely relegated to straight-to-video action movies, and any of the […]

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Catherine Zeta-Jones took a hiatus from acting late last decade, but she’s been back in the game with The Rebound and Sundance Weinstein pick-up Lay the Favorite. Now, she’s continuing that working streak with RED 2. At 42, it might be a little early for her to retire. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winner has signed on alongside Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Dame Helen Mirren who will be reprising their roles. The screenwriters, Erich and Jon Hoeber, are also back, but director Robert Schwentke is not. He’s currently working on R.I.P.D., which may or may not be the reason, but Dean Parisot will be taking his spot. Parisot is also an Oscar winner, having won for Best Live-Action Short Film back in 1989 and going on to direct Galaxy Quest and Fun With Dick and Jane. It’s an interesting background he brings, but the comedy angle is easy to see. So the director has an Oscar, Dame Mirren has one, Malkovich is a two-time nominee, and their newest recruit is packing a statue. Not even counting the Golden Globes, this action comedy sequel has a lot of Oscar street cred.

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If Jesus or Tupac ever finally return like we’ve all been saying they will, they should probably do it in a Judd Apatow film or something like that. We love cameos, don’t we? It’s especially delightful when it’s extremely unexpected, and of course extra points if they are playing themselves – or better yet some kind of silly version of themselves. It’s all about recognizing the kind of person you are perceived to be, and then playing off that in a way that makes the audience realize that you are in on the joke. If a celebrity is able to do that, it’s instant coolness.

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Not to be hyperbolic, but this is the kind of role that earns Oscar nominations. Iconic public figure? Check. Oscar nominated screenwriter? Check. An actor capable of pulling off a rounded, difficult role? Triple check. Variety is reporting that Diego Luna has hired Michael Peña to star as Cesar Chavez for Chavez – the story of the celebrated labor rights advocate and the guy that 489 streets in the southwest are named after. The man is an idol, and Peña may be the perfect choice to play him. The actor has been all over the map, proving to be versatile and powerful no matter the genre or the role. Plus, the Academy apparently loves it when people play real people – regardless of whether they’re minority figures or old white leaders. But the awards talk is way too early, and it’s secondary because this project sounds like a fantastic movie no matter the gold potential. Keir Pearson (Hotel Rwanda) has written the script, Luna is a strong creative force, Gael Garcia Bernal is producing, as is John Malkovich (unless it’s John Cusack simply pretending to be John Malkovich), and Rosario Dawson and American Ferrara are co-starring in prominent roles. The puzzle pieces are all there to create something phenomenal. Not to mention, award worthy.

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Looks like we’re going to have to adjust our list of The 52 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012, knocking the number down to a significantly less exciting 51. Summit Entertainment has just announced that they are pushing the release of Warm Bodies from August 10 of this year allllllll the way to February 1 of next year. When I touted the film as part of our most anticipated list of plenty, I explained it as such: Jonathan Levine follows up his critical cancer comedy hit, 50/50, with an en vogue type of affair – a zombie love story based on a YA novel. But Isaac Marion’s source material shares considerably more with Romeo and Juliet than it does with The Walking Dead and that, along with its up-and-coming cast (Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco, Rob Corddry, and no less than John Malkovich) recommend this original look at love at the end of the world. And that’s all still true, but now we have to wait six more months to catch it. I feel like a zombie just took a bite out of my heart. While I’m not the biggest fan of Marion’s novel, I think it’s a fun basis for a film, and I believe in both Levine and the solid cast he’s assembled for this outing.

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What is Movie News After Dark? For tonight, it’s simply a movie news column working on a very, very slow news day. So it has opted for fun instead of informative. It’s betting you won’t mind. We begin tonight with the thought of big, badass robots killing the whole of humanity in Robopocalypse, a film that director Steven Spielberg will now direct for July 3, 2013. Fox and Dreamworks were announced as the studios putting up the money today, which means that Daniel H. Wilson’s excellent book will finally get some big screen love. If done right, it could be massive.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr decides to dump Megan Fox and hook up with a sexy British model who will shake her ass in front of a 3D camera for Michael Bay. Sadly, he couldn’t make that happen, so he heads down to the scooter pool at the local community college, hoping to find a free-spirited chick with a name that’s impossible to pronounce. Again, no dice, Chicago. So, Kevin abandons all hope and hides in a theater for almost three hours, watching Michael Bay’s latest spectacle. Then he postpones seeing Larry Crowne so he can stalk teachers from the aforementioned community college, hoping one is as drunk and pretty as Julia Roberts is in her latest film. How could this possibly end badly?

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr makes a complete and total jackass of himself by enjoying the hell out of Red and being more excited than he should about the prospects of Jackass 3D. He realizes that it may be the beginning of award season, but that won’t stop him from watching a movie about bodily fluids flying at the camera in 3D and getting mildly turned on by Helen Mirren firing a Gatling gun while wearing an evening gown.

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It’s been a long time since a single film has featured the acting talent assembled in RED. But if there’s one thing this halfhearted action-comedy proves, it’s this: even Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich (not to mention Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox and Ernest Borgnine) can’t enliven a story as deadly as that crafted by screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber, based on the Warren Ellis/Cully Hamner graphic novel. Co-opting the age old, out of retirement for one last fling blueprint, the film follows retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Willis) as he and his former colleagues are forced back into the game when government spooks try to rub them out. Heavily armed and dangerous geriatrics Joe Matheson (Freeman), the wiry and paranoid Marvin Boggs (Malkovich) and the distinguished Victoria (Mirren) assist Frank in some serious butt kicking, supplemented by quirky quips and knowing, wizened back and forth banter.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr horses around this week with the legendary racehorse from the 1970s, hoping he too can go home with Diane Lane. After racing out to see Secretariat, he wonders if Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel would be anything more than a pretty couple. Then he gets down on his knees and prays: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I beg you skip My Soul to Take.”.

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There’s a world out there where people get shot more than they get paper cuts. It’s a world where alliances change, people might be out to kill you, but nothing’s ever all that big a deal. It’s just a Tuesday, and the black ops have busted into your home to end your life. Red might just be the best romantic comedy of the year featuring Helen Mirren on a piece of heavy artillery. Frank (Bruce Willis) is a former CIA agent who’s attacked in his home just when he’s close to asking out Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), a woman he calls the Federal Pension Program help line to speak with on a regular basis. The retired don’t know about Facebook yet. He draws her into a world of former spooks who are also being targeted, including a suave gentleman (played by Morgan Freeman), a paranoid stuffed pig enthusiast (John Malkovich) and a gorgeous lady with a penchant for wet work (Helen Mirren).

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; you should be ashamed.  That’s right, this is the internet column that makes us all look bad.  And by us, I don’t mean film critics, but rather any responsible film-watcher/eater of food.  Each week I shake and bake my favorite bad movies for your reading displeasure.  These movies are very un-bueno but have a certain indefinable quality that makes them impossible not to love.  Actually, if that quality still comes across as undefinable after you read the piece, I really haven’t done my job have I?  To add extra awesome sauce to your Friday, each week I pair the film with an appropriate snack food that promises to ruin your beach season.  This week we take flight with none other than Con Air.

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Helen Mirren in Red

When I visited the set of Summit Entertainment’s Red earlier this year, I had an idea that it might be sort of fun. Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren (among others) playing former CIA assassins who must band together to fight against the Agency that’s now hunting them? Sure, that sounds like a blast. But it wasn’t until this new trailer — one that played to crowds at Comic-Con and has since hit the web — that I was completely sold. It’s not the dark, grim tale that Warren Ellis wrote in his comic. It’s something different. Something fun and in many ways, completely absurd. But damn, does it look fun. After the jump you can check out the new trailer, as well as a few new images from the film.

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RED: Helen Mirren

Throughout this entire week, I’ve been coming to you with a series of dispatches from my visit to the set of Red, the upcoming action-comedy release from Summit Entertainment starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. Based on a Warren Ellis comic, the story follows a group of former CIA assassins who are being targeted by the very Agency to which they dedicated their lives. It’s a flick that looks like a bit of fun — especially after seeing the first trailer (embedded after the jump). Along with my dispatches about each character, Summit released character posters for each of the main players. In case you missed them, I’ve assembled them into a neat little gallery, which you will find right after the jump.

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Yesterday, as part of my on-going series of articles directed at the upcoming action comedy Red, I mentioned Helen Mirren’s character Victoria. She’s the kind of dame who wines, dines and then shoots up a parking lot with a .50 caliber machine gun. The kind of character who cuts through a film like a knife. Always interesting. Today we’re on to yet another character who may be a scene-stealer, Marvin Boggs. Marvin is another former intelligence agent and friend of Bruce Willis’s character Frank. He’s a bit of a conspiracy theorist and the product of many years of drug-induced mind experiments at the CIA. What better actor is there to play Marvin, you might think, than John Malkovich? There isn’t.

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Helen Mirren in Red

You’re about to meet Victoria. If you’ve been reading my coverage from the set of Red, including yesterday’s piece about Bruce Willis and the debut of a new teaser poster, you’ll know who I’m talking about. Played by Helen Mirren, Victoria is a former wet works sniper who has since retired and bought a small town bed and breakfast. But when the Agency comes calling with a hit squad, all the comfort food and frilly tablecloths go out the window, leaving Victoria to defend herself not with a kitchen knife, but a 50 caliber machine gun. Sounds pretty rad, right? Read more after the jump.

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Anyone who has read the comic “RED” by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner may have a certain set of expectations for a film adaptation. Predictably, they’d think it to be dark, violent and more of a lone wolf on a mission story. For better or worse, that’s not the case for the Bruce Willis led film. Based on this trailer, it’s clearly a comedy.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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