Josh Brolin

Men in Black 3

Men in Black II is one bad sequel. Everything the first film got right the second film painfully got wrong. Will Smith played Will Smith, the funny-for-two-minutes pug from the first film sang because someone thought it was funny, a two-headed Johnny Knoxville showed up for some reason, and Rosario Dawson was just, well, kind of there. That’s what the second installment was in a nutshell: “just there,” a limp and lifeless blockbuster. How does this 10-years-later sequel fare in comparison? Saying it’s a vast improvement is too easy, since even if this third installment is utterly banal, it’d still look favorable in comparison. For the most part, Men in Black III corrects past mistakes, even going as far to capture some of the original film’s magic. The film begins with Boris, played by an unrecognizable Jemaine Clement escaping a prison (which is on the frickin’ moon!). Once Boris has broken out, he plans to get revenge on the man who took his right arm: Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). The villain travels back to 1969 in attempt to kill the younger K (Josh Brolin), who also foiled his world domination scheme. To save his partner, a much older J (Will Smith) travels back in time as well, where he enters the world of a less advanced MIB and less grumpy K. And, of course, he runs into other 1960s staples: racism and Michael Stuhlbarg as a kind-hearted alien named Griffin.

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Ruben Fleischer is two for two. Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less both exhibited an energetic brand of comedy that showed off the chops of a new talent. Now it’s time for that talent to change genres and show some range. The Gangster Squad was a black list script from Will Beall that made its way to Warners. The first trailer boasts a stellar cast of Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn and a ton of familiar face. Plus, Gosling comes off as a total pansy here, no matter what size gun he’s got. That’s an interesting reversal after the stoic badass in Drive. It looks like a standard gangland story, but the visuals are dynamic and everything points to it being a solid flick. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Deadline Hawthorne reports that, after weeks of speculation, Spike Lee‘s Oldboy has finally signed an interesting pick to play the film’s central villain. Sharlto Copley was the latest name rumored for the role just last month, but after rounds and rounds of unsuccessful casting for all three major roles in the film, it seemed like the project was a bit doomed. But now that Copley is officially set for the part, and costars Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen remain locked in, the film is set to start filming in late September. Like Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film, Oldboy centers on Brolin’s character (in this incarnation, he is reportedly named “Joe Douchett”), a man who has been imprisoned against his will by an unknown man. Eventually freed, he’s set on a course to find the man who put him there (and to discover why) – Copley will play “Adrian Pryce,” “a mysterious billionaire trying to destroy the life of Joe Douchett.” But until Oldboy kicks off, Copley is busying himself with another high concept role, this time as a potential hero.

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Finally, readers, the summer movie season is upon us. So far this year has been solid, but sorely lacking in mega-blockbusters. John Carter did not deliver for the fifteen people who saw it and The Hunger Games, as successful and good as it was, wasn’t an epic actioner or packed with real spectacle. Yet there’s much promise in the action department for the summer of 2012, and it’s starting off just right, with something we’ve all been anticipating. Hopefully the rest of the summer will follow that film’s mighty lead…

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In just a few weeks we will be getting our first Men in Black film in nearly ten years, and hopefully the Men in Black sequel we deserve. Director Barry Sonnenfeld‘s first installment was a real head-turner, a rare type of blockbuster that could be touted as being something like a modern day Ghostbusters, though it was its own original breed of film. The 2002 sequel, however, was not that, forgetting nearly everything that made the first film unique. Thankfully, Sonnenfeld is well aware of this. The Get Shorty and Addams Family director is hoping to bring the series back down to where it all began: character and plot-driven action, not another aimless gag after gag sequel. From his different 3D approach to having what he calls a real nasty villain again, Barry Sonnenfeld declares Men in Black III a return to where the series started off so well.

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Please let this one work out. Variety reports that Sharlto Copley has been offered the villain role in Spike Lee‘s take on Oldboy, a piece of casting so inventive and unexpected that I’ve gone a bit cross-eyed over it. Lee’s remake/reimagining of Chan-wook Park’s film (itself based on the manga by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya) has been plagued by great pieces of possible casting that have not panned out – from Colin Firth not taking on the baddie role to Rooney Mara sliding out on the female lead – so it’s high time someone outstanding signs on and gets this thing moving. Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen are already on board for the film, with Brolin taking on the role that Choi Min-sik played in the South Korean version – a seemingly regular man who is kidnapped and kept in a single room for fifteen years. Eventually freed, he then embarks on a quest to find out who is responsible and why they did it – which, of course, plays right into the mastermind’s plan. Olsen’s role is that of a caseworker who works with Brolin to uncover the past, a twist on Kang Hye-jeong’s role as Mi-Do in the original film, who is a young sushi chef (who still helps out with that nasty past-uncovering).

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A funny thing happened when I watched this second trailer for Men in Black III – I realized that I couldn’t remember a damn thing about the second film, which is funny, because that film deals with Tommy Lee Jones‘ Agent K losing his memory (get it?). I remember Men in Black with nothing but affection, but MIB2? That’s a blank page in my memory book, so it’s good news all-around that this trailer made me chuckle and look forward to the third film (inevitably in 3D). Men in Black III goes back (back in time) after some funny space-time stuff goes down and Will Smith‘s Agent J gets hit with the news that Agent K is dead – and has been for forty years. Pitching himself back to the 1960s, J attempts to uncover what happened to kill his partner, fight off an alien invasion, and convince the younger K (Josh Brolin, terrifyingly well-cast) that he comes from the future. We got a look at the film’s first trailer way back in December, but I daresay, this one is a fair bit better:

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Despite not coming with a cool rap video, the new teaser trailer for Men in Black III does everything right. It opens with the familiar faces of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith doing what they did in the previous movies, then quickly shifts to the high concept problem (and solution) of a missing K (and a trip through time that randomly involves a Hollywood-style stunt to work. Then again, jumping off buildings is all the rage these days. As a bonus, both Smith and new co-star Josh Brolin get to deliver a bright ray of sunshine known as the Tommy Lee Jones Signature Smile. Check it out for yourself:

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At this point, you’d have to be insane to not trust an Oldboy rumor that comes from Twitch, as those wily boys have single-handedly dropped all the big news when it comes to Spike Lee‘s English-language remake of  Park Chan-wook‘s masterpiece. And this latest piece of casting news that they’re reporting? I’m not afraid to admit that I think it’s interesting and somehow both bold and spot-on. The Twitch-ers are reporting that Colin Firth has been offered the role of Adrian, a role that functions as the Woo-jin part from Park’s film – better known as the primary villain of the film. Firth would face off against Josh Brolin, who has long been attached as the film’s lead (the Oh Dae-su of Lee’s take on the material). While Firth was first known to most American audiences for his fluffier work in films like the Bridget Jones’s Diary films and the ever-charming Love Actually, he’s lately taken on considerably meatier roles, particularly his Oscar-nominated work in A Single Man and his Oscar-winning role in last year’s The King’s Speech. A true villain’s role in Oldboy would be a compelling addition to his resume, and one I’d cut out my own tongue to see.

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If you haven’t been reading along, I’ve been gushing about Ruben Fleischer’s upcoming crime drama The Gangster Squad for quite a while. Story details about the cops and gangsters flick about real life gangster Mickey Cohen can be found in my first article about the movie, where it was announced that Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Ryan Gosling had all been cast in key roles. Penn is in the starring role as Cohen, and Brolin and Gosling are two of the members of the titular gangster squad that is put together to take him down. After hearing that, I didn’t think that life could get much better, but then it did. The second Gangster Squad related bomb that Fleischer dropped on me was that man about town Bryan Cranston would also be joining the cast as a rough and tumble member of the LAPD by way of Texas. Suddenly the original Triumvirate of Awesome that was the Gangster Squad cast became the Cornerstones of Awesome instead. And now that the film has such a solid foundation to build a metaphorical house on, it’s time to start picking out pretty curtains and stuff by filling out the cast further. The big news of the day from Deadline Monowi is that grizzled, crazy actor Nick Nolte has also been cast. He will play Bill Parker, the incorruptible chief of police who takes it upon himself to form this so-called gangster squad. That sounds like a big role. Seeing as Nolte’s upcoming movie […]

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In 2003, director Park Chan-wook made his presence in the film world felt by crafting Oldboy, a revenge film about a guy who is mysteriously imprisoned in a shabby room for fifteen years and then is one day released and given a limited amount of time to find and take vengeance on his captor. It rose above the legions of other rank and file revenge films through superior crafting and a great lead performance by Min-sik Choi. It was good, everyone liked it, and people were happy. Flash forward to recent months, and now there’s news that Spike Lee is going to direct a movie called Oldboy, a revenge film about a man who gets locked in a shabby room for fifteen years and is then one day released and given a limited amount of time to find and take vengeance on his captor. We don’t know if it’s going to be any good, everyone is mad that something else they like is being remade, and no one is happy. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Maybe some people are happy. And maybe I could be coming around on this project as well, because at the very least Lee has just found a great actor to play whatever his version of the Oldboy protagonist will be called. It’s been a rumor for a while that Josh Brolin was at the top of the wish list to star in this film, and now Deadline Ami-dong confirms that those rumors were most likely […]

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Why Watch? The sheer joy of watching a Coen Brothers’ film in three minutes. This segment from To Each His Own Cinema (which should be seen by everyone ever) is like taking the last bite of your favorite desert. It’s completely satisfying with its slow comedy, Josh Brolin’s fish-out-of-water-who-thinks-the-water’s-fine behavior, and the pocket of truth that everyone here is trying to find in its most common form. Maybe that’s what’s so appealing here. There’s nothing false about this scene at all, and yet it’s still so funny. What does it cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Check out World Cinema for yourself:

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This may shock some of you dear readers, but this year I decided to skip the Breaking Dawn panel and instead went with the Rick Baker retrospective panel. Getting to hear Baker talk at great length aside, it was a fun surprise getting to see his work for Men in Black III because of how exciting the glimpses were. The retro aliens that Baker designed looked fantastic. Whether the movie works or not, his contributions will be more memorable entries in his speaks-for-itself body of work. We all know the current buzz and rumors regarding MIB: III, but as Baker says below, its production is simply the way you make movies now. What’s going on with that film isn’t drastically different from most tent-pole releases, even the good ones. Before the retrospective panel, I got a few minutes to chat with the make-up effects guru on the matter. Here’s what Rick Baker had to say about copying the greats as a kid, acting like a schoolboy with David Byrne, and the difficulty of working on modern blockbusters:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the day’s best movie news and links exploding onto your computer screen. Can you handle that? MSN has debuted a new image of two new characters from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. “Two of the youngest Dwarves, Fili (Dean O’Gorman) and Kili (Aidan Turner) have been born into the royal line of Durin and raised under the stern guardianship of their uncle, Thorin Oakensheild. Neither has ever travelled far, nor ever seen the fabled Dwarf City of Erebor. For both, the journey to the Lonely Mountain represents adventure and excitement. Skilled fighters, both brothers set off on their adventure armed with the invincible courage of youth, neither being able to imagine the fate which lies before them.” Quick, get me a Tolkein nerd to translate that. Are these guys cool, or not? Because they look cool.

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When it was announced that Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, and Josh Brolin were all starring together in the upcoming Gangster Squad, I went as far as to call them a tri-force of awesome. That’s some ridiculous hyperbole, but the limits of my excessive enthusiasm for this project haven’t even begun to spin out of control yet. Wait until I hear that Bryan Cranston is also joining the cast, and then see what happens. Oh wait, I just found out. So now I’m ready to declare Gangster Squad the greatest movie ever made, before it has even been filmed. How’s that for hyperbole? For a quick recap, Gangster Squad is to be directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, from a script based off of this L.A. Times article and written by a retired cop named Will Beall. Penn will play famous gangster Mickey Cohen, Gosling and Brolin will be the duo of police trying to bring him in, and now Variety reports that Cranston will be playing, “Max Kennard, a laconic LAPD officer from Texas who enforces the law ambitiously.” I take “laconic” to mean that he’s going to be doing a lot of his Cranston glare. And the phrase “enforces the law ambitiously” to mean that he’s going to be planting evidence, taking bribes, and dropping guns with the serial numbers filed off onto the bodies of young punks that he shoots. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go quit my job so I can properly prepare for this […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s an obsessively curated column that collects the most interesting links from around the movie blogosphere. It includes a bit of commentary, but only when the mood strikes. Which, for the purposes of this column’s author, is all the time. Gird your loins and put on your power rings, because it’s about to get wild in here. Getting ready to see Green Lantern this weekend? Our review will be live tomorrow. But if you need a primer before then, I would defer you to io9′s very thorough beginner’s guide to Green Lantern. It should bring you up to speed just in time to become angry about whether or not the film is faithful.

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There’s a ton of Oscar caliber piled high on Labor Day – the adaptation of the Joyce Maynard novel. Its plot asks the high concept question of what you’d do if you were approached by a mean-mugging, bleeding man while out shopping with your young teenager. The correct answer is, “run,” but the answer that divorcee Adele gives is, “offer him a ride in my car!” Bad life decision. Great set up for a thriller. Jason Reitman is directing, and EW is reporting that Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin have both signed on to star as Adele and the mean-mugging escaped convict respectively. Feel free to count the Oscar nominations and wins for yourself. The wins should be easy. With Young Adult already in production, Reitman is definitely exploring the concept of divorce seriously, but it’s also nice to see him branch out into a new genre. This stark thriller will make an interesting double feature with Juno. Winslet is no stranger to characters living in broken homes, and Brolin could let his mustache show up to set and garner another Oscar nomination. The point? This casting is insanely great and promises to continue Reitman’s winning streak. It will start filming next year in New England.

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It was looking like Sean Penn might not be able to star in the upcoming organized crime film Gangster Squad after he entered negotiations to star alongside Christian Bale in The Last Photograph, but Variety is reporting that Penn is still in the running, and actually very close to signing. And now that Penn is almost on board, things are looking good for Josh Brolin to join the cast as well. Gangster Squad is the story of the LAPD’s battle against famed gangster Mickey Cohen and other mafia men trying to make the jump from East to West coast back in the 40s and 50s. The script is based off of a L.A. Times article written on the subject by Paul Lieberman. Penn is negotiating for the role of Cohen, and the previously rumored Ryan Gosling and newly rumored Josh Brolin would be a pair of police tasked with bringing him down. The original article was adapted for the screen by Will Beall, who is a former police officer turned novelist, and Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer will direct. I think everything that I mentioned in this article is awesome, so hopefully when you put them all together the results will be a movie that is super awesome. At the very least I can’t wait to watch Gosling and Penn trying to flamboyantly out act each other while Brolin is all squinty and minimal in the background.

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Director Andrew Dominik proved with The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford that he could create an intensely beautiful film with an insanely long title. He also proved that he could handle a large cast of formidable talent. Fortunately for fans, he’ll get another chance to wrangle a murder of talent. Not only will Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck be starring in Dominik’s forthcoming Cogan’s Trade – a film about comedy and crime in Boston (the only city in the United States with crime) – but Sam Rockwell, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Zoe Saldana, Bill Murray, and Mark Ruffalo are also possible to come on board. If they do, Andrew Dominik will have single-handedly kept the great actors of Hollywood busy and unable to appear in anyone else’s films next year. Well played, sir. The film is set to shoot in Louisiana in March, and it creates another reason to be excited for 2012. [Cinema Blend]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a big red suit and sneaks into people’s houses. The only difference is that he sneaks into the houses of all the naughty girls. But before he can manage that undertaking, he sets his sights on the last wash of movies hitting the multiplexes this season. He travels with Jack Black to the Bermuda Triangle in Gulliver’s Travels then heads out west to catch a killer with True Grit. Finally, he brings his Christmas movie watching to a close by stabbing himself in the face with Little Fockers. Ho ho ho, the humanity!

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