Jude Law

Jude Law and Richard Grant in DOM HEMINGWAY

Dom Hemingway opens with the eponymous character locked away in prison receiving oral pleasure from a fellow inmate. While the inmate continues satisfying Hemingway (Jude Law), our protagonist delivers a rousing monologue about the aesthetic merits of his cock — comparing his genitals to the transformative works of Renoir and Van Gogh. Coincidentally this terribly overlong introduction is prophetic in nature. Like the rambling speech, Richard Shepard’s initially amusing, genre-less piece of filmmaking tragically expends its virtues thin by about the 30-minute mark. Law plays an infamous safecracker who has spent the last 12 years of his life in a prison cell. His sentence could’ve been reduced, but Hemingway was a loyal soldier and kept his mouth shut when the authorities asked him to rat out his accomplices. But silence has a price. Aside from being locked in captivity for a dozen years, Hemingway has missed out on the childhood of his daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke), subsequently losing his his wife and everything he built.

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Richard Shepard and Jude Law on set of DOM HEMINGWAY

Director Richard Shepard makes tonally risky choices. The Matador and The Hunting Party are broad comedies, but they also focus on characters with serious problems. Shepard doesn’t play those personal conflicts as jokes, either. He takes their predicaments very seriously, no matter how goofy his characters may act. These three dramatic comedies, including his latest film, Dom Hemingway, are driven by the loss of a loved one. In the case of Dom Hemingway, the narrative is also propelled by a potbellied, foul mouth, unhinged and egotistical safe-cracker named Dom Hemingway (Jude Law). This is a man who loves his name, himself, and, of course, his cock. You read that last part right. The film opens with Dom discussing what a wonderful piece of equipment he has. Needless to say, he’s a magnetic character who is, maybe not a good person, but someone you root for, if only because he knows how to talk about himself to exhaustive lengths. We discussed with writer-director Shepard how he made this incredibly flawed protagonist so damn appealing:

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Dom Hemingway

After 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut to protect his mobster boss, Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is back on the streets and looking for one or two ways to celebrate. Can you really blame him? Richard Shepard‘s Dom Hemingway follows the titular ex-con, a safecracker, as he travels to his boss’ (Demian Bichir) palacial estate to get what he’s owed for his loyalty. As you can see, it’s a fantastic prize, but it looks like Hemingway should have learned by now that things don’t generally work out in his favor. With no money, no girl, and no place to go, he decides the time is just super for reconnecting with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke) and getting 12 years of anger and the insatiable need to party out of his system in a matter of days. The trailer is a fantastic montage of Law in a drunken haze, doing things like humping a safe open, swimming fully clothed with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and traipsing through a field stark naked (prominently featured: Jude Law’s extremely white butt). But while the trailer shows all of his fun, post-prison hijinks, it feels like the film is going to take a more serious turn just as this little glimpse ends. Eventually, he’s going to have to put the liquor bottle down and deal with the fact that he’s been gone for the last 12 years – especially with his daughter and grandchild. Maybe Bichir will have to answer […]

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Elegant white lettering reads: “Jude Law is Dom Hemingway, and you’re not.” Law himself slouches in a plush, lipstick-red seat, equipped with a drink and a smoke and a nasty sneer. High above Law sits a portrait of a baboon, proud and refined in all the ways Law isn’t. The poster for Law’s new film, Dom Hemingway, wants to create an image that’s totally unique. And it succeeds…sort of. Law’s self-important shtick doesn’t seem particularly new or different, but his primate artwork most definitely is. Plenty of posters put their lead characters (complete with an over-the-top personality) front and center, but far fewer posters devote half their allotted space to a baboon and refuse to explain the baboon’s presence. Dom Hemingway‘s second poster lacks baboon and therefore lacks the same level of interest. The only thing on display is an abundance of cheeky British wit, and the exact same sneer Law was sporting from under his primate pal. Check it out after the break, along with a new still from the film.

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scarjo

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s mostly just an excuse to post a big picture of Scarlett Johansson. But it also has some news about Adam Sandler’s acting career that actually sounds promising. As if everyone didn’t love Scarlett Johansson enough, the sultry actress just had to go and kick things up a notch by kicking ass as the Black Widow in last year’s Avengers. Now anytime we see her being sexy without also doing a bunch of sweet-looking karate moves, it’s going to feel like a letdown. That shouldn’t be a problem for her next film though, as Heat Vision is reporting that Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) has hired the lady to star in his next big action movie, Lucy, which is about a girl who acts as a drug mule for some sort of super serum getting dosed with what she’s carrying and turning into a super-smart, telekinetic, ass-kicking machine. This sounds like exactly the kind of movie the world needs right now.

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Jude Law

The Jane Got a Gun news just does not stop around here. Just a day after original director Lynne Ramsay exited the project in spectacular fashion and mere hours after Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor stepped in to direct, newly-minted lead Jude Law has now left the film. Deadline Hollywood reveals that Law has “formally withdrawn from the film. It is because he signed on to work with Ramsay, best known for the edgy drama We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Law only recently came on board the project after Michael Fassbender dropped out and Ramsay reportedly reshuffled other leading man Joel Edgerton into a different role to fill the gap. Edgerton will likely stick around, as he has a positive working relationship with O’Connor after their Warrior. Ramsay has still not commented on the situation.

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Bill Murray

What is Casting Couch? It’s the surveyor of all that is casting. Today we’ve got joyous news about more incredible actors joining Animal Rescue and sad news about Emma Watson dropping out of some promising projects. Get ready, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.

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Scott Z. Burns

Side Effects marks the third collaboration between screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and director Steven Soderbergh. They previously tackled the mind of a bipolar pathological liar with The Informant and a horror-esque “what if?” movie with Contagion. For Side Effects, they’re not taking on pharmaceuticals, but a twisty thriller in the vein of Fatal Attraction and Body Heat. This is the type of movie that drops a new piece of information in almost every scene, causing you to rethink most of what you previously saw. Burns accomplished that with a split narrative starring characters who aren’t exactly the most noble. An ensemble movie with characters one can’t really root for is something of a rare commodity these days, and from the sounds of it, it’s something Burns would like to see (and write) more of. Here’s what screenwriter Scott Z. Burns had to say about constructing ensemble narratives, how Russian literature inspired Side Effects, and some of his frustrations with the studio storytelling norms:

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Side Effects

If Side Effects truly is Steven Soderbergh‘s final theatrical film, the director has ended his storied career on a somewhat surprising note – Side Effects surely combines all the character intrigue and well-crafted filmmaking technique we expect from Soderbergh, but its seemingly unoriginal plotline will likely fall flat with a number of viewers. And yet, that does read “seemingly,” because bundled up within Scott Z. Burns’ relatively straightforward thriller-influenced screenplay is one hell of an intriguing story, one that will linger with its dedicated viewers for far longer than its swiftly-moving 106 minute runtime. It’s not Magic Mike or Ocean’s Eleven or even Erin Brockovich, but Side Effects is a more than worthy film for anyone to end their career (well, maybe) on. Side Effects benefits most from fresh viewings and relatively uninformed audience members, ones not steeped in trailers and television spots (in fact, a couple of recent TV spots for the film have revealed far more than this critic would have liked), but the basic plot can be shared without concern over potential spoiling. Rooney Mara stars as Manhattanite Emily, a reserved young wife who is trying to delicately balance the pieces of her life in the wake of what should be a pleasant change – the recent release of her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum), from a white collar prison after a four year stint for some messy professional mistakes. Emily has a history of anxiety, one that certainly wasn’t aided by Martin’s legal troubles, and things are […]

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Side Effects trailer

The last time we got a trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller, Side Effects, it was a little too dream-like and abstract to really tell us what the movie was about. Rooney Mara was taking drugs of some sort, Channing Tatum tried to pull off wearing a fedora, Jude Law screamed a bunch, and apparently a murder got committed—but what order all of that happened in and who the good guys and the bad guys of the film were never quite got made clear.

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Side Effects Poster

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in this trailer for Side Effects from Steven Soderbergh, but it’s intense. From the synopsis, I know that Rooney Mara plays a woman taking prescription pills to deal with the release of her husband (Channing Tatum) from prison, but in the trailer? Maybe she got seduced by her shrink (Jude Law)? Or maybe she’s claiming something worse? Maybe they made meth together in a travel trailer? In a way, it’s kind of cool to see a bunch of puzzle pieces but no picture on the front of the box. From the vague description and this jumbled trailer, the movie’s plot is still in the fog, but the tone and performances are given a great spotlight in which to shine.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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Anna Karenina

The 2012 awards season is coagulating. Thanks to SAG and the HFPA, we now have a solid list of contenders for Best Picture and a narrowing group of potential nominees for everything else. Forgive the metaphor, but it does feel a bit like goop. Both major lists of nominees this week are full of easily predicted choices, and the few unexpected picks that take us by surprise only do so because we thought they were too bland even for the HFPA. (Except for you, Nicole Kidman! There’s nothing bland about The Paperboy.) Don’t get me wrong, I love Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, and Maggie Smith, but this is getting unseemly. And the days are running out for films to make their way in from the sidelines. However, I am going to take this last chance to fight through the often claustrophobic box of awards watching and shout to the heavens a bit about a movie I think should be getting substantially more attention. I was sort of hoping that the Golden Globe nominations would do that for me, given how hard they went for Atonement a few years ago. They like to shake things up in a good way, at least now and then. Alas, it seems it was easier to go out on a limb for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Anna Karenina is the best awards-ready movie of the year that isn’t getting an ounce of awards attention. Frankly, I find it somewhat surprising. Joe Wright’s three literary […]

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Side Effects Poster

Whether or not Side Effects is director Steven Soderbergh‘s final film still remains to be seen, but even that added (potential) intrigue seems unnecessary so far, because the Channing Tatum, Jude Law, and Rooney Mara-starring film looks satisfyingly confounding all on its own. Mara stars as a young wife (to Tatum, lucky duck) who turns to a doc played by Law to help ease her anxiety. He prescribes her a new drug. And it has, you guessed it, side effects. The film’s first poster is a sleekly designed affair, and we’re willing to bet it holds more than a few secrets to Side Effects. Like just what does “a doctor’s most important prescription is trust” mean? Side Effects opens on February 8, 2013. [The Huffington Post]

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Peter Ramsey

Rise of The Guardians is a step forward for Dreamworks Animation in the way How to Train Your Dragon was. Both films tossed away the company’s signature pop culture references, gag-driven narratives, and all their other much-criticized characteristics. Guardians and Dragon have both created their own universes, and in an unexpected way. Rise of the Guardians director Peter Ramsey – who did storyboards for a few of our favorite movies – takes the world, the stakes, and all the famed holiday characters seriously. There is no place for self-referential jokes in this universe, which is what surprised Ramsey the most. We spoke to the director himself a few weeks ago, who discussed how story boarding is the best film school around, how he took a live-action approach to the film, and the joy world-building:

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Joe Wright set up a big challenge for himself with Anna Karenina. The material could easily lend itself to the stuffy brand of period piece, which is the type of film we see all too often during the awards season. Wright didn’t want to make that film, though. With his theater concept, he may have stripped the budget down, but, according to Wright, it was the exact type of challenge where the most creativity comes from. That notably happened with his previous project, Hanna, as well. Everyone adored the long-take fight scenes in that film, and that approach came out of saving time, budget, and, of course, creative impulse. It’s those type of decisions Wright seems the most excited by. Here’s what director Joe Wright had to say about why his brain switches off when filming, the power of limitations, and why Anna Karenina is his least indulgent film:

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Anna Karenina Review

Director Joe Wright’s latest film, a lush and visually striking adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” is uniquely suited to the filmmaker’s tastes and tones. Joining his other love-struck and leading lady-centric films like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, Wright again adapts well-tread material with an eye for emotion, dizzying and overwrought as it may be (or truly, as it can be). Utilizing a “theater-set” concept to frame up his film, Wright’s Anna Karenina offers up his most original film yet, but one that still fails to ultimately come together and connect with his audience. Tolstoy’s novel has been adapted countless times before and in a variety of mediums. While not a complicated story, the trials and tribulations of the young Mrs. Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) are still ripe for discussion and dissection, and Wright’s choice to keep the film in the book’s period setting does nothing to diminish its aching relatability. A dazzling society maven, Anna’s life centers on her husband (the beloved politician Alexei Karenin, Jude Law, whom she seems to simply admire, not adore), parties, and her young son. Mildly upended by the news of her brother’s (Matthew Macfadyen) cheating ways, Anna sets off to visit the broken family in Moscow and to help mend some long-simmering wounds. Upon her arrival in Moscow, she meets the dashing (sure) Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and the pair eventually fall into an all-consuming affair that threatens to destroy every element of Anna’s life.

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your Monday look at all of the great work casting agents and PR people did over the weekend to keep those Hollywood gears turning. UPDATED: We dreamed too soon, kids. It seems like Sylvester Stallone is fully committed to his experiment of figuring out how many big name celebrities have to be packed into an Expendables movie before one of them actually becomes interesting. The latest news regarding his quest (found on Stallone’s Facebook page by JoBlo) is that Nicolas Cage has been confirmed for a role in The Expendables 3, and that Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and Mickey Rourke are the names he intends on recruiting next. You keep on trucking there, Mr. Stallone. With the addition of just five or ten more celebrities, The Expendables 3 is bound to be the one that finally gets out of first gear and actually becomes a decent action movie. We have faith!

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Jason Schwartzman

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a movie that’s shrouded in a (relatively thin) veil of secrecy. Sure, we know that it’s going to be about a hotel, and we know that it’s going to feature an ensemble cast, but as far as specifics regarding who exactly will be in the cast and what specifically the story is about go, Anderson is keeping his lips sealed. Despite his unwillingness to spill any of the precious beans, however, a couple names have been confirmed over the past few days.

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360 Movie 2012

Director Fernando Meirelles‘s career is taking a quick and dumbfounding fall. After giving us arguably one of the greatest films of the modern era, City of God, and a satisfying follow up with The Constant Gardener, Meirelles has fallen into misery porn-level drama which would even make a fellow character executioner like Alejandro Iñárritu cringe at the ridiculous obstacles the characters in 360 are forced to stumble through. At a near-two hours, Meirelles’s ensemble piece becomes an astonishingly immersive experience, solely in the way it puts the audience in the uncomfortable and dull state a few of its characters are stuck in. Those characters include a former sex offender (Ben Foster), a bored married couple (Jude Law and Rachel Weisz), an unsatisfied gangster, a dentist in love, a prostitute (Lucia Siposova), an elderly father (Anthony Hopkins) searching for his missing daughter, and some other wasted character whose main purpose is to ridiculously put Tyler, the sex offender, in a seriously uncomfortable situation.

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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+
published: 12.05.2014
C+


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