Jude Law

Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Notoriously meticulous director Wes Anderson seems to be speeding up his usual development process – which generally produces a new film every three years – and putting together the pieces for his next project. Hot on the heels of his successful, pubescent kids dancing in their underwear movie, Moonrise Kingdom, comes The Grand Budapest Hotel, an Anderson-penned script that is said to feature an ensemble cast, but is a mystery as far as character breakdowns or synopsis are concerned. News of the new Anderson project broke a little over a week ago, when Twitch reported they’d heard the director had begun casting on a new film, and that he was in various stages of negotiations with Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Angela Lansbury. A list of names that talented and notable may sound like wishful thinking, but a report from Deadline Clute now confirms that at least some of it is true. Not only did they get their hands on the title of the film, but they’re also reporting that Depp has been wrapped up and is officially set to star.

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Oh, look, Joe Wright went and directed a historically-set film based on a novel that stars Keira Knightley! I am positively shocked! This time around, Wright and Knightley are taking on no less than Tolstoy (after already going after Austen with Pride and Prejudice and McEwan with Atonement), with Wright directing his frequent muse as the eponymous character in Leo Tolstoy‘s enduring work, “Anna Karenina.” Wright’s Anna Karenina hews close to the basic story – Knightley’s Anna, a high society aristocrat, gets caught up in a consuming affair with the dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson, sporting one hell of a mustache) that has repercussions far beyond just her unsatisfying marriage to a smarmy-looking Jude Law as Alexei Karenin. It’s tragic, it’s sad, it’s Russian. So let’s see what Wright can do with it with the film’s first full trailer and an overly Moulin Rouge-d poster.

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Drinking Games

Two and a half years ago, Guy Ritchie revived the classic Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, starring Iron Man himself as the eccentric detective. This past Christmas, he also directed the sequel of the film, in the wake of the BBC’s brilliant Sherlock series. Now that sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is available on Blu-ray and DVD. Whether you like these new films or you prefer the BBC show, you can enjoy the new movie with this drinking game of shadows. Of course, if you want to start things off right, you can also enjoy Guy Ritchie’s original Sherlock Holmes with a few drinks here. Though we don’t recommend using formaldehyde as your spirit of choice, as Holmes does in the movie. That would kill you dead faster than Lucy Liu’s upcoming Elementary television series.

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Sure, Fernando Meirelles disappointed everyone with 2008’s Blindness, but that disappointment stemmed from the fact that he had already directed films as good as City of God and The Constant Gardener; expectations were through the roof. Now that we’ve all been knocked back down to Earth, maybe we can take a more balanced, cautious approach to his latest film, 360, which has just released a trailer. What does he have in store for us this time? The first thing that jumps out at you when you watch this trailer is the realization of how good the cast is. It’s kind of hard not to get excited for a film that’s headlined by names like Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster, and Anthony Hopkins. The other thing that’s instantly striking is that Meirelles still seems to be on point as far as the visuals of his films are concerned. Despite the fact that 360 seems to just be a tale about people’s relationships, with a little bit of menace and deceit thrown in, you would think that it was some sort of epic, globe-hopping thriller if you watched it without audio. Not only are there gorgeous locations on display, but everything is shot with Meirelles now trademark blend of classically beautiful photography and cutting edge, stylish experimentation.

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We’ve known about the upcoming Mary Pickford biopic for nearly two months, but based on the apparent fire under the tails of the production’s producers, Jennifer DiLea and Julie Pacino, it’s somewhat surprising that it’s taken this long for casting buzz to arrive. Deadline Charlotte reports that the pair have cast Lily Rabe (who starred in the last season of American Horror Story and led the well-received indie Letters From the Big Man and who also happens to be the daughter of Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe) to star as silent film mega-star and Hollywood pioneer Pickford. The pair reportedly picked Rabe because of her skill in live theater, which is convenient, as that’s precisely how Pickford got her start. DeLia said, “Julie and I noticed an intriguing quality in Lily when watching her perform on stage – something that felt so authentic and pitch-perfect. And like Lily, Mary Pickford’s inner-fabric was made up in big part by her experiences with live performance in the theatre…Mary became known for those instincts and those same instincts were what drew us to Lily, knowing how difficult that range is to achieve…Lily didn’t know that we were seriously thinking of her for the part but when we talked about Pickford, her passion for the story was clear.” Forbes also reports that the pair are seeking out Jude Law to play her one-time husband and partner, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., a huge star in his own right. The pair were early Hollywood royalty, and […]

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Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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Following Steven Soderbergh’s career has been a winding road full of ups and downs as of late. First he was going to make The Man From U.N.C.L.E., then there was a long period of juggling actors on that film as he tried to nail down a cast, then that movie got cancelled completely. There has been talk of retirement, talk of pushing off retirement to do more things, and generally just a lot of confusion. Things seemed to have reached a moment of stability a week ago, though, when it was announced that he was going forward with his next film, a thriller called Side Effects, and that it had funding stemming from a partnership between Annapurna Pictures and Open Road Films. That’s all up in the air now though, and apparently it comes down to the all too familiar casting woes. Variety is now reporting that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has pulled out of the deal, leaving Soderbergh and Open Road to find additional funding on their own. Variety gave no reason as to why the deal fell through, but The Playlist is claiming to have sources close to the situation that say Ellison and her people don’t like the casting of Blake Lively in the lead role. She apparently is set to play a drug addict in the middle of a love triangle between her husband (Channing Tatum) and her doctor (Jude Law).

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes rogue and infiltrates his local IMAX theater. First, he scales the wall of the plus-sized building and slides in undetected through the air vents. He slowly lowers himself into a theater seat to enjoy an early screening of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Unfortunately, he finds himself in the middle of a wild crowd of six-year-old kids for the early screening of the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. To deal with the psychological damage, Kevin then stumbles into the Sherlock Holmes sequel and later finds an extra seat in Young Adult, where he can imagine that his chubby caboose could land a hottie like Charlize Theron.

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Guy Ritchie was far from the most obvious choice to direct a big budget, period action comedy that hoped to turn the Sherlock Holmes name into a 21st century franchise. But half a billion dollars (worldwide) later he found himself the man behind a monster hit… and its inevitable sequel. Two years later, that sequel is now a reality, and the question becomes can Ritchie strike gold twice in a row with another entertaining blockbuster? Or has he delivered the Victorian equivalent of Speed 2: Cruise Control… Depending on how you look at it the answer sits somewhere in between. A Game of Shadows brings back the two major players in Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law), but instead of a generic villain with mysterious motivations we get Arthur Conan Doyle’s most notorious and evil mastermind pulling the strings and doling out the pain. Ritchie’s sequel tries to stick with the first film’s mix of stylish camera work, exciting set pieces, and witty banter between its leads, but unfortunately it falters almost as often as it succeeds.

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The Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows junket included a massive press conference that featured so much talent from the sequel to Guy Ritchie‘s 2009 film that they needed to be arranged in stadium seating, including stars Robert Downey Jr., Noomi Rapace, and Jared Harris, director Ritchie, producers Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, and Susan Downey, screenwriters Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney, and composer Hans Zimmer. Jude Law couldn’t make it because, as RDJ put it, “his son had a soccer game.” For forty-five minutes, the group fielded questions from the Los Angeles press (let’s be honest, Downey fielded questions from the press, frequently begging for someone to toss a query at one of the nine other people sitting around and behind him), and all the microphone-grabbing and cracks at banter did yield some interesting tidbits. Mainly, a story about Hans Zimmer essentially kidnapping thirteen gypsies, but that’s for later. After the break, break out your steampunk-inspired magnifying glasses and try to follow along, Watson, as we investigate the case of the eleven things we learned at the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows press conference.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets his grading done early because school is off for the rest of the week. With three family movies opening in theaters for the Thanksgiving weekend, Kevin tries to keep things respectable. Reliving his childhood, he sings and dances his way into the theater for the revival of The Muppets, then takes a serious look at 3D and avant-garde filmmaking with Martin Scorsese’s latest film Hugo. Finally, he bundles up and heads to the North Pole on a search for Santa and his family, knowing it has to be exactly like it is depicted in Arthur Christmas. Movies don’t lie, after all, do they?

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It’s hard to overstate just how amazing it is to consider a big-budget, major studio-produced 3D family adventure centered on Georges Méliès. Before now, the work of the early cinematic innovator, whose movies (most famously 1903’s A Trip to the Moon) revolutionized and advanced special effects, has been relegated to film history texts and brief snippets of televised specials. If there’s one filmmaker to make Méliès matter again, to introduce him to a mass audience, it’s Martin Scorsese. After all, the Oscar-winning legend is not just one of the foremost cinematic masters, as a noted film preservationist, he’s among the chief protectors of the long, glorious and frequently threatened legacy of the motion picture. In Hugo, Scorsese transforms the trappings of a 3D holiday picture into a loving tribute to Méliès and the earliest masters of the cinematic dream factory. From the structure of its narrative, to the details of its plot, and the industrialized nature of its majestic visuals, this is a film infused with the joy and wonder of movies. Set amid the glittering magic of Paris in the early 1930s, the film follows 12-year-old orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who secretly lives in a train station. Hugo, who winds the station’s clocks, dwells inside a labyrinthine interior comprised of enormous grinding gears, rising steam currents, and other elaborate metallic concoctions. Among the latter is a non-functioning automaton brought home by Hugo’s late father (Jude Law), which the young man works on incessantly in the hope that he can bring […]

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Enjoy playing Count The Explosions in the next trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. While there’s still a subdued kind of excitement to the proceedings, it’s not short on very quick chemical reactions. Hopefully the film will be an improvement on the first. At any rate, Guy Ritchie is raising the stakes by including Moriarty, Holmes’s greatest foe, played by Jared Harris. Of course Robert Downey, Jr. is back alongside Jude Law, and while they’ll be joined by Noomi Rapace, we’ll also apparently see the return of Rachel McAdams to the series. Check it out for yourself:

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Culture Warrior

For the past few weeks, cinephiles, journalists, and critics have been grappling with the notion of what ‘post-9/11 cinema’ is, has been, will be, and/or looks like. What they’ve come up with are a group of wildly different, potentially specious, but ultimately quite fascinating explorations on the relationship between art, commerce, and life – and by ‘life’ I mean, in this case, that rare type of event whose effect takes on an enduringly profound, universally personal, omnipresent ripple. The overwhelming conclusion that most of these observations end with is, rather appropriately and naturally, “I don’t know, but here are some thoughts.” Besides those works of audiovisual media that were directly inspired by, intentionally referenced, or somehow directly related to 9/11, it’s difficult to say exactly what a post-9/11 film is unless one allows for literally every film made afterward to potentially enter such a category. But perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads into the MMA ring to battle Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, after being trained by a strung-out Nick Nolte who looks like he’s ready to have an aneurysm at any moment. Then he is sent into a bird flu panic when someone coughs on him at the airport. Not wanting to suffer the same fate as Gwenyth Paltrow, he takes a road trip down to the Louisiana bayou where he runs into a hillbilly redneck alligator mutant. But at least he didn’t have to see Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.

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Focus Features has just announced a helmer for their Anna Karenina adaptation penned by Tom Stoppard, and while it’s a bit of a no-duh assignment, it’s still a very fine one. Joe Wright will direct the film, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s classic (read: every high school kid is assigned to read it, and none of them ever do) novel. Despite my more bookwormish tendencies, my familiarity with Anna Karenina is quite lacking, so we’ll turn to Focus’ plotline for the film, which tells us that “the story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.” Also, it’s Russian and it’s Tolstoy, so it’s also not a feel-good work by any stretch. But the film has a solid cast already attached to it, including some names that Wright has worked with before, including Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina (in her third role in a Wright production), with Jude Law as her husband Alexei Karenin, and Aaron Johnson as Count Vronksy, with other roles filled by Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfayden (Mr. Darcy in Wright’s Pride & Prejudice), Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams (from Hanna), and Ruth Wilson.

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A box just landed on my doorstep, and as the UPS man drove away, I opened it up to find a device that gets rid of germs on cell phones using some sort of UV light. Why would a marketing department send me that? Because inside was a USB drive containing the first trailer for Contagion – the forthcoming viral outbreak thriller from Steven Soderbergh. What better way to kick everything off? Plus, the trailer is gripping. Matt Damon brings the intensity, Laurence Fishburne brings the expertise, the rest of the cast (including Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law) bring anxiety, but behind every single performance is a major element of fear. Holy hell, this looks great:

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It’s fascinating that the director of Taxi Driver is the man who put this together. Martin Scorsese once again shows his versatility by tackling Hugo, an adaptation of the popular children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Interestingly, it look like he’s channeling Chris Columbus here with a healthy dose of Lemony Snicket. Yes, it looks fun and silly, but this trailer makes it look a bit too childish (and features far, far too much of Sacha Baron Cohen falling down and smashing into things Kevin James-style).

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Sherlock Holmes has always been a character steeped in a rich tradition of intellectual wit and gamesmanship. He’s a thinker, a strategist and an insane tactician fit to do battle with all the world’s most devious antagonists. But to hell with that, as Guy Ritchie is giving us the more explosive, action hero Sherlock Holmes. And while its not a thinking man’s game, it sure looks like a hell of a lot of fun. With the first trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the sequel to the fun, stylish, slow-motiony 2009 Robert Downey Jr. led film, Ritchie and crew lay it all on the line: in this round, Sherlock will be dashing and daring in equal measure, while Watson will continue to be frustrated. The boys are back and I’m betting on fun, so lets take a look at the tape. Also, Robert Downey Jr. in drag…

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As the time ticks on towards this year’s fest, the official Cannes Film Festival website has just sent me a Newsletter informing me of the Avengers style band of filmy people who will make up this year’s Grand Jury- lead in Captain America style (albeit a grumpy and grizzly version now) by Robert DeNiro. Among the list of eight are stellar actors Uma Thurman and Jude Law (stellar provided we forget the other Avengers movie, and the remake of Sleuth), writer/director Oliver Assayas (Carlos) and director Johnnie To (Election). The full list is as follows:

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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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