Julia Stiles

Closed Circuit

If recent spy thrillers (and, ahem, Fast Six) have taught us anything, it’s that nefarious people in positions of power are always able to access government-run closed circuit videos for their own means. But what if it’s the actual government that’s collecting tape like a geeky collector at a neighborhood flea market? That’s the question (sort of, not really at all) at the heart of John Crowley‘s Closed Circuit. The film sounds like a relatively straightforward thriller (albeit one with a stellar cast that includes Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Julia Stiles, and Jim Broadbent) with some added sex appeal. Oh, and also this closed circuit thing. Bana and Hall star as lawyers (and ex-lovers) who get tasked with defending a man accused of a terrorist act that left many dead (he allegedly rigged a bus with explosives and set it off in a crowded area). It seems like a relatively thankless gig, but they soon discover that their client may in fact have been set up as a double agent by their own government, until everything went terribly wrong. Also? Again? Still something about CCTV. Who wants to place bets on how long it takes Bana and Hall to break into some video vault? Make sure your webcam is off first, and check out the first trailer for Closed Circuit after the break.

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review its a disaster

You wouldn’t think large-scale death and destruction would be good fodder for comedy, but last year’s Seeking a Friend For the End of the World proved otherwise with its sweet mix of laughs and heart. This year sees two higher profile attempts at the formula with Seth Rogen’s This Is the End and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, but the odds are both of these will lean far heavier on the comedy aspect. Unfairly allocated to the limited release indie circuit though is a little film that may just be the best of the bunch. Or should I say, the best of the brunch… (don’t worry, I didn’t write the movie). Pete and Emma (Blaise Miller & Erinn Hayes) host a regular “couples” brunch for their favorite fellow couples, but today’s get together won’t be going entirely to plan. Judging by how some of the regular attendees despise the mundane nature of the gathering that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Except in this case it totally is a bad thing. In addition to Pete and Emma’s real motive for the brunch, issues arise between the others as well. There’s a reason Shane and Hedy (Jeff Grace & America Ferrera) have been engaged for five years, Buck and Lexi (Kevin M. Brennan & Rachel Boston) have made some questionable choices when it comes to infidelity equality, and Glen and Tracy (David Cross & Julia Stiles) are just trying to get through their third date unscathed. Oh, and there’s a man at […]

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Todd Berger

One of our very favorite festival hits from last year, Todd Berger‘s side-splitting It’s A Disaster, is due to hit theaters (and VOD for all you shut-ins out there) in the next few weeks, so we’re pleased the production has debuted a new trailer. Berger’s film centers on the domestic catastrophe that is brunch amongst couple friends. Kidding. Well, sort of. Starring a large ensemble (including Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrera, and many more), It’s A Disaster starts off with a tough enough situation – Stiles’ character is tasked with bringing her new paramour, played by Cross, to meet all of her friends at their traditional Sunday brunch – and then ratchets that up significantly. Oh, how significantly? Apocalyptic significantly. With an apparent worldwide disaster knocking on their front door (along with Berger himself, who makes an amusing cameo), the group must begin to deal with all kinds of fallout (emotional and possibly nuclear). It’s the funniest apocalyptic film you’ll see all year. After the break, ready your mimosas for the new It’s A Disaster trailer.

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Jeremy Renner

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that’s for some reason talking a lot about suicide today. Um…enjoy your weekend, everybody! Tired of Jeremy Renner playing the angry little tough guy in all his movies? Then maybe his next project, Kill The Messenger, is what you’ve been waiting for. Deadline confirms that Renner will be starring in this Michael Cuesta-directed feature that tells the true story of Gary Webb, a journalist who was the victim of a CIA smear campaign after he wrote articles accusing the organization of arming rebels in Nicaragua and aiding with the smuggling of cocaine into California. The mounting pressure of said smear campaign eventually got to the point where Webb took his own life, so don’t expect Renner to go into a rage and shoot his way out of this one. Instead, expect to see yourself leaving the theater puffy-faced and pretending that you’re not crying.

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The jokes write themselves – It’s a Disaster is, in fact, not a disaster at all (though a brief glitch during the film’s final screening at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival did result in half of the audience tittering “it’s a disaster!” to a temporarily blank screen). Todd Berger‘s film takes some familiar ingredients – an end-of-the-world plot, a cast of characters who are stuck with each other, suburban brunch at its absolute worst – and mixes them up into one heck of a funny and acutely realized comedy stew (quiche?). Amusingly acted, incredibly well-written, and surprisingly adept at mixing and mingling disparate tones, It’s a Disaster is the exact kind of fresh comedy that audiences hope to find at film festivals. The film centers on a Sunday brunch that is already going to get a bit weird – hosts Pete (Blaise Miller) and Emma (Erinn Hayes) have an ulterior motive for bringing together their best pals for their traditional couples brunch, and it’s not just to meet Tracy’s (Julia Stiles) latest boyfriend, Glenn (David Cross). Likewise, it’s also not watch the Kivels (Kevin M. Brennan and Rachel Boston) go at it when they’re not talking about their latest adventures with drugs and music. And it’s not even to dance around the delicate topic of just when Hedy (America Ferrara) and Shane (Jeff Grace) are going to tie the knot. Of course, all that will happen – along with the most unplanned event of all: a decidedly unnatural disaster […]

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The last time there was news about David O. Russell’s upcoming film The Silver Linings Playbook I lamented the fact that we hadn’t been giving it enough coverage. No more! The drama about a former mental patient trying to rebuild his life keeps adding intriguing names to its cast, so I’m going to keep blathering on about it. Russell and company started off strong by getting Bradley Cooper to star as our hero mental case. That’s enough to catch my interest right there. Cooper’s career is on fire right now and he hasn’t even really had the chance to work with great directors yet. Seeing him and Russell do something together sounds like a great time. But the movie didn’t stop there, it followed the Cooper casting up by getting a couple of Oscar Nominees in Jennifer Lawrence and Jackie Weaver to play his new love interest and mother respectively. If there were two actresses that left a huge impression on me by the end of 2010, it was Lawrence and Weaver, so I can’t wait to see what they bring here.

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You know Mike Figgis. He’s that guy who directed Leaving Las Vegas and then, uh… some other stuff. I’m 90% certain Time Code was his next one, but then I must have stopped paying attention to him after that. Probably he did something important that’s slipping my mind and I’m really going to hear it in the comments. Regardless, he’s got a new movie on tap and he’s taking advantage of the Mad Men hiatus to have Christina Hendricks star in it. Whether she’s been running a 60s era ad agency in a parade of period costumes or grifting Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew of Serenity, I’ve absolutely loved everything that I’ve seen Christina Hendricks in, and I’m thrilled to see her get a big role in a feature. Whenever somebody writes a piece on Hendricks, it’s usually got something to do with her boom-booms and what she’s doing for the perception of women or whatever, but blah blah blah, who cares? This girl can act, why don’t we talk about that instead?

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Poet Sylvia Plath’s only novel (which she wrote under a pen name) is a tragic descent into depression that stands as a parallel to the author’s own life. It would be an excruciating subject matter to explore. In fact, Plath committed suicide just after the first print run. However, Julia Stiles is staring that psychological pressure down by signing on to produce and star in The Bell Jar. By starring, she’ll take on the role of Esther Greenwood, and she’ll be joined by Virginia Madsen who will play Dr. Nolan – the female therapist Greenwood sees after unsuccessful sessions with a male psychiatrist. Nicole Kassell (who directed The Woodsman and is directing a movie where Whoopi Goldberg plays God) will be directing. There’s no way that this thing doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test. [IndieWire]

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Like some of you, I am yet to get all the way through Dexter season four. I do know this — some shocking stuff happens, stuff that might make this very news item rather spoilery.

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decade-worstmovies

There were a lot of bad movies released during the past decade. That’s not anything that distinguishes the aughts from any other decade before it, but then most of these movies were bad in the usual, torturous ways.

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