Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake Omeletteville

We’ve all probably contemplated a career change at some points in our lives. But at the same time, we also probably didn’t (most of us, I don’t know about you) start out as multi-award winning pop stars beloved by millions for our singing and dancing. Proving that even the richest and most famous get bored or at least hear from an agent or two that they’re something special, many a pop sensation get the itch sometime down the road to give acting a shot. Whether or not they’re successful, well, that’s up for us to sit through and ultimately decide. For every On The Line, there’s an Oscar-winning performance in Moonstruck that somehow happens. Some people just have all the luck.

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inside-llewyn-davis

If it seems as if we’ve been covering the soundtrack from the Joel and Ethan Coen’s newly released Inside Llewyn Davis quite a bit around these parts as of late, that’s a totally fair observation, simply because it’s true. The sixties-set film about the eponymous New York City folk singer that never hit the big time is appropriately steeped in music, and all of it just so happens to be damn good. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the best films of the year, but its soundtrack is easily the best soundtrack of the year. But if something like “Please Mr. Kennedy” is an unabashedly joyful jam (and it is) that proves that not all folk music needs to be morose and depressing (it does not), where does that leave the sadder songs of the soundtrack? Turns out, in pretty good standing, because while the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack may feature some upbeat compositions, it’s still packed to the gills with the kind of stuff that might make you consider ending it all (and that’s not hyperbolic – as we soon discover in the film that Llewyn’s former singing partner did just that before the action of the film unfolds). So what’s the saddest song on the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack? Behold – an investigation.

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inside llewyn davis 01

Editor’s note: Our review of Inside Llewyn Davis originally ran during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens today in limited theatrical release. The eighth In Competition banner for the Coen Brothers at the Cannes Film Festival is their first in six years, since their eventual Best Picture Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. Though there isn’t a chance for the intrepid filmmaking duo to repeat the same success here, the feeling coming out of Inside Llewyn Davis is that the brothers would not have it any other way. Indeed, while terming their latest work the worst thing they’ve put out since The Ladykillers might send alarm bells ringing, when you consider their body of work since — No Country, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man and True Grit – it begins to seem not quite so bitter a pill to swallow. Tackling the New York folk music scene of the 1960s, the Coens’ latest sees the titular character (Oscar Isaac) stumbling through the city by the seat of his pants, trying to make it as a musician in an ostensibly difficult niche. Hopping from sofa to sofa, LLewyn drifts through life, propelled almost singularly by a desire to meet music maestro Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) while his personal life, namely a surprise pregnancy by way of occasional partner Jean (Carey Mulligan), crumbles around him.

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inside-llewyn

It’s fitting that awards season comes during winter – after all, the more dramatic-skewing fare we tend to get come November and December all but blots out the sunny memories of yet another blockbuster-filled summer season – but that doesn’t mean that every big gun hitting screens near you has to be (or even is) an emotional downer. While Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave may have scared off a few viewers because of repeated cries that the film was brutal and wrenching and highly upsetting, the film is also very rewarding and, we daresay, well worth the emotional upheavals that happen within it (and, conversely, the emotional upheavals that happen to its audience while watching). The Coen Brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, may fall victim to that same “it’s hard!” talk, and its muted color palate, wintry setting, and focus on a struggling folk singer (Oscar Isaac) who never makes it at his chosen craft might not appeal to those with drama fatigue – but it should. Especially because, in true Coen fashion, Inside Llewyn Davis is very, very funny. Sure, most of the film’s biggest chuckles come care of the crushing inevitability of life, terrible chance encounters, and drug abuse (this film really is funny, we swear), but that’s what makes it relatable. It’s what makes it ring true (and sing true). Yet, there’s nothing as funny, catchy, and plucky in the film than a little ditty called “Please Mr. Kennedy.”

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review runner runner

Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) was a Wall Street hot-shot once upon a time, but when the economy tanked so did his job. Now he’s forced to attend Princeton on his own dime which is an untenable situation as he only has 170,000 dimes to his name. He lights upon the genius idea of gambling his $17k into enough to cover tuition on an online poker site called Midnight Black, but while he’s a financial whiz and a Texas Hold’em master he’s shocked when he loses it all to another player. Suspecting foul play he has the data analyzed, and sure enough, he’s been cheated. So he packs his bags and flies off to the absolutely and completely corrupt nation of Costa Rica where Midnight Black’s CEO, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), resides outside of the United States’ jurisdiction. Furst finagles some face time, shares his accusation of the site’s malfeasance, and is promptly offered a job with the company. What job? Not important. All of his financial dreams are coming true, but the whole endeavor is threatened by the love of a bad woman (Gemma Arterton), the faults of a weak father (John Heard), and the actual threats of a rogue F.B.I. agent named Shavers (Anthony Mackie). Also, crocodiles. Runner Runner is a movie made by people who’ve seen other movies and thought to themselves, yeah, I can do that. It manages to be both convoluted and simplistic, busy and ultimately empty, and it does it all with expository narration that […]

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Runner Runner

Before he dons the Batman costume and endures the rage of thousands of confused and disgruntled fans who are outraged they weren’t consulted about a studio’s casting choice, Ben Affleck will be playing a different kind of billionaire. In Brad Furman‘s Runner Runner, Affleck is the head of an online poker company that is apparently located on the world’s most ominous tropical island. Here, he meets with average not-30-year-old college student Justin Timberlake, who has decided that gambling via online poker would be the smartest way to pay off his student loans. When that plan goes sour and he loses all of his money instead, he flies to Spooky Island to meet with Affleck. Check out the clip below:

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ILD

Considering that the Coen Brothers‘ upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis was once listed as one of our most anticipated films of 2012, it’s heartening that the film has finally picked up the distribution necessary to get it out in theaters in 2013. CBS Films has picked up the U.S. rights to the film, which stars Oscar Isaac (alongside Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham, and Justin Timberlake) as a fictitious 1960’s folk-singing hero in Greenwich Village. The news also came complete with two brand-new looks at the film, including that still of Isaac up above, and one of Mulligan and Timberlake, which you can check out after the break. So vintage.

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In a shocking turn of casting events, Variety reports that strolling troubadour and star of The Love Guru, Justin Timberlake, is in talks to star in a new film that would see the former boy band balladeer playing kind of a jerk. Heavens! The outlet reports that Timberlake is looking to star in Peter Sollett‘s (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) The Last Drop, which would see him as “a charming alcoholic who works as a restaurant critic for New York Magazine” who decides to clean up his wicked ways in order to win the love of a good woman. We will now take bets as to just how irrepressibly awful and jerky Timberlake’s character will be before he gets off the sauce. Timberlake has previously played charming jerks in films like The Social Network, Trouble With the Curve, Alpha Dog, Southland Tales, and (somewhat arguably) Yogi Bear. The film comes from a Black List script by Brandon and Phil Murphy. The script earned 9 votes that year on the list of Hollywood’s “most liked” unproduced scripts. Its official List synopsis expands a bit beyond Variety’s logline, telling us that is centers on “a fully functioning alcoholic meets the girl of his dreams and soon discovers that there’s a lot more at stake than love if he doesn’t clean up his act.” Stakes!

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For a film that opens in less than two months, we’ve seen very little from Robert Lorenz‘s Clint Eastwood-starring feature debut, the father-daughter baseball dramedy Trouble With the Curve, so it’s about damn night Warner Bros. rolled out a trailer for the project. And yet, this first trailer doesn’t show us much beyond what audiences are likely expecting from the film – Eastwood is crotchety! Amy Adams is lovely and sweet! Justin Timberlake is snarky and vaguely sleazy! And also Matthew Lillard is there, being kind of a jerk. One thing’s for sure, however, Eastwood’s character, an aging baseball scout who is also losing his vision, was definitely not a fan of Moneyball (damn computers!). But perhaps we will be fans of this film, which looks to be an inoffensive and possibly even charming entry into more adult-skewed “family” films. Settle into the cheap seats and check out the first trailer after the break.

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Anybody who watches Parks and Recreation already knows that Jean-Ralphio is probably the most connected, cutting edge entrepreneur/promoter/personality in Pawnee, Indiana, and maybe in all of the Midwest. This guy could find a way to get you bottle service on the moon. But what a lot of people probably don’t know is that Jean-Ralphio isn’t actually a real person. He’s just a character played by an actor named Ben Schwartz. I know, I was shocked, too. And even more mind-blowing than this news is a report that Schwartz has a new job lined up in a feature film, which will see him working with some of the biggest names in the game. According to THR, Schwartz has signed on to star alongside Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake in Brad Fuhrman’s (The Lincoln Lawyer) upcoming tale about the world of online gambling, Runner, Runner. Even though Jean-Ralphio is the real power player in this situation, Timberlake technically stars as a professional gambler who starts working under the tutelage of an offshore gaming CEO (is that a real job?) played by Affleck. Schwartz is signed on to play the friend of Timberlake’s character, which makes sense, because he’s going to need someone to help him figure out the most fabulous ways to spend all of the money he wins. First step: buy a helicopter made out of crystal.

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Oh, come on now, you didn’t think that Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake would star in a movie together and there wouldn’t be hot ladies around, did you? The pair signed on for Brad Furman‘s Runner Runner in April and, back then, we only knew that it would focus on online gambling and that Timberlake would be the right-hand man to boss guy Affleck. Now we have a fuller picture of the film, including just how Timberlake gets tossed into this particular shark tank and who might help pull him out. Gemma Arterton has been cast in the film, in a role that Variety can only divulge as being “Timberlake’s love interest.” Let’s hope that she can get him away from Affleck, who sounds like he’ll be playing a real sleaze. The outlet also reports that the Timberlake will play “a Princeton student cheated out of his tuition money playing online poker who ends up the right-hand man of the site’s corrupt boss (Affleck).” Geez, bad decisions all around on that one.

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You know what’s hot right now? Poker. Pretend you’re reading this in 2006. You know what’s really hot right now? Asking about things that are hot right now. It’s true. That’s why all the celebrity magazines do it. At least two obvious answers to that ever-present question are Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. According to Variety, the pair will be trying to pack a full house for Runner Runner, a movie focused on the world of illegal online gambling. Beyond the big names set to star, there’s more talent behind the typewriter and in the director’s chair. The script comes from Brian Koppelman and David Lieven (Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen), and the production has snagged Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) to direct. Jokes about relevancy aside, this sounds cool as hell. Rounders was sharp, and it’ll be fascinating to see Affleck follow in Matt Damon’s footsteps. Potential-wise, all the names look killer here. The subject could be straight out of the noir playbook, but making online poker seem invigorating will definitely be a challenge.

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Now that Warner Bros. has given an official release date to the Clint Eastwood- and Amy Adams-starring father-daughter-baseball-scouting-oops-think-someone-is-going-blind film, Trouble With The Curve, for September 28, it’s time they get to filling out the rest of the roster. Next up at bat? Justin Timberlake! Deadline Memphis reports that Timberlake will co-star in the film as ” a rival scout who is sweet on the elder scout’s daughter.” Both Eastwood and Timberlake’s characters will presumably be going head to head to land a hot new prospect. Other hot things will likely also go down between Timberlake and Adams, if you get what I’m saying here. Timberlake’s focus has switched to acting in recent years, and he’s been rounding his resume out with stuff that has been, at the very least, interesting. He’s hit just about every genre (comedy, romantic comedy, drama, sci-fi, animation), and he’s worked with some great directors (well, mainly David Fincher). Next up for him? The Coen brothers’ Inside Lleywn Davis, which should be another huge cinematic step for the actor. A sports drama co-starring Eastwood? I can see it.

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These kind of wish fulfillment new stories are not usually worth their weight in magic beans, but there’s a sort of sense that comes with the news that Elton John wants Justin Timberlake to play the lead role in the movie about himself that he’s working on. Of course, it also sounds a bit like Bruce Villanche wanting Denzel Washington to star in Villanche: The Movie, but Timberlake is a highly talented singer and actor who has appeared as John before in a music video. Put a shaggy wig on him, and they could be brothers. The kind where you might not guess immediately that they were related. John also announced to the LA Times that the film project, written by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), has found a director. Unfortunately, the production was looking at Baz Luhrmann (due to the reportedly trippy, magical feel of it all), but he wasn’t available. Hopefully, we’ll find out which Luhrmann-like entity they hired instead. As for Timberlake, this is a shout into the wilderness for John, as the actor hasn’t commented and may not even know he’s on the wish list. But if he doesn’t do it, can I suggest either Eminem or Ben Folds? Also, when does Villanche: The Movie come out?

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Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in In Time

In Time squanders a promising metaphor on an abundance of sleek action scenes that seem to have wandered into the movie from a car commercial. Writer-director Andrew Niccol will always have a beloved, if underrated, place in the realm of modern day sci-fi crafters for his terrific eugenics drama Gattaca and his Truman Show script. But his career has floundered since then, and his latest flick fails to find the structural, atmospheric or plot-driven ingenuity to match its provocative premise.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on some 3D glasses to look at some puss… in boots, that is. He proceeds to rewrite fairy tale fiction to include more bodily function humor, an egg-shaped Zach Galifianakis and a hairy but still sexy Salma Hayek. Then, he heads to the reference department of his local library to discover who really wrote the complete works of William Shakespeare. When all signs point to Neil Miller as the real author, Kevin gives up, realizing he’s out of time. So he brings sexy back and heads out to kidnap Amanda Seyfried so he can occupy Hollywood and start a revolution together… or get arrested.

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Andrew Niccol is one of the few futurist filmmakers working today. The man knows how to take ten steps ahead of everyone else. His concepts are imaginatively absurd, but in that absurdity, Niccol generally points to problems that plague us today and may grow in the future. The concept of The Truman Show seemed outrageous at the time, and yet that film has become a sad reality. Despite his forward-thinking, Niccol doesn’t have the easiest time getting films made. It has been six years since Lord of War, and a few projects between that time fell through for the filmmaker. Why? Because Niccol, as he himself says, is always creating too expensive of concepts. Now, he’s finally got one of those not-so-cheap concepts made. With In Time being his biggest film yet, he pointed out how like on every film, there are “trucks of compromises.” Here’s what Andrew Niccol — who I also spoke to at Comic-Con, so if you want to know more about In Time, read that interview — had to say about the difficulty of getting his ideas made, the desire of leaving for France, and why it’s easier to sleep when you have no conscience.

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Continuing on his apparent plan to dominate (let’s use the term somewhat loosely) a vast assortment of different film genres, Justin Timberlake has now signed on for a biopic. Timberlake has done the rom-com thing (Friends with Benefits), the voice work in a cartoon thing (Yogi Bear), the serious thing (The Social Network), the comedy thing (Bad Teacher), and is next tackling the sci-fi thing (In Time). If you had told thirteen year old me that the baby blue one would turn into a serious actor within a decade or so, I would not have believed you. The kid had Rice-A-Roni hair and he danced like a puppet, and now he can topline films. That is the American dream in a nutshell. Deadline Weehawken reports that Timberlake’s next project will see him starring in Spinning Gold, “a biopic of famous 1970s record producer Neil Bogart, co-founder of Casablanca Records.”Because Timberlake also apparently doesn’t sleep (his energy comes purely from dancing), he will also executive produce the project. The script for Spinning Gold has been penned by Bogart’s own son, Tim Bogart, and it focuses on the “rags-to-riches” story of a scrappy guy from Brooklyn whose Casablanca label signed such huge acts as KISS, Parliament, Donna Summer, and The Village People. Unfortunately, Bogart died quite young (at age 39 in 1982 from cancer), so the challenge in casting the film was finding a young actor who could portray him throughout his short life. Timberlake is apparently that young actor. Tim Bogart himself said that […]

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One of the few films from Comic-Con that I wasn’t looking forward to, but left feeling excited about, is Andrew Niccol‘s In Time. After viewing the sizzle reel in Hall H and interviewing Niccol, expectations got raised. Niccol isn’t a filmmaker that works all that often and considering this is his return to the sci-fi world, it’s somewhat of a mini-event. This is also his first action movie, and it is shot through the eyes of Roger Deakins. The action is apparently all running, too – something expressed pretty clearly in this trailer. Seeing Justin Timberlake run around for two hours isn’t exactly ideal entertainment, but there looks to be more than a generic chase film here. The world building comes off topnotch, Roger Deakins’s first step into the digital realm seems to be a success, and Cillian Murphy as the man hunting Timberlake down is an idea I can get behind.

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Culture Warrior

The cinematic doppelganger effect seems to happen on a cyclical basis. Every few years, a pair of movies are released whose concepts, narratives, or central conceits are so similar that it’s impossible to envision how both came out of such a complex and expensive system with even the fairest amount of awareness of the other. Deep Impact and Armageddon. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Capote and Infamous. Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report. And now two R-rated studio-released romantic comedies about fuck buddies played by young, attractive superstars have graced the silver screen within only a few short months of each other. We typically experience doppelganger cinema with high-concept material, not genre fare. To see two back-to-back movies released about the secret life of anthropomorphic talking insects, a hyperbole-sized rock jettisoning towards Earth’s inevitable destruction, a Truman Capote biopic, or a movie about a mall cop seem rare or deliberately exceptional enough as a single concept to make the existence of two subsequent iterations rather extraordinary. Much has been made of the notion that Friends with Benefits is a doppelganger of No Strings Attached (the former has in more than one case been called the better version of the latter), but when talking about the romantic comedy genre – a category so well-tread and (sometimes for better, sometimes not) reliably formulaic that each film is arguably indebted to numerous predecessors – can we really say these films are doppelgangers in the same vein as the high-concept examples, or […]

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