Kate Winslet

labordayfilm

This article contains spoilers for ‘Labor Day.’  Proceed with caution unless you have already taken in all of the nonsense it has to offer, or if you are for some other reason free of spoiler-fear. Seeing as I watched director Jason Reitman’s new film, Labor Day, after it was already a few days into its release, I figured that since I hadn’t heard much about it, chances were that it was just an ordinary movie. I mean, I’d heard some rumbling about how it was surprisingly bad, but given how much people have liked Reitman’s movies (Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up In the Air, Young Adult) up until this point, it made sense that he was probably due to make something that would disappoint. And yeah, the trailer looked pretty hokey, but who can’t go in for a sappy love story every once in a while? It was pretty damned surprising to me then, just how contemptible Labor Day ended up being—and not in your usual bad movie way either. Sure, it was contrived. Sure, its characters often didn’t behave in any believably human way. And sure, it had some serious pacing problems. The real issues with this thing went so much further than problems with crafting though. At a very fundamental level, Labor Day tells a story that presupposes a woman can’t thrive in her life unless she’s permanently attached to a man, which is laughable. As soon as I got home I Googled the movie, expecting to […]

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Labor Day Movie

In 1993, Clint Eastwood delivered Kevin Costner as a man on the lam in A Perfect World. It was a smart, dusty twist on coming-of-age featuring a kidnapped boy and ketchup sandwiches. It’s one of Eastwood’s best as a director, and watching the new trailer for Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, I couldn’t help but pick up an echo of it. Reitman looks like he’s doing what he always does (which also means casually going after a fifth Oscar nomination) with the story of an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) playing house with his collateral. Naturally, there’s more to his and the family’s stories. Our review is here. Check out the trailer for yourself and be prepared for a flash of James Van Der Beek as a lawman:

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Labor Day

There’s no funny or punny way to put this – Jason Reitman’s Labor Day is a film about human needs and desires and so how they so often (and so irrevocably) lead to human stupidity and error. A domestic drama about grief, tragedy, growth, and renewal, there’s not a hamburger phone to be found in the whole production, and even Reitman’s trademark banter is held at bay for nearly the film’s entire runtime (the filmmaker does let it fly for a truncated dinner sequence). A film about the human condition, Labor Day is both incredibly relatable and deeply frustrating – after all, those are the sort of emotions anyone would feel if they let an escaped convict into their house and promptly fell in love with him.

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DIVERGENT

There’s a way to know when a YA adaptation is going to be the next big thing, and that’s when everyone had heard of the books prior to the making of the movie. Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games all fit that rule, at least as far as I noticed. Divergent does not. I hadn’t heard the title before production began. In fact, I hadn’t heard about it until Comic-Con last month. I understand that many people are excited about this movie, which stars Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet and Theo James. But now that the first trailer has arrived, by way of MTV and the VMAs, I can’t for the life of me see why. Perhaps it’s a matter of just seeing The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones this week and being reminded of all prior YA adaptations, success and failures. Then only afterward learning that it began as Harry Potter fanfiction. In the discussions of fanfic turning into actual hot “original” YA properties, I’d heard the notion that Divergent seems like it was born out of The Hunger Games, and this preview really drives that idea home. Sort of. It looks like a Hunger Games knockoff with a plot inspired by Harry Potter‘s Sorting Hat. For a movie that’s apparently about not fitting into a conventional box, Divergent sure doesn’t look very divergent.

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downeyfavreau

What is Casting Couch? It’s your place to catch up with all of the casting news that broke over the weekend. Just a couple days away from the Internet and you missed news involving Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and Samuel L. Jackson. Catch up! One of the biggest reasons Robert Downey Jr. is experiencing a huge career resurgence right now is that Jon Favreau fought to cast him as the lead in the first Iron Man movie. After Downey killed it in that movie and he and Favreau made about a gabillion dollars together on it and the sequel, one would imagine a lifetime friendship was forged. That’s why, even though Favreau’s next film is a little indie dramedy he’s starring in himself called Chef, he’s still able to call in a big favor and have a huge star like Downey join the ensemble cast. Variety reports that Downey is now on board to work in the film alongside actors like Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Cannavale.

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Joaquin Phoenix

What is Casting Couch? It’s heading into the weekend with three pieces of casting news about three actors everyone has actually heard of. Star power! Remember how rumors were going around that Robert Downey Jr. was going to be the star of Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming project, Inherent Vice? Well, turns out that didn’t pan out. Don’t let the news that Downey and Anderson aren’t teaming up get you down for long though, because Variety has a report that says Inherent Vice is now going to star Joaquin Phoenix instead. Though opinions on The Master were a little divided, pretty much everyone agreed that Phoenix’s performance in that film was powerful enough to be hypnotic, so it should be great to watch the actor being directed by Anderson again. And, seeing as this one is supposed to be more of a comedy, it should feel fresh watching Phoenix doing something that isn’t so creepifying.

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Ray Liotta

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that lives on because Kate Erbland was goodly enough to step in and keep it going for a couple days. Let’s all thank Kate. Thanks, Kate. Usually when movies are already filmed it means that their casting process has been completed. Not so for a Robert Rodriguez film, though. This guy does pretty much every job on his sets and relies on studio assistance for very little, which allows him to play by his own rules and march to the beat of his own drummer. Sometimes that opportunity for flexibility can result in movies that feel like they’ve been slapped together by a madman, but sometimes it leads to a movie being able to make amazing last minute additions, like how his in-production Sin City sequel just added Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, and Jeremy Piven to its already-stacked cast. Indiewire isn’t sure which characters they’re going to be playing, but probably that doesn’t matter much. Liotta and Piven always just play themselves, and Temple, well…she can do anything she wants.

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Titanic

“I’ll never let go, Jack, I promise,” Kate Winslet tearfully promises Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameron‘s 1997 blockbuster classic, Titanic. She clutches his hand as they both prepare to meet their maker in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, she huddled up on a giant goddamn wooden door, he clinging to both his beloved and, again, a giant goddamn wooden door. She makes vows, vows to never let go, and then BOOM, she lets go. What the hell, Rose DeWitt Bukater? Since Cameron’s darling-slaying of young DiCaprio, moviegoers have raged and wondered over why Rose and Jack didn’t try just a smidge harder to get both their bodies on that giant goddamn wooden door so that they could have had the happily ever after we all wanted for them. Why?!? It seemed to possible! So touchable! Cameron has recently sounded off on the issue, finally opening up and telling fans that “it’s not a question of room; it’s a question of buoyancy. Jack puts Rose on the raft, then he gets on the raft — He’s not an idiot; he doesn’t want to die — and then the raft sinks. So it’s clear that there’s really only enough buoyancy available for one person. So, he makes a decision to let her be that person.” Whatever. And that whatever was recently echoed by the team over at the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, who decided to find out for themselves whether or not Cameron’s buoyancy theory was actually correct. Heads up – […]

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Movie 43 Trailer

It’s been a really long time since a sketch anthology movie got released in theaters. I’m not some sort of human trivia machine, so I don’t know exactly how long, but let’s just say that it’s been quite a while since somebody showed somebody else their VHS copy of Kentucky Fried Movie in a college dorm room. The people at Relativity Media are making a big play at bringing the form back though, by recruiting an army of funny filmmakers and a legion of talented actors to put together a new sketch comedy anthology called Movie 43. Who do they have directing segments of this thing? People like Bob Odenkirk, James Gunn, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Farrelly, and tons others. Who’s starring? People like Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, and many more than can be typed without having your fingers cramp up. This movie cast Gerard Butler as its leprechaun, so you know it’s star-studded.

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Over Under - Large

Since its original release in 1972, Ronald Neame’s The Poseidon Adventure has gained the reputation of being a modern classic. And, certainly, it’s widely considered as being one of the preeminent disaster movies of all time. Set on a retiring ocean liner making its last voyage, The Poseidon Adventure tells the story of a New Year’s Eve celebration that gets interrupted by the sinking of a ship. It’s got a pretty impressive upside down ballroom set, it prominently features the legendary Gene Hackman, and it tells a high stakes story of survival. So it’s not hard to see why people like it. But it’s also largely just a movie where a group of confused people stumble around in dirty access panels and anonymous hallways for much of its run time. Is it really so great that watching it should be a New Year’s Eve tradition like many have made it out to be? Especially when there are indisputable classics like The Apartment out there that also feature New Year’s Eve party scenes? James Cameron’s Titanic is a sappy, on-the-nose romance set against the maiden voyage (and sinking) of the infamous RMS Titanic. Upon its release in 1997, Titanic won basically every award that was given out, brought in every bit of spare cash that was sitting in anyone’s pocketbooks, and captured the attention of the media machine to the point that, by the time 1998 rolled around, the backlash for the film had almost reached the same levels of fervor […]

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To spend so many years of your life not knowing about the Titanic until the director of True Lies tells you about it is almost as tragic as the event itself. But there’s no one that doesn’t know about the sinking of the Titanic, right? Right? In usual Internet and Twitter fashion, the impossible has been proven not-at-all-impossible. Kids and teens across the nation, a.k.a. these 12 concerned Twitterers, are currently in a state of shock and terror because 100-year-old news doesn’t travel fast enough. Not only are these fine citizens worried if people actually died, but more importantly if dear Jack made it or if Billy Zane got his comeuppance. Nikki Finke’s insiders estimate it’ll take ten years for them to figure out both Jack and Billy Zane weren’t even real people. Expect more #mindblown tweets that day. Check this out for yourself:

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A few days ago I reported on a story that two former female leads from Charlie Kaufman movies would both be working with the writer again, this time on his next directorial effort Frank or Francis. It turns out that was only half right. While Catherine Keener does appear to be attached to the film, buried in a report about Paul Reubens joining the cast is confirmation from THR that Kate Winslet has not. That’s a pretty big blow to my enthusiasm for the added girl power that this movie would have gotten by casting both Keener and Winslet, and the inclusion of Pee-Wee does little to soften the blow. Fortunately for me, there’s some more news that does soften the blow a bit. In another report, THR says that Elizabeth Banks has joined the cast, and in a role that sounds like it has some potential for hilarity. As we know already, Steve Carell and Jack Black are playing the title characters, a director and a film blogger who come into conflict with one another over a series of bad reviews. Well, it appears that Banks will be playing the Carell character’s girlfriend, an actress who keeps making “formulaic comedy bombs.” Seeing as the focus of this movie is the world of filmmaking vs. the world of film criticism, I’m imagining that Banks’ character will provide some delicious jabs sent the way of actresses like Kate Hudson and Katherine Heigl, the undisputed queens of the formulaic comedy bomb.

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Kate Winslet and Catherine Keener

Charlie Kaufman’s directing followup to Synecdoche, New York has been in the casting stage for a while now, and already it has compiled an impressive core of male actors. Names like Steve Carrell, Jack Black, and Nicolas Cage have attached themselves to the picture, and Kaufman has even made a play at securing Paul Blart. So far there’s been a lack of news about who might play any of the female parts, however. This movie, that seems designed to take the wind out of our movie blogging sails, was looking like a real sausage fest. That’s all changed in a big way though. Vulture is reporting that two phenomenal actresses, Kate Winslet and Catherine Keener, have just signed on to join an already stellar cast. That’s some added girl power that might take even the Spice Girls aback for a minute. News of Winslet and Keener’s involvement on any project would be met with quite a bit of enthusiasm already, but when you factor in that both of these actresses have worked very successfully with Charlie Kaufman material before, things kind of get kicked up a notch.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

As 2011 crawls to a close and 2012 peeks its head over the horizon, many of us wayward souls find ourselves using the changing of the calendar as an excuse to make big changes in our lives and start over fresh. ‘Tis the season for resolutions. Some of us will resolve to cease destructive behaviors, others will vow to start new things that will enrich us and make us better people. But for each the goal is clear – we’re done with the past, finished with who we were, and starting from this moment forward, it’s going to be a new day. Naturally, all of this thought about what my resolutions are going to be and who I want to be in 2012 has me thinking about movies that I’ve seen where people are trying to let go of the past and begin a new journey. More specifically, I’ve closed in on two movies from the early part of the last decade that are about relationships ending and their messy aftermaths. The Michel Gondry-directed and Charlie Kaufman-penned Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is about a fictional service that will erase bad relationships from people’s memories, it stars Jim Carrey as a man wrestling with the question of how to best deal with painful memories, either by blocking them out or by accepting and processing them. Two years before that, Philip Seymour Hoffman starred in a movie called Love Liza about a broken man dealing with a relationship that had […]

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I spoke with John C. Reilly a few months ago for Terri, and now the seemingly always-working actor has two drastically different films coming out for the holiday season. While Terri was a humanistic and empathetic portrayal of naturally flawed people, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage is a cynical and full-blown satire of pretentious, childish adults. It is 79 minutes of characters slowly revealing their dark, immature, and somewhat understandable views. Reilly’s other film, We Need to Talk About Kevin, a mostly liked but slightly divisive film, is probably one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. Lynne Ramsay‘s film, as Reilly perfectly puts it, is meant to be taken almost as a dream. Very few scenes should be taken literally. I recently had the chance to discuss both films with Reilly, along with Roman Polanski’s specificity, the responsibilities of an actor, and when tools become human beings.

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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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Snarky title aside, I am actually greatly anticipating the 3D re-release of James Cameron’s Titanic, if only because I cannot wait to see a film that made me sob for four hours straight on the big screen again. I don’t quite know how said sobbing will work out with the 3D glasses, but I’m willing to test it out regardless (for science). In anticipation of that re-release (which will also be available in IMAX and 2D, all with a fully digitally re-mastered 4K print), Paramount has released a new trailer for the film, one that will make you remember why you saw the film sixteen times in theaters to begin with (or was that just um, not me, but someone else I know, yeah, that’s it – someone else). Complete with a new introduction from Cameron himself, the trailer hits all the high notes from the film, including a magical cue-up of “My Heart Will Go On,” rushing water, running, and the “draw me like one of your French girls” scene. And isn’t that just Titanic in a nutshell? Become king of the world all over again, and check out the re-release trailer after the break.

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Being a parent is no easy task – when your child acts out or does something wrong, it’s hard not to take it as a personal reflection on yourself. In Carnage, after a playground altercation turns violent, the parents of the two boys involved decide to come together to try and come to a reasonable agreement on how to rectify the situation. What starts out as a civil conversation between the two parties quickly devolves into an honest and bitterly funny examination of not only each others’ parenting skills, but their marriages and even themselves as people. Based on Yasmina Reza‘s play, God of Carnage, director Roman Polanski takes the story to the big screen with four powerhouse performers who make being trapped in an apartment an engaging look at human nature you want to run away from, but at the same time are unable to tear your eyes from. After Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan’s (Christoph Waltz) son hits Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet’s (John C. Reilly) son in the face with a stick, the parents decide to try and settle things like adults, but how they each think that should happen differs from person to person and those differences are eventually revealed when the Cowan’s (despite repeated efforts) find themselves unable to simply leave the Longstreet’s apartment.

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Translating a limited-setting play to the screen can be tricky business – it’s not often that stage plays that take place in just one or two locations are suited for a cinematic interpretation. To put it simply – how can people sitting around in a room be compelling to a movie-going audience? Well, when the people sitting around that room are Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly, and they’re directed by Roman Polanski, it’s pretty compelling. Based on Yasmina Reza’s play “God of Carnage,” Polanski’s latest focuses on two couples, the Longstreets (as played by Foster and Reilly) and the Bowens (Winslet and Waltz), tossed together after the Bowens’ son gives a good face-wacking to the Longstreets’ boy. Attempting a cordial meeting to hash out the results of the brawl, the Bowens and the Longstreets end up making their kids look tame, as they all end up going positively bonkers. Check out just how bonkers in the second trailer for Carnage, after the break.

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Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play “God of Carnage” doesn’t inherently lend itself to cinema. With four characters interacting in a single setting, and a narrative centered on a thin symbolic conceit, it’s the sort of dialogue-heavy project that could easily be captured with a tedious cut-and-dry, shot-reverse-shot filmic approach. It’s fortunate, then, that Roman Polanski has taken it on in Carnage, and filled the roles with some of the most interesting actors around. Say what you will about Polanski the man, but Polanski the filmmaker has demonstrated an almost limitless aptitude for creative technique. Similarly, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz (four Oscar wins among them) have a preternatural gift for imbuing even the quietest moments with extraordinary, unconventional feeling. After young Zachary Cowan hits Ethan Longstreet with a stick during a playground brawl, knocking out two of Ethan’s teeth, the latter’s parents invite the former’s to their Brooklyn apartment to discuss the incident. Over the course of a tumultuous morning, Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Foster and Reilly) and Nancy and Alan Cowan (Winslet and Waltz) will spar, commiserate and touch on the essence of parenthood, manhood and the art of confronting modernity with a social conscience.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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