Kathy Bates

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What is Casting Couch? It’s basically a casting news bonanza. Learn who the big names Melissa McCarthy has recruited for her movie Tammy are, as well as what Kiefer Sutherland is getting himself into, after the jump. Though we’ve yet to see for ourselves what the results of teaming Kristen Wiig up with the Anchorman crew in Anchorman 2 are going to be, the film’s director and star, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, must be happy with what they’ve seen so far, because THR is reporting that they’re now in talks to make her the star of an indie comedy they’re producing called Welcome to Me. McKay’s wife, Shira Piven, will be directing the film, which is said to be about a woman with dissociative personality disorder who stumbles into a fortune and uses her newfound cash to create a cable access show where she talks about her life. Sounds like it’s going to be like that live tour thing that Charlie Sheen did, only not scary because it isn’t real.

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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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Kate Hudson seems doomed to never get a chance to repeat her Almost Famous glory, stuck in a rut of endless romantic comedies, from the passable (Alex & Emma, How to Lose a Guy in 1o Days) to the horrific (Bride Wars, Something Borrowed). Nicole Kassell‘s A Little Bit of Heaven attempts to give Hudson just an, ahem, little bit more to work with, but the film is bogged down with too many shabby and shopworn rom-com tropes to ever rise above the sum of its tired and worn-out parts. Hudson plays Marley Corbett, who comes complete with all the hallmarks of a modern romantic comedy heroine – she’s dead-set against committed relationships (despite being quite in control of her sexual conquests), she depends on a Bridget Jones style urban family made up of friends and co-workers, she has a hip job, and she’s got a bawdy sense of humor that endears her to the most random of people. Marley is the last person you’d ever expect to get cancer (especially, as she so eloquently calls it, “ass cancer”), but her rapid weight loss and general malaise are not due to work stress or her wild social calendar – it’s the big c.

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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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Back in 1990 a Rob Reiner-directed horror thriller called Misery took an underappreciated actor named Kathy Bates and rocketed her to the top of the world. Her portrayal of the homely but psychotic Annie Wilkes got tons of critical praise, had the mainstream talking, and eventually won her a Best Actress Oscar. In 1994 an oddball comedy named Ace Ventura: Pet Detective took a relatively obscure comedian named Jim Carrey and made him one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. That’s not the movie I’m going to be talking about though. The movie I’m going to talk about came two years later, it’s called The Cable Guy, and it was seen as the first disappointment of Carrey’s gigantic post Ace Ventura career. His portrayal of the troubled “Chip Douglas” didn’t register with critics or audiences who previously had no trouble accepting him as a pet detective that talked out of his butt, a walking cartoon character with a booger for a head, and a sociopath named Lloyd Christmas who sold a dead bird to a blind kid. Was Misery really that much better a movie than The Cable Guy? Was Bates’s performance as Annie really that much better than Carrey’s as the unnamed cable installer? Or is this just the case of a movie that was a little bit ahead of it’s time getting a bad rap?

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Editor’s Note: Our Cannes coverage kicks off hard and heavy here, so everyone welcome Simon Gallagher and forgive him his British spellings that slip by the editing process. Also, all Cannes reviews are best read with a glass of champagne. Day one on the Croisette and we’re already opening with a name as big as Woody Allen. For the second year in a row, the director who never seems to tire of making films, and who can still occasionally make exceptional ones, has a film showing on the Croisette. Following last year’s inclusion of You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, the 64th Cannes festival opened this morning with the New Yorker’s latest – Midnight in Paris – a screening that for me came laced with both excitement, and an underwhelming sense that I was about to see essentially the same Woody Allen film I’ve been watching for the past decade or so. It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing Allen muse on the nature of love and relationships, or seeing him create a slightly grotesqued portrait of himself (this time taken on by Owen Wilson), I just think there is only so much enjoyment to be had when a filmmaker so obviously resists the urge to evolve through his art, no matter how good it is. But I had no reason to be suspicious, as it seems that Allen has taken it upon himself to debunk the idea that he generally makes and remakes the same film, throwing a […]

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; all your candy are belong to us. How many words do I really need expend on this introduction? If you’re a frequent reader of the column, who hasn’t managed to blow himself up building a working replica of Bill & Ted’s phone booth, you are already aware of my affinity for terrible movies and you have wasted more time than you dare admit reading this insufferable column. For those of you who haplessly wandered in hoping to find the nutritional content of the KFC Double-Down or creative Junior Mint recipes, my condolences. But now that you’re here, you should know that the JFC system is threefold. First, I point out the film’s numerous faults; heckling it from the cyberspace balcony like Statler and Waldorf. But then, on a dime, I switch it up and sing the film’s inexplicable praises like a banjo-wielding frog expounding on the merits of rainbows. Finally I will pair the film with an appropriate snack food item upon which you can feverishly chow down like a furry blue monster well on his way to crippling obesity. This week’s delicacy (which is likely to be brought to you by the words cease & desist): Dick Tracy

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Woody Allen built a legendary career and a pretty hefty catalogue of films by making movies set in New York. His movies not only told the stories of people from New York talking like New Yorkers while walking around New York, they also just seemed to have some extra New Yorky something going on with them. Recently he has started making movies set in London, and while they are never really panned by critics, all anybody can ever say about them is that they don’t hold up to classic Woody. With this film we see Woody trying his hand at Paris, and from the trailer alone I find myself looking forward to a Woody Allen film more than I have in a long time. Midnight in Paris combines three things that I’m always a sucker for: Owen Wilson rambling about things in his charming drawl, scenes of people walking around and experiencing Paris, and Rachel McAdams. Really, it feels like Woody heard that I wasn’t too interested in his movies lately and made this just to get my attention. And look at that cast, that’s nothing to sneeze at. I should also say that I found myself laughing more in this little trailer than I have during his last few full-length features put together. But that may just be because I feel pandered to. Watch the trailer below and decide for yourself where you think this one will fall in the pantheon of Woody:

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For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by examining a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today. Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t tie us to a bed and break our feet. Part 1 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Falling Prey to Cruelty and Misfortune” with Misery.

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Studios have been afraid for too long. It’s time to put Palahniuk’s long, strange trip into the heart of American commercialism and religion on the big screen.

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Kevin Carr heads out to the movies this week, giving his take on New Moon, Planet 51, The Blind Side and Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

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This reunion of ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton and star Michelle Pfeiffer never resonates as it should.

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Kevin and Neil struggle to make it through the movie doldrums with some sub-par September releases and a challenge to offend those who claim they can’t be offended.

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

When I think of the upcoming remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, I think of Al Gore. I know it’s a stretch, but go with me on this.

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

That title is really just me trying to reach out to all of you and let you know that I have, in fact, seen the original 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

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While we love nude scenes in movies, there are some that should have been left on the cutting room floor. As George Costanza once said on Seinfeld, there’s “good naked” and “bad naked.” Here’s a list of the top “bad naked” moments in cinema history.

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