Keira Knightley

A24

The film landscape is filled with movies about people struggling with the idea of growing up, acting responsible and accepting that they’re an adult, and roughly all of these films feature a man-child as their protagonist. What Lynn Shelton‘s new film Laggies presupposes is… what if one of them was a woman? Megan (Keira Knightley) has been watching from the sidelines as friends get married and start careers and families, but while she’s a bit young for a mid-life crisis that doesn’t stop her from losing her emotional footing when her boyfriend proposes out of the blue. The issue is compounded further when she sees her dad getting a handy from a woman who is most definitely not Megan’s mother, and in shock and disbelief Megan immediately hops in the car and heads out into the night. She meets a teenager named Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) out front of a Grocery Outlet with her friends on the lookout for a “cool” adult willing to buy them some booze, and she agrees to help in exchange for a place to hide out for a few days. Megan may look too young for a life crisis, but one glance is all Annika’s father (Sam Rockwell) needs to know that she’s also too old to be his daughter’s classmate. She explains her situation — well, a heavily redacted version of her situation that includes no mention of a boyfriend or a proposal — and Craig decides to let her stay through the weekend. She tries at first to treat her new […]

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The Imitation Game

“Pay attention,” Alan Turing implores to a dazed police officer (and, quite frankly, to a likely dazed audience, who don’t understand why a film about World War II code breaking kicks off in 1951 England). Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, the long-in-the-making biopic about forward-thinking computer genius and prodigious cryptographer Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a mostly paint by the numbers affair, lifted by consistently compelling performances and the kind of dramatic narrative that could only happen in the real (and very cruel) world. Adapted by screenwriter Graham Moore from Andrew Hodges’ book “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” The Imitation Game leads us through the highlights (and the horrifying lowlights) of Turing’s life, principally focused on his time working for the British government, assigned to crack the German Enigma code during the height of WWII. Turing was, to put it extremely simply, a complicated fellow – highly intelligent, socially awkward, and mostly interested in being alone – and Cumberbatch captures his various moods and modes with ease. The Imitation Game may be a touch more neat and nifty than it should be, but Cumberbatch’s work is enough to mark it as something very special indeed.

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The Imitation Game

Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. What’s that? Oh, just the sound that signals that a serious, dangerous, historical trailer is coming on through (consider it on par with the “brrrrannngghhh” of setting a mood). Plink. Plink. Pllllunk. The Imitation Game is indeed serious, dangerous, and historical — fortunately for all involved, it also looks pretty good. After years of development back and forth (remember when Leonardo DiCaprio was going to star in this?), Graham Moore‘s Black List script about the life of Alan Turing (“the father of computer science”) is finally an actual movie with a bunch of actual stars and enough street cred to push it into “hey, maybe we need to think about awards or whatever” territory. Cool beans, and maybe it will get kids interested in computer science! It’s a win-win! (Although we wonder what kind of kids will be checking out the historical Benedict Cumberbatch film this fall, but c’est la vie.) The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, with Keira Knightley on board as his best pal/early cool coding girl Joan Clarke and Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Mark Strong around to add some gravitas. Ready your ears for the plinking, after the break:

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Laggies

Quarter-life crises hit everyone differently, whether it’s paying for a bodega sandwich in change for the third day in a row and coming up short that does it, or resolving to stay in your room indefinitely because you’ve received another wedding announcement from a childhood friend the morning after an OkCupid date with a guy who wanted to sniff your hair, or just realizing that woah, high school was awhile ago and you still don’t have your shit together. It’s even happening to Keira Knightley, one of the so-called Laggies who doesn’t quite have things figured out yet, and is taking the most adult and rational approach to handling her problems: running away and ignoring them. The trailer for the Lynn Shelton film introduces us to Megan (Knightley), a 28-year-old on the verge of something not-so great when she attends her high school reunion. A proposal from her boyfriend (Mark Webber), whom she’s been dating since high school, leads to her fleeing into the night and away from that whole nightmare (ugh, can you imagine getting engaged at your high school reunion in front of a bunch of people you probably hate?) and more or less into the arms of Chloe Moretz (who, for the first trailer in a long time, is not wearing some sort of neon wig). Like an respectable gaggle of 16-year-olds, Moretz’s Annika and her buddies hit Megan up for help buying a six pack “because they left their IDs at home,” and seeing some of her old, fun self […]

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mark ruffalo and keira knightley in begin again

In just two films, writer/director John Carney may very well have created a new genre: the neo-musical. First, there was 2006’s Once, a breakout indie film with an Oscar-winning song, “Falling Slowly.” Now he follows a similar plot trajectory with Begin Again (which was once wistfully titled Can a Song Save Your Life?). Two musicians – one male and one female – meet, collaborate on a project and flirt with impunity before ultimately deciding they would rather make music than love. Through his stories about musicians and collaboration, Carney has found a way to update the musical to our contemporary, authenticity-driven times. In his films, the characters frequently break into song, but they don’t break the fourth wall, and the stories never devolve into spectacle. However, Carney has more on his mind than genre-busting. Both of his neo-musicals contain a creeping criticism of a music industry that is depicted as overly-focused on image and provides little room for the true artist to find space to grow. In Once, the characters are working to create a demo so that they can get a record deal, but the implicit question asked by the film is why a singer as talented as Glen Hansard has to make ends meet by busking on the street in the first place (in real life Hansard fronts The Frames, a successful Irish rock band). If Once’s industry criticism is subtextual, Begin Again is more overt about its intentions. The film stars Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley as Dan and Greta, a music producer […]

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mark ruffalo and keira knightley in begin again

When Inside Llewyn Davis hit theaters late last year, it showed audiences that being a solo acoustic artist on a small record label was anything but ideal, and the farthest thing from glamorous. But apparently the industry has changed quite a bit since the ’60s, because all it really takes nowadays to beat the competition in those dreary streets of New York City is for Mark Ruffalo to hear your song in a smokey bar and declare you a sensation. That’s it! Well, okay, there’s a little more to it than just Ruffalo’s undivided attention. There are Central Park boats involved and Cee Lo Green‘s wisdom to understand. The trailer for Begin Again, which is the new title for Toronto Film Festival favorite Can a Song Save Your Life? (and a blissful rename at that — what a terrible first try that had been) sets off to show all this and more when Ruffalo’s Dan, a recently fired record label executive, crosses paths with Keira Knightley‘s Gretta. She’s a girl just kicking it around NYC with an acoustic guitar in hand after being dumped by her rock star boyfriend (played by Adam Levine, the second host of The Voice we see featured in this movie).

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Jack_Ryan_Shadow_Recruit_Trust

The thing that separates Jack Ryan movies from the James Bonds and the Mission: Impossibles and the Bournes, etc., is that Ryan is an analyst for the CIA. That means they should be smarter than your average spy thriller. Sometimes they’re at least as smart. However, the latest, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is one of the dumbest, more cliched entries of the genre. It’s an embarrassment of plotting and exposition, with so many instances of presumed circumstances that fortuitously turn out to happen that it may as well be called “Jack Ryan: Lucky Duck.” To put it in modern context, it’s like a bad episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet has a lot less interest in characters and the logical choices they’d make. Questions I had leftover at the end of Shadow Recruit may be explained in Tom Clancy’s Ryan novels, but that shouldn’t matter. This isn’t even an adaptation so much as an “original” story inspired by those books and featuring a character with the same name. I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of Clancy find it no more a true Ryan installment than Die Hard fans found A Good Day to Die Hard recognizable as a movie fitting into that series. Feel free to give me clarification or suggestion of an answer to any of these, and remember that, though it should be obvious, this post is full of SPOILERS if you haven’t yet seen the movie.

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JACK RYAN- SHADOW RECRUIT

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit isn’t an action movie. Sir Kenneth Branagh‘s reboot of the Tom Clancy-based franchise is a straight-up thriller, and that’s an important distinction to make. The film may have a globetrotting story, which goes from New York to Moscow, but Branagh’s set pieces are all contained, even the motorcycle chase at the very end. If you counted the amount of bullets fired in this movie, it would be drastically less than most spy thrillers. That fact likely spoke to Branagh, who was more invested in Jack Ryan’s quick thinking than the character’s skills in combat. If you asked him about Thor a few years ago, he would’ve expressed more interest in the themes of brotherhood than Thor swinging his hammer around. Branagh has always been a character-driven filmmaker. When you make a juicy four-hour version of Hamlet, you have to be. Everything from that Shakespeare adaptation to even Peter’s Friends seems to play a part in Branagh’s blockbuster filmmaking. The director and co-star (he plays the Russian villain, Viktor) recently discussed his progression towards tentpole filmmaking with us, along with the excitement and education that comes with it.

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review jack ryan

Alec Baldwin. Harrison Ford. Ben Affleck. Playing Jack Ryan is almost as dangerous of a job as being Jack Ryan, and now 24 years after Tom Clancy‘s most famous character first hit the screen in The Hunt for Red October he’s back with a new face and a new reboot. This is not a good thing. Ryan (Chris Pine) is a college student when the Twin Towers fall in New York City, and the event leads him to join the U.S. Marines. An early mission in Afghanistan leaves him incapacitated and struggling to regain his physical faculties, but a mysterious C.I.A. agent named Harper (Kevin Costner) recruits him to help follow the money on Wall Street being used to line terrorist pockets. Ryan’s nose for numbers and patterns identifies a possible discrepancy with a Russian company headed up by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), and then all hell breaks loose. Unlike those earlier films, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is not based on an existing Clancy novel. The “original” story uses elements of the Ryan we already know but adds in additional elements to increase his heroism and speed up his journey into the C.I.A. These elements work well enough, but as the story and action unfold it quickly becomes clear that those novels featured something else sorely lacking here. Brains.

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JACK RYAN

Fathers everywhere may have lost their favorite novelist recently with the passing of author Tom Clancy, but the man left a multitude of parting gifts on his way out the door. At least two new Clancy-branded videogames hit shelves in a couple months, and his most memorable fictional character is getting a big screen reboot. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit brings the famed C.I.A. analyst back to his rookie days and his first real adventure after he discovers a Russian plot to upend the U.S. economy through deadly terrorist attacks. This is the first of the Ryan films to not be based on one of Clancy’s novels, and that’s fitting as it’s once again an attempt at building a future franchise for the character. Chris Pine, already no stranger to franchise characters previously played by others, steps into the title role and follows in the big footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. This is particularly impressive for an actor of Pine’s miniature stature (see above). Check out the first trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit below.

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Cumberbatch Knightley

Well this is interesting. After appearing on The Black List in 2011, Graham Moore’s The Imitation Game was going to tell the story of computing pioneer Alan Turing under the wing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros., but the studio dropped the project in August 2012. Black Bear Pictures (Broken City, A.C.O.D.) took over production duties and then signed Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) to direct, but things have been quiet for almost a year. This week, news broke that Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley would star in the film — playing Turing and code-breaker Joan Clarke respectively — and now we can report that principal photography has actually started as of yesterday. The film focuses on Turing’s life, particularly during WWII when he and a team were attempting to crack the Nazi Enigma Code, and it also stars Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and Rory Kinnear. Obviously a lot of events from 2011 are culminating into an interesting project here. Black Bear was launched that year, Moore’s script hit The Black List then and Tyldum’s breakout Headhunters premiered at festivals in 2011 as well. It’s excellent to see this vision finally come to fruition, and it looks on track for its planned 2014 release. Now if they can only get the movie to trick people into think it’s a sentient being.  

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Can a Song Save Your Life?

John Carney’s Can a Song Save Your Life? answers its own (inescapably clunky-sounding) titular question within its first twenty minutes, but it’s hard to tell if that salvation is ultimately sustainable. After all, most songs only last a few minutes, and what happens when the music stops? Burnt out music executive Dan (Mark Ruffalo) has a thing for long shots, and while that may have worked for him in his early days, he hasn’t had much luck when it comes to finding bankable new talent for a number of years. (Oh, and his personal life is also in shambles, because of course it is.) Stuck in a low-rent apartment, estranged from his rock writer wife (Catherine Keener, who can’t quite reach her normal charm levels here, mainly because half of her face is bizarrely hidden behind her hair) and his just-rebellious-enough teen daughter (Hailee Steinfeld, who should have gotten more screen time here), and running on fumes career-wise, Dan is at rock bottom. So it’s a pretty nifty stroke of luck that he just so happens to walk into a local bar running an open mic night in order to kill time before actually killing himself, and it’s also pretty cool that Greta (Keira Knightley) is there (reluctantly) singing and yes, it’s also totally awesome that her song actually refers to someone throwing themselves in front of a subway. If you can get past the silly plot contrivances and relatively thin script, Can a Song Save Your Life? just might […]

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hoffman

What is Casting Couch? A compiling of the day’s casting news that today has word of new gigs for Elizabeth Banks as well as some good news for a couple of the former cast members of Party Down. How many A-list actors does it take to make a movie about a string of child murders in Soviet-era Russia? Apparently one more, because Deadline is reporting that Philip Seymour Hoffman is the latest big name to join the already impressive cast of director Daniel Espinosa’s Child 44. His addition to the film sees him rubbing elbows with the already cast Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, and Joel Kinnaman, and it will quite possibly give us a chance to finally see him wearing one of those furry Russian hats, which seems like something that should have happened years ago.

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keiraknightley

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news column concerned with movie castings that has word of a new role for Game of Thrones star Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, as well as some controversy surrounding Johnny Depp. The Intimidation Game has had Morten Tyldum attached as its director and Benedict Cumberbatch attached as its star for a while now. But it seems like all of its pre-production ducks must now be getting in a row, because today a report out of THR is suggesting that they’ve started to go forward with the rest of their casting. This Alan Turing biopic, which is set to cover his days breaking codes during the war as well as his days being tried by the government for homosexuality, is reportedly close to signing Keira Knightley as a woman who comes from a conservative background, but who forms a friendship with Turing and sticks by him all the way to his life’s tragic end. This will all, no doubt, be very emotional, so expect lots of opportunities to see her make that face she makes when she’s just about to cry.

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Anna Karenina

The 2012 awards season is coagulating. Thanks to SAG and the HFPA, we now have a solid list of contenders for Best Picture and a narrowing group of potential nominees for everything else. Forgive the metaphor, but it does feel a bit like goop. Both major lists of nominees this week are full of easily predicted choices, and the few unexpected picks that take us by surprise only do so because we thought they were too bland even for the HFPA. (Except for you, Nicole Kidman! There’s nothing bland about The Paperboy.) Don’t get me wrong, I love Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, and Maggie Smith, but this is getting unseemly. And the days are running out for films to make their way in from the sidelines. However, I am going to take this last chance to fight through the often claustrophobic box of awards watching and shout to the heavens a bit about a movie I think should be getting substantially more attention. I was sort of hoping that the Golden Globe nominations would do that for me, given how hard they went for Atonement a few years ago. They like to shake things up in a good way, at least now and then. Alas, it seems it was easier to go out on a limb for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Anna Karenina is the best awards-ready movie of the year that isn’t getting an ounce of awards attention. Frankly, I find it somewhat surprising. Joe Wright’s three literary […]

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Joe Wright set up a big challenge for himself with Anna Karenina. The material could easily lend itself to the stuffy brand of period piece, which is the type of film we see all too often during the awards season. Wright didn’t want to make that film, though. With his theater concept, he may have stripped the budget down, but, according to Wright, it was the exact type of challenge where the most creativity comes from. That notably happened with his previous project, Hanna, as well. Everyone adored the long-take fight scenes in that film, and that approach came out of saving time, budget, and, of course, creative impulse. It’s those type of decisions Wright seems the most excited by. Here’s what director Joe Wright had to say about why his brain switches off when filming, the power of limitations, and why Anna Karenina is his least indulgent film:

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Anna Karenina Review

Director Joe Wright’s latest film, a lush and visually striking adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” is uniquely suited to the filmmaker’s tastes and tones. Joining his other love-struck and leading lady-centric films like Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, Wright again adapts well-tread material with an eye for emotion, dizzying and overwrought as it may be (or truly, as it can be). Utilizing a “theater-set” concept to frame up his film, Wright’s Anna Karenina offers up his most original film yet, but one that still fails to ultimately come together and connect with his audience. Tolstoy’s novel has been adapted countless times before and in a variety of mediums. While not a complicated story, the trials and tribulations of the young Mrs. Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) are still ripe for discussion and dissection, and Wright’s choice to keep the film in the book’s period setting does nothing to diminish its aching relatability. A dazzling society maven, Anna’s life centers on her husband (the beloved politician Alexei Karenin, Jude Law, whom she seems to simply admire, not adore), parties, and her young son. Mildly upended by the news of her brother’s (Matthew Macfadyen) cheating ways, Anna sets off to visit the broken family in Moscow and to help mend some long-simmering wounds. Upon her arrival in Moscow, she meets the dashing (sure) Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and the pair eventually fall into an all-consuming affair that threatens to destroy every element of Anna’s life.

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Keira Knightley Cast in Jack Ryan

Despite some apparently rigorous auditioning, there has not been a tremendous flurry over which leading lady would be cast as Dr. Caroline “Cathy” Muller Ryan in Kenneth Branagh‘s Chris Pine-starring Jack Ryan. Perhaps the years we’ve spent waiting for the film have burned us out, or maybe everyone is just sick of “shortlists,” but word is now out on the final choice for the role, and it’s an interesting one. THR reports that Keira Knightley is in negotiations for the role of Mrs. Ryan for the film, which will serve as a prequel of sorts to Tom Clancy‘s book series about his popular CIA analyst character. The film will reportedly center “on ex-Marine and Moscow-based financial analyst Jack Ryan (Pine), who uncovers a plot by his employer to finance a terrorist attack designed to collapse the U.S. economy. Ryan must race against time to save America and his wife (Knightley).” The role of Cathy Ryan has been most notably played before by Anne Archer in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, and she has also been portrayed by Bridget Moynahan in The Sum of All Fears and Gates McFadden (hey, Dr. Crusher!) in The Hunt for Red October.

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Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made. Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.

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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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published: 11.26.2014
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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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