Keira Knightley

An array of familiar faces flitter in and out of Lorene Scafaria‘s directorial debut. Be it Rob Huebel or Patton Oswalt, they all have a minute or two to shine before the apocalypse strikes the world at play; amongst some of those soon-to-perish characters is Rob Corddry, an actor well-known for bit parts and the “asshole” role. In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Warren, played by Corddry, briefly revels in his final days, and in the way we’d hope to see him do onscreen. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World also shares a connection to another film Corddry has coming up: Michael Bay‘s Pain and Gain, based on a true (and insane) story. The doomsday bit isn’t the common thread, but the voices behind them are. Scafaria’s voice is shaping up to be a notable one, as Michael Bay’s is globally known. We’ll see Bay stretch some storyteling muscles the next time out, but, as Corddry tells us, his behind-the-scenes methods remain both the same and beneficial. Here’s wha Rob Corddry had to say about the crux of over-preparing for roles, having no frame of reference in acting school, and why Ed Harris was smashing a lot of phones for Michael Bay:

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Despite a dud for a title, John Carney‘s Can A Song Save Your Life? sounds intriguing, particularly when you consider that Carney is the man who brought us the incredibly charming Once and that he had lined up a somewhat unexpected pair to top-line his production. Back in February, the project was announced with Scarlett Johansson on board to play a young singer looking to break into the music biz after a bad break-up, alongside Mark Ruffalo as a record producer who turns her life around (professionally and personally) . It was set to be a fun little reunion for the Avengers pair, something more romantic and pleasing to the ears. But now Johansson is out and Ruffalo’s name is nowhere to be seen in the latest dispatch regarding the film. ScreenDaily reports (via Cinema Blend), that Johansson has stepped away from the project for “personal reasons,” and that her role will now be played by Keira Knightley (not an entirely bad swap, really). The news reports that Exclusive Media will financing and producing the film, in addition to selling it at Cannes, and as far as other stars, it only mentions Hailee Steinfeld (who is set to play the producer’s daughter), there’s nothing about Ruffalo. With the ‘Ruff (go with it) making such a big splash in The Avengers, it seems unlikely that an upcoming production wouldn’t be trading on his name any way they can. Is he out, too?

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Countdown to the End: Love Actually

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Love Actually (2003) The Plot: Love Actually marked one of the first multi-plot story line films (that actually worked) which explored the different stages, phases and versions of love set against the magical background of Christmas time in London. From the young love of Sam (Thomas Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) to the forbidden love of David (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) to Daniel (Liam Neeson) dealing with heartbreak, Mark’s (Andrew Lincoln) unrequited love for Juliet (Keira Knightley) and the blossoming relationship between John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page), each relationship depicted a different side and aspect of that crazy emotion that seems to drive and link us all. Love Actually showed audiences that in the end, all you need is love (despite the pain, anguish and complications that can come with it) and did so in a way that was sweet, humorous and touching.

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Everybody knows that the world is going to be ending sooner rather than later. Heck, the end of days is getting so close that we’ve been counting down our must-see apocalypse films. But until I watched the trailer for the upcoming comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, it didn’t occur to me how much fun those last few days we all spend on Earth are going to be. I mean, other than when faced with impending asteroid-related doom, when else is a guy like Steve Carell going to get a chance at a girl like Keira Knightley? Stress-induced romantic hook-ups aren’t the only perks of the world ending, either. There’s slacking off at work, taking part in some cathartic looting, and who knows how many other base pleasures to partake in. Heck, this movie sees Patton Oswalt turning into some sort of hedonistic little Satyr, Gillian Jacobs kissing everyone on the mouth, and Connie Britton hosting dinner parties for her single friends. Not only are these all great ideas for how to spend your last days, they’re also glimpses at a movie that seems to have a stellar supporting cast. Check out how the end times might look with the first trailer for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World after the break.

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Reel Sex

As we approach Valentine’s Day (yes, it’s just a few days away) I think it’s only fitting that the topic of romance come into play in anticipation of the day meant to celebrate all things feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a loved one not related to me. Instead I spend the day (or week) loading up on conversational hearts, Reese Peanut Butter cups, and a collection of melodramas so depressing I become skeptical that love can actually end in anything but death. Regardless of my tendency to eat my feelings while crying over the tragic love found in Douglas Sirk films, I do enjoy happy love stories and tend to pair the sadder movies with some of my must-have romances. In honor of the big V-Day, I’d like to share my favorite 14 romantic scenes and also open it up the floor to hear your suggestions as well. Here are my concluding seven romantic scenes to last week’s first half of this list. Bring out the smelling salts; you might need them after all these swoons.

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New Frankenweenie Images

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news column that collects all the best links of the day, then adds commentary. It is also glad to be back from its Christmas break and hopes you got everything you wanted. It got almost everything on its list. We begin this evening with a fun new image from Tim Burton’s upcoming stop-motion 3D animated film Frankenweenie. It comes to us via the folks at The Playlist, who are quick to remind us that said film is coming out in the fall of 2012. Perhaps this will be the Tim Burton film that allows us to forget the mistakes the director has made with 3D in recent years?

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Ever since its debut at Venice, some have discredited A Dangerous Method as not being cinematic. The film is 99 minutes of nonstop conversations — and not at a brisk pace — regarding psychoanalysts and the collision of different ideas. Those conversations are acted out by Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Vincent Cassel, and directed by David Cronenberg. I don’t see how that’s not cinematic, and neither does Cronenberg. Just because there’s no body horror involving Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud (although that would be extremely fun to see) doesn’t mean this isn’t a “Cronenberg film,” a tag that the director himself seems annoyed by. When someone is capable of making films as vastly different as Videodrome and A Dangerous Method, all bets are off about what type of filmmaker you’re dealing with. There’s a thematic through line in his distinct works, but they’re mostly their own beasts. Here’s what director David Cronenberg had to say about damaged psychoanalysts, a dramatic conflict of ideas, and why the human face talking is the essence of cinema:

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Writer, now director, William Monahan crafts a unique brand of hard-boiled men. The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter never follows a guy who’s gonna throw-down and flex at any chance he gets. His protagonists are flawed, paradoxical, and in London Boulevard, even kind of feminine. Monahan’s adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel features a sensitive lead with no interest in being a gangster, an antagonist who’s more interested in kissing the Farrell character than killing him, and every other so-called mobster in this film could not be more incompetent. Unlike The Departed, Monahan has written an anti-gangster picture. Here’s what writer-director William Monahan had to say about vulnerable men, the current state of exposition, and why the last shot of The Departed still works, even if you didn’t get it:

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As the temperatures turn just the slightest bit colder and the fall colors settle in the landscape (if you’re lucky enough to live near trees), we should start directing our film focus to the fall movie season. We love summer for its mind-numbing fun, but the last season of the year tends to offer some of the most vulnerable, honest, and captivating films (you know, just in time for that other “big O”). Fall supplies films meant to scandalize our minds and even our naughty bits, and there is nothing wrong with that. But with so many films and film festivals to choose from between now and December, it becomes overwhelming to sort through all the goodness being dispensed our way. Lucky for you, my love of highlighting full-frontal male nudity and questionable sexual conduct happens to pay off for a change. Below you’ll find a helpful collection of five sultry features sure to stimulate your brain and your nethers.

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Almost a year ago we got our first glimpse of William Monahan‘s (the writer behind The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven) directorial debut, London Boulevard, but it’s unfortunately taken a while for it to open in the states. Originally the film was going to be released by FilmDistrict, then not too long ago IFC took over distribution. While the British gangster pic wasn’t greeted with the best response, I happen to like Monahan’s debut a whole lot. This trailer, which is fairly similar to the U.K. one, is well representative. It sells the slickness and cool factor just right, where the film works best. The film isn’t as grand or as epic as The Departed, but it’s a smooth and clever directorial about a gangster trying not to be a gangster. And, yes, Ray Winstone is as fun as he looks in this trailer.

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The film adaptation of Claire Messud’s gorgeous novel The Emperor’s Children has faced an unfairly bumpy trip to the screen. Back in 2009, Ron Howard was slated to direct the film from a script by Noah Baumbach. Then the project seemingly fell dead, with no news until March of 2010, when Howard left the project entirely, leaving both writing and directing duties to Baumbach. At that time, a list of attached cast members was announced (including Keira Knightley, Eric Bana, and Richard Gere, with buzz about some other names like Michelle Williams). Production was supposed to start last summer, but of course, it didn’t, and know Baumbach appears to be back out of the director’s chair, with Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper stepping in to direct from Baumbach’s script (according to an insider report from Twitch). Cooper burst on to the scene with his Jeff Bridges-starring Crazy Heart back in 2009, a directorial debut so lovely and assured that it earned its star his first Oscar (after being nominated no less than six times). Since then, Cooper has had his own fair share of project whiplash, with rumors that he was on the shortlist for Gangster Squad, news that he was developing his own take on The Hatfields and the McCoys, and attachments to the Carancho remake, Empire of the Summer, and Black Listed The Low Dweller. Which is all a nice way of saying that, just like The Emperor’s Children, there’s been a lot of talk about Cooper, but no […]

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There are many expectations fans of director David Cronenberg have embraced when he makes a new movie and his ability to surprise is definitely one of them. Not surprises in terms of jump scares but more in the vein of not knowing what you’re going to get. One thing is certain, his work is never boring and is willing to go to dark places whether it be psychological (Dead Ringers), sexual (Crash), or spiritual (A History of Violence). Having said that, it’s my sad duty to report that the only surprise in his latest work, A Dangerous Method, is his ability to take an intriguing subject (sexual analysis) and make such a tame, limp movie. On paper, the thought of Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung in a duel of wits and sexual psychosis sounds like a film lover’s dream. The actors are more than capable of going to extreme places in search of an authentic performance and are only matched in their dedication by their fearless director. So why is it that a movie about the raw and animalistic ways we perceive sex be so neutered and detached from itself?

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Focus Features has just announced a helmer for their Anna Karenina adaptation penned by Tom Stoppard, and while it’s a bit of a no-duh assignment, it’s still a very fine one. Joe Wright will direct the film, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s classic (read: every high school kid is assigned to read it, and none of them ever do) novel. Despite my more bookwormish tendencies, my familiarity with Anna Karenina is quite lacking, so we’ll turn to Focus’ plotline for the film, which tells us that “the story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.” Also, it’s Russian and it’s Tolstoy, so it’s also not a feel-good work by any stretch. But the film has a solid cast already attached to it, including some names that Wright has worked with before, including Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina (in her third role in a Wright production), with Jude Law as her husband Alexei Karenin, and Aaron Johnson as Count Vronksy, with other roles filled by Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfayden (Mr. Darcy in Wright’s Pride & Prejudice), Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams (from Hanna), and Ruth Wilson.

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William Monahan‘s directorial debut, London Boulevard, has been sitting on the shelf for some time now. The gangster pic got released in the U.K. last November, but we have seen no official press materials stateside. FilmDistrict was originally going to distribute the film for us American folk, but that no longer seems to be the case. IFC Films has swung in and picked up the U.S. distribution rights. With the talent involved, it could very well be their first investment to earn more than ten dollars. Considering they are a company that takes admirable chances, good for them. They will be giving Monahan’s film their usual indie treatment. First, it’ll premiere on VOD (October 5th), then later on hit limited release (November 14th). One would think a movie starring Colin Farrell would get a wider release than this, but the strategy makes sense. London Boulevard is not the most commercial film, and it’s far from a critical darling. The movie was ripped to shreds by critics in the U.K., and it’ll probably be received the same way here.

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Ahoy! Yeah, I know that’s a lame way to start. Especially when you consider this week’s Commentary Commentary, our third, goes from essential classics like The Thing and Die Hard to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. We’re not scraping the bottom of the barrel just yet, and even though Curse of the Black Pearl is by no means a bad movie, it just hasn’t reached a level of beloved nostalgia like our first two. Okay. Enough preamble. This DVD offers three separate commentaries featuring various members of the cast and crew, but rather than hear the insight Jack Davenport had to offer – we love you, Jack – it’s probably best to hear from the film’s director and star. So here, without any further waggery or warm-up, is what was learned from their commentary.

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New Cronenberg means that Christmas comes in September this year, and Christmas Eve happens today with the release of the first trailer for A Dangerous Method. The film focuses on the real-life story of Carl Jung developing his methods with mentorship from Sigmund Freud and getting a little on the side with one of his patients. The drama is heady, and the cast is superb. Michael Fassbender as Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Freud, and Keira Knightley as the mistress Sabina Spielrein. It’s Cronenberg doing kinky sex. Check it out for yourself:

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One thing I never really imagined I would see made is a romantic comedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. That image just doesn’t compute in my brain. But in the upcoming Seeking a Friend at the End of the World, just such a thing is going to happen. And in a quirky tale about the Earth getting destroyed to boot. The movie is about a man (Carell) whose wife leaves him in the midst of an asteroid heading to Earth, so he goes off to find his high school sweetheart in order to spend humanity’s last moments with someone who cares. For one reason or another, his neighbor (Knightley) decides to tag along for the journey. Lorene Scafaria, who is a first time feature director but has a writing credit on Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, is set to helm. She’s also done some writing for the crazy Cartoon Network show Children’s Hospital, which stars people like Rob Corddry. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Rob Corddry is going to be in this film as well? As if the premise didn’t sound quirky enough already, now you have to add his manic energy into the mix. CSI’s William Peterson and The OC’s Adam Brody are also said to be onboard, and what that all adds up to is a weird sounding movie starring a bunch of people that I never imagined standing next to each other in a frame. Still, if all of the pieces fall together in […]

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This time a week ago I never would have imagined I’d stay up all night Thursday, having my own little tea and scones party, to watch a wedding of two people I didn’t know. Even if the festivities were thrown by the English Royal Family in honor of the most recognizable union of royal and commoner. It wasn’t until Wednesday that I caught the bug and started feeling a connection to these two genetically gifted kids who had the balls to get up in front of 15 billion people and pledge themselves to each other and their country. I had Royal Wedding fever, and I was going to do everything I could to make that moment last. The decision to keep many details of the wedding a secret and the media inflated love story spanning almost a decade was too much for even my cold heart to keep from melting. It was the real life movie version of all those BBC costume dramas and Jane Austen adaptations I spent years watching. The chaste, passionate love of two people who shouldn’t be together defying the odds, marrying, and starting a life so many of us will never experience. But at the same time it was relatable and sweet—just like Jane Austen always promised.

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For every guy that has ever been told he only has a chance with a woman if he’s the last man on Earth, the forthcoming project from Steve Carell might be sweet, Apocalyptic retribution. We’re all obsessed with the end of the world here lately, and according to Deadline Doomsday, Carell might be jumping on the bandwagon alongside Keira Knightley for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. I think we’ve all fallen for that Craigslist post a few times. The story focuses on the title-appropriate end of the world, where Carell’s character’s wife has split, and he hits the road with his neighbor, Keira Knightley, to go meet up with his former sweetheart to have a hand to hold when it all stops spinning. It sounds sweet, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist director Lorene Scafaria will be directing, so it’ll undoubtedly have a little sour to go with that romance. Will a love story actually blossom between the two characters or will it go the Lost in Translation, older man, younger woman route? Who knows. All I know is that there are a lot of names I like attached to this, and the concept sounds just quirky enough to work.

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Oh, infidelity. Apparently it’s tough to stay faithful when Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet come knocking at your bedroom door. At least if you’re Keira Knightley or Sam Worthington. Last Night is the directorial debut of The Jacket writer Massy Tadjedin, and if this trailer is any indication it looks like 1) it’s fraught with internal strife and smart hand-wringing, and 2) Sam Worthington is getting a chance to act finally. This is the perfect teaser. Everything about it looks sharp, and it leaves the question of whether they will or won’t cheat on each other dangled like a chocolate-dipped carrot maddeningly out of reach. Check it out for yourself:

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