Keri Russell

Austenland

Editor’s note: Kate’s review originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it as the film opens in limited theatrical release this weekend. Obsession with fictional literary heroes is nothing new, but Austenland’s Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) has taken her love for Jane Austen’s (again, fictional) Mr. Darcy and the Regency-era world he (as written in a fictional novel) inhabited in Austen’s (still fictional, Jane) “Pride & Prejudice” to new lows. While the source material for Jerusha Hess’s film, Shannon Hale’s very popular novel of the same name, found its heroine focusing her attentions on a still more fake Darcy – the one played by Colin Firth in the also very popular but not entirely true to Austen’s work BBC miniseries version of “Pride & Prejudice” – Hess wisely expands Jane’s obsession to apply more thoroughly to the rest of Austen’s work and her Regency Era. It is perhaps one of the few wise choices made in service to the adaptation, as Hess’s film, though frequently funny, is almost disastrously goofy and doofy, headed up by a poorly-drawn leading lady who, had she not been played by someone as lovely as Russell, would be the target of scorn by everyone she meets. We quickly learn that Russell’s Jane has been obsessed with Mr. Darcy for most of her life, with Hess kicking off the film with an amusing sequence of flashbacks that show Jane progressing through her teen years and on into adulthood with a moony-eyed stare […]

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Austenland

Keri Russell makes the age-old adage “this is why we can’t have nice things” a lifestyle in the trailer for Austenland, a film about a nice single gal who worships at the altar of Jane Austen. Russell plays Jane (ha!), a woman who makes the books and their adaptations the focus of her life, to the point where it’s just getting plain scary. We’ve all seen A&E’s Obsessed. Since she’s not finding love and Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth in the real world, Jane withdraws her life savings and heads to “the world’s only immersive Austen experience,” where she is only able to afford living in the servants’ quarters. So what you’re saying is not everything was great in the past? The film also stars Jane Seymour as the resort’s owner, J.J. Feild and Bret McKenzie as potential Darcys, and Jennifer Coolidge as a lady at the resort who has never heard of “Pride and Prejudice”. Jerusha Hess co-writes and directs, and Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer produces, proving the woman just loves a good romance.

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Keri Russell

What is Casting Couch? Casting news, all in a list. Yesterday we asked the question of who would be playing the egotistical front man in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s next film, Birdman. Today we already have our answer, and it happens to be a familiar face. The casting for Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes seems to be coming along nicely. Not only does he have Andy Serkis coming back from the first film to play the ape leader, Caesar, but he’s also been picking up some talented folk to round out the human side of the equation as well. Recently he’s signed Jason Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Gary Oldman, and now Variety is reporting that you can also add Dark Skies star Keri Russell to the list. Reeves and Russell have worked together before, as he was the co-creator of J.J. Abrams television drama Felicity, which was her first big break. Their’s is a pairing that’s worked well in the past, so long as Russell has kept a healthy head of springy locks, so let’s hope that Apes doesn’t call for Caesar to take any of the human characters prisoner and give them haircuts. One shaved head could ruin the momentum of the whole franchise.

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review dark skies

For better or worse the horror genre often seems to move in trends. From the bloodthirsty animal terrors and slasher films of the ’70s and ’80s to the J-horror remakes and (so-called) torture porn of the ’00s, genre filmmakers see a hit and immediately move to duplicate its success. Sometimes it works, but more often than not later films just feel like more of the same done worse. The most recent trend in horror has been haunted house movies thanks to hits like Paranormal Activity and Insidious. Their success ushered in a slew of imitators, but for every PA2 or The Woman in Black there have been a dozen direct to DVD duds. Standing out in a crowded field isn’t easy, but while the surest way to get noticed is by making a quality movie the second surest is to add something new to the mix. Sinister is a good example of a well made film that finds a fresh angle on the genre. By contrast, Dark Skies is simply an example of a film… that finds a singular fresh angle on the genre.

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Keri Russell became a pop cultural fixture in 1998, when she starred as the title character on Felicity, perhaps one of TV’s finest coming-of-age dramas. So much the pop cultural fixture, there was an uproar heard round the world when she got a simple haircut. Though Felicity ended in 2002, and since then, Russell has continued to produce meaningful acting work. 2013 alone is a huge year for her, as she is starring as an undercover KGB operative in the critically revered FX drama The Americans, starred in Jerusha Hess‘ directorial debut Austenland, which just premiered at Sundance, and is starring in Dark Skies, an alien invasion thriller that opens this Friday in theaters. In Dark Skies, directed by Scott Stuart, Russell plays Lacey Barrett, a woman who faces absolute hell as her family is targeted by aliens who control the forces of nature, including three separate flocks of birds that mysteriously fly into their home. Lacey and her husband Daniel (Josh Hamilton) fight with everything they have to protect their two children against the aliens, but are instead thought to be the abusive parties by their narrow-minded suburban community. Russell was kind enough to make time for an interview, and had a lot to say about Dark Skies, her interestingly unsympathetic character on The Americans, the delights of Sundance, and the final episodes of Felicity.

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Dark Skies

If horror films have taught us anything, it’s that flocks of birds are never a good thing – especially when said birds dive-bomb your home for no particular reason. That bad bird omen has been quite present in much of the marketing we’ve seen so far from Scott Stewart‘s Dark Skies, which looks to put a nice horror flick twist on the alien invasion trope. In Stewart’s upcoming film, Daniel and Lacey Barrett (Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell) find themselves targeted by a mysterious force, one that’s apparently watched their fair share of Hitchcock films, as home-targeting birds have already become a recognizable piece of the enticing terror of the film. This brand new UK quad poster for the film effectively telegraphs that fear by way of swarming birds and a house that certainly looks like it’s the only one at risk. Chilling. Dark Skies opens on February 22nd. [Empire]

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Dark Skies Trailer

Over the years we’ve seen so many alien home invasions in movies that we’ve grown to believe that visits from extraterrestrial beings aren’t necessarily a big deal. Maybe the alien who comes for a visit could even be a cute little friend who lives in your closet and develops an addiction to Reese’s Pieces! And heck, worst case scenario you get pulled out of your bed, anally probed up on the mothership, and then they drop you right back off like nothing happened, right? Maybe not. Scott Charles Stewart’s (Priest) new thriller Dark Skies asks what it would be like if the aliens stuck around for a while and tortured your family. If the new trailer for this film is to be believed, an extended occupation of your home by extraterrestrial forces would not just include objects in your kitchen being mysteriously stacked and dazzling lights glimmering off of your ceiling, but it would also bring an unwelcome plague of birds, brandings and blackouts. Oh my. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are starring here as a suburban couple who get tormented by the little green menace, and watching them deal with flocks of birds mysteriously slamming into their windows, strange marks being burnt into their kids’ skin, and their minds getting repeatedly taken over by some mysterious force can be some pretty harrowing stuff.

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Editor’s note: Goats lands in limited this week, determined to gnaw on theater chairs, popcorn buckets, and actual moviegoers, so give our Sundance review a read before heading into that situation. This review was originally published on January 27, 2012. Ellis (Graham Phillips) has grown up in a less-than-average household. Ellis lives in Tuscon, Arizona with his mother Wendy (Vera Farmiga), a free spirit who relies on Ellis to make sure their bills are paid on time while she seems to still be “finding herself.” Add to this Goat Man (David Duchovny), who tends to their pool and garden (as well as his own “garden”) and lives on the property with, you guessed it, his goats. Despite this rather unusual upbringing, Ellis seems more than well-adjusted and the film focuses on his recent decision to attend an East Coast prep school, Gates Academy, which his father Frank (Ty Burrell) also attended. Considering Wendy refers to Frank as “Fucker Frank,” it is clear this decision is not one she is happy about.

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Leaves of Grass

We all know Edward Norton is talented, but probably the truest and scariest test for an actor’s talent is playing opposite himself, thus having to encounter the insecurities and limitations of one’s skill in both action and reaction. Few actors have done a great job acting opposite themselves, and it’s something that could potentially be fatal even with a strong actor giving two performances at the center, but with Leaves of Grass Edward Norton can be added to that short list of great double-performances in a single film.

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We are back from the weekend and ready to get re-focused on what is important, the major Austin-based film festival that seems to be steamrolling toward us. Today we take a look at another highly anticipated premiere, Tim Blake Nelson’s Leaves of Grass.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Tooth Fairy, Legion and Extraordinary Measures can make the grade.

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As Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern film steams toward production, lists are being made for who will star alongside Ryan Reynolds. First up: who will play Hal Jordan’s girlfriend?

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leavesofgrass-header

It seems oddly appropriate that the trailer for Tim Blake Nelson’s currently unsold comedy Leaves of Grass would drop a day before the release of Fight Club on Blu-ray, as it once again gives us the opportunity to see Edward Norton kick his own ass.

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FSR

FSR’s resident chubby film critic Kevin Carr runs down the reviews on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, The Spirit, Marley & Me and Bedtime Stories.

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Adam Sandler in Bedtime Stories

For Adam Sandler, the world of movies have always been his playground. In his own films and with his Happy Madison production, he seems to be able to do whatever he wants and still make plenty of money.

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Edward Norton in Leaves of Grass

eave it to one of my favorite “that guys” of all-time, actor/director Tim Blake Nelson, to combine two things that are always welcome in my house: Edward Norton and marijuana.

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Is it just me, or have most of the best comedies this year been about someone getting pregnant? Or, in the case of Superbad, someone trying to do the things that lead to spawning a child?

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Nathan Deen

August Rush

Movie Reviews By Nate Deen on November 24, 2007 | Comments (3)

As much as I would like to recommend August Rush, I simply can’t. It deserves at least one Academy Award in the music department and I’ll tell you why.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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