Kevin Kline

The Last of Robin Hood

With the recent premiere of Maleficient, we’ve all spent a good deal of time talking about Elle Fanning and her career turn as a real life Disney princess. But the focus is about to shift again to the older sister, with Dakota Fanning stepping into the shoes of a young and impressionable 1940s starlet in The Last of Robin Hood. After all, who would know more about struggling through Hollywood and rising to fame as a teenager than someone who has done it herself? The silver screen gal she’s portraying, Beverly Aadland, was in a bit of a different situation than Fanning, however. Aadland was a chorus girl just at the beginnings of her blossoming film career, with only a twinkle of Hollywood in her future and an overbearing stage mom (Susan Sarandon) at her side. It’s the beauty and talents of the — very, very — young beauty that catches the eye of Robin Hood himself, Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline), and the two begin a dangerous affair that crosses a few too many boundaries. At the time, Flynn was the toast of the town, a mega movie star who was virtually untouchable; charming, undeniably handsome and a beloved figure on the silver screen with roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. He was a dashing action hero that everyone wanted to work with, everyone wanted to be and everyone wanted to be with at the same time.

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The Last of Robin Hood

In Maleficent, Angelina Jolie recreates her iconic curse with such perfect charisma that it’s a big letdown when she changes tune about 2.5 seconds later as Disney strives to make her relatable. Our beloved villainess became the reactionary scorned woman, and all of that potential for more evil cackles flies out the window. Thinking about this terribly missed opportunity for excellent evilness, I couldn’t help but think about the many real-life, often larger than life names who have been immortalized in cinematic biographies in ways more bittersweet than satisfying. It’s great to see them and get the rush of their performance, but sad to watch it wasted on an inferior film, or a bit part in someone else’s larger whole.

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LAST-VEGAS

When the first teaser trailer for director Jon Turteltaub’s upcoming old-guys-in-Vegas comedy Last Vegas hit, it was a brief enough taste of what the film had to offer that it seemed like it could be entertaining fluff. Sure, The Hangover’s wild party montage formula is getting pretty played out at this point, but mixing in a little Grumpy Old Men could help to freshen things up a bit, and with a cast that includes Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Robert De Niro, clearly the film was shooting for an older audience than these party movies are usually trying to reach. It seemed like there was a good chance Last Vegas could draw its humor a little bit more from character and performance, and a little bit less from shock tactics and raunch than these movies usually do, which would be a welcome switch. Now that a full trailer has dropped, it’s hard to understand who the heck it’s supposed to be marketed toward though. Despite a report from The Wrap that the film is currently fighting being given an R-rating, this new ad is so toothless and glossy that it looks like it should be selling a PG comedy to people’s grandparents. And all of those “old people sure are old” gags—woof. You’ve got to check this trailer out, just to see how unfunny they are.

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Last Vegas

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen drunk Morgan Freeman. The actor has been having a lot of fun lately with his roles, but none of them compare to whatever is going on in Last Vegas. In fact, as Old Dogs Meets The Hangover as it sounds, the trailer for this movie starring Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro and Freeman actually makes it look like a bit of harmless fun. Probably not a lot of fun, but fun. Of course, it also looks like a vacation for wealthy actors and director Jon Turtletaub. This is what retirement looks like for living legends. Broad humor, twenty-something eye candy and fruity drinks. Oh, and they probably made a movie somewhere in there. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Kevin Kline in Last Vegas

Jon Turteltaub‘s “geriatric Hangover” buddy comedy, Last Vegas, has finally locked in its final member of its wolf pack (geriatric wolf pack?). Deadline Henderson reports that Kevin Kline will join Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Douglas in the Dan Fogelman-scripted comedy. The film centers on “old friends who decide to throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for the only one of them who has remained single.” Hilarity (and broken hips?) ensues! Previous articles on the film also refer to a love triangle element to the story, with the bachelor in question (a known playboy) falling for a lounge singer that another one of his pallies (a widower) also has his eye on. There’s no word on who will play who as of yet, but let’s just go for the obvious here – De Niro as the playboy and Freeman as the widower? That sound about right?

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Charlie Kaufman

In an interview with Moviefone, Elizabeth Banks had some sad news to deliver: Charlie Kaufman’s Frank or Francis “fell apart at the last minute.” Banks was set to co-star along with Catherine Keener, Nic Cage, Jack Black, Steve Carell and Kevin Kline. The film was to be an exploration of filmmaking, Hollywood culture, criticism, and probably a dozen other things but more importantly…it was new, original work from Charlie Kaufman. The Playlist has learned that the movie is simply postponed, but it’s time to start drinking nonetheless. Why? Because there’s no such thing as “dead” in filmmaking; only “postponed.” Of course, that comes with the optimism that Kaufman can make it happen one day. Hopefully soon.

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Editor’s note: With Darling Companion opening this week in limited release, we thought we’d unleash Dustin’s review from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, originally posted on January 30, for you to take a bite out of. Woof. The opening night film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has always been a walk-away; generally an under-cooked indie with no distribution and little shot at getting into general theaters. So why kick a film when it’s down? There’s not a lot of value in heaping negative criticism on a new filmmaker who will likely go on to bigger and better things with more experience. That said, the 27th year of Santa Barbara’s festival brought a heavyweight opening night player in writer/director/producer Lawrence Kasdan, and his Sony Pictures Classics distributed Darling Companion. Basically, fair game. Darling Companion is the story of Beth Winters (Diane Keaton), her spine surgeon husband Joseph (Kevin Kline), and the dog that  brings them together. Or at least, it tries to be about them while clumsily pulling viewers into unnecessary side stories that aren’t particularly interesting. The film suffers on every level, but prominent among its faults is an odd pace that steals away any reason to invest in any of the characters, the spotty narrative, or the wholly expected and unsatisfying ending.

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Culture Warrior

The cinematic doppelganger effect seems to happen on a cyclical basis. Every few years, a pair of movies are released whose concepts, narratives, or central conceits are so similar that it’s impossible to envision how both came out of such a complex and expensive system with even the fairest amount of awareness of the other. Deep Impact and Armageddon. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Capote and Infamous. Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report. And now two R-rated studio-released romantic comedies about fuck buddies played by young, attractive superstars have graced the silver screen within only a few short months of each other. We typically experience doppelganger cinema with high-concept material, not genre fare. To see two back-to-back movies released about the secret life of anthropomorphic talking insects, a hyperbole-sized rock jettisoning towards Earth’s inevitable destruction, a Truman Capote biopic, or a movie about a mall cop seem rare or deliberately exceptional enough as a single concept to make the existence of two subsequent iterations rather extraordinary. Much has been made of the notion that Friends with Benefits is a doppelganger of No Strings Attached (the former has in more than one case been called the better version of the latter), but when talking about the romantic comedy genre – a category so well-tread and (sometimes for better, sometimes not) reliably formulaic that each film is arguably indebted to numerous predecessors – can we really say these films are doppelgangers in the same vein as the high-concept examples, or […]

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Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard that President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. I was in third grade, under the creepy Catholic tutelage of Sister Hermina (she refused to die!), and the lesson on Lincoln’s presidency had come to dramatic and shocking conclusion. Granted, those aren’t the words I would have used to describe it at the time, but I do recall feeling frustrated, confused, and angered at the tall, bearded man’s death. So why open a film review with a reference to a grade school history lesson? Because the film in question, Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, feels like a two-hour lecture on some of the very same material. Viewers learn about the coordinated assault against Lincoln and two members of his cabinet, the capture and conviction of those responsible, and their subsequent hangings for the crimes. While the material here is more detailed than the lesson taught by zombie nun it’s also presented dryly, without any real energy, emotion, or drama, and very much in the spirit of a made-for-television movie. It doesn’t help matters that Redford uses his directorial lectern to include some incredibly unsubtle and politicized comparisons to our own modern day battles between personal freedoms and national security.

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There’s something to be said about a good sports movie. They often have the most tired formulas, and easily devolve into sap and lazy storytelling, but when done right their predictable structures feel less-paint-by numbers and more like the comfort of a familiar friend. But there are two characteristics of writer/director Caroline Bottaro’s debut feature Queen to Play that don’t automatically denote a generic sports movie: it’s French, and it’s about chess. However, Bottaro uses the formula to such an advantage that it feels like sleight of hand as she delivers a film that’s simple but engrossing, one that’s familiar but slyly touching. Helene (Sandrine Bonnaire) is a working class mother. She cleans apartments and hotel rooms for a living. Her husband Ange (Francis Renaud) is a day laborer who sees his friends getting laid off left and right and is a afraid that he’ll be the next. Expenses are always on their mind, and they squeak by one month to the next. Their daughter is having trouble navigating adolescence with her “common” parents, self-righteously resenting the economic place from which she came. They are, in short, a family all too aware of their “place” on the social ladder, Helene especially since she has the job of cleaning up after the wealthy. One morning she curiously watches an American couple (one of the two Americans, surprisingly, is Jennifer Beals, but she isn’t the only familiar stateside face in the film) playing chess on a porch as she cleans their room.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. You can’t go wrong with a movie this overflowing with clever insults and John Cleese covering his man bits with a picture of his family. Perhaps the funniest heist movie ever made, Jamie Lee Curtis is the bait, and a bunch of diamonds are on the line if she can seduce John Cleese (without that picture) and if Kevin Kline can avoid getting them all killed. What can you learn from the trailer today? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Knowledge! Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Robert Redford has directed a movie starring James McAvoy, Robin Wright Penn, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Stephen Root, Colm Meaney, Toby Kebbell, and Evan Rachel Wood. That should be enough to cause excitement. The Conspirator tells the story of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the ensuing police action and trial of the conspirators – including Mary Surratt, who became despised by an entire country. She was guilty until proven innocent. Check out the intense trailer for yourself:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr trolls around hospitals looking for a scorching hot young doctor who doesn’t want a real relationship but would rather have someone she can have copious amounts of sex with many times throughout the week. Upon returning from that fantasy land, he heads to a job-placement agency to rub elbows with laid-off corporate executives who have trouble making ends meet so they can pay the lease on their Mercedes. Kevin is handing out grades for No Strings Attached and The Company Men, and the grades are not good.

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Paramount Pictures is remaking the 1991 comedy Soapdish. This is the word from the generally reliable folks over at Pajiba. Just when you didn’t think they’d hit the bottom of the barrel yet, this would be your sign.

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