Kirsten Dunst

Aunt May Amazing Spider-Man

From the moment that radioactive spider decided to chomp down on Peter Parker, the most average boy in Manhattan’s life was never the same again. But despite becoming the flying, web-slinging defender of New York City, at his core Peter was still a teenager struggling to figure out his place in the world. Each and every one of Peter’s moves upon becoming Spider-Man depended on three crucial factors: Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy and Aunt May. The three main women in his life. Though their timelines and characters have changed over the years from their depictions from comic books to film, their relevance to Peter Parker’s story remains the same. Without MJ, Gwen or May, he wouldn’t have had much to care about or many personal reasons to keep fighting.

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It’s a little disconcerting to see Oscar Isaac in a 1960s period piece and find him without cat, guitar, or mop of overly cynical dark brown curls. Yet that’s exactly what lies within The Two Faces of January: an Isaac who’s cleanly shaven and clearly takes care of his hair. Also, he’s a tour guide in Greece who occasionally cons his customers out of their cash. And it’s in Greece where Rydal, Isaac’s character, will happen upon Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst), an American couple who happen to be doing a little conning of their own. One murder later and they’re all tangled up in each others’ various crimes; forcing Rydal and the happy(ish) couple to go on the lam together. Intrigue, sexual tension and gun violence ensue. Based off a novel by Patricia Highsmith (the author whose previous work became Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley) and adapted by Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini (who’s also making his directing debut), The Two Faces of January has enough talent on board to guarantee some twisty turny entertainment. The cast boasts the same pedigree, even if it looks like a healthy portion of the film is nothing but the two male leads making goo-goo eyes at Kirsten Dunst. So yes, the title sounds a little like a romance novel, and yes, if a character begs “please don’t shoot me,” the following words probably won’t be “into outer space.” But at least it looks like a […]

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otherpeople

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions has a new comedy coming our way. According to a report from Variety, they’re now backing Bachelorette writer/director Leslye Headland’s new romantic comedy, Sleeping With Other People, which is about a devil may care womanizer and a woman who’s a remorseful serial-cheater getting together and teaching each other about life and stuff. Apparently what first starts off as a platonic relationship based around their shared interest in having sex with as many different people as possible eventually leads to a mutual attraction, and then complication. Headland having a new movie in the works isn’t the only news here though. Sleeping With Other People also has its stars in place as part of its deal. The same report says that Jason Sudeikis and Kirsten Dunst are all signed to play the promiscuous leads. This, of course, will be Dunst’s second teaming with Headland, as she was also one of the stars of Bachelorette. Sudeikis, for his part, will be working with the director for the first time, but does have quite a bit of experience working with the Gary Sanchez people due to his involvement in things like their HBO show Eastbound & Down and their 2012 comedy The Campaign. Everyone here should feel pretty comfortable working together, which hopefully leads to at least a few more laughs than the just-kind-of-mean-spirited Bachelorette. Headland was a staff writer on the outstanding show Terriers, so there’s definitely a possibility that her feature work could show […]

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dunst

So far Jeff Nichols has only directed three films, but when those three films are as good as Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, it really only takes three films for pundits to start painting you as being one of the most exciting directors currently making movies. And once somebody gets anointed as being one of the most exciting directors currently making movies, every time they announce a new project it tends to be a momentous occasion of celebration. That’s why we were so excited to hear that Nichols would be keeping his streak of working with powerhouse actor Michael Shannon alive for his next film, a father/son drama with a chase element called Midnight Special. Factor in that Nichols has since added another one of the top acting names working in the business, Joel Edgerton, to the cast, and things have started to look even more promising. With these three guys collaborating, Midnight Special has to be seen as one of the most notable movies currently being made, which is good news for Kirsten Dunst, because Deadline is reporting that she’s the latest name signed to come on board and help out the cause.

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On the Road Movie

Editor’s note: On the Road cruises into limited release this Friday, so put your brains into gear and enjoy this re-run of our Cannes review, originally published on May 23, 2012. Some books demand adaptation, offering immediate and easily translatable promise as film projects, whether that is thanks to the power of the plot, or characters or certain ideas that would lead to a looser adaptation. Jack Kerouac‘s seminal “On The Road” is not one of those books – like the work of James Joyce, the book is explicitly literary, its content inherently bound by its form and its author so fundamentally a writer before a storyteller that many, including myself, believed it to be unadaptable. In that context, the presence of Walter Salles‘ adaptation, imaginatively called On The Road, on the In Competition list here always stood out as an intriguing prospect. How would the director who made that other road movie The Motorcycle Diaries cope with the very specific problem of adapting something that is so explicitly literary? The answer, unfortunately, is not well. For a tale which so obviously values hedonism and free expression, On The Road is ultimately joyless and unengaging, and for a self-discovering road movie to fudge the journey so much and lose almost all lasting meaning is downright criminal.

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If you’ve ever spent any extended time in a coffee shop or a freshman dorm, chances are you’ve seen a good number of young people with open hearts and confused eyes dutifully thumbing through the pages of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” It’s one of those books you just have to get into when you’re coming of age, like “The Catcher in the Rye,” or, if you’re a sociopath, Ayn Rand’s stuff. Given the book’s enduring popularity, it’s strange that it’s taken so long for Hollywood to make a big screen adaptation, but, nevertheless, the wait is over, and the first trailer for the film is here. How does it look? Well, it looks like director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) and his camera crew have shot a beautiful film. And seeing as the narration put over this trailer quotes one of the most famous passages from Kerouac’s novel, it looks like he’s made a film that’s very much On the Road. This seems to be a straight adaptation; the essence of the book put up on the screen, without any unexpected detours.

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Based on Jack Kerouac’s novel of the same name, On The Road begins in 1947 in New York City, where a young writer, Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), finds himself introduced to the larger-than-life Dean Moriarty (played with charm and conviction by Garrett Hedlund.) Thanks to Dean’s slightly “mad” outlook on life, Sal thinks that spending time with him may lead to some good stories — and hopefully fix his current writer’s block. But more than that, Dean reminds Sal of someone. As their relationship grows, Sal gets more and more embroiled in Dean’s life, and instead of simply observing and being around it Sal starts to become an integral part of it. When Dean decides to move back to Denver to win back his young wife Marylou (Kristen Stewart), Sal takes him up on his offer to join him. As a “young writer trying to take off,” Sal literally takes off, hitchhiking his way across the country and meeting even more interesting characters and jotting more and more notes in his tiny notebooks along the way. Once in Denver, Sal finds himself quickly falling into Dean’s life of sex, drugs, and jazz, and the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur.

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Upside Down

There always seem to be a few projects that roll around in my head like so many brain marbles – films I hear about, wonder about, and think about that, for whatever reason, seemingly drop off the face of the Earth. One such project is Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer Slayer, which we’ll finally see in March of next year, and another is Juan Solanas‘ Upside Down, that Kirsten Dunst- and Jim Sturgess-starring romance that was filmed over two years ago. We got our first look at the film’s trailer back in January (when I might have been a touch unkind to the project), but it’s been radio silence ever since then. Where the heck was this thing? Now Variety reports (via The Playlist) that Millennium Entertainment has acquired the U.S. rights to the project and plans to release it sometime in 2013. The outlet also provides a hint as to why it’s taking so long to hit theaters – it will be available in both 2D and 3D. Since we’ve never heard a thing about the film being presented in 3D (though, admittedly, it does sound like a natural fit), it seems highly likely that its release has been delayed by post-conversion. Ready your eyeballs now.

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Bachelorette Movie 2012

Editor’s note: After big success on VOD, Bachelorette hits theaters today, so ready your champagne flutes and raise a glass to our Sundance review of the film, originally published on January 24, 2012. We’ll get this out of the way right off the bat – Bachelorette is not Bridesmaids, though the film’s premise (three girls embark on a bachelorette party adventure for a bride they hate!) sounds like the perfect post-Bridesmaids feature for a ladies’ night out. In reality, Leslye Headland‘s film is a production that’s perfectly crafted for people who hate their friends. Toxic, nasty, and ugly, Bachelorette reaffirms stereotypes about women (they are bitches! they are sluts! they are emotionally unstable!) and their relationships (they secretly all hate each other!) that should have disappeared from cinema (and the world) long ago. We never quite know why Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Katie (Isla Fisher), and Jenna (Lizzy Caplan) are still friends – we can only assume it’s because no one else wants to associated with such horrible shrews. Pals since high school, the trio call themselves “the b-faces” and appear to spend most of their time bitching about other things and people. They are all unhappy in different ways – control freak Regan thinks she’s done everything right and still nothing is happening to her (hint, no one cares if you went to Princeton if you’re a huge, raging bitch to every single person you meet), airhead Katie is sick of work retail but thinks she’s not smart enough for anything else […]

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Ben Foster

While we don’t typically celebrate when two talented actors leave a film, when it comes to Adam Rapp‘s Red Light Winter, the loss of Mark Ruffalo and Billy Crudup is actually a good thing. Variety reports that, while Crudup’s role still remains uncast, Ben Foster is now attached to star in the role that was previously Ruffalo’s, and his involvement with the film has given it a push to filming sooner rather than later. Ruffalo’s involvement with the film (which playwright and filmmaker Rapp will both write and direct) was first rumored way back in the spring of 2011, but it was always something that was on the horizon for him, not of immediate import. With Foster now set for one of three lead roles, the production is reportedly looking to start filming in December or January. Rapp’s play of the same name centers on a pair of college buddies (Matt and Davis) who hit their thirties and attempt to reconnect with each other by traveling together from New York City to Amsterdam to whoop it up in ways perhaps better suited for younger men. Along the way, the two get caught up in an unexpected love triangle with a “window prostitute” (set to be played by Kirsten Dunst), which unearths some of the fissures in their damaged relationship). It’s bleak, dark, soul-searching stuff.

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Bachelorette Movie 2012

Not only did last year’s Kristen Wiig-starring vehicle Bridesmaids become a surprise success at the box office, it also became something of a cultural hot button, starting debates all over media and the web about whether or not women could be as funny as men, or, more specifically, if they could get away with delivering material as dirty as the stuff in most comedies made by dudes. If Bridesmaids was the first experiment towards proving that they can, then Bachelorette is cranking things up a notch and further testing the limits. While Bridemaids featured some good-natured raunch and family-friendly poop jokes, Bachelorette appears to be downright salacious in how sans morals its main character are. By having a very similar plot and a very similar comedic style to Bridesmaids, just one year after that film was released, Bachelorette is all but setting itself up to be called a lame ripoff. But, if its new red band trailer is any indication, it’s still going to be hilarious anyway. That’s maybe not so surprising when your movie is starring funny ladies like Isla Fischer, Lizzie Kaplan, and Rebel Wilson, but – holy crap – Kirsten Dunst even seems like she’s knocking her lines out of the park. Who knew that she had comedic timing? Add in Adam Scott and James Marsden for all your man-crush needs, and Bachelorette has the cast that won’t quit.

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Bachelorette Movie 2012

Not all of the creative talent on board Bridesmaids were interested in a sequel, but fortunately a sequel already exists. To be fair, while writer/director Leslye Headland‘s Bachelorette might prove to be a different animal altogether, the surface level similarities are impossible to ignore. Girls behaving badly. A bride-to-be. Old high school friendships. Disaster around every corner leading up to the big day. After seeing it at Sundance, Kate even called it Bridesmaids for people who hate their friends. So there’s that too. But check out the trailer for yourself and be the judge. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher as terrible friends all throwing a wedding for a girl (Rebel Wilson) they made fun of in high school.

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Drinking Games

Today, Columbia Pictures is releasing the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man. In case you don’t want to spend $15 to $20 to see this movie in IMAX 3D, you could always rent the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man and watch it. Heck, the first hour of these films is virtually identical anyway. Ten years ago, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man broke box office records on its opening weekend, on the way to be one of the few movies to gross more than $400m in the United States. We’ll see if Andrew Garfield and Mark Webb can do that with their new movie. But in the meantime, have a few drinks with the older movie and see how it holds up.

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Jack Kerouac‘s “On the Road” is so thoroughly based on the beauty of language that it will be interesting to see what kind of movie it will make. It’s the kind of dream project that elicits nightmares because it’s incredibly popular, but it’s also that rare case where a book is fiercely personal no matter how many millions of people read it. Walter Salles took on the challenge, and his background in road movies certainly helps, but there are some x-factors here to be sure. Sam Riley sounds appropriately gruff and wandering in voice over in the new trailer, but the movie will also be a test of whether Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart can really act or if they can only chew gum and walk. Check it out for yourself:

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Reel Sex

People were up in arms Tuesday after the announcement of nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. So many seem to forget that every year they are disappointed with the nominees and every year there is some film or performer who was left off or included on the prestigious list. I may have spent the final weeks of 2011 lamenting my utter ennui with last year’s films, but I never in a million years expected some of the Oscar outcomes. No Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks, whose performance in Drive unnerved audiences to the core? Or the blatant disregard for solid documentary filmmaking in The Interrupters, Buck, or Project Nim, three entries into filmmaking that will forever impact the way we view the world around us? No, the Academy seemed to forget the impressive and daring offerings in favor of an adorable dog in a silent film. What is this, 1920? Last I checked The Jazz Singer pushed us into the land of the talkies. I could spend all day gnawing my tongue over which films shouldn’t have been included in this year’s awards recognition, but just like arguing the virtues and evils of the MPAA, our time is better used talking about some of the sexy pieces of work that the Academy felt were too provocative to include (for reasons I have completely made up in my mind. Hey, they have their prerogative, I have mine.). Going along with the Academy’s new voodoo math rules of deciding the […]

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Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly dose of awesome movie news, with a side of other stuff you’ll probably want to read in between all the movie news. We begin tonight with an image of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg pondering The World’s End, the supposed third film in their “Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy” that began with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It’s about damned time, as they say. From Scott Pilgrim to Star Trek, the pair have done plenty of great things apart, but now we’ll hopefully see them wrap this thing up. Unless Marvel calls Edgar about that Ant-Man movie…

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Juan Diego Solanas‘s Upside Down was first announced back in 2009, and since then, I’ve often wondered when we’d see our first meaty piece of marketing for the writer and director’s Kirsten Dunst- and Jim Sturgess-starring romance. Turns out, it’s today. Turns out, the film looks just as bizarre, occasionally inspired, kind of derivative, slightly silly, somewhat hammy, and potentially headache-inducing than I could have possibly expected. Yow. Star-crossed (or make that world-crossed) lovers, Adam and Eve (yes, really), live in two different worlds – really different. Poor Adam lives “down below” and Eve lives “up top” – two different worlds that exist on top of and inverted of each other. Sound weird? It is. However, the film’s official synopsis (which has been kicking around for awhile now), combined with the trailer, does pretty effectively communicate the laws and look of the dueling worlds. The synopsis informs us that “Adam is a seemingly ordinary guy in a very extraordinary universe. He lives humbly trying to make ends meet, but his romantic spirit holds on to the memory of a girl he met once upon a time from another world, an inverted affluent world with its own gravity, directly above but beyond reach… a girl named Eve. Their childhood flirtation becomes an impossible love. But when he catches a glimpse of grown?up Eve on television, nothing will get in the way of getting her back… Not even the law or science!” Damn you, law! Screw you, science! Breakin’ all the rules […]

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Culture Warrior

As the final days of the calendar year wane to a close, efforts are made by anybody with Internet access to summarize and rank 2011’s products of popular culture. Two titles that have shown up repeatedly on end-of-year movie lists are Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life and Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. While one was a summer release and the other a quite limited fall release, both these films in several ways have occupied conversations about film throughout the year: Malick’s film was highly anticipated not only because it was a new entry by a notoriously un-prolific director, but was staged as his magnum opus, and Von Trier’s film was anticipated not only because it was a Von Trier film, but was the follow-up to one of the most contentious and challenging films released thus far in this 21st century. In May, both films drew headlines after their Cannes premieres: Tree of Life for getting booed before taking home the top award, and Melancholia because of the utter shock of a career provocateur acting provocatively at a press conference. Having just recently seen Melancholia and in reflecting back on Tree of Life, I noticed that these two films interact as two piercing sides of the same vast coin which make them, perhaps more than any other roundly acclaimed and contentiously fought-over pair of films this year, speak to each other about the worth of human existence in a way that renders them inseparable.

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R.E.M. may have sang about the end of the world as we know it, but Lars von Trier brings that idea to the big screen in his film Melancholia, which deals with the heavy issue of depression (played with palpable despair and frustration by Kristen Dunst) in the face of a looming planet that threatens to end all life on earth. The film begins with a near ten-minute-long, slow-motion sequence focusing on foreboding images (which look almost like paintings) that are overtaken by darkness. The heavy (and at times jarring) soundtrack of the film, featuring deep violins and strings, is established during this sequence, and it strikes up throughout the film when things begin to take a more menacing turn. The film is split into two parts, the first focusing on Justine (Dunst) and her grand wedding to Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), while the second focuses on Justine’s sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourgh), and how she tries to hold her family together in the face of something that would cause depression (and utter fear) in almost anyone – the sudden and unstoppable end of life. Although the first part may seem a bit confusing, as von Trier brings us right into the story and does little to fill in the gaps, it becomes clear quickly that Justine is only trying to play the part of the happy bride, but does not fully have it in her. Despite pressure from her family and even her employer, Justine cannot seem to connect with what is going […]

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This year’s Young Hollywood panel (presented by the Los Angeles Times) brought together rising stars Anton Yelchin, Evan Rachel Wood, Armie Hammer and Kirsten Dunst to discuss how they got started in acting, what it is like working with impressive (and at times intimidating) directors like Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and David Fincher and how their success is shaping their careers. Hammer and Dunst are each featured in films screening at the festival (J. Edgar and Melancholia, respectively) with Hammer as Edgar’s right-hand man and Dunst as a depressed bride. Yelchin and Wood have been getting attention for their performances as one half of a long distance relationship in Like Crazy and the tempting intern who may undo an entire presidential campaign in The Ides of March. The four came together Friday night (with Hammer fresh off the premiere of J. Edgar the night before) and there was a palpable energy between them as they would get so excited or intrigued by another person’s answer it would sometimes feel like we were simply overhearing a conversation between new friends. It was interesting to see Hammer surrounded by three actors who have been doing this since they were young (as he is just getting started in his career) and how he was just as engaged in their answers as the audience, asking which project they would be referring to in a story or simply being shocked over hearing about directors who preferred to do scenes in a single take.

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