Kristin Scott Thomas

Nicolas Winding Refn had his biggest hit with Drive. The film may have angered some viewers enough to file a lawsuit, but it also inspired a generation of young hipsters to empower themselves by donning The Driver’s scorpion-spangled jacket. Whether that’s a good thing is up for debate, but to make someone feel inspired enough to wear the jacket of a violent criminal is no small feat. After audiences see Refn’s followup film Only God Forgives no one is going to want mimic these characters. The poppy soundtrack, stoic lead, and fairy tale romance from his previous Gosling-starring flick is nowhere to be found in this Bangkok-set crime picture. The Bronson director could have gone on to make a spiritual sequel to Drive, in terms of trying to recapture that success, but instead he has made a movie that appeals to an almost entirely different sensibility. Refn never even considered exploring the same territory. “I was going to make this movie before Drive, so there wasn’t any thought of doing that,” he explains. Basically, there was no time for thought, either. Refn is one fast worker, and according to him, it shows onscreen. “I did Bronson and Valhalla Rising back-to-back, and I did the same with Drive and Only God Forgives. I’m sure they have effects on the extremes of both movies.”

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Only God Forgives

Editor’s Note: This review appeared as part of our Cannes 2013 coverage. Seeing as Only God Forgives is making its way into theaters in the U.S. this week, we are republishing it for your reading pleasure. Arguably the most anticipated film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is one that on the face of it, though In Competition, has little chance of scooping the Palme D’Or by virtue of subject matter alone. Only God Forgives, the latest film from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, follows the filmmaker’s hugely popular 2011 Cannes In Competition entry Drive (which scooped Refn the Best Director award), yet is a baffling follow-up that evoked strongly divided responses at this morning’s jam-packed press screening.

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review in the house

To say that François Ozon has worked in many genres would be a misstatement, but only because his films tend to ignore the boundaries of genre in the first place. 8 Women is a musical, melodrama and murder mystery. Swimming Pool is a thriller inflected by romance novels. Sitcom is a fusion of sitcom tropes and rambunctious sexuality. And now, Ozon has made a film that functions almost as a retrospective blend of his own prior work. In the House builds from the insightful narrative trickery of Swimming Pool, blends in the promiscuous anarchy and wry humor of Sitcom, and drops the whole thing into the otherwise boring “inspirational schoolteacher” movie. The result is Ozon’s best work in a decade.

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Only God Forgives

The worst thing about the Only God Forgives trailer is the “Coming Soon” tag at the end. This thing needs a US release date quick or Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling‘s fans are going to riot in the street. I’ll be at the front of the pack participating in some anarchy with whatever I can grab. In the movie, Gosling plays a gangster feuding with a man of the law (Vithaya Pansringarm) in the mean streets of Bangkok. To settle the score, the two men agree to take the fight into the ring. The trailer itself is aggressively sensual. Entire scenes bathed in red. A dreamy music-box-based song to go along with all the violence being shown. It also looks like it might have the best Kristin Scott Thomas performance since Tell No One.  Check it out for yourself:

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Books and films are two very different mediums capable of eliciting the same reactions of joy, disappointment and every emotion in between. Both are essential, but they each have at least one distinctly related advantage over the other. Books rely on descriptions to create their world, but it’s ultimately up to the reader to envision what that world and its inhabitants look like. On the flip side of that, movies allow storytellers to show viewers exactly what they want them to see while still leaving open the option of interpretation. Tom (Ethan Hawke) is an American writer/college lecturer who arrives in Paris anxious to see his wife and young daughter after an extended absence. It’s only when he arrives at their residence that we begin to suspect this may not be a traditionally happy reunion. His wife is clearly upset to find him on her doorstep, and after he politely barges in to see their daughter the woman phones the police to report that he’s breaking a restraining order issued due to past violent behavior. Tom runs from the police only to have his suitcase and wallet stolen while asleep on a bus. Devoid of baggage and identity he struggles to retain his family, security and sanity in the face of an uncertain menace that threatens to bring him past his breaking point. What exactly that menace is, and how far Tom will go to combat it aren’t always clear, but neither is much else in The Woman in the […]

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The Woman in the Fifth

The basic premise of The Woman in the Fifth is that Ethan Hawke is playing an American writer who moves to Paris and strikes up a romance with a mysterious widow played by Kristin Scott Thomas. After hearing this you probably immediately get visions of the two actors sipping espressos at street side cafes, browsing for books at kiosks set up along the Seine, you know… doing Parisy-type stuff. But The Woman in the Fifth isn’t that sort of movie at all. It’s much darker, and more disturbing. How do I know? Because in the film’s new trailer there’s all sorts of spooky music and Ethan Hawke is talking in Christian Bale’s Batman voice. That’s how.

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Director Lasse Hallström’s newest picture, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is about an eccentric sheik who loves fishing so much he’s willing to pay obscene amounts of money to create a permanent river in the deserts of Yemen, stocked with salmon. It then becomes up to his legal council to find a fisheries expert who can make it happen. And here we have the set-up for a really boring movie. Except, watching the trailer, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen doesn’t seem boring at all. Most of that probably has to do with the fact that the legal council and the fisheries expert are played by Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, two actors with more charm in their fingernails than most people have in their whole bodies. I kind of have big crushes on both of them, so watching McGregor play nervous and proper, and Blunt playing blunt and driven, and seeing the two of them turn banter into romance…well, it all just seems to be too cute for words. Add in Kristin Scott Thomas as a sassy newspaper woman with shady motives, and this may be a movie with too much charm for its own good.

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The ridiculous trend of foreign language films getting English-language remakes immediately after they leave theaters marches on. This time around we’ve got Brian De Palma looking to remake the French film Crime d’amour, which just opened in U.S. theaters in September. The original film is a sort of psychological thriller in which a high-powered executive played by Kristin Scott Thomas takes on a young assistant, played by Ludivine Sagnier, so that she can toy with and corrupt her. A turn happens, however, when Thomas’s character overestimates the Sagnier character’s innocence and naiveté, and eventually the student becomes the master of manipulation. I haven’t seen it, but it sounds kind of sexy. De Palma is taking the film, which was released in the U.S. as Love Crime, and remaking it as Passion. And according to a report from Indiewire, he’s got his two lead actresses in mind. Apparently he’s looking to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows co-stars Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams to fill the roles, and is currently in negotiations to sign them up.

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Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Kristin Scott Thomas will be joining him on the expedition.

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uma-thurman-header

Uma Thurman has the Edward Cullen bug, just like every other gal in America.

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Jessica Biel’s name isn’t synonymous with character pieces, but we’ve got pics to prove that she’s ready to take a stab with the Hitchcock remake Easy Virtue.

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