Lenny Kravitz

Plain ol’ everyday Christopher Walken is terrific just the way he is. The strange deadpan. The madness in his eyes. All great. But Christopher Walken set to music is even greater, and Little Rootie Tootie may provide us all with something we didn’t know we desperately needed. Walken has, according to Deadline, signed on to star as a virtuoso jazz pianist who slowly spirals into madness after losing his wife. One has to ask, of course, whether Walken would really “slowly spiral” into madness, or just “take a slight step to the left” into madness, but that’s hardly the point. Little Rootie Tootie may provide the opportunity to see a far jazzier Walken than we’ve ever experienced before (at least, not since 1981’s Pennies From Heaven, which features a Walken-centric musical number you absolutely track down on YouTube). Alongside Walken is Lenny Kravitz, who joins Little Rootie Tootie as the unstable pianist’s son. Kravitz’ character, along with his wife (who hasn’t been cast yet) are developing their own musical careers in Europe, when they’re forced to return and tend to Walken’s crumbling mental stability. Little Rootie Tootie will be directed by Dan Algrant, who with last year’s Greetings from Tim Buckley proved he can merge music and family tragedy with ease. With luck, he’ll provide the same gravitas to Walken’s delivery of the words “Little Rootie Tootie,” which I assume he’ll be uttering at some point in the film.

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What is Casting Couch? Despite the fact that the movie business seems to be slow to get back to work after the long weekend, it’s a column that’s managed to dig up a couple exciting casting coups. Bryan Singer out-scooped everybody in the news breaking business today when he suddenly started tweeting big updates on how the cast for his upcoming X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was developing. He started off small by first confirming that a few members of the First Class crew would be returning. He tweeted, “I’d like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast.” But then he got a little crazy and started confirming rumors that actors from his original X-Men movies will be joining the film as well by tweeting, “Thrilled to announce @ianmckellen118 (Ian McKellan) & @SirPatStew (Patrick Stewart) are joining the cast of #XMEN #DaysOfFuturePast #magneto #professorX More to come…” Do you think we could get scenes where old Professor X and Magneto meet young Professor X and Magneto? The head spins with awesome possibilities.

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The marketing was wrong. While the buzz has been on Gary Ross’s cinematic adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular book series, The Hunger Games, since the first film was announced, all of the stills, trailers, and posters that have trickled out over the months have not captured the stunning final product. Ross’s film is an engaging, energetic, and emotional journey that should please the series’ dedicated fans while also luring in new ones. Cinephiles who are drawn to science fiction and dystopian stories will likely find a new favorite franchise, a YA adaptation elevated by a talented cast, skilled direction, and a tone and story that feel vibrant and applicable beyond just this single film. The film is set in a future version of the United States in which the country has been fractured and then tenuously reunited after an uprising nearly seventy-five years prior. The rebels were eventually quelled, and the resulting country consists of a rich and powerful central Capitol and twelve individual “Districts.” Each District is responsible for one type of provision or industry and, as the Capitol restricts communication and interaction between the Districts, they are at the mercy of their government to get supplies that are necessary for even basic survival. And though that should be enough to keep the Capitol satisfied in their power, it’s not, and they use the annual “Hunger Games” to remind their citizens just how in control they are. The Games are a televised fight to the death, with its […]

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The Hunger Games

The cinematic adaptation of Suzanne Collins‘ The Hunger Games series has a number of obstacles, including: making child-on-child murder fit into a PG-13 film, pleasing fans with casting decisions, not looking silly, appealing to fans, appealing to non-fans, not getting lumped in with The Twilight Saga just because the film includes a love triangle, giving Lenny Kravitz something to do, hiring someone to etch out Wes Bentley’s facial hair, and making back enough bank to not only make the film a “success” but to also provide some financial padding for sequels. And then there’s the Katniss Everdeen problem. Jennifer Lawrence‘s character is the center of the story, the leading lady, a rebel and a firebrand – and she’s also kind of an inscrutable jerk sometimes. But fans who have read Collins’ books love Katniss, even if they had to grow into that love – moviegoers who don’t know her from Bella Swan don’t have that luxury. So what to do? Well, make a new trailer that shows Katniss’ softer side. And release a new clip that show what an absolute badass Katniss is – both with her bow and arrow and her total disregard for authority.

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precious-review1

In Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, director Lee Daniels pulls off an improbable feat.

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push-2

My last film screened at this year’s Sundance film festival, Push: Based on a novel by Sapphire, was certainly one of the best. A tragic and touching story crafted beautifully and bravely by director Lee Daniels, Push is more than deserving of that acclaim that it garnered throughout this year’s festival run.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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