Liam Cunningham

review numbers station

Two men sit in a car having a seemingly casual chat, but while Grey (Liam Cunningham) rambles on about the dollar value associated with all of the various minerals in a human body, Emerson (John Cusack) is recording numbers being spoken on the radio. He writes them down, enters a bar and kills the three people inside. They’re wet work agents tasked with cleanup duty, but when their latest hit goes awry Emerson is reassigned to an underground Numbers Station in England to babysit a civilian named Katherine (Malin Akerman), whose sole job is to transmit numerically coded messages over the shortwave radio to agents in the field. She doesn’t know exactly what’s in them, but she trusts they’re helping in the war on terror. Emerson knows otherwise, and his growing angst and existential concerns are what landed him this temporary demotion to a boring post in the middle of nowhere. The tedium doesn’t last long though, as a group of assassins have found the bunker, and they won’t stop until they accomplish their own mission. Why doesn’t John Cusack play characters who get to smile anymore?

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Robert Downey Jr

What is Casting Couch? It’s a column that’s trying to talk about casting news on a day when Oscar nominations are king. Pity it. Paul Thomas Anderson is the sort of filmmaker who casts amazing actors in his movies and then directs them to the best performances of their careers. From Philip Baker Hall in Hard Eight, to Tom Cruise in Magnolia, to Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, to Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, this has always been true. According to Showbiz 411, Robert Downey Jr. may be adding his name to that list soon. They say that he and possibly Charlize Theron are looking like they’re going to be the stars of Anderson’s upcoming adaptation of reclusive author Thomas Pynchon’s novel, Inherent Vice. If this ends up being true it would, of course, be completely awesome for film fans, and probably be the biggest thing that’s happened to Downey’s career since he got cast as Iron Man. That’s a win-win for everybody.

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If Hollywood has taught us anything about the CIA it’s that those bastards really can’t be trusted. The exception to the rule is that the lower the character is on the agency’s totem pole the more honorable and good they’ll most likely be. They’re naive idealists who have yet to be molded by the big, bad world into heartless, morally bankrupt pricks motivated by warped patriotism and self interest. Which brings us to Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a low level agent stationed at the same, boring post for the last twelve months. He’s a “housekeeper” at a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, and every day he waits for a coded call alerting him to the imminent arrival of an incoming “guest.” The call finally comes when Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) mysteriously turns himself into the local US embassy after a decade on the run as an ex-agent turned traitor and killer. He’s moved to the safe house and immediately interrogated via water-boarding and harsh language. But when the inaccurately named safe house is attacked by a gaggle of heavily armed men Weston finds himself tasked with his guest’s safety and on the run from killers both foreign and domestic. The result is a film that offers no surprises in its story or character arcs but still manages to thrill with some stellar action sequences and two talented and charismatic leads. (That’s right. Two.)

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“Clever” is the best way to describe John Michael McDonagh‘s directorial debut, The Guard. In dialog, structure, the characters, and so forth, it all has a sense of cleverness. The playwright has made a dark comedic western built around (mostly) ignorant characters set in the mysterious and strange land of Ireland. Ever heard of it? Me neither. Many will be pointing out the similarities between John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard and his brother, Martin McDonagh‘s beloved film In Bruges, but there are distinct differences, and that’s clearly an important fact to John Michael. Outside of a specific similarity I mentioned to McDongah, The Guard is its own dark comedy with a could-be-iconic lead, Sergeant Gerry Boyle (played by Brendan Gleeson). Here’s what writer/director John Michael McDonagh had to say about his writing process, the button pushing ways of Sergeant Gerry Boyle, and twisting conventions:

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The upcoming Daniel Espinosa-directed thriller Safe House continues to fill out its cast. The film is said to be about a CIA safe house where criminals are detained, a young agent who acts as house sitter to the institution, and his attempts at moving a high profile criminal to another location once the house is under attack by a villainous organization. Denzel Washington was the first on board, playing the criminal who needs to get moved, and Ryan Reynolds signed up soon afterwards to play the young CIA agent. Now the rest of the cast is starting to come together as a start date looms. According to Deadline Kurpinova, Vera Farmiga has joined the cast, playing the CIA operative who supervises Reynolds’s character.  This choice was probably a no-brainer for the film’s casting agents as Farmiga has become something of a go-to whenever you need a slightly older, yet still attractive woman to play some sort of authority figure. Whether it be a doctor, or a successful businesswoman, or what have you, throw Farmiga in some business clothes and you’re good to go. Most recently she was seen in Source Code playing, you guessed it, a government agent. Say what you will about type casting, but Farmiga is a solid actress and playing these sorts of character roles is a great way to build a robust filmography and work with a lot of other great people. Plus, you have to appreciate the lady, because every time she gets cast in […]

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Leave it to the BBC to brighten up our afternoon with news of yet another interesting series in the development pipeline. While other networks are knocking off Avatar and others are tapping geek girl Olivia Munn for their new shows, BBC America has tapped Battlestar Galactica star Jamie Bamber and several others for their new futuristic sci-fi show Outcasts.

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Brian Cox stars as a man who decides to escape from his life-long prison sentence to see his dying daughter one last time.

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Brian Cox stars as a man serving a life sentence who decides to break out to save the life of his beloved daughter.

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