Michael Fassbender

This has to be one of the more cooler and inventive pieces of viral marketing in quite sometime. With Prometheus less than four months away from hopefully blowing our feeble minds, we’re still slightly in the dark on Alien prequel. The teaser relied on atmospheric “Holy hell!” visuals, while this viral video actually gives insight into one of the film’s characters, Peter Weyland, of Weyland Industries. Guy Pearce‘s role has been one of the production’s best kept secrets since he joined the project, but now we know he’ll be one of the core links to the Alien franchise. If you recall, Weyland’s company plays a big part in the Alien mythology. Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof wrote this short and Ridley Scott served as a supervisor. Hopefully we’ll be getting more of these from Weyland Industries. Watch it after the break.

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Do you guys even like hearing rumors straight out of Deadline Daytona Beach? Be honest. Is there value in them for you as movie fans? Do you feel like reporting chatter is just like being back in Film Blogging High School (where all of Rejects attended, and were subsequently kicked out). Tell me. In any case, it’s a slow pre-Oscars Friday, and it looks like all we have to report are rampant rumors. So here they are. Deadline Detroit reports that MGM “is making an offer” to rising star Joel Kinnaman for the titular role in the new Robocop. That’s right, the news isn’t that MGM has made an offer, it’s that they will. I’m getting to old for this game. But while rumors and gossip and chatter are, by and large, not very exciting, this news is – mainly because the possibility of a fresh face in an old property is actually interesting.

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Wegottold? Deadline Calabasas, ever an outlet to gracefully announce news, reports that Michael Fassbender is indeed committed to lead the Cormac McCarthy-written and Ridley Scott-directed The Counselor. We’ve known this was a strong possibility for a couple of weeks now, but isn’t it nice to have things confirmed? Even if we apparently need to be loudly “TOLD!” so? What we know about the film has not changed – it’s been described as “No Country For Old Men on steroids” and it’s a modern tale that takes place in the American Southwest. Fassbender will play the title character, “a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation.” It’s no surprise that Scott went to Fassbender, who is not only a hot name, but who Scott just worked with on his new Prometheus. It seems a natural (and solid) fit. Scott is reportedly looking to start shooting on May 1, so we might be getting this baby sooner rather than later.  

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s what happens when Neil leaves and Kate Erbland and I joke about me doing this column drunk and then don’t realize that’s probably a bad idea until the next day. So hello and welcome to maybe the only installment ever of Movie News After Drinking, brought to you by Old Crow Bourbon. Old Crow Make it a Double! (Note: We should get paid for this). I think my introduction needs to be longer before I put that page break thing here and before I get fired for making a mockery of this column. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance came out today and it should come as little surprise that most people hate the movie. Our boy Jack Giroux reviews the flick over at TheFilmStage where he politely points out that Jerry Springer jokes are old enough to be getting paternity tests themselves (that means they’re like 15 years old).

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Over the past several years there has developed a sort of holy trinity of young actors whose careers I’m watching develop with great glee. Every time any of them come out with a new project, you can count on me being first in line to see what they’ve come up with. These three mythic men go by the names Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, and Michael Fassbender. But even a devotee such as me has to admit that the newest project Fassbender has in the works sounds a little odd. Fassbender and screenwriter Ronan Bennett (Public Enemies) have spent the last year or so setting up Irish Myths through their production company, Finn McCool Films. It’s a story that Fassbender himself will star in about some of the mythical figures from the Irish legends of the 8th century. The series of stories that they’ll be tackling is known as the Ulster Cycle, which tells the tales of the clashes between King Conchobar’s Ulaid tribe and the Connachta tribe, which was led by Queen Mebh. If that sounds like a lot to take in already, just wait, there’s more.

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X-Men: First Class ended up being the miracle of last summer. With the quick production schedule and the less-said-about-it-the-better X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, who would’ve thought we’d get the best in the series yet? Well, we did. If you’ve seen the first three films of the franchise, you really don’t have to be an analytical comic book nerd to notice a few continuity problems. Or, if you want to look at it in a brighter and more logical light, it was Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and the brass at Fox starting anew. With Vaughn recently announced to helm the sequel to his poppy origin story, hopefully he’ll continue to build a new X-Men film universe. Who wouldn’t want to see characters like Gambit and Angel all finally given justice, and in the 1970s nonetheless? I would. Whether or not that’ll happen is still up in the air, but it seems plausible. Although Jane Goldman isn’t officially attatched to pen the sequel and she’s got plenty of other projects on her schedule, I couldn’t help but to discuss the potential of a sequel, as well as her plans for Nate Simpson‘s Nonyplayer:

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Sold. No, really. I’m sold on this project already. Deadline Tucson reports Ridley Scott is now officially signed on to direct The Counselor, from Cormac McCarthy‘s latest spec script (a probable move we reported on last week). But as if the prospect of Scott (who recently seems bent on getting back to his former glory) directing a fresh McCarthy script wasn’t enough to get you excited, word is now out that Scott is looking at his Prometheus star, Michael Fassbender, to lead the film. Again – sold. The Counselor has been described, quite tantalizingly, as “No Country For Old Men on steroids.” The film is a modern tale that takes place in the American Southwest and will reportedly center on “a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation.” Hmm, dangerous business, bad choices that consume characters, seedy lifestyles? Sound a bit like Shame, meaning it’s something that Fassbender can do, and handily.

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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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The absolute worst thing you could say about Steven Soderbergh’s latest film is that its lead, Gina Carano, is consistently out-acted by Channing Tatum. On its surface and for obvious reasons that’s a pretty damning statement. But when viewed as a whole performer instead of just an actress you quickly realize that Carano has a very particular set of other skills. Skills she has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make her a nightmare for people like Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and other male stars with recognizably pretty faces. A nightmare for them, but entertaining as hell for the rest of us.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in his favorite Jedi robe, grabs his lightsaber and heads out to see the latest George Lucas movie…and boy does he look stupid. After realizing that Red Tails has nothing to do with the color of creatures’ backsides in the Tattooine cantina, he then dresses in his favorite “Team Jacob” tee shirt to see the latest vampire/werewolf movie. Again, he looks ridiculous. Finally, he sulks into a movie theater showing the new Steven Soderbergh film, falls in love with new action star Gina Carano and is happy.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Audiences have been eagerly awaiting the release of soon-to-be retired (or so was once widely claimed) Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, Haywire, after advanced screenings confirmed what the trailer suggested – a literally kick-ass time at the movies. Starring a Hollywood unknown, Gina Carano is known more for her mixed martial arts skills and those skills are put to the test on the big screen as she goes up against a powerful boys club comprised of the likes of Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender. Playing a black ops solider betrayed by her company, Carano is forced to not only figure out why she was double crossed, but do so while trying to keep herself from being killed in the process (and leaving an impressive body count of her own in her wake.) Soderbergh turned to composer David Holmes to create the musical landscape for a film that is not only action-packed, but also dramatic, thrilling, emotional, even funny at times and overall – fun. But what made this film such a fun time at the movies? Many factors of course (the story, the actors, the direction), but the element that seemed to keep this idea of playfulness running throughout was provided by the score, and almost subconsciously so. Holmes is no stranger to scoring a film that flips the script every other scene and forces the audience to not only try and keep up with the action, but unravel the truth behind the story as well. He […]

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Culture Warrior

Ambiguity is no stranger to the arthouse film. Over fifty years after a group of daytrippers never found their lost shipmate in Antonioni’s L’Avventura, the ambiguous ending still retains the power to frustrate, confuse, anger, and challenge viewers. Continued controversies over ambiguity in narrative films point to Hollywood’s enduring dominance over the notion that films must be coherent and contain closure. However, the convention of closure can be a maddening limitation for filmmakers who intend to ask questions with no easy answers, or pose problems with no clear solutions (assuming that such answers or solutions exist in the first place). But ambiguity can take on a variety of forms, and with different degrees of effectiveness. Sometimes a film’s ambiguous hole can be more fulfilling and thought-provoking than any convention of linear causality in its place, but at other points ambiguity can become a handicap, or a gap that simply feels like a gap. Here are a few films from the past year that engage in several modes of intended ambiguity.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Young Adult, Shame, and The Descendants. 2011’s holiday movie season ended the year with a barrage of relatively conventional heroes. From Ethan Hunt saving the world from yet another MacGuffin to Sherlock Holmes solving an additional mystery to a cyberpunk and a journalist battling wealthy Swedish career-misogynist neo-Nazis, December was packed with varied iterations of good triumphing over its clearly delineated evil opposition. In contrast, the holiday season’s slate of smaller-scale filmmaking brought forth several protagonists who function in strict contrast to your conventional hero. These protagonists are (decidedly) so toxic, broken, unheroic, and even unlikeable that they can’t even be deemed antiheroes. These characters (to varying degrees of success) challenge the assumed connection that filmic convention makes between the “main character” and the “film itself” by presenting protagonists who don’t triumph over adversity, who don’t fight or win a “good” battle, and who frankly don’t warrant an act of rooting. These protagonists trip up an oft-unquestioned notion conditioned by cinematic tradition: that films should serve as a means of rooting for a clearly demarcated, pre-telegraphed, unassailable idea of goodness. These are three protagonists that we aren’t often asked to spend ninety minutes with.

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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All I want for Christmas is for the bizarre trickle (leaks and all) of Prometheus marketing (teaser trailers for teaser trailers? seriously?) to stop and for everyone to stop ruminating on how Ridley Scott‘s latest fits into the Alien universe. It’s clearly a prequel, but that could just be the eggnog talking. The film stars a seriously wonderful cast that includes Noomi Rapace (in just her second English-language role), Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, and Idris Elba. The film was once touted as a direct prequel to Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien, though since the film’s initial conception, the cast and crew of the film have turned cagey, tossing off terms like “being in the same universe of” the Alien films, which was weird enough already. And that was until said marketing trickle, with all signs pointing to “yes, this is a prequel.” And, today, finally the first trailer for the film, which hits two notes – “incredibly awesome” and “totally a prequel.” I’ll stop hemming and hawing now and let you take in the trailer for one of 2012′s most anticipated new releases. Check out the first (really, actually, truly official) trailer for Prometheus after the break.

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Tim & Eric

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of things you’ll want to read, even if they didn’t originate on this website. We know, we know, all the good stuff can only come from Film School Rejects. But every once in a while (at least 8 times per day), other websites strike gold. And we’re here to celebrate their modest victories. We begin tonight with an image from Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, one of a number released today by Magnolia Pictures. It features Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim as… well, I have no idea what’s going on in this picture. But apparently people find this funny. Having watched numerous episodes of their show, I’m not convinced that they’ve ever been funny. But who am I to argue with the masses? Oh right, I do argue with the masses. Seriously, guys, this stuff isn’t funny. At all.

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Do not expect a body horror show from A Dangerous Method. Do not expect someone grotesque mental or physical transformation. Do not expect kinky or unbelievably outlandish sex scenes. Most of all, do not pigeonhole director David Cronenberg. Whatever a “David Cronenberg film” means is a mystery now. Who would’ve thought the director behind Videodrome and (the very underrated) eXistenZ would go on to make an excellent gangster picture? Certainly not me. Now Cronenberg has tackled a subject that is, in some ways, in his wheelhouse. A Dangerous Method is not a dry or sloggy bio pic, but an entertaining depiction about the clashing of ideals and an exploration of how we tick, as expected. Much of the film focuses on the rise and fall of a rocky relationship between a young and intellectually hungry Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and the older, wiser and sex obsessed Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortenson). Most the script involves Jung and Freud in back and forth conversations about their ideas, which will surely turnoff many viewers. If you are not at all into psychoanalysis and were bored to tears during your sociology 101 class, then this is not a film for you. At one point Freud jokes to Jung, forgive me if I am misquoting the line, “Have you realized we’ve spoken for eight hours now?”, and some may feel those eight hours. For myself, the exchanges between a convincingly conflicted Fassbender and a surprisingly hilarious Mortenson, are funny, intellectually stimulating, and, yes, cinematic.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr walks around his apartment naked, rents out hookers of various shapes and sizes then tries to pick up married women on a subway. He figures if it’s good enough for Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Shame, then it’s good enough for anyone. Of course, this leads Kevin to spending most of the rest of the day weeping in his birthday suit. Shaking off the humiliation, he decides to take in some culture and give Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus a gander, being one of them Shakespeare pictures and all. Unfortunately, he never stops giggling about the name of the movie long enough to decipher all of the fancy Elizabethan language, and Kevin ends up weeping again, curled up naked in his shower.

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Hugo

It is day four of awards season, and already some names are growing wearyingly familiar, and even the surprises don’t quite pop like they used to. On Monday evening, the Gothams announced their annual awards, followed swiftly by the Film Independent Spirit nominations announcement and the NYFCC’s winners, but director Martin Scorsese and his latest film, Hugo, were without some big awards love – until now. The National Board of Review has announced their best-of picks for the year, and Hugo has topped out as Best Film, with Scorsese grabbing Best Director. As the film opened just last week, here’s hoping that this NBR endorsement will pump up somewhat lackluster box office returns. Paired with a weekend box office free of new major releases, and maybe Hugo can swing up to the top of the heap. As for the rest of the Board’s awards, there’s a bevy of names here that already seem like old hat – picks like Christopher Plummer for Beginners and The Artist, The Descendants, and The Tree of Life as a “top” films for the year – but there are still a few eyebrow-raisers, as our friends over at /Film note, J.C. Chandor picking up another award for his debut, Margin Call, continues to be surprising. Where is Sean Durkin and his own Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene? And J. Edgar as one of the year’s best? And a Breakthrough to Felicity Jones and Rooney Mara, but no Elizabeth Olsen? Bizarre, really. But there are […]

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