Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman to Star in Jane Got a Gun

Looks like Natalie Portman is coming back to Hollywood in a big, big way. THR reports that the actress will star in and produce Lynne Ramsay‘s first post-We Need to Talk About Kevin project, an intriguing Western that comes complete with a Black List script. Brian Duffield penned the film, Jane Got a Gun, which ended up on last year’s Black List of best unproduced screenplays (that list included scripts like Graham Moore’s The Imitation Game, Andrew Baldwin’s The Outsider, and John Scott’s Maggie also popped up on the list). The film is focused on “a woman whose outlaw husband returns home barely alive and riddled with bullet wounds. She is forced to reach out to an ex-lover and ask if he will help defend her farm when her husband’s gang eventually tracks him down to finish the job.” The film has reportedly spark a bit of a bidding war in Cannes. While Portman took some time off from acting after her Oscar win for Black Swan and the birth of her first child, she appears to be jumping right back in with a number of bold, meaty choices. She also has two Terrence Malick films lined up and, though she did not end up with the role, she was the Wachowskis’s first pick for their Jupiter Ascending. But can Portman go rough and tumble? Can she ever:

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week it’s a series of second stringer fill-ins trying not to run things into the ground while regular columnist Neil Miller disappears for a while due to reasons both glamorous and mysterious (in true Lohan fashion, he’s cited both “exhaustion” and “being dehydrated”). And today it’s a laundry list of Internet people still crushing on Joss Whedon’s superhero extravaganza, The Avengers, because Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows shit the bed this weekend and we haven’t had anything shiny to come along to steal away our fickle attentions yet. Let’s get to it. The above image comes from an artist named Hannah, who has proven that her finger is firmly on the pulse of the Internet by paying tribute both to the death of beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak as well as the work of beloved nerd-God Joss Whedon by mashing up Sendak’s artistic style with the cast of The Avengers. Is cute, no?

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It’s getting to the point where there are so many huge names involved in Ridley Scott’s upcoming project The Counselor that you can’t even write a proper headline about it. Not only does it have a living legend for a director, but this is also a movie that’s being shot from an original spec script from a living legend of an author, Cormac McCarthy. Plus its attached star, Michael Fassbender, is one of the most sought-after future icons in the film industry. And now an upcoming second round of casting decisions have The Counselor set to become an even more studded-with-stars affair. The Playlist has picked up a report from Twitch stating that three huge names are currently in talks to help Fassbender fill out the cast: Jeremy Renner, Javier Bardem, and Natalie Portman.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in his Jedi robes and grabs his lightsaber, heading to the theater to see the 3D re-release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. While there, he faces a sea of estrogen as ladies of all type swarm into the multiplex to see Channing Tatum’s abs multiflex. After using his lightsaber to break through the wall of pre-Valentine’s Day ladies, he faces more obstacles with twentysomething dudes heading out to see Safe House and obnoxious families to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Fortunately for Kevin, he is able to dispatch everyone with his Rock-inspired “pec pop of love.” It was an early Valentine’s Day massacre.

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Due to her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan and her pregnancy-imposed break from acting, Natalie Portman has been the subject of much talk in the movie world. When will she come back to work? What will her first post-Oscar role be? There have been reports of filmmakers as big as the Wachowskis actively recruiting her to come on board their projects, but still no word of an official signing. That is until now. Sorry, Hollywood directors, but Terrence Malick has beaten you to the punch. And, just to smear some dirt in your wounds, he’s done it twice. Deadline Ottawa is reporting that Portman has signed on to be in not one, but two of Malick’s upcoming projects, both shooting in 2012, which will mark her much anticipated return to acting. The first film is the Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett-starring Knight of the Cups, which is scheduled to start shooting this summer. The second is a film called Lawless, which sees Portman teamed again with Bale and Blanchett, in addition to other notable names like Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara. This film is scheduled to shoot in the fall.

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Back in October, word first broke about the Wachowski siblings‘s upcoming sci-fi epic, Jupiter Ascending. It’s apparently the next project they’ll work on after they finish up their adaptation of Cloud Atlas, and while not much is known about the specifics, it’s said to be a concept with serious franchise potential. As everyone knows, the best way to launch a franchise is to cast big actors in your lead roles. You can come up with all of the revolutionary ideas and breakthrough filmmaking techniques in the world and there is no guarantee that anyone will ever see what you’ve done, but if you stick Will Smith in the middle of all your hard work, success is pretty much a guarantee. To that end, the Wachowskis want to start their casting process off by locking up Natalie Portman. According to a report from 24 Frames, the Black Swan actress is being actively recruited by the Wachowskis’s people, and so far she’s shown quite a bit of interest in taking the role. The big potential of this casting is that this would be the first acting job Portman would be taking after her gigantic, career-making Oscar win for her work in Black Swan. A new baby forced her into a sort of acting hiatus, and this would be her first chance to follow up the great work she did in that film.

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Work on getting a Thor sequel in production seems to be well underway. It was just yesterday the news broke that Monster director Patty Jenkins was getting looked at very closely to direct the hammer-wielding god’s second movie, and now Entertainment Weekly has some quotes from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige about what direction the plot will take. Once this sequel goes into production, Thor will already have furthered adventures here on Earth alongside his Avengers buddies, so according to Feige, it’s time to “take Thor literally to other worlds.” In the Norse mythology that Thor plays around in there are nine different worlds. When I looked up the nine worlds over at Marvel, I learned that three of them share the same planet as Thor’s home Asgard, one of them is where we live (Midgard), and the other four are called Jotunheim, Svartalfheim, Hel, and Muspelheim. That’s a whole mouthful of words, and a whole heap of worlds full of elves, demons, and who knows what for Thor to smash with his hammer.

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Updated with correction: We posted this rumor earlier, but according to a representative at Lionsgate that we asked for comment, Gillespie is still on board the project. Regarding the rumor, the representative said, “This is not true. [Gillespie] is still set to direct.” We apologize for the error, but the situation doesn’t at all change Kate’s feelings on the project that can be found below: News from our pals at Twitch reports that director Craig Gillespie has left the troubled film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, that reimagines the Jane Austen classic as a story not just about the emotional battles of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but those battles as set against a countryside overrun with zombies. If Gillespie is off the project, he joins two other directors who previously jumped ship on the film – David O. Russell and Mike White. Besides not having a director, the film is also sorely lacking for a leading lady, with Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde all reportedly considered for the role or straight out offered it in the past, with none of them ever signing on. Buzz continues to turn back to Natalie Portman, however, as Portman’s production company is co-producing the project and the actress has an open schedule after the recent birth of her son. As of now, Dominic Cooper is apparently set to play Mr. Darcy, making him the only person with a firm commitment at this point. But, considering the revolving […]

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Culture Warrior

The cinematic doppelganger effect seems to happen on a cyclical basis. Every few years, a pair of movies are released whose concepts, narratives, or central conceits are so similar that it’s impossible to envision how both came out of such a complex and expensive system with even the fairest amount of awareness of the other. Deep Impact and Armageddon. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Capote and Infamous. Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report. And now two R-rated studio-released romantic comedies about fuck buddies played by young, attractive superstars have graced the silver screen within only a few short months of each other. We typically experience doppelganger cinema with high-concept material, not genre fare. To see two back-to-back movies released about the secret life of anthropomorphic talking insects, a hyperbole-sized rock jettisoning towards Earth’s inevitable destruction, a Truman Capote biopic, or a movie about a mall cop seem rare or deliberately exceptional enough as a single concept to make the existence of two subsequent iterations rather extraordinary. Much has been made of the notion that Friends with Benefits is a doppelganger of No Strings Attached (the former has in more than one case been called the better version of the latter), but when talking about the romantic comedy genre – a category so well-tread and (sometimes for better, sometimes not) reliably formulaic that each film is arguably indebted to numerous predecessors – can we really say these films are doppelgangers in the same vein as the high-concept examples, or […]

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Hesher (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a character that represents almost all different sides of life, and mainly, childhood. He’s reckless, narcissistic, always looking for fun, and you never know whether or not he’s your friend or your greatest enemy. Hesher is a cypher, someone that you can never truly understand or grasp. Many will love him and many will hate him. A character such as Hesher can’t be easy to write. If he becomes too extremist, he can lose any hints at humanity and could become a total cartoon. But director Spencer Susser and co-writer David Michôd (the director behind last year’s tremendous Animal Kingdom) managed to find an authentic grounding in this coming-of-age film that chronicles the extreme emotions of childhood. Hesher isn’t the star of the film, but he represents everything about childhood and what the lead, T.J., is going through. Here’s what Susser had to say about writing a jarring tone, the max levels Hesher goes to, and writing spontaneity:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr grabs his codpiece and cape, then gets hammered in the cineplex with Thor. He also suffers from wedding overload with two new movies, Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom. Though he probably should have put his shirt back on before seeing all the chick flicks. Finally, he takes a more esoteric and educational look at the Spanish Civil War drama There Be Dragons. Spoiler alert: There are no dragons in the movie.

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The summer of 2011 will see the biggest assemblage yet of superheroes onscreen with the upcoming releases of X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America: The First Avenger. (At least until next year when The Avengers hits theaters.) Every movie is a gamble to some degree, but these three mitigate the risk a bit in that the X-Men film is the fourth in a popular franchise and the other two both feature highly recognizable actors in the title roles. But there’s one superhero movie this summer that’s flying with a hammer in place of a safety net. The potential hurdles include a relatively unknown lead actor, a director thought to be an odd choice at best and a terrible one at worst, and a hero built on magic and fantasy. Thor is a god, an honest to god deity, and that can be a hard sell in the science-fiction and technology-filled world of Marvel films. Thor opens with a brief intro in the Southwestern US with a pair of scientists (Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard) and their snarky assistant (Kat Dennings) tracking an odd weather phenomenon. They drive towards the center of the storm and accidentally collide with a figure emerging from the darkness.

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“Eloquent badass” is not only how one would probably describe Thor’s brother/nemesis, Loki, but also the actor who portrays him, Tom Hiddleston. At last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Hiddleston was the only cast member that wasn’t tight-lipped as if they were hiding serious government secrets. The actor spoke off the cuff, even revealing a plot twist… and he did so in that ear-pleasing British accent of his. Hiddleston’s voice is smooth, clear, and everything you’d want from a great British accent. Hearing my voice go up against his was quite an emasculating experience. My sometimes quick, Mark Zuckerberg-like mannerisms sounded even more idiotic, something I never thought possible. Hiddleston made me sound like one of those hicks from Deliverance in comparison, but that seemingly total gent would never be one to tell me so. I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to see Thor before speaking with Hiddleston, but we covered an array of topics from tone, finding humanity in a villain, what you get when angry Gods do battle, and how much of an honor it must be to have one’s face on a 7-Eleven Slurpee cup.

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Culture Warrior

This editorial features some spoilers for Hanna and Kick-Ass. Consider yourself warned. In preparation for this post I ran a quick Internet search on child assassins and found this video from New York Magazine. While I wasn’t promised a video exclusively on child assassins here, and instead got something that explores the notion of child killers at large, this video conflates two categories of child killers that I think deserve remarkably different types of consideration. The great majority of killings performed by children in this video are from horror movies. From Rosemary’s Baby to The Omen to The Brood to Firestarter to the other Omen and beyond, the child/killer is an exhaustively repeated horror trope to the point of cliche (and is often confused with the simple overlapping category of “scary children,” like in The Shining and The Sixth Sense). But every so often a child-killer horror film comes along that works in line with the formula (The Children, anyone? Bueller? Okay, how about Let Me In?), reminding us why child killers still have the capacity to be engrossing and entertaining even if they’ve lost the ability to be outright horrifying: because they play on our society’s veneration of childhood innocence, replacing the ignorant bliss of childhood with benevolent, malicious intent to do harm to the much taller individuals that surround them. But child assassins are quite different from the overall category of child killers. And while two recent films in two subsequent spring movie seasons that feature child assassins, […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly movie news column dedicated to featuring painfully overtread characters from the part of the Marvel universe owned (cinematically, at least) by the 20th Century Fox corporation. It might as well be called X-Men After Dark. Hmm… maybe Fox will buy some sponsorship rights. They need all the help they can get after X-Men Origins: Wolverine. “A good Wolverine film could be an amazing thing.” Duncan Jones said this mere days before he confirmed that he will take a meeting with 20th Century Fox about the possibility of directing The Wolverine, taking a director’s chair left empty by the departure of Darren Aronofsky. As geek cred goes, Jones has perhaps as much as anyone working right now following Moon and Source Code, and he’s smart enough to pull it off. Here’s hoping the project is a good fit and that Fox makes the right call.

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Single tear at the dinner table. Flaming front flip into the pool. Donuts in the parking lot. Walking away from an explosion without looking back. A lot of people have already had the chance to see Hesher, but I haven’t, and just from the trailer, it looks like a version of Garden State that grew a pair, set fire to The Shins’ “Chutes too Narrow,” and learned to blast Metallica while stripping down to its tightie-whities. More words would only sully it. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The fact that a major studio made Your Highness is both reassuring and baffling. The commercial appeal is there, obviously, but this isn’t your standard comedic fare. David Gordon Green’s 80s fantasy throwback is filled with crudeness and audacity. This is a film with a child molesting puppet; isn’t that such a thing of genius which defines ambition? I believe so. A film like Your Highness is, as stated before, reassuring because we’re witnessing such talents as Green and co-writer/star Danny McBride getting to further explore their divisive sensibilities in a rather sizable studio film. Danny McBride didn’t just set out to make a parody or a satire, but a genuine adventure film that, which he admits, isn’t for everyone. Your Highness is not the pot comedy one expects, but a road movie about lovable and immature idiots. McBride’s Thadeous is a moron in all senses of the word, except an actual self-aware moron. There’s a charm to his baboon-like nature. Your Highness is almost a coming of age story, but about a grown, pot-smoking, and crude man. Here’s what Danny McBride had to say about getting a comedy with a large scope, not making a spoof, crafting lovable idiots, and the difficulty of practical effects:

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Let’s play a game. I’m going to tell a joke, you decide if it’s funny. Ready? Why did the chicken cross the road? Balls. If you chortled at that, then have I got a movie for you. It’s called Your Highness, and in addition to a once ambitious director and a cast filled with actors who really should know better it features a script that never met a punchline it couldn’t replace with a swear word or a drug reference. Why build complicated gags when you can just say ‘fuck?’ Why give depth to your characters when you can just have them wear a severed cock around their neck? All the dirty words and phallic props in the world aren’t going to ruin a movie, but using them in place of real comedy, actual jokes, and smart writing sure as hell isn’t going to help. A king has two sons of opposite worth who could only be related in Hollywood. Fabious (James Franco) is heroic, righteous, and fabulously coiffed while his brother Thadeous (Danny McBride) is foul-mouthed, portly, and socially retarded. One of Fabious’s many adventures nets him a fair maiden named Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel, speaking barely a line or two more than she spoke in Avatar) who he plans to marry. Their happy day is spoiled when the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux) kidnaps her with plans to use her virginal vagina as a dragon egg incubator. The two brother set off on a quest to rescue the maiden […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr spends a long day in the multiplex, checking out a variety of films from alcoholic romantic comedies to nature documentaries with elephants and orangutans. He drinks himself silly and hits on Greta Gerwig in Arthur, narrowly escapes being killed by ass-kicking teen assassin Hanna, narrowly escapes getting his arm bitten off by a tiger shark in Soul Surfer and peeps in on Natalie Portman undressing for a swim in Your Highness. Too bad she’s pregnant now, ‘cause Kevin just ain’t into that scene.

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What is Movie News After Dark? First, it is hoping that you had a great weekend. Because it did. It went to the drive-in, had great movie discussions and watched a Michael Bay film about ‘splosions. It looks forward to spending the week sharing with you the hottest tids and bits of the movie news world. Second, it’s not a person. It knows this. This makes it sort of sad. Christian Annyas has curated a very interesting gallery of prints by Saul Bass (a personal favorite of mine), and the DVD covers that have come from his work. It’s sad to see so many companies ditch the poster designs and opt for simpler DVD cover designs, is it not?

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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