Nick Nolte

Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson

If you’re looking for some good movies to watch this three-day holiday weekend, I’d like to suggest a double shot of Paul Mazursky, the under-appreciated filmmaker who died Monday. A whole marathon of his work is in order, really, especially if you’ve never seen Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice or Harry and Tonto or Next Stop, Greenwich Village (come at least for Bill Murray’s first film appearance and a great early Christopher Walken) or An Unmarried Woman (a terrific feminist classic) or the crazy Alex in Wonderland (come at least for the Fellini scene). But two of my favorites are his big releases in the mid-80s, Moscow on the Hudson and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and I think they make a perfect double feature for Independence Day. First up is Moscow on the Hudson, which in early 1984 led the wave of comedies involving immigration and migration to New York City (see Crocodile Dundee, Coming to America, Splash, Muppets Take Manhattan, Jason Takes Manhattan, Short Circuit 2, Brother From Another Planet). Despite starring Robin Williams and being a fish out of water story, this isn’t quite a laugh out loud sorta movie. Mazursky takes the idea of defecting from the Soviet Union rather seriously, for a story that celebrates the American Dream less fantastically than most Hollywood features. We start out in Russia and see it as a relatively miserable place to live, yet it’s not depicted as a total nightmare. Nor is the United States presented as an absolute utopia. […]

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Kevin Hart

What is Casting Couch? It’s a handy one-stop source for all the casting news that broke while you were sleeping in over the weekend. Not only are Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart two of the most hilarious comic actors working today, they’re also two of the most famous funny people on the planet. So the fact that they’re going to be teaming up for a new comedy from Key & Peele showrunners Ian Roberts and Jay Martel is potentially big news. The pitch they’ll be working from, which Deadline says Warner Bros. is currently negotiating to acquire, is for a film called Get Hard, which will cast Ferrell as a yuppie investment banker who gets sentenced to a maximum security prison, and Hart as the streetwise guy he hires to teach him how to handle life on the inside before he has to report in 30 days. Montage fans should take note, because it sounds like this is the sort of movie that’s going to have a lot of them.

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Parker Trailer Jason Statham

Jason Statham has made so many movies where he plays a gun-shooting, high-kicking criminal who lives by a strict moral code that the Jason Statham Movie has become a genre unto itself. Generally all of these movies have forgettable one word titles, like Crank, Safe, or Blitz, but that doesn’t end up mattering much, because you can just tell people that you’re going to see the new Jason Statham Movie, and they’ll know what you’re talking about. Jason Statham Movies generally have another thing in common, as well. They feature Jason Statham’s gruff charisma and high-impact fight scenes as their star, and offer up little else. Things like storytelling or supporting talent don’t really matter when you know that you can trot Statham out a couple times a year, have him go through the motions, and still turn a profit. Parker looks like it’s going to be a Jason Statham Movie with a couple more tricks up its sleeve, though. Instead of relying on the star power of Statham alone, director Taylor Hackford’s new film teams him up with big names like Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, and Nick Nolte (and Bunk from The Wire!). The results are impressive at first glance, with Statham obviously having immediate chemistry with Lopez especially.

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

Just last week we reported that Robert Redford’s latest film, The Company You Keep, managed to score a distribution deal before it even played any festivals. Well, the film is gearing up to play Venice and Toronto regardless, so TIFF has released a trailer promoting it. Complete with typewriter sounds and vintage news footage, said trailer starts off by making The Company You Keep look like it’s going to be an authentic, journalistic look at the history of the radical anti-war group The Weather Underground, but then we’re suddenly dumped into present day, and it’s revealed that this is actually going to be a fun-looking chase movie about the last few members of the movement still being on the run from the law. The Company You Keep is full of grizzled old activists/bank robbers, plucky young reporters, plucky young F.B.I. agents, action, intrigue, murder, and a cast that features names like Redford, Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Brendan Gleeson, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Richard Jenkins, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Julie Christie, Stephen Root, and Stanley Tucci.

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Over Under - Large

Walter Hill’s pairing of Nick Nolte’s grizzled growl and Eddie Murphy’s ludicrous laugh, 48 Hrs., is often thought of as being the genesis of the buddy cop genre, and it’s still widely considered to be one of the best films to come from the category as well. What we’ve come to expect from these movies, what has come to feel old hat, was fresh and inventive back when Hill and the gang were putting this project together, and the formula they used was so successful that we can now expect to get at least a couple high profile buddy cop movies released every year. That gives 48 Hrs. a certain amount of clout. And heck, Hill’s name alone provides it with an amazing pedigree. He was a genre master in the 80s, and these days he gets looked back on as being some sort of film geek deity. It’s no wonder 48 Hrs. still gets shown so much respect. One buddy cop movie that doesn’t often get spoken of with reverence, however, is Tony Scott’s The Last Boy Scout. While trying to process the recent passing of the famed director, it feels nice to look back on this – not one of his better-loved works – give it a reevaluation, and decide whether or not it’s something the film geek community has given enough appreciation to. This wasn’t a well-reviewed film, it wasn’t one of the biggest money-makers of its year, and people don’t look back on it as being […]

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

The latest directorial effort from screen legend Robert Redford, The Company You Keep, was all set to make a big splash and impress distributors at the upcoming deal-making feeding grounds that are the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, but a new development is making it look like the film’s screenings at those fests are going to come off as something of an afterthought. If you’ve got a used car that you need to get rid of, or maybe some old exercise equipment lying around that you’ve been thinking of putting on eBay, then maybe you should think of having Redford write the ad copy for you, because it seems that he’s something of a salesman. THR is reporting that the director, along with his fellow producers Nicolas Chartier and Bill Holderman, have already struck a deal with Sony Pictures Classics to handle all U.S. distributions rights for the film. Based on a book by Neil Gordon, The Company You Keep stars Redford himself as a former Weather Underground militant, wanted for bank robbery and murder, who gets exposed decades after his crimes by a meddling young reporter (as played by Shia LaBeouf).

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Thomas Jane‘s directorial debut, Dark Country was a promising introduction for Jane as a director, and now three years later, he’s got another directorial feature in the works: a western. Jane described his upcoming film – which is nicely titled A Magnificent Death From a Shattered Hand – as “a classic Western with all the stuff I like it.” Based on what he seems to like, that probably involves men acting like real men. A few months ago Jane mentioned his plans for a possible 3D Western, and when we asked for an update on the project, he said it’ll probably shoot this year, with Nick Nolte involved as well, “I wrote a Western, and I wrote it for Nick Nolte. I sent it to Nick Nolte, and he loved it. I’m hoping to shoot that sucker this year. If it doesn’t happen this year, well, it’s going to happen.” Not only does Jane have Nolte in the cast, but also Jeremy Irons, “I got Jeremy Irons to come in and do a little part. I’m out to a couple of other actors, but I can’t tell you who they are yet.” Jane has already pulled together seven and a half million for the project, but he’s hoping to raise another two and a half, so he can “put this bitch together.”

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Ruben Fleischer is two for two. Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less both exhibited an energetic brand of comedy that showed off the chops of a new talent. Now it’s time for that talent to change genres and show some range. The Gangster Squad was a black list script from Will Beall that made its way to Warners. The first trailer boasts a stellar cast of Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn and a ton of familiar face. Plus, Gosling comes off as a total pansy here, no matter what size gun he’s got. That’s an interesting reversal after the stoic badass in Drive. It looks like a standard gangland story, but the visuals are dynamic and everything points to it being a solid flick. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

A frustrated actor/director, a former alcoholic and bad father, an old man coming out as he approaches death, a mysterious and gentle mute, and a young whiz kid who may shake up the world of baseball — all in all, that’s a pretty eclectic bunch of nominees. Of course, there’s no real surprises in this category. With the exception of Jonah Hill, my personal favorite of the nominees, these are all safe and understandable nominations. I, for one, am still baffled at how Albert Brooks didn’t get nominated. Who did he piss off to cause this? Someone must be behind this grave injustice! Are the nerds of the world still crying over this? They have reason to, I suppose. While they’re at it, they should continue to shed a few tears for — and sing the praises of — Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Shea Whigham (Take Shelter), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), and just about everyone who wasn’t Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Like most of their respected nominees, they all gave tremendous performances. Without further ado and less whining, here are the nominations for Best Supporting Actor, with my predicted winner in red…

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It’s been a year filled with silent screen stars seeking redemption, the 1920s coming alive in Paris, a young boy searching for the first great director, sex addicts in New York City, horses going to war, maids of dishonor, and skulls getting crushed in elevators. Now it’s time to celebrate all of those things and more with the 84th annual Academy Awards. They’ve come a long way since the Hotel Roosevelt in 1929 (although sex addicts have almost always been a fixture). Get to ready to smile, ball your fists with snubbed rage, or be generally unsurprised. Here they are. The 2012 Oscar nominees:

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In the wrong hands, Warrior could have been a disaster. If a few beats in Gavin O’Connor‘s family drama missed the mark even in the slightest, the final result could have been a sports parody. Despite playing in familiar territory, the Miracle and Pride and Glory director didn’t make that parody. Instead, the filmmaker strived to be as honest as possible with the material at hand. In doing so, he’s made an underdog of a film that’s, ironically, about underdogs. Like his previous works, O’Connor explores the meaning of brotherhood, family, and overcoming insurmountable odds. The trick for O’Connor was to make those well-known — drama, not sports — tropes believable. Here’s what co-writer and director Gavin O’Connor had to say about striving for realism, telling personal stories in mass appeal films, and love stories among men:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads into the MMA ring to battle Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, after being trained by a strung-out Nick Nolte who looks like he’s ready to have an aneurysm at any moment. Then he is sent into a bird flu panic when someone coughs on him at the airport. Not wanting to suffer the same fate as Gwenyth Paltrow, he takes a road trip down to the Louisiana bayou where he runs into a hillbilly redneck alligator mutant. But at least he didn’t have to see Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.

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Critics love to bemoan the high concept Hollywood production, those movies with an easily comprehended hook that seems ready-made for the pitch meeting. Their disgust is often justifiable. After all, these are usually safe, creatively bankrupt cliché fests, the scourge of the corporately-run studios. At first glance, Warrior — one-part Cain and Abel, one part Rocky and one part a blatant cash-in on the Mixed Martial Arts phenomenon — appears to be just such a flick. But when it comes to a picture’s most basic purpose — entertaining its audience — an easily definable premise doesn’t necessarily spell doom. When the commonplace is done well, with real feeling and strong characterizations, it can still seem fresh. Director Gavin O’Connor, who achieved that effect with his 1980 Winter Olympics hockey drama Miracle, does it again here. The premise is familiar — estranged blue collar brothers (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton) hash out their differences against the backdrop of an athletic competition (MMA tournament). The passion imbued in the storytelling and the performances, however, is not.

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If you haven’t been reading along, I’ve been gushing about Ruben Fleischer’s upcoming crime drama The Gangster Squad for quite a while. Story details about the cops and gangsters flick about real life gangster Mickey Cohen can be found in my first article about the movie, where it was announced that Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Ryan Gosling had all been cast in key roles. Penn is in the starring role as Cohen, and Brolin and Gosling are two of the members of the titular gangster squad that is put together to take him down. After hearing that, I didn’t think that life could get much better, but then it did. The second Gangster Squad related bomb that Fleischer dropped on me was that man about town Bryan Cranston would also be joining the cast as a rough and tumble member of the LAPD by way of Texas. Suddenly the original Triumvirate of Awesome that was the Gangster Squad cast became the Cornerstones of Awesome instead. And now that the film has such a solid foundation to build a metaphorical house on, it’s time to start picking out pretty curtains and stuff by filling out the cast further. The big news of the day from Deadline Monowi is that grizzled, crazy actor Nick Nolte has also been cast. He will play Bill Parker, the incorruptible chief of police who takes it upon himself to form this so-called gangster squad. That sounds like a big role. Seeing as Nolte’s upcoming movie […]

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I’m not usually interested in writing stories about photos. Most of the time, especially when you’re not dealing with a superhero film, there’s not much room for speculation or any sort of interesting commentary. With these behind the scenes pics for Warrior, not much can be said about them. However, I’ll take any chance I can get to discuss Gavin O’Connor‘s family drama, because it’s just that good. To make an easy comparison, it’s this year’s The Fighter. They are different films, but one big fact they both have in common? They’re genuine crowd-pleasers. Warrior never panders to please. It, mostly, features well-earned drama that wins you over. If you need to feel secure about yourself, make sure to checkout how flabby and out of shape Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton look here. God, I feel bad for these guys.

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No, no, this is not a free contest. It’s even better: an auction for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. So if you want a Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton signed Warrior poster, you have to bid for it and do some good. If the awesome actors duo signature and that it’s for charity doesn’t convince any of you bums, perhaps the fact that Warrior is excellent might. Having just seen the film last night, I’m still surprised by how effective it is. It’s a great comeback for Gavin O’Connor, who directed the solid Miracle and the big, big misfire Pride and Glory – the movie where Colin Farrell held a steaming iron right next to a baby’s face, then went on to call the baby beautiful after doing so. Yes, this is indeed a big step forward for O’Connor. Warrior is a true crowd-pleaser, and not the dopey kind. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are fantastic in it too, so even more reason to buy the poster before the auction closes. Head over to Ebay before the sale closes at about 5 p.m. (ET). Go get a cool signed poster for a lovely film and giveback, it’s a win-win.

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I am a long time Michael Mann fan, even Miami Vice I would mark down as a misunderstood masterpiece. But Mann is not only one of the greatest filmmakers working today, he also knows good television. Whether it be the original Miami Vice series or the hit seventies series Vega$, Mann always had a knack for the small screen. Unfortunately, after the not so great Robbery Homicide Division in ’02, Mann sort of stepped away from television and went back to film full time. That is until Luck came along. And here is the first look at the new HBO series: Series creator David Milch described the pilot as “A bunch of intersecting lives in the world of horse racing.” With a cast boasting the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Nick Nolte and Joan Allen, along with Mann directing the pilot, I would say that Luck won’t need much of itself to succeed.

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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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Consider this a gift of sorts. Sometimes the stars align and guys like Tom Hardy (Bronson) and Joel Edgerton (The Square), two men of talent on the verge of major stardom, get paired up together in a film with a more than capable director (Gavin O’Connor) working in a genre he’s known to be great with (sports films, a la Miracle). The result is Warrior, the subject of the following trailer. It’s the first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) film trailer I’ve seen that has me interested. Not for the men beating each other to a collective pulp, but for the story it appears to be telling. Two brothers, hell bent on beating each other senseless in front of millions of people. Now that’s a story I can get behind. See the trailer for yourself after the jump.

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Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder

I am beginning to think that Ben Stiller’s upcoming flick Tropic Thunder is more of a character study on the egotistical nature of Hollywood — wrapped in a big flour tortilla of hilarity.

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