Nicolas Cage

RLJ Entertainment

Do you have access to locations in one of our nation’s great Southern states? And connections with a catering company capable of feeding a cast and crew for two maybe three weeks of shooting? And a few thousand dollars (estimated) to pay for it all? If so, then you too can make a Nicolas Cage™ movie starring Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage™! I kid because I care, and anyway, it’s not as if he’s John Cusack. Yet. Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) is a respectable, successful developer raising a daughter with his new wife Vanessa (Rachel Nichols), but his seemingly perfect life is thrown into chaos when a night out ends with a visit from the police and the discovery that his daughter Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples) has been abducted. Suspicion immediately falls on men from Paul’s past — a past where he was anything but respectable. With the help of two old friends Paul goes searching for his daughter, and eventually for justice, but once he opens the door to his old life and the violent secrets it contains he realizes too late that doors work both ways. Meaning just as he can visit the people from his past, the people from his past can visit him. See, it’s a metaphor of sorts. Maybe I should have gone with when Paul closes a door, the past opens a window? Whatever. Paul’s past comes back to haunt him.

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Left Behind Teaser Trailer

The original Left Behind was not a quality film. This isn’t coming from me, as I haven’t seen it; I’m going by the word of Jerry B. Jenkins, one of the authors of the original sixteen “Left Behind” novels. According to Jenkins, he and his writing partner Tim LaHaye sold away their movie rights to the first available outlet, and ended up with three “church basement movies.” I’ve never seen a movie in a church basement, but I’m guessing they’re not of the highest quality. And that’s why Jenkins and LaHaye sued Cloud Ten Pictures Inc., on the grounds that Left Behind: The Movie, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force and Left Behind: World at War were bad movies. Apparently, that’s a thing you can do now. It’s also a thing you can win, because in 2008, Jenkins and LaHaye emerged the victors after almost a decade of legal squabbling. They had what they set out to obtain: the right to remake their Rapture-based thriller novels as the blockbuster film series they’d always imagined. Back in January, we were treated to our first clip of their new Left Behind. Not only did it have Nicolas Cage, but it had Nicolas Cage saying “But hey, if she’s gonna run off with another man, why not Jesus?” with a wistful sigh. Jesus, it seems, has given up the whole “dying for our sins” thing, and is now running off with our women like a common Lothario.

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Nic Cage in The Trouble in Louisiana Trilogy

Every few years, Nicolas Cage reminds us what a compelling screen performer he is and can be. While such reminders seem fewer and further between, the utter expendability of much of his recent filmography make strong performances like his brooding lead in David Gordon Green’s Joe all the more powerful – not because we forgot about Cage’s talents, but because we’re afraid that he might have. Joe has been deemed (by this site and others) to be a “return to form” for Cage. It’s easy to declare with a handful of titles what form Cage is returning to. In celebrated roles like Adaptation, Leaving Las Vegas, and Bringing Out the Dead Cage has displayed an uncanny ability to balance pathological self-destruction with varying undertones of dark comedy. He is the actor of choice for men who struggle outside the norms of society, yet wouldn’t feel comfortable anywhere else. But outside of The Wicker Man, mesmerizing mash-ups, and whatever he was doing in Face-Off, it’s perhaps harder to concisely define the form that Cage is returning from when making films like Joe, despite the fact that it’s Cage’s more forgettable (and sometimes more batshit) work that creates the rule which highlights welcome exceptions. A recent, unofficial trilogy of particularly Cagean works speaks volumes to the one-of-a-kind spot that Cage’s stardom finds itself in now. While these films do not share a producer, a studio, or any other factor that justifies their making beyond their existence as Nicolas Cage vehicles, Trespass, Stolen, and […]

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Leaving Las Vegas

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Varsity Blues Billy Bob

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Nicolas Cage in JOE

Editor’s note: Our review of Joe originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens theatrically. Our long national nightmare is finally over – director David Gordon Green has returned to making the types of films that put the indie filmmaker on the map in the early aughts with his Joe. Combined with this year’s earlier effort, the drily amusing Prince Avalanche, Green has successfully managed to put the memory of his broad comedy busts like The Sitter and Your Highness behind him, and fans of vintage Green should be quite satisfied with his latest Southern gothic. Starring Nicolas Cage as the eponymous Joe, an ex-con who makes his living by poisoning whole forests so that they can be deemed sick and subsequently be cleared for the replanting of heartier, more sellable trees. Joe employs a large crew of locals, all of whom seem to like him very much, and he’s a fair, reasonable boss. Off the clock, however, Joe struggles with restraining a powerful, almost insatiable anger, and he tries to keep it at bay through alcohol and simply staying home. The arrival of a young drifter who comes begging for a job up-ends Joe’s tenuous personal peace, and their sweetly parental relationship threatens to change things for both of them. Sounds sentimental? It’s not. Not even a little bit.

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cage

Quiz any random person on the street about Nicolas Cage‘s impressive body of work and they’ll be able to give you their favorite Cageist moment from his repertoire. Is it Wicker Man Cage, his head enveloped in a metal cage, screaming about the bees, oh god the bees? Or National Treasure Cage, plotting to steal the Declaration of Independence just because it makes so much sense? Or perhaps it’s Ghost Rider Cage, the one who is literally on fire for most of the movie? Whatever the preferred flavor of Cage Rage, there’s a guaranteed new addition to be added to the list of stellar  performances. Enter Left Behind, the adaptation of the Christian apocalypse-themed books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. If you haven’t heard of these books, then it’s already too late for you; the enormously popular series boasts over 19 books detailing the End of Days for those wicked booze-swillin,’ sex-havin,’ not church-attendin’ sons of guns who dare not take God seriously. The real Christians and the pure and innocent are ascended into Heaven while the heathens are — wait for it — left behind on Earth to suffer as much as possible. The books follow the survivors of the rapture as they battle environmental catastrophe, political and economic crisis and worldwide epidemics the likes of which have never been seen. Ours is a vengeful and unforgiving God.

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Moonstruck Nic Cage

Few names conjure up as vivid an image of wildly over-the-top, scenery chewing acting than that of Nicolas Cage. In fact, YouTube hosts multiple compilations with worn titles like “Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit” featuring dozens of clips from a slew of different movies, spanning his whole thirty-year career. While it’s certainly true that watching Cage do flamboyantly odd things is quality entertainment, it’s also true—if all-too-oft forgot—that the man is a talented, legitimate actor. It’s nice to have a reminder. Here, then, are six performances where Nicolas Cage displayed subtlety and nuance:

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Joe

David Gordon Green is one of those writers/director/producers who are just all over the place thematically, and not in a bad way. He’s gone from dramas like 2003′s All the Real Girls and 2000′s George Washington, last year’s indie comedy Prince Avalanche, to straight up silliness like Pineapple Express and Your Highness. It takes a unique mind to work between Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd learning life lessons on the side of rural highways to Danny McBride wearing a Minotaur dick around his neck. Green is returning to darker stomping grounds with his latest project however, with Joe, a Toronto International Film Festival standout from last year that was snatched up by Roadside Attractions. Based on the novel by Larry Brown, Joe tells the story of ex-con Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage), and his unlikely mentorship of an abused and abandoned fifteen year-old named Gary (Tye Sheridan) in rural Mississippi. You can check out the international trailer below.

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IMG_3052.CR2

Director Scott Walker‘s The Frozen Ground is the kind of thriller your conservative grandmother loves. It’s all around safe and plain, simple and to the point, and all very, very by-the-numbers. It’s like an episode of Law & Order expanded to two hours with an occasional polish or two. That idea may entice some older viewers, but after two hours of a “been there done that” on television, it’s not exactly attention grabbing. And this is a movie that conceptually should work. Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe, played by a determined Nicolas Cage, attempting to bring killer Robert Hansen, played by a finicky John Cusack, should be a joy to watch. Not because of its violent content, but because we’re seeing two notable actors facing off. It’s a cat and mouse game approached with smarts, not guns. There’s no scene of Halcombe confronting Hansen at his job or physically accosting him, but instead he’s simply trying to catch him with good old fashioned police work.

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cage

After trying and failing to shock us by working with tabloid train wreck Lindsay Lohan and porn star bad boy James Deen on his experimental indie project, The Canyons, director Paul Schrader seems to be taking a more traditional, more guaranteed approach to making something weird with his next film—he’s going to be working with infamous beat-of-his-own-drummer marcher Nicolas Cage. The story comes from an interview he did with The Playlist, who confirm that he does indeed have Cage lined up to star in his next film, and who theorize that said next film is going to be The Dying of the Light, which is a project that was once going to star Harrison Ford and be directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

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mnad_varietygaga

On this first night of April, we look back at all the wildly appropriate pranks that were actually pranks and not just a bunch of lies about who is going to star in the upcoming Star Wars movies (we’re looking at you, George Takei. For shame.) This includes Variety getting duped bad, Monsters University getting taken over by a rival, an Iron Man suit you can buy and the best possible Taken sequel idea we’ve ever seen. That and more in Movie News After Dark: April Foolpocalypse!

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your daily dose of casting news. Today we find out what Helena Bonham Carter is up to with McNulty. It’s that time of the month again. What time? When Nic Cage takes another job, of course. You’ve got to feed the monkey. This time around he’s agreed to star in an upcoming thriller from Spanish director Paco Cabezas called Tokarev. According to Deadline, it’s about a former criminal whose daughter gets kidnapped, which forces him to go looking for her kidnappers, and threatens to make him slip back into his devilish old ways. None of the particulars really matter as long as Cage is going to have some sort of ridiculous hairdo and act all weird and intense and stuff though. All we needed to know was new Nic Cage movie. High five!

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Over Under - Large

Cameron Crowe is one of those directors who people just love. He’s made some stinkers along with with his good movies though, so when people talk to you about how much they love Cameron Crowe, generally what they mean is that they loved Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. Or maybe even Say Anything, if they’re old school. Generally speaking, however, Jerry Maguire is Crowe’s big hit. This Tom Cruise-starring tale of a sports agent who experiences a moral epiphany got great reviews, became part of the pop culture lexicon of the late ’90s, and made about five times as much as Crowe’s next best loved film…give or take a bunch of millions or so. To call it a success would be putting things lightly. Gore Verbinski is another director who’s amassed a pretty loyal following, despite having made a couple of stinkers. When people say that they like his movies, generally they mean that they’re into the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie or Rango, or maybe they might even mean Mouse Hunt, if they’re the hip sort who likes to go back to the deep cuts. Certainly they very rarely mean that they like his strange followup to his runaway Pirates success, 2005’s Nicolas Cage-starring The Weather Man. It got mixed-to-scathing reviews, didn’t make a blip on the pop culture radar, and brought in pretty much zero money. Which is weird because—oh, my God—it’s basically the best movie ever.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

While many would like to think that snark was something born of the Internet age, the fact that the Razzie Awards for Worst Achievements in Film are now in their thirty-third year pretty demonstrably proves that to be untrue.  There’s an uncomfortable truth at the center of all this, which is, to snark, to pass judgment, to make fun of things that fail publicly and spectacularly—it’s all kind of fun, at least in a sick way. If it wasn’t, something like The Razzies wouldn’t be able to stick around this long. In recent years, however, the film industry’s laser focus on building franchises and sticking to the same formulas has taken a little bit of the fun out of seeing who gets picked on for being the worst of the year. A crop of usual suspects has developed, making the announcement that the latest Twilight movie and the latest Adam Sandler comedy have earned the lion’s share of the nominations something of a tedious formality. So, here we are, having yet again sat through another Twilight movie and another Adam Sandler comedy, and, sure enough, it seems that they’ve once again gotten the bulk of the nominations. If there’s any new narrative going on, it’s that Madea’s Witness Protection seems to have annoyed the people who vote for the Golden Raspberries more than usual. Perhaps that’s due to Jack & Jill making men in drag a more contemptible offense after last year, or perhaps it’s because they’re trying to set […]

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Nicolas Cage in Stolen

This contest is now closed. Thank you for entering! This week is a banner one for Sir Nicolas Cage (what? he hasn’t been knighted yet? who cares!), as today marks Cage’s birthday and the day before the home video release of his Stolen on DVD and Blu-ray. And you thought your last birthday was special! To mark the release of Stolen (which, in case you didn’t know, re-teams Cage with his Con Air director Simon West for another action thriller that involves Cage having to be badass and clear his name in a plot that also involves fast-moving vehicles), we’re giving away a very special prize pack of Cage-starring Blu-rays. But you’re going to have to work for them. Our Super Special Happy Birthday to You, Nicolas Cage / Stolen Is Out on DVD and Blu-ray Tomorrow Prize Pack includes Blu-rays of the follow titles: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Con Air, Face/Off, Kick-Ass, Moonstruck, and National Treasure. If you’re looking to fill out your Nicolas Cage collection, these are all essential titles. Hell, if you’re looking to fill out your movie collection, these are all essential titles. In order to win this stunning arrangement of some of Cage’s finest works, all you need to do is follow us on Twitter at the Official Film School Rejects Twitter Account (https://twitter.com/rejectnation), take a picture of yourself making your very best Nic Cage face (bees optional, but encouraged – but not really encouraged because, you know, lawsuits), and tweet at us “Hey, […]

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Michael Rosenbaum

As if the casting situation regarding the lead role for James Gunn’s upcoming Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, needed to get even more heated, today brings news that yet another candidate has been reading for the lead role of Peter Quill: AKA the half-human, half-alien intergalactic cop called Star-Lord. Michael Rosenbaum, who’s no stranger to the comic book world given his many years playing Lex Luthor on TV’s Smallville, recently took to his Twitter account to inform his followers that, “Read for my pal @JamesGunn GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY for PETER QUILL. What a treat! Thanks Jimmy. @Marvel.” If you can’t read Twitterspeak, that means Rosenbaum now joins Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zachary Levi, and Jim Sturgess in the stable of actors we’ve heard are up for the role.

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hr_Alvin_and_the_Chipmunks-_The_Squeakuel_1

What is Casting Couch? It’s the movie news column that’s easing into Christmas with a cup of coffee and some casting reports. Let’s take this one step at a time. Marvel Studios is on such a roll now that any movie they make that ties directly into their upcoming Avengers 2 is going to be a big deal—even if it’s based off of a comic book that nobody’s ever heard of like Guardians of the Galaxy. So, the competition among young actors to get cast as the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, is pretty fierce. According to Variety, that competition has been narrowed down to two guys. The trade reports that Jim Sturgess is the sole survivor of the original crop of five actors the studio screen tested for the role, and Zachary Levi impressed so much playing the smaller role of Fandral in Thor 2, that Marvel is looking to give him a larger role in their universe by maybe making him the half-human, half-alien leader of this ragtag crew. Who would you find more believable commanding a gun-toting space-raccoon?

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Sean Penn

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that isn’t stalking Maria Bello. It swears. Sean Penn has been one of Hollywood’s top actors for decades now, but he’s never really been the sort of performer who stars in big budget blockbusters. Doesn’t he deserve to have his own action franchise already? Well, if his latest project takes off at the box office, he might get it. THR reports that Penn has signed on to star in an adaptation of one of French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette’s books, “The Prone Gunman,” where he will play a badass spy type who gets betrayed by his organization and ends up getting chased all across Europe in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Think of it as being like Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, only starring an actor.

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Benedict Cumberbatch

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s debunking a couple of rumors that will probably come true anyway. Absolutely Anything is a project that’s long been on comedy nerds’ radars, not only because it’s being directed by Monty Python member Terry Jones, but also because the film will see Jones re-teaming with the other members of his legendary comedy troupe to do voiceover work. According to The Wrap, filming is looking to get underway on this one soon, Gemma Arterton has joined the cast, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is currently negotiating to come on board, as well. The story is about a bumbling but magical school teacher, something that Cumberbatch would likely knock out of the park; which is one more positive that will help you forget Robin Williams is also going to be doing his voiceover thing here.

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