Oscar Isaac

Star Wars Episode 7 Cast

Alright everybody, you can breath a deep sigh of relief — the official Star Wars: Episode VII cast list has just been announced after months — no, years — of speculation and rumor patrol. The roster for the franchise’s newest incarnation is intriguing, if not downright spectacular. The press release  confirmed what so many already knew (especially after they were spotted cavorting around London together this week), that the saga’s original stars, the holy trilogy of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will be back in action, as will their old pals Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2). 

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It’s a little disconcerting to see Oscar Isaac in a 1960s period piece and find him without cat, guitar, or mop of overly cynical dark brown curls. Yet that’s exactly what lies within The Two Faces of January: an Isaac who’s cleanly shaven and clearly takes care of his hair. Also, he’s a tour guide in Greece who occasionally cons his customers out of their cash. And it’s in Greece where Rydal, Isaac’s character, will happen upon Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst), an American couple who happen to be doing a little conning of their own. One murder later and they’re all tangled up in each others’ various crimes; forcing Rydal and the happy(ish) couple to go on the lam together. Intrigue, sexual tension and gun violence ensue. Based off a novel by Patricia Highsmith (the author whose previous work became Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley) and adapted by Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini (who’s also making his directing debut), The Two Faces of January has enough talent on board to guarantee some twisty turny entertainment. The cast boasts the same pedigree, even if it looks like a healthy portion of the film is nothing but the two male leads making goo-goo eyes at Kirsten Dunst. So yes, the title sounds a little like a romance novel, and yes, if a character begs “please don’t shoot me,” the following words probably won’t be “into outer space.” But at least it looks like a […]

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Another Day Another Time

In a Q&A after a recent screening of Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis, T Bone Burnett was asked why he wanted to create a four hour concert celebrating the music of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s latest film, and Burnett simply replied that he wanted to “keep the movie alive.” To which he quickly added, “Even though that seemed lame.” But Another Day/Another Time is anything but lame — it’s a true celebration of the music featured in, and inspired by, the Coen brothers’ folk odyssey. Burnett, along with Marcus Mumford (who served as an associate music producer on Inside Llewyn Davis and who also appears on the soundtrack), brought together a variety of musicians to put on a concert at New York  City’s Town Hall, which director Christopher Wilcha then turned into a documentary by filming the days leading up to the concert along with the concert itself. Just as Inside Llewyn Davis focuses on the performances and lets the film’s singers play without interruption, Wilcha created a stripped down music documentary that features the performances rather than the stories behind them. Another Day/Another Time gives audiences a front row seat and makes you feel like you are actually in Town Hall, only realizing you’re not when Wilcha slyly cuts from performance footage to shots of rehearsal.

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inside-llewyn-davis

If it seems as if we’ve been covering the soundtrack from the Joel and Ethan Coen’s newly released Inside Llewyn Davis quite a bit around these parts as of late, that’s a totally fair observation, simply because it’s true. The sixties-set film about the eponymous New York City folk singer that never hit the big time is appropriately steeped in music, and all of it just so happens to be damn good. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the best films of the year, but its soundtrack is easily the best soundtrack of the year. But if something like “Please Mr. Kennedy” is an unabashedly joyful jam (and it is) that proves that not all folk music needs to be morose and depressing (it does not), where does that leave the sadder songs of the soundtrack? Turns out, in pretty good standing, because while the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack may feature some upbeat compositions, it’s still packed to the gills with the kind of stuff that might make you consider ending it all (and that’s not hyperbolic – as we soon discover in the film that Llewyn’s former singing partner did just that before the action of the film unfolds). So what’s the saddest song on the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack? Behold – an investigation.

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inside llewyn davis 01

Editor’s note: Our review of Inside Llewyn Davis originally ran during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens today in limited theatrical release. The eighth In Competition banner for the Coen Brothers at the Cannes Film Festival is their first in six years, since their eventual Best Picture Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. Though there isn’t a chance for the intrepid filmmaking duo to repeat the same success here, the feeling coming out of Inside Llewyn Davis is that the brothers would not have it any other way. Indeed, while terming their latest work the worst thing they’ve put out since The Ladykillers might send alarm bells ringing, when you consider their body of work since — No Country, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man and True Grit – it begins to seem not quite so bitter a pill to swallow. Tackling the New York folk music scene of the 1960s, the Coens’ latest sees the titular character (Oscar Isaac) stumbling through the city by the seat of his pants, trying to make it as a musician in an ostensibly difficult niche. Hopping from sofa to sofa, LLewyn drifts through life, propelled almost singularly by a desire to meet music maestro Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) while his personal life, namely a surprise pregnancy by way of occasional partner Jean (Carey Mulligan), crumbles around him.

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inside-llewyn

It’s fitting that awards season comes during winter – after all, the more dramatic-skewing fare we tend to get come November and December all but blots out the sunny memories of yet another blockbuster-filled summer season – but that doesn’t mean that every big gun hitting screens near you has to be (or even is) an emotional downer. While Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave may have scared off a few viewers because of repeated cries that the film was brutal and wrenching and highly upsetting, the film is also very rewarding and, we daresay, well worth the emotional upheavals that happen within it (and, conversely, the emotional upheavals that happen to its audience while watching). The Coen Brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, may fall victim to that same “it’s hard!” talk, and its muted color palate, wintry setting, and focus on a struggling folk singer (Oscar Isaac) who never makes it at his chosen craft might not appeal to those with drama fatigue – but it should. Especially because, in true Coen fashion, Inside Llewyn Davis is very, very funny. Sure, most of the film’s biggest chuckles come care of the crushing inevitability of life, terrible chance encounters, and drug abuse (this film really is funny, we swear), but that’s what makes it relatable. It’s what makes it ring true (and sing true). Yet, there’s nothing as funny, catchy, and plucky in the film than a little ditty called “Please Mr. Kennedy.”

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It’s been far too long since Joel and Ethan Coen put out a new film. But judging by the latest trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis, the wait was well-deserved. It’s a trailer so chock-full of glowing critical blurbs that there’s barely any room for actual footage, but what’s contained within is still worth a watch. And for a film that’s been described as the Coens’ most somber and laugh-free film to date (by a multitude of critics, including our own Shaun Munro), there’s a surprising amount of that signature Coen deadpan packed into these three minutes. Out of place cats, questionable suicide choices, the meaning of life contemplated in bathroom graffiti; all can be found in this latest trailer. The melancholy side is there as well, but seems to be relegated to the music and the cinematography. The former is a rendition of “Dink’s Song” that carries throughout the entire trailer (much like the film, which uses its songs in whole, unbroken performances), the latter is far more drab and washed-out than we’ve come to expect from the Coens. Don’t expect too many comical rabbis or stick-up artists with lingerie on their heads. Watch the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis after the break.

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llewyndavisgoodman

You wouldn’t think that a movie about sad folk musicians living in poverty in the 1960s would have all that much commercial appeal, but the Coen brothers’ new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, is getting a lot of promotional support from the studio while selling that concept anyway. Already we’ve covered the first trailer, which was masterful at establishing setting and mood, the red band trailer, which added some delightful potty-mouth to the mix, and a third trailer, which told us a bit more about the dramatic conflict of the film. That’s kind of a lot of trailers already, and seeing as Llewyn Davis is obviously one of the movies many of us are looking forward to most this year, we might be getting close to hitting the limit of footage we want to see from it before it gets released. Before we go sticking our heads in the sand for fear of spoiling things, it’s probably okay that we watch at least one more ad though. This is a Coen brothers joint after all, so it’s bound to be dense with good stuff we haven’t seen yet. Plus, this new trailer is mostly just a remix of moments that we’ve already seen, with two new big laughs involving suicide and Tang thrown in.

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davis

The first trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen’s upcoming film about a folk singer, Inside Llewyn Davis, and the red band trailer that followed, were both good at establishing a mood, giving us a sense of the time and place in which the film is taking place, and selling us on the cast that the brothers have put together. What they didn’t much do was let us in on exactly what this Llewyn Davis was looking all melancholy about, however. As a matter of fact, they seemed to make a point about fading out right before we got to the heart of the matter. Well, now there’s a third trailer for the film, and in addition to giving us a few more laughs and featuring yet another striking song from the era, it also does more to dig into the particular problems that this Davis chap is struggling with in his day to day life. Problems that seem to be myriad.

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llewyndavis

The Coen brothers make the sorts of movies that are dense enough and interesting enough that there’s not going to be much you can say about them before you actually sit down and watch them. Are they going to be worth checking out? Of course. Are they going to be full of great performances? Undoubtedly. Is there any way to predict what they’re actually going to be about or what you’re going to end up getting out of watching them? Not a chance. So, more than being a traditional piece of marketing material, this new red band trailer for their next film, Inside Llewyn Davis, is just a little appetizer for you to take in and enjoy—something to lift your spirits after a long day.

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ILD

Considering that the Coen Brothers‘ upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis was once listed as one of our most anticipated films of 2012, it’s heartening that the film has finally picked up the distribution necessary to get it out in theaters in 2013. CBS Films has picked up the U.S. rights to the film, which stars Oscar Isaac (alongside Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham, and Justin Timberlake) as a fictitious 1960’s folk-singing hero in Greenwich Village. The news also came complete with two brand-new looks at the film, including that still of Isaac up above, and one of Mulligan and Timberlake, which you can check out after the break. So vintage.

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inside-llewyn-davis

There isn’t much that needs to be said to sell the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s the trailer for the new Coen Brothers movie, so its release basically makes for a holiday on the film geek calendar. More than that though, this is a Coen Brothers movie set in New York in the 1960’s, which is a time and place that people have recently been fascinated by due to the popularity of the TV show Mad Men. Inside Llewyn Davis takes the focus off of the ad men on Madison Avenue and puts it squarely on the folk scene in Greenwich Village (as the Bob Dylan song playing over the soundtrack might give away) though, so it’s like we’re now getting to see the other side of that same coin. Inside Llewyn Davis is still more than just an interesting setting, of course. Probably most importantly it’s a movie that sees the Coen Brothers once again working with John Goodman, which is a pairing that has never failed to produce anything less than gold. And in addition to Goodman we’ve got Oscar Isaac looking magnetic as the lead, Carey Mulligan doing that Carey Mulligan thing that everybody loves—and they’ve even found a spot for Last Action Hero’s F. Murray Abraham!

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Matt Damon

What is Casting Couch? It’s not so much a couch as it is a list, a list of recent castings. And it seems to be talking a lot about World War II today. George Clooney and Matt Damon must have decided that they both look super handsome when they’re standing next to each other, because not only have they already worked together on the Oceans movies and Syriana, but now Deadline is reporting that Clooney has decided that he’s going to cast Damon in his next project as a director, The Monuments Men. This is that one about the museum curators who try to save as many artifacts and works of art as possible during the Nazis’ slash and burn campaign that took place during the dying days of World War II. If Damon’s negotiations go well and he signs up, he’ll be joining a cast that already includes Clooney himself, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban—which is enough big name actors that they should probably just cash in and rename this thing Oceans Monuments Men.

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10 Years Review

The high school reunion film genre has been so flooded with entries that it’s reached the point of being nothing short of played out, so any new entry needs to justify its existence by offering some kind of unique spin on the usual, or at least by featuring characters that transcend the normal archetypes. Writer-director Jamie Linden fails on both counts in his 10 Years and seems to think that the film’s all-star cast compensates for those deficiencies. It doesn’t. No matter how much you love Channing Tatum, Aubrey Plaza, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pratt, Ari Graynor, or any of the other notables who turn up here, there’s no getting around the simple, basic fact that Linden’s movie doesn’t tell a story. It merely brings to life the world’s least interesting reunion, featuring a swath of staggering dullards played by talented people.

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10 Years Trailer

The high school reunion comedy is a sub-genre that’s ripe with drama and conflict. You’ve got the lost loves, the old rivalries, the people who have improved their stations in life butting up against those who have been taken down a peg, the people who have refused to grow up interacting with those that have gotten completely lame, and probably a handful of other familiar tropes that always seem to pop up. But that means that the high school reunion comedy is also a sub-genre that’s ripe with cliché, because, let’s face it, every single movie that falls into it always covers these exact same things. What’s the secret of making a good one then, if there isn’t much room for being unique? Probably making sure that the familiar material is at least infused with wit, and getting a talented cast to deliver it. Just from the trailer for 10 Years, it’s clear that this movie has the latter part of that equation taken care of. Just look at the names in this cast: Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Oscar Isaac, Justin Long, Ron Livingston, Kate Mara, Ari Graynor, etc… Whether this movie feels a little familiar or not, with a cast like that there’s guaranteed to be something in there worth watching.

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The announcement that the Bourne franchise would continue without Matt Damon was met with skepticism by many, including myself, for several reasons. The most relevant? Matt Damon played Jason Bourne. How could the franchise continue without him and his character but still call itself a Bourne film? Would another actor step into his shoes a la James Bond, or would it simply be another case of an agent with amnesia going rogue? The answer turned out to be neither, and instead, rather ingeniously, The Bourne Legacy is a parallel story that begins during the third act chaos of The Bourne Ultimatum. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a top agent who finds himself caught up in the Bourne fallout when the agency attempts to cover their tracks by terminating his co-workers. He’s forced to go on the run alongside an agency scientist (Rachel Weisz) while trying to out maneuver new a executive-level baddie played by Edward Norton. Some familiar faces from the first three films crop up along the way to flesh out the connective tissues between films, but this is really an introduction to a brand new character… and possibly a brand new trilogy of films. Check out the trailer below, and tell me your not at least a little excited to see this.

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The Bourne Legacy is not only one of the most highly-anticipated films of the summer, it’s a unique chance to revisit the blockbuster franchise with a different star at the helm. Meanwhile, co-writer/director Tony Gilroy, one of the key creative voices behind the original trilogy, is preserving the series’ lore while giving its events a broader and more epic context. As the film’s trailer observes, “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg,” and Gilroy’s insights about the direction he took the franchise in, for the first time as both writer and director, suggest that this expansive view of the world of Bourne was part of his plan all along. But as if embodying the director’s perspective, Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross isn’t an unknown entering a larger world, but an experienced agent who knows exactly who he is and what he’s meant to do. Speaking to the Academy Award nominated filmmaker recently, Gilroy talked about reviving the franchise via The Bourne Legacy, revealing how he paid tribute to longtime fans even as he looked to a broader horizon, and the organic approach he and cinematographer Robert Elswit approached the picture with.

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Up-and-coming actor Oscar Isaac seems determined to round out his slate with interesting and very different roles – after both his solid work in Drive and turning in the best performance in the blood-and-trash-splattered trainwreck that was Sucker Punch, we will next see him starring in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, The Bourne Legacy, and Ten Year. Past that, he will now reportedly star in Charlie Stratton’s Therese. The film, previously known as Therese Raquin (it appears that the title has been officially changed or everyone over at Deadline Orleans is too lazy to type it out completely), is based on the Emile Zola novel and play of the same name, and will star Elizabeth Olsen in the eponymous role. Set in the late 1800s, the film centers on Therese and the loveless marriage she’s been forced into with her sickly mama’s boy of a cousin, Camille (Tom Felton). Her overbearing aunt (Jessica Lange) is the ostensible matchmaker of this disastrous pair and her continued pressure on Therese, combined with the intolerable Camille, ultimately force Therese to look for love elsewhere – with Camille’s friend Laurent (to be played by Isaac). Even if you’re not familiar with the story, you can probably guess that it doesn’t end well. I mean, really, really not well.

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Madonna’s second directorial effort W.E. has been greeted by a torrent of negativity, with critics assailing her revisionist portrait of the illicit romance between King Edward VIII and the American divorcée Wallis Simpson to the tune of a 14% on the all-powerful Tomatometer. If it’s not quite the unholy mess that the reviews have promised, there’s no question that this is a sloppy, hubristic affair. It looks pretty, with style and eloquence to spare, but it’s perilously over-directed. Apparently the Material Girl never met a random cross-cut, outsized camera movement, or other unneeded flourish that she didn’t like. That penchant for pristine visuals at any cost is just part of what detracts from the terrific performance by Andrea Riseborough as Simpson, which could have provided the core of a great picture. The British actress has beauty and intelligence to spare, the sort of charismatic movie star screen presence that carries you through the slowest moments. You want to watch her. Unfortunately, Madonna only lets you do so for half of the movie’s rather trying two hours. The rest of the time, we’re stuck with an unnecessary 1998-set corollary to the 1930s-set main action. There, lonely American Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis and Edward, spending all her time at a Sotheby’s auction of their estate.

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“There was never just one.” Well, that’s a nifty way to explain why Matt Damon isn’t in the latest installment of the Jason Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy. Damon’s out, and Jeremy Renner is in as another victim and/or participant in shady Project Treadstone. This first stylized trailer (complete with Inception-esque “brannngsss” and “brrahhhhmmms”) introduces us to Renner’s character – a bruiser from Reno who is on the run after showing some impressive stuff to all those government heavies who’ve gone through this already with Jason Bourne. Don’t you think Joan Allen‘s Pam Landy is just exhausted by now? Join the program and check out the trailer for The Bourne Legacy after the break.

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