Owen Wilson

cc rushmore

With only a singular exception (The Darjeeling Limited), all of Wes Anderson‘s films have been works of art that are equal parts entertainment and emotion. Everyone will have their own favorite, but for me the top spot is a rotating position alternately occupied by Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Both films are pure perfection, but while the latter satisfies my darker moods, the exploits of Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and friends are perfect whenever. It’s beautiful, funny, smart, and loaded with heart courtesy of Bill Murray. The Criterion Collection added Rushmore to their Blu-ray roster in 2011, and among the numerous extras is a commentary track featuring Anderson, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman. Unfortunately, the trio appear to have recorded separately, but they still have a collective wealth of information to share on a movie they still hold dear.

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review free birds

Free Birds solves one of life’s great dilemmas by finally, finally granting us that animated flick about time-traveling turkeys, which we’ve dreamt of since Muybridge first filmed that horse more than 140 years ago. Rest easy, fellow moviegoers: The long, national nightmare is over. Multiplexes across the land will starting this very day welcome perplexed children and bemused parents to the story of Reg (Owen Wilson) and Jake (Woody Harrelson), who waddle inside a time-traveling egg and set their sights on 1621, where generations of turkeys depend on the menu for the first Thanksgiving being changed. There, they join forces with a heroic band of counterparts living in an underground utopia who fight a defensive war against the starving Plymouth settlers.

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Free Birds

If you were growing sick and tired of watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving every November, Relativity’s got your back with Free Birds, the animated Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson-voiced turkey caper filling the Thanksgiving film void we didn’t know was empty. Nothing says “gather around the table with friends and loved ones” like “animated birds facing their own mortality.” Reggie (Wilson) is a happy turkey who was pardoned by the President and now lives at Camp David, eating pizza and watching TV. He’s even got a lady-turkey (Amy Poehler). Jake (Harrelson) comes from the Turkey Freedom Front, a radical group fighting for freedom from the dinner table. The two team up to find a time machine in a government lab to take back to the first Thanksgiving so they can stop turkey from getting on the menu altogether. Now, I know they’re simple birds, but if they’re smart enough to master the concept of time travel shouldn’t they understand the biggest rule – don’t mess with anything in the past?! Thanksgiving has never really been seen as an action-packed holiday, so maybe this film is the rebranding effort it needs to get in line with the Independence Days and the New Years Eves? Having talking birds high-five and run from explosions while Carly Rae Jepson plays in the background is a surefire way to get kids in the theater, though, so kudos to the studio for this trailer. That tagline though – “Hold on to your nuggets!” Haha, it’s a joke […]

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helms-undies

What is Casting Couch? A compilation of casting news that touches on the Veronica Mars movie, Clint Eastwood’s plans for the Jersey Boys movie, and other things you may or may not find interesting. It all depends on how into casting news you are, really. Due to his work in The Hangover and The Office, we’re mostly used to seeing Ed Helms being funny and whatnot. But Joe Carnahan seems to think he’s got some dramatic chops, because word from Heat Vision is that Helms is in negotiations to join his upcoming thriller, Stretch. The movie is set to star Patrick Wilson as a gambling-addicted limo driver who’s trying to get his life back on track and Chris Pine as his current customer, who’s a sleazy criminal and is described as being “the passenger from hell.” If he signs, Helms will be playing another dude who drives limos, a nicer one, who serves as the Wilson character’s conscience.

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The Internship

It starts promisingly enough. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are in a convertible, cruising to a highly important business dinner, chattering away incessantly, and alternating between their brand of fast-talking bullshit and slightly outdated cultural references. It feels familiar (because it is), but it also feels funny and zippy and like a very fine start to the long-desired follow-up to the duo’s wildly popular Wedding Crashers. It goes downhill quite quickly. The boys may be back at their old confidence game – but whereas they spent the vast majority of Wedding Crashers pulling off gags they were well suited for, Shawn Levy’s The Internship is about what happens when your confidence doesn’t match your skill set (in the least). Of course, the highly important business dinner doesn’t pan out – Vaughn’s Billy and Wilson’s Nick are a working team who have long squeezed direct sales for John Goodman’s old school joint, and such organizations just aren’t cutting it anymore – and the two are tossed out on their collective asses. Jobless, penniless, and skill-less, the two come up with a harebrained scheme to enter the modern market in a big way – by lying about their qualifications to land a pair of highly competitive internships at Google. Unbelievably enough, they get the gigs and soon ship out for sunny California and the veritable paradise that is Google (sick of hearing about Google yet? Imagine how you’ll feel after two hours of Google chatter).

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Shawn Levy

The Internship is kind of a bizarre comedy. It removes the potential for mean-spirited humor by not featuring two leads consistently bust each other’s balls. Director Shawn Levy‘s film is somewhat of an anti-ironic comedy, to the point where that type of self-impressed smirking is literally put down in the movie itself. That makes sense when you consider Levy’s body of work. His movies are as innocent and audience-friendly as one can imagine. From The Night at the Museum movies to, a personal favorite, Big Fat Liar, there’s zero cynicism in their content. For his reunion film between Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, Levy explores potentially depressing material: two friends whose lives fall out from under them and, once they start interning at Google, the possibility of failure is always high. In spite of their low chances of obtaining a full-time position at Google, the two characters, and Levy, remain optimistic. This comedy represents another new direction for Levy, who doesn’t want to remained branded as “the family comedy” guy. With Real Steel, The Internship, This is Where I Leave You, and a slew of future projects on his plate, Levy says he’s “just getting warmed up” as a filmmaker. I briefly encountered Levy a few years ago at the premiere for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian where his enthusiasm level was high, and now four years later, speaking with him at 5 a.m. his time, that enthusiasm was still somehow intact. Here’s what came out of our early morning discussion:

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wilson

What is Casting Couch? Casting news. Today we’ve got updates on new roles for people like Michelle Williams, Laurence Fishburne, and—what the heck—let’s stick in a rumor about who might play the Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2 as well. It looks like Owen Wilson might be taking a trip back to the ’70s. The Wrap reports that he’s the latest name in negotiations to join Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film, his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. Never ones to let a good PTA rumor go uncommented on, Cigarettes & Red Vines then took this story and ran with it, contacting their own sources and discovering that the role Wilson is in talks for is that of Coy Harlingen, who’s described as being a surf-saxophone player and a heroin addict, and who may be the most Owen Wilson-y role ever written.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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Jason Schwartzman

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a movie that’s shrouded in a (relatively thin) veil of secrecy. Sure, we know that it’s going to be about a hotel, and we know that it’s going to feature an ensemble cast, but as far as specifics regarding who exactly will be in the cast and what specifically the story is about go, Anderson is keeping his lips sealed. Despite his unwillingness to spill any of the precious beans, however, a couple names have been confirmed over the past few days.

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The odds don’t seem so great that The Internship is going to end up being a funny movie. First off, it’s being directed by Shawn Levy, a man who’s known for putting together safe, boring studio stuff like Cheaper by the Dozen and Night and the Museum, and who even managed to disappoint when working with hilarious comedic leads Steve Carell and Tina Fey on Date Night. Secondly, it’s coming from a script that was penned by Vince Vaughn, and when Vince Vaughn is the one doing the writing, he gives us films like The Break-Up and Couples Retreat – not exactly titles that would make anyone’s top ten list of recent comedies. That’s not to say that the upcoming film is doomed to failure, however. It’s got a premise that’s relatable to modern times and an impressive-on-paper cast working in its favor, and that may be enough to help it beat the odds. The Internship stars Vaughn and Owen Wilson as a couple of old school salespeople who find that their jobs are being made obsolete due to the rise of online marketing and shopping. Not taking their newfound lack of employment lying down, the duo decide to reinvent themselves and become the two most aged interns at a major tech company. Bumbling presumably ensues.

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Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Notoriously meticulous director Wes Anderson seems to be speeding up his usual development process – which generally produces a new film every three years – and putting together the pieces for his next project. Hot on the heels of his successful, pubescent kids dancing in their underwear movie, Moonrise Kingdom, comes The Grand Budapest Hotel, an Anderson-penned script that is said to feature an ensemble cast, but is a mystery as far as character breakdowns or synopsis are concerned. News of the new Anderson project broke a little over a week ago, when Twitch reported they’d heard the director had begun casting on a new film, and that he was in various stages of negotiations with Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Angela Lansbury. A list of names that talented and notable may sound like wishful thinking, but a report from Deadline Clute now confirms that at least some of it is true. Not only did they get their hands on the title of the film, but they’re also reporting that Depp has been wrapped up and is officially set to star.

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Wes Anderson

Oh, Wes Anderson. Some have already gotten to see his latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, and even more will see it as it opens wider this weekend. Without seeing his name on the title cards, it’s easy to spot as one of his projects. The auteur has developed a look and feel all his own – usually constructed by primary colors, detailed set design, Britpop, and Bill Murray. This Texan who often lives in France is idiosyncratic in his storytelling, but he’s also unafraid to put his personal demons onto the screen (in as twee a way as possible). From Bottle Rocket to Rushmore to Fantastic Mr. Fox, his work is usually ridiculously rich and infinitely quotable. So here is a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the son of an advertiser and an archeologist.

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The Royal Tenenbaums Wes Anderson Commentary Track

Wes Anderson loves family dramas dressed as fantasies, and this notion is no less palpable with The Royal Tenenbaums, the film that essentially set him on the map. A lot of us remember finding Bottle Rocket in video stores or trekking out with friends to see Rushmore, but that was mostly because of Bill Murray. The Royal Tenenbaums was the movie that made people realize this voice in the world of independent film making had arrived. 11 years later, and Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, another light-hearted drama made to look like a fable, is upon us. However, we felt it was time to go back and see exactly what the writer/director had to say about his pinnacle film, The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s sure to be references of French movies and anecdotes about writing with Owen Wilson, but that’s the obvious stuff. We’ve got 28 more items beyond that. So help yourselves with what we learned from the commentary for The Royal Tenenbaums. Cue the Elliott Smith.

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Taking a decidedly dark turn in project choices after the success of the uber-charming Midnight in Paris and his recently-signed deals for comedies like Freezing People Is Easy and You Are Here, actor Owen Wilson will soon star in the Dowdle Brothers’ The Coup. A dark thriller from the team at Crime Scene Pictures, The Coup appears to be Wilson’s most emotionally demanding role in years, since something like 2001′s Behind Enemy Lines. The press release announcing the project describes the film as “an intense thriller centered on an American family that moves to Southeast Asia and finds themselves embroiled in a violent coup where rebels mercilessly attack the city.” Wilson will play the family’s patriarch. John Erick Dowdle will direct the film from a script he co-wrote with his brother, Drew Dowdle. John Erick previously directed Devil, and the brothers wrote The Poughkeepsie Tapes and Quarantine together, with John Erick also directing those features.

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Over Under - Large

Though Frank Oz hasn’t meant much as a director in recent years, once upon a time he was a pretty successful go to guy. And his 1991 comedy, What About Bob?, is considered by many to be a modern comedy classic. His tale of an obsessive compulsive, overly dependent nut job and his doormat therapist going on vacation together is the sort of movie that friends constantly quote amongst one another, that fans revisit year after year. Is it really that great a comedy though, or is it more the case of a solid film getting propped up to mythic status due to the cult of Bill Murray deifying anything the sad-faced actor touches? On the flip side, You, Me and Dupree came and went in 2006 without much notice from the public, but not without earning some pretty damning reviews from critics and a decent amount of derision from Internet pundits. This comedy about a newlywed getting stuck with the task of taking in his wayward, eccentric best friend got called words like “lazy,” “tired,” and “obvious” in the film press. Whether it was due to the overexposure of Seth Rogen and Owen Wilson, who were each putting out about ten movies a year at this point, or the inclusion of Kate Hudson, whose name slotted in as the female lead is usually poison for comedies, people really responded to this one negatively. But is it really that bad, or was its release just a case of wrong movie, […]

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Seeing as he served as a writer/producer on Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Matthew Weiner is considered something of a TV god. Also, I hear that he has some new show called Mad Men that’s showing some promise; so he’s got the TV game locked down. But a transition into feature films has eluded him up to this point. Weiner wrote a dramedy called You Are Here back in the early 2000s. It’s about a freewheeling weatherman who goes on a road trip with his bi-polar best friend. The friend is kind of a man-child, but he’s in line to inherit some big responsibilities, which causes complications between the two. It sounds like something of a coming-of-age movie, but for grown-ass men. Over the years several incarnations of the film have almost made it into production with names like Matt Dillon, Jack Black, and Matthew McConaughey attached in various roles, but up to this point it’s never completely worked out. That’s all set to change though, because – dang it – this guy wrote on Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and if he wants to make a goofy comedy, then he’s allowed to. THR has news that Weiner is determined to put the project in front of the camera sometime around April, and if that doesn’t sound official enough for you, he’s already signed Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis to star.

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Over Under - Large

Woody Allen is a legendary filmmaker, to be certain. But he’s also a filmmaker who is perceived to have had a golden age, a period where the movies he made were head and shoulders above the things that he makes now. That’s not such a great place for an artist to be, but Woody managed to shut up a lot of his critics with Midnight in Paris. It’s not only one of Allen’s most financially successful films, it’s also one of his most critically acclaimed, and it’s been held up as proof that we might be in the midst of a Woody comeback. Is it really worthy of all the hype though? Lots of people love this movie—like me—but it’s also a film that has glaring flaws. What is it about Midnight in Paris that makes our Internet culture, that is so quick to tear everything down with snark, give it such an easy pass? Back in 1989 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was also a huge success. It made so much money that it spawned not only a sequel, but also an animated series, video games, and who knows how many other kinds of merchandise that time forgot. Yet, despite this success, it’s not a film that many people take seriously. There’s a love for it still, but one that seems more ironic than anything else. Why is that so, when there’s so much respect for the other big genre hits of the 80s? Why doesn’t this film get […]

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Of all the films being developed in the Hollywood-sphere right now, perhaps no other has more reasons to be excited about it than the upcoming, based-on-a-true-story shocker Freezing People is Easy. First off, it’s based on the life story of Robert Nelson, a man who spearheaded a movement in cryonics that saw several bodies being frozen back in the 60s, with disastrous results. Nelson’s story is darkly funny, shockingly grisly, and endlessly interesting due to its many twists and turns. It’s already been documented to great success in the man’s memoirs, “We Froze the First Man,” and also in a segment on the radio program This American Life entitled “Cold as Ice,” and it’s really a tale that everyone needs to hear. Secondly, the talent bringing this story into yet another medium, this time the big screen, is impressive. Freezing People is Easy is set to be the second dramatic work by famed documentarian Errol Morris (Tabloid), and it’s being shot from a screenplay that was written by Stranger Than Fiction’s Zach Helm. These are names whose next projects I would have been anticipating whether they were attached to a story I was already interested in or not. Throw them all together and there’s reason to celebrate. The third reason I’m looking forward to this one is how well the cast seems to be shaping up. It’s already been reported that Paul Rudd is attached to play Nelson as the lead, and now a report from Deadline Redondo Beach says […]

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Criterion Files

Part of me is in complete disbelief that the release date of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums will have been a decade ago next month. It doesn’t feel so long ago that I was sixteen years old, seeing it for the first time in a movie theater and spending my subsequent Christmas with The Ramones, Elliot Smith, and Nico playing on repeat in my car (two years later, after hearing of Smith’s death, my friends and I gathered together and watched Richie Tenenbaums’s (Luke Wilson) attempted suicide with new, disturbing poignancy). And ten years on, even after having seen it at least a dozen times, and armed with the annoying ability to know every beat and predict every line, something about Tenenbaums feels ageless and fresh at the same time. But when you look at the movie culture that came after Tenenbaums, the film’s age begins to take on its inevitable weight. Tenenbaums was Anderson’s first (and arguably only) real financial success. Previously, Anderson was perceived as an overlooked critical darling following Rushmore, a promising director that a great deal of Hollywood talent wanted to work with (which explains Tenenbaums’ excellent cast and, probably, its corresponding financial success). With this degree of mass exposure, other filmmakers followed suit, establishing what has since been known as the “Wes Anderson style,” which permeated critical and casual assessment of mainstream indies for the following decade and established a visual approach that’s been echoed in anything from Napoleon Dynamite to Garden State to less […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets ready to celebrate Halloween in style with some horror releases… and he’s not just thinking of Footloose. Unhappy with his life, he follows the bucket list path of Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, traveling to the bottom of the world where he finds himself in a small Antarctic town that has outlawed dancing. So Kevin takes it upon himself to help the people get their groove on only to discover they’ve been taken over an alien species that duplicate human form. Later, he takes a trip back to the heartland where he finds a feral woman chained in a cellar… pretty standard for some of the towns he’s been to. Finally, not being able to find a theater that is still playing Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), he checks it out On Demand and promptly throws up.

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