Paul Bettany

Johnny Depp in Mortdecai

Is Johnny Depp a movie star anymore? He is certainly famous, but he doesn’t have the box office clout he used to. The actor consistently does well internationally, but in the States, he hasn’t opened a major release in years, at least one that wasn’t already an established brand. Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, The Tourist, Dark Shadows and The Rum Diary all bombed here. Of course, the quality of those titles aren’t up there with his finer films, so that’s a slight hindrance. Maybe all Depp needs is simply a really good movie to win back moviegoers. Reuniting with writer/director David Koepp is a step in the right direction. The two collaborated on 2004’s Secret Window, which is an especially good Stephen King adaptation. It’s also one of the last times Depp pulled off playing an average joe. For some reason he couldn’t do the same in The Tourist and Transcendence. There’s something very off about those performances. Maybe he’s been playing so many larger-than-life characters lately that an everyman no longer comes naturally to him. Whatever the case, Mortdecai may be a return to form for the actor. Depp is once again playing a heightened character, but the difference this time is he looks genuinely funny as the oblivious art dealer Charles Mortdecai, a man in search of a stolen painting connected to a lost bank account full of Nazi gold. If you want to see Depp playing a “bit of a moron,” watch the teaser trailer for the film below.

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Warner Bros.

If nothing else, Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut deserves points for trying to be big science fiction that’s utterly uninterested in robots, laser beams or future dystopian societies populated with spunky teenage girls. Instead, Transcendence wants to tackle ideas as grand as what it means to be human, the destructive (and redemptive) power of love and the ethical limits of technology. But wanting to do something and actually following through on those intentions are two very different things. Will Caster’s (Johnny Depp) research into artificial intelligence is on the cusp of a major breakthrough, but while his wife (Rebecca Hall), his best friend (Paul Bettany) and the subscribers of Wired magazine are excited by the possibilities, not everyone is as happy. The anti-technology movement acts with a decisive, multi-target attack leaving dozens of scientists and keyboard jockeys dead and Will barely clinging to life. The decision is made to “save” his life by uploading his brain to their quantum processor-powered super computer, but once there his unchecked power becomes a threat to all of mankind. Or something.

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Warner Bros and DC have their shiny new Lex Luthor, and along with him, firm control of the current superhero spotlight. Will he be bald? Will he be Zuckerberg-like? Will he be an ex-gang leader with a bajillion tattoos? This new Luthor’s the talk of the town, and Marvel doesn’t like that one bit. So naturally, they’ve fired back, announcing one official and one potential addition to their current stable of superheroes.

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news paul bettany takes shelter

Paul Bettany, like so many other actors, is spinning himself into a cocoon, preparing to blossom into a fully-formed ‘actor/writer/director’ triple threat. This remarkable transformation will be captured in his upcoming directorial debut, Shelter. Deadline reports that the film will star Anthony Mackie and Bettany’s real-life wife Jennifer Connelly, and is being financed and produced by BiFrost pictures. What hasn’t been reported on, yet, is the film’s plot. One can assume that some kind of shelter will be involved, in either a literal or a figurative sense. Perhaps one of the announced leads will seek shelter with the other. Maybe from the other. Maybe from an invading force of inter-dimensional beings?

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review blood

Crime-related dramas usually do one of two things well. They’re either interested solely in the mystery itself, or they’re more focused on the characters and their journey into darkness. In rare cases, like David Fincher’s Zodiac or Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, a movie can nail both halves with equal skill and effect. Blood takes the second path, eschewing any real mystery or suspense to focus on two brothers, both in blood and in blue, whose investigation into a teenage girl’s murder leads to a crime of their own. They’re soon tasked with solving the very crime they committed, and as the pressure to close the case mounts the fragility of the two men’s lives begins to crack. Unfortunately they crack and crumble in the ways viewers will most likely expect.

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Look – computers will never have souls. It’s disappointing to admit, but we all have to face facts at some point in our lives. Maybe one day they’ll manage to act alive, but they will never feel our love. They have no feelings. They are soulless, uncaring devices that we all too often assign our own humanity to – just like cats. But of course, in film, that would just be no fun. It’s better to have an A.I. that is dynamic and has some kind of personality, even if that personality is a lack of any kind of personality. The key is the voice, and here are some of the most unforgettable ones…

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Any theater fan knows that making Les Miserable as a film will be a considerable undertaking (one that hopefully keeps the rotating stage). It’s an epic piece of writing made even larger by the music created for the stage version by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (the English version libretto was done by Herbert Kretzmer). With a Best Picture under his belt, Tom Hooper wants to tackle it, and so does Universal, but they’ll both need some giants to fill the main roles, and it looks like they’ve gotten their first. Variety is reporting that Hugh Jackman, famous for being well-versed as an actor, a singer, and a not-too-shabby dancer, is currently in talks to star. It’s unclear whether he’ll be playing the fugitive Jean Valjean (who was imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his sister’s family) or Javert (the police inspector determined to hunt him down), but speculation seems to be that he’ll be running from the law instead of representing it. That speculation is based on Jackman’s natural tenor singing range, but it wouldn’t be the first time a production forced an actor to do something out of their safe zone. The real question is which part he’d be best for. That, again, is Valjean. Although he could honestly nail down either part firmly. Now to find a suitable counterpart. How about Liam Neeson (who portrayed Valjean in the 1998 film adaptation), Karl Urban (can he sing?), or Jean Dujardin (making a proper launch into US filmmaking)? On […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets set for another weekend of weddings with Kristen Wiig and her posse. Sadly, he discovers that he doesn’t have a vagina and decides to move on. Next, he takes a trip to an alternate world where priests kick ass and kill vampires. Once he realizes he is woefully out of place next to sultry Maggie Q in a ninja priest outfit, he comes home to find his possessions kicked to the curb with Will Ferrell in the middle of the whole mess.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the movie theater to enjoy the holiday releases and the award films. But how do they stack up against each other. After being swept into Narnia in post-converted 3D, Kevin takes a trip to Venice where he watches a portly Johnny Depp play an everyman to Angelina Jolie walking around a lot. Finally, he takes another award season trip to Boston to watch Mark Wahlberg get punch drunk..

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Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is at risk of having his tourist visa revoked. Or at least he would be if there were any justice in the cinematic world. (Of course, the continued presence of Ashton Kutcher on the big screen proves that’s not the case.) The problem isn’t that von Donnersmarck has made a bad movie or that saying his name aloud reminds one of the worst part of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (I’m looking at you Eli Roth!). No, the problem is that after the absolute brilliance of his suspenseful and emotionally satisfying debut, The Lives Of Others, the director’s arrival in Hollywood is with little more than a beautiful but bland trip to Mediocreville.

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Some of it looks a bit cheesy, but on the whole, the first full trailer for Priest is incredibly promising. Maggie Q tossing all sorts of ninja stars, Karl Urban looking like The Gunslinger and conducting the burning of a town, Paul Bettany brooding and slashing a dagger into some vampires. It’s all good stuff, and it all looks incredible. The blend of science fiction attributes amidst the crumbling visage of an ancient order is a great concept pulled directly from the graphic novel, and the spirit of the Western (including what looks like a great fight on top of a speeding locomotive) is in tact here amongst the gadgetry and blood-guzzling creatures of the night. The CGI vampires are, sadly, a bit I Am Legendary. However, it seems as though director Scott Charles Stewart is taking this a bit more seriously than he took Legion, and that’s a good thing. Go see the trailer for yourself over at Crackle.

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Priest

While on a recent visit to the set of RED, I had a quick conversation with Star Trek star Karl Urban about his upcoming role in Priest, a film that is of interest to anyone disenfranchised by the recent rash of teen vampire movies. It’s the kind of movie that puts the brutality back in the mix, pitting man against oblivion brought on by blood-thirsty vamps. After a few moments of Urban telling us about how much fun it was to play a very bad guy, my interest was piqued. Now I’m looking forward to Priest.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr welcomes the summer movie season by handing out a grade to Iron Man 2.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Tooth Fairy, Legion and Extraordinary Measures can make the grade.

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As God loses faith in mankind once again, the angel he entrusts with the task of setting off the Apocalypse (Paul Bettany) breaks rank in order to protect mankind’s only, last, greatest hope – a small child carried in the womb of a truck stop waitress (Adrianne Palicki).

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Fat Guys at the Movies

While Neil is off galavanting in Park City, Utah, stocking up on watching movies for the coming year at Sundance TwentyTen, Kevin is left alone in the Magical Studio in the Sky. To help keep him company is Fozzie Bare, stepping into Neil’s sizable shoes as guest host.

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karl-urban-header

The on again off again film adaptation of Min-Yoo Hyung’s manga series Priest is on with Paul Bettany as the renegade Priest and Karl Urban newly added to the cast as the villain Black Hat.

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maggieqpriest

The model who turned into an action star is joining Paul Bettany in the Old West to murder some blood-sucking fiends.

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legion-header

When God loses faith in Mankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity’s only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner and the Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany).

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creation-header1

Creation, from director Jon Amiel (Entrapment), tells the story of the life of Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution. And in this first trailer, which debuted over at Telegraph.co.uk, we see Paul Bettany as the famed naturalist and Jennifer Connelly as his wife Emma.

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