Paul Giamatti

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is over five months away, but the marketing is already picking up steam to ensure butts are in seats this coming May. It would be silly to call a film that earned $750 million worldwide a failure, but director Marc Webb‘s first Amazing Spider-Man was definitely a bit underwhelming. Story-wise it felt like little more than an unnecessary reboot, and that shows in its ranking as the lowest grossing of the four Spider-Man feature films. Sony already has plans (and release dates!) for two more films in their ‘amazing’ franchise, but first up will be Spidey’s “greatest battle” yet as he (Andrew Garfield) goes head to head with Electro (Jamie Foxx) and The Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Judging by the new teaser below though his greatest threat may actually be Stan Lee‘s blathering intro. Check it out below along with another new pic (courtesy of EmpireOnline), but fair warning, the second pic may or may not constitute a spoiler for some of you.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Jamie Foxx

The clearest thing about the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer (and its entire production history) is how thoroughly Marc Webb and company ignored complaints about having too many villains in a single movie. Not only have they dropped three into the mix here, they’ve also made the overwhelming nature of that reality part of the thematic challenge Peter Parker must face. That dramatic turn may help transform the juggling act of multiple baddies (with multiple origin stories) into a usable energy, but they’re going to have to do a far better job of balancing the story than they did with the messy first outing of the rebooted hero. On that front, it looks like the all-but-erased-by-the-studio “secret origin” is back in the mix as Peter delves deeper into what his father was working on at Oscorp. Again, that’s fertile ground, but it adds another layer to the dip. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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If you’re a product of the public school system in the United States, then you were probably subjected to “Romeo and Juliet” at some point. For me, it was in junior high school, with the highlight being that our teacher let us watch the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version in class. And there was a double bonus when our teacher, who was instructed to fast-forward through the nude scene, accidentally stopped the tape right on actress Olivia Hussey’s breasts. These things happen. Of course Zeffirelli’s film was meant to be an earnest and straightforward adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, using the same language from Shakespeare’s original. But writer Julian Fellows, of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, wanted to change the language for this adaptation. “We were determined not to exclude that same young audience, those same young men and and women whose discovery of love, a discovery which is new for every generation, is being examined here.” Which is pretty much just flowery words that mean, “Yeah, we pretty much rewrote this thing in the hopes of getting younger audiences into the theaters and keeping them awake.” Unfortunately, it also means that many of Shakespeare’s most famous dramatic moments have been undercut or dampened, and the end result is that the film feels more like the Cliff Notes than the play. The gist of Shakespeare’s words are there, but the life has been sucked right out of them.

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We’ve seen Nicolas Cage lose his shit. Not just on the big screen, but with an infamous compilation of Cage’s finest moments of insanity. The only question is: why hasn’t Paul Giamatti gotten a video of his own? His performance in Ironclad alone would provide enough content. That’s just one example in a long line of Giamatti’s more bizarro choices — choices that Giamatti is proud to be able to make. As for his newest film, Phil Morrison’s All is Bright, Giamatti is fairly grounded as Dennis, an ex-con who heads to New York to sell Christmas trees with his old partner in crime Rene (Paul Rudd). All is Bright is a New Yorker dramedy with two Canadians at the center of it. We discussed the film, along with a wide range of topics, with Paul Giamatti at its press day:

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Parkland

Editor’s note: Kate’s review of Parkland originally ran during this year’s TIFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited release. Eventually someone will attend a showing of Peter Landesman’s Parkland and need to be reminded that President John F. Kennedy went to Dallas, Texas in November of 1963, only to be gunned down during a motorcade through streets lined with well-wishers, but the film’s pre-opening credits text that convey that information is an eye-rolling start to a generally inoffensive film. Centered on the moments just before JFK’s assassination until the day the beloved president was buried (the same day, incidentally, his murderer was also laid to rest), Landesman’s film attempts to convey the emotional and historical impact of the death through the stories and perspectives of various people involved in his final hours. A large cast (including such draws as Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, and Marcia Gay Harden, in addition to many, many more) gamely take on interesting if not entirely invigorating material and the result is something entirely unfulfilling, though well-intentioned.

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All is Bright

Ahhh, Christmas. Family get-togethers and warm cozy fireplaces and a significantly increased likelihood of depression. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the first trailer for All is Bright brings us just a little bit closer to the holiday season. All Is Bright touts your basic Christmas setup. Ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti) gets released on parole and wants to give his estranged daughter the greatest Christmas ever by buying her the piano she’s always wanted. But the only way to get the cash (and stay out of prison at the same time) is to hawk Christmas trees with his old buddy Rene (Paul Rudd). Check out the trailer for All Is Bright below.

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Parkland

Most red-blooded Americans know the story of the JFK assassination, but few know what happened in the dramatic hours immediately after his shooting, as doctors struggled to save his life and the Secret Service attempted to find the man responsible. Though we’ve already seen a few stills, the full trailer for Peter Landesman‘s Parkland puts together a more cohesive look at a day that changed the United States. Through interwoven stories, Parkland focuses on the assassination through the eyes of people helping the president, instead of more prominent figures like the Kennedys themselves. There’s the rookie doctor (Zac Efron) tasked with attempting to save his life and the head nurse (Marcia Gay Harden) who looks pretty resigned to the fact that he won’t be able to do it. Paul Giamatti is Abraham Zapruder, the cameraman with the only footage of the shooting, while Billy Bob Thornton plays a Secret Service agent who is out for the head of whomever did this. Hint: It’s Lee Harvey Oswald (Jeremy Strong). It might be odd to call an assassination drama refreshing, but it’s a welcome change of pace to see a historical drama not tell the same story we’ve seen time and again. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is one of those days that will forever remain in the minds of the American people. And though everyone knows the story of what happened when JFK was shot (unless you’re a conspiracy theorist), many aren’t aware of what happened immediately after the president’s brutal murder. Enter Parkland, which promises on its poster a portrayal of “the JFK assassination as you’ve never seen it before.” The film centers on the events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where Kennedy was taken after being shot, and is based on the book “Four Days in November” by Vincent Bugliosi. These stills, courtesy of Yahoo! Movies, depict some of the principal characters tasked with taking care of the dying president — and even the one responsible. Paul Giamatti steps behind a camera as Abraham Zapruder, the cameraman who captured the only known footage of the assassination, while Jeremy Strong is a dead ringer for Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s killer. Billy Bob Thornton is a terrifying-looking secret service agent and just a generally grumpy-looking man who rushed to Kennedy’s side after the shooting. Zac Efron is interestingly cast as Dr. James Carrico, who tended to Kennedy upon his arrival at the hospital. I won’t judge too harshly before seeing his performance, but Efron, you always look 15 and flustered, kid. Marcia Gay Harden, as Nurse Doris Nelson, looks terribly worried, but you can imagine that she’s just seen some shit. Take a look after the break.

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Turbo

“Where were you on the day they let a snail race in the Indy 500?” This one line, spoken by Paul Page or Chris Parnell, I can’t remember which — they both play telecasters of the Indy 500 race in the film — pretty much sums up what’s going on in the new Dreamworks Animation film Turbo. It’s a movie about a snail, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, who dreams of being fast, something his brother (Paul Giamatti) has explained on numerous occasions is against what nature has intended. Yet, he finds a way and ends up in the Indianapolis 500. Because as the film teaches us, “no dream is too big, no dreamer is too small.” It also teaches us lessons about no concept being too worn out. How Turbo, whose real name is Theo, gets to the Indy 500 is perhaps the least interesting part of the David Soren directed toon. He wants to be fast, he isn’t fast, he tries to be fast and ends up creating a giant mess for his fellow colony of snails. So he runs away and stumbles into a scene from Fast and Furious, surviving a Nitrous Oxide bath that makes him a snail with super-gastropodial speed.

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What is Casting Couch? Casting news concerning names like Paul Giamatti, James Franco, Emmy Rossum, Mia Wasikowska, and even more. Many, many, more. We’re bursting. Now that she’s ruled the box office with her starring role in The Hunger Games and ruled awards season with her Oscar win for The Silver Linings Playbook, there’s only one logical next place for Jennifer Lawrence to go—the producer’s chair. That’s right, when an actor becomes a real force in Hollywood, we generally see them take a more creative role over the movies that they star in, and Variety is reporting that she’s going to be beginning that process by both starring in and producing her next project, Rules of Inheritance. From an Abi Morgan adaptation of Claire Bidwell Smith’s memoirs, and to be directed by Susanne Bier, Rules of Inheritance will see Lawrence playing a young woman “who loses her family, but finds herself in the process.” There’s a silver lining.

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I love this behind-the-scenes video from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 because without the CGI movie magic, it makes Spidey seem like a real wizard with even more extraordinary powers. He simply waves his hands, and Paul Giamatti‘s  pants drop. No webbing required. This is Harry Potter territory. Plus, the sense of humor here is great — this is what a teenager does with great power and great responsibility. Some light humiliation followed by a few slick dance moves. The confidence is solid, but Spidey should really learn not to leave automatic weapons lying in the street. [SuperHeroHype]

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Almost Christmas, the latest film from Junebug director Phil Morrison, helps to explain the process of how all those Christmas trees get to the street corners of Brooklyn and why they cost so much. It does indeed take a lot to get them there, as we discover from a pair of tree-transporting frenenemies from Québec, played by Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd. Once you get past the fact that these guys are probably the only two Québecois who don’t speak French, the actors win in their roles. However, the film is filled with pacing issues as well as comic situations and characters that just fall completely flat. Giamatti plays Dennis, a guy who has just completed a four-year prison sentence for a botched heist. He heads to the home of ex-wife Therese (Amy Landecker) to see their young daughter (Tatyana Richaud), only to discover that she’s been told he died of cancer. He also finds out that Therese is in love with his best friend, Rene (Rudd). The two men already have a complicated relationship, as Rene bailed on their heist, which caused Dennis to be caught by the police.

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The Rhino

When you think of a hulking, monstrous man who charges into every situation with his head down and attempts to fix every problem in his path by smashing it, you tend to think of Paul Giamatti, am I right? Yeah, no, probably you don’t think of Paul Giamatti this way at all. But it seems to be the way he thinks of himself. In a new report from THR that reveals the actor is currently in negotiations to play Spider-Man villain, The Rhino, in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man sequel, it gets pointed out that Giamatti has been talking about how much he identifies with a big dumb thug like Rhino for years. In an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, Giamatti remarked, “The Rhino was fantastic. He was, like, a Russian guy. He was real fast and he hit stuff real hard.” And back in 2011, he told Showbizspy, “I thought Rhino was the greatest thing when I was a little kid. It was a guy who was basically in this rhinoceros outfit and I always thought, ‘Why don’t they have The Rhino in one of their movies,’ but maybe The Rhino wasn’t that big of a deal for anybody but me. If they ever go with The Rhino I would be ready and waiting.”

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Editor’s note: John Dies At The End is now playing in limited theatrical release, so let’s flash back exactly one year to look at Allison’s Sundance review, originally published on January 26, 2012. We all know what it means to be sauced, but John Dies At The End shows audiences what it means to be “on the sauce” – soy sauce that is, a hallucinogenic drug that not only messes with your mind, it messes with how you perceive time. This idea could be fun, but when you know one of your best friends meets his demise somewhere in that disjointed timeline (no spoilers there, as it’s revealed in the film’s title) this time manipulation becomes both stressful and confusing. While at a party, Dave (Chase Williamson) gets into a conversation with a reggae “magician” (Tai Bennett) who Dave doesn’t believe can do real magic. But when Robert Marley (the magician’s name, of course) is able to recount, in vivid detail, a dream Dave had the night before, he gets Dave’s attention. Later that night Dave gets a call from his best friend, a panicked and confused-sounding John (Rob Mayes), who thinks he has called Dave a bunch of times already that night and needs him to come over right away.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s where Hollywood moms come every day to find out if their actor kids have gotten a job. Remember that movie about the day JFK got shot that Tom Hanks was putting together because these days he’s such a history loving, lame dad? It’s called Parkland, and it just put together an awesome cast. According to Collider, director Vincent Bugliosi has signed the terrific trio of Paul Giamatti, Jackie Weaver, and Billy Boy Thornton to headline the cast. There’s no word on what characters they’ll be playing, but my guess is Giamatti will be JFK, Thornton will be Jackie O, and Weaver will be Lee Harvey Oswald. Makes sense, no?

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John Dies at the End

If you watch the new trailer for co-writer/director Don Coscarelli’s (Bubba Ho-Tep) latest film, John Dies at the End, you’ll probably be left with some questions. Why are those pills that can grow wings called “soy sauce?” Can taking them really make you jump to different dimensions? Is the main character talking into a Polish sausage like it’s a cell phone? Don’t let all of these questions left hanging in the air worry you—a lot of them don’t even get answered after you watch this crazy film in its entirety—just focus in on the fact that Coscarelli has taken David Wong’s crazy novel of the same name and made a crazy movie out of it, and the results are crazy hilarious.

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Rhys Ifans

Given the reliable financial formula of taking classic novels and turning them into feature films with lots of fancy period costumes and either Keira Knightley or Mia Wasikowska in the lead role, it was probably only a matter of time before somebody decided to make another film version of Gustave Flaubert’s influential masterpiece, “Madam Bovary.” So we weren’t at all surprised when it was announced that Cold Souls director Sophie Barthes would be taking a crack at the material, and that she had Wasikowska all booked up to be her lead. Sounded like a pretty good idea. But after that the pot was sweetened even further when versatile young actor Ezra Miller, who effectively played a creepy kid in We Need to Talk About Kevin and a flamboyant friend in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was announced as playing one of the Bovary character’s many extramarital boy toys, and acting god Paul Giamatti signed on to play Monsieur Homais, a man who threatens to reveal the title character’s many indiscretions. Don’t think that Barthes and her crew are done when it comes to their attempts at luring you into watching a movie based off a book you avoided in high school, either. Variety is now reporting that another great actor is joining the cast, as Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man) has signed on to play Monsieur Lheureux.

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Paul Giamatti in Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis fits quite nicely in actor Paul Giamatti‘s wheelhouse. Like the over-the-top Shoot’Em Up, the ridiculously bloody Ironclad, and this year’s John Dies at the End, Giamatti is more than willing to jump into a world with no ceiling. Or, as Giamatti and the British say, to get “wet.” Wet is certainly what Giamatti gets in director David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis. Rarely does Giamatti speak a line which isn’t abstract or approaching any level of sanity in the film. Key point: Giamatti’s character’s towel and fungus. In the film, a sweaty and disgruntled Giamatti emotionally clings onto a dirty towel and speaks of a fungus between his toes urging him to kill. Countless interpretations could be applied to their actual meaning, but, clearly, Giamatti has his own explanations, explanations that even the actor wouldn’t fully discuss. Here’s what actor Paul Giamatti had to say about working with David Cronenberg, the film’s straight-faced wackiness, and why he won’t tell you what the towel means:

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran as part of our Cannes 2012 coverage. Cosmopolis hits theaters this weekend, August 17th. Though it is faintly vulgar to talk of any actors in terms of only one project, who would have thought a couple of years ago that the two lead actors from Twilight would both feature In Competition at Cannes, starring in brave and bold adaptations of two iconic, but problematic American novels? Two days after Kristen Stewart’s next release – Walter Salles’ On The Road – screened in the Theatre Lumiere, the same screen played host to the Robert Pattinson-starring adaptation of Don DeLillo‘s Cosmopolis. The film follows Eric Packer (Pattinson), a young billionaire asset manager on a journey across a thronging New York City in his limousine, flanked by his head of security Torval (Kevin Durand) in order to get a hair cut. Along the way he encounters colleagues (Jay Baruchel, Samantha Morton, and Philip Nozuko), protesters (Mathieu Amalric), his wife (Sarah Gadon) and lovers (Juliette Binoche and Patricia McKenzie), all of whom contribute to unravel his cold, clinical world. It helps little that the New York he seeks to cross is in open revolt, with anti-corporation demonstrations making way for violence, and somewhere amongst it, an unknown killer stalks Eric.

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Even when it just had a director and two principal actors in place, Disney’s upcoming Saving Mr. Banks already seemed like it was the perfect storm of mainstream appeal. Take director John Lee Hancock, who made mountains of money and received boatloads of acclaim for his sugary sweet The Blind Side, give him two of the most universally loved actors working in Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, and put them to work on subject matter involving one of the biggest legends in entertainment history, Walt Disney, and one of the most enduring children’s stories of all time, “Mary Poppins,” and you have to imagine this film’s potential for box office dollars and warmed hearts is unprecedented. It turns out Saving Mr. Banks isn’t just content to get our attention and then sit back and coast on a winning formula though. Variety has a new report that a trio of actors have just signed on to the film in supporting roles, and they’re three of the best supporting players studio dollars can buy. Joining Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers will be Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and Ruth Wilson.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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