Paul Giamatti

Being a child of the ’80s and a pre-adolescent product of rock n’ roll’s most fashion-concerned era (you would, in no way, find pictures of me at age six with self-slit blue jeans) Rock of Ages should have been a warm-hearted nostalgia trip for me to a time where bad boys wore girl’s aerobic outfits underneath leather jackets with sapphires and rhinestones, girls had poodle ‘fros and chewed lots of bubble gum, and we both bonded over our love for all songs that just said rock a lot; and the more often the word was repeated in the song the more it was good. Having been adapted from a popular stage production, and helmed by a director who did a splendid job with Hairspray, I expected a tongue-in-cheek romp that would have me struggling to refrain from jumping out of my seat and throwing my fists in the air chanting that I wasn’t gonna take it. After about ten minutes I really was struggling to refrain from jumping out of my seat and throwing my fists, because I really wanted to stop taking it.

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Seemingly not content to follow up his critically lauded Shame with a cast that only includes such names as Chiwitel Ejifior, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Taran Killam, Scoot McNairy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, and Adepero Oduye, filmmaker Steve McQueen has just gone ahead and thrown another batch of incredible talent into the giant amazing stew that is Twelve Years a Slave. This time around, he’s mixed in no less than Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, and Sarah Paulson, a wealth of talent that would stand alone just fine, but the addition of which makes Twelve Years the most skill-laden cast of the year. I never say this about a film I’ve yet to see (much less one that’s not even been filmed yet), but – all of the Oscars. All of the Oscars. Based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, Ejifior will play a free man who is sold into slavery and who remains a slave for twelve years (yes, the title of the film should have clued you into that).

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Young Ezra Miller terrified audiences last year with work in Lynne Ramsay’s nightmare factory of a film, We Need to Talk About Kevin, but the rising star doesn’t appear interested in getting stuck in similar (horrifying, revolting, and very difficult) roles. Variety reports that the actor has signed on for a role in Sophie Barthes‘s Madame Bovary, already set to star Jane Eyre‘s Mia Wasikowska in the title role and Paul Giamatti as Monsieur Homais. The outlet does not specifically name his role, just that he will be a “love interest” for Wasikowska, but Cinema Blend points out that Miller is better suited for Leon Dupuis, one of the first men who tempts Emma, but not the man she eventually engages in a passionate and destructive affair (that would be Rodolphe Boulanger). Written by Rose Barrenche from Gustave Flaubert‘s novel, Barthes plans to start filming this fall. While I’m not particularly sold on yet another take on Bovary, Barthes is lining up an impressive and varied cast, which could recommend this new version of the classic story.

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What has long set Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” apart from other literary works is that it is wildly considered by scholars and other writers alike to be a “perfect” work of fiction and a supreme example of Realism, one elevated by Flaubert’s personal signature of weaving in themes and details and paying particular attention to setting and place. It’s not a very original story – in short terms, it tracks the unhappy marriage of a mismatched pair that ends tragically after the wife’s unfaithfulness, partially sparked by her boredom – but Flaubert’s skill makes the reading of the book its own reward. Of course, the novel has been adapted for the screen numerous times – including Albert Ray’s 1932 film, MGM’s 1949 film directed by Vincente Minnelli, a 2000 miniseries starring Frances O’Connor, and Claude Chabrol’s 1991 Isabelle Huppert-starring feature. And, of course, it’s high time that Hollywood adapted the novel yet again – its importance as a written work be damned! Variety reports that Mia Wasikowska will star in a new Madame Bovary as Emma Bovary herself. Wasikowska has become Hollywood’s go-to girl for period pieces, with recent roles in Jane Eyre and Albert Nobbs, so such casting is not surprising. Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls) will direct from a screenplay by Rose Barrenche. The outlet reports that “the adaptation is a period piece that is faithful to Gustave Flaubert’s original story, [but] it is a fresh retelling of the classic novel, em[emphasizing the more youthful and contemporary themes.” What, […]

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Even with its relatively limited resources, John Dies at the End creates a bigger and more involving world than most films with over 20 times its budget. This is one crazy world filled with even crazier characters. Writer/director Don Coscarelli‘s adaptation isn’t a lick afraid of silliness, and that is John Dies at the End‘s key charm. To describe everything that goes down in John Dies at the End would be a massive and confusing chore. In short: there’s a lot. From alternate universes to a meat monster, it’s got plenty going on. The two leads, young and good-looking twenty somethings Dave (Chase Williamson) and his buddy John (Rob Mayes), take a drug known on the streests as “soy sauce,” and it’s the kind of drug that opens one’s eyes in ways unimaginable. The pair get into some oddball situations, involving the likes of Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown.

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Phil Morrison, the director of June Bug, has another project in the works, and it’s worth noting because it’s going to be starring my two favorite Pauls currently working in Hollywood. Lucky Dog is a comedy about a couple of French-Canadian con men who go in together on a Christmas tree selling scam, despite the fact that their friendship has recently been on the outs. The previously mentioned Pauls are Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, both accomplished comedic actors who also bring some dramatic chops to the table. So, the directions this one could go in are myriad. Adding to the intrigue is the news that Sally Hawkins, an actress who has recently been impressing me in movies like Never Let Me Go and Submarine, has also signed on to join the cast. There isn’t any word on what kind of character she will be playing, but is it safe to assume that there might be some sort of love triangle going on among the former friends? Good luck with that one, Giamatti. Rudd is, like, cut. From marble. He’s gorgeous. He’s like this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don’t care that he’s kinda lame. And I don’t even care that he cheats on me.

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UPDATED: Hello, musical theatrics! Director Adam Shankman‘s take on Broadway hit Rock of Ages will undoubtedly be slick, highly produced, loud, melodramatic, and positively crammed with toe-tapping song-and-dance numbers (did you see Hairspray?) – essentially, it’s a film that will likely upset fans of the stage musical while also becoming a big commercial hit with a bizarre kitsch sensibility. That’s not just me guessing – that’s information hardily reinforced by the film’s first trailer. The film stars Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Ackerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston (really?!), Alec Baldwin, and Tom Cruise as (very different) people who populate and influence Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip music scene in the 1980’s. Hough and Boneta are trying to make it, Cruise already has, Zeta-Jones scream-sings a lot, that old story. The film is set to a cadre of ’80s classic jams, including Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, and Whitesnake. If you’ve yet to grow out of your big-haired, leather-clad rocker glory days, this is the film for you. Weirdly enough, despite Cruise (and his hair and his hips) being the marquee name on this film, we don’t get a whole lot of him until the last half of the trailer. And then we don’t get so much of him and his character, Stacee Jaxx, as we get some random groupie and her boobs. Bravo to everyone. Get your hairspray ready and check out […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strips down to his boxers and starts a new training regimen to make him look more like Huge Jackman. He’s got a head start, considering his torso looks almost like Jackman’s… if you turn it upside down. After duking it out with some robots in a boxing ring, Kevin tries his hands at politics because it’s the kind of business where you don’t necessarily have to look like Ryan Gosling to get a young hottie like Evan Rachel Wood. But the primary system leaves him depressed and cold, so he takes a trip to the Sudan to play target practice with some warlords. He hears the Sudan is simply lovely this time of year.

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Audiences are no strangers to political films these days. While they usually have more of a thriller angle and focus on government figures already in power, there have been a decent number that follow candidates on the campaign trail and as such, any new film tackling old ground needs to make a conscious effort to distinguish itself in some way, to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, The Ides of March makes no such effort and seems content to languish in probable obscurity. The film is a character study following Ryan Gosling‘s Stephen Meyers, a whip-smart but naive young campaign staffer during his time working for Governor Mike Morris. Morris, played by George Clooney who also co-wrote the screenplay and directed the film, is a presidential hopeful, and the film takes place during his campaign to win the Democratic party nomination. Meyers is essentially the number two man on the campaign at only 30 years old working directly under campaign manager and political mainstay Paul Zara, played with zeal by the incredible Philip Seymour Hoffman. Their competition is technically a Senator Pullman (Michael Mantell), though the opposition is almost entirely represented by Paul Giamatti, who plays Pullman’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy. Duffy and Zara are old school, both having come up around the same time, with Duffy seeming to have been in Zara’s shadow to a certain degree. Duffy and Zara are hardened political guys, but Meyers is still idealistic, believing in a man who can truly bring change to the country. He’s put […]

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Let’s just be honest here and admit that George Clooney is one incredibly attractive guy. I’m referring to more than just his roguish charm, unflappable sense of humor, and boyish grin of course as his most appealing characteristic is his professional ethos. He’s popular, wealthy, and capable of being cast in as many big budget films as he could want, but he consistently returns to to smaller, more personal films that tell stories and explore ideals that he values even when it earns him flack. That and his villa on Italy’s Lake Como make him someone that I would not rush to kick out of my hypothetical, friends only, no-touching-unless-we’re-having-a-pillow-fight bed. As an actor he’s balanced studio pics like the Ocean’s Eleven films with smart, adult thrillers like Michael Clayton and The American. As a director he’s countered the brilliant Good Night, and Good Luck with… Leatherheads. Okay, bad example, but the point is the man has range. Check out the trailer for his latest directorial effort below.

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George Clooney has a new political film on the way, which shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone. But there’s new news that the film will be opening the Venice Film Festival, which… uh, shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone. The new movie is called The Ides of March, and it’s an adaptation of a Beau Willimon play called “Farragut North.” But that’s an obscure reference to a stop on the DC metro line, so they decided to go all Shakespearean on the title for a film adaptation. Clooney directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Grant Heslov. The story is a sort-of take on the 2004 Democratic primary campaign of Howard Dean, with Clooney as the Howard Dean type, Ryan Gosling playing his naïve, young spokesman, and Paul Giamatti a rival campaign manager. Also involved are names like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marissa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, and Evan Rachel Wood. Whoa: good names. Clooney is no stranger to the Venice Film Festival, as in 2005 they showered him with awards for Good Night, and Good Luck, he’s been there to promote stuff like his Coen brothers collaboration Burn After Reading, and they even let him promote that one boring thing The Men Who Stare at Goats there two years ago. Suffice it to say, Clooney’s standing with the Fest is strong. There has been no official word that The Ides of March will be the film opening the fest, but Variety claims to have a source that’s let the information […]

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If you’re interested in seeing veteran actor Brian Cox slit a few throats and chop off a few heads, then Ironclad is definitely the film for you. It’s got fantastically gory kills, Paul Giamatti looking angry in every frame and chewing apart every inch of scenery with each glare, and blood hitting every inch of the screen imaginable. Sound promising? Director Jonathan English has captured a tone that revels in both gore and laughs. Brian Cox, thankfully, gets to partake in English’s bloodbath. I knew within the first few seconds of speaking with Cox that I was going to enjoy the chat. Cox got a hearty laugh from the site’s name right from the start and had a few questions about its origin, a part I desperately wish I recorded. It was a nice icebreaker, to say the least. Calm and thoughtful, the actor made for a quick and pleasant interview. We discussed the fun tone of Ironclad and, mainly, the different directors he’s collaborated with, including the likes of Bryan Singer, Doug Liman, and Rupert Wyatt.

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While they’ve always been fairly popular, there seems to be a renewed surge of interest in medieval epics. Films like Valhalla Rising, Season of the Witch and Black Death as well as the impending premiere of HBO’s new Game of Thrones series are proof enough of that. Movie audiences love the mix of broadswords and blood, and Jonathan English’s new film Ironclad certainly provides both in more than ample quantities. Setting its sights on the real life siege of Rochester Castle in 1215, Ironclad is essentially a 13th century men on a mission film complete with Templars, misfits and enough carnage to sate even the most jaded genre fans.

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Tom McCarthy is a man that needs no introduction. The man’s face has been in Little Fockers, 2012, and The Lovely Bones. We all know him. We’ve all seen him in this or that. All kidding aside about those so-so films in his filmography, McCarthy is not only a strong actor, but the director behind some of the most dramatically subdued and compelling films of the past few years. The Station Agent, The Visitor, and his latest film, Win Win, are perfect companions to each other. The three films share similar thematics and devices, but Win Win is the first film of his to delve into modern suburbia. Unlike many mean-spirited explorations of that lifestyle, McCarthy never pokes fun or goes for easy satirization. There’s a consistent realism and grounding to Win Win. Whenever the film feels like it’s about to take a turn towards being trite or sappy, McCarthy pulls away and adds a spin. Here’s what writer/director Tom McCarthy had to say writing subtlety, revisiting themes and, of course, we start off by discussing the possibility of a graphic novelization of The Visitor…

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 Director Tom McCarthy is back with his third feature film, following the incredibly well received and reviewed films The Station Agent and The Visitor. I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen neither, but based on reactions from trusted colleagues, I have no doubt they are both great films. Unfortunately, Win Win didn’t bowl me over. It’s a fine film that has a good deal of warmth and charm, but it just doesn’t cross that line from good to great. Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a typical family man. He has a nice home, a loving wife, and a few adorable kids. He spends his time working in a private law practice and coaching the local high school wrestling team. But lately the work has gone from steady flow to trickle. The office needs a new furnace, the kids need food and clothes and the mortgage isn’t going anywhere, but the money is starting to dry up. Mike reaches his breaking point, unable to tell his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) about the financial troubles and admit to what he sees as a failure as the provider, and decides to take advantage of a situation with an elderly client. Leo Poplar (Burt Young) has been deemed incapacitated by the court and despite his strong desire to stay in his own home, he’s going to have to be moved to an assisted living facility. Leo has no family to speak of, only a daughter he hasn’t spoken to or heard from in years. […]

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Movies We Love

The year was 1998 and Michael Bay’s Armageddon was in the middle of sweeping the box office and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan was just hitting it. But in a cluster of giant blockbusters sat a film from acclaimed music video director F. Gary Gray. It was his third feature and starred Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Yes, I’m talking about that amazing action/thriller known as The Negotiator. Danny Roman is the Chicago Police Department’s best hostage negotiator, and seems to be on an unstoppable reign of high profile cases. But things do a complete one eighty when his partner Nate is found dead in his car. Danny is now the prime suspect in a case that goes all the way to the top. His only recourse is to take over the CPD’s internal affairs headquarters in an attempt to unravel the mystery of his frame job. His only demand? A fellow hostage negotiator named Chris Sabian.

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If you’ve never picked up “The Goon” for a solid Sunday read, you should head to the local comic book store (the one where the owner won’t let you thumb through the pages because it makes them “used”) and pick up the entire series immediately. Actually, volumes 0-3 should be enough for now, but make sure the gas tank is full because you’ll be heading back to the store soon. There’s zombies and skunk-apes and it’s fantastic. News of a film featuring the beloved characters has been around for quite some time, but a very cool teaser trailer made especially for Comic-Con is the first solid proof (beyond a few pieces of concept art) that the film is barreling its way down throats and out back ends. It will be soon enough. Grab a slice of pie and check out the footage:

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The diversely talented Tom McCarthy has done pretty much everything. Accomplished actor, Academy Award nominated screenwriter, excellent director. He co-wrote Pixar’s Oscar-nominated Up and wrote and directed The Visitor, the 2007 film that earned Richard Jenkins an Oscar nom. What’s next? Another film with Fox Searchlight, that’s what.

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TheGoon

Eric Powell’s batshit wonderful comic book is slowly, achingly moving toward getting made. Latest milestone: a script.

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cold-souls-header

Struggling to find his mojo in the theater, Paul Giamatti turns to a radical procedure that will help him get rid of that which is holding him back — his soul.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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