Penelope Cruz

Zoolander

We’ve been hearing rumors about a second Zoolander feature for what seems like years now — hey, it has actually been whole years! — and while we never exactly gave up hope that we would (one day!) suck back another hot batch of orange mocha Frappuccinos with the gang again, we haven’t been holding our breath on the feature. Turns out, that’s a good thing! We, like, totally would have died! But Zoolander 2 does apparently live, and it’s started casting to prove it. Deadline reports that Zoolander 2, set to be directed by star Ben Stiller and with a script by Justin Theroux (remember, he penned Tropic Thunder for Stiller), will feature a part for Penelope Cruz of all starlets, with Stiller back as the Blue Steel-faced model moron, and rumors that we can expect to see both Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell back for more vigorously persisting. There’s no word on what we can expect to see from the film beyond this particular line-up of talents, but we’ve got some ideas. Here’s what we need — nay, require — from Zoolander 2:

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The Counselor

After a puzzling teaser trailer left us scratching our heads and a first full-length trailer that gave us few details as to the film’s actual plot, the new trailer for Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor is offering the most cohesive look at the film so far. From previous material, we know that Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt have ridiculous costumes, Cameron Diaz writhes around on top of a car, and Michael Fassbender is in way, way over his head after making a massive drug deal. This time, we have a lot more to work with, plot-wise. Fassbender, as the eponymous counselor (or Counsellor, as the international trailer calls it), has grown accustomed to a lavish lifestyle with his fiancée, played by Penelope Cruz. But when legal work can’t keep it up, he turns to Bardem on the other side of the border to help him get into the drug business for some quick, hard cash. Easy, right? Of course, as you’ll see in the trailer below, his totally well-thought-out plan devolves into a violent catastrophe of explosions, bloodshed, and Fassbender tears when the drugs get stolen en route to the trade.

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The first teaser trailer we got for Ridley Scott’s The Counselor didn’t have much meat to it at all. We were introduced to a brief scenario where a wire stretched across a road caused a motorcycle accident, we caught a glimpse of Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt sporting silly hairdos, and then a shapely woman crawled across the hood of a car. It wasn’t exactly the sort of thing that let you know what the movie was all about. The new full-length trailer for the film though, well—it doesn’t really tell you all that much either. Actually, the new trailer contains about as much plot info as one of those obtuse “next week on Mad Men” teasers. But it does give us glimpses of a handsome and reluctant Michael Fassbender getting in over his head with some shady business, Bardem playing the devil character who convinces him to get involved, Pitt playing a bringer of doom, and Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz sharing a moment of danger-laced flirtation. So, even if we still don’t really know what this movie is going to be about exactly, who cares? It’s clearly got everything.

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While most of the movie-loving world has been busy watching the continuous back-and-forth rumor ping pong that could easily go by the title, “wait, just who the hell is directing the next James Bond film?”, other rumors are apparently getting swirled up across the pond. Yahoo! Movies UK reports that the lovely Penelope Cruz (and wife of Skyfall‘s utterly amazing villain, Javier Bardem) will next step into a saucy Bond girl role (please let her be the nice girl). The outlet reports that the actress will start work on the film next summer, but as is usual when it comes to UK outlets, this one could just be a big ol’ rumor, no matter how great it sounds. And, as The Playlist sagely reminds us, “when it comes to Bond girls, the Daniel Craig-era has tended to favor smaller/lesser known names (Eva Green, Gemma Arterton, Olga Kurylenko, Berenice Marlohe) over, well, Oscar winners.” But no matter, as a source reportedly told Yahoo! that “the producers have tried to get Penelope before, but she has never been available because of other commitments. The discussions have been going on for some time and they are working out the contract details now.” Hey, better late than never.

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Anyone who saw last year’s surgical horror story, The Skin I Live In, knows that director Pedro Almodóvar can pull a first-rate performance out of Antonio Banderas, which makes sense, seeing as they’ve been working together for over 20 years. And anyone who has seen Almodóvar’s starring vehicles for Penélope Cruz, like Volver or Broken Embraces, can give similar compliments to his relationship with that actress. Almodóvar is a filmmaker who knows how to get the best out of the people he’s working with. But what he’s never been able to do is direct Banderas and Cruz together in the same movie. As a matter of fact, even though they’re maybe the two most famous Spanish actors of the last two decades, up until this point nobody has been able to get them both to appear in the same film. That’s all set to change come Almodóvar’s latest project, however. His new film is a comedy called The Standby Lovers that’s about a plane full of people who reveal their most guarded secrets to one another when the aircraft starts to go down. In addition to Banderas and Cruz (whose official involvement we reported on yesterday), the film is also said to include an all-star cast of Spanish actors including Javier Cámara, Guillermo Toledo, Raúl Arévalo, Hugo Silva, Cecilia Roth, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Blanca Suárez, José María Yazik and Antonio de la Torre. That’s a lot of Spanish-sounding names.

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While the rest of the movie-going universe debates the merits of Prometheus, Ridley Scott is busy putting the final touches on the Cormac McCarthy-scribed thriller The Counselor. The film stars Brad Pitt as a lawyer who gets involved with drug trafficking, and already sported the promising supporting cast of Michael the-best-thing-about-Prometheus Fassbender and McCarthy veteran Javier Bardem. According to Deadline Bloomington, another McCarthy veteran (remember All the Pretty Horses?), Penélope Cruz, has officially been added to the cast after being rumored for a role for some time. No word on what character she’ll play, but despite any reservations audiences have had about Scott’s latest star-studded genre outing, this cast in the first script penned by really-freaking-good novelist Cormac McCarthy seems promising. Deadline notes that the film has been described as [sigh…] “No Country For Old Men on steroids,” which promises exactly the opposite of everything that made that Best Picture winner interesting. Principal photography for The Counselor begins this summer.

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We’ve been pretty closely following the development and casting news of Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor (written by no less than Cormac McCarthy), and while the bulk of casting so far has been quite exciting (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt, to name the big guns), this is the first rumor that gives us pause. Twitch Film is reporting that Cameron Diaz has landed a role in the film, one Angelina Jolie was once hotly pursuing. The role of Malkina is one of two big female parts in the film, making this one of Diaz’s most juicy (and somewhat unexpected) gigs yet. While Diaz has yet to show that she’s capable of truly carrying a dark and dramatic role on her own, she has dipped her toe in interesting fare, stuff like The Box, Gangs of New York, and Being John Malkovich. She’s also continued to work on her comedic talents, showing a sort of weird fearlessness in recent roles, particularly the not-so-flattering Bad Teacher. And, hell, she’s even playing the female lead in the Coen brothers-penned Gambit remake, so perhaps Diaz is ready to take the next step in her acting career.

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The casting process for Ridley Scott’s next project, The Counselor, has been an absolute dream for people who like to write down famous people’s names. After going through a laundry list of the biggest actors working in Hollywood, Scott has seemed to settle on the titanic trio of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt to play the three main male roles in this Cormac McCarthy-penned, lawyer-gone-bad drama. There has yet to be a consensus on who’s going to play the lead female role, that of the Fassbender character’s fianceé, however. The most recent buzz was that Pitt’s real-life fianceé Angelina Jolie was being looked at to come on board, but that never sounded like anything more than a long shot. And, sure enough, a recent report from THR claims that the actress’ role in the upcoming Disney film, Maleficent, would conflict with The Counselor’s shooting schedule.

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Woody Allen continues his European tour with his next film, To Rome With Love. This time around, the auteur appears to stick with the light fluffiness that made his Midnight in Paris such a delight to behold, but with a much deeper cast of characters to suit the film’s vignette style. The film’s synopsis tells us that it “is comprised of four separate vignettes and tells the story of a number of people in Italy—some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors—and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.” Players in those various vignettes include Allen himself, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Robert Benigni, Judy Davis, Alison Pill, and Greta Gerwig. With the film’s first trailer, we get our first glimpse what we can expect from each section – Allen being neurotic (shock); a potential love triangle involving Eisenberg, Gerwig, and Page; a flimsy and flighty Cruz; and Benigni becoming famous for something. I can already guess which vignettes I’ll feel the most amore for – can you?

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The latest stop in writer/director Woody Allen’s tour of Europe has, up until this point, been referred to as Nero Fiddled, which is a clever title referring to the myth that the Roman Emperor Nero played a fiddle while watching the city burn to the ground. Clever though it is, it’s also a little high-brow, and probably would go over the heads of most mainstream audiences. Normally going over the heads of the masses wouldn’t be much of a problem for a New York intellectual like Allen, but following the substantial and slightly surprising success of Midnight in Paris, one would imagine that the studio is looking to bring all those people that made their way out to the theater back for Woody’s next any way that they can. Perhaps to that end, the movie has been retitled, right before its marketing campaign looks to begin. From now on the project that stars names like Ellen Page, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody himself will known as To Rome With Love, a title that once again mentions the city in which it is set by name, and that feels right at home sitting next to Midnight in Paris.

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Midnight in Paris is still out there making money and finding new audiences, so it’s less than surprising that Sony Pictures Classics has already picked up Woody Allen‘s follow-up film, Nero Fiddled, which was produced last year. According to Cinema Blend, the movie is described by Allen as a broad comedy with several overlapping stories. It stars Jesse “Woody Allen” Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and Judy Davis. Woody Allen is also playing a role, but he lamented earlier in the year about not being able to play the romantic lead anymore. Which is ridiculous. Who wouldn’t want to see a hunky 76-year-old man embroil himself in the heart and loins of a gorgeous counterpart? Exactly. As long as it takes place in Rome, it’ll be romantic. I’m pretty sure that’s even where we get the word. So if you were at all worried that you’d go a year without hearing from the workhorse of filmmaking, fear not! More Allen is on the way. Just try not to loudly pontificate about the meaning of his work while waiting in line at the cinema.  

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Even though Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris is still doing gangbusters in theaters, it’s time to start talking about his next project. I mean, the guy does one of these things a year, there’s no time to sit back and soak up any success. His next film, The Bop Decameron, sees him continuing his tour of Europe by filming in Rome. Makes sense, seeing as ever since he stopped filming in New York City we’ve already gotten movies from him set in England, Spain, and France. Why wouldn’t Italy be next on the itinerary? The films location isn’t the thing worth talking about though. What’s really newsworthy is that earlier today Allen made a show of announcing the official cast. His first announcement was that he himself would be returning to acting for this one, something we haven’t seen him do for half a decade, since 2006’s Scoop. The rest of the casting news is that The Bop Decameron will star, alphabetically, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page. There are just too many actors I love, especially young actors, in that list to even begin dissecting why this is an awesome cast. I’ll just say I’m gushing at the thought of hearing Eisenberg deliver Woody dialogue and leave it at that. In addition to these names, Allen also says that the film will co-star Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliata, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ornella Muti, Flavio Parenti, Alison Pill, Riccardo Scamarcio and […]

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Disney’s latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise arrived in theaters nationwide yesterday, and in keeping with all things peg-leggy and swashbuckly, I present selections from the On Stranger Tides press conference. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Rob Marshall, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush were front and center for the press event, with moderator Pete Hammond at the helm. Here’s what they had to say.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets shanghaied by a group of drunken, smelly people he met in a pub. If only, if only these were really pirates taking him aboard a haunted ship. Alas, they weren’t. Let’s just say that there might be a few trips to the pharmacy in store for him. After surviving his if-only-it-were-real-pirates experience, Kevin took a shot at seeing Jodie Foster’s Beaver. Unfortunately, no one told him this was a title to an actual film, so he spent another few days in jail, missing any opportunity to see that new Mel Gibson film at all.

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After the nadir that was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, it was clear that the most lucrative movie franchise of the new millennium needed some freshening up. So, out (reportedly by their own choosing) went director Gore Verbinski and co-stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. In their stead, new helmer Rob Marshall is relied upon for his eye for grandiose theatrical imagery and staging, while Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are meant to add spice and character to the proceedings. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is, well, Captain Jack. Yet On Stranger Tides, the fourth Pirates flick, proves an age-old maxim: the more things change, the more they stay the same. However much the franchise has cosmetically shifted, the new picture is rooted in the familiar: Supernatural-tinged storytelling, murkily-shot battles fought against pristine backdrops, colonial-era costumes and the admittedly unforgettable protagonist, who has become an icon thanks to Depp’s epicene, offbeat take. It is by now a tired formula, rendered in such a way that emotional investment is muted and the more adventuresome aspects are diluted by their adherence to this static aesthetic. Character and atmosphere are sacrificed to spectacle, and the spectacle — sprightly chases, dull sword fights and sweeping, zooming shots of the lush Caribbean sea/countryside — has worn down.

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The fourth step in a franchise can often be the sticking point, especially when that franchise has taken a break of sorts after the third installment – just ask fans of Die Hard, Indiana Jones, Alien and Scream. The issues are generally two-fold, as the filmmakers are charged with somehow making a high-numbered sequel that retains the spirit of the original, at the same time as offering something new and compelling enough to entice new fans. Add to that the fact that that gap generally means that the fourth installment has to make enough money to turn heads, and certainly a lot more than would traditionally accepted of a third sequel, and you have a minefield of potential pitfalls. But surely Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides would be okay? Regardless of the critical reaction, the film will make an obscene amount of money, so that won’t be an issue, but the pre-release noises coming from the Mouse House, and director Rob Marshall actually seemed to suggest that this particular number 4 was going to address the problems of the preceding two sequels, which for fans and filmmakers alike set some exciting bells ringing. So swelled by that excitement, I donned a pair of the Palais’ frankly ridiculous 3D glasses and settled in to watch a rum and gunpowder caper.

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Of many preferred professions, I find chefs to be on the right end of the hotness scale. Their passion for food translates into multiple areas of life and it’s hard not to get swept away into a blissful utopia where calories don’t count but your opinion of that chocolate mousse does. As you may have guessed, I have been suckered into this world once or twice, and unlike the obsessions of mine that turned sour, my chef love remains. I had high expectations for the Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart led kitchen romance No Reservations. Two hot-tempered executive chefs forced together to run one kitchen sounded almost as steamy as angry sex in the Grey’s Anatomy on-call room. The potential for secret glances over chopping boards and mutual arousal from yelling at their sous chef seemed inevitable. However, the movie wasn’t about the sexy times of these two hot chefs. Rather it was more about Zeta-Jones’ Kate and Eckhart’s Nick learning to put aside their ambition and realize what’s important in life. Sex and cooking go hand-in-hand, so thankfully the couple does partake in a few tingly make-out moments and fade-to-black sex scenes. But most of the movie’s heavy petting is left for the dough in the prep oven. Tough lady chefs like Zeta-Jones’ Kate are modeled after real chefs, but that doesn’t mean Hollywood has been quick to allow women to be tough and sexy on screen. On the contrary, many movies featuring female cooks have been just that—cooks.

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Disney has released the first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides this week, and it’s more of the same from Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and crew. From the familiar score to the wobbly mess that is the series’ lead character to the subtle hints that two young stars may be central to the actual story (keep an eye on the young lad and the mermaid), we’ve seen this act before. It doesn’t make it appear to be any less fun, however.

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The trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides doesn’t debut until Monday, but a little birdie dropped six images from the new film into my email box. How the bird got into the internet in the first place, I have no idea, and I won’t listen to any calls from PETA about it. If you’re anticipating the film with your own hand-made countdown calendar, these pics might be just the thing to salve your soul. If you’re just bored on a Thursday, you can play an endless game of peek-a-boo with Captain Jack Sparrow thanks to one of them. Enjoy!

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Ian McShane is many things to many people. To the children of the world, he will soon be the next big bad pirate to try and thwart the jolly conquests of Jack Sparrow, a character whose stories have earned Walt Disney Pictures over a two and a half billion dollars at the box office. According to THR, McShane has joined the production of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the villainous Blackbeard.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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