Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams

See? We told you guys to just wait — and, yes, we had to take that advice to heart, too — because, no matter what the addition of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn to the True Detective second season roster meant, it didn’t mean that casting was over. Now, well, casting still isn’t over, but it’s getting there, and it’s certainly moving in a very nice direction. Variety reports that, as has been rumored off and on for awhile now, Rachel McAdams has been offered one of four lead roles in the HBO series’ second season. The part will reportedly see McAdams playing “a Monterey sheriff with a troubled past that has led her to a gambling and alcohol addiction.” The part is one of three law enforcement types on the new season — Farrell is on board as one, Taylor Kitsch is still expected to play the other, and Vaughn is set to star as a “career criminal” — and it marks a very important step forward in the realm of complicated female characters on the small screen.

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review a most wanted man

The 9/11 attacks were planned from the beautiful, immigrant-friendly city of Hamburg, and Germany swore afterwards that it would never happen again. In addition to tightening security for those coming into the country, part of their efforts to stop terrorist cells from operating so freely within their borders included the creation of a small intelligence unit whose sole purpose is prevention. Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) heads up the team (which also includes Daniel Brühl and Nina Hoss), but his latest mission challenges more than his skill-set and determination. It shakes his drive, moral compass, and dedication to “making the world a safer place.” A Most Wanted Man is exactly what you’d expect from the director of The American, and while that assessment will mean different things to different people the film remains a meticulously crafted adaptation of John le Carre‘s bestselling novel.

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About Time

Romantic comedy fans have long been starving for satisfying genre fare to hit the box office, all the Valentine’s Days and New Year’s Eves and Arbor Days (surely, the next one, right?) notwithstanding, and it’s long seemed as if the When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail glory days (we loved Nora Ephron, what can we say?) were far gone. Yet, with Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis finally returning to the sort of films he excels at crafting, it’s perhaps a bit early to consider the entire genre dead. Maybe it’s just sleeping. Curtis’ About Time certainly comes with an enviable pedigree (any film that features Curtis directing Bill Nighy is cause to celebrate), but it’s the film’s charming cast and cleverly tangled plot conceit that keeps it ticking right along. About Time centers on hapless young Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, who is utterly adorable in every frame of the film), a sweet guy who has never been very lucky in love. Tim’s been lucky elsewhere, however, as he had an exceedingly idyllic childhood in the arms of his “sturdy” mother Mary (Lindsay Duncan), deeply bookish dad (Nighy), heartbreakingly sweet Uncle Desmond (Richard Cordery), and whimsical sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson) and he’s soon to embark on an exciting (well, somewhat) legal career in London. Before all that, however, he’s got some time to kill at his family home, and it’s only after one of his family’s rip-roaring New Year’s Eve parties that dear old dad shares an […]

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curtis

Love Actually is one of the most beloved romantic comedies of all the time. That film is only ten years old, but it’s already fair to claim the film is a classic. Initially the web of down-to-earth love stories didn’t receive uniformly stellar reviews or massive box office numbers, but what kind of madman doesn’t watch it when it’s on cable or come Christmas time? That wasn’t a shabby way to kickoff the directorial chapter to an already successful career. By 2003, Curtis had written Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Notting Hill, so he was no romantic comedy rookie when he hit it big behind the camera. Since then, he’s directed two films with The Boat That Rocked and his latest, About Time. The time travel dramedy is about life, love, sorrow, children, and (unsurprising if you follow Curtis’ work) most everyday facets of life. The movie feels like a swan song for Richard Curtis, who is retiring from filmmaking. Speaking with Curtis at the press day for About Time, the writer/director discussed his reasons for retirement. Here’s what he had to say:

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Deep in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, a transport vessel stocked with cryogenically preserved humans suffers a minor malfunction: Keanu Reeves is unfrozen ninety years too early. Now, we’re all familiar with the urban legend that Reeves is actually an immortal being from a time long ago (and if not, please educate yourself at Keanuisimmortal.com), but the upcoming Passengers is science fiction, and thus allows for a fictional Reeves that will die of natural causes within nine decades or so. So what’s a space-Keanu Reeves to do? Well, according to Deadline, he’ll be defrosting Rachel McAdams for a strange new kind of science fiction-y love story. Passengers has the potential to be truly fascinating: the screenplay was written by Jon Spaihts, who wrote the original, Damon Lindelof-free draft of Prometheus, and will be helmed by Brian Kirk, who’s cut his teeth on a long list of TV shows including Game of Thrones, Luther and Boardwalk Empire. And while McAdams may have an endless stream of tattered romantic comedies in her wake, her roles in Midnight in Paris and To the Wonder should be proof enough that she can handle something a little headier. Now, the only thing left to question is whether Reeves can emote well enough to simulate love.

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Taxi Driver

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passion

The past few years haven’t been Brian De Palma‘s finest time as a filmmaker. Neither Redacted nor The Black Dahlia left a mark with audiences, critics, or most of his fans. De Palma explored new territories and some old ones too with varying results. He does the same for Passion, which has been billed as a “erotic thriller”. Like the masterful Femme Fatale, De Palma plays with an audience as much as his characters do with each other. While the two female leads play their games De Palma is calculating just as sinister of a move of his own. Or maybe some will see that narrative trick coming from a mile away. It’s all there in the highly-stylized aesthetic, never exactly hiding its impending reveal. A viewer will either find it on-the-nose or comforting. With De Palma’s tongue slowly cutting through his cheek though the result should be the latter. A part of how his reveal plays depends on one’s attitude towards the first half of the film. The set up is this: Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) is an up and comer in the cutthroat world of marketing. She’s impressionable and naive, at least when it comes to her ice queen of a boss, Christine Standford (Rachel McAdams). At first their relationship resembles a friendly but flirty mentor/student dynamic, but it turns ugly when Christine takes credit for Isabelle’s successful ad idea — a commercial that, as hilariously pointed out, got millions of hits over night. It’s Christine and Isabelle’s film, and when it comes to casting, De Palma got at […]

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mcadams

Proving its title right, Every Thing Will Be Fine just successfully managed to cast the last of its important roles—seemingly at the last minute—one week after shooting on the film began. ETWBF is the latest film from well-respected auteur Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), and it stars James Franco as an aspiring writer who, after accidentally killing a young boy by hitting him with his car, uses the tragic event to fuel his writing and subsequently becomes famous. The conflict of the film comes when, ten years after the accident, the dead boy’s brother (Robert Naylor) reaches out and tries to contact him. A period of repression and denial then commences. Charlotte Gainsbourg is set for one of the other big roles here, the role of the boys’ mother, but up until this point Wenders had yet to find an actress to play the part of the Franco character’s girlfriend. Reportedly Sarah Polley was up for it at one point, but that deal never quite came together. No big thing though, because THR is reporting that Mean Girls vet and drop dead gorgeous angel Rachel McAdams has just signed on to be their gal.

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Brian De Palma

Passion, by all means, is a Brian De Palma movie. You’re either sold on that pitch or you’re not. De Palma has never been one to satisfy everyone despite coming from a generation of filmmakers — Scorsese, Spielberg, and Lucas – who are famous for achieving the opposite effect. The polarizing nature of his work has been affecting viewers ever since he briefly attended NYU. In his own words, he’s a film school reject (even if spent two semesters at one of the most prestigious film schools on the planet). His remake of 2010’s Crime d’amour pits Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace against each other, two actresses De Palma is clearly very fond of. Getting a chance to speak with him, the writer/director couldn’t stop himself from cracking up about the playfulness between the two (when you see McAdams’s performance you’ll understand why), reveling in the sheer joy of his work with the pair.

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About Time

What if your dad said that you could travel through time? Would you believe him? Would you be hesitant? Would you have him hauled away to a mental institution? About Time shoots for the middle ground between those first two, and builds a very Groundhog Day-esque romantic comedy on the idea that time travel is in fact a real thing. Watch a new international trailer for the film below (although be advised there’s a smidgeon of salty language in there).

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passion-rapace-mcadams-stare

Passion is an erotic thriller that brings quite a bit of pedigree to the genre. First off, it’s a remake of a French film called Love Crime, and everyone knows that the French are some of the loosest people on the planet. Secondly, it was made by director Brian De Palma, who was pretty much a master of bringing slightly sleazy cinema into the mainstream from the 70s all the way through to the 90s. If you’ve heard about the film already, that’s probably because it played the festival circuit last year, and it had a trailer that teased a big lesbian kiss between Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams. Well, now the movie is ready for its North American release, so it’s come out with another trailer—one that doesn’t just tease a lesbian kiss either. Nope, this one features a couple of them in all of their pervy glory. That’s not all the sleaze that De Palma looks to be offering up either. Passion is a movie that also features blindfolds, restraints, weird masks, back stabbings, and even a little murder. Might it be tawdry enough to become the Basic Instinct of a new generation? Check out the trailer for yourself and decide.

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About Time

Do you feel it in your fingers? Do you feel it in your toes? Love, Actually writer/director Richard Curtis has a new science-fiction romantic comedy on the horizon. And so the feeling grows. In About Time, a young man (Domhnall Gleeson) is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men of their family have the ability to travel in time. Naturally, he sets upon using the incredible talent to get lucky Daft Punk-style and sets out to woo a young lady played by Rachel McAdams. There’s a touch of Groundhog Day here, what with the opportunity to call Mulligan and redo specific moments in time, and knowing Curtis’ strengths as a storyteller, it may turn out just as rich and lively. He’s never been one for the surface-level gimmick, and the trailer tilts in that direction (while adhering to the strange rule that McAdams has to run around in her underwear for at least one trailer-bound scene):

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wonder

To The Wonder has proven itself as Terrence Malick‘s most critically disliked film to date. Malick’s sprawling epic, The Tree of Life, was met with scoffs, but Wonder has been met with snickers and laughs. The hype and conversations spurred by The Tree of Life were exciting, which hasn’t been the case for Malick’s newest movie, and it’s easy to see why. For both good and bad, his sixth film symbolizes everything we expect from the filmmaker. The good, at least for non-Malick fans, is that To The Wonder is a simple, mostly linear story. The two leads, Neil (Ben Affleck) and Marina (Olga Kurylenko), are madly in love. Neil, from Oklahoma, strikes up a passionate relationship with Marina while traveling Europe with the graceful Ukrainian woman. Of course Neil can’t live overseas with her forever, so he decides to bring Marina and her 10-year-old daughter back to Oklahoma with him. For a while, it goes smoothly. Then it doesn’t. Then it does. And it continues on like that for sometime.

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To the Wonder

Being abstruse is usually Terrence Malick‘s bag, so it’s somewhat refreshing that the first poster for his upcoming To the Wonder is surprisingly straightforward. The dreamy and vintage-feeling one-sheet features stars Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko standing in front of (well, sort of, there’s clearly some hefty Photoshopping going on here) France’s Mont Saint-Michel, an island with the nickname “The Wonder of the Western World” or, “Rocky Little Island That Inspired The Name of a Malick Movie.” What could possibly go wrong for a pair of lovers at such a lovely location? To the Wonder will open in limited release on April 12th. [EW]

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To The Wonder

The theme of the first trailer for Terrence Malick‘s To the Wonder might be the inevitability and unpredictability of love. This sweeping emotion that takes hold of us even when we’re not looking for it, even as we fight against it. Back at Toronto, Andrew said the film — which stars Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams — was a more focused movie from the auteur, which should give some skeptics a bit of hope even as the faithful are won over wholly by this first look. Check it out for yourself:

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Brian De Palma’s Passion, as alluded to in this review, teeters on a level of badness that, in turn, becomes camp. This female-vs.-female rivalry film with strong Sapphic overtones and a constant back and forth of ludicrous backstabbing can’t help but draw comparisons to Paul Verhoeven’s “epic,” Showgirls. Without revealing too many spoilers, below is a list of categories with which to pit the two films against each other in a brutal cat fight. Will the newcomer reach the near-impossible Razzie-winning, midnight screening heights of the Paul Verhoeven disaster? Let’s find out with these seven totally scientific, head-to-head category comparisons!

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Good camp films know what they are doing. They manipulate the audience into feeling exaggerated sorts of emotion and possess a sort of bravura that makes them unabashedly watchable. Based on Alain Corneau’s 2010 film Love Crime, Brian De Palma’s new offering, Passion, is definitely campy, but oftentimes it borders on just plain stupid. It is aimlessly over-the-top with eye-rolling twists and turns – for nearly the last quarter of the film, De Palma wastes the audience’s time with fake out after fake out (just kidding, guys – she was dreaming… TIMES FIVE!). The director lacks the artfulness in filmmaking that he once possessed in classics like Dressed to Kill. Christine (Rachel McAdams, scenery-chewing rather excellently) is a young, high-powered ad executive working in Berlin. She wants to work in New York City again but needs the right account to bring her enough success to propel that next move. Her answer, or so she thinks, comes in the form of Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) – a “genius” creator of ad campaigns who she calls upon to come up with a marketing concept for a new smartphone.

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Beautiful women, classical composition, a dreamlike quality, and classy locations…that’s how you can describe much of the work of Brian De Palma. And those are certainly some of the descriptions his latest film, Passion, have been receiving ever since its Venice premiere; in usual De Palma fashion, the reaction to his remake has been split. To the director himself, that may not be such a bad thing. Whether you come out loving or hating Passion, at least you’ll still know it’s a De Palma picture. The director was kind enough to make time to speak with us before Passion‘s New York Film Festival premiere, in which we discussed his style, dealing with ranting and raving, and why beautiful women need film:

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If you’ve watched a movie about love, marriage, the environment and religion all wrapped up together with only enough dialogue to fill a few minutes of a Tarantino screenplay, it was probably a Terrence Malick film. His latest, To The Wonder, uses the same voyeuristic style that the director has been working on from Days of Heaven and refuses to discard. The film uses emotion and voice over as a narrative compass which pushes the film forward in a way that almost feels documentary-like. We’re cutting into this couple’s life at distinct points to find out how they truly feel about one another and how that progresses. It’s easy to casually view Malick’s latest efforts and label it with a word like “pretentious.” The film is very demanding and requires great attention as well as an ability to consider rounded viewpoints on the topics at hand. This is where Malick’s style comes to an advantage. The film makes the core themes become points of discussion as opposed to cannons bursting with the filmmaker’s own position.

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A Man Most Wanted

Back in February it was reported that there was a new adaptation of a John le Carré novel being developed, and that it was looking to put Philip Seymour Hoffman in a leading role. It all sounded very exciting, but Hoffman’s involvement wasn’t official. Well, some time has passed since then, details on the project are starting to solidify, and the crew has even started to put together a cast of familiar faces to join Hoffman in supporting roles. But first, let’s recap exactly what this project is. A Most Wanted Man is a story about a half-Russian, half-Czech immigrant who comes to Germany—scarred and starved—looking for his father’s lost fortune. His past is mysterious, his motives are suspect, and eventually his pursuits get the attentions of a British banker and a young female lawyer, who both try to help them in their own way, and who end up forming a strange love triangle in the process. There’s no time for romance, however, as the man’s arrival also gets the attention of a group of spies from three different nations, and soon all of the players converge in ways that are likely steeped in intrigue and double crossings.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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