Rachel Weisz

Darren Aronofsky THE FOUNTAIN

The Fountain and Noah are, in some ways, companion pieces. Director Darren Aronofsky‘s 2006 sci-fi mini epic is a movie about facing death. Its character must accept the singular rule of the universe: everyone dies. Noah focuses on the one man who has to allow almost everyone to perish, but like The Fountain, it still deals with a man accepting his destiny, no mattew how dire it may seem. Some claim Aronofsky’s latest will divide audiences and critics, but it likely won’t match the polarized response The Fountain received, a movie that was downright hated by some. To this day that remains a shame because it’s Aronofsky’s most emotional, complex, and rewarding film. The main problem with Aronofsky’s films in general is that, no matter how good they may be, they’re pretty surface-level dramas. Black Swan, as fun as it is, spells out its themes again and again, never leaving room for much interpretation. The Fountain does that too, but what it says sticks with you in a way his other films don’t. With Aronofsky’s other efforts you get the same film you saw on first viewing, but that’s not the case with The Fountain.  Aronfosky’s commentary for the film validates this belief. He doesn’t breakdown what it all means, but instead chooses to focus on the making-of and the kind of details that make his film grow richer on repeat viewings.

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dogtooth

Yorgos Lanthimos is one of those filmmakers whose reputation proceeds any new movie he makes, but when you first gain worldwide attention by making something as shocking as 2009’s Dogtooth, that’s bound to be the case. It’s not just the content of Dogtooth that made it so memorable to those who watched it though, it was the way in which Lanthimos was able to introduce his viewers to a world that was intensely jarring and disorienting, all while keeping his eye on the human heart of his story and giving the audience just enough of an emotional anchor to hold on to so that the film didn’t degenerate into substanceless shock or absurdity. The same was also true, though probably to a lesser extent, with his 2011 film Alps. Now that he’s getting ready to make his first English-language film with his first cast of familiar Hollywood actors, however, it’s going to be interesting to see what, if anything, changes about his approach to storytelling. He once again wrote the script for his new film, The Lobster, with his regular collaborator, Efthymis Filippou, so one might think that there wouldn’t be too much of a stylistic shift between it and his past work, but, on the other hand, now that there’s a report that Lanthimos’ new film will be starring names as mainstream as Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, is it possible that he could be utilizing their talents to make something as weird and niche as his last few […]

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review oz great powerful

Hollywood trend #74 goes like this. Pick a classic children’s tale that hasn’t been adapted in the past few years, say Alice in Wonderland or Snow White maybe, then build a new film around it that substitutes excessive CGI for imagination and physical comedy for characterization. Oh, and be sure to improve upon the source material by throwing in a big third-act battle between armies too. Anyway. Oz the Great and Powerful is a new look at a land we are all too familiar with thanks to L. Frank Baum’s books and a little movie called The Wizard of Oz. Director Sam Raimi‘s film predates Dorothy’s classic adventure to show how the wizard actually became the wizard in the first place, but just because it takes place in a magical world doesn’t guarantee a magical experience.

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Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Poster

Sam Raimi‘s Oz: The Great and Powerful crashes down on audiences in March, and while we’ve already gotten a great look at the world they’ve built for it (while crossing our fingers that it won’t be an Alice in Wonderland clone), we haven’t been given a look at the villainous Wicked Witch of the West. It is, without a doubt and zero hyperbole, the biggest villain-based mystery of all the 2013 releases. Is she being played by Mila Kunis? By Rachel Weisz? By Benedict Cumberbatch? The production has kept it a relative secret — hiding Kunis and Weisz’s characters under new Ozian names (Theodora and Evanora respectively) and including them to varying degrees in the trailers, but the poster above looks an awful lot like Weisz in green make-up, and the stuff we’ve seen so far suggests her character just might lose it and turn to the dark side. Let’s all obsess about it until March, and in the meantime, enjoy this dramatic one sheet from Disney.

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Oz the Great and Powerful

If Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful ends up being another Alice in Wonderland-level exercise in style over substance, the parallels to its main character are going to be too obvious to dismiss. In the film, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a Kansas con-man magician who does tricks illusions and enjoys tricking illusioning people out of their coins. During a hot air balloon stunt, he’s pulled into a tornado and whisked away to the strange land of Oz where three good witches (played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) implore him to rid the world of a wicked witch. The only problem? He only talks a big game, and he might not be able to deliver any real magic. The plot in its vague form mirrors The Wizard of Oz directly, and the look of the universe tries for the CGI expansiveness of Alice, but hopefully Sam Raimi has been able to make the movie his own. With a new trailer comes new hopes and concerns. It looks like a lot of fun, but some of the dialogue (and the delivery) sounds like first draft exposition. It’s also not hard to think of Franco as a bored actor at this point, and there’s nothing here to disabuse anyone of that notion. However, the callbacks to the 1939 classic are spot-on and exciting. Maybe this could be a real epic after all.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s not an actual couch, you guys. Seriously, stop it. Kristen Wiig may have walked away from her regular gig on Saturday Night Live to focus on her film career, but she would be insane to walk away from the chemistry she has with her former SNL cast mate Bill Hader; getting those two together is always a comedy goldmine. And though they’ve appeared together as a big screen duo before, they’ve never really gotten the chance to anchor a film together as the stars. That all changes now! Variety is reporting that the twosome have signed up for an indie comedy called Skeleton Twins, where they will play two estranged twins who reunite after both have near death experiences on the same day. Luke Wilson is also set to appear as Wiig’s husband, a character who is described as being a “nature frat boy,” whatever that means. Regardless, the results are bound to be hilarious.

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Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

Closure is a funny thing. Many great stories feature the quest for closure. It’s something that, as humans, we are often looking for with great intensity. Where have we come, how did it end and what did it all mean? For the Bourne franchise, based on the books by Robert Ludlum and launching Matt Damon as a righteous American answer to James Bond, closure is something that came along in 2007 with The Bourne Ultimatum. A franchise that came on with a flurry of excitement and pulse-pounding action was brought to a rest with the dizzying style of director Paul Greengrass. And it was good. It was over. Until Universal and Tony Gilroy, who served as writer on the second and third Bourne films, decided that it was time to give this story one more chapter. The only problem with The Bourne Legacy is that even though they brought down the paddles of the defibrillator and shocked this franchise back to life with great electricity, they missed the part of every movie that is important, be it the first part of a trilogy or a stand-alone effort: they missed the closure.

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From the aesthetic to its own protagonist, Tony Gilroy did some work to distance The Bourne Legacy from the previous, Jason Bourne-led trilogy. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) isn’t Bourne, and The Bourne Legacy isn’t a carbon copy of the voices Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass helped shaped this series with. His mythology-expanding feature focuses on one man with one simple goal – which doesn’t involve his identity, finding forgiveness, or getting revenge for his girlfriend’s death. As Tony Gilroy told us at the start of the summer, the Michael Clayton director didn’t want to “lose the balls.” With an edgy anti-hero in the lead – one who’s capable of using either a wolf or a fire extinguisher to save his own skin – Gilroy kept the balls of this series intact while also exploring new thematic corners of the Bourne universe. If Gilroy is correct, we’ll soon see more episodic and expansive mega-blockbusters told in the vein of The Bourne Legacy, and it’s a prediction the Academy Award nominee seemed excited by.

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360 Movie 2012

Director Fernando Meirelles‘s career is taking a quick and dumbfounding fall. After giving us arguably one of the greatest films of the modern era, City of God, and a satisfying follow up with The Constant Gardener, Meirelles has fallen into misery porn-level drama which would even make a fellow character executioner like Alejandro Iñárritu cringe at the ridiculous obstacles the characters in 360 are forced to stumble through. At a near-two hours, Meirelles’s ensemble piece becomes an astonishingly immersive experience, solely in the way it puts the audience in the uncomfortable and dull state a few of its characters are stuck in. Those characters include a former sex offender (Ben Foster), a bored married couple (Jude Law and Rachel Weisz), an unsatisfied gangster, a dentist in love, a prostitute (Lucia Siposova), an elderly father (Anthony Hopkins) searching for his missing daughter, and some other wasted character whose main purpose is to ridiculously put Tyler, the sex offender, in a seriously uncomfortable situation.

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Rachel Weisz is one spectacularly talented actress. She doesn’t get the award accolades of Meryl Streep, but she’s as good. She doesn’t get the hubba-hubba comments of Jessica Biel, but she’s as beautiful. And she doesn’t get the high profile, big budget blockbuster roles of Kristen Stewart, but she’s, well, she’s older. Her latest film is sumptuous period drama, The Deep Blue Sea, that finds her playing a young wife trapped in an unexciting marriage to an esteemed judge. A chance meeting with a RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston) leads to a tumultuous affair that may very well be the end of her. Music Box Films released the film on Blu-ray/DVD earlier this week, and in addition to the highly acclaimed film itself the disc includes commentary from director Terence Davies, two special ‘making-of’ features and interviews with Weisz and Hiddleston. Keep reading to see how you can win a copy of The Deep Blue Sea on Blu-ray.

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It’s been three years since a Sam Raimi film graced theaters and five since he’s had a box office hit (sorry, Drag Me to Hell), but he returns to the big screen next year with something substantially different than his usual fare. In fact, if the lead were Johnny Depp instead of James Franco you might be forgiven for thinking this was a Tim Burton joint. Oz the Great and Powerful is an upcoming Disney film that posits the origin of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz (the man, not the story). Oscar Diggs (Franco) begins as a mediocre magician in the dustbowl of a black and white Kansas before boarding a hot-air balloon for an ill-fated ride into a tornado. The journey lands him in Oz where he comes face to face with creatures, people, three witches and technicolor. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams play the three witches, and that’s really all the reason one needs to want to see the movie… Check out the trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful below.

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Right around the time that the 67th poster of two stars leaning back to back hits theater lobbies is when the pessimism about modern one sheet design starts to creep in. Fortunately, there’s always a handful of excellent posters dotting the year to keep hope alive. Thank you, Oz the Great and Powerful poster, for keeping hope alive:

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Sure, Fernando Meirelles disappointed everyone with 2008’s Blindness, but that disappointment stemmed from the fact that he had already directed films as good as City of God and The Constant Gardener; expectations were through the roof. Now that we’ve all been knocked back down to Earth, maybe we can take a more balanced, cautious approach to his latest film, 360, which has just released a trailer. What does he have in store for us this time? The first thing that jumps out at you when you watch this trailer is the realization of how good the cast is. It’s kind of hard not to get excited for a film that’s headlined by names like Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster, and Anthony Hopkins. The other thing that’s instantly striking is that Meirelles still seems to be on point as far as the visuals of his films are concerned. Despite the fact that 360 seems to just be a tale about people’s relationships, with a little bit of menace and deceit thrown in, you would think that it was some sort of epic, globe-hopping thriller if you watched it without audio. Not only are there gorgeous locations on display, but everything is shot with Meirelles now trademark blend of classically beautiful photography and cutting edge, stylish experimentation.

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The announcement that the Bourne franchise would continue without Matt Damon was met with skepticism by many, including myself, for several reasons. The most relevant? Matt Damon played Jason Bourne. How could the franchise continue without him and his character but still call itself a Bourne film? Would another actor step into his shoes a la James Bond, or would it simply be another case of an agent with amnesia going rogue? The answer turned out to be neither, and instead, rather ingeniously, The Bourne Legacy is a parallel story that begins during the third act chaos of The Bourne Ultimatum. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a top agent who finds himself caught up in the Bourne fallout when the agency attempts to cover their tracks by terminating his co-workers. He’s forced to go on the run alongside an agency scientist (Rachel Weisz) while trying to out maneuver new a executive-level baddie played by Edward Norton. Some familiar faces from the first three films crop up along the way to flesh out the connective tissues between films, but this is really an introduction to a brand new character… and possibly a brand new trilogy of films. Check out the trailer below, and tell me your not at least a little excited to see this.

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The Bourne Legacy is not only one of the most highly-anticipated films of the summer, it’s a unique chance to revisit the blockbuster franchise with a different star at the helm. Meanwhile, co-writer/director Tony Gilroy, one of the key creative voices behind the original trilogy, is preserving the series’ lore while giving its events a broader and more epic context. As the film’s trailer observes, “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg,” and Gilroy’s insights about the direction he took the franchise in, for the first time as both writer and director, suggest that this expansive view of the world of Bourne was part of his plan all along. But as if embodying the director’s perspective, Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross isn’t an unknown entering a larger world, but an experienced agent who knows exactly who he is and what he’s meant to do. Speaking to the Academy Award nominated filmmaker recently, Gilroy talked about reviving the franchise via The Bourne Legacy, revealing how he paid tribute to longtime fans even as he looked to a broader horizon, and the organic approach he and cinematographer Robert Elswit approached the picture with.

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“There was never just one.” Well, that’s a nifty way to explain why Matt Damon isn’t in the latest installment of the Jason Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy. Damon’s out, and Jeremy Renner is in as another victim and/or participant in shady Project Treadstone. This first stylized trailer (complete with Inception-esque “brannngsss” and “brrahhhhmmms”) introduces us to Renner’s character – a bruiser from Reno who is on the run after showing some impressive stuff to all those government heavies who’ve gone through this already with Jason Bourne. Don’t you think Joan Allen‘s Pam Landy is just exhausted by now? Join the program and check out the trailer for The Bourne Legacy after the break.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is all giddy because apparently Joseph Gordon-Levitt has decided to copy his signature hairstyle. Undeterred by folks telling him Gordon-Levitt shaved his head to play the role in 50/50, Kevin tries to lobby other Hollywood actors to copy his image. Unfortunately, What’s Your Number? star Chris Evans refuses to grow a huge belly and Dream House star Daniel Craig just won’t latch onto Kevin’s charming American accent.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly round-up of all things interesting and wonderful happening in the world of movies. At least, that’s what it was born as. Lately it’s been feeling as if it might be more of a Rachel Weisz News After Dark kind of column. A Rachel Weiszsexual, if you will. And yes, that’s the technical term. It’s a tough affliction to live with. Because their just isn’t enough Rachel Weisz in the world. Luckily Hollywood is hell-bent on changing that… Guess what this week is… Rachel Weisz week. Based on a survey of our male 18-35 demographic, which represents a solid percentage of our readership, this is somehow preferable to all of my updates about Doctor Who. I don’t see why, as Doctor Who is excellent. But I can understand your affinity for Rachel Weisz news. Anyway, she’s not only in line to take a high profile role in Oz the Great and Powerful and The Bourne Legacy. According to a report from Cinema Blend, Weisz is high on the list to star opposite Johnny Depp in Rob Marshall’s remake of The Thin Man. Even though that film sound unnecessary, we just can’t say no to more Rachel Weisz… can we?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that wishes it could recreate the world using Legos. It would begin with the cast of Community and Rachel Weisz. It would then have them play one of the most epic games of paintball ever! Sal Mineo can come, too. Rachel Weisz may be doing more than taking a trip to Oz with James Franco and Sam Raimi. Word on the street is that she may also land a leading role alongside Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. In other news, I enjoy leading off my nightly columns with pictures of Rachel Weisz.

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What is Movie News at Sunrise? Due to some site maintenance late last night, Movie News After Dark could not be completed before it was my bed time. So I’m up early to bring you its cousin, Movie News At Sunrise. This slightly less witty, marginally more tired column should serve as the perfect pinch-hitter just in time for your morning commute. Powered by a Chick-fil-a breakfast sandwich and a hope that spelling errors will be kept to a minimum at this ungodly hour, I am here to bring you the news. Director Sam Raimi has cast Rachel Weisz as an evil witch in Oz: The Great and Powerful. She will star opposite James Franco and alongside Mila Kunis. They will play Evanora and Theodora, respectively. Weisz’s Evanora, however, becomes the Wicked Witch of the East. Sadly, we all know how things work out for her. For Raimi, the remaining major character to be cast is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams, Kate Beckinsale, Keira Knightley and Rebecca Hall are said to be on the shortlist. Hall sounds like an awesome choice, to me.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
B

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