Ralph Fiennes

No, no, it’s not a remake of that Chevy Chase movie with a new female star, and it’s not a reimagining of Ralph Ellison’s seminal novel, but Felicity Jones has snapped up an intriguing role in Ralph Fiennes‘ The Invisible Woman. Baz Bamigboye and The Playlist are reporting that Jones has just signed on for the role of Nelly Ternan in the film, mistress of Charles Dickens, which Fiennes will next direct on the heels of his most recent project, Coriolanus. The film is an adaptation of Claire Tomalin‘s non-fiction book of the same name, with a script by tremendously talented Shame and The Iron Lady screenwriter Abi Morgan. The book centers on the real life romance of young Nelly (who was just eighteen when she took up with Dickens) and the writer (who was forty-five and married). Escandalo! Jones reportedly beat out the latest version of the in-consideration shortlist of up-and-coming young actresses, including Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish (who continues to appear on these types of lists, and has yet to land a plum role besides the already critically-maligned W.E., which is a damn shame), and Imogen Poots. While Fiennes was once looking to take on the Dickens role, he has since decided to cast someone else, so that should be the next bit of casting information to hit the ‘net.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr walks around his apartment naked, rents out hookers of various shapes and sizes then tries to pick up married women on a subway. He figures if it’s good enough for Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Shame, then it’s good enough for anyone. Of course, this leads Kevin to spending most of the rest of the day weeping in his birthday suit. Shaking off the humiliation, he decides to take in some culture and give Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus a gander, being one of them Shakespeare pictures and all. Unfortunately, he never stops giggling about the name of the movie long enough to decipher all of the fancy Elizabethan language, and Kevin ends up weeping again, curled up naked in his shower.

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As it turns out, I’ve been slightly remiss when it comes to praising this year’s 25th edition of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. I’ve tossed off comments about how the festival gets better with every passing year, but in the wake of today’s announcement of the festival’s Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings, I’ve realized that I have not gone far enough. AFI FEST has not just gotten better this year, the festival has made a dramatic jump to top-tier status, rolling out titles that play like a cinephile’s Christmas list for 2011. Today’s lineup announcement is essentially a “best-of” list of this year’s festival favorites, including Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Artist, Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Oren Moverman‘s Rampart, Lynne Ramsay‘s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage, Simon Curtis‘s My Week with Marilyn, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala, and Wim Wenders‘s Pina. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list, including descriptions and showtimes, of the films to be featured as AFI FEST Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings.

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Amidst the many things from stage to screen keeping him busy, Ralph Fiennes will be cuddling up to Charles Dickens for two film projects. According to The Daily Mail, he’ll be taking a second shot at directing with The Invisible Woman – a film telling the story of the author’s affair with an 18-year-old girl (when he was at the ripe young age of 45). He’s been meeting with actresses like Imogen Poots, Abbie Cornish and Felicity Jones, but the entire project is still in its earliest phases. There’s always the possibility that he’ll act while directing (like he did with Coriolanus), but at this stage it’s unlikely that he’ll star as Dickens. While he’s aiming to shoot that next Spring or Summer, he’ll be facing Dickens first this Fall as he plays Abel Magwitch in Mike Newell’s adaptation of Great Expectations. More Fiennes is never a bad thing, and if he can deliver on the directing front with the same power he did in his first outing, he may start hearing his name up for awards for work behind the camera as well as in front of it. In the short term, though, it looks like he’ll be responsible for a new resurgence in Dickensian work. Apparently Voldemort is extremely well-read.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dances with joy because it’s the only time you can dress up in flowing robes and head to the cineplex to see a movie based on an alleged children’s book and not get arrested. After cinching his wizarding cloak around his waist with his Gryffindor scarf, he sails off to check out Winnie the Pooh. Then, from the dysfunctional head cases in the Hundred Acre Wood, Kevin sneaks into the screening room next door to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II only to discover he doesn’t have his 3D glasses. Curses!

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There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story. Talk to the right writer, and he or she will most likely tell you that typing the last bit of punctuation can be the hardest ink to stamp into the page because even though that’s the goal, it also means saying goodbye to characters you’ve fallen in love with. Characters you’ve fought for and alongside of. Characters that have reflected the best parts of you, shown you your weaknesses and made you all the better for it. We may use stories as escapism, but we have to return to the real world eventually. There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story because a final chapter has to encapsulate everything that’s played out in the much larger space that’s come before it. It has to confront the audience and its characters with choices they’ve been avoiding, trials that have been kept at arm’s length, and the lessons of all of the smaller tasks has to be used sufficiently against the most dire of consequences in order to be satisfying. It’s been a long journey, but in all of those undertakings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 succeeds with incredible resolve.

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If you were a fan of Clash of the Titans, then you saw it in 2D. Well played. This next go ’round, it looks like monster heads will be ripped off and people will accidentally make love with cows that are Gods in disguise after a healthy amount of post-production time to focus on making the CGI better. Wrath of the Titans will start filming in the Spring of 2011 for a March 2012 release, and it’s confirmed that Jonathan Liebesman will shoot in native 3D since there’s almost no reason not to do so. It seems like a no-brainer. Which is also the fighting move Perseus did to Medusa. Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are all back in the mix. All in all, those are the ingredients for at least a passable sequel. Fingers crossed. [Coming Soon]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on a wizard’s robe, wears a colorful scarf and dances around in the woods with his magic wand yelling, “Stupify!” And that’s just to celebrate the release of Fair Game in his home town. He also takes a look at this little independent film that few people have even heard of, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. Sadly, a bizarre mishap with his wizarding skills causes a boulder to fall on his hand and pin him for 93 minutes, which was actually quite fortunate because it gave him just enough time to watch 127 Hours.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dives into Spring Break at Lake Victoria, or at least that’s how it felt in 3D. He examined how similar Piranha 3D is to Eat Pray Love because piranhas eat their prey and all the bare boobies can inspire such self love. Then Kevin is chided by an ugly Emma Thompson for misbehaving, and suddenly she becomes a hottie. Finally, Kevin tries to determine whether vampires suck or if it’s just Vampires Suck that sucks.

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For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by presenting a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today. Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t buy us a one-way ticket to Bruges, Belgium. Part 6 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Remorse” with In Bruges.

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Over the weekend, I sat down for the 10-hour marathon that is Band of Brothers for an upcoming edition of For Science. And while I’m not here to write about that just yet, I will say that I was once again driven to madness by the superb acting of Damian Lewis.

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Coriolanus

I knew Ralph Fiennes was directing a modern dress version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”, but didn’t expect to see Fiennes decked out ready for full on modern warfare. Shooting has begun in Serbia and has the look of a war movie.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr damns the gods with reviews of Clash of the Titans, The Last Song and Why Did I Get Married Too?

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Warner Bros. has released a brand new behind the scenes featurette this week for their upcoming mythology remash Clash of the Titans, from director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk). This new featurette gives us a pretty solid look at some of the characters, most of whom you should already know.

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Hollywood should grow a pair and do a startlingly different take on Superman. Instead of the same old origin story, dare to create something new and phenomenal.

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matthewgoode

Rejoice! Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais are working on a new project, and now they’ve got Ozymandias himself on board.

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neesonfiennesclashofthetitans

I see what you did there…taking a movie that shouldn’t be remade and casting some awesome actors in it. Now I’m conflicted.

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FSR

FSR’s resident chubby film critic Kevin Carr runs down the reviews on Bride Wars, Not Easily Broken, Gran Torino and The Reader.

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The Potterites can still get a Potter fix in the new photo out of Frank Dillane as the teenage Tom Riddle who will go on to become the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Better yet ABC TV will have a first looks at the film from December 5-7 during their Harry Potter weekend.

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