Ray Winstone

lopez

What is Casting Couch? It’s a safe place where you can read all the casting news you want without being afraid that anyone is going to judge you. Today we are happy to inform you that Hollywood has given new jobs to TV funnymen Donald Faison and Ryan Hansen. From judging reality shows on TV to recently co-starring with Jason Statham in Parker, it seems like Jennifer Lopez is slowly dipping her toes back into the world of celebrity. Probably it’s only a matter of time before we even have to start listening to “J-Lo” music on the radio again. Before you shudder at that notion though, let’s just focus on the movie world. THR is reporting that she’s just taken another role, this one in the dramatic retelling of the Chilean mining collapse of 2010, The 33. We already know that Antonio Banderas is starring in this one, and as an addendum to the news of Lopez’s casting also comes word that Martin Sheen and Rodrigo Santoro are on board as well. That’s only 29 to go.

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The Sweeney

According to the press releases we’ve received about eOne Films’ upcoming crime thriller The Sweeney, we can tell you that it very well could be “a stylish, exhilarating action thriller proving sometimes you have to act like a criminal to catch a criminal.” Then again, that might be a little bit of marketing hyperbole. But we’re rooting for it, as it’s the kind of movie that sees the likes of Ray Winstone playing a tough, legendary detective and Damian Lewis playing his no-nonsense boss. It also stars Captain America dame Hayley Atwell, which is another mark in the plus column. Full of thick accents, car chases and what we can only expect to be a lot of turse language from the director of Outlaw and The Business, this one has us looking over iTunes to make sure it’s available for rent. And it is, as The Sweeney hits VOD platforms today, March 1. To celebrate, here’s an exclusive clip of Ray Winstone being Ray Winstone, along with some other shenanigans.

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review sweeney

The Sweeney is a celebration of shoddy police work. Not that it’s different from many other cop movies in that respect. If you think about it, the amount of collateral damage that piles up in the genre should get most of the silver screen’s badge-carrying heroes fired. Cars fly into buildings, public spaces get blown to bits, and innocent civilians get drawn into the fray. Usually we don’t even think about it. The Sweeney, to its credit, is often about its own indulgent and bombastic style. The cops in question are London’s Flying Squad, known as ‘The Sweeney’ by way of some Cockney rhyming slang (Flying Squad sounds like Sweeney Todd). They are lovingly adapted by writer/director Nick Love from the classic British television show of the same name, which ran from 1975 to 1979. Ray Winstone takes on the role of the head of the squad, hot-heated Jack Regan. His second in command is George Carter (Ben Drew), an up-and-coming young detective whose ambition is only matched by his loyalty to Regan. The Sweeney’s job, ostensibly, is to prevent armed robberies. They accomplish this by interrupting crimes in progress, always out of uniform, and usually brandishing baseball bats.

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Ashes Movie

In Ashes from director Mat Whitecross, Ray Winstone plays a curiously blond-headed man with Alzheimers who used to be rough but now finds himself walled in by a nursing home. Jim Sturgess‘ character hunts him down after months of searching and takes him on a dangerous road trip fueled by a failing mind and some unclear intentions. The film noir certainly had a lot going for it. From financial backing from Coldplay to a stellar cast, the potential was there, and what few reviews are out there aren’t unkind, but the film itself has been relegated to direct-to-dvd status. At least it won’t end up in a bin at HMV, right? Check out the trailer for yourself:

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While it’s seeming more and more possible that Darren Aronofsky won’t make the wish of flood enthusiasts everywhere come true by casting someone to play a giant wave or two (or three, or four…) in his Noah, he’s making up for that hideous oversight with a stellar cast that so far includes Russell Crowe, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, and (probably) Jennifer Connolly – a litany of talents that he’s just rounded out with no less than Sir Anthony Hopkins. Aronofsky himself announced the news this morning via his Twitter, in a tweet that reads: “i’m honored to be working with the great sir anthony hopkins. we just added him to the stellar cast of ‪#Noah‬. ‪#methuselahlives‬” Methuselah lives! Hurray! Wait, who is Methuselah again?

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With casting news for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah slowly trickling out like a leaky faucet, we’ve long joked about the continued rumors that Russell Crowe’s Noah was going to be getting a nemesis that wasn’t just the giant, world-destroying flood that history has taught us is his main nemesis. Proving that a flood of Biblical proportions just isn’t enough to even possibly sink Crowe, Deadline Aspen reports that Ray Winstone has been offered the role of Noah’s human villain. Little is known about the part beyond the basic description that he will somehow come up against Crowe, and that Aronofsky was gunning for actors who possess “grit and size” for the role. He was also reportedly looking at Val Kilmer, which might signal that the filmmaker was also looking for that indefinable batshit lunacy that Kilmer can pull off so well. Winstone does certainly have grit and size on his side, coupled with raw talent and what some people like to refer to as gravitas. He was last seen in Snow White and the Huntsman, but for pure Winstone-ness, look no further than something like the gloriously unhinged 44 Inch Chest (or The Departed, The Proposition, or Edge of Darkness – the dude is a badass everywhere).

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The Proposition

You see, Ray Winstone plays Captain Stanley – and delivers an amazing monologue – in The Proposition, but he’s also one of the dwarfs in this Friday’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Yes, that is a stretch, and it’s not the real reason we decided to cover The Proposition in this week’s Commentary Commentary. It’s the John Hillcoat connection. It’s the fact that the director’s latest, Lawless, played Cannes last week and guess who saw it. We can all torch Simon out of jealousy later. There’s a commentary to get to first. The Proposition, a Western set against the Australian backdrop and a very realistic depiction of life at that time, was Hillcoat’s first feature film collaboration with Nick Cave, singer, songwriter, screenwriter, rustic harbinger of death. Friends call him Nicky. The film is every bit as somber and depressing as you would expect from the head of the Bad Seeds. The Proposition is so melancholic, you half expect Lars Von Trier to throw a planet in its general direction. You also can’t wait to see what went on with the making of this movie. And that’s where we come in. So sit back, crack open a Foster’s – which no decent Australian would be caught dead drinking. – and have a gander at all the wonderfully tenebrous and fly-ridden items we learned from listening to Hillcoat and Cave talk about The Proposition.

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Snow White and the Huntsman Banner Preview

Has a titular character for a tentpole film ever been muted in their own previews? That seems to be the case for Universal Pictures’ flashy-looking Snow White and the Huntsman, which so far seems hellbent on not letting its lead, played by Kristen Stewart, utter a single word in the previews. It’s probably wise to let Charlize Theron do all the talking, but how do you not give Snow White at least one line? Even Chris Hemsworth gets to open his mouth and yell in slow motion once again, Thor-style. Stewart is only given the exciting task of gazing off and acting lost. This is only a 60 second preview and I’m sure we’ll see Stewart say something before the film comes out, but after two previews with zero dialogue, it’s starting to get a bit comical. Check it out after the break.

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It’s hard to overstate just how amazing it is to consider a big-budget, major studio-produced 3D family adventure centered on Georges Méliès. Before now, the work of the early cinematic innovator, whose movies (most famously 1903’s A Trip to the Moon) revolutionized and advanced special effects, has been relegated to film history texts and brief snippets of televised specials. If there’s one filmmaker to make Méliès matter again, to introduce him to a mass audience, it’s Martin Scorsese. After all, the Oscar-winning legend is not just one of the foremost cinematic masters, as a noted film preservationist, he’s among the chief protectors of the long, glorious and frequently threatened legacy of the motion picture. In Hugo, Scorsese transforms the trappings of a 3D holiday picture into a loving tribute to Méliès and the earliest masters of the cinematic dream factory. From the structure of its narrative, to the details of its plot, and the industrialized nature of its majestic visuals, this is a film infused with the joy and wonder of movies. Set amid the glittering magic of Paris in the early 1930s, the film follows 12-year-old orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who secretly lives in a train station. Hugo, who winds the station’s clocks, dwells inside a labyrinthine interior comprised of enormous grinding gears, rising steam currents, and other elaborate metallic concoctions. Among the latter is a non-functioning automaton brought home by Hugo’s late father (Jude Law), which the young man works on incessantly in the hope that he can bring […]

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Writer, now director, William Monahan crafts a unique brand of hard-boiled men. The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter never follows a guy who’s gonna throw-down and flex at any chance he gets. His protagonists are flawed, paradoxical, and in London Boulevard, even kind of feminine. Monahan’s adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel features a sensitive lead with no interest in being a gangster, an antagonist who’s more interested in kissing the Farrell character than killing him, and every other so-called mobster in this film could not be more incompetent. Unlike The Departed, Monahan has written an anti-gangster picture. Here’s what writer-director William Monahan had to say about vulnerable men, the current state of exposition, and why the last shot of The Departed still works, even if you didn’t get it:

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Almost a year ago we got our first glimpse of William Monahan‘s (the writer behind The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven) directorial debut, London Boulevard, but it’s unfortunately taken a while for it to open in the states. Originally the film was going to be released by FilmDistrict, then not too long ago IFC took over distribution. While the British gangster pic wasn’t greeted with the best response, I happen to like Monahan’s debut a whole lot. This trailer, which is fairly similar to the U.K. one, is well representative. It sells the slickness and cool factor just right, where the film works best. The film isn’t as grand or as epic as The Departed, but it’s a smooth and clever directorial about a gangster trying not to be a gangster. And, yes, Ray Winstone is as fun as he looks in this trailer.

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William Monahan‘s directorial debut, London Boulevard, has been sitting on the shelf for some time now. The gangster pic got released in the U.K. last November, but we have seen no official press materials stateside. FilmDistrict was originally going to distribute the film for us American folk, but that no longer seems to be the case. IFC Films has swung in and picked up the U.S. distribution rights. With the talent involved, it could very well be their first investment to earn more than ten dollars. Considering they are a company that takes admirable chances, good for them. They will be giving Monahan’s film their usual indie treatment. First, it’ll premiere on VOD (October 5th), then later on hit limited release (November 14th). One would think a movie starring Colin Farrell would get a wider release than this, but the strategy makes sense. London Boulevard is not the most commercial film, and it’s far from a critical darling. The movie was ripped to shreds by critics in the U.K., and it’ll probably be received the same way here.

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It’s fascinating that the director of Taxi Driver is the man who put this together. Martin Scorsese once again shows his versatility by tackling Hugo, an adaptation of the popular children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Interestingly, it look like he’s channeling Chris Columbus here with a healthy dose of Lemony Snicket. Yes, it looks fun and silly, but this trailer makes it look a bit too childish (and features far, far too much of Sacha Baron Cohen falling down and smashing into things Kevin James-style).

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Without a synopsis beyond being called a contemporary noir movie, Ashes nonetheless earns some respect for the cast it just hired. Ray Winstone and Leslie Manville are veterans, and Jim Sturgess is a rising actor who has the talent to back up his growing fame. According the The Hollywood Reporter, those actors will be joined by Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block) and the consistently strong Luke Evans (Robin Hood, Clash of the Titans) for the project written by Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll team Mat Whitecross (who will direct) and Paul Viragh. Any noir news is good news, and this cast is something to look forward to. Oddly enough, the film is being financed partially by the band Coldplay which creates the interesting possibility of the pop band also scoring a dark drama. That’s speculation, but it would either be a fascinating success or an unmitigated disaster, and that’s the kind of scenario to get out of bed for in the morning. Production starts next week.

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Rango is the first animated genre movie I’ve seen that, with no exaggeration, works as well as its live-action counterparts possibly could. Gore Verbinski’s latest is a damn fine western, an entertaining throwback to classic B-pictures that pays clever tribute to its predecessors. Sure, it’s populated by walking/talking lizards, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters. So what? A lizard suffering from some serious existential torment, Rango (Johnny Depp) knows not who he is or of the world beyond the tank he’s called home and the pseudo-tropical knickknacks he’s made his friends. That changes forever when a karmic car accident finds the good-humored, tropical shirt-baring reptile abandoned in the Mojave Desert, his domicile destroyed forever. Making his way through the treacherous terrain, our hero dodges an enormous falcon, befriends roadkill named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) and is eventually escorted by fiery fellow lizard Beans (Isla Fisher) to the long-forgotten, crumbling town of Dirt.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Edge of Darkness and When in Rome can make the grade.

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I loved Edge of Darkness precisely because it was more than I expected.

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gibson-darkness

In Boston, the only city in America with corruption and crime, a policeman’s daughter is shot right in front of him, so he tracks down answers and sets to ass-kicking.

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Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman won’t be involved in Steven Soderbergh’s Cleopatra musical. In other news, Steven Soderbergh is conceiving a Cleopatra musical.

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Gela Bubliani has brought two bad asses on board for the remake of his 2005 thriller 13 Tzameti. Will they be able to make us forget that 50 Cent is also in it?

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


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