Rebecca Hall

Warner Bros.

If nothing else, Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut deserves points for trying to be big science fiction that’s utterly uninterested in robots, laser beams or future dystopian societies populated with spunky teenage girls. Instead, Transcendence wants to tackle ideas as grand as what it means to be human, the destructive (and redemptive) power of love and the ethical limits of technology. But wanting to do something and actually following through on those intentions are two very different things. Will Caster’s (Johnny Depp) research into artificial intelligence is on the cusp of a major breakthrough, but while his wife (Rebecca Hall), his best friend (Paul Bettany) and the subscribers of Wired magazine are excited by the possibilities, not everyone is as happy. The anti-technology movement acts with a decisive, multi-target attack leaving dozens of scientists and keyboard jockeys dead and Will barely clinging to life. The decision is made to “save” his life by uploading his brain to their quantum processor-powered super computer, but once there his unchecked power becomes a threat to all of mankind. Or something.

read more...

trailer transcendence

You may not recognize Wally Pfister‘s name, but you’ve most definitely seen his work. As cinematographer on all of Christopher Nolan’s films he’s been responsible for some of the most striking images to hit multiplexes and IMAX theaters over the past several years, but now he’s stepping out from behind the camera… so he can step behind it again in the role of director. His directorial debut, Transcendence, is a cautionary tale about scientists reaching for technological extremes and radical reactionaries who fear the eventual obsolescence of mankind. His film was already guaranteed to look incredible, but Pfister has gone ahead and stocked it with fantastic actors too including Rebecca Hall, Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr, and others. Check out the first trailer for Transcendence below.

read more...

ironman3-commentary1

Much like The Avengers last summer, Iron Man 3 was the undisputed box office champion of the season in 2013. Building off the good buzz from The Avengers and the events in the end of that movie, Iron Man 3 offered the new director of the series Shane Black a chance to take Tony Stark to new places. Namely, he got him out of the Iron Man suit and toyed with the notion that Tony Stark was the real hero, even without all the technology. Following up two massive movies before it, and one of the biggest box office successes in history as an ensemble piece, Iron Man 3 was still a bit of a gamble. It paid off for all the parties involved. However, when Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce recorded their commentary to the film, the film had not yet proved itself completely. They had only been open for a week overseas, with the American opening on the horizon. Sure, it was a huge success at that point outside of the U.S., but so was Battleship. Still, Black and Pearce move through the commentary with confidence that it’s a hit, and that gives them the stones to explain why they chose to change some character elements from the original source material and why there were about as many revisions to the scripts as revisions to the Iron Man suit in Tony’s basement. Iron Man 3 comes out on DVD and Blu-ray next week, so take a few […]

read more...

review closed circuit

Conspiracy theory thrillers are almost a genre unto themselves, and the best ones all share a few things in common. The everyday folk caught up in the web should be somewhat relatable, the details of the cover-up should be shocking but believable, and there should be a surprise or two along the way. Closed Circuit barely gets one of those three elements right, but unfortunately it’s the least thrilling of the bunch. A bomb goes off in downtown London killing 120 people, and the evidence leads back to one surviving suspect. He’s quickly arrested by police and identified in the press, and several months later he’s ready for trial. Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is assigned to defend him in court, while another barrister is set to represent him in a secret court where evidence not for public consumption will be discussed, argued over and kept from Rose and the client. But tragedy leads to a change up and Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall) is brought in to handle business in the covert court. Rose and Simmons-Howe had an affair once, and in addition to having wrecked his marriage it also complicates their current assignment. They lie about it but soon discover that their secret is a small fish compared to the leviathan details of the case.

read more...

bana

A few nights ago, because I’m a rather busy man, I spent three hours revisiting the 2004 Cannes Film Festival gem, Troy. That’s the Wolfgang Peterson movie where much of its buzz was based on Brad Pitt’s abs and, to my disappointment, only semi-nude scenes, not the fact that it featured Peter O’Toole, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, and other seasoned pros. Also in that cast was Eric Bana – shortly after grabbing attention with Andrew Dominik’s Chopper and Ridley Scott’s Blackhawk Down. Troy wasn’t exactly up to snuff with those two films, but, in a big ‘ol cheese ball of a movie where even O’Toole hammed it up a little too much, Bana brought a much needed gravitas to Peterson’s light popcorn epic. He was stoic and imposing as Hector, and you’ll see him as the opposite in this week’s Closed Circuit, where he plays a jaded lawyer who probably wouldn’t even know how to fire a gun if you handed him one. We spoke with Eric Bana about Closed Circuit‘s old-school vibe and the longevity a few of his films have enjoyed over the years:

read more...

Closed Circuit

If recent spy thrillers (and, ahem, Fast Six) have taught us anything, it’s that nefarious people in positions of power are always able to access government-run closed circuit videos for their own means. But what if it’s the actual government that’s collecting tape like a geeky collector at a neighborhood flea market? That’s the question (sort of, not really at all) at the heart of John Crowley‘s Closed Circuit. The film sounds like a relatively straightforward thriller (albeit one with a stellar cast that includes Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Julia Stiles, and Jim Broadbent) with some added sex appeal. Oh, and also this closed circuit thing. Bana and Hall star as lawyers (and ex-lovers) who get tasked with defending a man accused of a terrorist act that left many dead (he allegedly rigged a bus with explosives and set it off in a crowded area). It seems like a relatively thankless gig, but they soon discover that their client may in fact have been set up as a double agent by their own government, until everything went terribly wrong. Also? Again? Still something about CCTV. Who wants to place bets on how long it takes Bana and Hall to break into some video vault? Make sure your webcam is off first, and check out the first trailer for Closed Circuit after the break.

read more...

Garrett Hedlund

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that was compiled today with the help of Daft Punk musical accompaniment. You may not remember much about TRON: Legacy’s story, because other than its glowing lights and its pumping soundtrack, that 2010 sequel to Disney’s cult classic TRON was pretty dull. So, let’s refresh your memory. The movie starred Garrett Hedlund as the son of Jeff Bridges’ character from the first film. He went into the computer world, found his dad, and then there was a big battle. Remember all this? Good, because Next Movie just confirmed that Hedlund will be back for whatever TRON 3 ends up being called. Disney apparently started getting a script together for a third film just last week. This, of course, means that we’ll all now be keeping our eyes open for the real news regarding this new sequel: whether or not Daft Punk is coming back to do another soundtrack.

read more...

Editor’s note: Lay The Favorite hits limited release this Friday, though it doesn’t seem like a solid bet for your movie-going dollar. Find out why with the following Sundance review, originally published on January 23, 2012. There’s one thing that becomes quite clear, quite quickly as Stephen Frears‘s Lay The Favorite begins: not everyone should do voiceover work. Rebecca Hall (who stars as Beth Raymer) sadly falls squarely into that category and her baby voice stays with her throughout the entire film, grating on already-frayed nerves. Lay The Favorite tells Beth’s baby-voiced story as she tries to figure out her purpose in life at a job that will be stimulating and make her good money (don’t we all, Beth). The best place to pursue such a dream? Las Vegas, of course! Beth packs up her life (and dog Otis) and heads west with stars in her eyes. Ready and willing to do anything, Beth quickly makes friends with Holly (Laura Prepon) who turns her on to a job with Dink Heimowtiz (Bruce Willis) who runs a legal (at least in Vegas) gambling company (Dink Inc., of course) that bets on anything and everything, but mainly sporting events. Dink’s world is filled with exactly the type of excitement and stimulation Beth was hoping for and despite her baby talk, daddy issues (no matter what she says) and constant hair chewing, Dink takes a shine to her and agrees to bring her on.

read more...

The Awakening

It’s 1921, and Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is doing brisk business as an author and professional ghost chaser. She never actually catches any spirits though because her specialty is in disproving their existence. Using a combination of common sense, high (and low) tech gadgetry and deductive reasoning she debunks charlatans and identifies the true causes behind supposed hauntings. Post-WWI England is a country still reeling from the loss of over a million lives. The war and the cruelty of influenza have left behind millions more mourning their loved ones and ripe for exploitation at the hands of so-called mediums and psychics. Cathcart relishes the moment when she reveals them as liars and thieves even if some of the customers prefer the fakery as a form of comfort. But each unveiling of the truth also comes with a tinge of sadness for her. She doesn’t believe in the afterlife, but that doesn’t mean that some small part of her doesn’t wish it existed. When Robert Mallory (Dominic West) appears, wanting her help investigating recent ghostly sightings at a boys boarding school in the countryside, her instinct is to say no, but she eventually accepts the opportunity to expose yet another fraud. Her expectations of man-made shenanigans are quickly met. And then the real ghosts arrive.

read more...

You’d think that ghost-disproving would be a far easier career than, oh, ghost-hunting, but you’d be wrong on that account. At least that’s what The Awakening looks to teach us. Set in the early twentieth century, the film sees Rebecca Hall as a career debunker – author of the book “Seeing Through Ghosts,” Hall’s Florence Cathcart has dedicated her life and work to sticking pins into all sorts of supernatural claims. Think you’ve got a ghost running around your chateau? Call up Florence. Need a seance on the quick? Florence. So it’s only natural that teacher Robert Malloy (Dominic West) calls for Florence’s services when the all-boys school he teaches at appears to be host to the ghost of a dead student. Will Florence put the kibosh on a hoax? Will she find something beyond comprehension? Will she get it on with Malloy? Will it all play out under a grimy, creepy gray cast? I’ll leave those answers to you with the film’s latest trailer:

read more...

Any film that gives Rebecca Hall a shot at a starring role seems like it would have to be a good idea, but unfortunately Lay the Favorite didn’t get very good reviews coming out of its debut at Sundance, and our own Allison Loring bemoaned that the film “never seems to quite know what it wants to be.” Still, Lay the Favorite is set to roll out in limited releases all across the world over the next few months, and a trailer has just been released to give us all a taste of what it has to offer, so we might as well give its sales pitch a gander. Director Stephen Frears’s (High Fidelity) latest tells the tale of a chipper ex-stripper (Hall) who falls into a promising new career working for a career gambler (Bruce Willis), but runs into complications when she buts heads with her new boss’ jealous wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Oh, and also there seems to be something about a budding romance with Joshua Jackson, who is playing a bearded nice guy.

read more...

You know James Badge Dale, you just might not know that you know him. The actor has popped up in key supporting roles in films like The Departed, The Conspirator, and Shame, while also appearing in shows like 24, Rescue Me, Rubicon, and The Pacific mini-series, but it looks like Dale is about to rocket into the superhero stratosphere. Deadline Malibu reports that Dale is in talks to play a villain named Savin in Shane Black‘s upcoming Iron Man 3. While Ben Kingsley has been set as the film’s principle villain (though many are still arguing over whether or not he will be The Mandarin), it looks like the film needs another baddie to make Robert Downey Jr.‘s life harder. The outlet provides only the barest of details regarding the character, but over at /Film, Russ Fischer is guessing that he “is likely a version of Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Savin, an Army officer who debuted in Marvel comics pages in the late ’80s and was quickly transformed into a cybernetic mercenary called Coldblood-7. Think of him as something like the Marvel Comics version of RoboCop, at least from the perspective of appearance and physical makeup.” While Savin is a “relatively minor” character, Fischer also note that “he did show up in the Civil War storyline from a few years back…And the idea of an officer turned into a cybernetic killer by defense technology would fit into the rumors that Iron Man 3 features the Extremis/nanotech storyline.” Sounds like Savin just might […]

read more...

That didn’t take too long at all. Earlier this week, actress Jessica Chastain took to her Facebook page to announce that scheduling conflicts would keep her from her rumored role in Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3, leaving room for Rebecca Hall to step in for the reportedly crucial role. Variety reports (via /Film) that the actress is currently in talks for the part, which has been somewhat dismissively referred to as a “sexy female scientist,” but is actually one of the most important roles in the film. Hall’s potential role is explained as “a scientist who plays a pivotal role in the creation of a nanotechnology, know as Extremis, that winds up being sold to terrorists.” That means the role is almost assuredly that of Dr. Maya Hansen, as has been long rumored. And, in no-duh news, the film’s plot will reportedly “borrow elements from Warren Ellis’ six-issue ‘Iron Man: Extremis,’ that also heavily influenced the first Iron Man pic, and focuses on the spread of a virus through nanotechnology.” Most notably, the origin story for Iron Man that was presented in “Extremis” was the one used in the first Iron Man film, so the influence of Ellis’ story is indeed quite heavy. Also of note, in the “Extremis” series, Extremis the nanotechnology serum is – shock! – part of another military attempt to recreate that damn Super-Solider Serum. Seriously, guys, is it really that hard?

read more...

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets set for another weekend of weddings with Kristen Wiig and her posse. Sadly, he discovers that he doesn’t have a vagina and decides to move on. Next, he takes a trip to an alternate world where priests kick ass and kill vampires. Once he realizes he is woefully out of place next to sultry Maggie Q in a ninja priest outfit, he comes home to find his possessions kicked to the curb with Will Ferrell in the middle of the whole mess.

read more...

As a first-time filmmaker’s adaptation of a serious-themed source, with a comic star as its lead, the odds were stacked against Everything Must Go. Yet writer-director Dan Rush’s cinematic debut is a rare successful feature-length short story adaptation. Rather than fortifying Raymond Carver’s Why Don’t You Dance? with false dramatic notes or thin conceptual embellishments, Rush builds on its compelling premise. With a likable Will Ferrell as its lead and a suburban street setting imbued with great allegorical significance, the film offers an incisive personal spin on these tumultuous economic times. After losing his job and falling off the wagon, a depressed Nick Halsey (Ferrell) returns to his upper middle class Arizona home to find his wife has left him. Not only has she absconded from their marriage, she’s changed the locks and dumped his belongings, all of them, on the front lawn.

read more...

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is stuck in an elevator reviewing movies, but he realizes that being in there with the Devil isn’t nearly as bad when you’re also stuck in there with faux-slut Emma Stone. To pass the time, he robs a few banks in The Town of Boston with Ben Affleck and embroiders a scarlet Easy A on his chest. Sigh… if only he had worn a shirt when he did that…

read more...

One of the best films of 2007 was Gone Baby Gone, a mystery/drama set in a Boston neighborhood that focused on a detective couple tasked with finding the truth behind a little girl’s disappearance. It’s a fantastic movie in almost every way from the story to the acting, from the direction to the way it challenges the viewer to think about the costs of our convictions. Occasionally lost amongst the praise is the fact that the film is the directorial debut of Ben Affleck. Fans cheered his new found success behind the camera, detractors begrudgingly credited everyone but Affleck, and the majority of the movie-going public ignored it all together. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet go rent it now.) Three years later Affleck has returned to the director’s chair with The Town. He’s also returned to the crime-ridden streets of Boston in this tale of a group of friends who moonlight as bank robbers. It’s not the weighty and complex success Gone Baby Gone was, in fact it’s fairly generic and basic in its structure, but Affleck and friends still manage to deliver one of the most exciting and satisfying thrillers to hit screens this year.

read more...

The Town

After his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone knocked us on our collective rear-ends, Ben Affleck had us believing that we could let go of all of the things he’s done as an actor that could be labeled as less than good. Or more to the point, all of those terrible roles he’s taken. The talented guy who co-wrote Good Will Hunting was back in the world of telling well-crafted stories. It gave me hope for his next film, The Town, even before they started announcing an awesome cast that included Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm and Blake Lively, among others. But now — with this first trailer — I can’t avoid being excited about this film. I first caught the trailer in front of my Inception press screening. And 30-minutes into Christopher Nolan’s film, I couldn’t stop thinking about The Town. Now that’s a lasting impression. I like this director Ben Affleck far better than his actor doppleganger. See for yourself after the jump, where I’ve positioned both the official synopsis and the trailer.

read more...

Another day comes, and another opportunity for us to lay down some of the day’s hot news stories is upon is. But instead, we begin your Thursday with The B-Roll. Or as we like to say, “And now, for something completely different.”

read more...

blake-lively-header

Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is getting herself into some real drama. This time, it won’t be of the high society variety, it will be as part of the ensemble cast of director Ben Affleck’s The Town.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3