Robert De Niro

Kevin Kline in Last Vegas

Jon Turteltaub‘s “geriatric Hangover” buddy comedy, Last Vegas, has finally locked in its final member of its wolf pack (geriatric wolf pack?). Deadline Henderson reports that Kevin Kline will join Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Douglas in the Dan Fogelman-scripted comedy. The film centers on “old friends who decide to throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for the only one of them who has remained single.” Hilarity (and broken hips?) ensues! Previous articles on the film also refer to a love triangle element to the story, with the bachelor in question (a known playboy) falling for a lounge singer that another one of his pallies (a widower) also has his eye on. There’s no word on who will play who as of yet, but let’s just go for the obvious here – De Niro as the playboy and Freeman as the widower? That sound about right?

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – Robert De Niro is going to play a mob boss in a movie. You’re shocked, aren’t you? The star of such mob classics as The Godfather: Part II, The Untouchables, and Goodfellas is now officially signed on for another mob movie – but this one comes with a comedic twist that could suit De Niro’s recent sensibilities (the sort that have steered him to such schlock as Little Fockers). De Niro will lead the cast of Luc Besson‘s Malavita, in which he will play a “notorious” mob boss who, along with his family, is sent to France as part of the witness protection program (France? Really? My Blue Heaven, this is not). Despite their best attempts at a normal life, the family reverts to old habits (or, as the official press release on this project puts it, ” they soon find themselves handling things the ‘family’ way). You know, like killing people and stuff. De Niro will be joined by Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife, Dianna Agron as their daughter, John D’Leo as their son, and Tommy Lee Jones as the poor FBI agent tasked with keeping watch on them.

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Editor’s note: Red Lights hits limited release this Friday, so please take this re-run of our Sundance review (originally posted on January 23, 2012) as a green light to give it a read. Rodrigo Cortés returns to Sundance after 2010′s Buried with another film about confinement and restriction – but one that turns those attentions to the human mind and its limits, instead of the body and its own absolutes. In Red Lights, Cortés sets his sights on the world of paranormal investigations, but in a way wholly different than we’ve come to expect from horror flicks that mine similar territory. Red Lights centers on Drs. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Buckley (Cillian Murphy), who work to disprove paranormal activity. The pair split their time between teaching at a university (to packs of eager students) and traveling to presumed paranormal occurrences (to debunk them). Both Matheson and Buckley maintain that they’ve never seen true paranormal activity that cannot be explained in one way or another (most often due to simple lies and farce), but they’re about to be challenged by an old foe of Matheson’s who appears to break all the boundaries the pair set. Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) was once a famous blind psychic, who retired amidst whispers of behavior that led to the death of his greatest critic – and now, he’s returned.

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Red Lights is a film filled with divisive questions. After the film’s Sundance premiere, many were either wrapping their heads around the grounded supernatural thriller’s final moments or completely scoffing at it. Whether one’s reaction is good or bad towards the questions writer/director Rodrigo Cortés is posing, he still gets a reaction out of you, as shown by the film’s early reviews. For most of its running time, Cortés is not afraid of playing with audience’s expectations and perceptions of the events as they play out on screen. Unlike his previous film, Buried, most of Red Lights can’t be taken literally. The difference between ambiguity and having no answers for your film’s questions can get blurred easily, but, as Cortés told us, he wrote and crafted the film with all of his own answers in mind. Here’s what Rodrigo Cortés had to say about the story’s exploration of duality, his flawed protagonists, and how to question everything we see in Red Lights:

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We haven’t reported much on the progress of Raging Bull II, mostly because making a sequel to something as beloved as Raging Bull thirty-some years after the release of the original and without the involvement of any of the iconic names who made the first so beloved is a dumb idea unworthy of much attention; but let’s do a quick rundown of the particulars anyway. The subject of the first film, Jake LaMotta, sold the rights to the sequel of his life story to a company called RB II Productions. This has led to co-writer/director Martin Guigui putting a film together that’s going to work as part prequel and part sequel to Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film, Raging Bull. This new film, which stars William Forsythe as LaMotta, will focus on the period of the boxer’s life before Raging Bull took place, as well as on what happened to him after. It’s currently filming in Los Angeles. For now. The interesting news about this ill-advised and sure-to-be-reviled project is that the studio behind the original film, MGM, is trying to get it shut down. A report from Deadline Coventry says that the studio has filed a complaint against LaMotta and RB II Productions stating that, due to an agreement drawn up in 1976, MGM still has the rights to the boxer’s original memoirs as well as right of first refusal to any “owner-written sequel.” Seeing as LaMotta never took the idea of a sequel to MGM, and RB II Productions has […]

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It’s an understandable expectation that when one sees “new David O. Russell trailer,” they automatically ready themselves to see Mark Wahlberg’s face pop up once they hit “play.” But, oops, the Funky One was traded out as the lead of Silver Linings Playbook by Russell himself last summer in favor of someone else apparently willing to work for less pay (and less fuss) – Bradley Cooper. And while that’s the sort of casting might-have-been trivia we could all still be talking about years from now, hopefully the film’s first trailer will silence that, because it’s hard to imagine that Wahlberg could infuse the part of bonkers old Pat Solitano with as much desperation and joy as Cooper appears to do in just two minutes. Wow. Based on Matthew Quick‘s novel of the same name (sans a “the,” apparently), Cooper stars as a former teacher who attempts to reintegrate into normal life after four years in a mental institution. For Pat, “normal life” apparently means staying up till 4AM reading Hemingway, bugging his probably loopy parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro), running around with a trash bag on his body (sweat it out, Pat!), and just possibly falling in love with the equally-as-off-the-wall-nutty Jennifer Lawrence. Even better? The whole thing absolutely feels like a Russell film.

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In the grand tradition of Freddy vs. Jason and Aliens vs. Predator comes Grudge Match, which pits boxing legends Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta against each other in an epic battle to the death. Or, probably not. But Grudge Match is an upcoming boxing comedy coming from Tommy Boy and Anger Management director Peter Segal. It tells the story of two retired boxers who step into the ring one last time in order to finally settle an old score. It’s kind of like that episode of The Cosby Show where Combustible Huxtable races Tailwind Turner one final time, but with punching instead of running. The real exciting news about this project isn’t that it’s a boxing comedy about old dudes, though, it’s the names that are being looked at to play the two leads. The Wrap is reporting that Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are currently in negotiations. These two are, of course, the two stars of probably the greatest boxing movies ever made, Rocky and Raging Bull, so there’s a whole meta component to their casting that adds to the fact that watching Stallone and De Niro clown around together already sounds kind of fun in a dumb way.

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Last month it was reported that Dan Fogelman’s long-gestating script Last Vegas was finally going to be put into production. After several stops and starts, the story of four aged friends going to Vegas for one last crazy bachelor’s party was said to be going forward with Jon Turteltaub set to direct and Michael Douglas signed on to star. That was what we knew for sure – who would be signed to fill out the rest of the film’s wrinkly but still rocking quartet was up in the air. Early reports had Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken rumored as being likely candidates for two of the characters, and since that time De Niro has indeed become confirmed, but nothing further has been said about Walken’s involvement. Today Deadline Greenwood has some new info regarding the film’s casting process, and how their scouring of Tinsel Town’s old folks homes is going. Apparently veteran actor and all around suave fellow Morgan Freeman is currently in negotiations to join the cast. This can only be seen as a terrific choice, because not only is Freeman a recognizable name who can pull off anything that’s asked of him, but he’s also already got experience being in an old-guys-doing-stuff movie because of his work in The Bucket List.

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Last Vegas is one of those movies that’s been in the works for quite some time, with several years of actors almost becoming attached to it and the movie almost getting put into production already under its belt. Written by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Last Vegas tells the story of a bunch of old guys who are probably too old to be having a bachelor’s party in Las Vegas having a bachelor’s party in Las Vegas anyway. Think of it as the mash-up of The Bucket List and The Hangover that everyone’s been clamoring for. While the initial buzz from The Hangover that was palpable when this project was first being talked about has been significantly lessened over the past year or so, the success of a movie like Bridesmaids has to mean that there have been movie execs out there somewhere looking for a project that could do for old men what that movie did for women; so now a new series of deals has been made that sees Last Vegas moving full speed ahead. Yesterday THR reported that the film is scheduled to start shooting this fall under the watch of CBS Films, and in order to bring the printed word to the big screen they’ve hired director Jon Turteltaub (who made Cool Runnings and 3 Ninjas back to back!) to helm, and a returning-from-a-medical-leave-of-absence Michael Douglas to star. That’s a heaping truckload of Hollywood clout right there, but the parade of news involving Last Vegas isn’t […]

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Vincent Albert “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. has an awesome name and a fascinating history. The two-time mayor of Providence, Rhode Island was convicted of felonies twice while in office – which pushed him out twice – and his absurd career was chronicled in “Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt a Dying City, Advised a President, Dined With Sinatra, Spent Five Years in a Federally Funded Gated Community and Lived to Tell the Tale.” They may have to squeeze that title into something more slimming because a movie is in development. David O. Russell (The Fighter) wants to stick with the biopic world and live to tell this tale. According to the LA Times, he’s officially signing up with the project being produced by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. A colorful character from the northeast? Sounds like a Russell repeat with political ambitions. It also looks like a soap opera covered in marinara. Does anyone know if Burt Young is available? And if they can get that title under control?

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Back in 2010, Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés got the attention of U.S. audiences by putting Ryan Reynolds in a box for Buried. Now he’s back with an ensemble number that looks at the world of celebrity psychics. The first trailer for Red Lights doesn’t let us in on the secret of whether psychic powers really exist in its world or not, but it raises the question. And what it does reveal to us along the way is that it has an impressive cast that makes it look more than worth checking out. If you want to know more about the film, you can also check out Kate’s review from Sundance – or just check out the trailer below.

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Welcome to “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” or perhaps more appropriately, welcome to Being Flynn, complete with its own bullshit and own suckitude. Based on writer Nick Flynn‘s memoir (you know, the one called “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” as if you could forget such a title), Paul Weitz‘s film sets Paul Dano as Nick and Robert De Niro as his wayward papa, the irreverent and inappropriate Jonathan Flynn. Nick’s lived most of his life without his father, a man who has “manifested as an absence” for twentysomething years, and Nick’s been just fine with it. Relatively. Kind of. Fine – not really. But things are about to get much worse for Nick, because Jonathan is about to pop back into his life – and utterly ruin it in the process.

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Drinking Games

One big action release on DVD and Blu-ray this week features Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Clive Owen’s mustache. The film Killer Elite is based on a true story about a secret agency that arranged assassinations in the early 80s. It also features a lot of 80s porno-era facial hair, which should be a treat for everyone. While the film misses the chance to have Jason Statham and Clive Owen have a street race to see whether the Transporter or BMW’s The Driver is better behind the wheel, but at least it gives “tough guy” movie fans a chance to see some icons together on the same screen. For everyone else, it offers a great chance to participate in a drinking game.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

I break Quentin Tarantino’s career up into two stages. The first stage consists of his first three films, which are all crime movies, are all set in L.A., and which all just feel very much like “Quentin Tarantino movies” (a genre unto itself back in the 90s, if you lump in all the pretenders). After those first three films, he took a pretty lengthy six year break, and then he came back and started exploring other genres, making movies that were largely homages to the B-cinema he enjoyed in his youth. While there’s a soft spot in my heart for most of Inglorious Basterds, in general I prefer that first stage of Tarantino’s career to what came after. And as far as that first trilogy of crime films goes, I think most people are in agreement that Pulp Fiction is the masterpiece. It was the one that broke down the doors of the movie industry and ushered indie filmmaking into the mainstream, and it’s the one most often referenced when people talk about his career; so I’m not going to focus on that one here. I’m going to focus instead on Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs, which was the film that first got heads turned in his direction, and which still gets mentioned right alongside Pulp Fiction as badass things from the 90s. And also I’m going to focus on Jackie Brown, which is kind of the forgotten Tarantino film. This is one that doesn’t get brought up much these […]

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Here’s something sort of bizarre – director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate‘s latest star-crammed desecration of random, non-religious holidays is not monumentally or irremediably terrible. It is also not good, but it’s certainly better than its predecessor, the rancid Valentine’s Day (though that’s not saying much). New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a gimmick – tons of stars! lots of plots! all kind of connected! just one day! – and such a gimmick can yield some unexpectedly positive results just as often as it can ending up being simply terrible entertainment not worthy of being called cinema. New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a two-hour piece of wish fulfillment for the sort of people who read US Weekly on, well, a weekly basis. Unlike Valentine’s Day, its very existence is not offensive, but it’s bloated and kind of boring and really, just really, tremendously unnecessary.

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The Reject Report

Like a mic. Drop the ball. Walk off the stage. Oh, I guess you have to say something witty or snarky before that, don’t you? Well how about some box office analysis? We’ve got two big hitters opening up this weekend, both of them reaching for different audiences, and both of them likely to have decent openings here. The star-studded girlie night is probably going to beat the R-rated Adventures in Babysitting remake, though. Okay, it’s not really a remake, but, I mean, come on. Just look at that trailer. That film, by the way, is The Sitter starring Jonah Hill. He’s found moderate success in his newly acquired leading man status. A $17.5m opening for Get Him to the Greek was impressive enough in the summer of 2010 despite the film not having much of a branding behind it. The Sitter is also the new film by David Gordon Green, who had good numbers with Pineapple Express ($23.2m opening weekend), not so much with Your Highness ($9.3m opening weekend). The Sitter has a good chance of coming in somewhere between those two, a little less than what Jonah Hill pulled for Get Him to the Greek. Expect The Sitter to make somewhere between $15-16m, a good showing but not enough to topple the other new release here.

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It’s not often these days that you hear word of a new Robert De Niro project that doesn’t sound completely awful. Recently, when I think “De Niro,” I don’t think Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, I think Meet the Parents sequels and cameos in the New Year’s Eve trailer. So when word of something as promising as Sean Penn’s next film, The Comedian, comes across the news wire, I take a moment to breath deeply and cherish the feeling. Penn’s first effort as a director since 2007’s Into the Wild, The Comedian will tell the story of an aging comic who is filled with angst and rage due to his fading star power. He’s even hit such a low point that he’s been arrested and assigned community service because he hit an audience member in the head with a microphone. Just the thought of seeing De Niro once again taking on the role of a comedian should be enough to stir up all sorts of positive memories of The King of Comedy, but his casting isn’t the only thing this project has going for it. Once De Niro’s character gets started with his community service, he ends up meeting a gorgeous redhead who turns his world upside down. That redhead will be played by Kristen Wiig, fresh off her star-making performance in this year’s Bridesmaids. Not only is Wiig the hot thing right now, she’s also completely hilarious and a really unique persona, so I can’t wait to see her […]

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The horror…the horror… The best part about this poster for New Year’s Eve is either that it features all of the names and pictures of the actors, but not in the same order, or that the catchphrase “Let The Countdown Begin” lets us know that it’s a Doomsday Movie. Garry Marshall, who should be ashamed of himself for directing Valentine’s Day, proves once and for all that he owes some serious men down at the race track by stepping up to direct this sequel which seeks to squeeze even less screen time out for even more famous faces. Also, Homeless Hector Elizondo is kind of cruel considering they made everyone else look halfway decent (except for Ashton Kutcher who clearly didn’t show up for a photo shoot and forced the marketing department to find a paparazzi shot of him smiling). Enough with the words! Check it out for yourself, and feel free to largify it by clicking (if you dare):

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Sitting at a formidable and weighty 98% on Rotten Tomatoes is legendary director Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, a biopic of Jake LaMotta, a 40s era boxer who was nicknamed “The Raging Bull” because of his short fuse and aggressive style in the ring. Michael Ritchie isn’t a legendary director. Despite the fact that he’s made movies like The Bad News Bears and Fletch, I’ve never even heard someone bring his name up in a conversation. And his attempt at a boxing movie, 1992’s Diggstown, is sitting at a paltry 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, derided and then forgotten by a cruel world unwilling to look past the ridiculous shirt and tie combinations James Woods wears in the film. This injustice will not stand.

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It has come to my attention that we here at FSR have left David O. Russell’s upcoming film The Silver Linings Playbook criminally uncovered. We’ve got one little mention of it being announced in a Movie News After Dark and that’s it. Probably it’s time to remedy that, because Russell is a director who always makes interesting stuff, even when it ends up being kind of a mess. And this time around he’s assembled a pretty intriguing cast to yell at and be mean to during filming.

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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