Sam Rockwell

Laggies

Quarter-life crises hit everyone differently, whether it’s paying for a bodega sandwich in change for the third day in a row and coming up short that does it, or resolving to stay in your room indefinitely because you’ve received another wedding announcement from a childhood friend the morning after an OkCupid date with a guy who wanted to sniff your hair, or just realizing that woah, high school was awhile ago and you still don’t have your shit together. It’s even happening to Keira Knightley, one of the so-called Laggies who doesn’t quite have things figured out yet, and is taking the most adult and rational approach to handling her problems: running away and ignoring them. The trailer for the Lynn Shelton film introduces us to Megan (Knightley), a 28-year-old on the verge of something not-so great when she attends her high school reunion. A proposal from her boyfriend (Mark Webber), whom she’s been dating since high school, leads to her fleeing into the night and away from that whole nightmare (ugh, can you imagine getting engaged at your high school reunion in front of a bunch of people you probably hate?) and more or less into the arms of Chloe Moretz (who, for the first trailer in a long time, is not wearing some sort of neon wig). Like an respectable gaggle of 16-year-olds, Moretz’s Annika and her buddies hit Megan up for help buying a six pack “because they left their IDs at home,” and seeing some of her old, fun self […]

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Starz Digital Media

Howard (Clark Gregg) is a Hollywood agent handling child talent, but his efforts to find new clients are constantly undermined by his nemesis, the smoother and flashier Aldo (Sam Rockwell). Once a childhood actor himself, Howard believes he has something different to offer these vulnerable kids. He’s been where they are and feels he’s that much closer to them on a personal level. When Howard meets the self-admitted “precocious” young actress, Lydia (Saxon Sharbino), he knows she’s destined to be a hot commodity. She’s soon pursued for a role in a big YA adaptation — think Twilight, Divergent, Mortal Instruments — and at least for the moment it looks like Howard’s luck is on the upswing. Lydia has talent and actually seems to care about Howard enough not to quickly replace him with a better agent, but her father Ray (Paul Sparks) has other ideas.

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Better Living Through Chemistry

Despite what Better Living Through Chemistry will try to tell you, Douglas Varney’s life isn’t all that hard. Played by Sam Rockwell, Doug’s biggest issues are an asshole father-in-law, an emasculating wife, a son who’s acting out and a general inability and/or lack of desire to do anything about it. Nonetheless, life’s pretty tough for ol’ Doug, and when his lazy teenage employee (Ben Schwartz) ditches work, Doug is stuck delivering prescriptions from the pharmacy he owns. One of those prescriptions happens to be for an Elizabeth Roberts (Olivia Wilde) a lovely woman who seems not to have a care in the world. Doug falls for her and they start sleeping together despite both being married to other people, and she introduces him to the wonders of prescription drugs. Soon he’s making his own drug cocktails for the two of them to take, and the chemicals help him adopt her laissez-faire attitude toward life. This leads to many things that he should have done long ago, like standing up to his father-in-law and his wife and finally talking to his son and spending some quality with him. But when a DEA agent starts poking around the pharmacy, Doug’s new found freedom may well be at risk.

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chemistry

Whenever it’s announced that America’s sweetheart Sam Rockwell is going to be appearing in a new movie, there’s always one important question that immediately springs into any sane mind: “Is he going to get a chance to show off his sweet dance moves in this one?” Well, whoever cut together the trailer for Rockwell’s latest starring vehicle, Better Living Through Chemistry, was wise enough to help advertise the film by answering that all-important question, and the answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes! We’ve got another movie where Rockwell shakes his booty on our hands, and it is glorious. Okay, that’s not entirely the truth. We only get a brief enough glimpse of moves being busted out to confirm the dancing, but we can assume that it’s going to be glorious. Past evidence supports it. Click through to see the proof for yourself, as well as a bunch of stuff involving Jean Ralphio being irresponsible, Olivia Wilde having loose morals, and—what the heck—let’s throw in a mega-cut of a bunch of scenes where Rockwell has danced in the past for your efforts.

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Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Commentary

Actors’ behind-the-camera debuts are rarely great. There’s generally a safeness to those movies, where it feels more like an actor testing the waters than having a story they need to tell. A big exception to that trend: George Clooney. Clooney took a major chance on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Sure, he had a script written by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation), but he made bold choices as a filmmaker. From the film’s complex style, the timeline they have to show in two hours, and the tonally tricky humor, Clooney’s first directorial outing was an ambitious introduction. Since then he’s tried his hand at varying material, constantly pushing himself as a filmmaker. Nothing against his films since 2002, including the overlooked Leatherheads, but Confessions of a Dangerous Mind remains his best picture. This is a film where big choices were made, and every single one of them hit their mark. It’s an emotional dark comedy that not many filmmakers could pull off.

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A Single Shot

“It’s kind of like a detective movie but it’s set in the Appalachians,” is the way Sam Rockwell encapsulates his latest film, A Single Shot. Rockwell plays John, a true anti-hero who gets in way over his head after a hunting accident and finding a good deal of cash. What follows that opening is a dirty film noir, where you rarely know who to trust, despite having a positive attitude to all the familiar faces Rockwell is surrounded by in the film: Jeffrey Wright, William H. Macy, Joe Anderson, and Jason Isaacs. It’s an impressive ensemble that Rockwell relished working with. This adaptation was another opportunity for the acclaimed actor to transform himself in subtle ways, which, as Rockwell puts it, is always a bonus. Here’s what else Sam Rockwell had to say about A Single Shot, performing adaptations, and having to take risks:

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singleshotrockwell1

A man goes on a hunting trip and stumbles upon a huge bundle of cash. Secretly, he takes the money for himself, only to find himself the target of a very dangerous criminal enterprise that wants its money back. No, it’s not No Country for Old Men, (although it certainly sounds like it), but rather A Single Shot, a new thriller starring Sam Rockwell and William H. Macy. The good people at ComingSoon got their hands on a trio of exclusive character posters, which you can check out below and up top. Like the storyline, these posters aren’t quite up to par. Putting the words “One Mistake” (or “Secret” or “Chance”) right smack in the middle of the poster, in the same font but a larger size than the title, makes it seem as though that phrase is the real name of the film. Then, upon glancing down and seeing the actual title, it’s not 100% clear whether the film is One Mistake, A Single Shot, or the perhaps the baffling yet unique One Mistake a Single Shot. They’re also a little hard to read, if only because that bright white text draws the eye far more than a dark photograph does (and having that same text obscuring large chunks of the stars’ faces is not helping). But posters are rarely an indication of film quality, as anyone who’s seen X-Men: First Class will tell you. And the cast is top-notch, with Rockwell as the luckless hunter, Macy as the lawyer covering his tracks, and Jason Isaacs as the criminal hellbent […]

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rock

With Frost/Nixon, Moon, The Green Mile, Matchstick Men, Seven Psychopaths, Snow Angels, Heist, and (deep breath) Galaxy Quest, there’s a likely chance actor Sam Rockwell has appeared in one of your favorite films from recent memory. With that array of performances, Rockwell has built up a filmography most actors would rightfully be jealous over. He has a political drama, a Stephen King adaptation, a character study rooted in science-fiction, and a David Mamet crime yarn all under his belt, but now he can add another genre to his resume: a coming-of-age summer tale. With The Way, Way Back, Rockwell plays Owen, that cool uncle-esque character every kid would be so lucky to have. It’s a well-known archetype with plenty of templates for Rockwell to learn from.

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THE WAY, WAY BACK

Editor’s Note: My review of The Way, Way Back originally ran during its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens theatrically. You should really make a point of going to see this one. Coming-of-age films are almost as ubiquitous as rom-coms and Resident Evil sequels these days, and it’s not often that one of them manages to stand out in the crowded field. The ones that do succeed usually feature a combination of star power to get their foot in the door, a smart and funny script to keep the audience’s attention and a lead who embodies the joy, frustrations and awkwardness of teen life with equal spirit and veracity. The Way, Way Back succeeds on pretty much all of those counts. Duncan (Liam James) is heading to the East Coast for the summer with his mom Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carrell) and Trent’s teen daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). A summer spent at the beach should be any teen boy’s idea of awesome, but Duncan is shy and no fan of the overbearing Trent, so the next three months promise to be hell. But when he crosses paths with an immature and odd water park manager named Owen (Sam Rockwell), he dares to think that the summer may not be so bad after all.

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A Single Shot

A gun. A dead woman. A box of money. A (sort of) innocent man. A hunt. While David M. Rosenthal’s A Single Shot doesn’t shy away from some conventional-to-the-point-of-cliché plot points for his latest feature, the crime drama packs a punch thanks to its stellar cast, stunning cinematography, and a horror-tinged score that continually leaves its audience on edge. Oh, and the violence. Did we forget the violence? There’s violence. Penned by Matthew F. Jones (who adapted his own novel for the script), A Single Shot is a suitably intense showcase for star Sam Rockwell’s dramatic chops. As lonely loser John Moon, the film rests on the actor’s ability to engage and excite his audience, a feat that he mostly pulls off with ease. A near-wordless opening sequence plunges us deep into both John’s day-to-day life and the shocking event that will turn everything upside down for him, as John sets off to illegally hunt deer in the quiet woods near his home. It should be a day like any other, but a tired and emotionally drained John gets turned around while pursuing a deer, and one of his shots makes contact with something other than his intended prey.

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THE WAY, WAY BACK

Who doesn’t love a good coming-of-age film? Terrible, terrible people, that’s who. One of the best of the genre premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and while some folks might think I’m referring to The Spectacular Now (which to be fair is a pretty good movie too) I’m actually talking about The Way, Way Back. Screenwriters (and co-stars) Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) make their directorial debut with this comedic drama about an awkward boy coming into his own. My full review is here. Duncan (Liam James) is said awkward teenager on the edge of who knows what, but the last thing he needs is a summer vacation trapped with his mother (Toni Collette), potential step-sister, and annoying soon-to-be step-dad (Steve Carell). He finds solace though in a local girl (AnnaSophia Robb) and part-time job at a water park staffed with weirdos. And lucky for him (and us) the king of the weirdos is played by Mr. Sam Rockwell. Maybe the summer won’t be so bad after all. Check out the trailer for The Way Way Back below.

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dashes

What is Casting Couch? It’s a roundup of all the day’s casting developments that are fit to print. Read on to find out about a cool cameo Gareth Edwards set up for Godzilla. Though she’s still in the early stages of her directing career, Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister) has already proven that all she really needs is a couple of good actors and a room to shoot in, and she’ll be able to make a good movie. It stands to reason, then, that her next project could be the biggest thing she’s ever done, because Deadline is reporting that it’s close to landing a trio of high profile and extremely talented actors. Anne Hathaway, Chloe Moretz, and Sam Rockwell are all close to signing on for Laggies, which sees Hathaway playing an immature twenty-something who hides from her life for a week with her new teenage best friend (Moretz) after she’s spooked by a marriage proposal. Rockwell is reportedly up for the role of some old dude named Craig.

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jennifer-lawrence6

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that’s rounding up all the casting news that fell through the cracks. Today we have some doozies, including word that Paul Walker’s remaking a French film. The last time Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and director David O. Russell all worked together, the result was Silver Linings Playbook, a movie that currently has them all nominated for Oscars. Rejoice, then, that Jennifer Lawrence has just been added to Russell’s next project—that movie about the sting operation that took down a bunch of congressmen in the 70s that used to be called American Bullshit. According to Deadline, who broke the news of Lawrence’s involvement, she’ll be joining the film in the role of the Christian Bale character’s wife. Oh yeah, maybe that should have been mentioned. Christian Bale is also in this. As well as Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Who’s got room on their shelves for more acting Oscars?

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Over Under - Large

Ask any movie geek what their favorite horror movie is, and there’s a good chance they might say Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Ask them what their favorite war movie is, and there’s a good chance they might say Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Stanley Kubrick is just that kind of director. Perhaps his most beloved movie ever though is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ask any movie geek what their favorite sci-fi film is, and it’s very likely they’re going to name drop this tale of evolved apes, space ships, murderous computers, and space babies. It’s got very deliberate, very beautiful photography, it’s long and slow paced, and it contains plenty of subtext that’s ripe for dissection. This movie is basically movie geek catnip, and it’s become so popular over the years that even regular folk who don’t know much about movies are aware that it’s considered to be one of the top “classics” of all-time. A similar movie that was much-loved by film geeks but that hasn’t broken through to having mainstream recognition among regular folk is Duncan Jones’ directorial debut from 2009, Moon. Here’s a movie that has quite a bit in common with 2001 as far as look, feel, and thematics go, but that combines all of the good stuff from Kubrick’s art film with a human story that’s so much easier to follow and relate to. And yet, Moon is also a movie that came and went without causing so much as a ripple outside of the […]

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Some of you may already know me by my Twitter handle: @thefilmcynic. It’s a name I’ve gone by for nearly a decade (so, before current social media outlets), because I’m very cynical about the film industry and try to keep my expectations low. I’m also very cynical about the Academy Awards and awards season in general, because we devote so much focus on them — with a wide spectrum of positive and negative angles — and they’re really a bunch of malarkey (much like the V.P. debate, which has inspired my newfound obsession with that word). So, the higher ups at FSR have asked me to write a cynical column devoted to the Oscars. The first one is inspired by the films Seven Psychopaths, Looper and Lincoln and their celebrated performances. As someone who has studied acting (I’m not very good at it), I’ve long taken issue with the way people look at film performances, because there are just so many different kinds. But there are two real distinct types that we tend to recognize while watching and writing about movies that aren’t acknowledged by the Academy: realistic and artificial. The former has been a big favorite since method acting came into play, though it doesn’t necessarily apply to that style nor does that style necessarily always mean realism. The latter could be more expressive and therefore goes back to the dawn of cinema and its silent performances or could even be more stiff, if that’s what’s intended. Directors who […]

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Seven Psychopaths

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a screenwriter with a serious case of writer’s block. “Seven Psychopaths” is his latest script, but there’s one big problem with it. The title is all he’s written so far. He needs some inspiration to make his characters and his story come alive, but where is an Irishman with a drinking problem and relationship issues going to find that spark of originality? As with most of life’s questions, the answer here is Sam Rockwell. More precisely, it’s with his good friend Billy (Rockwell). Where Billy goes trouble follows, and that trouble is currently in the form of a pissed-off gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who’s violently distraught over the loss of his pooch Bonny (Bonny the ShihTzu). It seems Billy’s primary source of income is a scam he runs with his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) involving the dog-napping and subsequent return for reward of wealthy peoples’ pups. Snatching Bonny has opened up a can of murderous worms as Charlie hunts down those responsible and Marty finds himself caught in the blood-spattered middle of it all. On the bright side he’s getting inspiration for all seven of his fictional psychopaths, but none of that will matter if he doesn’t live to finish the screenplay. Seven Psychopaths is exactly the film we should expect from the man who created the wickedly great In Bruges. It’s whip-smart funny, deliriously violent and deceptively heartfelt. And good god does it have the most aggressively awesome ensemble cast of all time.

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Sam Rockwell and Clark Gregg

The year 2008 must have been a strange one for Clark Gregg, as that year marked the multi-hyphenate’s big break into the Marvel Universe with the debut of his role as Agent Coulson in Iron Man. Since then, Gregg has gone on to co-star in other Marvel properties Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers, along with taking center stage in two of Marvel’s “One-Shot” short films. And while that success has been quite well-deserved, it does come with a footnote, because 2008 was also the year that Gregg’s directorial debut, Choke (from the Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name), hit screens. The Sam Rockwell-starring film bowed at the Sundance Film Festival, earning a Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic nod for Gregg and a Special Jury Prize, Dramatic for his cast (which also included Anjelica Huston, a still-emerging Kelly Macdonald, and Brad William Henke), but it went on to earn less than $4m in worldwide release. Fight Club this was not. And Gregg hasn’t written or directed a film since – which is a shame, because Choke is nothing short of excellent and exuberant and insane and true to the spirit of Palahniuk’s work and complete with some wonderfully oddball performances). In short, we’ve been waiting for a new Gregg film ever since. And now we’re getting one.

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Cloud Atlas releases this month

This September wasn’t a bad way to get out of a summer slump. If any of you were disappointed by this past summer’s films, last month should have picked up your spirits. You were either in awe or disappointment over Paul Thomas Anderon‘s The Master, but whatever camp you fall into, at least you more than likely had thoughts about it. Rian Johnson‘s Looper completely lived up to the hype, wonky time travel logic and all. And we got Dredd 3D and End of Watch, two B-movies which exceeded expectations. Not a bad way to start a new season. There are plenty of offerings for every taste this October including one with a bug-eyed, jacked up, and horrifying Matthew Fox who apparently will be taken down by Tyler Perry. Keep reading for a glimpse at seven other movies you should run and skip to the theaters for.

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Seven Psychopaths

A film begins with its script. So when a screenwriter is poised with creating a script for a film entitled Seven Psychopaths and is unable to get past page one (for various reasons), it’s obvious we have a conundrum on our hands. Marty (Colin Farrell) has found himself, drunk more times than not, staring at a blank notepad still trying to figure out who the seven psychopaths are. As the story goes on, he encounters a series of psychopaths all surrounding a dog kidnapping scheme that Hans (Christopher Walken) and Billy (Sam Rockwell) are running. Billy has picked up a Shih Tzu dog that happens to belong to Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who happens to be a raving psychopath who heads up some sort of mob or something. While this film sets itself up (marketing-wise) as a crazy comedy about this slew of characters, it really isn’t. It’s more about the process of writing, with a lot of blood and guts involved. The film enjoys the use of shocking comedic violence in a way that allows its characters to get a laugh through their situations and reactions more than just through their catchy one-liners. There are some jokes in this movie that are so deeply embedded in character reveals that it’s made for multiple viewings.

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Martin McDonagh‘s In Bruges remains one of the finest black comedies in recent years thanks to his sharp writing/directing and a couple of fantastic performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Both actors displayed great comedic chops alongside a surprising pathos, and the result is a film that’s eminently quotable and highly re-watchable. And it was four years ago. McDonagh is finally following that film up, and the first trailer has arrived. Seven Psychopaths stars Colin Farrell as a struggling screenwriter whose friends get him mixed up in dog-napping, violence, and murder. Those mischievous friends are played by Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, and they’re joined by Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, and Tom Waits. Check out the trailer below.

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