Sam Rockwell

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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Fans of writer Matthew F. Jones have a lot to celebrate. His novel “A Single Shot” is about to be turned into a big screen thriller, and the names attached are enough to make even the most hardened film cynic squeal with glee. Deadline Charlottesville reports that production has now begun on the adaptation, which is under the direction of David M. Rosenthal (Janie Jones) and stars a cast that includes names like Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Joe Anderson, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Riley, Ophelia Lovibond, and Melissa Leo. Jeez, Mr. Rosenthal, you had me at Sam Rockwell. But for those not sold just at the sight of all those talented names listed together, take a look at the Amazon plot synopsis of Jones’s novel:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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Filmmaker David Gordon Green continues his strange journey through ’80s cinematic iterations with The Sitter, which resurrects the babysitting comedy form most famously portrayed in the minor classic Adventures in Babysitting. And if it’s still not entirely clear why the once-respected indie auteur has devoted such energy to painstakingly mainstream work, at least The Sitter is a tolerably mediocre trifle, not an abomination on par with Your Highness, Green’s other comedy from earlier this year. Jonah Hill, sporting his since-shed heft for the final time, stars as aimless college dropout Noah Griffith. Convoluted circumstances find him at the home of his mom’s friends the Pedullas, babysitting their three nightmare children. Eldest son Slater (Max Records) is a cauldron of anxieties, daughter Blithe (Landry Bender) is an aspiring celebutard, and the recently adopted Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez) loves destroying things. When Noah’s manipulative love interest Marisa (Ari Graynor) promises sex in exchange for a cocaine delivery, he packs the kids in the minivan and a surreal road trip through Brooklyn begins.

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David Gordon Green is one of those rare filmmakers who has the comic power to make fairly despicable or unlikable characters oddly sympathetic, and oddly, likable . While Green believes everyone in the world is likable – and how he thinks that I have no idea – he certainly seems to love his antiheroes. Very few David Gordon Green characters one would want to hang out with in real life, but on the big screen, he makes oblivious, frustrating, and moronic fools highly watchable. Hopefully that’ll remain the case with his latest R-rated comedy, The Sitter. Thanks to David Gordon Green being able to say a 1,000 words a minute, similarly to Danny McBride, in my 15-minute conversation we were able to cover a lot of ground. From the greatness of breakfast tacos, a topic I didn’t foresee being discussed, to Soul Surfer topping Your Highness earlier this year, Green goes in every direction possible with any mentioned topic. Here’s what The Sitter director had to say about why one should live in Austin, going through hell with actors, dealing with ego, and when too much Sam Rockwell crying becomes self-indulgent.

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It may not take brass balls to introduce your film to the world with a woman reaching orgasm, but apparently it takes a tongue. After a brief bit featuring Jonah Hill and some youngin’s, the trailer for The Sitter heats up with a loser (who at least is being used for third base) taking a job as a babysitter despite his heavy use of curse worse and his uncontrollable staring at the feminine form. Does it echo every other R-Rated comedy that Hill has been a part of? Yes. Is that a bad thing?

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The mere concept of Cowboys & Aliens had potential for summer greatness. This could have been crazy, ambitious, and all kinds of weird. Imagine cowboys getting into shootouts with bug-eyed creatures packing high-tech weaponry. Sounds awesome, right? Only a tad of that awesome made it to the screen, and overall, it’s good. One would think director Jon Favreau would use his clout from two hit films to craft a blockbuster with a little audacity, but he didn’t. Like his other works, this is about as safe as most blockbusters come, and that’s fine, mainly because the director is still miles ahead of most journeyman filmmakers. There’s a clear passion for clean fun in his movies, something many blockbusters lack. Iron Man, Zathura, and Elf are all audience-friendly fare that don’t have a lick of divisiveness, and Cowboys & Aliens fits in comfortably with those films. Faverau is, at the end of the day, a solid popcorn filmmaker. Most of his efficiency behind the camera shines through in Cowboys & Aliens, as do a few of his weaknesses. Here’s a little of that awesome and a bit of the weaknesses. Note: This list does include spoilers.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr runs screaming from little blue people invading his life and seeks refuge in the old west, hoping that James Bond and Indiana Jones will protect him. When he returns home, he has a fight with his wife and uses the events of Crazy, Stupid, Love to put his relationship back together. What a godsend Hollywood can be for marriage woes. Finally, Kevin curls up for a long nap after an exhausting summer movie season with many more arrests than he ever thought he’d incur.

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If this has been the summer or the year of the “good, but not great” movie, Cowboys & Aliens stands just a bit taller than most. It wears its spurs a little prouder. It slings its gun a little faster. Whichever metaphor you prefer, Jon Favreau has crafted a loving new vision of the Western genre that delivers far better on character than the average summer blockbuster. At the very least, it works more on making the people on screen matter, even when sci-fi spectacle could have (and maybe should have) taken the reins. Jake (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert having lost his memory but gained an alien weapon strapped to his arm. When he’s arrested in the town of Absolution alongside Percy (Paul Dano), the sniveling son of wealthy landowner Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), the pair are ready for transport when the community is attacked by beings from another world. Their kin are taken, and they round up a posse to get them back.

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Fans of foul language, incredibly dark humor, and midget violence know that writer/director Martin McDonagh’s brilliant In Bruges is one hell of a movie. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason play hitmen hiding out in the beautiful and quiet city of Bruges after a hit goes bad, but while they deal with issues of guilt, friendship, and loyalty they’re also forced to face a very angry Ralph Fiennes. If you haven’t seen it yet go do so now. It’s by turns hilarious, exciting, brutal, sad, and mournful, and Farrell gives probably his best performance to date. Now three long years later McDonagh is finding the time to step off the stage (he writes and produces plays as well) and back behind the camera for his sophomore effort. Per Variety, McDonagh is moving ahead on his completed script for a film called Seven Psychopaths. He already has a stellar cast lined up as well starting with a returning Farrell in the lead role and the likes of Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Mickey Rourke along for the ride. The synopsis from Variety describes the story as following “a screenwriter (Farrell) struggling for inspiration for his script, “Seven Psychopaths,” who gets drawn into the dog kidnapping schemes of his oddball friends (Rockwell and Walken). Things take a turn for the worse when a gangster’s (Rourke) mutt goes missing.” What’s not to like? Thanks to /film for the heads up.

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You know what I love about Cowboys & Aliens? That someone took that silly little comic book and took it seriously enough to make a huge movie out of it. That, instead of going the cheap route, Jon Favreau and company saw the potential in the story, in the Western element and in the Sci-Fi and decided to grab themselves by the saddle bags and just go for it. So far, all of the results have been astonishing. Strong visuals, great Western storytelling, and an extra-terrestrial menace. This new trailer gives a much better look at the alien equipment, the narrative and the action. Check it out for yourself:

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Culture Warrior

This editorial contains spoilers for Source Code and Moon. If you haven’t seen the movies yet, go check it out first before diving in. When I watched Duncan Jones’s sophomore effort Source Code, I couldn’t help but think about how much it resembles, nearly beat for beat in its structure, his first film Moon. This is not necessarily a criticism of Source Code or Jones, as repeated thematic occupations and narrative revisitation can be the sign of the auteur, and I’ve enjoyed both his films. But the films are, admittedly, structurally identical in several ways. Both involve a lone protagonist who discovers something unexpected about their identity that changes their relationship to their given tasks (Sam Bell realizing he is a clone in Moon, Captain Colter Stevens’s “near-death” state in Source Code), and combat some form of repression against a bureaucratic organizational body (a private corporation in Moon, military scientists in Source Code) while being assisted by an empathetic, benevolent subordinate of that organization (GERTY the robot in Moon, Vera Famiga’s Captain Goodwin in Source Code). But it is rather appropriate that both of Jones’s films be so structurally similar, for the major themes connecting them, and the narratives by which those themes are exercised, are enveloped in the topic of the repetitive structures of everyday life.

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Director Andrew Dominik proved with The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford that he could create an intensely beautiful film with an insanely long title. He also proved that he could handle a large cast of formidable talent. Fortunately for fans, he’ll get another chance to wrangle a murder of talent. Not only will Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck be starring in Dominik’s forthcoming Cogan’s Trade – a film about comedy and crime in Boston (the only city in the United States with crime) – but Sam Rockwell, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Zoe Saldana, Bill Murray, and Mark Ruffalo are also possible to come on board. If they do, Andrew Dominik will have single-handedly kept the great actors of Hollywood busy and unable to appear in anyone else’s films next year. Well played, sir. The film is set to shoot in Louisiana in March, and it creates another reason to be excited for 2012. [Cinema Blend]

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We’ve taken you behind the scenes, into director Jon Favreau’s mind, shared the movies that inspired the sci-fi western, and now we continue our set visit of Cowboys & Aliens with a look at its stars. Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Daniel Craig, and Paul Dano all took time out of a busy shoot to talk about the film and get our hands dirty. All professionalism goes out the window when talking to Harrison Ford. He was standing 20 yards away the entire afternoon of the set visit, posted up like a western specter on the top of an outcropping in his cowboy hat against the blazing sun. Now he’s standing toe-to-toe with me, and I’m not embarrassed to admit now that I lose my cool. I find myself shaking hands with a living legend and looking around to make sure that the other journalists lose their composure, too. There’s a one-sided giddiness that suddenly finds its way permeating the steel cool of those used to meeting the famous, and the latent buzz is pretty heavy in the air with Ford standing there. I imagine this is what God must feel like when he’s shaking Harrison Ford’s hand. The man of so many iconic roles doesn’t say much, but he smiles a wry smile when he does speak, leading me to believe that even he can tell that the group is seriously considering losing critical credibility in order to give him a great big hug and ask Indiana Jones to autograph […]

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Yesterday we took you out into the middle of New Mexico and behind the scenes of Cowboys & Aliens. Today, we continue our week-long set visit report by talking with director Jon Favreau. I’m standing in the middle of the desert, and Jon Favreau is holding an alien arm up toward my face. There’s this look in his eyes that reads as a mix of sheer excitement and a hopefulness that the group surrounding him approves of his alien arm. From the amount of questions buzzing him like airplanes taking a pass at a giant ape on the top of a tall building, it seems like they do. Favreau has navigated a jungle-like career (which started in earnest when he met Vince Vaughn on the set of Rudy) in order to stand in front of some sun-stroked journalists with a piece of painted plastic in his hand. That career has taken him from the college of PCU to the fighting style of Friends and through indie acclaim, Comic Con domination, and into the metal suit of Iron Man which, of course, led him to New Mexico in more ways than one.

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“So anything you’re seeing is really spoiler stuff here, right?” That’s how Jon Favreau greets us as he takes refuge inside a pop up tent that is struggling to keep the New Mexican heat and dust out. He’s a force as he enters, a commanding man whose voice is a mix of sarcasm and sweet. Still, he’s about as unimposing as a man over six feet tall can be, and with his breathable pants and bandana he seems more likely to be taking a group of scouts camping than directing a science fiction western starring Daniel Craig. Plus, he’s right about the spoilers. Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t hit theaters until July of 2011, but FSR was invited to the set in the middle of August to watch the crew film a scene and to see who could avoid heat exhaustion the longest (it was Harrison Ford). We won’t be revealing any spoilers from the film, but we will be spending the entire week exploring what the set was like, discovering the movies that inspired the shoot, and talking with Favreau, co-writer Bob Orci, and the cast. Plus, hot off the old dusty trail, we’ve got two behind-the-scenes pictures to share with you after we take you into the canyon where the film was made.

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Jon Favreau’s follow-up to Iron Man 2 keeps him firmly entrenched in the big budget world of comic book adaptations, but this time it’s with a far lesser known property. The best way to make up for that shortfall of awareness? Reign in one hell of a cast… Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde,Paul Dano, and Harrison Freaking Ford. That’s right. Harrison Ford is returning to science fiction for the first time since 1983’s Return Of the Jedi. Can only go up from there… The first trailer for the film will be released tomorrow, but to whet your appetite until then Universal has unveiled the first poster. With a cast like this it’s almost a guarantee it’ll be filled with familiar faces and names right? Think again partner. Aside from continuing to inexplicably promote Nintendo’s Power Glove the poster makes a bid for anachronistic teasing over selling itself with celebrity. It’s a shrewd move even if the final result does hew a bit too close to the poster for Jonah Hex (sans CGI sidekick Megan Fox of course).

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr celebrated Halloween by dressing up as a slutty nurse and watching the latest Saw movie. Then he dressed up as a slutty lawyer and watched the latest slice of Oscar bait known as Conviction. Now, he’s changed costumes once again to dress up as a slutty schoolgirl to hand out grades to these movies and contemplate whether you all would be better off catching up on the awesome recently Halloween-appropriate Blu-rays releases like The Exorcist, Psycho, Alien Anthology or The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Conviction, the story of a man falsely accused of murder and the sister that puts herself through law school to defend him, is one of those fall films that will inevitably be labeled as “Oscar bait.” That’s as unfair as it is with most cases. This isn’t the overwrought drama that it may seem or the one that those hilarious parody trailers poke fun at. In fact, it’s fairly subdued and strays away from sugarcoating. Betty Anne Waters isn’t portrayed as a total hero, but instead, almost obsessive and delusional. Kenny Waters isn’t shown as a boy scout and you could buy him actually killing someone in the film. They’re shown as good people, but not without their not-so-appealing flaws. This could’ve been a Hallmark film through and through, but thankfully, most of it isn’t played with the subtlety of a jackhammer. It’s not heavy and it’s not schmaltzy. It’s always a surprise to see small (female driven, especially) dramas like this get made, and from what director Tony Goldwyn says about the hardship of getting financing, it’s a shock this even made it to the screen. Here’s what Goldwyn and star Sam Rockwell had to say about the long process of getting the film made, avoiding melodrama, and keeping things raw:

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It’s officially fall, and that means it’s the start of award season. And with this season, there are some actors who always have a film for consideration. Hilary Swank’s latest film Conviction tells the true story of a woman who goes to any lengths to prove her convict brother’s innocence. You’ll want to keep an eye on this girl as those of us at FSR hear she is a mighty fine actress.

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


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