Samantha Morton

Michael Shannon

What is Casting Couch? It’s the roundup of casting news that knows what Gillian Jacobs is going to be doing with her upcoming break from Community. All that time in the bushes finally paid off. Most people probably thought Wild Things director John McNaughton’s career hit its zenith when he directed Wild Things. That movie was basically the most ’90s thing ever, and it practically introduced the concept of the three-way to the square community through the communicative power of Denise Richards’ boobs. He may yet top that work though, because Deadline reports that he’s just recruited the best actor in the world, Michael Shannon, to star in his upcoming thriller The Harvest. The film will star Samantha Morton as a successful heart surgeon and Shannon as her co-dependent husband. Its conflict comes in when their sick son meets a new friend, and suddenly the very controlled routine that Morton’s character has created starts to break down. Sounds like a creepy mom.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains possible spoilers for Cosmopolis. At some point about halfway through David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Vija Kinsky (Samantha Morton) informs young billionaire asset manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) that the chaotic protestors wreaking havoc outside the windows of the state-of-the-art, impenetrable limousine 2.0 they occupy subscribe to an anarchist philosophy that holds destruction itself to be a creative act. Implicitly citing the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter, Kinsky then points out (perhaps ironically, perhaps not) that capitalism is also a form of “creative destruction”: the market moves through cyclical ebbs and flows, older resources must be exploited in new fashions, the seemingly new is always replaced by the purportedly antiquated, and so on. This view of destroying the old as a means in of itself to produce something new also emboldens the work of productive critique, a practice in which Cosmopolis (as both novel and film) is heavily and centrally invested in terms of its narrative and intellectual preoccupations. Cosmopolis is no doubt a strange and unique film, a provocation as necessary as it is unwelcome in the wake of Hollywood’s stock cloning practices. That the film stars Pattinson, an actor both beloved and despised because his astronomical fame has been created by this Hollywood, highlights the film’s inevitably polarizing difference all the more. Cosmopolis is a sort of narrative “essay film,” at once a polemic without urgency, a manifesto that doesn’t design a way out, and an apocalyptic suicide note too disillusioned with and desensitized in the […]

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Siri

We’ve been following along with the development of Spike Jonze’s next project for a while now, and with good reason. For one, it’s a new Spike Jonze movie, and that should be enough to get film geek blood pumping on its own. But when you factor in the cast that he’s compiled, which includes names like Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Amy Adams, Samantha Morton, and Olivia Wilde, well, it doesn’t take long before the anticipation hits a boiling point. There is one cloud of uncertainty that’s been hanging over the project’s head ever since it got announced, however, and that’s the fact that it has been sold as being a story about a man who falls in love with Siri. Yeah, the iPhone thing.

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Paul Giamatti in Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis fits quite nicely in actor Paul Giamatti‘s wheelhouse. Like the over-the-top Shoot’Em Up, the ridiculously bloody Ironclad, and this year’s John Dies at the End, Giamatti is more than willing to jump into a world with no ceiling. Or, as Giamatti and the British say, to get “wet.” Wet is certainly what Giamatti gets in director David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis. Rarely does Giamatti speak a line which isn’t abstract or approaching any level of sanity in the film. Key point: Giamatti’s character’s towel and fungus. In the film, a sweaty and disgruntled Giamatti emotionally clings onto a dirty towel and speaks of a fungus between his toes urging him to kill. Countless interpretations could be applied to their actual meaning, but, clearly, Giamatti has his own explanations, explanations that even the actor wouldn’t fully discuss. Here’s what actor Paul Giamatti had to say about working with David Cronenberg, the film’s straight-faced wackiness, and why he won’t tell you what the towel means:

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Spike Jonze’s upcoming follow-up to Where the Wild Things Are doesn’t yet have a title, but it has a cast in place. Or, at least, it did. A while back we reported that Jonze’s next film was going to be about a man who falls in love with a computer voice, a sort of forward looking commentary on the dangers of developing a Siri fetish. Joaquin Phoenix was already on board as the male lead, and Carey Mulligan, Amy Adams, and Samantha Morton were negotiating to come on in other capacities. The negotiations stuck, because all three ladies became official members of the cast. But now that’s changed. According to Variety, Mulligan has been forced to drop out of the film due to scheduling conflicts. All is not lost, however. Signing up Adams and Morton is still a pretty good haul in and of itself, and there’s word that Jonze is in final negotiations to recruit a more than acceptable replacement for Mulligan.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the desert to hide in a cave, hoping against hope that some mystical bald alien will beam him to Mars so he can make a pass at the ridiculously gorgeous Lynn Collins in a brass bikini. Unfortunately, no one came to his rescue, so he snuck into an abandoned house in upstate New York to terrorize some people. Again, no one came. That left Kevin to skip his movies this week so he could go to the library and find a book that would allow him to curse Eddie Murphy into not speaking. He hasn’t been heard from since.

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Director Andrew Stanton, being somewhat of the miracle worker that he is, has managed to capture the strengths of the original Star Wars trilogy while avoiding much of what was wrong with the prequels with his John Carter. This Disney epic provides for all of a boy’s basic needs, wants, and desires that Lucas’s prequels didn’t deliver upon. Stanton knows their sweet spot – and yes, I know how creepy that reads – by hitting all the major checkpoints required for them: beefy hero, beautiful love interest, sweet weaponry, non-pandering comic relief, big aliens, and exciting flying things that could not look more like the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. How do these amazing devices work, you ask? They just do. Stanton treats the more fantastical aspects of John Carter like George Lucas did, “It’s just there, and who cares how it works or how it got made?” Overall, John Carter bears both many connections and thankful distances to the Star Wars series. Just how Luke Skywalker saw the vast universe Lucas created, there’s not one scene of Carter condescending to the mechanics or bizarro nature of the world – Mars, which they call “Barsoom” – he’s thrown into and never saying something along the lines of, “Isn’t this costume goofy, guys? (*wink* *wink*).” When things get silly, Stanton and his cast always play it straight-faced and with nothing but respect, like the original Star Wars films did. Carter doesn’t question the idea of huge white apes, he […]

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We’ve been in need of a new Spike Jonze feature since 2009′s Where the Wild Things Are, and it looks as if the filmmaker is planning an interesting new film with a stellar cast. The untitled feature (written and to be directed by Jonze) will center on a man “who falls in love with the voice of a computer, similar to the Siri feature on the new iPhone.” With Joaquin Phoenix already on board, we can only guess that he’ll play that love-struck techno-wonk, but just who of the reported three new female cast members would play the tantalizing voice? Deadline Cupertino reports that Carey Mulligan, Amy Adams, and Samantha Morton are all in talks to star in the film alongside Phoenix. My bet for the voice? Adams, because who else has the same pep and charm? Also adding to my complete speculation – the fact that Morton and Mulligan bare a striking resemblance to each other that I cannot help but think would work quite well in the “real world” confines of the film. This project is not to be confused with another Jonze film  that will star Phoenix and Mulligan – that’s the one that is being penned by Charlie Kaufman. That film is reportedly “a satire about how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds, from oil prices to wars that will be waged,” which sounds particularly wonderful.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith “The boy had been crouched so long that his legs had fallen asleep beneath him – but he dared not move now.” Synopsis A young boy named Abraham suffers the grizzly frontier life of the early 19th century and is devastated by the loss of his mother. After finding out that she was killed by a vampire, he makes it his life’s work to hunt down the blood-thirsty monsters and cut off their giant-canine-tooth-stuffed heads with his axe. And to become President at some point. And free the slaves. And keep the union together.

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messenger-review

Oren Moverman’s domestic war drama is, put simply, one of the most powerful experiences to be had at the movies this year.

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BanksLiTherouxMortonCasting

Casting announcements shoot across the net almost every day, but not every announcement, rumor, or speculation deserves its own post. Of course we’d be remiss in our duties as the web’s premier source of movie news, reviews, and snark if we didn’t cover them in some fashion… so welcome to the Casting Net!

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FSR

Kevin Carr looks at the slate of films in theaters this week with the FSR Report Card.

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published: 04.16.2014
B-
published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-
published: 04.14.2014
C

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