Saoirse Ronan

Agatha Grand Budapest Hotel

My face is unforgettable. From the moment I was born, the bright fuchsia wrapping over the right side of my face, my nose and a little swatch of the left side just under my eye announced to the room immediately: well shit, she’s going to be different. I’m graced with what is known as a “port wine stain” birthmark, a cutesy term for explaining that it kind of looks like someone spilled a glass of wine (burst blood vessels) on my face and couldn’t mop it up fast enough before it soaked into my upholstery. Tragic, since this is expensive canvas. My birthmark is connected (though not all are) to a larger illness called Sturge-Weber Syndrome, a condition that also means those burst blood vessels caused glaucoma in my right eye and a hardened capillary ridge on the right side of my brain that “lights up” whenever it pleases for rounds of excruciating migraines. Sturge-Weber is not only a recent discovery, only studied since the 1980s, but a fairly rare occurrence, affecting 1 in every 400,000 births; I’ve never met or seen another person who has the disease or a facial port wine stain. So imagine my surprise and curiosity watching the trailer, and eventually sitting down for The Grand Budapest Hotel — here we have Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), all milkmaid braids and the silhouette of Mexico upon her face. Purple and prominent, though not nearly as large, Agatha has been afflicted with the facial birthmark that I know all too well. Dainty […]

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ronan

It was back in spring of 2012 when we first heard about a film adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s 2010 novel about an Irish immigrant, “Brooklyn.” Back then the story was that it was being put together by the same producing team that made An Education, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara was attached to play the lead, and the search was on for a director. Well, from the looks of the comments made my director John Crowley (Intermission, Boy A) in an interview he recently did with Bleeding Cool [via Dark Horizons], it appears that the suits have finally found the perfect director to bring this story to life, but in the process of making their search for a director, they seem to have lost their star.

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Potential Fantastic Four

Variety is reporting that the shortlist for Fox’s new Fantastic Four reboot is skewing young. The breakdown of testing actors includes Michael B. Jordan still being floated as The Human Torch; Miles Teller, Kit Harington and Jack O’Connell (Skins) for Reed Richards; and Saoirse Ronan, Kate Mara and possibly Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) for Sue Storm. Granted, Mara is 30, and Jessica Alba was 24 when she was cast in the role less than a decade ago, but the rest of the list tops out at 26 years for several of the gents while Ronan (the most veteran of the crew) won’t be able to drink legally in the States for a year and a half. In the previous incarnation, Ioan Gruffudd brought some grounding maturity, but the new vision may be looking to bring in adult supervision solely with Ben Grimm — unless they cast another 20-something for The Thing, too. Honestly, all of this is kind of cool. At the very least it brings a different angle to a franchise whose renewed existence is aggressively shrug-worthy. It’s also a way to make a natural through line for Chronicle director Josh Trank as he takes on legacy superheroes for a change.  There are a ton of middle-aged heroes out there, so maybe it’s time for a different flavor in the buffet of spandex and capes. Of course, regardless of who they cast, it’ll still be a superhero movie produced by Fox and written by the guy who wrote This […]

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How I Live Now

Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) is having a particularly rough summer for your average teenager. Sent to live with relatives in the UK, she’s having trouble fitting in to her strange surroundings until she falls for a neighborhood cutie who may also be her own cousin (George MacKay). But their young love is short-lived when an apocalyptic war breaks out in the once-peaceful nation, tearing their relationship, and their lives apart. Now, would you get any of that from this one-sheet for How I Live Now? The film, from Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland), is based on a highly popular YA novel by Meg Rosroff that is apparently all the rage with the tweens and their twerking and their emojis and One Direction and what have you. But besides showing a defiant Daisy dressed way too cool for school (and looking like someone who probably would have never talked to me in high school), the poster doesn’t reveal much. Unless, of course, that orange haze and lens flare is from a bomb casually dropping behind her. In which case, damn Daisy. That’s a bold move to be bored by warfare. Do you think that attitude is what got her sent to the UK in the first place?

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How I Live Now

It seems that this summer’s end-of-the-world movie trend (World War Z, This is the End, The World’s End, Pacific Rim…I’ll keep going) is getting extended into the fall with another film about a bleak future, this time starring a mad as hell Saoirse Ronan. Kevin MacDonald’s How I Live Now, based on the massively popular YA novel by Meg Rosoff, tells the story of American girl Daisy (seriously, guys, screw off if you call her Elizabeth – only her DAD calls her that, and he’s totally lame), who is sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives. Fortunately, Cute Boy Edmund (George MacKay) lives nearby, and they strike up the kind of love you only dream about. Their idyllic summer is cut short when WWIII begins and England becomes a violent military state; Daisy spends the rest of the film trying to escape her captors and find her lost love because that’s…how she lives now. The trailer’s hip pop-punk soundtrack played over shots of Daisy racing through the countryside and ducking under gunfire make this clear that it’s an action movie for the StephEnie Meyer generation, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s probably going to be cheesy, and for anyone over the age of 17, the couple’s vows of undying love will be a bit laughable.

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violet-and-daisy

What if little girls were hired assassins? That’s not an uncommon film scenario today, but usually the answer is that they’d be well-trained, bred to be killers from early on and void of most stereotypes you associate with normal young women. Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass and the title teenager from Hanna come to mind. But Violet & Daisy takes a different approach. The girls here are really “girly.” They take on hit jobs in order to buy pretty dresses. They blow bubble gum bubbles while shooting up mob hideouts. They talk all cutesy and have flowery code names and play patty-cake with their boss (Danny Trejo) and ride a tricycle and love milk and cookies and say “ewwwwww” in response to things they find gross as if they’re referring to cooties.

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byzantium

If you’re anywhere near being a vampire fanatic, then chances are pretty good you know who Neil Jordan is, because he’s the guy who directed Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the adaptation of Anne Rice’s famous vampire story Interview with the Vampire. Well, it turns out Jordan must have developed a taste for those who have a taste for human blood, because his latest film, Byzantium, is also about undead bloodsuckers. Perhaps even more important than what it’s about though is the fact that Byzantium is a gorgeously shot epic that stars Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. This is important because Ronan is clearly one of the strongest young actors working, and Arterton could possibly be as well, although I’ve only seen her in mostly terrible movies, but she sure is pretty though, and, oh—just go watch the trailer. It’s got vampires that kill people with coke nails.

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Violet and Daisy

Yes, the gun pointed at your face is meant to send a message, and it might be the last one you ever receive. Of course, when the trailer for Violet & Daisy opens, the sights are on James Gandolfini, so you’re probably safe for now. The movie is high concept enough — two young girls kill people for a living but are confronted by an unusual target that changes them — but after watching the trailer, it’s difficult to understand exactly what the hell is going on. Flight attendant-laden dream sequences, studies on friendship and Danny Trejo in a vest punctuate the Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel-starring flick. The production also has a strange history. Geoffrey Fletcher made this his directorial debut after his big Oscar win as the writer of Precious, it scored praise at TIFF in 2011 along with some profiles, but is just now finding distribution in the States from Cinedigm. Sometimes that speaks to quality, but it seems more likely in this case that traditional distribution channels just didn’t know what to do with this thing. Defying categorization usually isn’t good for the advertising team. Check it out the trailer for yourself:

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Byzantium

Vampire movies are about sex. This has become practically a rule, and that’s totally okay. I have no problem with Taylor Lautner winning Best Shirtless Performance at the MTV Movie Awards. But if you’re going to make a movie with irrepressibly erotic vampires, you should figure out why you’re doing it. The problem with Neil Jordan’s Byzantium is that it so drips with sex it loses purpose. It has elements of every recent incarnation of the genre, moments of horror and action and myth-making, but in the end it’s more of a bland vampiric soup than anything with real bite. Saoirse Ronan is Eleanor, two centuries old but trapped forever in her teenage years. She feeds only on those ready to die, which typically means the silent and fading elderly. She writes of her life but then tears up the pages, knowing that no one can ever know who she truly is. This secrecy is under the rule of Clara (Gemma Arterton), a woman the world knows as her sister but who we can easily see is her mother. “My savior, my burden, my muse,” Eleanor writers of Clara, whose torrential personality and dangerous profession only exacerbate their tense relationship.

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review host

It’s been difficult to pin down what exactly happened to writer/director Andrew Niccol after his 1997 debut, Gattaca, but theories ranged from him having been replaced with a lookalike to him having had a stroke. A double feature of S1mone and In Time suggests the latter, but what then to make of the film sandwiched between them? Lord of War is a blackly comic morality play that never saw the eyeballs it deserved, but as if he were being punished for creating something thought-provoking, he disappeared for the next six years only to return in 2011 with a legitimately terrible, feature-length wrist-watch commercial starring Justin Timberlake. The release of his latest film sees him once again crafting lazy, simplistic sci-fi, this time adapting a novel by bestselling hack Stephenie Meyer, but in addition to being laughably bad, The Host may actually offer an answer to the question above. What happened to turn the man behind Gattaca and The Truman Show into a seemingly clueless boob who thinks shiny, silver cars and idealized talk about mankind’s value are enough to qualify a film as speculative fiction? Having seen the movie the answer seems so obvious now. An intergalactic jellyfish slipped into a paper cut fifteen years ago, curled up around his brain stem, smothered his creativity, talent and curiosity and then turned his body into a fleshy, bipedal rental car. And Niccol’s been fighting to be heard from the back seat ever since.

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Sandra Bullock

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news compilation that has word of a new action movie starring the Muscles From Brussels himself, JCVD. Buckle up. It seems like there’s always been a segment of the filmgoing audience that has something against Sandra Bullock. Maybe that’s because she teased everybody by starring in Demolition Man and Speed in the early ’90s and then went on to make a bunch of lame romantic comedies where she tries too hard to be goofy instead of doing more action stuff. Whatever the reason, she might finally be able to channel those bad tidings and use it in her next job, because Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the usually sugary-sweet actress is going to be voicing the new villain in the upcoming Despicable Me spinoff, Minions. As you may have guessed, she’ll be playing an evil lady who has her life ruined by her little, yellow, inept minions. This time it’s okay to hate, go ahead.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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Saoirse Ronan

What is Casting Couch? It’s just trying to cram its foot into this shoe. Just last week, we learned that Cate Blanchett was likely to be Mark Romanek’s wicked stepmother in the new Cinderella movie that he’s doing for Disney, and now Variety gives us word that the project is closing in on its Cinderella as well. According to the trade, Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan, Anna Karenina actress Alicia Vikander, and The Three Musketeers’ Gabriella Wilde have all been in to see Romanek for screen tests. So, clearly, the sweet spot for getting this role is to have an interesting accent and some period work under your belt. Keira Knightley better watch her back, because it looks like there’s a whole upcoming generation of ladies gunning for her roles.

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The Host trailer

If there’s one thing that can be said for “Twilight Saga” author Stephenie Meyer, it’s that she tried something new with her first non-“Twilight” book, “The Host.” Emphasis on the tried. The similarities are there – both stories center on leading ladies who don’t fancy themselves to be the leading lady type who somehow get caught up in supernatural-ish plots with wide-reaching implications and, oh, don’t forget those love triangles. Don’t you ever forget those love triangles! But “The Host” was written for a somewhat older-skewing audience, and its aliens-on-earth plot is both more interesting and more well-built than whatever the heck it was that Meyer was going for with “Twilight” (sorry, Twi-hards, really). So why then does Andrew Niccol‘s big screen take on The Host just seem so terribly boring? At least, that’s how it looks in the film’s first long-form trailer. It’s certainly a keener and cleaner look at the film than the very tease-heavy teaser trailer from March, which seemed to hinge almost totally on the viewer’s perceived awareness of the property, but it’s still makes The Host look like Twilight with aliens. Take a look after the break.

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Michael Fassbender

What is Casting Couch? It’s where you go to make sure Elijah Wood is adding another new job to his calendar every day. Turns out, today he kept the streak alive, read on… Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender are two of the best actors on the planet Earth; objectively, inarguably. What a coup, then, that director Michael Grandage has landed both of them for his upcoming project, Genius. Based on a book by A. Scott Berg, Genius is a biopic that explores the relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his editor Max Perkins (Firth). Turns out Wolfe and Perkins were great friends, but the kind who butted heads over everything. Sure, listening to two guys argue over word choice wouldn’t normally sound like a very exciting idea for a movie, but with these two actors on board it absolutely does. Add this one to your to-do list. [Variety]

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This is exciting news. Superhero casting level exciting. Why? Because in 18 years, Saoirse Ronan has managed to balance Oscar nominated period drama work with hand-to-hand combat and a fearless enjoyment of genre work (the last of which will be seen in the vampire film Byzantium and in the forthcoming The Host). Now, she’ll be taking on the role of an icon of Western history in Mary Queen of Scots. The potential here is massive. Mary Stuart was crowned when she was nine months old, married the teenage King of France when she was 16, but he died just 3 days before her 18th birthday. She re-married in her early 20s, but her husband was murdered, and, of course, she got married for a third time shortly thereafter to the man many thought orchestrated her second husband’s death. James Hepburn was acquitted, but the court of public opinion didn’t sway his way, and their alliance soon drew suspicion on Mary – who was imprisoned, and then at 25 she was forced to give up her throne to her 1-year-old son. She fled to England looking for asylum from Queen Elizabeth, but Elizabeth took her into custody for 18 years and then had her killed. Then, Eric Idle sand “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Bringing his Elizabeth and Tudors experience to the project is screenwriter Michael Hirst. So the talent is brimming almost as seriously as the historical drama, but the intriguing connection is between the production company and the star. According to Deadline Hollywood, Working Title is prepping […]

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While it’s seeming more and more possible that Darren Aronofsky won’t make the wish of flood enthusiasts everywhere come true by casting someone to play a giant wave or two (or three, or four…) in his Noah, he’s making up for that hideous oversight with a stellar cast that so far includes Russell Crowe, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, and (probably) Jennifer Connolly – a litany of talents that he’s just rounded out with no less than Sir Anthony Hopkins. Aronofsky himself announced the news this morning via his Twitter, in a tweet that reads: “i’m honored to be working with the great sir anthony hopkins. we just added him to the stellar cast of ‪#Noah‬. ‪#methuselahlives‬” Methuselah lives! Hurray! Wait, who is Methuselah again?

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Though my earlier editorial might have given you the impression that I loathe author Stephenie Meyer‘s works, that’s not necessarily the case, and I am reasonably interested in the next film to translate her books to the screen. Post-“Twilight,” Meyer penned a sci-fi novel called “The Host,” and while it’s no shock that the book is intended to kick off a new franchise, it is somewhat surprising that the book was intended for a more adult crowd and for some more mature lessons than those taught by Bella, Edward, and Jacob. While the book has many of the same issues as “Twilight,” it is a different animal, and its sci-fi bent might be able to lure in even rabid “Twilight” dissenters. Set in the near future, The Host imagines a world that has been taken over by an alien race that, while not overtly violent, are terrifyingly good at destroying whole civilizations. It’s not by war by that these aliens consume other beings – it’s by taking over their bodies and minds like a parasite. One of those aliens, Wanderer (Saoirse Ronan) finds herself confused and dismayed to find that the human she’s taken over (also played by Ronan) won’t let go, turning the two into individual spirits in one body. Bad enough, but still worse when Wanderer/Melanie makes her way to one of the last all-human encampments. The film’s first teaser is a true tease, and certainly won’t offer much to those who are not familiar with the book’s […]

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Game of Thrones Season 2

What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s the column I’m filling in on as Neil Miller journeys to the mystical, frozen land of Chicago. It’s also a list of links to movie or entertainment related things that I either found interesting, noteworthy, or that involved super famous young girls from the Disney channel. Tonight we begin by getting a glimpse at the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. WinterisComing.net has a whole host of pictures from the second season that have reminded me of how much I like the show and reinforced the three reasons why I’m looking forward to new episodes so much: boobs, blood, and Brienne. Hopefully we’ll be getting a lot of each.

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With the Twilight Saga film franchise (thankfully) wrapping up this year, fans of author Stephenie Meyer are turning their attention to the next film to spring from one of her works. The Host is being adapted from Meyer’s crack at more adult fiction and, while the book itself is a touch more advanced than Twilight, it still relies on some familiar tropes – love triangles, concocted mythology, the somewhat sci-fi, and lots and lots of drama. And now it looks as if the film version (from writer and director Andrew Niccol) will have something else in common with Twi-land – a way too attractive cast. Saoirse Ronan has long been attached to play the lead character of Melanie Stryder, a teenage girl who lives in a future world where Earth has been invaded by an alien race (the Souls) who take over human bodies (a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers), but with a much less nefarious edge to their plan. Melanie is one of the few remaining full humans, and she spends her days on the run with her little brother and her boyfriend Jared (to be played by Max Irons), until she too is caught by the Souls (who are also highly organized) and implanted with one of the parasitic aliens – who eventually goes by the name Wanderer and then Wanda. Of course, Melanie and her memories prove to much even for the experienced alien (who has been implanted in no less than eight other species over […]

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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