Sean Penn

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr follows Jamie Chung to Thailand, hoping to get married. Unfortunately, someone slips him roofies, which made him black out and spend a drunken night in Bangkok. Once he got out of that city, he headed over to China to become the new pot-bellied dragon warrior. After all, if a cartoon panda can do it, why can’t he? That didn’t stop him from spending another night in the hospital, and maybe a little time in a Bangkok jail. And then the real horror happened… Kevin saw The Tree of Life.

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Each Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar, there’s an extraordinary prayer read in synagogue. Called the “Unetanneh Tokef,” it evokes the awesome power of judgment day, extolling God’s capacity for punishment, his propensity for mercy and man’s insignificance in the face of it all. I thought of the third part of that prayer while watching The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s ambitious, meditative stab at codifying the cosmos. It gets close to the essence of the reclusive auteur’s much-anticipated new picture: “A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust. At risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.” In paralleling the origins of the universe with flashes from the everyday 1950s childhood of a young boy from Waco, Texas, Malick’s film captures the ethereal nature of life. Beginning with the Big Bang and the dinosaurs and cycling through Jack O’Brien’s (Sean Penn) memories of his youth — of ballgames on the lawn during muggy summer nights, his younger brother’s warm gaze, contentious family dinners and the first stirrings of sexual feelings — Malick offers one man’s story writ large and small.

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Criterion Files

In anticipation of Terrence Malick’s much-buzzed and much-argued-about Tree of Life, Adam and Landon are doing a two-part series on Malick’s films in the Criterion Collection. Part 1 – The Thin Red Line. The Thin Red Line (1998) is a film that accomplished many things. Least of which is the fact that, as the film was released twenty years after his previous completed work Days of Heaven, it established Terrence Malick as still a working filmmaker. While Malick had developed and abandoned several projects in the two decades that straddled his second and third feature films, the notoriously private director temporarily retired to France and workshopped a variety of screenplays and stage plays that, for one reason or another, never manifested. Though Malick’s sparse filmography hardly grants him a persona of being a prolific artist, his twenty-year filmmaking “hiatus” was never a hiatus at all, but was instead brimming with activity for potential projects. The Thin Red Line, then, should be thought of not as a decided return to filmmaking which assumes that the film is either a project twenty years in the making or the only thing he came across in twenty years worth making (as an academic who almost completed his doctorate and as a working journalist before becoming a filmmaker, part of the mystery surrounding the very private Malick is that filmmaking is simply one of several trades that define him – he’s like a far less public James Franco). The Thin Red Line may be more […]

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It feels like a millennium has passed since it was announced that Terrence Malick – aka The Man Who Won’t Be Rushed – would be next turning his hand to The Tree of Life, which landed at Cannes this morning to shed light on its most infuriatingly purblind synopsis, and a mysterious trailer that didn’t exactly clear things up. Would Malick be able to live up to the increasingly stifling expectations heaped on him by his infamously ponderous post-production technique? Could the film recapture the director’s incredible eye for composition and visuals, or would we be treated to another mess of in-determination, whose quality of substance wildly misses that of its aesthetic, as some have come to predict? Flicking through the accompanying press pack, it is striking to note how much those involved in the film’s production seem to insist on its deep, universally appropriate meaning, and the fact that the film should be judged not as something conventional cinematic, but rather as a unique and visceral experience, infinite in scope, organic, which transcends words and definition. If the alarm bells hadn’t already been ringing, the bell-ringer would surely have collapsed with exhaustion at this point.

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It was looking like Sean Penn might not be able to star in the upcoming organized crime film Gangster Squad after he entered negotiations to star alongside Christian Bale in The Last Photograph, but Variety is reporting that Penn is still in the running, and actually very close to signing. And now that Penn is almost on board, things are looking good for Josh Brolin to join the cast as well. Gangster Squad is the story of the LAPD’s battle against famed gangster Mickey Cohen and other mafia men trying to make the jump from East to West coast back in the 40s and 50s. The script is based off of a L.A. Times article written on the subject by Paul Lieberman. Penn is negotiating for the role of Cohen, and the previously rumored Ryan Gosling and newly rumored Josh Brolin would be a pair of police tasked with bringing him down. The original article was adapted for the screen by Will Beall, who is a former police officer turned novelist, and Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer will direct. I think everything that I mentioned in this article is awesome, so hopefully when you put them all together the results will be a movie that is super awesome. At the very least I can’t wait to watch Gosling and Penn trying to flamboyantly out act each other while Brolin is all squinty and minimal in the background.

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The Last Photograph is a story about a war reporter in Afghanistan who is the only survivor of an attack on a group of Americans, and an ex-special ops soldier who is related to the victim of a kidnapping. The soldier has come to find and rescue his relation, and he convinces the reporter to help identify his attackers/the kidnappers in exchange for letting him tag along and report the story. Christian Bale is already set to play the reporter, and now Sean Penn is reportedly close to signing on to play the part of the soldier. I see this move as a risk. Everybody knows that Liam Neeson is the one who rakes in the big bucks when he’s hunting down kidnappers, not Sean Penn. The film is going to be directed by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Niels Arden Oplev with the 300 gang of Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, and Gianni Nunnari producing. No funding for the picture is yet in place, but Dark Castle is reportedly close to inking a deal that would give them the task, with Warner Bros. handling the distributing end of things. With a couple of actors like Bale and Penn on board, this is a film that’s sure to get a lot of attention. And with a couple of actors like Bale and Penn on board, this is a film that’s sure to have a tense set. My best wishes go out to Niels Arden Oplev, who I think impeccably directed […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like your collegiate sex life, it will be in and out quick with nothing very interesting to say. It will, however, deliver unto you all the magical and wondrous movie news of the day. And it promises to call you the next day, because you’re a person, dammit. We open tonight with images of humans running away from fireballs. It must be time for a Michael Bay update. This one is from Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and it includes zero robots. Not quite as interesting as the ones that include robots, but still quite ‘splosiony.

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Terrance Malick’s films have always seemed a bit too airy and enigmatic, and The Tree of Life seems no different based on the trailer. It looks like equal parts Stand By Me, The Fountain, and Introduction to Eastern Philosophy As Seen Through The Eyes of the 1950s Male. It might turn out to be mind blowing or mind numbing. Brad Pitt plays a father to Jack, a young boy who he leans on a bit too heavily. Now an adult (played by Sean Penn), Jack wants to find some peace within that relationship. He also, for some reason, wants to dance around in a cloud of DDT. Check it out for yourself in higher def over at Apple. On a side note, did anyone else get a slight rush of nostalgia seeing Brad Pitt asking another character to hit him in the face? The Tree of Life hits theaters in May 2011.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on a wizard’s robe, wears a colorful scarf and dances around in the woods with his magic wand yelling, “Stupify!” And that’s just to celebrate the release of Fair Game in his home town. He also takes a look at this little independent film that few people have even heard of, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. Sadly, a bizarre mishap with his wizarding skills causes a boulder to fall on his hand and pin him for 93 minutes, which was actually quite fortunate because it gave him just enough time to watch 127 Hours.

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There’s something about the new poster for Terrence Malick’s forthcoming Tree of Life that has an E.T. quality about it. It’s tough to put a finger on, but it’s there. However, there’s nothing Amblin-like about the new synopsis coming straight from the director’s mouth. Except that it focuses on an 11-year-old boy and a family in the Midwest. Other than that, there’s nothing Spielbergian about it. Hop off your front porch swing, and check out the poster after the jump.

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Earlier today a very juicy email from an exec at Paramount was let loose into the world by the folks over at The Wrap. Within said email was details on a good number of projects currently in development. Insider notes — like the fact that producers are “very happy” with the recent draft of G.I. Joe 2 from Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. That’s encouraging, to say the least. But perhaps the most interesting piece of news to come out of this whole debacle — save for World War Z being on track, which is awesome — is a project that would re-team Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) and pair them with an ensemble of very big names.

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Summit Entertainment is gearing up for yet another awards season run, hot off their win of Best Picture last year with The Hurt Locker. In their corner this year is Doug Liman’s latest, Fair Game, the story of real-life CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) and her husband Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), who made headlines not long ago when Plame was outed by the press, unspooling a massive government operation and putting her face on the otherwise sticky situation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq just before the most recent war began. The film played to lukewarm reviews at the Cannes Film Festival earlier in the year and is decidedly stacked with talent. Should be worth keeping an eye on between now and its November 5 release date. Trailer and synopsis are available after the jump.

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Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie is still finishing up his rewrites on Sherlock Holmes 2, a film that Warner Bros. has already given a (rapidly approaching) release date of December 16, 2011. But even though the new script is not done, he’s been thinking about who he’d like to take over as the villain Moriarty. Just as it was in the first film — it doesn’t appear to be Brad Pitt.

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Your daily recommended allowance of random movie stuff, stories that fell through the cracks, and news you can’t use.

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There’s a scene (video below) midway through the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedy Pillow Talk (1959) that has always fascinated me. Through the benefit of hindsight, it’s impossible to watch the scene as it was viewed contemporaneous to its release.

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It was the best of times and the drug-induced times in American modern history. Stick out your thumb and dig deep into the madness.

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mwl-thegame

Wealthy-beyond-belief Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is gifted entrance into a strange game by his prodigal brother Conrad (Sean Penn). He goes in for extensive testing, and when he’s told he doesn’t qualify, the game begins in earnest, testing his wits, physical strength and the emotional scarring caused by witnessing his father’s suicide as a child.

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This week, on a very special Reject Radio, we discuss the finer points of Bea Arthur’s genius while attempting futilely to discuss Year One and the world of remakes taking over theaters like something that really effectively takes over something. Like Genghis Khan.

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stooges-casting

Earlier today Variety confirmed that MGM and the Farrelly brothers are closing in on their final cast for their upcoming comedy The Three Stooges. Now we’re interested to know what you think about it.

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sean-penn-header1

Hot off his Oscar win for Milk, Sean Penn is in talks with Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment to star in the film Cartel. The rest is still a bit unclear.

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