Shia Labeouf

Pompeii Movie

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Shia Career

A few days ago, cinema lost a celebrated actor when Shia LaBeouf announced his retirement from public life. Ostensibly, that includes acting performances (except for the private kind), meaning that decades of unrealized work will live on only in our hearts and imaginations. Presumably, his final performance will come in David Ayer’s forthcoming war picture with Brad Pitt and no on-set shower. If it gets a release this year, it’ll be alongside a penetrating performance for Lars von Trier’s two-part Nymphomaniac, making 2014 the final year of LaBeouf’s cinematic career. The curious element to the plagiarizing episode that has caused LaBeouf to throw his arms up in the air (and then skywrite in it) is that there’s an engine driving the absurdity. A kind of legitimacy. The mockery and derision prove that, at some level, we take LaBeouf seriously as a performer. Or at least his potential. Otherwise — and with anyone we don’t think of as genuine– this public stunt wouldn’t even register. At most it would be a day’s diversion, not stretching, seemingly endlessly, into the foreseeable future. So the question is when we started taking the little kid from Even Stevens seriously.

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www.indiewire-4

Lars von Trier‘s very public love affair with our naughty parts rolls on, with its most recent cinematic actualization culminating in Nymphomaniac: Part One debuting at the Berlin Film Festival in February, and a release to general audiences March 21, 2014. The second volume, of what will combined come in at 4 1/2 hours, will arrive in theaters April 18, 2014. While von Trier has promised an excess of skin and debauch in the theatrical releases, audiences at the Berlinale will be treated with an extra explicit, 5 1/2 hour version of the tale of Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s Joe, and her  trials and travails as a lifelong nymphomaniac. Below are a healthy mix of not particularly shocking character portraits, some film stills, and the previously mentioned NSFW additions, of which topless ladies are prominently featured. If anyone feels robbed by the lack of penis inclusion in the collection, a quick Google Image Search of “naked mole rat” should scratch that itch. You’re welcome in advance.

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Howard Cantour

Why Watch? Melancholic in its splendor, this short film from Shia LaBeouf provides the snapshot of a conflicted online film critic who has the difficult, yet potentially unnecessary task of panning his hero’s latest movie. Howard Cantour (Jim Gaffigan) is all of those cliches we’ve come to expect, but he’s also an exposed nerve, simmering with personal loss and free press junket cookies. HowardCantour.com is percolating with energy that’s anchored by a conflicting ball of low self-esteem. Gaffigan is so good here that you’ll wonder why he hasn’t had a Carrey-esque leap as a dramatic leading man yet, but the writing also pulls serious weight to creating a confused rebel who dreams in technicolor even as he sits alone at a diner. Howard is more than the usual schlubby, easily-swayed critical figure — he’s the warm narcissistic center of an epic tale where pressing a single keyboard button can appear to be a life-altering event. Shot and scored to reflect the largeness inside his mind, the short comports itself with the same kind of self-seriousness that Howard does.

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nymphomaniac_ver17

Titillation is to be expected. Perhaps some embarrassment, a blush, furtive glances. Revulsion comes second (and sometimes, not at all!). The recent marketing for Lars von Trier’s two-part Nymphomaniac hasn’t shied away from its subject matter in the slightest – the nudity, the orgasmic faces, and the bold tagline “FORGET ABOUT LOVE” are both bold and bruising – and the result is one of the most well-made and deeply disturbing marketing campaigns in recent memory. The excitement of seeing sex on the big screen is there, certainly, but so is the lingering sense that everything here is very, very wrong.  

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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

Editor’s note: Our review of what was then called The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman originally ran during this year’s Sundance film festival, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited release today. A close up of a beaten and bloodied Shia LaBeouf (who plays the title character) hanging upside down is the first image of The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman and brings one question to mind: what did Charlie do? A voice over (from John Hurt) explains simply that “love is pain” as the story takes us “back to the beginning” to a stark hospital room where Charlie’s mother (Melissa Leo) lies dying. As she takes her final breath, something strange happens, and suddenly a healthy looking Leo sits next to Charlie to impart some last words and wisdom. This idea that Charlie can hear from the dead (complete with a tongue-in-cheek joke about The Sixth Sense) is touched upon throughout the film, but unfortunately ends up being more distracting (and sometimes laughable) than a necessary trope to help drive the story along. Charlie’s mom tells him he should go to Bucharest, essentially because she thinks he will “have fun” there. So he does.

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trailer charlie countryman

Visited by his late mother one strange night in a dream, Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) is prompted to board a plane and journey to Bucharest with no real plans in mind. What starts out as a drug-fueled party trip filled with dancing, pills and Rupert Grint, turns into something more severe when he meets up with a mysterious girl named Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). Gangsters and gun violence follow. Isn’t that how these things always work out? Fredrik Bond‘s Charlie Countryman (formerly The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman) seems like, at least from the trailer, a story about a man who plays it safe, who now gets to live when thrust into his new surroundings. Though we’re not shown what his life is like before Bucharest, it’s clear that the version of Charlie that gets hunted down by Mads Mikkelsen and parties hard isn’t the norm. But unlike in yesterday’s trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Charlie doesn’t have the years of disappointing life experiences under his belt to be in such a place of overwhelming complacency. Check out the trailer here:

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news ford wants more indy

Let’s all try to process this together. After the overwhelming monstrosity that was 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford freely admitted out of his own volition to the Telegraph recently that he thinks making a fifth Indy film could be a neat idea. Though he didn’t give a definite “yes” to the hypothetical film, he had this to say: “We’ve seen the character develop and grow over a period of time and it’s perfectly appropriate and okay for him to come back again with a great movie around him where he doesn’t necessarily have to kick as much ass. To me, what was interesting about the character was that he prevailed, that he had courage, that he had wit, that he had intelligence, that he was frightened and that he still managed to survive. That I can do.”

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Nympomaniac Labeouf

It’s the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for another exciting chapter tease from Lars Von Trier’s upcoming Nymphomaniac. Last month, we got a lesson in pickup artistry, yesterday we got a nude caress, and today we get a super sleazy Shia Labeouf as Jerome showing young Joe (Stacy Martin) some special tricks the elevator can do. Enjoy taking a shower afterward:

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nympho

There are undoubtedly plenty of people who will see Lars Von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac for its artistic value, its frank look at sex and its continuation of Von Trier’s deeply disturbing (and very artsy) filmography. There are also plenty of people who will see it for one reason and one reason only: to see the craziness that is Shia LaBoeuf performing unspeakable acts onscreen.

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nympho

There’s already been a lot of talk surrounding Danish director Lars Von Trier’s next project, Nymphomaniac. But that’s bound to happen once you announce that you’re making a movie about one woman’s lifetime of sex addiction that’s going to feature graphic scenes of sexual penetration performed by mainstream actors. Or will it? The debate as to whether or not we’re going to be shown Shia LaBeouf’s penis has been raging for over a year now. But putting Shia LaBeouf’s penis aside for a moment, the film has just released its first teaser, or its first “Nymphomaniac appetizer,” as they’re calling it, so we can now finally get our first glimpse at exactly what level of shocking tawdriness the esteemed director of Antichrist has in store for us this time around. Spoilers: it involves young girls having sex with strangers on a train.

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Shia LaBeouf

In “hey, I’ll give these guys a shot at this” news, Deadline reports that 28 Weeks Later and Intruders director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, newbie screenwriter Joshua Zetumer (he just penned the new Robocop remake), and Even Stevens and Holes star Shia LaBeouf are set to team up on Zetumer’s Villain. Fresnadillo will direct (uh, of course) the psychological thriller that “follows two brothers who mysteriously re-connect in an unforgiving wilderness.” LaBeouf will play one of the brothers (the villain?), with the other brother role reportedly set to be cast soon. For now, that’s all we know about the project, but that tantalizing bit of plot information is certainly rich with possibility. Obviously, there’s still a lot that could go wrong with this one, and much of the film’s success will depend on who they get to star opposite LaBeouf (perhaps his Orphans replacement Ben Foster?), an actor who seems to be screaming out for a juicy role that reminds people that he can more than just act alongside robot aliens and piss off Alec Baldwin. We haven’t seen anything out of Zetumer just yet, and Fresnadillo hasn’t lived up to his post-28 Weeks Later promise, but this could very much be the type of feature that works out well for all of them. Also important to the film’s success? Well, a plot worthy of that one sentence slug. Any film can sound great when it’s distilled down so finely, but here’s hoping that this one works out and capitalizes on the talent involved. We’re not usually the type to get over the moon about simple marketing bits, but […]

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watts

What is Casting Couch? It’s not a fishing program on public access. It’s a place on the Internet to go to hear about actors landing roles. Today we have the latest on The Rock’s upcoming schedule, as well as a new member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you weren’t already on board to see a movie where Bill Murray plays a creepy old man who teaches all of his wrong-headed ways to his 12-year-old neighbor, then there’s probably something wrong with you, but St. Vincent De Van Nuys hasn’t given up on you yet. It’s latest strategy to lure you in, which comes after casting Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd as Murray’s co-stars, is to sign up Naomi Watts in the role of a Russian prostitute who Murray’s character likes to keep company with. That sounds both ridiculous and sexy, which are basically the two best ways anything can be. [Deadline]

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DeLabeouf

What is Casting Couch? Your daily dose of casting news. Today we’ve got a new job for Viola Davis as well as word on who the next actor to mutate for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past will be. According to Heat Vision, Robert De Niro and Shia LaBeouf are both in negotiations to take the starring roles in an upcoming espionage thriller called Spy’s Kid. That’s, Spy’s Kid, not Spy Kids, which is something totally different. What’s this one about? It’s based on the true story of a CIA operative named Jim Nicholson who was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 23 years in prison, but who kept the family business alive by teaching his son how to ply his trade from jail. Shady deals with Russian operatives followed. Alongside De Niro and LaBeouf negotiating to star, LaBeouf’s Disturbia director DJ Caruso is also negotiating to direct, and whether the whole package comes together or not is said to hinge largely on if the script that eventually gets written is any good. No writer has yet been hired.

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Company

Shia LaBeouf has already quite effectively shrugged off his adolescent persona as a Disney kid (admittedly, though, he was always a bit of a weird one, he certainly wasn’t going to ever star in his own version of High School Musical) with a series of big blockbusters and big public bust-ups, but the actor still seems to be searching for an appropriate niche to serve his undeniable (though sometimes overshadowed) talents. Fortunately for everyone involved, LaBeouf hits his stride in Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep, a smart and serious slice of hard-boiled drama that’s long been absent from the local multiplex. LaBeouf stars as Ben Shepard, a go-getter cub reporter in upstate New York who stumbles upon the biggest story of his young career, one that unexpectedly pops up practically in his own backyard. When Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) is captured by the FBI at a random gas station in New York state for a crime committed decades before, it kicks off a renewed interest in her case. A former member of the Weather Underground, Sharon and three other pals knocked over a bank back in their heyday, killing an innocent guard in the process. One of her cohorts was captured long ago, but two remain on the run, even decades later. If Sharon could hide out and live a seemingly normal life (nice husband, nice kids, nice house), who’s to say what happened to Nick Sloan and Mimi Lurie?

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The Company You Keep

Robert Redford’s Jim Grant speaks a poignant line in his latest film, The Company You Keep, stating, “Secrets are dangerous things. We all think we want to know them, but if you’ve ever kept one yourself then you understand to do so is not just knowing something about someone else, it’s discovering something about yourself.” As the film’s ominous title suggests, The Company You Keep is about uncovering secrets and what doing so can mean for the people keeping them and those desperate to reveal them. Driven by dynamic performances from an all-star cast, The Company You Keep is as much about what is said as what is not said, all underscored by a restrained, but moving score from Cliff Martinez. Martinez’s rock band roots have made him no stranger to electrifying his scores and pushing the boundaries of standard orchestration. Unlike the thriller pulse Martinez created for last year’s Arbitrage (another story about a man who is not everything he first seems), he takes a different approach to The Company You Keep relying heavily on the use of one of his go-to instruments, the baschet cristal, to create music that hovers in the background like an unwanted thought, dissonant while still being memorable.

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The Company You Keep

The sheer amount of acting prowess in The Company You Keep is staggering. It’s a veritable Expendables of adult drama, complete with the sure hand of Robert Redford on the director’s wheel (which may or may not be a thing I just made up). The story focuses on a young journalist (Shia LaBeouf) who exposes a former Weather Underground member (Redford) who has to go on the run from the law again. Beyond the director and Lem Dobbs (Dark City, The Limey) pulling screenwriting duty, the lineup includes: Sam Elliot, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick, Nick Nolte, Stanley Tucci and Chris Cooper among others. Obviously they financed the film by melting down the award statues of the cast. Plus, the promise of the project seems fulfilled by a compelling trailer. Check it out for yourself:

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Main Street Sundance

I started the day with a naked, drugged up Shia LaBeouf – a concept that would have thrilled me five years ago, but did not quite do it for me this morning. No – I did not wake up after a crazy night down on Main Street, but I did wake up to head down to Eccels (a venue I quite dig) for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, featuring Mr. LaBeouf, some nudity, and drug use. Review to come, but I was sadly disappointed with Charlie Countryman as it tried to pack a few too many concepts into a single film. My next film was Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s directorial debut, Don Jon’s Addiction. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a festival, a film that happens to simply entertain you is a welcome respite, and I found Don Jon’s Addiction to be quite entertaining. Gordon-Levitt, who plays a Mike “The Situation” archtype, actually worked really well, delivering the laughs thanks to the film’s sharp cuts and a dynamic relationship with Scarlett Johansson‘s Barbara Sugarman. Before heading out to my final film of the day, I met up with White Bear PR’s Chandler Poling to check out the ASCAP Music Cafe’s cocktail party. Having never made it over to the Cafe (a crime considering it’s across the street from my condo) it was a welcome break and a good time meeting composers and fellow music writers. Plus – you know – free booze.

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Aural Fixation - Large

You may have watched, or even just heard of, the slightly strange video featuring Shia LaBeouf and dancer Denna Thomsen that hit the web a few months back. The video features the pair dancing, fighting, and losing themselves to the almost sad sounding piano refrains of Sigur Rós’ “Fjögur Píanó” from the band’s latest album, Valtari. But even though the duo may have been performing to the music, the production was clearly more than a simple music video. Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, the video was directed by Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach) and is one of seventeen videos commissioned by Sigur Rós to be a part of their Valtari Film Experiment. Rather than simply going on tour to bring their latest album to the public, Sigur Rós had various filmmakers and artists take each of Valtari’s tracks and create their own visions inspired by them. Music and images have long gone hand-in-hand, with music used to score a film or images are used to depict the meaning behind a song, but when paired together, their impact becomes even greater. Sigur Rós, a band that has never shied away from experimentation, has taken the first step by creating the music and then released it to be re-imagined by others. Bands usually create music videos to accompany their songs and give fans a greater look at the song’s meaning, but this experiment allows those outside of the band have complete creative control to see what that freedom yields.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that has a theory casting agents are kind of just coasting going into the Thanksgiving holiday. Bryan Cranston. For a long time he was viewed as being an under appreciated character actor, or even “the dad from Malcolm in the Middle,” but these days he’s basically the most universally beloved actor in the business. It’s amazing what cooking meth in your tighty-whities can do for your career. What a coup for the upcoming crime drama, Eye of Winter, then, that it’s landed Cranston as its lead. He’ll be playing a blind criminal who takes a struggling motel owner (Alive Eve) and her daughter hostage so that they can be his eyes while he attempts to retrieve a package from a crooked cop (Logan Marshall Green). Tze Chun (Children of Invention) will direct and has co-written alongside Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon. [Variety]

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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