Shia Labeouf

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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Wahlberg and Bay

Though Michael Bay was initially reticent to commit to making a fourth installment of his hugely successful Transformers franchise, the money in these things is just too good, so it was really only a matter of time before he relented and agreed to sign on for a fourth. And though the news of another Bay-directed Transformers movie is going to be enough to earn groans from a lot of film fans, there have been some promising indications that a fourth film could be the best yet, even with the same director in place. From the very beginning, Transformers 4 has been thought of as a retooling of the franchise. Gone would be the north of $200m budgets and focus on Shia LaBeouf’s goofy Sam character and his ridiculously annoying family, and in their place would be a more traditional action plot starring a more traditional action actor. Heck, at one point it was even rumored that the studio was going after Jason Statham to star. Say that Bay made a Transformers movie without a focus on all of that family-friendly humor, with a budget that forced him to rely a little less on technical wizardry and a little more on his ingenuity…that could result in a watchable movie, right? The final battle of Transformers 3 was a lot of fun to watch, what if that were the whole movie?

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

Just last week we reported that Robert Redford’s latest film, The Company You Keep, managed to score a distribution deal before it even played any festivals. Well, the film is gearing up to play Venice and Toronto regardless, so TIFF has released a trailer promoting it. Complete with typewriter sounds and vintage news footage, said trailer starts off by making The Company You Keep look like it’s going to be an authentic, journalistic look at the history of the radical anti-war group The Weather Underground, but then we’re suddenly dumped into present day, and it’s revealed that this is actually going to be a fun-looking chase movie about the last few members of the movement still being on the run from the law. The Company You Keep is full of grizzled old activists/bank robbers, plucky young reporters, plucky young F.B.I. agents, action, intrigue, murder, and a cast that features names like Redford, Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Brendan Gleeson, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Richard Jenkins, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Julie Christie, Stephen Root, and Stanley Tucci.

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Jason Clarke in Lawless

Lawless features some towering performances. Tom Hardy commands with every grunt, Guy Pearce snarls in every scene, and Gary Oldman gives a quietly vicious performance. Then there’s Jason Clarke, playing the oldest of the three Bondurant brothers, Howard. He’s the brute of the group, the unhinged ox who’s seen a mass-scale violence, and he has clearly been affected by it. Clarke, like Hardy and his grunts, walks through the film with a lumbering physicality, as if he’s not even in much control over his own violent tendencies. That physicality is a factor Clarke put a lot of thought into, from using a smaller heel on his boot to wearing weights on his ankles. It’s that sort of commitment which seems to have earned the actor gigs with the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Kathryn Bigelow, John Hillcoat, and the two peas in the pod, Roland Emmerich and Terrence Malick. The actor was kind enough to take time off from walking around the White House for Emmerich to discuss his love for research, finding a character, and how you should never be afraid to go big.

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The twelve-year run of prohibition in the United States was a period that punctuated social imparity, religious activism, and was a launchpad for some of the biggest names in organized crime. Basically, it’s a mixed bag of deeply interesting subject matter that is spot-on perfect for the big screen. Director John Hillcoat‘s Lawless is a violent slice of that era’s dying days. Distilled by screenwriter Nick Cave from the pages of Matt Bondurant‘s 2008 historical novel, “The Wettest County in the World,” Lawless tells the story of the Bondurant brothers, a family of moonshiners in the Blue Ridge Foothills of Franklin County, Virginia. In the midst of the Great Depression, the citizenry of Franklin County carved a living out of  making moonshine, and none are more successful than the brothers Bondurant, who run a healthy bootlegging racket.

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

The latest directorial effort from screen legend Robert Redford, The Company You Keep, was all set to make a big splash and impress distributors at the upcoming deal-making feeding grounds that are the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, but a new development is making it look like the film’s screenings at those fests are going to come off as something of an afterthought. If you’ve got a used car that you need to get rid of, or maybe some old exercise equipment lying around that you’ve been thinking of putting on eBay, then maybe you should think of having Redford write the ad copy for you, because it seems that he’s something of a salesman. THR is reporting that the director, along with his fellow producers Nicolas Chartier and Bill Holderman, have already struck a deal with Sony Pictures Classics to handle all U.S. distributions rights for the film. Based on a book by Neil Gordon, The Company You Keep stars Redford himself as a former Weather Underground militant, wanted for bank robbery and murder, who gets exposed decades after his crimes by a meddling young reporter (as played by Shia LaBeouf).

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When it’s announced that experimental filmmaker Lars von Trier has a new project in the works, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to be in for something weird. When it’s announced that he’s making a movie called Nymphomaniac, then you have to consider the possibility that he might be going places that you’re not prepared to follow. What we know about the film so far is that it details the erotic experiences of a woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) from her youth up to age 50, and the narrative framework of the film is a recounting of the events given to her husband (Stellan Skarsgard) from her perspective. Other than the confirmation of Gainsbourg and Skarsgård, not much is yet known about the cast that von Trier is looking to put together. And seeing as this film is set to be an anthology tale, one would imagine that the director is going to have to find a handful of actors to get the job done. Who could he possibly have his eye on for a movie about sexual experimentation? The involvement of Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe has been rumored from the start, but never confirmed. But what has been confirmed (via THR) is that the director is currently negotiating with Transformers vet Shia LaBeouf to take a role.

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We haven’t reported much yet on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, which is a shame, because it’s a promising sounding project. So, seeing as there’s a new bit of casting news regarding the film, let’s use that as an excuse to cover all the basics, shall we? The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman started off as a Black List script by a screenwriter named Matt Drake (Project X) that was eventually picked up by Voltage Pictures and given to Fredrik Bond to direct. A studio synopsis for the film explains it by saying, “Charlie Countryman was just a normal guy…until he fell in love with the one girl who will probably get him killed. When Charlie meets the absolutely irresistible Gabi she’s already been claimed by Nigel, an insanely violent crime boss with a gang of thugs at his disposal. Armed with little more than his wit and naïve charm, Charlie endures one bruising beat down after another to woo Gabi and keep her out of harm’s way. Finally his exploits of blind valor create such a mess that he’s left with only one way out; to save the girl of his dreams, must Charlie Countryman die?” These aren’t the truly exciting aspects of the film, however. The real appeal of this project is the cast that Bond has assembled. He’s got Shia LaBeouf in the title role, Evan Rachel Wood playing Gabi, Mads Mikklesen on board as the Nigel character, and names like Rupert Grint and Melissa Leo […]

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There are somewhere around a million reasons to look forward to John Hillcoat’s upcoming movie about Depression-era bootleggers, Lawless. Not the least of which is that it’s got one of the most exciting up-and-coming actors on the planet, Tom Hardy, in a prominent role. Hardy has already proven to be a versatile enough talent, but it’s clear that he’s always at his best when he’s projecting an aura of extreme manliness, and these two new clips from Lawless give us a chance to watch him do just that. In the first his bootlegger character, Forrest Bondurant, is trading some snarky dialogue with the new authority in town who’s been tasked to take him down, as played by Guy Pearce. You see, Pearce’s character is all snooty and from the big city of Chicago, so he thinks he’s going to roll into town and run the joint, and Hardy’s character is from the backwoods and doesn’t get impressed by fancy big talk, so he’s not going to listen to anybody. When they get nose to nose and start poking at each other you could swear that you’re watching a hype video for this year’s Wrestlemania. It’s glorious.

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In Lawless, John Hillcoat has almost crafted the perfect modern Western, infusing more explicitly the gangster genre elements that always occur in the genre, but never quite so explicitly. The film follows the Bondurant brothers – Jack (Shia Labeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) – rise as the most famous bootleggers in sun-dried Prohibition-era Virginia, and the government’s attempts to stop them. The government’s chief agent is Guy Pearce‘s Charlie Rakes, a flamboyant looking, but profoundly villainous Special Deputy, let off his leash when the Bondurants, lead by Hardy’s powerhouse Forrest refuse to pay a monthly toll on their illegal activities. While it may sound like an all guns-blazing, epic Prohibition-era Western, the story, adapted well from Matt Bondurant‘s historical novel by Nick Cave (who also once again offers a superlative score) focuses on human stories to add poignancy and depth to the more explosive sequences.

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Director John Hillcoat’s (The Road) upcoming project tells the tale of a family of Depression-era bootleggers coming under the scrutiny of a crooked and cutthroat authority. It’s adapted from a Matt Bondurant novel called “The Wettest County in the World,” it was once being referred to as The Wettest County, and for some reason it’s now called Lawless – but a movie with this cast by any other name would be just as badass. The film’s first theatrical trailer has hit the net today, thanks to Yahoo! Movies, and for the first time we’re getting a glimpse of just how much fun it is to see all of these actors working together; which is a whole lot of fun indeed. First off, you’ve got Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, and Tom Hardy playing the Bondurant Boys, the bootlegging trio of brothers who are, at least in some way, based off the author of the source material’s real family history. Then you’ve got Gary Oldman playing the big-time crook they’re working for, Guy Pearce playing the corrupt authority figure brought in to make sure they’re either getting shut down or giving the government their required cut of the profits, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska playing a couple of ladies they become romantically entangled with, and a whole host of grizzled-looking character actors filling out the rest of the cast of backwoods Virginia hillbillies.

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Movie News After Dark: Katy Perry

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie collection of links, posters, videos, and other newsworthy mediums that mostly have to do with movies. Sometimes we mix in a bit of television. Other times we’re talking about something completely different. Call us unfocused if you must, but don’t you ever call us boring. Leading with a photo of Katy Perry, not my finest moment. Rest assured, though, as there is some actual movie news associated with the buxom pop singer picture above. Paramount Pictures — the studio that brought you the box office cow Justin Bieber: Never Say Never — is planning a Katy Perry 3D movie documentary concert film thing. Squee!

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Typically, release date information isn’t the most important of news, but when it comes to John Hillcoat’s latest project, a star-packed adaptation of a book ripe for a cinematic telling, all bets are off. Hillcoat lensed The Wettest County in the World, from Matt Bondurant’s fact-based tale of his very own grandfather and two of his granduncles and their moonshine-running exploits in Prohibition-era Virginia, earlier this spring, and rumors once held that we’d see it this December, but that’s just not the case. The Weinstein Company picked the film up back during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but they won’t have the time or inclination to get it into theaters until April 20, 2012. The film is crammed with a murderer’s row of talent, from the firmly established (Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce) to the up-and-coming (Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Dane DeHaan, Mia Wasikowska) to the hot properties looking to expand their resumes (Shia LaBeouf , Tom Hardy). Hardy, Clarke, and LaBeouf star as the three bootlegging Bondurant brothers, who attempt to hold their family business together through threats that include the law, other bootleggers, and love. While the book itself is a bit dry, the tale of the Bondurants is inherently cinematic, and under Hillcoat’s watch (and with a script from his The Proposition scribe, the ever-talented Nick Cave), Wettest County should prove to be an accomplished and thrilling slice of Americana. [BoxOfficeMojo, The Playlist]

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With $1.1b in international revenue for the third film alone, it’s not really news that Hasbro is drooling for another Transformers flick, but The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the company is currently in talks with Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay about moving forward. This also isn’t a surprise, and since it’s widely known that Bay and star Shia Labeouf have been unenthusiastic about returning to the franchise, it won’t be a surprise when they pass on the director’s chair and the star trailer respectively. However, there’s something important to consider here. With Bay gone, the biggest force in the franchise is gone, and without Labeouf, its face is gone as well. That means that someone can pull out the old drawing board and start again on creating a franchise that does a better job of focusing on the cool part of Transformers (the Transformers) and on crafting a better sci-fi story. Meanwhile, Hasbro continues fruitless development on their other projects. Battleship is storming the beaches in the near future, but Candyland, their Ouija Board movie and several other projects are still not nearly as far along as they should be for the amount of time that’s been spent promising them. That’s probably a good thing. The world doesn’t need another Clue movie, but another shot at getting transforming robots might be just the thing humanity is crying out for.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that brings together all the most interesting stories and articles from around the web. It’s also fully immersed in Comic-Con week. Thus, another night of leading with an image of cosplay brilliance and advice from Comic-Con veterans. In our continued effort to get you ready to attack Comic-Con this week right alongside our own hit squad, here is another guide full of useful tips. Movies.com has put together a list of 10 Things Everyone Should Do at Least Once During Comic-Con, including one of my personal favorite things, “buy something new in Artist Alley.” Just remember that Twilight isn’t the only thing happening at SDCC, support those artists.

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With Michael Bay gone (for the foreseeable future) and Shia Labeouf done with the franchise professionally, the next incarnation of Transformers will most definitely look different. Without the auteur subtlety of Bay, producer Don Murphy will need to go to someone else, and there aren’t many who can handle large action sequences with as much skill (at least not many who would want the job). Still questioning whether we’ll see more of the giant robots? Murphy posted on his website (via /film), saying “What happens next? Certainly not a reboot. We haven’t lost the Transformers. They didn’t grow up or become expensive like Toby Maguire. I don’t know what happens next. I’m pretty sure there will be a second trilogy. I am pretty sure it will kick ass. And I am pretty sure some of you will hate it because it wasn’t all bots.” So if the producer is pretty sure they’ll make more, what should they look like? What problems can the fix? What elements should be kept the same? What do you want to see in future Transformers movies?

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All during the lead up to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, both the film’s director Michael Bay and its star Shia LaBeouf made it clear that three was going to be enough for them, and that they would not be coming back for a Transformers 4. Usually when declarations like this are made there’s a lot of hand wringing that goes on as everybody tries to figure out what it would take to get the big names back. In this case, however, the concept of huge robots turning into cars and fighting is way, way cooler than either Michael Bay or Shia LaBeouf.  You guys aren’t coming back? Great, then maybe we’ll finally get a Transformers movie that’s completely awesome. And if the early rumors turn out to have nuggets of truth to them, then I already like Transformers 4 better than I’ve liked any of the first three. Showbiz Spy is claiming that they have sources close to the development of the franchise, and seeing as the third film is making so much money, a fourth is going to be attempted even without Bay and LaBeouf. And since they can cast off the shackles of the previous creative direction, they are looking to take the Autobots in a much darker and more adult direction. To that end they’re apparently looking at action star Jason Statham to become the new lead of the series.

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While enduring the mild pain caused by Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I thought to myself, “Man, this Sam character is a real prick. What type of people actually like this person? This is the best savior we could get?” I then realized that I often find myself thinking this nowadays. We rarely get great, likable heroes or genuine badasses on film anymore. Most are either mopey, passive, or do morally questionable acts. I’m not referring to anti-heroes — although, I do include one on the list — but, rather, the unintentionally lame mainstream characters that aren’t the most compelling or charming. A few of these not-so-heroic characters aren’t due to bad acting. As you’ll notice, Leonardo DiCaprio made the list for Inception, where he gave a solid performance. While I wouldn’t say that most of the actors featured here impressed anyone, DiCaprio and a few others certainly did. Here are ten mainstream characters that exhibit very little heroics:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr decides to dump Megan Fox and hook up with a sexy British model who will shake her ass in front of a 3D camera for Michael Bay. Sadly, he couldn’t make that happen, so he heads down to the scooter pool at the local community college, hoping to find a free-spirited chick with a name that’s impossible to pronounce. Again, no dice, Chicago. So, Kevin abandons all hope and hides in a theater for almost three hours, watching Michael Bay’s latest spectacle. Then he postpones seeing Larry Crowne so he can stalk teachers from the aforementioned community college, hoping one is as drunk and pretty as Julia Roberts is in her latest film. How could this possibly end badly?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and commentary column that is a little disoriented at the moment. But don’t worry, it will find its way. Oh, there’s a few Michael Bay-related stories to talk about. That’s so much better… With the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon happening this evening at 9pm or midnight or whatever, there’s been a lot of talk about Michael Bay, the most divisive man in cinema (at the moment). Today brought several must-reads, including GQ’s Oral history of Michael Bay exposé, which chronicles the life and times of the man who demands it all to be awesome. I also enjoyed this defense of Michael Bay piece by Jacob Hall at Movies.com. It’s a delightful look at the internal struggle movie-lovers face when confronted with pure, unfiltered awesome.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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