Shiloh Fernandez

Syrup

Is it possible that all of your likes, your dislikes, the very tastes that you feel define you as a human being, aren’t really choices that you’ve made for yourself at all, but ideas that have been sold to you by slick, suit-wearing predators who pride themselves on being able to tap into your ego and insecurities in order to brainwash you into believing whatever what they want you to believe? Are you such a mindless follower that you’ve bought your entire identity off of a billboard? These are the heady questions at the center of Max Barry’s debut novel “Syrup,” which is a satirical tale set in the world of product marketing. And they’re the heady questions at the center of director Aram Rappaport’s new film adaptation of the story, which stars names like Shiloh Fernandez, Brittany Snow, and Amber Heard.

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Cate Blanchett

What is Casting Couch? It’s a round-up of Hollywood casting news, not one of those porn videos where a 19-year-old gets exploited in a grimy-looking office. Move along, perv. Now that we’ve got all of those live action Snow White movies out of the way, it makes sense that we would move down the fairy tale lineup and start seeing a rash of new Cinderella projects popping up. And, if Disney has their way, their Mark Romanek-directed Cinderella script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna will be the hit that starts the trend. They’re trying to get casting for the film off on the right foot with the acquisition of a big name, as Deadline reports that the House of Mouse is in serious negotiations with Cate Blanchett to come on board to play a character called Lady Tremaine, known in some circles as the wicked stepmother. Given her experience playing a creepy elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, this seems like something of a perfect fit.

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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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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr finds himself behind enemy lines in Los Angeles. At first, he thought he was the victim of an alien invasion, but then he realized he was just in South Central wearing the wrong colors. Fortunately, Aaron Eckhart came to his rescue. This gave him a chance to put on a red cloak and skip through the woods, searching for Amanda Seyfried. He then capped off the week sneaking on a NASA flight to Mars wearing only boxer shorts, a T-shirt and a space helmet. He plans to return soon because that kind of makeshift space suit worked for the folks in Mars Needs Moms. Don’t wait up, though.

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Red Riding Hood is the single most confusing movie-going experience of the last decade. The movie itself is not confusing. No, no. Far from it. The movie itself is about as straightforward as it gets. The characters all say either exactly what’s happening or exactly what’s on their minds pretty much at all times. It’s the few moments of pure storytelling inspiration, cliche-busting plot turns, and great performances amidst a sea of terrible that’s completely baffling. How can things that great be involved in something so awful?

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