Shirley MacLaine

James Marsden

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column whose Wizards of Waverly Place fandom is finally coming in handy. That upcoming comedy where Elizabeth Banks tries to juggle being a person with loose morals with being a person with career goals, Walk of Shame, has just added another actor. According to Variety, James Marsden has joined the film. There’s no word on what sort of character he’s going to be playing, and seeing as the film is about a series of adventures that occur as Banks’ character tries to get from the scene of a one night stand to a job interview across town, that leaves a lot of possibilities open. Will Marsden be a romantic foil? Just someone who pops in briefly for a humorous interaction? We don’t know, but since we all saw Death at a Funeral, what we do know is that Marsden can do goofy comedy. Hopefully this one will give him another chance to act silly.

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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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Writer/director Richard Linkater is a filmmaker who can never be accused of making one thing. Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, School of Rock, Tape, The Newton Boys, A Scanner Darkly, Waking Life, and his latest film Bernie, about the nicest murderer you’ll ever meet, all make for an eclectic filmography. If there’s one noticeable connection in Linklater’s works, it that he’s always mixed comedy and tragedy. As the director puts it, that’s just how he sees the world, and he generally shows that view in different structures. Unlike, say, A Scanner Darkly, Bernie is a plain and simple story, with zero tangents to speak of. Although Linklater isn’t a fan of the normal three-act structure, a fact you can see in his films, Bernie mostly fits into that box. This, along with his writing process and where he draws inspiration from, is one of the few things I discussed with Mr. Linklater in an all-too-brief conversation.

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Bernie is director Richard Linklater‘s most accessible film in years. It falls somewhere in the middle between his commercial features and his more experimental works as a splendid mix of both sensibilities. Bernie is hilarious, clever, sweet, thought-provoking, and a fine example of the most interesting type of comedy. Set in Carthage, East Texas, the true-life story follows Bernhardt “Bernie” Tiede (Jack Black), a happy-go-lucky member of the community. He’s about as well-liked as they come and the type of guy who would never hurt a fly. Bernie, a local mortician, is also a mystery. The only people he has any known relationships with are the old widows he comforts. Are his intentions sexual? The film doesn’t say. When the most disliked member of his community, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), loses her husband, Bernie tries to prove she isn’t the horrid person everyone makes her out to be.

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After a good number of years chugging along as a “that guy” actor and doing small parts in films and a handful of episodes of a TV show here and there, things finally seem to be working out for Adam Scott. Over the past five years or so he’s really been able to develop a persona, an on-screen character that casting people know how to use, and it’s led to him being knee deep in work. Not only is he a regular on the outstanding NBC series Parks and Recreation, but he’s also starring opposite names like Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, and Maya Rudolph in Friends With Kids, he’s got a movie with Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Kaplan, and Isla Fisher called Bachelorette that just debuted at Sundance, and in the next year he’s going to be in Dan Fogelman’s movie My Mother’s Curse, he’s co-starring in a romance called See Girl Run, and he’s going to be in a movie called A.D.O.C. with titans of the screen Jane Lynch and Richard Jenkins. The guy looks to be on top of the world. But, the new role that he’s negotiating for may be the biggest thing he’s been involved with yet.

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Over Under - Large

When thinking about which films I consider to be overrated, I keep coming back to two different categories. First there are the art films that get embraced by the movie geek community and praised to high heaven for their crafting, whether they really makes for an exceptional overall movie-going experience or not. And then there are the movies that get overrated by the mainstream. They’re mostly sentimental movies that tug on the heartstrings, with characters that hit low lows, but then achieve some new victory. Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump is definitely the latter. It’s a movie that seems designed solely to make parents and grandparents nod knowingly at historical incidents they remember and then tear up when a sad part rolls around; but they love it for it. Being There was nominated for the Palme d’Or and even won Melvyn Douglas an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor back when it came out, but it’s a movie I never hear mentioned these days. As a matter of fact, other than the little bit of nostalgia that remains for Harold and Maude, I would say that Hal Ashby is a director whose career has been kind of forgotten by my generation of film fans. That’s a shame, because the man did some great work, and this film in particular has one of the last great performances by the legendary Peter Sellers.

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oam-theapartment

Much like the great prognosticator of trends that he always was, Billy Wilder drew from the past and anticipated the future by creating a hilarious movie that also happens to deal realistically with infidelity, occupational depression, and suicide.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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