Stellan Skarsgård

In Order of Disappearance

In 2010, Stellan Skarsgård teamed for a third time with director Hans Petter Moland to make a sunshiny film about a gangster getting out of prison, having an existential crisis and killing a snitch. A Somewhat Gentle Man is a smart crime comedy with its tongue forcibly shoved into its cheek, and now Skarsgård and Moland have returned with a worthy follow-up in the same cold vein. In Order of Disappearance sees Skarsgård playing a Coenesque ice plow driver who clears a path through the wilderness and minds his own business. When his son is killed by drug dealers, he works his way up the food chain, maintaining everyman status while bloodying noses. The story blossoms when he learns the name of the big boss, letting us get to know two crime families and their dysfunctions.

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Lars von Trier in The Five Obstructions

If you were concerned that Lars von Trier had come out of his self-imposed media isolation (since 2011) to share assuredly bizarre news with the world, soothe your worries, because he had Stellan Skarsgard and Nymphomaniac producer Louise Vesth do the dirty work for him. During the Venice Film Festival press conference for Nymphomanic: Vol. II — Director’s Cut, which von Trier declined to attend in person, Vesth shared brief details on the filmmaker’s next project (even cranky artists who aren’t too fond of reporters need to get the word out somehow). Deadline relayed the announcement that von Trier is tackling an “unprecedented” English language TV series with an enormous international cast called The House That Jack Built. According to Vesth, it will be “something you have never seen before and something you will definitely never see again.” While that is completely believable, the plot details aren’t available yet. Von Trier is in the process of writing the series for a 2016 shoot. Although we’ll be waiting a little while before this materializes, the show’s executive producer, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, still urged everyone that “you better hold your breath.” What exactly is von Trier cooking up here? While he’s danced with television before, his best work was back in 1994 when he helmed the brilliant Danish fantasy and horror miniseries The Kingdom. That series, which centers upon a Copenhagen hospital where supernatural happenings occur, was a massive success for the filmmaker. There’s a real possibility, knowing von Trier, that the new series is going to be just as strange and surreal as […]

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

By the end of the year, we will be ten films deep in Marvel Studios mythology, which is quite a feat by any standard. While not every film can be the billion-dollar blockbuster like The Avengers or Iron Man 3, the smaller ones still make plenty of money worldwide and provide a substantial amount of connective tissue in the overall universe. In November 2013, Thor: The Dark World came out, performing about as well as its predecessor (which is to say good, but not great). The film wraps up a lot of Loki’s storyline from Thor and The Avengers, but more importantly, the mid-credits sequence leads into The Guardians of the Galaxy, due out in August 2014. For the DVD and Blu-ray release, director Alan Taylor sits down with Marvel guru Kevin Feige, villainous heartthrob Tom Hiddleston, and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau to talk about the film and reveal the behind-the-scenes process of not just making a superhero film, but making an installment in a much larger franchise.

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trailer the railway man

Another film currently showing in Toronto, but one that we haven’t heard too much about is Jonathan Teplitzky‘s The Railway Man. And why is that? Based on the first official trailer, the film has all the trappings for commercial success: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, WWII and a bevy of emotions to keep you invested in hearing this story play out. Firth plays Eric Lomax, a WWII soldier captured in Singapore and held in a Japanese POW camp, where he and his fellow soldiers were brutally tortured after they refused to help build the Thai-Burma Railway. Flash forward to after the war, when Firth has survived and is trying desperately to find a sense of normalcy in life and overcome what happened in the camp – which his wife (Kidman) wants to understand in some way. Coping for Lomax appears to partly means tracking down his captor and dishing out what he was served. Check out the trailer below.

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skarsgard

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily news column that’s full of all sorts of salacious celebrity gossip, so long as you consider actors being cast in movies to be salacious gossip. Read on to get news about new jobs for Dev Patel, Michael K. Williams, Alicia Vikander, and more. There’s always more. Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Cinderella seems to nearly have all of its casting ducks in a row. It’s got Lily James as the title character, Richard Madden as the handsome prince, Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, and Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger as the evil stepsisters. There’s one question that’s still at the tip of everyone’s tongue though—who the heck is going to play the Grand Duke, AKA the duplicitous advisor to the King? Well, according to Heat Vision, Branagh is dipping into his Thor cast and negotiating with Stellan Skarsgard to fill this very important role that apparently exists.

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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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Charlotte Gainsbourg Antichrist

So, here’s the official synopsis for Lars Von Trier‘s forthcoming Nymphomaniac which features Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard and an overtly suggestive title: “Nymphomaniac is the wild and poetic story of a woman’s erotic journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe. On a cold winter’s evening the old, charming bachelor, Seligman, finds Joe beaten up in an alleyway. He brings her home to his flat where he tends to her wounds while asking her about her life. He listens intently as Joe over the next 8 chapters recounts the lushly branched-out and multi faceted story of her life, rich in associations and interjecting incidents.” Associations? Interjecting Incidents? Chapters? Hot damn. We all need a cold shower right? The fascinating thing about the project is that…wait. From birth? It traces her erotic journey “from birth”?? Is Von Trier getting into Serbian Film territory? Let’s hope so. And let’s hope Gainsbourg gets more recognition for her fearlessness in working with the man. This synopsis may not be as salacious as the title, but it’s knowing that he’s already made her furiously masturbate in a forest clearing while trying to harm her husband that makes the anticipation of what he might make the actress do this time around disturbingly exciting. She’s courageous beyond measure.

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In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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The doors of Norway’s Bastoy Residential School remained open from 1900 to 1953, and in that half century hundreds of wayward boys called it home. They found themselves there for crimes big and small, but the goal was the same for all of them. Find the “honorable, humble, useful, Christian boy” inside the criminal, and then return them to society. But while this small chunk of rock adrift just south of Oslo was a home it was never meant to feel like one. A biting cold pervaded the place, inside and out, and it was as prevalent as the rigid discipline, hard labor and overall oppressiveness that was the school’s daily routine. And as inescapable as the island itself. King of Devil’s Island is based on the true story of a student uprising that occurred at Bastoy in 1915. An incident triggered by sexual abuse but fueled by pent-up rage led to the boys overthrowing their guardians and rioting until a unit of the Norwegian army arrived to quell the situation. The film is an affecting drama that mostly overcomes a familiar story with strong acting by Stellan Skarsgard and others, atmospheric cinematography and a core message of integrity and solidarity.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr pulls out his screening schedule, which looks like a gambling addict’s racing form. He bounces from huge, mainstream releases to minor indie award contenders. Facing motion-capture CGI, tattooed bisexual investigators, cross-dressing waiters, silent film actors, and a lead star who is literally hung like a horse, Kevin tries to make sense of the seemingly countless releases this holiday week. Exhaustion from this process makes it impossible to buy a zoo or face the 3D end of the world, but his movie stocking is full, nonetheless.

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The last time Lars von Trier explored a relationship in decay, the divisive auteur could not have been more in your face. While parts of Antichrist were labeled as pure button-pushing, it was button-pushing in the greatest way possible. The director made a 2-hour endurance test, a great one at that. His latest, Melancholia, is not an endurance test. Right from the beginning prologue, which paints a picture of events to come, von Trier sucks one into his world of emotional and cynical chaos. The whole film, despite von Trier’s bombastic filmmaking nature, is surprisingly grounded. This isn’t about the destruction of earth, but of these characters. The apocalypse is only used to symbolize all of the characters’ emotional deterioration.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s probably the last great nightly movie news column you’ll ever read, seeing as tomorrow is the apocalypse. And since it’s the end of days, we’re keeping things simple around here. Just a little trip down relevant street with a few detours along the way. If we don’t see you on the other side, just know that we loved you all. Even you. Tom Cruise feels like the perfect guy to feature on this, the last ever edition of Movie News After Dark. For one, he and the church of Scientology must have something to do with why God hates us. Also, he’s just been confirmed for Horizons, the $100 million dollar sci-fi flick that Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski has set up at Universal. Just when Cruise was starting to do awesome movies again, here comes the apocalypse to ruin it all. Thanks, L. Ron.

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Despite assertions that I would never consciously put myself through the draining experience of watching one of his films again, this morning saw the first screening of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, a film about the end of the world, as well as one that presents the triumph of melancholia, or the feeling that everything we know is hollow. So, now the credits have rolled, the world has ended and again, I find myself challenged by the dichotomy of a film that consciously aims to jar and jolt, rather than be pleasurable (is there any other way for this director though?). Like Malick’s The Tree of Life, Melancholia is experiential cinema, a film that has limited commercial appeal aside from the names attached to it, that is as much a manifestation of Von Trier as an artist as it is a film in its own right, and long after this film festival is done, it will be those two films that will command the most debate, side-by-side. Both are endurance tests, but Melancholia is something entirely different to that other film, even though both will no doubt split the festival. Is it successful? Incredibly so. Though it’s certainly not an enjoyable experience. But at the end of the day, that’s exactly what the infamous director set out to achieve.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr grabs his codpiece and cape, then gets hammered in the cineplex with Thor. He also suffers from wedding overload with two new movies, Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom. Though he probably should have put his shirt back on before seeing all the chick flicks. Finally, he takes a more esoteric and educational look at the Spanish Civil War drama There Be Dragons. Spoiler alert: There are no dragons in the movie.

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The summer of 2011 will see the biggest assemblage yet of superheroes onscreen with the upcoming releases of X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America: The First Avenger. (At least until next year when The Avengers hits theaters.) Every movie is a gamble to some degree, but these three mitigate the risk a bit in that the X-Men film is the fourth in a popular franchise and the other two both feature highly recognizable actors in the title roles. But there’s one superhero movie this summer that’s flying with a hammer in place of a safety net. The potential hurdles include a relatively unknown lead actor, a director thought to be an odd choice at best and a terrible one at worst, and a hero built on magic and fantasy. Thor is a god, an honest to god deity, and that can be a hard sell in the science-fiction and technology-filled world of Marvel films. Thor opens with a brief intro in the Southwestern US with a pair of scientists (Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard) and their snarky assistant (Kat Dennings) tracking an odd weather phenomenon. They drive towards the center of the storm and accidentally collide with a figure emerging from the darkness.

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From post-credits appearances by Samuel L. Jackson or Robert Downey Jr. to Clark Gregg’s straight-faced Agent Coulson popping up briefly across multiple films, Marvel characters cross pollinate all the time. This should really come as a no brainer seeing as the Marvel universe is more incestuous than the Partridge Family household, but it appears there’s one more character looking to extend his screen life. Per the Swedish TT (Tidningarnas Telegrafbyrå, apparently the local version of Reuters), Stellan Skarsgard looks to be reprising his role of Dr. Selvig from this summer’s Thor in next summer’s Joss Whedon epic, The Avengers. The mention in the paper is brief and absent of any real detail and it has yet to be confirmed by the studio or by Marvel, but Swedish people are physically incapable of lying so the odds are this is solid information. The mention is translated below. “Stellan Skarsgard confirmed to TT Spectra that he will play the same role in the upcoming “Thor”: Doctor Selvig. Not much is yet known about the character beyond that Selvig is a scientist in New Mexico.” Thanks to Nick ‘Penis Pride‘ Kockum for the tip and explanation of the whole ‘TT’ thing!

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The first half of the trailer for Frankie and Alice seems like a fairly cardboard view of a troubled young woman, but the entire thing takes a Three Faces of Eve turn really quick at the gravelly command of actor Stellan Skarsgard. Oscar winner Halle Berry might appear to be aiming for the award again, although the results for Things We Lost In the Fire was a similar shot fired and missed. Here, it’s tough to say just from the trailer. The role looks tragic and brutal enough, and Berry is a talent beyond her years. There’s a chance here that the shivers induced by the trailer extend all the way out into the film which sees its release in December. [Cinema Blend]

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It’s not my place to judge a region or a people, and I’m loathe to generalize, but good god do the Scandinavians love cock. I’ve watched three films from the region at this year’s Fantastic Fest, and all three feature some prominent penis. (For the record, Rare Exports features the most twigs and berries clocking in with an astounding fifty plus according to Cole Abaius, professional cock counter.) At least this film’s prick has a recognizable owner. But if fleshy danglers aren’t your bag there’s still a lot to love in A Somewhat Gentle Man.

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I’ve been skeptical of this remake since it was first announced late last year, but as the cast starts to take shape I’m slowly coming around. First came word that Daniel Craig would play disgraced journalist and super sleuth Mikael Blomkvist – fine. Then came the news that Stellan Skarsgard had been offered the role of Martin Vanger, a suspect in the 40-year-old cold case the story revolves around – excellent. Now we know that Robin Wright (formerly Penn) is in talks to play Millennium magazine publisher and occasional Blomkvist lover, Erika Berger – sounds about right. The Erika Berger role is small but significant. While not huge in the first novel, the role figures a lot more prominently in the following two books (and presumably movies) and the idea is that Wright would return for both. As far as I’m concerned this remake is still completely unnecessary, but I have to admit that this casting is great. Wright is the perfect combination of beauty and brawn and I think she can pull it off. Of course we’re still waiting on the decision that will make or break this movie. The filmmakers are on the hunt for the young actress who will play the title character, and given the incredible performance by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish version, whoever is chosen will have some awfully big shoes to fill, and some pretty rabid fans to win over.

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The good news is that Dunst just scored the leading role for an iconic director. The bad news is that he’s known for torturing his lead actresses.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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