Steve Carell

Adam Sandler in Men Women and Children

It’s an understood rule of comedic actors that they can all do drama, as well. Comedy is harder, of course. But then not every comedic actor is truly an actor. Not every comedic performance is about more than good line readings and having the necessary timing to tell a joke. Stand-up comedians often get starring gigs on sitcoms, but that doesn’t mean they’ll wind up with an Oscar nomination someday. (Sorry, Sinbad.) Those who do end up with Academy recognition are those who were always set to shine on the big screen and wound up on TV as a short little detour along the way. Jennifer Lawrence, for example. And Tom Hanks. And Leonardo DiCaprio. But there are also former TV comedy stars who do great work in dramatic movies and never garner Oscar attention, and then they have to go back and do a Dumb and Dumber sequel. There is hope and buzz for quite a few former sitcom stars this fall. They could join the likes of Helen Hunt, George Clooney, Sally Field, Melissa McCarthy, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Mo’Nique, Sandra Bullock, Marisa Tomei, Will Smith, Diahann Carroll, Woody Harrelson, John Travolta, Judd Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Patty Duke, Pat Morita, Kate Winslet, Billy Bob Thornton, Jamie Foxx and Robin Williams. I’m sure I’m forgetting some others (and not even thinking of all the variety TV players like George Burns, Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Cher and Goldie Hawn). Or they could be the next Jim Carrey. Check out […]

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Foxcatcher

“Hello, Oscar voters, Channing Tatum here. Yes, hello, it’s nice to speak to you, too. No, I will not be appearing in Step Up: All In. No, no cameo. I swear. I know I’ve done it before, but there was just no time for this one. I am sorry. That’s really nice that you love dance movies, but I am here to talk to you about something else. No, not Matthew McConaughey. Not his Oscar. ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT. Happy? Let’s get to it. My Oscar. No, no, I don’t want to wait until next March. I’d like it now. No, right now. I know Foxcatcher hasn’t even been released yet, but I think that I’ve got a little something for you that might sway your opinion. Here, take a look, then let’s talk about that little gold man.”

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Foxcatcher

Looks like it’s Foxcatcher day around the cinematically-inclined internets, as our own William Goss just recently unveiled a stellar A- review of the film out of Cannes, and now we’re all getting graced with the presence of a brand new teaser for Bennett Miller‘s latest film. Oh, and hey, it’s totally terrifying. Based on the real life story of crazed murderer/overly encouraging wrestling coach John du Pont (and also apparently loosely inspired by star Steve Carell‘s voicework in the Despicable Me films), Miller’s film sees Carell starring as the creepily intense (and also intensely creepy) du Pont, a rich dude with a thing for bringing glory back to America. No, really. Du Pont’s glory-seeking plan involves training Olympic level wrestlers, which sort of sounds like the perfect thing for a crazed rich dude to do. Du Pont’s desires might seem, yes, a bit nutty, but his path to all that glory is kind of smart — he starts a training program for actual athletes (including the Schultz brothers, played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), using his own fortune as financing. Everything seems to be super-excellent, until he loses his tenuous grip on reality. Sound over-the-top? It’s not — it’s deeply unsettling. Ready to be chilled to the bone? Brace yourself for the film’s latest teaser trailer.

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Foxcatcher

“Fame makes a man take things over.” There couldn’t be a much more obvious needle drop for a scene of newly minted champions celebrating over champagne in a well-adorned trophy room, but more than one line from David Bowie’s “Fame” suits the grander themes of the terrific sports drama, Foxcatcher. Landing at the logical crossroads between Moneyball’s quest for sports-minded superiority and Capote’s chilly portrait of the criminal mind, director Bennett Miller’s third narrative feature revisits the eventually tragic real-life involvement of Olympic wrestling champs Mark and Dave Schultz with eccentric millionaire John du Pont. By 1987, 27-year-old Mark (Channing Tatum) had already earned an Olympic gold medal, but as he lectures bored students for a pittance and commits to his umpteenth meal of instant ramen while older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) raises a proper family, it’s clear that the glory has faded. Out of the blue comes a call on behalf of Mr. du Pont (Steve Carell), a wealthy ornithologist, philatelist and philosopher eager to sponsor the Schultz brothers if it means bringing the gold home to America once again.

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Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

There’s a little bit of Brick Tamland in every role Steve Carell‘s ever done. Even his dramatic roles (which are less “dramatic” than they are “drama adjacent”) bear the stigma of a man who once pooped a Cornish game hen in the Anchorman blooper bonus footage. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is the poignant story of a man who copes with the certainty of his own grisly death … by visiting a restaurant where a wacky wait staff kisses him and he yells things like a lunatic. Little Miss Sunshine is a touching family film where Carell overcomes his suicidal depression through his love for his niece and nephew. Then he does a wacky dance and yells like a lunatic. I long for the day he can fully emerge from the shadow of “I love lamp.” And that day’s almost here, give or take a few months. On November 14th, Foxcatcher will open in theaters across the country. It was originally scheduled for last December, but that was before Sony Pictures Classics decided the movie had more of a “2014” ring to it than a “2013” (makes sense — 2013 is so last year). It stars Carell as John du Pont, the real-life chemical heir who befriended Olympic wrestler siblings Mark and Dave Schultz, only to grow mentally unstable and kill the latter in cold blood. The film also stars Channing Tatum as the Tatum-esque Mark, and Mark Ruffalo as bald and bearded Dave. The first clip from the film, released via Yahoo Movies, has no Ruffalo,  […]

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hope springs steve carell

Despicable Me 2 has earned close to $1 billion worldwide, and I’m guessing that means Steve Carell can do anything he wants, career-wise. Especially since Universal will want him back for the already announced third outing. So, even if his more serious endeavors don’t add up nearly as high as his animated or comedy work, if that’s what he prefers then that’s what he’s got the freedom to do. The Hollywood Reporter has his next dramatic role already picked out, with Carell set to produce and star in an adaptation of the new memoir The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons. He’ll play its author, inspiring cancer-stricken school teacher David Menasche, who is going on eight years since being told he had only months to live. The story goes that Menasche was diagnosed in 2006 with a lemon-size brain tumor. Let the realization of how big a lemon is sink in for a moment. In spite of his terminal sentence, surgery and chemotherapy kept him alive and even working for another six years until he suffered a seizure in 2012 that damaged his vision, memory and more. He left teaching and traveled the country on a mission he called his Vision Quest, reconnecting with former students in order to fill in things he was beginning to forget about what he meant to them. The plan was not to just write a book but also produce a documentary with footage he filmed along the way. It’s unclear […]

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Will Ferrell and friends in ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

“It’s done. I think that’s it. It was great to do it, and it was so fun to work with those guys again, but I think that’s it for Ron Burgundy.” So says Adam McKay, director, co-writer and producer of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, when asked about a potential third installment. Will Ferrell, along with castmates Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner will make their final run together on the big screen starting today, with an R-rated, extended cut of the most recent theatrical release, with over seven hundred new jokes, which essentially turns this version of the film into a massive comedy stew of scenes that didn’t make the final cut, and a whole lot of improvisational comedy. It’s a seven day run in theaters, and according to McKay, that’s the last new Burgundy you’ll be getting from the Gary Sanchez Productions crew. Though it made $169,268,368 USD total gross worldwide, McKay appears content to move on to new projects, additionally shooting down another prospective sequel in Step Brothers 2 with some finality whilst discussing an Anchorman trilogy.

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review anchorman 2

Comedy sequels hardly ever inspire confidence. Most attempt to recapture what worked about the first movie, but that’s never proved to be the right way to go about it. That decision tends to lead to a calculated and stale result, missing the point of why its predecessor caught on with an audience in the first place: it was unexpected. Thankfully we have one exception to the rule, and it’s called Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Co-writer/director Adam McKay‘s sequel stays in tune with the spirit of the first movie, and sometimes revisits beats as well, but that approach is fitting for characters aren’t exactly fond of change. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Champ Kind (David Koechner), Bryan Fantana (Paul Rudd), and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) are more or less the same people we saw in the first movie. The world is going through changes, but these four haven’t developed in the slightest. Some of the film’s best laughs come from them having to embrace these changes, like, having a black female boss. The movie starts with Ron Burgundy being fired, pushed away from his home, and, worst of all, working at SeaWorld. It’s the beginning of the end until a man, played by Dylan Baker, offers him an unlikely position as an anchor on a 24 hours news station. At first Burgundy scoffs at the idea, but when money comes into the equation, he takes the job and goes on a road trip to wrangle up his old news team. Bryan Fantana is […]

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foxcatcher-09

Steve Carell teetered over to the dramatic side of things in Little Miss Sunshine, but Foxcatcher will be the film to truly stretch his acting abilities. Based on real-life events, Foxcatcher sees Carell as Jon du Pont, the multimillionaire chemical heir who built a wrestling facility at his home in Foxcatcher Farm, where he later shot and killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz. Mark Ruffalo will portray Schultz, while Channing Tatum will play the role of his brother, fellow Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz So far, Carell has only ventured into a handful of dramedies, and never a full-fledged drama, so portraying a schizophrenic killer does seem like it may be a little out of his league. But at least the actor is in good hands. Bennett Miller, the man at Foxcatcher‘s helm, drove comedian Jonah Hill to an Academy Award nomination in his last feature, Moneyball (technically Hill had already tasted serious drama in Cyrus the year before, but never mind that). Entertainment Weekly has just debuted a still of Carell made up like du Pont, complete with a fake nose and an unhealthy-looking glower. This first image does make Carell’s menace seem genuine. Still, I can’t help but wonder – when du Pont ratchets up the crazy, will we see Carell embody his madness, or will we see Carell wearing a fake nose and falling back towards a Brick Tamland-like yelling spree? Hopefully it’s the former. Foxcatcher releases on December 20th.

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helmscedarrapids

It’s probably safe to say that The Office was one of the biggest network TV successes of the last decade. It lasted for 9 seasons, spawned countless imitators, and made names out of an ensemble cast of character actors. Steve Carrell, Ed Helms, John Krasinski, and Rainn Wilson especially were all able to parlay their exposure there into lead roles in feature films. Of the four of them, Steve Carell has to be seen as the most successful, however. With The 40-Year-Old Virgin he proved that he could open a film as its star, and with the movie we’ll be talking more about here, Little Miss Sunshine, he proved himself to be a versatile actor who didn’t necessarily need to do comedy. Largely based on the hype behind Carrell’s performance, that movie made close to $60 million at the box office, and then rode its buzz straight into awards season, where it walked away with two Oscars. Not bad for a tiny little indie film. When Helms’ turn to try and make the jump to movie stardom came, it came in the form of the 2011 film Cedar Rapids. Already he had become a box office commodity thanks to the success he saw as part of the Hangover ensemble, but this one was going to be his big chance to prove that he could anchor a film as its centerpiece actor. Cedar Rapids got released in the movie wasteland known as February though, and when all was said and done, […]

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rock

With Frost/Nixon, Moon, The Green Mile, Matchstick Men, Seven Psychopaths, Snow Angels, Heist, and (deep breath) Galaxy Quest, there’s a likely chance actor Sam Rockwell has appeared in one of your favorite films from recent memory. With that array of performances, Rockwell has built up a filmography most actors would rightfully be jealous over. He has a political drama, a Stephen King adaptation, a character study rooted in science-fiction, and a David Mamet crime yarn all under his belt, but now he can add another genre to his resume: a coming-of-age summer tale. With The Way, Way Back, Rockwell plays Owen, that cool uncle-esque character every kid would be so lucky to have. It’s a well-known archetype with plenty of templates for Rockwell to learn from.

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THE WAY, WAY BACK

Editor’s Note: My review of The Way, Way Back originally ran during its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens theatrically. You should really make a point of going to see this one. Coming-of-age films are almost as ubiquitous as rom-coms and Resident Evil sequels these days, and it’s not often that one of them manages to stand out in the crowded field. The ones that do succeed usually feature a combination of star power to get their foot in the door, a smart and funny script to keep the audience’s attention and a lead who embodies the joy, frustrations and awkwardness of teen life with equal spirit and veracity. The Way, Way Back succeeds on pretty much all of those counts. Duncan (Liam James) is heading to the East Coast for the summer with his mom Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carrell) and Trent’s teen daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). A summer spent at the beach should be any teen boy’s idea of awesome, but Duncan is shy and no fan of the overbearing Trent, so the next three months promise to be hell. But when he crosses paths with an immature and odd water park manager named Owen (Sam Rockwell), he dares to think that the summer may not be so bad after all.

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Despicable Me 2

Three years removed from his dastardly (fine, his despicable) ways, reformed super-villain Gru returns to the big screen to do, well, what exactly? Prove that he’s actually reformed? (He is.) Continue working on his parenting technique? (By borrowing from Parenthood.) Adopt a few more Annie-styled orphans? (Thankfully, no.) In Despicable Me 2, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his kiddos (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Fisher) are indeed back for more cuddly and only slightly villainous hijinks, as the former supreme bad guy is drafted into service with the Anti-Villain League alongside an alluring new partner, both bent on bringing down another scary-yet-PG-appropriate meanie. Parenthood suits Gru. Sort of. Softened up by the love of his girls, the former super-villain now invests his time in planning parties for the little ones, trying to shake the lingering feeling that they need a mother, and setting the Minions and his sidekick (Dr. Nefario, again voiced by Russell Brand) on a new quest to make the best jams (and jellies!) the world has ever tasted. It’s working out okay, and surprisingly so, but the (very funny) arrival of Anti-Villain League agent Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig) threatens to derail all that adorable domesticity.

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Brick Anchorman 2 Teaser

We’ve got another half year before our eyes, ears and funny bones get ahold of Anchorman: The Legend Continues. The highly anticipated sequel is not even finished filming — though it is close to wrapping up, with shooting moved from Atlanta to New York City this week. To further whet our appetites, and probably to give official supplement to all the set photos of cameo appearances being regularly leaked, Paramount has unveiled a new trailer for the movie. You still won’t find any footage from The Legend Continues, however. Like the teasers we got a whole year ago, this is a simple promo  featuring our four favorite newsmen saying “something fun about the movie.” Well, except for Brick, of course, who doesn’t understand what to do. Again. He gives us some advice on how to avoid being mistaken for a pedophile and wishes us a belated happy Easter. The holiday greeting is kind of fitting, though, we’ll give him that. Narrator “Bill Lawson” introduces the latest teaser talking about returned figures such as Jesus and Jay-Z. Easter pertains to the former, obviously. See, Brick isn’t dumb after all. But Ron Burgandy sure is mean. He calls us fat face. And he thinks we’re going to come see his movie after such an insult? Okay, we will. We can’t wait to hear him call us names and for Champ and Brian to intoxicate us with their alcohol breath and snake venom cologne, respectively.

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Andy Bernard The Office

In addition to its American counterpart, Ricky Gervais’s The Office has been remade in at least a half dozen different countries, including Chile (La Ofis) and Israel (HaMisrad). It’s often reductive to declare any cultural phenomenon universal or ubiquitous, but, more so than any other television series concocted during the twenty-first century, The Office approaches omnipresence. There’s something about the show’s droll depiction of quotidian cubicle drama that resonates across borders, languages, and cultures. It’s a profound statement about globalization that so many different countries recognize such a similar work environment to the point that such similar comic situations can be structured around it. For every fluorescent-lit cathedral of number-crunchers and quota-seekers, there seems to be an inevitable David Brent or Michael Scott. Since Steve Carell’s departure from the US Office, the show nose-dived into forced and contrived relationship drama. Despite its acts of trading in its trademark (and incredibly effective) cringe-humor for uninspired quirk, I’ve stuck with the show. Every now and then, The Office still delivers an inspired set-piece that reminds me of why I used to wait anxiously for a new episode each Thursday. And every now and again, characters connect genuinely and develop that way that pays off when you’ve been sticking with a sitcom through its ups and down for nine straight seasons. But The Office has made a remarkably different transition late in its last season, where the show’s focus has switched from depicting the droll absurdity of everyday middle class labor to something […]

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despicable-me-2

While the plot for Despicable Me 2 has been mostly kept under wraps, the sequel’s new trailer does introduce us to a pair of new characters – uptight Agent Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig) and straightlaced Ramsbottom (is that Steve Coogan?) – and their just-as-uptight-and-straightlaced-occupation – working for the Anti-Villain League. It appears that a new villain has surfaced (a joke that’s much funnier when you consider that the AVL is set up under the sea) and they need Gru’s (Steve Carell) help to get into the mind of the new baddie. Which might be a bit more tough than they were expecting, because Gru’s girls have made him more of a softie than ever… Hey, at least there are fun gadgets! Learn all about lipstick tasers and little swimming cars after the break.

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review incredible burt wonderstone

Do you remember how old you were when you saw and were amazed by a great magician (live or on TV) for the very first time? Of course you don’t. As with Creme de Menthe and handjobs, the awe surrounding your first exposure to the world of magic quickly fades when you realize that the reality behind the promised wonder is far less exciting than you thought. That and there are far better alternatives, too. But movies about magic are a different beast all together. Not only can they use additional trickery like editing and special effects to impress viewers, they can also add a narrative that explores the power of illusion in our lives. Think The Prestige, where ambition leads to an illusory success. Think Penn & Teller Get Killed, where illusions are used to comment on societal gullibility. Or, as in the case of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, magic can be used as an inconsequential backdrop for mediocre comedy.

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Evan Green

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that’s basically been subsisting on news coming out of Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City sequel in recent days. Today he adds two more actors to his ensemble. The big news is that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, after having already shot some of its scenes, has finally found an actress to play the character of Ava Lord, who serves as the film’s titular dame. Dimension Films announced [via ComingSoon] that the powers that be have decided to go with Eva Green. The Ava Lord character is described by Frank Miller as being “every man’s most glorious dreams come true, she’s also every man’s darkest nightmares,” and both Miller and Rodriguez agree that Green is the actress who can best, “embody the multifaceted characteristics of this femme fatale.” That’s either a big compliment, or they might have just called her a bitch.

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

If there’s anything that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has going for it that makes it look really exciting, it’s that it offers us up the opportunity to watch Jim Carrey getting completely off the wall with character work for the first time in forever. In recent years we’ve seen his attempts to do dramatic work, we’ve seen his attempts to star in corporate, family films, but none of these efforts have been able to touch the manic energy of his first few projects—the goofy shit like Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber that people fell in love with, and that made him a star. From the looks of this trailer for Burt Wonderstone, it seems like his work as a douchey, Criss Angel lookalike here might be the first taste of classic Jim Carrey we’ve gotten in a long time.

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Burt Wonderstone

First looks at films by way of photographic stills tend to be dry affairs that are nearly always impossible to contextualize (“look, there is someone standing there, next to someone else, can’t wait for this movie!”), but every so often, they prove to be actually exciting little bits of marketing. Like this first look at The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and apparently an old school Glamour Shots studio. This photo is glorious, and it’s the first thing that’s gotten me genuinely excited for the film, which stars Carell and Buscemi as Las Vegas’ most successful magician duo, a duo who are threatened by their imploding friendship and Jim Carrey‘s rising star rival magician. Check out the second still after the break, but be warned, it contains none of the majesty of that one up top (though Carrey does appear in this one, looking a lot like Cris Angel).

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


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