The Messenger

In honor of the Fourth of July, we are republishing this article from January 2011, as we feel it to be an appropriate act of patriotism. We will now allow you to return to watching Independence Day for the third time. We know that you’re doing it… Aleric, one of our favorite comment providers on the site, tossed out an interesting theory the other day regarding the state of auspiciously pro-American movies being put out by Hollywood over the past ten years. Specifically, that there was a noticeable lack of them in the face of films that criticize. It’s an interesting idea, and like most trends, it’s unclear exactly how bold a trend it is. It’s true that those looking for the World War II levels of Americana from Hollywood are out in the cold. There are probably a dozen reasons for that. Levels of pro-American movie production have never been higher than that era, but it was also a wildly different time for movie making in general (no matter what the subject matter). Still, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius were charged with the seemingly difficult task of finding movies that celebrated the United States that came out of Hollywood in the past ten years. It’s an oddly specific list, but it’s also a very good list of movies that demand to be seen (whether you agree they’re patriotic or not). Plus, they don’t celebrate any particular political party. They celebrate the highest ideals of the country. Overt flag waving […]

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Over two years ago we got to see a whole new side of Ben Foster. With director Oren Moverman‘s The Messenger, Foster gave a quiet and powerful performance, right next to Woody Harrelson, who also showed something we hadn’t seen from him before. With Rampart, the duo continue to explore new territory. Unless I’m mistaken, we haven’t seen Harrelson play a damaged and narcissistic cop, and the same goes for Foster in an unrecognizable appearance as a homeless vet. That type of transformation and change is something Foster seems to embrace. If you know about Oren Moverman’s work ethic, then you’re well-aware he searches for honesty, which Ben Foster obviously has great admiration for. Here’s what Ben Foster had to say about reacting, never having enough time to prepare, and how any director who says they have the answer is full of shit:

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Writer-director Oren Moverman’s terrific feature debut, The Messenger, was about trying not to deal with grief, while his character-driven “cop” drama, Rampart, is about attempting to not deal with everything. The lead of the film, Dave Brown, rejects change in a major time of change. Despite Moverman using his latest film to track a far more morally corrupted character than he previously dealt with in Messenger, he still shows an equal measure of empathy. The film follows Woody Harrelson‘s Dave Brown, as he confronts both a new time and a new way of life. Brown, a former soldier who sees himself as something of a man’s man, is unwilling to get with the times. With the true-life Rampart scandals serving as motivation, the LAPD is making major changes – ones that Brown won’t (or can’t) go along with. The cop is a sickly, paranoia-driven enigma who (forgive the cheesy as all hell expression) plays by his own nonexistent rules. Dave is stubborn, racist, fearful, and believes that he’s someone important enough to be spied on. He’s a real bastard.

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Why Watch? Despite the amateur nature of the filming here, it’s the last 20 seconds that really count. For added fun, have a friend take a picture of your face when it sinks. Plus, it’s only a minute, and its punchline hits hard. Can someone buy them a camera rig and some sound gear? What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.  

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There’s dirty cops and there’s bad cops, and there’s a difference between the two. In Oren Moverman’s Rampart, a large-scale scandal threatens to ruin an entire police division, but the possibly-orchestrated (and conveniently televised) fall from grace of a single, uninvolved officer forms the plot of the filmmaker’s sluggish and sloppy second feature. Writer and director Moverman again teams with his The Messenger star, Woody Harrelson, as maybe-fall guy Dave Brown, a renegade cop unhinged by the possibility that he’s been bad all along, he just didn’t know it. Though Rampart makes copious mention of the complicated real-life scandal that shook up Los Angeles and the LAPD in the 90s, the film itself instead focuses on the fictional tale of Harrelson’s Dave Brown. An old school cop, a former solider who spends a touch too much time harkening back to his Vietnam years, Harrelson fills out Dave with enough of that classic Woody charm to keep him endlessly watchable, but frequently hard to care about (Harrelson will likely get some Oscar buzz, and if anything in this film is awards-worthy, it’s Harrelson’s work). A cigarette-chomping, skirt-chasing alcoholic, Dave doesn’t have much to recommend him besides swagger and a smirk, but even that can’t save him when he’s caught on tape positively kicking the crap out of a citizen who (at least on the video) appears to be doing nothing wrong. Sent to the media and popping up on newscasts across the city, Dave’s bad behavior may be ruining his life, […]

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Sylvester Stallone has signed on to star in a new action film coming from IM Global and EMJAG Prods. Which are apparently two companies that make movies. The film Headshot will see Sly star as a hitman from New Orleans who finds himself forced to team up with a New York City cop to solve an investigation into several murders. Several murders that I would guess took things from being business to being personal. I love it when things get personal. Executive producer Stuart Ford says of the project, “Headshot is exactly the type of fast-paced, universally themed project that suits our business model. Sylvester Stallone is an international icon and we’re really excited to be in business with him.” Fast paced? Universally themed? International icon? Yikes, what a terrible quote. Ford might as well have just yelled from the rooftops that he’s making this one for all the wrong reasons. Normally I would just be marginally interested in a project this generic sounding because of the delightful proposition of Stallone trying to growl out a Cajun accent, but there are a couple glimmers of hope that indicate Headshot could be worth our time anyways. Firstly, it’s the first film that Stallone has agreed to star in that he didn’t direct himself for quite some time. That could be a tell that there’s something more going on here than meets the eye. And secondly, the script was written by Alessandro Camon, who also wrote The Messenger. That one was pretty […]

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This Week in Blu-ray, quality products are a scarce commodity. So for those of you who don’t own Freaks and Geeks on DVD, I suggest picking that up instead. For those who already own it, here are a few other, less lovable options.

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Oscar Predictions

This category is stacked with talented gentleman representing films of varying quality. I can honestly say that I think all five are very talented actors, but not since the category was introduced in 1936 has an actor had this award so in the bag. So ladies and gentlemen I give you the nominees for best actor in a supporting role.

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It’s Academy Awards time again, and even though we all know the awards are basically an irrelevant exercise in mutual masturbation it’s still fun to watch. This year sees a wide variety of films gain entry into Oscar history via nominations for Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted. Some deserve the honor, while others are based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire.

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benfosterinterview

The star of The Messenger talks about losing loved ones, his X3 disagreements with Brett Ratner, and the film he turned down five times.

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messenger-review

Oren Moverman’s domestic war drama is, put simply, one of the most powerful experiences to be had at the movies this year.

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aff09-diary1

Sunday was supposed to be a day of sports and soldiers. Instead, Sunday was a day of sports and scene kids.

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Sundance 2009

To showcase the diversity of contemporary independent cinema, the Sundance Film Festival Premieres section offers the latest work from American and international directors and world premieres of highly anticipated films.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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