Tye Sheridan

Nicolas Cage in JOE

Editor’s note: Our review of Joe originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens theatrically. Our long national nightmare is finally over – director David Gordon Green has returned to making the types of films that put the indie filmmaker on the map in the early aughts with his Joe. Combined with this year’s earlier effort, the drily amusing Prince Avalanche, Green has successfully managed to put the memory of his broad comedy busts like The Sitter and Your Highness behind him, and fans of vintage Green should be quite satisfied with his latest Southern gothic. Starring Nicolas Cage as the eponymous Joe, an ex-con who makes his living by poisoning whole forests so that they can be deemed sick and subsequently be cleared for the replanting of heartier, more sellable trees. Joe employs a large crew of locals, all of whom seem to like him very much, and he’s a fair, reasonable boss. Off the clock, however, Joe struggles with restraining a powerful, almost insatiable anger, and he tries to keep it at bay through alcohol and simply staying home. The arrival of a young drifter who comes begging for a job up-ends Joe’s tenuous personal peace, and their sweetly parental relationship threatens to change things for both of them. Sounds sentimental? It’s not. Not even a little bit.



David Gordon Green is one of those writers/director/producers who are just all over the place thematically, and not in a bad way. He’s gone from dramas like 2003’s All the Real Girls and 2000’s George Washington, last year’s indie comedy Prince Avalanche, to straight up silliness like Pineapple Express and Your Highness. It takes a unique mind to work between Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd learning life lessons on the side of rural highways to Danny McBride wearing a Minotaur dick around his neck. Green is returning to darker stomping grounds with his latest project however, with Joe, a Toronto International Film Festival standout from last year that was snatched up by Roadside Attractions. Based on the novel by Larry Brown, Joe tells the story of ex-con Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage), and his unlikely mentorship of an abused and abandoned fifteen year-old named Gary (Tye Sheridan) in rural Mississippi. You can check out the international trailer below.



While some potential moviegoers only needed to hear the word “Jurassic” to get excited for Colin Trevorrow’s upcoming Jurassic World, some of us needed something else – like a great cast. The news that the feature will center on a successful (and presumably safe) Jurassic World theme park that’s upended by some wild, wily dinosaurs (with a grudge? Just a hunger? Pure instinct? Who knows!) also came with the reveal that the film will find its character focus in a tourist family tossed into the middle of the dino-madness. Fair enough – after all, the first Jurassic Park included a pair of great kid actors – but the fear of a fun movie being overshadowed by bad child acting is a very real one (perhaps even more terrifying than the promise of marauding dinosaurs themselves). Fortunately, there’s little to fear here (at least as it applies to the under-eighteen set), because Jurassic World has reportedly cast two of the most exciting young actors in Hollywood – Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson – to form the child-half of the poor, beleaguered tourist family. At this point, we don’t even care about their potential parents (though rumors that they could be Jake Johnson and Bryce Dallas Howard are awesome in their own way), because we’re sold on a Simpkins and Robinson-centric picture in a big, big way. Still better? They are just two actors in a very encouraging new generation of emerging stars-in-the-making, a new class we’re lucky to have.



Tye Sheridan is still ridiculously young, but already he’s had an acting career that most people trying to get into the business would kill their sweet little grandmothers for. First he started things off by working with one of the most respected directors of all time, Terrence Malick, when he played the son in The Tree of Life. Then, earlier this year, he got to work with another up and coming auteur, Jeff Nichols, as well as show off what he has to offer as a leading man in the delightful Mud—a movie that likely gave him the chance to hang out and play bongos with Matthew McConaughey, to boot. The kid is living a charmed life. All of the good things coming his way are clearly not just the result of luck though. Sheridan has shown skills beyond his years in both of his big roles so far, so it makes sense that casting agents would just keep sticking him in new movies. Quite a few projects call for young son characters, after all, so he should be good for at least a couple years. Case in point: a press release put out today (via ComingSoon) has announced to the world that Sheridan has found his next bit of work, which will come in the form of playing John Travolta’s son in a new movie called The Forger.


Sean Penn

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that isn’t stalking Maria Bello. It swears. Sean Penn has been one of Hollywood’s top actors for decades now, but he’s never really been the sort of performer who stars in big budget blockbusters. Doesn’t he deserve to have his own action franchise already? Well, if his latest project takes off at the box office, he might get it. THR reports that Penn has signed on to star in an adaptation of one of French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette’s books, “The Prone Gunman,” where he will play a badass spy type who gets betrayed by his organization and ends up getting chased all across Europe in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Think of it as being like Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, only starring an actor.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.12.2014

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