Uma Thurman

Carrie Coon in Gone Girl

A few months ago, Pete Hammond of Deadline proposed that the Academy should increase the number of Oscar nominees in the lead actor category, because the “traffic jam is just too much.” That’s just the male leads, apparently, as he was focusing on the “just under 30″ possibilities for the actor race and acknowledge that once again the lead actress category is struggling to find worthy contenders (see our response to the claim that there aren’t enough to fill five slots). Obviously there are more male lead roles out there because there are more movies with male protagonists, but never mind the two lead categories, both of which should stay just as they are. The two supporting acting awards, however, should be allowed more names in the ring. There’s never any shortage of great performances in lesser parts, and as usual this year we’re seeing some deserving players go unrecognized. Two actresses that have been mostly overlooked this season are Gone Girl‘s Carrie Coon and Nymphomaniac‘s Uma Thurman. I am among those disappointed that neither has won or at least been nominated for any major awards lately. I personally voted for the two women (alongside my third pick, Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer) with my Critics Choice Awards ballot, but they didn’t make the cut. Not that any of those actually nominated by the BFCA shouldn’t be there — well, okay, maybe Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, but I haven’t seen that movie yet and can’t judge. The issue is that for […]

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Kiss Me Deadly

Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction is one of the most influential movies ever made, which is interesting given that it’s also one of the most influenced movies ever made. The 1994 feature, which was released theatrically 20 years ago this month, is like the Paul’s Boutique of film given all the cinematic samples it’s comprised of. Tarantino is the uber movie geek, and he shows it over and over again in his own work, and this collaboration with co-writer Roger Avary might take the cake as far as how many allusions he can fit in, whether they’re spoken references or shots that perfectly mimic and repurpose those of his favorite classic films. You can find homages in the plot, dialogue, character names, props, cinematography and more. Because there are so many movies referenced in Pulp Fiction, and because you can find many places online that attempt to list them all, I’m going to recommend just the most prominent and also the most essential of the bunch. Additionally, some of this week’s curation of  movies to see are otherwise relevant, titles that might not have inspired Tarantino unless he cast certain people because of work they’d done in the past — which, for him, is not only plausible but also very likely. Not everything included below is something the filmmaker has admitted to loving and being influenced by, but we can presume they’re all things he’s seen. The guy sees everything. He’d probably come up with a different list of the most important […]

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Kill Bill Five Point Punch

In the midst of insane fight sequences and impossible violence, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill gave me a moment of pause. In the second part of the movie, The Bride (Uma Thurman) finally confronts Bill (David Carradine), and ultimately dispatches him with a secret technique from their old master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) known as the five-point-palm exploding heart technique. This closely-held secret move uses pressure points on a man’s chest that will stress the heart to a point that the victim can only travel five steps before his heart explodes and he falls dead. That’s a pretty cool technique, and would be quite handy in a pinch, so it got me thinking: Which martial art will teach it to me?

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kendrick

What is Casting Couch? It’s the news column that’s got its ear to the ground, listening for any juicy tidbits coming out of Cannes. Today people like Uma Thurman, Seann William Scott, Amanda Seyfried, and Bruce Willis all got new jobs. Zach Braff hasn’t yet had much of a career as a film director, but if there’s one thing he’s got more experience shooting than most people, it’s tiny girls wearing giant headphones. So chances are Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick will be a perfect fit for the cast of his new movie, Wish I Was Here. The Wrap is reporting that she’s just joined the film in the role of Janine, a chick who’s into cosplay and who the Josh Gad character becomes enamored with. However you feel about the controversy surrounding Braff’s Kickstarter funding of this film, you have to admit, added Anna Kendrick just made going to see it sound a whole lot more enticing.

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Playing for Keeps

The romantic comedy genre is a very forgiving place for performers and filmmakers. Rom-coms are relatively cheap to produce, and like horror films (which are far cheaper) they usually get a guaranteed audience on opening weekend, so it’s not uncommon to see actors and actresses on the downward slide in Hollywood find a home there. (The reverse works too, with actors on the rise getting a bump from a successful but otherwise low-key rom-coms.) The point is it’s always interesting to see who turns up in a romantic comedy that hits theaters with no expectations. George (Gerard Butler) was a big time soccer (the football kind) player once upon a time, but an ankle injury saw an end to his career and his stardom. His family also fell by the wayside at some point, but now he’s moved to the same town as his wife Stacie (Jessica Biel) and son Lewis (Noah Lomax) in the hopes of reconnecting with them both. He’s working towards a sportscasting career but takes a gig coaching Lewis’ soccer team while he waits for a call from ESPN. George tries to rekindle a life with his wife and son, but his recurring reckless behavior, the horn-dog soccer moms and Stacie’s Baxter of a fiance (James Tupper) may just derail his dream.

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Uma Thurman

It’ll be here first appearance in a Lars von Trier movie, but she’s had experience working with demanding directors. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Uma Thurman has joined the already-stellar cast of Nymphomaniac, which is currently filming in Cologne, Germany. No word yet on what role the actress is taking, and the door is wide open here because the story spans the entire romantic life of one woman (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg). Options abound. Regardless, Thurman is a strong addition to any movie, but it’s likely von Trier may have her doing things no filmmaker has demanded before even though she’s rocked around in the Pussy Wagon killing everyone and got her start with Terry Gilliam. Thurman will be seen next in the more conventional Playing For Keeps in December and in the forthcoming non-conventional comedy Movie 43 (playing Lois Lane no less). What’s interesting (and encouraging) here is how much of the genre map she’s covering. After all, more Uma Thurman is never a bad thing, and if she’s in a current career mode of stretching herself, this roster and von Trier are definitely solid ways to do it.

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Movie 43 Trailer

It’s been a really long time since a sketch anthology movie got released in theaters. I’m not some sort of human trivia machine, so I don’t know exactly how long, but let’s just say that it’s been quite a while since somebody showed somebody else their VHS copy of Kentucky Fried Movie in a college dorm room. The people at Relativity Media are making a big play at bringing the form back though, by recruiting an army of funny filmmakers and a legion of talented actors to put together a new sketch comedy anthology called Movie 43. Who do they have directing segments of this thing? People like Bob Odenkirk, James Gunn, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Farrelly, and tons others. Who’s starring? People like Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, and many more than can be typed without having your fingers cramp up. This movie cast Gerard Butler as its leprechaun, so you know it’s star-studded.

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The world of independent cinema is filled with movies labeled by way of comparisons to other directors who once walked the same low-budget halls. Violent crime films that play with structure are Tarantino-esque, movies with twentysomethings who ramble on aimlessly about their boring lives are grouped in with the Duplass brothers’ mumblecore films, bleak but blackly comic films about miserable people constantly being shat upon are Solondz-ish, and so on. Which is why it’s so refreshing when an indie comes along that eschews such easy comparison and instead finds a unique and original voice. Ceremony is not that indie. But while it owes an obvious debt of narrative and character to a director whose name rhymes with Wes Anderson, the film stands on its own as a fun and witty look at love whether it be first, young, or unrequited. It focuses on a young man filled with lies and falsehoods but through him finds an honesty about relationships often missing from comedies big and small. The film also features a breakout performance from Michael Angarano, a handful of fantastic supporting performances including a stellar turn from Reece Thompson, and that rare and elusive event… an appearance by Uma Thurman that doesn’t grate on the nerves.

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It was a month ago that I first heard about Oliver Stone directing an adaptation of the Don Winslow Novel “Savages.” A couple of the key male roles had been cast, but Jennifer Lawrence was out as the female protagonist, O, due to her involvement in The Hunger Games. Now Stone and company seem to have found their new choice to play O, and they’ve filled out a couple of the other key roles as well. The three main characters of the film are Chon, Ben, and O, two dudes and a chick who start a successful grow operation and find themselves running afoul of a dangerous Mexican drug cartel. When we last saw Savages it had already cast Taylor Kitsch as the ex Navy SEAL Chon, Aaron Johnson as the botany expert Ben, and Salma Hayek as the head of the cartel Elena. This time Deadline Laguna reports that not only has Gossip Girl star Blake Lively been chosen to play O, but also a few big names have been approached to join the cast as well.

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As the time ticks on towards this year’s fest, the official Cannes Film Festival website has just sent me a Newsletter informing me of the Avengers style band of filmy people who will make up this year’s Grand Jury- lead in Captain America style (albeit a grumpy and grizzly version now) by Robert DeNiro. Among the list of eight are stellar actors Uma Thurman and Jude Law (stellar provided we forget the other Avengers movie, and the remake of Sleuth), writer/director Oliver Assayas (Carlos) and director Johnnie To (Election). The full list is as follows:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a sad Doctor Who fan tonight, that’s for sure. With the premiere of a new season less than a week away, tragedy has struck. We must press on, but we must also remember fondly Elisabeth Sladen. There will also be a slew of interesting news, but first, some sadness… Elisabeth Sladen — best known as Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who fame — has passed away this week at the age of 63. For those who are not familiar with her work, she was one of the most famous companions in the long history of Who. She was the show’s heart and soul for a time, and reprised the character many times over the course of 38 years. That’s one hell of a run. She will be missed.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news that wasn’t big enough to get quality real estate on the home page. Or the stuff that everyone else missed. But you won’t miss it! Because it’s all right here! “I think he has a script ready to start of a new film, a Southern. I think it’s really exciting. It’s another new story and a fresh piece of material that he is channeling at the moment.” That’s Uma Thurman, talking about Quentin Tarantino’s next film.

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Back in 2009, Gerard Butler was planning a romantic comedy about a baseball player returning to his estranged wife to make amends with her and his child and to coach the local little league team. It was called Slide. Now that movie is about soccer instead of baseball, it’s called Playing the Field, and (according to Variety) Jessica Biel and Uma Thurman are now on board. Director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) was always on board and still is. For what it’s worth, this doesn’t exactly sound like the typical rom-com Butler appears in on a nearly-annual basis in order to stoke the fires of his P.S. I Love You fanbase. The ladies love cool Gerard, but you’ll notice that the words ‘Aniston’ and ‘Heigl’ appear nowhere near the marquee on this one. Biel will play the ex-wife, and Uma Thurman will play one of the soccer moms. Who I’m guessing is single (if it’s one of those rom-coms) or is married (if it’s one of those rom-coms). One of the most interesting aspects of the production is the screenwriter. Robbie Fox hasn’t written for the screen in over a decade – after the double punch of So I Married and Axe Murderer and In the Army Now, he sort of disappeared, but do I want to watch a romantic comedy written by Robbie Fox? Hell yes. The man had a unique ear for comedy, and his return is a welcome one.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if The Wolfman, Valentine’s Day and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief can make the grade.

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uma-thurman-header

Uma Thurman has the Edward Cullen bug, just like every other gal in America.

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I’m sure a decent number of film sites out there are going to be looking at the Best Gangster films of all time. Since we already know that Analyze This tops the list every year, we decided to do something a little different – looking at the gorgeous women that stand beside their connected men.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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