Viggo Mortensen

It’s a little disconcerting to see Oscar Isaac in a 1960s period piece and find him without cat, guitar, or mop of overly cynical dark brown curls. Yet that’s exactly what lies within The Two Faces of January: an Isaac who’s cleanly shaven and clearly takes care of his hair. Also, he’s a tour guide in Greece who occasionally cons his customers out of their cash. And it’s in Greece where Rydal, Isaac’s character, will happen upon Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst), an American couple who happen to be doing a little conning of their own. One murder later and they’re all tangled up in each others’ various crimes; forcing Rydal and the happy(ish) couple to go on the lam together. Intrigue, sexual tension and gun violence ensue. Based off a novel by Patricia Highsmith (the author whose previous work became Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley) and adapted by Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini (who’s also making his directing debut), The Two Faces of January has enough talent on board to guarantee some twisty turny entertainment. The cast boasts the same pedigree, even if it looks like a healthy portion of the film is nothing but the two male leads making goo-goo eyes at Kirsten Dunst. So yes, the title sounds a little like a romance novel, and yes, if a character begs “please don’t shoot me,” the following words probably won’t be “into outer space.” But at least it looks like a […]

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cr prison

Remember Renny Harlin? Because he remembers you… And more importantly, he remembers the support you used to give to his films. Die Hard 2! Cliffhanger! The Long Kiss Goodnight! But it was his 1999 masterpiece, Deep Blue Sea, that marked the last time audiences would love (even ironically) a film of his. Would it surprise you to learn that he’s made seven features since then? But two years before he took over the reins on John McClane’s slow descent into redundancy, Harlin birthed two horror films unto the world. One featured Freddy Krueger’s fourth foray into malleable teenage minds, and the other was an original supernatural tale from the writer of not one, but two entries in the Trancers series! Welcome to Prison.

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On the Road Movie

Editor’s note: On the Road cruises into limited release this Friday, so put your brains into gear and enjoy this re-run of our Cannes review, originally published on May 23, 2012. Some books demand adaptation, offering immediate and easily translatable promise as film projects, whether that is thanks to the power of the plot, or characters or certain ideas that would lead to a looser adaptation. Jack Kerouac‘s seminal “On The Road” is not one of those books – like the work of James Joyce, the book is explicitly literary, its content inherently bound by its form and its author so fundamentally a writer before a storyteller that many, including myself, believed it to be unadaptable. In that context, the presence of Walter Salles‘ adaptation, imaginatively called On The Road, on the In Competition list here always stood out as an intriguing prospect. How would the director who made that other road movie The Motorcycle Diaries cope with the very specific problem of adapting something that is so explicitly literary? The answer, unfortunately, is not well. For a tale which so obviously values hedonism and free expression, On The Road is ultimately joyless and unengaging, and for a self-discovering road movie to fudge the journey so much and lose almost all lasting meaning is downright criminal.

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If you’ve ever spent any extended time in a coffee shop or a freshman dorm, chances are you’ve seen a good number of young people with open hearts and confused eyes dutifully thumbing through the pages of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” It’s one of those books you just have to get into when you’re coming of age, like “The Catcher in the Rye,” or, if you’re a sociopath, Ayn Rand’s stuff. Given the book’s enduring popularity, it’s strange that it’s taken so long for Hollywood to make a big screen adaptation, but, nevertheless, the wait is over, and the first trailer for the film is here. How does it look? Well, it looks like director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) and his camera crew have shot a beautiful film. And seeing as the narration put over this trailer quotes one of the most famous passages from Kerouac’s novel, it looks like he’s made a film that’s very much On the Road. This seems to be a straight adaptation; the essence of the book put up on the screen, without any unexpected detours.

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Sylvester Stallone in Cobra 2: Axing for Trouble

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news roundup that’s jam-packed with updates about big star doing big things. Look at this list of names! There’s barely a second-stringer on there. When you shoot as many people in the head and blow as many things up onscreen as Sylvester Stallone, every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from all of the insanity and do a quiet little indie drama. So, according to Variety, that’s exactly what he’s doing with his next film, Reach Me. Written and directed by Stallone’s Cobra co-star John Herzfeld, Reach Me is an ensemble piece about a group of characters who were all touched by a self-help book that was written by a reclusive football coach. There isn’t yet any word on what role Stallone will be playing, but, for the sake of his old knees, let’s hope it doesn’t involve any running. Those hobbling away from the explosion scenes in the Expendables movies are starting to look pretty painful.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s not an actual couch, you guys. Seriously, stop it. Kristen Wiig may have walked away from her regular gig on Saturday Night Live to focus on her film career, but she would be insane to walk away from the chemistry she has with her former SNL cast mate Bill Hader; getting those two together is always a comedy goldmine. And though they’ve appeared together as a big screen duo before, they’ve never really gotten the chance to anchor a film together as the stars. That all changes now! Variety is reporting that the twosome have signed up for an indie comedy called Skeleton Twins, where they will play two estranged twins who reunite after both have near death experiences on the same day. Luke Wilson is also set to appear as Wiig’s husband, a character who is described as being a “nature frat boy,” whatever that means. Regardless, the results are bound to be hilarious.

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Today is a sad day for fans of manly movies about manly things, as it turns out two very different but very promising-sounding gritty crime movies have been put on the shelf. First up is Fox’s reboot of Marvel’s Daredevil character. Remember how Fox only has until October 10 to get a new Daredevil movie shooting before they lose the rights back to Marvel? The story is that they have a script that they like, which adapts Frank Miller’s fairly dark “Born Again” storyline from the comics, and they want Joe Carnahan to direct it, but they’re not really sure if they can get things developed before time runs out. Rumor had it that Marvel was willing to do some dealing to give Fox the time extension they would need to make the movie possible, but a new development is making it look like Fox refused to play ball and are likely to let the rights to the character lapse. The bad news comes from Joe Carnahan himself, who recently took to his Twitter account (as spied by ComingSoon) to tell his fans, “Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids.” He then followed with, “We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone’s side.” The deal on the table was that Marvel wanted the rights back for a couple of its Fantastic Four characters in order to give Fox the extension that they need. Looks like the studio decided that maintaining their […]

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David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg has made many types of films, but all of them are unmistakably Cronenberg. From B-horror movies to a beat literature adaptation to a film about the working relationship between Freud and Jung, the Canadian filmmaking veteran’s oeuvre exhibits a versatility of subject matter that somehow maintains consistency in style. Cronenberg’s films are known for their complicated portrayals of sex, in-your-face depictions of violence, and unmitigated explorations of human transformation, whether that transformation be from a human to a fly, a patient to a psychologist, or an east coast mobster to a Midwest suburban father. David Cronenberg got his start in underground experimental films, then made interesting low-budget B-movie horror features, and has since risen to prominence as one of North America’s most respected and revered auteurs. In August, the 69-year-old Cronenberg’s 18th feature film will be released, and he may follow it up soon with his first ever sequel. So here’s a bit of free film school from an experienced filmmaker hailing from America’s favorite hat.

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A while back David Cronenberg dropped the bombshell news that there were plans for an Eastern Promises sequel, Stephen Knight was already writing a script, and there was even some interest from Focus Features in getting it made. Instantly, fans of slicked back hair, tattoos, and vodka shot grimaces rejoiced at the possibility all over the world. But “script being written” is a long way from “actually being made” in the life of a potential project, so how’s the progress on this one going these days? Turns out, pretty dang good. Vulture is reporting that not only is the first film’s star, Viggo Mortensen, looking like he’s ready to come back and make the sequel, but French actor extraordinaire Vincent Cassel is currently in negotiations to return as well. Mortensen and Cassel teaming up for anything has to be seen as great news. Report that they’re working together on a straight-to-video Gone Fishin’ sequel and it would be exciting. But this? This could be one of the rarest things in the world: a non-superhero sequel that movie fans actually want to see.

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UPDATED: Since publication the Variety story sourced has been updated to reflect breaking news that Mortensen is out as far as this film goes, and that Casey Affleck is being thought of as the front runner to play the role of Bale’s brother. Trading Mortensen for Affleck doesn’t really change the sentiment of this article, as that’s still a great cast of actors. Let’s just hope that Affleck’s name doesn’t get nixed, or this editing process is going to get real complicated. Since we first heard about the conception of Scott Cooper’s follow-up to Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace, nearly a year ago, the project has moved forward and casting has begun. So far it’s been confirmed that Christian Bale will play the lead role, that of an ex-convict who is sucked back into the criminal world when his brother is murdered and he consequently vows revenge. But there’s also some intriguing maybes floating around out there as well. Variety has news that a trio of exciting actors are negotiating for or interested in taking supporting roles in this crime drama. Firstly, Avatar and Colombiana star Zoe Saldana is in early negotiations to play the role of the Bale character’s ex-wife. She’s a small town waitress married to the local Sheriff. Secondly, Robert Duvall is “expected” to come on board to play Bale’s uncle. And lastly, Viggo Mortensen is said to be interested in playing the part of the villain, who I would assume is the guy who murdered the […]

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Ever since its debut at Venice, some have discredited A Dangerous Method as not being cinematic. The film is 99 minutes of nonstop conversations — and not at a brisk pace — regarding psychoanalysts and the collision of different ideas. Those conversations are acted out by Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Vincent Cassel, and directed by David Cronenberg. I don’t see how that’s not cinematic, and neither does Cronenberg. Just because there’s no body horror involving Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud (although that would be extremely fun to see) doesn’t mean this isn’t a “Cronenberg film,” a tag that the director himself seems annoyed by. When someone is capable of making films as vastly different as Videodrome and A Dangerous Method, all bets are off about what type of filmmaker you’re dealing with. There’s a thematic through line in his distinct works, but they’re mostly their own beasts. Here’s what director David Cronenberg had to say about damaged psychoanalysts, a dramatic conflict of ideas, and why the human face talking is the essence of cinema:

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As the temperatures turn just the slightest bit colder and the fall colors settle in the landscape (if you’re lucky enough to live near trees), we should start directing our film focus to the fall movie season. We love summer for its mind-numbing fun, but the last season of the year tends to offer some of the most vulnerable, honest, and captivating films (you know, just in time for that other “big O”). Fall supplies films meant to scandalize our minds and even our naughty bits, and there is nothing wrong with that. But with so many films and film festivals to choose from between now and December, it becomes overwhelming to sort through all the goodness being dispensed our way. Lucky for you, my love of highlighting full-frontal male nudity and questionable sexual conduct happens to pay off for a change. Below you’ll find a helpful collection of five sultry features sure to stimulate your brain and your nethers.

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There are many expectations fans of director David Cronenberg have embraced when he makes a new movie and his ability to surprise is definitely one of them. Not surprises in terms of jump scares but more in the vein of not knowing what you’re going to get. One thing is certain, his work is never boring and is willing to go to dark places whether it be psychological (Dead Ringers), sexual (Crash), or spiritual (A History of Violence). Having said that, it’s my sad duty to report that the only surprise in his latest work, A Dangerous Method, is his ability to take an intriguing subject (sexual analysis) and make such a tame, limp movie. On paper, the thought of Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung in a duel of wits and sexual psychosis sounds like a film lover’s dream. The actors are more than capable of going to extreme places in search of an authentic performance and are only matched in their dedication by their fearless director. So why is it that a movie about the raw and animalistic ways we perceive sex be so neutered and detached from itself?

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As many fellow conflicted yet faithful Netflix subscribers know, last week marked the beginning of the separation of Instant and disc-only memberships. I had been trying to whittle down my streaming queue for a few months, but we all know that is a nearly impossible task with that devilish recommendation list appearing every time you go to the site’s homepage. Suffice it to say, my queue had actually grown since the announcement, making the budgeting decision for me. One of the films at the top of my queue was 2010’s long-awaited gay love story I love You Phillip Morris starring the forever not-sexy Jim Carrey and the always delicious Ewan McGregor as two convicts head-over-heels in love with each other. I could spend an entire column writing about this rapid, surprisingly honest and tender romance sprinkled with deception and humor, however my greatest take away from this man on man sexiness was the unexpectedly hot chemistry (and subsequent love scenes) between Carrey and McGregor.

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New Cronenberg means that Christmas comes in September this year, and Christmas Eve happens today with the release of the first trailer for A Dangerous Method. The film focuses on the real-life story of Carl Jung developing his methods with mentorship from Sigmund Freud and getting a little on the side with one of his patients. The drama is heady, and the cast is superb. Michael Fassbender as Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Freud, and Keira Knightley as the mistress Sabina Spielrein. It’s Cronenberg doing kinky sex. Check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams will play husband and wife in the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Mortensen will play “Old Bull Lee” and Adams portrays his drug addicted wife Amy. The fictional “Old Bull Lee” is writer William S. Burroughs  and Amy is Joan Vollmer. Burroughs’ wife, Vollmer died at age 28 from a gunshot to the head when Burroughs supposedly tried to shoot a water pitcher off her head. Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) is working with a cast that includes Kristen Stewart, Kirstin Dunst, Sam Riley and Garret Hedlund.  Riley takes on the role of narrator Sam Paradise, Kerouac’s alter ego.

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Hollywood should grow a pair and do a startlingly different take on Superman. Instead of the same old origin story, dare to create something new and phenomenal.

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theroad-header

There’s something so beautiful and captivating about the end of humanity, the last gasping breaths of life as we know it. This is why post-apocalyptic movies have been so popular in recent years.

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ViggoMortensen

The veteran actor is deciding to call it quits…for now. What does that mean for The Hobbit? Nobody knows, so there aren’t any answers inside or anything.

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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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