Zoe Saldana

Film Title:  Out of the Furnace

Editor’s note: Our review of Out of the Furnace originally ran during this year’s AFI Fest, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in theatrical release. Sometimes it seems like the future is rapidly approaching, with more and more information being digitally consumed and smartphones attached to the palm of almost everyone’s hand, but there are still places that are untouched by time, where family and community are paramount. It may seem like a simpler life, but Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace shows just how difficult life in an industrial community on the decline can be. Russell (Christian Bale) and Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) are two brothers trying to carve out fulfilling lives for themselves in the wake of hard times and the deteriorating health of their father. Russell is a good man who seems content to work hard for his family and his girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana), but Rodney is more of a loose canon. As a solider recently called back for another tour overseas, the younger Baze brother is wrestling with some serious demons.

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Guillaume Canet earned the goodwill of many with his immensely potent 2006 thriller Tell No One, before the misjudged – and like this film, much too long – Little White Lies came along and eroded plenty of that promise. However, Canet returns with his latest feature, and the busload-full of skilled actors he has brought with him damn near ensures a compelling sit, even if the film’s ponderous pacing and resulting length do detract somewhat from its finer qualities. A remake of 2008′s French film Rivals – which starred Canet himself – Blood Ties begins in 1974 New York as Chris (Clive Owen) is released from prison after a 12-year-stint for murder. While welcomed warmly by his father (James Caan), Chris is received less so by his brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a respected policeman who is nevertheless called upon by his family to take him in. Adding to the drama is the litany of anguished lovers sitting on the periphery; Chris shacks up with a gorgeous young receptionist named Monica (Mila Kunis), much to the chagrin of his drug-addled hooker ex-wife Monica (Marion Cotillard), while Frank continues to pine for a former flame he broke it off with, Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), whose current relationship with the dangerous Scarfo (Matthias Schoenaerts) is on the rocks.

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zoesaldanalist

What is Casting Couch? It’s the easiest way to stay abreast of who’s going to be doing what in the world of acting. Today we have casting news regarding the Veronica Mars movie as well as a look at what Chloe Moretz might be working on next. Given her experience playing a big, blue badass in James Cameron’s Avatar, Zoe Saldana is no stranger to embodying characters who aren’t exactly human—so that’s probably why James Gunn is looking at her to take the female lead of his upcoming Marvel Studios ensemble, Guardians of the Galaxy. Heat Vision is reporting that Saldana is currently in talks to join the film as Gamora, the Guardians’ resident green-skinned, sword-wielding assassin. If Saldana signs on, that would be all of the more human members of the Guardians taken care of, which would leave Gunn with only a walking tree and a talking raccoon to cast. Wish him luck when it comes to figuring that out.

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The Words Movie Review

Editor’s note: With The Words hitting theaters today, brush up on our Sundance review of the film, first published on January 26, 2012. Writing is a difficult task whether you have to do it for school, work, or simply because you have words in you that you must get out. But even if you are a writer, those words don’t always come easily and staring at a blank Word document or page is always intimidating. In The Words, we come to know Rory Jenson (Bradley Cooper), a struggling writer who has penned his first novel – a work that is good, but not good enough to get published. Slightly disheartened and with a new bride Dora (Zoe Saldana) to support, Rory takes a job in the mailroom of a publishing house, hoping to make some contacts and advance his career. While on their honeymoon in Paris, Dora drags Rory into yet another antique shop and Rory ends up finding an old leather briefcase that is classy and sophisticated – a symbol of a true writer and a gift Dora quickly buys for her new husband. As he later starts filling it with his own work, Rory comes to find a weathered manuscript he neglected to notice when he first purchased the briefcase. Upon reading the first page (typed on the back of a handwritten letter), Rory cannot put the manuscript down and reads it from beginning to end.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) has done a terrible thing. He’s stolen another man’s words. And because of this deception, three different storylines unfold – one in the past, one in the present, and one in the future. However, when telling the story of a man willing to steal another’s words, it is hard to know how reliable our narrator is and as these three storylines start to blend with one another, the truth at the heart of it all seems to get more and more muddled. Throughout The Words, composer Marcelo Zarvos’ score provides us with sonic clues that attempt to point us towards that truth while also tying these three stories together. One of the most memorable parts of the score (and the film) is The Words’ theme. Within the first few seconds of the score’s second track, “The Old Man,” the theme hits you – a driving string piece that is both beautiful and romantic, but at the same time ominous and unsettling. This theme works as the first hint towards the true nature of this story. At first glance, The Words may seem like three simple love stories told through the perspective of three different generations, but as things begin to unfold, it becomes clear that nothing in this story is simple and the truth at the heart of it is much more complicated. (Listen for this theme to come back in a big way at the beginning of “The Bookstore” – possibly hinting at a link between these two pieces). Since we […]

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Nina Simone Biopic

A Nina Simone biopic has been in the works for years now, with Cynthia Mort set to direct from her own script since 2005, and singer Mary J. Blige once attached for the lead role that has now apparently gone to Zoe Saldana – but those elapsed years and that major casting shuffle appear to be the least of the film’s worries, as Simone’s own daughter has now stepped forward to not only refute the very basis of the film, but to poke some major holes into the production’s casting. Over at Shadow and Act, the team has been carefully putting together a number of posts about the situation that are fascinating on their own (and that I have been eagerly following), but that are also kicking off incredibly interesting (and, frankly, sometimes unsettling) discussions in the comment sections. On the most basic level, fans of Simone appear to be quite displeased with the casting of Saldana in the role (with reasons varying from her looks, her ethnicity, her age, and her talent level), and a number of other names have come up as being far more suitable for the role – actresses like Viola Davis, Lauryn Hill, Anika Noni Rose, and Adepero Oduye, among others. Yet, beyond just the casting (one that appears to have been done, at least partially, to get the once financially-strapped productions some big name juice), the film’s very script appears to be fundamentally flawed – because it just might hinge on a fabrication. Simone’s […]

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Two more projects based on real-life icons are emerging from the fold. According to The Grid, Zoe Saldana is set to play Nina Simone in Nina – a biopic about the famed singer and civil rights activist. The biggest challenge, of course, will be trying to recreate such a rich singing voice, but it’s unclear as to whether the plan is to have the actress perform the music herself or to lip-sync. Saldana will next be seen in The Words, the forthcoming Star Trek sequel, and a handful of dramatic projects like Out of the Furnace. On the same front, Robert Pattinson will be portraying T.E. Lawrence for Werner Herzog according to Variety. As we’ve reported before, the certifiably (and wonderfully) insane director has been prepping Queen of the Desert – a biopic of traveler Gertrude Bell. Pattinson will be portraying Lawrence, who was a close friend of Bell’s – further solidifying his goal of picking left-field projects after gaining popularity in the Twilight series. Without a doubt, his casting represents a tacit challenge to Herzog to out-weird the birth of a half-human/half-vampire baby on screen. If anyone can do it, he probably already has.

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The Lizard

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column in a hurry. It’s late for a very big date. With you, dear reader. It’s always been you. Our top story tonight, The Amazing Spider-Man and a new look at the film’s villain, The Lizard. He’s looking quite menacing now that he’s got his full CGI on. Thanks to Entertainment Weekly, we now cannot quite look through the blinds of our window out of fear. Thanks, EW, you are useful as always.

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Scott Cooper’s followup to 2009’s Crazy Heart has been making a lot of headlines lately due to all of its impressive casting announcements. Out of the Furnace is a movie about an ex-con trying to get his life together after getting out of prison. Unfortunately, the world is a tough place to live in, and bad things happen. So when the protagonist’s little brother gets caught up in some shady dealings that have an unfortunate end, he finds himself in a situation where he has to turn his new leaf back over to the dirty side, in order to seek revenge. A huge chunk of the cast has already been filled out by signees that were made official just a few days ago. Christian Bale has long been locked for the role of the lead character, Russell. And after his casting came names like Casey Affleck, who’s playing the little brother who meets a tragic end, Zoe Saldana, who is the Bale character’s love interest, and Sam Shepard, who’s all set to play his uncle, Red. Only one thing’s left: who’s going to play the villain? Every good crime movie needs a good bad guy, and with the cast that Out of the Furnace already has in place, not just any old actor will do for this one. You bring in somebody unestablished—without any chops—and he’s going to shrink when standing next to screen presences like Bale and Affleck. No, this movie needs a big damn personality, and if a […]

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Confirming some long-rumored casting picks, and even throwing in a surprise or two, Relativity Media has just sent around a press release detailing confirmed casting for Scott Cooper‘s Out of the Furnace. After the critical success of his directorial debut (which was nominated for three Oscars, ultimately winning two, including Jeff Bridges’s long-deserved first Academy Award), Cooper has been attached to a number of projects, but Out of the Furnace will be his first film since 2009. The release confirms that Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard are set to star in the gritty drama. Bale has been on board as lead Russell Baze since August, but this is the official confirmation of his role. Affleck and Saldana have been attached to the film since March as Bale’s younger brother and love interest, respectively, but back then, Robert Duvall was mentioned to take Shepard’s role as the Baze brothers’ uncle, Red. Still up in the air? The villain role – once rumored to be played by Viggo Mortensen or Billy Bob Thornton. At this point, they could cast anyone in this role, as the current cast is a fantastic collection of talents.

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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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Now that we’ve all ogled Zoe Saldana’s goodies in the exploitation schlockfest Colombiana, the actress can step off of the publicity circuit and start work on something new. What’s that going to be? I’m glad you asked. According to THR Saldana is moving on a project called Dominion that’s something of a supernatural thriller. It’s about a creature that is a hybrid of an angel and a human, and Saldana seems to be perfect for the role because, well, she’s really pretty. Some might say angelic. It’s coming from a pitch by Dean McCreary and Chester Hastings, a relatively new-on-the-scene writing team who have credits in two upcoming films, one a familiar sounding thriller called You’re My Angel, and the other a film about a video store clerk who worships Sam Raimi called Fanboy. In a first for Saldana, this job will force her to rely on a bit more than her looks and her acting chops. She’s going to have to do some decision making as well, because this time she has a producing credit. It’s always tough to predict exactly what somebody who is being called a producer will be doing, or how much say they will have over a film, but this hints at the fact that the actress is looking to take more control over the projects she’s working on. It looks like after being a part of a couple of blockbuster franchises-to-be in Avatar and Star Trek, Saldana is becoming something of a celebrity. Hopefully […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr moved into an old, creepy house with the wife of an uber-famous movie star. But then she started hearing voices in the walls, so he bailed on that noise and found a new main squeeze. She turned out to be a full-blown psychotic assassin bent on revenge and blood. The plus side is that she was the spitting image of Zoe Saldana, so Kevin thought it might be worth the risk. This, of course, did not end well, but he considered himself lucky because he didn’t have to sit through Our Idiot Brother. Oh, and apparently Transformers: The Dark of the Moon is returning to IMAX screens… but does anyone care about that at all?

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In the genre of revenge thrillers, neither the French nor the South Americans are slouches. For decades, both cultures have produced countless bloody bonanzas that have been tinted yellow, untethered by conventional decency and piled upon with empty bullet casings. So what happens when two Frenchmen — uber producer Luc Besson and appropriately named action director Olivier Megaton — make a film about a South American killer hell bent on revenge starring Zoe Saldana, one of the most effortlessly sexy people on the planet? Somehow it all goes terrible wrong. It has the tint, the bullet casings and the motive, but Colombiana doesn’t feel so free — it conforms to a PG-13 world, which sort of takes the fun out of the whole experience.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s an obsessively curated column that collects the most interesting links from around the movie blogosphere. It includes a bit of commentary, but only when the mood strikes. Which, for the purposes of this column’s author, is all the time. Gird your loins and put on your power rings, because it’s about to get wild in here. Getting ready to see Green Lantern this weekend? Our review will be live tomorrow. But if you need a primer before then, I would defer you to io9′s very thorough beginner’s guide to Green Lantern. It should bring you up to speed just in time to become angry about whether or not the film is faithful.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is (d) all of the above. “La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances.” That’s the opening of the synopsis to Pixar’s La Luna, the short that will play the Annecy International Animation Festival next month in France. It’s our adorable headlining image. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures)

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. One thing has become clear in the past week. Despite the comic book movie news flowing fast and furiously, the heroes were all familiar faces. The studios investing the most in bringing comic books to life have lost the plot a bit when it comes to the next few years of heroes to cultivate. Marvel tapping Black Panther is a nice start, but the studios are going to need to find alternate comic books to adapt in order to bring new life to the genre and surprise the fans who think seeing Spider-Man again will be fun but unnecessary. This week, we’ll look at the story of a family of lions in a time of war that remind us that there is no freedom that isn’t earned.

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Director Andrew Dominik proved with The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford that he could create an intensely beautiful film with an insanely long title. He also proved that he could handle a large cast of formidable talent. Fortunately for fans, he’ll get another chance to wrangle a murder of talent. Not only will Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck be starring in Dominik’s forthcoming Cogan’s Trade – a film about comedy and crime in Boston (the only city in the United States with crime) – but Sam Rockwell, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Zoe Saldana, Bill Murray, and Mark Ruffalo are also possible to come on board. If they do, Andrew Dominik will have single-handedly kept the great actors of Hollywood busy and unable to appear in anyone else’s films next year. Well played, sir. The film is set to shoot in Louisiana in March, and it creates another reason to be excited for 2012. [Cinema Blend]

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The rumor is that Ms. Fox won’t be in the next film per the decision from Mr. Bay. Why am I being so formal? It’s because I’m blogging in a tuxedo.

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Consider this the news of the day. It is an equation that would put together producer Luc Besson, insane director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3) and the world’s foremost badass lady, Zoe Saldana, together in a project full of bullets.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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