Bale bails on Aronofsky’s biblical epic, says “no” to Noah. Fassbender to fill in?

Last summer it was reported that Darren Aronofsky had Christian Bale in mind for his biblical epic about Noah and his ark, but the word now is that the actor will not be able to squeeze the film in between his double dose of Terrence Malick: Lawless and Knight of Cups.

I don’t blame him. I’d rather see him in the Malick pictures anyway…

Sundance announces 58 features in competition for 2012

It seems like Sundance 2011 just wrapped up 5 minutes ago, but the 2012 edition is nearly upon us (January 19-29). Here are the competition entries in the US and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary categories. Some notable names: Michael Cera and Amanda Seyfried in The End of Love; Paul Dano, Jon Heder and Jena (read…)

Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver (1976 ) directed by Martin Scorsese Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle Travis Bickle (voiceover): All the animals come out at night. Whores, scum, pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies. Sick. Venal. Someday a real rain’ll come and wash all the scum off the streets.

Asa Butterfield official for Ender’s Game, Harrison Ford eyed

Just following up on a report from November 17th. The offer that went out to Asa Butterfield to star in the adaptation of the award-winning Orson Scott Card novel has been accepted. As for the rest of the cast, Viggo Mortensen had originally be eyed for the part of Colonel Hyrum Graff, but nothing came (read…)

Shame red band wisely plays up the sex

You’ve got an NC-17 film, you might as well aim the marketing at people who are old enough to see the movie, right? Steve McQueen’s Shame starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan is one of my favorite movies of the year. It opens Friday, December 2.

Daniel Radcliffe to play Allen Ginsberg in ‘Kill Your Darlings’

Daniel Radcliffe continues to inch away from his Harry Potter past. Twitch reports that he’ll be playing Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, a thriller surrounding Lucien Carr, the man who brought Ginsberg together with Jack Keroac and William S. Burroughs, but later served time for the murder of his lover David (read…)

Soderbergh’s U.N.C.L.E. replacement: “The Bitter Pill”

Steven Soderbergh is reteaming with his Contagion and The Informant! screenwriter Scott Z. Burns on The Bitter Pill which is currently being pitched around town and would fill the void in Soderbergh’s schedule left by his exit from Warner Bros’ big screen adaptation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Both THR and The Playlist are claiming (read…)

2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

The awards storm on the horizon Really happy to see much love being showered upon Take Shelter and this is an outstanding selection of supporting actors. Nice of them to toss Heather Courtney a bone for the Truer than Fiction award, but Where Soldiers Come From which played at Film Independent’s LA Film Festival should’ve (read…)

2011 New York Film Critics Circle

I’m a little bit stunned that the NYFCC could hold up The Artist as best picture when there are so many better choices. Hell, if you’re going for a nostalgia piece, they could’ve gone for Hugo. Don’t get me wrong. I liked The Artist, but it’s a softball and I expect a lot more from (read…)

Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull (1980) directed by Martin Scorsese Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta and Joe Pesci as Joey La Motta Jake: I got these small hands. I got a little girl’s hands. Joey: I got ’em too. What’s the difference? Jake: Know what that means? No matter how big I get, no matter who (read…)

The Tree of Life tops Sight and Sound’s 2011 Top 10 (of 100)

Always one of the more interesting critics’ lists and needless to say I’m delighted by their #1 choice. Does it bode well for further critical love down the line? I hope so! 1. The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick 2. A Separation, Asghar Farhadi 3. The Kid With a Bike, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne 4. (read…)

The Tree of Life and Beginners share top Gotham prize

Here are your complete list of winners and non-winners at tonight’s Gotham awards. The Tree of Life is a fantastic choice. I’d have picked Take Shelter to tie with it over Beginners, but Beginners is a nice film and a solid winner for the ensemble prize as well. I was rooting for Jacob Wysocki or (read…)

Kyle Chandler joins Wahlberg/Crowe in Allen Hughes’ “Broken City”

Friday Night Lights fans will be heartened to see Emmy-winning Kyle Chandler stay busy as he joins the political thriller Broken City which is being directed by Allen Hughes (Menace II Society). This is the one where Mark Wahlberg plays a private detective hired to investigate the mayor’s cheating wife. When the guy she was (read…)

Mad Men’s Jared Harris to play U.S. Grant in Spielberg’s “Lincoln”

Jared Harris is the son of the late, great Richard Harris in case you didn’t know it, a man who played a hero of the South in Sam Peckinpah’s Major Dundee. In addition to his excellent turn on AMC’s Mad Men as Lane Pryce, Jared has also had juicy parts in The Notorious Bettie Page (read…)

Controversial British director Ken Russell dead at 84

British bad boy of cinema, Ken Russell died Sunday after a series of strokes. Where to begin remembering him? After getting his start on the BBC, Russell made his first real international splash in 1969 with his adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, the film for which Glenda Jackson won an Oscar and earned (read…)

Goodfellas (1990)

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s tale of the mob

Movin’ Right Along

Order of business #1 this holiday weekend was to watch the original The Muppet Movie to wash the taste of the new one with Kermit the Fraud out of my mouth. It was sublime in every way. Critics and audiences both loved The Muppets, but a direct comparison to the first and greatest only highlights (read…)

The Hurt Locker (2008)

David Morse and Jeremy Renner in Kathryn Bigelow’s tale of war.

The Color of Money (1986)

Paul Newman who reprises the role of “Fast” Eddie Felson from The Hustler gives Tom Cruise a lesson or two in Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money

My Week with Marilyn (2011)

This movie belongs to Michelle Williams. It’s great to see the often austere and serious actress get to bubble and to be sexy and funny for a change. In the process, she captures Monroe’s appealing mix of innocence and carnality while also conveying her fragility and inner turmoil. Most importantly, she does it all while avoiding simple mimicry.

Rachel Weisz “commited to” POW survivor drama “The Railway Man”

She’ll play the wife of real life World War II POW survivor Eric Lomax. Colin Firth will star as the older version of Lomax who struggled for 30-years after the war with the trauma inflicted upon him by his Japanese captors. Lomax, upon whose book the film is based, was one of 60,000 Allied prisoners of (read…)

Ben Whishaw cast as a “far more serious” Q in new Bond flick

Well of course he’ll be more serious. It fits the tone of the new Bonds, the tone of director Sam Mendes and it fits Whishaw’s countenance as an actor. For those of you who don’t nerd out over James Bond, Q is the head of the branch of MI6 that dishes out all of Bond’s (read…)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate star in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Happy 40th Birthday Christina.

The Artist (2011)

While this drama gives The Artist its soul, its heart comes from its humor and from its affection for a time when movies were king and the people who starred in them were gods. The movie is at its best when it is being warm and funny. To that end, Hazanavicius relies mightily on his star Dujardin. With his guileless, expressive face, the Frenchman is the perfect actor for silent pictures. It’s as though his eyebrows and his smile are attached to different motors in his brain. One of them will respond first to something amusing or entertaining happening on screen, and then the other will follow as his whole face lights up in laughter or amazement.

The Muppets (2011)

It’s about as much like the real Muppets as the movie’s fake Muppet knockoffs, the Moopets. The characters look mostly the same and they sound mostly familiar, but The Muppets is a nostalgia act through and through. There’s something vital missing – that old unpredictability and sense of gentle anarchy Jim Henson and crew thrived on. It’s the fake Beatles in Las Vegas, but the songs aren’t as good.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for long, you might already know this clip is something of an off and on Thanksgiving tradition around here. I can’t help it. It will always remind me of this, the most gluttonous of holidays. Thanks to all of you who have been checking in to Living (read…)

Cape Fear (1991)

Robert De Niro gives Nick Nolte the business in Martin Scorsese’s underrated remake Cape Fear (1991)

John Lithgow classes up “Dog Fight” between Ferrell and Galifianakis

This is the one directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers) with man-children Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as two politicians running for the same congressional seat. Brian Cox joined the cast which also includes Dylan McDermott and Jason Sudeikis in early November. The script is co-written by Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy. Harwell is best (read…)

A Thanksgiving cornucopia of movie options

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method The studios are rolling out most of their movies early this week to take advantage of the long Thanksgiving holiday and there’s a bounty of cinematic goodness to be found. All release dates are for Wednesday 11/23 except where noted. A Dangerous Method (****). (read…)

Director Simon Curtis talks to LiC about “My Week with Marilyn”

Andy Warhol famously said, “My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.” That sentiment is rendered beautifully in My Week with Marilyn, the first feature from prolific British director Simon Curtis, perhaps best known for his work on the BAFTA, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominated series Cranford. In My Week with Marilyn (opening in select cities today), Curtis directed

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