Good news for cinephiles: the kind folks at Criterion were kind enough to restore and release (on DVD and Blu-ray, along with the expected goody basket of bonus features) Terrence Malick’s Badlands, which is out this week. It’s mostly notable as Malick’s debut feature, but it was also a cornerstone picture of one of cinema’s most durable subgenres: the “lovers on the run” movie, in which an attractive young couple hits the road, fleeing their unfortunate crimes (and/or committing more), with the law in hot pursuit. If you’re in the mood for a marathon, we’ve got a few suggestions after the jump. … Read More
Tomorrow is the 65th birthday of Mr. Stephen King — yep, the master of pop horror is now a senior citizen — so break out a party hat, have a slice of cake, and douse yourself in pig’s blood. Mr. King’s gradual progression, over the last couple of decades, from genre populist to critical darling has been a joy to watch. But the conventional wisdom that his books make for lousy movies inexplicably still holds. Make no mistake, they’ve turned his works into some turkeys, as anyone who’s sat through Graveyard Shift, Dreamcatcher, or his first (and so far only) directorial effort Maximum Overdrive can tell you. But his novels and stories have also provided the groundwork for several genuinely great movies — many of them, surprisingly enough, not even set in the world of the supernatural. After the jump, our picks for the best Stephen King movies to date. … Read More
Perhaps it’s because we can’t help comparing HBO’s new comedy, Veep, to it, but The West Wing has been on our minds more than usual lately. So we’re pretty excited to see that Funny or Die has reunited the cast — yes, even Martin Sheen — for one more of its signature walk-and-talks. This new clip finds Allison Janney’s C.J. Cregg commandingly marching her quick-quipping staff down the hall to the Oval Office, where President Bartlet is primed to give yet another stirring, historically minded speech. Best of all, this reunion is for a good cause: The West Wing cast is promoting Every Body Walk!, a fitness initiative aimed at getting all Americans to spend half an hour a day walking. (Walk and talk, Every Body Walk! — see what they did there?) Watch the video after the jump. … Read More
Last week, we took a look at a few of Hollywood’s stranger casting decisions for previous (and upcoming) biographical films. But with the Oscar-winning Iron Lady out today on DVD and Blu-ray, we thought we might also take a look at some of the more successful actor/biographical subject match-ups—with a particular eye on those that most convincingly embodied the figures they were playing.
Playing a well-known and well-documented actor, musician, or public figure can’t be easy, even for the best of actors — they not only have to assemble a serviceable performance in the conventional sense, but must also work up a convincing impersonation. They’re playing people that we’re used to seeing, whose look and speech have become familiar and distinctive, and must thus be replicated. The great performances in biographical movies must also then transcend the mere imitation, and create a compelling character beyond that. After the jump, we’ve assembled a dozen of the actors who memorably got into someone else’s skin; add your own in the comments. … Read More
The weekend’s big movie, as you well know, was The Hunger Games, while DVD and Blu-ray players have been firing up Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since its release last week. The two films have a lot in common: powerful female protagonists, adaptations of bestsellers, probable franchise kick-offs. As such, they were also each objects of carefully considered casting. It’s become part of the pre-production process, the bandying about of potential name actors for high-profile roles; Fincher reportedly talked to Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson before settling on Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, while Hunger Games director Gary Ross’ alternate Katnisses included Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Chloe Moretz, and Saoirse Ronan.
Contemplating proxy casting choices is a fun parlor game for movie fans (perhaps second only to considering movies that never came to pass at all). After the jump, we’ll take a look at a dozen iconic movie roles, and the actors who almost, almost filled them. … Read More
1. Kevin Bacon, Chris Colfer, and John C. Reilly have joined a stacked cast that already includes George Clooney, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, and Martin Sheen in a Rob Reiner-directed performance of Dustin Lance Black’s play 8 on March 3rd in LA. Funds raised by the one-night only show will go to support marriage… Read More
Whenever we find out that one of our favorite film actors has taken a role on TV, we’re intrigued. Why trade Hollywood’s red carpets and big paydays for the weekly grind of a regular television schedule? While some thespians can’t resist a juicy role on premium cable, others embrace the small screen as a way to regain the cred they’ve lost after years of disappointing parts in terrible movies. In honor of Don Cheadle’s surprising — and delightful — decision to helm Showtime’s House of Lies, which premiered last night, we look at ten great film actors who became great TV actors. … Read More
“The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years,” says Michael Caine. That hasn’t stopped plenty of American actors from giving it a shot. This week, Johnny Depp appears in The Rum Diary, based on a typically boozy (not to mention druggy) book by Hunter Thompson. Even if you try to ignore the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Depp has had years of experience to hone his on-screen stagger. But he’s not the first – and definitely not the craziest – actor to bring the party to work. Below, we revisit some of the best drunken performances committed to film. … Read More