20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
Kate Winslet has been hooking up with a lot of folks over the years...on screen that is. Everyone from Jim Carrey to Leonardo DiCaprio has had the pleasure of playing lover to the incomparable Kate, and some pretty steamy scenes have been made in the process. The trailer for her new movie Labor Day was just released and it looks like we can expect yet another hot hook-up, though this time she’s falling for Josh Brolin’s character, a criminal on the run. Labor Day looks like a strong film, but we’ll have to see if she and Brolin have the amazing chemistry that she’s had with some of these other actors. Here are a few of her best on-screen hook-ups.
Little Children with Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson’s hotness + Winslet as a frustrated woman rebelling against her life as a suburban stay-at-home mother = one of the steamiest laundry room sex scenes in the history of laundry room sex scenes.
The Reader with David Kross
Okay, it’s a little (or a lot) bizarre to include this film, as Winslet plays lover to an underage high school boy (played by David Kross). But those of us who have seen The Reader understand why Winslet won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Hanna Schmitz – the chemistry between the two characters (whether they were reading The Odyssey or hooking up in the bathtub) was nothing short of powerful.
Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio
Both Winslet and DiCaprio have come a long, long way since they became the new Romeo & Juliet to millions of teenage girls everywhere in Titanic. Jack and Rose were a huge deal, and who can forget that image of Rose’s hand streaking the car window where they first made sweet, passionate, early 1900s love? The two actors would go on to reunite as a married couple in the 2008 film Revolutionary Road, but we can never let go (get it? never let go?) of Jack and Rose forever!
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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After decades of moviemaking years spent honing his craft and sifting through the industry's best collaborators to form a cinematic dream team Steven Spielberg is one of the few directors whose films routinely hit a bar of high quality. Even his more haphazard efforts are competently constructed and executed with unbridled passion reeling in audiences with drama adventure and big screen fun. There really isn't a "bad" Spielberg movie. His latest War Horse isn't in the top tier of the grandmaster's filmography but as a work of pure sentimentality and spectacle the film delivers rousing entertainment. Makes sense: a horse's heart is about eight times the size of a human's and War Horse's is approximately that much bigger than every other movie in 2011.
The titular equine is Joey a horse born in the English countryside in 1914 who triumphantly navigates the ravished European landscape during the first World War. A good hour of the 146 minute film is spent establishing the savvy creature's friendship with his first owner Albert (Jeremy Irvine). A farmer boy with a penchant for animal training Albert copes with his alcoholic father Ted (Peter Mullan) and their homestead's dwindling funds but finds much needed hope in the sprite Joey. After blessing Albert and company with a few miracles Ted makes the wise decision of selling Joey off to the war and the real adventure begins.
Like Forrest Gump of the animal kingdom the lucky stallion finds himself intertwined with an eclectic handful of persons. He encoutners the owner of a British Captain preparing a surprise attack. He becomes the ride for two German army runaways the prized possession of young French girl and her grandfather and the unifier of two warring soldiers in the battlefield's No Man's Land. From the beginning to the end of the war Joey miraculously sees it all all in hopes of one day crossing Albert's path again.
Spielberg avoids any over-the-top Mr. Ed techniques in War Horse but amazingly the horses employed to play Joey deliver a riveting muted "performance" that's alive on screen. The animal is the lead of the movie his human co-stars (including Thor's Tom Hiddleston The Reader's David Kross and Toby Kebbell of Prince of Persia) sprinkled around Joey to complicate his (and our) experience of war.
But even with a stellar cast working at full capacity War Horse falters thanks to its episodic nature. It is a movie of moments—awe-inspiring breathtaking and heartfelt—stuffed with long stretches of underdeveloped characters guiding us through meandering action. Spielberg's longtime cinematographer Janusz Kaminski makes the varying environments visually enthralling—from the dark blue hues of war to rolling green hills backdropped with stunning sunsets—and John Williams' score matches the film's epic scope but without Albert in the picture's second half War Horse simply gallops around in circles.
Spielberg is a master craftsman and War Horse a masterful craft but the movie lacks a necessary intimacy to hook us into the story's bigger picture. The ensemble's devotion and affection for Joey sporadically resonates—how could it not? Look at that adorable horse!—but even those emotional beats border on goofy (at one point Hiddleston's character decides to sketch Joey a moment I found eerily reminiscent of Jack sketching Rose in Titanic). War Horse really hits its stride when Spielberg pulls back the camera and lets his keen eye for picturesque composition do the talking. Or from Joey's perspective neighing.
An actor starring in two or more movies in a single year is a common occurrence. In 2011 alone, stars such as Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen toplined or had supporting roles in 3-5 films a piece. This is because on-screen talent has the luxury of spending around 2-4 months on any given production before being whisked away to another exotic location. Directors don’t have that luxury. For them, it can take anywhere between 2-3 years to bring a project from page to screen, but the end result can often be much more gratifying. So when a filmmaker manages to drop two (or more?) movies in one year, it’s quite an accomplishment.
This week, 20th Century Fox releases The Sitter, David Gordon Green’s second 2011 effort (the first being Universal’s ill-fated Your Highness), and to say the least, we’re impressed. However, he’s the not the only filmmaker to have ever done so. Heck, he’s not even the only one who has done it this year! Read on for a roundup of the best multi-tasking directors in the business.
He’s the unofficial Godfather of the film industry, and there’s virtually nothing he can’t do, including putting out a whopping six films this year as either director or producer (he releases his pair of directorial efforts, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, less than a week apart from each other later this month). But the real kicker is that this isn’t even the first time he’s pulled this off: Spielberg directed two films a year in 1989 (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Always), 1993 (Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List), 1997 (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Amistad), 2002 (Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can) and 2005 (War of the Worlds, Munich).
Eastwood has worked and excelled on both sides of the camera over the last 55 years. In his first two years as a credited actor (1955 and 1956), he appeared in about eight films, but his real triumphs came more than 15 years later when he directed High Plains Drifter and Breezy in 1973. He repeated the duel directing duties in 1982 with Firefox and Honkytonk Man, 1990 with The Rookie and White Hunter, Black Heart, 1997 with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Absolute Power, 2006 with Flags of Our Father and Letters From Iwo Jima and 2008 with Changeling and Gran Torino. Not too shabby for an 81 year-old man…
Mr. Z got his start in the movie business thanks to the aforementioned Godfather of cinema (Spielberg produced/contributed to many of his films), and like him, has achieved the uncanny feat of releasing two films in a year. Though he only managed to do it once in his long career, the year 2000 was especially lucrative for Zemeckis as he released Cast Away and What Lies Beneath, two of his biggest movies.
It’s coincidental that there would be another Steven on this list whose last name also sports a “Bergh” of some kind…but hey, Hollywood’s a small world after all. Soderbergh has also had multiple “two-fer” years wherein he’s released a variety of films, including Gray’s Anatomy and Schizopolis in 1996, Erin Brockovich and Traffic in 2000, Solaris and Full Frontal in 2002, Ocean’s Twelve and a segment of Eros in 2004, Che Part 1 and 2 in 2008 (though that’s a bit of a cheat as it’s essentially one loooong movie), The Girlfriend Experience and The Informant! in 2009 and Contagion and Haywire this year (though Haywire will see its wide release in early 2012).
This auteur is internationally known as a pillar of film production and is responsible for movies of all shapes and sizes. He’s also incredibly active and has an enviably prolific resume that includes a few years in which he released narrative features and documentaries like 1974’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and Die große Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner (love that name), 1977’s La Soufriere and Stroszek, 1979’s Nosferatu the Vampyre and Woyzeck, 2005’s Grizzly Man and The Wild Blue Yonder and 2009’s My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
In the golden age of Hollywood, moviemaking was a much different kind of animal and filmmakers could shoot, edit and release a feature much quicker than one could today. That convenience is the reason why Hitchcock, one of the true legends of cinema, was able to deliver so many masterpieces, including quite a few of them in the same year. In 1927, he released The Lodger, The Ring and When Boys Leave Home; in 1928, The Farmer’s Wife, Easy Virtue and Champagne, in 1929, The Manxman and Blackmail. And the hits kept coming: 1931 saw the release of East of Shanghai, Mary and The Skin Game, 1934 had The Man Who Knew Too Much and Strauss’ Great Waltz and 1936 had Secret Agent and Sabotage while 1940 had Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent and 1941 had Suspicion and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. His most famous two-at-a-time films, however, came in 1954 (Rear Window, Dial M for Murder), 1955 (The Trouble with Harry, To Catch a Thief) and 1956 (The Man Who Knew Too Much with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day, and The Wrong Man).
Zack Snyder: Since becoming a Warner Bros. golden child with 300 in 2007, Snyder has had an incredible output at the studio, releasing a film a year since 2009’s Watchmen. Most recently, he completed Legend of the Guardians and Sucker Punch within six months of each other (September 2010 and March 2011).
Tarsem Singh: After a five-year absence, Tarsem returned last month with the epic actioner Immortals and will follow it up in March 2012 with Mirror Mirror, the first of two Snow White tent-poles to enchant audiences next year. Not bad for a guy with only four directorial credits to his name!
'Steven Spielberg' is one of those names that has such cachet that we sit up and take notice any time he does, well, anything. Although Spielberg's last project was 2008's disappointing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, his latest, War Horse, looks to hearken back to the tone of his 1987 Empire of the Sun with its war-torn setting and human drama.
War Horse - the story of the friendship between a boy (Joey) and his horse, who is sold to the British army during the First World War (the horse, not the boy) - boasts an impressive international cast, with Jeremy Irvine (formerly of the National Youth Theatre) playing the young horse owner, Emily Watson (Gosford Park, Cold Souls) playing his mother, and Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, Children of Men) his father. Niels Arestrup (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) plays the grandfather of a young French girl (Celine Buckens) who takes Joey in.
Other renowned members of the cast include Tom Hiddleston (to play Loki in Thor and the upcoming Avengers movie), Rainer Bock (Inglorious Basterds), Patrick Kennedy (Atonement), and Stephen Graham (Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies and Al Capone in the upcoming HBO series Boardwalk Empire). Rounding out the ensemble are Nicolas Bro, Leonard Carow, Robert Emms, and David Kross.
War Horse is being adapted by Lee Hall, the writer behind Billy Elliot, and Richard Curtis from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. Expect War Horse to hit theaters August 10, 2011.
Source: Empire Online
Based on the award-winning book by Bernhard Schlink The Reader is an extraordinary provocative and controversial story set in post-World War II Germany. It starts when 15-year-old Michael (David Kross) becomes ill with scarlet fever and is helped home by sympathetic woman named Hanna (Kate Winslet). After his recovery he returns to thank her and is drawn into a clandestine affair with this intriguing woman more than twice his age. Their relationship grows stronger especially when he starts reading to her. But then she suddenly disappears leaving a devastated Michael who now must move on with his life. Little does he know that eight years later while he is in law school he would see Hanna again -- as one of the defendants in a court case against Nazi war criminals. Shocked at revelations about her secret past he also discovers something that will change both their lives forever. Granted Kate Winslet is one of the finest young screen actresses but her range in The Reader will astonish you. It’s an extremely tricky part that could easily lose the audience’s sympathy if done incorrectly but Winslet handles it with aplomb. She runs through the whole gamut of emotions -- aging from her 30s to 60s -- all at once sexy mysterious conflicted contrite as well as many other colors. As Michael newcomer Kross is devastatingly good the most impressive acting discovery in a long time. Although he plays 15 he was 17 at the start of filming and production had to shut down until he turned 18 for the graphic sex scenes. As the story flashes forward Ralph Fiennes takes over the role as the older Michael and does so with a touching sincerity. Lena Olin also has a strong cameo as a Holocaust survivor with definite opinions of Hanna. Although this is only acclaimed stage director Stephen Daldry’s third film he once again shows a mastery of the medium far beyond his limited cinematic resume. Like The Hours and his debut film Billy Elliot he has crafted another film to savor. The Reader isn’t necessarily the most comfortable film to watch but Daldry guides the subject matter with a delicate and steady hand giving us a complex and touching love story between the most unlikely couple. It also delves into how one generation of Germans can come to terms with the horrors of another. Daldry’s directorial restraint and power perfectly serves David Hare’s impressive screenplay and delivers a memorable movie-going experience.