There's a wealth of material for filmmakers to pry out of the troubles that America has faced in the past decade. The depressed economy, the plight of the returning soldier, and the loss of American industry have all informed the plots of many of the best films written in the past couple years. In his second directorial effort, Out of the Furnace, filmmaker Scott Cooper attempts to turn the myriad of America’s most pressing issues into a story set in the backdrop of the country’s hard suffering Rust Belt, but he comes away with a merely competent dramatic thriller that clearly aspired to be something grander.
In the film, Christian Bale plays the hardworking and upstanding Russell Baze, an almost impossibly good-natured man who has worked in the local steel mill his entire life, and had planned, just like his ailing father, to do so until the day he died. But when the steel mill is scheduled to close, Baze's way of life as well as the town itself is crippled. Casey Affleck plays Russell's sensitive brother Rodney, whose tours in Iraq have left him emotionally eruptive and dissatisfied with his brother’s working man existence; Rodney would rather spend his time competing in underground fighting rings where he can still feel something. Rodney soon finds himself wrapped up in violent and reactionary crime ring that doesn't take kindly to strangers. It’s up to Russell to save his brother from the grips of the areas most terrifying criminals
Out of the Furnace is appealingly glum. Cooper finds beauty in the rolling hills and crumbling infrastructure of small town Pennsylvania, and the film fully embraces the derelict beauty of its settings, down to even the homes and the cars that the characters own. The film clearly prides itself on feeling authentic and it reaches its goals visually — at the very least.
The relationship between the brothers Baze also feels remarkably authentic. Both Bale and Affleck sell the relationship deftly, and have an almost tangible amount of on-screen chemistry that expresses their bond for each other in a way that no script could. This chemistry makes the scenes where Rodney has gone missing burn with terrific dramatic intensity.
There’s a quiet desperation in these people. Though they may be hopeful and happy in their set paths, there’s a feeling that they’re all walking along streets heading nowhere. America isn’t the land of opportunity anymore, not for the soldiers or the factory workers. The only thriving ones seem to be the criminals like Woody Harrelson’s Curtis Degroat, who is so overarchingly villainous that the only thing the character is missing is a dastardly moustache to twirl.
And this is the big issue with Out of the Furnace. While Harrelson’s performance is at times chilling, the script often dovetails Degroat into an overdone cartoon bad guy, and this weak characterization flows through a lot of the characters and seriously undermines a lot of the authenticity that the film believes itself to be built upon. There's a particularly groan-inducing scene where Degroat decries the human race in the gruffest voice he can muster. Woody’s Degroat character, and most of the others in the film, aren’t so much developed characters, but act more like clichéd archetypes in Cooper’s parable about a broken America. Degroat is simply the bad guy, and not characterized beyond that one-dimensional role in this story. Affleck’s wounded war veteran feels overwrought as well, with many of his scenes laying down the melodrama in thick sheets, particularly when he’s discussing the terrors he’s faced in the war oversees.
Out of the Furnace has a lot of things on its mind about the state of America’s small towns and working class heroes, but it doesn’t know the best way to express itself, and while some of it’s sentiments ring true others clank harshly like an off-note. The remarkable cast does its best to prop up a film that wants to tell a great American story, but it only manages to tell a fairly middling one.
Man Of Steel star Henry Cavill has been named U.K. Glamour magazine's Sexiest Man of 2013. Superman has ended fellow Brit Robert Pattinson's four-year run at number one.
The Twilight star falls to number two, while Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus' ex, comes in at number three.
Thor villain Tom Hiddleston places fourth and another fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch rounds out the top five.
Other stars on the poll of 100 attractive celebrities include teen pop idols Justin Bieber and Harry Styles, actors Idris Elba, Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum, and sports stars David Beckham and Rafael Nadal.
British actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson have been voted the world's sexiest movie stars. The Star Trek Into Darkness actor gained top spot in the 50 hottest males of the moment poll conducted by Empire Online, coming ahead of The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston, who took second place, and Man of Steel heart-throb Henry Cavill in third.
Harry Potter actress Watson earned the sexiest female movie star title, beating Scarlett Johansson in second and The Hunger Games favourite Jennifer Lawrence in third.
Other stars who featured high in the charts include Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Mila Kunis and Angelina Jolie.
James Dyer, editor of Empire Online, says, "It's a great result for British stars, but what's clear is that it's less important to have lots of casual fans and better to have a dedicated hard-core. The Cumberbabes, Hiddlestoners, Twi-hards and Cavilliers all made their opinions heard!"
Newly-engaged actress Kaley Cuoco feared her summer romance with tennis star Ryan Sweeting was on the rocks after he picked a fight shortly before proposing to her. The Big Bang Theory star announced last week (26Sep13) that she was heading down the aisle with the sportsman after a whirlwind three-month relationship, but Cuoco admits his proposal didn't start off on the most romantic note.
She tells U.S. news show Entertainment Tonight, "He actually started a little fight with me and threw me off. I was like, 'Oh my God, things aren't great.'"
However, she soon realised the fall-out wasn't for real when he presented her with the diamond sparkler: "He surprised me at the end of the night... (when) he popped the ring out. It was amazing."
The actress, who dated Man of Steel hunk Henry Cavill just weeks before she was first linked to Sweeting, insists she had a good feeling about the tennis ace the moment they hit it off.
She says, "From day one I just knew immediately and it's been magic. We have all the same family friends. We grew up with the same people, we just never met. So I kind of feel that I've known him my whole life.
"I know that it seems a little crazy on paper. But it's what works for us."
Cuoco was previously engaged to speech therapist Josh Rusnik and also dated her The Big Bang Theory co-star Johnny Galecki.
The announcement that Ben Affleck would play Batman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie sent shockwaves around the Internet. Twitter, Facebook, and comic book forums lit up as millions of geeks expressed their opinion that Affleck was seriously miscast. While we haven’t yet seen Affleck don the armor of the Dark Knight, we have seen past failures when superstar and superhero don’t quite merge harmoniously.
George Clooney as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Batman & Robin (1997)One could fill an entire list of miscasts from this movie alone, but the worst decision was to cast George Clooney as Batman. The debonair Clooney certainly is a talented actor, but none of that talent surfaced during this two-hour campfest.
Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Green Lantern (2009)There’s nothing inherently wrong with infusing lightheartedness into a film adaptation of a comic book, but there has to be some sort of plausibility to it. Casting Ryan Reynolds as a man without fear is simply laughable. The man lacks a serious bone in his body, and we’re to believe he can stand up to the embodiment of evil?
Brandon Routh as Superman/Clark Kent, Superman Returns (2006)He may have looked and sounded like Christopher Reeve, but he was certainly no Superman. More of a Superboy, Brandon Routh just didn’t have the gravitas, charisma or machismo to play the Man of Steel.
Warner Bros/Everett Collection
Halle Berry as Catwoman, Catwoman (2004)Halle Berry’s Catwoman may not be the Selina Kyle most people associate with the famed comic cat burglar, but even the re-imagined sexy alternative didn’t suit the Academy Award winning actress. Her acting was simply so abysmal that some critics thought she should return her Oscar for Monster's Ball as a penalty for pitiful performance.
Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Spider-Man TrilogySam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were two of the best superhero movies of all time (the less we talk about Spider-Man 3, the better), but Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man really didn’t conform to his comic book counterpart. Lean, wiry and with a smart-ass personality, Spider-Man was not the lovesick puppy dog that Tobey Maguire portrayed, who resembled more like Clark Kent than Peter Parker.
Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, The Incredible Hulk (2009)Another capable actor who just didn’t seem like a right fit for the role, Edward Norton was grossly miscast as Bruce Banner. In real life, Norton’s a very intelligent man, but he could never exude the genius-level intellect of Bruce Banner. But most importantly, Norton just doesn’t possess the inner rage that would manifest itself into an unstoppable, hulking green force.
Shaquille O’Neal as Steel/John Henry Irons, Steel (1997)Where to begin? For starters, Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball player with no acting skills, despite having appeared in several films by now. Second, while Shaq may possess more inches than required to reach the imposing height of John Henry Irons, he doesn’t have the chiseled physique nor the hardened look to strike fear into criminals.
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Here's to the fans — those tirelessly devoted souls who shirk work assignments and marital anniversaries to bring the world bounties like the ones we have here.
A pair of unsung heroes, one known only as solyentbrak1 and the other relegated as Kernel Kurtz, have served the cities of Metropolis, Gotham, and other fictionalized equivalents of New York with the following mash-up videos: one hopping aboard the Batman Vs. Superman train, and inserting Ben Affleck as Batman (this casting news broke over the weekend) and Bryan Cranston as the villainous Lex Luthor (rumors are still bubbling about the Breaking Bad star's involvement in the upcoming Warner Bros. feature) into faux-scenes from the upcoming movie. Pulling footage and quotes from their old projects, an unparalleled artist known only as solyentbrak1 tossed Affleck and Cranston into the mix with Man Of Steel scenes to craft something that, quite honestly, could be far better than the actual Batman Vs. Superman movie... but hey, we're still excited.
The second, far sillier trailer teams The Dark Knight Rises with the unlikely partner of The Notebook, has Tom Hardy's Bane taking on the Ryan Gosling role, and Christian Bale's Batman becoming Rachel McAdams. Enjoy:
Better than the originals.
More:Ben Affleck Cast as Batman in 'Man of Steel' Sequel45 Jokes About Ben Affleck Playing BatmanWarner Bros Announces Batman Vs. Superman Movie
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Actor Nathan Fillion has ruled out caping up as Batman in the Man Of Steel sequel, despite topping comic book fans' wishlists as the man they'd like to take over from Christian Bale. The Saving Private Ryan star insists he has not been approached about the role and does not believe he is a good fit anyway.
He says, "I think I'd make an excellent Bruce Wayne; I think I'd make a terrible Batman."
Fillion also cautions fans about rallying for their favourite actor to play a certain role, adding, "If you wanted to see a particular person as Batman, I think one of the worst things you could do is shove it down someone's throat as far as the new director of Batman or the new producers of Batman. Probably the worst thing you could do if there's someone you want to be Batman is sort of rally."
Speculation about the new Batman began when Man of Steel director Zack Snyder revealed his sequel would feature Superman and the Caped Crusader.
Bale portrayed Batman in director Christoper Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, but he has made it clear he won't be donning the suit again.
British actor Mark Strong has fuelled reports suggesting he is set to portray Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor in the Man Of Steel sequel after refusing to confirm or deny the casting rumours. The Sherlock Holmes star was recently tipped to take on the role of the villain in director Zack Snyder's forthcoming film, and Strong has done little to silence the claims.
When asked about the casting news by DigitalSpy.com, he coyly replied, "All I can say is... watch this space."
If Strong does sign on, he will follow in the footsteps of Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey, who have both famously brought the character to life on film.
It's not the only casting mystery surrounding the Man of Steel sequel - rumours have swirled about who will play Batman since Snyder confirmed that the Caped Crusader will feature in the follow-up at last month's (Jul13) Comic Con event in San Diego, California.
Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Joe Manganiello have all been mentioned as possible contenders for the coveted role, taking over from Christian Bale, who stepped down following the completion of Christoper Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.
Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman in the planned sequel.
Actress Kaley Cuoco has moved on from her brief romance with new Superman Henry Cavill by stepping out with tennis star Ryan Sweeting. The Big Bang Theory star enjoyed a short fling with Man of Steel hunk Cavill earlier this summer (13), but they parted ways last month (Jul13) and now it appears the blonde has a new man in her life.
Cuoco was photographed on a lunch date in Los Angeles with Bahamian-born American sportsman Sweeting last weekend (03-04Aug13), and on Tuesday (06Aug13), the stars enjoyed a spa session in Culver City, California as they underwent manicures and pedicures together.
However, a source tells Eonline.com they are just in the "getting to know each other phase", adding that Cuoco "absolutely likes him".
Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Joe Manganiello have been tipped as the frontrunners in the race to land the coveted role of Batman in a new superhero movie. Director Zack Snyder recently revealed the Caped Crusader will appear opposite Superman in his follow-up to this summer's (13) blockbuster Man of Steel, sparking a flurry of speculation over who will be given the chance to take over from British actor Christian Bale.
Bale, who played Batman in Christoper Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, has stepped down, and The Hollywood Reporter suggests No Country for Old Men star Brolin is the favourite to take his place.
The publication reports producers are considering casting an older actor, and they are also looking at True Blood's Joe Manganiello and Brolin's Gangster Squad co-star Gosling.
British actor Richard Armitage, who stars in The Hobbit, is also said to be in contention, along with Matthew Goode, who worked with Snyder on 2009 superhero film Watchmen.
The new blockbuster, which will feature Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman, will reportedly be shot next year (14) ahead of a 2015 release.