Open Road Films via Everett Collection
David Ayer's Sabotage is just the latest stop in Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback tour, though it probably won't do the actor too many favors. Schwarzenegger plays John "Breacher" Wharton, the leader of an elite DEA task force that specializes in taking down drug cartels. Each member of the team is a blunt instrument drunk off of their alpha male (and female) machismo, but to be fair, they are damn good at what they do. They're masters at going in hard, killing whoever needs killing, and heading to the strip club and drinking themselves into a stupor before the next round of street sweeping. Unfortunately, it turns out years of busting cartel bosses and being deeply unpleasant to everyone you come into contact with eventually catches up to you, and members of the squad start dying in ghastly and elaborate ways. And just like that, we have what basically amounts to an Agatha Christie novel with a gym membership and a pile of meth.
Unfortunately, and as expected, giving Agatha Christie a couple of reps at the gym and a pile of drugs turns her into a blithering idiot, because Sabotage is incredibly stupid. The central mystery somehow manages to be both preposterous and predictable at the same time. The film's one saving grace is its action. The action scenes are adrenal and exciting and unbelievably gory. Bloated corpses are poked and prodded, viscera hangs like ropes from a rafter. This film takes immense pleasure in being completely disgusting. It’s downright gleeful about it. Here's a full shot of a soiled toilet, just because. Here's a piece of skin hanging on some metal, why not. Isn't that cool?
While Sabotage does manage to thrill in spurts and stutters, there's absolutely nothing beating at the heart of the film. All of the main characters are completely and utterly repugnant, and you'll pity anyone who has to endure their company throughout the film. When characters do start to die, you won't feel all that broken up about it. In fact, you may even feel a twinge of joy, like the earth was suddenly unburdened from a pure source of rampant douchebaggery. Just imagine the most disgusting, and off-putting person you can, and then give them a gun, a badge, and a fierce sense of entitlement, and you have every single member of the film's DEA squad. They're all terrible.
And if that weren't bad enough, the acting ranges from mediocre to terrible. The usually wonderful Olivia Williams and the capable Sam Worthington continually forget which continent they're on, their accents dropping in an out like a bad radio connection; Schwarzenneger has a complete inability to emote anything apropos of the situation at hand. When looking upon a pile of ooze that was formerly in the shape of one of his best friends, his disappointment is more akin to seeing a temporarily occupied gym bench on chest day. All of the charm the actor showcased in something like the recent Escape Plan is washed out by Breacher's moping about his dark past, and when Schwarzenneger isn't allowed to be fun, then he's completely boring.
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Really, I should hate Sabotage. It’s a completely stupid and mean spirited film, but there’s a strange charm to the depravity of it all. There's an audaciousness to it. The film goes as far as it can to push limits, and succeeds at being appaling. It’s a film that knows how stupid and ugly it is and champions that fact. It’s playing in its own filth, and as gross as that is, at least it’s having fun. This is the kind of film that will be in heavy rotation at the local frat house. That’s doesn’t mean the film is good or even okay, but if you like watching horrific violence, awful mysteries, and awful people being awful, then boy do I have a film for you.
Reese Witherspoon made plenty of headlines this year, but it definitely wasn't for any outstanding performances...at least not the kind that will get you an Oscar. None of us will forget watching her catch a DUI case with her hubby and acting a total fool with the police officers. But the good news is that America's [former?] Sweetheart has a couple of projects lined up that we're legitimately excited about.
Cheryl Strayed's bestselling memoir Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail was a huge deal when it came out last year. Strayed reportedly reached out to Witherspoon personally, and the actress will both star in and produce the film. Not all fans of the memoir are on board with the idea of pretty-girl Witherspoon taking on the gritty role of a divorced woman, grieving her mother's death, recovering from drug abuse, and hiking 1,100 miles in the wild. However, we think it would be pretty exciting to watch the actress make such an intense transformation, and bring this powerful story to life.
Another project teams the Southern belle with French-Canadian director Philippe Falardeau, who made a name for himself with his brilliant, Oscar-nominated film Monsieur Lazhar. But the director has been around for some time, Congorama and It's Not Me, I Swear! being other films of note. He'll soon be crossing over with his first English-language production, and Witherspoon is set to star in the lead role. Based on true events, the story follows a Sudanese refugee who is taken in by a brash American woman (Witherspoon's character). This could be another big film from the director and Witherspoon will certainly get exposed to his particular style of directing; not a lot of bad there.
As if all this wasn't enough, the actress has three other films in the works (including a romantic comedy titled The Beard, according to The Hollywood Reporter), and she's even producing David Fincher's highly-anticipated adaptation Gone Girl. Yes, folks. It's officially time to start paying attention to Reese Witherspoon again.
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Before we begin, I want to state for the record that I am one of the few humans — and quite possibly the only woman between the ages of 18 and 34 — who hated Gillian Flynn's mystery thriller Gone Girl. While the novel may have been one of a small number to achieve both critical acclaim and bestseller status, I would have stopped reading if not for a particularly punishing book club. That being said, the novel's saving grace for me was that I thought it might just make a fun movie. But now, as the cast for the actual movie adaptation of this bonkers husband/wife murder plot continues to grow, I'm becoming skeptical once again.
First came Ben Affleck for the lead role of Nick Dunne — a choice I found odd mostly because Affleck is so inherently likable while Nick is supposed to be a sleazy a**hole. Plus, he seemed a little old for the role. Then came Rosamund Pike for Nick's sweet-or-deranged-depending-on-the-chapter wife Amy — a choice I was willing to go with because I like Pike so much (seriously, is there a woman more beautiful?). And now we have 21-year-old Emily Ratajkowski, the stunning model who became a household name this summer after starring in Robin Thicke's notorious "Blurred Lines" music video, making her acting debut as Andie, Nick's mistress, TheWrap reports.
Add to that motley crew Tyler Perry (as Nick's defense attorney) and Neil Patrick Harris (as a former beau of Amy's who... nevermind, I won't spoil it for you) and you've got the most whackadoo combination of actors we've seen this side of The Holiday.
David Fincher is at the helm of this ship to crazytown, so let's hope he can steer it closer to wildly eccentric than bats**t.
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Jack Reacher star Rosamund Pike is close to signing on to play Ben Affleck's missing wife in the movie adaptation of bestselling novel Gone Girl. The British actress is expected to accept the part in the coming days as producers attempt to persuade Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry to sign on for supporting roles in the project, which will be produced by Reese Witherspoon and directed by David Fincher.
In the film, based on Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel, Affleck will portray a husband who becomes a prime suspect in his wife's disappearance after she goes missing on the couple's fifth wedding anniversary.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Emily Blunt and Olivia Wilde had all been considered for the part Pike has landed.
The casting of the titular role in David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl seems to be having as many twists as the novel it's based on. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rosamund Pike is now considered the front-runner to star in the highly-anticipated film version of Gillian Flynn's bestselling thriller.
Fincher has his eye on the Jack Reacher actress to play Amy, a disillusioned wife who mysteriously vanishes. Ben Affleck is already set to play Nick, Amy's husband who becomes a suspect after her disappearance. Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, and Natalie Portman had all been rumored as possibilities for the role of Amy, but a source tells THR that they are out of the running.
Although Pike has been in films such as Pride and Prejudice and Wrath of the Titans, she is not that well known. However, Fincher also plucked Rooney Mara out of relative obscurity to star in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Pike could be an interesting, refreshing choice instead of a big-name star. But until we find out who's officially been cast, the suspense continues.
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Though it-girls Ellen Page, Kristen Stewart and Carey Mulligan have been linked to the highly-coveted role of Lisbeth Salander in director David Fincher's upcoming adaptation of Steig Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, both the Oscar nominated filmmaker and Sony Pictures (who is financing and developing the film) never ruled out the possibility of casting an unknown as the computer hacker heroine. Now, the Daily Beast claims to know who has made the short-list for the punky protagonist and it is comprised of four actresses that you've probably never heard of, but will soon enough.
Just as the studio cast a relative newcomer as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in their reboot of the beloved Marvel Comics-based film series (Andrew Garfield, who coincidentally appears in Fincher's The Social Network later this year), it looks as though they'll employ the same tactic for Salander. According to the source, Australians Sophie Lowe and Sarah Snook, French actress Lea Seydoux and American thesp Rooney Mara are officially on call to work opposite Daniel Craig on the film. Since most of you are probably scratching your heads and wondering who these extremely lucky girls are, I thought I'd give you a little background information on them.
The most well-known is probably Rooney Mara. If you vaguely recognize the name at all, it's probably because of her older sister Kate, who has appeared in films like Brokeback Mountain, We Are Marshall and Iron Man 2. It's a bit early to say, but I'm going to call her "the front runner" because she's already worked with Fincher on The Social Network and has some high-profile films on her resume (she appeared in Youth In Revolt and A Nightmare On Elm Street this year). That in no way makes her the most qualified candidate, but when you're dealing with big-budgets, lofty box office expectations and unknown talent, studio's tend to want somebody that an audience can at least ask themselves "where do I know her from?".
The runner up is likely Lea Seydoux, who's only English language credits are Inglourious Basterds and Robin Hood, but has more experience than all of the other girls. And that's not too shabby for a complete unknown - she actually has the biggest box-office totals of the lot thanks to those two films and got to work with acclaimed directors Quentin Tarantino and Ridley Scott. Fincher may like the fact that she was picked by those two Oscar winners for their most recent films and decide that if she's good enough for them, she'll be good enough for him.
I know very little about the Aussie's apart from what they've got coming up. Sarah Snook recently wrapped a contemporary, live-action take on Sleeping Beauty (opposite Sucker Punch's Emily Browning) as well as a TV movie titled Sisters Of War, both due some time next year. Of course, neither project has an American distributor, so unless she nabs the part of Salander, we may never see either of them. Sophie Lowe has worked on a bunch of low-budget Australian horror films and stars in the revenge thriller Blame (also without an American distributor), due in September. If Fincher truly wants fresh blood, he's got it with these two.
There's not a lot of official information that we can take away from this update on the production other than knowing that a newbie will be taking on the role of the quick-thinking, tough-as-nails Lisbeth Salander. I can't deny that I think the project - as a product to be sold to celeb-stalking American audiences - needs an actress with a higher profile, but none of the original actresses that were rumored for the role fit the bill. If I had to go with any of them, I would've picked Ellen Page, as she's got the box-office backing, the reputation and the likability to lead what is sure to be a trilogy of hit films. And if you've ever seen Hard Candy, you know what she's capable of. Mulligan, though a fine actress, is just too innocent looking to fill the shoes of Noomi Rapace, the Swedish actress who starred in the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. And don't even get me started on Stewart...
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is set for a December 2011 release. We'll let you who's going to be a new household name as soon as Salander gets cast...
Source: The Daily Beast
Awards season has arrived!
The National Board of Review announced their 2008 picks today, naming Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire as best picture and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s David Fincher as best director.
Clint Eastwood, star of Gran Torino, and Anne Hathaway, leading lady in Rachel Getting Married, received top acting nods, while Josh Brolin (Milk) and Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) were honored for their supporting roles.
The board, founded in 1909 in New York City, determines the awards by a vote of 125 plus members composed of academics, film experts and students in New York.
And the winners are:
Film: Slumdog Millionaire
Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Actor: Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Foreign Language Film: Mongol
Documentary: Man On Wire
Animated Feature: Wall-E
Ensemble Cast: Doubt
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt
Directorial Debut: Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Original Screenplay: Nick Schenk, Gran Torino
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Spotlight Award: Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression: Trumbo
Top Ten Films
Burn After Reading
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Top Five Foreign Language Films
Edge Of Heaven
Let The Right One In
Roman De Guerre
Waltz With Bashir
Top Five Documentary Films
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters At The End Of The World
Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
William K. Everson Film History Award:
Molly Haskell And Andrew Sarris
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