If the truth of the pseudonym "Robert Galbraith" had remained untold, the film future of The Cuckoo's Calling would be in question. But, now that we know the one and only J.K. Rowling is behind it, a movie version seems pretty much inevitable. Rowling is busy with a recently announced Harry Potter spin-off series based on companion book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so we'll try to do some of the Calling prep work for her. In a perfect world, this would be the cast of the mystery/thriller.
Tom Hardy as "Cormoran Strike"
Private detective and ex-military man Cormoran Strike weighs "16 stone" (224 pounds, to the rest of us) and is compared to a grizzly bear because of "his height, his general hairiness" and "a gently-expanding belly." Inception star Hardy would have to let himself go more than a little for this role, but we want to see his take on Rowling's down-on-his-luck tough guy.
Jennifer Lawrence as "Robin Ellacott"
Once she gets the accent down, J-Law is a no-brainer to play Strike's adventurous and resourceful new assistant: "a pretty girl; tall and curvaceous, with long strawberry blonde hair."
Antonia Thomas as "Lula Landry"
Should we see dearly departed supermodel Lula Landry in flashback, how about gorgeous Brit Thomas for the"bronze-skinned, colt-limbed, diamond-cut beauty"?
David Morrissey as "John Bristow"
Rowling describes Landry's barrister brother Bristow as "whey-faced" and "leporine," which basically means he looks like a white rabbit. We don't know about that, but we think The Walking Dead star could pull off the character's nervous demeanor and flashes of anger.
Bruno Mars as "Guy Somé"
At "nearly a foot shorter than Strike and had perhaps a hundreth of his body fat," the actor playing in-vogue young fashion designer has to be short in stature. Mars is that, for sure, but a giant talent, musical and otherwise. Weren't we all pleasantly surprised by his SNL episode?
Natalie Dormer as "Ciara Porter"
Once Dormer gets friendly with a little bleach, the Game of Thrones and Elementary starlet will be well-suited to play Landry's "baby-blonde" supermodel bestie.
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Following the Trayvon Martin case, Chris Matthews had a serious discussion about racial profiling on his MSNBC show, Hardball With Chris Matthews, on Thursday. During a segment of his cable news program, he spoke with NBC News Vice President Val Nicholas and former RNC chairman Michael Steele.
Nicholas wrote an op-ed for MSNBC.com titled "I Could Have Been Trayvon Martin," where he recalled that "twice as a teen, I ended up looking down the barrel of police guns for no other reason than I happened to be a black teenager."
Steele had similar experiences of being judged solely by his race. "It is a story of a lot of young African-American males. What Val, myself, and so many others have in common is our black skin, and a lot of the perceptions that come with that," Steele said.
Matthews reacted to his colleagues' stories by saying, "I'll just tell you one thing, and I'm speaking now for all white people but especially people that have tried to change over the past 50 or 60 years, and a lot of them have really tried to change: I'm sorry for this stuff."
Although Matthews' willingness to work on the country's racial issues is commendable, there's probably a lot of white Americans out there who wouldn't appreciate him speaking on their behalf.
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Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Psychiatric nurse Maggie O'Connor (Kim Basinger) raises her drug-addicted sister's baby who grows up to be a girl with "special" gifts like the ability to rock a dead bird back to life. When Cody turns 6 her mother returns to claim her. The trouble is mom is now married to Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) leader of a Satanic cult masquerading as a self-help group. Stark wants Cody to use her powers for the "dark side " and will kill her if she refuses. Aunt Maggie enlists the aid of FBI agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits) to help her track down and save Cody.
Basinger 's passive bearing and scrubbed-down glamour seem out of place in the dingy New York settings. When Stark's snarling teenage-runaway groupies attack her they seem as angry at her smooth blond coif as anything else. Sewell does what he can with lines like "death would be a kinder fate" and "she will be ours" (this last line uttered while practically shaking his fist at the heavens). Vastly underused is Smits whose all-talk-and-no-action FBI agent wouldn't have lasted a day in "NYPD Blue's" precinct.
Although director Chuck Russell captures a rich textured look and lays on the ghoulish special effects (a river of red-eyed rats ominous whispers wraithlike demons) "Bless the Child" doesn't generate any real chill. It's not helped by the script which throws in every clich‚ possible about angels demons hellfire and brimstone. There's no avoiding comparison with "The Sixth Sense " the success of which surely must have put some heat under this project. Unfortunately it's a little too cooked.