With his recent interview in Esquire, George Clooney has all but declared war on fellow superstar Leonardo DiCaprio. In the piece, Clooney shares some astute observations about the nature of fame and staying grounded... but what's far more interesting is the not-baseless insults he tosses DiCaprio's way — particularly when it comes to their dueling pickup basketball teams. "We're all like fifty years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0. And the discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what’s what. I’m not sure if Leo has someone like that."
Way to throw down the Citibike-shaped gaunlet, Clooney. Now, there's only one question — Which side to take? Let's see how each star measures up in hopes of deciding who to root for. But before that, let's look at our two competitors.
In the Old Hollywood Corner, we have GEORGE CLOONEY, serial dater, salt-and-pepper haired, former TV star aquaintance of Obama.
Aaaaaaaand in the Aging Playboy corner, we have LEONARDO DICAPRIO, goatee haver, Smartcar investor, and terrible Boston accent...er.
Now, let's see how they measure up in the key celebrity categories:
Basketball Team: No brainer, clearly it's CLOONEY.Ex-Girlfriends/Taste in Women: Hmm, both tend to disappoint with their dating choices (why must you and Sandy Bullock tease us so, Clooney? Why?!), but while Blake Lively is pretty bad, foisting Elisabetta Cannalis on us was worse. Calling this category in favor of DICAPRIO. Houses in Lake Como: Draw. Oscar Season: Clooney gets extra points for writing and directing his entry, The Monuments Men, but scheduling trouble has pushed it putting him behind DiCaprio's latest Scorsese collaboration and Christmas release The Wolf of Wall Street. However, Clooney also produced surefire nominee August: Osage County — but, that film is distributed by Harvey Weinstein, who seems intent on screwing with his films left and right. DICAPRIO.Oscar Possession: Despite DiCaprio's best efforts, he did not gain weight to change his movie-star looks to that of an unwashed terrorist in Syriana. CLOONEY.Director Buddies: DiCaprio works on a near-constant basis with Martin Scorsese, but Clooney has to take the prize for diversifying to include not just the Coen Brots, but Steven Soderbergh, Wes Anderson, and himself. Shake it up, Leo! CLOONEY.Je Ne Sais Quoi: Hmm. Keep in mind that the whole idea of this category is that no justification is needed — DICAPRIO.Posse: Lucas Haas, Tobey Maguire, and Kevin Connelly versus Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, JK, LOL. CLOONEYMarital Status: Draw.
So far, looks like a pretty even matchup. This could become a long, drawn out conflict that both Clooney and DiCaprio would no doubt host a fundraiser to end. Still, whose side are you on?
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According to Variety, Owen Wilson will be coming to TV with a period drama titled Wonder World. The series will be set in the early 1980s, following a group of FBI agents who attempt a bust on the Mob-controlled pornography industry. Wonder World is just the latest of Starz's coming onslaught of original programming, along with a Michael Bay pirate series and a drama from 50 Cent. The project will be written and produced by former Law and Order writers Rene Balcer and Fred Lerner, along with Regina Lee and Wilson. The series will center on two of the agents as they go undercover to bust the waning Mob from the inside. Inspired by a real-life case, the show will dive into the seedier aspects of the era.
As we all know from the back half of Boogie Nights, the '80s is when the porn industry stopped being all fun and games, and really got dark. This is surprisingly heavy subject matter for Wilson, who usually tends towards quirky indies like those he writes and produces with Wes Anderson, or outright comedies. But Starz is known not only for taking on strong subject matter, but showing in uncompromising detail, be that lurid sex or graphic violence. And judging from the premise, this series is sure to have both.
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Much as he did with Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson managed to make his next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, without revealing a great dea; about the plot, characters, or accruing much hype at all. Sure, if you wanted to, you could find out that it's about the concierge, played by Ralph Fiennes, of a stately Hungarian hotel during the 1920s as he struggles to manage the issues of his guests, from art heists to mixed-up family fortunes (a familiar theme) and the young protegee he teaches (and, presumably, learns from) throughout. It's a mash-up of all his previous films in a way only Anderson could make exciting. Even the smallest change — say, setting the film in the '20s instead of the '60s/'70s — is a seismic one.
For a hard-core Anderson fan, there's a lot to take apart in this poster. First, the whole cast. Of course, there are repeat players, such as Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Adrian Brody, and Owen Wilson. Occasional players are also back for seconds, like Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton, returning after the success of Moonrise Kingdom. Surprisingly, this film was written solely by Anderson, who has always had a collaborator (most often Wilson or Roman Coppola, but also Noah Baumbach) on his last eight films.
Most of the poster is the hotel itself. It's enormous enough to be outfitted with plenty of oddities, specialized rooms, and secret passageways. It's grand enough to hear plenty of tales about famous guests (a few kings or queens, perhaps) but also looks new enough that the guests will be rich and demanding. In the background, there are soaring mountain views. Perched on the top of a peak is a stag, who should no doubt be either a symbol or a piece of the plot in this film.
Another suprise is the bold use of pink. Obviously the titular hotel had to be quirky, but pink is not only a bold choice, but an uncharacteristic color for a Wes Anderson film. Usually, Anderson works with yellows and browns, or, in The Life Aquatic and Rushmore, with blue. The color scheme of these films can suggest themes or ideas (the earthiness of Fantastic Mr. Fox, or the sepia nostalgia of The Royal Tenenbaums), but pink is bright, cheery, hardly what comes to mind when hearing "Post WWI Europe." Maybe this hotel will be a tiny pocket of Roaring '20s in a country ravaged by the war. Anderson often writes about privileged, overgrown rich kids who are forced to grow up (just look at The Darjeeling Limited).
Now it's time to excitedly wait for either a trailer or the official soundtrack — the only two things that could tell us more.
The man-child: a staple character for modern comedy and notoriously known for being played one-note. They get the laugh they get out.
But turning the lovable goofball or zoned-out knucklehead into something more is no easy task—which makes Paul Rudd's work in Our Idiot Brother that much more impressive. Rudd's Earth-friendly farmer Ned (the closest thing to a new Lebowski we've seen since the original) finds himself down on his luck after being entrapped by a police officer looking for pot. After a stint in jail he abandons his rural hippie commune for the big city to take shelter with his three sisters. Unfortunately for Ned his three siblings Liz (Emily Mortimer) Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) are as equally displaced and confused from the ebb and flow of life—albeit with severely different perspectives of the world.
Liz struggles to put her kid in private school and keep her marriage to documentary filmmaker/scumbag Dylan (Steve Coogan) intact. Miranda claws her way to the top of Vanity Fair's editorial staff and shuns her flirtatious neighbor (Adam Scott). Natalie stresses over her commitment issues with girlfriend Cindy (Rashida Jones) leaving little time or patience for Ned's bumbling antics. Sound like a lot of plot? While the manic lives of Ned's sisters click symbolically with his journey to get back on his feet it makes for one sporadic narrative.
Like a series of vignettes Our Idiot Brother never gels but when director Jesse Peretz finds a moment of unadulterated Nedisms to throw up on screen the movie hits big. Whether it's Ned teaching his nephew how to fight accidentally romancing his sister's interview subject or infiltrating his ex-girlfriend's house to steal his dog Willie Nelson the movie relies heavily on Ned's antics and its smart to do so. But thin throughlines for its supporting don't hold a candle to Rudd doing his thing.
And its a testament to Rudd's versatility—the man has done everything from Shakespeare and raunchy Judd Apatow comedies after all—that makes the movie watchable. Rudd gives dimensionality to his nincompoop character allowing darker emotions to creep in when necessary. There's a point in the film when Ned gives up fighting for his type-A sisters' affection and it's some of the best material Rudd's ever delivered. But like one of Ned's lit joints Our Idiot Brother can quickly fizzle out leading to plodding plot twists and sentimental conclusions. Mortimer Banks and Deschanel are great actresses—here they drift through their scenes and come out in the end changed. Because they have to.
Our Idiot Brother tries to take the Apatow model to the indie scene and comes through with so-so results. Only Rudd's able to find something to latch on to to build upon to warm up to. In an unexpected twist it's the man-child who seems the most grown up.