Tag: Brad Pitt (Page 2 of 5)

Wednesday trailers: Two coming of age tales for the price of one!

The single most crowded genre in the history of film, television, literature, theater, and most definitely popular songs is getting a little bit more crowded next year.

First, “Tree of Life,” the new film from talented but way-too-contemplative-for-my-taste director Terrence Malick, threatens to be dramatic enough that I might actually like it — assuming he doesn’t spend 3/4 of the film shooting sparrows nesting in nearby trees and if can keep his reliance on endless, pretentious narration under control. (I’m still scarred by the drama-free-war-melodrama-cum-nature-documentary that was “The Thin Red Line.”) Or maybe he can make another serial killer film some day, because “Badlands” was pretty great. The pictures are very beautiful, however.


Tree Of Life
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So, handsomest-man-in-the-world Brad Pitt and willowy Jessica Chastain have a baby and he grows up into Sean Penn. Boy, and I thought I didn’t fare too well in the genetic lottery. A big h/t to Film Drunk and commenter Larry:

Malick has the worst narrators since the voice in my head that tells me to burn things.

Next, we have the first starring role in a while from Topher Grace. I think Grace is a hugely underrated actor with a gift for comedy. The movie, however is called “Take Me Home Tonight” and what you are about to see is even more familiar than the title of a bad hairband song. Also, why do people want to relive the 80s? I wasn’t so crazy about them the first time.

The good news is that, at 32, Grace is getting a bit old for this kind of material. I’m also fairly sure the very hot (I mean career wise) Anna Faris could probably do a lot better than this. Dan Fogler, on the other hand, is at approximately the correct level. Actually, the scene with the cuckold guy and the glamorous but slightly strange looking redhead was the first small chuckle he’s elicited from me so far, so there’s always hope for improvement.

Box office preview: Divide and conquer

That’s the studio strategy this week as three major releases with large and divergent natural constituencies hit movie theaters. All three movies are expected to do rather well by the folks whose job it is to guess these things, as evidenced by the small amount of daylight between the predictions showcased this week by the L.A. TimesBen Fritz and THR‘s ever jolly Carl DiOrio.

I don’t think there’s any reason at all to doubt that the family audience, which hasn’t had a new 3D animated comedy in a while to gawk at, will check out “Megamind.” Featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill, the film is the second of these comedies this year to focus on a putative villain after “Despicable Me.” This one takes a more superpowered spin with a pretty obvious spoof on the Superman mythos. Reviews are decent but muted, but the take is expected to be a very solid $50 million or so, which is not so muted.

Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Gallifianaki have a The reviews are substantially less positive for “Due Date,” which is to youngish men what “Megamind” is to families. I remember being unimpressed for the trailer for the new comedy from Todd Phillips starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Gallifianakis, but apparently the sheer star power and the tried and true comic premise of a mismatched twosome on a road trip seems to be enough here for the R-rated comedy to get something in the $30-35 million neighborhood. Personally, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it under-perform. Star power just isn’t what it used to be these days and this is clearly not a second coming of Phillips’ “The Hangover.”

With a cast that includes Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and the Oprah herself, “For Colored Girls” is pretty clearly for African-American women as far as studio marketers are concerned. Based on the acclaimed  poetry-based play of the 1970s by Ntozake Shange (full title: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf), the movie is not getting much acclaim from critics, who once again are none too fond of Perry’s penchant for melodrama, though many do seem to be given Perry credit for at least trying something different this time around. On the one hand, Tyler Perry’s fans are clearly unconcerned about critics, on the other, this is a very different kind of material than Perry’s usual. An amount of $20 million is being bandied about. In any case, one has to wonder what feminist author Shange makes of this excerpt from Carl DiOrio’s piece:

“In addition to Tyler’s core audience, we’re going after fans who are familiar with the play,” Lionsgate distribution topper David Spitz said. “We feel this could be the Sex and the City for African-American women.”

With Oscar season upon us, a number of notable films are coming up in limited release, including the Valerie Plame spy scandal film “Fair Game,” the fainting-inducing mountain climbing ordeal picture, “127 Hours,” and the Elliot Spitzer ordeal documentary, “Client Nine.” Notable for being both good and probably not having a chance in hell at an Oscar, however, is “Red Hill” which I’m not mentioning here not just because we were granted interviews with the director and star, though that never hurts, I admit shamefacedly.

Ryan Kwanten and Steve Bisley in

Killers

When the ads for Robert Luketic’s “Killers” started appearing in theaters, a lot of people were quick to notice the similarities to another husband-wife action comedy, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” But while it certainly sounds like a clone of the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie film on the surface, “Killers” should be so lucky to be considered in the same company. Katherine Heigl stars as Jen Kornfeldt, a recently single woman on vacation in France with her parents when she meets the seemingly ordinary Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher) and the pair get hitched. What Spencer fails to tell her is that he used to be an assassin for the CIA, and although he’s since walked away from the job in order to lead a normal life, a bounty has been put on his head that sends a sleeper unit of contract killers posing as their neighbors and co-workers to take him out.

Unfortunately, Heigl and Kutcher just don’t have the chemistry needed to make a movie like this work, and I would have loved to have seen what other actors (like maybe real-life couple Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson) could have done in the roles. Of course, that wouldn’t change the fact that the film’s biggest flaw is the explanation as to why the bounty has been put on Spencer’s head in the first place – a twist ending so absurd that it makes the rest of the movie seem even dumber than it is. “Killers” still has a few good moments (including a cameo by a certain bestselling R&B musician that’s so out of left field it’s actually pretty funny), but they’re not enough to save it from the film’s own half-baked plot.

Click to buy “Killers”

Post Comic-Con movie news

I’m still recuperating a bit from last weekend’s insanity at Comic-Con and a busy week looms ahead, but the recent film news is just a little too interesting to ignore/gloss over.

* Mike Fleming broke the news this afternoon that Daniel Craig has signed on the line which is dotted to play the male lead in the upcoming American film version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” In case you never set foot in your local Barnes and Noble outlet, that’s the first novel in so-called Millennium Trilogy of mystery thrillers by the late Swedish author/political activist Steig Larsson. The series is becoming a sort of adult/non-geek HarryPotter for the Trader Joe’s set and the first U.S. film of it has attracted the powerhouse twosome of writer Steve Zallian and director David Fincher.

Judging from having seen the solid, but not excessively over-awesome, Swedish film version of the novel (which I’m really going to have to try and read at some point), Craig is probably a much better choice than the earlier floated Brad Pitt for the part. 007 or not, it’s just easier to see Craig as a down on his luck journo. Also, as Fleming points out, this puts Craig in the unique position of having at least two and, if you count a potentially huge “Cowboys and Aliens,” possibly three franchises to keep busy and well-compensated. Craig is not only an extremely good actor, he’s apparently got some very good agents.

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It’s your end of the week movie news dump.

Posting over the next few days is going to probably be news-free, so we’ll make hay while the cinema news sun shines. We start off with casting news.

Jeremy Renner in * Jeremy Renner of “The Hurt Locker” is “near a deal” to play Hawkeye in the Avengers film to be (theoretically) directed by Joss Whedon, who hasn’t said a word officially to anyone in months, as far as I can tell. Renner is a smart choice. Playing a character who hasn’t previously been introduced is going to be a special challenge in this movie and actors without real ability and charisma probably need not apply.

* So, if the Wrap is correct, Brad Pitt likely won’t end up staring in the U.S. remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” It looks like that will be Daniel Craig, instead. Having seen the Swedish film, it seems to me he’s a much better fit for the part of the male lead. The character has a bit of a hang-dog, defeated quality to him that just doesn’t fit Pitt. I think Craig can pull that off easily. He should probably gain or lose a bit of weight for the part. This guy might do okay with woman, but he’s a coffee-and-cigarette addicted journalist, not a perfectly exercised super-spy.

* Speaking of matters Bondian, as per the Playlist, Christopher Nolan is describing his very highly anticipated “Inception” as his Bond film, in a way.  I’m personally not a fan of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” but it’s an interesting model, nonetheless.

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