Watch #JasonSegel and #JesseEisenberg Have a Great Conversation in #TheEndoftheTour

poster, movie, The End of the Tour, David Foster Wallace, Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, James Ponsoldt

The first trailer for Sundance favorite, The End of the Tour, directed by James Ponsoldt and starring Jason Segel as the late David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as his erstwhile biographer (actually he’s a writer for Rolling Stone), has just been dropped by A24.
Let me start by reiterating that I am not a huge fan of Jesse Eisenberg. Anything past Zombieland, when I wasn’t all that familiar with him, including The Social Network and Now You See Me, all I ever see is Jesse Eisenberg. While it might be difficult for the actor to portray himself onscreen, and that might account for the kudos usually showered upon his performances, I never see a “character”. I never forget who I’m watching.
That out of the way, let me just say that I’ve been a Jason Segel fan since “Freaks and Geeks”. While I still mourn that show’s untimely demise (yes, fifteen years later), I take comfort in the fact that nearly every member of the cast has gone on to bigger and better things. Many of whom are even household names. (Poor Samm Levine. Quentin Tarantino put him in Inglourious Basterds, but I don’t think I’ve seen him since. Apparently, he’s done a lot of television *shrug*.)
These days Segel is probably best known for seven seasons of “How I Met Your Mother”, as well as comedic turns in Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I Love You Man (all having at least a little something to do with Judd Apatow) and The Muppets.
Stretching toward “dramedy” in 2011, Segel did Jeff Who Lives at Home for the Duplass brothers. (It costars Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. It’s on Netflix. See it, if you haven’t) He co-wrote, co-produced (along with Apatow, among others) and starred in 2012’s The Five Year Engagement, with Emily Blunt. The cast also included Chris Pratt, Alison Brie and Jacki Weaver, and by all rights should have done better at the box office. The film’s release was delayed a number of times for various reasons, but I have to believe that not knowing which box it fit into and therefore the ability to sell it, is chief among them.
My point is that it’s not really a surprise that Segel is venturing into more serious territory. His contemporaries, most of which are also in the “Apatow Reperatory Company”, have certainly paved the way. (Sitting in the dark watching Superbad, who in their right mind would ever have predicted that Jonah Hill would now be known as a “two-time Academy Award nominee”? Insanity!)
Those who have already seen The End of the Tour, primarily at Sundance, have already put his name together with the phrase, “Best Actor contender”. Take a look:

While the movie is not about his death, knowing that Wallace committed suicide in 2008 makes all of this all the more poignant.

THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties – but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide. Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer- Prize winner Donald Margulies’ insightful and heartbreaking screenplay.

The End of the Tour is director James Ponsoldt’s fourth feature film and is being hailed as his best to date.(I admit that while I loved Smashed from 2012, which showed Aaron Paul was much more than Jesse Pinkman, I have yet to see 2013’s, The Spectacular Now [which launched Miles Teller], or his first film, Off the Black, from 2006.) It’s been playing film festivals non-stop since January. (Including the Boston Independent Film Festival in April. Sadly, I missed it.)
The cast also includes Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, Mickey Sumner and Joan Cusack. The film will get a (limited) release in the US on July 31. We can hope that also means a VoD release of some sort as well.

Watch Hiddleston, Chastain, & Wasikowska in the Eerie 1st Trailer for Crimson Peak!

Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, movie, gothic horror, poster

At last we have have the creepy first trailer for director Guillermo del Toro’s eagerly awaited Crimson Peak!

The production has been shrouded in secrecy. For over a year all we knew was that it went into production shortly after Pacific Rim finally wrapped, and del Toro cast one of his stars from that film, Charlie Hunnam, in this new one. Oh, and it’s a horror movie. That fact alone, coupled with the  name of the visionary director responsible for the multi-Academy Award nominated fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth as well as the Hellboy films, was enough to send fanboys into a frenzy of ever-more impatient speculation. Then he cast three of the best actors working today, and whose careers were already white-hot: Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska.  Suddenly it wasn’t just the fanboys chomping at the bit for news, although del Toro used San Diego Comic Con to effectively “launch” the film, revealing sets and costumes.  The director described the film as a “hardcore…gothic romance with supernatural elements”.

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.

The film is set in Victorian-era England and Hiddleston is the charismatic suitor, Sir Thomas Sharpe, who sweeps writer Edith Cushing (Wasikowska)  off  her feet and takes her back to his ancestral home, Crimson Peak, where she encounters his jealous sister Lady Lucille (Chastain), as well as the family ghosts and skeletons.  Take a look:

Hunnam plays Dr. Alan McMichael. The rest of the cast includes Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones, Bruce Gray, Jim Beaver and Emily Coutts.

Legendary and del Toro are hard at work on Pacific Rim 2 (One of 27 films in various stages of development on del Toro’s slate, inluding new versions of Frankenstein as well as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it’s due in 2017). I’m sure Legendary hopes that Crimson Peak will pump some cash into their coffers after the dismal failure of Seventh Son (what the hell was Julianne Moore thinking??).  The film doesn’t open until October 16, so we still have quite a few months to wait, and I’m sure we’ll get a few more trailers before then, in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it bowed during Cannes or TIFF Midnight screenings. But ultimately it means we will finally have a worthy fright-fest in time for Halloween.



*Total Film

Mads Mikkelsen Is Bringing On The Salvation

The Salvation, movie,Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eva Green, western,  poster

I first heard about The Salvation, an old-school western from Danish director Kristian Levring, when it debuted at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s Midnight section last May. My interest was piqued for many reasons, chief among them that the cast includes several of my favorite actors, in one of my favorite genres.  Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Douglas Henshall and Eva Green made a western.  I was all ready to hand over my money, then… nothing. No word since the BFI London Film Festival in October. Finally, on the brink of a (limited) US theatrical release, IFC Films has dropped a US trailer.  There is so much to like about it, I’m nearly giddy.

As I always say, there’s nothing new under the sun and it’s all in the delivery. That is almost certainly true here. The Salvation is a tale of revenge set in the American West of the 1870s. A former Danish soldier (Mikkelsen), tired of war and looking or a fresh start, emigrates to America and takes his family west.  After his wife and son are murdered, he hunts down and kills the men responsible. One of the dead killer’s has a brother (Morgan), with the mustache twirling name of Delarue, now set on his own revenge. Also in the mix is Eva Green as the newly widowed Madeline.

The supporting cast also includes Henshall as the Sheriff, Jonathan Pryce, French actor Eric Cantona, Michael Raymond-James, Lisa Marie’s ex Danny Keogh and Mikael Persbrandt as Jon’s (Mikkelsen’s character) brother Peter.  (Originally, the role was to have been played by Mikkelsen’s actual brother, Lars. When Lars dropped out, Mads hand-picked fellow Dane Persbrandt.)

So, this could be Death Wish in the Wild West or it could be something more.

Watch this:

I’m thinking it’s the latter; not a new spin on a  classic western, it IS a classic western – in the tradition of John Ford and/or Sam Peckinpah. I could be wrong. I could be ascribing loftier ambitions to the film, on the basis of the trailer, than Levring intended. But I can’t wait to find out. C’mon, it’s Mads!

If all you know of Mads Mikkelsen is as tv’s “Hannibal” (or even Le Chiffre in Casino Royale), I’m not sure we should be talking…I’m kidding! But seriously folks, any self-respecting cinephile is doing themselves a huge disservice if they haven’t checked out his other work. I digress, as per usual.

That rousing score is by Kasper Winding (half-brother to Mads’ Valhalla Rising director, Nicolas Winding Refn).He also did the music for this year’s Riot Club, directed by yet another Dane, Lone Scherfig. (It’s a Danish Invasion!)
Cinematographer Jens Schlosser, who previously worked with Levring on The King is Alive, (a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” with an international cast), isn’t yet known to American audiences, but that may soon change. Take a look at some of the stills below for a closer look at his work in this film. Gorgeous. Hopefully I can see it on the big screen, but if not, The Salvation will get a more accessible VoD release the same day, February 27.

Will You Follow Thorin One Last Time?

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, movie, poster, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson

Poster for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

A rhetorical question to be sure. I know the answer: OF BLOODY COURSE WE WILL!

The first trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has arrived, about five hours earlier than previously announced and still five months ahead of the December 17 release date, but of course the film was a HUGE part of Warner Brothers’ Comic Con presence and some footage was teased then (as well as on the official FB page), so this is for the rest of us. Huzzah!  A new poster has accompanied it, as well.

The trailer calls the movie “the defining chapter of the Middle-Earth Saga,” presumably as a way to get you to splash out for a ticket to the 3rd movie based on a single book. It begins with Bilbo (Martin Freeman) setting the stage for the final battle by ominously intoning that future generations will “remember the good, the bad, those who survived, and those who didn’t.”

Take a look at the first two-minute teaser:

This first look provides snippets of battle preparations by the five armies, several fast-paced fight scenes, a lot of Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman and concludes with Richard Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield asking, “Will you follow me one last time?”

That last line is no doubt designed to tug at our fond remembrances for the five films that came before this one…and make us sad (in advance) that this is the final chapter.  And it worked.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, written and directed by the incomparable Peter Jackson stars Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Graham McTavish, Lee Pace, James Nesbitt, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Billy Connolly, Sylvester McCoy and many, many more, opens in the UK on 12th December and in the US on December 17.

What I Missed on My Summer Vacation: Part 2 – Tom Hardy Edition

Movie, Poster, Michael Roskam, The Drop, Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace

International Poster for Michael Roskam’s The Drop with Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace

1. The Drop International Trailer, Poster and New Images

The Drop is, without a doubt, on the top of my “must see” list for the remainder of 2014. I probably made that clear when I posted the first trailer. This just ticks too many boxes for me: Tom Hardy, Dennis Lehane, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenarts (working for his Bullhead director, Michaël Roskam), puppies, wise guys… I could do The Muttley right now and I haven’t even seen it. (I still think someone needs to provide a logical explanation as to why the title was changed from Animal Rescue – which was the title of Dennis Lehane’s short story upon which it’s based. Seriously, we can’t complain that our society is collectively losing brain cells like a balloon with a slow leak, and continue to pander to the lowest common denominator. End rant.)

Bob Saginowski (Hardy) finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

If you haven’t yet made up your mind about this one, take a look at the international version of the trailer. It’s longer and definitely darker than the domestic version, yet provides a clearer picture of what we can expect.

Certainly it appears that The Drop is classic Lehane, in which the protagonist is attempting to turn his life around even as his past comes back to bite him in the ass. As a Lehane fan, there is much I can deduce about the plot from that statement alone, but I don’t want to peer too closely.
I think that I can say with some confidence that James Gandolfini will be nominated for more posthumous awards (for the final time as this was, unfortunately, his last film), Schoennarts and Roskam will be firmly planted on the American map and Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are brilliant. We have to wait until September to find out if I’m right or full of something.

Mad Max: Fury Road, movie, photo, Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road

2. Mad Max: Fury Road New Images and Official Synopsis

I’m not going to run down all of the drama surrounding the production of Mad Max: Fury Road. I’ve been talking about it for years and you can read it all here.

Let’s focus on the good news that surfaced last week, namely the new images of Tom Hardy as Max and the first official images (via EW) of Charlize Theron as Furiosa.
The official synopsis of the film gives us some insight into her character:

Mad Max: Fury Road is an apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and most everyone is crazed, fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Fury Road must be where these two characters and their paths converge.
The rest of the cast includes Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough and Josh Helman. The movie’s release has actually been moved up (from its Summer 2015 date, which was moved back from its original date…oh who can keep up?) to May 15, 2015 – which indicates some faith in its ability to kick-off the summer blockbuster season – so it’s still early yet for a trailer. I’d bet on some sort of footage, be it a full trailer, just a teaser or a clip, to come out of Comic Con later this month.  I’m keeping my eyes peeled in any case, because I can’t wait.

Lest there be any confusion, this isn’t a Tom Hardy fan blog (any more than it’s a Gerard Butler or Michael Fassbender blog), but it is my blog and so I write about the things (and the people) that interest me. One of the people that has fascinated me for the last (nearly) six years, has been one Edward Thomas Hardy. This isn’t the time to go into his curriculum vitae, as I’ve discussed it many, many times in the past and it can all be found here if you’re interested.
I have written about him so often, in just the past year alone, because Tom Hardy is everywhere lately. He’s achieved that level of fame that means there are camera crews stalking his film sets, but more than that, it seems that rarely a week goes by without the announcement of another film project. If the man makes every movie to which he’s attached at this moment, back to back without a break, the 36 year old Hardy won’t have to sign on for anything else until he’s well into his forties.
Which brings me to the news that just yesterday, Hardy’s reps formally confirmed what we’d heard rumors of about two months ago, that he will reteam with his Inception costar, Leonardo DiCaprio for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. The director wrote the screenplay with Mark L. Smith (Vacancy, The Hole), based on the book by Michael Punke. It’s a thriller set in the 1820s about “a man called Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a fur trapper, who treks 3,000 miles of uncharted American wilderness to get revenge on the two men who left him for dead following a bear attack”.
Will Poulter (best known in the US for We’re the Millers, won the EE Rising Star Award at this year’s BAFTAs) has already signed on. Filming is set to begin this September, which makes me wonder what Hardy has dropped to make room for this film, although no announcements to that effect have been made. The Revenant has been tentatively scheduled for release sometime in the fall of 2015.

Much more to come on this one, as well as Child 44, also due this year, Legend, currently filming, as well as Rocketman and Kathryn Bigelow’s The True American, start dates to be announced.

Things I Missed on My Summer Vacation: Part 1 – Brad Pitt’s Fury

Poster , Fury , movie, Brad Pitt

Poster for David Ayer’s Fury with Brad Pitt

We finally have a trailer for writer/director David Ayer’s Fury with Brad Pitt as a tank commander called Wardaddy, who, along with his motley band that includes Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, and Ayer’s End of Watch star, Michael Pena, attempts to stave off Nazis during the waning days of WWII.

“Brad Pitt stars in this gritty, take-no-prisoners WWII tank action movie about a crew of American soldiers who embark on one last epic mission in the chaos of the war’s final days.”

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Here’s a clip with the first footage:

Int’l Trailer:

Official Trailer (Domestic – only difference is social media info at the end):

The film is described as a WWII movie, “the likes of which we haven’t seen before.” That may actually be true, as much of the action is set in and around one bad-ass tank called…Fury.

By the way, Jon Bernthal gets what may be one of the most colorful, bordering on offensive, character name I’ve heard in a long time. Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis is described as a “cunning, vicious and world-wise Arkansas native”. (Sounds like Grady Travis might be kin to Lt. Aldo Raine [Pitt – Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds] who was from an undisclosed location in the “goddamn” Smokey Mountains. “…we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin’. “)  Fury is, of course, of a more serious bent but, doesn’t that tell you almost everything you need to know?

The rest of the cast includes Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood, and Xavier Samuel.

The UK will get the flick on 24 October and the US on November 14, just days after Veteran’s Day, but more importantly at the vanguard of the awards season assault. Boo Yah!


Watch: Philip Seymour Hoffman is A Most Wanted Man

Poster, movie, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams,  A Most Wanted Man

Poster for A Most Wanted Man

Much like the late, great James Gandolfini, we will still have a few more chances to catch the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen. Aside from what has been promised to be a CGI-enhanced continuation as Plutarch Heavensbee in the final two Hunger Games movies (Mockinjay – part 1 and part 2), there is the film version of John LeCarré’s A Most Wanted Man.

The film is based on a novel by John Le Carré with a screenplay by Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness, Lantana, the latter based on his own play) and directed by Anton Corbijn, the man responsible for Control and more importantly, a quiet, moody thriller called The American (with George Clooney).

When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg’s Islamic community, laying claim to his father’s ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man’s true identity – oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Based on John le Carré’s novel, A MOST WANTED MAN is a contemporary, cerebral tale of intrigue, love, rivalry, and politics that prickles with tension right through to its last heart-stopping scene.

Newly released UK trailer is the same approximate length as the domestic version, but events are arranged in slightly different ways, giving us a different angle on the action.

Int’l version :

Domestic version:

A Most Wanted Man bowed at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in January, prior to Hoffman’s death. His performance, as usual , earned rave reviews, but the movie itself was given a lukewarm reception. Now, it almost doesn’t matter.

While the supporting cast is exceptional, including Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl, and Willem Dafoe. Hoffman, is, of course, being called “brilliant”, giving a performance already earning Oscar buzz and it is his presence that will get people to the theaters to see it.

A Most Wanted Man opens in the US in limited release (grrrrr) on July 25 and in the UK on 5 SeptemberIn any case, whether we see the film on the big screen or at home via VOD, it is going to remind us all of just what we’ve lost. JMHO