January 11, 2008
ACTORS WHO work with Jack Nicholson for the first time usually have to overcome the jitters, but Morgan Freeman isn't the nervous type. The Hollywood heavyweight and Oscar winner is now in his 70th year - just like "Bucket List" co-star Nicholson - and he's well past the point of going ga-ga over some movie star, no matter how big. It's not just that Freeman is accustomed to the company of screen legends, like frequent collaborator Clint Eastwood....
June 3, 2010
VINCENZO NATALI is trim, bespectacled, bright, and, like almost all Canadians, polite - he doesn't seem at all like one of the sickest dudes in movies. Yet his sci-fi horror movie "Splice," wherein human weakness meets DNA science, contains some truly sick stuff. And not in the mindlessly repulsive manner of the modern "horror" movie - finding, say, a photo-realistic way of showing a drill bit going through some coed's frontal lobe. Natali's aim is to make a true horror movie, with classic dimensions.
May 13, 2010
CHARACTER ACTOR extraordinaire Oliver Platt is a dad in real life, plays a dad in "Please Give," which opens tomorrow, and is a dad in his next movie. Does Platt, father of three, mind being cast in this way? "Not when the roles are as well written as these are!" said Platt, who's gotten some of the best reviews of his estimable career for "Please Give," from writer-director Nicole Holofcener. It's an ensemble story about several New Yorkers, but Platt, playing opposite Catherine Keener as half of a cozy, complacent married couple, has one of the plum roles.
August 26, 2010
AS A LAD in Northern England, Neil Marshall used to stand at the ruin of Hadrian's Wall and wonder about the forces that led to its construction. "I'd look out on a misty rainy night and wonder what a Roman soldier might have thought, standing in the same place centuries earlier. What were the Romans afraid of, what was out there? Why did they retreat behind this massive structure?" Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Marshall, now a director of horror movies, is sitting in a pub, spitballing ideas for his next project when a buddy asks him if he's ever heard of the legend of the 9th Roman legion.
February 28, 2014
IF YOU LIKE Oscar sweeps, you're not going to like this year's race. The large 2014 bounty of great movies points to another unusually competitive contest - with some uncanny echoes of last year - and virtually guarantees that no single picture will dominate the tally. Look for the awards to be spread pretty evenly over half a dozen films. The question is, who gets what? The answers: Best Picture/Director Let me boldly and definitively assert that when it comes to Best Picture, I haven't much confidence in my pick.
August 26, 2011
WELL THAT'S over with. The empty-calorie summer, with its frivolous robot fights and cowboys and aliens and smurfs and sequels and remakes and romcoms and doomed teens reaching their final decapitated destinations. Now, finally, it's on to autumn, with its substantive roster of weighty prestige motion pictures. Films such as "Shark Night 3D. " And "Piranha 3DD. " The extra D makes all the difference. Yes, weighty prestigious films, full of erudition, and Oscarness.
November 18, 2011
THE BEST documentarians, to my mind, build a bond of trust with an audience by making us feel as though we are on a journey of discovery right along with them. No preaching, no preconceived agenda. One of the best working today is Werner Herzog, whose docs are far too weird and singular ("Encounters at the End of the World," "Grizzly Man") to be designed around any sort of agenda. That's true of his latest - "Into the Abyss" - which wanders around the edges of capital punishment, but ends up going off in typically (for Herzog)
November 4, 2011
"HAROLD AND Kumar Go to White Castle" didn't look like a cultural game-changer when it opened in 2004, but its influence has been quietly substantial. Starring Kal Penn and John Cho as a kind of Asian-American Hope and Crosby, the movie made a nice pile of money - foremost by being funny, but also by quietly acknowledging our country's changing racial makeup. Its two regular guy leads - red-blooded, pot-smoking, burger-craving American males - were Korean and Indian. Penn, who describes himself as "a normal American kid who grew up in New Jersey, watching the same stuff that everybody else was watching," said that growing up he couldn't help but notice a shortage of Asian-American characters.
August 17, 2007
THE UPROARIOUS comedy "Superbad" has a character with a name so indelible it's likely to be linked to the actor forever. Newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays a teen who comes to be known as "McLovin," the name that appears on his ridiculous fake I.D. "Right now, I'm really excited about it," said Mintz-Plasse, who recently stopped in Philly with co-stars Michael Cera and Jonah Hill to promote the comedy. "I don't know what I'm going to think later, but I guess I'll worry about that when the time comes.
June 10, 2011
THE JOKE about the three stages of an actress in Hollywood - babe, district attorney, "Driving Miss Daisy" - is so good, we repeat it even if it isn't true anymore. The truth is the business is getting to be much friendlier to "older" actresses, especially if you factor in television. Norristown's Maria Bello is now forty-something, she's mother of a 10-year-old boy, and she's busier than ever - a new movie ("Beautiful Boy") opens today, she has two more in the hopper, and she's about to embark on the American version of the venerated Helen Mirren BBC series "Prime Suspect," the quintessential plum role.