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  • Posted 9/23/14 at 1:00 PM

What Comes After Matthew McConaughey’s Comeback? The Stillback

If you are a fan of the McConaissance — and, really, how could you not be? — you may have spent this year feeling a little deprived. After a three-year boom period of affecting, oddball, and occasionally award-winning roles — from Bernie and Killer Joe and Mud and Magic Mike  to The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, which aired earlier this year — Matthew McConaughey  will appear in just one role for the rest of 2014, as the star of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

The stillback happens when you stop making quirky, offbeat, attention-grabbing choices and start making cautious, predictable, attention-maintaining choices. »

  • Posted 9/23/14 at 10:45 AM
  • Movies

Steven Soderbergh Took the Sound and Color Out of Indiana Jones

Steven Soderbergh has mashed up both versions of Psycho and recut his own Heaven's Gate, so now he's turned Raiders of the Last Ark into a silent film, stripping the film of sound and color and replacing its soundtrack with a spare electronic score. Soderbergh hopes that the film's new form will help viewers pay more attention to the art of staging: "See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot — whether short or long  — held for that exact length of time and placed in that order?" It's not embeddable, so head over to Soderbergh's site if you feel like watching Raiders again. (Who doesn't?)

Peter Dinklage Will Play a Bounty Hunter

While Tyrion Lannister might be fleeing east, Peter Dinklage is headed back to the Old West: According to THR, the Game of Thrones star has signed on to star as a bounty hunter in the Western period thriller The Thicket, based on the novel by Joe Lansdale. In it, Dinklage plays Shorty, a “grave-digging alcoholic son of an ex-slave and a street-smart prostitute" who is enlisted to help a man find his kidnapped sister in a remote area of Texas called the Big Thicket, where “blood and chaos reign." We imagine he'll feel right at home.

Bryan Singer Will Direct X-Men: Apocalypse

As expected, Bryan Singer has officially been confirmed as the director of X-Men: Apocalypse. This will be the fourth film Singer has helmed in the franchise, following this summer’s megahit X-Men: Days of Future Past. While Singer has been tweeting about the project for over a year, there was some speculation that the he might lose the gig in the wake of his recent legal troubles, in which plaintiff Michael Egan alleged that Singer sexually assaulted him when he was underage. The charges — which you can more read about in Robert Kolker’s recent New York feature — have since been dismissed, albeit in such a way that they can be refiled in the future.

See the Rather Charming Listen Up Philip Poster

In Alex Ross Perry's acclaimed new comedy Listen Up Philip, Jason Schwartzman plays an author so utterly convinced of his own genius that he regularly upbraids the people in his life (including his patient-till-now girlfriend, Elisabeth Moss) for failing to meet his unreachable, unreasonable standards of living. If he ever let anyone get a word in edgewise, Philip would doubtlessly deserve a talking-to, and in this exclusive, delightfully illustrated new poster for the film (painted by Anna Bak-Kvapil and designed by Teddy Blanks of CHIPS, who also created all the book covers in the film), you can meet some of the characters who have a bone to pick with our prickly protagonist. Find out whether they can get through to Philip when the film comes out October 17 in theaters and on VOD and iTunes October 21.

  • Posted 9/22/14 at 4:45 PM
  • Movies

This Is What Vin Diesel Looks Like With a Giant Beard

Vin Diesel is playing the last witch hunter in the upcoming The Last Witch Hunter, a role that apparently requires him to wear a great big bushy beard. Over the weekend, Diesel shared some shots from the film on his popular VinBook page that revealed the beard in all its Civil War general glory. The Vin Diesel hairpiece game has come a long way since Find Me Guilty.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster on The Maze Runner and the Weird Game of Thrones Fan Theory Involving Jojen

Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays a wise guide to a newcomer in The Maze Runner — not to be confused with the wise guide he played on Game of Thrones. "I like being the wise guide!" the actor laughed over a bite of sushi. "Although Newt is a little more normal." His Newt, the lone Brit among a group of boys stuck in a glade surrounded by a mysterious maze, used to be a maze runner himself until his attempted suicide left him with a limp. To help get into character, Brodie-Sangster and his fellow Gladers camped out on location at their own peril. He chatted with Vulture about snake sightings, cooking for his cast, and how he'd like to be eaten himself.

Also discussed: Game of Thrones. »

Hear Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s Terrifying Gone Girl Soundtrack

As you might've expected, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's score for Gone Girl sounds as eerie as Ben Affleck's shifty eyes look. The Nine Inch Nails front man and his co-writer released a sneak peek of the soundtrack this weekend (according to HitFix, from a track called "The Way He Looks at Me"), and it's just as disturbing as their previous scoring work, which includes both The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network. For proof, here is Reznor's description: "Think about the really terrible music you hear in massage parlors ... The way that it artificially tries to make you feel like everything's OK. And then imagine that sound starting to curdle and unravel."

David Fincher Puts Ben Affleck’s Evasiveness to Good Use in Gone Girl

Oh, what a stunning opening shot—a prelude to damnation—director ­David Fincher serves up in his elegantly wicked suburban noir Gone Girl, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her best-selling novel. It’s the back of the head of a woman (Rosamund Pike) on a pillow, her golden tresses aglow. An unseen man (Ben Affleck) narrates; he suggests that the only way to know what’s in a person’s mind would be to shatter her skull. Then the woman turns her face to the camera. It’s creamy-skinned, sleepily beautiful; her eyes open wide and she stares into ours. The look is teasingly ambiguous. Juxtaposed with the narrator’s violent words, the image poses the question: Who could want to violate a façade so exquisite? You want to pore over it, study it for clues to what’s underneath.

Though a woman wrote the script, the male gaze dominates. »

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Talks to Play NSA Whistle-blower Edward Snowden

According to Variety, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Oliver Stone’s pick to play Edward Snowden in the director’s forthcoming biopic about the NSA whistle-blower, and while nothing is set in stone yet, “both sides want the deal to happen.” Gordon-Levitt recently wrapped production on another biopic: Robert Zemeckis's The Walk, in which he plays famed tightrope artist Philippe Petit. We were kind of hoping his next ripped-from-the-headlines project would be a "David After Dentist" biopic, but we'll take it.

You Can Be in Magic Mike XXL

In an effort to appease fans devastated by Matthew McConaughey's absence from the forthcoming Magic Mike XXL (we're assuming), Channing Tatum announced a new competition on Facebook today that will allow one lucky fan to be an extra in the film during some of the sequel's "crazy" dance scenes. "And I can promise you: They are crazy this time," says Tatum. We're still not sure anything can top the paragon of male-stripping excellence that was Chris Messina on last week's Mindy Project, but we are obviously intrigued.

The Good Wife’s Finn and Downton Abbey’s Tom Talk About Their TV Shows and Cumberbatch Mania

These have been a great couple of weeks for friends Matthew Goode and Allen Leech, who play Finn on The Good Wife and Tom Branson on Downton Abbey. Not only did their new movie, The Imitation Game, win the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award—an award that’s been a harbinger for Oscar winners like The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire—but both of their hit television shows debut their new seasons tonight. (Downton doesn’t air on PBS in the U.S. for four months, but you know you’re going to find a way to start watching it before then.)

The two were cast as part of the “Hut 8” team of cryptographers and linguists working out of London’s Bletchley Park under the direction of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who eventually built a machine to break the “unbreakable” code the Nazis used for communication in WWII. We caught a couple cups of coffee with the pair in Toronto as they were still loopy from The Imitation Game premiere the night before.

"We got in the car behind him going in. The screaming, I was like, oh, my god! This is electric!" »

The Maze Runner Dashes Past Neeson’s Tombstones at the Box Office

Dystopic YA thriller The Maze Runner dashed past the other new releases this weekend for a $32.5 million gross. The result was impressive enough for Fox to announce that it's releasing a sequelMaze Runner: Scorch Trials (it's a trilogy, and there's a prequel, too) around this time next year. The weekend's other new releases fared poorly in comparison: Liam Neeson's A Walk Among the Tombstones brought in $13.1 million, and the Jason Bateman comedy This Is Where I Leave You took in $11.8 million. Last weekend's box-office champsNo Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2 — rounded out the top five with $10.2 million and $9 million, respectively.

Raunchier Trailer for James Franco and Seth Rogen’s The Interview Is Funnier Than the Kid-Friendly Version

The dictator-poking movie The Interview starring James Franco and Seth Rogen has a longer, raunchier, "red band" trailer that is far superior to the kid-friendly version released back in June. It's worth watching because it is (a) much funnier than the other one, (b) better at giving a sense of plot, and (c) starts off with a delightful cameo of Rob Lowe revealing his "true" self. Franco and Rogen work at a TMZ-like organization before getting recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Sony delayed the release of the film to Christmas Day so they could work on an edit that didn't provoke as much ire from his supreme leader. Check it out below. 

The Best Answers From Idris Elba’s Reddit AMA

Idris Elba is known for many roles: Taraji P. Henson's creepy stalker, Stringer Bell from the greatest show of our time, and soon, the voice of Shere Khan in Jon Favreau's Jungle Book, but until recently, we were unaware that he was a big fan of Mary Poppins. His Friday Reddit AMA changed that! Here are some other things we learned: Elba would totally be the next James Bond, does Muay Thai to stay fit, loves The Champ, and wants to work with Christopher Nolan. Read below for the highlights where he talks about when we might be seeing Luther again, reconfirms a story about Nicholas Cage's obsession with vampires, and uses lots of adorable British spellings. You can imagine him reading this to you in any accent that pleases you.

How was working with Cary Fukunaga? »

Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem Starts Off As a Claustrophobic Mess Before Heading Somewhere Poignant

Shot on a dime, Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem is a dense sci-fi fantasy/allegory that fills the screen with so much stuff — so many ideas and symbols and story elements and suggested pathways — that it winds up feeling claustrophobic. This happens sometimes with Gilliam: The greater his budgetary and narrative limitations, the more his imagination wants to cram in there, and sometimes his films threaten to break under the weight of all those fevered obsessions. The Zero Theorem, however, doesn’t break. It starts off as a mess, yes, but eventually finds itself in a very poignant place. Even a lesser Terry Gilliam film is usually more engaging and invigorating than most of the other movies out there.

Here’s the (crazy, heavily symbolic, dreamlike) plot ... »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 4:28 PM
  • Movies

Keanu Reeves Had a Home Invader Chilling in His Library

On Sunday night, Keanu Reeves woke up to the sound of a strange woman shuffling around his library at four in the morning. The home invader, described as a woman in her mid-40s, was apparently a stalker who gained access to the Keanu Kompound after Reeves forgot to set his home-security system. Fortunately, like The Matrix Revolutions, this story has a happy ending: Reeves called the police, who reportedly took the woman away for psychiatric evaluation. Creepy!

5 Tips for Tina Fey on Becoming a Movie Star

The movies need Tina Fey more than she needs the movies, but when it comes to big-screen projects, Hollywood hasn't given the Emmy-winning 30 Rock star much to work with. Last year, as her sitcom went off the air, Fey starred in the wan romantic comedy Admission, and she followed that up this spring with a Russian-baddie turn in the underperforming Muppets sequel. On paper, her participation in this weekend's star-studded family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You might have seemed like a better bet; in actuality, though, the poorly reviewed film is getting clobbered on Rotten Tomatoes by a YA adaptation and the latest Liam Neeson action movie. Why hasn't Tina Fey's transition to the big screen gone as well as it could (and should)? Here are five tips for Fey that might turn her movie career around.

Write that follow-up to Mean Girls! »

  • Posted 9/19/14 at 1:00 PM
  • Primers

Here’s What You Need to Know About The Maze Runner Before You See It

In the opening scene of The Maze Runner, our uniquely special protagonist Thomas wakes up on a zooming elevator with his mind wiped clean of memories. Understandably, he's pretty freaked out, and every time he asks one of the other boys what's going on, they just reply, "I don't know." The disorientation isn't necessarily bad, though: Our critic Bilge Ebiri wrote, "Not knowing anything about The Maze Runner... isn’t a bad way to see The Maze Runner." But for those of you who like to know what's in the pie before you eat it, I took the liberty of reading The Maze Runner, its prequel The Kill Order, and watching the movie to give you the lowdown on what to expect. (Mild spoilers in the service of trying to figure out what the hell is going on.)

Why is there only one girl? »

14 TV and Movie Characters Whom Wilco Helped Grow Up

When we call Jeff Tweedy and Wilco "dad rock," we're speaking both literally — Tweedy's new album Sukierae features his son Spencer on drums — and figuratively. The music of Wilco has long been the reigning sound of "maturity" in pop culture, soundtracking the moments when countless fictional children and man-children had to learn to grow up and embrace responsibility. 

Read More  »