Note: This review originally ran during the Sundance Film Festival in January. It is based on a cut of the film that is slightly different than what opened limited last weekend and expands this week. 

The best way to revitalize a well-worn story concept is often to approach it openly and honestly, but from an unusual angle. That’s what writer/director David Lowery does with the ages-old conflict between an outlaw, a lawman, and the woman between them, in the exceptional modern western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Rooney Mara are the people crossed at a crucial point in time. You’ve heard the story before, or at least seen the setup: one guy pulls a criminal job, and is caught in a fight with sheriff’s deputies as a result. His girlfriend is stalwart and sticks with him, even when the consequences of his criminal actions hit hard. But life is complicated, and plans go right to hell.

Deliberately paced and more interested in aftermath than big action scenes, a shorthand caption for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints could be “Cormac McCarthy by way of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.” Each role is acted with calm precision, and directed with a measured hand. Lowery never falls to the temptation of overplaying a scene. It is one of the best films I’ve seen at Sundance 2013, and a must for fans of the slow burn or directors Andrew Dominik and John Hillcoat. Read More »

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Here’s the trailer for Out of the Furnace, the new film from Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. The film features Christian Bale as a Pennsylvania steelworker whose brother (Casey Affleck) gets in trouble with a backwoods but powerful criminal (Woody Harrelson). The rest of the supporting cast is impressive, with Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, and Sam Shepard playing big roles, all of which are given a few moments here.

This trailer is solid. In fact, just so long as you’re willing to have Pearl Jam’s ‘Release‘ in your head for the rest of the day, I think it’s a pretty terrific trailer, and one that will set the movie up as a must-see for a lot of people who might not have known what to expect before now. Read More »

Casey Affleck

Christopher Nolan sure knows how to pick ‘em. Like most of his movies, Interstellar boasts an all-star lineup that combines old Nolan favorites with exciting Nolan newcomers. The Dark Knight RisesMichael Caine and Anne Hathaway represent the former, while Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, and now Casey Affleck are among the latter. The Gone Baby Gone star confirmed his casting in a magazine interview published this month. Hit the jump for details.

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David Lowery‘s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was among the best debuts at Sundance this past January, and it quickly found a release deal with IFC. (My glowing review is here.) The first trailer is here, opening with a slow, hazy expression of love which is soon overshadowed by the dark current that runs through the film. Casey Affleck shines as an outlaw who can’t quite face the idea that his family may be lost, while Rooney Mara excels as the woman caught at the tipping point between a very different past and future.

A gently percussive score and rhythmic cutting push the trailer forward, and the shade of Cormac McCarthy that inhabits the story becomes a bit more apparent as this edit hits a minor crescendo. It’s a great trailer for an excellent film. Read More »

AintThemBodiesSaints

David Lowery‘s film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was one of the best films of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. IFC will bring it to theaters in August, and the film is screening in Cannes this weekend. Along with that screening we’ve got a new teaser poster for the film, painted by the director’s brother.

The poster, by Benjamin Lowery, shows the film’s central couple, Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). They live together as outlaws, but Bob takes the blame for one of Ruth’s actions during a shootout with cops and goes to prison. Four years later, Bob escapes and makes his way back to Ruth and their daughter.

Ben Foster and Keith Carradine also star, but for right now we’ll keep the focus on Bob and Ruth, with Ruth rightly taking prominence on the poster. See the image after the break. Read More »

Briefly: Paul Haggis is looking to follow his thriller The Next Three Days with a drama called Third Person, and he is assembling an impressive cast for the film. Offers are out to Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde (both of whom had small roles in The Next Three Days) and now Haggis says the production is also in talks with Mila Kunis, Casey Affleck, James Franco and Moran Atias to fill out the rest of the film’s major roles. Read More »

Movie studios release b-roll footage for tv producers to splice in between their 30 second junket interview clip on the local morning show (or other such productions). We often post this unedited footage on the site because we love the brief glimpses it gives us at the creation of a movie.

After the jump you’ll fine 18 minutes of behind the scenes b-roll footage from LAIKA’s new stop-motion animated feature film ParaNorman. This includes a look at all aspects of the production, including how Laika used color 3D printers to create the facial animations. Stop-Motion Animation is the most intimately handcrafted flavor of filmmaking. Even after knowing how these movies get made, you probably have no idea of just how much time it takes to create the puppets, the costumes, the sets, never-mind animate each scene by hand. Be warned that some of the footage contains no sound. Enjoy!

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Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is probably the best hitter in baseball today, which is incredible considering a few years ago his grandmother caught him smoking crack after squandering millions of dollars. His fall from grace and rise back to stardom is the stuff of Hollywood legend and now his story will become just that. Hamilton has sold his life story to Thunder Road Pictures who in turn hired Casey Affleck to write and direct the film. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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