Swiss Army Man

About five minutes into Swiss Army Man, you’re faced with a choice. By this point in the film, you’ll have seen Hank (Paul Dano), a man stranded alone on a desert island, try to hang himself. His suicide attempt is interrupted by the arrival of a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) that proves to be a prolific farter. Hank opts not to kill himself, and instead rides “Manny” like a flatulence-powered jet ski in the direction of civilization.

The scene is weird, and absurd, and crude, and dark, but kind of beautiful, too, and it’s at this point you have to make a decision: Either you’re willing to go with a movie that delights in all of those unsavory qualities, or you’re not. If you decide you’re not, know that Swiss Army Man will only get stranger and ruder, and you’re probably better off putting it back on the shelf until you’re in the mood for it. If you decide you are, however, you’ll discover a unique, oddly gorgeous adventure anchored by a superb performance from Radcliffe as a dead body (no, really).  Read More »

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sundance 2016 line-up

Yes, its that time of year again. The Sundance Institute has revealed the 65 feature films which will make up the U.S. & World Cinema Competition as well as the out-of-competition NEXT slate of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Hit the jump to see the Sundance 2016 line-up and get excited about next year’s independent films today!

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War and Peace miniseries trailer

War and Peace is a real doorstop of a book — around 1,400 pages, give or take a hundred pages depending on the publisher and edition. So if you’ve always meant to read it but haven’t gotten around to it quite yet, you may be interested to know that you’ll have the chance to get through the story in a mere six hours this fall.

The Weinstein Company and BBC America have teamed for a miniseries adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy classic, starring Lily James, Paul Dano, and James NortonGillian Anderson, Jim Broadbent, Rebecca Front, Aneurin Barnard, Tuppence Middleton, and Stephen Rea also make appearances. Watch the War and Peace miniseries trailer after the jump.  Read More »

Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy

Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho pulled together an all-star lineup for his first English-language film, Snowpiercer, and got some of the most memorable performances of the year out of them. No surprise, then, that heavyweight talents are eagerly lining up to join his new film Okja. Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Kelly Macdonald, and Bill Nighy are looking to board the multilingual monster pic, joining Tilda Swinton.

Read more about the Jake Gyllenhaal Okja casting after the jump. Read More »

Youth trailer

Fox Searchlight is on a roll this week. Amid all the Star Wars, Civil War, and Suicide Squad hype, they managed to capture our attention with the uplifting He Named Me Malala trailer, and now again with Paolo Sorrentino‘s gorgeous Youth trailer.

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel star as best friends Fred and Mick, who go on a vacation to the Swiss Alps with Fred’s daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz). While Mick’s still plugging away at his final screenplay, Fred’s a renowned orchestra composer who’s entered retirement — but then Fred gets an invitation to perform for Queen Elizabeth II. Paul Dano and Jane Fonda also star. Watch the Youth trailer after the jump. Read More »

Swiss Army Man movie

The headlining trio of Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is all the sales pitch I really need to be interested in a new film, but the plot of their new project Swiss Army Man sounds particularly odd.

The three actors have all signed on for the film which will be directed by the team of Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert — if you don’t know those two names, you may know the name Daniels, under which they’ve directed many music videos and short films. If you don’t know the name Daniels, you probably know at least one example of their work, since they did the video for ‘Turn Down for What.’

And this film, which will be their first feature, is about a guy who befriends a dead body. I guarantee you want to know more about this one, because it sounds nuts. Read More »

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Love & Mercy

Brian Wilson wasn’t a conventional person, so why should he get a conventional biopic? Love & Mercy casts not one but two actors as the Beach Boys musician. Paul Dano plays him in the 1960s, when he was a young man on track for greatness; John Cusack plays him in the 1980s, as he’s struggling to get out from under an abusive relationship with his doctor Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).

Leaving aside the fact that Dano, Cusack, and Wilson don’t really look alike at all, Love & Mercy seems like an artful exploration of an American music icon. Elizabeth Banks also stars as Melinda Ledbetter, the woman who would become Wilson’s second wife. Watch the Love and Mercy trailer after the jump.

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World of Warcraft

Briefly: Legendary may have showed off some proof of concept footage for Duncan Jones‘ upcoming Warcraft at Comic Con, but the film isn’t actually cast and shooting just yet. Production is expected to kick off for real early in 2014, and so the movie is starting to hit the casting process now.

The first report we’ve got about possible actors for the film says that Paula Patton is in talks for one lead role and that another has been offered to Colin Farrell. We still know nothing about the script, by Charles Leavitt, so it is impossible to say precisely what sort of characters the actors could end up playing. Patton is evidently pretty far along in the casting process, while Farrell isn’t yet set, and could still end up not taking the gig.

Update: A shortlist for the film also includes Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Prisoners), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night). [Deadline]

12-years-a-slave-TIFF-review

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free northern man who was kidnapped and sold into bondage in the 1840s, 12 Years a Slave doesn’t shy away from the horrific aspects of a slave trade that existed for hundred of years, sweeping up more than 12 million souls. Familial separation, abuse, torture, the idea that the slaves were no better than beasts; it’s all laid bare for the audience to witness.

Though not a “light” film by any measure, this is a well-executed drama dealing with a horrific historical occurrence. Director Steve Mcqueen has proven that he’s a burgeoning young auteur, a vibrant force that should deliver us a slew of great films in the decades to come. Just as with his previous film, Shame, this is a gutting experience, and McQueen, as channeled through the extremely capable cast of Chewitel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt, crafts a two-hour story that can’t help but leave you drained as the credits come up. Read More »