Plenty of young talents have attempted the leap from precocious child star to grown-up actor, with severely mixed results, but Chloe Grace Moretz seems to be having an easier time of it than most. Though she’s just 15, she’s already shown a facility for between family-friendly fare like Hugo and more mature entertainments like Let Me In and Kick-Ass over the last few years, and she’s lucky enough to have (apparently) skipped an awkward phase altogether. As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t need to “prove” that she can transition into mature parts.

But that appears to be exactly what she’s doing in Derick Martini‘s Hick. Moretz plays a teenager who decides to ditch her neglectful parents in Nebraska and strike out for Vegas, meeting all sorts of interesting characters (played by Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Rory Culkin, and Alec Baldwin) along the way. Watch the red-band (i.e., NSFW) trailer after the jump.

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I wouldn’t generally think of Vince Vaughn as the natural replacement for a role that Justin Timberlake had dropped out of, but then again, I’m not a professional casting director. Deadline reports that Vaughn has just signed on for Stephen FrearsLay the Favorite in the part of “Rosie, a Long Island bookie that [protagonist Beth] Raymer once worked for” — a role that Timberlake was attached to earlier this year. I don’t know much else about the character, but it’s easy to imagine Vaughn’s loud, charismatic, rather dickish persona being a perfect fit for a movie about Vegas gambling, don’t you think?

Based on Beth Raymer‘s memoir of the same title, Lay the Favorite follows Raymer in her journey from Vegas cocktail waitress to top professional gambler. As Raymer falls in love, she begins re-evaluating her life decisions. Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson, and Frank Grillo are also attached to star. [via The Playlist]

After the jump, Alec Baldwin and Rory Culkin sign on for Hick and The Hunger Games finds its District 9 tributes.

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scream casting 4

Last week there was news about the casting for Scream 4 that suggested Twilight‘s Ashley Greene, Lake Bell, Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin were all being considered for roles in Wes Craven‘s Scream 4. Yesterday it was reported by the studio that Emma Roberts had been cast in the new lead role, leading many to wonder if Greene (or the others) were out of the film entirely.

We now have word, thanks to Variety, that Hayden Panettiere (best known as the Cheerleader from Heroes) and Rory Culkin (Signs, Mean Creek) have also been confirmed as officially cast in the horror sequel, the first part of a new trilogy written by screenwriter Kevin Williamson.

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emma-roberts-2

Last week there was news about the casting for Scream 4 that suggested Twilight‘s Ashley Greene could end up playing one of the lead roles in the sequel — a part more or less equivalent to Neve Campbell‘s in the original film. Now it looks like Emma Roberts is going to have that role. So is Greene out of the film entirely? Read More »

scream-4-cast

The first questions about Scream 4, which has taken many years to come together, revolved around which members of the cast would return. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson, who kicked off a new wave of horror interest with the first Scream, have got Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox all signed to return. But this is theoretically the first chapter of a new trilogy (shudder), which means we need a lot of new characters.

Enter the potential new redshirts stars: Lake Bell, Ashley Greene, Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin. Read More »

Sundance Video Blog Review: Joel Schumacher’s Twelve

Joel Schumacher’s Twelve

Earlier today I saw a screening of Joel Schumacher‘s Twelve, which stars Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, 50 Cent, Ellen Barkin and Rory Culkin. Twelve takes place in a similar world as Gossip Girl, focusing mostly on super rich upper east side New Yorkers.

A new drama chronicling of the highs and lows of privileged kids on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in a tale that involves sex, drugs and murder. Written by Jordan Melamed (the director of 2001′s Maniac), the story follows a young drug dealer who watches as his high-rolling life is dismantled in the wake of his cousin’s murder, which sees his best friend arrested for the crime.”

While most people like to give Schumacher shit for his Batman films, many forget his better films, like The Lost Boys, Flatliners, A Time To Kill, and Phone Booth. Is Twelve a return to form? Or just a disaster? Watch the video blog review I recorded with Frosty from Collider, embedded after the jump.

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TIFF Review: Lymelife

At every film festival, I try to pack in as many screenings as humanly possible (At TIFF this year, I’ve been rather unsuccessful…). This leads to seeing a lot of films you wouldn’t normally watch just because it fits nicely on the schedule between two other films. I call these movies the “nothing better to see movies”.

I’ve had a lot of conversations over the years about the value of a movie critic’s opinion. What many people don’t understand is that a working critic sees a lot of movies he isn’t normally interested in. I believe one of the reasons the divide between mainstream opinion and critical opinion is the fact that the average moviegoer usually only sees movies you’re excited to see. Going in with that excitement is an investment. And chances are, more times than not, the average moviegoer will leave the theater satisfied. I’m not saying this is the sole reason for the critical/mainstream divide, but it accounts for some of it.

Now most of these “nothing better to see movies” end up being average or poor. I don’t enter into a film festival without having done my share of research. And what that means is that I usually have a pretty good idea about which movies are worth seeing. But every once in a while one of these “nothing better” movies becomes a pleasant surprise. And this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, that movie is Lymelife.

Toronto is a much different film festival than Sundance. It is filled with the type of films that will be vying for award consideration over the next few months. My personal tastes lean toward the type of films you usually find in Sundance’s dramatic competition. I hate to call Sundance a genre, but to me it really is. Lymelife feels like a Sundance movie, and it isn’t a coincidence. The project was developed during the 2001 Sundance Filmmakers lab, and has taken 7 years to become a reality. Emile Hirsch, Ryan Gosling, and Jennifer Jason Leigh were also attached to the film in its early stages.

Lymelife tells the story of the Bartletts, a dysfunctional family living in the late 1970′s. Scott (Rory Culkin) is fifteen years old. His parents haven’t had sex in a long time, probably because his father (Alec Baldwin) is having an affair. Scott’s mother (Jill Hennessy) spends most of her time trying to pretend she has no idea and worrying about the little details of life. Scott’s older brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) returns from the army to the mess he purposely left. But the story is really a coming of age journey about divorce and first love. Emma Roberts plays Adrianna Bragg, a girl Scott has had a crush on for many years. Her family pretty much mirrors the Bartletts. In fact, her mother (Cynthia Nixon) is the one having an affair with Scott’s father. Adrianna’s father, who contracted lyme disease, is too busy hiding in the basement while everyone thinks he’s in the city looking for work. The aforementioned storyline and ending sequence are probably my only gripes.

Filled with good performances across the board and a wonderful coming-of-age story, Lymelife is like Squid and the Whale but in a more relatable, less quirky, suburban setting. Derick Martini’s film is semi-autobiographical, based loosely on the Martini’s own childhood. I can certainly see why the screenplay attracted such a-grade talent over the years. It’s also worth noting that Martin Scorsese executive produced the film.

The finished film does suffer from some minor editing and continuity problems, but that can easily be forgiven considering the film was shot on a low budget over the course of three weeks. The film is filled with references from the era. If you grew up in the late 70′s /early 80′s, you’ll probably relate to the many Star Wars references. The soundtrack is also notable, like that of most films set in the 70′s.

Lymelife is the kind of film that could easily be overlooked, and sent directly to DVD. I encourage all of you to seek Lymelife out when it becomes available either theatrically or on home video.

/Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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