Russell Brand

Werner Herzog is currently out in the desert for his Gertrude Bell biopic Queen of the Desert, but soon he’ll focus on some arid Americana. His next film is slated to be Vernon God Little, based on the novel by DBC Pierre that won the Booker Prize after its 2003 publication. The novel is set in a small Texas border town, where a high school student shoots six fellow students before taking his own life.

Now Russell Brand, Sasha Pieterse of Pretty Little Liars, and young actor Austin Abrams (The InBetweeners) are in talks for major roles in the film.

Update: Mike Tyson and Pamela Anderson also have roles. If your lifelong dream is the same as mine (to see Herzog direct Pamela Anderson) then this movie just became a must-see.

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Paradise (8)

In Paradise, Julianne Hough stars as a young woman who renounces her faith after a plane crash leaves her scarred. She travels to Las Vegas to indulge in all the behaviors that sh has avoided in life, and runs across characters played by Russell Brand, Octavia Spencer and Nick Offerman. The film is written by Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult), who also makes her directorial debut.

Some of the weirdest news of last week was that Paradise would debut this week (on Thurs, Aug 8) on DirecTV. The plan has been in the works for a while, says the LA Times, to which Cody said, “I don’t know a director who is in on the distribution strategy, or if it’s necessarily ever OKd with the filmmaker. But they believe in my movie, and I’m excited to be trying something a little different. I think VOD is a pretty good place for an indie rom-com right now.”

So Paradise is an unexpected trailblazer for a certain sort of distribution, and you can bet that if it turns out well for the film and DirecTV we’ll see more releases like this in the future. For the time being, you can see the first trailer below. Read More »

Paradise - Diablo Cody (header)

How has the movie business changed in the past decade? For one, VOD and streaming video have changed the stigma once attached to films debuting at home before they hit theaters, and movies now routinely can be seen on the small screen before they open on the big one.

But the distribution scheme for Diablo Cody’s first turn as a director is still a bit unusual. The movie is Paradise, starring Julianne Hough as a devout young woman badly burned in a plane crash, who travels to Las Vegas to immerse herself in sin city. Octavia SpencerRussell BrandNick Offerman and Holly Hunter also appear.

Cody said today that the film will premiere on August 8 on DirectTV. A theatrical release will still take place in October, and in other responses to questions Cody said that the film will hit other VOD services after theatrical. Get her comments below.  Read More »

Paradise - Diablo Cody (header)

Diablo Cody has written some of the sharpest female-led dramedies of the past several years, and now she’s taken the next step by helming her own.

The Juno scribe makes her feature directing debut this fall with Paradise, a comedy about a sheltered young woman (Julianne Hough) taking a walk on the wild side. Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand, Nick Offerman, and Holly Hunter also star. Check out the first pics after the jump.

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Despicable Me 2 header

What the earlier Despicable Me 2 teaser trailers lacked in information, they made up for in cuteness. The puffy yellow minions were all over those, performing “Barbara Ann” and investigating otherworldly visitors. Now a full-length trailer has arrived, and while it’s not quite as adorable (that’s just what happens when you shift focus away from the minions), it tells us far more about what this movie actually is.

Steve Carell is back as the voice of supervillain Gru, who’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help defeat a powerful new baddie. Al Pacino, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand, and Ken Jeong also lend their voices. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud return as directors. Check out the new trailer and poster after the jump.

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Disney fans, and /Film readers, are likely aware that major Hollywood stars have been dressing up like Disney characters. It’s not as bad as it sounds. In the past few years we’ve seen Olivia Wilde as the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella, Jessica Biel as Pocahontas and many others dressing up to help promote the Disney brand.

The trend now continues. Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz has done her 2012 Disney Dream portraits and they feature Russell Brand as Captain Hook from Peter Pan, and Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segel as Phineas, Ezra and Gus, the Hitchhiking Ghosts from The Haunted Mansion. It’s the first time the series has featured characters who originated in a theme park and not in a movie. Check them out below. Read More »

Five years ago, Fox shelled out $1 million in a bidding war over Edwin Cannistraci and Frederick Seton‘s raunchy Black List comedy Pierre Pierre, and quickly set Jim Carrey to star and Jason Reitman to direct. And then… nothing. The project languished, and Reitman eventually dropped out. He was replaced by Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno, The Dictator) in 2010 — but there was still no real movement on the picture.

Now the other half of that original team, Carrey, has walked away as well. Stepping into the lead role instead will be Russell Brand, who’s recently been juggling feature roles with his FX talk show Brand X. More details after the jump.

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“Nothin’ But a Good Time” promises the tagline of Rock of Ages, referencing one of the two dozen or so classic ’80s rock songs its cast energetically deflates into innocuously pleasing sing-a-longs. It’s an admirably honest proclamation of the film’s limited aspirations, one which it fulfills with all the grace of a monkey hurling its own feces at the screen.

Credit where credit is due, Rock of Ages stops just shy of having literal monkey shit flung at its audience; although monkey sight gags are in fact a primary source of the film’s humor, should we choose to accept that the innumerable moments in which a trained monkey behaves contrary to that of an untrained monkey qualify as humor. Said hilarity includes but is not limited to: monkey wearing a dictator outfit, monkey throwing stuff, monkey not throwing stuff, monkey grinning, monkey screeching loudly, monkey having a silly name, monkey serving drinks, monkey not serving drinks, monkey doing other things that resemble what humans do, and homosexuality. That last one has nothing to do with any monkey related shenanigans, but apparently it’s just as noteworthy, as was evident from the fits of hysterical laughter that surrounded me when two male characters share an out-of-nowhere romantic musical number together — complete with obligatory make-out session. (A gay guy directed the film, so it’s okay to laugh!)

If all that, and Tom Cruise in assless chaps, sounds like a promising night of fun and laughs to you, Rock of Ages should prove more than serviceable. Granted, of course, that you’re also an advocate of the recent surge of jukebox musicals, none of which lend themselves very well to things like “story” and “character development”, but all of which feature songs you already know and enjoy and can sing the lyrics to, so who gives a fuck, right? Read More »

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