dark waters real people

In any other whistleblower drama, Tim Robbins‘ Tom Terp would be a villain. The supervising partner to Mark Ruffalo‘s corporate environmental defense attorney Rob Bilott in Todd Haynes legal drama Dark Waters (opening wide this weekend), Terp is initially skeptical about Bilott’s budding crusade against the big chemical corporation DuPont. Understandably so: One of the biggest clients for the firm where they both work, Taft Law, is DuPont. Both Terp and Bilott are close buds with DuPont’s in-house corporate counsel Phil Donnelly (Victor Garber).

But as the film heads into its eye-opening reveal of DuPont’s history of chemical cover-ups, Dark Waters pulls the rug from under our expectations of Ruffalo, Robbins, and even Garber’s characters.

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Stephen King fans, if you haven’t been keeping up with Castle Rock this season, now might be a good time to do an emergency binge-watch. Like The Leftovers, Hulu‘s streaming series — which is set in the ever-expanding King multiverse — may have alienated some viewers in its first season, even as it managed to serve up episodes of great television like the Sissy Spacek showcase, “The Queen.” In the age of crowd-sourced show-solving, however, having some viewers fall away may have actually primed Castle Rock to do what The Leftovers did and get better and more wildly unpredictable in its second season.

So much of the buzz, these past few weeks, has been circling around HBO’s Watchmen that it feels like Castle Rock has been operating under the radar. The two shows premiered the same week in late October and have been progressing on parallel tracks. Both of them remix pop culture behemoths and they scratch the same itch for twist-filled, character-focused, mythology-rich TV (Watchmen‘s showrunner, Damon Lindelof, also co-created The Leftovers). Yet Castle Rock has been overshadowed at the water cooler by its sexier superhero cousin.

This week, showrunners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason took advantage of that by springing a whopper of a revelation on their unsuspecting audience. In season 2, episode 7, “The Word,” Castle Rock blew the lid open on its own secrets, offering up the juiciest twist yet in a season full of them. It goes without saying that we are about to enter that camper in the woods, with the chamber known as the Filter, where the Voice of God whispers heavy spoilers.

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There’s a line in The Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, tells us, “Prison is no fairy tale world.” Except that’s exactly what it is in this movie. Make no mistake about it: Frank Darabont’s 1994 prison drama, based on a Stephen King novella, endures as a kind of modern fairy tale, albeit one that transplants the most basic of all human emotions to the least romantic of all story settings. Instead of happening in space, like The Empire Strikes Back, this tale unfolds in a penitentiary.

Interpretations of Shawshank abound; depending on who you ask, the film might resonate as everything from a simple bromance to a biblical allegory. However, by using the prison as a canvas for a humanistic hope parable, the film managed to tap into something sublime and all-inclusive, something that cuts across demographics and appeals to people’s innermost yearning selves. Or, as Red puts it, “something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it.”

The story of wrongfully convicted inmate Andy Dufresne, played with glassy-eyed stoicism by Tim Robbins, speaks to the imprisoned dreamer in all of us. He’s a man, Red tells us, “who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.” Anyone who’s ever felt trapped by their circumstances, anyone who’s ever hoped for a better life, can relate to Andy’s decades-long struggle in Shawshank State Prison. As The Shawshank Redemption turns 25, it remains essential fuel for the film-lover’s soul: inspirational and heart-aching, but also perhaps richer and more multi-layered than you remember.

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The Shawshank Redemption in Theaters

This month, Stephen King fans have been swarming to theaters to watch Pennywise the Dancing Clown terrorize the grown up Losers’ Club in IT Chapter Two. But in a few days, they’ll be able to enjoy a different kind of story from Stephen King, one that warms your heart instead of trying eat it.

The Shawshank Redemption is considered one of the best Stephen King adaptations of all-time. Hell, it’s simply one of the best films ever made. It’s hard to believe, but this year the film is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and in honor of the milestone, you can catch the movie back in theaters for a few days. Find out when you can see The Shawshank Redemption in theaters below. Read More »

here and now trailer

Talk about a modern family.

Alan Ball, the creator of acclaimed HBO series like  Six Feet Under and True Blood, has returned to the network with a new series called Here and Now, which follows a multi-racial adopted family who is suddenly thrown into disarray when one of the kids starts having strange visions.

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Here and Now trailer

Six Feet Under and True Blood creator Alan Ball returns to HBO with the new drama Here and Now. The series focuses on a multi-racial, adopted family who find themselves under duress when one of their members begins seeing things. A new Here and Now trailer provides an early, deliberately vague look at the show to come, while hinting at much more.

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Marjorie Prime trailer

Jon Hamm as a hologram sounds like a future I want to live in. He stars alongside Lois SmithGeena Davis, and Tim Robbins in director Michael Almereyda‘s (Experimenter) science-fiction drama, Marjorie Prime. The movie was well-received at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

Below, watch the Marjorie Prime trailer.

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Jacob's Ladder remake

Jacob’s Ladder recently turned 25 years old. Adrian Lyne‘s (Unfaithful) thriller didn’t perform spectacularly at the box office, but like some of the director’s other films, it’s aged considerably well. Back in 2013, we heard about a Jacob’s Ladder remake, which is finally moving forward with Michael Ealy (Almost Human) in the lead role.

Learn more about the project below.

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HBO Cancels ‘The Brink’ (After Already Renewing It)

The Brink cancelled

HBO has cancelled The Brink, the dark geopolitical satire starring Tim Robbins and Jack Black, after one season. Which isn’t too shocking at first glance, given that the series never garnered much buzz and earned only modest ratings. What makes it weird is that the news comes after HBO already renewed The Brink for Season 2, way back in July. More about The Brink cancellation after the jump. Read More »

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Shawshank Redemption prisoner caught

Those of us who have seen The Shawshank Redemption are quite familiar with the tale of Andy Dufresne, the man who (spoiler alert) “crawled through a river of sh*t and came out clean on the other side.” And today we have a peculiar set of coincidences where life imitates art to some extent. An escaped prisoner caught after 56 years on the lam has been revealed to be a 79-year-old man who once did time in the reformatory where The Shawshank Redemption was shot on location, but escaped incarceration.  Read More »