Once again, a new decade has brought a wave of impressive new acting talent to moviegoers and the media's attention. Chris Hemsworth already has "Thor" under his belt with the increasingly hyped "Cabin in the Woods" already in the can. Taylor Kitsch will make it or break it with next year's double take of "John Carter" and "Battleship." Mia Wasikowska was relatively unknown before the success of "Alice in Wonderland," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Jane Eyre" and now she's recognized all over the world. Rooney Mara used roles in last year's "A Nightmare On Elm Street" and "The Social Network" to help her land "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." And before 2012 is done, Juno Temple will have gone from that little, mean girl in "Atonement" to an adult actress to seriously watch out for.
Ryan Gosling is heading to another major film festival this year. The "Blue Valentine" star has made Sundance and Cannes frequent stops over the past 18 months and now it appears he'll be heading to another annual cinefile event in Venice. It hasn't been officially announced, but according to reports, the cat is out of the bag and George Clooney's "The Ides of March" will be the opening night at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. The festival begins on Aug. 31.
"March" is based on Beau Willimon's play "Farragut North" and finds Clooney playing a governor looking to find a more presidential office in a scenario loosely based on the campaign of Howard Dean. Gosling plays his press spokesman and Paul Giamatti is a rival campaign manager.
It's unclear how good Gosling is in "March," but he certainly merits awards consideration as well for his subtly strong performance in Nicolas Wending Refin's "Drive" which played at Cannes and opens nationwide on Sept. 16.
Venice is almost a second home for Clooney. He won a slew of awards for "Good Night, and Good Luck." at the festival in 2005 and premiered "Michael Clayton" in 2007, "Burn After Reading" in 2008 and "The Men Who Stare At Goats" in 2009. Oh yeah, and "Intolerable Cruelty" in 2003. Clooney also stars in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," another expected awards season player, which may debut at the Venice, Toronto, Telluride or New York Film Festival.
Obviously, both men have a busy fall ahead of them.
Darren Aronofsky, who won the festival's Golden Lion in 2008 for "The Wrestler," has already been tapped as the head of this year's jury.
One of the common questions you hear after moviegoers see the trailer for "Bad Teacher" is "Why is this beautiful woman a school teacher?" Well, the main answer becomes pretty apparent in the first 20 minutes of the the film, but as I discovered while interviewing Diaz a few weeks ago there is an even bigger one that's so obvious it's gone over most peoples heads. Frankly, the economy has ruined the market for gold diggers like Diaz's character Elizabeth. There just aren't enough Sugar Daddies around anymore to meet demand.
GLENDALE, CA - Disney's new movie "The Muppets" features two-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, a new Muppet named Walter and a slew of your favorite Jim Henson creations, but the picture is really the Jason Segel show. Even if you hadn't heard the "How I Met Your Mother" star wax during interviews about his love of The Muppets, the final scene in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (which he wrote and starred in), you knew there was a connection between Segel and the Muppets. That love turned into an original screenplay, co-written with Nicholas Stoller, that could make the beloved franchise a family favorite once more.
Hyping a movie as a "must-see" can be a dangerous habit and should therefore be treated judiciously. It can lead to unfulfilled expectations by an audience and if used too often cheapen the recommendation. Happily, that's not the case with Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive." The "Bronson" helmer won the best director prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival over noteworthy competition from Terrence Malick and Pedro Almodovar (among others) for his work on the new thriller and after catching it at the 2011 LA Film Fest Friday evening it's clear the honor was distinctly deserved.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited 178 new members to join the movie industry's most premier voting club this year and, happily, it continues the recent tradition of skewing the organization younger.
Do you remember when Jack Black was the next big thing? When he was seen as the heir apparent of leading comedy actors? Well, yes, it's been awhile, but let's review for context's sake, shall we?
Black first made some noise stealing scenes in "High Fidelity" and on his HBO series "Tenacious D," but after stumbling in films such as "Shallow Hal" and "Saving Silverman" he finally broke through to mass adoration in the critical and audience pleasing "The School of Rock." That Richard Linklater film was the first time Black was able to combine his natural charisma, actual acting talents and, of course, ability to rock into one signature performance. He came close to duplicating that achievement in the 2006 hit comedy "Nacho Libre" and was impressive later that year in the straight drama "Margot at the Wedding." He even took chances with Michel Gondry's misfire "Be Kind Rewind" and Nancy Meyer's uneven romantic comedy "The Holiday" and his star continued to rise. It all seemed to peak in a summer of 2008 double bill where he supplied the voice of Po in "Kung Fu Panda" (at the time considered DreamWorks Animation's best film ever) and as the drug addict actor Jeff Portnoy in Ben Stiller's contemporary classic "Tropic Thunder." The three year since, however, have not been as kind.
One of the great things about John C. Reilly is that even after his success in films Hollywood hits such as "Talladega Nights," "Step Brothers," "Gangs of New York" or "Chicago," he's continued to toke chances on smaller independent films. This year, he's appeared in two festival favorites, "We Need to Talk About Kevin" which debuted at Cannes last month and "Terri," a critical smash that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January.
You know when you're getting old? When the young kiddie stars who set Hollywood aflame over the past decade or so start to hit college age. Nicholas Hoult has gone from "About a Boy" to "X-Men: First Class." Dakota Fanning went from "War of the Worlds" to "The Twilight Saga." Even little Josh Hutcherson has jumped from "Zathura" to "The Hunger Games." And guess who has joined the graduating class? Freddie Highmore.
Contrary to popular belief, Peter Sarsgaard has had his share of intense movie make-up. His character was dramatically burned for a good portion of Kathryn Bigelow's "K-19: the Widowmaker."
"I did that for weeks on end," Sarsgaard says as we sit on a large patio at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. "I did this for months on end."