Jan 23 2013

Cumberbatch goes ‘Full Assange’ in a daring play for awards recognition

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:03 pm

Dreamworks today released a  still of their upcoming film The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder and extradition-avoider Julian Assange. Focusing on the early days of the site, the film will the Sherlock star with platinum blond hair and sporting an indolent facial expression. Daniel Bruhl (Goodbye, Lenin!) co-stars as Assange’s confidante Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose book ‘WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange’ provides the basis of the story. Filling out the rest of the cast are familiar British faces like David Thewlis and The Thick of It‘s Peter Capaldi, who is presumably playing an ornery Scottish man.

However, this isn’t the first time Cumberbatch has tackled a living figure: in  2004, he was Stephen Hawking in a BBC television film and in 2010 he played Vincent Van Gogh. Could he be challenging Michael Sheen’s status as the go-to guy for playing famous personalities? After all, the Academy do love giving awards to actors playing real historical figures (The Queen, Idi Amin, Thatcher, Ray Charles, etc…)

The Fifth Estate is still in production, so it will be a while before it hits the cinema. In the meantime, fans of Mr Cumberbatch will have to settle for seeing him in this summer’s blockbuster sequel Star Trek into Darkness or perhaps the second Hobbit film, which promises to feature a lot more of him.

Source: EW

Jan 23 2013

Ben Affleck is the latest man to run through wheat fields for Terrence Malick

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 2:38 pm

For a reclusive film maker with a reputation for working slowly, Terence Malick sure has been busy. His Tree of Life delighted and confounded audiences in 2011 earning an Oscar nom for best picture. He has four films in post-production, according to IMDb – that’s four entire movies allegedly in the can. If this is to be believed, those four films would constitute exactly half his entire body of work stretching back to 1973.

In the newest trailer for the cryptically named To the Wonder, Ben Affleck plays a man who rekindles his passion for a woman from his hometown (Rachel McAdams) while his wife (Olga Kurylenko) strikes up a connection to a Spanish priest (Javier Bardem). As with next to every other Malick joint, the story will probably take a back seat to gorgeous photography and voice-overs delivered in hushed tones. The trailer suggests that Malick hasn’t strayed too far from the reservation: there are plenty of shots of characters frolicking through field and beautiful landscapes filmed during ‘magic hour‘.

Malick’s pictures have a certain way of frustrating viewers who demand narrative cohesion from tfilms, but his ability to marry image with ambient sound and meaningless dialogue means that his films are always uniquely cinematic works. If you’re  going to see To the Wonder, we’d recommend you check it out at a theatre when it drops on February 22nd.

Jan 23 2013

Rumour Cycle: Bradley Cooper to play Lance Armstrong?

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:25 am

Just five days after Lance Armstrong shocked the world by confessing to things that the world knew months ago, J.J. Abrams is already said to be in the saddle to direct a film about his cheating ass. Based on the book ‘Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong’ by New York Times journalist Juliet Macur, Abrams’ movie will probably not be an favourable look at the most flagrant drugs cheat in the history of professional sport.

The first question that springs to mind is a matter of casting: who is going to play Lance Armstrong? Of course the obvious answer would be Matthew McConaughey who –like that cheating sack of crap, Lance Armstrong– is a fair-haired, athletic Texan. But he has also been good pals with Lance in the past, which means it’s unlikely he’ll work on a project to demolish what’s left of the man’s reputation.

But then you have Bradley Cooper, who has already publicly expressed an interest in the role, telling the BBC: “I would be interested in that …I think he’s fascinating. What a fascinating character.”

Even if this was just a simple comment made in response to a baited question and blown out of all proportions by the entertainment media, there is a  good chance that Cooper will be near the top of the producers’ wish list. Having spent the past year becoming a serious actor through sheer force of will, the Academy Award nominee for Silver Linings Playbook could easily find himself at the front of the pack, ahead of the usual suspects like Michael Fassbender and Christian Bale.

This is that assuming Abrams doesn’t get Lance to play himself. After all, he’s going to have a lot of free time now that he’s persona non grata in both professional sport and polite society.

Earlier reports suggested that Sony Pictures were on the verge of pedaling their own Armstrong biopic, with either Matt Damon of Jake Gyllenhaal playing a professional athlete who overcomes a potentially fatal disease to become the greatest cycling champion and cancer philanthropist of all time. But I guess they’re not making that movie anymore.

Jan 22 2013

Boardwalk Empire Season 3

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:39 pm

Warning: this article will feature spoilers up to the first episode of Boardwalk Empire’s third season. Do not read any further if you haven’t caught up to the end of Season 2.

As the third season of Boardwalk Empire opens, Atlantic City boss and bootlegger Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is holding one of his famous New Year’s Eve bashes. This being December 1922, the entire western world is wrapped up in Archaeologist Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and Nucky’s parties are nothing if not at the cutting edge of fashion. Nucky’s mansion is decked out with golden sphinxes and mounds of fake treasures; the great and good (and the not-so-good) of New Jersey are in attendance, decked out in clothes and jewels inspired by all thing ancient Egyptian. A man dressed as Carter distributes expensive gifts to the guests: the booze trade, after all, has been very good to Nucky Thompson. But as with Pharaohs of old, Nucky’s about to discover that his whisky empire is as vulnerable as a pyramid built on the shifting sands of the Jersey Shore.

At the party, Nucky makes a big announcement to his ‘business associates’ that he will now only be making a single delivery to Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) and everyone else will have to deal with Rothstein. This would seem like a sensible move for everyone but unfortunately for Nucky, not everyone at the table is a sensible man. We’re introduced to Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), hot-headed Sicilian gangster from New York. Actually, to call him ‘hot-headed’ would be somewhat of an understatement: just a few scenes earlier, his ability to take insult from the most innocuous of comments led him to kill a man who stopped on the road to help him with a flat tire. Naturally, he takes Nucky’s reluctance to sell to him directly as an egregious slight, setting off a chain of events that will lead to Gyp become the season’s big villain.

Boardwalk’s creators, led by former Sopranos writer Terence Winter, had a big task ahead of them coming into the third season. After the exciting events of the Season 2 finale, fans were wondering many things: what year would Season 3 take place in? How were they going to fill the void left by the death of a major character? How were they going to accommodate the ever-expanding cast of characters while staying true to history?

The number of regular locations has expanded and we see many series regulars in new circumstances. Nucky’s ex-mentor The Commodore has passed, leaving his home to be turned into a pretentious cathouse run by Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol). She has apparently taken disfigured war veteran -and fan favourite- Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) on as a nanny to her orphaned grandson. Chalky White (Michael K Williams) remains on the radar, though distinctly off in the periphery. Having killed his own partner, super-intense former prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden has fled to Chicago and is living under an assumed name with his delightful Norwegian wife. Al Capone is also back in Chicago and itching for a turf way – what do you reckon the chances are that the two of them will cross paths?

The Van Alden, Chalky White and Richard Harrow stories are all kind of extraneous to the main story; one could argue that the writers have kept these characters on without knowing how to incorporate them into the rest of the show. But thankfully they did, as their scenes are some of the best of the season, providing some much needed relief from the backstabbing and chicanery taking place in Jersey.Margaret Thompson (Kelly Macdonald) also features in a plotline that’s somewhat divorced from the bootlegging part of the narrative. Her plan to build a women’s clinic is met with resistance by the hospital’s deeply catholic administrators. As we are to learn, even rich women get the short end of the stick in a world full with powerful men. This is a story arc we wouldn’t see in any other crime show and it brings a lot of nuance and shade to Boardwalk’s awfully patriarchal world.

As always, we see our fair share of historical figures wade on screen this season. From members of the notoriously corrupt Harding presidential administration to nefarious gangsters like Joe Masseria and Dean O’Banion, the writers have managed to seamlessly weave actual gangster mythology into their own wider story arcs. For maximum enjoyment, you should really avoid looking up the characters on Wikipedia – that is, unless you want to be supplied with all sorts of spoilers.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes season three from the previous two, it’s this greater sense of momentum that they’re able to build up over the twelve episodes. There’s no longer this anxiety that we’re waiting for something awesome to happen; that history is hamstringing the show’s potential. While the quality of the episodes has always been at an incredibly high level, there’s now an added sense of urgency that has positioned Boardwalk as a rival to Breaking Bad in the ‘ohmygod what just happened?!’ stakes. And now that the writers and actors have had two years to fully understand the characters, minor players like Nucky’s lieutenant Mickey Doyle have started taking on new dimensions – he might seem like a complete buffoon to the outside world but he’s a crafty guy with a great survival instinct.

In a time when American cable channels like HBO and AMC are producing some of the finest television shows ever made, Boardwalk Empire has carved itself a niche as an exciting period drama with an unmatched level of detail. From the gorgeous sets and costumes to their choice selection of period music, everything about the show drips with style. Even Downton Abbey cannot hope to keep up with the standard of production that goes into creating the glamour and grime of 1920s Atlantic City. The show won’t be back on our screens until later this year, so savour this amazing season if you haven’t watched it yet: you’re going to want more when it ends and the wait is almost unbearable.

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 is now available at blinkbox

Jan 21 2013

Michael Winner, 1935-2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:31 pm

LONDON – Film director, producer,  food critic, insurance pitchman and general bon vivant Michael Winner has passed away at the age of 77, his wife has confirmed. While to many younger generations, he was the man from the car insurance ad who condescendingly told women to ‘calm down’, to film fans he will always be the director of classic B-Movies like Scorpio with Burt Lancaster and the Death Wish films starring Charles Bronson.

Despite their uber-right wing approach to crime, his films were incredibly influential to modern cinema and the entire revenge genre. One could argue that without Death Wish, there would be no Taken or Django Unchained. In later life, he became known for his ‘Winner’s Dinners’ column in The Sunday Times, which were often defined by his “challenging” restaurant reviews.

In respectful tribute to this left-field renaissance man, please enjoy this ancient internet meme based on a scene from Death Wish 2 in which Charles Bronson shoots Laurence Fishburne right through the boombox.

Jan 21 2013

Batman’s rolling death-trap sold for £2.6 million

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:26 am

In the first historical example of a middle-aged man purchasing an expensive car that will prevent him from ever having sex again, a 56 year-old logistics company owner from Arizona has recently paid US$4.2 million (£2.6 million) for the original Batmobile from the 1960s television series, Batman. Having outbid numerous competitors for the exclusive right to give women ‘the creeps’  just by driving past them, new owner Rick Champagne told reporters: “I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car… [this is] a dream come true.”

A modified Lincoln Futura concept car, the real-life Batmobile does not boast many of the features as seen on the TV show starring Adam West. It does not come complete with  Bat-tering Ram, Bat Smoke Screen, Emergency Bat-turn Lever, Bat Beam nor Batphone (although one could argue that mobile phones have rendered that last point moot).

On top of being a total turn-off for women aged 16-55, this motorised chastity belt is also incredibly dangerous to drive. With a curb weight of 4500 pounds, a 6.4 litre V8 engine, barbaric 1960s seat belts and rudimentary brakes, this car is lethal not only to mother Earth but also any driver foolish enough to buy it. On the bright side, road safety experts have suggested that Mr Champagne will die of embarrassment before he has any chance to accidentally plow into a bollard.

This isn’t the first time an iconic television car has gone up for sale: in 2007, one of the KITTs from Knight Rider was allegedly hawked for $150,000 by a man who spent ten years restoring it, presumably to the detriment of his personal life.


Jan 21 2013

Bruce Willis Dies Hard in the Future: New Releases Monday 21st Jan 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:35 am

The CampaignHollywood’s High Sultans of Hilarity hit the campaign trail with this comedy set around a congressional race. Originally released in time for the 2012 Presidential Election, The Campaign sees Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as political opponents who are launched into a ridiculous game of one-upmanship. For anyone interested in a little nugget of trivia: director Jay Roach –best known for the Austin Powers series– also helmed the HBO movie Game Change about Sarah Palin and the ’08 election. So there’s a real political pedigree to all this comic japery!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a point of appearing in a number of 2012’s most acclaimed films including this superlative sci-fi thriller. As a hit man charged with dispatching victims sent back from the future, JGL’s simple existence is wrecked when he’s faced with tracking down and killing his toughest target yet: himself (as played by Bruce Willis)! From writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick, Breaking Bad), Looper is possibly one of the smartest, most inventive genre films we’ve seen in years.

The Sweeney
Uncle Ray takes on the part made famous by John Thaw in this modern re-invention of the iconic 70s cop show. London may have changed since the good ol’ days, but the city’s toughest cop hasn’t: with the help of his protégée (rapper Ben Drew) and a prehistoric moral compass, he’s out to stop a deadly gang of tea leaves [thieves]. Saucy crumpet du jour Hayley Atwell also stars as a member of Winstone’s team while Homeland’s Damian Lewis pops his head in every now and again as the Flying Squad’s desk-bound Detective Chief Inspector. There’s a lot of top British talent on display in this supercharged action vehicle. Are you man enough to put your foot to the floor?

That’s My BoyThere are Adam Sandler films that are kind of suitable for family viewing but lord knows this is not one of them. Full of frat-boy humour of the highest (or lowest) calibre, this could be the bawdiest film Sandler’s ever made. As with many of his other self-written features, he plays an irresponsible man-child who has to do something to accrue a certain amount of money before an arbitrary deadline. In this film, he’s a burnt-out D-list celebrity who needs to patch things up with his estranged son (Andy Samberg) or else go to jail for some reason. There are plenty of gross-out gags and a gaggle of celebrity cameos, including a scene-stealing turn from Vanilla Ice!

Resident Evil: Retribution
The sixth film in the popular post-apocalyptic zombie series, Retribution sees the return of Resident Evil alumni Michelle Rodriguez and Sienna Guillory. Picking up where the previous entry left off, Eve (Milla Jovovich) is once again pitted against the Umbrella Corporation, an evil conglomerate responsible for the zombie-making t-Virus. But when an explosion knocks her out and she wakes up in a suburban home with a husband and a daughter, things start getting weird!  By now, you should know not to expect an awful lot of wit or sophistication with a Resident Evil movie. But what you will get are sexy ladies, awesome fights and a lot of fast-moving zombies! Are you sold yet?

The Possession
A brand new paranormal horror film from producer Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell), this suburban creeper sees divorcé Jeffrey Dean Morgan come into a whole world of fear when his daughter becomes possessed by a haunted box. It comes on the back of a whole load of demonic possession films, but Raimi’s pedigree in the genre should assure horror fans that this won’t be just your average Exorcist knock-off.

Jan 18 2013

OAPs Say the Funniest Things in RED 2 Trailer

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:15 am

Nobody expected 2009′s RED to have been such a big hit. After all, conventional Hollywood wisdom suggests that nothing drives audiences away from cinemas more than films about old people: they bum people out because they are a constant reminder or death. For example, did you know that Bruce Willis will actually die one day? That’s right: it is inevitable that John McClane will end up in a pine box being pushed into an incinerator — and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So why don’t we appreciate our aging film stars while we may by watching this trailer to RED 2, a sequel that sees Bruce Willis‘ retired CIA operative on the wrong side of an assassination order.

Joining him again is Mary Louise Parker as his live-in companion (Old people can’t have girlfriends! Yuck!), saucy assassin Helen Mirren and conspiracy nut John Malkovich, who brings the crazy in a way that only Malkovich can (Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich).

But you’re probably thinking “Hey! This is a sequel: there better be some new Welsh characters to fill the void left by Morgan Freeman‘s death in the last movie.” You will not be disappointed! Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sir Anthony Hopkins are jumping headfirst into the fray, with one or both of them probably playing villains! After seeing this trailer, we are cautiously optimistic about this OAP actioner.

RED 2 is due for a UK release on August 2nd

[via SuperHeroHype]

Jan 17 2013

Watch a “scintillating” scene from Lindsay Lohan’s “comeback” “movie”

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:10 am

Film fans everywhere should prepare themselves for this treat. In this newly released clip from her upcoming contemporary noir film The Canyons, Lindsay Lohan spends about two minutes fruitlessly searching for her mobile phone. But just as you think nothing is going to happen in this sub-Lynchian nightmare of domestic mundanity… something happens!

First of all, why is she holding the telephone to her ear when she should be listening out for the ringtone? And secondly, why does this movie look so cheap?

We know that movies are made on tiny budgets these days, but even consumer cameras can get better image quality than this! The production looks like it belongs to a medium-to-high budget porno flick — which is an interesting segue in to this fact: her co-lead is an actual porn actor by the name of James Deen, who is making his mainstream debut in this film.

In fact, every piece of key talent in this film seems ill suited for a latter-day Lindsay Lohan vehicle. Behind the camera is director Paul Schrader, perhaps best known for writing Taxi Driver and Raging Bull for Martin Scorsese. On script duties is Bret Easton Ellis,  the American novelist of the late 80s, whose books include American Psycho, Rules  of Attraction and Next to Zero. Ellis is quite a vocal fan of the Fifty Shades books, so the fact that the aggressive male character in his script is named Christian only lends an extra dimension of intrigue. Respected director Gus van Sant (Milk, Good Will Hunting) appears as a psychiatrist in a rare on-screen performance, perhaps doing Schrader a solid favour.

The New York Times recently published a pretty lengthy set report detailing an troubled shoot: the old-before-her-time starlet seemed to turn up late almost every day and any filming had to be accommodated around power struggles between Lohan and Schrader. On one occasion, Lohan refused to come on set for a key sex scene that she had been aware of for weeks:

Another hour passed, and Lohan eventually moved to the bed but wouldn’t remove her robe. Schrader worried that the early-morning sunlight would begin streaming through the house. He thought of sending everyone home. But then he realized that there was one thing he hadn’t yet tried. He stripped off all of his clothes. Naked, he walked toward Lohan.

“Lins, I want you to be comfortable. C’mon, let’s do this.”

Lohan shrieked.


But then a funny thing happened. Lohan dropped her robe. Schrader shouted action, and they filmed the scene in one 14-minute take. About halfway through, Lohan looked directly into the camera and flashed a dirty, demented smile at Schrader. He smiled back.

The movie sounds like a complete train wreck but the full article is definitely worth a read.

[Source: New York Times]

Jan 15 2013

Jackie Chan US ‘Corruption’ Claim Ignites Backlash on Slow News Day

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:24 am

One day after the Golden Globes, entertainment journalists were sent into mild panic when alerted to the fact that the next major awards ceremony would not be for another 40 days. Faced with over five weeks of baseless speculation as to which impossibly glamorous millionaire would take home a gold(-plated) statuette, junior copywriters from ‘news’ outlets across the world were already preparing their list of different ways to say ‘Oscar-nominated’, so as not to use the phrase ‘Oscar-nominated’, like, a bajillion times in a empty articles claiming to provide new insight on Oscar-nominated actors.

Thankfully for them, a brief respite has come this week in the form of Jackie Chan, who said something on Chinese TV this week that can be construed as controversial, if needed. And yes, it is needed.

According to a report from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Chan “sparked controversy by branding America the world’s “most corrupt” country in a TV interview.” Appearing on Phoenix TV to promote his latest film CZ12, the topic of conversation soon turned political when Chan expressed the opinion that China has been bullied by international powers for a long time and only began making progress in recent years.

He admitted to China’s reputation for corruption before quickly turning his attention to America: “If you talk about corruption, the entire world – America – has no corruption?” said the actor, presumably referring to the conspiracy that led to Rush Hour 3′s box office failure.

He went on to elaborate that America is “the most corrupt [country] in the world” – not China. “Where does this great breakdown [of corruption] come from? It started exactly from the [rest of the] world, the United States … If our own countrymen don’t support our country, who will?” he said, displaying the sort of logic and verbal facility that have made his blooper reels so enjoyable in the past.

This statement, while possible to interpret as an affable actor’s attempt to an appease a Chinese TV audience unfamiliar with being told that their country is anything less than number one. Could it be that he used an exaggeration in the heat of the moment? Commenters on Twitter, however, have chosen to see this as a shot across the bow of the good ship America:


Hey Jackie Chan, can you give us Americans back our corrupt dollars? We did go see all your movies after all.

Jackie chan thinks the USA is the most corrupt in the world. Really? What’s china? Give back the money u made here & go back to hong kong!

and of course,


F**k you Jackie Chan

As with many Twitter discussions directed towards celebrities with political opinions, these comments are effectively saying “Hey! We once purchased one of your movies so you OWE us. Assimilate our opinion or die.” Which is exactly how democracy works, right?

Taking the opportunity to tackle this issue head-on, Jackie Chan’s official twitter account released the following apology:

Jackie Chan@EyeOfJackieChan

Did you know Jackie is a respected and talented singer? http://bit.ly/JackieLovestoSing …

Sadly, this story will likely prove to be a tiny storm in an even tinier teacup. Jackie said nothing that is either incorrect or particularly controversial and Twitter has an attention span that can be measured in minutes at best. By this time next week, we will have forgotten all about Jackie Chan, Communist agitprop; and instead we’ll be going back to doing pieces on our favourite dresses from red carpet history or perhaps composing a fun piece about a psychic ocelot who can pick Oscar winners. You know, normal entertainment news.

Source: SCMP