January 21, 2017

Tag Archives: Christopher Walken

Jason Bateman continues his directorial progression with “The Family Fang”

A few years back, Jason Bateman made his directorial debut with the amusing yet filthy comedy Bad Words. This year, he has a sophomore feature that just hit screens in The Family Fang. I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and found it to be only decent, but regardless of my thoughts, it shows off an interesting direction for Bateman as a filmmaker. He seems to be moving towards prestige fare, which is not exactly where you’d initially peg his projects to go. For that, I can’t help but show admiration for his choices so far.
The movie is an adaptation of Kevin Wilson’s novel. The plot centers on the adult lives of the children of noted performance art mavericks Caleb Fang (Christopher Walken) and Camille Fang (Maryann Plunkett). As kids, Baxter Fang (Bateman) and Annie Fang (Nicole Kidman) enjoyed the gimmicks that doubled as games for them, but as grown ups, they’re profoundly damaged. Baxter is a struggling author and Annie is an actress more known for offscreen antics than onscreen ones. They’re estranged themselves, but when an accident brings them together, they then come back into contact with their parents. Then, Caleb and Camille disappear. Is this a tragedy or one last piece of performance art? Annie and Baxter are determined to find out. Bateman directs here, while David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the adaptation of Wilson’s book. The rest of the cast includes Michael Chernus, Kathryn Hahn, Josh Pais, Harris Yulin, and more. On the technical side, perpetually underrated composer Carter Burwell handles the score.
Even though I have some issues with the flick, I definitely can appreciate where Bateman is going. The maturation from Bad Words to The Family Fang is impressive. Moreover, I found more fault in the story and screenplay by Lindsay-Abaire than with what Bateman shot from the director’s chair. He’s a stronger actor when directed by himself to boot, so I’m all for him continuing down this road. In fact, if this continues and he finds some better material to work with, I really think that Bateman can be one of the next actors turned filmmakers to be cited by the Academy. He’s probably a ways away, but an Oscar one day could certainly be in his future.
I doubt this will be an awards player, but anything is possible. Academy Award campaigns could be put forward though, […]

Jon Favreau is going to have a huge hit on his hands with “The Jungle Book”

There’s no question that the animated feature The Jungle Book is an all time classic from Disney. It’s also one of many that the studio has now adapted into live action films. There was obviously some apprehension going in, but it appears to be one of the most well regarded to date, getting raves from my colleagues at advance screenings. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the buzz suggests a huge success, not just because of previous love for The Jungle Book, but also because it’s a Jon Favreau movie and those are almost always big successes. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a big time filmmaker, but he certainly is. This new outing hits theaters over the weekend and will surely print another mint for the mouse.
The film is obviously a live action retelling of both the Disney classic and also an adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling book of the same name as well. We follow the man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) as he tries to avoid the clutches of tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), while being assisted by panther Bagheera the panther (voice of Ben Kingsley) and of course the bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Favreau directs here from a script by Justin Marks, while the voice work is pretty A-list. In addition to Elba, Kingsley, and Murray, we have the voices of Emjay Anthony, Giancarlo Esposito, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Garry Shandling, and Christopher Walken, among others. Sethi is the live action presence, but the animals voiced by celebrities is where this one is at, talent wise. Cinematography is by the underrated Bill Pope, while John Debney handles the score.

Favreau seems to have a special ability to make epic entertainment that appeals to both adults and children. Just look at the first Iron Man for evidence of how effortless he can make this universal entertainment seem. Elf is another example, showing why he was probably the perfect choice for The Jungle Book. Just as exciting to me is that this project, initially seeming like an odd choice for Favreau, now probably makes his stock as high in Hollywood as it has ever been. I suspect that he can more or less make anything that he pleases at this point, and that is thrilling to someone like myself. He’s attached to develop a sequel right now, which was a foregone conclusion on the […]

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Supporting Actor

As I’ve been mentioning to you all over the past couple of weeks, with the festival season well underway/now nearing completion and just about all of the major contenders for the Academy Awards having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the big eight categories to see what’s what in an updated/more expanded fashion. I did this with the major categories a few months back, but that was when almost everything was still speculation. We have some facts to go on now, so while much of this is still mostly an educated guess, I’m not completely relying on overt hunches this time around. It’s more of an even mix, depending on the film/director/performer in question, of course. Today I’m turning my attention once again to the Best Supporting Actor field, which, like the other categories, won’t necessarily match up with Best Picture in any major way, but likely won’t be too far off from the pack in the end either. Read on to see what I’m talking about for this one…
One special note about Best Supporting Actor this year is that, unlike all of the other categories, it seems like there’s a fairly likely winner already. There are plenty of worthy contenders (with the top three being locks), so this isn’t a barren field, but it appears like the race is all but over already. You’ll see what I mean…
Here are the ten particular thespians that I have in play for Best Supporting Actor, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) – Barring something unforeseen, Simmons is just a matter of months away from not just receiving his first Oscar nomination, but also his first win as well. Simmons is explosive and downright phenomenal in Whiplash, giving easily one of the best performances that I’ve seen this year. His nomination is a sure thing, mark my words, with the Academy Award win almost certainly next to follow. I’d be shocked if he didn’t win Best Supporting Actor in a walk.
2. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) – For much of the season Ruffalo has basically been the de facto frontrunner in this category. Part of that was due to his film being baity, while part was due to Ruffalo being seen as someone who’d make a good winner. Now, having seen Foxcatcher, I […]

Mark Ruffalo: 2015 Best Supporting Actor contenders

As you fine folks all already know by now, it’s one thing to just read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen in six months, but it’s an entirely separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that particular regard, I’m continuing to run down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger acting categories…yes, it’s Best Supporting Actor.
Here are the ten particular thespians that I have in play for Best Supporting Actor, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) – Especially considering that I’ve recently been informed that Channing Tatum (who I’d previously been predicting for one of the other Supporting slots) is going Lead here, this category seems like Ruffalo’s to lose right now. He’s someone who fits as a winner, apparently is excellent in Foxcatcher, and is just a warm person to be around. That’s a big help, as he’d be great on the campaign trail. At this juncture, Ruffalo makes a lot of sense as the number one here, so that’s where I have him currently.
2. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) – If there’s an under the radar contender of sorts who can really upend the race, it’s Simmons, who blew folks away at Sundance in Whiplash. A few people out there even have him winning (including myself at one earlier point), though right now he has to be behind Ruffalo. Simmons is overdue his first citation, so I have a feeling that his run of bad luck is about to come to an end. He deserved to be in bigger play for Juno, but now could very well be his time.
3. Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes) *could go Lead – It seems a little unlikely that Waltz could wind up winning his third Best […]

“Jersey Boys”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Main Cast: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken, Mike Doyle, Steve Schirripa, and many more…
Past Oscar relations: Clint Eastwood is a four time Oscar winning filmmaker, most recently winning Best Picture and Best Director for Million Dollar Baby
Here now we have a brand spanking new article in this series of mine on 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of Oscar attention as contenders at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us is the Broadway adaptation Jersey Boys, which looks to become the latest musical to capture the Academy’s admiration.
This musical comes to us from legendary filmmaker Clint Eastwood as well as being co-written by Marshall Brickman, who has an Oscar on his mantle for once upon a time co-writing Annie Hall with Woody Allen. Starring the likes of John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken, and Mike Doyle, it’s the story of how Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons came to be. Many of their classic songs are recreated and a good time is had for the most part, meaning the box office should be fairly solid this weekend. Could that translate into a success story with the Academy as well?
What this flick has going in its favor is the music itself, which is part of why the Broadway show is so successful. The tunes have stood the test of time, so that’s a big factor here. The story itself isn’t amazingly original, but the combination of the songs and the story give you something to hum along to, and that can’t be overlooked when it comes to crowd pleasers. If it charms enough folks, voters will be sure to give it a long hard look when the time comes.
Working against Jersey Boys is a bloated running time, poor sense of pacing, and an overall sense that this is nothing too special. Eastwood’s name is a bit of a draw, but you can argue that his direction is one of the reasons this isn’t a fully successful endeavor. The look of the picture is off and it takes a long time to tell a story that could have been done much shorter and more efficiently. None of my issues with it are too big, but I know I’m not alone and that likely will be enough to keep it […]

SAG Awards: Stars galore… Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Jeff Daniels, Viola Davis, Robert De Niro, Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Hathaway

Alan Arkin, Jessica Chastain, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, John Goodman, Damian Lewis and Julianne Moore will be presenters at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Executive Producer Jeff Margolis announced today.
They join a growing roster of actors who will honor their colleagues at the SAG Awards that already includes Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Jeff Daniels, Viola Davis, Robert De Niro, Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Hathaway, SAG-AFTRA Co-President Ken Howard, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Julianna Margulies, Busy Philipps, SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon, Carl Reiner, Liev Schreiber, Taye Diggs, Justin Timberlake, Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts and Sigourney Weaver.
Oscar nominee Alan Arkin received his first SAG Award in 2007 as a member of the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ cast and was nominated for his supporting role in the film. He is currently nominated for his supporting role in ‘Argo’ and as a member of the film’s cast. He’s got two comedies on tap: ‘Stand Up Guys,’opposite Al Pacino and Christopher Walken, and ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,’ opposite Steve Carell and Jim Carrey.
Golden Globe recipient and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain earned a SAG Award in 2012 along with her fellow cast members in ‘The Help’ and was nominated in the supporting actress category, as well. This year, she is nominated for her lead performance in Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ She currently stars in the Guillermo Del Toro-produced ‘Mama’ and will soon be seen in the double feature ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His’ and ”The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers.’
Oscar nominee Daniel Day-Lewis was a Screen Actors Guild Award recipient in 2003 for his work in ‘Gangs of New York’ and in 2008 for his role in ‘There Will Be Blood.’ In 2010, he was nominated along with the cast of ‘Nine.’ He has received a total of five SAG Awards nominations, including two this year for his title role in Steven Spielberg?s ?Lincoln? and as a member of the film’s cast.
Oscar nominee Sally Field is an eight-time SAG Awards nominee and the recipient of one Actor® statuette, for her role as Nora Walker in ‘Brothers & Sisters.’ She’s nominated twice this year, for her performance as Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ and as a member of the film’s cast. Last summer, she was seen as Aunt May in the blockbuster ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ opposite Andrew Garfield.
Along with his co-stars, four-time SAG Awards nominee John Goodman […]

Colin Farrell one of the “Seven Psychopaths”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Colin Farrell has always been funny. It just took the industry a while to figure out how to use his dark sense of humor.
Seriously, even when Farrell was supposed to be serious in films like “Tigerland,” “Hart’s War” or Malick’s “The New World,” there’s an air of flippancy that always gives his character an edge. But for true examples of Farrell’s demented sense of humor, check out the trailer for “Horrible Bosses” that hit the internet earlier this week (I’ve posted it below). Then rent “Daredevil,” “Intermission,” and Martin McDonagh’s hilarious “In Bruges.” You’ll be laughing for days.
So it pleases us to no end that Farrell and McDonagh plan to reunite for “Seven Psychopaths,” where, according to Variety, he’ll play “a screenwriter who runs into a block and ends up getting involved in his friends’ dog-kidnapping scheme.”
It’s notable because the “friends” in question include Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Mickey Rourke. Um, sign us up.
No word on when “Psychopaths,” or who the other three psychopaths will be, but so far, this one sounds like something to watch.
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Photo courtesy of PRPhotos.com.

Darren Criss on his ‘Glee’ adventure

HollywoodNews.com: Now that Darren Criss is a regular on ‘Glee,’ he is really getting into the fun and getting the hang of things.
The actor admits that he just feels lucky to be a part of the hit TV show, states Hollyscoop. “Everyone’s so sweet, and it’s such a great character,” Criss says about the unbeatable experience.
But now that Criss is a part of the show, he has one request: that Chrisopher Walken make an appearance.
Would you want to see Christopher Walken on Glee?
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Image courtesy of Splash News

Quentin Tarantino roast postponed following Menke’s passing

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: A planned roast of Oscar-nominated director Quentin Tarantino which scheduled for Friday in New York City has been postponed due to the unexpected passing of Tarantino’s frequent editor, Sally Menke.
A Friars spokesperson said that plans were immediately altered when Tarantino met with the group and requested “out of respect for the sad loss” to put the event on hold, the Hollywood Reporter writes. In a statement, Friars Club executive director Michael Gyure expressed “deep sadness for Mr. Tarantino’s loss.”
Menke, an Oscar-nominated editor who worked on Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglourious Basterds,” was found dead early Tuesday after hiking in Los Angeles’ extreme heat. Menke was 56.
The Hollywood Reporter says a new date for the roast will be announced soon. Samuel L. Jackson planned to act as roast master, while Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Sarah Silverman, Patricia Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Neve Campbell, Christopher Walken, Kurt Russell and more were expected to attend.
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