Review: The Mercy

Starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz

Review: Anna and the Apocalypse

Zombie Christmas Musical Delivers Holiday Cheer

Review: Ben is Back

Starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges

Review: Vox Lux

Starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Stacy Martin

Review: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Directed by Andy Serkis


Confirmed: Quentin Tarantino's next film to be a spaghetti western; Christoph Waltz to star

Ask and ye shall receive and all that jazz. Earlier today the internet world was abuzz with news of Quentin Tarantino's possible next film, a spaghetti western called The Angel, The Bad, and The Wise. This all was revealed courtesy of the loose lips of Italian star, Franco Nero, who also revealed that as many as 15 people were already on board. Those names included Treat Williams and Keith Carradine. Our story ended with a desperate plea for more info. Now comes an update courtesy of Mr. Beaks over at Aint It Cool News, who adds some much appreciated detail.

Malin Akerman hops a cab with Nicolas Cage in 'Medallions'

Ever since Nicolas Cage signed on to Simon West's(The Mechanic) action flick, Medallions, I've been waiting to hear more about it. Then when we had the chance to speak to West the movie totally slipped my mind. I've been slapping myself ever since.  Today there comes some new information about the film, which sees Cage as a former master thief trying to rescue his kidnapped daughter from the back of a medallion taxi cab.  THR broke the exclusive story that Malin Akerman(Watchmen) has signed on to play his ex-girlfriend and bank robbing partner. She agrees to help him rescue his daughter.

Still no word on who'll play Cage's daughter or the men who steal her away.  The film is set to begin shooting in March, based on a script by David Guggenheim.

I know most people don't care for Akerman, but I completely dig her and no it's not just because I fall asleep with images of Silk Spectre dancing in my head. She's not perfect for everything, but as a hot sidekick character she should be pretty effective alongside Cage. Akerman was last seen in the ensemble rom-com, The Romantics.

Josh Brolin says Men in Black 3 script is "Fantastic"

Call me crazy, but I think Brolin is blowin' smoke up our  butts here. A couple of weeks ago a story came out that production on Men in Black 3 had been pushed back due to some serious script problems.  The film had taken a two month hiatus and was due to pick back up this month before the trouble occurred. So was Barry Sonnenfeld's sci-fi comedy on the skids or what?  MTV had a chance to ask Josh Brolin about while on the red carpet at the Academy Awards....

Two brand new Xavier and Magneto character posters

I haven't heard much from my nay saying buddies about X-men: First Class ever since the trailer released. While the production has been plagued with stories of mismanagement and delay, the trailer proved that Matthew Vaughn has everything under his firm control.  While the final product is all that really matters, I feel pretty confident in saying that the marketing for this film kicks the ass of Captain America: The First Avenger

Further evidence of that comes in the form of two brand new character posters, one featuring Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, and the other of James McAvoy as Charles Xavier. Check 'em out, courtesy of SpiderMedia....

New Transformers: Dark of the Moon images! The series to continue without Michael Bay?

We've known that Sentinel Prime would be showing up in Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the supposed final chapter of the robots in disguise franchise(more on that in a bit). We caught a glimpse of him at the end of the teaser trailer, where he most closely Alpha Trion(one of the original Transformers).  Empire Magazine has a brand new shot of Sentinel Prime, as well as that of Optimus Prime lookin' badass.  The Prime image is above, but check out the rest below, courtesy of TFW2005...

1st clip from Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts

A return to form for Tom Hanks? I was just saying last night that it's been forever since I thought of Hanks as an A-list, consistent Academy Award threat. Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hanks premiered a clip from his new comedy, Larry Crowne, which sees him reteaming with his Charlie Wilson's War(it's been four years already!!?) co-star, Julia Roberts. Crowne also marks the 2nd directorial effort by Hanks and his first since 1996's That Thing You Do!  Check out the clip below...

The Farrelly Brothers planning return to Dumb and Dumber?

The Farrelly Brothers didn't exactly remind folks of their glory days with their latest flick, Hall Pass. It failed to connect with a lot of folks and lost out over the weekend to a nearly month old movie about gnomes. However to me the Farrellys are integral to the comedy landscape, because we can't just have Judd Apatow and his buds making similarly toned movies unopposed.  So while their long gestating The Three Stooges flick is starting to pick up steam, the brothers may also be considering going back to the movie that put them on the map.

Quentin Tarantino planning spaghetti western with Franco Nero, Keith Carradine?

Any news involving Quentin Tarantino and possible future projects is good news. While I wait anxiously for the Blu-Ray release of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair or any news on Kill Bill 3(rumored in 2014), others are already lining up to work with the director. Such as Italian superstar actor, Franco Nero(Letters to Juliet), who says his next flick is going to be a spaghetti western homage to Sergio Leone(The Dollars Trilogy), and Tarantino will be involved. Somehow.

Video: James Franco, Anne Hathaway Inception Tour

The 83rd Academy Awards kicked off with a hilarious promo featuring Anne Hathaway and James Franco slipping into the dreamlike world of Inception. There they encountered a number of the year's Best Picture nominees, including an inspired bit opposite Jeff Bridges' Rooster Cogburn. My only beef with it? We didn't get to see them animated like in Toy Story 3. That would've been vicious.

Video: Academy Awards 'Auto Tune' Musical Segment

Ok, so last night's Academy Awards wasn't exactly a surefire hit. Anne Hathaway was absolutely radiant and jubilant about her role as host. Franco? Eh, he was alright but nothing special. I think some people are being too hard on them, and comparing them to Billy Crystal is simply unfair. You think they were allowed the freedom to say/do what they wanted the way he was? Of course not.

Anyway, one of the funnier segments of the show to me was the musical "auto tune" segment, in particular the "He Doesn't Own a Shirt" bit featuring clips from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Maybe this will show those artists who actually use this crap exactly why it's so lame.  Enjoy. 

Rumor: Daniel Day-Lewis being considered for Superman?

Viggo Mortensen has yet to be locked up for his rumored role as General Zod in Superman. Whether it happens or not depends on whether he even wants the gig, and if he signs on to star in Snow White and the Huntsman. Regardless, it's possible Warner Brothers is considering the idea of moving on without him, as Moviehole notes a rumor that Daniel Day-Lewis is being looked at for an "unspecified role".

I'm jumping to the conclusion that Lewis would be up for General Zod, mainly because he's such a damned good villain, with his boisterous, pompous personality shining through in movies like Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood. He'd make a perfect Zod. Better than Mortensen, if you ask me. But think about it, maybe Mortensen would be better served in a smaller, showy role? Someone like Superman's Kryptonian daddy, Jor-El?

Then again this is all speculation, and Lewis has possible scheduling conflicts on the horizon as well. He's already locked down to play Abraham Lincoln for Steven Spielberg, but there's no hint when that will start shooting. This again would depend on whether or not the notoriously picky Lewis has any interest in venturing into the realm of caped superheroes.


Full List of Academy Award winners

For those who didn't have the time to endure that interminable Academy Awards broadcast like we did, here are your winners!

Achievement in Art Direction- Alice in Wonderland

Cinematography- Inception

Best Supporting Actress- Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Animated Feature- Toy Story 3

Best Animated Short- The Lost Thing

Adapted Screenplay- Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Best Original Screenplay- David Seidler, The King's Speech

Best Foreign Language Film- In a Better World

Best Supporting Actor- Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Original Score- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

Achievement in Sound Mixing- Inception

Achievement in Sound Editing- Inception

Achievement in Make Up- Rick Baker, Dave Elsey, The Wolfman

Best Costume Design- Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood

Best Original Song- "We belong together" Randy Newman, Toy Story 3

Best Documentary Short Subject- Strangers No More

Best Live Action Short- God of Love

Best Documentary- Inside Job

Achievement in Visual Effects- Inception

Achievement in Film Editing- The Social Network

Best Actress- Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Director- Tom Hooper, The King's Speech

Best Actor- Colin Firth, The King's Speech

Best Picture- The King's Speech

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tops at the Box Office

1. Gnomeo & Juliet- $14.2M/$75.1M
Consider this either a sign of the weakness of this week's slate of flicks or the positive buzz surrounding this animated, gnome-centric take on the Shakespeare classic. After three weeks of release, Gnomeo & Juliet surged ahead to the top spot, just beating out the Farrelly Brothers' latest comedy.
2. Hall Pass- $13.4M
A slow start to the Farrelly Brothers comedy, and roughly the same as their last film, 2007's The Heartbreak Kid which opened at $14M. 
3. Unknown- $12.4M/$42.8M

Trailer Time: Pizza Man, a superhero adventure starring Frankie Muniz and Shelley Long

Not every superhero is a gem. They can't all be cool like Iron Man or Wolverine. Such is the case with Pizza Man, which stars Frankie Muniz as a regular guy working at his mom's(Shelley Long) pizza restaurant. After an accident at a lab takes place, he's given a rare tomato(not kidding) which grants him superhuman powers. The film was directed by Joe Eckardt(Champion), and shot mostly in a Los Angeles factory. Again, not kidding.

Despite it's humble roots, Eckardt managed to snag a fun, eclectic cast. I don't think I've seen Shelley Long since Troop Beverly Hills. I didn't know Michael Gross(Family Ties) was still alive; and ex-WWE wrestlers Rowdy Roddy Piper and Diamond Dallas Page make cameos as villains. Sweet.  And of course Stan Lee makes his obligatory pep talk appearance. Must be written into his contract to show up in every comic book movie under the friggin' sun. Check out the trailer below...

I like Pizza Man's quirky Golden Age superhero origin, and it's got a cast that could be fun to watch for awhile. As of now there's no distribution secured, so who knows when we'll see it. Maybe by the time it comes out Frankie Muniz will actually look like a full grown adult male. Doubtful. 

Your 2011 Independent Spirit Award winner are....

My favorite awards show of the year was held yesterday(and played last night on IFC). The Independent Spirt Awards was hosted by Joel McHale(The Soup) and honored the best in "independent" cinema for the year 2010.  Why do I like it so much? Because every year all the celebs complain either about the heat or the cold, this year there was the added bonus of a slippery stage floor.  Everybody gets tanked pretty early on. I'm convinced James Franco was both drunk and high when he went up on stage to get the award for Best Male Lead for his amazing turn in 127 Hours. Oh, and it's the only awards show where you get to see Greta Gerwig(Greenberg) nominated against Nicole Kidman(Rabbit Hole).  I would've picked Gerwig. It's probably the only place where John Hawkes(Winter's Bone) gets the Best Supporting Male award he so rightly deserves. Hey, we also got a chance to see a ballooned Natalie Portman alongside....that guy.  There was Nicole Kidman and her see-through dress showing her thong, Darren Aronofsky and his too tight suit, and Dale Dickey winning Best Supporting Female for Winter's Bone. Awesome.

Anyway, here's the full list of winners! If you watched it last night then you got a chance to see some folks polish up their Academy Awards speeches while tipsy on Tanqueray.

The "Winners" of the 2011 Razzie Awards

As usual, just before the Academy Awards hands out their little golden statues to the best Hollywood has to offer, The Razzie Awards make sure to shine a dull light on cinema's worst.  I continue to think the Razzies long ago stopped looking to offend anybody and have started looking for "soft" targets(Twilight and M. Night Shymalan for example) to single out. 

So without further ado, here's your list of 2011's Razzie Award "winners"....

The Sunday Drive: 2/27/11

3. Cedar Rapids
I could rightfully put Gnomeo & Juliet into this slot but I want people to seek out and find Cedar Rapids before it disappears from theaters. Starring Ed Helms(The Hangover) as a naive small town insurance salesman, sent to a conference in the bustling metropolis(not!) of Cedar Rapids for what turns out to be a weekend of debauchery.
2. Hall Pass
The Farrelly Brothers are back with their best, and dirtiest comedy in years. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis make for a hilarious pair as bored husbands playing the field during a guilt free week from marriage.  How many years do I have to wait before I get my 'hall pass'?


As predicted, Jon Chu to direct GI Joe 2

Once underway, it didn't take long for Paramount decide on a director to take over the reins of their sequel to GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Previous director Stephen Sommers wasn't brought back after a perceived difficult shoot last time, and about two weeks ago we started hearing details on a possible replacement. The three names considered were Jaume Collet-Serra, F. Gary Gray, and Jon Chu.  Chu seemed like the oddball pick, but three days ago we ran a story featuring some Chu quotes that led me to conclude that he'd already won the gig.  Turns out I was right. 

Deadline has the story, noting that the deal isn't quite sealed yet Chu is definitely their choice. One look at the interview and the things Chu had to say and it's clear he has a deep rooted love for GI Joe. I think if he can find a way to make the film less campy and toughen it up a little(while still maintaing it's PG-13 tone), then it'll be a success. 

Viggo Mortensen to join Superman as General Zod?

Back in October, shortly after Zack Snyder was named as the director of Warner Brothers' next Superman flick, he told everybody that General Zod would not be a villain in the story.  At the time I questioned the validity of his comment since the script hadn't been close to completion yet. A few months later and we start hearing rumors of actresses being up for the role of Ursa, an evil Kryptonian and one of Zod's two primary colleagues. Pretty much told us that Zod would in fact be involved in some capacity. Now there's even more evidence to that fact, as THR reports that Snyder and Christopher Nolan are eyeing Viggo Mortensen(A History of Violence) for the role.

Labeled a "person of interest" like he's an accessory to a murder or something, Mortensen is considered to be at the same stage as Kevin Costner at this point in that both are wanted but not signed as of yet. Costner has been rumored to play Jonathan "Pa" Kent. With Mortensen already in talks for another big tentpole flick, Snow White and the Huntsman, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to tackle both.

Zod was most famous portrayed by Terrence Stamp in 1978's Superman: The Movie.


Sure Shots: Joel McHale joins Ted; Amber Heard talks Red Sonja

* As long as he's still got time for a little Chat Stew I don't care how many jobs Joel McHale takes. The host of The Soup and star of NBC's Community will now be hangin' out with Mark Wahlberg and Seth McFarlane voiced teddy bear. He's signed on for a role in Ted, McFarlane's comedy about a guy and his obnoxious sentient teddy bear. McHale will play a sleazy boss that repeatedly puts the moves on Mila Kunis's character. Nice work if you can get it. Deadline has even more details on this story.

* Please let this happen. Producer Avi Lerner has been beating the drum for Amber Heard ever since Red Sonja got back on track with Simon West as director. But we never actually heard what the sexy Drive Angry starlet thought about it. She tells Moviefone "I was sort of surprised to hear about it, yeah. I think (producer) Avi (Lerner) even said himself, "She doesn't know it yet." So I was surprised, but also it's something I've been looking at for a while and kind of interested in. I'm definitely interested in being a part of it, but that's all I can kind of comment on right now."  Could my obsession with Heard possibly get any stronger? Yes. Give her red hair and I won't be responsible for my actions!

James Franco is Oz the Great and Powerful

Remember  back when we all thought Samuel L. Jackson was the busiest man in Hollywood? Well he's still busy but not nearly as prolific as James Franco is. His name has been attached to pretty much every big(and small) production on the horizon, yet still finds time to host the Academy Awards and prep films for his own directorial efforts.  Crazy.  His former Spider-Man director, Sam Raimi, has been struggling to find someone to play the lead in Oz the Great and Powerful, a prequel to The Wizard of OzJames Franco to the rescue!

Tom McCarthy may still direct Million Dollar Arm

I've expressed my undyinglove for the work of Tom McCarthy many times on this site. Through three movies the actor turned writer/director has pulled some impeccable performances out of a number of underappreciated stars. His latest, Win Win, is no less an achievement. The next project on his is Million Dollar Arm, which he's been set to script for Disney. The film sounds like an inspirational sports drama with a twist, based on the first two Indian born athletes to sign Major League Baseball contracts.

I had a chance to speak with McCarthy yesterday(along with Win Win star Alex Shaffer) and got a chance to ask about the possibility of his directing the film...

McCarthy: "I don't know yet. I told them I wouldn't commit to directing because I never do before I finish. But it's a cool story. I'm having fun with it right now."

"I think it's gotta be done right. That was one where it would be a bigger budget and you'd have to be able to really have control over that."

Clearly, being a Disney production there's little chance he'd have the same level of freedom he's experienced in his previous works, but if anyone can work with that it's McCarthy. For the full audio from our interview with Tom McCarthy and Alex Shaffer, tune in to Punch Drunk Critics Live next Sunday night!

Sure Shots: Ewan McGregor joins Jack the Giant Killer; J. Edgar; Jude Law

* THR reports that Ewan McGregor is set to join Bryan Singer's dark retelling of Jack the Giant Killer. Speculation is that he'll be tackling the role of the King's(Stanley Tucci) head of security. On the princess front, they also note that the final choice to play the damsel in distress could come down to Eleanor Tomlinson(The Illusionist) or Adelaide Kane(Power Rangers RPM). I couldn't pick either one one out of a line-up.

* Perhaps a bit of comedy to liven up Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar? Stephen Root(Office Space) has joined the cast of the Hoover biopic as Arthur Kohler, who helps the former FBI Director piece together the mystery of the Lindbergh kidnapping. Thanks to Variety for that story.

* Another pretty face added to Fernando Mereilles'(City of God) cheating couples flick, 360.  Jude Law joins Anthony Hopkins and Rachel Weisz in the inventive drama, which follows a single couple as they cheat or move on and become parts of another couple.  I love the premise. That one comes courtesy of 02 Films via Slashfilm.

Interview: Billy Burke of Drive Angry 3D

Billy Burke of Twilight fame and one of the stars of this weekends big release Drive Angry 3D took some time out to sit down and chat with your ole' buddies the Punch Drunk Critics. The film is about a man, played by Nicolas Cage, who breaks out of hell to exact revenge on the cult leader who killed his daughter and plans to kill her baby, Billy plays said cult leader, Jonah King. Having seen the movie I can tell you that Billy is straight up awesome in this flick. It can be somewhat hard to pick out the details with all the crazy action and general debauchery going around but he nails that cult leader "crazy but with swagger" thing perfectly. I do wish I had asked him one more question though, and that question is "just how did he get so handy with a pistol?" I mean this guy is twirling his revolver around like a young John Wayne! But alas, the question was not asked so we will have to make do with the things we did talk about. Things like, his character, Twilight fame, and a possible career in porn....wait, what? Yeah, that's in there.

Check it out below and be sure to go see Drive Angry 3D in theaters today!

Idris Elba joins Ridley Scott's Prometheus. Film not a prequel to Alien afterall?

With so many rumors and idle speculation swirling around the story for Prometheus, it feels good to get back to plain ol' casting news. The Daily Mail notes that three Brit actors have been added to the sci-fi epic's cast. The most notable is Punch Drunk Critics favorite, Idris Elba(The Losers, The Wire). After getting screwed royally losing out to Tyler Perry for the Alex Cross role, the guy deserves this. I mean he does have Thor coming up, but still. His role is unclear at this point. 

1st images from Pixar's Toy Story short film, Hawaiian Vacation

Toy Story is over. Fini. Done. Arrivederci(sp?). But nobody actually believed it was the last we'd see of Woody, Buzz, and the gang. In fact it wasn't long before Pixar announced a pair of short films, one to be attached to Cars 2 when it hits in June. That film is Hawaiian Vacation, which sees the two lovebirds Ken and Barbie taking a relaxing trip  to the Hawaiian Islands for some fun 'n sun. Or at least that's what they thought. Here's the actual plot...

Bonnie is off to Hawaii, and Barbie and Ken are excited to go along on their first tropical vacation! But when they’re accidentally left behind, it’s up to Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the toys to create a Hawaiian paradise right in Bonnie’s room.

Who just might replace Matt Damon in The Bourne Legacy?

When it was first announced that The Bourne Legacy, the next chapter in the Jason Bourne franchise first: wouldn't have Paul Greengrass involved, and two: wouldn't have Jason Bourne or Matt Damon anywhere near it, I just wished the whole thing would die a rapid fire death.  Then writer/director Tony Gilroy calmed my fears by explaining his vision for the film...

"The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal…Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy…the world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return [down the road]."

I’m not going to get into the plot, but you saw the other three films, you know everything that happened, and it’s not a dream sequence. What I can say is, you thought that was the whole world, but it was a small piece of what was going on. Ultimatum exploded at the end with people arrested. We deal with that as a reality, it has ramifications that echo out into the larger world. And of course, Jason Bourne is still alive and out there in the world."

The entire Bourne universe is a meaty one, with tons of characters and dark angles just waiting to be delved into. So I'm actually pretty hyped about what comes next. The only question was who would be cast for the lead role. It would have to be someone with the magnetic personality and believable butt-kicking ability Damon brought to the table.  Both Deadline and Variety have put together a list of candidates from both Gilroy and Universal Pictures. Some expected names pop up, along with some outright strange ones...

Drive Angry, starring Nicolas Cage and Amber Heard

Literally like a bat out of Hell bursts Nicolas Cage and his roadkill haircut in a bitchin' old school muscle car, ready to tear up the streets in Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry. A welcome throwback blood 'n motor oil flick that's all spit and hellfire, Cage fits in perfectly as Milton, an escapee from Satan's grasp returning to earth to seek revenge on the folks who killed his children and kidnapped his granddaughter.  Only two months into the new year, this is already the second flick we've seen from Cage, and for what it's worth Drive Angry runs tread all over Season of the Witch's exposed backside.

Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis

Before the comedy landscape was taken over by Judd Apatow and his mostly light-hearted odes to stunted male maturity, there was the Farrelly Brothers. The Farrellys made movies that took maturity and dunked it's head into the toilet. They were the kings of gross out humor. You never knew what bodily fluid or appendage might show up next, and it made their movies an adventure.  Then something happened and it was like their comedy light bulb suddenly ran out of juice.  Their style of humor was no longer in style, aided in part by the Farrelly's inability to match their established highs. Their last film, 2007's The Heartbreak Kid, was an embarrassing, inept attempt at remaining relevant.  Now the Farrellys are back with their funniest film in years. Such as it is.