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The Hateful Eight Review

Good

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a three-hour wide-screen epic whodunit Western into the cinema. This strikingly entertaining film is packed with his trademark plot twists and dialogue that snaps and crackles in every direction imaginable. So even though it's mainly set in a single room, it's never boring. But with no discernible point, it also leaves the audience rather cold.

In the snowy Rockies of southern Wyoming, cavalry officer turned bounty hunter Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) hitches a ride on a stagecoach with shifty gunslinger John (Kurt Russell), who is escorting feisty outlaw Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to collect the reward on her head and see her hanged. They also pick up lost new sheriff Chris (Walton Goggins) before an intense blizzard forces them to take shelter at a mountain lodge run by the suspicious Bob (Demian Bichir). Inside, hangman Oswaldo (Tim Roth), war veteran Sandy (Bruce Dern) and their mysterious friend Joe (Michael Madsen) are also waiting out the storm. And as these eight people circle around each other, it's clear that each of them wants the others dead.

No, there's not a single trustworthy person in this story, and Tarantino has a great time revealing the inner murkiness within each one. This gives the actors plenty of texture to work with, as they deliver their lines with knowing innuendo, razor-sharp wit and glowering loathing. The set-up feels somewhat belaboured, but the film's second half is a cracking Agatha Christie-style mystery as we wait for the first shot to be fired. With its single setting, it feels like a particularly nasty stage play, livened up by Tarantino's wordy writing, which drops in big issues like racism and sexism without ever quite grappling with them. And there's of course also a steady stream of vicious violence, including an extended flashback featuring Channing Tatum.

Continue reading: The Hateful Eight Review

The Hateful Eight Trailer


John Ruth earnt his nickname The Hangman for a good reason, he's one of the best bounty hunters of his generation and he's just caught himself a BIG prize, Daisy Domergue has a bounty of ten thousand dollars on her head and Ruth isn't going to share his reward with any other man he might meet on the road.

On their trip, the weather in Wyoming begins to turn and the bounty hunter and his trophy must leave the road and take shelter. They find themselves hauled up at Minnie's Haberdashery, a small stagecoah stopover. This trip just became all the more risky for Ruth as they're not the only dubious residents staying at the layover.

Knowning that the chatter will soon spread, each member of the boarding house are introduced to one another. There's the new sheriff Chris Mannix; Bob The Mexican who's looking after Minnie's Haberdashery whilst Minnie is busy; Oswaldo Mobray AKA The Little man; General Sanford Smithers, an aging confederate General; Joe Gage also known as The Cow-puncher and finally the mysterious Major Marquis Warren, an ex-soldier (for the Union) turned notable bounty hunter.

Continue: The Hateful Eight Trailer

A Week In Movies: Interstellar Lands In Cinemas, Tarantino Hosts The Hateful Eight, And Dumb & Dumber To Premieres In L.A., Plus New Trailers For Furious 7, Ex Machina And Minions


Matthew Mcconaughey Christopher Nolan Anne Hathaway Quentin Tarantino Kurt Russell Bruce Dern Jim Carrey Jeff Daniels Paul Walker Vin Diesel

Intersellar

After earlier permieres in L.A. And London, Interstellar held a week-of-release premiere on Monday in New York, attended by Christopher Nolan and his wife producer Emma Thomas and cast members including Matthew Mcconaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn and Bill Irwin. The film hits cinemas this weekend.

Photos - New York Premiere of 'Interstellar'

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Interstellar Lands In Cinemas, Tarantino Hosts The Hateful Eight, And Dumb & Dumber To Premieres In L.A., Plus New Trailers For Furious 7, Ex Machina And Minions

Bruce Dern - The 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Barker Hangar - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 16th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

After All The Whining, Quentin Tarantino Will Shoot 'The Hateful Eight'


Quentin Tarantino Michael Madsen Samuel L Jackson Bruce Dern

It seems as though Quentin Tarantino's dispute with Gawker hasn't put him off shooting The Hateful Eight, with sources confirming the cameras will roll in November. Insiders tell Showbiz411 that the cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen will gather to begin filming in Wyoming.

Quentin TarantinoQuentin Tarantino Is Shooting 'The Hatful Eight'

All three of those actors took part in a recent live-reading of the now infamous "leaked" script, alongside Kurt Russell, James Remar, Amber Tamblyn, Walt Goggins and Zoe Bell. Tarantino's close collaborator Christoph Waltz is not involved in the project, despite his award winning performances in Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained.

Continue reading: After All The Whining, Quentin Tarantino Will Shoot 'The Hateful Eight'

Andrea Beckett, Bruce Dern and Laura Dern - 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 2nd March 2014

Andrea Beckett, Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Andrea Beckett, Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Andrea Beckett, Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Andrea Beckett, Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Andrea Beckett (l-r), Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Andrea Beckett, Bruce Dern and Laura Dern

Laura Dern (l-r), her father Bruce Dern and her stepmother Andre - 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Saturday 1st March 2014

Laura Dern, Her Stepmother Andre and Bruce Dern
Laura Dern
Laura Dern
Laura Dern
Laura Dern, Her Stepmother Andre and Bruce Dern

Fancy An Outside Bet On The Oscars? The Nominees With Amazing Odds


Bruce Dern Michael Fassbender Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences

Sitting around with a bunch of friends, eating bad (good) food and trying to guess who’s going to win each category is really fun. But putting some money on the proceedings can add to the fun, and it’s only really worth it if you’re going to win big, big money. Here are some rank outsiders with a chance of winning you some Oscars dough.

Nebraska for Best Picture – 250/1

NebraskaBruce Dern is also nominated in the Best Actor category

Continue reading: Fancy An Outside Bet On The Oscars? The Nominees With Amazing Odds

Bruce Dern - QVC Red Carpet Style Pre-Oscar Cocktail Party held at Four Seasons Hotel. - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 28th February 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Ahead Of The Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio Wins Most Googled Male Lead


Leonardo Dicaprio Matthew Mcconaughey Chiwetel Ejiofor Bruce Dern Christian Bale

The Academy Awards are almost upon us and, like any other major event of the past decade, Google Trends are one of the most reliable ways to measure interest in the coming show. This week the trends say one thing: people really care about Leonardo Dicaprio. And by “people”, we mostly mean “North America” since the volume of their Oscar-related searches trumps any other region of the world.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street Still
DiCaprio may or may not get the Oscars, but he's already captured people's minds/Google searches.

Winner of Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio is the most popular nominee in the race for Best Actor for the coming Academy Awards. Matthew Mcconaughey comes in second, but it’s not even a close second. The average amount of Google searches for the past 30 days favors DiCaprio over McConaughey by about 24 points. Christian Bale (nominated for American Hustle) is third, with Bruce Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor tied for last. Leo also pops up as the most searched term, related to the Academy awards. No other actors make the top ten. Ouch.

Continue reading: Ahead Of The Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio Wins Most Googled Male Lead

Bruce Dern - EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) nominees party 2014 held at Aspreys - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Friday 15th February 2013

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern - 13th Annual AARP's Movies For Grownups Awards Gala At Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Tuesday 11th February 2014

Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern
Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern
Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern
Naomi Watts

Quentin Tarantino V Gawker: Director Suing Over 'Hateful Eight' Leak


Quentin Tarantino Bruce Dern

We told you about Quentin Tarantino’s anger and subsequent decision to can The Hateful Eight over a script leak, but now it looks as though the director has finally settled on a guilty party, believing Gawker to be deserved of litigation as he sues the website, according to The BBC.

Quentin TarantinoQuentin Tarantino isn't a happy director

Tarantino was upset that The Hateful Eight appeared on Gawker’s Defamer blog. "There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public's violation of [Tarantino's] copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity," the lawsuit states.

Continue reading: Quentin Tarantino V Gawker: Director Suing Over 'Hateful Eight' Leak

A Week In News: Justin Bieber Arrested For Drunk Drag Racing, 'Gravity,' '12 Years' Tie At PGAs And Shia LaBeouf Does A "Joaquin"


Justin Bieber Shia LaBeouf Quentin Tarantino Nine Inch Nails Lupita Nyong'o Bruce Dern Ice Cube Kevin Hart Gal Gadot

Justin Bieber

Bieber Banged Up For Druggy Drag Racing: Justin Bieber has just had the mother of all terrible fortnights. The recalcitrant popstar was under investigation for a vicious egg attack on his neighbor's home by police who discovered drugs upon raiding Bieber's abode. The 'Baby' singer headed snowboarding with his equally rebellious chums with the threat of deportment looming. The singer was then arrested yesterday for DUI and drag racing in Miami.

Bieber showed what a true hard-ass he really was when police stopped him and he immediately snitched on himself, saying he was drunk and high on weed and prescription medication. The 19 year-old was released from a Miami jail an hour after a Miami judge, set a "standard" $2,500 bond Thursday afternoon. The widely-circulated mugshot shows the fallen star grinning ear-to-ear in his orange prison v-neck, prompting Seth Rogen to brand him "a piece of s**t."

Continue reading: A Week In News: Justin Bieber Arrested For Drunk Drag Racing, 'Gravity,' '12 Years' Tie At PGAs And Shia LaBeouf Does A "Joaquin"

Quentin Tarantino's Scrapped 'Hateful Eight' Would Have Been Bloody 70mm Western


Quentin Tarantino Bruce Dern Michael Madsen Tim Roth Samuel L Jackson Christoph Waltz

Quentin Tarantino has revealed this week that he has shelved his latest movie project, Hateful Eight, after the scripts that he carefully handed out to a trusted few leaked out, bringing unwanted attention to the director. The filmmaker revealed to Deadline that the script, which was still in its embryonic stages, was handed out to the actors he was courting as leads.

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino Dropped His Latest Script After It Leaked.

The Hateful Eight script was given to six people, including Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Roth but was leaked after one of the actors' agents passed it around. Soon after, Tarantino's longtime agent Mike Simpson began getting phone calls from agents looking to pitch their clients for roles in the proto-movie and the furious director felt compelled to shut the whole project down.

Continue reading: Quentin Tarantino's Scrapped 'Hateful Eight' Would Have Been Bloody 70mm Western

Bruce Dern - The 19th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at The Barker Hangar - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 16th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - The 39th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - LA, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern and Laura Dern - The Weinstein Company & Netflix 2014 Golden Globes After Party at The Old Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hills Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 13th January 2014

Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party At Four Seasons Hotel - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - BAFTA 2014 Awards Season Tea Party held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California 11-1-2014 - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 12th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - Bruce Dern arriving at Los Angeles International Airport - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 10th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala at Palm Springs Convention Center - Palm Springs, California, United States - Saturday 4th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - 2014 National Board Of Review Awards Gala - Red Carpet Arrivals - Tuesday 7th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - 2014 National Board Of Review Awards Gala - Red Carpet Arrivals - Manhattan, New York, United States - Wednesday 8th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

'Nebraska' Brings Glory To The State, Like Football And Springsteen


Bruce Dern

When the Oscar-winning writer Alexander Payne arrived at a screening and Q&A for Nebraska – his black ‘n white, father ‘n son indie road movie – he wouldn’t have expected a heroes welcome. But that’s exactly what the Nebraska Coast Connection gave him.

Bruce Dern and Will ForteBruce Dern and Will Forte in Nebraska

The NCC is a group of Nebraska-state natives working in the film and TV industry. Brought together by a geographical connection but with a wider goal, catalysed by Nebraska’s considerable role in the entertainment business, the 1000+ group meet monthly.

Continue reading: 'Nebraska' Brings Glory To The State, Like Football And Springsteen

Bruce Dern And Forte Snagged 'Nebraska' Roles, Ahead Of De Niro, Cranston


Bruce Dern Alexander Payne Will Forte Robert De Niro Bryan Cranston

After taking it easy with the breezy yet assured The Descendants, Alexander Payne appears to have gotten back his social bite with Nebraska, his road-movie with a difference starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte.

Bruce Dern Will Forte NebraskaBruce Dern [L] and Will Forte [R] in 'Nebraska'

The black-and-white movie which found considerable acclaim at the festivals follows a tempestuous Missouri father (Dern) who's convinced he's won a million dollar magazine sweepstakes. His son (Forte) grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings. 

Continue reading: Bruce Dern And Forte Snagged 'Nebraska' Roles, Ahead Of De Niro, Cranston

'Nebraska' Set To Take '12 Years A Slave' To The Wire At The Oscars?


Bruce Dern Will Forte

As Nebraska finishes up its festival run – the last is today in Slovenia at the Ljubljana International Film Festival – and the dust settles on the last few reviews to be filed, we get a pretty good idea of the overall critical reception. And Nebraska’s is good.

Bruce Dern and Will ForteBruce Dern and Wil Forte in Nebraska

The story sees cranky old geezer Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) get found walking to Nebraska by his son (Will Forte). He’s taking the mammoth trek in search of the $1m promised to him by a sweepstakes-marketing prize.

Continue reading: 'Nebraska' Set To Take '12 Years A Slave' To The Wire At The Oscars?

A Week In Movies: Slavery Drama Wins In Toronto, Gordon-Levitt Makes Filmmaking Debut, Diana Hits UK


Steve McQueen Michael Fassbender Chiwetel Ejiofor Brad Pitt Benedict Cumberbatch Joseph Gordon-Levitt Scarlett Johansson Naomi Watts Nicole Kidman Alexander Payne Bruce Dern Robert De Niro Sylvester Stallone Emily Browning

12 years a slave

As the Toronto Film Festival wrapped up earlier this week, 12 Years a Slave, the new film from Steve McQueen (Shame), took home the top prize, which makes it the frontrunner for Oscar nominations. It stars Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch. Read more about the win here.

One of the festival's most talked-about films was Don Jon, the writing-directing debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a womanising gym-obsessive who meets his match in the feisty Scarlett Johansson. Both actors were on hand for the film's gala New York premiere this week. Here's a video of Scarlett Johansson at the event and in this video you can see director/actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the event.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Slavery Drama Wins In Toronto, Gordon-Levitt Makes Filmmaking Debut, Diana Hits UK

Chasing $1m In 'Nebraska' - Pure Black & White Suave [Trailer]


Will Forte Bruce Dern

Everything about the Nebraska trailer screams charming, except it’s so charming it doesn’t scream it; it just slowly and assertively says it in a cool American accent.

Bruce Dern and Will ForteBruce Dern and Wil Forte in Nebraska

Story: Woody Grant is an old boy, unassuming, set in his ways and partial to a drink or two. He’s not privy to the luxurious side of life. Although he’s never really experienced it, but when $1m is promised to him via a marketing company talking about a huge sweepstakes prize, he sets his mind to claiming his money.

Continue reading: Chasing $1m In 'Nebraska' - Pure Black & White Suave [Trailer]

Nebraska Trailer


Woody Grant is an alcohol-swigging old man who's never had much in the way of luxury over his long life, but when he receives a letter from a marketing company about a huge sweepstakes prize, he believes that things are about to change for good. Thus, he starts to travel by foot from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim his $1 million award, accompanied by his supportive but extremely sceptical son David who believes it's all a scam. Along the way, they meet various relatives and old friends of Woody desperate for a piece of his wealth as the gossip spreads around the neighbouring towns like wildfire. Some are interested in being paid back with interest, and Woody's about to see just how far his debts spread.

Continue: Nebraska Trailer

The Cake Eaters Review


Weak
The Cake Eaters reminds me of what an IFC Original Soap Opera might look like. All of the characters are loosely interconnected in some non-specific small-town setting, and the individual stories so deliberately exist on separate planes that the film can never possibly attain coherence. It is episodic, melodramatic, and oddly tepid -- all of the emotions seem propelled by the disingenuous desire to make an Enlightening Indie Drama. Surely the film wants to be a thoughtful, profound emo-weepie, but it contains all the insight of a Hallmark Movie of the Week.

The film tells the very simple story of how three generations of men deal with the death of one woman, their mother (for two) and wife (for one). Aaron Stanford is the twentysomething slacker who works in a high school cafeteria and is very protective of his deceased mom. Bruce Dern plays the aging father who carries on a long-term affair with a local shopkeeper (Elizabeth Ashley). Jayce Bartok is the elder son, a struggling musician who returns home when he hears the sad news, apparently just to look morose as he walks around town.

Continue reading: The Cake Eaters Review

The Golden Boys Review


Bad
Daniel Adams' The Golden Boys has nothing to do with the Emmy-winning sitcom The Golden Girls (sorry, mom). In no way is it a masculine spin-off that replaces sassy-talking Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan with Rip Torn, David Carradine, and Bruce Dern.

Yet there are similarities worth mentioning. Both rest on characters tolerating their "golden" years. And both offer television-sized entertainment.

Continue reading: The Golden Boys Review

The Hard Easy Review


Weak
Jon Lindstrom must have thought he was on to the gimmick of the century when he sat down to write The Hard Easy: Two separate gangs plan a diamond theft that goes down at the same time. One gang shows up, only to find the other's already working the job. Now that's an "oh snap!" moment.

And hey, it's not a bad idea. The problem is that The Hard Easy doesn't have any other ideas to sustain the other 95 minutes that don't involve the two gangs facing off. Director Ari Ryan practically admits this from the start. He opens with a snippet of the botched heist, then flashes back to how we got there, then we see the heist in all its glory. Those are some rocky times, alas. Try as he might to make Henry Thomas's lovable loser Paul into the hero we're supposed to root for, it doesn't really pan out. Thomas is a terrible choice for the role, in the end, a whiny loser and a bit of a jerk (and on the hook for countless gambling debts) that deserves what he has coming. The schlub on the other team: David Boreanaz, an odd choice who has substantially less screen time than Thomas but does little with what he gets.

Continue reading: The Hard Easy Review

The Astronaut Farmer Review


Very Good
The Astronaut Farmer taught me that, according to the Polish brothers, I am a dream-crushing non-believer. And all things considered, I am just fine with that.

The overly cutesy name refers to a man who is both a farmer and named Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton), a rancher in a small Texas town who never gave up his youthful dreams of becoming an astronaut, and so continues pursuing them in his spare time. Out in his barn, he's spent years building a rocket out of salvaged parts in order to finally get himself into outer space. Farmer's entire family revolves around his dream: His 15-year-old son runs mission control, his adorable little girls play moon games, and his family ranch is mortgaged to the hilt to pay for it.

Continue reading: The Astronaut Farmer Review

Monster (2003) Review


Good
Thank God that Monster, the fictionalized story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, wasn't made back in the 1990s, when filmmakers just couldn't fetishize mass murder enough. Wuornos's story would have been "loosely adapted" so that they could have cast someone attractive in the role, there would have been a slick grunge soundtrack and plenty of hipster humor amidst the bloodletting. That's not to say that movies haven't stopped their love affair with the serial killer, but Monster shows that it is possible to make a gripping, yet still dispassionate and non-exploitative film on the subject.

Wuornos is famous not just for the fact that she killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, but for being pretty much the only female serial killer of note in recent American history. A troubled girl who had been on her own since she was 13 and had survived by prostitution, Wuornos claimed, up until her execution in 2002, that she had acted in self-defense each time. Writer/director Patty Jenkins's script manages to show how self-serving and untrue this story ultimately became while at the same time acknowledging how Wuornos's past and profession led to her killing spree. There's a wonderful moment in a dingy biker bar where a self-pitying Wuornos is consoled by her friend Thomas (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam veteran; they take turns volleying variations on "What choice did I have?" back and forth in an attempt to escape culpability for any of their actions.

Continue reading: Monster (2003) Review

On The Edge (1985) Review


Good
For 100 years, the Dipsea has been one of running's most grueling races -- seven miles along unpaved forest trails from inland to the Pacific Ocean in Mill Valley, California, going up and down two mountains en route.

On the Edge uses the Dipsea (here called the Cielo Sea) as the backdrop for this sports fable, and it's a far cry from films like Chariots of Fire. Bruce Dern (himself a real runner) stars as Wes Holman, a disgraced athlete who blew the whistle on amateur payola and ended up taking the fall for it. Despite external pressures and being a little out of shape, Holman trains for the race, the reasons and motivations of which form the core of the movie.

Continue reading: On The Edge (1985) Review

Big Love: Season One Review


Very Good
In its first season, Big Love was often summarily referred to as "the polygamy show." True enough, but as with many of HBO's finer offerings, it offers more than meets the eye. And the expectations. While Big Love doesn't deliver the consistency or tension many HBO fans enjoy in The Sopranos, there's enough in this bizarre drama to support a solid DVD-viewing addiction.

From the first notes of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" ringing under an otherworldly opening credit sequence, Big Love hints at a combination of somber connection and sincere personal adoration. At the center is Bill Henrickson (Bill Pullman), an ambitious home superstore owner who lives a clean, Utah Mormon life... along with his three wives and gaggle of kids.

Continue reading: Big Love: Season One Review

Down In The Valley Review


Good

Harlan Carruthers is a blissful cowboy, all scuffed boots, aw-shucks mannerisms, and a negligent sort of sensuality. He's lightening-quick with his twin single-shot Colts and loves nothing more than riding his horse to the highest hill around and surveying the beauty of the landscape.

He's also a walking anachronism, because Down in the Valley is a modern-day tale, and the title refers to the overbuilt suburbia that is the San Fernando Valley, the land of crowded freeways and chain stores that marks the northern reaches of Los Angeles. But Harlan, played by Edward Norton, swaggers through, contentedly out of place, until he catches sight of Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), a teenage nymph who pulls into the service station where Harlan works as she is on the way to the beach with her giggling friends. It's unclear why the group dismisses Harlan as out-of-place instead of in fashion, but Tobe is as instantly taken with him as he is with her, and he quits his job to catch his first sight of the ocean with her.

Continue reading: Down In The Valley Review

Walker Payne Review


Weak
A fan of the film Walker Payne said she found it surprising, since everything about it seemed so different than what you'd expect from its director and co-writer Matt Williams, a TV scribbler who wrote for The Cosby Show and Roseanne before committing the crime of creating Home Improvement. On the surface of it, you'd think she was right, after all, the film is a hardscrabble period drama set in a small mining town, where the main character is forced into difficult circumstances in order to get his kids back from his harpy of a divorced wife. Although the subject matter might seem grimmer than Williams' standard TV fare - excepting perhaps Roseanne, which had its darker moments - it's unfortunately really just a shaggy dog story about a loveable loser who gets in over his head. At least there's an actual dog of not inconsiderable charisma.

The dog in question belongs to the titular Walker Payne (Jason Patric), who's the resident rogue of his little Illinois burg. Laid off from the coal mine at the film's opening, Walker kicks about for some other way of getting by, biding his time in the local watering hole, racking up more notches on his bedpost, and generally charming the pants off everyone - with the exception of the ex-wife (Drea de Matteo), who hates him with a near volcanic passion. Williams was smart enough to give such so much of the film over Patric, a generally underused performer who can slip into moroseness if not nudged out of his corner. The early stretches of the film are concerned with little else but Walker and his dog as they scrounge about town, and it's actually not half bad considering how little is going on. But then the plot starts to kick in, along with the problems.

Continue reading: Walker Payne Review

If... Dog... Rabbit... Review


OK
Promising film starts out great then turns into yet another predictable caper-gone-awry homage to The Killing. A rather unfortunate vanity production from first-time writer/director Modine. Special award for having the worst title in the history of movies (though it is "explained" in the credits).

Continue reading: If... Dog... Rabbit... Review

Masked & Anonymous Review


Bad
Masked & Anonymous, as a title, comes across as a vague, artsy moniker as inaccessible as the film it represents. But look closer at the name of this movie about revolution and despair, and you'll discover a clear reference to the film's writers; credited as Rene Fontaine and Sergei Petrov, the screenwriters have been unmasked, as it were, revealed to be the film's iconic star, Bob Dylan, and director Larry Charles (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm).

The result of this combination is an overly ambitious film that's as muddled and cryptic as a mumble-filled Dylan vocal. Dylan stars as the symbolically named Jack Fate, an apparent musical legend, jailed in the midst of a brutally downtrodden America where the government has taken over, war is rampant, and even the counter-revolutionaries have counter-revolutionaries.

Continue reading: Masked & Anonymous Review

The Great Gatsby Review


Weak
Your high school English teacher was right: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby really is one of the best American novels of the 20th century, and if you weren't paying attention back in school, you should read it again right away. Will watching the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby serve as an acceptable shortcut? No. Sadly, the movie treats Fitzgerald's flawless novel as little more than a Jazz-age costume drama, and it goes heavy on the costumes, light on the drama.

Adapted for the screen by Francis Ford Coppola in just three weeks after Truman Capote was fired (so the story goes), Gatsby tells the story of the mysterious and elusive Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford), a superrich businessman who likes to throw wild weekend-long, gin-soaked parties at his sprawling Long Island estate. But who is he? Where did he come from? Rumors abound, but no one seems to know for sure, and as long as the band keeps playing and the booze keeps flowing, no one seems to care all that much.

Continue reading: The Great Gatsby Review

Monster Review


Good
Thank God that Monster, the fictionalized story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, wasn't made back in the 1990s, when filmmakers just couldn't fetishize mass murder enough. Wuornos's story would have been "loosely adapted" so that they could have cast someone attractive in the role, there would have been a slick grunge soundtrack and plenty of hipster humor amidst the bloodletting. That's not to say that movies haven't stopped their love affair with the serial killer, but Monster shows that it is possible to make a gripping, yet still dispassionate and non-exploitative film on the subject.

Wuornos is famous not just for the fact that she killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, but for being pretty much the only female serial killer of note in recent American history. A troubled girl who had been on her own since she was 13 and had survived by prostitution, Wuornos claimed, up until her execution in 2002, that she had acted in self-defense each time. Writer/director Patty Jenkins's script manages to show how self-serving and untrue this story ultimately became while at the same time acknowledging how Wuornos's past and profession led to her killing spree. There's a wonderful moment in a dingy biker bar where a self-pitying Wuornos is consoled by her friend Thomas (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam veteran; they take turns volleying variations on "What choice did I have?" back and forth in an attempt to escape culpability for any of their actions.

Continue reading: Monster Review

The Glass House Review


Weak

Remember that string of "...from hell" psycho flicks in the early 1990s? There was "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" (nanny from hell) and "Single White Female" (roommate from hell). Well, here's one that was missed at the time: legal guardians from hell.

"The Glass House" is a failed spine-tingler about a teenage girl (Leelee Sobieski) whose parents die in a car crash leaving her and her little brother a $4 million trust -- money their surrogate parents are just itching to get their hands on.

Following the funeral, Ruby and Rhett Baker (Sobieski and Trevor Morgan, "Jurassic Park III") move in with Terry and Erin Glass (Stellan Skarsgard and Diane Lane), seemingly wealthy old friends of their parents who live in a expensive, ultra-modern, ultra-stylish, windows-and-concrete house in the Malibu hills.

Continue reading: The Glass House Review

Monster Review


Very Good

Curvy, leggy, drop-dead gorgeous Charlize Theron ("The Italian Job," "Mighty Joe Young") has always had the chops to play deeper and more challenging roles than the girlfriends and temptresses she's been making a living from since her cat-fighting sexpot debut in "2 days in the Valley." But to date few in Hollywood have seen past her looks.

That's about to change.

The actress has made an astonishing physical and quintessential transformation to play leather-hearted truck-stop prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the riveting, bleak and exceptionally intuitive biopic "Monster," and I guarantee she'll be taken seriously from now on.

Continue reading: Monster Review

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Bruce Dern Movies

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

The Hateful Eight Trailer

The Hateful Eight Trailer

John Ruth earnt his nickname The Hangman for a good reason, he's one of the...

The Hateful Eight Trailer

The Hateful Eight Trailer

John Ruth, known by his associates and like-minded peers as The Hangman on account of...

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Cut Bank Trailer

Cut Bank Trailer

Dwayne McLaren is an ambitious high school graduate, whose success on the football field led...

Nebraska Movie Review

Nebraska Movie Review

After travelling to Hawaii with George Clooney for The Descendants, Payne returns to middle America...

Nebraska Trailer

Nebraska Trailer

Woody Grant is an alcohol-swigging old man who's never had much in the way of...

From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

From Up on Poppy Hill Movie Review

From the studio that brought us classics like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, this...

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Django Unchained Alternative Trailer

Django Unchained Alternative Trailer

German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz is on the hunt for a brutal gang of...

Django Unchained Trailer

Django Unchained Trailer

German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz is on the hunt for a brutal gang of...

Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel Movie Review

Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel Movie Review

An essential documentary for movie fans, this exploration of the work of iconic filmmaker Roger...

Corman's World Trailer

Corman's World Trailer

American director Roger Corman is one of the film industry's most influential directors. Born in...

The Hole Movie Review

The Hole Movie Review

Director Dante knows a thing or two about making teen thrillers, and this film gets...

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