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Written & Directed by Theodore Melfi
You know you have star power when an entire theater sits through the end credits just to watch you water a potted plant. Such is our national obsession with Bill Murray. Whether it’s a raised eyebrow or an awkward pause, you’re just waiting for him to do something funny. Sadly, St. Vincent keeps you waiting for most of its running time. This watered-down Bad Santa is too busy being a benign crowd pleaser to deliver much of a kick.
Vincent (Murray) is the ball of hate that lives next door. He curses at passersby in the street, and his only friends are a cat and a pregnant exotic dancer with an outrageous Russian accent. Even his house looks like an ancient, yellowing cigarette butt. But he’s also got his soft spots. Like continuing to visit his wife in the nursing home, »
- J.R. Kinnard
On the grand scale of lovable-curmudgeon-befriends-impressionable-youth movies, St. Vincent probably ranks somewhere around the middle — slightly better, perhaps, than the self-important Gran Torino, but not nearly as good as Rushmore or Bad Santa (which itself was a spoof of such movies). It’s hard to judge films like this: The destination is often familiar and not always particularly interesting, but the ride itself isn’t always so bad, especially when you’ve got Bill Murray along for company.Murray plays Vincent, a potty-mouthed alcoholic and compulsive gambler in Sheepshead Bay undergoing a pretty rough time: He’s totally broke; his house is worth less than his mortgage; he’s in massive debt to a loan shark (played by an engagingly tremulous Terence Howard, doing what he can with a throwaway role); and his loud new neighbors just wrecked his fence as they were moving in. Said neighbors turn out to be Maggie (Melissa McCarthy, »
- Bilge Ebiri
Briefcases full of cash, double-crossing, exotic locations, sophisticated suits and talk of the one last fabled con are all there in the first trailer for Will Smith's thriller Focus. The heist film, also starring Rodrigo Santoro (300) and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), sees Smith as a veteran con man. The teaser for the film alternates between breezy criminal scenes to hints of when things go wrong. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the writers of Bad Santa and I Love You Phillip Morris, are directing the title. Focus is set for release on Feb. 27,
- THR Staff
In Focus, Will Smith is an experienced con man who leads a well-organized ring of criminals. Then he meets an up and coming grifter played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and the con games get complicated for both of them. Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa writers and Crazy Stupid […]
- Russ Fischer
It has been a long time since Will Smith has made a movie that wasn't a sequel, an action movie or a grim faced drama; Maybe you'd have to go all the way back to 2005's "Hitch." But the Fresh Prince is back with something a bit lighter in "Focus" (at least initially) and the first trailer for the movie is here. Co-starring "The Wolf Of Wall Street" star Margot Robbie and written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ("Bad Santa," "I Love You Phillip Morris"), the film tells the tale of an older grifter who takes a newcomer to the trade under his wing, but things get complicated when they fall in love. It's a project that has been long in the works and at various times had Ryan Gosling, Ben Affleck, Kristen Stewart and Emma Stone attached. But the Smith/Robbie version is the one made it in front of cameras, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Ah, “Bad Judge.” If ever a title lent itself to ridicule, it’s this one, although the show works pretty hard to earn the gibes. Kate Walsh plays the robed dispenser of justice, who, when not on the bench, has sex in her chambers, shows up to work hung over and generally behaves like a college sophomore on perpetual spring break. Walsh’s mix of comedy chops and sex appeal do as much as an actress could to sell such a role, but even generous acceptance of the show as broad farce makes it difficult to return a favorable verdict.
In a way, the series is a one-note joke, in the same way “Bad Santa” or “Bad Teacher” sort of said it all about the movie. But if you’re really going to go that route, it practically requires a pedal-to-the-metal approach that isn’t pursued – or perhaps even possible to the extent necessary, »
- Brian Lowry
Even in the era of Walter White, Don Draper and the gang from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," broadcast network executives are still obsessed with the idea of likable and admirable heroes, especially when it comes to comedy. You'll occasionally find your questionable morality in network dramas like "Scandal" and "The Good Wife," but sitcom protagonists tend to have their rough edges sanded off as quickly and artlessly as possible. One new network comedy debuting this week illustrates why the suits tend to freak out about likability, while another demonstrates the pitfalls of trying to tone down bad behavior. ABC's "Selfie" (Tuesday at 8 p.m.) features a heroine so obnoxious that one wishes the network had stepped in to soften her up, while NBC's "Bad Judge" (Thursday at 9 p.m.) stripped away many of its heroine's most questionable traits from the original pilot and didn't bother replacing them with anything worth watching for. »
- Alan Sepinwall
Johnny Knoxville already became a Bad Grandpa in the Jackass spin-off film from last year, but now Robert De Niro may become a Dirty Grandpa. THR has word that the legendary actor is in early talks to play a perverted former Army general who thinks his grandson is about to marry the wrong woman, and so he tricks him into driving down to Florida for spring break where, as we all know, there's plenty of sexy action. Zac Efron is also in early talks to take the role of the grandson with I Give It a Year director Dan Mazer getting behind the camera. The project was at Universal, but is now being shopped at Tiff by Qed. A couple of years ago, Michael Douglas and Jeff Bridges were said to be circling the project written by Bad Santa writer John Phillips, but that was when the project had a studio home. »
- Ethan Anderton
Pretty Little Liars has been promising a “fatal” summer finale for weeks, and on Tuesday, it finally delivered — big time.
The victim, as many suspected, ended up being poor Mona Vanderwaal, who was brutally murdered at her home by a mysterious (and seemingly blonde) assailant. Fortunately, Mona was able to call Aria first to inform her that Alison lured Bethany to Rosewood in the first place.
But let’s back up a bit…
The nail-biting hour began with a massive switcheroo: »
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.] Show: "Bad Judge" (NBC) The Pitch: From the title/narrative construction that brought you "Bad Santa" and "Bad Teacher" comes... "Bad Judge"! Quick Response: NBC's "Bad Judge" is the last Take Me To The Pilots entry for a show premiering this fall on a major network. I've saved it until the end for two good reasons: 1) As the title accurately teases, it's bad. 2) I'm reasonably sure that the pilot sent to critics in May isn't going to be the pilot that's going to air on NBC this fall. I think NBC liked the idea of doing a show with Kate Walsh and they liked the idea of ordering two pilots produced by Will Ferrell and they liked that the title is an easy sell. So Liz Brixius has been brought in to run the show and two major roles have been recast and another role is being pushed from the »
- Daniel Fienberg
As Yuletide offerings go, Charles Poekel’s “Christmas, Again” might as well be called “It’s a So-So Life” — a downbeat but never outright depressing reminder that the holidays tend to look a lot less jolly from the vantage of those peddling Christmas cheer. Whereas David Sedaris made the same point with considerably more wit in “The Santaland Diaries,” this quiet, observational portrait of a taciturn young Christmas tree salesman stuck spending another December camping out on the streets of New York offers modest, VOD-scale pleasures, but is probably best viewed in the warmer months as the curious indie-movie anthropology study that it is.
In the tradition of such Diy day-job dramas as “The Happy Poet” and “Beeswax,” Poekel’s debut was inspired by three years its writer-director spent hustling evergreens to hipsters in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — a job that transformed the normally festive month of December into a surreal state of semi-homelessness, »
- Peter Debruge
Billy Bob Thornton has strung together a career’s worth of memorable performances in films including Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, Primary Colors, Bad Santa, Monster’s Ball, Love Actually, Friday Night Lights, and the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Intolerable Cruelty and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Has he ever played as riveting a character as his small screen turn as Lorne Malvo, the manipulative, malevolent murderous catalyst for the series transfer of the Coen Brothers film classic Fargo? Thornton is smack in the center of an Emmy category stacked with fellow movie stars lured by the superior writing and character development largely missing from features nowadays. Here, he tells Deadline why the small screen was the perfect forum for his resurgence, and what happens when an actor interprets a mortal character as something else.
Deadline: Lorne Malvo facilitated all the good and bad that happens in Fargo‘s snowy Minnesota town. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Based on the critically-acclaimed classic film by Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo has been given a new season on the back of a impressive 18 Emmy nominations in the recent announcements. Set to air in 2015, the 10-episode second season is set to take the True Detective route, and tell a new story as well as having an array of new characters and actors in the roles.
In a press statement, John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks & FX Productions said “We could not be more proud of Fargo… Noah’s audacious, bordering on hubristic riff on my favorite Coen brothers film earned 18 Emmy nominations – the most for a single program in our history. Fargo was nothing short of breathtaking and we look forward to the next installment. »
- Scott Davis
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
streaming now, while it’s still in theaters
Beyond the Edge: through gorgeous archival footage and new re-creations, thrillingly places us amidst the first successful summit of Everest in 1953 [my review] [iTunes Us] Life Itself: a touching biography of film critic Roger Ebert, and an accidental look at the tremendous upheaval that journalism has weathered in the past half century [my review] [iTunes Us] The Lunchbox: a charming, bittersweet, utterly chaste love affair forged over food and cemented by kindred spirits [my review] [iTunes Us] Particle Fever: funny, exhilarating, suspenseful documentary about the Large Hadron Collider, and how physics is more akin to philosophy and art than you may have imagined [my review] [iTunes Us] We Are the Best!: an exuberant rock ’n’ roll comedy in which three of the most memorable movie teens ever embrace their adolescent angst and give it screaming voice [my review] [iTunes Us]
streaming now, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The first trailer for St. Vincent from writer/director Theodore Melfi has arrived and it’s pretty darn great. With a hint of Bad Santa and About A Boy comes what I believe to be the perfect role for Bill Murray at this point in his career. He’s been trying for that Oscar for over a decade now, and it is roles like this that will keep him in the race. The dramedy is sure to tickle the funny bone and pull the heart strings. Here's the synopsis: A drunken, »
- Graham McMorrow
With the dog days of summer finally upon us, it's good to find an excuse (any excuse) to dip out of the heat and into a coolly air-conditioned living room. And what better way to spend your time than by watching things on Netflix? Behold, a list of things that are new to Netflix in July.
There are a bunch of new Christmas movies on the streaming service, part of the company's "Christmas in July" program (things like "Bad Santa" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas"), as well as a handful of Disney classics (like "Tarzan" and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"). There are also, as always, newer films that you might have missed, but don't have to anymore -- everything from Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" (starring the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman) to this year's "Wolf Creek 2," a high-octane Australian thriller that seriously doesn't disappoint.
There are also »
- Drew Taylor
FX's critically acclaimed series Fargo (TV) testifies to the adage that lightening can, in fact, strike twice. And it has. Based on Joel and Ethan Coen's 1996 film of the same name, the crime drama and dark comedy was created and written by Noah Hawley and endorsed by the Oscar-winning brothers who served as executive producers on the show. When Time Magazine penned it as "one of the ten best shows of 2014," it became evident that the ten-episode limited series had set a higher bar for an already escalating standard in series television. Like the film, it was the true story that really wasn't, and actor Billy Bob Thornton wanted in. He joined a stellar cast of series regulars that included Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman, along with an impressive assortment of supporting actors like Adam Goldberg, Oliver Platt, Jordan Peele, Keith Carradine, and Kate Walsh, all of »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jennifer Maurer)
Joel and Ethan Coen, despite the fact that they are a duo, are a singular force in modern cinematic history. That is to say, if you’ll forgive the grammatical confusion, there is only one Coen Brothers. Their outstanding 1996 film is equally singular, despite the fact that there is now a fantastic TV series that shares both its title and geographical setting: FX’s Fargo.
The similarities between the two works stand out enough to give the unacquainted observer a reasonable amount of pause. We’re in a period of film and television history where direct remakes are going out of fashion, but fresh takes on older stories are becoming more and more in vogue, whether they’re the evil Maleficent, the troubled Norman Bates or the up and coming Commissioner Gordon. The surge in this type of adapted storytelling gives rise to a certain skepticism that would caution against »
- Darren Ruecker
On the Calgary set of FX's "Fargo" last month, most of the cast was there either shooting or dropping by on an off-day to chat with a group reporters. Billy Bob Thornton couldn't make it, but sent his regrets and expressed the desire to talk to all of the assembled scribes pre-premiere. That's the sort of thing you hear a lot in-the-moment, but doesn't normally come to pass. Things slip through the cracks and nobody's really to blame. People get busy. Billy Bob Thornton followed through. After a series of crossed wires and adjusted schedules, the Oscar-winning "Slingblade" scribe checked in last Sunday morning, delayed only because he got caught-up watching early baseball, which immediately gives us something in common. "You can imagine what I think about your team," Thornton drawls. He's famously a Cardinals fan. I'm not-especially-famously a Red Sox fan. "You guys just creamed us twice," Thornton admits, »
- Daniel Fienberg
New York (AP) - After failed attempts and broken dreams, by golly, someone went and put "Fargo" on series TV.
The 10-episode season premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. Edt on FX. And it mesmerizes. As a furtherance of the 1996 crime classic by Joel and Ethan Coen that starred Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, the TV adaptation is a wonder.
Like that movie, the series is set in rural, snow-glazed Minnesota, but 20 years later (in 2006), and is stocked with new characters, deadly mischief and a bounty of stars including Allison Tolman as a bright-eyed deputy and Martin Freeman as a nebbishy insurance salesman (distant echoes of the roles played by McDormand and Macy in the film). Also on hand are Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, Keith Carradine, Adam Goldberg, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, and more.
At the core of its deliciously deranged narrative is Lorne Malvo, »
- The Associated Press
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