7 items from 2013
This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Brad Furman‘s latest movie, Runner Runner, has been getting terrible reviews. Like really, really terrible. I think we at Fsr even just avoided it entirely. That’s a shame because his first two narrative features, The Take and The Lincoln Lawyer, were pretty well received. And prior to that, his shorts were successful, too. His debut is called Fast Forward, and it involves the 1981 shooting of President Reagan. Rather than recreating the incident entirely, Furman takes the familiar TV footage, which millions of us have seen over and over before, and mixes it with peripheral reenactment where necessary for an added fictional component. Using the real material is for good purpose as the point of the film seems to be that the footage — and much of television like it — is confusing »
- Christopher Campbell
A critical digest of the week’s latest U.S. theatrical releases. Where applicable, links to longer reviews have been provided.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
About halfway through Alfonso Cuaron’s astonishing “Gravity,” Sandra Bullock, playing a lost astronaut stranded 375 miles above Earth, seeks refuge in an abandoned spacecraft and curls into a floating fetal position, savoring a brief respite from her harrowing journey. Of the many sights to behold in this white-knuckle space odyssey, a work of great narrative simplicity and visual complexity, it’s this image that speaks most eloquently to Cuaron’s gifts as a filmmaker: He’s the rare virtuoso capable of steering us through vividly imagined worlds and into deep recesses of human feeling. Suspending viewers alongside Bullock for a taut, transporting 91 minutes (with George Clooney in a sly supporting turn), the director’s long-overdue follow-up to “Children of Men” is at once a nervy »
- Variety Staff
Whatever his shortcomings as a director, Brad Furman clearly has a knack for timely casting. 2011’s “The Lincoln Lawyer” was a watchable yet unremarkable courtroom drama elevated above its station by a lead turn from Matthew McConaughey just as his late-career resurgence was taking flight. Debut feature “The Take” boasted a key supporting part from recent Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale. And now with “Runner Runner,” Furman snags Justin Timberlake in an intermission between blockbuster album releases, and Ben Affleck between directing an Oscar-winning film and beginning his term at Wayne Manor. Yet despite his stacked deck of a cast, “Runner Runner” adds up to little more than a charmless, paint-by-numbers thriller unlikely to escape the forces of “Gravity” in its early October release.
Starring as a Princeton grad student of indeterminate age, Timberlake plays Richie Furst, a former Wall Street striver whose young career was derailed by the 2008 meltdown. Attempting »
- Andrew Barker
A few weeks ago, we shared this Tweet/image of John Leguizamo donning prosthetic makeup to transform into Pablo Escobar for a test shoot of the soon-to-enter-production drama King of Cocaine, formerly called Ballad of Pablo Escobar. My #escobar screen test! I killed it!! Its btw me and another dude! pic.twitter.com/18xJwg9cVS. John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) July 16, 2013 At the time, Leguizamo was facing off against Elysium.s Wagner Moura for the title role in the wake of Inside Llewyn Davis.s Oscar Isaac departure. Deadline now reports Leguizamo has since come out on top, and that the makeup mock up above was a major factor in the filmmakers. decision. Director Brad Furman, best-known for helming the Matthew McConaughey vehicle The Lincoln Lawyer, needed no convincing. He had previously worked with Leguizamo on his feature directorial debut The Take back in 2007. Not only was he impressed by Leguizamo.s »
Proving that he has the financial chutzpah to portray famed Colombian drug magnate Pablo Escobar, John Leguizamo went to great lengths to prove himself to the creative team behind the upcoming King of Cocaine, one of two Escobar-themed films currently in development (the other, Paradise Lost, stars Benicio del Toro).
To what lengths did Leguizamo go? Well, he did what anyone would do in his situation – invested $15,000 of his own money on prosthetics, to prove that he was up to the task. Director Brad Furman (whose previous work The Lincoln Lawyer also starred John Leguizamo) already wanted Leguizamo for the role, but producer and financier Scott Steindorff remained unconvinced that the diminutive actor could convincingly take on the role. In an Escobaresque duplicitous scheme, Furman convinced the disbelieving Stendorff to submit make-up tests to production company Relativity, without attaching Leguizamo’s name, and it worked. Once Relativity saw the results »
- Rob Batchelor
A few casting notices: Ellen Page is in negotiations to star as a British spy in the comic book adaptation Queen & Country. Fox sees franchise potential. John Leguizamo will play drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in the biopic King of Cocaine, taking over after Oscar Isaac dropped out. Lea Thompson joins Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, and Jordin Sparks in Left Behind, an adaptation of the popular post-apocalyptic Christian books. Details on each project after the jump. Page has made three movies---Juno, Whip It, The East---with Fox Searchlight and worked with the mothership studio Fox on the X-Men series. Variety says Fox has long wanted a franchise for Page and believes Queen & Country to be the right opportunity. The comic book by Greg Rucka follows "a British Intelligence agent who tries to stop an international terrorist plot after her identity is compromised and as her personal demons spiral out of control. »
- Brendan Bettinger
Exclusive: Relativity Media has signed on for King Of Cocaine, and the long-gestating Brad Furman-directed biopic of Medellin Cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar is finally in shape to start production in Colombia in January. In an intriguing development, John Leguizamo has been set to play the lead role. After watching actors from Oscar Isaac to Benecio Del Toro circle this and other Escobar pics, Leguizamo got the job basically because he refused to take no for an answer, a trait that Escobar could probably relate to if he was still alive. Leguizamo, who was born in Colombia, has long felt he was born to play the role of Escobar, who rose from poverty to riches as a notorious drug kingpin until his murderous reign ended in a hail of bullets in 1993. How did Leguizamo get the job? Furman made his first film with Leguizamo, The Take, and he has always »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
7 items from 2013
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