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'Beirut' Review: Jon Hamm Adds Class, Movie-Star Charisma to Spy Thriller

Espionage thrillers have it rough these days, what with contemporary headlines beating anything Hollywood can cook up. Still, Beirut has an undeniable retro appeal: It's 1982 in Lebanon, the eve of Israel's invasion. A hostage situation is pulling Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm), a former U.S. diplomat in Beirut, back into a spycraft shitstorm he'd practically kill to avoid. He's been mediating low-level labor disputes in Boston, spending his spare time in bars using booze to blast away memories of what happened to him on the job a decade before.

See full article at Rolling Stone »

Tony Gilroy Talks ‘Beirut’; Unearthing A Script From 1991 & More [Interview]

Sometimes a good thing will never die. That’s rarely a screenplay, the graveyard of unproduced scripts is an overfilled garbage dump that’s currently not taking any more bodies, but somehow against the odds, the international political thriller “Beirut” has come to life nearly three decades after it was born. Directed by veteran Brad Anderson, “Beirut” began as screenplay in 1991 penned by writer/director Tony Gilroy and is made in the vein of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “A Most Wanted Man,” and “The Year of Living Dangerously” and John le Carré political potboilers.
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‘Beirut’ Film Review: Jon Hamm Mired in Muddled Middle-East Tale

‘Beirut’ Film Review: Jon Hamm Mired in Muddled Middle-East Tale
Beirut” is a complicated movie about complicated people in a complicated situation. (Bear with me.) Its narrative complexity is nothing if not constant. If screenwriter Tony Gilroy’s objective was to encourage audiences to pay attention to the details, then he’s probably succeeded.

In short: “Beirut” revolves around former U.S. diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm), a drunk and wayward “expert negotiator” who was booted out of government work at the tail-end of 1972. During the intervening decade, Cal (Mark Pellegrino, “Supernatural”), an ex-colleague of Mason’s, has been taken hostage in Lebanon. The hostages have requested that Mason be the CIA’s point person to forge a deal. The CIA operatives, namely Sandy Crowder (Rosamund Pike) and Gary Ruzak (Shea Whigham), reluctantly agree to their terms. Back in Lebanon, Mason is forced to confront his sordid past while also attempting to rescue his best friend.

There are more complications. In “Beirut” and Beirut, there always seems to be more complications. Under the direction of Brad Anderson (“The Machinist”), Gilroy’s screenplay takes the antithetical approach to “less is more.” Scene after scene, we’re given more names and organizations (and then acronyms for those organizations) than is probably necessary.

Also Read: Yes, That Was Jon Hamm's Voice in the 'Legion' Season 2 Premiere

To fully map out the inner workings of this movie, you’d need to give each audience member photos, pins, and yarn to connect the dots throughout. You’d also need a flashlight, so that people could make amendments as “Beirut’s” plot breathlessly twists and turns. Anderson’s breakneck delivery of new information will either be thrilling or exhausting for prospective viewers.

Gilroy has a tendency to offer stories that take more than a single viewing to fully process. “Michael Clayton.” “Duplicity” and “State of Play” are all examples of films that can dazzle just as easily as they enervate. Mileage may vary. Although what’s lacking in “Beirut” is a solid through-line to keep people invested — “Clayton” had the cool calmness of George Clooney, “Duplicity” had the sexual chemistry of Clive Owen and Julia Roberts, and “State of Play” had, y’know, Helen Mirren.

At the forefront of “Beirut” is Hamm, who is now entering a new chapter in his career post-“Mad Men.” He’s a curious case: On one hand a tremendous talent, and on the other, a tremendous talent who has routinely appeared in inconsistent fare since putting Don Draper to rest. He does what he can in “Beirut”; Hamm is charming, quick-witted, can turn dramatic on a dime.

Also Read: Jon Hamm Says Social Media Is 'the Visual Equivalent of Masturbating'

But the film has a tendency to undercut Mason’s livelihood, or lack thereof. He’s a man whose been stripped of both his partner and career, left now to work on middling low-level deals in middle America. Even when Mason is given the opportunity to return to the big leagues of the CIA, there’s a sadness to him.

He can hardly believe he’s been granted a second opportunity. He’s more confounded than grateful, though. The resurgence is a reminder of a former life he messed up; as a result he turns to the bottle. Mason’s drinking is not played for laughs, but it’s also not seriously examined. Gilroy bypasses the psychology of his central character, the how and why of Mason’s internal dilemma. There’s another film in “Beirut” where one could investigate how talented (and good) people make bad decisions, how people like Mason subconsciously self-sabotage themselves, preventing any sort of progress or growth.

Also Read: AMC to Open Saudi Arabia's First Movie Theater

Instead Anderson leans into the action-thriller of it all There are shootouts and explosions, city-wide chases and impressive stunt work. “Beirut” contains all the elements of a fun, snappy, pre-summer jaunt. And yet the film is actively in competition with itself. The tone is grim and honest when it wants to be, but not necessarily when it needs to be.

There’s a level of specificity to some aspects (the archival footage that bookends the film), and laziness in others (Mason’s familial ties to Lebanon). Mason may very well be saving his best friend, but we’re given nothing more than sunset flashbacks of a joyous dinner to inform that friendship. The characters’ consequences are more spoken than felt.

And the consequences of this movie are similarly sparse. Brad Anderson has three upcoming films in the next couple of years, and Gilroy (who originally penned this script in 1991) has rarely been without employment. Jon Hamm is Jon Hamm, and eventually a film will better utilize his abilities. All will be well for everyone involved. Sometimes gifted people make not-so gifted art.

Read original story ‘Beirut’ Film Review: Jon Hamm Mired in Muddled Middle-East Tale At TheWrap
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Movie Review – Beirut (2018)

Beirut, 2018.

Directed by Brad Anderson.

Starring Jon Hamm, Rosamond Pike, Dean Norris, Mark Pellegrino, Idir Chender, Shea Whigham, Douglas Hodge, Jonny Coyne, Alon Aboutboul, and Larry Pine.


Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.

Beirut is a competently directed espionage thriller located centered on a host of high-ranking Americans working out the Civil War in the titular foreign territory, but director Brad Anderson (most known for the underappreciated Christian Bale gem The Machinist, bringing to life a script by Tony Gilroy that sat on a shelf for 25 years due to marketability restraints and other such nonsense reasons that recent hits like Best Picture Argo have made irrelevant) leaves a highly intriguing dynamic underdeveloped.

The hostage situation at the center of Beirut involves sunken U.S. diplomat Mason Skiles (Mad Men
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An Inside Look at How Taylor Kitsch Prepared to Play David Koresh in “Waco”

It’s common to see celebrities transform themselves physically to really get into character. From Christian Bale nearly starving himself to death over his starring role as Trevor Reznik in “The Machinist” to Charlize Theron’s nearly unrecognizable turn as Aileen Wuornos in “Monster,” we’re used to seeing our favorite Hollywood royals morph into someone else. Yet, sometimes there comes along a role that requires an actor to delve deeper than hair and makeup trickery and truly integrate him or herself into the emotional world of the character to play a convincing part. Such was the case for Taylor Kitsch as he

An Inside Look at How Taylor Kitsch Prepared to Play David Koresh in “Waco
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R.I.P. Reg E. Cathey (1958 – 2018)

American actor Reg E. Cathey, known for his work on The Wire and House of Cards, has passed away aged 59 after a battle with cancer.

Cathey began his career in 1984 with an appearance in the TV movie A Doctor’s Story, and went on to appear in numerous TV shows such as Oz, The Wire, Grimm, The Divide, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Outcast.

The actor gained critical acclaim for his role as Freddy in Netflix’s House of Cards, receiving an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in 2015 alongside further nominations in 2014 and 2016.

On the big screen, Cathey’s credits included parts in The Mask, Se7en, Tank Girl, American Psycho, The Machinist, and Fantastic Four. He also earned praise for his role as Red in a 2009. London theatrical production of The Shawshank Redemption.

The news of his passing was first reported by The Wire creator David Simon:

Reg Cathey,
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Just another pretty face: should Hollywood stop giving bad guys a face-lift?

Casting glamorous actors as killers, cult leaders and disgraced skaters they do not physically resemble is problematic

One of Hollywood’s most time-honored traditions is praising actors in recognition of the physical transformation required for certain roles. The awards come flooding in, as do vague references to Stanislavski’s method, and the clickbaity headlines set the internet ablaze: Matthew McConaughey packs on 40lb for his turn as a gold-miner! Christian Bale ate a single can of tuna a day for The Machinist! Cameron Diaz uglies up in Being John Malkovich!

Watching the spectacle of celebrity mutation excites us both as gossip-mongers and moviegoers, since we appreciate dedication to craft as much as we do a grainy on-set photo of Matthew McConaughey cradling his pot-belly like a stray dog he’s just encountered.

Related: How I, Tonya betrays its tragicomic ice-skating protagonist

Related: Zac Efron to play Ted Bundy in film
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Culture Dump #23: 4 Actors who won Oscars for Roles that Weren’t their Best

2018’s Oscar nominations arrived earlier this week, offering a hopeful change of pace to shake up what most of us have come to expect from Academy voters. While an Oscar statuette is considered the highest praise an actor can receive, they’re not always awarded for the best performance on a star’s resume. Let’s take a look…

Gary Oldman

Let’s not bury the lead here – 2018 is shaping up to be Gary Oldman’s year, with the screen-vet and twice Academy nominated star looking likely to take home an Oscar for his immersive turn as UK Prime Minister and friendliest person you’re ever (not) likely to see on the tube, Winston Churchill. If he does win big, it’ll be no big surprise. Oldman’s made going to the cinema worthwhile for the better part of twenty-five years and while his take on Churchill is impressive, it
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

‘Beirut’ Review: Jon Hamm Stars in Standard-Issue Spy Thriller From Resurrected Tony Gilroy Script — Sundance 2018

‘Beirut’ Review: Jon Hamm Stars in Standard-Issue Spy Thriller From Resurrected Tony Gilroy Script — Sundance 2018
Perhaps it’s time that Jon Hamm finally got his own action franchise, one that’s lighter on actual stunts than “Taken” and with a little less brain than a John Le Carre thriller. With that in mind, Brad Anderson’s “Beirut” just might fit the bill as an origin story.

It opens in 1972, when diplomat-turned-sorta-spy Mason Skiles (Hamm) is hosting a rollicking house party with his lovely wife; they’re aided by their orphaned Lebanese charge Karim, who is happily delivering finger foods to government VIPs. And then, everything goes topside when his best pal Cal (Mark Pellegrino) arrives at the party with frantic news: Karim isn’t an orphan, and in fact has a big brother with major ties to terrorism.

This accidental crisis doesn’t seem unlikely; Mason is a bit of a smoothie, a negotiator who likes talking his way out of a situation and happens
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Beirut’ Trailer: Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike Negotiate a Life-or-Death Hostage Situation — Watch

  • Indiewire
‘Beirut’ Trailer: Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike Negotiate a Life-or-Death Hostage Situation — Watch
If you’ve ever wanted to see Jon Hamm delivering a speech only to be interrupted by an explosion, now’s your chance. Bleecker Street has released the trailer for “Beirut,” an ’80s-set thriller co-starring Rosamund Pike. Watch below.

Read More:Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly Tried to Intimidate Jon Hamm, Who Wasn’t Having Any of Their Nonsense

Here’s the synopsis: “A U.S. diplomat (Hamm) flees Lebanon in 1972 after a tragic incident at his home. Ten years later, he is called back to war-torn Beirut by CIA operatives (Pike) to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.” Hamm most recently appeared in “Baby Driver” and “Marjorie Prime,” whereas Pike stars alongside Christian Bale in the underrated Western “Hostiles.” They’re joined in “Beirut” by Dean Norris, Larry Pine, and Shea Whigham.

Read More:‘A United Kingdom’ Review: David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Bring Historical
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Beirut’ Trailer Finds Jon Hamm Negotiating with Terrorists

Ahead of the film’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival, Bleecker Street has released the first trailer for the upcoming thriller Beirut. Written by Bourne Trilogy scribe Tony Gilroy and directed by The Machinist helmer Brad Anderson, the film takes place in 1982 and stars Jon Hamm as a U.S. diplomat and expert negotiator who is tasked by the CIA to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind. The film looks to tackle a variety of topics, from the fallout over the Munich Olympics tragedy to U.S. relations in the Middle East to one …
See full article at »

Five Of The Best: Christian Bale Movie Performances

In cinemas this weekend is the American western Hostiles, the latest film from Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace, Black Mass, Crazy Heart). Christian Bale leads the cast of a battle-worn Army captain Joseph J. Blocker, who reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family through dangerous territory. We caught the film at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and despite having a few minor issues with the film, praised it for its key performances, notably from Bale and co-star Rosamund Pike. Here, in a special feature, we take a look at Christian Bale’s five best film performances over his multi-decade career.

5. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Nolan (2005-2012)

Christian Bale’s five best film performances

We’ll kick things off with arguably Bale’s highest profile role, that of Bruce Wayne and Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which kicked off
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Roles Where Actors Lost Weight

  • Cinelinx
New Year’s resolutions are a time to work towards a transformation of your body and/or your life. To honor these goals, this month we’re going to look at transformative roles in film. This week we look at some prominent examples of actors losing weight for roles.

It’s one thing to mentally prepare to play a character in a movie or a play. It’s another thing to physically transform yourself in order to better identify with the role. Some transformations are only skin deep; extensive makeup or prosthetics may be sufficient to pull of the necessary look. Other transformations are more involved; many actors may take part in weeks, if not months, of preparations for a role. This can include intense training, specialized diets, and exhaustive exercise routines. The end result of an actor going through such a transformation is not only a more accurate visual resemblance,
See full article at Cinelinx »

Christian Bale Lookin' More Like Dick Cheney than Himself

  • TMZ
[[tmz:video id="0_vwx1s1xa"]] Christian Bale was barely recognizable wheeling his luggage at Lax after putting on more than several pounds for his role as Dick Cheney. Bale is a master at transformations. He went to the other extreme for his role in the 2004 flick, "The Machinist," dropping 60 lbs. He's definitely put the same effort into his lead role as the former VP, although tipping the other side of the scale.  Our photog was hilarious ... clearly confusing art for
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Christian Bale Completes His Dick Cheney Look with Bald Head and Weight Gain

Christian Bale Completes His Dick Cheney Look with Bald Head and Weight Gain
With a bald head and a heavier figure, Christian Bale is ready to play former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The actor, 43, who regularly undergoes dramatic weight transformations for roles, will play George W. Bush’s second-in-command for the upcoming movie Backseat. He was spotted without hair on Monday while doing press in Los Angeles for his new western movie, Hostiles.

To pack on the pounds, Bale previously said that he’s eating a Thanksgiving favorite.

“I’ve just eaten a lot of pies, so far,” he told Variety.

Related Video: Christian Bale’s Most Transformative Roles of All Time

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Amityville: The Awakening Arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand November 14th

Experience a terrifying new chapter of the legendary haunted house when Amityville: The Awakening arrives for free for a limited time on Google Play beginning October 12, in select theaters on October 28, and on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD, Digital HD and On Demand November 14 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Experience a terrifying new chapter of the legendary haunted house when Amityville: The Awakening arrives for free for a limited time on Google Play beginning October 12, in select theaters on October 28, and on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD), DVD, Digital HDand On Demand November 14 from Lionsgate. Based on horrifying true events, the film tells the story of a family tormented by an evil presence after they move into their new home. Bella Thorne and Academy Award nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (Best Supporting Actress, The Hateful Eight, 2015) lead an all-star cast, which also includes Cameron Monaghan and Taylor Spreitler. From Jason Blum, the producer of Split,
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Live-action Titans casts Ryan Potter as Beast Boy

The cast of DC’s live-action Titans series has just grown, with Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6) signing onas the fan-favourite superhero Garfield ‘Gar’ Logan, a.k.a. Beast Boy.

Potter will have a regular role as a member of the Titans to help fight crime with Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites) and the rest of the group. Beast Boy’s superpower is the ability to change into any animal on the planet. He was stricken with a rare and lethal disease as a child and when his parents cured him through an experimental trial, he turned permanently green while also gaining his superpowers.

The series will premiere next year on DC’s new streaming service and comes from Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, Sarah Schechter. Just yesterday it was reported The Machinist director Brad Anderson will helm the pilot, slated to begin production in Toronto on November 14th.

Titans will
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Live-action Teen Titans show finds a director for its series premiere

It looks like Warner Bros. has found a director for the first episode of its live-action Teen Titans series, with Titans Podcast spotting a listing on the official website of Directors Guild of Canada Ontario which reveals that Brad Anderson is set to helm the series premiere.

Anderson’s feature film credits include the likes of The Machinist and The Call, while he has also directed episodes of TV shows such as The Wire and Fringe. Production is slated to get underway in Toronto, Canada on November 14th.

Titans will follow Dick Grayson as he emerges from Batman’s shadow to become the leader of a fearless band of young, soon-to-be superheroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales star Brenton Thwaites leads the cast as Dick Grayson, alongside Teagan Croft (The Osiris Child) as Raven, Anna Diop (24: Legacy) as Starfire,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

10 Things You Didn’t Know about “The Machinist”

The Machinist was a movie steeped in what seemed like misery drowned in suspicion and liberally sprinkled with bouts of insanity. As the main character Christian Bale went above and beyond when it came to his character, losing so much weight that he was little more than skin and bones for his role. His dedication to the part was astounding but the movie itself was so disturbing that it left you feeling almost abused at the end for what you’d seen. In many ways it’s as though the director purposefully wanted you to strain yourself to see things from the

10 Things You Didn’t Know about “The Machinist
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Amityville: The Awakening Blu-ray / DVD Release Details & Cover Art

  • DailyDead
This November, horror fans can take a return trip to 112 Ocean Avenue with the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and VOD release of Amityville: The Awakening, and we have a look at the cover art and home media details for the latest film in the franchise.

From October 12th–November 8th, you can watch Amityville: The Awakening for free on Google Play, and the latest entry in the long-running franchise will also be released in select theaters on October 28th, just in time for Halloween. We have released details and cover art below, and in case you missed it, you can watch a clip from the film right now.

Press Release: Experience a terrifying new chapter of the legendary haunted house when Amityville: The Awakening arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD), DVD, Digital HD and On Demand November 14 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Program Description

Experience a terrifying new chapter of the
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