Friday, August 3, 2012

Cinematically Speaking - 8/3/12

- Matthew McConaughey has joined the cast of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort.  Belfort once owned Stratton Oakmont, a billion-dollar brokerage firm.  Belfort was arrested for securities fraud and served 22 months in jail.  McConaughey will play Mark Hanna, an early mentor to Belfort. The film's cast also includes Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Kyle Chandler (Super 8) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead).

- Christopher Eccleston (G.I. Joe) will play the villain in Thor: The Dark World.  He's Malekith the Accursed, the leader of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim.  The Thor sequel will bring back Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard.

- The Dark Tower movies may be back on track.  Javier Bardem has dropped out to play the Gunslinger, but director Ron Howard is talking to his buddy Russell Crowe about taking the role.

- Jennifer Ehle (Contagion) is the latest name in talks to join the RoboCop remake.  It stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson.  Ehle will also appear in Kathryn Bigelow's upcoming Zero Dark Thirty, about the SEAL team that killed Osama Bin Laden.  It stars Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt and Jason Clarke.

I caught a couple movies that have been on DVD for a while and have made it to Netflix Instant.  First there was 2011's MELANCHOLIA (★★½), starring Kirsten Dunst as a depressed bride.  How can she be depressed when she's marrying a great guy (Alexander Skarsgard)? Well, there are other issues, but mainly the end of the world is near.  A recently-discovered planet is on a collision course for Earth and there's no way to stop it.  It's from Lars Von Trier (Breaking the Waves, Dogville), and at times this is like The Tree of Life with slightly more plot, a slideshow of pretension with far less optimism about the universe than TTOL expressed.  I liked it in spurts, but as a whole, I'm not big on movies that want me to meditate in the middle of the show.

I also watched 2009's THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (★★★), an old-school homage to early 1980's horror.  It's patiently plotted, centering on a young woman who takes a job babysitting in a creepy house.  The lighting, the acting style, all of it felt like those B-flick drive-in movies with a central damsel in distress being chased by a masked killer or a malevolent ghost or creepy cultists.  Writer/director Ti Wang has a real eye and affection for the style.

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