(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer / © Paramount Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection)
Emily Blunt‘s first two Rotten Tomatoes-rated movies were Certified Fresh: My Summer of Love, which you’ve never heard of, and The Devil Wears Prada, which you definitely have. The $124-million grossing and decidedly unromantic comedy paved a path for more female-led films and served as a launching vector for actresses like Anne Hathaway and Blunt. Her appearances in high-profile Charlie Wilson’s War, The Wolfman and The Muppets kept the momentum going, but it wasn’t until releasing Looper that Blunt got that most coveted of validations: internet fan cred. Following that up with Edge of Tomorrow and A Quiet Place has cemented her image of poise and natural radiant strength. She was Mary Poppins, y’all.She was even Tempest Shadow in My Little Pony: The Movie. That’s cross-generational.
(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)
Laurence Fishburne made his movie debut in just about the best way possible: As part of the platoon that goes up the river in Apocalypse Now. He was 14 when filming started and production was so troubled that by the time the movie released, Fishburne had already celebrated his 17th birthday.
The ensuing ’80s saw the actor taking mostly smaller roles but working with big name directors (Steven Spielberg in The Color Purple, Spike Lee in School Daze) that kept him — still credited as Larry at the time — employed and just a performance away from stardom. The chance came in 1991 with John Singleton’s explosive dramatic debut, Boyz n the Hood, in which he played young father Furious Styles. And Fishburne famously closed out the decade with The Matrix, a movie still at the forefront of pop culture 20 years later. When Fishburne was cast as the Bowery King in John Wick: Chapter 2, there was immediate rejoicing that he was reuniting on-screen with Matrix alum Keanu Reeves.
And after 2019’s Parabellum, what further wacky misadventures await Reeves and Fishburne in the series? As we await another sequel, we’re ranking all Laurence Fishburne movies by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
(Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
Shiri Appleby has been on TV since before she was a teenager. Early on, she guest-starred in shows like 7th Heaven and Baywatch, and more recently, she headlined Lifetime’s acclaimed Bachelor-skewering drama UnREAL. But the actress’ game-changing role was the lead in 1999’s Roswell — a sci-fi drama series that began with her character, New Mexico high-schooler Liz, being shot and brought back to life by an alien.
Now, Appleby is stepping behind the camera — and returning to one of her most iconic roles to do so. She’s directing the Tuesday, March 19 episode of Roswell, New Mexico, a reboot of her late ’90s series. Both iterations of Roswell feature aliens, romance, and feelings of otherness, but in the new series, the characters are 10 years older and their conflicts are much more contemporary.
“You know, [in] our show, these kids were in high school and the alien theme was about how everyone felt in high school — you felt out of place and you didn’t feel like you belonged,” Appleby told Rotten Tomatoes of the original Roswell. “In today’s story, these kids are in their late 20s and the alien is about illegal immigration. It feels very timely and very relevant.”
Her upcoming Roswell, New Mexico episode, “Songs About Texas,” will be a first for Appleby. In the past, she’s directed TV episodes in which she also starred. This time, she’s staying behind the camera, but that doesn’t mean she’ll stop acting — she says she’s just “taking a minute” to find the right long-term role.
Ahead of the episode, Appleby told us about what she’s been bingeing lately and what’s coming soon for her career — both in front of and behind the camera.
(Photo by Byron Cohen / Touchstone Television / Courtesy Everett Collection)
The last time I did that I was watching Felicity… That should tell you how many years it’s been. I used to love that show. It was my absolute favorite. There was nothing better than Keri Russell. Right?
(Photo by Hulu)
Right now I’m watching Russian Doll. I love Russian Doll … I have been watching Light as a Feather on Hulu. I’m going to direct two episodes of it, so I’ve been really bingeing on that show. I think it’s so charming and wonderful. I was also watching a lot of Pretty Little Liars because I just directed an episode of The Perfectionists. And, I am going to go — which is so funny — to my Netflix account right now so I can tell you what else I’ve been watching.
I love to watch a lot of documentaries. I was watching, let’s see, I watched the Fyre documentaries on both Hulu and Netflix. I still watch Stranger Things… I like watching My Next Guest [Needs No Introduction] with David Letterman. I love that.
(Photo by Courtesy of Netflix)
I don’t watch real TV anymore! I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and I’ve been cleaning out my closet obsessively since then.
(Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless)
Sophie-Marie Prime for Rotten Tomatoes: Did you go back and watch any of the original Roswell while preparing to direct your episode?
Well, I had made every single episode, so I felt very confident that I didn’t need to watch it again and see myself as a 20-year-old. I was just going to let myself go and be immersed in the world that they’ve created.
Have you been in contact with any of the original cast at all? I know Jason Behr sent you flowers on your first day.
Yeah, Jason and I are still in touch. I’ve been actually texting with Katherine Heigl a lot. Colin Hanks I see, and he’s texted. Majandra [Delfino] lives maybe three blocks away from me so I run into her. It’s such a small, little, tiny community. When you think about that experience, it’s like friends from high school. You know, you kind of pick up right where you left off.
We all came from such different backgrounds and we’re going through this really out-of-body experience together. It’s kind of fun to get back to each other and see each other. Everyone has kids now, and [it’s fun] to see what’s happened with their lives and their careers.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy Everett Collection)
What do you and the rest of the original cast think of the reboot?
It’s like building a legacy. It’s a complete compliment. I just feel incredibly flattered.
What was your first impression when you saw the pilot for the new series?
I thought they did an incredible job of having some very iconic moments that we share: like Liz getting shot in the Crashdown Café and Max coming over and saving her life — those really big moments that were very much a big thread of the original series. Then very quickly it becomes its own show, which I thought was so smart, and it tackles these bigger topics.
You know, our show, these kids were in high school and the alien theme was about how everyone felt in high school. You felt out of place and you didn’t feel like you belonged. In today’s story, these kids are in their late 20s and the alien is about illegal immigration. It feels very timely and very relevant.
(Photo by Lewis Jacobs/The CW)
How is it working with Jeanine Mason as the new Liz?
I just couldn’t pick someone better to take over the role. She is so impressive as both an actress and a human being. We really had a great time finding ways to get creative with the performance and doing different things. She was just really up for it all. I had a really wonderful time. It felt very much like passing the baton forward. I love what she’s created with this new Liz.
What role did the original Roswell play in your career as an actress?
Well, it’s so funny, it’s playing a similar role as a director. It really changed my life. I went from a girl that was in high school and I had worked since I was a young kid, but it gave me a career. It really was like everything was “before Roswell” and “after Roswell.”
Now I’ve been making this transition into directing, and Roswell is the first show that’s given me a job directing where I’m not acting. Because they gave it to me, Marlene King felt more comfortable giving me an episode directing Pretty Little Liars, and now Hulu is giving me two more episodes of Light as a Feather. It’s just continuing to build. Again, Roswell has come in and just been an incredible, huge part of my journey as a director.
(Photo by Lifetime)
You’ve had such a diverse career on TV. Do you have any favorite roles that you’ve played?
I have this wall in our house where I have my costumes in frames. I have the Roswell gunshot [costume] framed and my mic from Life Unexpected, and then I have Rachel Goldberg’s T-shirt that says “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” with a green coat and her little fanny pack [from UnREAL]. Those were definitely my iconic roles.
And Girls was an incredible part for me. It really pushed the envelope. To be on a show that was so culturally relevant was really game changing. I think working on Mike Nichols’ movie Charlie Wilson’s War with Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams and Emily Blunt — to be surrounded by all of these incredible talents and feel like I had a real seat at the table — that really changed things for me as well.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy: Everett Collection.)
How and when did you decide to jump from acting to directing? Did you always know that was something you wanted to do?
When I did Roswell, there weren’t female directors. We had 61 episodes and we had one female director on the last episode. I didn’t grow up seeing an image of a female director, so I never thought it was something that I could have. I definitely spent my time in editing during Roswell and asked a lot of questions and paid attention, but during my 20s, you just didn’t see it.
Then when I was on Life Unexpected they brought on a female director, Liz Allen, and it really kind of rocked my world. Through my relationship with her, she was like, “You can do this.” I started shadowing a lot after I got off Life Unexpected. That’s where I was like, “OK, this is something that I can do.”
By the time I did UnREAL, I came to them right away, and I was like, “I have done my homework. I am prepared. I would really love an opportunity.” I’m really grateful to them that in the second season they gave me an episode to direct. I ended up doing four during the course of the series.
What has your experience been like directing a show that you’re also acting in, versus something like Roswell, New Mexico and Pretty Little Liars where you’re not appearing on screen?
The difference is that you’re not really splitting your focus, but at the same time when you’re directing and acting, it’s pretty powerful. You know, you’re really in it and you can really command the energy of a scene because your acting is putting that out. So, you can really craft how you want it to be.
When you’re not acting in it, when you’re sitting back, you can take a breather and really see the scope of the piece. I think it’s incredibly rewarding to work in this space. All this information that I’ve learned and all of these tricks of the trade, of crafting an episode of performance and an episode of TV — to be able to push that information forward and share with these young actors and watch their performance blossom, it is so gratifying. It’s a way of giving back in some ways, and I am just really relishing it.
(Photo by Lewis Jacobs/The CW)
It’s mentorship from a totally different angle.
Absolutely. You know, there are directors that come through your career that really give you these little nuggets that change the way you work. I try to give it as much as I can, because I want to have an impact in the few days that I’m with them.
Do you think that there will be an opportunity for you to appear on screen in Roswell, New Mexico?
Carina MacKenzie — she’s so talented — if she wants to figure out a way, I’ll do it.
Can you share anything else about your upcoming projects? Do you have any on-screen appearances planned?
I did an episode of Law & Order: SVU and Lucy Liu was directing it. That was really fun. I just did an episode of Drunk History that aired. But, quite honestly, following up Rachel Goldberg on UnREAL, there are big shoes to fill. I’m just kind of taking a minute to find the right thing… because I really want to give it my all and find the next right character and the next right story.
Roswell, New Mexico episode “Songs About Texas” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on The CW
She’s only been making movies for a little over a decade, but Emily Blunt has already managed to put together an impressive string of critical and commercial hits — and she looks to add to that list with this weekend’s A Quiet Place. In honor of its arrival, we decided to take a fond look back at some of the brighter highlights from Ms. Blunt’s fast-growing filmography. It’s time for Total Recall!
She’s only been making movies for a little over a decade, but Emily Blunt has already managed to put together an impressive string of critical and commercial hits — and she looks to add to that list with this weekend’s The Girl on the Train. In honor of its arrival, we decided to take a fond look back at some of the brighter highlights from Ms. Blunt’s fast-growing filmography. It’s time for Total Recall!
If you’re going to film a quirky indie comedy about a cheerleader-turned-hardworking single mom who decides to clean crime scenes for a living so she can send her son to private school, you could hardly find a better person for the role than Amy Adams — and it would be just as hard to improve upon Emily Blunt as her not-so-sunny sister. While critics carped that the Christine Jeffs-directed Sunshine Cleaning was ultimately a little too burdened with quirky indie clichés to achieve its full potential, they had nothing but kind words to say about its stars. The Toronto Star’s Peter Howell reflected the opinions of many of his peers when he wrote, “Adams and Blunt rise above the clunky premise and execution to once again demonstrate why they’ve become the go-to girls for any director seeking smart, versatile and warm-blooded talent.”
Star-crossed lovers are nothing new at the cinema, but The Adjustment Bureau — adapted from the 1954 Philip K. Dick short story “Adjustment Team” — adds a novel sci-fi twist by literally pitting its lovers against the agents of fate. Budding politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets a mysterious woman (Blunt) on the eve of his unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate, and becomes determined to find her after they share a kiss — a desire that only intensifies after he meets members of the “Adjustment Bureau” who inform him that he has to stay away from her in order to fulfill “the Plan.” It’s the type of loopy premise that can easily spin off into melodramatic gobbledygook, but according to most critics, Bureau stayed pleasantly grounded thanks to the palpable spark between its leads. As Peter Rainer wrote for the Christian Science Monitor, “Because the chemistry between Damon and Blunt is so strong, what might have been a jumble of Matrix-style oddments comes across instead as ardent.”
Blunt received a raft of award nominations — including one from the Golden Globes — for her work in the title role of this Jean-Marc Vallée period drama, which dramatizes the power struggle leading up to Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne as well as the contentious political atmosphere that surrounded her afterwards. Of course, political intrigue will only get you so far with a movie about a queen — you also need a good old-fashioned romance, and Victoria’s tale offered up a doozy in her courtship with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Rupert Friend), who sparked a real romance with the young monarch after being sent to the royal court as part of a would-be seduction ploy by his uncle, the King of Belgium. It all added up to just the sort of beautifully mounted period piece that tends to hit a reliable home run with critics and arthouse audiences, and The Young Victoria did pretty well on both fronts, with Blunt earning copious praise for her performance. “Blunt, her eyes sparking, her manner playful, smart, and proud, shines in the title role,” wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea. “If the film itself isn’t brilliant, its star most definitely is.”
Two years after making arthouse audiences swoon with My Summer of Love, Blunt made her second trip to the big screen — and scored her first blockbuster success. Of course, The Devil Wears Prada‘s $300 million-plus gross had a lot more to do with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway’s names on the marquee, but Blunt’s supporting appearance proved she could hold her own with those talented ladies (and displayed a gift for comedy she hadn’t necessarily had a chance to display with her first film). Starring Streep as fashion magazine editor and all-around hellish boss Miranda Priestly, Hathaway as Priestly’s fresh-out-of-college new assistant, and Blunt as Hathaway’s far more experienced co-worker, Prada poked fun at the fashion industry while unabashedly embracing its glamour — and the gambit worked with critics as well as audiences. “The Devil Wears Prada is a movie that revels in pleasure,” wrote Slate’s Dana Stevens. “The pleasure of fashion, of luxury, of power and ambition. It’s also a tremendous pleasure to watch.”
Sign up for a movie whose cast includes Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Ned Beatty, and you probably aren’t going to come anywhere near top billing. But even if her supporting turn in Charlie Wilson’s War isn’t one of Blunt’s biggest roles, it rates a mention for a few reasons — it put her in some magnificent closing-credits company, for one thing, and for another, whatever her screentime lacked in quantity, it made up in memorability. Most of all, this Mike Nichols-directed period dramedy about a real-life U.S. Congressman (Hanks) who works with the CIA to try and tilt the balance of the Afghan-Soviet War is pretty all-around entertaining; as Rene Rodriguez wrote for the Miami Herald, “It is so much fun watching these actors enjoy bouncing off each other, it’s almost too easy to forget the importance of the story being told.”
Ah, the love triangle — always good for a bit of drama. That’s exactly what you get out of Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister, an absorbingly low-key drama starring Mark Duplass as a guy who borrows a cabin from his deceased brother’s ex-girlfriend (Blunt), only to show up and find her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt). Questions of grief, unspoken feelings, and sexual identity soon follow — as well as a generous helping of the well-rounded characters and naturalistic dialogue fans of the filmmaker have come to expect. “Even when the storyline tries to wrench the characters in a certain direction, they keep returning to something real and honest,” wrote Deadspin’s Will Leitch. “I want these people to be my friends.”
After acclaimed early performances on the stage and on television, Blunt continued her winning streak with her big-screen debut, 2004’s My Summer of Love, in which she played an upper-class British teen who embarks on a seemingly star-crossed relationship with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Although it wasn’t a huge commercial hit, Love was consistently acclaimed — Blunt and co-star Natalie Press shared an Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer — and it led directly into more high-profile roles, something predicted by more than a few critics. “Remember these names,” wrote Moira MacDonald for the Seattle Times. “Remember this strange, lovely movie.”
By the time Edge of Tomorrow arrived in theaters, we’d all seen Tom Cruise play action hero countless times — and he’d even helped save the world from an alien invasion, as his character was called upon to do in this Doug Liman-directed sci-fi flick. But Tomorrow came with a couple of fairly nifty twists: one in the form of a timeloop plot device that sent Cruise plummeting back into the same chaotic day on the battlefield until he could manage to get it right, and the second with a story that made Cruise an unwilling and borderline incompetent hero who needed to be trained to fight by the movie’s true badass, played by Blunt. The end result, as critics were fond of pointing out, was a little like Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day, and all kinds of blockbuster fun. As Kenneth Turan put it for the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a star-driven mass-market entertainment that’s smart, exciting and unexpected while not stinting on genre satisfactions.”
On a superficial (and wholly enjoyable) level, Rian Johnson’s 2012 sci-fi hit Looper is about one man’s life-or-death struggle against his future self. But underneath all the twisty time travel narrative and cool set pieces, it’s really a surprisingly tender drama about a mother’s love — and one grounded by the flinty yet vulnerable performance delivered by Blunt, who plays a homesteading single mom determined to protect her young son at all costs (and maybe unwittingly change the world for the better in the bargain). “That first hour cooks,” marveled the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips. “And the second hour brings Emily Blunt into the story, which is a fine thing for any second half to offer.”
Some pretty powerful films have been made about the international drug trade, and at this point, if you’re going to throw your cinematic hat in the ring, you’d better be prepared to add a singular statement to the genre. Director Denis Villeneuve managed to pull it off with 2015’s Sicario, starring Blunt as an FBI agent who teams up with a pair of CIA operatives (Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro) to bring down a Mexican cartel. In terms of plot outline, it’s boilerplate stuff — but in Villeneuve and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s hands, and through the stellar efforts of the well-chosen cast, the end results are elevated considerably. “Far from being just another crime story,” wrote the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Calvin Wilson, “Sicario is cinema at its most ambitious.”
She’s an Oscar-winning thespian and one of the world’s most bankable superstars — and this week, Julia Roberts reunites with director Garry Marshall for the ensemble dramedy Mother’s Day, which gives us the perfect excuse to take a fond look back at some of her best-remembered (and all-around best) roles. There’s stuff to make you laugh, cry, and give you food for thought here — just like a great Julia Roberts movie. It’s time for Total Recall!
Charlie Wilson’s War tells a tale of political intrigue, backroom
dealings, and debauchery so wild it would seem unbelievable — were it not a
true story. With the release of the Certified Fresh War, starring
Hanks and Julia Roberts, to DVD this week, RT relived the saga with one of its
key players: Charlie Wilson himself.
As the saying goes, Washington is Hollywood for ugly people. If anyone broke
that mold, it was Charlie Wilson: the affable, good-looking former congressman’s
life has been nothing if not cinematic. In the early 1980s, the Texas Democrat
known around town as “Good Time Charlie” was distinguished more for his taste in
booze, babes, and parties than for his legislative record — that is, until he
played a major role in the demise of the Soviet Union.
Once the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Congress dedicated $5 million to
Afghan guerillas to fight the Soviets. Wilson (Hanks), who sympathized with
the plight of the Afghanis, felt that figure was nowhere near enough. With the
help of the conservative anti-communist billionaire socialite Joanne Herring
(Roberts) and a cynical CIA operative named Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour
Hoffman), Wilson helped bump that figure to $1 billion. The money helped the
Afghan forces drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan (the U.S.S.R. collapsed two
years later), and the plan was implemented with almost no notice from the public
— until the 2003 publication of George Crille’s book 2003 book Charlie
Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in
History. However, during the conflict, young men from around the
Middle East (the so-called “Afghan Arabs,” whose ranks included Osama Bin Laden)
went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets; when the war ended, a power void was
left that the Taliban eventually filled.
Wilson, now 74 and retired from Congress, has been happily married for nine years
— and he’s as honest and charming as ever. We talked to Wilson about making the
story as accurate as possible, the culture of Washington then and now, and the
future of Afghanistan.
Obviously, anytime someone’s making a biopic, they’re going to have to change
certain things to make the narrative work. How much of the movie is as it was,
and how much did they embellish?
CW: I would say that at least 80 percent was really true to the story. It’s
amazing how much of that hour and 37 minutes was real stuff. Maybe some of
Joanne’s sayings weren’t exactly the way they were. But that’s so picky.
Nichols held it so close to the real story. If you read the book and saw the
movie… the book is absolutely 95 percent accurate.
Did the movie get you right?
CW: Yeah, they got me perfect. They got me perfect. I’m guilty as charged of all
the misbehavior they showed in the movie.
What was your involvement in making the movie?
CW: They were very generous with my wife and me with letting us on the set
whenever we wanted to come, which was fairly often. On the set, I had no
authority whatsoever, but I was able to point out, y’know, technical things,
things in the story where I felt it wasn’t the way it came down. They did me the
great honor of listening to me. Mike Nichols was always open, and was willing to
make changes when he was convinced that maybe they didn’t have it quite right.
With his openeness, that’s one of the ways they got a lot of the errors out that
would ordinarily show up in a movie like this.
CW: He was extremely generous with his time, and we spent a lot of time talking,
and telling jokes. Tom’s a wonderful guy.
A lot of what happened in the early 1980s has come back into the news. The
Soviet Union is obviously gone, but there was concern that funding the
mujahideen would have a blowback effect. How do you respond to that?
CW: It just doesn’t really hold water. You gotta remember that it was 11 years
after the Russians left Afghanistan that we ever heard of the Taliban. You just
can’t predict those kinds of things. You have no idea, no earthly idea. The
[CIA] — and I know this is true, ’cause I was in the middle of it — never
recruited a single [Afghan] Arab to fight with the mujahideen. In the first
place, the Arabs weren’t nearly as good fighters. Also, we had limitless
manpower, so why would we go out and recruit Arabs? There were none recruited.
The second thing is they’re not using any weapons at all that they would have
found that were used by the mujahideen. None. So the idea that we either trained
or equipped the Taliban is just silly. The final thing is, if they had indeed
captured any weapons, the only one that would have been of any value to them
would have been the stinger. If they had any stingers, we would have seen some
airliners shot down.
When was the last time you were in Afghanistan?
CW: The last time I was in Afghanistan was about a year before the Soviets left.
The Soviets left in 1989 in February, so it would have been in ’88.
What’s your take on what’s happening there now?
CW: The [Bush] administration started out really well when they first attacked
Afghanistan and rolled back the Taliban without very much problem, and then
started a lot of public works programs to rebuild the country. The Iraq war,
unfortunately, changed the emphasis, and we took a lot of resources out of
Afghanistan to put ’em in Iraq, both military and reconstruction-type things.
We’ve suffered greatly because of that.
CW: That’s absolutely right, and that’s what we got. Congress had been so good
up until that time, but they just turned deaf ears; once the Russians stepped
out of there, Congress just lost interest. I fought it as hard as I could, but
obviously, I was unsuccessful.
Do you think people have lost interest in Afghanistan now, with the emphasis
being on Iraq?
CW: I don’t think so, because there’s been so much about Afghanistan in the
papers, and so much about the Taliban resurgence, and so much about some of the
NATO allies not wanting their soldiers to fight. I don’t know if I can take
credit for this, but everybody in Congress today says Afghanistan is the good
war and Iraq is the bad one. The Democrats who ferociously opposed the Iraq war
support the Afghan war. I think there would be a chance, if we could shut down
Iraq, we could achieve the kind of unanimity we had before, and we could get
Another reason Afghanistan has been in the papers lately is the question of
boycotting the Olympics. After the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. didn’t
participate in the Moscow games. Do you think the 1980 boycott was effective?
Would you favor a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over the issue of Tibet?
CW: Well, I don’t know if it was effective, but it damn sure seriously offended
the Soviets and caused them great embarrassment. There’s no question about that.
The sins of the Chinese are not up to the sins of the Soviets invading a country
with 170,000 soldiers. I don’t want it to appear that I’m not sensitive to civil
rights violations, but we need to keep things in perspective here, and the
current situation doesn’t rise to the standard of outrage that the invasion of a
small country did.
One of the things that’s so remarkable about what happened was that it was so
under the radar, that both parties worked together to defeat the Soviets. Do you
think Washington has become more ideological since you left Congress in 1996?
CW: [Since the early 1990s] it’s gotten more bitterly partisan. In rebuilding
Afghanistan, if we didn’t have the Iraq thorn in our side, I think Congress
could come together on that.
CW: Yup. (laughs) When the book came out, I was gonna sue ’em, but my lawyer
convinced me they could prove everything.
Do you think, given the way politics is covered now, that any of this stuff
could have happened, from bringing down the Soviets to your general day-to-day
CW: Probably not. Probably not. And it’s too bad, too.
CW: Well, it was fun, y’know?
So Washington’s gotten a lot more sterile since you left?
CW: It has. Not because of my leaving, but it has. They all look like they’re
running for president of the Rotary Club.
How’s your health these days?
CW: I had a heart transplant. I’m recovering, but you don’t get over a heart
transplant in six months, which is how long I’ve been out. I’m looking forward
to making a lot of progress in the next six months. But with the anesthetic and
all, my memory’s not good, and I’ve had some physical problems, but I hope to
get better with vigorous exercise, under the lash of my ballerina wife.
How was the premiere of the film?
CW: It was just spectacular for me. Just absolutely spectacular. I really wasn’t
supposed to go to the premiere [after the heart transplant], but I begged and
begged my doctor. Finally, he agreed to let me go as long as he got to come too.
But I paid a terrible price, and I was unable to go to the various festivities
We wanted to ask you, what are your favorite movies?
CW: Well, my very favorite is
Casablanca. I just love everything about
it. I love the story, love Bogart. I like
Primary Colors. I like Dr.
Strangelove. I love Bulworth, although that one didn’t do much. I
loved Patton. I like Jaws a lot.
What makes a good movie for you?
CW: Ooooh, gosh…. I can’t tell you, but I know it when I see it.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Slusho, whatever that is! Cloverfield stomps its way onto DVD as not only the most exciting new release of the week, but the one most chock-full of special features. Charlie Wilson’s War, The Savages, and The Orphanage are also new — but be on the lookout as the year’s worst flick to date, One Missed Call, also shuffles onto shelves.
The best-kept secret of 2007 (look up viral marketing in the dictionary and see J.J. Abram’s grinning mug) turned out to be the rebirth of the kaiju — a Godzilla-esque creature wreaking havoc in Manhattan, as seen through the eyes of Handicam-wielding twenty-somethings. Online campaigns involving Slusho and the mysterious 1-11-08 teaser title made for a gonzo opening weekend take, but significant drop-off suggests that many of you were waiting for DVD.
Two alternate endings, deleted scenes, commentary by director Matt Reeves and tons of Easter Eggs make Cloverfield a must-own. Now, figure out where to buy it, since no less than four special store-specific editions will be available, ranging from a Steelbook case (FYE and Suncoast), exclusive ringtone (K-Mart and Sears), “T.J. Miller’s Video Diary” bonus DVD (Best Buy) and our recommendation, a “Rob’s Goin’ to Japan Party Mix” CD (Target).
If modern, smarmy Tom Hanks doesn’t rub you the wrong way (why, oh why, couldn’t he have stopped at A League of Their Own??) and you’d like to see him charm the pants off of Julia Roberts’ conservative socialite, then perhaps there’s nothing stopping you from watching the true story of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson and how he run the Soviets out of Afghanistan. But if you’re paying attention, you already know how that situation panned out.
There’s not much here, but a “Who Is Charlie Wilson?” featurette brings us up close and personal with not only Hanks, producer Aaron Sorkin, and director Mike Nichols (The Graduate), but also Wilson himself and his lover/benefactor, Joanne Herring.
After a nine-year absence, Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills) wins us over again. This time, her angsty protagonists are middle-aged siblings (Best Actress nominee Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman) whose perfectly rancorous relationship is tested when they must deal with their increasingly senile, elderly father (Philip Bosco). One of last year’s critical darlings, The Savages deserves a wider audience for its bittersweet, acute observations — you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll see poop on the walls.
There’s not much to see here: extended scenes, interviews, and a “Behind the Scenes” photo gallery. But don’t let that deter you; give The Savages a try and you’ll likely end up touched. After all, who doesn’t love their parents?
Orphaned by the Oscars (it was Spain’s official entry but didn’t make the final cut) and at the box office, here your chance to adopt this overlooked flick! In the Guillermo del Toro-produced stab at familial horror, Laura (Belen Rueda) moves into the orphanage she grew up in, but finds the house already occupied by spirits who seemingly kidnap her son. Come for the thrills, stay for the surprisingly tender story.
The Orphanage largely takes place in one setting, so location, location, location was undoubtedly a vital adage on set. Two DVD features reveal the efforts taken to bring Laura’s nightmarish world to life: the first, “When Laura Grew Up,” shows the filmmakers at work building the orphanage set. The second takes us into “Tomas’ Secret Room,” where the haunting climax of the movie takes place.
I don’t know about you, but nothing gets our blood boiling like a good May-December pairing. Starting Out in the Evening boasts the match-up of sexagenarian Frank Langella and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) as an aging writer and grad student , respectively, who grow close in Andrew Wagner’s film about relational intimacy and alienation.
Director Wagner offers in-depth commentary in the disc’s only non-trailer offering.
Is the movie movement known as mumblecore (a certain brand of D.I.Y. flicks with ultra-low budgets and nonprofessional actor) all it’s cracked up to be? Take the first step in making your call with the latest notable mumblecore effort, a wry, intimate story about a flaky girl and her crush on two goofy co-workers.
Those mumblecore kids are majorly hands-on with the filmmaking process and their subsequent DVD releases. Hannah continues the trend with a commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and a short film by director Joe Swanberg, Thanks for the ADD! And speaking of which, check out Swanberg’s MySpace page for even more short films, including the trailer to his next feature, Nights and Weekends.
At last, the worst-reviewed movie of 2008 has arrived on DVD! (Okay, it’s only the worst so far, but we’re betting it can go the distance.) It takes something special to go 64 reviews without a single fresh rating, but this remake of Takashi Miike’s J-horror pic — in which people like Shannyn Sossamon get phone calls portending their imminent deaths — manages the feat. Even Uwe Boll’s Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King notched a five percent Tomatometer. Bravo, One Missed Call. Bravo.
Here’s the kicker: there are no bonus features. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Can you blame Warner Bros. or their no-name filmmakers (not to mention Sossaman and co-star Ed Burns, who both seemed listless while promoting the flick at Comic-Con) for washing their hands of the career-killing box office bomb?
Fun fact: One Missed Call‘s Australian title is Don’t Pick Up the Cell Phone! (Note exclamation point.) Rent accordingly.
Tell the truth: Do you think you could look at a picture of the desert and tell whether it was taken in Iran or Morocco?
Mike Newell, director of the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, is betting you couldn’t — Variety reports that his production has settled on Morocco as a stand-in for the country formerly known as Persia. From the article:
Epic project is a live-action feature based on the videogame. “Prince of Persia” has a script by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (“The Day After Tomorrow“) and vidgame creator Jordan Mechner. The vidgame spawned six installments and numerous spin-offs, boosting Disney execs’ hopes for a lucrative new tentpole.
Jimmy Abounouom, whose Dune Films is handling the Moroccan shoot for Disney, breaks it down for Variety, saying “Producers are always looking for cheap places to shoot, and Morocco is one of them.” Newell follows Ridley Scott and Paul Greengrass into the North African country; Scott’s Body of Lies recently wrapped a shoot there, as did Greengrass’ “untitled Iraq war thriller.” Dune also handled the Moroccan shoots for Charlie Wilson’s War and Stop-Loss.
According to Abounouom, Prince of Persia should start rolling in Morocco by mid-June — providing, of course, a SAG strike doesn’t bring everything grinding to a halt.
Mere days after being left at the altar by (ex-) director Mark Romanek, Universal’s The Wolf Man has found itself a new helmer.
Variety reports that the horror remake will now be directed by Joe Johnston, the man responsible for bringing films such as Honey I Shrunk the Kids, October Sky, and, um, Jurassic Park III to the big screen. From the article:
Benicio Del Toro has long been attached to play the title character, but Romanek’s exit comes after the studio firmed up Anthony Hopkins to play the title character’s father, and for Emily Blunt (“Charlie Wilson’s War“) to play the female lead.
Universal has now dodged bullets with two of its highest-profile 2009 pictures; the studio quickly replaced Brad Pitt with Russell Crowe when the former left State of Play, and with Johnston’s hiring, they ensure that the long-gestating Wolf Man (or Wolfman — these news reports can’t seem to make up their minds) will have a chance to start earning back its $85 million budget on time.