WEIRDLAND: February 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence in Depression drama "Serena"

"Serena" Featurette - The Story (2015) -  starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans, directed by Susanne Bier. In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton's timber empire becomes complicated when it is learned that his wife, Serena, cannot bear children.

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In an exclusive clip from “Serena,” Lawrence’s on-screen reunion with “Silver Linings Playbook” star Bradley Cooper, we have just that type of dazzling majesty on display. Cooper’s character, George Pemberton, has not yet met Serena (Lawrence), and is totally enthralled watching her ride around on the horse, while Agatha (Charity Wakefield) gives him the scoop on Serena’s sordid past.

“I hit the jackpot being able to work with Jennifer Lawrence twice in a row on ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ and now on ‘Serena,’” Bradley Cooper says in this new feaurette for Susanne Bier’s drama “Serena." “She is a wonderful, wonderful actress.” While that may be true, “Serena” got hammered with negative reviews back in the fall of last year — which wasn’t a huge surprise given the movie was delayed for almost two years.

Official synopsis: North Carolina mountains at the end of the 1920s – George (Bradley Cooper) and Serena Pemberton (Jennifer Lawrence), love-struck newly-weds, begin to build a timber empire. Serena soon proves herself to be equal to any man: overseeing loggers, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving a man’s life in the wilderness. With power and influence now in their hands, the Pembertons refuse to let anyone stand in the way of their inflated love and ambitions. However, once Serena discovers George’s hidden past and faces an unchangeable fate of her own, the Pemberton’s passionate marriage begins to unravel leading toward a dramatic reckoning.

“Serena” does not arrive in theaters until March 27th, but it hits VOD this Thursday, February 26th. Watch a new international trailer, a clip from the film, and the aforementioned featurette below, plus check out a handful of new photos. Source:

The situation, tragic and stormily fateful, will be familiar to anyone versed in wide-screen Hollywood outdoor romantic tragedies of the late 1940s and early fifties. If you squeeze your eyes tightly enough, Serena might drain its colour to evoke a black-and-white Robert Ryan/Barbara Stanwyck vehicle directed by King Vidor or Raoul Walsh. But open them again and you’re still watching Serena, one of those movies that proves that the mere presence of all the right ingredients does not a happy meal make. It’s all in the mixing.

Filmed two years ago (between Lawrence and Cooper’s bell-ringing collaborations in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), the delay of this movie is mysterious given that its stars may only be more bankable together than they already are apart. How could you lose with a retro-romantic period noir about a love so toxic it clear cuts the Carolina hills? The answer, it seems, is simply to stand back and hope chemistry will do its own work.

But even nitro and glycerine won’t go boom unless they’re properly mixed. For Serena to have succeeded, and to have lived up to the promise of a modern-day classic Hollywood throwback, it needed to get so deeply inside the madness of the attraction between Serena and George that nothing else would matter. Source:

An arrestingly nihilistic Depression melodrama, marked by courageous performances and exquisite production values, this story of a timber-industry power couple undone by financial and personal corruption nonetheless boasts neither a narrative impetus nor a perceptible objective. The result is both problematic and fascinating, an unsympathetic spiral of human tragedy that plays a little like a hand-me-down folk ballad put to film. It’s not hard to see why a U.S. distributor has been slow to step forward.

Magnolia Pictures, sister outfit of the pic’s production company 2929, will ultimately release “Serena” Stateside in 2015, while Blighty auds will get to see it later this month, hot on the heels of its London festival premiere. Marketing for the film is already positioning it as a throwback romance in the “Cold Mountain” vein, with understandably heavy emphasis on Lawrence and Cooper looking scrumptious in Signe Sejlund’s impeccable period costumes. As a study in mutually destructive marital abrasion, “Serena” boasts no less bleak a worldview than David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” with which it would unexpectedly form a canny double bill.

The Stanwyck comparisons lavished upon Lawrence’s Oscar-winning work in “Silver Linings Playbook” resurface here; she certainly looks every inch the Golden Age siren with her crimped vanilla locks and array of creamy silken sheaths that, true to vintage Hollywood form, never seem to get sullied in the wild. The star also makes good on her proven chemistry with Cooper, who acquits himself with stoic intelligence and a variable regional accent in an inscrutable role that, for its occasional flourishes of Clark Gable bravado, is equal parts hero, anti-hero and patsy. Source:

Bradley Cooper's (Film Progression) video, featuring pictures and stills of Bradley Cooper & co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Sienna Miller, Zoe SaldaƱa, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Heather Graham, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Jaime King, Sandra Bullock; ex-wife Jennifer Esposito, girlfriend Suki Waterhouse, etc. Soundtrack: "Treat Me Nice", "Stuck On You", "She's Not You" & "Paralyzed" by Elvis Presley, "The Greatest Love" by Lee Dorsey, "Little Boy" by Eileen Barton, "Whole Lotta Loving" by Fats Domino, "Baby Be Mine" by The Jelly Beans, and "Oo-Wee Baby" by Jeff Barry & Darlene Love.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oscars' Nominees and Winners - Next Projects

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher - Carell, 52, has wrapped the indie drama Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore, and next shoots The Big Short with Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale. He also is executive producing the TBS comedy series Angie Tribeca, starring Rashida Jones.

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper - He'll reunite with Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell and star Jennifer Lawrence for Joy in March. After Cooper, 40, performs The Elephant Man onstage this summer in London, he will produce and possibly star in Warner Bros.' human-slavery drama Orphan X.

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night - Cotillard, 39, wrapped The Weinstein Co.'s Macbeth with Michael Fassbender, and they'll reunite on Fox's Assassin's Creed. Before that, she has auteur Nicole Garcia's romance Mal de Pierres.

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game - The 38-year-old Brit will play Hamlet starting in August at the Barbican Centre in London before transitioning to the lead role in Doctor Strange for Marvel, scheduled to shoot in the fall.

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything - Jones, 31, won the female lead in the Star Wars standalone movie directed by Gareth Edwards. Before that, she'll appear in J.A. Bayona's A Monster Calls (Oct. 14, 2016) and will shoot Ron Howard's Dan Brown adaptation Inferno with Tom Hanks in the spring.

Michael Keaton, Birdman - Keaton, 63, has wrapped the Catholic Church sex-scandal pic Spotlight and is attached to make Universal and Legendary's King Kong: Skull Island and will play Ray Kroc in The Founder, about the origin of the McDonald's chain.

Julianne Moore, Still Alice - Moore, 54, will go straight from an Oscar win to Maggie's Plan with nominee Ethan Hawke. She has the final Hunger Games in the fall and wrapped Freeheld, in which she plays a gay detective.

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl - Pike, 36, will join Charlie Hunnam in the romance The Mountain Between Us and is attached to a diving thriller titled The Bends.

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything - The newly crowned best actor winner, 33, has Jupiter Ascending currently in theaters and is reuniting with Les Miserables director Tom Hooper on The Danish Girl, in which he plays a transgender artist.

Reese Witherspoon, Wild - The actress-producer, 38, is in Warners' Hot Pursuit (May 8) and is attached to Alexander Payne's Downsizing with Matt Damon.

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood - Arquette, 46, is returning to television with the CSI spinoff CSI: Cyber, which premieres March 4 on CBS, following her win Sunday at the Oscars.

Laura Dern, Wild - The 48-year-old actress next appears in the Toronto Film Festival drama 99 Homes, with Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon. She also is developing an ensemble comedy with Judd Apatow about female football fans, and she's in talks for Kelly Reichardt's next film with Michelle Williams.

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game - The 29-year-old Brit next stars in the thriller Everest (Sept. 18), with Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin. She hasn't taken another movie role because she's expecting her first baby in the spring, and then she'll make her Broadway debut in an adaptation of Therese Raquin, set to open in October.

Edward Norton, Birdman - Norton, 45, has done voice work on Seth Rogen's Sausage Party and is producing HBO's Lewis and Clark miniseries, which shoots in the summer. He also produced a Netflix doc about fathers and sons (March 6).

Emma Stone, Birdman - Stone, 26, has Cameron Crowe's ensemble dramedy Aloha out May 29, and she has wrapped Woody Allen's latest, Irrational Man, which Sony Pictures Classics will release in the summer. She also is developing a project with Easy A director Will Gluck and a comedy called Little White Corvette.

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods - Streep, 65, the most-nominated actress ever, has finished work on two projects: Suffragette, playing a woman fighting for the right to vote (Helena Bonham Carter co-stars); and TriStar's Ricki and the Flash, in the role of a fading rock musician. Source:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day (Blue Valentine)

Blue Valentine is about a marriage that’s slowly, if not quite surely, falling apart, yet the movie is every inch a love story. That’s why it stings so exquisitely. Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) have been together for six years, with a daughter they’re devoted to, but their lives are a mess. Dean, a softhearted, blustery screwup with a youthfully receding hairline, is a freelance house- painter who likes the work because he can enjoy a beer at eight in the morning. He says so with a boastful grin. In other words, he’s trouble. Cindy, a kindly, beleaguered nurse who is looking to move up in the medical world, is sick of his slovenly pursuit of pleasure, his slipshod career options, and his refusal to be an adult.

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in "Blue Valentine" (2010)

At the same time, we can see what she’s drawn to: Dean is sexy, with a slightly saddened little-boy charm, and he’s forever working his way back into her good graces. They’ve turned the addict/enabler two-step into an elegant rehearsed dance. In one memorable sequence, they take a romantic night off and go to a tacky theme motel, where they’re booked into a room with lunar wallpaper and a sci-fi spaceship motif. In this dingy kitsch palace, the two guzzle vodka and mess around (she asks him to get rough — less out of nastiness than nostalgia), fumbling toward the moment when they can feel those old feelings they used to have.

Trying to set the mood, Dean puts on a scratchy old soul song. It’s ”You and Me,” a curio from the ’70s by Penny & the Quarters, and all we have to hear is a few bars of its warbling sweet plea (”You and me/You and me/Nobody, baby, but you and me”) to know that it’s their song and that it’s a heartbreaker, because the two probably haven’t felt that way in a very long time. As the tune goes on, it sounds more and more achingly beautiful. It becomes the wistful ”our song” of everyone in the audience. Source:

Ryan Gosling and Christina Hendricks attend the "Lost River" premiere during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2014 in France.

After having created his own cult of indie thrillers with Drive, Only God Forgives, Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, actor Ryan Gosling is stepping behind the camera for his latest project Lost River. Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for this thriller, which stars Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan and Eva Mendes. And it looks like another underground masterpiece for the burgeoning filmmaker. Lost River weaves elements of fantasy noir and suspense into a modern day fairytale. Lost River is coming to select theaters this April, and will be made available on Digital HD the same day. Lost River is produced by Marc Platt and Adam Siegel on behalf of Marc Platt Productions, along with Gosling himself via his Phantasma Films banner, and Michel Litvak and David Lancaster via the Bold Films banner. Source:

Derek Cianfrance's thoughtful use of violence in the 2013 drama The Place Beyond the Pines (starring Gosling and Bradley Cooper) was a reaction to his experience with the MPAA. Cianfrance is now in the process of editing The Light Between Oceans, a drama based on the Australian novel about a lighthouse keeper (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Rachel Weisz) who find a shipwrecked baby. When asked if he worries about a possible NC-17 rating, the director admits that it’s been on his mind. “Yeah, because I’m working on a love story right now, and I want it to be true,” he says. “I think about it all the time.” Source:

Derek Cianfrance, one of the screen’s most gifted and innovative new directors, proved to be a master storyteller with a rare and unflinching emotional directness with Blue Valentine, the hauntingly intimate 2010 dissection of a marriage. Reunited with that movie’s star, Ryan Gosling, for another richly detailed and seamlessly calibrated triumph of classical filmmaking called The Place Beyond the Pines, his maturity of vision is repeated and expanded into a broader and more complex tapestry of interconnected family relationships that spans generations and keeps you paralyzed with suspense. Told in a daunting but poetic narrative triptych that pares the film into three sections, the effect is lyrical.

Despite the fact that Romina is living with another man, Luke turns from vagabond loner into caring and devoted father, but to provide for his kid, lure his girl away from her new lover and make a home for them both, building cribs and buying ice cream has limitations. With no parenting skills, Luke turns to robbing banks, in another series of dizzying action sequences, including a high-speed chase through a cemetery with a flat tire.

Enter Bradley Cooper as Avery Cross, the college dropout and loser son of a New York Supreme Court judge-turned-rookie cop who accidentally brings Luke to a violent, premature date with destiny and takes all of the credit. It’s a jarring scene, but in a sense, Mr. Gosling’s impact is just beginning, as Mr. Cooper takes up where his unfinished story left off. Mr. Cianfrance’s artistic vision catapults it above the limitations of contrivance and into a realm of constantly evolving shifts of tone and mood. The film is beautifully photographed by British cinematographer Sean Bobbitt (Shame), with exquisitely nuanced performances by Mr. Gosling (who surpasses all expectations) and Mr. Cooper (far superior to his limited role in Silver Linings Playbook). And Dane DeHaan, as Mr. Gosling’s emotionally damaged son, Jason, adds a magnetic younger accent to the already dark landscape of The Place Beyond the PinesSource:

Ryan Gosling may be chugging along with this whole acting thing, but the Drive star, who's currently shooting The Nice Guys with Russell Crowe, does love his music.

And he wants to ensure that his firstborn daughter loves her music, too! "Ryan sings to the baby," a source tells E! News, dishing details on the "infatuated" new dad's relationship with his and Eva Mendes' now 4-month-old baby girl. "He loves it. Sometimes he'll make up his own songs and include her name in them. It's very sweet." Source:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Romantic Comedies in Hawaii: "Aloha" and "Wings Over Honolulu"

“Sometimes you have to say goodbye before you can say hello.” Fortunately, Aloha means both on the islands. Here’s our first look at writer-director Cameron Crowe’s Hawaii-set romantic comedy with a few actors you might have heard of. a defense contractor (Cooper) who falls for an Air Force pilot (Stone) after he is assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite from Hawaii. Bradley Cooper stars as a celebrated military contractor who falls from grace but gets a second chance. He returns to Honolulu and reconnects with an old flame (Rachel McAdams) while unexpectedly falling for the Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone) assigned to him. Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride and Alec Baldwin co-star in the pic produced by Crowe and Scott Rudin. Columbia Pictures and Regency Enterprises originally had set a Christmas 2014 date for Aloha, but last summer it got pushed back to May 29. Source:

Bradley Cooper, Oscar Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for "American Sniper" (2014)

Emma Stone, Oscar Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for "Birdman" (2014)

Cameron Crowe returns with a new film in his signature style: entirely uncool and old-fashioned, but often satisfying in its honeyed smoothness. He’s the director of irony-free romances such as Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous and Say Anything, and new film Aloha seems to be in very much the same vein. Bradley Cooper returns to the middle of the road as military contractor Brian Gilcrest, having his balls broken by his superior Alec Baldwin for messing up a space mission. He must return to Hawaii, where he made his name. Why? Because in Cameron Crowe’s world, life is one big second chance. Source:

Ray Milland and Wendy Barrie in "Wings Over Honolulu" (1937), which was Oscar Nominated for Best Cinematography by Joseph A. Valentine

A Navy pilot gets involved in a romantic triangle while stationed in Hawaii. Directed in 1937 by H.C. Potter, starring Ray Milland, Wendy Barrie and William Gargan, based on a story by Mildred Cram published in "Redbook Magazine" (1936)

In this wartime drama, a young woman nearly comes unhinged when her husband, a Navy pilot, is transferred to Pearl Harbor on their wedding day. She goes with him. Once in Hawaii she is surprised to see her ex-boyfriend sailing about in an expensive yacht. Her husband becomes totally engrossed in his work and begins neglecting her so it seems natural that she would go for a little sail with her ex-flame. When her husband learns about her philandering, he gets jealous and ends up crashing his plane in the harbor. As a result, he is court-martialed. His wife, sorry for her actions, defends him, gets him acquitted and never strays again. Marital bliss ensues. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper: Ideal Valentines, Suki Waterhouse video

"Monogamy is a good option beyond practicality. It’s true that many people are burdened by expectations of monogamy. But a lot of people wouldn’t have it any other way. Married people have more sex than single people. People who are in love have better sex than those who aren’t. Having a long-term bond with another person feels really good.

Our generation has a lot of disposable things to entertain and hold our attention. To me, non-monogamy seems like a way of making love one of them. Perhaps sex can be a disposable, noncommittal pleasure. Love isn’t. Eventually everyone has to grow old. A secure bond with all its mental and physical health benefits takes time. Non-monogamy is fun for your twenties but monogamy is the norm because it better suits a much longer portion of adult life." Source:

Legend has it that Saint Valentine became famous (or infamous) amongst the Romans for performing weddings for those outlawed from getting married, and was later executed for his actions. Surely Saint Valentine wasn’t aware that after his martyrdom, February 14th would forever be named after him. And that February 14th would become a day where couples would be involved in an expensive day of commercialism which would culminate in a passionate night of… DVD watching.

The Fault in Our Stars may have been based on a book for young adults, but it has become a favourite for just about everyone. This tear jerker tells the tale of two cancer survivors who fall in love and teach us some vital lessons about life. Needless to say, viewers of this excellent romantic comedy should have handkerchiefs handy.

For viewers interested in films with Oscar pedigree, Silver Linings Playbook is a nutty film with a strong cast including Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, who are excellent in their roles as dysfunctional characters with some quirky psychological issues. This David O. Russell film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won one for Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress.

A romantic comedy which won the Oscar for Best Picture is Shakespeare in Love. Taking home seven Academy Awards, Shakespeare in Love is a wonderfully acted film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes (William Shakespeare) that tells the fictional story of how a real life romance inspired the world’s greatest playwright’s greatest work. Of course, the film cleverly ignores the fact that Shakespeare wasn’t inspired by a young fiery Ms Paltrow, but the earlier work of an Italian writer.

Filmgoers who suffer from a gag reflex at the mention of Valentine’s Day would be well served by watching Gone Girl, which begins as an engrossing mystery, yet slowly twists into something else. This Ben Affleck vehicle suffers from some plot holes, but has enough darkness to satisfy any cynic.

A lesser known film with a wicked twist on romance is Woody Allen’s tennis film, Match Point, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson. Without giving too much away, the unexpected turn in the film will hit you like a powerful serve from Pete Sampras, and in the process provide you with a Valentine’s Day to remember. Source:

According to a new survey, conducted by Swizzels Love Hearts, the city of tribes (Galway) is the most romantic county in Ireland, followed closely by Dublin and then Kerry. Cork and Kilkenny rounded out the top five. The study also revealed that nine out of 10 people are planning to get a gift for their other half this Valentine’s Day.

While everyone will have their own someone special in mind this Saturday, potential celebrity companions are never too far away from one’s imagination. Scarlett Johansson is apparently the ideal date for guys. She narrowly beat Mila Kunis to that title with Roz Purcell, Nadia Forde and Jennifer Lawrence popular choices as well.

Meanwhile the ladies would most like to spend some quality time with Bradley Cooper. Ryan Gosling, Jamie Dornan, Rob Kearney, Bernard Brogan and Bressie were also named as ideal Valentines. Source:

Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts in "Valentine's Day" (2010)

Lily Collins and Sam Claflin in "Love, Rosie" (2014) directed by Christian Ditter.

"Love, Rosie" is a lesson on safe sex if ever there was one. It seems that whenever one of them is free and single, the other is spoken for. Alex gets involved with a series of blond mistakes (Tamsin Egerton and Bradley Cooper's current sweetheart Suki Waterhouse), while Rosie's attempt to make a real family results in a relationship with Greg (Christian Cooke), a man who is all abs, no substance. It takes some continent-hopping and a few failed marriages to get them in sync.

Tamsin Egerton with boyfriend Josh Hartnett in Porto Ercole, Italy (October, 2014)

Bradley Cooper and Suki Waterhouse at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (2 March 2014)

Suki Waterhouse video, with Roxy Music's song "Virginia Plain"

Thank goodness for Collins, who by now is tired of the Audrey Hepburn comparison, I'm sure. She's beguiling even when the originality of the script - adapted from Cecelia Ahern's Where Rainbows End - is not. She and Claflin share a workable chemistry that beefs up the story. It is what it is: a predictable rom-com with lovely locales and winningly sweet characters; the perfect choice pre-Valentine's Day. Source: