Benedict Cumberbatch’s WikiLeaks Movie is Coming to Theaters This Fall

Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. The strangely beautiful and fiercely talent Englishman first made us fall into love with him in the BBC version of Sherlock last year, and in the coming months we’ll see his villainous turn in Star Trek. But it’s DreamWorks that’s currently prepping their WikiLeaks movie with Breaking Dawn director Bill Condon leading the picture. Now titled The Fifth Estate the film is currently in production with Cumberbatch starring as Julian Assange and Daniel Bruhl as WikiLeaks co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The Fifth Estate, based on the books Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy with a script from Josh Singer of The West Wing, looks to be shaping up to Sorkin-esque proportions.

With shooting still underway, DreamWorks has already set a release date for the project—a cozy November 15th premiere, hitting the prime award season sweet spot. The cast will be rounded out with the great Peter Capaldi and the stately Dan Stevens, as well as Anthony Mackie, Alicia Vikander, and Laura Linney. With a cast like this, it’s difficult to go wrong—but again, it’s difficult to judge how this will all pan out from the man who brought us the final saga of Bella and Edward. At least we get a bleach-blonde Benedict, right?

Photo via Indiewire

Rating The Plot Lines In ‘Love Actually’

It’s the day before Christmas and all through the house are the sounds of Love Actually coming from the living room, because tradition in our house is for my mother to watch that movie over and over again while I hide in my room and listen to normal music. I have seen this damn movie so many times. At first I loved it. Then I found it slightly annoying. And now I hate it. But let’s be real: it’s not all bad. Here’s a quick little guide to the best and worst story lines in this madcap Christmas romantic comedy.

GREAT: Harry and Karen

This is definitely the best plot line of the film. Can’t we all agree? First of all, of course Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson would have the best/worst marriage in cinema. It only makes sense for that marriage to be depicted in the best/worst Christmas movie ever made. But not only is this story the strongest, writing wise, it’s consistently the one that tears everyone apart. The scene in which Karen discovers that her husband is probably cheating on her with his tarty (tarty! British!) secretary and she cries along to Joni Mitchell? Don’t act like you haven’t dramatically reacted to every minor life crisis the exact same way.

AWFUL: Jamie and Aurelia

Colin Firth is all Mister Darcy over the fact that his girlfriend sleeping with his brother, so he has to run away to sunny France for Christmas so he can spend the holiday alone and write a novel on his typewriter. Who uses a typewriter?! This ain’t Brooklyn, Jamie. Luckily, he has a hot Portuguese cleaning lady who he falls in love with, and it’s an interesting take on class status in Europe. Ha ha, just kidding, but isn’t it hilarious when Jamie can’t speak Portugese really well at the end? (Nope.)

GREAT: David and Natalie

Sure, it’s kind of weird that this plot line about the Prime Minister and a member of his staff devotes a few scenes to the Iraq war and disparages the United States presidency with a composite of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton (Southern, ass-grabbing) played by Billy Bob Thornton. And then, you know, the Prime Minister falls in love with someone on his staff. But he doesn’t grab her ass! Instead, he dances to the Pointer Sisters. (Ah, those Brits, always making me ask the question, “Is he gay or just English?”) But Hugh Grant is adorable as hell in this, and props to the since-unseen Martine McCutcheon for looking cute as a button and looking like a normal human woman with a real, bangin’ body.  

AWFUL: Sarah and Karl

Why does Laura Linney live in London? What is going on with her mentally ill brother? Why does he call so much? Why does she have a thing for Karl? (OK, that answer is obvious.) Why does Karl string her along? Why does Karl drop her based entirely on the fact that she has a mentally ill brother who calls her too much? I dunno, Karl, maybe you not be a dick for a second and a half and realize that maybe you could take the lady out on a date instead of just trying to bang her after the company holiday party? Or maybe Sarah should wise up and realize that Karl—his name is Karl, for Christ’s sake—is kind of a jag off and maaaaybe she shouldn’t shit where she eats? She already has enough on her plate with her brother, you know?

GREAT: Daniel and Sam

How awkward is it to watch Love Actually now that Natasha Richardson has died? Obviously Liam Neeson’s character would deal with the death of his wife by breaking the necks of a lot of evil Europeans. Or wolves, or something. Luckily, this story line focuses on the love between Daniel and his stepson, Sam. Sam, who is the most adorable child in the history of film, steals everyone’s hearts with his sad face and his mussy hair and his obsession with the American girl who is really only in this movie to remind everyone how awesome “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is. But like Harry and Karen’s story, this plot line is one of the best because it walks the line between heartwarming and heartbreaking.

THE WORST: Mark, Juliet, and Peter

Hey, Mark? If you’re in love with your best friend’s new wife, maybe you should stop hanging around them and filming their wedding and showing up at the door to profess your love to her with some silly Bob Dylan-style speech-with-cue-cards thing. ‘Cause that is some bullllllllshit. You are a terrible person. And Juliet? Don’t think you’re off the hook for kissing him. I know you think he’s sweet and everything, but you have a husband inside the house—right there inside the house—so maybe you shouldn’t participate in his terrible, evil best friend’s efforts to break you two apart because he’s kind of a selfish, sad puppy of a man. And Peter? Pull your head out of your ass. Shit is going down all around you and you’re too busy organizing choirs to sing to your wife. 

GREAT: John and Judy

Tits, basically. And Martin Freeman. So thumbs up!

THE WEIRDEST: Billy Mack and Joe

We can blame this movie for Bill Nighy’s weird career, right? But even I don’t even know what the hell is going on in this one. Sure, I’m beginning to get "Christmas Is All Around" stuck in my head for the rest of the week, and a British bromance is darling, I suppose. But nothing about the resolution of this story—basically, the image of two old Brits sitting around on Christmas eve, hugging and watching porn together—makes me want to do anything but vomit all of the cinematic eggnog I’ve willingly accepted for nearly two-and-a-half hours. 

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Aimee Mann and Laura Linney Appropriately Charming in “Charmer” Video

Life on the road can be draining, even for someone as experienced and established as Aimee Mann. Sometimes, to meet the demand, you have to take some seriously drastic measures. Mann explores one possible solution in the very funny video for "Charmer,’ her first single off the album of the same name. Tired of the rigors of touring, she takes some unsolicited advice and hires a robot double, played with impressive commitment by Laura Linney, also recently of The Big C, John Adams and the introductions before Downton Abbey. Linney adopts Mann’s mannerisms (rim shot!) and fashion sense, tension arises and the struggle between the real and ‘bot Aimees becomes absurd, and will make you smile as well as ponder the nature of fame.

 
Tom Scharpling directed the clip, in which Jon Hodgman makes a cameo as a sleazier, traveling-salesman version of himself to sell Mann on the idea of the robot double. Hodgman previously appeared in the Scharpling-directed video for The New Pornographers’ "Moves," if you’re into playing "six degrees" with funny people who also were in music videos. 
"I love this video concept because the idea completely falls apart when the robot double begins to do a better job than the original. Such are the pitfalls of relying on a persona," Mann writes, via the post at NPR. "I think Scharpling did a great job, and honestly, it’s a rare experience for me to have complete confidence in a video director. But he has great and funny and interesting ideas, and knows how to make things happen."
Charmer will be released September 18th, but in the meantime, watch the video and have yourself a good laugh. Goodnight, everybody! 
 

Big Night for the Big C

The Big C — Showtime’s female-aimed answer to Breaking Bad — premiers tonight along with a new season of Weeds. The New Yorker’s Nancy Franklin has mixed feelings. In a nutshell, Franklin thinks the show is so-so, but Laura Linney is fantastic. This sounds about right, as it’s essentially how I feel about the last few seasons of Weeds and Nurse Jackie; the stars (Marie-Louise Parker and Edie Falco, respectively) outshine the scripts. (For more of my thoughts on Weeds go here and here.)

The concept of the Big C — woman finds out she has terminal cancer, decides to really start living — sounds Lifetime-y i.e. un-apologetically designed to pluck the strings of our cheaply won hearts. But don’t underestimate Linney. She brings integrity and depth to her projects, always projecting an honest and often devastating sadness from her WASP-blue eyes. Curious to see how it turns out.

Stream the First Episode of Showtime’s ‘The Big C’ Right Here

If you read Frank Bruni’s glowing profile of Laura Linney in last weekend’s Times magazine (and we strongly suggest you do), then you’re already familiar with Showtime’s next comedy centered around a strong female lead (others include Weeds, Nurse Jackie, and the United States of Tara). The Big C stars Linney as a slightly uptight teacher who becomes unhinged following a diagnosis of late-stage melanoma. It’s a heartless conceit: Making us fall in love with a character (it’s a cinch falling in love with Linney) and then giving her incurable cancer. Oh well, can’t say you weren’t warned. The show also stars Oliver Platt as Linney’s husband, and Gabourey Sidibe in a proving-Howard-Stern-wrong role as a sassy student. The Big C premieres August 16th, but we recommend streaming the first episode right here, right now, after the jump.

Movie Reviews: Kick-Ass, I Love You Phillip Morris, The Greatest

I Love You Phillip Morris – “This really happened. It really did.” So read the subtitles at the beginning of I Love You Phillip Morris, informing the audience that the mind-boggling exploits of protagonist Steven Russell (Jim Carrey)—con man, embezzler, impersonator and frequent jail-breaker—are all true. But 15 minutes into the film, when the camera cuts away from Russell, a seemingly cheerful family man, dedicated Christian and potluck-frequenting police officer, to Russell euphorically sodomizing another man while chortling in voice-over, “I’m gay, gay, gay!” those subtitles take on new meaning. Forget the neutered “Will & Grace”. Forget the tortured Brokeback Mountain. This is a movie starring Hollywood heavies Carrey and Ewan McGregor (playing the love of Russell’s life, Phillip Morris) as unapologetic, unconflicted homosexuals who like to screw. This really happened. It really did. If neither Carrey nor the film is plausible in the more earnest moments, well, it’s the movie’s sexual politics, not its weaknesses, that will have everyone talking.—Willa Paskin

Kick-Ass – “How come nobody’s ever tried to be a superhero?” wonders Kick-Ass, and then spends two twisted and exhilarating hours answering: “Because it’s a bloody, dangerous, delusional occupation.” To break the monotony of high school mediocrity, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) turns to vigilantism, becoming the masked avenger of the film’s title. The problem is, Dave is Peter Parker without the IQ or the spider bite—the only ass getting kicked is his own. When Dave gets caught up in a war between some seriously skilled justice-seekers and a mob boss, we’re introduced to superheroes played by Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and, best of all, 12-year-old Chloe Moretz. As the pint-sized assassin Hit Girl, the foul-mouthed Moretz steals the movie from its lead and earns herself a spot in the superhero pantheon. The violence is visceral and real; the humor is R-rated. Needless to say, the movie kicks ass.—Ben Barna

The City of Your Final Destination – No one comes from a nuclear family anymore. The Gunds are no exception. Director James Ivory (Howard’s End, Le Divorce) follows aspiring biographer Omar (Omar Metwally) as he travels to a Uruguayan estancia to save his fledging academic career. Omar hopes to persuade the family of Jules Gund, a deceased and celebrated author, to give him permission to research the literary hero. The film follows the academic as he eases into the Gund family’s extraordinary, damaged lives. A talented cast—Laura Linney as the late writer’s wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg as his mistress and Anthony Hopkins as his brother—plays out a complex soap opera against an enchanting South American backdrop, rivaling the best Merchant- Ivory productions.—Eiseley Tauginas

The Thorn In The Heart – Michel Gondry’s latest, a documentary about his aunt Suzanne, a schoolteacher, never justifies its existence. Suzanne is a charming, lively, no-nonsense woman, but as Gondry takes her through places from her past, he never makes clear why hers is a story worth telling. The film’s meandering narrative torpedoes any chance of Suzanne’s mildly dramatic story appealing to a broader audience. Beautifully shot and gently dreamlike as it is, the movie is uncomfortably similar to a stranger’s home videos.—Michael Jordan

The Greatest – Like Ordinary People and Moonlight Mile before it, The Greatest is a small drama about a family coping with death. One irony of this particular genre is that it insists on the vast pain and messiness of grief, only to tidily resolve said grief before the closing credits. Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon (who also starred in Moonlight) play the parents of an 18-year- old student (Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass) who dies in a car accident shortly after losing his virginity to Rose (An Education’s lovely Carey Mulligan). A pregnant Rose arrives at the grief- stricken parents’ door, and, ultimately, healing ensues. The Greatest is memorable mostly due to Mulligan, Johnson and Johnny Simmons, who plays Johnson’s former burnout of a younger brother. Mulligan and Johnson, already two of Hollywood’s brightest rising stars, seem deservingly destined for long, impressive careers, but Simmons outshines them both. —W.P.