Tag Archives: Emily Mortimer

Interview: Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz And More

What better way to spend the most magical time of year than by seeing a particularly magical and inspiring movie? No, this isn’t a review – that you can find right here – but there’s really no way to talk about Hugo without being swept right back up by that incredible adventure.

Based on Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the tale of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who keeps the clocks running in a 1930s Paris train station by day and tries to finish his deceased father’s work by night, restoring an old automaton. In attempt to find the pieces to fix the elaborate machine, Hugo targets Georges Méliès’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) train station toy stand. And yes, that’s Georges Méliès as in the iconic filmmaker of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Méliès catches Hugo in the act and after finding some stolen goods and Hugo’s notebook of automaton instructions, rather than merely reprimand him, Méliès is so distressed by his findings he takes and threatens to burn Hugo’s notebook. However, with the help of Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), Hugo not only comes closer to fixing the automaton, but fixing Méliès, too.

In honor of Hugo’s November 23rd release, a large portion of the gang assembled for a press conference. Producer Graham King, screenwriter John Logan, the station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisette the flower shop owner Emily Mortimer, Moretz, Butterfield, Kingsley and novelist Brian Selznick all came out to talk about working with Scorsese, dabbling in film history while making a film and so much more. Check out some of the highlights in the transcription below.

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Review: Hugo

Part of the beauty of filmmaking, is the ability to transport viewers to another reality. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, filmmaker Georges Méliès seized the opportunity to put stop tricks and painted film cells to use, combining his skills as a magician and filmmaker to, quite literally, bring dreams to life. Ultimately, we’re still doing the very same thing today, but with the wildly advanced technology and more thorough understanding of storytelling, director Martin Scorsese has created one of the most successful attempts at bringing an audience into the movie with Hugo.

It’s the 1930s in Paris, France. After losing his father (Jude Law) in a terrible fire, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is forced to live with his only relative, his uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone). A far from responsible drunk, Claude pulls Hugo out of school and shows him the ropes at work, teaching Hugo to keep the clocks running at a Paris train station. And it’s a good thing, too, because when Claude leaves Hugo to his lonesome, it’s up to Hugo to keep things timely.

When he isn’t tending to his train station duties, Hugo is hard at work at the one thing his father left behind, an automaton. Hugo regularly snatches up food and milk from the train station vendors and also frequents grumpy old Georges Méliès’ (Ben Kingsley) toy stand, a place prime for automaton part collecting. When Méliès catches Hugo in the act, he demands the boy empty his pockets. Amidst the usual mess of rogue toy parts is a notebook with automaton drawings and instructions that oddly rub Méliès the wrong way. When Méliès takes Hugo’s precious notebook, Hugo turns to Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), for help and the two discover they have a lot to offer one another, Isabelle helping Hugo get his automaton up and running and Hugo giving Isabelle a taste of adventure.

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Review: Our Idiot Brother

Yes, there’s the saying, “nice guys finish last,” and that’s certainly the case for <I>Our Idiot Brother</I>’s Ned (Paul Rudd) quite often, but when you’re considering movies, nice movies can get a bit of a boost even when they don’t entirely deserve it. <I>Our Idiot Brother</I> is undoubtedly flawed, but director Jesse Peretz turns up the charm with ease, bringing the best out of his talented cast and some impressively honest, humorous and heartwarming dialogue to overshadow nearly every fault.

Ned is, well, Miranda, Liz and Natalie’s (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel) idiot brother. Perhaps the term “idiot” is a bit harsh; Ned is just incredibly peppy and a bit too trusting. Then again, most would call a guy who opts to appease a uniformed cop looking for some weed an idiot. After serving eight months in prison, Ned is released, turned away by his girlfriend and denied ownership of his beloved dog, Willie Nelson.

With no job, no home and a criminal record, Ned turns to his family for support. Everyone welcomes him with open arms, beginning with his mother. However, Ned’s happy-go-lucky ways have the tendency to get him in trouble, forcing each of his sisters to eventually kick him to the curb and send him onto the next.

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ‘Our Idiot Brother,’ ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Harry Potter’ and More

After a week packed with new trailers and clips, mostly courtesy of the MTV Movie Awards, this week turned out to be one overflowing with posters. Quite a few images came through the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, but as most were mere snapshots and consisted of incredibly simplistic designs, as most promo posters do, not many stood out enough to make the list – whether it was for good or bad reasons.

On the other hand, Apple got in on the promo poster fun and premiered one that managed to just miss the cut, the one for John Carter. While it doesn’t say much about the film, overall, this clean-cut design with the film’s initials is simply nice to look at. And yes, that’s partially due to the fact that half of the design consists of Taylor Kitsch.

Barely avoiding demotion territory is the new trailer for Dolphin Tale. While my instincts tell me to roll my eyes at the majestic Morgan Freeman narration and the cute and incredibly noble kid, it’s a true story about a boy helping a dolphin; it’d make me heartless to shame this trailer, right?

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Tribeca Interview: Janie Jones’ Alessandro Nivola And Abigail Breslin

Thanks to Little Miss Sunshine, we know Abigail Breslin has some dance moves… kind of. But since when can she sing? Her Janie Jones co-star, Alessandro Nivola, already had some musical ability having sung in Laurel Canyon, but Breslin was going in cold. Well, as quickly as this young actress adapts from character to character is as quickly as she picked up on singing and guitar-playing because she and Nivola successfully take their performances one step further in David M. Rosenthal’s Janie Jones, creating not only compelling characters, but a fantastic soundtrack, too. 

Nivola plays Ethan Brand, the front man in a band whose tour is interrupted when an ex-fling decides it’s time to introduce him to his daughter, Janie Jones. When mom splits and leaves Janie behind, Ethan’s left with no choice, but to take her in and let her hit the road with the band. Trouble is, not only is Ethan incredibly uncomfortable with playing dad, but he’s harboring an alcohol problem as well. When everything boils over and he teeters on the edge of losing everything he’s worked for, the only one capable of grounding him is the loving and talented daughter he never even knew he had. 

As nerve-racking as it was for Breslin to adapt to singing and playing the guitar, one of the most jarring changes was that of the actor playing her dad. Nivola stepped in just days before shooting began and only met Breslin the day before the camera rolled. (Or so they claim. It could all be CGI, couldn’t it?) Anyway, in honor of Janie Jones’ US Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Nivola and Breslin sat down to tell us all about their roles, experience working together, their next projects and much more. Check it all out for yourself in the video interview below and keep an eye out for the film, which is due out in theaters and on VOD this summer. 

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Better on the Page: ‘Shutter Island’ Demystified

Shutter Island was the hottest new thing from Martin Scorsese for quite a while, not just because it featured a massive topnotch cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, but because the film was delayed. We got all pumped for October 2nd, 2009 just to find out we’d have to wait until February 19th, 2010, only a month and half before the big day. Why did the news sting so badly? Because I took the time to read the Dennis Lehane novel it was adapted from and absolutely loved it.

I’m not a big reader to being with. I was one of those kids in high school who immediately ran to Blockbuster or sifted through the CliffNotes library in search of an easy way out as soon as a book was assigned. Textbook reading kept me busy through college, but upon entering the real world, in my very first job post-graduation particularly, I realized there was a lot of down time to be filled. I worked as a local news “news assistant,” which is basically a camera person and producer combined. I’d sit outside a courthouse for hours waiting to catch a ten second quote from a defendant or in the parking lot of a police precinct until I could get a shot of a perp stepping into a cop car. Combine all that downtime with my movie obsession and you get my favorite hobby, reading books being adapted to film.

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Interview: Harry Brown’s Emily Mortimer

It’s a good thing I really enjoyed Harry Brown, otherwise I would have hounded Emily Mortimer with questions about Transsiberian. Mortimer’s characters in the two are actually somewhat similar; they’re very feminine women, but both have a particularly tough side. In Transsiberian she stars as Jessie, a young woman traveling from Beijing to Moscow via train who gets caught up in a drug smuggling effort. When she’s pegged with the goods she has to go up against an intimidating narcotics officer played by Ben Kingsley.

In Harry Brown, Mortimer is not only on the other side of the law, but she trades Sir Ben for another Sir, Sir Michael Caine. Caine plays the titular character, an older man living on an estate in South London. After his wife passes away and his close friend is murdered, he decides he’s had enough with the violent youths tormenting his neighbors and arms up to takes matters into his own hands. Mortimer steps in as DI Alice Frampton, the officer investigating the case of Harry’s late pal and the only one on the force who suspects Harry of committing a string of noble atrocities.

Frampton spends most of her time keeping a close eye on Harry, but eventually gets in on some of the action herself. Take a look at what Mortimer had to say about her brutal battle scene, omitted details about her character and the excessive on-set giggling.

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Interview: Michael Caine is Harry Brown

Michael Caine may play Bruce Wayne’s loving and attentive butler, Alfred, in the “Batman” movies, but that doesn’t mean Caine isn’t capable of getting in on the action himself. In his new crime-thriller Harry Brown, Caine stars as the titular character, an older man living in a violent housing estate in London. After losing his wife and a close friend, Harry is pushed to the brink and decides to fight back against the vicious youths who rule the area.

Even though Harry Brown is ultimately a fictional tale, there’s a significant amount of truth behind the narrative. In fact, much of that truth is Caine’s truth. Not only is he an ex-serviceman, as is Harry, but he also lived in one of these estates himself. Between those connections, shooting on an actual estate and having some of these notorious teens in the film, a significant portion of the movie is factual. What isn’t quite realistic is Harry’s course of action. Vigilantes make for fantastic subjects in thrillers, but Caine prefers to keep things benevolent and attack the problem of misguided youths through charity and by simply offering them a second chance.

ComingSoon.net had the pleasure of sitting down with Caine to break down the details. He touched upon the usual; working with his co-star Emily Mortimer, getting into character and his hopes in terms of audience reception, but he was always eager to connect the filmmaking experience back to the actuality of the situation, the violent young gangs dominating the estates. Before wrapping up, he happily switched gears to briefly discuss his two upcoming Christopher Nolan projects, Inception and the highly-anticipated and rumor-consumed Batman 3.

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Review: Harry Brown

The concept of vigilantism is commonly associated with the homemade superhero craze. It’s easy to forget that an individual with a vengeance doesn’t have to have a cheesy name or be plain old deranged, but Harry Brown is as sane and simple as they come. Further pushing him into the world of the raw and deeply passionate is that he’s played by Michael Caine. This guy is the quintessential grandpa. He’s Batman’s Alfred for Christ’s sake! But not here. Here he’s the most unsuspecting force to be reckoned with.

Harry Brown (Caine) has hit a dark point in his life and that’s saying a lot considering he’s an ex-marine. When his wife passes away, he’s left alone in their apartment in a dangerous housing estate. He hears screams at night, views assaults from his window and doesn’t dare enter the pedestrian walkway just outside his building. The spot is prime delinquent territory. The worst of the worst hang out there and won’t hesitate at the chance to jump a victim, take his or her belongings and beat the living crap out of them.

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Review: Shutter Island

Handling a major plot twist is no easy task. Letting it go unnoticed is not fun for the audience, but slipping and providing a hint so substantial will make the investigation work too easy. Shutter Island runs into trouble with both, but particularly the latter. Dennis Lehane’s novel is so effective because it requires the reader to use the mind and develop his or her own perception. Martin Scorsese’s film, on the other hand, blatantly lays out all of the details and attempts to throw you off track with elements that feel misplaced.

Two ‘duly appointed Federal Marshals’ (in DiCaprio’s Boston accent, of course) are assigned to investigate a missing persons case. But this is no ordinary missing person. Rachel Solando is a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital on Shutter Island, a facility for the insanely dangerous. From the moment they step foot on the island Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) get a taste of the amalgamation of warmth, eeriness and violence Ashecliffe has to offer.

Employees like Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and Deputy Warden McPherson (John Carroll Lynch) are eager to help with the investigation, but it’s clear their keenness has its limits. As the investigation continues an intense storm bears down on the island and Teddy begins to uncover the hospital’s darker side, which he suspects involves immoral medical experiments. Additionally, Teddy’s own demons come to the forefront in the form of debilitating migraines and sinister dreams of his late wife. The further he digs, the clearer it becomes that something is amiss at Ashcliffe and he’s about to be consumed by it.

Shutter Island is reliant on its eeriness as is Ashcliffe Hospital. From the moment the film begins, a bold score provides a backbone for a series of grayscale images and a terribly troubled looking DiCaprio. Those colorless moments are contradicted by more vibrant shots of the facility grounds. The beautiful courtyard is peppered with disturbed patients demonstrating their lunacy, offering a successfully troublesome paradox.

The uneasiness breaks down as the job of creating apprehension is passed on to the hospital staff. Rather than offer subtle hints that something isn’t quite right, Dr. Cawley and his team provide an overdose making the audience’s game of playing detective nearly effortless. The twist isn’t given away completely, but viewers are put on the right track much too early taking the suspense out of the latter portion of the film.

Occasionally Teddy’s dream sequences help break up the monotony of him and Chuck lurking around the hospital premises. This is where the cinematography is at its height. Director of Photography Robert Richardson is on point the entire film, but it’s during Teddy’s fantasies that the imagery becomes the key to making the occurrence so powerful. These dreams are very strange and somewhat hard to digest. This is appropriate considering the nature of the material, but Scorsese takes it a step too far showing a few overly graphic scenes involving children. Rather than purport the intended effect illuminating the drastic plight of the characters, its high degree of aversion removes the viewer from the moment.

That’s the film’s sole disconnect. Even with the lack of tension, Shutter Island is still engaging, which is largely due to stellar performances. First and foremost, DiCaprio is the heart of this film. For any sane individual the happenings on Shutter Island are nearly impossible to understand, but DiCaprio’s ability to effectively portray every asset of Teddy’s disturbed mind makes it seem impossibly real. The rest of the cast does a fine job, but the two that stand out are Emily Mortimer and Jackie Earl Haley both of whom are responsible for the film’s most memorable and threatening moments. The sole character that doesn’t have a lasting effect is Chuck. This is the result of poor adaptation work rather than a weak performance. Not enough attention is paid to the connection between Teddy and Chuck making Teddy’s dedication to Chuck unjustifiable.

Regardless of the errors made throughout the film, the ultimate sentiment will rely on the reaction to the ending. There is a twist and it’s a big one. Rather than pave a smooth path to the finale, Scorsese jerks the audience around between blatant revelations and confusing diversions. Eventually the all too obvious hints overcome the attempts at maintaining the uncertainty and the outcome is less rewarding than it could have been.

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