Mads Mikkelsen might not be a household name but the Danish actor has haunted some of the biggest Hollywood properties in the known universe, from playing Jyn Erso’s father in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ’to featuring as big bad Kaecilius in Marvel’s Doctor Strange to starring opposite James Bond in Casino Royale. The distinctive-looking actor is also known for playing the titular cannibal in NBC’s deliciously macabre (and unfairly cancelled) horror serial Hannibal in addition to offering up a should-have-been-Oscar-nominated role in Thomas Vinterberg’s outstanding drama The Hunt. For me, it’s Mikkelsen’s turn as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (for my money, the best villain 007 has faced) that both showed the actor’s vast potential and represented his promise best – playing a calculating, wildly intelligent baddie is Mikkelsen’s bread and butter and no one does it quite like him. Even flipping the script and playing on the light side of the spectrum, the actor is undeniably magnetic. Read More
A marooned man’s survival in the Arctic gets much more complicated when a helicopter crashes attempting to rescue him. He decides to save the lone survivor, taking her life into his hands and, in doing so, igniting anew his purpose to live. The measured survivalist story Arctic is as cold and quiet as the frigid tundra for which it is named, its protagonist Overgård (played with silent ferocity of will by the ever-reliable Mads Mikkelsen) is a man of few words but powerful convictions, convictions which bleed through the veteran actor’s pores, adding soul and pathos to this testament of the human spirit in times of great adversity. Read More
With Doctor Strange, Marvel pries open a doorway to a new realm, one filled with magic and mysticism, dark dimensions and malevolent deities. Filled with heady three-dimensional visuals and eye-bulging psychedelic set pieces, Doctor Strange fulfills the promise of its inspired marketing push. That is, it is as close as Marvel has come to being Inception on crack. And let me assure you, that is a good thing. Led by a game Benedict Cumberbatch playing on type as a smarmy elite member of the intelligentsia, Doctor Strange nonetheless suffers the Marvel formula, the “portal problem” and yet another utterly disposable single serving villain. Read More
Ribald exploration of men’s darkest instincts left unhampered by societal norms, Men & Chicken is a hybrid of dark Danish comedy and twisted social science experiment. Operating much like H.G. Wells’ three-time adapted novel “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, this twisted import from Anders Thomas Jensen tangles elements of slapstick physical comedy among chilling social horrors to create a psychosexual mystery circling the inescapable ideas of heritage and homecoming. Read More
Breathe people breathe…Ok I can’t hold it in. My god, it looks so glorious. So absolutely glorious. From the sights (AT-ATS in action, a semi-complete Death Star, new Stormtroopers), sounds (that iconic dark side score, that blaring alarm, that sweet zap of blaster fire) and new characters (Felicity Jones‘ already amazing rebel protagonist, Ben Mendelssohn as an evil Empirial commandeer, Forest Whitaker going all Ghost Dog (is he a Jedi? Please say he’s a Jedi), Donnie Yen going full samurai), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story looks so f***king good! Directed by Gareth Edwards, this eighth Star Wars feature focuses on the rebellion squadron tasked with stealing the infamous Death Star plans and offers the Star Wars universe its first chance to veer from the path of the traditional trilogy. It will function as a standalone spin-off and I cannot wait.
Charlie Countryman’s newly released red band trailer looks very… adult? Shia LaBeouf is trying hard to break into more artistic filmmaking, but he’s still Shia LeBeouf. He still hasn’t risen to the occasion and brought a stand out performance to the table. He will always be the Even Stevens kid who was in that Indiana Jones movie that no one likes. Watching him in a red band trailer is akin to watching your 13 year old sister smoke a cigarette. It feels as inauthentic and try-hard as the beard and slick hair LaBeouf wears in this trailer.
From what the trailer gives us, it seems LaBeouf has been fooling around with the wrong lady, getting on the wrong side of the always badass Mads Mikkelsen. Not much else is revealed, which is an amazing quality for a trailer to have. It looks surreal, violent, intense, and kind of awesome. Still, the trailer gives a feeling in the pit of the stomach, as if it’s saying “Look how gritty and independent I am.” Hopefully that’s not the case. But all too often films like this fall into the style-over-substance category. What we’ve learned from Shia LeBeouf is that he usually joins projects that have neither.
Perhaps the cynicism is unwarranted. Perhaps LaBeouf is as brilliant as the trailer claims him to be. It remains to be seen. Labeouf’s other new film is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomanic. If Von Trier saw something in him, perhaps he has potential.
Charlie Countryman is directed by Fredrik Bond and stars Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rupert Grint. There is no no official theatrical release date yet.