Moneyball hits a home run with the sentimental crowd, but if you’re looking for this years Social Network, you may be disappointed.
The film is based on the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the former general manager of the Oakland Athletic’s and his mathematical stratagem-sabermetrics- to choose strong players for his team while also being cost effective.
Beane is working with the lowest amount of funds to build a baseball team. Compared to the New York Yankees Beane is rather penniless. After a good season for the Athletics, but not a winning season, Beane is forced to rebuild his team, but this time he is using the mathematical prowess of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to help him.
The film’s crotchety circle of scouts for the Athletics proves to be funny at times and perhaps overly reluctant. Pitt works well as the semi-confident hair flipping manager. However, the film is far too centered on the emotions of Bean and the constant flashbacks of his failed pro baseball career. The flashbacks become superfluous and the film could have been at least a half hour shorter if just the flashbacks were cut.
Some will say that this is Hill’s film, that he delivered a strong acting performance and is very believable st the Yale economics nerd. On the other hand, Pitt’s screen time outshines Hill’s by ten, and while it is known that Brand is working with mathematical equations, the system becomes arbitrary when emotions rise. The system to choose players just doesn’t have the appeal that Facebook does.
Bean also has a young daughter and an estranged wife who we meet for a second in an awkward series of events. His daughter is very loving of him. It seems that his paternal nature on the field had to be supplemented by the kind father off the field to enable a full understanding of the honesty and dedication of his character. Again, the film is just too tender and the final scene is gaggable.
I almost forgot to mention that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is in the film probably because his performance is entirely forgettable. Hoffman stars as the coach of the Athletic’s, an overweight submissive underdog. The usual fortitude of Hoffman’s performance is seriously undermined and his character is difficult to even sympathize with.
Hill is worth a viewing, but the film is only decent at best. Unfortunately it is quite a bore for the crowd that doesn’t love sports or Brad Pitt.
The opening monologue of I Don’t Know How She Does It brings us straight back to the good old years of Sex and the City. However, the familiar Bradshaw-esque voiceover quickly moves into tedium as we realize it isn’t the lovable sex-obsessed journalist, but someone boring and unfamiliar, Kate Reddy, who just happens to be played by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Reddy is one of those career driven mothers who seems to have the ability to balance her professional life and her family. Although she is not a classic housewife home baking brownies from scratch, she makes due by imitating the same as she buys a pie from the grocery store and gives it that homemade imperfect touch by throwing flour on top. When she brings the pie to her daughter’s school for the dreaded bake sale, the “momsters”, as she calls them, proclaim “I don’t know how she does it.” After which they poke fun at Kate’s greasy hair and unkempt appearance.
Kate’s husband, Richard (Greg Kinnear), loves her deeply and manages to pick up her loose ends even when he is not getting any at home due to her busy schedule. The couple have two kids, a 2-year-old son and six-year-old daughter. Kinnear certainly plays charming father, a role he has embodied several times namely in the beloved Little Miss Sunshine. However, his character falls into the rudimentary abyss of his wife’s uniformity and is entirely forgettable.
Despite Kate’s chaotic life and anxious behavior she scores a deal with Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) to be his financial analyst in a large deal. Abelhammer begins to fall for Kate and hints of infidelity are in the air. Again, SJP and Brosnan like SJP and Kinnear have no natural chemistry and the romance is never quite romantic in any sense of the word.
Ultimately the film seems like an attempt to reach out to working mothers and the difficulty they face against men in the workplace and women who view them as uncaring. The sexual politics are far from fully explored and the film remains at the level of fluff. I fear to even label it a romantic comedy because it wasn’t funny and certainly was not romantic. It falls into the category of the “nothing film”. Skip this one.
Lurie trades the gloomy fog of the English countryside for the humid, deep south Deliverance style eeriness in his remake. The effect of terror is the same. However, Lurie is going by the new rulebook of horror, the one that boasts a wealth of gore and a lack of character development.
Screenwriter, David Sumner (James Marsden) and his trophy actress wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) decide to leave the Hollywood Hills for a while to return to Amy’s hometown in Blackwater, Mississippi so that David can work on his new screenplay about the Battle of Stalingrad. The couple rolls into town in a vintage Jaguar convertible, blasting old folky tunes, and it becomes clear that these people really don’t know how to fit in.
The deep southern backdrop provides an easy route to conjure the monsters of the film, the uneducated hicks and hillbillies who never left Blackwater. Amy is the former head cheerleader of the town, one of its most prized possessions second to their winning football team. David and Amy hire Amy’s former boyfriend, Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard), an outgrown member of the football team, to work construction on her family’s old house. Charlie’s group of local derelict friends also help him with the construction job.
Automatically we know this is going to be an ultra-violent film. It starts out with a bar fight, basically the same one which occurs in the original but with a lot more blood. Coach (James Woods), the former coach of the football team and a local drunk, and possibly the most raucous and scary character of the film, will not leave the bar when he is refused a drink. After which he smashes a glass, throws a chair, and jumps behind the bar to take matters into his own hands. This is only the beginning of the local town folk taking justice as they see fit.
Meanwhile Amy, for the first half of the film dresses akin to Daisy Duke and prances around her estate nearly naked and after a short time Charlie and his gang’s voracious sexual appetites rise to the surface. Though Susan George, in the original, played the devious little nymph Amy in a role that can’t really be imitated, Bosworth does her best to attract the wrong attention and is subjected to a brutal raping, possibly more disturbing than the 1971 scene. The world’s fascination with torture porn must also be taken into account when comparing the two, but either way, it is difficult to watch.
The misogyny in the town is hard to handle as a viewer. Skarsgard and Woods play a terrific team of terror with their sinister looks and sarcastic winks as they refer to Amy by her old nickname, “Amy Cakes”. The final quarter of the film is startling and extremely visceral. The anticipation involved is evocative of that in Panic Room, and the demonization of Coach and Charlie is reminiscent of DeNiro’s character in Cape Fear, inflicting pain and horror on a fairly innocent family.
Though the acting is semi-decent and the setting is understandable, it is an arduous task to remake a film that has such clout as the 1971 version. Depending on tastes in psychological thriller films and their use of blood versus character development I would say jump for the original. However, not a bad effort by Lurie.
Tommy Conlon, a brooding drifter (played by a seriously bulked up Tom Hardy) returns to his hometown in the seedy streets of Pittsburgh to attend to the demons of his past, his formerly abusive alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte). After a chance fight in the rings of a local gym, Tommy proves his strength and agility in mixed martial arts and decides to take it further and enter into a 5 million dollar tournament. Tommy is unwilling to forgive his father, but he seeks him out as a trainer for the tournament.
Meanwhile on the other side of the tracks, Tommy’s brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a retired UFC fighter, who is striving to provide for his family and live the American Dream, loses his job as a physics teacher and decides to enter the same tournament. However, the brothers are unaware that they are about to take the same path.
It’s the Shakespearean set-up of the century, two brothers going head to head though perhaps the outcome is less expected than usual. The recycled and predictable storyline often convolutes the action of the film, but the fight scene’s are dark, visceral, and mesmerizing.
People.com reports that Jackie Cooper, former actor, died at 88 on Tuesday night in a hospital in Beverly Hills due to a brief illness. No other details have been leaked.
Cooper got his start acting as a child. He was the first child to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1931 for his role in Skipper. Cooper was only nine-years-old at the time.
Cooper continued acting and played the staunch editor of the Daily Planet Newspaper in four Superman movies. He was also a television actor with minor roles on Murder, She Wrote and St. Elsewhere. Cooper was very multifaceted, he also was an Emmy-winning TV director.
TMZ.com reports that popular newscaster, Katie Couric and network ABC are close to signing a $20 million deal that would grant Couric her own talk show as well as guarantee her involvement in ABC news in a large way.
The deal is apparently in its final stages. Couric would be featured anchoring and doing ABC News specials such as “20/20″ and have a 5-day a week talk show. ABC’s airtime schedule is already very jam packed, so something would have to be cut in place of Couric’s talk show.
Sources affiliated with ABC claim that ABC’s long-running soap opera, “General Hospital” may take the fall so that Couric’s show would premiere in September 2012.
Unfortunately the beloved Matt Lauer will not be involved. Hopefully we can expect a more informative show, something better than the Tyra Banks talk show.
As reported by PEOPLE, Prince William and Duchess Catherine will be visiting Canada from June 30-July 8 and proceeding on to California from July 8-10. No word as to where the couple will be in Canada, or the exact location in California, but you can be sure SOMEONE will find out and leak the info.
This will be Prince William’s first visit in an official capacity to the United States as he has only traveled there privately before. It is Duchess Catherine’s first time in the states.
Put on your royal wedding hats and get ready.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the script for Pirates of the Caribbean 5 has been turned in by Terry Rossio, the co-writer of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Rossio turned the script in for a fifth possible movie in the franchise. However, this is Rossio’s first solo effort writing a Pirates film without the help from Ted Elliot. Producer, Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly still interested in continuing the franchise and making a fifth film. Bruckheimer has also apparently approached Rob Marshall to direct the project although there is no word of his decision.
Johnny Depp says that he hasn’t seen the screenplay yet. Perhaps Jack Sparrow is getting a little tired of his oceanic debauchery.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides premieres next week in France at the Cannes Film Festival. It will have its wide release on May 20 in 3D and IMAX.
After fifteen years, two sequels, and the Stab mise-en-abime franchise-within-a franchise, Ghostface has finally made his grand return to the screen, and there is no guessing what his favorite scary movie is.
Scream 4 is a half-shallow stab at a hyperrealist, postmodern slasher film. Though it’s clear that the film is just “too meta” for words, it is overly reliant on its genre clichés that were already too heavily ensconced throughout the franchise.
The naïve victim for eternity, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to the small American town of Woodsboro on the 15th anniversary of the first murders to promote her new novel, which is ironically about overcoming victimization. Of course, once news hits the town of her arrival, so too does a new string of gruesome murders, which closely mimics the pattern of the initial killing spree. SO META right?
Retired journalist Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) is quick to jump on the story despite the stern warnings of her wimpy husband Dewey (David Arquette), who is now the sheriff of Woodsboro. Gale teams up with the young cinephiles of the local high school cinema club in an attempt to dismantle the “rules” of the new Ghostface. Gale and the cinema society still cannot outsmart Ghostface even when utilizing advanced technology such as personal headset cameras and video blogs. Undoubtedly the peeping Tom tactics are reversed and the camera is turned on Gale and the students. Yes, Gale, killers are also up to date with modern technology.
Like Scream 3, the backbone of the film is a set of complex rules, however in this case the rules are cleverly subverted as a way to return full cycle to the first set of murders. The murder scheme is familiar as victims run UP the stairs, into basements, empty parking garages, drunken parties, and basically straight into the killers knife.
The same assortment of precocious yet misinformed teenagers are played by the popular young Hollywood stars, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, and Rory Culkin, who are all surprisingly good. The teens are far more exciting to watch than the still idiotic survivors of the previous attacks, Dewey, Sidney, and Gale.
The tropes and ploys are mostly for comic effect, and you will laugh probably more than you will cringe. The gore is far from the torture porn variety save for a prompt glimpse of a bloody intestine, and a final scene that can only be described as excessive.
The film is fast paced and the ending will be surprising for some, yet predictable for others who are keen on deconstructing the rules of the slasher genre within the frame of the film. Don’t be fooled, the self-reflexivity is tiresome and overdone. Wes Craven’s mark is visible, but it seems he too is getting tired of trying to play the Derrida of horror films.
However, the film is saved by its cameos, featuring Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell, and the starring role of Roberts who outshines her days of starring on “Unfabulous” and replaces them with an unforgettable performance.
Catherine Zeta Jones has had a rough year. She has consistently been at her husband, Michael Douglas’s side through his terrifying fight with cancer. Due to the stress of the whole situation Zeta Jones has sought mental health treatment for herself.
Her rep says in a statement that, ”After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II disorder.” The actress checked into an unidentified facility where she underwent treatment and apparently, ”she’s feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films.”
Additionally, Douglas, announced in January he was declared free of cancer after what he called a “wild six-month ride” of chemotherapy and radiation for a tumor on his tongue.
The whole family is now healthy and ready to continue with their lives. Zeta Jones is in top shape to begin production on her new films.
Last month, the actor checked himself into an undisclosed rehab facility for “health and personal issues” says USmagazine.com. His rep says, “[The actor] completed a successful treatment program. He is looking forward to beginning production next month on American Reunion for Universal Pictures.”
Seann once admitted that his fans struggle to realize he is nothing like his obnoxious, hard-drinking “American Pie” counterpart.
As previously reported, Woody Allen’s European film adventure will take its next stop in Italy. Penelope Cruz signed onto the project last week, and now the full cast of the film has been revealed.
Perezhilton.com reports that Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, and Ellen Page have jumped aboard the Allen train. The film will take place in Rome but all other plot details are being kept very secret.
From the looks of it we can expect a comedy. Most likely Baldwin and Cruz will have some sort of romance and the same goes with Page and Eisenberg. Page and Eisenberg have that natural eccentric chemistry due to their indie credibility.
Hopefully more details will be revealed soon perhaps a menage a trois is in the works a la Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Soul Surfer is based on the gruesome story of young surfer Bethany Hamilton’s encounter with a 14-foot tiger shark during which she lost her arm to the beast, but continued through the odds to get into the water and surf.
Jaws, a fictional film about a menacing great white shark, caused many audiences to avoid the ocean, but Soul Surfer, a true story and inspirational film of human triumph serves to lessen those fears of the creatures that lurk in the depths and replace them with faith in the human capacity to overcome grave obstacles
The film opens with an aerial establishing shot of the beautiful pristine waters that encircle the Hawaiian Islands. We are soon introduced to Bethany (AnnaSophia Robb) through a nostalgic voice over reflecting on her love for surfing. She proclaims, “we spent more time wet than we did dry.” Clearly this is a young girl who was meant to be a mermaid. Bethany’s parents, played by Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid who have a natural chemistry, are very supportive of her dreams to be a pro-surfer as they cheer her on in competitions and help her train for the sport. Even when Bethany disobeys them and goes surfing at night, it is obvious that her family unit is one that embodies positivism and compassion. Bethany’s family values are underlined with a firm belief in Christianity exemplified by their churchgoing habits, and Bethany’s Sunday school education. Carrie Underwood makes her film debut as Bethany’s bible study leader.
Bethany is at the top of her game. She is placing in the top ranks of every competition and has just obtained sponsorship from Rip Curl, a popular surf brand. The sun shines and the tide is high as Bethany goes out to a deserted beach with her best friend and her friend’s father to practice for their next competition. In order to get out to the swells, the surfers have to avoid a reef. As they are swimming, the camera begins to dive below to show belly shots of the water, and suddenly an imminent sense of doom falls upon the film. Something is looming.
The shark attack happens so fast that it is hard to register. Due to the PG rating and family orientation of the film, a drawn out scene of gore and misery, as seen in 27 Hours, would have been inappropriate. However, the attack is still too rapid that even the Discovery Channel reenactments are more effective.
As the film unfolds it is obvious that this is not a story about a near death experience, but rather, an encouraging fable for conquering the unexpected grievous events that life throws at you.
After the accident Bethany has difficulty adjusting to her handicap and can’t understand why “God would want this for her”. Through the motivational speeches of her parents, her bible teacher, and an eye-opening trip to Thailand post-tsunami devastation in 2004, she gets back on her board and becomes a role model for those who are impaired.
The cinematography of the film boasts a wealth of stunning scenes of the immaculate land of Hawaii. The sun and surf provide a suitable backdrop for Bethany’s reemergence as a strong young woman. Though the film rests on it’s inspirational Christian themed clichés, it is hard to argue with the performances of AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, and Dennis Quaid. Overall, the adaptation of Bethany’s memoir is believable and uplifting.
The Dark Night Rises is probably the most buzzed about film this year. It’s taken months for the mysterious cast to be revealed and now Nolan has confirmed that he will begin shooting the third installment this summer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reports Comingsoon.net.
Nolan confirmed the location himself and told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that, ““Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, we have been able to find everything we were looking for here and I am excited to spend the summer in Pittsburgh with our final installment of Batman.”
Elements and landmarks of the Steel City will make their way into the fictionalized Gotham City. However, the director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, Dawn Keezer is making sure the elaborate film will have everything it needs so production can run smoothly.
Denizens of Pittsburgh may be able to catch a first glimpse of the new film as long as they are secretive enough…
Penelope Cruz just gave birth to a son, she’s married to Javier Bardem, one of the sexiest Spanish actors around, and she has one an Oscar. This seems like a rather fulfilling life.
Following her Oscar win for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the star plans on re-teaming with Woody Allen for his new project as reported by EW.com. Sounds like a winning formula. The new project is set to be filmed in Rome,. The latest Woody Allen films are like a tour of Europe. He’s hit Barcelona, London, Paris, and now Rome. Unfortunately, all details of the project are being kept hush, hush. Surely we can expect an ensemble cast, some sort of love story, and a wealth of sexual innuendos…. the classic Woody Allen structure. His new film, Midnight in Paris will open in select cities on May 20.
For months now the 30 Rock star has hidden her baby bump. Even her character on the show went through a fake pregnancy in order to cover for her boss’s wife. Fey finally admitted during a taping of the Oprah Winfrey show that she is in fact pregnant with her second child to accompany her five-year-old daughter Alicia. Celebrity-Gossip.net reports that Fey and her husband, Jeff Richmond are thrilled for the second child.
Fey is apparently already 5 months a long. She kept that secret under wraps pretty well for someone constantly in the spotlight. Hopefully this baby will inherit her good looks and comedic charm.
Too bad Alec Baldwin spilled the bad news about the end of 30 Rock we could have seen the Fey prodigies as stars. Baldwin also says that Fey will go on to have a successful writing and directing career so we will definitely be seeing more of her and that baby bump.
A sudden wave of new superhero films has just emerged in the film industry. Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) is rebooting the Spider-Man series, Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch) is rebooting the Superman series, and news broke out yesterday that the Justice League film is back in action as it has been placed back on Warner Brother’s schedule.
Comingsoon.net reports that the Justice League film will not be related to Zack Snyder’s Superman project nor to the forthcoming Dark Night Rises. The ensemble film, featuring Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and others, will be a stand alone story.
HeyUguys.co.uk spoke with Snyder on the red carpet for the premiere of Sucker Punch about the Justice League film, Snyder said, ”Like what Chris Nolan is doing and what I’m doing with ‘Superman’, what they’ll do with ‘Justice League’ will be it’s own thing with its own Batman and own Superman. We’ll be over here with our movie and they’ll kinda get to do it twice, which is kind of cool.”
Hopefully Warner Bros. will sign on a well known director to front the project and cast some strong leads. The film will have to compete with all the other superhero films being so they have to create a strong narrative. We don’t want to see another flop like The Avengers.
Contemporary society seems to be crazed for all things supernatural. In the last 6 or so years, the Twilight saga has reached new heights popularity and we’ve witnessed a sudden influx of brooding creatures of the night on all media fronts. We have “True Blood”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Supernatural”, and if that isn’t enough MTV has just premiered the trailer for its new series “Teen Wolf”.
MTV.com writes that the show will be a ”modern spin on the cult-classic ’80s hit”. The 1985 film, Teen Wolf, starring Michael J. Fox is a campy teenage comedy, but the MTV series is said to depart from the show and feature much darker elements and a sexier love story.
The show is centered on Scott McCall, played by Tyler Posey, a high school outsider who is convinced by his best friend to search for a dead body in the local forest. After he gets attacked by a “creature” and narrowly escapes with a gaping bite wound, he starts to notice sudden changes and realizes that he is no longer an average teenager.
Despite those who are Team Jacob, there still seems to be an overwhelming amount of vampires swarming, so let’s let the wolves have a shot!
Check out the trailer:
Powerhouse actress, Angelina Jolie has officially signed on to star as Egypt’s infamous queen, Cleopatra in the upcoming feature film.
Scott Rudin bought the rights to the biopic and is producing the picture. He reportedly intends to focus on Cleopatra’s abilities as a ruler and a politician rather than a seductress says People.com. The 1963 version of Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was centered more on Cleopatra’s sexual appetite and lustful persona. A story about Cleopatra without sexual elements seems pretty dull. However, by casting Jolie in the starring role there is no doubt that the picture will contain at least one sex scene if not many (hopefully ha).
Now the question remains…who will play Antony? Many people have compared Jolie and Brad Pitt to Burton and Taylor, so perhaps Pitt is the best choice for Antony. They do have a natural chemistry. George Clooney also seems fitting….
Britney Spears has just launched her new album, recreated her image, and is just getting back into her former place of popularity in the mainstream. Just when she thought she had it all she’s been $10 million lawsuit by Brand Sense Partners LLC for her Fragrance line featuring the perfume “Curious”.
According to TheWrap.com, Brand Sense brokered Spears’ deal with Elizabeth Arden in 2004 for her fragrance line. The deal said that Brand Sense was to receive a 35 percent commission on any resulting Spears-branded fragrances. The company is claiming that Spears robbed the company of their 35 percent commission.
There are reports that Britney, along with her father, thought the commission was too high so they made an under the table deal with Elizabeth Arden to have all of the royalties sent directly to the popstar.
The title of Spears’s new album is kind of ironic. The femme fatale in films usually mingles in bad or fraudulent business and usually gets caught. Self-fulfilling prophecy…. fulfilled.