Did Hollywood have anything to do with the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement? The whole thing seems a little bit convenient. Last month saw the behind-the-meltdown docudrama Margin Call and the sci-fi metaphor In Time. Now we have Tower Heist a comedy that pits the blue collar staff of the Trump Tower against a thieving Bernie Madoff-esque tenant. The movie's an Ocean's 11 for the 99% with a sense of timeliness that makes the simple plotting and wisecracking that much more effective.
Ben Stiller stars as Josh Kovacs overseer of all the goings-on at the Tower. He wakes up before dawn and heads home after sunset spending his day catering to the occupants of the ritzy apartment complex and managing his eclectic crew—including former Burger King cook Enrique (Michael Peña) Jamaican maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe) and his slacker brother-in-law Charlie (Casey Affleck). The crew's greatest concern is multi-billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) the penthouse resident Tower board member and thanks to attention paid trusted friend of Josh.
Trusted...until the FBI busts Shaw for stealing millions including the Tower employees' pensions.
Like all good tower heists Josh's titular harebrained scheme is prompted by a drunken night out with lead investigator Claire (Téa Leoni) who tips the irked manager off to Shaw's hidden stash: a possible eight-figure sum hidden somewhere in his apartment. In pursuing the American dream of revenge Josh recruits his slighted co-workers along with distraught former-millionaire Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) and Josh's childhood friend-turned-thief Slide (Eddie Murphy). Together the motley crew concocts a plan to retrieve what's rightfully theirs—all while sinking Shaw in the process.
Tower Heist isn't as slick or intricate as the Ocean movies but its straightforward take on the crime genre is strengthened by Stiller Murphy and the rest of the cast's ability to inject ridiculous humor into sympathetic characters. When Josh realizes his decade spent commanding the operations of the Tower were for naught he wigs out marching up to the top floor to beat the crap out of Shaw's priceless convertible (it was owned by Steve McQueen in case you were wondering why anyone would keep an antique car on the top floor of a building). Not entirely realistic but relatable which sums up every over-the-top satisfying scenario these characters find themselves throughout the film.
Most importantly Tower Heist delivers on the funny. Playing the straight man is an art and Stiller's one of the masters (although you'd never know it from his Night at the Museum shtick or wackier roles like Zoolander) riffing off his co-stars while giving them ample time to be complete weirdos. The movie is being touted as a comeback for Murphy but he wisely steps into a supporting role delivering on his character's manic charm while never trying to steal the spotlight. The one who really steals the show is Broderick whose clueless neurotic Fitzhugh can't help relapsing mid-heist into memories of luxurious trips to Greece.
Credit goes to director Brett Ratner who cranked out three Rush Hour movies and an X-Men threequel while never really nailing down what it takes to make a group dynamic work. Here he pulls it off finding the right beats to make Tower Heist funny and thrilling. There are moments during the actual heist scene set during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade that cause quite a stir—a rarity in today's run-of-the-mill thrill rides.
Tower Heist is the definition of a cinematic softball avoiding risky choices and utilizing each actor to their previously known (and successful) traits without feeling lazy. As the holidays roll in and families look for something they all can enjoy Tower Heist delivers a little something for everyone. Except maybe Bernie Madoff.
Ten years ago, if you'd have told me that the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun might be the next Tarantino star, I'd have been skepitcal. But if you told me that this morning,...well, I'd probably ask why you're still referring to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun. He's been in a ton of films since then. And his possible next venture might very well be the best of all: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. Word has it, the 50/50 and Inception star might be joining the Civil War-era Western from the Inglourious Basterds director.
Tarantino movies are capable of inspiring excitement over apparently mediocre casting decisions; the director has derived unforgettable performances from otherwise forgettable actors. So, when we hear that someone we're all very into lately might sign up for a Tarantino role—especially someone with the quirky versatility of JGL—it produces an almost unhealthy level of glee. If cast, Gordon-Levitt will join Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson in the film.
The closest thing Gordon-Levitt has done to anything Tarantino-esque was probably the rhythmic, stylistic 2005 neo-noir Brick, in which he played a lonely teenager investigating a drug ring at his high school. Nonetheless, Tarantino's twisted world would be a leap for the actor, which makes it all the more exciting.
Again, Tarantino movies are known from provoking unexpected tour-de-force performances from unappreciated actors. After John Travolta had lost a chunk of his credit as a talented actor, his performance as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction catapulted him to a level of profound respect. Likewise, these films have also brought out sides to actors we never imagined we'd see: who really expected Daryl Hannah to be so chilling, or Eli Roth to be so gripping?
So what new things could we experience with Gordon-Levitt in Django Unchained? His recent film run has hit us with a few pleasant surprises already. If this deal does come into fruition, we can bet that whatever it does end up showing us will be nuts.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
This week’s Contagion is a different type of disease-disaster movie than we’re used to seeing: Simple germs more or less comprise the boogeyman, and the concept is actually steeped in plausibility. But the Steven Soderbergh thriller follows a long line of movies in which a disease or all-out epidemic wreaks havoc on the human race. Here are some of the most notable “disease-ter” flicks—not to be confused with the zombie genre or tearjerkers about one man’s losing battle with, say, AIDS. Thus no Night of the Living Dead. Or Philadelphia.
Here are a few of the standouts:
Although not the best disease movie overall, Outbreak has a similar feel to Contagion, in that it’s based on the spreading of what is supposed to be an actual disease. It arouses a visceral, real-life kind of terror, as opposed other movies of its ilk that rely on more conventional scare tactics.
28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later
It’s important to remember that the undead in this horror franchise are not technically zombies but rather “Rage”-afflicted non-beings. And on that technicality, both movies fit in this list—and have to be considered the best of their kind, especially Danny Boyle’s Days entry.
I Am Legend
It is, of course, difficult to consider a hyper-stylized Will Smith blockbuster part of a microgenre like this, but since I Am Legend is about a humanity-ending plague (you know, with the exception of the then-biggest movie star on the planet), it does qualify. Much to most people's surprise, the movie’s actually half decent.
A pre-Hostel Eli Roth had a blast with this gore-fest about a flesh-eating virus that afflicts a group of pretty young things lodging in a cabin. It’s uneven, to be sure, but as with all Roth offerings, there are a few images that still reside in our brains—namely that shot of the toothy, bloody, mangled mug of Jordan Ladd.
One of the most underappreciated movies in recent years (at least in our opinion), James Gunn’s Slither is a fun, hilarious, original and scary take on the alien-plague-gone-terrestrial concept. How the makeup job on Michael Rooker's plague-afflicted Grant Grant was not nominated for an Oscar will never be understood by the dozens of people who saw the movie.
Children of Men
It’s a bit of a stretch on this list, but Children of Men was so good that, after consulting with the judges, it was granted inclusion by the narrowest of margins. Besides, when infertility reaches such scary proportions, it’s an epidemic!
Terry Gilliam’s best movie not named Monty Python (or Brazil) depicts a kooky post-apocalyptic dystopia caused by virus—and a positively, never-better Brad Pitt. Well, maybe expect that True Romance performance.
The movie boasted a great, if horrifying, concept: An epidemic of "white sickness" breaks out, and it's easy to contract but impossible to cure. While nowhere near the novel on which it is based in terms of profundity and sheer impact, the big-screen version—whose subject matter is difficult to depict, for obvious reasons —is (no pun intended) visually stunning.
Some might argue that the "found footage" style employed by Quarantine is itself an epidemic, but it could also be argued that the movie—a shot-for-shot remake of the Spanish horror film REC about an unknown disease that causes its victims to turn bloodthirsty—is only watchable because of said gimmick.
Resident Evil Franchise
Even the most novice gamer could blindly recite the disease-y plotline of this videogame-to-movie adaptation: Amnesiac heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich) and a group of Umbrella Corporation commandos are the world's only hope against the outbreak of the deadly T-Virus.
Popular speculation about Charlie Sheen's enigmatic clues has turned out to be truth: an Anger Management series is in the works. Derivative of the 2003 film, Charlie Sheen will play an amended version of the character originated by Jack Nicholson, an unbalanced psychotherapist assigned to a mild-mannered man whose bad luck (and incurable passiveness) has landed him in legal trouble.
Producer Joe Roth, who has worked with Sheen in the past, is very optimistic about the project. No word on who will recreate Adam Sandler's role for the series; on the one hand, whoever plays the role can stake confidence in decent ratings for at least the early run of the series (there are plenty of those still eager to watch Sheen, some with hopes of witnessing another debacle). On the other hand, the actor's inconsistency and behavior will surely be a deterrent for some actors.
As for what this series will prove to be... well, the subject matter: emotional instability. The mood of the film: outlandish and crazy. The star to play the lead character: All that and more. So, let's just say, there are some nerve-wracking expectations.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
This news is only based on cryptic hints dropped by Charlie Sheen, so don’t be too surprised if things turn out differently. That being said, Sheen implied that his newest television project may be an adaptation of the comedy, Anger Management, starring Adam Sandler as a mild-mannered man with pent-up anger, and Jack Nicholson, as his boisterous, off-the-wall and plausibly insane psychologist who makes it his life mission to turn his patient’s life upside down. The Nicholson role sounds like just the type of character Sheen would want to play on television…while he’s taking a break from playing it in real life.
More precisely, Sheen’s statement is reportedly that he’ll be working on a new sitcom based on a film with the initials “A.M.,” that Joe Roth produced a few years ago. Sheen's friend Roth has done nothing of the sort, but he was at one time attached to Revolution Studios, which did produce Anger Management in 2003. For Sheen logic, that’s not bad.
Universal Pictures Snow White and the Huntsmen is one of many children's stories coming back to the big screen, but one of the only to have its cast nearly locked into place. Over the past few months Charlize Theron was on again, off again, but appears to be almost set to play the villainous evil queen while the main roles - that of Snow White and the Huntsmen - haven't gotten as much attention. That changes today as Viggo Mortensen, who has been rumored for quite a few parts in big-budget films lately, seems to be close to landing the role of the Huntsman, according to Variety.
Rupert Sanders will direct the picture from a screenplay by Evan Daugherty, while Joe Roth (Alice In Wonderland) is producing. This iteration of the fable focuses on a huntsman, who, in the original tale is supposed to kill Snow White but ends up letting her go. He becomes the young girl's protector and mentor of sorts as they try to escape from the evil queen who ordered her death. Michael Fassbender had been rumored for the role previously, but he's been busy courting other high profile offers...
Meanwhile, Snow White's part is a more interesting situation. Sources indicate that Universal has been screen testing untried youths for the iconic role, much like Paramount Pictures did (with great success) for True Grit. However, Heat Vision claims that Kristen Stewart is not only a front runner, but is being aggressively courted by the studio. The Twilight star supposedly is such a commodity that she's not even required to screen test, so she may just need to make her decision and we could have our star.
I could personally see both of these actors in the respective roles. Both are major stars, especially with genre audiences. Their involvement, in addition to Theron's, adds a bit of prestige to an otherwise mainstream project that would be less intriguing with a cast of relative unknowns. Adding in established stars gives it a dynamic that will undoubtedly work in its favor. Stewart, though most known for vampire romances, is a fine actress who's been playing her cards right, taking on lots of indie fare to balance the box office might of The Twilight Saga, while Mortensen is a respected thespian and a bankable lead thanks to The Lord of the Rings and his acclaimed recent work with David Cronenberg.
Snow White and the Huntsmen has been fast tracked by the studio as its already got a December 21st 2012 release date and its competing with Relativity's rival Snow White picture, which has Tarsem Singh at the helm.
Source: Variety, Heat Vision
Are you tired of all award nominations announcements looking alike? Would you rather rag on crummy films than praise good ones? You're in luck today! The 31st Annual Razzie Awards announced their very specific nominations for the worst in cinema over the last year and man, was it a bad year. Of course, that means that the awards ceremony will be that much more fun! The festivities occur on Saturday, February 26th at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theater and until that hilarious celebration of shitty movies goes down, you can relive the absurdity of the worst films of 2010 by glancing over the nominations list below!
THE BOUNTY HUNTER
THE LAST AIRBENDER
SEX & THE CITY #2
TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Jack Black - GULLIVER’S TRAVELS
Gerard Butler - THE BOUNTY HUNTER
Ashton Kutcher - KILLERS and VALENTINE’S DAY
Taylor Lautner - TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE and VALENTINE’S DAY
Robert Pattinson - REMEMBER ME and TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Jennifer Aniston - THE BOUNTY HUNTER and THE SWITCH
Mylie Cyrus - THE LAST SONG
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis & Cynthia Nixon - SEX & THE CITY 2
Megan Fox - JONAH HEX
Kristen Stewart - TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Alba - THE KILLER INSIDE ME, LITTLE FOCKERS, MACHETE and VALENTINE’S DAY
Cher - BURLESQUE
Liza Minnelli - SEX & THE CITY 2
Nicola Peltz - THE LAST AIRBENDER
Barbra Streisand - LITTLE FOCKERS
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Billy Ray Cyrus - THE SPY NEXT DOOR
George Lopez - MARMADUKE, THE SPY NEXT DOOR and VALENTINE’S DAY
Dev Patel - THE LAST AIRBENDER
Jackson Rathbone - THE LAST AIRBENDER and TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Rob Schneider - GROWN UPS
WORST EYE-GOUGING MIS-USE Of 3-D (Special Category for 2010!)
CATS & DOGS #2: REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE
CLASH OF THE TITANS
THE LAST AIRBENDER
SAW 3-D (aka SAW VII)
WORST SCREEN COUPLE / WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLE
Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler - THE BOUNTY HUNTER
Josh Brolin’s Face & Megan Fox’s Accent - JONAH HEX
The Entire Cast of THE LAST AIRBENDER
The Entire Cast of SEX & THE CITY #2
The Entire Cast of TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer - VAMPIRES SUCK
Michael Patrick King - SEX & THE CITY #2
M. Night Shyamalan - THE LAST AIRBENDER
David Slade - TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Sylvester Stallone - THE EXPENDABLES
LAST AIRBENDER Written by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the TV series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko
LITTLE FOCKERS, Written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, based on Characters Created by Greg Glenna & Mary Roth Clarke
SEX & THE CITY #2, Written by Michael Patrick King, Based on the TV Series Created by Darren Star
TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer
VAMPIRES SUCK, Written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL (Combined Category for 2010)
CLASH OF THE TITANS
THE LAST AIRBENDER
SEX & THE CITY #2
TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
Some of the most disturbing moments ever captured on celluloid can be found not in the works of Hitchcock, Kubrick, Carpenter, or Craven, but in films where their presence is genuinely unexpected -- and, in all likelihood, unintended. This Halloween, instead of watching the usual tired array of so-called scary movies, consider exploring the genre that I like to call “accidental horror.” Here are some illustrative examples:
Sex and the City 2 - Liza Butchers Beyonce
One needn’t have to study the filmography of John Waters to discover the point at which “kitschy and campy” ends and “bizarre and frightening” begins. Simply watch this torturous scene from Eli Roth’s Sex and the City 2, in which Liza Minnelli is exhumed to perform a cover of Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”:
The Cat in the Hat - Yenta Furry Home Invasion
Dr. Seuss wasn’t called “the Stephen King of children’s authors” for nothing. Check out this haunting clip from the accidental horror classic The Cat in the Hat, about a hallucinogenic Yenta who terrorizes suburban children:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - Principal Pederast
Some scenes only become creepy in hindsight, long after a film’s initial release, when new revelations surface about the actors or filmmakers involved. Principal Rooney’s obsession with capturing a truant Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gained a disturbing tenor in 2003 when Jeffrey Jones, the actor who played Rooney, was busted for allegedly taking nude photographs of a 14-year-old boy.
Norbit - Norbit Murders Good Taste
This film grossed nearly $160 million worldwide. If that doesn’t trigger an acute sensation of intense existential terror, consider reducing your daily lithium dose.
Spider-Man 3 - Spidey’s Snuff Film
Watch, if you dare, this eery and macabre sequence, in which a billion-dollar movie franchise commits suicide before your very eyes:
The Wiz - M.J.’s Scary Scarecrow
Had Michael Jackson never become embroiled in allegations of child molestation and substance abuse, this scene still would have creeped the hell out of me:
Big Top Pee-Wee - The Kiss of Death
In this sequel to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Paul Reubens inexplicably felt compelled to recast his heretofore asexual signature character as something of a bow-tied lothario, going so far as to grant him a handful of uncomfortably long makeout scenes. Watching Pee-Wee Herman passionately swap spit for several minutes is a punishing experience (except, apparently for the author of this YouTube clip):
Goldfinger - James Bond, Sexual Predator
James Bond didn’t become the world’s most promiscuous superspy by accident. It took a potent combination of style, charm, and a willingness to resort to coercion in the event that style and charm failed, to earn that distinction. It doesn’t require too much of a leap to reimagine the classic Bond flicks as a horror saga about a globe-trotting, serial date-rapist (skip to the two-minute mark for the highlight):
Soul Man - Black Like C.
I can’t decide which part of this clip disturbs me the most: the fact that blackface was still a viable comic device in 1986, or that C. Thomas Howell was once considered a star.
Labyrinth - Bowie’s Bulge
What do you get when you combine Bowie, a baby, and (presumably) lots of blow, then sprinkle in a dozen or so animatronic puppets? This psychic trauma-inducing nugget:
In a dream scenario for Mob-story fans, Deadline yesterday reported that Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are now circling The Irishman, the drama that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have been working on based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses, which chronicles the tale of hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran.
Steve Zaillian wrote the script. The film is being developed at Paramount by De Niro and Jane Rosenthal's Tribeca Productions.
Per Deadline, The Irishman is one of a couple projects that Scorsese is considering next.
De Niro and Pacino worked together in both Michael Mann's Heat and the more recent Righteous Kill. They of course also starred as father and son, although had no screen time together, in The Godfather Part II. Pesci and De Niro have appeared together in Scorsese's Goodfellas, Casino and Raging Bull.
Back in April, De Niro spoke to MTV about the project, saying, "It's a very simple, terrific story about [mobster Frank Sheeran], who supposedly killed [Jimmy] Hoffa and Joe Gallo and so on."
"Steve Zaillian wrote the first script, which is terrific," De Niro told MTV. "The other part, Eric [Roth] is supposed to do it. And we're hoping to move these things together."
Continuing, he explained his and Scorsese's vision for the film at the time: "We have a more ambitious idea, hopefully, to make it a two-part type of film or two films. It's an idea that came about from Eric Roth to combine these movies using the footage from Paint Houses to do another kind of a [film that is] reminiscent of a kind of 8 ½, La Dolce Vita, [a] certain kind of biographical, semi-biographical type of Hollywood movie -- a director and the actor -- based on things Marty and I have experienced and kind of overlapping them."
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