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The NBA season might be coming to a close, but it doesn't look like Lebron James will be taking a vacation any time soon. According to TheWrap, the Miami Heat star has joined the cast of Judd Apatow's upcoming comedy Trainwreck, along with rapper/actor Method Man. The film will star Amy Shumer, who also wrote the script, and follows a woman who has a knack for ruining everything in her life as she attempts to rebuild from the ground up. It hasn't yet been revealed what kind of role Method Man or James will play, but since the latter only has a short window of free time every year, it seems likely that his will be a smaller part.
The pair are the latest additions to Trainwreck's diverse cast, which includes indie darlings, Oscar nominees and Councilman Jamm, in addition to a rapper and an NBA champion. Upon first glance, the cast list might read as if several IMDB pages got mixed up, but this strange group of people actually make perfect sense together, because all of the big names involved with the project are connected. In fact, it's possible to connect every single person who has signed on to this film, from James to Bill Hader to Tilda Swinton, with a maximum of two degrees of separation between them - surprisingly, none of which are Kevin Bacon. Let's start with the director:
Judd Apatow directed Funny People, which starred Aziz Ansari, who was on Parks and Recreation with…
Jon Glaser, who plays Laird on Girls, which also featured…
Colin Quinn in the role of Hermie. Quinn is a Saturday Night Live alum just like…
Bill Hader who was on SNL at the same time as…
Vanessa Bayer, who is part of the current cast with Bobby Moynihan, who does voice work on Chozen alongside…
Method Man, who starred in The Sitter with Jonah Hill. Hill was in 21 Jump Street with…
Brie Larson, who guest starred on an episode of The Kroll Show, which airs on the same network as Inside Amy Shumer, which stars…
Amy Shumer, who appeared in Sleepwalk With Me, a film made by…
Mike Birbiglia, who had a role in Your Sister’s Sister with Emily Blunt. Blunt has acted opposite Tom Hanks, as did…
Barkhad Abdi, who was nominated for an Oscar, just like…
Tilda Swinton, who is in The Zero Theorem with Matt Damon, who appeared on Entourage with…
Lebron James, who is an athlete-turned-actor, as is…
John Cena, who guest starred on Pysch, which airs on the same network as Royal Pains, which featured a 5 episode guest spot from…
Ezra Miller, who starred in The Perks of Being a Wallflower with Paul Rudd, a perennial favorite of Judd Apatow.
See? It's not such a strange bunch after all.
Cinedigm via Everett Collection
Looks like Brie Larson is going to break everyone's hearts once more. The Short Term 12 star has landed the lead role in Room, the big screen adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel about a woman and her young son trapped in a single room for years. Room is the fourth high-profile role that Larson has landed recently, after Judd Apatow's Trainwreck, Matthew Quick's Silver Linings Playbook follow-up The Good Luck of Right Now, and Mark Wahlberg's crime drama The Gambler. With such a diverse list of projects on her plate for the near future, it seems as if Larson has a number of possible career trajectories available to her. Will she choose to stick with the quiet indies that have brought her so much acclaim thus far? Will she give up dramas for a while and embrace her comedic side? Is there a major role in a big-budget franchise in her future?
We've taken a look at Larson's upcoming projects and used them to predict where we see her career headed if they become big successes. No matter what happens, you should get to know Larson's work now, so that you can brag that you knew about her first.
Room Although it’s hard to predict what direction Room will take (the novel is told from the perspective of five-year-old son), it’s clear that Larson has a difficult, emotionally intense role in front of her. We could see her career following in the footsteps of Marion Cotillard, whose Hollywood breakthrough was similarly complicated and layered, and who has gone on to play many more dark and complex characters. Since Larson was rumored to be in the running for a role in the upcoming Terminator film, she should have no problem landing a role in a major franchise, like Cotillard, although we see her in one of the more inventive big-budget films. Perhaps something along the lines of Inception? A Cotillard-like career would also allow her to continue to work in smaller indie films, as well as to mix her serious, weighty projects with lighter fare, in much the same way that Cotillard followed La Vie en Rose with Nine and Midnight in Paris with Rust and Bone. And if we don’t see Larson at the Oscars for Room, then it should only be a matter of time before she, like Cotillard, takes home a trophy.
Trainwreck With Judd Apatow at the helm and Amy Shumer writing and starring, Trainwreck is both the only outright comedy and the most mainstream of her upcoming films. Larson’s proven that she can do comedy well, having played supporting roles in 21 Jump Street and United States of Tara, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if her breakthrough came about as the result of her showcasing those comedic chops. From there, she could stick to comedies, a la Leslie Mann, whose supporting roles in Apatow’s projects have allowed her to transition into carrying films on her own. But we think it’s more likely that Larson would emulate someone like Sandra Bullock, who has managed to do both comedy and drama. Like Bullock, Larson would probably stick to starring in big-budget comedies for some time (we see her taking on slightly weirder projects like The Heat rather than becoming a rom com darling), before finding the perfect dramatic role to help her transition back into more serious work. Thus far, Larson has managed to balance her roles in a similar fashion to Bullock, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to find a way to keep a foot in both worlds. Besides, she's so talented and charming that she could easily become the successor to Bullock’s “America's Sweetheart” title, as well as being a future Best Actress contender.
The Good Luck of Right Now Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, who wrote Silver Linings Playbook, The Good Luck of Right Now is a dramedy about four outsiders who come together to form an unlikely family as they deal with pain, loss and major tragedies. Larson would play a librarian who believes herself to have been abducted by aliens, who falls in love with Bartholomew, a 30-something man who is dealing with the death of his mother by writing letters to Richard Gere. The Good Luck of Right Now is a quirky comedy, with a script by Mike White, and so we could see her following in the footsteps of the queen of independent cinema, Parker Posey. Posey has had a long career that ranges from comedies to dramas and small, independent films to big, studio ventures, and since Larson seems to be interested in working on a wide range of projects, including Dazed and Confused and the comedies of Christopher Guest, it seems likely that she might be headed on a similar career path. Posey is also every popular show's go-to guest star, with a particularly memorable appearance on Louie and Parks and Recreaction. With stints on Community and The Kroll Show under her belt, it seems like Larson might already be following in her footsteps. Plus, Larson's got the "endearingly quirky" thing down, so she should have no trouble becoming Hollywood's new indie darling.
The Gambler In this remake of the 1974 James Caan film, Larson will play the female lead opposite Mark Wahlberg, who will take on the role of a professor whose gambling habits threaten to ruin the lives of him and everyone he care about when he gets in over his head with some loan sharks. It’s a dark, gritty supporting role, and we don't see Larson being brushed off as just another "supportive girlfriend-type." Instead, we predict it could set her on an Amy Adams-type career path, as Adams managed to transform another "girlfriend" role in The Fighter into one of the most compelling characters in the film. Although Adams was a more established actress at the time, there are a lot of similarities between her and Larson, from their breakthrough roles in quiet, realistic indies (Junebug for Adams and Short Term 12 for Larson) to their penchant for goofy, over-the-top comedies (Talladega Nights and The Muppets vs. 21 Jump Street) it seems an apt comparison. Emulating Adams would allow Larson to continue to take darker, serious roles in both big-budget and indie films without having to totally abandon her comedic side, and since critics are already predicting that she will soon be an Oscar fixture, Adams seems like an ideal career role-model for Larson.
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Based on Carl Hiaasen’s Newbery Honor-winning novel the story follows Roy (Logan Lerman) a middle-schooler who has had to move around a lot because of his father’s job. When he moves from his beloved Montana to Florida it’s a big culture shock. But then he hooks up with a tomboy (Brie Larson) and her wild child stepbrother (Cody Linley) and together they unearth a disturbing threat to a local population of endangered owls (and the birds are really cute too) by greedy land developers. Now along with his new friends and a local cop (Luke Wilson) Roy has a new mission in life--to prevent the adults from destroying precious wildlife. I wish I could say Hoot really is a hoot but unfortunately it really isn’t. The three young performers handle most of the action with aplomb. Lerman (TV’s Jack and Bobby) leads things off as the wandering Roy portraying a character with a surprisingly kind disposition considering how many times he has been uprooted in his life. Larson (Sleepover) plays the tough Beatrice who’s all about protecting the ones she loves with plenty of scowls and quick punches. Linley (Cheaper by the Dozen) turns in a dreamy Teen Beat-ready performance as Mullet Fingers a runaway who is the main instigator in trying to stop the land developers. As for the adults Wilson sort of phones it in as the bumbling cop while Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?) and Clark Gregg (In Good Company) play the villains--one dumb as a post and the other a slimy weasel respectively. Hoot is a pleasant enough family comedy teaching us to appreciate and protect our environment--even if that means putting alligators in port-o-potties to scare off the developers. A little harmless sabotaging never hurt anyone especially if it means protecting those adorable little burrowing owls. Actor/TV director Wil Shriner adequately takes the helm in his first stab at feature films and even singer Jimmy Buffett--an avid Floridian--gets in the act not only providing the soundtrack but also as one of the film’s producers. Still there are problems with Hoot. It’s always hard to criticize a film which is nothing but good clean fun and provides positive messages--but unlike Holes which has a very quirky sensibility Hoot is well sort of bland. The trite dialogue is at times cringe-worthy and the comedy sophomoric. It would have been better suited as a made-for-TV movie on Nickelodeon.
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.