Thursday, May 27, 2010
This dramatic lose of weight is obviously not the first we’ve seen. More well accomplished and talented actors have done so before 50. Robert DeNiro did it for Raging Bull (1980). He gained 60lbs for his role as boxer Jake LaMotta. Matt Damon did the transformation two separate times. The first was for Courage Under Fire (1996) where Damon played an heroin ex-military addict and lost 40lbs to get into character. His second time was just last year in The Informant where he put on 30lbs. Renee Zellweger also did it for both Bridget Jones films (2001 &2 2004) gaining 25lbs. Zellweger was much more of shock to people since she’s a woman and she typically has the figure of a stick. However, she pulled it off beautifully and no one would have ever known she put on weight. The same can be said for Charlize Theron in her portrayal as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster (2003). Theron gained 30lbs for her role and won an Oscar. Tom Hanks packed on 50lbs for Cast Away (2000). His goal was to be as pudgy as possible. Production was then stopped for a whole year so he could lose the weight and grow out his hair and beard! Finally, the most drastic weight loss an actor put his body through was Christian Bale for The Machinist (2004). Bale shrunk down to a scrawny 110lbs from 173lbs. If you look at IMDB under the trivia section for the film is says that Bale wanted to go to 100lbs, but producers would not let him do it out of fear for his health. What’s even more insane is that Bale put all that weight back on for Batman Begins in 2005 and if you saw that movie you know he was all muscle. According to IMDB, Bale’s 63lb weight loss is the most anyone has ever done.
So what makes these actors do such crazy things to their bodies? Is it dedication? Money? Passion? My guess it’s a combination of all three with dedication at the lead. However, money isn’t even a factor in some cases. The Machinist was by no means a blockbuster movie. Barely anyone saw it and I don’t think Bale made that much money from it. However, it’s an amazing movie. When an actor goes to such extremes you can’t help but become mesmerized by what you see. The connection between actor and the audience is much deeper than usual. Every time I watch Cast Away I find myself feeling so sad for Tom Hank’s character. Overall, I think that’s what each actor goes for. They want the audience to feel the pain and suffering of the character.
If you would like to read the entire article go to the link below. Filming has wrapped on Things Fall Apart and 50 has now begun going back to his former self.
Today, George Clooney is a highly respected actor with a diverse resume, which includes an Oscar. While he didn’t have that little golden statue in the 90’s he was a star on the rise. As everyone knows the Batman character is darker than the average superhero. Batman is a man of mystery who is deeply troubled by his past. It’s safe to say that Clooney represented none of the traditional characteristics of the Cape Crusader. Out of all the actors to don the cape and cowl Clooney was the worst. Surprisingly, Clooney doesn’t have any regrets about the film. In an interview back in 2008 he told Showbiz Spy, “I don’t regret anything…with hindsight it’s easy to look back at Batman and go, ‘Woah! that was really shit, and I was really bad in it. The truth is, Batman is still the biggest break I ever had. It changed my career. I wouldn’t be doing this now if it hadn’t been for Batman.” If you look at his resume on IMDB he is correct. Before Batman and Robin barely any of his movies stood out, except for From Dusk Till Dawn. Most of his breaks cames after this film. Therefore, you can understand why he took on the role. It was the right move at the time.
However, George Clooney is not the only person to blame for this awful piece of cinema which I speak of. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Mr. Freeze, is also at fault. I will go as far to say that he was the worst part of the movie. He repeatedly killed the audience with his corny one line jokes and abysmal acting. I hesitate to even use the term “acting” when speaking of Arnold and his performance because it was anything but. I never understood why they chose Arnold for that part. Just like Clooney, Arnold’s role in Batman and Robin was the worst of his career next to Junior. As for Uma Thurman, who played Poison Ivy, I’ll skip over her because she was the least of the films problems. I do have an issue with the incorporation of Bane. Here is the only villain to best Batman in the comics and the writers turned him into a second rate henchman incapable of speaking. What the shit is that about? If anything Bane deserves to be the only villain in a Batman movie. Blasphemy!
Let us now move on to Chris O’Donnell. I didn’t mind O’Donnell in Batman Forever. He seemed to fit the character at that point in the story. He correctly displayed the emotions of a young man hell bent on his own mission of revenge. With that said, he provided no support in Batman and Robin and his acting was shitty. If you thought the misery ended there you were wrong. Let us not forget Alicia Silverstone as Bat-Girl. I have less of issue with Silverstone than I do with how her character was portrayed. First, the Bat-Girl character in the comics is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon not Alfred’s niece who speaks with an American accent. Moreover, where was her characters’ training? She may have been athletic and a daredevil but when Batman takes a new protégé he works them to the bone. It would have been cool to see some of that stuff. For me, that was such a hole in the plot.
When one thinks about Batman and Robin it’s hard to forget the films biggest nemesis…director Joel Schumacher. Many people personally blame him for the numerous errors in this film. Others may say it was Warner Bros. fault for wanting to go in a more kid friendly direction. Whatever you may think, Schumacher was the one who put nipples on the Bat suit (a mortal sin by the way). He changed the entire ambiance of the story. Long gone were tall buildings and dark alley ways filled with smoke where Batman would seek out justice. Instead it was replaced by colorful set designs that glowed in the dark under black lights. I don’t understand why he decided, or agreed, to go in this direction. Here is a guy who directed St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down, The Client, and A Time To Kill. Those were all very good movies. I guess he got carried away with himself.
All in all, Batman and Robin is pure trash at its finest. I’ll be honest I’ve taken dumps that have looked and smelled prettier than this movie.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Solitary Man-starring Michael Douglas. If you saw Up in the Air you can kind of get the same feeling with both of these films. Men who are lost and don't know who they are because they become so entangled in their own lives.
Get Him to the Greek-starring Jonah Hill and Russel Brand. I put the Red Band trailer up because its funnier. At first, I thought the movie was going to be stupid but when I saw the trailer in Robin Hood plus the Red Band I found myself laughing a lot. It has the same director as Forgetting Sarah Marshall so there is definitely hope for this film.
Restrepo- A war documentary about one platoon in Afghanistan during the course of one year. This documentary was done by National Geographic therefore you will see the true affects of war on soldiers as well as their thoughts. This looks good!
The Killer Inside Me- starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson. This film is catching some major buzz. Definitely worth checking out.
The American-starring George Clooney. An American James Bond movie set in Italy done with style and seriousness.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Since I reviewed Rocky V for Terrible Thursday last week I thought it would be very fitting to review a real Rocky film for Memorial Monday!
Summary: Just like Zoolander review I will not summarize this film. SHAME ON YOU if you have never seen it…seriously. By far, this movie (and the rest of the series, except for Rocky V) is one of the greatest inspirational movies ever. It showed everyone that a man’s determination and strength of the heart can achieve victory.
Plot (A): Rocky II picks up right where the first one left off allowing nothing to be missed. Although, he now has some financial security life isn’t all peaches and cream for the Italian Stallion. Rocky is dealing with new changes in his life. He and Adrian are married and are expecting a baby. Since he is now retired from boxing Rocky finds it hard to provide for his family due to his limited education. After some unsuccessful commercials he takes a job at the meat packing plant. Working his fingers to the bone the audience witnesses a man willing to anything for his family. However, Rocky quickly realizes his true place is in the ring. He was born a fighter and forever will be one.
Action (A-): While the fight is the last fifteen to twenty minutes of the film it’s a great one nonetheless. The viewers can really feel the emotions expressed by Rocky and Apollo. During the fight, Rocky remains calm, cool, and collected. With his new skills he consistently lands punch after punch at his surprised opponent. Apollo, on the other hand, is man on a mission…a mission to prove he IS the best. His determination and ferocity is clearly evident in his aggressive fighting style, which wasn’t seen in their first fight. Leading up to the big match we are re-introduced to the famous training montage which came to dominate the Rocky saga. I’ll never forget the lead in to this particular training montage. It occurs when Adrian comes out of her coma and whispers into Rocky’s ear, “Win”. Suddenly, we see the lion awake from his slumber get ready for battle.
Acting & Dialogue (A): Much like Rocky, the acting and dialogue are very strong and dominate the film. So strong are these two elements they have allowed generations of people to fall in the love with the characters and the story they tell. Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky as a simple minded giant with the heart of lion. As I've watched Stallone play Rocky I always wondered what part, if any, of himself is in the character? Stallone’s acting is so effortless and translates beautifully to the screen that I believe some part of him lies within the character.
Talia Shire continues to display Adrian as the quiet mouse willing to do anything for the man she loves. Shire’s performance is so convincing and realistic that we happily cheer on as her character evolves into a more confidant woman. As for Carl Weathers’, he depicts Apollo Creed drastically different from the cocky and arrogant version we saw in Rocky. While he wasn’t much of an antagonist in the first film, Weathers fully submerged himself as the “bad guy” in Rocky II. Apollo’s determination to crush the Italian Stallion, a legend in the making, is equally met by Rocky’s will to win.
Burt Young and Burgess Meredith equally bring the same intensity and style of acting as they did in the first installment. Paulie and Mickey each stand out significantly and play pivotal roles in Rocky’s life. If you really think about it those two characters highly influenced the Stallion. Rocky wanted something better for his life and didn’t want to end up like Paulie; a drunken, jealous, over-weight never was. As for Mickey, we all know how he influenced Rocky. Mickey taught Rocky all he knew which resulted in a more skilled fighter. Most importantly, Mickey loved Rocky and treated him like a son. Their relationship was always so sincere and unique that it added a deeper layer to the films context.
Music (A+): I get chills every single time I hear those trumpets sounding that legendary theme music. I believe most people do. There is no doubt that Bill Conti created a master piece. The entire film is filled with inspirational music which correctly correlates to the emotions of the star and pacing of the story. I can only think of two other films whose music serves as an integral part of the story: Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Without the music, these movies wouldn’t be nearly as good and hold such important places in our hearts.
Director (A): Rocky II was Stallone’s second directing job. For his sophomore film, he really hit the nail right on the head. Stallone was obviously comfortable enough with the character and story that he was willing to take on the roll of directing. Personally, I think that was a great idea. Others may say that it was a mistake because he had too much on his plate. If you look at IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, they both give Rocky much higher scores. I’m not sure for the exact reasons, but I always have felt that Rocky II was a great sequel. Above all, it was a film that solidified Rocky’s place in American pop culture.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
It’s safe to say that very few, if any, appreciated the direction Rocky V went in. The entire series up to that point was always about never giving up and fighting for what you want. While some of the traditional Rocky spirit was displayed in the fifth installment, the plotlines which I listed above make it impossible to respect where they took this beloved story. It’s hard for anyone to watch a Rocky film and not be inspired. I get chills in my body when I watch Rocky and Apollo struggle to stand up at the end of Rocky II. When I see the training montage from Rocky IV I want to go out and run for a straight hour listening to “Hearts on Fire”, “War”, and “Gonna Fly Now” on repeat. If Rocky V is ever on I get diarrhea and sense of nausea overwhelms my body.
In my opinion, no one wanted to see the Italian Stallion lose everything he worked so hard for in what was to be the last installment. It’s just depressing. Furthermore, listening to his whinny son, who wore that ridiculous fucking earring, bitch throughout the movie was extremely annoying. The only thing a person could mildly appreciate in Rocky V was the fight scene which was alright at its best.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
The Movie Titan
Plot (A-): The downfall and rise of the Derek Zoolander brings a lot of depth and flavor the story. The story needed its hero to experience despair so the audience could laugh harder at his attempt to reestablish his career and save the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Models have always been viewed as not the smartest of people (certainly Tyra Banks is doing a bang up job proving my point here) but in Zoolander we see that they’re complete morons. I mean, only the dumbest person in the world would wear an all white suit to a funeral and pronounce the word “eulogy” with a hard “g”…eugoogooly.
Action (B-): While there is some action at the end of the movie it doesn’t hold a candle the walk off we witness between Derek Zoolander and Hansel, who is so hot, Hansel! As Derek says to Matilda, “If you want a real look at the inside modeling world, watch this!” Never before have I seen comedic actors portray models with such a high level of seriousness as in that scene.
Acting & Dialogue (A): “Oh, I’m sorry did my pin get in the way of your ass?!?! Lose ten pounds immediately or never come back!” “Todd, are you not aware that I get farty and bloated when drinking a foamy latte?” These are just two of the many hilarious lines in Zoolander. Will Ferrell brought so much this film from his outrageous clothes to his weird bleach blond hair style. For many, he may have been the true star of the film. Ben Stiller not only showed his genius as a comedic actor but as a writer and director. He worked exceptionally well with the other actors in the film on screen but also gave them the right direction for them to shine on their own. Owen Wilson is equally as funny, entertaining, and stylish. Wilson correctly displayed Hansel as a free loving, living in the moment hippie, who is also an adrenaline junkie….pretty much the anti-thesis to Derek. Hansel’s opening line has always been one of my favorite, “I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.” It’s like Hansel knows who he is and what he wants but at the same time he doesn’t.
Sex Appeal (6): There’s not really any sex appeal in this movie except for the beautiful Christine Taylor.
Director (A-): I never envisioned Ben Stiller as a director for some reason. I initially viewed him as a person that worked better in front of the camera rather than behind. Previous to Zoolander he directed The Cable Guy. While it definitely wasn’t as impactful as Reality Bites, his previous directing gig, The Cable Guy was surely an underrated comedic film. My opinion definitely changed when I first saw Zoolander. Stiller was able to balance his roles as the director and the main star with great ease. The story progressed very smoothly and never dragged on at any point. Every time I watch the movie, I always get impressed by the arbitrary amount of stars in the film such as: Lil’ Kim, Fred Durst, Donald Trump, David Bowie, Stephen Dorff, the list goes on and on. I think it’s safe to say that directing Reality Bites definitely gave Stiller street credibility but Zoolander increased his stardom tenfold.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
When I see trailers for movies like this I truly become amazed at the amount of shit that comes out of Hollywood. I'm more then sure there are hundreds, probably thousands, of scripts written by talented writers desperately aching for their piece of work to made into a movie but they can't. However, some jackass who blew the right person got this hunk of garbage to be made. It simple amazes me. What really pisses me off is the part in the trailer where Ving Rhames is telling everyone to clear the lake but they don't. The SECOND someone told me to clear a lake, or any body of water for any reason, you can be sure that my white Italian ass is getting to land, okay. I saw Jaws. I saw Lake Placid and Orca (the latter two were shit by the way). There are way too things under the water for me to test fate against, which is why those characters really piss me off, even though its a movie. Finally, screen writers and directors have been trying for years to recreate the suspense and horror that Jaws brought and have failed. Jaws was the really the first movie of its kind. Everything else has been a shitty replica.
As you can see, this movie is in 3D for some reason. That's even more money wasted!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Toy Story 3
Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D-was already released but who the fuck wants to see Kenny Chesney at all none the less in 3D. A 3D Kenny Chesney concert is as useless as an ass on my elbow.
The Last Airbender- could be cool I’ll admit
Step-Up 3D-Yea, because I desperately want to see the same bullshit recycled story in 3D.
Piranha 3D-not even going to touch this one.
Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2
The Green Lantern
Monday, May 10, 2010
Plot (A-): In my opinion, this is the best college movie ever. While Animal House was very funny for its time, PCU took the college movie genre to a new level in the 90’s. I’ll always have an appreciation for Animal House due to my father but after seeing this movie for the first time back in 1996/7 I COULDN’T WAIT to go to college. Set in a span of one day, you quickly see the type of destruction The Pit causes the entire campus. By pulling immature, yet genius pranks you understand they are the poster children of everything that is anti-politically correct. For the most part PCU showed me the absolute freedom you have in college and that everyday can be a party. Looking back, I should have failed a year or two of college just so I could have stayed.
Action (N/A): Like any Tom Cruise film there’s a lot of running.
Acting & Dialogue (A): “Excuse me, can you blow me where the pampers is?” It’s safe to say that anyone who has seen this movie more than once can quote it entirely, which is why I gave this section an A. Jeremy Piven is clearly at his best in this film. Everything he says and does is legendary. For example, it’s because of his one line to John Favreau that I, or any of my friends, CANNOT wear a shirt of the band we’re going to see. Why? Because we don’t want to be “that guy”. What that actually means, I don’t know but it’s funny. John Favreau and David Spade contribute more comedy to the film in several ways which can only be appreciated when viewed. Favreau plays Gutter, one of the social misfits of The Pit, who clearly isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Favreau rocks an overweight belly and short dreadlocks which makes his role authentic. Spade plays Rand McPherson, a preppy Reganite who leads an underground fraternity that is desperately aching to seek vengeance on The Pit. Going back to why this movie made me salivate for my college years. I did come to find certain truths in this movie about college during my four years there. One in particular stands out, which I’ll let the quote explain:
Tom: What's he doin?
Droz: He's finishing his senior thesis. Pigman is trying to prove the Caine-Hackman theory. No matter what time it is, 24 hours a day, you can find a Michael Caine or Gene Hackman movie playing on TV.
Tom: That's his thesis?
Droz: Yes! That's the beauty of college these days, Tommy! You can major in Game Boy if you know how to bullshit
This is something that is so true about college. Now, perhaps you may or may not be able to write a thesis about the extinct and primitive Game Boy, but in reality if you have a interest in a specific topic you can get away studying it. Legitimate or not. By the way, that theory of Pigman’s is true for the most part. Michael Caine and Gene Hackman movies are always on.
Sex Appeal (4): Are you kidding me? The Womynist’s would have no toleration for sex or anything like that in this film. For example, analyze this quote: Jock: What’s up babes? Womynist #1: Pack up your rape culture and take a hike! Jock: You want a brew dog? Womynist #1: We’re not interested in your penis! Womynist #2: Wait, wait. I think he’s offering us a beer.
Director (A): Hart Bochner is known more for his acting than directing. After PCU he directed High School High starring John Lovitz and Tia Carrere, which is very fitting since both films are comedies that focus on school. In my opinion, his directing abilities in PCU were amazing. He created a cult classic about the best four years a teenager can have. According to IMDB, Jeremy Piven stated that none of the actors were allowed to improvise during filming. The only line that was improvised was the “Don’t be that guy” line…which is iconic to the hardcore fans. I don’t know if that’s true but if it is you gotta give SOOO much credit to the writers. They created funny ass one-liners that will live forever.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Plot (B+): Let me start of by saying that I love this movie! It’s so damn funny and I think it caught many viewers by surprise when it initially came out. You have to admire the creativity of the writers. Not only did they make a funny film but they made a funny raunchy film centered on the jolliest holiday. What really made this movie standout were two factors: 1) the shit stain of a life Billy Bob Thornton’s character leads, and 2) the Kid, who according to the main characters, is a fucking pathetic loser. You’ll find yourself laughing throughout the entire movie but don’t be surprised by the vulgarity. This is definitely one of my favorite Christmas films due to the fact that it’s so unconventional.
Action (B): Does kicking and punching other people the balls count? I think so.
Acting & Dialogue (A): Anything Thornton, Cox, or the Kid say or do screams brilliance in regards to the writing. Thornton’s character is a deadbeat alcoholic dickhead who has no filter when's speaking to other people. For example, analyze this comment as he fornicates with heavy set woman in a dressing room, “Yea baby! Yeah baby! You're not gonna shit right for a week.” Santa’s callous personality coupled with Marcus ‘sarcastic remarks make them an indomitable comedic team. Bernie Mac and John Ritter are also in the film. Both have minor roles but are funny, especially Ritter. The innocence and political correctness his character adds is a twist to the dirty dialogue. Sadly, this was the last movie he starred right before his death.
Sex Appeal (7): There is an unrated version called Badder Santa and I can’t remember if there are any nude scenes in it. However, in both versions do see Lauren Graham in nice lingerie moaning in a harmonious rhythm, “Fuck me Santa! Fuck me Santa! Fuck me Santa!”
Director (B+): Other than Bad Santa, Terry Zwigoff hasn’t directed anything of real value. However, you don’t need to be Spielberg or Scorsese to make a good movie. In my opinion, the well written story and acting allowed this movie to be a hit leaving Zwigoff with little to do.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Natalie Portman isn’t a blockbuster actress. She doesn’t feel the need to accept every script that comes her way. Her ability to pick quality films that have deeper meaning signifies her intelligence. She has a unique talent for authentically displaying emotions in her characters when needed. For reasons such as this I award the May’s Actor of Month to Natalie Portman!