The UK trailer for 21 and Over dropped today, heralding the directorial debut of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers behind the Hangover 2.
Not straying far from their winning formula, they’ve created a film that centres around a few fun-loving party guys who must get their straight-laced Asian-American friend to an important appointment after a disastrous night of partying. Their failure to do so would (naturally) incur the wrath of his domineering father.
Starring a relatively unknown cast, the trailer displays all the hallmarks of a frat party classic: lines of shots, hot babes, beer pong and a guy running through the street naked. With all of these components in place, this boozy adventure could very well become this year’s Superbad.
Unless, of course, it turns out to be super bad. [chuckles, shakes head]
Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the day Justin Timberlake was liberated from his momma’s insides and foisted directly into the international spotlight. Or so it would seem. After all, by the age of 12 he had already appeared on TV talent shows singing country songs. But it wasn’t until 1993 that he was cast in what would prove to be the Illuminati of popular entertainment in the early-to-mid 2000s: The Mickey Mouse Club. His adolescent co-stars would include Chistina Aguilera, Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling and future girlfriend Britney Spears.
Of course we all know the story from there: after the Mickey Mouse Club he went on to form N*Sync and became its de facto leader and ‘bad boy’. After cutting a mountain of gold records, he struck out a solo career with a multi-platinum debut album before moving into films. While many Timberlake naysayers assumed that acting would be where he discovered the limits of his talent, JT has proven himself top be quite savvy when it comes to picking movie projects.
Of course we all remember his fantastic turn in The Social Network but what do you know about the rest of Timberlake’s filmography? If you’re feeling up to the challenge, why not take our Justin Timberlake Birthday Quiz! (answers are at the bottom but don’t cheat, okay?)
1. In JT’s science fiction film In Time, what do the characters use as currency?
b) Time itself
c) Gold-Pressed Latinum
2. In The Love Guru, what is the name of Justy’s hockey player character?
Fresh off the presses — Walt Disney Animation Studios have released their short animation Paperman on YouTube today. The story of a young man desperately trying to connect with a woman he saw on a train platform, the 6 minute film is a wonderful slice of magic realism that blends computer generated images with traditional cel animation.
Created to appear before theatrical showings of Wreck-it Ralph, the inclusion of Paperman bears the distinct influence of Pixar’s John Lasseter, who also serves as Disney Animation’s Chief Creative Officer. Since 1997, animated shorts have always been a highlight of the Pixar experience, when A Bug’s Life came front-loaded with the delightful Geri’s Game (in which an old man is forced to defeat himself in chess).
It’s a tradition that harks back to the good ol’ days of double features that came packaged with cartoons and newsreels. And it’s a practice that’s now been adopted by Pixar’s parent company as well!
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll crank the video up to 1080p and go full screen before you hit ‘play’. Do it now, okay? Before your boss comes in…
There are really only two professions where having a moustache is a plus: doctor and pilot. Anytime you come into contact with those people, you’re relying on them being utterly professional and flawless in the execution of their jobs. The moustache only helps to complete the illusion of competence.
So it comes as a bit of a shock the first time you meet a doctor who’s actually an idiot. Just because you pass your exams, doesn’t mean you’re not a dum-dum. Likewise, does it ever really occur to you when you’re on Ryan Air that there’s a good reason why your pilot isn’t working for BA? Air travel’s continuing popularity is pretty much down to a normally skittish public that’s willing to ignore the possibility that pilots are flawed human beings — some more so than others.
In Flight, Denzel Washington is one such pilot. We learn early on that he’s a former naval aviator now spending the twilight of his career flying short haul for a small commuter airline. In the first scene he wakes up in a hotel room strewn with empty bottles. Still drunk and nursing a hangover, he takes a bump of cocaine to even himself out. This is not behaviour you want from the guy flying your plane. But when Washington becomes the celebrated hero of an unbelievable crash landing, his turbulent life goes into tailspin.
The crash sequence is one of the most thrilling scenes of the year that will unsettle even the most seasoned air traveller. Faced with a loss of vertical control, Washington makes the seemingly insane decision to invert the plane to stop its descent. Director Robert Zemeckis (who returns to live action film after a decade of motion-capture animations) shoots the incident with such energy and peril that the rest of the film feels incredibly languorous in comparison.
After all, this really isn’t a movie about a hero or a crash – it’s about a man coming to terms with addiction. After he’s recovered from wreckage of the plane, Washington is taken to a hospital where he befriends upon a beautiful young woman (Kelly Reilly) who’s been admitted after a near-fatal heroin overdose. Their relationship develops in a way that’s neither romantic, nor entirely platonic. As a recovering addict, Reilly’s in a unique position to see the situation Washington’s in. Blood tests taken from Washington after the crash reveal the fact that he was hammered during the entire thing. If he’s proven guilty, he would lose his licence and be facing some serious prison time. So instead of facing his challenge head on, he hides himself from the media, his lawyer (Don Cheadle) and federal investigators. The logic is that if he ignores his problems, they would eventually go away
As a serious film about coming to terms with addiction, Flight is a well-handled from all sides (if perhaps a little slight). Washington thoroughly deserves his Oscar nomination for playing his character with the right balance of vulnerability and self-delusion as he struggles for control. There are hints at his life before the crash, including a fractured relationship with his ex-wife and estranged son. If there’s one thing that the Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins do very well here, it’s allowing the audience to learn about Washington’s character through the reactions of the people who know him best.
The final few scenes have their fair share of clichés where clumsy attempts are made to create a neat ending, but it’s not enough to undo the good work that permeates the rest of the film. If anything, the biggest surprise of the film is Zemeckis’ direction. Now in his fourth decade of making movies, he’s still going strong when many of his contemporaries have fizzled out.
You might be disappointed that this isn’t the thriller that the trailer makes it out to be, but if you were to go in without any prior assumptions, you’re likely to find one of the more entertaining films about crippling alcoholism.
In what was erroneously billed as an exciting exclusive by Deadline Hollywood, writer Doug Ellin is on the verge of finishing his first draft for the Entourage movie. Reported taking place six months after the series finale, the film will see Jeremy Piven‘s uber-agent Ari Gold in his new position as a studio chief. Devotees of the show will also get to catch up with Vinny Chase’s fictitious career; learn whether Turtle has blown his fortune; discover what Johnny Drama has done now to make his teeth look even more like chiclets; and see whether E is still letting himself get bullied by hot women.
Seemingly destined for a cinema near you, one has to beg the question of whether spinning-off a popular television show is such a good idea. After all, for every Inbetweeners movie you have ten Are You Being Served? films (in which they go on holiday to Spain… but the hotel’s not finished!). It will really boil down to whether anyone will want to pay six pounds (ten if you live in London) to go see a movie about dudes partying in a warm coastal town and having sex with young girls (oh wait… that is the plot of The Inbetweeners).
But hey — if there’s one actor that can make this project work, surely it’s the star of Queen’s Boulevard!
Note: None of the clips in this article are safe for work or anyone under 16. You’ve been fairly warned.
Comedian Louis CK’s single-camera comedy series Louie is making its UK debut this month, bringing America’s most highly acclaimed half hour show to a British audience. But with the third season now wrapped on US TV, it begs the question: what was the hold-up? Well, it’s not like British broadcasters have had a great track record with high-end American comedy: Arrested Development was pretty much hidden away by the BBC, which broadcasted double episodes late on a Sunday night. But why has it taken so long for a cable channel to pick up a show that was Time Magazine’s number one TV series of 2011?
Louis CK isn’t a household name here in Britain. Well, he’s not a household name in his native America either. Having been a regular of the New York stand-up scene for almost two decades, he’s quietly developed a reputation as one of the world’s finest comedians. Perhaps unfairly, he’s often referred to as a ‘comic’s comic’ for his proficiency and invention but that would suggest that he’s incredibly highbrow and inaccessible to mainstream audiences – which is in no way true.
His casual style of stand-up doesn’t feature the hard punch lines that are favoured by the most popular of British comedians. Instead, he tends to mine his life for material: taking an extremely profane approach to everyday topics like parenting. Very few comics are capable of speaking as graphically as he can and even fewer can do it while remaining so likable.
[Remember: not for the easily offended]
People on this side of the pond may have first heard of him when Ricky Gervais started championing his stand-up. However, this was also in one of his classic rants about how all comedians in the UK are bad compared to American comics (with the exception of himself), so it was hardly the most sterling of endorsements. But as comics, the two of them couldn’t be any more different. While Gervais pushes the edge of taste for the sake of getting a laugh, Louis CK’s profanity seems to come across as constantly fresh and feels earned. Like George Carlin and Richard Pryor before him, his act is one that depends on honesty and openness and his TV show is a reflection of that.
From the outside, his show might resemble the sitcom Seinfeld: it’s about a vaguely successful stand up comic who happens to have the same name as his creator. Many episodes start with snippets of Louie performing in a club, which will regularly segue into scenes that elaborate on the material. But that’s kind of where the similarities end. The show is highly autobiographical but not always in a literal way. In some episodes Louie in an only child while in others, he has a brother or a sister or a different sister as determined by the needs of the story he’s trying to tell.
The one constant parallel between the on-screen Louie and the real life one is that they’re both divorced fathers. His relationship with his onscreen kids mirrors the point of view he often takes in his stand-up. It’s not necessarily the same ‘I hate my kids’ angle taken by music hall comedians, but you get the sense that he enjoys being a dad while also coping with the constant infuriation of looking after two human beings.
[May contain swears]
It’s not uncommon to see a comedian’s stage routine translated to the screen but CK’s approach is to hit the same themes without necessarily re-enacting too many of his ‘bits’. It’s obvious that a lot of the ideas from the show have been floating around in his head for years. If you want a definitive break-down of why you should never heckle a comedian, just check out this clip:
[Once again: contains language]
The Louie in this show even hangs around with the actual types of comics he does in real life. This opening scene from the second episode feels like the most genuine portrayal of professional funny men hanging out. This scene -in and of itself- almost works as a mission statement: it’s profane, un-PC, funny and incredibly humane. And that’s the one word that sums Louis CK’s style of comedy. He works on topics common to observational comedy but he always approaches them with incredible empathy. Sitcoms can often feel hack when their characters learn valuable life lessons each week but the way in which Louis tackles his prejudices (from the perspective of a guy who perceives himself as incredibly progressive) never wonders far into cliché.
It’s also an tremendously well-made show that looks more cinematic than any other show on TV, which is a miracle considering its relatively miniscule budget. Commissioned by cable channel FX in the United States, Louis CK was offered complete creative control over the series. This meant that there would be no notes from executives, nor any casting mandates. But in exchange, he would have to find ways to stretch his budget of US$250,000 an episode. This might seem like a lot of money but consider the fact that relatively cheap sitcoms normally deal with a million and a half each episode. Hell, even the half man from Two and a Half Men gets paid $350,000 just to turn up on set.
CK not only get the show made under budget, but he has also manages to make it one of the most beautiful and ambitious programmes on the air. Not only does he write and star in every episode, he directs, edits and produces the whole series as well. For what is normally a collaborative medium, he is perhaps the only true auteur working in television. Shooting in New York (a notoriously expensive place to film in) he explores the city in a way not seen since the mid-period films of Woody Allen. And in a way, that comparison seems only appropriate. His show has a blend of humour, humanity and beauty rarely seen since Annie Hall and Manhattan. This red-haired comic from New York has picked up where another one left off decades ago as one of the most important cinematic voices.
And if you think that’s an overstatement, then you haven’t seen Louie yet.
New episodes of Louie are available every Wednesday on blinkbox
Academy Award nominated actor Paul Giamatti is in talks to play a villain in the upcoming Spider-Man sequel starring Andrew Garfield. According to Hollywood trade paper Variety, the Win-Win star is being lined up as The Rhino, a bad guy whose mechanical animal costume gives him super-strength and a broad Brooklyn accent. While its unsure at this point whether the script will call for a less campy reboot of the character, Giamatti’s ability to play both comedy and drama would no doubt serve him well… even if he doesn’t manage to pack on the 400lbs of muscle required to fill his costume.
This wouldn’t be the first time Giamatti’s played either a villainous animal –lest we forget his turn as a covetous orangutan in Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes– but it does show a certain commitment to quality that director Marc Webb is turning to beloved character actors like Rhys Ifans and Mr Giamatti to fill out the supporting roles in his blockbuster franchise.
Astute film fans will have already made the connection between Giamatti and the spidey franchise: his Sideways co-star Thomas Haden Church played The Sandman in the odious Spider-Man 3. Is Marvel pillaging the entire cast of Alexander Payne’s 2004 wine drama?
In the Little Red Book, Mao Zedong once wrote that “political power comes from the barrel of a gun”. However, what holds true in 1963 China doesn’t necessarily carry forward to Chile in 1988.
In this new Chilean film from director Pablo Larraín, Gael García Bernal plays a young ad man who’s hired to create an advertising campaign to oust General Pinochet in a referendum against his regime. Shot on video tape in a style that allows it to blend archive footage with newly dramatised scenes, No was one of 2012′s biggest festival hits, winning prizes in Cannes and an earning itself a nomination for Best Foreign Picture at next month’s Oscars.
While it’s set during one of the most notorious dictatorships in modern history, No has been lauded for both its pitch black humour and its unconventional approach to the political thriller genre. After all, in modern times, political power comes not from violence but from mastery of the media.
Laika Animation Studios takes a page out of the Tim Burton playbook with this spooky, good-natured film about a lonely young boy who -like Haley Joel Osment- can see dead people. And talk to them too. Nobody believes him, of course, making him an outside in his own town and even in his own family. But when zombies start coming alive and pursuing the townspeople, it’s Norman who must come to the rescue! Usually, we try to avoid movies with puns in the title but in the case of ParaNorman, we happily made an exception.
House at the End of the Street Jennifer Lawrence is the fastest rising star in Hollywood at the moment. She plays the lead in an incredibly successful blockbuster franchise, she’s appeared in a number of acclaimed dramatic films and she’s been nominated twicefor Best Actress at the Oscars. And she’s only 22 years old! With the wealth of big offers that are currently falling onto her plate, it’s probably safe to say that she won’t be appearing in mid-budget horror movies like House at the End of the Street anymore. Enjoy this opportunity while you still can.
One of 2012’s most heavily-acclaimed movies, Holy Motors is a mad, surrealist fantasy from French director Leos Carax. It stars Denis Lavant as Mr Oscar, an eccentric and mysterious man who’s ferried around in a white limo, transiting between his ‘appointments’ where he transforms into strange characters like a broken old woman and a wretched, flower-eating tramp. Co-starring Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue, this endlessly inventive film has been described as “a gorgeous furry teacup of a film, preposterous and filled with secrets” by the Guardian and “an exhilarating, audacious, lunatic rocket-ride” by Empire Magazine. Are you sold yet?
V/H/S In this new anthology of terror, VHS sees some of America’s most talented young directors as they are given the task of delivering horror shorts based around the theme of ‘found footage’. Some of the bigger names involved include Joe Swanberg (best known for his mumblecore classics like Hannah Takes the Stairs) and Ti West, who is quietly making a name for himself as a thoughtful director of slow-burn horror movies. If you’re looking to scope out the next generation of horror maestros, there’s no better place to start than here.
Wrong Turn 5
From the director of Sharktopus comes the fifth entry of a film franchise we never knew existed. Taking place in a small mining town in the middle of nowhere, a group of visiting college kids find themselves the targets of a terrifying cannibal family headed by Doug Bradley (best known as Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies). The trailer is incredibly gory and would suggest that there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour to be found in this campy shocker.
From American History X director Tony Kaye, it’s a searing look at the American education system as seen through the eyes of a substitute teacher (Adrien Brody). Joining him onscreen is a wealth of great TV actors like Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Lucy Liu (Elementary) and William Petersen (CSI). Brody hasn’t had a great role for quite a few years, but early reviews suggest that he’s very good in Detachment, which should hold the Academy off from revoking his Oscar — like they should have after Splice.
Ray Winstone plays Frank, a man confined to a care home when Alzheimer’s begins to strip away his memory. One day, a young man arrives, wishing to reconnect with a father who no longer knows him. Together, they get the hell out of dodge and go on a trip that begins to reveal everything about their past and present. When he’s given a chance, Winstone will always deliver a solid performance – just see something like Nil by Mouth or Sexy Beast. Alongside him is one of Britain’s brightest young stars in Sturgess; together, they are the Harry Corbett and Wilfred Brambell of modern actors.
On a dirty weekend away in Essex, two couples find themselves caught up in the legend of a vengeful monk and his haunted tree. Oh yes: and they also happen to be filming the entire thing on a handi-cam. This film might seem like a British retread of The Blair Witch Project, but its trailer assures us that it is “Terrifying” (Total Film) and that it “is going to scare the bejesus out of you” (Empire). However, upon further investigation, the reviews from those two magazines don’t seem to feature any of those words. Where did those pull-quotes go? Were they stolen by the Mad Monk??
The Double Richard Gere is a retired CIA operative who’s back in the game and on the trail of a legendary Soviet hit man. With his new partner Topher Grace helping him out, they soon find themselves in grave danger as the hunter becomes the hunted, etc… We’re long-time fans of Richard Gere and in this movie he’s joined by Martin Sheen as the CIA director, bringing all the gravitas any film could ask for. But whatever you do, do not watch the trailer to this film. It is so utterly layered in spoilers that it pretty much ruins the entire story. But let us just say this: from what we’ve seen of the spoilers, The Double looks to be a very solid and twisted thriller.
Cowgirls n’ Angels
Young Ida is accepted into an all-girl rodeo troupe run by retired cowboy James Cromwell. While making new friends and discovering her passion the rodeo, she also finds herself in a position to finally track down her estranged father. This sassy equine adventure has just about every element a pre-teen girl would want in a movie: it’s a coming of age story about an independent young woman that’s full of ponies and cute boys.
After insisting on numerous occasions that he was definitely not going to be shooting the new Star Wars film, Alias creator J.J. Abrams will apparently now do exactly that. Having previously cited that his loyalty to the Star Trek franchise prevented him from going to the prom with Disney’s newly acquired Lucasfilm properties, he decided that he would in fact be bringing two girls to the end of year formal, like the rule-breaking stud he is.
According to TheWrap -who broke this story- Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy had been courting the Mission Impossible 3 director since the beginning of her tenure. Spokespeople from both Abrams’ company and Lucasfilm have refused to comment publicly on this matter, which means that the rumour is almost certainly true. The report also suggests that Ben Affleck was in contention, but negotiations apparently broke down when Kennedy refused to set the film in Boston.
Now with Abrams set to become the franchise king of world (his company Bad Robot will produce not only Star Trek movies, but Star Wars and Mission Impossible films as well), the guys who used to bully him in high school are expected to deliver their concession speeches this afternoon. In addition, the International Guild of Nerds has already kicked off plans to turn their tree houses into shrines for Abrams. For lo, he is now their one and only true god.