Review: ‘Driven’ is a great vehicle to showcase Jason Sudeikis’ talents

When you think of Back To The Future, you cannot help but see one of the most iconic cars of all time in your mind is: The DeLorean. But does anyone know a single thing about the creator of this movie legend? Few names in the tech industry evoke an immediate portrait of that person: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and perhaps now Elizabeth Holmes for better or for worse. I certainly had no clue about the tangled and complex story behind the man who would lend his name to cinematic history. Driven goes behind the proverbial curtain and sheds light on an unbelievable true tale of corruption and image through the eyes of someone who befriended this enigmatic figure. Con man to con man, takes one to know one.

Corey Stoll is probably the most believable version of a fed up FBI agent there could be. His genuinely flabbergasted attitude is the perfect foil for Sudeikis’ sardonic wit. Judy Greer, my beautiful girlcrush, is honest and spitfire as ever. One particularly climactic scene between her and Sudeikis (unmistakable once you see it) is pretty much a masterclass in scene partnering. Lee Pace is immensely unsettling and about as big of a dickhead as you need DeLorean to be. His bullshit is thick and perfect. Now, let’s get to the man of the hour. Jason Sudeikis, since I saw him in Tumbledown, is as surprising as ever. He has honest to God acting chops outside of his charming funny guy routine. More roles like this please and thank you. Bravo, once again, good sir.

The film’s pacing works well with the backdrop of Hoffman’s testimony. This is one hell of an intriguing story. You’ll need to know how it ends. Driven is about the deadly mixture of ingenuity and pride. It will take you for a ride.

New trailer for Woody Allen’s latest movie ‘Cafe Society’ – Premiering at Cannes & releasing in Amazon July 15th

Cafe Society

CAFÉ SOCIETY will have its world premiere on opening night of the 69th Cannes Film Festival

Amazon Studios & Lionsgate will release CAFÉ SOCIETY on July 15, 2016

Directed and Written by Woody Allen

Starring Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, and Ken Stott

Produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, and Edward Walson

Set in the 1930s, Woody Allen’s bittersweet romance CAFÉ SOCIETY follows Bronx-born Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) to Hollywood, where he falls in love, and back to New York, where he is swept up in the vibrant world of high society nightclub life.

Centering on events in the lives of Bobby’s colorful Bronx family, the film is a glittering valentine to the movie stars, socialites, playboys, debutantes, politicians, and gangsters who epitomized the excitement and glamour of the age.

Bobby’s family features his relentlessly bickering parents Rose (Jeannie Berlin) and Marty (Ken Stott), his casually amoral gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll); his good-hearted teacher sister Evelyn (Sari Lennick), and her egghead husband Leonard (Stephen Kunken). For the hooligan Ben, there are no questions that can’t be answered with brute force, but the others are more likely to ponder deeper matters, like right and wrong, life and death, and the commercial viability of religion.

Seeking more out of life, Bobby flees his father’s jewelry store for Hollywood, where he works for his high-powered agent uncle Phil (Steve Carell). He soon falls for Phil’s charming assistant Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), but as she’s involved with another man, he settles for friendship. Bobby also befriends Rad (Parker Posey), a model agency owner, and her husband Steve (Paul Schneider), a wealthy producer.

When Vonnie’s boyfriend breaks up with her, Bobby seizes the opportunity to romance her, and she ultimately returns his affections. When he asks her to marry him and move to New York, she is tempted, but things do not go as smoothly as planned.

Heartbroken, Bobby returns to New York, where he begins working for Ben, who has muscled his way into owning a nightclub. Bobby displays natural talents as an impresario and swiftly promotes the club into the hottest in town, renaming it “Les Tropiques.”  Rad introduces him to the beautiful socialite Veronica (Blake Lively) and he courts her assiduously. Although he is still carrying a torch for Vonnie, when Veronica reveals she’s pregnant, they marry and begin a genuinely happy life together.

Everything seems to have fallen into place for Bobby until the night Vonnie walks into “Les Tropiques.”

Poignant, and often hilarious, CAFÉ SOCIETY, a film with a novel’s sweep, takes us on a journey from pastel-clad dealmakers in plush Hollywood mansions, to the quarrels and tribulations of a humble Bronx family, to the rough-and-tumble violence of New York gangsters, to the sparkling surfaces and secret scandals of Manhattan high life.

With CAFÉ SOCIETY, Woody Allen conjures up a 1930s world that has passed to tell a deeply romantic tale of dreams that never die.

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Review: ‘Black Mass’ – Depp Shines as the Oscar Season Kicks Off

Black Mass

After a series of box office disappointments, Johnny Depp returns with his finest performance of his career in Black Mass, the story of the rise and fall of Whitey Bulger, Boston’s most notorious gangster. Based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), this period crime drama is captivating in it’s ruthless storytelling, which grabs you from the very beginning and pulls you closer with each passing scene. Oscar needs to stand up and take notice because Black Mass is the first real contender for this year’s award season.

Black Mass

James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) is a recently released convict and the leader of The Winter Hill Gang  and one of the most respect men in South Boston. John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is an FBI agent who’s recently returned to Boston to head a task force to rid the city of the Italian mob. James and John grew up on the streets of South Boston together and Connelly knows the influence of Bulger. Knowing that the best way to infiltrate organized crime is from the inside, Connelly, along with Whitey’s brother, Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch), a state senator and Boston public figure, strike a deal with Whitey to trade secrets and take down Boston’s Italian Mafia, a deal that would catapult Whitey from small time crime boss to the king of Boston.

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Director Scott Cooper, working from a script by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), tells Bulger and Connelly’s story over a series of decades which culminates in Bulger making the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Each act of the story perfectly illustrates the challenges each character involved in this unholy alliance face leading to life altering situations and decisions that no one can turn back from. Cooper is gifted with an amazing cast lead by the memorizing Depp who turns in an Oscar winning performance. Depp, who is barely recognizable as the godfather of the Irish Mob, is relentless in his commitment to the character and his portrayal is both haunting and meticulous in his execution.

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Joel Edgerton embodies the invincibility and arrogance of his character with ease and turns in the performance of a lifetime. Benedict Cumberbatch is limited in his screen time, but he makes the most of every scene by portraying the confidence and calmness of an American politician and brother of a notorious gangster. My one wish for this film would have been for a bit more interaction between Depp and Cumberbatch as both actors were ripe for some great scenes. The rest of the cast, which includes Rory Cochrane, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, and David Harbour, were outstanding in this supporting roles.

Overall, Black Mass is a fantastic crime drama with plenty of drama and wonderful performances and one that demands to be seen. Don’t miss this film.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

None

Trailer:

Warner Bros Debuts New ‘Black Mass’ Trailer

Black Mass

Warner Bros. Pictures has revealed the new Black Mass trailer and we have it for you below!

Three-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetFinding Neverland, the Pirates of the Caribbean films) stars as notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in the drama Black Mass, directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart).

The film also stars Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty) as FBI Agent John Connolly; Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as Whitey’s brother, powerful State Senator Billy Bulger; Rory Cochrane (Argo) as Steve Flemmi, Whitey’s closest partner in crime; Jesse Plemons (TV’s “Fargo”) as Whitey’s main henchman, Kevin Weeks; and Kevin Bacon (Crazy, Stupid, Love, TV’s “The Following”) as FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles McGuire.

In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster Jimmy Bulger (Depp) to collaborate with the FBI in order to eliminate their common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement while consolidating his power and becoming one of the most ruthless and dangerous gangsters in Boston history.

Cooper directed Black Mass from a screenplay by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. John Lesher, Brian Oliver, Scott Cooper, Patrick McCormick and Tyler Thompson produced the film, with Brett Ratner, James Packer, Peter Mallouk, Ray Mallouk, Christopher Woodrow, Brett Granstaff, Gary Granstaff, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross serving as executive producers.

The film also stars W Earl Brown (Draft Day) as Bulger hit man Johnny Martorano; David Harbour (End of Watch) as FBI Agent John Morris, who is complicit in the deal between Bulger and Connolly; Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) as Lindsey Cyr, Whitey’s former girlfriend and mother of his only child; Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County) as John Connolly’s wife, Marianne; Corey Stoll (Ant-Man) as federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak; Peter Sarsgaard (Blue Jasmine) as Brian Halloran; Adam Scott (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick; and Juno Temple (Maleficent) as Flemmi’s young mistress, who is also his own stepdaughter, Deborah Hussey.

The behind-the-scenes creative team was led by director of photography Masanobu Takayanagi (Silver Linings Playbook, Out of the Furnace), production designer Stefania Cella (The Great Beauty), Oscar-nominated editor David Rosenbloom (The Insider), and costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone (Foxcatcher).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Cross Creek Pictures and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a Cross Creek Pictures Production in association with Le Grisbi Productions, Free State Pictures and Head Gear Films, a Scott Cooper Film.

Black Mass hits theaters worldwide beginning September 18, 2015, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Michael’s Review: ‘Ant-Man’- Sometimes Tiny Superheroes Have the Biggest Heart

Ant-Man posterA film once destined for greatness was dealt a blown after the departure of director and fan favorite Edgar Wright from the project, but despite the negative reaction to the news, Marvel carried on and hired Peyton Reed (Yes Man) to fulfill the companies vision of their long standing character. Ant-Man, the story of a man who can shrink to the size of an ant and fight crime, a gamble at best for the studio, but one, done right, that could introduce another iconic Avenger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Marvel’s Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

The year is 1989 and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is a scientist who, at present, works for S.H.I.E.L.D. Pym has created a technology which allows a person to shrink to the size of an ant, a technology many want to get their hands on. Finding out that S.H.I.E.L.D has tried to replicate this tech, Pym, believing the tech is too dangerous even for those who want to use it for good, vows to hide it and protect it as long as he lives.

Present day finds Pym protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), alongside Hank’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), have forced Hank out of his own company. The two have continued the research that Hank had vowed to protect and Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own. Knowing he must stop this from happening, Pym decides to take action. This is where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) comes in. Lang, a convicted criminal and expert burglar, is looking for a second chance in life, a chance that would help him reclaim a place in his daughters life, but prospects aren’t that easy for someone with a record. Ex cellmate  Luis (Michael Peña) offers to help get Lang back on his feet with an opportunity to get back into the life he most desperately wants to leave behind.

Marvel's Ant-Man..L to R: Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hank Pym/Ant-Man (Michael Douglas)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Marvel’s Ant-Man..L to R: Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hank Pym/Ant-Man (Michael Douglas)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and offers him a proposition, a chance to become a hero, a chance to save the Earth, a chance to be the Ant-Man! Just one catch, he has to revert back to his old life and steal Cross’ tech and help destroy it.

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Marvel’s Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Director Peyton Reed, working with the script written by original director Edgar Wright along with Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd, plays it safe and sticks with the script as it was meant to be portrayed and never “dumbs down” the dialogue to make it easier to follow. Everything about Ant-Man that works comes from its heart and simplicity. The film never takes itself too seriously and that’s what ultimately helps make Ant-Man’s first venture to the big screen so much fun. Same to say this is the best origin story Marvel has produced since the original Iron Man, unless we’re counting Guardians of the Galaxy as an origin story and then, well…

Marvel's Ant-Man..L to R: Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) & Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..© Marvel 2015

Marvel’s Ant-Man..L to R: Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) & Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Film Frame..© Marvel 2015

Paul Rudd is outstanding as the titular hero. Rudd brings so much heart and compassion to this role, which brings a heightened level of believability to the character. Michael Douglas is equally as phenomenal as the elder statesman of the Ant-Man universe. Douglas looks very at home in his first go at a superhero movie and you can tell that the seasoned actor was having a blast bringing this iconic character to life. Evangeline Lilly works equally as well with both Rudd and Douglas, but it is her relationship with the latter that helps add to the heart of the film. My only real issue with the film is the villain, played by Corey Stoll. One of the major complaints with Marvel films is that their villains have been hit or miss, and with this film, the villain is a miss, but not by much. Stoll seems to have the ability to provide a menacing character, so it leads me to believe the studio elected for a more family friendly villains. Sadly the villains doesn’t work as well as it should for my taste. The show stealer however is Michael Pena! That guy is incredible witty and his delivery is spot on.

Overall, Ant-Man is probably not the exact film we would’ve gotten if Edgar Wright had directed it, but it sure is one heck of a film. Take the whole family to see this film, a good time for all! Ant-Man will return!

Stars:

3 1/2 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

2 ( One during the credits and a stinger at the end)

Trailer:

From the writer of ‘Gone Girl’ the ‘Dark Places’ trailer starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll & Tye Sheridan looks terrifying

Dark Places

Michael posted the international trailer back in March, but now the movie has a US release date of August 7th. However, if you’re a DirecTV subscriber, you’re able to rent the movie right now!

DARK PLACES, based on the best-selling author of Gone Girl, directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, starring Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan – In Theaters August 7

RELEASE DATE: August 7, 2015
DIRECTOR: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
CAST: Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan

Visit the Dark Places WEBSITE: darkplacesmovie.com
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Trailer for Johnny Depp’s ‘Black Mass’ has Arrived

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Warner Bros. Pictures has released the trailer for director Scott Cooper’s crime drama Black Mass and we have it for you to view below!

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

The film stars Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Rory Cochrane, Sienna Miller and Adam Scott.

Black Mass is opening in theaters on September 18.

New ‘Ant-Man’ Trailer is Here!

Ant Man

Trailer #2 for the upcoming Marvel film Ant-Man has been released online and you can view it below! The trailer will also be attached to Avengers: Age of Ultron in theaters in a few weeks.

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

The film also stars Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, and a host of others. The film is directed by Peyton Reed. 

Ant-Man arrives in theaters on July 17th

Liz’s Review: ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ will have book club fans approval

306835id1k_TIWILY_FinalRated_27x40_1Sheet.indd Yes, I am in a book club. There. I said it. I own it. It is awesome. This past year we have been focusing on books that have been picked up for film production. We have a lot to see over the next 12 months. Selections like Wild, Beautiful Ruins, The Vacationers, Gone Girl, and so on. Jonathan Tropper’s novel This Is Where I Leave You was on my list as soon as it was released in 2009, although I only recently got around to reading it. As a bibliophile, I found myself laughing out loud from the get go. The tremendously descriptive imagery, the seemingly familial story, the witty banter, all grabbed me right away. As a fan of the book, Tropper‘s page to screen translation was a huge success. Read More →