Review: ‘The Catcher Was A Spy’ is crackerjack film.

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Presents
THE CATCHER WAS A SPY
*Official Selection of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival*

In Theaters and On Demand June 22, 2018

The Catcher Was a Spy tells the true story of Morris “Moe” Berg (Paul Rudd), the Major League Baseball player, Ivy League graduate, attorney and top-secret spy who helped the U.S. defeat Nazi Germany in the race to build the atomic bomb.

Paul Rudd gives a stunning performance as the real-life and incredibly enigmatic “Moe” Berg. A former catcher for The Boston Red Sox, a Princeton grad, and all-around genius of a man, Berg speaks 7 languages and has the guts to take on a mission to save the world. Rudd, someone who has a natural talent for improvisation and making us laugh until we pee ourselves, carries this dramatic film like a true movie star. While his Ant-Man training certainly came in handy for this particular role, playing Berg is further proof that Rudd is underutilized outside his typical comedic fare. More dramatic roles could boost him into award season regular status. The complexities of this man are not lost in the complicated narrative of history. Three cheers to the writers on that front. The superb editing heightens the action and intrigue that leaves the viewer fully engrossed. The film easily captures what might seem like a crazy premise, use a former baseball player as a spy, until you are let into the eccentric and bold mind of Moe Berg. With striking sets and costumes and alongside a massively hard-hitting cast (the likes of Jeff Daniels, Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti, Hiroyuki Sanada)The Catcher Was A Spy is an exciting historical period drama that delves into one of the most unique stories of the WWII era.

Starring
Paul Rudd, Jeff Daniels, Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, 
Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti, Hiroyuki Sanada

Directed by Ben Lewin (The Sessions)
Written by Robert Rodat (Academy Award Nominee, Saving Private Ryan)
Score by Howard Shore (Academy Award Winner, Lord of the Ring series, Hugo)

Review: ‘Live By Night’- An American Crime Drama from Ben Affleck

Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) directs and stars in Live By Night, an American crime drama about a young man from Boston and his desire for revenge. The film is based on the award-winning best-seller by Dennis Lehane and is written for the screen by Affleck himself. A film that starts with a lot of promise but quickly loses steam and struggles to make it to the finish.

Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is the son of a Boston Police Deputy Superintendent, a WWI vet, and an outlaw. He’s a man with a good heart who seems destined for a better path, but it’s his anti-establishment ways that keep him in business for himself. Joe works with a loyal crew including Dion (Chris Messina), a close friend who’s got Joe’s back under any condition. Joe falls for Emma (Sienna Miller), the girlfriend of Irish gangster Albert White (Robert Glenister) and the two have a secret love affair, but when the gangster finds out, it forces Joe to make some life changing decisions. Driven by a need to right the wrongs committed against him, Joe accepts an alliance with the Italian mob and a move to Tampa with his crew to run the rum business there. But every decision comes at a cost as does the price of revenge, and Joe is about to find out just how much.

Live By Night, on the surface, is an enjoyable enough gangster film. An all star cast including Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson and Elle Fanning do their best to provide insight into their personal piece of the elaborate puzzle, and each actor does an admirable job to help bring their character arc to fulfillment, but Ben Affleck tries to navigate thru the myriad of storylines he’s created and ultimately leaves the story winded and the characters unfulfilling.

Overall, the film sets out to tell a gangster story and it does just that, but the journey is long and tiresome and loses it’s muster about halfway thru. Should you see it? Sure, but don’t expect the next Godfather, for that it is not.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

Tom Hiddleston’s ‘High Rise’ Gets It’s First Trailer

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Studio Canal has released the first look at High Rise directed by Ben Wheatley and we have it for you below!

London, 1975. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) is a young doctor seduced by the lifestyle in a high-rise, an isolated community, cut off from the rest of society in their luxury tower block, and its creator, the architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons). Taking up residence on the twenty-fifth floor, Laing discovers a world of complex loyalties, and also strikes up a relationship with Royal’s devoted aide Charlotte (Sienna Miller). After Laing befriends Richard Wilder (Luke Evans), a documentary filmmaker relegated to the second floor who is determined to provoke the class injustices inherent in the high-rise, a dangerous social situation develops and the high-rise eventually fragments into violent tribes.

High Rise is set for release in 2016

Review & Press Conference: ‘BURNT’ is a tasty dish we’ve had before

Burnt_Poster2_FINAL2Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all – and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side, including the beautiful Helene (Sienna Miller). BURNT is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

BRADLEY COOPER stars in BURNT.

BRADLEY COOPER stars in BURNT.

Cooper is strong as ever, there is no denying that. Not only do you absolutely buy him as a skilled chef but you also find yourself engrossed in the background story of addiction. Not to mention he gets to show off his impeccable and charming French skills. Miller, once again, gives a solid performance as single mother Helene. Her great balance of strength and vulnerability make her a lovely foil for Cooper. There chemistry seems truly organic. This film is really an ensemble piece. You cannot create an environment such a kitchen without relying heavily on your entire team. Daniel Bruhl reads as one of the most passionate characters in the film, by far. Sam Keeley and Omar Sy, both inject life into this eclectic group of chefs. Other noteworthy performances come from Matthew Rhys and Emma Thompson. The cast was put through kitchen boot camp. they had become chefs on set. That is clear and wonderful to watch.

(L-R) BRADLEY COOPER and SIENNA MILLER star in BURNT.

(L-R) BRADLEY COOPER and SIENNA MILLER star in BURNT.

The film should do well with cooking enthusiasts and foodies alike. While the script is nothing revelatory, it does  give the audience an easy peak into the aftermath of addiction. BURNT is very much a film about second chances and self respect. The cast is strong, the food porn aspect is delightful. The comment on building the perfect meal and building the perfect relationship was certainly not lost on me. Go for Cooper, go for the acting, and definitely go for the food.

Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller attended the film’s press conference with fellow stars Daniel Bruhl, Uma Thurman, and Sam Keeley. Moderated by the gregarious and world renowned chef Mario Batali, the press conference took place at The London Hotel in New York.

Burnt press conf table

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Mario Batali, Daniel Bruhl, Sienna Miller, Bradley Cooper, Uma Thurma and Sam Keeley attend the “BURNT” New York Press Conference at The London Hotel on October 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Burnt photo call

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Mario Batali, Daniel Bruhl, Sienna Miller, Sam Keeley, Uma Thurman and Bradley Cooper attend the “BURNT” New York Press Conference at The London Hotel on October 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Check out our audio from the conference. You can hear me make a comment and ask a question around the 22:00 minute mark. And yes, that is Bradley Cooper reacting to my profound statement. As for Mario Batali… I’m going to need him to moderate more often. What a gem.

BURNT is in theaters now!

Review: Sundance Film Festival Selection ‘Mississippi Grind’ starring Ben Mendelsohn & Ryan Reynolds

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Disguised as a buddy, road movie, Mississippi Grind is an intense and intimate story of addiction that reveals the gritty details of a lifetime gambler when he’s paired up with one that’s just beginning. Ben Mendelsohn melts into this fantastic role and he really tears your heart out.

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) likes to play poker and he’s been on a bit of a losing streak. His luck changes when he’s around the hard-to-read Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). The two embark on a road trip from Iowa to New Orleans and as you may have guessed, learn more about themselves and each other. It could have been cliche and terrible, but all the talent involved from the writing to the directing to the acting, make it a solid movie about another side of addiction, the one that doesn’t destroy you, but those around you.

Yes, I’m a fan of Ryan Reynolds. He may have caught my eye in Van Wilder, but it’s Just Friends that really sealed it. Oh, and he’s actually a great actor. Yeah, he sucked as Green Lantern, but he’s been great in Chaos Theory, Buried and the yet-for-me-to-see Voices (which Liz is still raving about). As Curtis, he’s disheveled yet charming, but not the over-the-top charming that reared it’s ugly head in The Change Up or The Proposal.

Ben Mendelsohn, is the new (dare I say) Gary Oldman. He can do (and does) everything and you’ve probably seen him so many times and you didn’t even know it. Here are a few of my favorite roles:

Summary:

Trespass with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman – watch in on Netflix
A thief who’s plans to rob a family man totally backfire.

Summary:

The Dark Knight Rises
The smarmy guy trying to control Bain.

Summary:

Starred Up – watch on Amazon
A father in prison who thinks what’s best for his son is to toughen him up. p.s. Even though it’s in English, I highly recommend turning on the captions.

My favorite part about this movie is that I didn’t know if I should root for them or not. The characters are so incredibly developed and presented, that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s the exact type of movie that’s the bread and butter of great actors, but unfortunately, it’s not the type of movie that appeals to a wide audience. Those who seek it out, however, will be treated to an emotionally layered thinkpiece.

Now available on DirecTV, at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York today and October 5th in Los Angeles. It comes to Bluray/DVD December 1st, but I bet you’ll be able to buy it digitally the week or so before.

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.

Michael’s Review: ‘American Sniper’- Memoirs of An American Hero

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Clint Eastwood has been immersed in a streak of lackluster efforts since 2004’s Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby. The 84 year old actor/director has spent much of the last decade exploring different subject matters including multiple biopics, many of which were valiant efforts, but Eastwood has struck gold with this war drama based on the life of decorated Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper leads this powerful film which shows the struggles of our soldiers who risk their lives every day on the ground in Iraq, a depiction reminiscent of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. The most lethal sniper in US history takes center stage as we are taken to the front lines of the Iraqi war. Read More →

Michael’s Review: ‘Foxcatcher’- Sometimes the Price of Fame is Too Costly

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I remember the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz like it was just yesterday. Being from the Philadelphia area, the story was all that anyone talked about for weeks after the tragedy. Not only was Dave Schultz an Olympic gold medalist, but John du Pont and his family were such big personalities in these parts. It’s not everyday you get to relive a local tragedy played out on film, but Director Bennett Miller has reenacted this story for the screen in hauntingly realistic fashion. Foxcatcher is going to leave you speechless. Read More →