My “My Best Friend’s Wedding” Cast WON!

29 10 2010

Who, me?  Again?  Oh, stop it.  Seriously, stop it.

Thanks again to every LAMB voter who crowned me king of casting AGAIN.  I really do appreciate it.  Maybe I should go into casting as a career … the other day I recast “The Social Network” using the actors from my school’s acting company.  It’s something I sure like to do.

I’ll offer up a brief bit of rationale behind my casting – and who knows, maybe you can steal my crown!

Rachel McAdams was my choice to take over helming the movie from Julia Roberts.  She’s a fantastic actress with great comedic talent, plus she looks GORGEOUS.  Even if she stunk in the role, I’d forgive her as long as she looked good.  She is in the mainstream consciousness, but a huge role like this could propel her to superstardom.  I have adored her in movies like “Wedding Crashers” and “The Family Stone,” and I just hope the rest of America could catch up with me – er, her.

I had the hardest time casting Michael, the man of her dreams who happens to be engaged to another girl.  I settled on Ryan Reynolds, who has been heating up the rom-com circuit recently and could easily do a pretty good job with this role.

The two biggest no-brainers were the scene-stealing supporting roles of Cammy, Michael’s ditzy fiance, and George, Jules’s gay friend who steps in to make everything more complicated.  It was obvious from the get-go that Amanda Seyfried would have to play the part since she has proven herself so great at playing the dumb blonde type (“Mean Girls”) as well as being someone beautiful that an audience can care about (“Mamma Mia”).

And do I even need to explain choosing Neil Patrick Harris as George?  He’s one of the funniest people at work in the business and this role was practically made for him.  If there’s ever a Broadway version of the movie, he will be instantly cast.

Watch for the next edition of LAMB Casting, when the blogosphere attempts to recast “Forrest Gump!”  (My choice.  We’ll see how it goes.)





REVIEW: Chloe

24 07 2010

Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe” is no fantasy, but it does ask us to suspend reality a little bit.  The movie forces us to believe that normally sweet, innocent Amanda Seyfried can be an obsessive nymphomaniac and normally steadfast, noble Liam Neeson can be a philandering husband.

Take a deep breath.  It’s hard to imagine these actors playing so against type, isn’t it?  The shock value from seeing them be so bad adds to the overall shock value of the movie, which is one of the few things it has going in its favor.  Overall, it’s a fairly predictable movie that still manages to unsettle you thanks to its graphic descriptions of sexual behavior and the psychotic Benjamin Braddock character that is Amanda Seyfried’s Chloe.

Chloe is a master of seduction, using the persuasive power of her good looks to take full control of everyone she comes into contact with.  This includes gynecologist Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore), who has become convinced that her husband (Neeson) is cheating on her.  She hires Chloe to test his waters and see how far he will go, but she soon finds out that she is in for way more than she asked.  The assignment only proves to feed Chloe’s purely carnal desires, and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

The movie is most notable for Seyfried’s turn, which is such a departure from her lighter roles that it will leave you completely awe-struck.  She proves that she can do more than just fluff like Nicholas Sparks adaptations and campy ABBA musicals, and I’m sure excited to welcome her into the realm of real acting.  Julianne Moore goes through the movie in cruise control, but that’s still enough for one of the finest actresses of our time to be compelling.  And then there’s Liam Neeson, who’s hardly in the movie long enough to sully our views of him as such an honorable man.

Really, the movie’s biggest flaw is it’s obsession with shocking us.  There comes a certain point when it becomes overkill, and then the audience learns to anticipate it, rendering any power it might have completely useless.  So by the end of “Chloe,” when the final twists come into place and Chloe commits her most shocking deeds yet, it really doesn’t mean anything to us.  B /





What To Look Forward To in … March 2010

12 02 2010

There’s more to March than just the Oscars.  Finally, March arrives and we can stop dwelling on 2009.  In my opinion, March is usually a pretty decent movie month.  This year’s crop looks especially promising with new movies from Tim Burton, Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”), and Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale”).

March 5

After almost 3 months, “Avatar” will have to cede those illustrious 3-D and IMAX screens to Tim Burton’s twist on “Alice in Wonderland.”  The titular character is played by relative newcomer Mia Wasikowsa, who will look quite a bit older than the Alice you remember from Disney’s 1951 animated classic.  If that’s not a big enough draw for you, surely Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter (who will hopefully channel more of his glorious Jack Sparrow than his Jacko-esque Willy Wonka) will suffice.  No?  How about Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts?  Or Anne Hathaway as the White Queen?  Perhaps Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar?  No doubt about it, this is one exciting cast, and I’m sure Tim Burton won’t have any problem distinguishing himself from the numerous “Alice in Wonderland” rip-offs that have sprouted over the past few years.

“Brooklyn’s Finest” is directed by Antoine Fuqua, helmer of “Training Day,” which was enough to get me interested.  However, it really looks to be little more than a mash-up of every cop movie ever made.  But hey, that may be your thing, which would make this your potpourri.

March 12

I’m excited for “Green Zone,” which looks to be a smart political thriller. See my previous post at the release of the trailer for more info.

On the indie side of things, Noah Baumbach looks to return to Oscar form after “Margot at the Wedding” underwhelmed with “Greenberg.”  The movie stars Ben Stiller as Greenberg, the grouchy misanthrope who finds a reason to be pessimistic about everything.  However, a special woman comes along and begins to melt his heart.  I’m looking forward to a double-edged performance from Stiller, one that can show off his dramatic chops but also give us plenty of hearty laughs.

Seth Rogen’s four roommates in “Knocked Up” were equally as funny as he was. Each of them have slowly gotten their “moment”: Jonah Hill in “Superbad,” Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Now, it could be Jay Baruchel’s turn. “She’s Out of My League” pits him similar situation: the uncomely guy getting the smoking hot babe. Hopefully Paramount gives this the push it deserves, maybe making Baruchel a breakout comedic star of 2010.

Could “Remember Me” get Robert Pattinson the Razzie for Worst Actor? After narrowly missing the cut for his two performances as Edward Cullen, this could finally be the one to get him the kind of awards attention he deserves.

Forest Whitaker is an Academy Award winning actor. What on earth is he doing in “Our Family Wedding?” For that matter, America Ferrera has won SAG and Golden Globe awards, and Carlos Mencia was once actually funny! This looks not only insufferable but almost racist. Plus, didn’t I see this movie in 2005 when it was called “Guess Who?”

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REVIEW: Jennifer’s Body

18 01 2010

Jennifer’s Body” may be from the Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, but this is not a movie that will be contending for any awards. It is still laced with the stylized dialogue that made Cody a star, but surprisingly absent is any sort of narrative creativity to make the movie feel exciting. I imagine that “Jennifer’s Body” is to Diablo Cody what “Inglourious Basterds” is to Quentin Tarantino: a project that tickles their own fantasies. The difference is that the latter provides a rush of excitement while the former gives us little more to marvel at than star Megan Fox.

Fox is pretty – pretty unqualified to handle Cody’s rich dialogue. It rolls off her tongue with absolutely no energy, and she almost manages to make it boring. Fox has been given such a fun role, yet she seems to be thoroughly bored throughout the whole movie, displaying a mere fraction of the spunk that Ellen Page showed in “Juno.”

I’m not under the mistaken impression that Cody was trying to reinvent or innovate the high school film, and I recognize that she merely wanted to pay her tribute in the form of a very black comedy. “Jennifer’s Body” doesn’t stop at evoking them; the movie itself feels like a page ripped from their textbooks. I couldn’t get “Heathers” out of my head while I watched the demon Jennifer (Fox) sink into some teenage flesh. Her mismatched best friend, “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried of “Mamma Mia”), notices something a little abnormal in Jennifer’s behavior and investigates. As their small town of Devil’s Kettle mourns, Jennifer is feasting and Needy is trying to figure out a way to stop her.

There is still plenty of entertainment to be had in “Jennifer’s Body.” It’s a self-conciously bad movie, and you can still enjoy yourself laughing at the movie itself, not the jokes. Megan Fox might match the requirements to play Jennifer in looks, but she proves to be little more than a pretty face. She just doesn’t seem to get it – this is really dirty, funny stuff that she gets to handle, and it comes off as dull and uninspired. Although I like a little eye candy, “Jennifer’s Body” definitely would have benefitted from the casting of an actress who has the ability to fully realize the character. C /





What To Look Forward To in … February 2010

7 01 2010

We’re still in some hazy territory in the month of February, but the new decade looks to give this month some much needed energy.  Fueled by two movies originally scheduled for release in 2009, I might actually drop a good amount of change at the movies in February (not just on repeat viewings of Oscar nominees).

February 5

Put “The Notebook” in front of anything and you are guaranteed a flock of screaming girls coming with boyfriends in tow.  Put wildly popular model/actor Channing Tatum in the poster and you can add some more girls aside from the hopeless romantics.  “Dear John” has just that: a super sweet story from author Nicholas Sparks and girl eye candy Tatum.  Thankfully for the guys, the filmmakers cast Amanda Seyfried (“Jennifer’s Body”), who isn’t so bad on the eyes either.

I’m a little weary to endorse “From Paris with Love,” another John Travolta villain movie.  He’s only good at playing subtle ones (“Pulp Fiction”) with the exception of “Face/Off.”  2009’s “The Taking of Pelham 123” was a disaster mainly because of Travolta and his villainy established only by constantly dropping the F-bomb.  Potential redemption here?  I’ll need positive word of mouth before I watch Travolta go evil again.

February 12

“Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is the name given to the film adaptation of Rick Riordan’s kids novel “The Lightning Thief.” Clearly Fox is setting up a franchise with the title, and they picked the right place to stake the claim. I read the book in seventh grade, and it is the real deal. I even got a chance to have lunch with the author, Riordan, who is one of the neatest people I have ever met. Whether they ruin it or not is yet to be known, but the movie is being helmed by Chris Columbus, the man who got the “Harry Potter” series flying. That has to count for something.

If Pierce Brosnan isn’t a big enough star to draw you to the aforementioned movie, you should find solace in “Valentine’s Day,” which features just about every romantic comedy actor ever. Literally, I can’t even list all of the stars of the movie here. The post would just be too darn big. Garry Marshall, director of “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” is in charge here, so I find some comfort in that. But if the movie flops, this will be a high-profile disappointment.

Sorry girls, the werewolf in “The Wolfman” is not played by Taylor Lautner. Academy Award-winning actor Benicio del Toro metamorphasizes in Victorian England into the hairy beast when the moon is ripe.  This werewolf is not based on cheeky teen lit but on the 1941 horror classic.  And this adaptation is rated R for “bloody horror violence and gore.”  Get ready for some intense clawing.

A big winner at Cannes and a contender for the Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards, “A Prophet” is a foreign film that may be worth a look.

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What To Look Forward to in … September 2009

17 08 2009

I guess this sort of serves as a “fall movie preview.” With this, I want to present what I’m looking forward to in September, what other might be looking forward to, and hopefully introduce you to some movies that you might not have heard of yet.

September 4

The movie that I’m most excited for opening this week is “Extract,” the latest comedy from Mike Judge, creator of “Office Space” and TV’s “King of the Hill.”  The movie stars Jason Bateman, who has been in nearly every comedy and yet I still have not tired of him, as the owner of an extract factory who is a bit down on his luck.  Also featuring a great supporting cast which includes J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man,” “Juno”), Mila Kunis (TV’s “That ’70s Show”), Kristen Wiig (“SNL”), and Ben Affleck, the movie looks to be truly hilarious entertainment.

Other releases this week include “All About Steve,” a comedy with Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover”), and “Gamer,” a non-stop action film with Gerard Butler (“The Ugly Truth”).

September 9 & 11

Opening on 9/9/09, “9” uses a clever marketing ploy to hopefully drive audiences its way.  But I’m not sold.  The ever creepy and quirky Tim Burton is behind it, and I have never really been into his type of movies.  The story revolves around nine CGI animated rag dolls living in a post-apocalyptic world.  Maybe this will be some sort of a breakout hit, but until I hear buzz from friends or other bloggers I trust, I’m not throwing my money at it.

“9” is the big attraction of the week.  Also opening is Tyler Perry’s latest movie “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” starring Taraji P. Henson of “Benjamin Button” fame, the thriller “Whiteout” starring the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, and the horror flick “Sorority Row.”

September 18

There are several movies to get excited about that open this weekend.  First and foremost is “The Informant,” starring Matt Damon.  It takes your usual FBI rat story and flips it on its head, turning it into a comedy.  I have always thought Damon has a great knack for subtle comedy, perfectly illustrated in the “Ocean’s” movies.  The director is Steven Soderbergh, Oscar winner for “Traffic,” but has also helmed “Erin Brockovich” and all three “Ocean’s” films.  And the good news is that this is only Matt Damon’s first role of the year with Oscar potential (see the December preview later).

Also opening is “Jennifer’s Body,” which is the first film written by Diablo Cody since winning the Oscar for “Juno.”  It stars Hollywood’s beauty queen Megan Fox as a vampire who eats guys at her high school.  Her presence alone will drive every young guy in America to this movie.  It also features Amanda Seyfried, one of the bright spots in the otherwise disastrous film adaptation of “Mamma Mia!”  I love the quick-witted humor of “Juno,” and although this doesn’t appear to offer similar antics, curiosity (and Megan Fox) will probably get me.

In limited release, “Bright Star” opens, a movie consider by many to be a major Oscar player.  It isn’t the kind of movie that excites me just from watching the trailer, but the buzz surrounding it coming out of the Cannes Film Festival can’t be discarded.  The movie follows the life of the poet John Keats in the early 1800s.  It is directed by Jane Campion, writer/director of “The Piano,” and features a cast of nearly no recognizable names.  I feel obliged to tell you about it because many are sure that you will be hearing about it during awards season and also because so many people love movies set in the beautiful English country with tons of beautiful costumes and people.

Also opening is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” an animated adaptation of one of my favorite books growing up. Unfortunately, their idea of adapting it is taking the basic premise of food raining from the sky and destroying the rest of the original story. Maybe I will check it out for old time’s sake, but I’m not expecting anything special. The week also puts forth a romantic drama “Love Happens” starring Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight”) and Jennifer Aniston. And technically, the writer/director of “Babel,” Guillermo Ariaga, releases his latest movie, “The Burning Plain,” to theaters this weekend, but you can watch it on demand starting August 21 if you are that curious.

September 25

Being a musical theater junkie, I feel that it is my duty to push “Fame.”  The movie is a musical that follows a group of talented artists throughout their four years in high school in New York.  At a time in their lives where they don’t know if they have what it takes it to make it big, all the emotions appear to run high.  The movie features no stars. so hopefully this will launch some very promising careers.

For action fans, Bruce Willis is at it again in a high concept sci-fi called “Surrogates,” in which everyone in the world controls a robotic version of themselves from home called a surrogate. Willis plays a detective who investigates the possibility of the surrogates killing the user who operates it.  For sci-fi fans, a screamfest called “Pandorum” with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster (“3:10 To Yuma”) looks to deliver.  For all those craving a raunchy comedy, a little studio will try to pack you into “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell,” adapted from the tales of drinking and its consequences in the book of the same name.  In limited release, those who like the costumes of “Bright Star” get “Coco Before Chanel,” the story of the legendary fashion designer.  (NOTE: “The Invention of Lying” was pushed back to October 2.)

So, readers, what is your most anticipated in September?  Anything I left off?  Take the poll and let me know.

Until the next reel,
Marshall