March 2008

This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2008

in Film News & Trailers

Originally scheduled to be released for inclusion in the 2007 Oscar season, this film about the early days of professional football stars George Clooney (who also directs his first film since Good Night, and Good Luck my #1 Film of 2005 – read that review), Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski, Stephen Root, Jonathan Pryce, and Wayne Duvall.  Check out the official site.  The film finally finds its way into theaters everywhere on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Leatherheads
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This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2008

in Film News & Trailers

Based on the novel by Wendy Orr, the film tells the story of a young girl (Abigail Breslin), isolated on an island with her scientist father, who communicates with a reclusive author (Jodie Foster), whose novel she is reading, asking for the help of the novel’s hero Alex Rover (Gerard Butler) when her father goes missing.  Just a tad more lighthearted than Ms. Foster’s last project.  Check out the official site.  The adventure begins everywhere on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the the Full Diagnosis.

Nim’s Island
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This Week in Documentary Film

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2008

in Film News & Trailers

Martin Scorsese directs this documentary examining The Rolling Stones.  The film, reported to be filled with concert footage, will also be realeased in IMAX, and a soundtrack for the film is also available.  Check out the official site.  The film rocks itself into theaters on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Shine a Light
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This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2008

in Film News & Trailers

Adapted from the novel by Scott Smith is this tale of a group of twenty-somethings (Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Jonathan Tucker, Joe Anderson, Jena Malone) who find find more than they expect on a vacation in Cancun when they decide to visit the Mayan ruins.  Check out the official site.  The film scares itself into theaters on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

The Ruins
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This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2008

in Film News & Trailers

Musician Norah Jones stars here as a confused young woman who travels across the country meeting odd characters and musing about life and love.  Jude Law, Natalie Portman, David Strathairn, and Rachel Weisz also star.  Check out the official site.  The film opens in limited release in select cities on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

My Blueberry Nights
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Stop-Loss

by Alan Rapp on March 28, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Stop-Loss
  • IMDB: link

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Stop-loss – the involuntary extension of a service member’s enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond the normal end of service.  The film tells us more than 650,000 troops have been sent to Iraq and roughly one-eighth of that number have been stop-lossed, or forced to return to duty past the time of their enlistment.

We begin in Iraq with the unit under the command of Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) which includes his boyhood best friend Steve (Channing Tatum) and the somewhat unstable Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

Just before shipping home the unit is caught in an ambush which takes the lives of their friends.  On returning home the threesome are regarded as heroes, but Tommy and and Steve struggle with the readjustment.  Brandon is just happy to be home and free of the army, that is until his C.O. (Timothy Olyphant) informs him he has been stop-lossed and will be returning to Iraq for another tour.

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What’s the Count?

by Alan Rapp on March 28, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: 21
  • IMDB: link

“In Vegas you can become anyone you want.”

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The movie centers around Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a promising mathematican at MIT who has been accepted to Harvard Medical School but lacks the funds to enroll.

Ben is approached by one of his professors (Kevin Spacey) and offered a unique opportunity to join a team of talented students (Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts) who count cards in Vegas during the weekend.  At first Ben refuses the offer, but the temptation is strong, especially when the girl he has lusted over for months, Jill (Bosworth), begs him to join the team.  And after all Ben can always stop after he earns enough for school.  Yeah, right.

When the film deals with temptation, it works amazingly well.  Ben is thrust into a world, despite his intelligence and talent, he is ill-prepared for.  He becomes disconnected from his best friends (Josh Gad, Sam Golzari), lies to his mother (Helen Carey), and becomes completely infatuated with winning and the new lifestyle which comes with it.

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Jog, Slightly Out of Shape Guy, Jog

by Alan Rapp on March 28, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Run, Fatboy, Run
  • IMDB: link

“He runs marathons.”
“Why?”

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Um, isn’t he suppossed to be, you know, fat?

Dennis (Simon Pegg) is a loser.  He spends his days working as a mall security guard and his nights alone in his crappy basement apartment being scolded by his landlord Mr. Ghoshdashtidar (Harish Patel) and his buxom daughter (India de Beaufort).

It wasn’t always this way, however.  Dennis was once engaged to the beautiful and caring Libby (Thandie Newton), that is until he ran from their wedding leaving her pregnant and alone at the altar.

Years later Dennis, still not over Libby, faces her new boyfriend (Hank Azaria), a succcessful business man who seems both his ex and his son (Matthew Fenton) are starting to fall for.  To prove himself to Libby, Dennis signs-up for the charity marathon and attempt to beat Whit and win back his family.

The cast is pretty good across the board, and that’s a good thing because the writing leaves something to be desired.  Still, you really have to wonder about casting Simon Pegg, who is not fat, in the title role here.  I guess the title “Run, Jerkface, Run” didn’t have the same ring to it.

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RF’s Top 5 Gambling Films

by Alan Rapp on March 27, 2008

in Uncategorized

Every now and again the RF staff, with the help of some friends, gives you, our loyal RF viewers, short (but sweet) lists on all kinds of interesting things.  Today we look at five films which deal with gambling, betting, and hustling.  Did your favorite make the list?  Check out the Full Diagnosis to find out!

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Here are the five (okay six, I cheated a little) which we chose.  The list is a bit eccletic to mix in various types of gambling movies.  There are actually quite a few out there that could have made the cut, but these are the five we decided to go with.

*Editor’s Note – As we just reviewed Rounders (read that review) it was left off the list.

 

Casino - I almost didn’t include this film, but how could I keep it off the list?  Martin Scorsese directs this tale of a Vegas Casino run by a moneymaker (Robert De Niro) and owned by the mob.  De Niro is terrific as is Joe Pesci as the violently sadistic Nicky.  Even Sharon Stone comes off well, so you know this must be a pretty good film!  At three-hours I still think it’s a bit too long, but it’s well worth taking a bet on if you haven’t seen it.

The Cooler - This strange little film is about a cooler, a jinx, hired by a casino to break the luck of gamblers winning too much at the tables.  William H. Macy stars the unlucky loser Bernie and Maria Bello plays a love interest who changes Bernie’s luck, but may cost him his job and possibly even more.  A memorable film.

The Hustler & The Color of Money - In The Hustler a young pool player known as Fast Eddie Money (Paul Newman) competes to win a high-stakes match against the champ (Jackie Gleason).  25 years later Newman would resurrect the character for the sequel, The Color of Money, as Fast Eddie tries to teach a young hot shot (Tom Cruise) the ins-and-outs of hustling.  Both are very good, and the second (which won Newman an Oscar) is underrated.  (read The Color of Money review)

Let it Ride - Speaking of underrated films, Richard Dreyfuss stars as a cabbie and lifetime loser who has one day at the track where he just can’t seem to lose.  The entire film takes place in one day and is filled to the brim with characters (David Johansen, Teri Garr, Jennifer Tily, David Schramm, Cynthia Nixon, and Robert Coltrane).  It may not be the best film on this list, but it’s the most fun!

The Sting - Seven Academy Awards, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, and Charles Durning.  What more could you want?  Redford and Newman star as partners out to take down a rich high-stakes gambler (Shaw).  Currently rated #93 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films.

 

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Fatboy Marathon

by Alan Rapp on March 27, 2008

in Uncategorized

Here’s a simple new webgame for Run, Fatboy, Run.  Can you get Simon Pegg through the marathon?  Click here to find out.  Remember to check back tomorrow morning for our review of the film!

Run, Fatboy, Run
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