Monthly Archives: March 2010

Interview: The Runaways’ Kristen Stewart And Dakota Fanning

The pressure is on for Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. Not only are both young actresses at crossroads in terms of their careers – Dakota going from childhood phenomenon to serious adult actress and Stewart making a name for herself beyond theTwilight Saga – but they’ve also got the added pressure of having to do the first all girl rock band, The Runaways, some justice. Longtime fans of the group will go in with high expectations to see the sensation happen all over again, while Fanning and Stewart’s target demographic, will be experiencing a film that will likely define their understanding of the 1970s group.

Stewart stars as Joan Jett, the rhythm guitarist with a powerful passion for the music. Fanning is Cherie Currie, the group’s lead singer and source of sex appeal. The group is a monumental success, hurling its members into the intense life of fame, fortune and anxiety. Through all of the trials, successes and tribulations, Currie and Jett are always side-by-side trying to help each other stay focused and deliver the goods, the music.

Check out what Fanning and Stewart had to say about embodying rock icons and their relationships with their real life counterparts as well as Stewart’s hesitation to retell exactly how Jett explained to rock out on the guitar.

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On the Red Carpet for Diary of a Wimpy Kid

It was an average day on the red carpet. While waiting for the talent to make their way down the press line, I watched cameras flash and reviewed my notes. Soon enough it was my turn and the actors stood before me eager to answer my questions. They were poised, proficient and thrilled to talk about their movie. They were 11-year-old Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Anyone who has children or has watched over a little one while his or her parents are occupied knows, at times, it’s not an easy task. But Gordon and Capron aren’t children; they’re young professionals. Gordon stars a Greg Heffley, a middle school student who avidly writes in his ‘journal, not a diary.’ He’s not the most popular kid in school and is on the slender side making him a prime target for bullies. He may play the wimpy kid in the movie, but Gordon assured me, he’s not really a wimp, “I’m small and thin, but I have no other characteristics.”

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Interview: Greenberg Director Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach kicked off his directing career with a film called Kicking and Screaming in 1995, but it wasn’t until he teamed up with Wes Anderson to co-write The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou that he began to assume a more prominent position in filmmaking. From there he wrote and directed The Squid and the Whale and, most recently, reunited with Anderson to pen the script for Fantastic Mr. Fox. And now here we are with Greenberg.

You know how (500) Days of Summer was touted as ‘not a love story?’ Well Greenberg is even more atypical than that. Ben Stiller stars as the titular character, a guy from New York who heads out to Los Angeles to housesit while his brother and his family vacation in Vietnam. (Yeah, Vietnam.) While there he reunites with a former pal, Ivan (Rhys Ifans) and takes some time to recover from a recent nervous breakdown. But that’s not all he does in LA. He also befriends his brother’s assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig). The two strike up a romantic relationship – if you can even call it that – and canoodle while sorting through each other’s idiosyncrasies.

Check out what Baumbach had to say about this strange yet endearing amalgamation of romance, drama and comedy.

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Review: The Runaways

In the words of Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), “It’s press, not prestige. Get used to it.” Those words are directed to the members of his band in The Runaways, but they’re easily applicable to the film as well. The Runaways is certainly not prestigious, but it knows it and uses its flaws to provide the film with a fantastic degree of authenticity. Just because you don’t abide by the standards of perfection, doesn’t mean you can succeed. One of the best examples of the beautifully flawed is The Runaways and its film counterpart follows suit.

Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning star as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie respectively. The film begins with the young rebellious duo as mere nobodies. Jett is hanging out at clubs and terrorizing guitar teachers who doubt a girl’s ability to rock the electric guitar while Currie’s expressing her love for David Bowie at a school talent show to an intensely disapproving crowd. But all of that changes when Jett meets the influential and eccentric music producer, Kim Fowley, and he becomes determined to bring the world something it’s never seen before, an all girl rock band.

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Review: Remember Me

We can’t expect every movie to be good, but there’s nothing worse than walking out of a theater downright angry. Overall, Remember Me is rather boring, but manages to squeeze in a few powerful moments making it worthwhile. But when a real life tragedy is used as a last ditch effort to evoke emotion, Remember Me transforms into something you’ll be eager to forget.

Edward Cullen, er – Robert Pattinson leads as Tyler, an NYU student who’s undecided – about everything. He adores his young sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), but struggles with his father’s (Pierce Brosnan) negligence. Compounding the issue is a recent family tragedy filling Tyler with resentment and rage. During one of his outbursts, a noble effort goes wrong and Tyler assaults a cop (Chris Cooper) earning him and his best pal, Aidan (Tate Ellington), a night in prison. When Aidan sees this cop dropping his daughter (Emilie de Ravin) off at an NYU building, he sees it as an opportunity to seek some revenge. He dares Tyler to approach her and when he does, a harmless gag becomes a budding relationship.

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‘She’s Out Of My League’: Five Things You Need To Know

“She’s Out Of My League” asks a question not about how you get the perfect girl, but what wackadoodle lengths you might go to keep her. In his first starring role in a Hollywood film after a string of scene-stealing supporting parts in flicks like “Knocked Up” and “Tropic Thunder,” Jay Baruchel stars as Kirk, a Transportation Security Administration lackey who becomes the object of affection of Molly (Alice Eve), a so-called “perfect 10” with a winning personality to match her killer figure.

So what happens when a not-so-hottie hooks a gal who wouldn’t be out of place on the Maxim Hot 100? You’ll have to hit the theater to find out. Before you do, here are five things you need to know about “She’s Out of My League,” out Friday (March 12).

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Robert Pattinson and the Cast of Remember Me

Robert Pattinson’s instantaneous and often overwhelming star power is fantastic for the moment. But what happens when “The Twilight Saga” comes to a close and his herds of adoring fans find another up and comer to fawn over? If Pattinson has anything to do with it, he’ll have moved on from simply being a Hollywood heartthrob and have established himself as a reputable actor. Not only does Remember Me provide him with the opportunity to be remembered long after his claim to fame has come and gone, but it allows him to deliver a similarly important concept to moviegoers: the value of moving on but never forgetting.

Pattinson stars as Tyler, an NYU student struggling with a vast amount of demons he’s not quite sure really exist. It’s fortunate that Pattinson can’t relate to his character in two respects: he didn’t have a troubled youth and that disconnect made the role much more intriguing to tackle. During a roundtable interview he explained, “All the people who I’ve met who are troubled teenagers, you meet their family and their family is like, ‘I don’t know what to do. He’s just – I have no idea what his problem is.'” Tyler definitely has problems to work out, but a recent family tragedy further exacerbates the situation causing him to get unnecessarily heated and even violent.

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Review: She’s Out Of My League

Is it wrong to judge something with the purpose of demolishing critical assumptions? Oh well; there’s no choice in this matter. If the She’s Out of My League market campaign calls Jay Baruchel a five, we’ll start there. Subtract a point for unoriginal wisecracks, but return a half a point for hilarious recoveries. The film earns another point thanks to the chemistry between the cast members and an additional half for a mild yet appropriate lasting effect. According to the moral of this story that grand total is meaningless, but we’re talking about the movie industry here. There’s no escaping being branded with a rating and in this case, that rating’s a six.

She’s Out of My League is a standard young adult romantic comedy. Think She’s All That, but the girl being the one to date someone higher up on the hotness scale and minus the whole turn-the-loser-into-prom-queen-thing. Nearly every plot progression is predictable and every character just a standard piece of the puzzle. Kirk (Baruchel) is the quintessential unattractive geek. He’s an average guy, literally; he’s a five. He works at airport security, has no ambitions, is a little on the nerdy side and was recently dumped by his girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane). He’s distraught over the loss, but his buddies see his new ex-status as a blessing. But, of course, Kirk will never be able to see the bright side of the situation. Well, not until something better falls into his lap. Thanks to a security mishap, Kirk is the lucky man to return a lost cell phone to a young woman named Molly (Alice Eve). But this is no typical young woman. As Stainer (TJ Miller) poetically puts it, ‘she’s a hard ten.’

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Interview: The Crazies Director Breck Eisner (Post-Screening)

Getting the opportunity to talk to a director who created a film you absolutely love is a frustrating double-edged sword. You’re thrilled to have the opportunity to chat, but there isn’t nearly enough time to squeeze in every question. This is the fortunate/unfortunate case with Breck Eisner.

He’s the man behind the remake of George A. Romero’s The Crazies. After a slew of poorly made and blood drenched reboots, it’s fantastic to experience something so refreshingly original that still manages to pay homage to the source material. Even if you’ve watched Romero’s 1973 original, Eisner’s film is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. When an experimental biological weapon called Trixie accidently infiltrates Ogden Marsh’s water supply, it’s only a matter of time before the townsfolk go crazy. The film follows four survivors as they try to escape their hometown now overrun with violent versions of friends and loved ones while eluding the army who’s prepared to exterminate anyone with the potential to let the virus loose.

Check out what Eisner told me about creating some of the most memorable moments, utilizing the appropriate amount of gore and even a little update on his next project, Flash Gordon.

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The Blind Side Isn’t An Oscar Movie, It’s Call And Response

The ups and downs of having ten Best Picture nominees are obvious. By doubling the number of films in contention for the grand honor, more mainstream movies have the opportunity to be recognized. More people have a favorite to root for come March 7th and the show will pull in better ratings. Also, since being nominated usually prompts moviegoers to seek out those films, more nominees means more movies grabbing extra attention at the box office. The down side? Those unworthy of finding themselves amongst the year’s top five can sneak in and nab a nomination. The perfect example of this transgression: The Blind Side.

I reviewed the film when it first hit theaters back in November and did so positively. The Blind Side is the epitome of a feel good movie. Once upon a time there was a troubled kid with absolutely no chance of reaching his full potential. Then, his wealthy fairy godmother arrives to give him the finer things in life. He grows up to be a successful pro athlete. The End. You know the saying ‘Don’t let your emotions get the better of you?’ Well, they got the better of the country and apparently the Academy as well. The Blind Side has turned Oscar voters into sentimental mush, brainwashing them into thinking the film is more than just a piece of fluff entertainment and is in fact one of the best films of the year.

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