You know who Adrian Martinez is, right? Well, maybe you say you don’t, but odds are, you do. The guy may not be a headliner (yet), but it’s highly likely that you can recall his memorable performances in movies and TV shows like “Sex and the City,” “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “A Gifted Man,” “Casa de mi Padre” and loads more.
Martinez’s most recent credit comes from Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in which he plays Walter Mitty’s #2, the guy just under the negative assets manager at Life magazine. When Walter heads out on his first ever adventure to track down Sean O’Connell’s coveted negative #25, it’s up to Martinez’s Hernando to support the mission from home base while the establishment is dismantled around him.
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Original plots don’t even seem to do the trick anymore. Whether the movie’s about an alien invasion, a hotel robbery, babysitting bad kids or a disastrous couples retreat, we wind up with a tiresome tone and jokes that feel awfully familiar. Lucky for Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, their standard is slightly elevated by a stellar somewhat new find, Richard Ayoade.
Evan (Stiller) loves starting up local clubs. In fact, he doesn’t really have many friends, only the folks that join his groups and his employees at Costco. When his late night security guard is killed at the store, Evan takes it upon himself to track down his murderer by starting a neighborhood watch. When the first neighborhood watch meeting arrives, Evan is ready to go with pamphlets and a map of the town, but his only three members, Bob (Vince Vaughn) the intense yet loving father, Franklin (Jonah Hill) the police officer wannabe and the seemingly normal Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) who enjoys a certain naughty fantasy would much rather party at Bob’s than take the neighborhood watch seriously with Evan.
However, when the guys come across some mysterious green goo that leads them to an out-of-this-world silver ball with the power to blow cows away, the fact that aliens have invaded their quaint little town of Glenview is undeniable. When the cops refuse to believe that the town is under attack, Evan, Bob, Franklin and Jamarcus have no choice but to man up, guzzle some beers and protect Glenview from the aliens themselves.
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Sometimes formulaic filmmaking isn’t all that bad, especially in the case of a film with an outlandish plot like Tower Heist. It basically plays out as you’d expect with a few good gags along the way and some bumbling attempts to snag the cash, but if you’re simply looking for an enjoyable hour and 45 minutes, what else do you need? There’s certainly nothing too deep about this one, but courtesy of colorful characters, some solid laughs and a festive Thanksgiving backdrop, Tower Heist makes for a pretty entertaining film.
It’s just another day at The Tower in New York City, the staff hard at work doing everything in their power to accommodate the residents, as building manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) believes they don’t just pay millions for their apartments, but for top-notch service, too. Josh knows every detail about everyone at The Tower, but he’s got a particularly close relationship with the man in the penthouse apartment, the wealthiest of them all, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). When the two aren’t playing digital chess together, Shaw is busy making millions through his investments. However, when his empire comes crumbling down, Shaw winds up taking the entire staff of The Tower with him as he manages their pensions.
Unable to bear watching his co-workers’ lives collapse, Josh takes it upon himself to get their money back – and then some. He hatches a plan to rob Shaw of his supposed safety net, roughly $20 million Josh suspects he keeps in a safe in his apartment. He recruits the concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck), the newly hired elevator operator Enrique (Michael Peña) and the recently evicted Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) to assist him with his plan, but, even with the know-how they have to offer, it isn’t enough. They need a real crook. In comes Eddie Murphy as Slide, Josh’s trash-talking neighbor with a criminal past. Together, with ski caps on and empty wallets in hand, they’ll sneak into Shaw’s apartment, crack the safe and give the swindler what he deserves.
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Why do pizza places offer the “30 minutes or free” deal? I’d like to bet most aren’t doing it to be nice. If your product is so-so, you’ve got to offer other incentives to beat out the competition. Well, 30 Minutes or Less falls into that realm. At a light 83 minutes, it doesn’t ask too much of you, making you far more accepting of the final product. No, not a compliment, but, admit it; you totally opt for the quick, easy and cheap pizza most of the time, right?
Nick and Chet (Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari) are best buddies and roommates. They’ve got their differences – Chet’s got a more promising career, Nick’s got a thing for Chet’s sister, Chet told a secret that ruined Nick’s parents’ marriage – but none of that matters today because today is the day that Nick gets a bomb strapped to his chest and they’re forced to put their differences aside so he doesn’t end up a big, fiery pile of mush.
The guys responsible for Nick’s situation are Dwayne and Travis (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). Dwayne’s got a problem with his pop, a millionaire courtesy of the lottery, who gives Dwayne a tough time about his lack of brains and ambition. One day, his dad goes too far and Dwayne hatches a plan to hire a hitman, kill his father and then inherit the money for himself. Problem is, he needs money to pay a hitman. That’s where Nick comes in. Dwayne and Travis pose as dudes hungry for a pizza and when Nick comes to deliver the goods, they ambush him, strap the firepower to him and demand he robs a bank for them or they’ll blow him up.
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Director Paul Weitz has a ton of pressure on him with his latest film, Little Fockers. Not only does he have to manage a massive top-notch cast, but he’s also the guy who has to take the reins from Jay Roach, the man who helmed the first two films that grossed over $330 million and $516.6 million worldwide, apiece. But Weitz is the guy responsible for critically acclaimed films like About a Boy and In Good Company and he certainly has experience managing an ensemble cast and dealing with some pretty raunchy material thanks to his very first feature, American Pie. Little Fockers was right up his alley.
This time around the action takes place in Greg and Pam’s (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) hometown, Chicago. They’re about to throw a big birthday party for their twins and the whole family is coming for the occasion. Well, everyone except Greg’s dad, Bernie (Dustin Hoffman), because he’s busy studying the Flamenco in Barcelona. As much as the kids want their grandfather to be there, one less person might not be a bad thing because Greg is already trying to deal with the usual pressure from Pam’s father, Jack (Robert De Niro), her ex, Kevin (Owen Wilson), trying to get the kids into the esteemed Early Human School and attempting to promote the erectile dysfunction medication for the beautiful drug rep Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba) without Pam questioning his motives.
There’s a lot going on in this film and there was a lot going on on the set as well. While Weitz was thrilled to be working with John Hamburg on the script, a significant amount of material came naturally, through improvisation. Unfortunately, with so much on-set inventing came many more cuts in the editing room. Check out what Weitz had to say about guiding his cast while still giving them their freedom, what didn’t make it into the film, but will be on the DVD and much more.
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I was really looking forward to making a joke about Teri Polo being the “Motherfocker” to Ben Stiller’s “The Godfocker” in this piece, but not only are the “fock” jokes completely overdone at this point, but Polo was a bit under the weather and couldn’t attend the Little Fockers press day. However, on the bright side, that did mean the press got the Byrnes family matriarch, Blythe Danner, all to ourselves.
In the third installment, Dina Byrnes is back and ready to do whatever is necessary in order to insure her husband Jack (Robert De Niro) and son-in-law Greg (Ben Stiller) play nice. She and Jack travel to Chicago where Greg and Pam are preparing for their twin’s birthday party. While they rush to set up for the bash, attempt to get the twins into the prestigious Early Human School and Greg tries to make an extra buck promoting the erectile dysfunction medication Sustengo, Dina is busy considering more of Roz Focker’s sexual advice.
Danner may have been unexpectedly flying solo during this press conference, but she certainly had no problem fielding all of our questions. In fact, she wanted more. Danner took the time to address everything from returning to the franchise to the pressure of showing off Dina’s more sexual side and much more. Take a look for yourself below.
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Owen Wilson is a busy guy, particularly this month. Not only was he busy promoting How Do You Know, but this weekend’s release Little Fockers, too. Right after the Little Fockers press conference, Wilson bolted to promote How Do You Know and then came back to talk Fockers. All it took was a little Sports Center, a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit and Wilson was ready to go.
If you think you know his character Kevin, think again. Wilson did have some screen time in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers, but here, his role is exponentially larger. After a failed marriage proposal, Kevin decides to travel to Chicago where Greg and Pam (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) are throwing a birthday party for their twins. Sure enough, Kevin gets a little too close for comfort, making Greg increasingly concerned that Pam’s ex-flame is going to move in on his territory.
As eager as I was to ask Wilson everything and anything Little Fockers, so was he to get my take on the film and on his character in particular. Regardless, there was still tons of time to discuss everything from Wilson’s mini make-out session with Barbara Streisand, his bright blue unitard, his hopes for the future and more.
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