Tag Archives: John C. Reilly

Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Watch out, parents. After catching “Wreck-It Ralph” you might have some kids hoping to grow up and work in the game industry, and I mean <I>inside</I> the game industry.

Ralph (John C. Reilly) may be the title character of the old school arcade game Wreck-It Ralph, but he’s certainly not the star. Ralph does his duty and wrecks the apartment building so Felix (Jack McBrayer) can swoop in, fix it and get his medal, but it doesn’t end at game over. Even during the arcade’s off hours, the apartment dwellers still treat Ralph like a big, bad villain and Ralph just can’t take it anymore. He ditches his tree stump and heads to Game Central Station in search of a game in which he finally can win his medal.

Sounds a little simplistic, doesn’t it? Well, that’s part of the beauty of “Wreck-It Ralph;” it truly is a movie for the whole family. The visuals are vibrant, the characters are charming, the jokes are silly and Ralph’s goal is as clear as can be, but the film still has a great deal of depth including game-related homages, identity crises, high stakes and more.

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‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Districts Worthy Of Calling Home Sweet Home

Welcome back to The Hunger Games Countdown, Tributes! Yes, the poll has finally wrapped and after the initial race and the run-off, us Hunger Games fans aren’t the Mockingjays, rather the Tributes. Sure, Mockingjays would have been appropriate, but what first enraptures a reader is Katniss’ journey to the Capitol to become a tribute in the Hunger Games. Plus, it’s her experience as a tribute that leads to the term “Mockingjay” having such a strong significance. Non-Hunger Games readers would ultimately have to wait until the third and/or fourth films to truly understand the value of the Mockingjay whereas everyone will get a taste of what a tribute is capable of soon enough.

Now, as a Hunger Games fanatic, my love for the series often seeps into my coverage of other films, particularly ones involving Hunger Games cast members, or, in this case, ones that missed out. While chatting Terri with John C. Reilly at a roundtable interview, I asked what happened, as he was a perfect choice for the role of Haymitch. I know rumors are frequent in the industry, but was surprised when he explained, “That was a total fake story is what happened!” He added, “All of a sudden I had to field these questions about a job I wasn’t doing, didn’t get. It was like, ‘Wow, I get the worst of both worlds. I’m not in the movie and I have to answer why I’m not in it.’”

At least Nikita star Lyndsy Fonseca had a better experience just missing out on the role of Katniss. Even though the part went to Jennifer Lawrence, while talking about her recent release, The Ward, Fonseca recalled, “I literally had the most incredible experience auditioning for that because I got to go to the director’s house and Gary was just the nicest.” She continued, “I just felt very honored that I got as far as I did.” But why should her journey end there? Is it just me, or would she make for the perfect Johanna Mason in Catching Fire?

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Review: Terri

With so many quirky coming-of-age movies out there, not only is establishing a unique and engaging lead character vital, but the same goes for the general tone of the film, too. While Terri does make use of some of the standard genre conventions, it packs so many innovative broad strokes and tiny details, it rises above the usual shtick, becoming something that makes an impact for all the right reasons.

Terri’s (Jacob Wysocki) got it rough; he’s an overweight teen who’s been abandoned by his parents, must take care of his ailing uncle (Creed Bratton) and is constantly picked on at school. When tardiness and his new wardrobe, consisting only of pajamas, land him in vice principal Fitzgerald’s (John C. Reilly) office, rather than suffer the consequences with a detention sentence, Terri actually makes a friend, Mr. Fitzgerald himself.

Thanks to his new relationship with Mr. Fitzgerald, Terri crosses paths with a couple other troubled souls, Chad (Bridger Zadina) and Heather (Olivia Crocicchia). Sure Chad is a bit off as he seemingly enjoys giving himself premature baldness and Heather is intensely promiscuous, but ultimately they’re quite similar to Terri in that they’re just trying to navigate through their adolescent period and emerge on the other side with some dignity.

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Interview: Terri Director Azazel Jacobs

As someone currently testing the filmmaking waters, speaking to a director like Azazel Jacobs is incredibly encouraging. For lack of better terms, Jacobs’ work isn’t motivated by the fame and the fortune, rather a passion for storytelling. Jacobs has already delivered a few well-received features all getting their due praise on the festival circuit and, while Jacobs is confident he’s made it, I’d like to see him take it one step further as his latest feature, Terri, is certainly deserving of more widespread attention.

The film stars Jacob Wysocki as a school outcast named Terri. When he’s not at home caring for his ailing uncle, Terri’s at school just trying to get through the day suffering from as little bullying as possible. When a few tardies catch the attention of the vice principal, a session with Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly) turns into a bonding session over malt balls rather than a detention sentence. With Mr. Fitzgerald’s guidance, Terri tries to pull through the tough times, making some friends and teetering the line between adolescence and adulthood.

In honor of Terri’s July 1st limited release, Jacobs sat down to tell us all about the entire filmmaking process from developing the story with first time screenwriter Patrick Dewitt to his hunt for the perfect Terri up to his plans for a new project, a detective story. Check it all out and much more in the video interview below.

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Review: Cirque Du Freak

CirqueDuFreakPosterSpectacular trailers are the ultimate double-edged swords. They get you incredibly hyped for the movie, but also set expectations far too high. At first I had no clue what Cirque Du Freak was, but after seeing the trailer I was hooked. Everything about it from the music to the fades to black as the main characters ride their bikes to the theater, make my spine tingle. Even after seeing the movie, the trailer still gives me chills. Sadly, the film didn’t have the same effect. My love of Cirque du Freak fell, but fell much harder as a result of my high hopes.

Darren (Chris Massoglia) is every parent’s dream. He’s polite, gets great grades and even does his chores. The part of Darren’s life that mom and dad don’t approve of is his friendship with Steve (Josh Hutcherson), a troublemaker with an unstable family. When they find out about a mysterious freak show called the Cirque Du Freak, both boys are psyched to go check it out. Naturally, Darren’s parents don’t approve of the idea and refuse to let him go. Well, that’s nothing a bedroom window can’t fix. Darren sneaks out of the house to see the show.

A one-night event turns into a life changing experience after Darren meets an actual vampire, Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly). Unlike Steve, Darren doesn’t care much for vampires and finds himself in a sticky situation after stealing one of Crepsley’s prized possessions. Darren winds up making a deal with Crepsley in order to save Steve’s life and agrees to be turned into a half-vampire. He fakes his own death and goes to live at the Cirque’s camp where he befriends Evra the Snake Boy (Patrick Fugit) and Rebecca the Monkey Girl (Jessica Carlson). Meanwhile, Steve is busy getting caught up with the evil vampire faction called the Vampaneze. Vampires like Crepsley make a small incision in their victims and just get a quick sip, but the Vampaneze ruthlessly kill their victims taking as much blood as they’d like. These two warring groups are currently at peace, but that tranquility is about to break down with Darren and Steve right in the middle of it.

Cirque Du Freak is a lot of fun, but far too childish to be taken seriously. The danger is there, but never feels real enough to make you uneasy. Even when Darren is in danger, it’s implicitly implied that he’s going to be okay. Yes, in most films we know the protagonist is going to make it out alive, but there’s never even a hint of peril. The fight scenes are so packed with a campy CGI ‘swish’ trail the speedy vampires leave behind, you can barely even see the battles.

Not that you’ll even care if Darren is injured in the fights; he’s a terrible hero. The fault is mainly Massoglia’s. He’s unengaging and frequently manages to fade into the background even when he’s the primary character on screen. Even when he becomes half-vampire and sheds his nerdy image for his ‘cool’ look consisting of slicked back hair and a red leather jacket, he’s still a bore. I’d rather have seen more of Hutcherson. Yes, his role is packed with typical good-friend-gone-evil clichés, but at least he brings him to life. I was more concerned for Steve than Darren. Crepsley isn’t anything great either. His wittiest lines don’t pack enough of a punch and, overall, he’s far too unlikeable. He’s meant to be hard on Darren, but mocks him to excess. You never get the sense that Crepsley is wise enough to be Darren’s mentor making him hard to respect. Even with that fiery orange hair Reilly doesn’t pop onscreen as he usually does.

Picking apart Cirque Du Freak and examining each element makes the film look like an utter failure, but considering the film as a whole, sheds a better light upon it. The concept is intriguing. It’s got some of the same vampire junk we’ve been bombarded with, but throwing in the Cirque, sets the film far apart from the rest. The Cirque Du Freak is the best part of the film. The characters are fascinating and the camp they live in is vivid and captivating. It’s a blast meeting all of the characters and getting a look at their wacky abilities. Did you ever think you’d see Salma Hayek with a beard?

If only Cirque Du Freak could stay afloat on its general appeal alone. It lacks the depth and sincerity of others of its kind like the Harry Potter and Twilight series. Cirque Du Freak is far too juvenile. The Harry Potter and Twilight books are meant for young adults yet still have a dark side; there’s no reason Weitz and co-writer Brian Helgeland couldn’t have done the same with this film. In fact, that’s exactly what Cirque Du Freak needs in order to be considered a good film; mature dialogue. Realistically the story is ridiculous, but you’re not supposed to be thinking about that while you’re watching the movie. A more serious undertone would get audiences to take the film sincerely. As it is, I expect many to just brush it off as a mere children’s film.

Cirque Du Freak is based on the first of four trilogies making up Darren Shan’s The Saga of Darren Shan collection. There’s no doubt Universal Pictures has hopes to turn the film into a series, I just don’t know if it’s going to happen. The potential of a second film completely rides on the success of the first, which is going to be a toss up. It may be on the childish side, but Cirque Du Freak is entertaining and deserves a second go-around.

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