Tag Archives: Paul Bettany

Review: Margin Call

Sure, it’s awful that we’re still suffering through financial gloom and doom, but, on the bright side, it does make movies like Margin Call all the more compelling. So perhaps that’s a lame attempt at staying optimistic, but if you do have the funds to drop on a weekend movie, it’ll do your hard earned cash some justice.

It’s a rough day at the office, but, lucky for Peter and Seth (Zachary Quinto and Penn Badgley), they merely have to watch as co-worker after co-worker is ushered out, cardboard boxes with the trinkets from their desks in hand. However, one of their superiors, company veteran Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), isn’t as fortunate and thanks to his ranking and long-term employment, he’s considered a security risk and is not only escorted off the premises, but must leave every single bit of his work behind. But, just before the elevator doors shut for Eric for good, he manages to slip Peter a thumb drive holding the contents of an important project he was working on.

When the office clears for the day, Peter burns the midnight oil to investigate the information, filling in the holes of Eric’s work. What results is evidence that a piece of the investment firm’s formula for success is faulty and that that error will inevitably drive the company into the ground, taking every employee and potentially the whole economy with it.

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Interview: Margin Call Star And Producer Zachary Quinto

It’s tough enough wearing one hat on a film set, but now, seemingly more than ever, actors are donning two or more, whether it be both actor and producer, actor and director or just about any combination of titles for that matter. In Zachary Quinto’s case, he starred in and produced Margin Call via his company, Before the Door.

Quinto is Peter Sullivan, a young analyst in a New York City investment bank’s risk management department. When his boss, Eric (Stanley Tucci) gets the boot amongst many of his co-workers during a mass downsizing effort, Eric leaves an unfinished project for Peter. Turns out, the companies job cuts are the least of its problems. When Peter fills in the holes of Eric’s work, he discovers an error that could not only bring the company down, but the whole economy.

While J.C. Chandor’s script certainly resonated with Quinto and his team at Before the Door when they first took it on and still when they shot the film about a year and a half ago, it was a bit up in the air in terms of whether or not Margin Call would still be relevant when it finally hit theaters. Well, the time has come and courtesy of Occupy Wall Street, not only was Quinto’s first instinct justified, but now he’s got one of the timeliest films possible.

In honor of that March 21st release, Quinto took the time to run through the details from the very beginning and taking on Chandor’s script to attracting top notch talent and then having to switch gears and pull the reigns on the producing to focus a bit more on his work as an actor. Hear it all for yourself and much more straight from the man himself in the video interview below.

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Review: Legion

There’s nothing worse than a disappointing movie. The plot is intriguing and the cast top-notch, yet Legion is an epic failure. It’s swallowed up by its effort to be a movie of multiple genres ultimately failing to attain any of the target thematic denominations. In fact, the only category Legion earns a place in is comedy for it achieves an amount of unwarranted laughs of biblical proportions.

Legion opens with an angel named Michael (Paul Bettany) falling to Earth. First order of business? Clip off those pesky wings. Next on the to-do list? Assemble a serious arsenal. After a quick chat with a possessed cop it’s off to the desert to unite with a group of people holed up in a diner. The phones are down, there’s no radio and they’ve just been attacked by a nasty grandma with a thing for rare meat and climbing up walls. Luckily for them, but unluckily for us, Michael comes to the rescue and to explain what in God’s name is going on.

Even with shoddy filmmaking, Legion is still tolerable up to this point. Poor character introductions are passable as long as there’s some meat to the story thereafter. The only meat in Legion is the steak left on Grandma Gladis’ plate. It tries to be serious, it tries to be funny and it tries to be scary, but doesn’t succeed at anything except being a waste of time.

The once promising premise runs into trouble when the details are unveiled. Michael used to be a general in God’s army, but when assigned to take out the baby brewing in diner waitress Charlie’s (Adrianne Palicki) belly, he goes rogue. God decides that he can’t take humanity’s crap anymore and Charlie’s baby is the key to ensuring the species’ demise. Now, Michael finds himself on the other side of the battle trying to protect the unborn child from an army of possessed-shark-toothed people.

He’s not a one-man army, but his backup isn’t much help. Charlie is on strict “don’t be brave” orders so that leaves the diner owner Bob (Dennis Quaid), his son Jeep (Lucas Black) and employee Percy (Charles S. Dutton). Bob is perpetually confused and when Jeep isn’t moping about Charlie’s lack of affection for him, he’s too afraid to arm up and be a man. Thankfully Percy has something to offer both Michael and the audience. He’s one of the film’s more dynamic and interesting characters and Dutton provides him with a nice degree of authenticity. Tyrese Gibson’s character, on the other hand, is an absolute joke. Tough guy Kyle rolls up in his big black SUV packing heat and mouth full of stereotypical and obnoxious dialogue. There’s also Sandra (Kate Walsh) and her rebellious daughter Audrey (Willa Holland). They’re mother/daughter strife is completely unfounded, but once Sandra is pushed into the background, Audrey has some engaging moments.

Palicki is wasted as Charlie. She’s got talent and a natural ability to acquire a sense of endearment, but she’s drowned in shoddy dialogue and a silly premise. The worst part about Charlie is her relationship with Jeep. Black puts on an emotionless performance. Putting on a puppy dog sad face isn’t going to earn you any of the audience’s sympathy, it’ll only render the character completely ineffective. Palicki shares her get-out-of-jail-free card with Bettany. He isn’t given much to work with, but manages to make Michael seem somewhat human and a rather fun hero.

That being said, Legion isn’t all bad. Even with zero emotional impact, Legion can be rather suspenseful. Waiting for the next evil thing to invade the diner is a seriously anxiety inducing experience. Unfortunately, this one plus ends up adding to the film’s grand disappointment. When a concept has so much potential and fails to deliver it falls hard. Legion has so much going for it that its poor quality is almost insulting.

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Interview: Emily Blunt is The Young Victoria

It’s always a challenge to accurately portray a particular character. The actor must appease the expectations of the director, the writer and the producers. Yes, he or she must also gain the approval of the audience, but that’s after the fact. In the case of a period piece, the actor must think beyond the filmmakers and consider the approval of any administrations involved, having the character resonate with unfamiliar foreign audiences and, most importantly, having an in depth knowledge of who this figure really was in every facet.

The Young Victoria stars Emily Blunt as the princess who ascends the throne at just 18 years old. Looked upon as young and easily influenced, an assortment of royals, even her own mother (Miranda Richardson), pressures her to make decisions for their personal gain rather than the good of the country. It isn’t until her budding relationship with her cousin Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) transitions into a marriage that she realizes, unlike everyone else in her life, he has no intentions of being controlling and overbearing, just to be her loving husband and equal.

ComingSoon.net had the opportunity to attend a roundtable interview with the actress who enlightened us on the burdens and joys of taking on such a dynamic and historically significant character.

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Review: The Young Victoria

I tend to avoid costume period dramas. I find them tiresome to the point that British English sounds more like Chinese than the dialectic most similar to American English. It goes in one ear and out the other as my mind dissolves into oblivion. The same thing happens to you? I’m not surprised considering the rotten reception this genre of film typically gets in the U.S. But I implore you, rethink your preconceived notions and give The Young Victoria a chance. Yes, it’s talky and stately, but it has a degree of humanization making it far more enjoyable and relatable than others of its kind.

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