It’s a moderately funny, largely deplorable narrative with entirely unlikable leads, but thanks to “Pain & Gain’s” true roots, it gets away with it.
Danny Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) loves his job as a personal trainer and is practically singlehandedly responsible for turning Sun Gym into one of the hottest spots in town. Trouble is, the job still doesn’t pay well enough and Danny is desperate to start living the good life. In an effort to make the big bucks quick and easy, Danny recruits his co-worker, Adrian (Anthony Mackie), and an ex-con, Paul (Dwayne Johnson), to help him kidnap his über wealthy client, Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), and torture him into signing over all this finances.
Had “Pain & Gain” not stemmed from true source material, we’d be left with an absolutely outrageous film driven by wholly detestable protagonists and nothing more. However, not only does the true story come with intrinsic intrigue, but then Michael Bay takes it two very effective steps further to ensure you never forget it. At the onset we’re informed, “Unfortunately, this is a true story,” and then, when the absurdity of the scenario hits a peek, he reminds you, “This is still a true story,” forbidding you from writing off all the abysmal behavior and enticing you to actually appreciate it.
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While we’re all busy trying to shed some pounds, save some money and/or quit smoking, you know what the folks in the film industry are up to? Making movies, of course. Per usual, 2012 was a year of Hollywood ups and downs, and the industry can learn from both, so by considering the past and looking forward to the future, here are some New Year’s resolutions the film industry should keep in the coming year.
Think Long and Hard Before Going 48 fps
No, Hollywood shouldn’t nix the idea of going 48 frames per second entirely, but filmmakers do need to find an appropriate way to use it before shooting a feature length film – let alone three. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey looks fantastic about 50% of the time, when Jackson’s camera is stagnant either to capture a beautiful landscape or particularly crisp character close-ups, but the moment that camera moves or an intense battle scene enters the frame, the footage takes on this terrible video-like quality. A sad story for The Hobbit trilogy, but 48 fps clearly does have a plus side, so before we run off for another 266-day shoot or bury the concept entirely, why not just figure out how to put it to the best possible use?
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Sure, “Bachelorette” is fiction, but after sitting down with writer-director Leslye Headland, it’s quite clear that the film is as vivacious as it is because of the honest chemistry between her cast and because of her fun-loving and spunky attitude,
The film stars Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher as Regan, Gena and Katie, a trio with a friendship dating way back to high school. The ladies may be all grown up, but when they reunite for Becky’s (Rebel Wilson) wedding, immaturity and irresponsibility take over; they indulge in way too much coke, rip Becky’s wedding dress and have to spend the entire night before the wedding trying to clean up their mess.
The behavior in “Bachelorette” is outrageous and deplorable, but downright hilarious and Headland knows it. Thrilled with her incredible cast, there was no way Headland would let the immense success of “Bridesmaids” rain on her parade, she stuck to her guns and delivered exactly what she intended to – a fun film well worth repeat viewings.
Check out everything Headland had to say about bringing “Bachelorette” to life in the roundtable interview below and be sure to catch the film in theaters, on VOD or on iTunes now.
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A female-driven comedy called “Bachelorette.” It’s got to be like “Bridesmaids,” right? Far from it. Think “Bridesmaids,” but turn the poop to vomit, up the alcohol intake, darken the sense of humor, give Rebel Wilson an American accent and sprinkle some coke on top. That’s “Bachelorette.”
Becky may have been dubbed Pig Face in high school, but she’s getting married before all her friends, and to a nice, successful and good-looking guy, too! Having always gone to the gym, Reagan’s (Kirsten Dunst) quite jealous, but she’s got to suck it up and be a good friend because she’s Becky’s maid of honor. Katie (Isla Fisher) takes a break from bopping around in a fashionista delusion to fly in for the festivities as does Gena (Lizzy Caplan), who’s still coping with her breakup with Clyde (Adam Scott), smoking up a storm and indulging in whatever will make the pain go away.
Back together in the Big Apple, Reagan, Katie and Gena are determined to make their best friend’s wedding a truly special day. Trouble is, snorting a pile of coke isn’t on Becky’s agenda, nor a part of her lifestyle anymore, and when Gena and Katie get out of control, Becky calls it a night. Rather than try to patch things up, Gena, Katie and Reagan continue the party themselves, getting so drunk and high, they decide it’s a good idea to squeeze two people in Becky’s wedding dress. A little stain here, a big rip there and they’ve got one night to get things back in order so Becky can walk down the aisle in her dress.
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“Bachelorette” stars Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan as Regan, Katie and Gena, a trio coming together for their friend Becky’s (Rebel Wilson) wedding. You’d think it’d be a simple process – rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party, wake up, get dressed, walk down the aisle – but thanks to some very poor decision making and a ton of cocaine, the ladies descend into pre-wedding madness, desperately trying to tame their high and fix the mistakes they made so Becky can have the wedding of her dreams.
Really, “Bachelorette” is one of those you’ve-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it type of things and, you know what? So is this roundtable interview. The ladies came to New York City to support the film’s September 7th release and while they had a slew of insightful thoughts on the nature of the material and the process of making “Bachelorette,” just like in the movie, the three actresses have an electric chemistry that sparks quite a bit of humor. Read on to get all of the details and a taste of their hilarious banter, and be sure to catch “Bachelorette” in theaters or on VOD today!
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No, you don’t want to stuff a movie in a genre box, but, admittedly, that’s how I arranged my schedule for this year’s festival. I isolated the types of movies I planned to see based on the most rudimentary synopsis and just rolled with it from there. Sure, that process very likely eliminates films I would have loved that might not necessarily fit my must-see requirements, but I’ll get around to those eventually. For now it’s time to celebrate a trio of films that not only made due on my expectations, but exceeded them, offering up experiences I never could have anticipated.
What were my parameters for choosing Caroline and Jackie? Recently I’ve become an avid Grimm fan, I grew up loving The Mighty Ducks and I’ve got a sister of my own. I knew the film starred Bitsie Tulloch and Marguerite Moreau as sisters, but beyond that I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into and I think that made the experience all the more powerful.
Tulloch is Jackie. She’s organized, takes pride in keeping up her beautiful home, is a loving girlfriend and would do anything for her sister, Caroline (Moreau). While the latter may be true for Caroline as well, she’s the more free-spirited of the two. When she comes to visit Jackie for the weekend, her insistence on changing the plans Jackie made doesn’t only ruffle Jackie, it ultimately manifests into a nightmare. Caroline uses the evening to reveal Jackie’s skeletons amongst a group of friends. While Caroline makes a compelling case, pleading for her sister’s life, you can’t help but wonder if Jackie really is sick or, as Jackie suggests, Caroline is just desperate for attention.
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Not that there’s anything wrong with the cast of Glee, but when you get a pitch that goes, “A kid from Glee wrote a script and I want you to read it,” Saved! director Brian Dannelly’s skepticism was certainly justifiable. After reading Chris Colfer’s Struck By Lightning, Dannelly was certain nobody would make this movie – nobody except for him.
Colfer stars as Carson, the editor of the school paper, the head of the writing club and a resident of the bottom of the social ladder. He’s determined to ditch his tiny hometown and unmotivated peers, and move to the big city to become the editor of The New Yorker. But before living the dream, Caron’s got to get into Northwestern University and before he can do that, he’s got to make himself stand out. Too many wannabe journalists are editors of their high school paper, so Carson’s got to do something different; he wants to start up a school literary magazine. Trouble is, he can’t even get his newspaper staff to submit articles, so there’s no way he can get enough of the student body to participate in order to put together a sizable magazine. Good thing for blackmail!
Even though Carson can be totally unlikeable and happens to die in the beginning of the film, Dannelly found it quite appealing that Struck By Lightning was far more about the experience rather than the goal. With that in mind, Dannelly hit the ground running, tapping into his high school movie knowhow, assembling a top-notch cast with the ability to improvise, devising his shooting strategy and, ultimately, bringing Struck By Lightning to the Tribeca Film Festival. Hear all about it for yourself in the video interview below.
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