Tag Archives: Steve Coogan

Review: Despicable Me 2

Despicable-Me-2-PosterThe Anti-Villain League needs a better mission plan, but there’s still more than enough family charm and minions to keep “Despicable Me 2” firmly afloat.

The whole gang is back – and then some. Gru’s (Steve Carell) living the dream, playing happy homemaker and loving dad to Agnes, Edith, and Margo, (Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Miranda Cosgrove) until someone zaps him with a taser (or, more precisely, a lipstick taser), snatches him right off his front lawn and stuffs him in a car trunk. When he’s released, Gru comes face-to-face with his abductor, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and learns that he’s been taken to the Anti-Villain League (AVL) headquarters. AVL head honcho, Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), explains that someone made off with an entire top-secret lab. They’ve got a short list of suspects, but the problem is, they can’t pinpoint the villain so having been a villain himself, they recruit Gru to get the job done.

It’s easy to jump right back into this world courtesy of an opening sequence that appropriately highlights the film’s prime assets – Gru’s relationship with his girls and those crazy little minions. In mere minutes you’ve laughed out loud because the minions’ giggles are infectious and have gotten that warm and fuzzy feeling when Agnes admits she knows her birthday fairy princess’ secret identity, making this an ideal and very necessary jumping off point for a film loaded with unforgettable moments, but also with an underdeveloped through-line.

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Interview: What Maisie Knew’s Onata Aprile and Alexander Skarsgård

Alexander_Skarsgard_Onata_Aprile_What_Maisie_KnewAlexander Skarsgård may tower over his tiny “What Maisie Knew” co-star, Onata Aprile, but that didn’t keep the pair from striking an instant connection, something that resulted in an incredible on screen chemistry and also left both with a particularly strong friendship when filming was done.

Aprile leads as six-year-old Maisie. Even while her parents (Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore) still live under the same roof, Maisie spends most of her time with her nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham), but now that they’re separated and struggling through a heated custody battle, Maisie’s lifestyle is completely erratic, going from parent to parent and often to Margo or whoever will watch her when their jobs become the priority. Skarsgård steps in as Lincoln, Moore’s character’s new husband, or rather just someone to watch Maisie while she’s working as a musician on tour.

After experiencing their bond firsthand ahead of “What Maisie Knew’s” May 3rd release, it’s a wonder the duo managed to nail the portions of the film during which Lincoln is first winning Maisie’s trust. Skarsgård may not have been able to lift her up or let her swing from his arm on the spot, but you can get a taste of their distinct and charming connection while we talk about their height difference, Aprile’s new turtle, their collaboration, and more in the video interview below.

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Interview: What Maisie Knew’s Julianne Moore

Julianne-Moore-What-Maisie-KnewWith a resume consisting of over 70 titles with shows and films covering a wide array of subject matter, at this point, you’d think Julianne Moore would be experienced and comfortable with everything. However, in the case of her upcoming release, “What Maisie Knew,” not only did Moore adopt the challenge of delivering a particularly intense performance in the company of a six-year-old, but then she also had to appear to be a professional rock star, too.

Moore plays Susanna, a mother who loves her daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile) dearly, but is a bit more dedicated to her career as a musician. Unfortunately, Maisie’s father, Beale (Steve Coogan), is in a similar position, obligated to head out of town frequently for business trips. With two absent parents, Maisie spends most of her time with her nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham). While the arrangement does work, when Susanna and Beale’s relationship sours and results in a custody battle, Maisie is bounced from home to home and experiences more volatility and uncertainty than any child should.

In honor of the film’s May 3rd limited release, Moore sat down to discuss the challenge of delivering an authentic performance while ensuring Aprile felt safe and comfortable, very literally putting on her own rock show, and more. Check it all out for yourself below and be sure to catch “What Maisie Knew” in theaters tomorrow.

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Review: Our Idiot Brother

Yes, there’s the saying, “nice guys finish last,” and that’s certainly the case for <I>Our Idiot Brother</I>’s Ned (Paul Rudd) quite often, but when you’re considering movies, nice movies can get a bit of a boost even when they don’t entirely deserve it. <I>Our Idiot Brother</I> is undoubtedly flawed, but director Jesse Peretz turns up the charm with ease, bringing the best out of his talented cast and some impressively honest, humorous and heartwarming dialogue to overshadow nearly every fault.

Ned is, well, Miranda, Liz and Natalie’s (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel) idiot brother. Perhaps the term “idiot” is a bit harsh; Ned is just incredibly peppy and a bit too trusting. Then again, most would call a guy who opts to appease a uniformed cop looking for some weed an idiot. After serving eight months in prison, Ned is released, turned away by his girlfriend and denied ownership of his beloved dog, Willie Nelson.

With no job, no home and a criminal record, Ned turns to his family for support. Everyone welcomes him with open arms, beginning with his mother. However, Ned’s happy-go-lucky ways have the tendency to get him in trouble, forcing each of his sisters to eventually kick him to the curb and send him onto the next.

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ‘Our Idiot Brother,’ ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Harry Potter’ and More

After a week packed with new trailers and clips, mostly courtesy of the MTV Movie Awards, this week turned out to be one overflowing with posters. Quite a few images came through the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, but as most were mere snapshots and consisted of incredibly simplistic designs, as most promo posters do, not many stood out enough to make the list – whether it was for good or bad reasons.

On the other hand, Apple got in on the promo poster fun and premiered one that managed to just miss the cut, the one for John Carter. While it doesn’t say much about the film, overall, this clean-cut design with the film’s initials is simply nice to look at. And yes, that’s partially due to the fact that half of the design consists of Taylor Kitsch.

Barely avoiding demotion territory is the new trailer for Dolphin Tale. While my instincts tell me to roll my eyes at the majestic Morgan Freeman narration and the cute and incredibly noble kid, it’s a true story about a boy helping a dolphin; it’d make me heartless to shame this trailer, right?

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Review: The Trip

Have you ever sat down for a movie with one of those massive tubs of popcorn? You toss the first piece back and the buttery morsel is heavenly, but then, when you get about half way down, maybe even less, you’re incredibly parched, sick of the taste and have no desire to go any further. Well, that’s kind of the way The Trip makes you feel. There certainly can be too much of a good thing.

When his girlfriend opts out and he can’t manage to find another travel buddy, actor Steve Coogan has no choice but to turn to his last resort, old pal Rob Brydon. The duo pack up and drive through the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales sampling the best of the best from six of the finest local restaurants for The Observerto. When they’re not stuffing their faces, Coogan and Brydon are busy cracking jokes, impersonating celebrities and testing how long they can tolerate each other.

The story here is particularly loose. The Trip doesn’t seem to be about the trip itself, rather the mindless banter between the leading duo. Perhaps this could have worked if the majority of the material was funny, but for those who don’t appreciate Coogan and Brydon’s humor, The Trip doesn’t have much at all to offer.

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Review: The Other Guys

Not only do buddy cop comedies come with a major stigma, but so do both of the stars of The Other Guys, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. The guys are guilty of doing the same thing in just about every film, Ferrell in terms of his comedic style and Wahlberg, well, with acting in general. The Other Guys primarily stays within the subgenre mold and Ferrell and Wahlberg remain in their comfort zones, but the film has just enough freshness to it that it makes more of the same acceptable.

Samuel L Jackson and Dwayne Johnson are Highsmith and Danson, New York City’s top cops. They drive the hottest car, sleep with all the ladies, earn medals and cause as much destruction as possible while catching the bad guys. When their reign comes to an abrupt end, it leaves a vacancy in the city’s hero department. That’s where the other guys come in, Allen Gamble and Terry Hoitz (Ferrell and Wahlberg), or as the boys at the station like to call them, Paper Bitch and Yankee Clipper. Allen is always happily buried in paperwork, the trigger happy Terry is constantly losing his temper and both are notorious for screwing up. But they finally get the chance to earn some respect when they stumble upon a high profile case.

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