Currently in limited release, LIKE CRAZY is a low-budget romantic drama centered on a young couple going through the emotional reality of falling in love and then having it torn apart. A hit at the Sundance Film Festival and the subject of a much publicized bidding war, the film is unusual in that it is almost completely improvised. Co-written (with BEN YORK JONES) and directed by DRAKE DOREMUS, the cast includes ANTON YELCHIN, FELICITY JONES, JENNIFER LAWRENCE, FINOLA HUGHES and CHRIS MESSINA.
DOREMUS is no stranger to improvisational theater and was anxious to implement it in this project. During our recent interview, he explained his history in the world of improv. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Although it was Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and Jesse Eisenberg reunited for 30 Minutes or Less, the mildly amusing trailer and unimaginative poster left me less than excited for this buddy film. Since it also stars Danny McBride, I was also expecting a pale imitation of Pineapple Express.
Clocking in at a brisk 83 minutes, 30 Minutes or Less, had enough crude humor and oddball characters to keep everything more than interesting. Nick (Eisenberg) is a sarcastic delivery pizza guy who slept with his best friend Chet’s (Aziz Ansari) twin sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) years ago. Karma is a bitch for Nick, as two oafs named Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) strap a bomb on Nick and force him to rob a bank. Chet and Nick then devise a rather simple bank heist, aiming to steal $100,000 and live to see another day.
A small portion of the movie actually deals with the bank robbery, as the feature’s greatest strengths lie in the interplay with the characters. Fred Ward, an actor I’ve loved since his Remo Williams and Tremors days, is hilarious as The Major, Dwayne’s cruel, Marine vet father. Michael Pena, who previously worked with McBride on Eastbound & Down, is also memorable as a hitman hired to kill The Major, and Bianca Kajlich (Rules of Engagement) is the stripper who promises to polish Dwayne’s “scepter” after the deed is done.
The offbeat and unapologetic characters that inhabit the small town confines of 30 Minutes or Less would be a perfect fit for a Coen Brothers movie, and although Fleischer’s film doesn’t reach similar heights, the picture has its merits.
Special Features: Another huge upside for 30 Minutes or Less are its special features, which include a Picture Commentary Track with Fleischer, Eisenberg, Ansari, Swardson, and McBride. One of the Blu-ray’s featurettes, the fourteen minute “Blowing Up With the Crew of 30 Minutes or Less,” delves into the use of improvisation among the movie’s main characters. At just a little over 10 minutes, “The Perfect Crime: Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes or Less,” spotlight’s the movie’s action sequences (there’s an car chase smack dab in the middle of the film). Also included are eleven minutes worth of deleted scenes, which include an amusing sequence with The Major and Dwayne (Dwayne tells his dad his big dream of opening a full body massage tanning salon that services its clients) as well as an alternate ending which Fleischer should have used instead of rather abrupt theatrical version.
Opening in theaters next month, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL is the fourth installment in the popular franchise based on the ’70s TV series of the same name. This time around, Ethan Hunt and his IMF team are falsely accused of a Kremlin bombing and are forced to clear their names before another attack. Directed by BRAD BIRD, the cast includes TOM CRUISE, SIMON PEGG, PAULA PATTON, VING RHAYMES, TOM WILKINSON and JEREMY RENNER.
This marks the beginning of RENNER’S future in franchise features. Currently in post-production is THE AVENGERS (in which he plays Hawkeye) and, now filming is THE BOURNE LEGACY (in which he plays Aaron Cross). Add to that his role in the upcoming HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS and RENNER might be the hardest working action star in the biz. Getting in shape for all these roles was no small task and RENNER tells us that a lot of the credit goes to co-star TOM CRUISE. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Tonight, in an all-new episode of the hit Fox series GLEE titled I KISSED A GIRL…, more complications plague the relationship between Puck and Quinn, Coach Beiste finally takes on Sue Sylvester and someone gets busted trying to fix the results of the McKinley High presidential race. Add in a full song-and-dance roster and it’s another installment in what is shaping up to be an interesting season for the show, now in its third year.
Just before the season began, we spoke with several of the show’s stars, who predicted that this season would be a return to the kind of stories that originally attracted fans. LEA MICHELLE, who’s been with the show since the beginning, hinted that their senior year at McKinley High would be the best. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Available Friday on DVD and Blu-ray, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is an R-rated romantic comedy about a pair of friends who mistakenly believe that sex without emotional involvement is a viable long-term plan. Directed by WILL GLUCK (EASY A), the cast includes MILA KUNIS, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, PATRICIA CLARKSON, JENNA ELFMAN, BRIAN GREENBERG, WOODY HARRELSON and ANDY SAMBERG.
A former child star who struck it big with the ultimate boy band, ‘NSYNC, before hitting the stadium circuit as a solo singer, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE has spent the last couple of years reinventing himself as a movie star. Proving to be as adept at being a leading man as he is a supporting player, he’s appeared in such films as ALPHA DOG, THE SOCIAL NETWORK and BAD TEACHER. During our recent interview, he talked about doing a romantic comedy and why the R rating was important to him. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)