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Los Angeles Premiere for HBO's new comedy series THE BRINK

Eric Ladin, Jaimie Alexander, Carla Gugino, Tim Robbins, Maribeth Monroe, Mary Faber, Melanie Kannokada, Jack Black and Aasif Mandvi - Los Angeles Premiere for HBO's new comedy series THE BRINK at Paramount Theater - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 9th June 2015

Jaimie Alexander
Jaimie Alexander
Jaimie Alexander
Jaimie Alexander
Jaimie Alexander, Carla Gugino, Tim Robbins, Maribeth Monroe, Mary Faber, Melanie Kannokada, Jack Black and Aasif Mandvi

New York premiere of 'Danny Collins'

Aasif Mandvi - A variety of stars were photographed as they arrived for the New York premiere of 'Danny Collins' which was held at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York City, New York, United States - Wednesday 18th March 2015

John Varvatos' International Day of Peace Celebration - Arrivals

Aasif Mandvi - A number of stars we're snapped as they arrived at John Varvatos' International Day of Peace Celebration at the John Varvatos Boutique in Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 21st September 2014

Aasif Mandvi

Million Dollar Arm Review


Good

Based on a true story, this is one of those relentlessly uplifting Disney movies that mixes comedy and emotion to inspire and move the audience. Thankfully, it also has a very smart screenplay by Tom McCarthy (Win Win) that draws out some resonant themes while tackling cross-culture issues with wit and honesty. This makes it easy to identify with the sparky characters who are trying to reinvent themselves.

Sports manager JB (Jon Hamm) certainly needs a reinvention. He has lost all of his high-profile clients and now needs to find the next big thing. Perceived as washed-up, he has some difficulty convincing someone to fund his crazy plan to stage a talent competition in India to find baseball talent among the local cricket players. With the help of his easily distracted assistant Aash (Aasif Mandvi) and cantankerous ex-coach Ray (Alan Arkin), he narrows the candidates down to two potential stars: Rinku and Danesh (Life of Pi's Suraj Sharma and Slumdog Millionaire's Madhur Mittal). After JB brings them back to Los Angeles, along with over-eager interpreter Amit (Pitobash), renegade coach Tom (Bill Paxton) has to whip them into shape to see if they can attract interest from the big-league teams.

While the film continually threatens to indulge in smiley culture-clash slapstick, McCarthy's script continually grounds the action in the characters, who emerge as fully rounded people who are engagingly unpredictable. The cast is earthy and natural, anchored ably by Hamm as a likeable guy who remains self-absorbed even though he's desperate, and who takes a long time to learn his rather simple lesson. His chemistry with Lake Bell (as the plain-talking tenant in his pool house) is superbly messy. And ace scene-stealers Mandvi and Arkin bring plenty of comic relief to their hilarious roles.

Continue reading: Million Dollar Arm Review

'Million Dollar Arm' Released: A Home Run For Jon Hamm? [Trailer]


Jon Hamm Alan Arkin Lake Bell Bill Paxton Aasif Mandvi

Million Dollar Arm is released today in the USA, bringing Craig Gillespie's take on the remarkable true story of sports coach J.B. Bernstein to life with Mad Men's Jon Hamm in the driving seat alongside Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton, Aasif Mandvi and Lake Bell. It's easy to see why Hamm was cast as Bernstein, the sports agent and marketing wiz who devised a programme to inspire Indian cricket players to make the jump to baseball in the search for a news sports hero.

Jon Hamm Million Dollar Arm
Jon Hamm Plays Sports Coach J.B. Bernstein In This Heart-Warming True Story Dramatisation.

"Sometimes a hard-hitting expose, sometimes a big-hearted crowdpleaser, "Million Dollar Arm" wants it both ways to be sure, but its instincts are mostly right on the money, as are its actors," says Variety. Scott Foundas is even-handed in his review, making sure to praise all those who make the movie such a solid watch, including "Gyula Pados' ace widescreen lensing," "jubilant wall-to-wall song score by Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman" and Hamm "who possesses a special talent for ferreting out the humanity in seemingly soulless corporate suits."

Continue reading: 'Million Dollar Arm' Released: A Home Run For Jon Hamm? [Trailer]

World premiere of Disney's 'Million Dollar Arm' - Arrivals

Aasif Mandvi - World premiere of Disney's 'Million Dollar Arm' held at El Capitain Theatre - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 6th May 2014

The Internship Review


OK

This Wedding Crashers reunion has enough snappy dialog to keep us laughing even if the film itself feels like little more than a two-hour Google advert. Thankfully, Vaughn and Wilson are back on form after a number of flabby roles, and they keep the energy levels high enough to distract us from the fact that there's virtually nothing to either the character or the plot.

They play Billy and Nick, salesmen who are left unemployed when their company closes down. Nick finds a new job with his tattooed brother-in-law (Ferrell), but Billy talks him into ditching it for a summer internship at Google, where they join a mob of teen brainiacs in a battle for permanent jobs. Their ethnically diverse team of misfits (including O'Brien, Sircar and Raphael) is led by 23-year-old Lyle (Brener), and after a series of mishaps they begin to work together, surprising their aggressive rival (Minghella) and the intern programme director (Mandvi). Meanwhile, Nick flirts comically with Google exec Dana (Byrne).

This is a deeply lazy script that can't even be bothered to differentiate between the personalities of Billy and Nick, let alone anyone else on screen. Each person is defined by a couple of superficial characteristics, so there are no actual relationships between anyone. Billy and Nick aren't even allowed a hint of bromance. And it's simply insulting how the screenplay makes these two "old" men illiterate about both computers and culture (they've never heard of X-men?). Of course, they also teach the kids a lot about partying away from computer screens.

Continue reading: The Internship Review

Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Internship'

Aasif Mandvi - Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Internship' at Regency Village Theatre in Westwood - Westwood, California, United States - Wednesday 29th May 2013

Aasif Mandvi

Ruby Sparks Review


Excellent

A romantic comedy with a dark twist, this film gets under the skin as it knowingly explores both the writing process and the nature of relationships. It also gives its cast a lot to play with in scenes that feature both broad slapstick and much more serious drama.

Paul Dano stars as Calvin, a writer who struck lightning with his first novel at age 19 and hasn't been able to write anything since. His brother (Messina) teases him about his future, his agent (Mandvi) is pushing him to write a new novel, and his therapist (Gould) just wants him to write something, anything. So he starts typing up a story about the girl (Kazan) who appears in his dreams. Then there she is, Ruby Sparks, in his kitchen! Sure he's officially losing his mind, he's shocked to discover that others can see her too. So he brings her into his life as his girlfriend, even introducing her to his hippie mother and stepdad (Benning and Banderas).

The film starts out as a breezy comedy, and Dano plays these scenes for laughs, including several broadly silly set-pieces as Calvin first meets Ruby. But the undertone very quickly starts turning serious, as we begin to understand the central themes about how we relate to our partners. Would we control their behaviour if we could? Get rid of annoying habits? Make them be more like our idea of the perfect spouse? But of course, that would cause a whole new set of problems.

Continue reading: Ruby Sparks Review

Premium Rush Review


OK
Director-cowriter Koepp fills this film with so many whizzy visual flourishes that we might not notice that the plot itself is utterly ridiculous. But as we laugh at every inane twist and turn, the energy is infections as the camera seems to fly right through busy New York City traffic as if we're riding the bicycle right along with the characters, seeing every potential danger spot from their perspective. And it's an adrenaline-pumping ride.

Our hero is Wilee (Gordon-Levitt), who gave up his law studies to become a daredevil courier who believes brakes are for sissies. So it doesn't seem too much to accept a job to carry an envelope for a friend (Chung) from one end of Manhattan to the other. But he's immediately accosted by frazzled cop Bobby (Shannon), who so desperately wants to get his hands on that envelope that we think his buggy eyes might explode. But Wilee is a clever biker determined to do his job, and as the cat-and-mouse chase travels down through the city, drawing in a tenacious bicycle cop (Tveit) and some nasty gangsters, Wilee gets help from his colleagues (Ramirez and Parks).

Continue reading: Premium Rush Review

Dark Horse Review


Good
Solondz takes another hilariously pitch-black exploration of human behaviour with a film populated by excellent actors playing seriously messed-up characters. And it can't help but force us to look at how we interact with people around us.

Even though he's essentially a pampered slacker, Abe (Gelber) exudes confidence, relentlessly going after the depressed Miranda (Blair) despite her hesitance. Living in the shadow of his successful doctor brother (Bartha), Abe works for his father (Walken), but does virtually nothing and resents the fact that his hard-working cousin (Booth) gets the credit. But then Abe feels hard-done by everyone he encounters, creating an arch-rival in Miranda's ex (Mandvi). But at no point does Abe's inner life come close to the reality around him.

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The Dictator Review


Good
This may look like a wildly irreverent satire about a North African despot, but it doesn't take long to realise that the filmmakers' target is somewhere else.

And the biting script never pulls its punches, leaping us laughing at the audacity while making a serious point.

Aladeen (Baron Cohen) is the pampered dictator of Wadiya, who travels to New York to tell the UN to stop nosing around his nuclear "energy" plants. But his Uncle Tamir (Kingsley) is plotting to kill him and replace him with a double who will sign a democratic constitution essentially selling the country to oil companies. Aladeen manages to escape, but no one recognises him cleanly shaven, so he teams up with health-food activist Zoey (Faris) and a countryman (Mantzoukas) to get his country back.

Continue reading: The Dictator Review

Margin Call Review


Excellent
This lucid drama about the start of the current economical collapse is gripping, even if its structure feels stagey: basically a lot of scenes of people talking in offices. But solid performances and an accessible script make it resonate.

When risk-assessment expert Eric (Tucci) is sacked in a wave of downsizing, he gives a file to his employee Peter (Quinto) with the words "be careful". Sure enough, this document suggests an impending apocalypse for the company. So Peter calls in his colleague Seth (Badgley) and they take it to their boss (Bettany), who escalates it upwards over one long night to his boss (Spacey), the top executives (Baker and Moore) and the company owner (Irons). And they make a decision to do something unthinkable.

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Ghost Town Review


Grim
If you want to make money, you go to David Koepp. Three of the 20 films he has written are on the top 25 highest-grossing American box office list and another two show up in the top 100. The man makes hits and, most of the time anyways, they are well-written and focused scripts that attempt to keep exposition to a minimum. These are the traits of a very talented screenwriter... but unfortunately they do not necessarily translate into a positive resume for a feature film director.

Ghost Town is Koepp's fourth film as a director and it is the first film to feature UK comedian Ricky Gervais in a starring role. It tells the story of a dentist named Bertram Pincus (Gervais) who wakes from a friendly colonoscopy with the ability to see and hear the dead. It is inferred that this Shyamalanian gift was caused by a seven-minute interval during his operation where he died due to a two-strikes-already anesthesiologist. Ghosts of every color and creed begin hassling the chronically-introverted Pincus for favors, the leader of which seems to be Frank (Greg Kinnear).

Continue reading: Ghost Town Review

The Mystic Masseur Review


Grim
Film critics are expected to give eloquent answers as to whether a movie is good, bad or average. With The Mystic Masseur, I found myself too bored to initially think of anything useful. This is a movie where the most notable observation is how long you've been sitting still.

The movie opens in 1954 London, where Trinidad native and Oxford student Partap (Jimi Mistry) greets his mentor Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi) in England. That meeting kicks off an extended flashback where we learn of Ganesh's rise to prominence over the past decade.

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