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
Critics assess the real-life sporting drama lead by the 'Mad Men' star.
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 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]
JB Bernstein is a sports agent who may outwardly look successful, but is struggling to make much business these days due to serious competition from much more enterprising sports entrepreneurs. JB and his business partner Ash are under significant threat of closure if they don't come up with some new ideas soon. He devises a plan to introduce America's next biggest baseball star by travelling to India to check out some of the nation's finest young cricketers. After filming a talent show called 'Million Dollar Arm', he brings winners Rinku and Dinesh over to the States to learn the art of baseball. Unfortunately, there appears to be more differences between baseball and cricket than Bernstein initially thought, and the boys are struggling under the pressure. However, with a little teamwork and determination, things start to look like they're going to work out just fine.
Continue: Million Dollar Arm Trailer
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
Billy and Nick thought they were the perfect sales team, but their careers hit rock bottom when the owner of their company shut up shop due to the ever increasing internet preference among consumers. However, Billy soon manages to find a way for them to pick up a new, more stable job in the world of technological advancement and lands them an interview for an internship with global internet giant Google. As interns, they are made to compete for a full time job with an army of young, genius students who way out-geek Billy and Nick and whose expertise in technology is formidable. As much as they try and fit in with them, the students just can't help themselves and find every opportunity to take advantage of their computer naivety.
Continue: The Internship Trailer
If you were hoping for a romantic comedy with a harmless storyline, romance and inoffensive jokes, the here's a warning: read no further. 'Movie 43' is one of the most cringe-worthy and uncensored taboo-filled flicks to be released in the history of comedy. Here you will see several interlinked stories with characters' lives surrounding unusual proposals, interrupting blind kids' parties, bad parenting, teenage menstruation, a confused and slightly racist basketball coach, innovative business ideas and the kidnapping of a violent leprechaun. Once you see this movie it is unlikely you will find a subject that offends you ever again.
With twelve different comedy genius directors including Peter Farrelly ('Dumb & Dumber', 'There's Something About Mary', 'Shallow Hal'), Steve Carr ('Daddy Day Care', 'Dr Dolittle 2'), Steven Brill ('Little Nicky') and Brett Ratner ('Rush Hour') to name but a few and eight different writers, this jaw-droppingly crude and often obscene movie features a diverse star-studded cast, both British and American, who have banded together to shock you in the most hilarious ways you can think of. Whatever kind of comedy you're into, 'Movie 43' probably has something in it for everyone and it is set to hit the big screen on February 1st 2012.
Continue: Movie 43 Trailer
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
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
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.
Continue reading: Dark Horse Review
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
Mother's Day is the latest in the series of Garry Marshall's films which include Valentine's...
Based on a true story, this is one of those relentlessly uplifting Disney movies that...
Sports agent JB Bernstein was once incredibly successful in his field, but now there's a...
JB Bernstein is a sports agent who may outwardly look successful, but is struggling to...
This Wedding Crashers reunion has enough snappy dialog to keep us laughing even if the...
Former salesmen Billy and Nick are left unemployed after the owner of the company that...
Billy and Nick thought they were the perfect sales team, but their careers hit rock...
If you were hoping for a romantic comedy with a harmless storyline, romance and inoffensive...
A romantic comedy with a dark twist, this film gets under the skin as it...
Director-cowriter Koepp fills this film with so many whizzy visual flourishes that we might not...
Solondz takes another hilariously pitch-black exploration of human behaviour with a film populated by excellent...