'Dalton Trumbo had gone from novelist to a successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter which saw him become one of the town's highest paid writers and even earn an Academy Award nomination. But his bright career came to a crushing end in 1947 after he was one of nine people who refused to testify in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. This led to Trumbo being blacklisted from Hollywood and effectively ending his movie career. But despite being blacklisted Trumbo refused to give up and instead continued to write, often under pseudonyms, working on films such as Oscar winner Roman Holiday. His fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses over his freedom to write and work entangled everyone in Hollywood from gossip writer Hedda Hopper to Kirk Douglas who would call on Trumbo to pen the scrip for his epic drama 'Spartacus' and help bring about the end of the Hollywood blacklist.
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An almost ridiculously strong cast and a witty script by the writer of Crazy Stupid Love make this silly film a lot more entertaining than it should be. As it playfully explores long friendships and the struggles of ageing, it turns into a four-sided bromance. So even if the film feels a little under-powered, it's still thoroughly charming.
At the centre are four lifelong buddies who are determined not to grow old. Paddy (De Niro) is trying to recover from grief over his wife's death, while Archie (Freeman) is tired of being fussed over by his son (Ealy) and Sam (Kline) hates living in a retirement community with his spirited wife (Gleason). So they jump on the chance to travel to Vegas for a stag weekend for their pal Billy (Douglas), who is marrying a woman (Blair) in her 30s. And getting together sparks their youthful sense of mischief as they plan a lavish party. Especially when two of them begin to fall for lounge singer Diana (Steenburgen).
Having five Oscar winners in the lead roles gives considerable oomph to the whole project, as these seasoned veterans bring out engaging details of their characters. Douglas has the safest role as a hapless lover-boy, while De Niro does the emotional heavy lifting and Kline endures the cheapest jokes (because his wife has given him a "free pass" for the weekend). Meanwhile, Freeman is clearly having the most fun: cool and relaxed with a naughty glint in his eye. And Steenburgen provides some badly needed female feistiness.
Continue reading: Last Vegas Review
Much of the supporting cast of coming-of-old-age comedy flick 'Last Vegas' are spotted on the red carpet at the comedy's New York premiere. Among them were the movie's director Jon Turteltaub, Romany Malco, Roger Bart and Jerry Ferrara.
Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam may well be getting on in years physically but, on the inside, they haven't changed in 40 years, so when Billy announces his engagement to a woman half his age, it's only right that they should celebrate with one hell of a party trip. They take to Vegas in what they hope is a wild weekend on the Strip; they were kids once, they understand how it's done, right? Well, things have changed a lot since 1959 and they're about to be outdone for the first time in their lives by a new, younger generation of party animals - or are they? This bunch of retirees may yet surprise you!
'Last Vegas' is like a wonderful reversed coming of age story that really hammers in a great message that young people and older people have a lot more in common than they think. It has been directed by Jon Turteltaub ('National Treasure', 'While You Were Sleeping', 'The Kid'), written by Adam Brooks ('Practical Magic', 'Definitely, Maybe', 'French Kiss') and Dan Fogelman ('Crazy, Stupid, Love', 'Cars', 'Tangled') and features an Oscar winning main cast of veteran stars. It is set to hit UK cinema screens on November 8th 2013.
When 60-something-year-old Billy finally announces to his best friends Paddy, Archie and Sam that he's going to tie the knot once and for all, he is determined that his last days as a single man will be as wild as 1959. On a mission to raise the roof with an epic bachelor party, they land in Las Vegas where partying hard is law. However, the city is not how they left it; things have changed a lot since they were kids and they are about to be outdone by the youth of today as they embark on a riotous weekend that will test themselves, their friendships and how they see the world. On the other hand, age verification will unlikely be necessary.
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There's an element of parody to this jet-black comedy, but the film is so creepy that it gets under our skin. And even if it feels a bit ridiculous, the story challenges us with an exploration of bullying and social pressure that's deeply unsettling. All while writer-director Bates gleefully keeps us off-balance with a shifting mix of broad comedy and growing horror.
It's also a deranged coming-of-age tale about Pauline (McCord), a teen outcast who delusionally believes that she is destined to be a great surgeon. This is mainly because she wants to cure her sister Grace (Winter) of cystic fibrosis. So she teaches herself surgical skills by piercing her nose, among other things. She also propositions a hot classmate (Sumpter) about losing her virginity, partly because this is in her master plan and partly to annoy his mean-girl girlfriend (McCook), and he doesn't refuse. Meanwhile, her mother (Lords) makes it clear that she doesn't like Pauline, treating her husband (Bart) like dirt while doting on Grace.
The film's opening scenes are like a Todd Solondz movie, with grotesque characters saying staggeringly rude things to each other. And as events unfold, each person develops some complexity that makes them intriguing. It also helps that scenes are packed with lively side characters played by starry veterans. McDowell, Matlin and Wise play school employees who are baffled by Pauline's refusal to toe the line. And Waters is dryly hilarious as the sardonic priest Pauline is forced to see for counselling.
Continue reading: Excision Review
Roger Bart, Illeana Douglas, Ogy Durham, Shane Johnson and Andy Dick - Roger Bart, Illeana Douglas, Ogy Durham, Shane Johnson, Andy Dick Monday 15th October 2012 'Easy to Assemble' Season 4 premiere screening held at Sundance Theatre
Clyde (Butler) has his happy life destroyed when a psycho (Stolte) kills his wife and daughter, but his lawyer Nick (Foxx) accepts a plea bargain that lets the killer out of jail in three years. A decade later, Clyde starts his revenge. A spot of brutal torture and murder lands him in prison, but he continues from behind bars with his violent mission to take down the legal system. It's up to Nick and a cop (Meaney) to figure out how he's doing this before he kills them too.
Continue reading: Law Abiding Citizen Review
In 1968, Brooks was at the top of his game. He was also at the very beginning of it: The Producers was his first feature film, and you can track the quality of his movies on a steady decline which stretches from the awesome Blazing Saddles (1974) to the middling Spaceballs (1987) to the awful Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Brooks' last appearance behind the camera.
Continue reading: The Producers (2005) Review
The 1975 Stepford (and Ira Levin's book) was a piece of Americana that was so influential it became part of American slang. It unfortunately isn't a very good movie: If anyone can even remember how it ends, I dare you to e-mail me.
Continue reading: The Stepford Wives (2004) Review
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