Posts Tagged ‘paul rudd’

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Bridge Of Spies (2015)

December 7, 2015

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Director: Steven Spielberg

Bottom Line: Bridge Of Spies took me by surprise. With Steven Spielberg directing, the Coens Brothers writing, and Tom Hanks starring, I’m not sure how this movie snuck up on me, but it did. Maybe it’s because the only Spielberg movie I’ve seen in the past decade was Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and, well, I think we know how that disaster turned out. Now that’s not to say that Spielberg’s most recent films (War Horse, Lincoln) have been bad, but for whatever reason I just haven’t gotten around to watching them.

I’m happy to report that Bridge Of Spies, at least, is a return to form, as Spielberg takes us into Cold War espionage, with Hanks playing James B. Donovan, an American attorney charged with the unenviable task of representing a Soviet spy in court. Donovan is soon Public Enemy No. 1 when he takes his duties seriously and becomes enamored with the Soviet prisoner, making sure that the captured spy gets the due process that is the right of anyone in America.

I knew nothing of the plot before watching this movie and I was expecting an action flick, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a riveting character drama. Hanks is great as Donovan and Mark Rylance made Soviet spy Rudolf Abel so affable it’s easy to see how Donovan’s commitment to his case went beyond a sense of duty and became a task he was proud to see all the way through.

I would recommend Bridge Of Spies to just about anyone. I felt that it had the perfect blend of drama and character building, but I could see how some people might find it slow. I thought it was well paced, sometimes intense, and all around entertaining.

Replay Value: Worth a second viewing.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: It’s early, but I could see this film getting some attention – perhaps in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor departments. I think Rylance has a good chance at a supporting nomination as well.

Grade: 7.5/10 (Recommended/Must See)

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Ant-Man (2015)

July 31, 2015

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Director: Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break-Up, Bring It On)

Bottom Line: When Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World dropped out of directing Ant-Man, I have to say my hopes for the film decreased drastically. I’m happy to report that Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is a nice surprise and a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It probably didn’t hurt that Wright stayed on as a screenwriter and executive producer, thus having a say in keeping his original vision somewhat in tact.

Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, a convict fresh out of jail, looking to find work and live the straight life so he can be a good father to his daughter. Unable to hold a job due to his criminal past, Lang teams up with a dopey group of robbers for a heist that he hopes can provide him with enough financial security to keep up on his child support. Unfortunately for this group of “wombats,” they are being set up so that Scott can break into a safe and discover the Ant-Man suit, left behind by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Hank wants Scott to become the Ant-Man because his old company is now being run by Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), a sketchy guy close to unraveling the secret behind the Ant-Man technology and selling it off to questionable government officials, something Hank has long feared could happen.

Paul Rudd was perfect casting as our reluctant hero. A solid comic actor, Rudd seamlessly steps into the role of superhero while infusing Ant-Man with plenty of laughs. In fact, Ant-Man is even funnier than Gaurdians Of The Galaxy, which I thought was hilarious the first time I watched it. Michael Pena, in particular, really steals the show as one of Lang’s ex-convict/robber friends, providing plenty of the film’s funniest lines and moments. The rest of the supporting cast is decent in their roles.

Ant-Man was more fun than the last Avengers movie and it will be interesting to see how Scott Lang fits in with earth’s mightiest heroes when they inevitably cross paths. I will offer a minor spoiler in saying that an Avenger makes a cameo in Ant-Man and it’s quite easily the highlight of the film.

There is a lot that can go wrong with a superhero whose main abilities are shrinking in size and interacting with ants. Ant-Man balances the absurd with a perfect blend of seriousness and humor. It’s pretty funny to see the film cut away from micro-sized, but intense action sequences and pan out to see what the carnage looks like from a human’s POV – in other words, like a whole lot of nothing. The visuals in the film are well done as technology has come a long way since Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. I thought Ant-Man would be must see in 3D, and maybe it is, but watching it in 3D didn’t really add any wow factor.

Ant-Man is a great entry into the MCU, providing a fun story with plenty of good action and tons of comedy.

Replay Value: Definitely worth seeing again but it will be interesting to see how well the comedy holds up on repeat viewings.
Sequel Potential: Ant-Man will probably make multiple appearances in other Marvel movies before appearing in his own sequel.
Oscar Potential: Possibly some visual effects attention.

Grade: 7/10 (Must See)

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Dinner For Schmucks (2010)

January 27, 2011


Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zack Galifianakis
Director: Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet The Parents)
Quick Thoughts: The premise of this movie is exactly what the title suggests: a group of businessmen make a game out of inviting morons to a dinner party and compete to see whose guest is the biggest idiot. Steve Carell really hams it up in this film… and not in a good way. It was a performance that reminded me of when Jim Carrey’s comedies started to suck. His character really has no redeeming qualities. Sure, he means well, but he’s a walking disaster and is constantly creating unforgivable catastrophes for Rudd’s character. So when the film ultimately boils down to a question of “is it okay to make fun of someone for public amusement?” the message seems to be no; but I’m saying: not only would I happily make a fool out of this dude, I’d have a hard time not kicking the shit out of him. Obviously this is supposed to be a mindless comedy, but it’s only mildly funny and the fact that it tries to send a moral message can’t be ignored. Fail.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I’ve heard a few people say they loved it… I’d never watch it again.
Sequel Potential: Hard to imagine… but stranger things have happened.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: None.
Grade: 3.5/10 (Skip It/Netflix It)
Recommendation: While Dinner For Schmucks wasn’t exactly a painful watch, I pretty much hated it. I’ve heard people say they liked it, so it obviously has a fan base, but look at it this way: when it comes to this movie, I’m hosting the dinner party and the people that enjoyed this film are my guests.

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I Love You Man Is Hilarious

April 17, 2009

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Yeah, I said it. I Love You, Man is greatness, possibly a comedy classic in the making. Time and repeat viewings will say whether or not that is true, but this was by far the most fun I’ve had watching a movie this year. Thank God for Judd Apatow and his buddies ushering in the era of the R-rated comedy. In general, ever since 40 Year Old Virgin was released in 2005, the quality of comedies has drastically increased over the past half decade. Though I thought some of the movies from this genre (i.e. Pineapple Express, Zack & Miri Make A Porno) were a bit overrated last year, I Love You, Man is a very solid step back in the right direction.

The film centers on Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), a real estate salesman planning to marry the woman of his dreams, Zooey (Rashida Jones). After overhearing Zooey’s friends making fun of his lack of a social circle, Peter decides: “I need some fucking friends.” After a series of hilarious “man dates” with various guys, Peter finally comes across Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) at an open house he’s hosting and instantly finds Sydney’s honesty and blunt nature endearing. They become quick friends and it doesn’t take long for this new friendship to cause problems between Peter and Zooey.

The cast in this is really terrific. Paul Rudd and Jason Segel have both become legitimate comedy stars. Both Rudd and Segel have grown from supporting characters in the first couple of Judd Apatow films to being stars in their own movies. Both actors are phenomenal in this movie and Rudd really hams it up as Peter Klaven, doing an excellent job of showing how awkward it can be to try to meet new people and vibe with them. The way he blurts out random non-words (“Joben”) and repeatedly stumbles over his sentences show a complete lack of confidence in his surroundings and makes for good laughs throughout the whole film. Years ago, I wouldn’t have ever thought that Paul Rudd could be a regular leading man in a comedy, but I’m convinced of it now. Segel is another rising star, whose Sydney is played with confidence and an air of experience that doesn’t quite reach snobbery. Whether predicting if someone needs to fart or explaining the lubricant and condoms on his desk (“this is where I masturbate”), Sydney’s honesty and tendency for bluntness comes across as genuine.

The supporting cast is solid and funny as well, with a number of B-list celebrities taking on roles. Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau are hilarious playing a dysfunctional couple that are friends with Peter and Zooey. Andy Samberg is pretty good as Peter’s gay brother and J.K. Simmons is great no matter what he does. Rashida Jones is absolutely adorable as Zooey in her first major film role. The gorgeous actress is quite talented and after proving her comedy chops on The Office and in this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if stardom awaits her. Sarah Burns stars as Zooey’s desperate friend Hailey and does such a good job of channeling Kristen Wiig that I actually thought it was the SNL star.

I Love You, Man is easily the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year. The actors were all great and funny and the pacing of the film was solid even through the inevitable conflict segments. I laughed throughout the whole film and really enjoyed all the performances. I can’t wait to see it again. It’s the first movie of 2009 that I’ve gone out of my way (*ahem* aside from writing on a blog, that is) to recommend to people. Go see it immediately!

Grade: 8 out of 10 (Must Own)