WISH I WAS HERE Review

by     Posted One week ago

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[This is a re-post of my Wish I Was Here review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  The film opens in limited release this weekend.]

It’s been ten long years since Zach Braff directed a feature film.  Those that fell hard for Garden State—myself included—looked forward to seeing another directorial effort from Braff, and now the time has finally come with Wish I Was Here.  Written by Braff and his brother Adam Braff, the story explores late-blooming maturity through the eyes of a struggling actor living in L.A. with his wife and two children.  Braff weaves in plenty of themes about loss, marriage, and parenthood throughout the film, but he throws so much into the pot that not all of it sticks.  The result is a disappointing mixed bag, with some of the film hitting just the right note while the rest of it falls completely flat.  Read my full review after the jump.

PIXELS Image Shows Off Adam Sandler, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage as the Arcaders

by     Posted One week ago

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Sony has released the first Pixels image.  The film will have a presence at San Diego Comic-Con next week, but while we wait for that “special video announcement” from director Chris Columbus that Sony Pictures Entertainment is teasing, how about checking out the very first still from the film?  Pixels will show what happens when aliens catch a glimpse of classic arcade games and misread them as a declaration of war.  When the ETs attack, President Will Cooper (Kevin James) recruits his childhood best friend and former ‘80s video game champion, Jules Brenner (Adam Sandler), to pull together a team of the best arcaders and save the world.

The feature was inspired by a short film of the same name that hit the web back in 2010 depicting what might happen if New York City was attacked by some very familiar 8-bit characters.  Hit the jump to check out the Pixels image as well as the original short film.  Pixels will arrive in theaters on May 15, 2015 and also stars Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Gad and Brian Cox.

Zach Braff Visits Temple, Gets Nostalgic in 3 New WISH I WAS HERE Clips; Plus New Images

by     Posted 15 days ago

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Focus Features has released a trio of Wish I Was Here clips and a batch of new images from co-writer/director Zach Braff’s long-awaited Garden State follow-up.  Braff also stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  I saw the pic at Sundance (read my review here), and I’d say these three clips are indicative of the film as a whole: really funny, occasionally touching, but also saccharine and a tad pretentious at times.  We see a great scene between Braff and Patinkin, another of Braff taking his children out in the desert to get philosophical, and a third where he visits his temple and has a frank discussion with a rabbi.  The pic is worth seeing (Kate Hudson is fantastic), but I found myself coming away rather disappointed.

Hit the jump to check out the new Wish I Was Here clips and high-resolution images.  The film also stars Joey Lucas, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald FaisonWish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

First THE WEDDING RINGER Trailer Teams Kevin Hart and Josh Gad for Wedding Farce

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Screen Gems has released the first Wedding Ringer trailer after debuting images last night.  The comedy centers on an introverted yet successful tech entrepreneur (Josh Gad) who hires the owner of The Best Man Inc. (Kevin Hart) to be the perfect best man and throw a killer wedding party.  I don’t know that this will be my cup of tea, but I think this has the makings of a January hit.  And I have a weird sort of admiration for a movie that lights the grandmother on fire.

Olivia Thirlby, Kaley Cuoco, Jorge Garcia, Affion Crockett, and Aaron Takahashi also star in The Wedding Ringer, directed by Jeremy GarelickThe Wedding Ringer opens January 16, 2015.  Watch the Wedding Ringer trailer after the break.

First THE WEDDING RINGER Images: Josh Gad Hires Kevin Hart to Be His Best Man

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Screen Gems has released the first The Wedding Ringer images featuring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad.  The comedy centers on an introverted yet successful tech entrepreneur (Gad) who hires the owner of Best Man Inc. (Hart) to be the perfect best man and throw a killer wedding party.  Hart describes the business model:

“I run a business where I’m a great best man for the right price.  But I do what has never been done before in this case.  I make this guy look like one of the most amazing people in the world.”

Olivia Thirlby, Kaley Cuoco, Jorge Garcia, Affion Crockett, and Aaron Takahashi also star in The Wedding Ringer, directed by Jeremy Garelick.  Hit the jump for the Wedding Ringer images, plus more quotes from Hart and Gad.

New Trailer for Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE Starring Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, and Mandy Patinkin

by     Posted 67 days ago

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Focus Features has released a new Wish I Was Here trailer.  Braff co-wrote, directed, and stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  This trailer seems pretty much in line with the mixed reviews the movie received when it was screened at Sundance (you can click here to read Adam’s review).  There are funny moments, moments that look like they’re forcing emotions, and some unnecessarily quirky bits (Wigs! Space helmets!) thrown in for good measure.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Kate Hudson, Joey King, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald FaisonWish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

First Trailer for Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE Starring Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, and Josh Gad

by     Posted 107 days ago

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Focus Features has released the teaser trailer for director Zach Braff’s comedic drama Wish I Was Here.  Braff co-wrote, directed, and stars in the film as a struggling actor, father, and husband who is seeking purpose in life and trying to come to terms with the impending death of his father (Mandy Patinkin).  I am in no way surprised that this trailer is set a song by The Shins (they provided two of the tracks on the Garden State soundtrack) and plays like a music video minus the musicians.  It’s a montage of clips from the movie, and based on the tone, it’s not going to change anyone’s mind about how much they want to see this flick.

Hit the jump to watch the Wish I Was Here trailer, and click here to read Adam’s review from Sundance.  The film also stars Kate Hudson, Joey King, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald FaisonWish I Was Here opens in limited release on July 18th.

FROZEN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 115 days ago

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It’s no shock that Frozen — the great animated film by Disney — became a hit, but it’s a little surprising it became a phenomenon.  Currently the film is still in theaters, even though it’s now on DVD and Blu-ray, and it’s about to cross the $400 Million dollar mark domestically, while it’s now the twelfth highest grossing film of all time worldwide (unadjusted, of course), and could cross into the top ten when all is said and done.

Hit the jump for my Frozen Blu-ray review.

Josh Gad and Kevin James in Early Talks to Join Chris Columbus’ Long-Gestating PIXELS; Adam Sandler to Star [Updated]

by     Posted 149 days ago

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Sony Pictures’ long-in-the-works adaptation of the short film Pixels is finally moving towards a production start.  The studio teamed up with Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company to adapt Patrick Jean’s short film of the same name three years ago, but movement on the video game-themed project has been slow.  Now, after setting family friendly filmmaker Chris Columbus (Harry Potter 1 and 2) to direct last year, Josh Gad and Kevin James are in line to possibly lead the pic as champion arcade gamers who are needed to help defeat alien attacks who have an affinity for 80s arcade games.  Hit the jump for more, including the original short.

[Update: The Wrap adds that Sandler will also be leading the cast of Pixels with Jennifer Aniston in the mix for the female lead, though scheduling may ultimately prevent her from signing on.]

JOBS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 170 days ago

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Biopics are tricky beasts.  At their best, they can provide deeper insight into their protagonists–even when certain details are combined, eliminated or otherwise fictionalized.  On the other end of the spectrum lie a plethora of problems, such as blasé regurgitation of known facts, focusing on either too much or too little of someone’s life, and/or reducing the subject’s life to a highlight reel show with no real substance.  One would hope that a movie such as Jobs, about one of the great creative visionaries of our time, would be inspired by the same creative spark.  Alas, that hope is sadly not realized.

Hit the jump for my review of Jobs on Blu-ray.

Josh Gad Rumored to Play The Thing/Ben Grimm in THE FANTASTIC FOUR

by     Posted 178 days ago

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At this point, Fantastic Four fans should be ready for the upcoming film reboot, The Fantastic Four, to be a radical reinvention of the famous Marvel family.  It’s likely that they will be casting young on this one with names like Miles Teller, Kit Harington, and Richard Madden being rumored for Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara and Saoirse Ronan rumored for Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, and Michael B. Jordan all but officially confirmed to play Johnny Storm/The Human Torch.  The only piece of casting news that hasn’t come up yet is who will play Ben Grimm/The Thing.  Today, we have the first casting rumor for the big, orange rock monster: Josh Gad.

Hit the jump for more.  Filming on The Fantastic Four is set to begin filming on March 31st for a June 19, 2015 release date.

Sundance 2014: WISH I WAS HERE Review

by     Posted 187 days ago

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It’s been ten long years since Zach Braff directed a feature film.  Those that fell hard for Garden State—myself included—looked forward to seeing another directorial effort from Braff, and now the time has finally come with Wish I Was Here.  Written by Braff and his brother Adam Braff, the story explores late-blooming maturity through the eyes of a struggling actor living in L.A. with his wife and two children.  Braff weaves in plenty of themes about loss, marriage, and parenthood throughout the film, but he throws so much into the pot that not all of it sticks.  The result is a disappointing mixed bag, with some of the film hitting just the right note while the rest of it falls completely flat.  Read my full review after the jump.

GILLIGAN’S ISLAND Movie Surfaces with Josh Gad Writing and Starring for Warner Bros.

by     Posted 220 days ago

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Fresh off of his Frozen performance as an animated snowman, Josh Gad is set to star in Warner Bros.’ big-screen adaptation of Gilligan’s Island.  The project has been in the works for some time; we last reported on it almost four years ago.  The title property was a 1960s TV series about seven castaways who took a three-hour tour about the S.S. Minnow only to wind up stranded on a tropical island after a terrible storm.  We’re not sure just which of the seven roles Gad will take on, but I’d put money on either Gilligan or the Skipper.  Gad is also writing the screenplay along with Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez.  Hit the jump for more.

TOP 5: FROZEN, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Trailer Cut Like THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, HOMEFRONT, What to Watch Online, OLDBOY

by     Posted 237 days ago

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Last night I rewatched Man of Steel for the first time since catching it in theaters back in June. Previously, I wrote that the film had me emotionally invested in Supes in a way that only Grant Morrison‘s All-Star Superman had done before. While I’ve since been blown away by Alan Moore‘s For the Man Who Has Everything tale, my second Man of Steel viewing from yesterday corroborates my previous statement. I see the pic as being good, borderline great thanks in large part to the outstanding performances of Michael Shannon and Kevin Costner. The tragedy of Zod’s story was somewhat lost on me during my first screening (perhaps it was dulled by the impressive array of action set pieces). This time around, though, I felt the full brunt of it and I couldn’t help but sympathize with him for knowing no other purpose than to defend the people of Krypton at any cost. Also, the scene where he introduces himself to the citizens of Earth? Downright frightening. Regarding Pa Kent: although I loved every facet of Costner’s performance the first time I watched the film, I was surprised at how much his scenes still resonated with me on the repeat viewing. Kudos to Zack Snyder and Co. for limiting his screen time and, in doing so, making every single second with him in the frame mean that much more.

My Blu-ray pick of the week aside, this week’s Top 5 features Frozen interviews with Kristen Bell and more, an It’s a Wonderful Life trailer cut in the style of Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, Homefront interviews with James Franco and more, the first installment in Allison’s new monthly list of recommended streaming, and Oldboy interviews with Spike Lee, Josh Brolin, and more. As tradition dictates, a brief recap and link to each of the above rests after the jump.

FROZEN Review

by     Posted 241 days ago

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Disney Animation Studios had a marvelous revival and created some of their best films with (in chronological order) The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King.  Since then, the luster has faded but there have been bright spots like Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Lilo & Stitch, Tangled, and Winnie the Pooh.  They even had terrific one with The Princess and the Frog, but as 2D animation dies and the 3D becomes default, the 2009 picture looked like the end of an era.  But with Frozen, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee have conjured up a film that is among the best in the studio’s history.  The movie gracefully glides around conventions, and combines magnificent music and lovable characters with an artistry and style rarely seen in 3D animated family films.  It is a picture that recalls Disney’s classic films, but also strides boldly into the 21st century.

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