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21 JUMP STREET
This is one of those films that generally surprised me. Going in, I didn’t have high expectations. After all, Jonah Hill’s last comedy was The Sitter, but man did this movie bring the laughs. Channing Tatum is turning into the new incarnation of Mark Wahlberg, an actor known for his mostly serious movies who’s straight out awesome at comedy (but unlike Marky Mark, Channing’s actually a decent dramatic actor). There’s a ton of fun cameos in this pic, the gags are hilarious, and the movie delivers on multiple levels. Jonah Hill has shown that he can actually write a good film and I’m hoping he does more writing in the future.

Definitely a guilty pleasure film, it’s one of Jonah Hill’s best and a sequel is definitely on its way. The trailer undersells what’s likely going to be one of 2012’s best comedies.

****

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MONEYBALL
This
is an odd sports movie, in that you see very little sports. This is the story of sports, baseball in particular, from the back office point of view. The movie follows Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) in MLB’s 2002 season when he met a young economics grad (Jonah Hill) with a radical approach to building a team. The film charts the ups and downs of the team, but more importantly, it shows us how they changed baseball forever. Pitt and Hill give strong, understated performances in an overall satisfying picture. Don’t expect to see a lot of sports action though; baseball is, after all, the thinking man’s game.

****

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Posted on October 31st, 2011 by David Creighton | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

Cyrus Movie PosterThe new off-beat romantic comedy Cyrus has been tearing up the theaters in limited release. Last weekend was its widest expansion yet. Still only playing in 200 theaters it has already grossed over 3.4 million dollars. There have been few ads and most people seem not to have heard of the film. I caught it with a friend on Sunday and I thought I’d share my thoughts.

John C. Reilly stars as John, an easy name to remember for him, a depressed divorcee who still spends an inordinate amount of time with his ex-wife (played by an aging Catherine Keener) despite her being about to remarry. When she drags him to a party he meets Molly (the still hot Marisa Tomei) and they hit it off immediately. There’s a typical “meet cute” which leads to Tomei’s memorable opening line “Nice penis.” But when she refuses to let him see anything of her life he, in a somewhat creepy moment, stalks her to her home. There he meets Cyrus (Jonah Hill), her 22-year old socially maladjusted aspiring musician son. Everything seems fine at first, but John comes to realize Cyrus is waging a quiet war to drive him out of his mother’s life.

The biggest thing that hit me about this film is that it was not what I expected at all. The ads had focused on some of the most obvious and extreme parts of John and Cyrus’s feud. So I was expecting an over-the-top slapstick comedy about their escalating war. What I got was a much more subdued and subtle film about psychological warfare and the different types of love. Cyrus is a tough character to sympathize with as he goes through his plots but John isn’t perfect either. His relationship with his ex-wife is just as co-dependant as Cyrus and his mother’s. And his eventual anger and defeatism makes it hard to know if everything is going to work out in the end.

Reilly is playing in his comfort zone so he delivers a fine performance. Johan Hill as Cyrus shows he can play a more subdued version of most of the zany characters he usually plays. Marissa Tomei and Catherine Keener don’t have as much to work with since the focus is so heavily on John vs. Cyrus, but they both turn in believable performances. Worthy of singling out for praise, however, is Matt Walsh as Keener’s fiancé. While he has virtually no lines he is able to convey with a simple look more than many people can convey in two minutes of dialogue. The Duplass brothers handle the direction in a low-key, unflashy manner than at times seems like you’re watching these people’s home movies. It’s not spectacular, but it’s what the material requires.

Overall, Cyrus is an entertaining film that will make you squirm with awkwardness more than once during its 92 minute run-time. You should be satisfied with the ending, even if it is a tad abrupt. Cyrus may be too off-beat to ever break out as a mainstream hit and would work just as well on video. But if you get a chance to see it someday it’s definitely worth the time.

***½

A poster for the new animated flick, Megamind, starring the voices of Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, and Will Ferrell. From Madagascar director Tom McGrath, the movie is a satirical take on superheroes with Pitt as Metro Man, a goodiegoodie superhero and Farrell as the villain and title character, Megamind.

Megamind

The Dreamworks Animated movie comes out in November. If you are going to the San Diego Comic Con International, the movie will be having a panel on Thursday July 22nd at 10am. On hand from the film will be Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill and Tom McGrath. They will be having a question and answer session along with showcasing all new footage from the film.

The film sounds like it can be a lot of fun. Originally, Robert Downey Jr was slated to appear as the Megamind (originally named “Master Mind”), but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. I would have preferred him to Will Ferrell who doesn’t show nearly as much range as Downey. Brad Pitt is a nice addition as the steriotypical superhero. Jonah Hill is always a great addition also.

Are you looking forward to Megamind? Will it be a new Incredibles or will it be as awful as Monsters vs Aliens?