September 03, 2015

Tag Archives: Jesse Eisenberg

“Grandma” and “Mistress America”: Ten Films to see in August

Welcome to August folks! As always, I like to take a look at the month in advance to see what cinematic offerings are coming our way. This time out, it’s obviously the August releases that I’m going to be prepping you for, and once again as an added bonus, I’ve seen a couple of them already. Despite the reputation that the month gets for being a summer dumping ground, there are reasons to be optimistic here. In fact, August is potentially shaping up to be a very solid month overall for cinema, so you’ll likely have multiple things to see starting later on this week. Take a look below and obviously stay tuned for more on many of these…
Here now are the ten best bets for movies in August:
10. Fantastic Four – The superhero reboot has my curiosity, despite the original outings being poor, at best. The cast is excellent (including Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Miles Teller), the behind the scenes talent is solid, and the Trailers so far have been strong. I see it in two days, so I’ll have a better idea then if this is an early August gem or not, but I have a hunch it’s going to be a well liked comic book film.
9. American Ultra – Last time we saw Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart share the screen, it was in the deeply underrated Adventureland, so I’m very hopeful that this will feature the same strong chemistry between them. This time it’s a stoner action comedy, not a coming of age dramedy, but my hope springs eternal. It’s definitely an X factor for now, but the potential is certainly there.
8. Ricki and the Flash – I see this one tonight, so I’ll know then if Meryl Streep is an Oscar lock again (look for an article before the week is out), but the combination of Streep with scribe Diablo Cody and director Jonathan Demme is more than enough to make me look forward to this evening. Throw in a potentially juicy supporting role for Kevin Kline and this could be right up the Academy’s alley. Stay tuned…
7. Shanghai – One of the surprises this month is that we’ll actually see this John Cusack period piece. A half decade ago I first started looking forward to this one, wondering if Cusack could score a Best Actor nod for it. That nom didn’t happen, […]

Leonardo DiCaprio: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders

Folks, as you all know from last year as well as my articles again so far this year, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket. It’s old hat to you by now, I’m sure, but hey…
Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger ones that’s out there for us…the Best Actor category.

Here are the ten gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) – Everyone pretty much agrees that DiCaprio will win an Oscar one day, it’s just a matter of when. Could it be this year? He’s the odds on favorite for many, and while I’m not sure it will happen, I can’t argue that he seems to be the most likely contender right now. The Trailer we saw suggests a physical and intense role, so if he can impress as much as we think he potentially can here, it might just be his time.
2. Michael Fassbender (The Light Between Oceans or Macbeth or Steve Jobs) – A lot will depend on which film asserts itself as Fassbender’s prime vehicle. Steve Jobs seems like it’ll be the one most likely to work for him, but that remains to be seen. I can’t shake the feeling that Fassbender isn’t going to win for that role, so perhaps The Light Between Oceans or Macbeth will wind up making a late charge? His candidacy is one of the more interesting subplots in this year’s Best Actor race, if you ask me…
3. Matt Damon (The Martian) – Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking on my part, […]

Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man”: Ten Films to look forward to in July

Folks, we’re about to enter the second half of the year. Yes, that’s the month of July, which is only days away. Later this week I’ll run down the best of the first half, but right now I wanted to highlight what you should make a point to see over the next month. I’ve seen most of the titles that I’m highlighting below, which just means that I can personally vouch for July easily being the best month for film so far in 2015. Take it from me…you won’t want to miss these flicks. Part Two of 2015 is going to be getting off to quite the start, I can assure you of that much.
Here now are the ten films to anticipate most over the course of July:
10. The Look of Silence – I saw this documentary last year at the New York Film Festival and I’m with all of my colleagues in finding it to be disturbing and powerful. Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to The Act of Killing is just as good and makes for an essential double feature in the making. Look for this to contend in the Best Documentary Feature and perhaps also in the Best Foreign Language Feature category as well.
9. Southpaw – I see this boxing drama in just a few short days and expect Jake Gyllenhaal to again leave an impact with his performance. The early word is that he’s a highlight, which is no surprise. The story appears a bit on the generic side, but if Gyllenhaal is as good as he can be, he’ll be in contention for another Academy Award nomination with this sports flick.
8. Paper Towns – At this point, anything that writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber decide to do has my attention. As such, their second John Green adaptation is no exception. Starring up and comer Nat Wolff, it appears like a charming high school set romantic mystery. Green’s work seems to want to make you cry as well, so we’ll see if that’s a side effect here or not.
7. Ant-Man – One of Marvel’s riskier bets, reviews so far have been mostly solid for this superhero flick. I see it next week and hope to have it more in line with Guardians of the Galaxy than some of the other outings from the studio that began characters, such as Thor. I like all of Marvel’s […]

Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel sparkle in “The End of the Tour” Trailer

I’ve only been to the Sundance Film Festival once, but every single year I’m on the lookout for which titles from Park City could make the transition to the Academy Award race late in the year. Sundance this year had a handful of offerings that meet such criteria, but none captured my interest as much as The End of the Tour. The movie, from up and coming ace filmmaker James Ponsoldt, captured some of the fest’s best reviews and did in fact create some awards buzz, so today’s debut of a Trailer for the film (which you can see below) has me very excited about its possibilities.
If you’re not aware about the flick at all from Sundance, it’s a look at the time spent between Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky and the celebrated late author David Foster Wallace, while the former interviews the latter for an article. They bond, talk, and some light is possibly shed on what went on in Wallace’s head. Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsyk, while Jason Segel is the legendary Wallace. In addition to those two, who really are the stars, the supporting cast consists of, in part, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, and Mickey Sumner. The script was written by Donald Margulies, while Ponsoldt obviously directs.
There’s a lot to be excited about here, with Ponsoldt behind the camera representing one of them for sure. He’s an incredibly talented writer and director, with a few Oscar close calls to his credit already. From his feature debut Off the Black to his alcoholism drama Smashed to most recently his outstanding coming of age tale The Spectacular Now, Ponsoldt is undeniably three for three as a filmmaker. The End of the Tour has been said by some to be his best yet, and that’s incredibly high praise in my book. Going forward he has an adaptation of The Circle as well as potentially a Hilary Clinton biopic in the works, so his star is certainly on the rise, and rightfully so.
Another factor is how good Segel apparently is here. The former star of How I Met Your Mother has previously only been a comedic lead on the big screen (though he hits some great dramatic notes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, by the by), so this is a real coming out party for him. Playing a mysterious real life character like Wallace doesn’t hurt either, as […]

AMERICAN ULTRA starring Jesse Eisenberg & Kristen Stewart

Get your first hit of Jesse Eisenberg & Kristen Stewart with a new image and teaser posters from Lionsgate’s AMERICAN ULTRA! From director Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and writer Max Landis (Chronicle), Eisenberg and Stewart reunite in this supercharged action-comedy about a stoner whose past comes back to haunt him in the form of a government operation set to wipe him out.

Buckle up and prepare for this ass-kicking romance and adventure when it blazes into theaters Friday, August 21!

Oscar Predictions for the month of May, 2015

Almost five full months into the 2015 movie season and I’m happy to report that we know zilch about the Oscar race. Why happy? Well, it means there’s plenty of fun guesswork to be done, and I’m all about that. The Cannes Film Festival has gotten underway and that can be used for a hint or two, but right now, it’s only eliminated one film (The Sea of Trees, which seems to be out of it entirely, outside of perhaps Matthew McConaughey) and made another a question mark (Woody Allen’s Irrational Man), with some other contenders like Carol still to screen. As such, your guess is as good as mine, which is part of the early year fun, at least in my book.
The one thing of note that I want to make mention of for this latest Oscar prediction update is that I expanded the fields a bit. The Best Picture lineup I’ve bumped up to 30, actually, with 15 for the other seven remaining categories that make up the “Big Eight”. As a bonus, I even went with ten for Best Animated Feature, just to have things as open as possible, which is what things are like right now, no question about it. My winners are still largely the same, including Steven Spielberg and his film Bridge of Spies, while something like Brooklyn or Carol is making its way up my rankings, slowly but surely. It’ll be a few months still until we have some semblance of an idea about the Oscar race, but right now, it’s a ton of fun to speculate…

Here now are my newest set of Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Carol
4. The Light Between Oceans
5. Joy
6. The Martian
7. The Hateful Eight
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. The End of the Tour 12. Ricki and the Flash 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Lion 15. MacBeth 16. Black Mass 17. By the Sea 18. Demolition 19. Freehold 20. Trainwreck 21. The Danish Girl 22. The Walk 23. Southpaw 24. In the Heart of the Sea 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 26. Bleed for This 27. Sicario 28. Irrational Man 29. Suffragette 30. Ex Machina
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Todd Haynes – Carol
5. Derek Cianfrance – The […]

“Suicide Squad” is shaping up to be one of the most interesting upcoming superhero movies

At the very tail end of the weekend, filmmaker David Ayer unveiled his first look at most of the costumed cast of Suicide Squad, his DC superhero/anti-hero/villain movie that’s scheduled to follow Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next year. This comes on the heels of Ayer also officially showing off Jared Leto as The Joker recently, making for an unusual amount of promotional material for a film coming second in line during 2016. At the same time though, it suggests something pretty different for DC and Warner Brothers, perhaps even in a way becoming their version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Not in tone, of course, but in terms of being a possibly top tier outing due to a different feel from the rest of the pack. Having a recent Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in the cast playing an iconic part won’t hurt either.
For those who have never hard of Suicide Squad, it’s a comic book adaptation, obviously, surrounding a government agency that recruits currently imprisoned supervillains to participate in black ops missions in exchange for clemency on their sentences. Ayer writes and directs, while the cast includes Jared Leto as Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Care Delevingne as Enchantress, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, along with Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, plus Common, Scott Eastwood, and Karen Fukuhara in unnamed roles, as well as cameos from Ben Affleck as Batman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, among potentially others. It takes place in the same universe that DC/WB is creating to lead up to a Justice League film, as well as possibly a stand alone Batman movie. It’s got a solid filmmaker and a very strong cast in place, so there’s plenty here to work with on all ends, I must say.
Obviously one of the big things here is getting to see a new interpretation of the clown prince of crime, this time portrayed by Leto. The first look at him suggested a very aggressive and dark new take, separated him in a big way from Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman for sure, but also Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as well. Leto has emerged as a real exciting actor after his Oscar winning turn […]

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” shows off an epic Teaser Trailer

Hot on the heels of the new Star Wars movie flexing its muscles last week (as well as a hot new Trailer for Jurassic World earlier today), the sequel to Man of Steel also has sought to do the same. Yes, we got our first Teaser Trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice recently and at least to this humble writer, it was more than worth the wait. Besides showing off Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, we also got to see him in costume (and hear him) as the Caped Crusader himself. His upcoming clash next year with Henry Cavill’s son of Krypton looks like a true event movie.
This is no surprise to any of you, but this film is going to set up a Justice League team up for the Warner Brothers/DC slate of heroes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice picks up where Man of Steel left off, with the citizens of Metropolis debating the merits of Superman being a god among men. This captures the attention of Batman over in Gotham City, and they cross paths, with much fighting to ensue before they get on the same page to presumably overcome Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder returns to direct, with David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio co-writing. The cast, aside from the aforementioned Affleck, Cavill, and Eisenberg includes Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Harry Lennix, Jena Malone, Scoot McNairy, Jason Momoa, and more.
In this Teaser, which you can see below, the big highlight is of course getting to see Batman and Superman on the screen at the same time. For many comic book fans, that’s a big screen concept that many thought would never happen. In fact, it seemed even less likely once the initial Justice League of America movie from almost a decade ago fell apart. In the wake of The Avengers though, obviously the WB was keen to get this idea moving again. Now, we have it, with Affleck playing an older and grizzled Dark Knight driven protect the human race from the danger he sees in Superman’s actions. The Teaser mainly consists of audio, but when we see the new Batsuit and Batmobile, it’s pretty cool, I must say.
A fringe benefit of sorts with this film is going to be seeing the Justice League of America come together. Besides […]

Ridley Scott and “The Martian”: Early Oscar Predictions for April

After taking the month of March off in terms of Oscar predictions, I’m back taking a new look at what the Academy could do with this upcoming year in film. Again, it’s super early and probably silly to be focusing in on them like I am currently, but it’s also fun and gives us an idea of what movies to potentially look forward to. I’m keeping it mostly short and sweet today, just basically posting an update to the predictions (with a slight detour to discuss one contender), plus the next in line list that I know is popular as well. All of this can and likely will change in the near future, possibly even in the summer when things first begin to shape up, so stay tuned on that front. For now, enjoy these Academy Award predictions and cross your fingers that we have a good year for prestige films. I know that’s always my hope, so it should be yours as well.
Quickly though, before the predictions, let me just say that my big X factor that I’m looking forward to is Ridley Scott’s adaptation of The Martian. He hasn’t had an outright success in some time, but I love the source material so much, I’m hopeful that it sparked something inside him. Honestly, he’d have to go out of his way to ruin as good a novel as that one. Matt Damon will have a baity role and Scott should be plenty engaged, so my fingers are crossed!
Here now is my second crack at early Academy Award predictions…
BEST PICTURE
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Joy
4. The Hateful Eight
5. The Martian
6. Carol
7. The Light Between Oceans
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. The End of the Tour
Next in line: 11. The Sea of Trees 12. Irrational Man 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Black Mass 15. Demolition 16. Trainwreck 17. The Walk 18. Freeheld 19. Southpaw 20. Brooklyn 21. By the Sea 22. MacBeth 23. Bleed for This 24. Snowden 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
5. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans
Next in line: 6. Todd Haynes – Carol 7. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant 8. Ridley Scott – The Martian 9. Woody Allen – Irrational Man 10. […]

The 83rd Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

After a brief delay, this series has returned. Yes, once again I’m going to be taking a look back at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories we all follow so intently each season. I previously mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be truing to do that, time will still tell. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.
Alright then, here goes nothing folks…behold my picks:
Best Picture – The Social Network
The nominees here for this ceremony were 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. My personal pick Blue Valentine wasn’t nominated, of course, so my number two pick is an easy one…The Social Network. Such a shame that it fell short here to The King’s Speech in real life.
Best Director – David Fincher for The Social Network
This category featured Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), and David O. Russell (The Fighter), and yet the three most interesting choices in Aronofsky, Fincher, and Russell were passed over for Hooper. I’d change that though, and go with Fincher. Had I been given the power to vote for anyone though, I’d probably have gone with Derek Cianfrance for Blue Valentine.
Best Actor – Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
I didn’t intend to vote down the line for The Social Network, but so far it just has worked out that way. My personal pick Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine got snubbed, so I had to go to my second choice. The nominees here were Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), James Franco (127 Hours), and Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). It’s hard to argue with Firth’s win, but I think Eisenberg was slightly more deserving overall.
Best Actress – Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Honestly, I might prefer Natalie Portman for Black Swan, but I can’t resist the chance to give Blue Valentine an Oscar win […]

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