Archive for July, 2008

Primetime success leads "Office" star to the big screen

Posted in Reviews on July 27, 2008 by Steve Mesa

After conquering primetime television as Dwight Schrute, the sycophantic assistant to the regional manager on NBC’s “The Office,” Rainn Wilson is setting his sight’s on the big screen.
Wilson, an Emmy-nominee, plays the former drummer of an 80’s rock band who gets fired before the band makes it big in The Rocker, which comes to theaters Aug. 20.
Wilson was looking for something to do after last year’s hiatus from “The Office” when the script for The Rocker came to him.
“It has great broad comedy and, at the same time, it had a lot of heart,” Wilson said in an interview with The Beacon.
The Rocker is Wilson’s first time as the lead in a motion picture and he has a great supporting cast that includes Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,”) Will Arnett (Blades of Glory,) Jason Sudekis (“Saturday Night Live”) and Christina Applegate (Anchorman).
“One thing that was great was that the filmmakers put together the greatest comedy ensemble you can ask for,” he said. “There are a lot of actors in small roles, which really makes the movie more of an ensemble comedy.”
Wilson and his character in The Rocker share a similar goal that they both achieved: becoming a celebrity in their late thirties and late forties.
“I barely scraped by in my career and it picked up speed a little bit,” Wilson said. “With my roles in “Six Feet Under” and “The Office,” I found myself suddenly becoming a celebrity.”
Wilson had some harsh words for some legendary rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as well as many metal bands of the 80’s.
“I know most of the girly rockers can kick my ass, no matter how much mascara, eyeliner, blouses and leopard prints they wear,” Wilson said. “It seemed like it was heavy metal aimed specifically for girls and women.”
Following The Rocker, Wilson’s next role is as a college professor in the sequel to the 2007 summer blockbuster, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The Transformers role will be Wilson’s first blockbuster, and it may just push him past his current status as comedy bit player and into the next level of popularity.
Besides his upcoming role in the Transformers sequel, Wilson has also written a script called Bonzai Shadowhand for Oscar-nominated director Jason Reitman (Juno).
“It is a very dark comedy with a great role for me in it as a down-and-out ninja living in the San Fernando valley in a halfway house,” Wilson said.

The Dark Knight takes "superhero" genre to new heights

Posted in Reviews on July 21, 2008 by Steve Mesa

Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) returns, along with new and old faces, to helm the awesome new installment of the rejuvenated Batman franchise: The Dark Knight.
In The Dark Knight, a year has passed since Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has donned the suit and image that every criminal in Gotham City has come to fear as the Batman. It also seems that there is another defender of Gotham in the form of its current D.A., Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckart), as he tries to take down the mob. Just when the crime rate in Gotham seems to go down, a new menace known as the Joker (Heath Ledger), arrives to wreak havoc and create anarchy all over the city. As Batman and Dent try to find a way to stop the Joker, Wayne must resist revealing his true feelings to his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who has been seen around town with a new beau in Dent.
A word like “masterpiece” is tossed around too often with Oscar contenders such as Atonement or Gladiator. The Dark Knight may not be an Oscar contender, but it sure is a masterpiece.
This movie is certainly a step up from its predecessor, Batman Begins. It becomes something more than an ordinary comic book movie – it becomes a movie with a lot of dramatic elements never seen in a comic book movie and a crime movie that falls along the line of Michael Mann’s Heat or Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning The Departed. Even if you are not a fan of comic book movies or Batman, this movie becomes something more than just an ordinary summer blockbuster.
All the actors bring their ‘A’ game to the table with their performances. The Dark Knight’s two major additions in the form of the Joker and Harvey Dent are anchored with great performers in Ledger and Eckhart.
It is tragic that Ledger died unexpectedly in January and did not see the complete film with an audience or in a theater. Nonetheless, Ledger’s performance as the murderous and psychotic Clown Prince of Crime is certainly the main attraction. Ledger’s interpretation of the Joker is better and different from Jack Nicholson’s performance in the first Batman film. The Joker is a vicious killer who kills anyone who gets in his way as he creates a grand scheme to make Gotham City his own hellish playground. Ledger plays the Joker as an unpredictable criminal that can show up anywhere, anytime and, when he does, someone is guaranteed to die. Ledger’s role as the Joker belongs in the top five greatest movie villains with the likes of Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter and, when award season comes around, I guarantee that Ledger will be posthumously nominated for an Oscar.
Aside from Ledger’s terrific performance, Aaron Eckhart definitely has a good time playing both good guy and bad guy as Harvey “Two-Face” Dent. Eckhart starts out as the great defender of Gotham City who is willing to sacrifice himself and his career to take down major mafioso guys such as Salvatore Maroni (Eric Roberts). Throughout the film, there are glances into Dent’s dark side that foreshadows his transformation to Two-Face from his nickname to the lucky coin he keeps. When he is horribly scarred, he instigates a horrifying and violent search for the reason he is who he is.
Nolan’s The Dark Knight is the best movie of the year that takes the “superhero movie” genre to new heights with great performances from the cast and an awesome performance from the late Heath Ledger that will guarantee him another Oscar nomination.
THE DARK KNIGHT: 5 stars out of 5

Sean William Scott looks for life after Pie

Posted in Features on July 3, 2008 by Steve Mesa

Two mid-level supermarket employees, one managerial positon. Seann William Scott faces off with John C. Reiley in a battle of wits in the new movie written by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness), The Promotion.
As a fan of Conrad’s work, Scott came on board for The Promotion because he enjoys the comedy that Conrad’s script delivered.
“His comedy comes from his voice and how he writes about human struggle, work, relationships and I really enjoy that,” Scott said.
Aside from being a fan of Conrad, Scott is also a fan of his co-star’s work.
“Reiley’s performance is so unique and beautiful that he should be nominated”, Scott said. “I may be exaggerating, but I think he is so great in this movie.”
Recently, Scott has said that he cannot watch his performance in his movies Mr. Woodcock and The Dukes of Hazzard because both movies were terrible.
“It is important to think that not all movies you were in were great”, Scott said.
In regards to The Dukes of Hazzard, in which he co-starred with Johnny Knoxville, he thought the movie should have been raunchier than the final cut that came out in the summer of 2005.
“The movie should have been like how guys really talked with me and Johnny but we were kind of handcuffed due to the PG-13 rating,” he said.
On July 15, it will be a decade since the first American Pie was shot. This became the launching pad to Scott’s career with the role of Steve Stifler, the oversexed hound dog who always found himself in the most disgusting situations.
Since then, Scott has been in the first two American Pie sequels, Dude, Where’s My Car? with Ashton Kutcher and The Rundown with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but has yet to star in another blockbuster.
“I am always reminded of it because I would not have the life I have now if it was not for American Pie,” Scott said.
Scott’s next movie is called Role Models with Paul Rudd in which they both star as energy drink reps who enroll in a Big Brother program.
Scott is hoping that his co-starring turn with one of Hollhywood’s most dependable funny men will be the big hit that turns him into a true Hollywood leading man.
“You can kind of coast for a while, but at the end of the day you need a movie that needs to make some money.”
Steven Mesa can be reached at moviefilmdevotee@yahoo.com