I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 17, 2013

by Ethan Alter September 17, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It's a zombie world and we just live in it.

Moneyball: How to Succeed In Baseball Without Really Trying

by Ethan Alter September 23, 2011 6:00 am
<i>Moneyball</i>: How to Succeed In Baseball Without Really Trying

One of the perils that comes with this gig is that there are times where I walk into a theater armed with too much knowledge about what went down behind-the-scenes on the movie I'm about to see. Take Moneyball, for instance. This adaptation of Michael Lewis' best-selling baseball book -- which covered a season in the life (specifically the 2002 season) of the Oakland A's and their eccentric, wily GM Billy Beane -- has been on my radar since 2008, when one of my favorite directors, Steven Soderbergh, came onboard to shepherd the project to the big screen. As is often the case with Soderbergh, he had developed a fascinating angle he intended to bring to the proceedings, embellishing the central narrative with documentary segments featuring real-life ballplayers and casting actual members of that 2002 A's squad (including David Justice and Scott Hatteberg) as themselves in the dramatic scenes. This approach excited me, but unnerved the studio, which shut down the film just as shooting was going to start in earnest. Soderbergh quickly departed the project and Capote director Bennett Miller was eventually recruited to replace him.

DiCaptain America?

by Zach Oat June 16, 2008 2:19 pm
DiCaptain America?

So has everyone recovered from Captain America getting cut from The Incredible Hulk? Well, there's some good news, unless you hate Leonardo DiCaprio. Apparently, Marvel wants Leo to play the title character in the upcoming Cap movie. At least, that's what the in-the-know Latinos at Latino Review are saying, and they seem to get the inside scoop on everything. I started to throw up in my mouth a little bit when I heard the news, but then I took another look at Leo. He's not boyish anymore, but he still looks wholesome, even optimistic most of the time. He might actually make a great Captain America. The only problem? He'll never do it.

World War Z: Z Marks the Spot

by Ethan Alter June 21, 2013 6:01 am
<i>World War Z</i>: Z Marks the Spot

For reasons mostly pertaining to budget, the majority of movies that depict the zombie apocalypse tend to skip over the actual "apocalypse" part and cut directly to the resulting post-apocalyptic wasteland where the walking dead roam the landscape, feasting on the small pockets of survivors that remain. If for no other reason, World War Z distinguishes itself from the zombie movie pack by depicting how society crumbles in the face of these flesh-eaters, transforming in the blink of an eye from a law-abiding world to an every-person-for-themselves feeding frenzy. It's not unlike the sudden slide into chaos depicted in Steven Soderbergh's terrific viral thriller Contagion, albeit with far less conversation and lots more flesh-biting.

Killing Them Softly: With His Song… Uh, Gun

by Ethan Alter November 30, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Killing Them Softly</i>: With His Song… Uh, Gun

Five years ago, New Zealand-born director Andrew Dominik sought to explode the myth of the noble outlaw in his admirable, but dramatically uneven Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Now he's back to expose the seedy truth behind another figure of American legend: the noble gangster. Based on the novel Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins, Dominik's new film Killing Them Softly relocates the 1974 Boston-set crime story to New Orleans circa September 2008, right after the historic financial meltdown that left the United States reeling. The effects of that crisis are heard -- via a steady stream of news reports that blare from TV screens and talk radio stations -- and felt throughout the movie, which presents depicts organized crime as a soulless racket, populated by profit-minded lowlifes who are only separated from the similarly unscrupulous Wall Street fat cats by their dressed-down wardrobe. Forget the old canard about "honor amongst thieves" -- for many of the men who populate Killing Them Softly, honor is a thing that can easily be sold for the right price.

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