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Monthly Archives: January 2015

‘FOXCATCHER’ (2014) – MOVIE REVIEW

The hottest shower couldn’t take away the lingering chills down my spine after viewing this movie. A crime/thriller/drama of the weirdest variety stars Oscar nominated actors Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo along with a career performance by Channing Tatum. Foxcatcher is unlike any sports film you ever seen. Instead, it revolves around the turmoil of success and the rough roads that we walk upon to get there. It’s a grimly visualized depiction of an already depressing real life story set in late 1980’s into the 1990’s. The roots of the tragic events take place in the suburban areas outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, but the film was shot in — my hometown — Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Following the chronicles of Mark Schultz, a real life gold medalist in wrestling at the ’84 Olympics, comes Channing Tatum in his best performance to date alongside Mark Ruffalo who also delivers an award caliber performance as Tatum’s brother Dave Schultz. They share a unique and bizarre relationship and it shows all throughout their scenes together. Through Bennett Miller’s direction, the landscape of this grim real life tale delves into the conflict between brothers and the psychology of people who live through others. Steve Carrell helms one of the most unnerving performances I’ve seen in recent memory only to our shock and dismay. No more do you see the funny and awkward comedian, but rather his parallel universe version that boasts the most vile and disturbing actions and reactions to an obsession that goes far beyond sports.

This is a film of transformations from all the actors involved with sickly mangled results. From the make-up for Carrell and his unnerving lack of empathy throughout makes him to be one of the most impressive performers of our time without us even knowing it. Tatum goes back into his wrestling roots to be the gorilla walking Olympic wrestler with a vulnerability that makes your heart skip a beat while you attempt to find solace in Mark Ruffalo’s Dave. It’s quite the emotional roller coaster as well as an informative story on such an unbelievable story of success and failure.

High self standards are common in the world of athletes and the self-destruction of these characters are all too clear from the beginning, all the way to final scenes of the film. If you were expecting a realistic sports drama in the likes of an Ali or Miracle think again. Think of Bennett Miller’s other impressive work on a film like Moneyball, but with no jokes and no energy and no happy moments. The sorrow comes from the unfortunate true events that occurred with John E. du Pont and his wrestlers portrayed by Ruffalo and Tatum and it let’s you know that for the seemingly endless run-time. Comparing it to a David Fincher would be slightly unfair, but if this film had the full personality of a David Fincher film, it’d be a David Fincher film. The tones are similar as well as the cinematography being bleak and dimly lit throughout the film.

This is a crime drama for the ages that goes under the category of “only see it once” for most people and I wouldn’t blame you for it, but to get the true trimmings of this film you have to give it a second chance. What it truly turns into is a depiction of the pursuit of perfection and the emotional instability of those who don’t realize perfection is never going to be in their reach. It tells of the class systems in a way most may not catch at first — hence why you should see it at least twice — and tells a unique tale not enough of us have heard of. In a way, this film is like a wrestling match itself, and becomes its own metaphor for what the characters ending of doing and that is, circling around each other hoping to pin the other down in defeat.

I give credit to the director for getting such remarkable performances out of all of his actors and bringing them to their full potential as well as bringing to a light a story none of us born after the events would have heard about. It’s a film that feels like it’s coated with ash and crushed up antidepressants to ease our pain, but only for us to focus in on what this movie is truly trying to say. It’s a well done film that won’t exactly be a popcorn movie for most, but the audience is there, and that’s why I can give this grade so comfortably.

SCORE: B

IF ANDREW GARFIELD WAS TO LEAVE AS SPIDER-MAN, WHO TAKES THE MANTLE?

SONY has been down in a rabbit hole ever since that drama ensued over the leaked e-mails and news on projects they had in the works. Currently being spoken about among the people is on the idea that Marvel (hypothetically) does get the rights back to Spider-Man that Andrew Garfield would be out as New York’s favorite web slinger. It was shocking at first to hear that if Marvel did indeed get Spider-Man back, for whatever reason, that they would do away with Garfield and reboot the franchise once again.

Credit to Indiewire.com

All this made me think long and hard (that’s what she said) about who could handle the role and give both Peter Parker and Spider-Man’s personas a due service like Garfield did. Personally, I pinned Garfield as the better all around actor for the job over Toby McGuire, but speaking in a hypothetical sense, who could play Spider-Man?

A common name came up in Jim Sturgess because of his portrayal of Spider-Man on the Broadway musical rendition of Spider-Man. Another name came up was Zac Efron and as much as I respect and adore Zac Efron, he is honestly just…too pretty. The latest film starring Chris Hemsworth as a hacker completely bombed and disappointed nearly everyone and one the complaints about Blackhat was the fact that Hemsworth was not believable as a computer hacker. Now, would you honestly believe Efron if nerdy Peter Parker. Maybe Spider-Man, but who knows.

Another theory that most of us nerds have had for ever was the idea of a Miles Morales Spider-Man. Who’s that? Well, he’s the Spider-Man that everyone wants Donald Glover to play. It’d be a completely new outlook on the live-action Spider-Man films and would make a cool story arc. This is all pretty far off from what I’ve heard, but hey, a guy can dream right?

The other odd choice would be following the adult version of Peter Parker where he finally elopes with the lovely red-head Mary Jane. Think about it, we skip the origin story from repeating a third time, and we can get some more mature stories that involve Carnage, Venom, and a quality version of Hob Goblin etc. Think of a guy like Jay Baruchel, he’s old enough, funny and smart enough to pull off both personas, he’d be awesome!

But the real guy I want to see take the Spider-Man mantle in this whole hypothetical universe I’m living in is….

Wait for it….

LOGAN LERMAN!

That’s right folks, Logan Lerman, star of films like Perks of Being a Wallflower (a film I mention a lot), Fury, and Percy Jackson. He’s the perfect age, has the look, definitely has the acting chops, and is just flat-out awesome! He would be my number one choice every time and would be a great addition to the world of superhero movies.

TATIANA MASLANY CAST AS STAR OF ‘STAR WARS’ SPIN-OFF??

Not much is known about the role she is up to possibly acquire, but Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany by Total Geeks has been rumored to have already been chosen as the woman for the job. In attempt to figure out any factual knowledge on the subject, all I was able to find was “Amanda Seyfried replaces Tatiana Maslany in Off-Broadway production of The Way to Get By”, which says a lot if you ask me.

Schmoes Know and avid Star Wars aficionados Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis and company have wondered if she is to be cast a bounty hunter…perhaps a Mandalorian? Don’t know what a Mandalorian is? You will….

This is a Mandalorian…

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/aliens/images/1/1a/Mandalorians_by_digitalinkrod.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20111022144307

Am I cool yet??

Either way, with Gareth Edward helmed to direct the first Star Wars spin-off, what would be your first reaction a female led (possible) bounty hunter played by Tatiana Maslany?

Stay tuned for more updates!

DEFENSIVE BACK WHOAS IN PITTSBURGH – THE START OF A NEW ERA

With a much maligned defense compared to what Steelers fans are accustomed to, it comes to no surprise that our porous defense needs some major upgrades. Starting off my new segment here on The Range, I am going to cover a few times a week what I believe the team needs to do in the draft in 2015 to become a winner again.

The first and most obvious thing to worry about are the positions of need. With our Hall of Fame defensive coordinator gone like a fart in the wind (name that reference) we are going to see a somewhat new look from my speculations while keeping traits of Lebeau’s once famous defense. The first position I think all of the Steelers Nation can agree on is defensive backs.

Somehow we have gotten away with never banking on a high-caliber corner whether it be the draft or free agency and it is finally beginning to show the chip in the armor. Through out most of the season, the corners in particular were nothing more than small name guys whom were either fighting for a roster spot or were signed off the streets or off another team e.i. Brice McCain and Antwon Blake. Although there are arguments to be made about their play being substantial enough to not look like a Pop Warner team, they still didn’t give enough splash plays to create a Superbowl season.

The blame doesn’t just lie on those poor gents of course.

The safety play was the worst I’ve seen in the Polamalu era. Mike Mitchell seems as if he just doesn’t know what to do out there and as a free safety didn’t muster not even one interception, same with Troy. Constantly were the back-end guys getting beat by the likes of Torrey Smith, A.J. Green, a bunch of no name dudes on the Jets and so on. Unless we have a Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman, heck, even a Brent Grimes would be nice, we can’t expect these guys to cover top flight receivers for an hour.

With that being said, it is a pretty weak class compared to years past for safeties and corners. Even though we don’t want to speak it out loud, Troy’s best years are behind him and Mitchell doesn’t seem like the guy for the job and we can’t run off of sticks and sand to keep these corners around. Which reminds me, no Ike Taylor please! I love you dude, but I want winners! ——-> 

 

I’M CHANGING IT UP!

Here on the Range, we talk about movies and life and all things that tie them together as one, but how can I have “range” as fun play on words without actually have a range of topics to share? Well, I want to change that for a little bit, a test run if you will. Originally, I was only a football fanatic until I unleashed the movie nerd in me to create what you’ve all seen now. My idea is this, discuss the NFL DRAFT.

I know most of you won’t care about my wants and needs for my team and that’s fine, but maybe you will garner a fair bit of insight into the players that are being touted and scouted for the pros. For me, the only focus will be on players I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers should scout so you’ve all been warned.

I will post short bios on the players and hopefully show some videos as much as I can on said players. Who doesn’t like highlight videos and in game film??

Well, there you go folks! My big announcement has been revealed. I’ll need some honest and positive and negative feedback on what you guys think. The movie reviews, news, and clues aren’t going anywhere, but expect some more football chatter up in this bitch!

 

GETTING MAD AT ‘CRAPPY CASTING’ FOR COMIC-BOOK MOVIES IS PATHETIC & YOU KNOW IT – RANT

I am sick and tired of people who have no insight on subjects whom proceed to bash the casting of most actors in films. We as fans are (of anything) are a petty and whiny bunch when we don’t get our way, I get it. As soon as a name is thrown out there for an iconic role we either cheer like a war just ended or we start a war entirely. This discussion can fit endless topics, but I’m choosing to stick with one that I hear the most, comic-book characters in film.

What makes this all the more hilarious is that people jump to the phrase “Oh he/she sucks! Terrible casting!” and it releases steam from my ears like a kettle. For example, when the release of the actor who was to portray the film version of DC’s The Flash, the hate barreled in. With the hit show of the same name on the CW uproar for Grant Gustin could be heard through the cosmos. Not even knowing why they were mad, people Googled the young man who landed the role (Ezra Miller) and could seem to find out that he was open about his sexuality and that he wasn’t blonde or exceptionally muscular like the comic book Flash.

Words were used like “fag” or “homo” to ignorantly and inaccurately describe Miller once people found out his name. While Grant Gustin is a young talent as well, it was made clear that the television universes and film universes were never to coexist or be in the same realms as each other, thus Gustin never getting the role. Not to mention that Gustin has not shown his pure acting chops like his competition in Ezra so it eliminates any issues you think you have.

With break out roles like Perks of Being a Wallflower (one of my personal favorites), Ezra Miller has shown he can both be insanely funny, dramatic, and all around likable which the Flash for damn sure needs to be. This does not just work for Ezra’s casting either, hate sprung with roles like James Bond, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Heath Ledger as the Joker, Christian Bale as Batman and so on and so forth. It’s a constant whirlpool of whining, spoiled little online bullies who don’t have any reason, but blind desired conflict to inflict on those who gather their facts before garnering an opinion.

And another thing… STOP SAYING AN ACTOR/ACTRESS IS TOO SMALL OR TOO BIG FOR THEIR ROLES! If they are getting cast for huge roles and require gaining or losing weight, they have the means to do it with no hesitations, the real question lies with if they can act or not.

SAME GOES WITH THE CHANGING OF THE CHARACTERS ETHNICITY….no no no…next time….

The point is, people fear what they don’t understand, which means they panic and whine as a response. My cure for that, stop it.

Few, rant done.

CHRIS PRATT EYED FOR INDIANA JONES REBOOT

Okay, were any of the fans all that surprised when we heard this news? Chris Pratt has been arguably the biggest, “burst onto the scene” star in 2014-15 and has charm and likability out the ass. It also doesn’t hurt that he came off that little movie called…oh shoot what was it called? Anyway, with that being said, it should be no shock that the studio wants to get their new Indiana in the form of a guy like Chris Pratt.

Die hard fans and other critics of this idea on the reboot are not as thrilled or calm about the news as I am and for fair reason. Indiana Jones gave us three iconic films all mostly loved by its audience and for whatever reason was given aliens, greasy slicked back hair and Shia LaBeouf swinging like Tarzan with a bunch of drugged out Capuchin monkeys.

Star Lord, Chris Pratt’s character from that movie that still eludes me, is not far off from Indy if you think about. Whether that brings the pain up or down is up for interpretation, but at least keep in mind that we have seen him carry a great franchise. Not much about the film reboot has been announced and it’s not confirmed Pratt is even their signed with blood guy. I have no doubts that it’ll be their first interest to get a guy who made

GUARDIANS OF THE….damn….

Either way, Pratt is a highly credible actor and all around good guy so why not root for him to do great things with a widely loved franchise that was also started by Spielberg?!

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