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Bradley Cooper

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

His star is quickly rising in the Hollywood circle as a possible headline actor in many films since his appearance as the handsome groomsman Phil in last year’s The Hangover. Bradley was even considered for the role of Hal Jordan in the Warner Bros. adaptation of DC Comic’s Green Lantern. That part ended up going to Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, Van Wilder). This summer he will be headlining, along with Liam Neeson (Great Expectations, Rob Roy), in the film adaptation of the 80’s television show The A-Team. He’ll be playing the role of Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck and co-starring with Jessica Biel (Rules of Attraction, London), Sharlot Copley (District 9) & UFC’s Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.

I first came across Bradley Cooper on the ABC television show ‘Alias’ starring Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30). He played the role of Will Tippin, the unaware boyfriend of Jennifer Garner’s character Sydney Bristow. I didn’t start watching this show until I bought the 1st season on DVD during it’s 4 year on the air. I have to say I didn’t like his character until he became aware of who his girlfriend really was and he lightened up more and even helped her out on a couple of her plights before leaving the show in the 3rd season. He would appear once more during the show’s final season. While playing catch up on this show I saw him play the role of the asshole husband-to-be in the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson RomCom Wedding Crashers. He played the unlikable role well and would be seen in small supporting roles in the following years, such as The Comebacks & The Rocker, as well as starring in the short-lived tv series ‘Kitchen Confidential’.

He followed up Wedding Crashers with the Matthew McCounaghey (Sahara, Frailty) & Sarah Jessica Parker (L.A. Story) romantic comedy Failure to Launch as Demo, one of McCounaghey’s best friends. His future Hangover co-star, Justin Bartha (National Treasure), would also star alongside as ironically a best friend. Bradley would once again play a friend to the lead role in Jim Carrey’s Yes Man, while being on screen again with his Failure to Launch co-star Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer, Almost Famous).

His first venture into the horror genre would be in 2008’s Midnight Meat Train directed by horror master Clive Barker (Candyman, Hellraiser). Bradley would be the headline to this direct-to-dvd feature co-starring with Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) as the villain and Leslie Bibb (Iron Man, Law Abiding Citizen) as his girlfriend. I took advantage of Comcast’s On-Demand Free Movies feature and caught this over Halloween and I enjoyed it. The film was well done for a direct-to-dvd feature and the fear factor was there although overall not that scary. Worth a watch though and Vinnie Jones plays his role well although the ending is kinda cheap. His second horror film, and only other one to date,  would see him co-star with Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) in 2009’s Case 39.

Mr. Cooper would appear in an episode, on and off again, for a couple years on FX’s ‘Nip Tuck’ and we would soon become witness to the start of his “15 Minutes of Fame” in 2009. First starring in the anthology film New York, I Love You that gives us 10 different segments of love stories. In his segment, he co-starred with Drea de Matteo (Assault on Precinct 13, tv’s ‘Sopranos’). Followed by starring in the adaptation of He’s Just Not That Into You, based off the novel written by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tucillo, that followed a group with interconnecting story arcs. His story being that he’s married to the character played by Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond, A Beautiful Mind) and would fall in love with Scarlett Johansson’s (Eight Legged Freaks, Iron Man 2) character. Not a bad situation to be in at all. But then his face became nationally recognized when he starred as Phil in the acclaimed Comedy of The Year The Hangover. He had a little let down to finish the year when he headlined the movie All About Steve, playing the character of Steve, with co-star Sandra Bullock (Speed), a hiccup for her as well in an otherwise successful comeback year.

Currently he is starring in Valentine’s Day, out in theaters now. Then appearing this summer in the before mentioned A-Team movie. Bradley has three projects on his slate as of now which includes headling the thriller Dark Fields with co-star Robert DeNiro (Heat) who came on board the project today. It tells the story of a New York writer who comes into possession of a drug that gives him newfound intelligence and successes. DeNiro plays a financial mogul on the pursuit of his character. A sequel to The Hangover is also in the works as well but I don’t know why this is happening. I could only see this being plausible if Ed Helm’s character got married to Heather Graham’s character and a bachelor party is rightfully thrown. It would also have to take place somewhere exotic, probably Paris, to avoid any redundancy of Las Vegas….. hmmmm

Keep an eye out, we’ll be seeing him on movie posters at the local theaters for a few years to come at least.

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Bandits

March 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Released in 2001, I had never seen this movie until today. Which is wierd since I usually hop on the opportunity to see any Bruce Willis (Die Hard)  movie upon its release. My roommate had it in his collection so I thought I’d finally give it a look. The movie starts off showing what looks to be their final big score at the Alamo Bank, the opening credits move along with this scene. At the end, I saw that this film was directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Toys, Sleeper) so I knew that this wasn’t going to be just an ordinary buddy comedy.

The following scene involves the escape from prison of the charismatic Joseph Blake (Bruce Willis, Unbreakable) & the hypochondriac Terry Collins, played by Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Bad Santa), by stealing an on-site cement truck. Then starts a string of bank robberies where they are quickly named the “Sleepover Bandits” because they would kidnap the bank managers the night before and spend the night with their families. They are aided by Joseph’s friend Harvey Pollard, played by Troy Garity (Barbershop, Sunshine), who is a dimwitted stunt man and his role is that of the lookout and getaway driver. January Jones (American Wedding, Anger Management) has a small role as Harvey’s crush who wears pink cowboy boots.

Along the way they come across Kate Wheeler, a bored housewife who has decided to runaway, and she becomes a part of the criminal spree. As well as starting a confusing romantic relationship with both convicts. The first scene when you see Kate Wheeler, played by Cate Blanchett (Lord of The Rings Trilogy, Babel), I couldn’t help but bust out laughing. She’s preparing a fine-cooked dinner while dancing to ‘I Need a Hero’ which I’m the CD you see her put in is the soundtrack to Footloose. She is the funniest character in the movie and her dialogue is just great and perfectly timed, especially during her first encounter with the “sleepover bandits” which is just with Terry Collins after hitting him with her car.

Soon they become known throughout the nation and their faces are recognized when they walk up to their next target’s home and are welcomed with open arms and excitement. One final heist is to be preformed after their targets know that they won’t be harmed by these bank bandits and their plans start to become foiled.

The only boring part of the film was actually a big part of the plot, the love triangle between the 3 main characters. There were the funny moments in the conversations between each pair which actually helped stay focused on the film. I also didn’t care for Pollard’s character as he was just annoying when he started talking. The movie quickly moves along and we get to where the movie started off. Throughout the movie we gets clips of a tv show named “Criminals at Large” where the host is interviewing the “sleepover bandits” and they are telling their story behind each bank robbery. At one point, very early in the movie a pretty big detail to the ending is mentioned which I believe actually change the overall effect once you got to the final scene.

Unless you are a fan of the actors this movie doesn’t bring anything new to the buddy comedy and I wouldn’t say it’s a must see otherwise. The two male stars, Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, previously worked together in Armageddon and then later on they teamed up again in 2006 for the film The Astronaut Farmer, but Bruce Willis only had a cameo appearance. Bruce Willis would later on work again with director Barry Levinson in 2008’s What Just Happened. Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett previously worked with each other in 1999’s Pushing Tin. If you’ve got Netflix, check it out someday but don’t sweat over trying to remember to do so. Rating 6/10

Underworld: Rise of The Lycans

March 1, 2010 Leave a comment

The third installment of the franchise that I quickly became a fan of from the very first scene in the first film. This time being a prequel that gives us the origin of Lucian’s rise to being the powerful leader of the Lycans. First being the human born son of a werewolf and thus being enslaved by Viktor, the leader of the vampires, to create a new species called the Lycans that act as protectors during the daylight from the werewolves. A secret and forsaken love affair between Lucian and Viktor’s daughter Sonja starts a chain of events that leads to the centuries long feud between the two bloodlines.

All the actors involved in the first two films whose characters can fit into this story have returned, most being supporting cast. Viktor is played by Bill Nighy (Pirates of The Caribbean Trilogy, Love Actually) and Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, Alice in Wonderland) as Lucian. Kevin Grevioux returns as Lucian’s friend Raze, he also originally created the characters and co-wrote the original story. Newcomer to the film who plays the essential role that starts the feud is Rhona Mitra (Doomsday, Shooter) as Sonja. Sadly but rightfully so, the beautiful Kate Beckinsale (Serendipity, Pearl Harbor) is only seen as Selene at the very end of the movie which is actually the opening scene to the first film. She does act as narrator in this installment though.

The director’s chair has been handed off to Patrick Tatopoulos, who was the creature designer on the previous two films as well as numerous other films like Independence Day & I Am Legend. Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard), the director of the first two films and husband to Kate Beckinsale, stayed on as a producer and is currently working on a fourth installment to the franchise once again as a producer.

The argument can be made that this film may not have been necessary since the mythos behind the feud was pretty well told in the previous two installments but now we just get it in feature-length. It’s still an enjoyable film if you are a fan and the quality has not been diminished. The gothic asthetic look that this franchise has is how I like to see my vampire/werewolves movies done which is probably why I was attracted to the first movie to begin with. Plus its Kate Beckinsale in leather and Rhona Mitra is just as fine in this one as well. The performances by the main two characters are great as these two actors can’t do wrong, both being critically praised and/or nominated for awards  for previous works. I’ll keep watching this franchise if it continues to be handled by the same crew. Rating 7/10