Film, Sports, Trailers

Trailer watch: Brad Pitt in Moneyball

It feels like forever but Moneyball looks like it’s finally seeing the light of day. After a rather tumultuous developmental run (director Steven Soderbergh was replaced days before shooting), the Brad Pitt starring film will hit cinemas this Fall.

Moneyball is the story of Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, who adopted a more statistical approach to winning baseball games. The film is based on a book of the same name while its screenplay was rewritten by Aaron Sorkin (his trademark dialogue features prominently in the trailer). Alongside Pitt, the film co-stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as Art Howe), Jonah Hill and Robin Wright.

Sabermetrics + high profile cast + Aaron Sorkin script = homerun? Look for it to hit cinemas September 23rd.

Film, Trailers

Trailer watch: Page One – Inside the New York Times

A fascinating look inside one of the leading names in global news media as it tackles a changing media landscape, big issues, and changes to how we report and consume the news.

Premiering at this past year’s Sundance Film Festival, Page One received a wider US release this week (June 17) and will hit foreign shores later in the year.

Album Reviews, Music

Review: The Wonder Years – Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing

It’s hard to quantify the connection a listener gets to a record as deeply specific as Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing; a record about growing up and away from suburban Philadelphia life. But the best thing about the suburbs is that their stories are almost interchangeable with just about any American suburb. And so Suburbia is buoyed by these terrific pop punk odes to life on the road away from the basements (“Came Out Swinging”), great summers (“Summers in PA”), conservative fanaticism (“I Won’t Say The Lord’s Prayer”) and everything in between that a listener can, for the most part, easily relate to (getting older, getting a job, moving out of your parents house, responsibility).

Unlike the band’s previous work however, there is a new sense of focus, a bite to Suburbia that The Upsides and Get Stoked On It! lacked (maybe all the rough nights on the road and in airports have given them a bit of grit?). Add some wry humor and some quick wit, and you’ve got a pop punk record with the kind of urgency we haven’t seen since those old Lookout bands. Perhaps having spent my suburban American life just a few postcodes away brings a closer connection, but while Simple Plan and their kind may have bastardized pop punk with their overly sugary coating, The Wonder Years still maintain the idea of punk first, pop second.

Suburbia is a terrific record about growing up while never really wanting to on the inside. (Hopeless)

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Featured, Film, Film Reviews

Film Review: Super 8

There was always an aura to Steven Spielberg’s earliest film work; a magical storytelling tone above all else that made films like E.T. and Jaws true cultural icons. Decades removed, J.J.Abrams, a new scholar in the Spielberg filmmaking cannon, does the very best ode to Spielberg in a film not so ironically produced by the man himself. Super 8 is a film borne of the many traits that became the Spielberg palette. It is a wonderful sequence of ideas that has elements of The Goonies, E.T. and yes, Cloverfield as it’s backdrops, juxtaposed together in a colorful weave of 70s nostalgia and the very tool in which a young Spielberg honed his craft; the 8mm film camera.

A group of 12-year-olds, led by Joel Courtney’s Joe Lamb and Riley Griffith’s Charles (a rambunctious filmmaker that is positively a tip to Spielberg’s imagination-laced youth), aspire to film their little 8mm zombie flick before an unexpected military train derails in their fictitious small town of Lillian, Ohio (an in action sequence fitting for one of the best in a very long time). From here, we discover that this Goonies-esque troupe is every bit as resourceful while their town becomes ground zero for unexplained alien-like activities. They band together with childlike wonderment and humor, buoyed by first loves and hopefulness to reach a befitting, heartfelt finality. Elle Fanning is just enough as the film’s primary ingénue and propels much of the young cast’s motivation. Abrams has been very good at divulging to the audience the film in slow trickles- and while the action is loud and eventful, the crux of the story is revealed with a sieve fine enough that it all unfolds with timely gravitas.

This is what is essential to Super 8; because it is not just a monster film and it is not just about a group of teenagers on an adventure of a lifetime, it is all of the wonderment found in good filmmaking that became synonymous with Spielberg. A great deal of Hollywood is as subtle as a hammer to the skull, while arthouse is far too consumed in its self-importance. While it isn’t perfect, Super 8 is simple storytelling made with a seemingly long-gone nuance, like a moonlit bike ride over the forest.

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney
[xrr rating=3.5/5]