Monday, November 24, 2014

Casting Re-Call: Horrible Bosses 2

Some films just don't need sequels, and, in my opinion, Horrible Bosses is one of those films. With one boss dead, one incarcerated, and one sufficiently black-mailed, what does one expect from a sequel revolving around the exact same characters?
Unfortunately, the crew behind Horrible Bosses 2 could care less, because people (including me) will be sure to watch the film, regardless of its necessity. I mean, Horrible Bosses was the funniest film of 2011, but that doesn't automatically result in Horrible Bosses 2 having a similar fate.

So, in the interest of creating more interest in Horrible Bosses 2, I have decided to re-cast the sequel, filling in the character-types with new actors. If the actors/characters were new, I might understand more of a need for a sequel. It would be so much fun to see new characters attempting to kill their bosses. Don't get me wrong... I love the Horrible Bosses characters. They just need to be left alone!

Characters that should remain:

Character: Dean "MF" Jones
Actor Chosen: Jamie Foxx
Why?: Foxx's "MF" Jones was absolutely brilliant in the first film, and he could appear in absolutely anything, remaining hilarious. In fact, he is the glue that holds the entire concept together, which is why he could easily transfer that concept over to new boss-murderers.

Character: Atmanand
Actor Chosen: Brian George
Why?: Brian George's voice role, as the GPS navigation assistant (basically, he was an OnStar employee), was sort of dorky and awkward in Horrible Bosses. However, he would be another easy connection to the new boss-murderers, potentially discovering the similarity in the situations. I know this character is not of the utmost importance, but I think he could be fun!

Character: Nick Hendricks
Actor in 1st Film: Jason Bateman
New Actor: Aubrey Plaza
Why?: Plaza has the same (but very different) dry humor of Jason Bateman, and, above all else, I could easily see her killing somebody's boss. Bateman's character is the unannounced leader in Horrible Bosses, and I could easily see Plaza filling that role. Plus, it would be fun to see how a woman might deal with this situation, considering that men are no longer kings of the workplace.
Character: Dale Arbus
Actor in 1st Film: Charlie Day
New Actor: Jay Baruchel
Why?: No one could play this role better than Charlie Day. No one! But, if we are looking at a different friend-group, we have to replace him, and I think Baruchel brings a very similar type of humor to the character as Day. In fact, I think his interaction with Aubrey Plaza would be even funnier than the interaction between Bateman and Day. They could even be potential love interests... or not...
Character: Kurt Buckman
Actor in 1st Film: Jason Sudeikis
New Actor: Ty Burrell
Why?: I had trouble with this character, mostly because Jason Sudeikis is so very bland and lifeless in every single thing that he does. So, how do you replicate (and even improve on) that blandness? Well, I went with Ty Burrell! Although he may be a good bit older than Baruchel and Plaza, I could see him being a goofy, awkward, protective figure who is entirely uncomfortable with the entire process of killing someone. This choice isn't necessarily a good substitution for Sudeikis or a good match with Baruchel and Plaza, but I just think he fits really well in this situation.
Character: Dave Harken
Actor in 1st Film: Kevin Spacey
New Actor: John C. McGinley
Why?: Because it would be fun to watch McGinley and Plaza bicker back and forth. He could also come on to her, in one way or another, substituting the sexually deviant Jennifer Aniston in the first film. 

Character: Dr. Julia Harris
Actor in 1st Film: Jennifer Aniston
New Actor: Michael Cera
Why?: Although the hilarity of Michael Cera as a bad guy may have been used in This Is the End, I think he could pull it off one more time. Put Jay Baruchel as a co-founder of some sort of app start-up or something Silicon Valley-ish, but, out of some legal mistakes, Cera owns 51% of the company, while Baruchel only owns 49%. Cera throws that in his face all of the time, which creates the grounds for his desire to kill him. I think it could work!

Character: Bobby Pellitt
Actor in 1st Film: Colin Farrell
New Actor: Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Brand, Sharlto Copley
Why?: Although Charlie Day is the funniest part of Horrible Bosses, Colin Farrell's Bobby Pellitt is undoubtedly the most genius character in the entire film. However, as I began to think of actors who could play a similar character, so many great choices came to mind, and I couldn't decide on just one. You can imagine, on your own, just how hilarious Harrelson, Downey, Brand, or Copley would be in this role. Let me know, in the comments, which you think would work best!
So, there you have it! My very own Horrible Bosses 2.
Let me know what you think about my choices, in the comment section, below.
Hopefully the actual Horrible Bosses 2 will exceed my expectations, and, maybe, it will not fall into the afterthought category, with its release date so close to that of Mockingjay Part 1.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014



Although we only get a film from Christopher and Jonathan Nolan every two years or so, my praise for the films written and directed by the brotherly duo has permeated many months of this blog. That said, most of you already know how much I love the Nolan brothers and their epic films. From Inception to The Dark Knight to The Prestige, these guys know how to get to me in some special way, and, of course, I expected nothing less from Interstellar. In fact, when I first heard about Nolan's new "space film," I was convinced that Interstellar was going to be the greatest Nolan flick of all time. Why?... Well, I don't know!... Then came the trailer, which was quite underwhelming, in my opinion. If Gravity had yet to be released, maybe I would have been impressed with the visuals, and, had we not seen soooo much of Matthew McConaughey over the past year, maybe I would have been intrigued with that casting move. Unfortunately, as the release of Interstellar got closer and closer, my expectations continued to slowly fall. But, about thirty minutes into the film, when all plot twisting hell began to break loose, I remembered what I long for in a Nolan flick... and why I long for it...

Very few people have Nolan's ability to construct such a complex storyline in such a short time frame (although many people complained about the 3 hour run time). I mean, the fact that Inception was able to make any sense, at all, to anybody, really fascinates me, to this very day! Interstellar was able to take advantage of that same understandably complex world in which Nolan's ideas grow, and the film did so with much more ease than I had expected. Of course, I can't say too very much on here, without spoiling anything, but I challenge you to find a more complex, science fiction storyline with such a great heart and so many flowing emotions, throughout! Interstellar was a bit of a mold-breaker for Nolan, with a different feel and a much different setting. However, Nolan stuck to his guns and produced one heck of a story, which is exactly why we tend to always love his films.

Although the acting was not poor, there were really no standout performances from any actresses or actors. Sure, there were a few intriguing characters, but nobody was able to blow me away (which is quite a common theme among Nolan films... save The Dark Knight).

Ellyn Burstyn's character (who shall not be named, for the sake of spoilers) was extremely awkward, in my opinion. At that point in the film, I was a bit too caught up in trying to figure out what the heck just happened to really be able to soak in her very short role in the film. But, if I had been able to pay attention more, I still don't see myself liking her. It was just a little weird, for some reason. Additionally weird was the presence of the "smart robots," CASE and TARS, voiced by Josh Stewart and Bill Irwin. They just did not feel necessary, at any point in the film!

Although his performance lacked the soul of his turns in The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey was still quite impressive in the lead, as Cooper (which miraculously turned out to be his last name, at some point in the film). Honestly, I can't think of another Nolan character that ever earned as much empathy as Cooper earned in the first hour of Interstellar. Kudos to both McConaughey and the Nolan brothers for building a film around such a great lead character.

While Interstellar will never be thought of as Christopher Nolan's greatest film, it did manage to exceed my lowered expectations and impress me quite a bit. Like never before, Nolan was able to go beyond intriguing me and reach a level that made me truly care what happened to the characters. I have always cared about the outcome of Nolan's films, but the characters are typically nothing more than a piece of the puzzle. This time around, Cooper was the entire picture! There were certainly Nolan-esque moments and impressive visual elements, but, in the end, most of those aspects were washed away, in order to keep the focus on the characters. If you are not a fan of Nolan's other films, check out Interstellar, as it provides many different elements that are sure to impress any moviegoer. I give Interstellar 3.85 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Before 2014, I never really thought of Jake Gyllenhaal as a guy whose films I just really needed to watch. Sure, I had seen a few Gyllenhaal flicks, but his performances never really blew me away. He was in no way a bad actor, but he never, ever impressed me! Cut to 2014... And the guy is killing it! While this review may be focused on Nightcrawler, do not allow yourself to go through 2014 without taking a look at Enemy, a film in which Gyllenhaal plays two look-a-like characters who have quite an odd introduction and relationship. Not only was the film intriguing, but his performance was quite impressive. And, without seeing his performance in Enemy, there is no way that I would have been interested in checking out Nightcrawler, mostly because I had absolutely no idea what Nightcrawler was about. The trailer was vague. The title is vague. Yet, somehow, it wasn't a box office bust, this weekend! Considering the favorable reviews were flowing in and I got off of work early on Friday, I figured "what the heck!" and decided I would check it out...

The actual storyline was not super-original nor was the writing very impressive. However, the way in which the story was told and the characters that were involved absolutely blew me away! The likelihood of the film becoming as popular as American Psycho is quite small, but the film and Gyllenhaal's Louis Bloom had the same effect on me as American Psycho and Christian Bale's Patrick Bateman. The creepiness of the character loomed throughout the film, and the tension in every scene was almost tangible. It is not uncommon for me to be fascinated by a simple story, and Nightcrawler certainly confirmed that tendency!

Let's just talk about Louis Bloom!

No 2014 character has fascinated me quite like Louis Bloom, and few performances have impressed me as much as that of Jake Gyllenhaal. Based on the trailer, I did expect Bloom to be a bit rude and motivated and maybe even a little off, but I had no idea that he would be so freaking creepy! I thought he was great! For the first time (that I've ever witnessed), Jake Gyllenhaal was able to make an amazing character come to life, with such ease, and, for that, he deserves many kudos. Of course, there were other characters in the film, but Nightcrawler was engulfed by the presence of Louis Bloom... as was my brain, for the next few days...

Thank God that Oscar season is upon us! The 2014 movie year is certainly beginning to trend upwards, and, if these unexpected hits continue to pop up, we are in for quite a surprise. If you enjoy films built around fascinatingly creepy characters, Nightcrawler is just for you. If you enjoy theatrical moments that make you think and laugh "this guy is crazy," Nightcrawler is just for you. If you just need something to watch, pre-Interstellar, I would say that Nightcrawler is your best bet. Needless to say, I was impressed with the film and, even more so, with Jake Gyllenhaal, who has impressed me more than any other actor in 2014. I give Nightcrawler 4.04 out of 5 stars.