Silver: I’ve come back around on Ron Howard. For me, the hyperbolic sentimentality of his films and his overly lavish set pieces always felt like he was trying too hard. I tend to not like films that are so blatantly campaigning for an Oscar, and would rather a film’s innate importance be a tad subtler. But after recently catching Backdraft and Apollo 13 on cable, I went back and rewatched the entire Howard catalogue, and it became clear that my ire against his filmography was a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.
Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code, and Angels & Demons are just poorly produced, pedantic movies. But there’s a certain earnestness and genuineness to the vast majority of his other films that, as I went title-by-title, came to be a welcome antidote to the cynicism inherent in so many films released today. Even in the titles some folks might consider to be weaker — The Missing, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Paper — ol’ Opie's heart bleeds through every frame.
In the two weeks since our last post, a glut of trailers flooded the Internet, some good, some bad, some in between. So in an effort to be as thorough as possible and dedicate at least a few words to these cinematic appetizers, we reached way back into our arsenal of gimmicks to bring back the “One-Sentence Trailer Reviews.” Like last time, one of us had an easier time sticking to the plan than the other. (Guess who?)
Rembert and Dan
Now You See Me (June 7)
Silver: I had no idea Now You See Me existed, but after watching the trailer for this Prestige/Ocean’s Eleven/Robin Hood/Social Network/Batman Begins mash-up, it has quickly jumped to the top of my 2013 “must” list.
Browne: The only item on my "things that really don't exist" list that tops zombies and owls is magic. NEXT.
Steve Carell will star in Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, the long-gestating movie about John du Pont, paranoid schizophrenic heir to the du Pont chemical fortune. In 1996, in the wrestling-training facility he built called Team Foxcatcher, du Pont shot and killed his friend David Schultz, an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, then shut himself in his mansion negotiating with the police over the phone for two days. Wait — Steve Carell is going to murder someone? He better be practicing his serious face. Grade: A- [Showblitz]
Woody Harrelson is in talks for Now You See Me, a heist movie also starring Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, and Melanie Laurent. Woody would play a magician who uses his Jedi-mind-tricks style in the services of the Four Horsemen, a crew of gentlemen-illusionist-bank-robbers who pull off their heists during their performances, then dole out the money to the crowds. Oh, you crazy-ass sounding movie, you had us at "Jedi mind tricks." Grade: A [Showblitz]
Following Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence back to TV will be Roseanne Barr, who just signed a script deal with 20th Century Fox TV to write Downwardly Mobile, a sitcom about an "an optimistic blue-collar family living in hard times." Casting is underway for a third Becky. Grade: B+ [Deadline]
Mark Wahlberg will broaden his horizons with a role as a law-enforcement official in 2 Guns, an adaptation of Steven Grant's graphic novel about a DEA agent and an undercover naval officer who waste tax dollars by investigating each other as each steals money from the mob in the line of duty. Exiting the project, which has been kicking around for a while, are Vince Vaughn and David O. Russell, who must have just realized there's no law that says he has to direct only Mark Wahlberg movies. Grade B [HR]
Martin Lawrence is negotiating with CBS to produce and star in a new sitcom. No word yet on a premise or costars, but since Lawrence's return to TV could presumably thwart a fourth Big Momma's House movie, this one gets our full blessing. Grade: A [Vulture]
Mark Ruffalo and Amanda Seyfried will star in Now You See Me, about a group of magicians who rob banks during their performances and shower their audiences in money. (They'll join the previously announced Jesse Eisenberg and Melanie Laurent.) Ruffalo will be an FBI agent and Seyfried will, naturally, play "a master technician who builds contraptions to aid in the illusion of heists." Grade: B+ [Variety]