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The Playlist

Review: 'Million Dollar Arm' With Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin & Bill Paxton

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 14, 2014 6:02 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Million Dollar Arm
In terms of in-house branding, the "Disney sports movie" has almost as much instantly recognizable cachet as something like their animated princess movies or Marvel superhero flicks. Movies like "Cool Runnings" up through "Remember the Titans" and "Miracle" have the same general, crowd-pleasing formula of being based on a true story, set in the past (either immediate or distant) and featuring a truly likable lead who, against all odds, triumphs at the end. These movies are as warm and comforting as your favorite old sweatshirt. And usually they're just as surprising. With "Million Dollar Arm," the awkwardly titled new Disney sports movie, the studio mixes up the formula with mostly winning results; the unpredictability does them some good.

Review: 'Grudge Match' is 'Rocky' vs. 'Raging Bull,' But We Lose

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • December 23, 2013 8:30 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Grudge Match
“Grudge Match” can’t possibly live up to its billing, which essentially pits "Raging Bull" pugilist Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) against “Rocky” namesake Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), finally settling the bets of cinematic boxing fans everywhere. The film’s narrative echoes the problem its stars face: can two former champions remind of us why we rooted for them in the first place?

Dane DeHaan Feeling 'Tulip Fever,' Melisandre Feels 'Incarnate,' Alan Arkin & Amanda Seyfried Have A ‘Wonderful Time’ & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 1, 2013 9:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Developing for nearly a decade, the adaptation of Deborah Moggach's "Tulip Fever"has seen all kinds of names — John Madden, Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Peter Chelsom, Tom Hooper — kick the tires, but nothing coalesced. But earlier this year the wheels started spinning again with Alicia Vikander became attached, and now she may be joined by Dane DeHaan.

'Life Of Pi' Star Suraj Sharma & Alan Arkin Join Baseball Flick 'Million Dollar Arm' With Jon Hamm

  • By Tess Hofmann
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  • April 18, 2013 6:19 PM
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  • 1 Comment
In his first role since his breakout performance as the title character in “Life of Pi,” Suraj Sharma has chosen to play another Indian boy on a remarkable journey -- this time in the real-life tale “Million Dollar Arm” as a cricket player who wins a reality television competition and a contract to play baseball in the United States. Of the two actual pitchers, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, it is unclear which one Sharma will be playing. Alan Arkin has also signed on to embody another industry veteran type after his Oscar-nominated turn in “Argo,” this time as a retired baseball scout.

The Early Gems: Notable Performances From 2013's Best Supporting Actor Oscar Nominees

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 13, 2013 3:21 PM
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  • 5 Comments
After a long, punishing Oscar season that started about 50 weeks ago (although we suppose it only really kicked in in August or September), we're now about a week-and-a-half out from the 2013 ceremony. And for all our grumbling, it's always a key fixture in the cinephile calendar, and as such, we're going to be commemorating the approaching ceremony in various ways over the next ten days or so.

Review: 'Stand Up Guys' Strands A Handful Of Legends In A Lame Up-All-Night Comedy

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 29, 2013 10:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments
It’s impossible to walk out of “Stand Up Guys” without doing an impersonation of William Hurt in “A History Of Violence,” pressing fingers to your temple and asking, “How do ya fuck that up?” It’s like stocking a team with proven performers and hoping that everything else will work itself out at the end, including a rickety script, indifferent direction, and a plot that pretends its final act is anything other than a cliché-hugging inevitability. As far as superstar combinations, “Stand Up Guys” is less the dramatic turnaround of the 2008 Boston Celtics, and more like the floundering 2013 Los Angeles Lakers.

Alan Arkin & Kim Basinger Get Into A 'Grudge Match' With Sylvester Stallone & Robert De Niro

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • November 9, 2012 2:17 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It’s one of those movies that sounds like it’s been thought up on a boozy night out -- wouldn’t it be great if there was a movie where Rocky and Jake LaMotta fight each other in the ring? Well, now there will be! Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are stepping back into the ring as a pair of retired fighters who wish to settle an old score in “Grudge Match,” and now the movie is beginning to round out the rest of its cast.

Review: Ben Affleck's '70s-Flavored 'Argo' Is A Terrifically Suspenseful & Entertaining Thriller

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 11, 2012 5:07 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Ben Affleck's third feature-length film, the terrifically suspenseful dramatic thriller "Argo," is the second picture to use Warner Bros.' 1970s logo in 2012. And like "Magic Mike," the Soderbergh film that employed the same logo earlier this year, it's an augur of what's to come, announcing a tone, mood and millieu that is imported straight from that era. Sporting a love for movies on his sleeve, Affleck's film gives nods to the smart, entertaining and engaging thrillers from the '70s -- "All the President's Men," "Three Days of the Condor," et al. -- and playfully with B-movie science-fiction pictures of the era without ever trying to lean too hard into any specific homage.

Telluride Review: Ben Affleck's '70s-Flavored 'Argo' Is A Terrifically Suspenseful & Entertaining Thriller

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 31, 2012 8:16 PM
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  • 20 Comments
Ben Affleck's third feature-length film, the terrifically suspenseful dramatic thriller "Argo," is the second picture to use Warner Bros.' 1970s logo in 2012. And like "Magic Mike," the Soderbergh film that employed the same logo earlier this year, it's an augur of what's to come, announcing a tone, mood and millieu that is imported straight from that era. Sporting a love for movies on his sleeve, Affleck's film gives nods to the smart, entertaining and engaging thrillers from the '70s -- "All The President's Men," "Three Days of the Condor," et al. -- and playfully with B-movie science-fiction pictures of the era without ever trying to lean too hard into any specific homage.

Jack Black To Sow 'Wild Oats' With Shirley MacLaine, Alan Arkin And Jacki Weaver

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 17, 2012 2:50 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Clearly, Jack Black made one too many "Gulliver's Travels" or "A Big Year" -- in the last twelve months or so, the comic star (who just released a new record under his Tenacious D guise) has veered mostly away from big studio comedies to more interesting sounding indie-type projects, like Richard Linklater's recent, and very charming "Bernie," prospective Michael Winterbottom project "Bailout," and Charlie Kaufman's "Frank or Francis." And now, there's another one on his dance card that sounds pretty promising, all in all.

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