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30 MINUTES OR LESS review by John Delia

August 11th, 2011 No comments

30 MINUTES OR LESS

DIRECTED BY Rubin Fleischer

A ZANY FUN  FILM

 

30 MINUTES OR LESS

 

 

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena and Fred Ward

Directed by: Rubin Fleischer   

MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence.

Genre: Action, comedy

Running Time: 1hr 23min

Opening Date: August 12, 2011

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing

 

 

By John Delia

 

The situation action comedy 30 Minutes or Less does a very good job of setting up the laughter while following a story that’s as idiotic as a 3 dollar bill.  The film moves along much like the title with very little time to catch your breath.  It’s a fantasy, but if you accept it then it’s a lot of fun.  If you like films such as Pineapple Express or Fun With Dick and Jane where there’s a lot of unreality with some measure of probability than you should check out 30 Minutes or Less.

 

Without giving a lot away the movie goes something like this.  Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) gets along in life delivering pizza in this small town where there’s not a lot of excitement. Involved in the plot are a couple of hapless delinquents Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) who hatch a plan to knock off Dwayne’s father for the fortune.  Unfortunately the deal with Chango the hit man (Michael Pena) goes bad so the two kidnap Nick to rob a bank for the money to set the matter straight. But there wouldn’t bee a lot of fun if the plan worked out, now would it?

 

Aziz Ansari and Jesse Eisenberg in 30 MINUTES OR LESS

The actors make this scatterbrain plot work.  McBride plays his usual off-the-wall persona, Swardson kicks in his daffy comedy while Eisenberg uses his dead pan to make the mix work into a lot of laughs.  Throwing comedian Aziz Ansari as Nick’s best friend Chet who tries to make sense of it all becomes a bonus.

 

Ruben Fleischer on the set of 30 MINUTES OR LESS

Direction of any comedy takes a lot of vision and Rubin Fleischer (Zombieland) does a great job with timing making the situations screwy enough to elicit the necessary off the screen responses. Although the film’s plot is quite predictable, it’s the fun getting to the weird ending that makes it worth a see. 

Danny McBride and Nick Swardson a good team in 30 MINUTES OR LESS

 

On the downside, in addition to the predictability, I found Ansari’s performance a little too wacky, jumpy and unemotional.  But, that just might be me as I have not seen his role in TV’s ‘Parks and Recreation‘ to get enough feel for his kind of comedy.

Michael Pena as crazy Chango

On the upbeat, Michael Pena gives a hilarious performance as the Hispanic hired hit man who gets stiffed on his pay.  Going after Chet and Nick turns into some extremely funny ethnic comedy.  Pena is a mainstay with over 10 years in the film industry playing support characters in such films as The Lincoln Lawyer, Lions for Lambs and his other 26 movies.  Here he shows another side of his many faces inserting nervously scary comedy into 30 Minutes of Less.

 

30 Minutes or Less has been rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence.  VERY IMPORTANT: Avoid seeing trailer as it gives away a lot of the sight gags, excitement and comedy traps.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A zany fun film (B)

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL NETWORK nearing $200 million mark and enters DVD/Blu-ray market

January 6th, 2011 No comments

“THE SOCIAL NETWORK”

SET TO CROSS $200 MILLION WORLDWIDE

AS ACCLAIMED MOTION PICTURE MAKES ITS WAY

BACK INTO THEATERS

AND DEBUTS ON DVD/BLU-RAY

CULVER CITY, Calif., January 5, 2011 – As The Social Network, the most critically acclaimed film of the year, is set to launch on DVD/Blu-ray,  the hit film is poised to pass $200 million at the worldwide box office, it was announced today by Jeff Blake, chairman, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Sony Pictures.  To date, The Social Network has grossed more than $93 million in the US and $104 million overseas, and will pass the $200 million mark in the next few days.   The DVD will be released on January 11, 2011, and contains more than eight hours of bonus extras about the motion picture.  The film will also be re-released in approximately 600 theaters nationwide on January 7.

Commenting on the announcement, Blake said, “The Social Network has struck a chord with audiences all around the world.  No invention defines our era like Facebook does, but what has made it break through as a motion picture is that it is a parable for our time.  Everyone, everywhere, can relate to the human motivations of the real-life people who are depicted in the film. At the box office, this film showed true staying power, grossing more than four times its opening weekend gross – a rare accomplishment when the average for wide releases last year was below three times its opening weekend gross.  It is always a great feeling to see a film connect with moviegoers, but this film is incredibly special to us – we are as proud of it as any film in our studio’s history.”

The Social Network has been embraced during this year’s awards season, with four honors from the National Board of Review, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor for Jesse Eisenberg.  The film has also received six Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, and nominations for Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, as well as two nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, including Ensemble and Eisenberg for Best Actor, and nominations for Best Picture from the Producers Guild of America and Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America.  The film has also been named Best Picture by 24 critics groups, including the New York Film Critics Circle, the New York Film Critics Online, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the San Francisco Film Critics, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Dallas/Ft. Worth Film Critics Association, the Washington Area Film Critics Association, the Toronto Film Critics Association, the UK Regional Critics Awards, Sight and Sound, the Village Voice/LA Weekly Critics Poll, the African American Film Critics Association, the Black Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the Houston Film Critics Society, the Detroit Film Critics Society, the Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, the St. Louis Film Critics Association, the Indiana Film Journalist Awards, the Utah Film Critics Association, the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society.  The film also appears on over 350 critics’ Top Ten lists.

The film has been named Best Picture of the Year by numerous publications, including The New York Times, New York Post, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Chicago Sun-Times, Denver Post, Boston Phoenix, Cleveland Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Huffington Post, IFC.com, Miami Herald, Lincoln Journal-Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, MSN Movies, North County Times, Oklahoma Gazette, Omaha World Herald, Orlando Weekly, Sight & Sound, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York, and Tulsa World, among many others.

Jesse Eisenberg and Joseph Mazzello star in The Social Network

In The Social Network, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin explore the moment at which Facebook, the most revolutionary social phenomenon of the new century, was invented – through the warring perspectives of the super-smart young men who each claimed to be there at its inception.  Drawn from multiple sources, the film moves from the halls of Harvard to the cubicles of Palo Alto as it captures the visceral thrill of the heady early days of a culture-changing phenomenon in the making – and the way it both pulled a group of young revolutionaries together and then split them apart.  In the midst of the chaos are Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), the brilliant Harvard student who conceived a website that seemed to redefine our social fabric overnight; Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), once Zuckerberg’s close friend, who provided the seed money for the fledgling company; Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who brought Facebook to Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists; and the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence), the Harvard classmates who asserted that Zuckerberg stole their idea and then sued him for ownership of it. Each has his own narrative, his own version of the Facebook story – but they add up to more than the sum of their parts in what becomes a multi-level portrait of 21st Century success – both the youthful fantasy of it and its finite realities as well.  The film is produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, and Ceán Chaffin and based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK written review

September 30th, 2010 No comments

“FACING UP TO FACEBOOK”

thesocialnetwork_smallteaserStarring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Mazzello, and Armie Hammer

Directed by: David Fincher

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language

Genre: Drama and Biopic

Running Time: 2hr

Release Date: October 1, 2010

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

By John Delia

The age of technology takes an interesting turn in The Social Network, a mesmerizing biopic about the creation of a dream that turned into a billion dollar business. It was so good and perfectly played out I found myself wanting more of the acting, directing and amazing story. The toughest part is not being able to grade the film more than excellent.

Eisenberg as Zuckerberg working on Facebook

Eisenberg as Zuckerberg working on Facebook

The movie centers on Harvard student Mark Zukerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in 2003, a genus computer programmer bored with not being able to test his mind to the fullest.  He constantly pokes around at ideas that will get a rise out of his fellow students.  He is so brilliant that his professors are no longer challenging his capabilities.

On night while fooling around in his dorm room he comes up with a fun scheme called Face Smash, involving choosing one Harvard girl over another based on looks, and starts downloading photos from the school files.  Getting access to the student emails, he sends out an email blast.  In no

Eisenberg and Garfield take on lead roles

Eisenberg and Garfield take on lead roles

time the responses start to climb, so high in fact, that it shuts down the school computer network.  With this power Zukerberg, along with his friend Eduardo (Andrew Garfield), start a networking revolution called facebook that will probably never be equaled.  And that’s just the beginning of the story.

The acting here is the main reason the story work.  The only way I can say it is Eisenberg gets an A+, Garfield A+ and Timberlake A+.  Each actor under the strong direction of David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, The Panic Room) steals each other’s scene one after another in brilliant portrayals that are intriguing, humorous and perfectly on target.

David Fincher on the set

David Fincher on the set

Fincher depicts Zukerberg thru Eisenberg as this confident genius that lets nothing distract him from his task, but yet knows how to have fun doing it.  The same pinpoint direction is used to create Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) who keeps up the financial end of facebook and Sean Parker (Timberlake) the Napster inventor, a wild pompous individual who makes sure Zukerberg focused on his objective.

I really couldn’t find anything negative about the film except that the true story it’s based on certainly gets embellished to it’s fullest. Rightfully so or boredom would have set in if all we watched were computer geeks writing formula after formula in order to get what we take for granted; like downloading a photo.

The film is rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language. See what I mean, no boredom here with an MPAA Rating like this.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A brilliant film about a brilliant guy. (5 of 5)