Curtis Hanson

If you thought that the last scene in Kathryn Bigelow’s legendary bank-robbing-surfers movie Point Break was the coolest presentation of big wave riding that was ever going to be put on film…well, you were probably right. But just because it was the best word doesn’t mean it has to be the last word. So now we’ve got Chasing Mavericks, a Gerard Butler- and Jonny Weston-starring film that tells the true story of how surfing legend Jay Moriarty learned to ride a board on top of ridiculously big walls of water. Like most true stories about an underdog chasing an impossible dream, Chasing Mavericks looks pretty cheesy. All of the standard tropes are there: the tenuous relationship with an initially gruff mentor, the training montage sequences, the budding romance with an energetic blonde. But, before you dismiss this movie outright and go watch The Karate Kid for the thousandth time, note that there are a couple reasons why you might want to give it a chance.

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Culture Warrior

There are those on the right who have said that Game Change is a partisan smear. At the same time, some on the left may have gone into the program expecting a SNL-style “look-how-dumb-Palin-is” work of predictable affirmation. But while hit jobs and hagiographies might make for effective 30-second political ads, they can’t sustain a two-hour block of television. Game Change, by contrast, is a gripping (though by no means perfect) two-hour block of television. But the term “block of television” does not necessarily carry the same connotations as “TV movie.” The distinction here is important. Game Change’s central thesis is not a political point about either John McCain or Sarah Palin as candidates (what could a TV movie possibly say that’s new or urgent in this respect?), but is instead a lamentation about how our political landscape is determined (on all sides of the ideological spectrum) by the media cycles of Celebrity 2.0. HBO has been preoccupied for quite some time by the major chapters in American history, rolling out expensive and impressive miniseries detailing the canonical moments that Americans learned about during their primary education: whether it be The Revolutionary War and the stories of the Founding Fathers (John Adams (2008)), WWII (Band of Brothers (2001) and The Pacific (2010)), or man’s journey to the moon (From the Earth to the Moon). However, HBO’s original programming has also taken microscopic examinations of recent, not-so-canonized history with smaller-scale projects like Recount (2008), Too Big to Fail (2011), and, of […]

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It’s been nearly five years since Wonder Boys and L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson released a feature, so fans of his work are presumably pretty primed and ready for his next movie Of Men and Mavericks to complete filming. On that front, fans of Hanson are in for some really bad news, which will then be tempered by a little bit of good news to ease the pain. The really bad news is that Hanson is experiencing some complications from his recent heart surgery and won’t be able to complete principal photography on the film, which is a biopic of big wave surfer Jay Moriarty. The better news is that Hanson already has most of the shooting done, in fact there is only two weeks left of scheduled filming to get in the can, so veteran director Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist, The World is Not Enough) is going to step in and finish work on the film. Having a director stepping off of a shoot is usually a surefire way for a movie to get completely derailed, but with only fifteen days of shooting to go, it seems like Of Men and Mavericks will probably be able to make it to the finish line without being creatively compromised, especially with a guy behind the camera as experienced as Apted. I’m sure he will take every step possible to match what Hanson has been doing on the movie up until now. So fear not, Hanson fans, Of Men and […]

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Tom Cruise

Whether you love him, hate him, love to hate him, or hate that you love him there’s no denying that Tom Cruise’s career decisions in terms of what directors he will work for have been second-to-none. Or, maybe they have been. You decide.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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