Jay Baruchel

How to Train Your Dragon 2

2010’s How to Train Your Dragon threatened to be a rather conventional secret-pet kids’ flick, but for several reasons — the undeniably cute creature at its center, John Powell’s rousing score, genuinely immersive 3D flying sequences and an ending with unexpected emotional heft — it managed to be both a pleasant surprise and a financial success. Shocking as it sounds, DreamWorks Animation went ahead with not just a sequel but the middle chapter in a newly fashioned trilogy, inventively titled How to Train Your Dragon 2. We return to the island of Berk five years after its Viking occupants have learned to tame the local dragon population following decades of mutual destruction. Rather than heeding advice from aging father Stoick (voiced by Gerard Butler) on leading his kingdom when the time comes, 20-year-old inventor and preeminent dragon trainer Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) has left responsibility behind in order to explore the farthest reaches of the horizon aboard his preferred means of transportation, Toothless. However, these expeditions soon lead to encounters with a pair of heretofore unknown dragon masters, Valka (Cate Blanchett) and Drago (Djimon Hounsou), each with their own plans for the creatures. The result is plenty colorful and amusing enough, but in contrast to the film’s admirably simple charms involving a codependent companionship built on fear and trust, writer/director Dean DeBlois ladles on the usual sequel mentality. There are more characters, more beasts, more battles, more gadgets and more family-minded developments, and yet none of those elements carry quite the […]

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Jay Baruchel and Kurt Russell in THE ART OF THE STEAL

If there’s a more infectiously affable and charismatic actor than Kurt Russell then I don’t know of him or her. Sure there are performers with more dramatic range, others that are more consistently hilarious, and still others who look better in women’s clothing, but for my money none of them set me as instantly at ease as Russell. It’s what makes his near six-year absence from movie screens (2011’s little-seen Touchback aside) that much more frustrating. And it’s what makes the new heist comedy, The Art of the Steal, that much more enjoyable. Crunch Calhoun (Russell) is one of the best wheelmen in the business, but when his latest score goes bad he winds up serving hard time in a Polish jail. It’s not that he got caught, it’s that his brother Nicky (Matt Dillon) sold him out to save his own butt. A few years later Crunch is a free man, breaking bones and bruising his body as an Evil Knievel knock-off taking dives for $800 a crash. His old team reassembles for a new heist, and while he’s no believer in the idea of “one last big score” he signs on hoping to make enough to retire.

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dragon

When DreamWorks Animation released the first How to Train Your Dragon back in 2010, it was being thrown out into a world where Pixar absolutely ruled the animation game—at least as far as critical reception was concerned. At that point Pixar had dominated the awards circuit three years in a row with Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up, and pundits were starting to doubt if any of the other studios would be able to touch the work they were doing ever again, as far as wit, emotional maturity, and pure visual spectacle were concerned. After everyone got to take in the heartwarming coming of age tale and thrilling flying sequences of How to Train Your Dragon, the talk suddenly turned to how DreamWorks had finally created something that could match Pixar’s best though, and ever since then we’ve been living in a more diverse world when it comes to our animated features—a world where a truly great movie could come out of any studio at any time. With How to Train Your Dragon 2, it very much looks like DreamWorks is trying to once again change the game, because the footage in the trailer for their new film is impressively epic, so much so that it could be the first glimpse we get of a new dynasty being formed where they take over as the undisputed kings of animated family fare.

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Steal

It’s likely that all you need to know to be sold on writer/director Jonathan Sobol’s new film, The Art of the Steal, is that it stars Kurt Russell as a low-rent, karate-chopping motorcycle daredevil who sometimes uses his motorcycle skills to be the wheelman during high stakes heists. So, sort of like Ryan Gosling in The Place Beyond the Pines, only hopefully we’ll get to watch the ridiculous motorcycle stuff for the whole movie this time. See? Everyone is sold already, and Russell isn’t even the only thing this movie has going for it. As much fun as he is to watch when he’s playing ridiculous characters like this, The Art of the Steal also gives you other fun stuff to look forward to, like Goon and This is the End star Jay Baruchel playing his awkward son, Matt Dillon playing his sleazy brother, Terence Stamp being all piercing and Terence Stampy, and a whole lot of jokes, fights, and heist film silliness to boot. Click through the link to check it all out.

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This-Is-The-End-Rogen-Franco-Hill

For their inaugural directing outing, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen haven’t strayed to far from what (and who) they know. The screenwriting duo (Rogen, as we assume you know, has starred in a number of their scripted films, including Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Green Hornet) have teamed up behind the camera to write and direct their apocalyptic comedy This Is the End, with Rogen again assuming the mantle of leading man (even if it’s among a large field of funny guy leading men). With a supporting cast that includes just about every comedian of a certain age working today in Hollywood (including Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, and Craig Robinson as the core group, along with a bevy of supporting turns from a mess of other talent), the film could certainly be far more glitzy and self-important, but it’s a relatively simple story about a group of friends who get trapped together during the Rapture. Hijinks ensue, cannibalism happens, the Devil shows up, a sequel to Pineapple Express is filmed, and all anybody wants is a damn Milky Way bar. It really doesn’t matter that everyone we’re watching is a celebrity, because this really is the end of the world (and they know it, and we know it, this Rapture stuff isn’t a trick). Turns out, MTV Movie Awards or whatever it is the kids dole out these days don’t matter much when a fire-breathing dragon thing is blowing down your door as Los Angeles smolders […]

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This Is the End

Just in time for (insert tons of played out end of the world jokes here), the first teaser trailer for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s This Is the End (formerly known as The End of the World) has arrived. And, guess what? It’s a film about Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Jonah Hill living through an apocalypse in Los Angeles, getting trapped in a house together, and trying to survive – of course it’s funny. If the world doesn’t end tomorrow, the prospect of seeing this movie next summer is more than enough reason to keep living. Check it out for yourself:

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Goon Seann William Scott

Goon, which you can still see on Netflix Instant, was a gongshow with just enough heart in its helmet. An excellent sports movie from filmmakers that clearly loved the game and built strong characters to strap skates to. According to Cinema Blend, co-writer Jay Baruchel has confirmed that he and Jesse Chabot are working on a sequel script while Michael Dowse is returning to direct and Evan Goldberg will return as a producer. So there will be more blood on the ice. This is the kind of sequel that makes sense. The first film was a complete story, but clearly the creators have more to say and more to explore, and they’ll be able to do so with control over the movie and support from a healthy fan base. What’s more, it could signal a highly visible brand of success for an indie distributed through a reputable company (Magnet Releasing) being able to build a franchise from original material. How cool is that?

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran as part of our Cannes 2012 coverage. Cosmopolis hits theaters this weekend, August 17th. Though it is faintly vulgar to talk of any actors in terms of only one project, who would have thought a couple of years ago that the two lead actors from Twilight would both feature In Competition at Cannes, starring in brave and bold adaptations of two iconic, but problematic American novels? Two days after Kristen Stewart’s next release – Walter Salles’ On The Road – screened in the Theatre Lumiere, the same screen played host to the Robert Pattinson-starring adaptation of Don DeLillo‘s Cosmopolis. The film follows Eric Packer (Pattinson), a young billionaire asset manager on a journey across a thronging New York City in his limousine, flanked by his head of security Torval (Kevin Durand) in order to get a hair cut. Along the way he encounters colleagues (Jay Baruchel, Samantha Morton, and Philip Nozuko), protesters (Mathieu Amalric), his wife (Sarah Gadon) and lovers (Juliette Binoche and Patricia McKenzie), all of whom contribute to unravel his cold, clinical world. It helps little that the New York he seeks to cross is in open revolt, with anti-corporation demonstrations making way for violence, and somewhere amongst it, an unknown killer stalks Eric.

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When you take all of the distaste for remakes and reboots that’s out there and add it with the love that people have for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, it adds up to a situation where not very many people are looking forward to José Padilha’s upcoming re-do of the material. And yet, with every casting announcement that this new RoboCop makes, it’s becoming harder and harder to not be at least a little excited about its possibilities. First off, Padilha cast an on-the-rise young actor who’s done nothing but impress so far named Joel Kinnaman in the title role. Then he systematically surrounded his star with supporting names that everyone loves, like Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley. It would be hard to sneeze at that cast no matter what they were being assembled for, but get them all together for a post-apocalyptic tale of robot cops versus violent street gangs and evil corporations, and it’s not too difficult to start forgetting how much you dislike all of the remakes going on in Hollywood. I don’t know how they get ya, but that’s how they get ya.

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Drinking Games

Hockey films may be seen as a fringe genre, but there are definitely fans out there that are devoted to them. The latest brutal hockey movie to hit DVD and Blu-ray is Goon, starring Seann William Scott as a nice guy hockey player who has a real talent for fighting. With much of the film taking place in the cold months in Canada, there’s plenty of snow and ice. There’s also plenty of beer and drinking. So join in with the cast and characters as they knock a couple back before knocking out some teeth. Grab your favorite Canadian beer and enjoy this drinking game.

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I make no effort to hide my love and appreciation for Seann William Scott. I’ve always thought he was hilarious and on top of that, he broke my journalism cherry. My first ever interview/junket experience was for Role Models where I was seated, along with two other journalists, and Seann William Scott. To put the sweet love icing on the cake, Scott complimented me while I sat there quietly, in a bit of audio I’ve kept ever since. Why am I telling you this? Just so you know, because I’m about to gush all over Goon. You can make your own judgement call whether or not my view is too tainted, but when you weigh this review against other reviews, you’ll find that in all likelihood, this is just a good movie. Goon currently has a 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Now that the unpleasant awkwardness of my manlove is out of the way, Goon is the story of very talented ass-kicker and mediocre hockey player Doug Glatt as he makes a bloody splash on the ice. Early in the story, Glatt moves from fan to fan who kicks a hockey player’s ass to low level hockey star to semi-pro star enforcer.

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The fine folks over at JoBlo have the world’s first full trailer for Goon – the fighting movie that has some hockey in it. It stars Seann William Scott as a major fanatic who busts the face of a visiting fan during a game and is invited to try out for a local team. Of course, they don’t want him to play. They want him to bleed. Co-written by Jay Baruchel (who plays a cable access hockey show host) and Evan Goldberg, the film is directed by Michael Dowse (who also did Take Me Home Tonight and the wonderfully ridiculous Fubar movies). The trailer shows off Scott’s character being very quick to throw a punch but very slow with the comebacks. Prepare to watch idiocy slam your face into the glass:

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It’s time to crank up the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, imbibe in your favorite – LEGAL – activity, and start the baby making. In this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re hitting up one of the best comedies of the past 10 years, Knocked Up. Aside from being one of the dozen films that have made Judd Apatow a vigintillionaire, apart from being the film that landed Seth Rogen on the A-list, the movie is just damned funny. Heart-warming, of course. What would an Apatow movie be without heart? Well, it would probably be You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, but we’re not even going to mention that abomination here. Just ignore that previous utterance of the title. Anyway, back to Knocked Up, Apatow has amassed a solid line-up for his commentary track. Rogen and co-star Bill Hader are on board to deliver their own stories and insight into the making of the film. Something tells me the commenting under the influence didn’t stop with last week’s movie. That Rogen sure likes to partake. He’s always stoned. And funny. Mostly funny. But one might have a hand in the other. So here’s what we learned from the commentary track to Knocked Up. Cue the ODB!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the movie website equivalent of stuffing a turkey with three chickens and an eel. News of all shapes and sizes finds itself among some strange bedfellows here even if you can’t sleep. We get things started with a metric ton of images and information about The Muppets. If you’re willing to brave the spoilers, /film has everything from character descriptions to photos to trivia. Or, you can let the burning questions wash over you. Why is Kermit behind bars? Does it have anything to do with inter-species sex laws? Why wouldn’t it?

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A while back Seth Rogen and his usual gang of friends put together a mock trailer for a film called Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, which was set in the ravaged remains of a post-Apocalyptic Earth and told the story of Rogen and Jay Baruchel trying to get along squatting together in some rubble. Perhaps I shouldn’t call it a mock trailer, because that’s not necessarily true. It was more of an audition tape that hoped to drum up some interest in getting the film made for real, as a feature length project. It seems to have worked. While doing a recent interview promoting the soon to be released 50/50, Rogen let slip to Movies.com that the script was in the can, and that the film would begin shooting in February. Rogen said that his usual co-writer Evan Goldberg was also involved in the project, and that this time the duo would be sharing the title of co-directors as well. Those guys, they’re inseparable. People are going to start talking. Will Baruchel be returning to reprise his role in the short? Of course. And according to Rogen that’s just the beginning. He said, “It’s now much more than just Jay and Seth — there’s many other people vs. the apocalypse now. It’s gonna be crazy.” If you haven’t watched the original trailer yet, give it a go below, and then let me know what you think about it getting the go ahead to become a real movie. I generally […]

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Jay Baruchel isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s starting to compile a diverse enough resume of past work that audiences have got to be taking notice of him, at least enough to start thinking of him as a “that guy.” Some may know him as the fidgety dude in a lot of Judd Apatow stuff, some may recognize him as being the voice of the lead character in How to Train Your Dragon, others might think of him as the kid who co-starred next to Nic Cage’s hair extensions in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or maybe your memory even goes as far back as to recognize him as the stalker fanboy from Almost Famous. Well now Baruchel is going to be adding one more point of reference in his scheme to get recognition: he’s going to be the guy that writes those movies. Already the actor has a writing credit for co-adapting the screenplay for his upcoming hockey comedy Goon, and now Baruchel is said to have a couple more projects on the way as well. He has already signed on to adapt Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s comic book “Random Acts of Violence” for the big screen. It’s a meta sort of story about two comic creators having success with a murderous character named Slasherman, but then having their good times derailed when it starts looking like their character has come to life and began killing in the real world.

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MTV cameras were at the recent Freaks and Geeks/Undeclared cast reunion, and they managed to corner actor Jay Baruchel and grill him about the sequel to his Oscar nominated animated film How to Train Your Dragon. When asked if he knew anything about the movie yet, Baruchel showed enthusiasm for the project by practically bragging to the reporter, “Yes I do. I know everything about it. I read it last week!” Oh you cocky Jay Baruchel, with your smug five o clock shadow. Someday you’ll get put in your place! Baruchel went on to explain, “It’s phenomenal. And it’s not a sequel; it’s a chapter two. Because there are eight books, so it’s not just finding crazy situations to put our characters in. It’s very much a second act of a three act thing.”

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr celebrates the summer tent pole season with Christopher Nolan’s Inception, eager to watch the movie again and fall asleep just to see what happens. He also takes his kids to see The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and shows some love for Disney’s family adventures, even if they are a bit silly.

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You’d think that the combination of awesome that is Nic Cage, Alfred Molina, and plasma orb throwing would make The Sorcerer’s Apprentice a sure bet. Sadly, this was not the case. While Jon Turteltaub brings us a reasonably entertaining romp through New York with plenty of magic, wizardry, and Cage one-liners — the viewer isn’t left with a lot of heart, or much reason to get emotionally invested in the characters. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is based on a 1797 poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, about a…well, a sorcerer and his apprentice. Most people know the story based on Disney’s Fantasia, the part of the apprentice played by the iconic Mickey Mouse. In the current iteration, a lot of story and background have been created to make this a full length film. The apprentice is Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a physics major at NYU with a past he’d like to forget.

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Nicolas Cage making The Sorcerer

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice press junket in Los Angeles. The film follows Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can’t do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. Participating in the junket were stars Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel along with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turtletaub. Below the jump are notes from the conference, straight from my trusty tape recorder to you.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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