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4 items from 2005


Mann to report for indie 'Valley'

26 July 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Gabriel Mann will star in Valley in the Heart's Delight, an indie feature being produced by Scott Rosenfelt and Billie Greif and directed by Tim Boxell. Pete Postlethwaite and Bruce McGill also headline the cast. Valley is based on a true story of two lynchings that took place in the early 1930s in reaction to the kidnapping of the son of a prominent local businessman. The story centers on a young maverick reporter (Mann) and his antagonist (Postlethwaite), the hard-boiled publisher of the local newspaper. McGill will play a local businessman. Miles Murphy wrote the script and is exec producing via his Banana Peel Entertainment banner. »

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Cinderella Man

21 June 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

In boxing lore, there have been few comeback stories as inspirational as the precipitous fall and equally dramatic ascension of Depression-era fighter James J. Braddock.

Appropriately dubbed the Cinderella Man by Damon Runyon, Braddock and his change of fortune provided a shred of hope for the hard-knock lives and times of his fellow working-class Americans.

Reuniting with his A Beautiful Mind star, Ron Howard and Russell Crowe bring the Braddock story to vivid life in a superbly acted, beautifully shot, highly engaging drama that ranks as one of Howard's best efforts.

It's certainly the first studio release of the year that could rightfully lay claim to any early Oscar buzz. The picture not only boasts a winning ensemble, with equally terrific performances from on-a-roll Paul Giamatti and Renee Zellweger, but it also is a technical knockout, steeped in period atmosphere that practically reeks of authenticity.

But while it doesn't flinch from the lower-key, darker recesses of the era, it still manages to hit the necessary, audience-grabbing posts. Even with all those traditionally male-skewing boxing sequences, there's also a strong emphasis on home and family that will ensure Cinderella Man is an equal-opportunity draw, in turn giving Universal a Seabiscuit-sized happily ever after at the boxoffice.

The screenplay, credited to Cliff Hollingsworth and A Beautiful Mind's Akiva Goldsman, picks up on Crowe's Braddock in the throes of a promising career. The New Jersey-based Bulldog of Bergen, known for a healthy tenacious streak and a formidable right hand, was on his way to the big time when a badly broken right hand and a consequential defeat at the hands of light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran sent his career into a downward spiral.

Of course, the fact that his bad-luck streak happens to coincide with the stock-market crash of 1929 only exacerbates matters, and Braddock soon finds himself unable to make ends meet for wife Mae (Zellweger) and his three kids.

Drowning in debt and facing the prospect of a New Jersey winter without heat in their drab basement apartment, Braddock is not above begging when his old, indefatigable manager Joe Gould (Giamatti) shows up offering him a one-shot chance at redemption.

Deemed too old and too hungry to step back in the ring, Braddock surprises the skeptics, and himself for that matter, by knocking out his rising-star opponent with the help of a newly discovered hook developed logging all those hours of dock work.

Soon, Braddock finds himself back on track and carrying the hopes and dreams of millions of struggling average Joes on his shoulders. But an impending face-off against world heavyweight champ Max Baer, who already has killed two men in the ring, raises the stakes considerably for Braddock and his family.

Always a stickler for period detail, Howard outdoes himself here. Working with production designer Wynn Thomas and costume designer Daniel Orlandi, he evokes the time and place right down to the faces of the smallest bit players.

When the power is cut in Jim and Mae's flat in the dead of winter, Salvatore Totino's ever-probing camera captures each stifled breath, and thanks to the meticulously re-created surroundings (using Toronto's empty Maple Leaf Gardens as a credible substitute for the old Madison Square Garden Bowl), you almost can catch a whiff of the smoke and sweat and desperation.

But the picture's greatest effect is Crowe. With his head cocked to one side almost in anticipation of the blows that will come his way both in and out of the ring, he makes Braddock an introspective everyman who might be down but never is completely out for the count.

Giamatti, who just keeps getting better, brings a never-say-die urgency to the role of Braddock's scrappy manager, while Zellweger takes what could have been a thankless role and gives it her own indelible imprint.

There's also good work from Bruce McGill as a cigar-chomping boxing promoter, Paddy Considine as a co-worker of Braddock's who doesn't fare quite so well and Craig Bierko as a taunting Baer.

Putting the finishing touches on this thoroughly satisfying production is Thomas Newman's elegant score, which, like everything else here, never strains for cheap sentiment.

Cinderella Man

Universal

Universal Pictures, Miramax Films and Imagine Entertainment present a Brian Grazer production in association with Parkway Prods.

Credits:

Director: Ron Howard

Screenwriters: Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman

Story: Cliff Hollingsworth

Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall

Executive producer: Todd Hallowell

Director of photography: Salvatore Totino

Production designer: Wynn Thomas

Editors: Mike Hill, Dan Hanley

Costume designer: Daniel Orlandi

Music: Thomas Newman

Cast:

Jim Braddock: Russell Crowe

Mae Braddock: Renee Zellweger

Joe Gould: Paul Giamatti

Max Baer: Craig Bierko

Mike Wilson: Paddy Considine

Jimmy Johnston: Bruce McGill

Ford Bond: David Huband

MPAA rating PG-13

Running time -- 144 minutes »

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Cinderella Man

16 June 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

In boxing lore, there have been few comeback stories as inspirational as the precipitous fall and equally dramatic ascension of Depression-era fighter James J. Braddock.

Appropriately dubbed the Cinderella Man by Damon Runyon, Braddock and his change of fortune provided a shred of hope for the hard-knock lives and times of his fellow working-class Americans.

Reuniting with his A Beautiful Mind star, Ron Howard and Russell Crowe bring the Braddock story to vivid life in a superbly acted, beautifully shot, highly engaging drama that ranks as one of Howard's best efforts.

It's certainly the first studio release of the year that could rightfully lay claim to any early Oscar buzz. The picture not only boasts a winning ensemble, with equally terrific performances from on-a-roll Paul Giamatti and Renee Zellweger, but it also is a technical knockout, steeped in period atmosphere that practically reeks of authenticity.

But while it doesn't flinch from the lower-key, darker recesses of the era, it still manages to hit the necessary, audience-grabbing posts. Even with all those traditionally male-skewing boxing sequences, there's also a strong emphasis on home and family that will ensure Cinderella Man is an equal-opportunity draw, in turn giving Universal a Seabiscuit-sized happily ever after at the boxoffice.

The screenplay, credited to Cliff Hollingsworth and A Beautiful Mind's Akiva Goldsman, picks up on Crowe's Braddock in the throes of a promising career. The New Jersey-based Bulldog of Bergen, known for a healthy tenacious streak and a formidable right hand, was on his way to the big time when a badly broken right hand and a consequential defeat at the hands of light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran sent his career into a downward spiral.

Of course, the fact that his bad-luck streak happens to coincide with the stock-market crash of 1929 only exacerbates matters, and Braddock soon finds himself unable to make ends meet for wife Mae (Zellweger) and his three kids.

Drowning in debt and facing the prospect of a New Jersey winter without heat in their drab basement apartment, Braddock is not above begging when his old, indefatigable manager Joe Gould (Giamatti) shows up offering him a one-shot chance at redemption.

Deemed too old and too hungry to step back in the ring, Braddock surprises the skeptics, and himself for that matter, by knocking out his rising-star opponent with the help of a newly discovered hook developed logging all those hours of dock work.

Soon, Braddock finds himself back on track and carrying the hopes and dreams of millions of struggling average Joes on his shoulders. But an impending face-off against world heavyweight champ Max Baer, who already has killed two men in the ring, raises the stakes considerably for Braddock and his family.

Always a stickler for period detail, Howard outdoes himself here. Working with production designer Wynn Thomas and costume designer Daniel Orlandi, he evokes the time and place right down to the faces of the smallest bit players.

When the power is cut in Jim and Mae's flat in the dead of winter, Salvatore Totino's ever-probing camera captures each stifled breath, and thanks to the meticulously re-created surroundings (using Toronto's empty Maple Leaf Gardens as a credible substitute for the old Madison Square Garden Bowl), you almost can catch a whiff of the smoke and sweat and desperation.

But the picture's greatest effect is Crowe. With his head cocked to one side almost in anticipation of the blows that will come his way both in and out of the ring, he makes Braddock an introspective everyman who might be down but never is completely out for the count.

Giamatti, who just keeps getting better, brings a never-say-die urgency to the role of Braddock's scrappy manager, while Zellweger takes what could have been a thankless role and gives it her own indelible imprint.

There's also good work from Bruce McGill as a cigar-chomping boxing promoter, Paddy Considine as a co-worker of Braddock's who doesn't fare quite so well and Craig Bierko as a taunting Baer.

Putting the finishing touches on this thoroughly satisfying production is Thomas Newman's elegant score, which, like everything else here, never strains for cheap sentiment.

Cinderella Man

Universal

Universal Pictures, Miramax Films and Imagine Entertainment present a Brian Grazer production in association with Parkway Prods.

Credits:

Director: Ron Howard

Screenwriters: Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman

Story: Cliff Hollingsworth

Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall

Executive producer: Todd Hallowell

Director of photography: Salvatore Totino

Production designer: Wynn Thomas

Editors: Mike Hill, Dan Hanley

Costume designer: Daniel Orlandi

Music: Thomas Newman

Cast:

Jim Braddock: Russell Crowe

Mae Braddock: Renee Zellweger

Joe Gould: Paul Giamatti

Max Baer: Craig Bierko

Mike Wilson: Paddy Considine

Jimmy Johnston: Bruce McGill

Ford Bond: David Huband

MPAA rating PG-13

Running time -- 144 minutes »

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Law dramas call La Salle, McGill to stand

2 March 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Eriq La Salle has been tapped to star in CBS' drama pilot Conviction, and Bruce McGill has been cast in ABC's drama pilot Laws of Chance. In other pilot-casting news, Judith Light has joined ABC's drama Westside, Eddie Cibrian has come aboard another ABC drama pilot, Invasion, Josh Radnor has landed the lead in CBS' comedy pilot How I Met Your Mother and Leonor Varela has joined NBC's drama pilot E-Ring. Conviction, from Warner Bros. TV and 25C Prods., is a legal drama about a team of lawyers who prosecute major cases. La Salle will play a veteran ADA. La Salle, an original ER cast member, played Dr. Peter Benton for eight years. Conviction reunites the actor with ER producer WBTV. He is repped by Paradigm. »

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4 items from 2005


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