18 items from 2015
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
If there's one thing a movie starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart guarantees, it's mixed-to-negative critical reception and decent-to-stellar audience reaction. Both seem like strong possibilities this Friday with the release of the duo's new comedy Get Hard (2015), in which a wealthy tycoon (Ferrell) insists that his employee (Hart) show him the ins-and-outs of how to survive in prison after he himself is sentenced. Early screenings of Get Hard have brought claims of homophobia and racial stereotyping, yet the popularity of the movie's two stars should be enough to potentially carry the comedy to a healthy run at the box office.
Should Get Hard succeed, it will be another victory for director and co-writer Etan Cohen, who has found success writing such hits as Tropic Thunder and Men In Black 3. Yet for a select few, his collaboration with Mike Judge on the hilarious and somewhat horrifying Idiocracy (2006) remains his best work. »
- Frank Calvillo
If you've been watching late night television over the past couple weeks, you've probably caught Will Ferrell hamming it up in order to promote the arrival of his new comedy Get Hard with Kevin Hart, which starts hitting theaters this evening. It's been a lot of fun, but nothing that we felt compelled to cover, that is until he decided to sing the iconic theme song to Star Trek with his angelic voice. Ferrell has been called the songbird of his generation and this clip from "The Late Late Show" with James Corden (fresh off his amazing viral stunt with Tom Hanks) proves it's absolutely true. Why does Kevin Hart tell him to stop? Here's Will Ferrell's majestic rendition of the Star Trek theme from "The Late Late Show" YouTube: You can watch the previous final red band trailer for Get Hard right here. Get Hard marks the feature »
- Ethan Anderton
★★☆☆☆ This sophomoric culture-clash comedy stars two comedy actors at different points on the career spectrum. Kevin Hart, a stand-up whose barrage of studio comedies have been huge financial successes, shares the screen with Will Ferrell, still a draw despite a string of recent critical misses. The latter plays a businessman James King, due to be incarcerated for tax evasion, who enlists Hart's character Darnell to prepare him for prison life. Having written broad but clever comedies Idiocracy (2006) and Tropic Thunder (2008), it's disappointing to see debutant director Etan Cohen deliver a film which relies so heavily on lazy stereotypes.
- CineVue UK
When a film comedy goes right, the results seem effortless. The zingers trip from the actors' lips, the jokes land with laser precision, and the 90 minute duration seems to skip by in an instant.
When a film comedy goes wrong, the one-liners drop like stones, the jokes sail wide of the mark, and time moves so slowly that it’s almost like being stuck in a bullet-time sequence from The Matrix. Get Hard slides gloomily into the latter category.
James King (Will Ferrell) has everything a millionaire could want: a loving wife (Alison Brie), a huge car, an even bigger house seemingly built entirely from polished marble, and a boss, Martin (Craig T Nelson) willing to make him a partner in a Wall Street trading company. But then James is arrested for »
From the offbeat mind of Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy), this critically-acclaimed HBO comedy takes viewers inside the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley. Inspired by Judge’s own experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 80’s, the show follows the trials and tribulations of awkward computer programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch – The Wolf of Wall Street), who lives in a “Hacker Hostel” along with his friends Big Head (Josh Brener – The Big Bang Theory), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr – This Is The End), and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani – Sex Tape).
Under the watchful eye of Erlich (T.J. Miller – Transformers: Age of Extinction), a dotcom millionaire who lets them stay in his house for free (as long as he gets a 10% stake in their projects), the »
- Dan Bullock
To celebrate the release of the magnificent Season One of HBO’s Silicon Valley on Monday 23rd March, we’ve got a rather brilliant featurette to share with you exclusively.
From the offbeat mind of Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy), this critically-acclaimed HBO comedy takes viewers inside the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley. Inspired by Judge’s own experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 80’s, the show follows the trials and tribulations of computer programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch), who lives in a “Hacker Hostel” along with his friends Big Head (Josh Brener), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani).
Under the watchful eye of Erlich (T.J. Miller), a dotcom millionaire who lets them stay in his house for free (as long as he gets a 10% stake in their projects), the friends struggle to break into the elusive and lucrative market. It’s not only a lot »
- Dan Bullock
Just two weeks after the red band trailer debuted, Warner Bros. has released a slew of new photos for Get Hard, arriving in theaters March 27. The upcoming comedy brings comedy superstars Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart together for the first time, with the story of one man who will do whatever it takes to survive in prison. Etan Cohen, the screenwriter behind Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder, Men in Black 3 and the upcoming Scouts Vs. Zombies, makes his directorial debut with Get Hard.
When millionaire hedge fund manager James (Will Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. Desperate, he turns to Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prep him for a life behind bars. But despite James' one-percenter assumptions, Darnell is a hard-working small business owner who has never received a parking ticket, let alone been to prison. »
Austin - It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads me on a regular basis that I am a Will Ferrell fan. Even before he made the jump to leading man in the world of features, I was already fully onboard. There's just something about the particular brand of lunacy that so many of his characters embody that entertains me completely. There are few things I enjoy more than seeing what happens when Ferrell and Adam McKay are turned loose on something together, two halves of one mutant brain, the combination of the two resulting in something remarkable. Etan Cohen, you are no Adam McKay. I actually do like some of Cohen's work. "Idiocracy," for example, is a script I adore, co-written by Cohen and Mike Judge, and "Tropic Thunder" is tremendous. But "Get Hard" is impossible to defend thanks to a disastrous choice made early on in the development process. »
- Drew McWeeny
After premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival, the comedy Get Hard starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart is coming to theaters in just under two weeks. And to help promote the film, the two co-stars got together on Funny or Die to talk about how great it was to finally work together. Why hadn't they teamed up before? Well, their agents keep putting them up for the same roles, and now we get to see what films like Anchorman and Elf would have been like with Kevin Hart and what Ride Along would have been like with Will Ferrell. It's pretty amusing, and hopefully their first collaboration will be too. Watch! Here's Kevin Hart & Will Ferrell's lost audition tapes from Funny or Die: You can still watch the most recent red band trailer for Get Hard right here. Get Hard marks the feature directorial debut of Etan Cohen »
- Ethan Anderton
The Austin Film Society, organizers of the Texas Film Awards, have more than a few milestones to celebrate this year. Not only the 30th anniversary of the Society and the 15th anniversary of the Awards themselves, it’s also the capper on a banner year for Texans in film, with Lone Star natives Wes Anderson and Society cofounder Richard Linklater both nominated for director at last month’s Oscars.
As part of the Texas Film Hall of Fame induction ceremony, hosted by Mike Judge, Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos will present a creative achievement award to Linklater’s “Boyhood,” along with posthumous honors to Christopher Evan Welch and L.M. Kit Carson.
Variety Creative Impact in Cinema Award
- Andrew Barker
With 145 total films on tap, including 100 world premieres drawn from a record 2,385 feature-length submissions, SXSW Film is offering a massive slate in 2015, with selections ranging from big studio comedies to microbudget indies, music docs, political docs and episodic TV.
It’s almost too bad that wasn’t the plan.
“We were not intending to increase the number of films,” says SXSW Film head Janet Pierson. “We were literally trying to do the opposite.”
Arriving midway between SXSW Interactive and SXSW Music, the Austin, Texas, film fest has always been both enriched and complicated by the frenzied atmosphere surrounding it.
The fest has served as a launchpad for a plethora of films ranging from “Short Term 12” to “Chef,” “Tiny Furniture,” “Bridesmaids,” “Monsters” and Oscar-winning docu “Undefeated.” But with nearly infinite distractions around town — including the countless peripheral events unaffiliated with SXSW proper — simply making sure that the films on display »
- Andrew Barker
I'm on the set of "Get Hard," and Kevin Hart is cracking himself up. Some context is in order. Hart, Will Ferrell, actress Edwina Finley (as Hart's wife) and Ariana Neal (as Hart's young daughter) are sitting around a table on a New Orleans soundstage. It's a dinner scene. Ferrell's character James, a business executive wrongfully convicted of tax evasion, has hired Hart's character Darnell to prep him for prison under the assumption that the car wash owner has served time. There's just one problem: Darnell hasn't been behind bars a day in his life. In this scene, he's forced to concoct a story about his criminal past after James puts him on the spot during dinner. And by "concoct," I mean "pass off a scene from the movie 'Boyz N the Hood' as an episode from his own life." "Rickaaaaay! Rickaaaaay!" Hart screams near the tail end of his monologue. »
- Chris Eggertsen
You better check yo-self before you wreck yo-self! Warner Bros has unleashed a red band version of a trailer through Kevin Hart's Facebook for the upcoming comedy Get Hard, co-starring Kevin Hart & Will Ferrell. We've seen a number of trailers for this wacky comedy already (watch the latest), which borders on being a bit too racist for my own tastes, even though I get that it's all about the trashy humor. The concept is supposed to be about preparing Will Ferrell for prison, but seems to go overboard with sketches and wacky setups involving Kevin Hart. At least he gets his ass whooped, too. This is red band mostly for the language. Here's the new red band trailer for Etan Cohen's Get Hard direct from Warner Bros: You can also catch the second green-band trailer for Etan Cohen's Get Hard right here. Get Hard marks the feature »
- Alex Billington
They say that the month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Traditionally, March was an unconventional month to release huge tentpole movies, but that all changed a few years ago when The Hunger Games took in $152.5 million in its opening weekend, proving that this month could be used to launch huge blockbuster franchises. To get you prepared for the month ahead, we're breaking down the five movies we're most looking forward to this March, along with an indie honorable mention. Here are the best movies awaiting you in the weeks ahead!
1Chappie - March 6
South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp returns with his third feature film Chappie, following Best Picture nominee District 9 and the sci-fi tentpole Elysium. The filmmaker goes back to his South African roots with Chappie, which centers on the title robot (voiced by Sharlto Copley), who is the first android »
Will Ferrell has taken on the news media, Nascar, semi-pro basketball, law enforcement, Mexican drug cartels, and professional ice skating, but is he ready for the American prison system? We are about to find out with Get Hard, the latest comedy from Ferrell and new partner-in-crime Kevin Hart.
Get Hard has Ferrell playing James King, a criminal in the finance world who enlists Darnell Lewis’s (Hart) assistance to prepare him for a stint in a maximum security prison. Hart is far from a hardened criminal, but that does not stop him from milking his new friend for all he’s worth. As he tells his wife in this trailer, he’s going to be every stereotype in the book if that’s what it takes.
The latest preview showcases Ferrell’s always-amusing brand of humor, as his clueless character attempts to get in good with gang members, look and act tough, »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
It's been a full day already of Oscar coverage with more to come, but now's the time for a little break. Consider this movie, one that will be nominated for zero awards ever: "Get Hard." It's the latest from comic actors Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, joining forces for what looks like an R-rated good time. Etan Cohen ("Tropic Thunder," "Idiocracy") wrote the script and makes his feature directorial debut with a story about a finance wheeler-dealer who gets busted and sentenced to prison. He's not ready for life behind bars, so he hires a young black man who he believes to be a hardened ex-con to show him the ropes. He is mistaken, the blind leads the blind, wackiness ensues. Given the leeway of an R-rating, Ferrell and Hart seem to make the most of what looks like good, very dumb fun. "Get Hard" arrives on March 27th. Watch below. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Following the first trailer released last month, Warner Bros. has released the second trailer for the upcoming comedy Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. When millionaire hedge fund manager James (Will Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. Desperate, he turns to Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prep him for a life behind bars. But despite James' one-percenter assumptions, Darnell is a hard-working small business owner who has never received a parking ticket, let alone been to prison.
Together, the two men do whatever it takes for James to "get hard" and, in the process, discover how wrong they were about a lot of things - including each other. Alison Brie, Paul Ben-Victor, T.I., Vanessa Amaya and Taryn Terrell round out the supporting cast in this upcoming comedy. Get Hard will debut »
18 items from 2015
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