Film Review: The Hustle

Despite its glamorous setting and talented leads, Chris Addison’s The Hustle is weirdly flat. Those expecting an amusing comedy will be disappointed. 

Josephine is a con artist working her tricks on gullible rich men in the south of France. When brash Australian Penny shows up hoping to score big, Josephine reluctantly agrees to train her to make big cons…

An update of 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Hustle sees two con artists reluctantly team up to swindle rich men out of the money. Director Chris Addison’s film sticks to the same beats as the earlier picture, yet lacks the charm of its antecedent. The set up works fine; with Josephine and Penny making an odd couple pairing. However, The Hustle is let down by its screenplay (written by Jac Schaeffer) that fails to bring laughs, tension or thrills. 

The opening gambit establish the two main characters and their methods fairly succinctly. After the characters interact, with Josephine agreeing to train Penny, it is like the film does not no where to run with this. Setting up a rivalry at this point feels reductive, lacking the sense of tension or stakes that it should. The bet placed seems flippant, almost like a device that will lead on to a bigger con. Unfortunately there is little intelligence in the sting; the clever con viewers may expect never materialises. Instead, the ending is remarkably flat, so much so that viewers may be surprised when the credits roll. Whilst it follows the same narrative as the 1988 film, it feels as if Schaeffer and Addison might do something different here, given the lack of punch. There is no discernible climax, and the lack of payoff is jarring. 

The other major issue with The Hustle is the humour. Most of the jokes fall flat, failing to get a titter from viewers. The weight jokes get tired incredibly fast, and the slapstick fails to raise a laugh. If the film had been amusing throughout, some of the narrative drawbacks may have been forgiven. As it stands, poor jokes and a flimsy story make for a deadly combination. Rebel Wilson musters as much charisma as possible, but the material works against her and Anne Hathaway. Hathaway has done comedy well enough before, but here fails to deliver laughs. The production values are good, as are the costumes and styling. 

A talented actor and writer, hopefully Chris Addison will go on to better things than this feature directorial debut. The Hustle is a dud. 

Previews: Dark River Poster, Oceans 8, More!

Plenty in this pre-Christmas preview of coming events, including the new Dark River poster, Gringo, Oceans 8, and more…

Dark River Poster

Here is the new Dark River poster. The drama is about fraught relationship between a brother and a sister. Directed by Clio Bernard, the film stars Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, and Sean Bean. Dark River will be released in UK cinemas on 23rd February 2018.

Gringo Trailer

Gringo is a dark comedy about a businessman who finds himself at the mercy of colleagues and local drug lords in Mexico. The film features an all-star cast that includes David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, and Amanda Seyfried. Gringo is directed by Nash Edgerton (brother of Joel), and is set for release on UK screens on 9th March 2018.

Oceans 8 Trailer

Here is the first trailer for Oceans 8. The film features the same big heist set-up as its predecessors, albeit with a brand new cast. Sandra Bullock leads the star-studded cast, and is joined by Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, and Anne Hathaway. Oceans 8 is scheduled for release in June 2018.

Isle of Dogs Poster

Here is the newest poster for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. The stop-motion animated film is about a boy who travels to an island of dogs to find his dog, Spots. The enviable voice cast includes Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Ken Watanabe, and Greta Gerwig. Isle of Dogs will be released in UK cinemas on 30th March 2017.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Trailer

The sequel to the hit 2008 film Mamma Mia! gets a belated sequel. The film is part sequel and part prequel as it focuses on current activity and well as telling the story of Donna when she was younger. Lily James plays the young Donna, and the cast of the original reprise their roles, including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will be released on 20th July 2018.

Previews: The Accountant trailer, The Woods and more!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including The Accountant trailer, The Woods, and more…

The Accountant Trailer

Here is the new The Accountant trailer. The film stars Ben Affleck as a maths savant who works as a freelance accountant for dangerous criminal organisation. With his latest client, accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) notices a major discrepancy. The Accountant is set for release on 4th November 2016.

The Woods Trailer

The first-look trailer for The Woods smartly eschews revealing too much. The film has been receiving critical acclaim thus far. It will be interesting to see what You’re Next and The Guest director Adam Wingard has in store for horror fans. The Woods will be released in UK cinemas on 16th September 2016.

Jason Bourne Featurette

Jason Bourne is back in this new featurette for the upcoming action thriller. Jason Bourne reunites Matt Damon with original director Paul Greengrass. Alicia Vikander also joins the cast, which includes Julia Stiles and Tommy Lee Jones. Jason Bourne bounces back onto the big screen on 27th July 2016.

Alice Through The Looking Glass Clip

Here is a new clip from the upcoming Alice Through The Looking Glass. Mia Wasikowska’s Alice returns to Wonderland after an absence to find things have taken a turn for the worse. The film reunites the cast from the 2010 film including Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway. Alice Through The Looking Glass hits UK screens on 27th May 2016.

The Magnificent Seven Trailer

The Magnificent Seven is a remake of 1960’s The Magnificent Seven (which was, in turn, a remake of Seven Samurai). Antoine Fuqua, which features an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke. The Magnificent Seven will be released in IMAX and regular cinemas 23rd September 2016.

Film Review: The Intern

THE INTERN

Nancy Myers comedy drama The Intern hits the notes expected from the writer-director. The film is entertaining throughout, with a thoughtful message at its core.

Bored of the retired life, widower Ben Whittaker looks for ways to fill his days. He decides to apply for a job as a senior intern. Ben is placed with creative Jules Ostin, the busy founder of an online site…

Those acquainted with other Nancy Myers films will instantly recognise the tone and style of The Intern. The film has a familiar feel, setting and set up as other Myers’ pictures. The New York setting is sleek, feelings are deep and meaningful, and real-life issues are dealt with. This is not really a bad thing; most viewers will know what to expect from The Intern. And the film offers a little more besides.

At its heart, The Intern is about an inter-generational friendship. Other aspects, such as professional and romantic relationships are merely strands to the central story. The burgeoning friendship between Ben and Jules is pleasant to watch, with other elements of their lives working to provide need for this unusual relationship.

The comedy in The Intern works fairly well. The humour is light, focussing heavily on differences between the generations. Thankfully, the film eschews the jokes about Ben not understanding anything modern, for the most part at least. The Intern‘s more dramatic sequences are also well executed, with sufficient occurrences present to give the film more emotional depth.

The reflections of both Ben and Jules illustrate the differences in time and generations. What is more striking is the stance the film takes regarding career and family life for contemporary women. Whilst the outcome of the film may not be wholly satisfying for all, the messages in the significance of choice, the importance of career, and the duty of balancing aspects of life are certainly welcome and relevant.

The Intern may not have worked as well if it was not for the great chemistry between Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. As it stands, those who enjoy Myers’ films are unlikely to be disappointed.

The Intern Premiere

The Intern premiere takes place this evening in Leicester Square. Those expected to attend include stars Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, and writer-director Nancy Myers. At last week’s New York The Intern premiere, Anne Hathaway got pretty excited to see Mariah Carey at the premiere, so it will be interesting to see who shows up for this one. Action is due to quick off at 6.15pm GMT, but you can see the trailer for the film here in the meantime.

The Intern is released in UK cinemas on 2nd October 2015.

Previews: Deadpool Trailer, Crimson Peak Poster and more

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the Deadpool trailer, a video for The Martian, the latest Crimson Peak poster and more…

Deadpool Trailer

Here is the red band Deadpool trailer. The film deviates from other Marvel films in that it is clearly aimed at an adult audience with the violence and swearing. As such, it offers something different in the cramped superhero marketplace. Deadpool is set for release on 4th February 2016. My birthday, in case you were wondering.

Hitman: Agent 47 Trailer

The trailer for Hitman: Agent 47 certainly looks action-packed. The film is based on a games franchise, of which I know only that you have to toss a coin to distract people. Starring Rupert Friend and Zachary Quinto, Hitman: Agent 47 will hit the big screen on 27th August 2015.

The Martian Video

This video, found in the Ares archive, reveals a bit about the main characters in Ridley Scott’s upcoming The Martian. The film is about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars, and the efforts to rescue him. The all-star cast includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Martian is released in UK cinemas on 30th September 2015.

Crimson Peak Poster

Crimson Peak poster

Here is the latest image from Guillermo del Toro’s latest Crimson Peak. The film is about a young woman who is swept away to an old house which is full of mystery. The gothic horror stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. Crimson Peak creeps its way onto the big screen on 16th October 2015.

The Intern Trailer

The Intern stars Robert De Niro as the older intern of high-flyer Anne Hathaway. The film is the latest from writer-director Nancy Myers, and seems to have a similar style to her previous output. The Intern will be released in UK cinemas on 2nd October 2015.

Zoolander 2 Trailer

Here is the teaser for comedy sequel Zoolander 2. It reveals little about the plot of the new film, but reassures that the style of comedy has not changed. Reuniting Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, Zoolander 2 is set for release in February 2016.

Black Mass Trailer

Here is the trailer for Black Mass, which focuses on notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Starring Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch, it will interesting to see how the film compares to other gangster movies. Black Mass will be released in cinemas on 13th November 2015.

Interstellar Press Conference

Interstellar Press Conference

Last week, the cast and crew gathered in London for the Interstellar press conference. Here is what cast members Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Mackenzie Foy, plus director Christopher Nolan and producer Emma Thomas had to say about the film…

On making Interstellar…

Christopher Nolan: My interest in Interstellar was a couple of key things. First was the relationship between the father and the children. I am a father myself and I related to it quite a lot; I found it very powerful. And I liked the idea of combining that with this story that speculates about a potential moment in human evolution where mankind would have to reckon with its place in the wider universe.

Emma Thomas: The thing I love about this film is that it is many things rolled into one. So whilst we were doing the more intimate character stuff, we also had these massive, disparate locations to shoot in. Iceland is an amazing place but a lot of the places that we were in were incredibly remote and incredibly challenging. But I think it really paid off; it’s a lot more fun to watch it than it was to be there in some cases!

On science fiction cinema…

Christopher Nolan: I grew up and what was really a golden age of blockbusters. If you look at Close Encounters [of the Third Kind] and they way it addressed that idea of this inevitable moment where humans would meet aliens, and address it from a family perspective. I really liked the idea of giving today’s audiences some sense of that… One of my earliest movie-going memories is going to Leicester Square to see 2001 [A Space Odyssey] when I was seven years old, and I have never forgotten the scale of that. I saw my first IMAX film when I was fifteen, and immediately I wanted to make features that way at the point. Really for me working on this scale, it’s a long-held dream of mine.

Interstellar QUAD

On working with Christopher Nolan…

Matthew McConaughey: It is a compliment to the process that even though this went on for five months, and there was a much larger scope and scale, when you are acting in a Christopher Nolan film it feels just as intimate and just as raw and natural as most independent films are forced to feel because you don’t have the time. But we had the time and the money on Interstellar, but when you are actually shooting, it is very intimate, and very raw and natural.

Jessica Chastain: I don’t normally do big movies, I’m kind of new to this world. I had always been afraid that jumping on a big budget film, you would lose the relationships in favour of special effects. But the great thing about working with Chris is that it is all practical sets, so you actually have things to react to as an actor, which is awesome. We would do three or four takes, and it’s so incredible because he would let me get it out of my system, try what I wanted to without trying to impose on me something that wasn’t natural. With a very delicate hand, he would come over and just say one sentence… and with that tiny, exquisite note, he would open up my performance in a way I would never have imagined.

Mackenzie Foy: Christopher Nolan is awesome! I want to be a director when I get older, and just to be able to watch him work is amazing and it meant a lot to me.

Michael Caine: You spend your life as an actor making a picture saying “is it going to be going to be a hit? Is it going to be a miss?”. I’ve had six pictures working with Christopher, and every one has been a hit. So whenever he says “do you want to do a movie?”, I say “yes”! He said “do you want to read the script?” and I said “no”! It’s quite extraordinary working with him because he also writes it, and nothing is what it seems. I remember the first time he came to me with a script, he came to my house in the country, he said “I’ve got a movie”. I said; “what is it?” and he said “Batman”, and I thought to myself “well I’m too old to play Batman, what does he want me to play?”. He said; “I want you to play the butler” and I thought about the type of dialogue I would have, what do I say; “dinner is served”? And of course I read the script; it wasn’t the butler, it was the foster father.

On favourite science fiction characters…

Christopher Nolan: It’s got to be Darth Vader…

Emma Thomas: I would have to say Sigourney Weaver’s character in Alien.

Mackenzie Foy: Either Darth Vader or Spock.

Matthew McConaughey: Chewbacca and Murph [from Interstellar].

Anne Hathaway: R2D2 and Ripley.

Michael Caine: Sandy Bullock in Gravity.

Jessica Chastain: Mine would be Princess Leia and HAL.

Anne Hathaway: Can I add a science fiction character? Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. But I am speaking specifically of the new version.

On saving the environment…

Jessica Chastain: I’m vegan, and I don’t think everyone should be vegan, but I do believe that something like meatless Mondays. If everyone in the world gave up meat for one day it would make a huge difference in terms of the carbon footprint.

Michael Caine: I was so poor for so long that I didn’t use anything, I didn’t eat very much, I figured the world owed me a debt so… I am eating very well and have had a big car for a long time!

Anne Hathaway: I try to do a lot of little things in the hope that they are going to add up. I time my showers, I try not to overly consume things, or blindly consume things…

Christopher Nolan: Communal resources, like gathering people in one place, like a movie theatre. So if you go and see Interstellar every evening, you’ll save an enormous amount of energy!

Interstellar is released on Friday 7th November 2014.