Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt
Written by: Steve Zaillian/Aaron Sorkin
Directed by: Bennett Miller
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For about 95% of the population, a movie that centers around baseball statistics sounds as appetizing as sticking your hand down a garbage disposal, but Moneyball luckily overcomes those initial feelings to deliver an engaging underdog story with a great script and a tremendous lead performance by Brad Pitt. Yes that’s right, Hollywood made a movie about statistics interesting; what’s next, a movie about that Zuckerberg douche and his privacy-hating website? Heeeeey wait a second…
Starring: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Reece Thompson, Lee Pace
Written and Directed by: Max Winkler
Watch Ceremony Instantly
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Ceremony, the first film from writer/director Max Winkler, is a movie that doesn’t give you the chance to breath; moving quickly from scene to scene with its characters speaking what feels like rapid fire dialogue, it initially requires the viewer to adjust to the proceedings. But once you get on board with Winkler’s style and get invested into the story, Ceremony quickly becomes something more than just your run of the mill quirky indie love story; it’s a movie that’s far funnier than anything in recent memory.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston
Written by: Hossein Amini
Directed by: Nicholas Winding Refn
Drive is not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, none of them are, but it’s pretty damn close. Nicholas Winding Refn has crafted a film that is not only beautiful to look at, but is captivating to watch. Filled with interesting characters and exciting and tense action scenes, it’s a movie that walks the line of action flicks that have come before it but brings enough of its own flavor to the table to create an experience that feels wholly unique and ultimately satisfying.
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison
Written by: Gavin O’Connor/Anthony Tambakis/Cliff Dorfman
Directed by: Gavin O’ Connor
Similar to last year’s The Fighter, Warrior is a movie that is more character drama than about actual fighting. And on the whole this works; the three main characters are compelling and devestating, and their story is interesting enough to grab your attention. But unfortunately, what ultimately keeps Warrior from being a really great movie is the fact that, well, it’s not really all that original.
Warrior stars Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy as a pair of estranged brothers living in different areas of Pennsylvania. Brendan (Edgerton) is a retired MMA fighter who has given up the world of fighting to be a science teacher, while Tommy (Hardy) has returned home after a tour in Iraq, scarred and sullen. When TapOut announces a 16 man “best of the best” tournament, dubbed “Sparta”, the two begin training in order to get into the event. Brendan seeks out his old friend/trainer Frank (Frank Grillo) to get him back into fighting shape, while Tommy begrudgingly asks the help of their father Paddy (Nick Nolte), a former alcoholic who the two brothers have much resentment for. And despite the fact that one brother was retired for many years and the other has just started, they get into the tournament which is supposedly for the greatest MMA fighters on the planet (I’m guessing the UFC and other major promotions kept their guys from competing). What follows should not be too entirely shocking, if you’ve seen the trailer.
[Finish the Review Over at Man, I Love Films]