Movie Review: “Maggie”

Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Aiden Flowers
Director
Henry Hobson

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen hasn’t been as triumphant as it should’ve been. In addition to the abominable David Ayer picture, “Sabotage,” the former California governor has appeared in a number of disappointing efforts, including his charismatic cameos in the consistently underwhelming “Expendables” franchise. But for the first time in a long time, not only does Schwarzenegger star in a film worthy of his name, but one that’s way out of his comfort zone, lending considerable emotional depth to the deadly serious zombie drama, “Maggie.”

A few months after the necroambulist virus struck the nation, the rate of infection is beginning to dwindle. Day by day, there are less infected roaming the streets. In no way is the country returning to normal, though, with many families and loved ones still being torn apart by the disease. Wade Vogel (Schwarzenegger) is a Midwest father of three. His oldest daughter from a previous marriage, Maggie (Abigail Breslin), escapes from home after becoming infected with the virus in fear of harming her family. This doesn’t stop Wade from searching for his daughter, and once she’s found, Maggie is brought home. But she only has a few weeks left to live, and it’s up to Wade whether to have her quarantined or kill her himself before she “turns.”

That’s about as much plot as there is in director Henry Hobson’s film. Don’t expect Arnold to fight off zombies or search for the cure to his daughter’s illness. “Maggie” is driven far more by character than story. It’s a quiet, slow burn – albeit a little too slow at times. Even with a 95-minute running time, writer John Scott 3’s screenplay is pretty thin, and although that’s acceptable because it’s not the film’s priority, even for what it is, “Maggie” could have used a few trims and some tightening up.

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Movie Review: “Sabotage”

Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Terrence Howard, Olivia Williams, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Harold Perrineau
Director
David Ayer

Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t wasted any time since announcing his return from retirement, cranking out movies with the prolificacy of someone who knows that the clock is ticking on his Hollywood career. But despite recent appearances in “The Expendables 2,” “The Last Stand” and “Escape Plan,” Schwarzenegger has yet to make a film that measures up to some of his more iconic roles. The actor’s latest project, “Sabotage,” certainly had the promise to be that movie. Directed by David Ayer, who’s pretty much become Hollywood’s go-to guy for gritty cop films, this modern-day twist on Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” shares the same basic premise used for one of Schwarzenegger’s biggest hits, “Predator.” It also boasts one hell of an ensemble cast for a seemingly generic action thriller, which is why it’s so disappointing that that’s exactly what “Sabotage” turned out to be.

Schwarzenegger stars as John “Breacher” Wharton, the head of an elite DEA task force that’s taken down some of the biggest drug lords in the world. His team is comprised of some colorful characters – each with their own silly codename like Monster (Sam Worthington), Grinder (Joe Manganiello) and Sugar (Terrence Howard) – but they’re the best at what they do, oozing with so much confidence that they manage to steal $10 million during their latest raid on a Mexican cartel safe house. When they go back to retrieve the hidden money, however, they discover that it’s missing, replaced by a single, ominous bullet. Before long, members of Breacher’s team start to get picked off one by one, with homicide detective Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) assigned to track down those responsible. But while the brutal murders appear to be the work of the cartel, the surviving agents begin to suspect that someone from within their own ranks is hunting them.

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Lennie James (“Low Winter Sun”)

Lennie James is a familiar face to fans of cult and comic-book-inspired TV series, having been a regular in “Jericho” and guesting on “Human Target” and “The Walking Dead,” but now he’s trying his hand at an American cop drama, starring in AMC’s “Low Winter Sun.” James’s career has also featured several notable film roles as well, and he was kind enough to chat about a few of those, too, most notably reflecting on the passing of his “Snatch” co-star Dennis Farina. First, though, we dove into discussion about how he came by his current gig, the difference between how his character’s written and how he plays the part, and his fondness for AMC’s way with surprises.

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Bullz-Eye: So were you actively looking for a series gig, or did “Low Winter Sun” just kind of fall into your lap?

Lennie James: Um…I’m trying to remember how it went around! I think it was… I’d gone home to Britain to do a television series over there, and then when I got back, “Low Winter Sun” was… [Hesitates.] Oh, that’s actually what happened. I was just about to lie to you. I’ll tell you the truth now.

BE: The truth is always preferable when I can get it.

LJ: Yeah! Well, I shot a pilot that didn’t go, and the script for “Low Winter Sun” kind of came in, and…it was very conventional: I read it, I liked it, and then went and met on it, and it happened.

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5 Ways Movie Stars Make Money Between Films

Most movie stars like to take breaks between big films, but they don’t necessarily want to stop making money. Check out these five ways movie stars make money between films.

Working as Musicians

Creative types often use their off time pursuing other crafts, such as visual art or music. Keanu Reeves played bass in a band called Dogstar until the Matrix Trilogy hurtled him into a new level of celebrity. Donald Glover, who acts in movies as well as the television series Community, spends quite a bit of time pursuing his career as a rapper under the pseudonym Childish Gambino. By all accounts, Glover is considerably better at his musical craft than Reeves.

Inventing New Technologies

Few actors have successful careers as inventors. 1930’s film star Hedy Lamarr, however, had a flair for mathematics that made her an outstanding inventor as well as an actress. In fact, Lamarr co-created a technology that made it nearly impossible for enemy armies to jam radio communications from US soldiers. The military didn’t fully understand the importance of her invention, but her frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum patent played an instrumental role in developing Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth.

Endorsing Products

Jenna Fischer, who has performed in hit comedies such as Blades of Glory and Hall Pass, made some extra cash by endorsing Proactiv products in 2010. While endorsing products like Proactiv’s dark spot corrector, she also won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance on The Office. That must have been a busy year!

Appearing in Foreign Commercials

A lot of actors don’t want to appear in commercials because they worry the work might tarnish their reputations. When they’re away from home, though, many of them will appear in commercials for extra cash. Jennifer Aniston appeared in a German Heineken commercial. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in a TV ad for an Italian telephone company. One of the weirdest examples, though, comes from Nicholas Cage, who played himself in a commercial for a Japanese gaming device. In the ad, he becomes crazed by blonde triplets, jumps on top of his car while yelling “fever!”, and speeds off without warning.

Investing in Businesses

Movie stars have a lot of money, so they are key targets for any entrepreneur who needs startup capital. Planet Hollywood is probably the most popular example of this. Without investments and endorsements from Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s unlikely that this chain would have become as popular.
Ashton Kutcher has invested his money in companies that seem much hipper by today’s standards. Some of his investments include Foursquare and Spotify. He also bought into Skype before it became popular. Even if he hadn’t gotten rich off his romantic comedies, that well-timed investment would have made him extremely wealthy.
Actors have to do more than just sit around looking attractive when they’re between films. What other celebrities have you seen participating in side projects?

  

30 for 30 Shorts series launches with ‘Arnold’s Blueprint’

Arnold Schwarzenegger is an American icon, but his roots go way back to his childhood in Austria. ESPN’s acclaimed “30 for 30″ series returns this week, but this time around they’ve added “30 for 30 Shorts” that can be seen at Grantland, and the first installment cover’s Arnold’s early years in Austria. “Arnold’s Blueprint” is a 12-minute film focusing on his teenage years in the Austrian Army as he used the sport of bodybuilding to turn himself into an international celebrity. We’ve embedded the video below so you can watch it here.

  

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