Movie Review: “The Hollars”
John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Margo Martindale, Sharlto Copley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Actor John Krasinski returns behind the camera with “The Hollars,” the follow-up to his 2009 directorial debut “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” an adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s novel of the same name. Although that film was greeted with mostly negative reviews, Krasinski’s sophomore effort is a compelling and kind-hearted, albeit familiar, tale about returning home.
After learning his mother is sick, John Hollar (Krasinski) has to fly back home, away from his unsatisfying job and his pregnant girlfriend, Rebecca (Anna Kendrick). Upon his arrival, he’s greeted by his brother Ron (Sharlto Copley), who was recently fired by their dad, Don (Richard Jenkins), from the family store. After his divorce, Ron is still living at home, doing considerably worse than his younger brother, who once dreamt of what he thinks is a better life as a graphic novelist. Once he arrives home, he’s forced to confront past mistakes, rebuild relationships, and be there for his family, most notably his mother Sally (Margo Martindale), who’s been diagnosed with a massive brain tumor.
That plot summary tells you exactly what you’re in for. In one subplot, John even has dinner at his ex-girlfriend’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) house with her husband Jason (Charlie Day), who comedically hovers around to make sure nothing happens between them. It’s an overly broad scene that speaks to “The Hollars” biggest problem: it tries a little too hard with the laughs. Screenwriter James C. Strouse often goes big with the gags, and sometimes at the expense of the drama. It feels like almost every dramatic scene has to end with a laugh or some kind of gag to provide levity. The jokes are sometimes more calculated than a natural mix of the good (the laughs) and the bad (the drama) in these situations.
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Movie Review: “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”
John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Max Martini, Dominic Fumusa, David Costabile, Toby Stephens
Michael Bay has wasted the better part of the last decade making “Transformers” movies, each one more awful than the last, so it’s always refreshing when he takes a break from the blockbuster franchise to produce smaller films (comparatively speaking) like “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” Based on Mitchell Zuckoff’s book about the 2012 attacks in Libya, “13 Hours” is an exhilarating and surprisingly apolitical military thriller that reconfirms why Bay is one of the best action directors in the business. Though the movie isn’t without the typical Bayisms (from the overuse of slow motion and lingering shots of the American flag, to the corny dialogue), it thankfully plays more to his strengths as a filmmaker.
John Krasinski stars as Jack Silva, a former Navy SEAL who has reluctantly resorted to military contractor work to help pay the bills. He’s the newest member of a six-man security team – the innocuously named Global Response Staff (GRS) – tasked with protecting a small group of CIA operatives working out of a top-secret outpost in Benghazi. Tensions within the city are already boiling over following the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, so when U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens (Matt Letscher) makes a peace trip to Benghazi and insists on staying in a nearby diplomatic compound instead of under CIA protection, the GRS is placed on high alert.
The rest, as they say, is history. On the evening of September 11, 2012, Islamic militants attacked the poorly guarded compound where Ambassador Stevens was residing, and while the GRS – comprised of Silva, team leader Tyrone Woods (James Badge Dale), Kris Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), Dave Benton (David Denman), Mark Geist (Max Martini) and John Tiegen (Dominic Fumusa) – was ready to mount a rescue attempt within minutes, they were forced to stand down by the CIA chief in charge (David Costabile). When the team finally arrived at the compound, the damage had already been done, but it was just the beginning of their hellish night as they returned to the CIA annex to defend against wave after wave of rebel attacks until support arrived.
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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Lacey Chabert (“Scarecrow”)
Lacey Chabert got her start in acting before she was out of single digits, but her big break came just after crossing into double-digit territory, when she was cast as Claudia Salinger in FOX’s “Party of Five,” giving her a full-time gig for six seasons. Since the show’s cancellation in 2000, Chabert has continued to work regularly, sometimes as a voice actor – you may remember her as Eliza from “The Wild Thornberrys,” but she’s still in the studio on a regular basis for other series, most recently on The Hub’s “Transformers: Rescue Bots” – but definitely still in front of the camera on a regular basis, too. Chabert can be seen in the latest SyFy original movie, “Scarecrow,” which premieres tonight, and she chatted with Bullz-Eye about her experiences working on the film, reminisced about some of her other past projects, and explained how she’s belatedly found her way onto social media…but only on her terms.
Bullz-Eye: So how did you enjoy doing “Scarecrow”? I’ve only seen the trailer so far, but it looks like it would’ve been fun to do…or, at least, I hope it was!
Lacey Chabert: It was a lot of fun! I’ve never done a horror film where I was… Well, I was in “Black Christmas,” but I got killed kind of early on in that film. [Laughs.] My character didn’t even know that the killer was there! But this was something where I’m actually running from the killer…you know, the predator, the scary monster. So we’re running from him for basically the entire film, so that was a whole new challenge, something that I’d never done before, and…it was fun. It’s a fun Halloween movie!
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Tags: A New Wave, All My Children, Andrew Keegan, Baby Daddy, Gary Oldman, Gwen Stacy, John Krasinski, Lacey Chabert, Les Miserables, Lost in Space, Mean Girls, Mimi Rogers, Party of Five, Scarecrow, SyFy Original Movie, The Light from the TV Shows, The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Unmarried Friend, The Wild Thornberrys, Time of Your Life, Tina Fey, Transformers: RescueBots, Will Harris, William Hurt, Young Justice, Zatanna