Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nothing But the Truth directed by Rod Lurie

(A.K.A. the best film of 2008 you didn't get to see)

Arriving on DVD on April 28th is one of the best films of 2008.

Nothing But the Truth directed by Rod Lurie was a critics and film festival favorite, but unfortunately due to the well publicized financial troubles of distributor Yari Film Group, the film was unable to secure a nationwide film release.

The film bears a circumstantial resemblance to the Valerie Plame scandal, but is NOT based on those events. The piece is actually a character drama which explores the lengths that a journalist, played by Kate Beckinsale, will go to protect a source for an explosive political story.

If you are unfamiliar with Rod Lurie's works, he is recognized in the industry for creating outstanding, story driven, character pieces, which is rare in today's Hollywood.

His films such as the Academy Award nominated The Contender, Deterrence, The Last Castle and Resurrecting the Champ often explores the theme of standing by principles in the face of tremendous adversity.

He takes that theme to the extreme here and has delivered arguably his best film ever.

In the past, Lurie has been criticized for being too sentimental towards his protagonist. He avoids that trap here, maintaining an objective point of view. The result of his unsympathetic distance reveals fascinating portraits of morally imperfect characters in a harsh and cold legal world. The film is simply put, an emotional roller coaster with surprising plot twists and unexpected turns.

The piece also features tremendous performances from the entire ensemble cast.

The actors in this film unfortunately went unrecognized during awards season. Stand out performances were delivered by Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, Vera Farmiga and David Schwimmer.

But the performances that stood out for me the most were Kate Beckingsale, Matt Dillon and Noah Wyle.

Surprisingly, Noah Wyle seems to be transformed here and at times appears almost unrecognizable. His performance has a different spiritual rhythm and tone which hasn't been seen in his previous works. Matt Dillon, who is the traditional antagonist here, portrays a character whose working class roots shine through his high powered lawyer exterior. The performance reveals a humble, yet intelligent character who is surprisingly sympathetic.

But make no mistake about it, the film belongs to Kate Beckingsale.

Her character is simultaneously affable and stubborn, smart yet naive, strong yet vulnerable. The performance explores a character whose morals are tested in unimaginable and heartbreaking ways. The character's arc reveals a person who is so complex, that by the end of the film, even after experiencing her long journey and emotional turmoil, we haven't even scratched the surface of understanding her. It is beyond a doubt the best performance of Kate Beckingsale's career.

The film will leave you debating and examining your own personal beliefs and morals for days after.

The DVD features a commentary by writer/director Rod Lurie and producer Marc Frydman, deleted scenes and a behind the scenes special titled "The Truth Hurts: The making of Nothing But the Truth."

Make sure to take advantage of this DVD release and catch this outstanding and little seen gem of 2008.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Passing of Nick Adenhart

After watching last night's frustrating loss to the A's, I went to bed with the comfort that today would be a new day. I looked forward to the chance for the Angels to turn the page on a bad ending to a good game. Little did I know that before I would wake up this morning, a tragedy would unfold that would profoundly effect this season and many more seasons to come for the Angels and their fans.

The day started normally for me. I drove to work listening to Colin Cowherd on ESPN. The recap played every ten minutes of how the Angels blew the lead, despite six strong innings from the young pitcher Nick Adenhart. When I arrived at work, I clocked in and started my work day. Before I was even completely settled in at work, I was already daydreaming about coming home to my family and watching the Angels game on the big screen tonight.

I was briefly chatting on AIM with my wife, when she informed me of the tragic collision. The news was being reported on TV.

At the young age of 22, Nick Adenhart had passed away, the victim of a senseless traffic collision. Two others were also killed, while one was in critical condition. The culprit, a man who made the poor decision to attempt to drive home under the influence of alcohol and with his license suspended. He ran a red light with his mini-van, striking the coupe Adenhart and three friends were traveling in.

Reports trickled out about how the man was humble, well liked and respectful to people he came in contact with. He overcame adversity in his career by recovering from tommy john surgery and worked hard to try and bounce back from a disappointing debut last year in the majors.

Last night's game was seen by many as a turning point professionally for him. It was a coming out party for a pitcher who was once seen as a prospect and was now a legitimate major leaguer. His father had even flown out from Maryland to watch the best game of his son's Major League career.

I have never met Nick Adenhart or even watched him play in person at the stadium. But I have to admit that this news has affected me more than I ever expected. It has affected me as a fan of the Angels, as a father, and as a fellow human being.

My deepest condolences go out to the family, teammates and fans of this obviously well-liked and talented young man.

One more Angel in heaven.

A right hander who had amazing potential and reportedly great heart.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bruno - Red Band Trailer

The Red band Trailer for Bruno was released today and the film looks poised to offend and shock even more people then Sacha Baron Cohen's previous film Borat.

Obviously going to be hilarious. Can't wait.

Get a free ringtone with Bruno tickets!