FlixChatter Review: ENTOURAGE (2015)

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When Entourage aired on HBO from 2004-2011, I used to watch it religiously. In fact, I thought it’s one of the best shows on TV at the time. But just like most great shows, the last couple of seasons just went downhill. Nevertheless, when the producers announced that a film version was going to come out right after the show ended, I can’t help but get excited about it.

Unfortunately it took them 4 years to get the film to the big screen and now the boys are back. For those who’ve never seen the show, it’s loosely based on the show’s producer Mark Walberg’s early career in Hollywood. It celebrates and at the same time, mocks the excess life style of the celebrities and filmmakers in Hollywood. The show’s also well known for its famous cameos from celebrities, athletes, musicians and filmmakers. Even A-list directors such as James Cameron and Martin Scorsese appeared on show.
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The film picks up just a few weeks after the show ended. Ari (Jeremy Piven) is now running a big Hollywood movie studio. Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his best pal/manager Eric “E” (Kevin Connolly) are now single again. Vince’s brother Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon) is still trying to make it as an actor even though he’s well into his 40s. While Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) became super rich after he started his liquor business with Mark Cuban. Since Ari is close with Vince, he offered him to star in his first big tentpole picture for the studio. Vince said he’ll do it only if he can direct it too; this of course made everyone nervous since no one knows if he can direct a film or not. The story then jumps 8 months ahead and Vince’s film is almost done, but he’s yet to show it to Ari because he needs more money to finish the visual effects.

In order to get more money, Ari has to go to Texas and beg the studio’s co-financier billionaire businessman named Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) to write him another check. McCredle is not happy because he’s invested a lot of money to the studio and he’s yet to see his returns. Vince’s new film will make or break a lot people’s careers, including Ari’s. McCredle will give Ari more money only if his spoiled and obnoxious son Travis (the unrecognizable Haley Joel Osment) likes the movie. This creates a problem because Ari has yet to see a single frame of Vince’s film.

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This kind of storyline would’ve been great had the filmmaker stuck with it, but unfortunately the rest of the movie is all about the boys’ usual shenanigans. I don’t want to see another lame storyline of Eric having more girl issues, Drama embarrasses himself again and Turtle trying to get laid with a hot chick. And the supposed star of the show, Vince, didn’t have much to do throughout the film. Why didn’t they write up a story of Vince’s struggle to make his first film and the responsibilities of directing a tent pole picture? That would’ve been a great story to tell; unfortunately this film’s just a longer version of the bad TV episode from the show.

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The only saving grace for this film was Jeremy Piven’s performance, I’m glad they made him the lead. The rest of cast were fine, I mean they’re so comfortable with their respective characters that no one could screw up. Pretty much all of the familiar faces showed up in this film and of course the endless cameos.

Most fans of the show will probably love it but for me it’s quite disappointing. It has so much potential but they’ve decided to just make another bad episode, just two hours longer.

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Have you seen the Entourage movie? Well, what did you think?

Chat-worthy actor: Mark Wahlberg

Ok, this is an unusual one. I got inspired to write this post because for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why this one photo I used to accompany a news posting about Entourage gets sooo many clicks! I’m just baffled how it gets sooo much traffic, and he’s not even shirtless! 🙂

I figure it’s kinda timely to feature him today for two reasons: Date Night was number one at the box office this past weekend — where Wahlberg and his six-pack guest-starred — and a trailer of his new action-comedy The Other Guys has just been just released (see below), it actually looks like fun!

I must say I’m impressed by Wahlberg’s career longevity and what a Hollywood’s powerhouse he’s become. I’ve known about the Boston-bred actor since his Marky Mark days when I was a 15 year-old going nuts over New Kids on the Block [wince] … I know, I know, but what choices/decisions of your teenage years don’t leave you scratching your head in hindsight, right? Anyway, I can’t say I was much of a fan of Mark’s music but as an actor, however, he’s actually quite watchable. I’m not exactly sure what’s the first movie of him I saw, it might’ve been Three Kings, and I thought, “he’s not the best actor out there, but this guy’s got charisma.” That’s how I felt about him when I saw The Italian Job, too, in fact, perhaps that very reason is what makes Wahlberg one of those critics-proof actors. No matter how critically-panned his movies are (i.e. The Happening, Max Payne), he’ll always come out unscathed.

Wahlberg in The Departed

I just found out about this recently — as I didn’t even know he was in that movie — but the former Calvin Klein underwear model was nominated for Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in The Departed. Working for Scorsese must be considered a career highlight for any actor, let alone being recognized for it, especially among a cast that include Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon. Then there’s the smashing success of Entourage that he executive-produced, the HBO show which premise is loosely based on his own experiences as an up-and-coming film star. According to the man himself, the movie version is currently in the works.

Wahlberg & Bale in The Fighter

Right now he’s starring on a boxing biopic with Christian Bale called The Fighter, reuniting him with the temperamental director David O’Russell whom he worked with on Three Kings. According to SlashFilm, the film tells the story of Dicky Eklund (Bale), a real life boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded after a run of drugs and crime. Shepherded his half-brother “Irish” Micky Ward (Wahlberg), Dicky had a Rocky-like rise to the world lightweight championship. Ward fought throughout the mid-’80s and ’90s, but he’s best remembered for three battles with Arturo Gotti, two of which went down as the greatest in the history of the sport. One reader of Slash Film had the pleasure of seeing the flick on advance screening and said that it’s “… a movie to be reckoned with in 2010” and went on to praise the story, pacing, as well as the performances (mostly for Bale – oh, I sure hope the Brit will FINALLY nab an Oscar nomination, it’s darn well overdue!).

The Mickey Ward role looks like it’s tailor-made for Wahlberg, and I don’t just mean that physically. I’m looking forward to see him share the screen with Bale, one of my all-time fave actors. That movie certainly earns a spot in my inevitable Top Ten Most Anticipated 2011 Flix list!

Anyway, here’s The Other Guys trailer with Wahlberg and Will Ferrell:

I’m not a huge Will Ferrell fan, but him and Wahlberg as buddy cops actually looks pretty darn funny, maybe ’cause I don’t expect such pairing. But Sam Jackson and the Rock totally kick ass!

FlixChatter’s Casting & Misc News

Well, well, well, I haven’t done a news post in a while and lots of interesting stuff are swirling. Here’s some of the highlights you might’ve missed.

  • Entourage movie is inevitable
    Mark Wahlberg, the executive producer and occasional contributor of the HBO hit Entourage, confirmed a movie version is in the works. “We’d like to follow in the Sex and the City footsteps and do a movie,” he said according to MTV blog. He’s not talking about doing it any time soon though. The show which is now in its sixth season might continue for a couple more and then the finale will leave open some story lines that could set up a feature film. “I can’t tell you [which story lines we’d leave unresolved],” Wahlberg said. “I’m sworn to secrecy.” The dude himself will be seen in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and next year in The Fighter with Christian Bale.
    ….
  • Terry Gilliam lost Depp, gained Duvall for Don Quixote
    Funding may still be an issue, but at least Terry Gilliam has found his Don Quixote. Robert Duvall was quoted as saying to Collider, “I may work with Terry Gilliam next – if they get the money – to play Don Quixote de la Mancha.” He also said that “[Gilliam] saw him play a Cuban barber one time with Richard Harris and that’s what gave him the idea to cast me as Don Quixote.”
    …..
    As you may have heard, Gilliam originally wanted Johnny Depp to play the role, but “[Depp]’s too busy doing swashing and buckling and Tonto-ing,” as Gilliam put it, referring to both the Pirates sequel and the Lone Ranger movie that Depp has committed to. Depp instead opts to do, get this, Seven Friends of Pancho Villa and the Woman With Six Finger, which Cinematical reported as a biopic about a Mexican Revolution hero, whom he would reportedly portray entirely with Spanish dialogue.
    ….
  • Romancing the Stone remake?
    Another day hour, another remake in Hollywood. This time it’s the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner comedy adventure directed by Robert Zemeckis in 1984. For younger readers out there who aren’t familiar with this movie, it’s about a romance writer (Turner) who sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds a myriad of unexpected adventure — and romance — with a rouge-ish explorer (Douglas). Another Robert (Luketic) has reportedly been asked to helm the project according to Empire. I love the original and that’ll be hard to top. Besides, I doubt the Aussie director — who’s known for sub par rom-coms like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and The Ugly Truth — can do it. I sure hope he’s not going to pair Gerry Butler with Katie Heigl again for this, ugh!
    ….
  • My Fair Lady Update
    Since Joe Wright apparently has never been attached to this project after all, other big name directors have reportedly been circling this one. SlashFilm mentioned the likes of Baz Luhrman (trying to crawl up from his Australia flop), Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot), even Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire). But Variety reported that John Madden is in talks to direct this one. Perhaps they’re looking to bring back his Oscar glory when his 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture, as well as nabbed Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow. Despite the rumors, Keira Knightley hasn’t signed on the dotted line to play Eliza Doolitle just yet, but I think she’d be perfect to play Eliza.
    ….
    I’ll keep an eye on further development on this one. Currently, the English director is filming The Debt, a remake of a 2007 Israeli film about three Mossad agents who captured a Nazi criminal in 1965. It’s got an intriguing cast that includes Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, and Marton Csokas. WOW, this sounds interesting just on the casting alone!
    ….
  • Personal directing project for former Friends star
    David Schwimmer is one of the TV’s mega hit alums that’s had quite an interesting career as a film director. His last movie Run Fatboy Run with Simon Pegg was actually pretty good and funny. Now he’s looking to tackle a totally different genre. Yahoo reported that last week Schwimmer was in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the set of his next film Trust, starring Clive Owen and Catherine Keener as the parents of a 14-year-old girl who is raped by an online predator. The movie is apparently a personal one for the 43-year-old actor who serves on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation of Santa Monica (CA) and has been working on bringing a story of this kind to the big screen for some time. Kudos for him for bringing such an important subject to light, and for nabbing such a great cast that also include Viola Davis.
    …..
  • Hugh Jackman will play the ‘Don King’ of robots
    Steven Spielberg is looking to produce Real Steel, a story that centers on a fighter who has to reinvent himself when human boxers are replaced by robots. According to Variety, Jackman will play a struggling Robot Boxing promoter who finds a discarded robot that always seems to win. He also discovers he has a 11-year-old son, and they bond as the robot brawls its way toward the top. This won’t be the first time Spielberg dabble in human-robot storyline, as he’s been involved in various roles as director/producer/executive in the similarly-themed flicks like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Transformers and Eagle Eye. Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) is set to direct.

    Meh, for some reason this doesn’t pique my interest in the slightest.
    …….

  • Last but not least, Keanu Reeves is to star in 47 Ronin, what Variety reported as an epic period film for Universal Pictures based on the true tale of a band of samurai swordsmen who avenged the death of their master in 18th century Japan. Not sure what role Keanu is playing, but most likely it’ll be one of the swordsmen. Being part Asian — his dad is Chinese-Hawaiian — Reeves seems tailored-fit for the role. The film will tell a stylized version of the story, mixing fantasy elements of a la The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with gritty battle scenes akin to films such as Gladiator. Cinematical said commercial director Carl Rinsch has been set to direct, the site even had a few of his renowned commercial clips if you’re interested.