Conspicuous trailer of the week: The Fighter

Well, well, well, when it rains it pours I guess. Within hours of each other, the trailers of two of my highly anticipated movies–which opens on the same day on December 10–are released! You’ve probably see The Tourist by now, and now check out this intense boxing drama The Fighter starring Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg:

Back last September, I posted a photo of a skinny Christian Bale on the set of the movie. In this David O. Russell movie, Mark Wahlberg plays the boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and Bale plays his half-brother Dicky Eklund, Ward’s sometime trainer and small-time criminal. It’s a real life ‘Rocky’ story that makes it all the more heart-wrenching. Eklund was featured in the 1995 documentary High on Crack Street and has battled drug addiction for years, hence Bale’s crackhead, balding look.

Now, check out this stark teaser poster. What is wrong with this picture??

Now, before you start analyzing the ‘look’ of the poster, which is meh I agree, but what I’m trying to get at is WHY in the world is Bale the ONLY one without Academy Award Nominee on top of it?! The only thing it would be ok is if it’s got ‘Winner’ instead of ‘Nominee’ as he surely deserved at least a couple for his past work!

Bale the shape shifter

I’ve said before that he’s sort of been playing second fiddle to his co-stars in a lot of movies, and technically he is in this one as Wahlberg got the title role. But second banana no more! Looks like he’ll be the one stealing scenes in this movie. Not knocking Wahlberg as he looks good here, too, I mean this is the type of roles that suits him, intense and brooding, and of course he gets to show off that Calvin Klein buff torso of his. But Bale’s character is the one that grabs me, and talk about a chameleon, WOW! He’s no stranger to altering his look and yo-yoing with his weight drastically, but I’m still amazed by his skin and bones look! Hard to fathom he is Bruce Wayne!! And within a year or so he will once again be the caped crusader, which means he’d have to gain weight all over again. But look altering per se doesn’t make a good actor, but pair that with his formidable acting chops, it’s a force to be reckoned with. I do hope that dedication won’t go unnoticed and that he’ll FINALLY get his dues come award season!

Besides Amy Adams, another Oscar nominee Melissa River (for Frozen River) rounds up the cast. Just a bit of trivia courtesy of IMDb, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were once attached for this film with Darren Aronofsky to direct, not long after Aronofsky directed the highly-acclaimed The Wrestler. I don’t know about you, but I think I prefer this cast.

The Fighter will open in limited release on December 10th 2010 before opening nationwide a week later. I’m usually not a boxing movie fan, I’m not too good dealing with all that blood, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

So, what say you? Are you excited for this film?

Christian Bale – skinny again for “The Fighter”

Bale as Dick Englund
Bale as Dick Eklund (left) in “The Fighter”

Damon got fat, whilst Bale got skinny (again!). I was reading a couple of articles where Matt Damon told reporters how fun it was for him to gain 30 pounds to play Mark Whitaker, the corporate VP whistle blower in The Informant!. He basically stopped going to the gym and ate everything in sight. Christian Bale on the other hand, looks scrawny again for his role in The Fighter, though not as scarily skeletal as he did for The Machinist when he lost a third of his body weight. I don’t even want to know what his regimen must be like, that kind of intense weight yo-yo-ing can’t be good for his body. The last time he lost a massive amount of weight was in Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn in 2006.

The Fighter is a boxing drama directed by David O. Russell (watch the trailer), a project he inherited from Darren Aronofsky (perhaps he just didn’t want to do another violent contact sport right after The Wrestler?). Mark Wahlberg plays the boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and Bale plays his half-brother Dicky Eklund, Ward’s sometime trainer and small-time criminal. Eklund was featured in the 1995 documentary High on Crack Street and has battled drug addiction for years, hence Bale’s crackhead, balding look. A method actor that Bale is, he apparently refused to be seen whilst he isn’t filming. According to azcentral site, Bale bewildered his costars — which also include Melissa Leo and Amy Adams — by going missing constantly from the set. A source told ‘E!’: “You only see him when it’s time for his scenes. Other than that, no one has any idea where he is. He just goes missing.” I like Bale, but boy is he one eccentric actor.

But before you think this guy can’t have any fun, I stumbled upon this pic whilst perusing Bale’s forum on IMDB:

Bale at Pirates Day B'day Party
Bale with the Pirates For Hire at a friend’s b’day Party on Sept. 19

Apparently he was at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party in California where they hired Pirates for Hire to perform. Someone posted this excerpt on ‘Where’s Christian Bale?’ thread from someone’s blog who happened to be at the event. It’s a pretty cute story:

“… one of his pirate friends said to Christian (not realizing it was really Christian Bale standing there– and all being actors who make their living acting like other celebrities and such) “Omg! You could totally make a living playing Christian Bale for parties.” Christian smiled and said “thanks,” and walked away. They then kind of realized that it was in fact Christian and there was some debate since Ted (who I spoke with) said he was a bit surprised by Christian’s size. He said he was pretty thin and his hair is buzzed so he ‘didn’t look like Batman’. LOL! Once he heard his voice though he knew it was him.

Bale also got a kick out of a little-known fact that one of the ‘pirates’ knew about him:

So they are there doing the party, and he said the backyard where they all were having the party (which also had a huge pirate ship for the kids to play on, and face painting and such) was two levels, one higher up than the other, and he was watching Christian walk by to go to the other level. He said his one friend (who was playing a pirate as well) told him that Christian Bale played Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island (I had to look that one up. It’s a TV movie starring Charlton Heston. Wow, I had no idea!). So as Christian is walking close to them, one of them calls out “Well if it isn’t the young Jim Hawkins all grown up now!!!” and the other chimes in “Aww, no, he is nothing but a scallywag now!” (basically just ribbing him as pirates) and he said Christian turned around totally amused and stunned, cracking up laughing and said “You guys are incredible!!” He then walked over to them and kept laughing, saying “NO ONE would’ve known that!” (And was cracking up that they called him out for his role in Treasure Island) They just said “we’re pirates! And we’re fans!” He said it was then that Christian said “can I get a picture with you guys?” and whipped out his own camera. They responded “Can we get a picture with you??”

Nice to see Bale smiling and goofing off for a change.

Happy Monday, folks, I thought we all could use a bit of fun!

Flixchatter Review: Public Enemies

This flix was on my must-see list of this year, and I was determined not to be affected by the mixed reviews. I mean, more often than not, the critics are wrong anyway, so I went in convinced I was going to absolutely LOVE this flix!  Alas, the flix was just ok, it didn’t impress me as much as I had hoped. As I’ve hinted in my previous post about the trailers, I enjoyed the trailer ten times better than the flix, and that is such a pity because it could have been a great one.

The best thing about this flix is definitely Johnny Depp as the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. Michael Mann made Dillinger out to be such a hero even though he’s nothing more than a charming and crafty criminal. I don’t have a problem with that because it’s a movie, not a documentary, where creative liberty is an art form with the key purpose being to entertain. But what I do have a problem with is the fact that the flix never quite got me excited enough about the story nor the character. Even Depp with all his magnetism just couldn’t make me care about Dillinger without a strong script that fully fleshed out his character. On top of that, the pace was a so slow at times that I remember glancing at my watch wondering when it’ll be over. Not a good sign.

I learned as the movie progressed that Dillinger was not an enemy ‘of’ the public, but rather, an enemy ‘in’ public. He lived his live thinking he was invincible, having escaped from prison multiple times, and he reveled in being such an elusive delinquent who constantly one-uped the FBI. In fact, the coolest scenes were the prison escape scenes (especially in the opening of the movie) and when Dillinger stealthily sneaked into public places right under the Fed’s noses. Even as his photo was flashing on the movie theater screens and people were told to look around them as ‘the enemy might be sitting right next to them,’ he was virtually invisible. The camera would then zoomed in on his smug smirk and it was such a thrill because of the way Depp portrayed him.

Another issue I have with this flix was the love story between Dillinger and Billie Frechette, played by recent Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. Such a beautiful couple, but despite their best efforts, they lacked a certain chemistry that’d make their emotional bond believable. I didn’t cry when Billie mourned Dillinger at the end, even as the camera focused on her tear-filled eyes. And most of my friends know I’m such a sob, I cried watching Finding Nemo for shrimp sakes, and those cute animal videos on YouTube!

Nonetheless, what’s lacking in character development, it was largely made up with style. Mann’s glossy 1930s recreation was fantastic down to the last detail: the costume design, the cars, music, etc. – they all worked well to capture the mood and sensibility of the depression era. Love the costumes of the film, all those dapper men in suits, it was like a good long retro GQ commercial!

Besides Depp, there were some notable performances: Billy Crudup was excellent as the eccentric FBI director J. Edgar Hoover; and an unknown actor Jason Clarke was quite moving as Dillinger’s buddy John ‘Red’ Hamilton. Christian Bale was okay as the ambitious but morally ambiguous agent Melvin Purvis, but compared to his other terrific roles, this one was practically forgettable. I can see now why he wasn’t in the promos for this flix. I think his next role as a crack-addict boxer opposite Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter might be something more worthy to sink his teeth into. The supporting cast was full of pretty well-known actors that was unrecognizable at first: David Wendham (Dilios in 300), Stephen Dorff, Giovanni Ribisi, and jazz singer Diana Crall had a cameo as a lounge singer.

In a nutshell, this film could’ve been a classic with a stronger script. As it is now, it’s style over substance, which makes for a fairly entertaining but not memorable fare. If you’d rather see a compelling story with truly believable and affecting characters that’s also based on a true story, rent The Insider instead – my favorite Michael Mann’s flix by far!


Have you seen this film? What do you think of Public Enemies?