What’s got Jesse Eisenberg so jittery? The onetime Oscar nominee (for last year’s The Social Network) is so often cast as a stammering, quick-witted neurotic, like a younger, slightly more imposing Woody Allen, that it’s easy to believe the mannerisms are no act.
As it turns out, they’re not. Like fellow New Yorker Allen’s, Eisenberg’s mind seems to race at such speed that it’s no surprise when he pauses for a moment of reflection, then unleashes a torrent of rapid-fire thoughts. Today’s topic of discussion: his new comedy, 30 Minutes or Less, in which he stars opposite Aziz Ansari (TV’s Parks and Recreation) as a pizza delivery boy facing the most daunting deadline of his career.
With 2010 about to fade into our rearview, it's time to pay our respects to a year that produced its share of very good movies, but precious few great ones. It was a year dominated by memorable performances in supporting roles – Christian Bale as a crack-addicted burnout in The Fighter, John Hawkes as a rough-and-tumble hillbilly in Winter's Bone, Jacki Weaver as an insidious matriarch in the overlooked Australian import Animal Kingdom – and the visual bravura of Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and TRON: Legacy.
Accidental Billionaire? Ultimate Wannabe? 'The Social Network' Deconstructs Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg
Unlike MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson, who once greeted the social networking site’s newest users as a default friend, his smiling face plastered on the screen like a digital welcome mat, Mark Zuckerberg rarely seems to have used his position as Facebook co-founder to collect pals, real or imagined.
Until now, the man most responsible for the world’s largest online clubhouse, who innocently describes his mission as making the world “a more open place by helping people connect and share” – neglecting to mention the roughly $7 billion his unique brand of altruism is reportedly worth – has managed to remain largely anonymous outside his circle of business associates, who should never be confused with his buddies.
I have not yet seen Wall Street 2, Oliver Stone’s forthcoming sequel to the 1987 drama that introduced us to Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko, the reptilian stock-market overlord who coined the unofficial ’80s motto, “Greed is good.” But I cannot imagine a more fitting coda to Gekko’s saga than Brian Koppelman’s story of a down-on-his-luck car dealer nosediving to the nadir of a midlife crisis.
This has been heralded as the year of the animated movie, and with good reason: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline and Up, among others, proved as engaging for adults as for children, validating a genre unfairly dismissed as kiddie fare by some critics and too many Oscar voters.
To me, 2009 was most memorable for its documentaries. Tyson, Capitalism: A Love Story, The Beaches of Agnes and The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers entertained as well as informed, and all remain worthy candidates for end-of-the-year accolades. Consider them (as well as Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are) runners-up to my list of the year’s best films.
Despite early speculation that Michael Cera or Shia LaBoeuf might be tagged to play Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in the upcoming David Fincher movie The Social Network, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin recently disclosed that Jesse Eisenberg, the 26-year-old star of Zombieland, has landed the role. His co-stars will include Justin Timberlake, who will play Napster co-founder Sean Parker, and Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) as fellow Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin.
There is no social satire to be gleaned from the stylishly staged skull crunching in Ruben Fleischer’s post-apocalyptic comedy Zombieland – and not much in the way of serious horror. The first-time feature director (formerly of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!) aims more for laughs than for the unrelenting dread of George A. Romero’s Living Dead movies, and he succeeds almost effortlessly: At 81 minutes, his debut is cheerfully macabre, briskly paced, brimming with demented energy, and otherwise totally disposable.
Those expecting another hormonally charged, cheerfully outlandish sex comedy from Superbad director Greg Mottola may be surprised to discover that Adventureland, despite a deliberately misleading ad campaign, is nothing of the sort. It is a far more grounded, even somber affair, populated by thoughtful, unaffected characters whose misadventures ring invariably true. It is also one of the year’s best films.