Archive for October, 2010

MOVIE: Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

October 30, 2010

I was having a crappy day last Saturday, so I decided in the afternoon to flee the house and hit a movie.  One of my favorite movie reviewers, Slate’s Dana Stevens, had just posted her opinion of this flick, and when she said she thought it was a blast, I knew it was a safe bet for me too.  As it turns out, we were both right.  Go us!

This movie serves as both a prequel and a sequel to the first Paranormal Activity.  The bulk of the story is set a few months before the original film, with the final scene set the day after.  Because of this, it is, I’m afraid, an absolute prerequisite that you’ve seen the first one.  Two of the three 15 year-old girls I smuggled into this R-rated movie (“Um, yeah, I’m her big sister. . .”) hadn’t seen the original and therefore spent the entire 90 minutes alternating between screams of terror and obnoxious questions like, “Wait, who’s that guy?”   It was pretty damn annoying, frankly.  And so, when I say “prerequisite,” mind you I’m saying it mainly for the sake of others in the theater who would like to be left to watch the film in peace. Keep your questions to yourself.  Write ’em down, Google ’em later.

For those that saw PA1, a quick reminder:  it was about a young couple, Katie and Micah, who suspected they were being haunted by some kind of spirit.  They set up a video camera in their bedroom and began to record the nights, watching the footage together each morning.  They monkeyed with a Ouija board, because they were idiots who never watched horror movies.  And gradually, they began to realize not only that they were, in fact, truly being haunted, but that the spirit was an evil one out to get them.  Hints were dropped that it was something Katie had seen before, as a little girl sharing a room with her younger sister, Kristi.  And eventually, the evil demon spirit got super-duper mad and all hell broke loose.  Litrilly.

Paranormal Activity 2 focuses on Katie’s sister Kristi and her husband and two kids — a teenage daughter (her step-daughter) and the couple’s new baby, a boy named Hunter.  Essentially, it’s the same story as the first film:  haunted house, escalating violence, bloody denouement.  But this time, we get a little more of an idea of what the Bad Thing is doing there, as well as what it wants.

The story is hardly the point, though, right?  What you really want to know is whether or not it’s scary.  The answer to that is a yes and a no from me.  That is, no, it didn’t scare me in the way really, really good scary movies scare me.  It’s not a problem I could relate to, not believing in demons, and therefore not something that dug into me in a personal way.

However, the movie is perfectly crafted to make even the most jaded horror movie fan jump three feet into the air roughly every ten minutes.  It’s loaded with those moments I call “BOO!” moments, when things are quiet, quiet, quiet, and then KAZAM! something suddenly happens outta nowhere and your brain throws your body instantaneously into flight mode.  Upwards.  At one point near the end, I was convinced one of those 15 year-old girls I snuck in was going to jump into my lap and stay there for the rest of her life.  This, I would say, is a fairly good quality in a scary movie.

The other thing I liked about PA2 was the way it was set up.  This time, instead of a single, hand-held camera, perched on a tripod at night (as in the original), this family has about four security cameras set up in the house, thinking initially that their problem is a pesky human being.  That means that every night, when the world goes dark, what we see is a rotation through each camera — a steady cycling for a minute or two through each location.  Cut to the pool — everything’s quiet at the pool.  Cut to the kitchen — everything’s quiet at the kitchen.  Cut to the staircase — everything’s quiet at the staircase.  Cut to the baby’s room — mostly quiet, though the dog looks distressed (dogs always know, don’t they? Dogs, babies, and Catholic nannies).   Cut back to the pool — everything’s quiet at the. . . holy shit, THAT ain’t natural!!

It’s the perfect set-up for what is, essentially, a 90-minute series of loud-quiet-loud gimmickry designed to keep you precariously perched on the edge of your seat.  And man, does it ever work.

If you’re looking for a Halloween movie this weekend, in other words, I think you’ve got your flick.  Recommended!

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Horror, Ghosts
Cast:  Brian Boland, Molly Ephraim, Sprague Grayden, Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

MOVIE: Monsters (2010)

October 28, 2010

I was home sick for a couple of days last week, and by the second day, was completely bored out of my skull, as usual.  Figured that called for a splurge, so I headed over to to see if they had any pre-theatrical release flicks to rent (I have a Roku box, which means I can stream movies to my TV set not only from Netflix, but also from Amazon — you need one of these, trust me).

I don’t do the pre-theatrical thing too often, and never for a movie I really, really want to see (why watch it on my little TV when I can just wait and big-screen it?).  But a small-budget alien flick like this one, being favorably compared to District 9 by a bunch of film reviewers?  That sounded pretty perfect for a sick day.

As it turns out, this movie is really nothing at all like District 9, which is both good and bad.

The good:  Monsters dares to strike out and break a little new ground by being an alien movie that isn’t really about the aliens.   Sure, there are aliens in the story, but the movie mainly focuses on the two main characters, reporter Andrew Kaulder and Samantha Wynden, the daughter of his boss, who Andrew’s been ordered to find and bring home after an alien attack took out the South American hotel she’d been staying in.

The bad:  the special effects, while admirable considering the tiny budget and the fact the director did them all himself on his laptop, were, in my opinion, vastly overused.  By which I mean:  used at all. If you can’t afford really good effects, why not simply avoid using effects in the first place?  Sure, they were a key player in District 9 — unavoidable.  But here, with the focus more on the people instead of the monsters?  Just not needed, and frankly, it would’ve been a strong film — not to mention a scarier one —  had it merely threatened to show us the aliens instead of actually going ahead and doing it.  Especially since:  silly spider/octopus War of the Worlds rip-off alien beings and glowing tree fungus are. . . yawn.)

Even more unfortunate than the special effects, though, was the fact there was absolutely no chemistry between the two stars at all, which meant the human part of the story fell about as flat for me as the alien part.   After Andrew finds Sam, he spends the first day sullenly ordering her around, bitter he’s been pulled off a far more exciting assignment to babysit the boss’s daughter.  But as they struggle to find a way to get back to the U.S. together, through stress and danger, they gradually begin to fall in love.  Eventually, everything goes completely awry (lost passports, time running out, etc.) and they discover the only way they can get back to the U.S. is to walk there, right through the infected zone (where the monsters live!).

Cue many, many scenes of them traipsing through the jungle, hearing the ominous sounds of evil aliens in the trees all around them, clinging to each other for safety, sometimes alllllmost smooching.  But not quite!  Not quite!  Sexual tension here!  We got your sexual tension here!

Fine in theory, but in practice, I found Andrew completely boring.  When he talks at all, it’s in a monotonous, sleepy, whining sort of way.  And Sam?  Well,  Sam is pretty  kick-ass by comparison, and I didn’t believe for a minute she was falling in love with that snoozer.  Even when the story featured a really heavy-handed romantic moment, it just fell completely flat.  The actor playing Andrew  did absolutely nothing for me — he was primarily just getting in Sam’s way.

That said, obviously I watched the whole thing, which means I found it at least sufficiently entertaining, if heavily flawed.  And for what it is, it’s not that bad.  It’s watchable and some of the alien stuff was intriguing, if undeveloped (they have predictable migratory patterns?  that have suddenly changed this year?).

Had writer/director Gareth Edwards done a better job with casting and let go of his desire to monkey around with his Macbook, this would’ve been a much stronger film, and one that was unique enough in the genre to really stand out.

As it is, it’s not a bad time, but it’s probably not worth the ten bucks I spent on it.  Save it for a post-theatrical release DVD rental instead.  Is my suggestion.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer | Rent at]

Genre:  Science Fiction, Aliens
Cast:  Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy

TV for Zombie Fans!

October 25, 2010

As many of you know, the new AMC zombie series The Walking Dead starts next weekend: October 31st at 10pm.  Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, the show is being executive-produced by Frank Darabout (who, we will pretend, only made The Shawshank Redemption and not also The Mist); he also directs the pilot.  It looks superb.  I cannot WAIT!

For more information, see:

While we’re waiting, though, guess who’s coming in to rescue us?  IFC, which begins airing the BBC series Dead Set tonight at midnight, and will be airing another new episode each night this week (I think there are only six total).  For more:

I saw Dead Set about a year ago, thanks to a friend in the UK, and I loved it.  It’s the perfect combination of scary and hilarious — something the Brits do so, so well.  Basic premise:  Zombies invade the Big Brother house, munch munch yum!  Brings a whole new meaning to the term “evicted.”

So, set your DVRs and watch out for your brains!


(p.s. In un-zombie-related news, I hope everybody caught the new Sherlock series that started on Masterpiece Mystery last night (PBS).  I haven’t seen the episode yet, but I’ve heard it’s an absolute blast.  Check for reruns if you missed it!)

MOVIE: Frozen (2010)

October 20, 2010

I had pretty low expectations for this film after reading a few reviews of it online that said it was essentially a bad rip-off of Open Water.  But since I haaaaated Open Water, I figured a bad rip-off of it might actually have some potential.  And, wonder of wonders, I ended up enjoying this one quite a bit.  (Of course, I was home sick at the time and my only other option for entertainment was endless reruns of Law & Order.  Compared to that, anything would’ve been a big improvement.  Your mileage may vary, of course. As always.)

The story is about three young college kids — a couple, Parker and Dan, and Dan’s best friend Joe — who have gone skiing for the day.  The plan was for Parker and Joe to bond at last, but as the day goes on, it becomes clear that Joe resents Parker for having stolen Dan from him, as well as for crashing their annual ski trip together.

Frustrated after having spent the whole day on the bunny slopes catering to Parker’s lack of experience on skis and snowboards, Joe pressures the group at the end of the day to try to take one more run together, this time down a real hill.  As they get to the chair-lift, though, the operator tells them a storm is coming and they’re clearing the hill — no more runs for the day.  Parker sweet talks him into letting them go up one more time, though, and they all climb aboard.

Halfway up the hill, the operator gets called inside to talk about his schedule, and his replacement, assuming the slopes have been emptied, turns the power off, shutting down the system.

At first, the three think it’s just a glitch.  Earlier in the day, the lift had stalled for a few tense minutes and then started back up again; surely this is just the same thing.  But then the lights at the lodge go off as well.  And the snow starts to swirl.  It soon becomes evident, much to their frozen horror, that they’re stuck.

As the flurries turn into a blizzard, the temperature drops dramatically and Parker begins to get frostbite on her cheek.  They all start to panic, and finally, Dan says what they’ve all been thinking:  they’re going to die if someone doesn’t try to jump and go for help.  The group argues about this plan briefly, but Dan refuses to listen.  A moment later, he pushes himself off the lift, crashes to the ground. . . and promptly shatters both his legs.

And then the wolves show up.  The hungry, hungry wolves.  Ruh-roh.

Now, sure, this movie IS essentially a rip-off of Open Water, that 2003 flick about two divers who get left behind by their boat and find themselves spending the night in an ocean full of sharks.  But, to be honest, the two characters in that film drove me bananas.  I felt nothing for either of them, buncha quitters, and was totally rooting for the sharks the entire time (plus, don’t get me started on the fact Open Water begins by telling us it’s a true story — nice trick when there weren’t any witnesses left at the end.  Annoying!).  The characters in Frozen, on the other hand, while certainly being a little on the whiny 20-something side, were somehow far more relatable.  They run through the same gamut of emotions — fear, panic, denial, resolve, depression, more panic, more resolve, more denial — but somehow they do it in a way that didn’t annoy me quite as much.

I also found the story pretty edge-of-my-seat overall.  I’m not likely to get left out at sea surrounded by sharks, but every time I’ve been on a chair-lift, I’ve thought for a moment about getting stuck up there.  No fan of heights, me.  (Or of skiing, for that matter.)  This was a fear I could completely relate to.  And I felt like their reactions to it, including their ideas on how to get out of the situation, were pretty spot-on.

Definitely worth a rental if you like these sorts of things.   I found this film satisfyingly gripping and entertaining.  Well worth the $3.99, so hop to it!

[Netflix it | Buy it | Rent/Stream at Amazon]

Genre:  Suspense, Action
Cast:  Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, Kane Hodder

BOOKS: The Hunger Games trilogy: Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2008-2010)

October 11, 2010

Friends had been recommending this young adult sci-fi trilogy to me for a year before I finally picked up the first book in the series.  Why the hesitation?  I suppose because I’m not typically a big reader of YA novels.  But I also confess the plot didn’t appeal to me all that much at first:  a bunch of teenagers thrown into the woods and forced to kill each other as part of an annual, state-run, nationally televised reality show called “The Hunger Games.”   I feel like I’ve seen that story dozens of times told in as many variants:  Lord of the Flies meets The Running Man meets Battle Royale meets that really bad flick starring Ray Liotta.  Eh, *shrug*.

All I can say now, though, is that I am a fool.  I mean, yes, this series is as predictable overall as I suspected it would be.  The thing is, though I kept turning each page and thinking, “Okay, well, it’s fun and all, but it’s not exactly brilliant or anything,” not only did I end up reading the first book in a day (The Hunger Games), but I bought the other two an hour later, devouring each of them nearly as quickly (Catching Fire, Mockingjay).  That,  my friends, says a lot.

I think I’m not going to bother trying to describe the plot of a three-book series here — I can’t think of a good way to encapsulate the whole thing.  Suffice it to say this series encompassed much more than I expected, including some truly intriguing inventions.  It’s got love and hate, age and youth, war and revolution, spies and mystery, politicos and hippies, good and evil, and a whole heck of a lot of shockingly graphic violence.  So much violence, in fact, I was surprised the series was considered YA.  And yet, had I read these books at age 13, I would’ve been absolutely captivated by them.  Utterly consumed.  They would’ve completely blown my mind.

At age 36, though, while I still enjoyed the bejesus out of the whole shebang, my more critical eye did get in my way from time to time.  For one thing, though the writing is surprisingly solid, the pacing could’ve used some work.  I felt like the third book in particular would’ve benefitted from tighter editing and a little more focus.  Also, a lot of the love/relationship elements struck me as fairly weak.  Childish, really, which was a striking contrast to the very adult violence it sat alongside.  It’s possible that was done for effect:  to help us remember our heroes were, in fact, mere children.  But even thinking about it that way didn’t rescue those sections for me.  The love story(ies) felt almost like afterthoughts at times, tacked on later to help the series better compete with the swoony likes of the Twilight books.

Nevertheless:  riveting!  Reading all three back to back was an absolute blast, however unpolished things felt to me at times.  It’s still a series adults will get a lot out of, which is good because I think if you’re planning on letting your kids give them a shot, you probably ought to read them first yourself to gauge the appropriateness of the violence.

Looking forward to the movie version, which I sincerely hope will not suck.  And before you ask, I’m Team Peeta all the way.  How could I not be?  Damn cute li’l unrequited love underdog!  Diggity.

These would be a great choice for anybody about to get on a long airplane ride.  You’ll be in Australia before you know it.  Recommended!

[Buy the first book from an Indie Bookstore | Buy it from Amazon | Browse more book reviews | Search book reviews]

MOVIE: Buried (2010)

October 9, 2010

The Good: This movie opens with a completely black screen.  Absolute darkness.  No sights, no sounds.  And dark and silent it stays for what feels like an eternity (especially if you, like me, are alone in an empty theater — THE CREEPS!).

Then, slowly, a few tiny noises.  Crane forward, tip your ear toward the screen (even though it’s in surround sound so this motion makes little sense), and you’ll pick up the rasp of a breath.  Then, louder: gasping. Followed quickly by the indescribable yet undeniable sound of recognition that something is wrong.  That, in turn, leads to furious panting, the sound of feet, knees, and elbows banging against wood, and then panicked screams, gradually fading back into a more practical calm.

Cue the extremely distinctive sound of a Zippo lighter, followed by light, followed by the face of Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), who has just woken up to find himself buried in a wooden coffin with only the Zippo, a flask of something drinkable, a cell phone, and a pencil in there with him.

Good goddamn.  Now that’s how you start a movie.

The Bad:  Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there.  As the story unfolds, we learn that Paul is a civilian contractor driving trucks in Iraq.  Earlier that day, his convoy was attacked by insurgents who shot nearly all his colleagues right in front of him.  Guns going off all around him, Paul got whomped in the head by something and fell to the ground unconscious.  And that’s the last thing he remembers before waking up in the box:  one hell of a few final moments in the light.

As he begins putting the cell phone to use, he eventually learns he’s being held hostage, buried underground by those same insurgents, who are now demanding $1 million in exchange for his life.

That’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot of this one, because I think if you go into it knowing too much about the story, you won’t find much else to hold your attention.  It’s a 90-minute movie shot entirely inside a dark box, after all — there isn’t much more to it than the gradual unraveling of a tale.

I will say, though, that Ryan Reynolds, an actor who’s never really been on my radar before, does an impressive job here, and his performance is the only thing that makes it worth seeing through to the end.  The other actors — the voices on the other end of the phone — are mediocre at best, and the story itself is pretty much same-same.

My biggest problem with the film, though, was that I felt like by the end, after riding out the worst 90 minutes of Conroy’s life right there with him in the dark, I should’ve left feeling like I knew him.  At least a little.  But no — not so much.   I cared about him, thanks to Reynolds’s effective emoting, but I didn’t know him.  I didn’t connect to him.  And that just ain’t right somehow.  That’s a scriptwriting flaw, if you ask me, and it’s a big one.

And so, overall, I think the best thing I can say about Buried is that it’s an interesting exercise in minimalistic set design.  There was a lot of camera skill on display — a lot of cinematic creativity — but not much more than that, I’m afraid.

Score:  B for effort, MEH for effect.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast:  Ryan Reynolds and a wooden box

BOOK: I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti (2004)

October 8, 2010

Nine year-old Michele Amitrano lives in a run-down little village in Italy with his younger sister, devoted mother, and gruff, distant father. One day, while out riding bikes with his friends, Michele gets separated from the group and stumbles across a pit that contains what appears to be the dead body of a little boy about his age. Baffled as to what to do, Michele jumps back on his bike and pedals home, not saying a single word about the body to his friends.

Later that night, Michele tries to tell his father about his discovery, but when his dad just brushes him off, he gives up.  And yet. . . he can’t forget what he’s seen.  All night long, he replays the events of the afternoon over and over in his mind, and as soon as possible the next day, he returns to the pit to take a second look.

And that’s when he discovers the boy is actually alive.  Weak and disoriented, but alive.

Michele immediately begins to smuggle him food and water, trying to find out who he is, where he came from, how he got there, what happened to him. The boy’s story of a kidnapping and ransom are too much for Michele’s nine year-old mind to process at first, but as his story unfolds, Michele comes to the horrifying conclusion that nearly everyone in the town is involved — including his own father.  Childishly unaware of the limitations his age and size might impose on his ability to become the boy’s “guardian angel,” Michele, without a moment’s hesitation, decides to risk everything to save his life.

This short novel is a gripping story about the vagaries of the little-kid mind, the earnest bravado with which children confront adult situations, and the unique, self-preservingly-incomplete way that kids process inconceivable information. This novel was made into an Italian film several years ago that got pretty good reviews, and I’ll definitely be tracking down a copy of it as soon as possible.  Can’t wait to see how this story plays out in film, so watch for a review coming soon!  And in the meantime, if you’re in the mood for a tight little thriller, you need go no further.



[Buy from an Indie Bookstore | Buy from Amazon | Browse more book reviews | Search book reviews]

MOVIE: The Social Network (2010)

October 7, 2010

There’s been an interesting split in reactions to this film in the media.  On the one side, there are the critics who are raving like mad about it, saying it’s a “joy to sit in a theater and be engaged, surprised, challenged, amused” by a film as sharp as this one (the brilliant Dana Stevens at Slate).

On the other side, and, oddly enough also from Slate, there are critics who are lambasting the film for “[painting] a picture of a cultural world that is as black-and-white as it is outdated” (Nathan Heller).

You can probably already tell where I fall on this spectrum — I’m over on the Dana Stevens side (and not just because I love her, though I do — she’s aces).   I thought this film was cleverly written, brilliantly acted, and absolutely riveting from start to finish.  But for those of you expecting it to be a film about Facebook, prepare to be disappointed.  Because The Social Network is NOT, in fact, a film about Facebook.   And it’s especially — especially! — not a documentary.  It’s really just a movie about a bunch of young guys at Harvard struggling to make a place for themselves in the world, and screwing a lot of stuff up in the process.  Some of them are cocky.  Some of them are shy.  Some of them are not quite as smart as they wish they could be.  Some of them are too smart for their own damn good.  But overall, this is really more of a movie about those guys — those characters — than it is a movie about Facebook, modern society, or the culture of social networking.  And I think this is where critics like Heller are getting it wrong.

For example, here’s a sentence from his review:  “We seem to be meant to think that Zuckerberg grew and administered a global communications network in order to prove his power to a couple of blazer-wearing kids who cold-shouldered him once during college (or else, maybe, to get with the hot babes who, in the movie, frequent Cambridge and the tech industry as if a Miller High Life ad might break out any moment).”

Heller seems to think this is an outrageous premise.  And yet, that IS the movie’s intended Zuckerberg, described perfectly.  I mean, the first scene in the film is of Zuckerberg getting dumped, going home, and hacking into the Harvard computer network to enact some revenge.  To go from there to believing at least part of his motive for developing “The Facebook” involved personal empowerment in the face of nerdy outcastedness or rejection does not seem like much of a stretch to me.  And frankly, there is, to my way of thinking, nothing more completely 20 year-old-guy than that.  That, to me, is absolutely believable.

I think the way to approach this movie is to think of it as being more along the lines of a legal thriller than an attempt at social commentary — you don’t have to know anything about Facebook or social networking to tumble into the world of this picture at all.  Certainly, there is a lot of social commenting one could do, but that wasn’t the aim of this film.  As for the portrayal of Zuckerberg, which many are decrying as completely unfair and inaccurate, I admit I don’t know much about him.  But I have to say, one of the news stories I remember reading about the real MZ was the one about him dumping his girlfriend in a Facebook post.  Sure, the man in real life is undoubtedly a lot more complex than the man in the film.  But the man in the film?  Does not seem terribly far-fetched to me, at least based on that one tidbit.  I believed Eisenberg’s character — I was 100% along for the ride.  And when it comes to watching a movie like this one, that seems like one of the important pieces of the experience.

In the simplest of terms, in the most convenient definitions (name that flick), this is a really entertaining movie.  And it’s got Aaron Sorkin written all over it, too.  The writing is clever and smart, and the story is so well-paced that even though the film is a bit on the long side, I was disappointed when the credits finally began to roll.  I would’ve sat in that theater for another two hours watching whatever else Sorkin and Fincher had to tell me.  I was riveted by Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg, and I was also fascinated by my own reaction to him.  I think most people will have left The Social Network believing he’s an asshole — but I left it feeling pained for him, feeling sad. He may be a gazillionaire, but he’s also isolated, lonely, friendless, and completely, authentically baffled as to why.

A friend of mine hypothesized that Zuckerberg might have Asperger’s Syndrome, and as I was watching the story unfold, I could definitely see signs of that disorder: his surprise at the way people reacted to him, for example.  His lack of understanding of “normal” social behavior, his inability to read people or pick up on cues, his dislike of being touched or hugged, etc. Even in the real world, his seeming lack of understanding about issues of personal privacy for his users begins to make more sense. You could theorize he is greedy, selfish, or egotistical, but I think the problem is more that he just doesn’t “get” it.  Not that he doesn’t care, but that he doesn’t SEE.  The Zuckerberg in this film acted in ways that seemed completely rational to him, without comprehension of the potential impact his choices might have on others.  And when he was introduced to a rich, charming, and super-duper cool dude (Justin Timberlake’s character Sean Parker) with a lot of big ideas, flattery, and disdain for the usual set of rules, he was pretty much a goner.

Facebook is a fascinating phenomenon, no doubt about it.  Two of my best friends (in the real world, not just online) are people I met on Facebook.  That still absolutely blows my mind.  There are an almost infinite number of stories one could tell with social networking at the root of the plot.  But this story — this one story — is great as it stands.  Maybe it’s not true, maybe Zuckerberg is nothing like this and the film gets everything wrong.  But if so, it got everything wrong in a way that was very, very right.  The first thing I wanted to do when this movie ended was see it again.  I can’t remember the last time I left a theater feeling like that.  That is a very good feeling.

Highly recommended!

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Drama
Cast:  Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Rooney Mara, Rashida Jones