Author: Andrew Parker

Stealing scenes: interview with Adrian Martinez, star of Focus

If character actor Adrian Martinez was actually a thief in real life and not just playing one in the movie Focus (in theatres everywhere this Friday), he’d definitely find the honour among his fellow grifters. Charming and boasting a boisterous laugh, he’s the exact opposite of the more taciturn and drily witted character he plays in his latest big screen outing. Martinez plays Farhad, one of the chief accomplices of confidants of Nicky (played by Will Smith), a master con artist who starts training a potentially gifted young upstart named Jess (Margot Robbie). With some help from Farhad and several other career criminals, Nicky trains Jess for a multi-layered and wide-reaching bait and switch operation at the Super Bowl, but he abandons her at the end of the job when he starts to have heavy romantic feelings for her. The two meet again in Argentina by chance when an F1 racing magnate (Rodrigo Santoro) brings Nicky in to help exact revenge on his competitors. Martinez, who has most recently appeared in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, American Hustle, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (just to name very few titles in addition to the half-dozen or so he has in various levels of production now), chatted with us during a recent promotional stop for his latest in Toronto. We talked about how con artists and actors aren’t that...

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Review: Focus

If you’ve seen any con artist film, you’ve probably got a good idea what you’re getting into with Glen Ficarra and John Requa’s Focus. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become friends, love will get you hurt, nothing is ever what it seems, and everyone is lying. Despite a close adherence to that formula, it’s still a compulsively entertaining movie that’s flashy, funny, well acted, intriguingly written, and easy to engage with. If it were a cocktail, it would come with a paper umbrella and you wouldn’t regret drinking it. Will Smith (in his biggest display of raw charisma in years) plays Nicky, the leader of an elite squad of pickpockets, fast talkers, hackers, and assorted crooks who becomes involved with a younger upstart named Jess (Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie, displaying more star power and given a lot more to do here). Nicky schools Jess on how to steal smartly during an elaborate multi-level con during the Super Bowl. They become romantically involved, but then when the job is over, Nicky callously cuts ties with her. What’s intriguing about the script from Ficarra and Requa (who previously collaborated on Crazy, Stupid, Love, I Love You Phillip Morris, and Bad Santa) is that these developments take up the first hour of a film that’s only 108 minutes. The actual A-plot of the film – a con where Nicky finds himself in the employ of a paranoid F1 race team owner (Rodrigo...

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Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

As uncomfortable as it is patently unfunny, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 takes the title away from Caddyshack 2 as the worst sequel to an actually funny movie ever made. It’s not enough that it’s offensive and lazy, offering up only the cheapest of gags to deafening thuds and rivers of flop sweat. It’s an outright embarrassment for everyone involved. Picking up shortly after the 2010 high concept sleeper hit left off, three out of four of the buds who went on a ski trip and stumbled upon a time travelling hot tub in a drunken stupor have been living the high life in a world they have created by skewing events of the past. Alpha male party animal and all around jerk Lou (Rob Corddry) has become both a major rock star and the self-proclaimed founder of the Internet. His son Jacob (Clark Duke) still doesn’t do anything with his life, but is still the most sensible of the bunch. Nick (Craig Robinson) has made a living from stealing hit pop songs from artists who haven’t thought of them yet. Their world is rocked, however, when an attempt is made to kill Lou (by way of a shotgun blast to the crotch) and the friends travel to an alternate timeline in the future in hopes of tracking down his murderer. They’re helped in 2025 by Adam Jr. (Adam...

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