September 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm #34891
Box Office Magazine
Based on Michael Lewis’ 2003 book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the surprisingly effective Moneyball has a smart script, solid direction and great performances. This true story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane and his unorthodox winning formula is a career best for topliner Brad Pitt who plays Beane with the smooth assurance of Robert Redford or Paul Newman. Baseball movies are hit and miss, but this one is the shrewdest take on the game since Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham and it has appeal that reaches beyond the ballpark. Well timed to hit theaters near the end of the season, this one should score at the box office.
For Moneyball, key members of the Social Network team including producers Scott Rudin and Michael De Luca and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin reunite to make another true life tale that pays attention to the details and behind-the-scenes maneuvering. The good news is not only does Moneyball succeed in taking us on a tour of the business side of baseball, it humanizes the shop talk to keep it from crashing into a sea of statistics. Thank writers Sorkin and original writer Steven Zaillian for keeping their eye on the ball in this story of a baseball-obsessed kid Billy Beane (Pitt) whose career takes him to the front office. He gets all the way to the World Series, and then shocks the baseball world by ditching his the star players and hiring replacements in the most unorthodox ways imaginable. Credit for this his curious new protocol goes to a business-minded Yale grad named Pete (Jonah Hill) who devises a system that deprioritizes star power in favor of research, cold heart stats and cheaper players. The scenes where the very non-athletic Pete explains his methods to the grizzled veteran coaches are priceless and help give Moneyball its swing. But the film belongs to Beane and Bennett Miller’s direction carefully weaves in the no-nonsense man’s struggle to keep his career and personal life together despite a divorce and a job that doesn’t let him spend much time with his daughter.
Pitt has never been better—he’s shrewd and wonderfully engaging—and you can see why he stuck with this role through eight years of development hell including the dispatching of original director Steven Soderbergh just days before the film was due to shoot two years ago. It’s a movie star role and Pitt, one of our last movie stars, fits it like a well-worn glove. Jonah Hill is his perfect counterpoint, deadpanning and underplaying at every turn. They make a great pair and Hill is well-positioned to move beyond comedy roles. In the role of the veteran (and conservative) manager, Philip Seymour Hoffman is perfectly cast as a man who clearly isn’t looking for any change. Robin Wright appears briefly as Beane’s ex-wife and Kerris Dorsey is a delight as his musically-inclined daughter. In flashbacks to Beane’s early baseball career, Pitt is nicely played by twenty-something look-a-like Reed Thompson. For baseball fans Moneyball is nirvana. For everyone else, it’s simply a smart, damned entertaining time at the movies.
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Kerris Dorsey, Tammy Blanchard, Kathryn Morris
Director: Bennett Miller
Screenwriters: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin
Producers: Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz
Running Time: 126 min.
Release Date: September 23, 2011
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Philip K Dick Blade RunnerSeptember 16, 2011 at 10:06 am #34893
Hopefully the film is as entertaining and as good as it seems on the surface. Baseball far more than any other sport has provided the backdrop and source material for good movies so maybe Moneyball will maintain that tradition.October 22, 2011 at 7:51 am #34894
“It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball,” says Beane more than once. The film itself does a good job of maintaining that balance, providing the rooting value of an underdog story while maintaining a tough, critical eye towards how the game is played, not on the field but off, where sentimentality disappears in a frantic shuffle of business transactions and strategy meetings. COMPLETE REVIEW
November 16, 2011 at 11:12 am #34895
MONEYBALL (2011) – director: Bennett Miller
You’ll probably enjoy this movie even if you aren’t a baseball fan. Instead of dwelling on the actual game itself, director Bennett Miller and co-writers Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin, and Michael Lewis (who wrote the book) focus on the financial aspects of a baseball team. Star and producer Brad Pitt is solid in the lead role, but unfortunately, the fine supporting cast (Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, Tammy Blanchard, etc.) are wasted in underdeveloped supporting roles. The film also could’ve been trimmed a bit since the last third isn’t as engaging as it should be.
MY GRADE: B-November 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm #34896
I gave it four stars.
With zingers clearly written by Aaron Sorkin and under Bennett Miller’s intensely focused direction, Moneyball‘s clearest fault is its tendency to be too on the nose. Nevertheless, it’s captivating filmmaking that defies sports genre cliches. (It’s a novelty that Moneyball is about an underdog team that’s poised to defy all the odds, but doesn’t actually go the distance.) Unlike most films integrating sports or new footage, Miller isn’t reliant on them. Instead, he sustains tension or lets us off the hook to craft a bona fide crowd-pleaser. Brad Pitt and Chris Pratt give the film’s most accomplished performances.November 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm #34897
One of this year’s most lauded films that I could care less about seeing. I’m sure Brad Pitt and the gang does a good job, but I’ll pass on this one – or leave it for a rainy/snowy night.November 23, 2011 at 9:37 am #34898
G’Day, recently saw this and really enjoyed it. Great story about the underdogs battling the institution. Sorkin has put together another great script that paces well (giving us a little of Bean’s past and life with daughter but not too much) and some really riveting baseball scenes (that are also used sparingly).
Just recorded a podcast on it which can be listened to here:November 23, 2011 at 9:39 am #34899
I enjoyed MB. Pitt was very good.December 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm #34900
Anyone who saw Moneyball should not have been surprised at Brad Pitt’s win as best actor at the NYFCC.
More women, thus votes for being a “pretty boy?” Frankly, Michael Fassbender is more classically handsome and unveiled his best asset to boot.
Unfortunately, The Artist may be delayed here until X-Mas; so I cannot compare Pitt with Dujardin.
I can say that while Fassbender bares himself raw emotionally, Pitt creates a rich, full character. I’ve seen videos of the real Beane. Pitt does fine in recreating him. Clooney is good and sometimes better, but does not fill his character with the missing bio of what makes Matt King tick and how it has impacted his relationship with his family.
I would like to compare the other competitors for best screenplay with Moneyball, though. Moneyball is energetic and sharp, like The Social Network. But, there is a struggle lost near the end over how to conclude the story. There is sloppy narrative and sentiment. Finally, the story concludes, but not with the same sophisticated sharpness and clear sense of purpose that defined most of the film. It feels as if the filmmakers were uncertain how they wanted to end the movie and what they wanted to say.December 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm #34901
Just watched the film, and I’m not american so In my country (Brazil) baseball isn’t as famous as in all other countries but that’s what I found curious about it, eventough I didn’t know the story of this team or the guy behind all of it, I really enjoyed the film, Pitt is spectacular and I have never seen Jonah Hill that good, every scene between them is a delight to watch, full chemisty, it was a very moving film, I haven’t seen yet The Artist, The Descendants or War Horse, but I can place this film already in my top 3 of the year, that’s outstanding filmmaking.December 19, 2011 at 11:35 am #34902
bumpDecember 22, 2011 at 10:20 am #34903
I didn’t like it too much,mainly because I hardly know the Baseball rules,I didn’t have a clue how General Manger (as far as I understand Beane was General Manger?)-Coach relathionship goes (for example why Beane can’t just fire him or what decision the Coach has to make if GM tells him everything)…Never mind.Mostly I liked the edtiting,Pitt was good enough,but not worth Oscar winning (while Jonah Hill worth nom).December 22, 2011 at 11:13 am #34904
Just watched the film, and I’m not american so In my country (Brazil) baseball isn’t as famous as in all other countries but that’s what I found curious about it, eventough I didn’t know the story of this team or the guy behind all of it, I really enjoyed the film, Pitt is spectacular and I have never seen Jonah Hill that good, every scene between them is a delight to watch, full chemisty, it was a very moving film, I haven’t seen yet The Artist, The Descendants or War Horse, but I can place this film already in my top 3 of the year, that’s outstanding filmmaking.
It’s going to make my top ten, no problem. And I’m from a country where many of us can skate before we can walk.
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