Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Top 10 of 2010!

January 5, 2011

 

And here we are again!  Another year down and another slew of movies to comprehend and compare.  Unlike the last few years, 2010 brought a cavalcade of competent cinema that was absolutely unprecedented.  I was fully unprepared for the likes of the last few months and the intense entries into the Oscar season that began to give way as the year came to a close.  Now, as always, I’m certain that this list will be viewed as juvenile and haphazard (story of my life) but these are MY top 10 movies of the year.  I wish I could watch all of these entries over again to more properly gauge my level of enthusiasm and their prowess, however, I will stand by every one of these entries and will fight you to the death for any of them!  (Though I will admit, I give major kudos to originality and ingenuity in form over traditional cinematic bravado)  Let the ranking begin!

10.  127 Hours


Danny Boyle does so much with so very little.  In this masterful retelling of the infamous expedition-gone-wrong of Aron Ralston, Boyle makes the story of a man trapped in the desert for five days into a life-affirming, absurdly inspirational tale.  Boyle deserves immense credit for taking  a cinematically antithetical story and turning it into one of the most captivating of the year.

9.  Never Let Me Go


Mark Romanek made a big splash on the screen this year with this film, which delves into themes of humanity, fate, and despondency at the hands of one’s own demise.  All against the backdrop of a beautifully filmed, beautifully performed script.  Never Let Me Go reaffirmed Andrew Garfield’s, Carey Mulligan’s, and Keira Knightley’s prowess all in one fail swoop.

8.  True Grit


Being the second Coen brothers movie I have ever ACTUALLY enjoyed, True Grit put multiple stereotypes of mine to rest.  I was concerned about ANOTHER overly hyped Coen flick, I was concerned about another update of a classic western, and I was concerned about a story with a cliche, precocious, young female protagonist who comes across as seemingly unflappable.  But when you realize that the Coen’s entire body of work details the lives of larger-than-life characters that are seemingly unflappable, you begin to forgive this mini masterpiece for its very few flaws.

7.  The Kids Are All Right


Easily one of the best pieces of acting this year, the raw talent in this film makes me question how more fuss wasn’t made over it.  Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are irreplaceable in this comedy about the inner-workings of family and the importance of love, understanding, and functionality in the face of adversity, stress, and life’s constant ambiguity.  Did I mention that the performances are incredible?

 

6.  The Social Network


One of my more traditional choice for the year, Fincher’s techno-epic about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is truly as efficient as the hype made it out to be.  With a spot-on score produced by Trent Reznor, and cinematography that would make lawn-mowing a fascinating, IMAX-worthy venture, the film is almost incapable of NOT delighting audiences.

5.  I Love You Phillip Morris

Ironically, this may be the most contested movie on this list, as it does have its fair share of tonal anomalies and inconsistencies, however, Phillip Morris simply cannot be overlooked as one of the most adventurous and insightful picks of the year.  It takes risks and utilizes techniques just as well as 127 Hours and The Social Network, both.  It merely uses them in different regards and for different outcomes.  Not to mention that the performances are absolutely fabulous.

4.  Kick-Ass

Again, this film can be RIDICULOUSLY tonally inconsistent at times.  It can even leave viewers borderline disenchanted and at a loss.  But for fans of the genre, and just movie geeks in general, Kick-Ass lives to deliver both a send-up of the entire superhero canon, as well as overtly-indulgent entry in and of itself.

3.  Toy Story 3

If you would have told me that a three-quel to one of the biggest Disney franchises of all time would make my top 3 of ANY year, I would be forced to furrow my brow at you in extreme doubt, but Toy Story 3 is one of the most adroit offerings that Pixar has put out since…well, I guess since Up.  Still, it speaks incredibly highly of a studio that is capable of making sequels to films without losing any of the magic and without giving in to any sense of pandering or desperation.  Pixar should literally be a class that all film executives at EVERY studio should have to take.

2.  The Fighter

Going into this movie with little to no expectations of what I was about to see gave way to easily one of the most enjoyable movie-going experiences of this year.  David O. Russell truly knows how to make an incredible film, both critically and for mainstream audiences.  Visually arresting, with performances that are EASILY Oscar-worthy (I’m looking at you, Christian Bale and Amy Adams) this entry came out of nowhere and proved to be my second favorite of the year AS WELL AS my technical #2.  The film simply cannot be denied as a masterpiece on multiple fronts.

1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

If you ever wanted to confirm my absolute geekiness, look no further than this #1 pick.  Is it a stereotypical selection?  Sure.  Is it a smidge over-praised by moi?  Perhaps.  But I simply don’t care.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World was easily my favorite movie of the year and easily one of my top 10 favorite films of all time, as well, perhaps even top 5 (I told you I was willing to acquiesce that I may be a bit blind to this movie).  Everything about this movie takes the extravagances of previous cinematic treasures and expounds upon them.  I challenge you to find a faster-paced, funnier, better-choreographed film that speaks so directly to an entire culture and properly adapts six graphic novels into a story under two hours long.  Did that sentence just blow your mind?  Well that’s how you feel for the entirety of the movie, even after the tenth viewing.  I know from experience.

P.S. And to be fair, here is a list of the most-talked-abouts that I have yet to see:

_The King’s Speech

_Shutter Island

_Waiting for Superman

_The Town

_Fair Game

_Mother

_Tangled

_Despicable Me

_Catfish

_Blue Valentine

_Animal Kingdom

Film Reviews!: The Social Network

October 6, 2010

Hello all my shway-keteers!  (wow, that needs work).  I know it’s been a LONG time but I’m back in what I THINK is “the saddle” and I’m ready to start the bloggin’ once again.  I’ve decided to add reviews to the site for a very significant reason:  I think it’s all I have left to offer.  After I made the startling discovery of what the kids are calling “the Twitter,” I realized that anything that I could want to share or distribute over the internet could be done in 140 characters or less.  Film, however, my most lasting love in this life, yearns to be discussed.  Film and television and entertainment, as a whole, cannot be critiqued or evaluated in passing.  It needs elaboration.  So I’m going to start throwing the proverbial hat in the critic’s ring, in the hopes of expressing what I feel is (terribly) wrong with cinema (maybe even some things that are right.  Yay?)  My approach is simple.  I will discuss the piece in general, its flaws, positives, indifferent moments, then I will rate it on a scale of 100.  100 being a perfect movie, 50 being an average movie and 0 being one of the worst movies ever made, a completely inconceivable pile of filth that didn’t deserve the print it was delivered on.  So don’t think of it as a grading scale, think of it as a full, 100 point bell curve.  AAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNDDDDD we’re off!!!

David Fincher has a knack for making mainstream movies both beautiful and relevant.  This is a skill that is absolutely paramount to acquire in the industry as Hollywood generally ends up splitting the bill during the fiscal year, funding a plethora of movies geared solely towards profit margins, as well as a more meager slate of flicks designed to seduce the academy towards the end of the year in order to keep the studio in a ‘respectable’ light. His filmography reads of some of the most successful films (both financially and critically) in the past decade.  Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and now, The Social Network.  The through-line in most of his work, is an attention to pace and fluidity.  Fincher is nothing if not masterfully-kinetic.  He can take a dialogue-deluged script and shuttle it along at speeds reminiscent of Michael Bay or Brett Ratner, while STILL maintaining the story’s integrity, imagine that!

A fairly base hypothesis for why the man has such a mastery over his craft would lie in the years of time he spent as a music video director for roughly ten years from the late 80’s to the early 90’s.  Being forced to tell a story in around three minutes with little to no dialogue set to music is a task that will develop a sense of energy in your work.  Just ask any film school grad.  And while these are all simply wild hypotheses, I seem to be able to feel fully validated in them as The Social Network exists entirely almost as one long, beautifully shot music video.  That’s not to take anything away from the movie, necessarily, it just speaks to the overall tone that Fincher has set, and I want to believe that that tone is set from an intentional, psychological place.

My generation, one of the very first to basically grow up with Facebook (To date myself, I first signed on to Facebook my senior year of high school.  I was attending a university during high school so I had a .edu e-mail address, allowing me access), seems to have become defined by our succinct attention spans and constant yearning for diversity and multiplicity in all facets of life.  We work fast, we play fast, we rest fast, and if something isn’t up to our immediately-gratified standards, we have no problem trimming away the fat, throwing away the fluff, and digging in to something else, something more immediate, something more enticing.  The internet, the very overarching topic of discussion in The Social Network, has given us every bit of information and ability to create/interact with the rest of the world.

And this is precisely how Fincher’s latest endeavor feels.  It feels like a 120-minute-long music video hurtling along at a 3-minute video’s pace.  And yet, it never feels sloppy.  It never feels forced.  Fincher is able to fully realize his world, in his time, on his terms within this seemingly expanded frame.  Of course, he also had all the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together, as well.  Trent Reznor’s score is a spot-on parallel for the action onscreen.  Every feeling, memory, and discussion caught on film seems to be perfectly buoyed by Reznor’s techno-tronic score.  While they highlight the different moments of each beat perfectly, they also manage to retain a sense of universality and act as a thread throughout the entirety of the production in order to keep the pace marching forward.  The overall emotion and ‘feel’ of the film itself is, ironically, conveyed through one of the most mechanized, digital scores of all time.  And yet, it works.  It perfectly works.

The cast of this film is quite impressive, as well.  Jesse Eisenberg has yet to disappoint me as he plays an emotionally disjointed version of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.  Eisenberg does a perfect job of bringing screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s interpretation of Zuckerberg to full-form as an emotionally misguided, driven, slightly misogynistic genius who sees the world in less than a three-dimensional sense but, instead, more of a binary code.   Andrew Garfield, our Godsend of a new Peter Parker, plays Eduardo Saverin.  Zuckerberg’s only true friend and the start-up CFO of thefacebook.com.  Garfield handles himself so well in the part of the ironically emotional and turbulent business end of the company, trying to act as a moral compass for Zuckerberg who he worries is simply getting swept up in the tides of the of fame as Facebook begins to become a larger and larger monster of itself.

And the supporting cast really adds so much to this film, as well, Rashida Jones works perfectly as the inevitable angel of reason to Zuckerberg’s beastly temperament.  Justin Timberlake continues to bowl over the competition by playing the greasy, snarky, but strangely-likable Sean Parker, founder of Napster, and one of the original entrepreneurs of the peer-to-peer revolution.  And Max Minghella, Josh Pence, and Armie Hammer respectfully play the suing trio behind Harvard Connection who look to profit off of Zuckerberg’s fortune.

The acting is absolutely spot-on, and is a testament to Fincher’s casting abilities and his artistic prowess as a director of actors.  Eisenberg shines the brightest in his highly nuanced, yet specified portrayal of Zuckerberg, yet this is perfectly acceptable, given the weight which Eisenberg is expected to uphold.  The glaring problem that The Social Network does run into is it’s slight emotional disconnect with audiences.  What is usually a monumental cinematic fault really becomes nothing more than a blemish on Fincher’s otherwise fabulous narrative.  In what may have been an effort, or even an after-effect, of producing a film centering on Generation Facebook’s digital dependency, The Social Network at times feels as though it is moving too fast or glazing over moments too casually that otherwise may desire to be fleshed out in other works.  And yet, that’s exactly what this entire parable of Fincher’s is all about.  In the age of instantaneous ALL things do move faster than we may desire them to, things may get lost in translation.  All we can do is sift through what we have and do the best to make moments of connection happen in an age where people feel much more comfortable giving out a webpage than a phone number.

It should also be noted that Sorkin’s script is not one for accuracy, in multiple facets.  While no one knows PRECISELY how the story went down, it should be noted that glaring inconsistencies have already been brought up with certain key elements of the film.  Zuckerberg has denied any wanted involvement of his own in attending any of the final clubs that the film almost seems to base his creation of Facebook on.  Zuckerberg is still with his Chinese-American girlfriend that was actually with him as Facebook was coming to fruition.  There is no failed relationship debacle with a one, Erica Albright, which caused Zuckerberg to spiral out of contral that one, fateful night.  Further, Sorkin seems to turn his girlfriend into a Facebook groupie, painting her as nothing more than a clinger-on after Facebook’s founder begins to reap the enormous rewards of his work.  While there are considerably others that I have been told of yet I am not adroit enough to have caught, it stands to be noted that Zuckerberg is painted in an increasingly negative light.  He is an anti-hero, at best, and the overall arch of the story is in the hopes that Zuckerberg will ‘see the light’ and realize the error of his ways.  It does an incredible job of making a story more fantastical, it just doesn’t seem fair to base a character off of an actual human figure and then paint in such a light with such distinct colors.

All that aside, The Social Network is an excellent cinematic achievement that manages to bring together all the filmic ingredients that best make a ‘good’ movie.  The flick’s tone, thematic construct, and score are among some of it’s strongest moments and give it an absolute edge over most of the other entries into 2010’s moviescape.

Performances: 88/100

Cinematography: Aesthetics: 84/100

Score: 94/100

Script: 80/100

Final: 84/100

Hodgepodge

December 4, 2009

What happens when you cross this:

With this?:

Answer? You get this:

ANNNNNNNNND this:

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Iron Man 2. Oh ho ho, that movie will be good based on the cast alone. Casting WIN! The above is payback for my recent unexcused absense. Though I will now try to further excuse it. It has been a BUUUUUUUUUUUUSY last two weeks, boys and girls. No excuse for blog-laziness, I know, but still, its been crazers these past few weeks. That being said, time for shway updates!  SHWAYDATES!  Copyright! Here is a quick list of randomness I have found around the internets that is incredibly wunderbar.

The /Filmcast: After Dark has a wonderful discussion about film criticism and whether it is a dead/dying/overtaken by noobs art. Spoiler alert for  Children of Men, American Psycho, and Blade Runner Blade Runner? Really?

/Filmcast After Dark Ep. 77

Cinematical has a pretty spiffy article about the ability of gay actors to openly come out of the closet and what it will mean to their career in the long run. The article focuses on Rupert Everett, which is a shame, because Everett is known in the community as a whiny, narcissistic, troublemaker and giving him any agency to represent the LGBT community is a bad idea. Make sure to read the comments below the article, as well.

Cinematical

Sundance is coming up and indieWire has a decent account of the action that is in the works.

indiWire

Though it was published over two years ago, I stumbled upon a pretty great little article on /Film that had an excellent little spiel about the proliferation of promising directors from the late 90’s and what the hell actually happened to them. Short, yet to the point, the article ponders what factors are contributing to this general content malaise and what can be done to prevent it. Funny that two years later we just now seem to be getting back to a formidable level of content across the board, rather than just waiting anxiously for the next Pixar or Superhero franchise.  Which I wouldn’t have a problem with if they each released 2 films a month.

Vintage /Film!

And finally, ANOTHER /Film article (I just love them so much) written by the always-well-versed Hunter Stephenson. A new futures trading market named the Cantor Exchange is attempting to soon go public. The Cantor Exchange will be the first system to trade futures on box office gross’. /Film has a very well written and interesting article on what this overt commoditization will have on the entertainment industry and the art of filmmaking itself.

/Film

ANNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD in smaller news…

_Zombieland 2 has been greenlit

_Justin Timberlake will star in the story of Facebook, The Social Network.

_Alec Baldwin insists that after 30 Rock he’s done acting. Personally? Not such a bad thing.

_Robert Duvall MAY be Don Quixote in Gilliam’s re-attempt at the tale.

_Spielberg drops his remake of Harvey.

_Oh, and did I mention that Comcast bought NBC Universal? No biggie, just wanted to put that out there…

8 Online Fads You Didn’t Know Were Invented Decades Ago

November 17, 2009

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I was pretty blown away by how far-reaching some forms of technology are. I loved learning that lolcats are older than I am. Plus, anything filtered through the lens of cracked.com is always better. What this tells me is that the South Park “Simpson’s did it” mentality that everything is recycled is more real and scarier than any of us could ever imagine. Le Sigh. Yes, I am a nerd.

8 Staples of the Digital Age That are Less Than Digital

The Top 5 Hardest Working Actors in Show Business

November 10, 2009

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It’s easy to mock celebrities, actors in particular, who stress to the public how difficult and important their lives are and how much fame belabors those facts. Especially when we see them living such pampered and extravagant lives. I’m here to discuss five men in Hollywood who actually DO live rather industrious existanses and yet fail to ever complain about them. In fact, most are as hard-working as they are due to their love for what they do, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, check all your false pretenses at the door, this list takes NO monetary statistics into account to tabulate this list. I’m simply conducting an opinionated grouping of five actors who I feel have taken on more than most men can handle in the show biz…biz, and I’m compiling this list in relation to this point in time, Autumn of 2009. Yes, Seth Rogen has appeared in MULTITUDES of films over the last five years, but after Funny People and Observe and Report of this year, the guy has been laying pretty low. This list tabulates the mainstreamers who have been racking up leading role credits in muliple expansive flicks. So, without further ado…

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5. Johnny Depp

To say that I respect this man would be an intense understatement. His acting prowess is some of the best of our time, so it makes me EXTREMELY happy to see him inundated with work. If you’ve been living under the sea (visions of The Little Mermaid just popped into my head. Walt Disney prevails) for the past year then you probably haven’t heard of Depp’s numerous forays into film he has recently undertaken. Public Enemies was the only work he appeared in that was released in ’09, however, he has been fast at work on massive cinematic staples of the 2010 movie-going season that will almost-assuredly dominate the market. The first being Tim Burton’s reiteration of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Depp plays The Mad Hatter in Burton’s CGI-laden could-be-wonderful-could-be-terrible still up-in-the-air retelling of the classic story. Headlining next to Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Matt Lucas, and Alan Rickman, the film has all the makings of a complete cinematic win, the screenshots and trailers, however, leave doubt in my mind, as CGI-laden, as I said before, is putting it nicely. Time will tell. Depp also was involved in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, filling one of the three roles created after lead actor Heath Ledger’s passing. Depp, along with Colin Farrell and Jude Law, will stand in for Ledger as alternate versions of Ledger’s character, to help the stroy along despite the events that took place prior to the film’s completion. The next chapter in the Hunter S. Thompson chronicles, The Rum Diary, is also in post, in which Depp will reprise his role as the gonzo-journalist.
In addition to these films that Depp has finished, the newest film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is slated for a 2011 release date and is currently in the earliest stages of pre-production. Sin City 3, which Depp has been rumored to be involved with basically from its inception, is also geared up for a 2012 release (funny considering Sin City 2 is still stuck in developmental hell).
And here’s the kicker. IMDB lists Depp as in development with FOURTEEN new titles, as well. Among them, a Dali biopic and The Lone Ranger. Wow, simply wow. While these developmental deals can fall through at any time, they can also usually indicate desire and co-involvement between the parties of the actors and the producers. It will be interesting to see where Depp’s career goes looking towards these titles.

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4. Brad Pitt

Here’s another guy with developmental deals in spades. The ‘ole rusty, trusty IMDB has Pitt pegged with sixteen deals, the most I could find. In addition to being attached to The sequel to Downey Jrs Sherlock Holmes vehicle, Pitt is also listed with World War Z and a Steve McQueen biopic. Goo.
Pitt tore up the screen in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds this summer, and has currently been attached to the fledgling project Moneyball, which is listed as being in the earliest stages of production, despite the fact that it has no director. Pitt is further attached to The Tree of Life and The Lost City of Z, as well as providing a voice to the upcoming animated flick Oobermind. He’s also rumored to be apart of 2012’s upcoming The Odyssey and The Sparrow.

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3. George Clooney

The former Sexiest Man in America has never slowed down since his rocket-propelled rise to fame in the mid-to-late 90’s as well. Clooney most recently has released The Men Who Stare at Ghosts, a loosely based adaptation of the book of the same name which regards a 1970’s to 1980’s military experiment that documented telepathic phenomena. In addition to this recent film, though, Clooney finished up providing voice work for the titular role in Wes Anderson’s upcoming The Fantastic Mr. Fox, alongside Bill Murray, Meryl Streep, and Jason Schwartzman, as well as polishing off his role in the Jason Reitman-helmed Up in the Air, which is also currently in post. These are merely his acting credits for 2009, though, the man also executive produced the Matt Damon vehicle The Informant! and Playground, a movie I honestly couldn’t find too much on. As far as his queue list goes, IMDB has him cited with ten in-development deals.

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2. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey is a man of many faces. The actor became famous for his rubber-faced persona that landed him a slew of comedic work in the mid-to-late 90’s and a career launching pad that ANY actor would be proud of. By the turn of the century, however, Carrey was becoming far more versatile as an actor. Already dabbling in the dramatic with The Truman Show, Liar Liar,, and the INCREDAMAZING Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. Carrey then went on to tackle the serious side of life full-tilt in Charlie Kaufman’s magnificent Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, opposite Kate Winslet, The Majestic, and the box office blunder The Number 23. He has returned to comedy in recent years, however, and, as always, has fully immersed himself in his roles. Recently released is the Zemeckis-penned adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in which Carrey provided the movements and voices to Scrooge at all ages of life AND the three spirits that visit him! Encompassing multiple accents, multiple ages of life, and multiple SPIRITUAL BEINGS, Carrey tackled the project head-on while keeping busy with multiple other projects, such as I Love You, Philip Morris, the tale of an escaped homosexual convict who goes on a quest to find his lover that was released from prison before he was. The film has been receiving stellar reviews and co-stars Ewan McGregor opposite Carrey in this bold and self-titled dark comedy. All the while that these two flicks have been in post, Carrey has both been bulking up and studying up to play Curly Howard in the upcoming Three Stooges revamp with Paul Giamatti and possibly Benecio Del Toro. This was all considered fact for the longest time and was referenced multiple times by Carrey’s apparent weight gain in the tabloids and public citings, but, as of late, Carrey has been described as withdrawing from the project. It doesn’t negate the fact that the man was taking on multiple roles immediately after finishing his previously mentioned two. Further, IMBD.com has Carrey listed in FOUR different upcoming development deals. Which may seem normal for a star of his status, but when you consider the work load he will indefinitely take on with these upcoming roles, it makes a profound statement on his desire to never be bored.
In addition to his films and the launch of a fully-functioning personal website that has actually made the rounds and received a warm/geeky reception from the film/internet blogosphere, Carrey and his wife Jenny McCarthy have consistantly maintained their involvement in the charity Generation Rescue, which strives to find alternative ways to treat autism in children. Not bad for a man who was talking with his butt a little over 10 years ago.

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1. Nicolas Cage

Go ahead and laugh (you’ve earned it) but the man has yet to produce a dull movie (I said ‘dull’ not ‘bad’) and his work output is something for ANY actor to admire, regardless of how badly he phones roles in. Before I continue, most of you know, but for those who don’t, everything I joke about Nicolas Cage comes from a place of sincere reverance. Yes, the man takes part in AWFUL movies (which, given his current economic situation could just be to keep the lights on) but in each film he’s in he is always FULLY committed to the story being told. And I’m sorry, but I’d rather watch Cage run around in a Bear suit any day FULLY EMBRACING THE ROLE than see Tom Hanks win ANOTHER Oscar for appearing in some adaptation of a story set in the 1940’s. ALL TANGENTS ASIDE, Cage has kept himself QUITE stacked as of late. In early 2009 the CGI-Fest known as G-Force dropped with Cage providing a voice as well as Cage’s vehicle Knowing, in which he played the lead. Throughout the remainder of the year he has worked on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, Season of the Witch, and Werner FOOKING Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Did I mention the voice that he provided for Astro Boy? No? Well, lump that in there as well.
IMDB has him attached to 4 deals in development, one of which being (GET READY!!!) Ghost Rider 2! Which creators have said will distance itself from the original as a revamp, not a sequel. Yet, it still stars Cage as the lead. Oh, how I LOVE this man! It simply amazes me what Hollywood will greenlight.

And speaking of hard working, (and by hard-working, I mean shameless self-promotion!) visit my sketch troupe’s Youtube or Facebook and comment/subscribe/hate/love/befriend/never talk to us again/enjoy our attempts at making you laugh!