Action / Biography / Drama / Sport


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December 17, 2011 at 11:39 AM



Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg
Brad Pitt as Billy Beane
Robin Wright as Sharon
810.91 MB
23.976 fps
12hr 0 min
P/S 9 / 89

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Vaughn Fry (Legendary_Badass) 9 / 10

Pitt is at the top of his game

I have another rare chance to catch a film more than a day before it's national release. Usually when this happens there's a horde of folks queued up. When the doors to the theatre open, phones are sequestered, and a rush is put on to find prime seating. Those were movies starring a bunch of… well less than household names. Surely a sneak to see a Brad Pitt movie would be even more chaotic. Unfortunately the waning popularity of America's pastime is as much of a deterrent as a movie star and free entertainment are agents of attraction.

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is a former major leaguer turned general manager of the Oakland A's. After losing in the playoffs to the Yankees, the A's lose their stars to free agency. Billy is tasked with rebuilding despite a payroll that leaves the A's trailing the competition.

While going through the usual motions, Billy happens by Pete Brand (Jonah Hill), an economist who may have found a way to scout baseball with the efficiency the A's need. The two delve in head first, and despite some tough outings they never back down.

Pitt is at the top of his game. As an everyman—or at least one that isn't played up as wealthy, a man struggling to keep his job—frustration is clearly seen in Pitt's face. Pitt brings humanity to the ominous job of a general manager. Flashbacks of his stint in "the show" surmise his entire life, be it his divorce or relationship with his daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey).

Moneyball is not the action-packed sports outing one may be expecting. Director Bennett Miller spends very little time focusing on the game of baseball, or even the personalities of the players. Moneyball is a movie about management. Its deadpan, forthright approach is fresh compared to the typical underdog story filled with home runs and stolen bases. There's no electrifying music or thrilling speeches, but the excitement found in a phone call is realized as well as one could imagine. I don't think any actor other than Hill could pull of his slowly clinched fist.

Like the good sports films, Moneyball shares a deeper meaning than simply winning. Immediately the value of loyalty comes to mind. The sports genre is changing, much like how the crew of this story changed talent scouting. Just last year a movie rose up about the struggle to manage a boxer, and now here's the struggle to manage a team.

Reviewed by Sam Li 5 / 10

Worth admission even if you care squat about baseball

Just caught this at the Toronto Film festival. It is undoubtedly one of the higher quality dramas in 2011. At its heart is a baseball-centric docu-drama, but even folks with zero baseball knowledge/interest can enjoy and be moved by this movie.

Jonah Hill's performance in the film is phenomenal, and this may be the break that that young actor has been joshing for. His portrayal Peter Brand, a Yale Economics major and full time computer nerd is beyond believable, you practically swear that you know him personally a few days after the movie.

The role of Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is an incredibly demanding one. While there are tons of dialog, hack arguments, display of physical rage, etc; it is the silent story telling, emotional turmoil, change-of-heart reflections, pupils-triggered catharsis, and so on that are the toughest to convey and requires a well-seasoned character actor. This is easily Brad at his widest acting range - and you see all of it in a little over two hours.

To be totally honest, I have not been tracking Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting career until this film. His portrayal of the ready-to-exit Oakland A's coach Art Howe, caught between "the for-sure old money" and the "crazy senseless new reality", convinced me that they couldn't have casted this part any better. Hoffman delivers on every single scene and you literally sweat his frustration along with him. This foil to Brad Pitt's character is actually effective enough to save several heavy- drama exchange where Brad's delivery falls slightly short of the mark.

This is an "onion" movie, constructed purposely to be entertaining on many levels. It can be watched purely as an entertaining account of modern baseball history - how player statistics became one of the most important factors determining financial success in modern baseball.

For more sentimental audience it tracks the journey of a man, forced to embrace change and disappointment as he fumble aimlessly through life etching out an unremarkable career first as a failing professional player, then small-time scout, and washed-out General Manager; only to finally wake up - and find himself becoming one of the greatest living innovator of the modern game.

Finally, for the abstract-at-heart, and those who knows or cares little about the game of baseball (like yours truly), this is a tale of an industry under irreversible change; a documentary of the conflict between innovators who brave the slings-and-arrows to map out the new ways, and the old stalwarts who goes all out to protect their crumbling turf.

At this historic moment in time, the message really hits a home-run! Other than baseball, we've recently witness similar changes and conflicts played out in public across the automobile, music distribution, movie distribution, book distribution, home computer, banking , and many other industries. Every unemployed in a vanishing industry can easily identify with the old Billy Beane, it is how Billy leverage his disappointment and experience, to turn his life around that we can all aspire to.

A worthy note is the soundtrack for the movie, grass-root simple and heartfelt, it sent me looking for the album on itunes - only to realize that the movie has not been officially released yet.

Reviewed by moviemanMA 9 / 10

Baseball by the numbers

Moneyball tells the story of the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics, a team that rose to notoriety because of its low payroll and unorthodox player selection. Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), a former player turned general manage, grows tired with the ancient, inefficient ways of the game he has committed his entire life to. When a transaction goes awry he stumbles across Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a Yale, economics graduate who believes he has a system to rating players based on numbers.

Billy and Peter begin trading, signing, and grooming the team based on data, not scouting, something that other members of the team are not fond of, including Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the team's manager. Billy and Peter's system defies current baseball logic, but when the club starts to win games with players like Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt), David Justice (Stephen Bishop), and Chad Bradford (Casey Bond), the eyes of the country turn to Oakland, where only seeing is believing.

What happened in Oakland back in '02 was incredible. It shouldn't have happened if you ask the right people, and other people will tell you it means nothing. Well, it did mean something it has changed the way people think about the game for good. You couldn't just go out and look at a kid to see if he would be a star or not. There were more stats to consider than home runs, strikeouts, and batting average. The game was expanding and becoming more and more a battle of logic.

The film's structure is centered mostly on Billy Beane, but the most exciting parts for me were about the system. Writer Aaron Sorkin, who a few months back accepted a slew of awards for his screenplay The Social Network, tosses out jargon that baseball fanatics go crazy for. For the general audience, that's where Billy helps out. Peter explains the system and has to break it down more for Beane (i.e. the audience) so everybody on screen and in the seats is on the same page.

Pitt's portrayal of Beane won me over. He completely caught me off guard. I know Pitt can act but I remember him for performances that were very complex on the outside. Aldo Raine (Inglourious Basterds) with his pronounces chin, squinty eyes, and thick accent. Benjamin Button (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) who grew younger as he got older. Jeffrey Goines (12 Monkeys) who couldn't sit still let alone focus on one subject in a conversation. Yes, he was nominated for all these performances, but in a performance like this there is something bubbling under the surface. All of his characters to an extent have something going on underneath, only this character, Billy Beane, is so normal and calm on the outside, yet when he is alone we can see pain and frustration.

His supporting cast of Hill, Hoffman, and the slew of ball players and colleagues, help turn this baseball team into the world of Oakland Athletics. Hill and Hoffman especially play perfect compliments to Pitt's sunny exterior. Hill is quiet, timid, and very smart. Hoffman is cold, weathered, and stubborn. Pitt is able to play off of both temperaments and make their scenes together pop off the screen.

The one thing that this movie has going for it is the lack of actual action on the diamond. There are some great scenes of actual baseball, one at bat by Hatteberg in particular struck a chord with me, but for the most part the action is behind the scenes. There is enough for a sports junkie to get their fix and enough drama and with Beane and his family to entice any average viewer into the theater. I can't think of many target groups that wouldn't find it interesting, except for children, due to language and complexity of some of the dialogue. All in all this is one movie that will please a lot of people, and more importantly a lot of different people, sort of like The Blind Side, only the movie is actually really good.

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