As you can tell, I haven’t been blogging much lately. My days are filled with work, kids and house stuff, so I don’t have as much time to sit back down behind the computer and write out my thoughts on important things like movies and comics, but I’ve been lucky enough to see and read a lot of cool stuff lately and want to remember that.
So, let’s start with the trio of Dwayne Johnson movies I’ve seen recently. A few weeks back, unbeknownst to us we had a free trial of HBO. For a night, I thought we’d had the thing since we moved in six months ago and I’d just missed it, but the disappearance of the channels the next day revealed the truth. Still, I was able to take advantage and watch Justin Lin’s Furious 6.
I’m actually not very up on the Fast & Furious movies. I saw the first in the theaters way back in 2001, but I preferred the previous year’s Gone In 60 Seconds. Since then this series produced a few sequels that kept the motor running until it really kicked into gear in the past few installments. In a lot of ways, these movies have taken on a kind of comic book nature. The last three films have drawn from the previous ones as far as characters go and also, as Paul Scheer said on the episode of How Did This Get Made dedicated to the movie, they’re basically superheroes at this point who can’t die (or mostly can’t die). Continue reading Dwayne Johnson Is Awesome Part 1 (of Infinity)
Ellen Page might play Tara Chace in the big screen adaptation of Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country comic series. John Rogers (Leverage, Transformers) is currently working on the script. [via Variety]
Check out the first image from the Robert De Niro/Sylvester Stallone boxing comedy Grudge Match. [via USA Today]
Paramount announced that they snagged Snow White And The Huntsman writer Evan Daugherty to pen the third G.I. Joe film. Daugherty also did some re-writing on the upcoming Ninja Turtles reboot. [via Deadline]
Even though he finds explosions boring these days, Bruce Willis is still signing on for more
paychecks action films. The latest is called The Prince in which he plays a guy waiting for revenge on a mob enforcer who returns to Vegas to get his daughter back. Red Dawn writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore penned the script for director Sarik Andreasyan (American Heist). [via Collider]
Did you see the French poster for Snowpiercer? Well now you have! [via CloneWeb]
Word on the street is that Mark Wahlberg is in talks to star in a remake of the James Caan 1974 flick The Gambler with potential director Rupert Wyatt (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes). [via Deadline]
Electric Shadows blogger Jean Lukitsh wrote an e-book about the history of martial arts cinema that also features segments from the author’s personal memorabilia collection called Electric Shadows: The Secret History Of Kung Fu Movies Volume 1. The 69 page book is $2.99 on Amazon. [via Kung Fu Cinema]
Man, what’s with Bruce Willis lately? First, he reportedly demanded too much money to reprise the role of Mr. Church in Expendables 3 (to be replaced by Harrison Ford) and now he’s giving weird interviews all over Europe as a weird way of supporting Red 2 and telling us that explosions are dull, Deadline reports.
The actor talked about his growing action movie fatigue with Spanish magazine XLS. “Explosions are one of the most boring parts of my job,” Willis said. “When you have seen a few fireballs, it’s not exciting anymore. I know part of my audience enjoys the explosions, but to be honest, I’m a bit bored of it now.” The next rational question, then, is why does he bother to keep making these films? He answered that question very pragmatically. “I am very clear with who I am,” Willis said. “I work in all sorts of films, but the action movies are the ones that generate the most revenue. I like to earn lots of money from those.”
Look, we’ve got no problem with an actor taking jobs for the money. That’s how the business works. But there’s something off-putting and diminishing about a guy trashing the genre we love while also essentially saying we’re the ones who help him out by buying tickets and buying Blu-rays. It feels kind of like he’s saying, “I make my money off you explosion-loving goofballs, but it’s super boring.” Let’s be real, here, Bruce. No one’s remembering you for your dramatic work. You’re a good actor. We saw that on Looper. But the legacy of Bruce Willis on film isn’t Moonrise Kingdom, it’s Die Hard. Either make a shift towards more serious, cerebral roles or stop complaining.
For the second week in a row, an action film won the box office. Two weekends back it was The Wolverine, last week it was 2 Guns! Congrats all around!
Speaking of action films making money, THR pointed out that G.I. Joe: Retaliation topped home video sales after premiering last week.
If you want to check out 33 images from Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium featuring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, head on over to Hero Complex.
Like most of the Hollywood news sites out there, Deadline reported that Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks have pulled out of adapting Navy Seal Chris Kyle’s American Sniper for the big screen.
The other day, Sylvester Stallone announced that Harrison Ford would be replacing Bruce Willis in The Expendables 3. THR reports a rumor that Willis wouldn’t agree to shoot for four days in Bulgaria for $3 million (he wanted another mill apparently). We guess this is what Sly meant when he said “GREEDY AND LAZY …… A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE”
Finally, in news that’s not surprising to anyone, 300: Rise Of An Empire, the navally oriented sequel to 300, got an R-rating from the MPAA. [via SHH]
We here at Explosions Are Rad are big fans of the mash-up action-fests better known as The Expendables movies. The brainchild of Sylvester Stallone, the films bring together some of the best and brightest action stars of all time together offering explosions, fight scenes and gunplay worth the price of admission alone.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, you really need to follow Stallone on Twitter (he’s @TheSlyStallone). The legendary action star took to social media today to not only announce that Bruce Willis won’t return for The Expendables 3, but also that he’ll be replaced by Harrison Ford. “WILLIS OUT… HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!”
He followed that up with what seems like a slam against Willis who appeared as Mr. Church in the first two Expendables movies. “GREEDY AND LAZY …… A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE”
Willis’ Mr. Church played an important role in both films. In the first, he hired the team to invade Valena and in the second he uses their failure in the first movie as leverage to send them out to get a device that winds up putting them in direct opposition to Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Vilain. He even got in on the action alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the second film. Will Ford do the same in 3? We sure hope so.
Last month, Stallone also said via Twitter that the new film, directed by Red Hill‘s Patrick Hughes, will feature real life fighters Ronda Rousey and Victor Ortiz as well. Hopefully, they fall into Randy Couture territory and turn out to be super watchable on screen. The film is also said to star Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Couture, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, Jackie Chan, Kellan Lutz, Milla Jovovich, Wesley Snipes and many more.
We’re probably not going to get into too much comic book movie news here on Explosions Are Rad because they’re covered really well on other sites, but it’s pretty cool that an action-packed flick like The Wolverine took the box office and made $86 million worldwide according to Variety.
We’re also not looking to delve too much into horror movie news for similar reasons, but Syfy’s Sharknado had enough (terrible) action scenes and explosions to qualify for a quick bullet point. TheWrap reported that the film will hit Regal, UA and Edwards Cinemas for a Friday, Aug. 2 midnight showing. It will be interesting to see if the so-bad-it’s-good phenomenon will transfer over to make actual money after being offered so often for free.
The Mary Sue recently posted an interesting story about a new Pakistani animated series called Burka Avenger that stars a female superhero who spends her days as a teacher. It definitely sounds like kid stuff, but the concept of a strong woman using her brains to fight crime is aces in our book.
Collider did an interview with Jon M. Chu about this week’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation DVD and Blu-ray release and also talked a bit about the third film which he’s signed up for. Briefly, he said that Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis are returning, they’re looking for a writer now and also to “double down on the adventure part of the movie” while also looking to possibly bring in more Joes.
Speaking of Dwayne Johnson, the man known as The Rock, Tweeted out an image from the set of Brett Ratner’s Hercules with the message: “Let it be to death or victory” THANK U my ‘Thracian soldiers’. Intensity & energy.”
There’s a flick in the works called Black Friday that revolves around a man trying to get his wife back after she’s kidnapped inside a giant mall. He’s got to perform crazy tasks to get her back. Sounds silly, but I spent enough time in the Palisades Mall to give this a look on Netflix. John Sullivan wrote a script that Darin Beckstead’s attached to helm. (via Deadlline)
World War Z fans can look forward to checking out the big budget zombie flick starring Brad Pitt in IMAX 3D for a week kicking off on Aug. 2. (via Deadline)
Much like with The Raid, I’d heard pretty much only good things about Rian Johnson’s Looper. The trailers I’d seen looked good and according to post-Cop Out Bruce Willis detractor Kevin Smith the movie was so good that it even made him like Willis again, so that definitely piqued my interest. Plus, who doesn’t love a good time travel movie? I’ve seen some really killer newer entries into the genre lately between Primer and Triangle (I wasn’t as big a fan of Timecrimes).
My wife and I watched this movie over the weekend and I was pretty taken aback by it, something I can’t say about most movies. There were some faulty bits that I’ll get to in a graph or two, but first, let’s talk about all the good stuff. This story is fantastic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an executioner in 2044 who works for mobsters in 2074 who have access to time travel tech. They have a hard time offing people in the future, so they transport people to the past where a Looper is waiting for them with a blunderbuss and blow the target away. Things go crazy in the film when JGL’s future self (Willis) gets sent back without the usual restraints and winds up getting away. Willis is on a mission to save his life while JGL just wants to get his old life back. The craziness flows from there.
While I really dug the story, there some story elements that bothered me though. Why do Loopers have such silly guns? Sure a blunderbuss can blow a hole in an elephant, but why not train them to shoot a guy in the head or even use an automatic weapon? I only ask this question because it seems like this detail was added in for the sole purpose of giving JGL a weapon that’s basically useless at the very end of the film. Also, why are they called Loopers? JGL explains in voiceover that it’s because the mob will send the Looper’s future self back for the current Looper to kill, but isn’t that funny naming logic? You don’t name a guy for the last part of his job, do you? I still can’t tell if I have a problem with the telekinesis stuff or not. On one hand, you can just accept is as part of the world, a piece of information that’s put in place and paid off for at the end of the movie. On the other hand, it could be a kind of tacked-on bit of business that’s only there to turn a character who would normally be non-threatening into something you really have to worry about.
Even with the above complaints, I was really moved by this movie. First off, it’s a daring story that goes weird places you don’t expect your basic theater-fare to go. Bruce Willis also stars as a somewhat relatable character doing incredibly awful things to try and save his family. Plus, JGL absolutely kills in the film. He carries the intensity and rawness of his own character while also channelling Willis in ways that don’t seem cheap or hokey. Plus, he really rocks that prosthetic nose and begin to believe he’s almost a completely new person (I kept thinking he looked like Shia at times in the film). And man, that ending. I did not see it coming and it hit me in the gut like heavyweight punch. That’s something else you don’t see often.
If you’re like me and just about everyone I’ve talked to about this movie and want to learn more about Johnson’s life, creative process and experience making this film, check out Kevin Smith’s 2-part SmodCast/SmovieMakers podcast interview with the director (here and here) who also goes into detail on his previous efforts Brick and Brothers Bloom.