Besson Shows Off The Family With De Niro, Pfeiffer Posters

It looks like Robert De Niro’s returning to his mob roots in Luc Besson’s The Family. In the new film, he plays a rat who testified against the mafia before being relocated to a small town in France along with his wife, daughter and son played by Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, Dark Shadows), Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four, Glee) and John D’Leo (Cop Out, Wanderlust).

Here’s the synopsis from Relativity Media, who recently released the above posters from the film:

In the dark action comedy The Family, a Mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the Witness Protection Program after snitching on the mob. Despite Agent Stansfield’s (Tommy Lee Jones) best efforts to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children, Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo), can’t help resorting to old habits by handling their problems the “family” way. Chaos ensues as their former Mafia cronies try to track them down and scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings, in this subversively funny film by Luc Besson.

Besson has made plenty of entries in the action genre writing and directing movies like Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element so it will be interesting to see his take on the relocated mobster action-comedy subgenre of crime flicks.

[via Latino Review]

80s Odyssey: Black Moon Rising (1986)

black moon rising It doesn’t take much to draw me towards a movie. If you’ve got a flick, especially one from the 80s, starring a few people I already like and don’t take more than 100 minutes of my time, I’ll probably watch you on Netflix Instant. That was the case with Black Moon Rising, a movie I’d never heard of but featured Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Bubba Smith and Robert Vaughn as well as a futuristic super-car. I’m in, let’s do this.

Tommy Lee Jones plays a thief who steals some financial records and winds up getting followed. To avoid his would-be captors, he hides the information in the aforementioned super car which happens to be parked outside a restaurant. While he’s inside, Linda Hamilton and her crew of car thieves lock the door of the place and drive off with lots of expensive cars. Jones follows and discovers that Hamilton works for Vaughn, a big time, evil corporate guy. Jones then starts working on Hamilton to get on her good side while also trying to find out more about the car from its creators who are skittish of the whole thing at first. Of course, he gets everyone on board and leads a pretty exciting assault on a high rise to get both the car and the information back.

I realized while watching this movie that it was probably the youngest I’ve ever seen TLJ on film. It’s not that he looks so much different than he did in the 90s or even now, just fresher. It was cool seeing him running around, fighting guys and getting to wear the cool looking black leather suits instead of playing the jaded veteran. Meanwhile, Hamilton plays a very similar role to the one she did in the Terminator movies. She’s tough and bruised on the inside but keeps a hard exterior to the world that’s knocked her around. For his part, Vaughn really nails his role as the business bad guy. He really reminded me of 80s and 90s Lex Luthor from the Superman comics. He basically plucked Hamilton off the street and formed her into who she is today for good and ill solely to have someone who would absolutely follow his orders. He also tends to monitor and record nearly everything which is kind of an interesting aspect back then. He basically uses all the technology available no matter how expensive to keep his criminal empire in check.

I’ve already writen about Black Moon Rising for three paragraphs now and haven’t mentioned the most interesting part: John Carpenter wrote the movie. I haven’t been able to dig up exactly why he didn’t want to direct it, though it looks like Big Trouble In Little China which came out the same year and Prince Of Darkness which came out the following might have taken up his time. Instead, Harley Cokeliss jumped into the director’s chair. I’m not very familiar with his other works, but do believe I have Battletruck somewhere in my pile of to-be-watched DVDs and think I might have come across Malone starring Burt Reynolds at some point. It’s interesting comparing this movie to some of Carpenter’s others, especially Christine which also focused on a special car, though a far more supernatural one and also stars a real bad ass as the lead just like Big Trouble, Escape From New York and They Live. On the other hand, this is a much more real-world and technology-based film than you might expect from the creator of those other stories. It would have been really cool to see what he would have done with the movie had he actually directed.

black moon rising german poster

Before closing out I wanted to say one last thing about this film, I think it’s ripe for the remake mill. I think this one has a lot of potential and would piss off almost no one. Of course, you’re also dealing with a movie that doesn’t have nearly the existing audience, fanbase and name recognition that some of Carpenter’s other movies do. On the other hand, you’re dealing with a really solid, yet open framework for a story that can easily be transferred to the current day. I’m not saying this would be a multibillion dollar blockbuster, but a pretty good vehicle (heh, puns!) for an action movie that has room for improvement and modernization. This could be something like the Jason Statham remake of The Mechanic which worked out pretty well if you ask me. As it happens, I’d also like to see Statham in this one. Heck, the dude already has experience with driving fast cars. Let’s make this happen Hollywood!

Back In Black: Men In Black 3 (2012)

men in black 3I did not have very high hopes for Men In Black 3. When I first heard they were doing another film after the pretty-great first installment and the I-can’t-remember-anything-about-it sequel, I wasn’t super excited. Then I heard that they started filming without a finished script, which is never a good sign and was even less interested. However there were two basic reasons I moved it to the top of the Netflix queue. First, my wife wanted to watch it and I was fairly curious. And two, we got a great deal on a Blu-ray player on Amazon during Cyber Monday and have been itching to take full advantage of that killer picture.

Well, we just finished watching it and I’ve got to say, I was amazingly surprised with how much I dug this movie. I’m not sure if it was the low expectations or that this really is a fantastic movie (I’m thinking it’s leaning towards the latter, really), but this movie really felt like a proper follow-up to the deft mix of action, comedy and sci-fi that made the first one so great. As you may or may not know, the plot for this movie follows Agent J (Will Smith) as he travels back in time to help the late 60s version of his partner (Josh Brolin), Agent K, save the current day version (Tommy Lee Jones). Along the way, he’s also saving the world from a world-killing alien named Boris The Animal in both current and past versions.

The story, which could have gotten overly complicated — especially when you throw in fifth dimensional alien who can see all realities at once — but I thought that screenwriter Etan Cohen did a great job of making everything easy to follow without talking down to the audience. I also thought director Barry Sonnenfeld did a great job with everything from casting younger versions of Tommy Lee Jones and Emma Thompson to keeping the story moving along. Bothcerators get kudos for my two favorite bits in the movie: the fact that the late 60s aliens at MIB HQ all look like they’re from episodes of Star Trek and the whole part with Andy Warhol and the Factory. Warhol played a big early role in the punk scene that I read about in Please Kill Me, so it was fun to see an alternate, funny take on that.

The action and special effects were up there on the same level as the comedy which made this a great choice for really testing out our new Blu-ray player. It all looked so vivid, I could see all the lines on TLJ’s face (which I’m sure he’s not super happy about). At the same time, I could see every aspect of the pretty great looking aliens in both timelines, which is always a plus. Boris was especially awesome looking and well-created. My wife very correctly pointed out that he looks like a less-pale Lobo, which now makes me want a Lobo movie real bad.

But the film also has a heart to it. J wants to know more about K, but K won’t let him in for reasons that become clear(er) by the end of the film. Meanwhile, J finds the past version of K to be a lot more open and happy, so the question of why he changes starts working its way up to the same level as, how are they going to save Earth? A lot of movies with such high stakes (saving the world) tend to lose site of the personal, which is what people can actually relate to. This movie doesn’t have that problem. And, man, the reason they give or K’s distance from J, that was tough but kind of poetic. I have questions about it, but they’re not nagging.

So, all in all, I was very happy with our MIB3 viewing experience from both a story and film perspective AND a visual one. Man, that’s a pretty movie. I really think this Blu-ray thing might have a chance of catching on, you guys.

Quick Movie Review: Captain America The First Avengers (2011)

I’ve got to say, I’m digging what Marvel Entertainment is doing with their Marvel movies. Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger might not be my favorite movies or even on the same level with each other (Thor and Hulk haven’t aged well in my mind) but, as a comic geek, I do appreciate all the little bits and pieces they throw in for us to slobber over. Plus, the connections between the films leading up to The Avengers have just been fun. I have no idea if normal people care about this stuff at all, but I get giddy.

Cap is packed with those kinds of things, even if they don’t match up with the comics. Guys, Arnim freaking Zola was in this movie! The original Human Torch (or at least his costume) were on display! Howling Commandos! Union Jack! I don’t even care that Bucky Barnes knew Steve ahead of time and all that. His costume looked kind of like Winter Soldier’s! Ahhh! I don’t remember geeking out this much at a comic movie in a long time, so that was fun.

It also helped that it was a fun adventure story that even my inlaws liked (we watched it over the weekend). Someone in the room mentioned that it was like Indiana Jones and I think that’s a very apt comparison. This movie sets up an evil bad guy, a great good guy, gives him a solid, important missions and pits the two against each other. I even like how they changed Red Skull’s origin to put him more on par with Cap physically. I didn’t quite understand what the deal with the Cosmic Cube was this time around (the baby was making noise, so I might have missed some exposition) but I did like how it was connected to the World Tree and thus the alien gods seen in Thor.

One other quick thing, I was so, so, SO glad to see a comic book period flick. I know X-Men: First Class did the same thing last year too, but I haven’t seen that one yet. When I was at Wizard there was talk of a Fantastic Four movie being done as a period piece, set in the 60s. I don’t know if it was an actual rumor from somewhere or something we just got to talking about, but the idea struck me as kind of revelatory at the time. A swinging 60s FF would have been great! I’m glad that this idea whether something we just made up or not eventually became a reality. I know it would never happen, but I’d love to see a 30s-set Superman flick done with modern special effects tech! It works for Cap because he came back from WWII to be in the present day and the X-Men because they’re a team that have been around for a while. Speaking of which, all this Cap stuff got me even more jazzed for The Avengers! Is it out yet?