Monday, September 27, 2010

Natlie Portman Talks The Professional 2

The Professional (aka Leon aka Leon: The Professional) is definitely in my Top 15, and perhaps Top 10, favorite movies of all time. If you haven't seen it I highly suggest you do. In The Professional we see a 12 year old Natalie Portman give a performance of lifetime next to Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. The Professional is more than just a hitman looking after a young girl. It's about a bond that two unlikely people form, which lasts forever. In a recent interview Portman stated that she would definitely do a sequel only if Luc Besson, the director of the first film, will do it. For years, Besson has refused to do a sequel even though there is a script floating around. Check out the short clip below:

I truly hope this does happen in the near future. If Besson does agree then it would be fantastic. I've always wanted to see how Mathilda turned out. Portman exudes beauty so it would be interesting to see how she would incorporate that into the character of Mathilda. Personally, I wouldn't even want them to call it The Professional 2 but simply Mathilda...but I'd settle for Mathilda: The Professional which would be a nice sentimental tribute to the original.

Ed Norton Up For Batman 3

In a recent interview Ed Norton gave with IGN he stated that he wouldn't say no to doing Batman 3 if he was offered the part.

IGN reports:

Speaking exclusively to IGN to promote new movie Stone, Norton said that he loved playing Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, and that he has no hard feelings regarding Marvel’s decision to go with Mark Ruffalo on Avengers.

“I think I said everything I want to say in the one thing I put out about that” he explained. “It was a great privilege to do it, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of everybody’s support and positivity towards that because I love those films too. And I hate it when they miss. I hate it when they miss on one – it seems like such a wasted opportunity. But the truth is I’m probably more naturally interested in doing something that I haven’t done. I have only good thoughts towards that though.”

Norton revealed that the situation hasn’t put him off the notion of superhero movies however, saying that if a good project came along, he’s sign up.

“Chris Nolan’s making the best ones out there by far” he explained “I’d do one with him. He’s set a new bar for sure, and I think he’s done a great, great job.”

We pushed Norton as to whether he’d be up for playing a villain in Batman 3, with the actor replying “That would be fun, I would not say no to that.”

And more specifically we asked if he’d like to play the Riddler, with the star simply smiling and saying “Your guys can put their votes in on that.”

There is no doubt that Norton is one of the best actors of our generation or probably ever. His commitment and level of seriousness to any film is rivaled by few. I would be more than happy to see Norton in Batman 3. If this does happen the movie could potentially be better than The Dark Knight...yes I just said that. If Norton does get the opportunity to work with Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman then forget about it. Norton is no stranger to playing a character with a dark side i.e.) American History X, Primal Fear, so I have the utmost confidence in him. In no way am I taking anything away from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was rumored to play the Riddler, but lets face it Norton is a HUGE upgrade. As of now this is just talk so lets see what the future brings.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bill and Ted 3!?!?!

You got it! The totally tubular dudes from San Dimas may be returning to for a third time. Bill and Ted's original writing team of Chis Matheson and Ed Solomon are working on a new story so there is a good chance that the Wild Stallions will be making a return. It's been almost 25 years since the original obviously age is a huge factor in my opinion. There was some discussion to handing it over to their kids but that already has been scratched. We've all know what Keanu Reeves has done with his career since the first Bill and Ted, however, Alex Winter has not been up to much. Random roles and voice overs fill up Winter's resume so for him this would be a huge step up. As for George Carlin's character Rufus he will not be recasted due to the death of Carlin. I think that's a smart move because it would be very difficult to replace such an iconic comedic actor. Only time will tell if this movie does get made for sure and part of me is somewhat skeptical of the quality. Bill and Ted was a film that worked for the time it took place in but I could be wrong.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Fighter-Weight Loss and Weight Gain

In the trailer section I added The Fighter. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams. I'm not going to discuss anything in relation to story other than it does look interesting. I would like to briefly discuss the dedication of Wahlberg and Bale. Since this film is based on a true story I really don't expect anything less from both of these actors. Wahlberg has always been in good shape dating to the 90's so it wasn't really an issue for him to bulk up like this. As for Bale he is no stranger to losing weight for a role. This is Bale's second time he's lost a significant amount of weight for a role, the first being The Machinist (2004). According to IMDB, Bale would disappear for hours at end in order to prepare for his role. Now, IMDB has been said to give bullshit facts but I really have to believe this one. Bale is a method actor to the core and he takes his roles extremely seriously. Obviously, you all heard his blow up at the director of lighting on the Terminator Salvation set. All that guy did was walk through the scene and Bale flipped out...talking about psychotic dedication. Overall, when I see such dedication like this it makes me happy and my confidence level in the film increases. It's dedication like this which separates actors like Bale and Wahlberg from other actors in Hollywood. Many actors and actresses, especially the young ones, stay in there comfort zone and get type cast...yea I'm talking to you Zac Effron. (Why don't you go pack on 25lbs for a role like Matt Damon did for The Informant then I may consider taking you seriously.) They feel the necessity to constantly work in their demographic, which inevitably hurts them. The ability to put your work before yourself is an essential element to not only gaining success but becoming one of the elite.

The Losers

Summary: A small military group is framed and reported dead after they defy their orders from a corrupt CIA agent who’s really trying to wage eco-terrorism. This group, called The Losers, must now “come back to life” to restore their names and take vengeance on the man who screwed them.

Plot (C+): The general storyline of The Losers reminds me of The A-Team. You know…a small tactical team that has worked together for a long time where each person specializes in a certain area and they get fucked over in some form or another. I was entertained by the story but it didn’t take a hold of me like The A-Team did. Perhaps if there was more depth to the story and characters it would have been better.

Action (B): Standard but well thought out military action scenes run through and through this film. I will say that any action film that has sniper in the group always catches my attention for some reason. I like seeing someone’s head get blown away out of nowhere or through the cross hairs of rifle scope. There’s something sadistically cool about it. There was also a hand to hand fight scene between Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character and Zoe Saldana character, which kind of pissed me off since Morgan is 6 ft something and well over 200 lbs and Zaldana is as light as a feather and probably 5’ 6…if that. It’s just not believable even for a movie. I don’t care how well trained her character is. One good punch from a man that size and you can rest assure the girl isn’t getting up until next week.

Acting & Dialogue (C+): Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) played Clay, the leader of the group. Overall, Morgan is a pretty good actor whose physical presence fit in perfectly with the role. However, he was a bit monotone throughout the film and I felt that he didn’t take on the role of the Colonel as well as he should have. On a side note, the course of the movie takes place in several different locations over an unspecified amount of time but Morgan’s character never changed clothes. Not once! Except for the beginning of the film he’s dressed in a black suit and white unbuttoned shirt. That’s just dirty and didn’t make sense! Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) played Jensen, the computer tech guy, and as usual Evans brought his smirky comments and playful demeanor. While it worked in the film I’m hoping that he steps out of that shell and expands himself a bit more in the future. Evans has begun filming Captain America: The First Avenger so I hope he doesn’t bring the same style of acting to such an American pop culture icon. Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar) played Aisha and here is a girl who knows what she’s doing. Saldana is as beautiful as she is talented and I felt that her performance was really strong. She played Aisha as a tough woman who takes no shit from anyone but knows how to be sexy and seductive in order to get what she needs. Finally, there is Jason Patric (Speed 2: Cruise Control, Narc), who played the corrupt eco-terrorist CIA agent Max. Above all, Patric’s character and performance was my favorite. Although, Max was as bad and psychotic as they come he had a funny sense of humor to him, which contributed some comedy to the film.

Sex Appeal (7): Zoe Saldana in a bra and panties = nicey nice!

Director (C): I think this is what the film suffered from most. Sylvain White is pretty much an amateur director. His only directing credentials are Stomp the Yard and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. I have no patience for dancing movies whatsoever due to the fact of the poor acting, the shitty actors, and the weak script. As for I’ll Always Know…I had no fucking clue someone made a third installment of that series. If The Loser was directed by someone with more experience I’m fairly sure it would have been better.

Overall: C+

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Road

The Road is a powerful movie that examines post apocalyptic life. Throughout cinema history there has been several versions of what life would be like after an apocayplse and I would have to say The Road displayed the absolute worst. There is no explanation behind the apocayplse it just occurs. For some people that may be negative factor, while I myself, didn't mind the lack of explanation. It just simply happened. For those who were looking for an explanation I ask you: why? What good would have come out of it? In the case of the story it was something that couldn't have been prevented at all. Perhaps it was just nature taking its course thus turning the world into a barren waste land without sun. Above all, those two factors may haven been the scariest.

The absence of the sun and farmable land has killed any hope to get things back on track. Furthermore, it cemented the way people lived in the film, which was traveling around like nomads in search for food (or humans if you are a cannibal) and a better place. In reality there is nothing better down the road. Its all the same. Everything and place is hell.

What I found to be very interesting were the cannibals. Those who chose to eat humans instead of starving served to be the greatest threat to the main characters. I only wonder how long those people held out before they decided to consume their fellow man. Another interesting aspect regarding the cannibals was their lack morals and mercy. At one time these were just regular people. Maybe some were doctors, lawyers, or whatever, but once they decided to become a cannibal they lost all sense of humanity.

I found the story of Viggo Mortensen's character to be extremely sad and despressing just like the movie. Since the day of his son's birth his life centered around protecting him. He was the one that had to be strong for his son because his wife couldn't deal. I felt so bad for him and the emotional pain he endured daily. The fact that you may have to kill your own son just so he won't be taken by cannibals must be the worst feeling.

Overall, I found The Road to be a good movie but highly depressing. While it may be a bit slow at times the emotional and physical turmoil the characters go through keeps the story moving. This film is a one time see due to the fact that there is little to no happiness.

Overall: B

Monday, September 6, 2010

The American

Summary: An American hitman named Jack (George Clooney) hides out in a small Italian town after an attempt on his life in Sweden. While in Italy he takes a side job crafting a rifle for a hit woman, which a colleague puts him in contact with. During his time there, Jack also develops a relationship with a prostitute however due to his dangerous profession he can’t share his secrets or his inner pain. Although he wants out of this hellish lifestyle it seems impossible for him to escape it and enjoy the simple pleasures of life since death and danger continuously follow him.

Plot (B-): The majority of spy/assassin movies have an intricate plot where you may or may not fully know the protagonists motives. The American does not fall into that category since the story is very straightforward. I could sum up the essence of the film with a few words rather than sentences and it would give you a good understanding of the story such as: survival, guilt, emotional pain, detachment, and love. This is a pretty good movie but it was lacking in one certain area, which will be explained in the Acting & Dialogue section.

Action (B-): This is not like one of the Bourne films where Jason Bourne is fucking guys up left and right in a variety of ways. Other than a few gun shots the majority of the film rests in hands of the actors interactions with one another.

Acting & Dialogue (B-): This is probably George Clooney’s darkest character of his career. He typical picks roles where the characters have life to them which when combined with his own acting talents and charm everything is brought to life. But this is a different character all in all. Clooney plays Jack as a serious man who seems to be tortured by not only the events of the opening scene but his life in general. He only continues to be an assassin because it’s what he’s good at. My biggest compliant with the film was the lack of dialogue. Clooney maybe had 18 lines throughout the whole film and never spoke for more than a few seconds at a time. I feel that if he spoke more the film would have had a bit more life to it. But that’s not the direction the writer and director went for. They wanted a serious and dangerous man who rarely interacts with people and whose emotional pain is visible through his demeanor. To more analytical, his secluded lifestyle is a metaphor for why he keeps people at a distance. This is done out of choice but more importantly out of necessity. The only other actor who shares a fair amount of screen time with Clooney is the voluptuous Italian actress Violante Placido. Placido plays Clara, a prostitute who Jack ends up falling for during his time away. She did a very good job and her chemistry with Clooney was believable especially during the sexual scenes.

Sex Appeal (10): Speaking of sexual scenes there is not only a good amount titties in this film but there’s also some bush. Placido got naked several times, at length, and acted completely natural about it.

Director (C+): Anton Crobijn is still fairly new to directing movies. His resume consists of a few films but is mostly dominated by music videos of bands such as Metallica, U2, and Depeche Mode. Therefore, you can state that he’s still an amateur director when it comes to filming movies. Crobijn did a decent job but I think working with such a good actor such as Clooney was more beneficial to him. It seemed that Clooney took the reins of this film and just went with it. If Crobijn worked with a less talented actor in this film I think he would have run into some troubles. However, I did like the way he filmed the movie. Everything was up close and personal with the actors. The cinematography was great and the setting of Castel del Monte in Abruzzo, Italy was breathtaking.

Overall: B-

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Actor of the Month: James Franco

Why: James Franco is not Hollywood’s go-to actor. Nor he is not the highest paid actor in his profession. But I’ll tell you one thing…he is a damn good actor and you can always count on him delivering. Moreover, Franco is smart about the roles he chooses. Rather than picking some film for decent size paycheck Franco chooses films, which will help define his career and also help him define the movie. I will not argue that Franco has done some less than stellar films, but who hasn’t? It’s his individual performances that truly count. Franco’s first film was Never Been Kissed (1999) where he worked alongside Drew Barrymore, John C. Reilly, and David Arquette. However, he didn’t truly burst onto the scene until he starred in the short-lived cult TV show Freaks and Geeks. Franco was so good in that series that one must see his performances in order to truly appreciate it. In 2001 he starred in the TV movie James Dean playing the title character. Now, I’ve never seen it but IMDB gave it a 7.2/10 stars, which is good. Even without seeing it I feel very confidant that Franco did a good job. He looks somewhat similar to the 50’s icon and definitely knows how to play the cool factor. The following year Franco got his biggest break in Spider-Man (which he starred in all three) as Harry Osborn, son of the Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. His representation of a son who isn’t appreciated by his father but desperately willing to seek his approval was accurate to the comic book character. In 2007, Franco had a very small role in a good but highly depressing military film entitled In Valley of Ellah starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. Why he didn’t have a bigger part in this film is beyond me, but it was still a good movie and performance nonetheless. In 2008, he starred in the stoner hit-comedy Pineapple Express with Seth Rogen. Franco was great in this film because he showed audiences how funny he can be. I thought he was perfect for the role of Sol the pot dealer because the guy constantly looks stoned much like Jim Breuer. To further show his versatility, Franco starred in Milk that same year. He played Sean Penn’s gay lover. While I don’t know much about the story of Harvey Milk, other than what was portrayed, their chemistry was authentic and added to the validity of the film.

Franco does not pigeon hole himself into a certain genre. He feels the necessity to explore all options, which is why he played a whacky re-occurring character on the daytime soap opera General Hospital from 2009-2010. If you were to Google any episode you may think it’s a joke because his character is called Franco and he’s so strange to say the least. I guess he did that just to mix things up and keep his career fresh.

James Franco is more than just an actor and I don’t think he would define himself as just that. Many do not know this but he is enrolled at Columbia Universities Graduate Program for Fictional Writing and the Graduate Film Program at NYU. Talk about a man who is dedicated to the arts. Therefore, for reasons such as this I name James Franco September’s Actor of the Month!