In one of the more surprising stories this week, it’s being reported that the much-anticipated sequel to 2009’s GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is being pushed back a whole nine months to March 29th of next year so 3D can be added. In other words, they’re moving it back a few months so they can make more money with a spring release. In fact, Paramount Execs are so upfront about said money-making, that one of them released a statement saying, “We’re going to do a conscientious 3D job because we’ve seen how it can better box office internationally.” I rest my case. [Ed. – It’s better than pushing it back for ‘reshoots’, which is almost always a sign of a shit movie…]
Chances are if you are a 20-something fun individual you have at one point or another enjoyed a good session of Family Guy. If you know Family Guy then I would wager your favorite characters are either Peter, Brian, or Stewie. So you will probably be pretty excited to hear that Seth MacFarlane’s new film Ted finally has a trailer out, which is Red band. That means NSFW, people. Ted stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis (shut up, Meg) and of course, Seth MacFarlane as the voice of Ted.
I’m man enough to admit that I love the “one last job” genre. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this genre you either don’t watch a lot of movies, or don’t pay attention to the movies you watch. A “one last job” movie involves a retired or aging criminal who has to do one more job to get himself out of the game forever and back to his family or his money or what/whoever he wants to be with. One of the most recent, and best, examples of the “one last job” genre that comes to mind is the Christopher Nolan, no pun intended, mindbender, Inception.
What is it about having to do one last job that makes a movie so damn exciting? Well, the stakes are almost always higher, and the payoff is always bigger. Whether it be millions of dollars, or the chance to be an actual citizen of the free world, sometimes all it takes is that one job to, well, get the job done. In the new action vehicle for Mark Wahlberg, Contraband, he plays a legitimate ex-con who now has a job installing alarm systems. That, my friends, is called action movie irony. Get used to it because it doesn’t get much better than that.
Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, one of the best smugglers anyone knows. He did what he had to after he and his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), had their two sons, Michael (Connor Hill), and Eddie (Bryce McDaniel). Kate’s brother, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), has been going against Chris’ good word and doing runs, despite his brother-in-law’s advice to get out of the game while he could. Now, Andy has gotten himself into some deep doo-doo, dumping a bag of drugs that belonged to a local criminal, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi).
The only way that Andy can get off the hook is if Chris helps him out with this one last job to get him out for good. Calling in a couple of favors, including a reliable counterfeiter from Panama, Chris reluctantly agrees, enlisting the help of some old partners including his right hand man, Sebastian (Ben Foster), and newlywed Danny Raymer (Lukas Haas) to get the money for the drugs from Panama, and back to Briggs in two weeks.
Contraband is definitely not the best action movie you’re going to see this year, maybe not even this season, but for a January release, the month which is notorious for its bad films, it could be a lot worse, and the excellent performances by the cast, especially Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi, elevate the film from run-in-the-mill, to, marginally above average. There’s also a pretty cool cameo by Diego Luna, which contains the most action packed sequence in the entire movie.
The writing is obviously not what anyone would call Oscar-worthy, and the shaky cam can get a little irritating at times, but overall, it’s nothing to cry about. Contraband delivers exactly what you’d expect; an average enough story and predictable plot points. But it also offers some of the best supporting performances I’ve seen in an action pic in recent memory, and everyone can appreciate some good acting.
The Crow is a movie that, like its protagonist, managed to find a second life for itself long after its release in 1994. It continues to hold a cult status today for its dark theme and pioneering of the gritty superhero story arc, but of course it bears even more recognition as the film which resulted in the tragic death of its lead, Brandon Lee.
Much like the recent passing of Heath Ledger and The Dark Knight (Nobody saw ‘Imaginarium‘ so it doesn’t count, before you jump down my throat), The Crow stands as the final showcase of Lee’s promising talent, so it carries an almost memorial-like status for fans. It’s a delicate thing to steamroll over, but that’s just what Relativity Media are trying to do.
In April, Relativity was interested in Bradley Cooper to star, but he had to drop out for ‘scheduling reasons’ and while the studio looked at replacing him with Channing Tatum or Mark Wahlberg, the project inevitably was put on hold (hopefully to beat the casting director with a chair), as quoted here by Hollywood Reporter:
“Bradley Cooper was to have played the title character but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that he has now exited due to scheduling conflicts. Cooper has David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook shooting this fall and then dives straight into Legendary’s Paradise Lost, which shoots first quarter next year…the exact time Relativity plans on making the high-priority Crow […] But akin to the project’s rock musician who is killed and resurrected, two new names have surfaced as possible replacements: Channing Tatum and Mark Wahlberg.”
With Cooper out and director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo following suit, the production seems to be dead in the water, but we are now able to check out a slew of just-released concept art by Diego Latorre, courtesy Shock Till You Drop, which gives us a look at the general tone and direction the remake would have followed:
From Latorre himself: “‘The Crow’ images published are very early production sketches and are based in my own visual interpretation of the character and not necessarily in Apaches Entertainment and director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s vision.”