062207 'Live Free or Die Hard' but don't make a good movie.
For awhile now I’ve been avoiding posting about the upcoming film ‘Live Free or Die Hard’. In part it is because that is a really bad title... It sounds like a third grader made it up. I have also delayed because, well, the film doesn’t look like a ‘Die Hard’ movie. Honestly, why even make it part of the series? ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ doesn’t really look god awful so much as it looks like a different Bruce Willis action vehicle. Not only is a new director helming this film (Len Wiseman) but the frickin’ movie isn’t even rated R!! Nothing screams of a weak sequel like dropping down a rating. Wiseman deserves credit; he got Kate Beckinsale to dress up in skin tight outfits in a vampire movie ('Underworld' and sequel) and then married her (she was already married) but I don’t know that he can bring the grit and intensity one would hope to get in a ‘Die Hard’ film. The PG-13 rating more or less solidifies the theory that this film will lack teeth. Now you can go to Yahoo movies and watch the first 8 minutes of ‘Live Free or Die Hard’. I checked it out and it seemed ok, except for really bad one liners from Willis (and is it just me or does the guy seem like he is on auto pilot?). The film has a strong supporting cast in the form of Justin Long, Cliff Curtis (waaaay underrated actor) and Timothy Olyphant but I just don’t think it looks like a ‘Die Hard’ movie. Truth be told, just by making it a sequel I’m sure it is guaranteed millions of dollars and some certain amount of success. If the studio was so dead set on making a PG-13 Willis action film, I wish they had just made a new one instead of watering down a fairly
strong movie franchise. To see the 8 minutes of ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ and/or the trailer click HERE.

Speaking of the 'Die Hard' franchise, anyone else think it is ridiculous that Entertainment Weekly picked ‘Die Hard’ as the number one action film just in time for the ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ release and a Willis interview? Sure it is a good film but best action film? I don’t know about that. I think I would rank ‘Hard Boiled’ above ‘Die Hard’ in terms of action films. Then again what do I know. The Weinstein Company has started a DVD label called ‘Dragon Dynasty’ that seems to release primarily Chinese films. While I think the name is as stupid as ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ (where the hell do people come up with this crap?) I am excited that they are releasing a bunch of titles in special edition. The Weinstein’s don’t exactly have a good track record with foreign films; sometimes recutting and/ or releasing films with only dubbed audio tracks. Still the poorly titled ‘Dragon Dynasty’ line has promise and they have an upcoming two disc special edition of John Woo’s ‘Hard Boiled’ that will be released to coincide with the release of ‘Hard Boiled’s video game sequel, ‘Stranglehold’. Here’s hoping ‘Hard Boiled’ has a great transfer, shame ‘Dragon Dynasty’ didn’t get the extras from the discontinued Criterion release, hopefully the new ones are worthwhile. Below you can preorder ‘Hard Boiled’ and/or ‘Stranglehold’ but let it be known that only the PS3 and Xbox360 versions of ‘Stranglehold’ are the ‘collector’s edition’ (and I believe the only difference is they come with a copy of ‘Hard Boiled’. PC users have to buy it separately I guess... (062507 Looks like that is my bad, the 'collector's edition' is a PS3 ONLY option...)

  On DVD: On PS3: On Xbox360: On PC:



062007 'No Country for Old Men' trailer.

In my 060807 update I mentioned that I was looking forward to the Coen brother’s latest film ‘No Country for Old Men’. The trailer has finally come out and I have to say it looks  pretty sweet. This looks like it could be the Coen’s strongest film in awhile and I am just itching to see this flic’. The trailer can be seen HERE (right click, and save link as, to save it to your desktop).


061607 Cool new trailer.

The trailer for the upcoming remake of ‘3:10 to Yuma’ is out and it looks pretty spiffy’. This seemed like a fitting update for the father’s day weekend since the film features father and son characters and well, it looks like it could be good so I wanted to do an update. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in this gritty looking western. A host of supporting players back them up including: Peter Fonda, Ben Foster, and Gretchen Mol. Director (and uncredited writer?) James Mangold has a decent track record for films and while I never really cared for his ‘Copland’ (no matter home many times I tried watching it) I really enjoyed his thriller ‘Identity’. I like the resurgence in westerns that seems to be happening with everything like the show ‘Deadwood’, the TV movie ‘Broken Trail’, the modern day western ‘The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada’, or even something more like a straight up, vengeance laced western like ‘Seraphim Falls’. One of the best of the more

  recent westerns that somehow got lost in the shuffle is the underrated ‘Open Range’ (reviewed HERE). Anywho’, ‘3:10 to Yuma’ looks like it could be a pretty strong film (although at this point it could either way). For now, see the trailer for ‘3:10 to Yuma’ HERE. The IMDb page for the film is HERE.


061107 John Woo's ‘Stranglehold’.

Back in March of last year I wrote a small blurb about upcoming videogame ‘Stranglehold’. For those of you not in the know, ‘Stranglehold’ is the videogame sequel to John Woo’s supreme action flic’ ‘Hard Boiled’. Not only is Woo onboard for the production but so too is the underrated-in-the-‘States actor Chow Yun-Fat. A reunion of Woo and Chow is almost too good to be true. Oddly enough, the game comes as the duo have also announced that they will be reuniting on the big screen as well for: ‘The Battle of Red Cliff’. At least, they are supposed to be reuniting. For a time the film was under development with both men attached then some sort of dispute went down with Chow being accused of being a prima-

  donna. Enter Tony Leung Chiu Wai, who co-starred with Chow in ‘Hard Boiled’. Not long after it was announced that Leung would be stepping into Chow’s role then Chow announced he was back in the film. At this point I have no idea who is going to be in the period picture. While I am bummed that the film will not be a modern action film, I hope it is a return to fine-film-form for Woo. I miss his days of ‘The Killer’, ‘Hard Boiled’, and ‘A Better Tomorrow’, etc. ‘Face/ Off’ was, for me, a strong Woo film but most of his other features
  made in the ‘States, feel like watered down Woo. Chow has had a similar fate bestowed on him. While ‘The Replacement Killers’ and ‘The Corrupter’ were passable features, neither were what they could have been. Worse still, high on the success of ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, studios seem determined to cast Chow as a martial arts master. Sure, that is all well and good but how about a kick-butt crime/ drama action flic’? In the super short term memory of Hollywood, looking back to the Chow’s 80s / 90s works would seem to be as out of the question as traveling
  back in time. It is a shame really, and I hope someone with the bucks, smartens up and greenlights some Chow crime/ drama vehicles. In the meantime that leaves those of us that itch for a new one stuck with ‘Stranglehold’. The game looks like it could be fun but until there is a demo or some reviews I won’t hold my breath. There is a video blog on the game’s official site that doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Those interviewed not only had not seen Woo films but only seem to have a begrudging affection for them. For what it is worth,
  that may not necessarily be a bad thing, so long as they make a good game out of the franchise. I remain, as they say, cautiously optimistic. The game is due to be released on August 31rst. ‘The Battle of Red Cliff’ does not yet have a release date. The official ‘Stranglehold’ blog is HERE. The official Myspace page (which has a short film contest) is located HERE. The page for ‘The Battle of Red Cliff’ is HERE.


060907 ‘We Own the Night’

As long as I am on this update rampage, I thought I might as well post about James Gray’s ‘We Own the Night’. Sporting a headline cast of Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Duvall and the underrated Eva Mendes and dealing with a story about a nightclub owner’s (Phoenix) tangles with the Russian mafia, this looks like it could be a very strong crime drama. Writer/ director Gray has made two films that I enjoyed (‘Little Odessa’ (1994) and ‘The Yards’ (2000)) but both films (especially ‘The Yards’) held their violence and drama at such an arms length that for me it hurt the intensity of the films at times. I will be curious to see how Gray’s style plays out here with ‘We Own the Night’. The poster art looks pretty weak to me but obviously in the scheme of things that is not the most important of details. While I could find no official US website for ‘We Own the Night’, I did find a French one. It sports an English trailer with French subtitles. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by there being no US website since as far as I can tell there is currently no US distribution for the film. This is a real shame as Gray has more than proved his filmmaker skills with his past two features. Here’s hoping the film gets distribution (and a better poster) soon. In the meantime you can see the IMDb page for the film HERE and the trailer on the French site HERE (click to open it in a new window).


060807 ‘I Am Legend’, ‘American Gangster’, 'Shoot 'Em Up', ‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘You Kill Me’.

I remember reading about an upcoming production of ‘I Am Legend’ years ago. Before Arnold Schwarzenegger did ‘End of Days’, ‘6th Day’, and ‘Terminator 3’ he was to have starred in the adaptation of the novel ‘I Am Legend’ by Richard Matheson. The story centers on the last man left alive on planet earth. By day he wanders a barren landscape, by night he barricades himself inside his sanctuary as monsters come out to feed. The story had been adapted before as ‘The Omega Man’ (1971) and before that as ‘The Last Man on Earth’ (1964) (and actually lists two other versions that I hadn’t been familiar with: ‘Night of the Comet’ (1984) and ‘Soy Leyenda’ (1967)) The Schwarzenegger version was to have been helmed by Ridley Scott and to me it seemed like the aging Schwarzenegger would have been perfect for the role. That version never came to be but the film has been made anew, this time starring Will Smith and directed by ‘Constantine’ director Francis Lawrence. While this pair conjures up very different images in my mind of what the film may look like, I am still looking forward to it. The trailer can be seen HERE (click to open it in a new window).


Speaking of Ridley Scott projects, the latest Scott film has just had its trailer go up on the web. I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile (although I suppose not as long as ‘I Am Legend’). The flic’ is called ‘American Gangster’ and it stars Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. With two leads like that it means the film is going to be either really good or really lame. So far it looks like it is way over towards the good spectrum of things. The story inspired by real events (not that it matters, really) revolves around a detective (Crowe) chasing down a criminal (Washington) that smuggles drugs in the coffins of dead soldiers during the Vietnam War. The trailer looks smokin’ and Washington and Crowe look great in their 70s garb’! I can’t wait for ‘American Gangster’ and can only hope it is as cool as the trailer looks. The trailer can be seen HERE (right click, and save link as, to save it to your desktop).

‘Shoot ‘Em Up’. This one looks like it could be cool but it is tough to tell. ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ is about a hitman (Clive Owen) who helps a woman (Monica Bellucci) and her newborn baby evade the henchmen of Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti). I suspect that the enjoyment factor in this

  film will hinge on how much freshness and entertainment writer/ director Michael Davis can bring to the action in this film. Owen, Giamatti, and Bellucci are all great actors (although I’d love to see Giamatti in the action-hero type role) but I am guessing that the dialogue won’t be the strongest element of the film. The danger something like ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ runs is it could fall flat on its cinematic face trying to seem so cool and pumped up. The trailer looks promising and to me Davis is a sort of wild card because I am none too

familiar with his previous work. The trailer is right about HERE (right click, and save link as, to save it to your desktop).

The Coen brothers are back with the film ‘No Country for Old Men’, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel. (On a side note, McCarthy just gave one of his first televised interviews on the show ‘Oprah’.) The film seems to be a crime drama revolving around a crime scene complete with bodies, drugs and lots of money, that some hunters stumble upon in the woods. This is the first Coen brother’s movie that I have been psyched about in awhile. For whatever reason I still have not seen their two previous films and really haven’t been this psyched about one of their features since ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’. ‘No Country for Old Men’ stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Woody Harrelson amongst others. There is no trailer available yet but


based on the preview images and plot this reminds me a bit of the Sam Raimi directed ‘A Simple Plan’. If I enjoy this one anywhere nearly as much as I enjoyed that one, than I will be a happy camper. Since there is no trailer for me to offer, you will just have to make due with the page located HERE.

‘You Kill Me’. Ok, so this one is the oddball of the bunch. Writer/ director John Dahl has been working for quite awhile and chances are you have seen and enjoyed at least one of his films. I can’t claim to have seen them all but I have seen most of his and a couple them are favorite films of mine. For some strange reason he never seems to get recognized for his stronger features and he just doesn’t have the best of luck with his theatrical releases. A few of his more noteworthy films are ‘Kill Me Again’, ‘The Last Seduction’, ‘Red Rock West’, and ‘Rounders’. ‘The Last Seduction’ in particular is an underrated crime drama that on R2 UK DVD is available in a special edition but only afullscreen transfer here in the states. Dahl is back with ‘You Kill Me’ and while the trailer looks just so-so to me, I am looking forward to the film based, in part, on

Dahl’s past crime dramas. The film stars Ben Kingsly, Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina, and Téa Leoni and centers on an alcoholic hitman (Kingsly). Looking to be a comedy/ drama, this one could be a hoot if done right. I’m thinking positive, so why don’t you? The trailer can be seen HERE (right click, and save link as, to save it to your desktop).


060707 Review of 'The Devil Thumbs a Ride'.

Just uploaded a review of the very, very fun ‘The Devil Thumbs a Ride’. The shame of this review is that this great film is not available anywhere. The only places one can catch a glimpse of this film noir is at a screening or maybe if it happens to be shown on TV. Check out the review HERE.


060507 Review of 'Bug'.

I certainly wrote about ‘Bug’ enough already but I was at least finally able to see the film. Any good? You’ll have to check the review to find out. One thing I left out of the review was that I also got to see four minutes from ‘Hostel II’ which will be released in theaters Friday. If you are looking forward to ‘Hostel II’ and are itching to see the four minutes I can safely tell you not to bother. Most of the four minutes was footage from the previous ‘Hostel’ and the stuff that wasn’t was pretty weak. While there is a positive buzz about the flic’ I just can’t get into ‘Hostel II’. My review of ‘Bug’ can be seen HERE.  The official 'Hostel II' website can be found HERE.


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