Five Things to Know About RED 2

by Ethan Alter July 18, 2013 1:05 pm
Five Things to Know About <i>RED 2</i>

The 2010 action comedy RED wasn't exactly a critical favorite or box-office record beater, but a $90 million final gross gave the franchise-hungry studio Summit (the company that Twilight built) incentive to get the movie's gang of Retired and Extremely Dangerous counter-intelligence agents -- including Bruce Willis's eternally wry Frank Moses, John Malkovich's eternally paranoid Marvin Boggs and Helen Mirren's eternally hot Victoria -- back together again for another gag-friendly action picture. Before you join them on their globetrotting second adventure, here are five things you should know about RED 2.

Red Dawn: Why the Remake is So 2009

by Ethan Alter November 21, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Red Dawn</i>: Why the Remake is <i>So</i> 2009

If there was ever a good reason to remake the '80s chestnut Red Dawn, it would be to bring John Milius's teenage action movie kicking and screaming into the 21st century in a version that didn't resemble such a Cold War relic. And that seems to have been the motivating idea behind this new, updated Dawn that's finally opening in theaters a full three years after it wrapped production in 2009. (The movie fell victim to the bankruptcy of its original studio MGM -- the same plight that delayed the release of Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods, which was made around the same time and received a belated theatrical release last April.) Funnily enough, in the relatively short amount of time, the new Red Dawn already seems as dated as its 1984 predecessor. Her are four ways that this largely pointless remake feels so 2009:

Five Reasons Not to Dread Dredd

by Ethan Alter September 21, 2012 6:02 am
Five Reasons Not to Dread <i>Dredd</i>

It's understandable if your reaction to the news that a new Judge Dredd movie was coming out would be "Why?" followed by "Wait... who?" After all, it's not like most stateside audiences have been readily exposed the titular futuristic lawman/executioner, who has been a star on the British comics scene since his introduction in 1977. And practically nobody remembers Hollywood's first attempt to turn the comic into a cross-platform property, the 1995 flop Judge Dredd, which paired a scowling Sylvester Stallone with a hyperactive Rob Schneider. With all that apathy working against it, this franchise reboot -- simply titled Dredd -- seems doomed from the get-go, a movie that a majority of moviegoers neither demanded nor needed.

Indie Snapshot: The Raid: Redemption

by Ethan Alter March 23, 2012 5:19 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Raid: Redemption</i>

Wonder if Katniss knows Pencak Silat?

Battle of the Blockbusters: <i>Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol</i> and <i>Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows</i>

After the year-end glut of prestige pictures and awards bait, it's kind of a relief to settle in for a pair of high-concept blockbusters that have no greater ambition beyond blowing stuff up real good. That's the mission statement behind Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, the second and fourth installments in their respective franchises. The former reunites director Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. as a strapping, ass-kicking Sherlock and Jude Law as his right hand man/pseudo boyfriend Dr. Watson. The latter matches Pixar wizard Brad Bird (making his live-action directorial debut) with Tom Cruise reprising his role as Ethan Hunt, the Impossible Missions Force's premiere covert agent. Both films emphasize spectacle over story (Ghost Protocol even more so, since several sequences were filmed using IMAX cameras), action over acting and explosions over erudition. But only one of them actually makes good on its promise of escapist entertainment.

You, Ma'am Are No Indiana Jones

by Kasey McDonald September 18, 2008 10:34 am
You, Ma'am Are No Indiana Jones

There's nothing wrong with Nicole Kidman. Okay, there's long been speculation that she has an eating disorder, but otherwise, I'm sure she's a perfectly lovely person, and in many roles, a very talented actress. A very delicate, waif-ey, porcelain-skinned actress who can play any number of dramatic roles, but not one you'd expect to see in an action-adventure film unless she were the damsel-in-distress. (Yeah, like that Batman we're all pretending never happened.) So you can imagine my surprise when it was announced that she'd signed on to produce and star in The Eighth Wonder, an action-adventure pitch from Mr. & Mrs. Smith writer Simon Kinberg. The bit that took me by surprise? The project is described as centering on "an archeological discovery that sets off a globe-spanning race. The aim is to be a grittier and more character-driven version of the Indiana Jones movies."

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