Texas Chainsaw 3D, directed by John Luessenhop, debuted at number one with takings of $23 million (£14.4 million), replacing Peter Jackson's fantasy epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in pole position.
The Lord of the Rings prequel, which had held on to the number one position for three weeks since its release in December (12), fell to third place with $17.5 million (£10.9 million), behind Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western Django Unchained at two, grossing $20.1 million (£12.5 million).
Movie musical Les Miserables and family comedy Parental Guidance round out the top five at fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Just when you thought Leatherface had finally put his chainsaw to rest, he’s back for blood – this time in 3D. Texas Chainsaw 3D, the newest installment of the franchise, picks up right after the original massacre in 1974, as the townspeople decide to exercise some justice of their own, burning down the Sawyer house and every last member of its creepy family.
Years later, 20-something Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario) receives word that she has inherited a Texas estate from a biological grandmother she never knew she had. Embarking on a road trip, Heather and her friends decide to investigate her inheritance – including the locked-up basement. Can anything but trouble ensue?
“Expect to be scared,” cautions singer-turned-actor Trey Songz, who himself had to be convinced to join the bloody escapade. “John [Luessenhop], the director, told me how much he wanted me to be a part of this film, but guys like me don’t last very long in these films, so we had to have a couple of conversations about that,” he says with a laugh.
Whether it was the prospect of being mauled in 3D or the opportunity to be part of the iconic franchise, the actor is now singing the horror flick’s praises. “To have the chainsaw, blood and guts coming out, into you, that will definitely send you jumping out of your seat,” promises Songz. Adds Daddario, “It’s a really fun, scary ride!”
Watch the clip to hear about Daddario’s fears of joining the epic series, what the actors love about Leatherface, and their theories on why he eventually always catches up with his victims.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Lubin/Lionsgate]
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Good news everyone! The first terrible movie of 2013 is in theaters in both 2D and barely 3D and it's called Texas Chainsaw! The special effects are terrible the plot is riddled with holes and it's unintentionally funny. The upside is that it's funnier than Parental Guidance and Leatherface is looking at least as rough around the edges as Billy Crystal. The downside is that any horror fan will be disappointed by its cheap tacky-looking effects and people who shelled out the extra money for 3D are being taken for a ride.
As fans of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre know you can make a bloody great horror movie for not a lot of dough. Part of the charm of the first was its gritty sleazy aftertaste and the crazy family dynamics of an all-male clan whose most-bullied member is a giant freak who wears other people's faces on top of his face. It was a fairly simple set-up loosely based on Ed Gein's propensity for digging up corpses decorating his home with their body parts and wearing the skin of dead ladies. Unlike other horror movies there wasn't a great formula that could be replicated over and over again — no Crystal Lake with horny teens or endless nightmares to invade — so most of the follow-ups have tried to untangle the Sawyer family tree. As the wonderful/terrible Drayton Sawyer says in the wonderfully bonkers Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 "The saw is family!" Would that filmmakers would just leave it at that.
The latest Chainsaw tries to add another branch to its tree with the arrival of Heather (Alexandra Daddario) a young woman who finds out that she was adopted if you can call being stolen from the arms of her dying mother after hicks burned her house down “adopted.” Heather is part of the infamous Sawyer clan and a cousin of Leatherface and she's inherited a strangely fancy old house somewhere in Texas from a grandmother she never knew she had. She also inherits Leatherface who lurks in the basement but she doesn't realize that until after he's killed all of her friends because she forgot to read her grandmother's letter until it's too late. But by then the mantra "Family is family" has been drilled into her and the script has been flipped; the monster that killed her friends and countless others is the victim of cruel townspeople who killed her family. (To be fair Heather's friends were stultifyingly dumb and boring and deserved to be killed.)
What makes this iteration so puzzling is that it features footage at the very beginning from the original movie which leads longtime fans to believe it will fit into that particular family configuration as opposed to later movies that added in random family members. Instead Chainsaw veers crazily in another direction and actually creates an entirely different family history that doesn't make sense on its own terms or in the original first two Chainsaw movies.
Texas Chainsaw had no less than four people involved in its script (the story was by Adam Marcus Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms while Marcus Sullivan and Stephen Susco are the credited screenwriters) which could explain why it's such a mess. The 3D is a joke; occasionally Leatherface will thrust the chainsaw at the screen or even better someone will throw the chainsaw. While the gore will definitely be too much for the squeamish it looks like bargain basement Halloween effects to the eye of an experienced horror movie fan. The cast isn't much better; Bill Moseley who appeared in the second movie plays a young Drayton Sawyer since the original actor Jim Siedow died in 2003. Marilyn Burns who played the final girl in the original movie shows up briefly as Heather's grandmother in a flashback. Daddario isn't given much to work with so it seems almost unfair to judge her based on this performance; her co-stars especially singer/songwriter Trey Songz are uniformly terrible. Even Leatherface played by Dan Yeager seems exhausted by this whole ordeal. The original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen appears in the beginning as one of the Sawyer clan. One can only imagine what he and Burns talked about around craft services.
To conceive of a Texas no longer plagued by Chainsaw Massacres… what a world that would be. The upcoming installment, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, has just added Alexandra Daddaro to its cast. Daddaro is still relatively new to film; she led Percy Jackson and the Olympians (and is rumored to do the same for a sequel) and played a supporting role in Hall Pass.
John Luessenhop will direct this new Massacre, which will be the seventh big-screen incarnation of the idea developed by Tobe Hooper (for whom the upcoming film’s protagonist is named) in 1974. You’ve given cinema a new face, Mr. Hooper. A face of leather.
Daddaro’s character is reported to be a somewhat dark and disturbed, but generally “good” woman named Heather, whose ambiguous connections to the murders prompt her to investigate.
*sigh* Of course this was going to happen. The only thing surprising about the fact that Lionsgate Films is moving forward with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise in 3D is the fact that it’s taken the studio this long to do it. Helming the Massacre this time will be Takers director John Luessenhop, while Lionsgate and Nu Image will handle domestic distribution and foreign sale, respectively.
Let’s just go ahead and let them have their fun. This will undoubtedly make a butt load of money thanks to inflated 3D prices (which is totally unjustifiable) and will likely spawn even more sequels for the series. Unless we collectively rise up as a society and reject this movie. We demand higher quality, not just three dimensions and cheap remakes of brands that we’re already conscious of. Every time we pay to see a film like this we’re telling the studios we want more of this and less of everything else we’re not buying. Use your dollar to vote and tell them that we demand something better! Something smart! Something with heart! Something with a guy in a leather mask chopping up people with a chainsaw in 3D! Oh wait, that’s what this movie is about? Right on, bro!
Source: Lionsgate Films
The record of rappers becoming actors is decidedly mixed. Eminem drew praise for his semi-autobiographical turn in 8 Mile while his Detroit neighbor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was largely panned for his work in his 2005 biopic Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Ice Cube and Ice T have both earned steady paychecks and occasional acclaim on the big and small screens while the less-esteemed member of the Brothers Ice Vanilla never quite recovered from 1991‘s disastrous Cool as Ice.
Two of the latest hip-hoppers to attempt the leap Chris Brown and Tip “T.I.” Harris can both be seen in the heist thriller Takers. They also served as producers on the film and in that regard they deserve credit for helping assemble a cast that quite effectively lowers the bar for their acting work. In an ensemble that includes the likes of Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen they needn’t worry about issuing Oscar-worthy performances. As long as they’re semi-ambulatory they stand a fairly good chance of keeping pace with Takers’ slow-moving herd.
The film’s plot concerns a swaggering crew of bank robbers whose sophisticated methods have enabled them to pull off a number of high-stakes heists with nary a hitch. Their strict adherence to a one-job-per-year schedule is enough to fund a luxurious lifestyle in which they freely indulge their tastes for fancy cars tailored suits single-malt scotch and big cigars (No King Cobra and Swisher Sweets for these classy gents. No siree.) All of which is fastidiously depicted by director John Luessenhop (Lockdown) whose aesthetic sensibility in Takers varies between hip-hop video and Maker’s Mark ad.
And they’re decent civic-minded folks too: Jake (Michael Ealy) is eager to leave the game and settle down with his fiance (Zoe Saldana) the proprietor of a trendy downtown L.A. cocktail lounge; his brother Jesse (Brown) wants to ensure their elderly father is taken care of upon his release from prison; proper English chap Gordon (Idris Elba the lone standout) faithfully shepherds his junkie sister through rehab; John’s (Walker) moral compass won’t allow for shooting cops or unarmed civilians; and A.J. (Christensen) is a talented pianist whose bowler hat and hoarse hepcat diction are I can only assume indicative of a deep appreciation for jazz-age style.
But for all the gang’s obvious intelligence their judgment of character is appallingly poor. When a shady former associate named Ghost (T.I. — which after watching the film I now realize stands for "Totally Incoherent") comes to them with a suspiciously lucrative new opportunity he claims to have hatched during a recent jail stint the fellas need all of a nanosecond to sign on to the dubious scheme forsaking all of the rules that made them successful. Why they’d place their livelihoods on the line for an ex-con who can’t be bothered to raise his eyelids above half-mast or pronounce consonants appearing at the end of words like “love” (which his lazy twang renders “luh”) is beyond me but it’s the first of several missteps that open the door for Detective Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) an old-school cop who refuses allow a crumbling marriage chronic sleep deprivation or established caselaw involving warrants and Miranda rights to deter him in his dogged pursuit of justice.
Takers features a smattering of the expected twists and turns most of which are sufficiently telegraphed by Luessenhop’s direction which downshifts to slow-motion at the advent of every action sequence and the film’s predictable story arc. What is surprising about the film is its lack of verve an absolute must for a heist flick and something which even the worst of the Ocean’s films boasted. For all of its bullets and bling Takers all too often feels as lethargic as its co-producer and co-star T.I. looks. (Although to be fair Dillon appears at times to be sleep-walking as well.)
The invitational program for the 3rd Annual Hollywood Black Film Festival has been announced.
The five-day event, to be held in Culver City, Calif., from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, will kick off with the film "The Caveman's Valentine," the new film by "Eve's Bayou" director Kasi Lemmons starring Samuel L Jackson. The film is an adaptation of George Dawes Green's 1995 novel about a Julliard-trained jazz musician turned schizophrenic drawn out of his insanity to solve a murder mystery.
Closing the festival will be the prison drama "Lockdown." The film is directed by John Luessenhop and stars Richard T. Jones as a competitive swimmer whose friends are wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit.
A total of 50 films will unspool at the HBFF 2001. Other notable films in the festival include the acclaimed documentary "Long Night's Journey Into Day," "Chalk" and "Welcome to Death Row."
More information for the festival is available at the organization's Web site www.hbff.org.