Open Road Films via Everett Collection
David Ayer's Sabotage is just the latest stop in Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback tour, though it probably won't do the actor too many favors. Schwarzenegger plays John "Breacher" Wharton, the leader of an elite DEA task force that specializes in taking down drug cartels. Each member of the team is a blunt instrument drunk off of their alpha male (and female) machismo, but to be fair, they are damn good at what they do. They're masters at going in hard, killing whoever needs killing, and heading to the strip club and drinking themselves into a stupor before the next round of street sweeping. Unfortunately, it turns out years of busting cartel bosses and being deeply unpleasant to everyone you come into contact with eventually catches up to you, and members of the squad start dying in ghastly and elaborate ways. And just like that, we have what basically amounts to an Agatha Christie novel with a gym membership and a pile of meth.
Unfortunately, and as expected, giving Agatha Christie a couple of reps at the gym and a pile of drugs turns her into a blithering idiot, because Sabotage is incredibly stupid. The central mystery somehow manages to be both preposterous and predictable at the same time. The film's one saving grace is its action. The action scenes are adrenal and exciting and unbelievably gory. Bloated corpses are poked and prodded, viscera hangs like ropes from a rafter. This film takes immense pleasure in being completely disgusting. It’s downright gleeful about it. Here's a full shot of a soiled toilet, just because. Here's a piece of skin hanging on some metal, why not. Isn't that cool?
While Sabotage does manage to thrill in spurts and stutters, there's absolutely nothing beating at the heart of the film. All of the main characters are completely and utterly repugnant, and you'll pity anyone who has to endure their company throughout the film. When characters do start to die, you won't feel all that broken up about it. In fact, you may even feel a twinge of joy, like the earth was suddenly unburdened from a pure source of rampant douchebaggery. Just imagine the most disgusting, and off-putting person you can, and then give them a gun, a badge, and a fierce sense of entitlement, and you have every single member of the film's DEA squad. They're all terrible.
And if that weren't bad enough, the acting ranges from mediocre to terrible. The usually wonderful Olivia Williams and the capable Sam Worthington continually forget which continent they're on, their accents dropping in an out like a bad radio connection; Schwarzenneger has a complete inability to emote anything apropos of the situation at hand. When looking upon a pile of ooze that was formerly in the shape of one of his best friends, his disappointment is more akin to seeing a temporarily occupied gym bench on chest day. All of the charm the actor showcased in something like the recent Escape Plan is washed out by Breacher's moping about his dark past, and when Schwarzenneger isn't allowed to be fun, then he's completely boring.
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Really, I should hate Sabotage. It’s a completely stupid and mean spirited film, but there’s a strange charm to the depravity of it all. There's an audaciousness to it. The film goes as far as it can to push limits, and succeeds at being appaling. It’s a film that knows how stupid and ugly it is and champions that fact. It’s playing in its own filth, and as gross as that is, at least it’s having fun. This is the kind of film that will be in heavy rotation at the local frat house. That’s doesn’t mean the film is good or even okay, but if you like watching horrific violence, awful mysteries, and awful people being awful, then boy do I have a film for you.
WENN / Marvel
After Disney announced that Michael Douglas is slated to play Hank Pym in their upcoming Ant-Man film, the rumor mill has been busy churning non-stop with stories convering every corner of comic book filmdom.
Johnny Depp Might Play Doctor StrangeFirst up, Latino Review is reporting that Johnny Depp has met with Marvel about their upcoming project, Doctor Strange, and there's a chance that the actor might play the titular sorcerer. While something as simple and preliminary as a meeting isn't concrete proof that the actor will put on the mage robes for the role, it is exciting news for fans of the character, and Johnny Depp certainly has an aura of eccentricity that's appropriate for Strange. The only issue is that the 50-year-old actor is about two decades too old to play the version of the character mocked up in the original draft of the script, but that's a wrinkle a good rewrite could buff right out. Especially if it means getting Depp seated in his own corner of the Marvel cinematic universe. Depp's possible casting does provoke the question of how the actor has the time to juggle all of the other Disney projects on his plate, including another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel and an Alice in Wonderland sequel which are scheduled to film in the near future.
Josh Holloway Is Rumored to Be in Batman Vs. SupermanThe reports are certainly conflicted about this one. Comic Book Movie is reporting that Lost alum Josh Holloway is being considered for a role in the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman. Conversely, Latino Review is saying that Holloway isn't coming anywhere near Batman Vs. Superman due to scheduling conflicts. Hollaway is currently wrapped up with his ongoing CBS show Intelligence, and it would be hard for the actor to carve out any time for capes. Comic Book Movie is guessing that the actor will play Aquaman, while Indiewire reports that Aquaman will not appear in the film. The rumors are all over the place on this one, so it's probably safer to wait for some concrete news from the studio surfaces before placing any bets.
Gotham TV Series Will Tell Batman's Origin StoryWhile at first it was reported that the Gotham TV series would focus on James Gordon, it now seems that the upcoming television series will have more in common with Smallville rather than a police procedural. Deadline is now reporting that the series will zero in on a young Bruce Wayne. Fox chariman, Kevin Reilly says, "The show will track Bruce from a child (around 12 years old) until he puts on a cape (in the finale)." Reilly also says that a large portion of Batman's rouges gallery will feature in the series, including Catwoman, the Joker, the Penguin, and the Riddler. "We will see how they get to become who they are as Gotham is teetering on the edge," Reilly said. He goes on to say, "It is an operatic soap that has a slightly larger-than-life quality." For us, a series primarily featuring Commissioner Gordon was originally a huge draw for the drama, and a show that examines the life of an ordinary police officer trying to serve a city teeming with costumed villains and vigilantes was more appealing than the well-tread origins of Batman. Hopefully, Gotham still finds the time to check in on commissioner Gordon from time to time.
Justice League is pushed up to 2016 and will feature Dwayne JohnsonFinally, the Justice League movie might be hitting theaters sooner than you think. Latino Review is reporting that Warner Bros. is planning on shooting the upcoming Justice League film right after they finish with Batman Vs. Superman, pushing the film up from its originally scheduled 2017 release, in favor for a release sometime in 2016. Warner Bros. Apparently, Batman Vs. Superman will end with a huge cliff-hanger that will be resolved in the Justice League the following year, a move that will probably maximize profits for the second film, but could also be seen as a little to calculated. Also concerning the Justice League film, Latino Review is also reporting that Dwayne Johnson will be in the film. The actor teased that he was meeting with Warner bros. earlier in the year, and this newest rumour could be the fruits of that meeting. There's no telling who Johnson will play, but if anyone had the physique to play a superhero, it's The Rock.
Want to know what your parents will be watching this fall? CBS has ordered six new series for the 2013-2014 TV season — two dramas and four comedies featuring big-name stars like Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Toni Collette, Will Arnett and more. And yes, Chuck Lorre now has a fourth sitcom on the network. Let's go through them:
Hostages Toni Collette stars as a Washington D.C. surgeon chosen to perform a special operation on the president. When her family is taken hostage she's the one who has to save their lives. It also stars Dylan McDermott and Tate Donovan, among others.
Intelligence Lost alum Josh Holloway plays a government agent with a microchip planted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Marg Helgenberger, Meghan Ory, Michael Rady, and James Martinez costar.
We Are Men A man (Chris Smith) learns some very important life lessons from the divorced dudes he meets at his new furnished, short-term rental apartment complex. This cast has plenty of great potential, with Kal Penn, Jerry O'Connell and Tony Shaloub playing the eccentric neighbors.
Mom Anna Faris has made her move to TV in this Chuck Lorre vehicle about a recently sober single mother living in wine country while dealing with her teenage daughter and her own disruptive mom (Allison Janney).
The Millers Another dysfunctional family sitcom, but this one stars Will Arnett as a man whose parents move in with him after his divorce. Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges play said parents — another solid cast.
Crazy Ones The highly anticipated return of Robin Williams to TV centers around a father and his daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who work in advertising together. James Wolk's also in it, if you wanted one more reason to watch.
Which of these new series sounds most promising? And which one will be your dad's new favorite show?
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There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.