Lovelace, which features the Mamma Mia! beauty as the adult actress-turned-anti-porn advocate, premiered at the Utah independent movie event on Tuesday (22Jan13) and was warmly received by critics.
A reviewer for the Hollywood Reporter described it as "surprisingly good on several fronts", while a Screen International writer applauded directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman for making the film "both breezy and weighty at the same time".
Lovelace, which chronicles the complex relationship between the Deep Throat star and her manager/husband Chuck Traynor - portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard, was promptly snapped up by The Weinstein Company's RADiUS-TWC division and will now be released in America this autumn (13).
Other popular picks at Sundance include Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon's Addiction and Daniel Radcliffe's new film Kill Your Darlings, in which he portrays beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
Lovelace is the first of two new biopics about the former porn icon - actress Malin Akerman is also portraying her in rival project Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, although that film has stalled due to financing issues.
February 11, 2011 11:55am EST
I hope that I'm not alone in feeling fatigued with the almost daily casting rumors that set James Franco to play everything and everyone from Oz, The Great and Powerful to pornographer Chuck Traynor. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. He's funny, he's cool and he's got genuine chops. But he's just not right for every role.
That's what makes the latest rumor, which just hit the web courtesy of ScreenCrave, even more nauseating. According to the source, Franco may be next in line to take the lead in Warner Bros. always-developing, never-shooting adaptation of the epic anime Akira. Zac Efron was attached to the project last we heard, but now it seems that Franco has pushed him off the line. What a surprise.
If you're not a nerd, you probably don't know what Akira is. You fail. The story's themes are all-encompassing and quite cerebral, but to break it down as best as I can, I'll say that it is a story set in a dystopian Tokyo and centers on a member of a biker gang who turns into a raging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of fellow psionics can stop. The destruction caused is devastating as are its implications about government and humanity. In short, it's science fiction at its best.
Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way is producing the feature, which is said to be directed by The Book of Eli's Hughes Brothers. DiCaprio was once set to star in the role that Franco may be getting (that of Kaneda), the gang leader who is friend to Tetsuo, the dangerous psionic. Lucky Leo would be a better fit for the part, but at almost 40 years old now (Titanic was a looooong time ago) he's too old to portray a teen biker. Efron is actually closest in age and look of Kaneda, but Franco obviously has more street cred. And balls. However, I'm at the point of Franco oversaturation. He seems to be rumored for nearly every big role up for grabs these days and that just seems a bit unfair. I say give Joseph Gordon Levitt a shot. Give Emile Hirsch a shot. Give SOMEBODY ELSE a shot before Franco dies of exhaustion.
In the late 19th century Dr. Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) a misunderstood monster hunter is summoned to Transylvania to ferret out Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) and kill him once and for all. When Van Helsing gets to the small village where the vampire was last spotted he discovers he also must contend with Dracula's three seriously twisted vampire brides Dracula's angry henchman/werewolf--and a lovely gypsy princess named Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) who is hell-bent on eradicating Dracula and his bloodsucking kind for slaughtering her entire family. Oh and let's not forget Frankenstein's Monster (Shuler Hensley) who holds the key to Dracula's evil master plan--something about releasing his minions of unborn bat-like children from their goo-filled cocoons so they can wreck havoc on the world. Yuck. Sounds like our resident monster stomper and his sword-swinging gal pal have their work cut out for them. If Van Helsing does manage to kill all his monster foes does that mean he's out of a job?
Jackman has the whole antihero thing down pat. He adequately embodies the younger more virile Van Helsing dishing out as much pain and torture as he can on the undead--but the Aussie actor isn't given nearly as much meat to chew on as he did say delving into the complicated Wolverine in X-Men. Instead the monster hunter is relegated to carrying big weapons wearing a big hat and muttering something about having bad dreams to a past he can't remember. Same goes for Beckinsale. The British actress was oh-so-cool on the other side of the fence playing the chic vampire Selene in Underworld cutting her way through a myriad of werewolves. As Van Helsing's heavily accented female counterpart Anna however she just runs around with her sword blurting out such pathetic dialogue such as "Dracula took everything away from me and now I'm alone in the world" while Roxburgh's Dracula--who can't hold a candle to other far more charismatic Draculas before him--wails about being so very alone as his luscious brides hang upside down in front of him. Give me a break. At least Australian actor David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings) provides much-needed comic relief as Van Helsing's sidekick Carl a Catholic friar who doesn't much like playing hero.
With the requisite dark mood and tone action sequences and snazzy CGI-creations including the winged vampire brides and formidable werewolves you can see exactly where writer/director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) spent Van Helsing's nearly $150 million budget. But even all the bells and whistles can't tie together the film's vacuous nonsensical mumbo jumbo as Sommers attempts to bring classic movie monsters together in the same movie. Maybe in a tongue-in-cheek Abbott and Costello movie it could work but as a serious action-packed thriller clearly Dracula Frankenstein and the Wolf Man do not need to meet. On top of that Sommers steals from other movies as well such as recent films Underworld (the whole vampire vs. werewolf conflict) and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (Van Helsing defeats a rather familiar-looking Mr. Hyde at one point). Whatever originality there is in the film leaves you either scratching your head--Dracula has kids?--or rolling your eyes--Anna needs to kill Dracula so her nine-generations of family can reunite in Heaven? Please.
Go ahead and throw logic out the window on this one folks. A mysterious Tibetan monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has spent a lifetime protecting an ancient document known as the Scroll of the Ultimate--a parchment that will yield unlimited power to anyone who reads it. After running around the globe for 60 years the Monk knows it's time to hang up his robes and find a new guardian but spotting a successor isn't easy in the hustle bustle of the 21st century where Tibetan traditions and rituals are almost non-existent. Maybe the next protector should be the crafty rebellious pickpocket Kar (Seann William Scott) who learned martial arts from watching kung-fu movies; after all Kar helps the Monk escape from the scroll's most avid pursuer Strucker (Karel Roden) a sadistic old Nazi who wants to use the its power to rid the planet of inferior races. Or maybe the Monk's successor is the elusive but beautiful bad girl Jade (James King) whose skills are numerous and who seems to pop up to help Kar whenever he gets in a jam. Whomever the Monk eventually chooses they must first unite to battle the ultimate enemy--and keep the scroll safe.
If it weren't for Yun-Fat Bulletproof Monk would be pretty hopeless. The charismatic actor finds a nice balance no matter what he does and in this case he resists the obvious temptation to play the Monk as a fish out of water in the big city. Since he's long been one of Chinese cinema's most well-known action heroes he's definitely in his element in Monk standing on top of a car with guns blazing and the Zen master persona he discovered in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon serves him well here too. The script requires him to spout off fortune-cookie mumbo jumbo but he manages to do it without sounding ridiculous. The petite King actually holds her own as the brawny-yet-brainy tough chick but the wisecracking Scott is completely out of his element for the first time in his career. He handles the little comedic tidbits well but in no way is it possible to believe that the "Dude" who couldn't find his car and the jackass who drank someone else's bodily fluids in American Pie can be a martial arts hero who saves the planet. It just isn't going to happen.
Bulletproof Monk relies on the ghosts of movies past including Crouching Tiger and the 1986 Eddie Murphy stinker The Golden Child for its plot which results in a film that's chock full of cliches especially the evil Nazi who has spent 60 years chasing after the scroll using his tow-headed granddaughter whose cover is an organization for human rights to do the dirty work. A few bright moments with Yun-Fat coupled with director Paul Hunter's good use of fast-paced martial arts action make the rest of this unimaginative movie somewhat palatable--even novices Williams and King look good doing the moves--but all in all Bulletproof Monk is shooting blanks.