WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
In this fourth installment of the durable Terminator series the year is 2018 and a nuclear holocaust has effectively ended civilization as we knew it. With Terminators snapping up what little remains of the human race a small group of survivors have gone underground in an effort to battle the controlling organization Skynet which shocked the world by triggering the apocalypse. Standing up against all odds is John Connor the one man who knew this was going to happen and Marcus Wright a death-row inmate who’s about to be executed when he’s given a new lease on life by Dr. Serena Kogan a scientist with big plans for this dead man walking. Though Connor is highly suspicious of Kogan’s creation he forms a precarious bond with the resuscitated Marcus as the two search for a way to infiltrate and conquer a very imposing enemy.
WHO’S IN IT?
Let’s start by stating who isn't in Terminator Salvation: Arnold Schwarzenegger star of the three previous installments is busy in Sacramento so except for his brief reappearance via the miracle of CGI this is a whole new ballgame. Taking on a beloved movie franchise — just as he did in 2005’s Batman Begins — Christian Bale steps into the adult shoes of John Connor who was previously portrayed in T2 and T3 by Edward Furlong and Nick Stahl respectively. As the one key link to the entire series Bale’s Connor is intensely serious and dedicated to the task at hand — even though he’s vastly outnumbered. As Marcus Wright Sam Worthington gets to play both sides of the coin as a hybrid of human and machine delivering the most unique and convincing performance yet seen in the series. Both Bale and Worthington carry on this legendary series in style but it’s Worthington who gets the big scenes bringing an ironic element of humanity to the whole enterprise. Also noteworthy: Helena Bonham Carter as the doctor who creates a modern version of Frankenstein’s Monster; Anton Yelchin as future time-traveler Kyle Reese Moon Bloodgood as Resistance warrior Blair Williams; and rapper Common as Connor’s second-in-command.
Director McG (Charlie’s Angels) tackles the daunting task of carrying on this series without its signature star and pulls it off with first-rate action set pieces flawless production values and a fascinating new wrinkle in Marcus Wright a character at odds with himself as well as John Connor. In the time-honored tradition of a classic cinematic showdown these are no ordinary heroes. They’re conflicted warriors faced with a task that is truly overwhelming in its scope.
With such a strong story the filmmakers probably didn’t have to resort to so many motorcycle flips explosions and truck and plane chases — not to mention a pulsating soundtrack that’s amped up so high you may need earplugs. But with so much excitement on the screen it doesn’t really matter. Action fans will be wetting their pants.
MEMORIES OF THE GOVERNATOR:
Arnold appears briefly (in the nude no less) in what appears to be a CGI pastiche of his classic character. But don’t blink or you’ll miss him.
Terminators won’t die and neither will its signature line. When Blair asks Connor what she should tell his men after he’s gone he replies in earnest: “I’ll be back!”
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
It will be movie theaters’ OWN salvation this summer.
Action star-turned-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be reprising his famous role as the Terminator in the forthcoming movie sequel--he has been replaced by young Australian actor Sam Worthington.
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, the fourth film in the hit franchise, is due to start shooting in April in New Mexico and is scheduled to hit theaters in 2009.
Titanic director James Cameron was in charge of the first two Terminator films and is reported to have recommended Worthington to new director Joseph McGinty Nichol after working with the actor on forthcoming movie Avatar, reports the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Worthington will be joined in the futuristic action feature by Batman Begins star Christian Bale.
Schwarzenegger starred in all three previous installments before turning his attention to politics in 2003.
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Tragedy strikes the Marshall University community when a plane crash claims the lives of most of the football team coaches and some fans. With the whole town traumatized university president Donald Dedmond (David Strathairn) thinks it's best to cancel the football program but remaining players led by Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie) rally the school to support continuing the team's honor. Of course nobody wants to coach in these circumstances--that is until rogue bad boy Jake Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) asks for the job. Along with surviving assistant coach Red Dawson (Matthew Fox) they build the team back up. Just putting the team back together raises the town's spirits but getting back the winning record is another story. This could have easily been a sappy tearjerker but it sticks to the high road for the most part. There are some sad scenes (i.e. the cheerleader [Kate Mara] returning the engagement ring her dead boyfriend gave her to his mourning daddy) but otherwise the focus is on moving ahead. Just about every actor gets at least one big moment to cry. That's a given in a story of this nature and some of them are better than others. Mackie's stoic attempt to take punches in an injured shoulder is full of passion but Fox's random breakdown is well just like a flashback from Lost. He is better on the field showing us a side to his personality we haven’t seen yet. Strathairn seems the most sympathetic as the pained authority figure making tough decisions. Mara (Brokeback Mountain) looks so innocent you just want to hold her hand and stroke her hair every time she wells up. Aside from that there's also a lot of personality in the film. McConaughey leads the team with a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his lips but it never comes across as insensitive. He’s hip so of course he's the one who can lead them out of tragedy. And as an ensemble film the cast comes together as a community in which a single tragedy can affect them all and a single victory can give them hope. McG totally restrains his bombastic Charlie's Angels style of filmmaking for this character piece. Just about the only noticeably fancy shot is a dissolve from Mara looking up at the plane to her boyfriend staring out the airplane window. It's a moving moment because we know what is coming and it does not call too much attention to the filmmaking process. McG knows how to do some great montages too. Recruiting the new players running the drills--they're all full of visual moments set to a rocking soundtrack. Most importantly he handles the tragedy with class and doesn’t deliberately try to jerk tears. The plane crashes with only a single jump and a fade to black but the wreckage burns through our hearts. Instead McG shows there's a way to honor the dead to take back a community's pride and let life go on without disrespecting any of the departed. The football games in We Are Marshall are filmed with visceral impacts pretty much the way most sports movies are. There's no Friday Night Lights grit but that's fine. These games are about telling a story not exposing the seedy underbelly of the sport.
Looks like the on-again, off-again "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is finally ready to get it on.
Daily Variety reports that Johnny Depp is in final talks to star in the project, which is a biopic based on the autobiography of Chuck Barris, aka "The Gong Show" host, who says that he also worked for the CIA.
Adding more weight to the offbeat film would be George Clooney, who might join Depp in a co-starring role as a CIA recruiting agent.
The project will be directed by "X-Men's" Bryant Singer and is written by "Being John Malkovich" scribe Charlie Kaufman.
GETTING THE 'JOB' DONE: Kevin Costner will reunite with "Bull Durham" and "Tin Cup" helmer Ron Shelton in the action thriller "Two Guys on the Job," Variety says.
The story is about two San Francisco cops who begin as partners but eventually become bitter enemies.
Costner will play one of the cops, and another 40ish actor will soon be cast for the other part.
GOING RINGSIDE: The "Ali" biopic cast keeps on growing and growing and growing. The latest to get enlisted to the Michael Mann project is Jon Voight, who'll play the late boxing commentator Howard Cosell. The actor will join a group of talents that includes Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Mario Van Peebles, Mykelti Williamson and Ron Silver.
G MONEY: "Charlie's Angels" helmer McG is developing a new action flick called "Airshow," which follows two elite fighter pilots from the Persian Gulf War, Variety says.
Also in the works for McG, aka Joseph McGinty Nichol, will be the "Charlie's Angels" sequel and the military thriller "Dreadnaught."
Girls ruled again as "Charlie's Angels" held on to the top spot at the weekend box office for a second consecutive week, defeating the likes of Adam Sandler, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Val Kilmer.
"Charlie’s Angels," starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu and directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol (aka McG), took in an estimated $25 million, according to estimates by Exhibitor Relations.
Adam Sandler’s devil of a new comedy "Little Nicky" bowed at No. 2 with $18.6 million, and the U.S. Navy drama "Men of Honor" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro grabbed the No. 3 spot with an estimated $14 million.
Showing little sign of weakening, "Meet the Parents" took in another $10.59 million over the weekend, bringing its grand total to $130.3 million.
Another debut, "Red Planet" starring Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss and Tom Sizemore, grabbed $9.01 million to take the fifth spot.
In other Top 10 action: Robert Redford’s "The Legend of Bagger Vance" starring Matt Damon, Will Smith and Charlize Theron plummeted in its second week, taking in a paltry $6.64 million for sixth place; and "Billy Elliot," the indie flick about a boy fond of ballet, landed in the Top 10 for the first time at No. 9 with $2.78 million.
Here’s the weekend’s Top 10 films (final figures will be released Monday):
1. "Charlie’s Angels," $25 million ($75.4 million total) 2. "Little Nicky," $18.6 million (new) 3. "Men of Honor," $14 million (new) 4. "Meet the Parents," $10.59 million ($130.3 million total) 5. "Red Planet," $9.01 million (new) 6. "The Legend of Bagger Vance," $6.64 million ($21.2 million total) 7. "Remember the Titans," $5.51 million ($104.1 million total) 8. "Pay It Forward," $3.08 million ($29.4 million total) 9. "Billy Elliot," $2.78 million ($6 million total) 10. "Bedazzled," $2.5 million ($34.6 million total)