Duncan, who passed away in September (12), had been due to reprise his role as mercenary Manute in the follow-up to the hit 2005 film.
Casting bosses working on Sin City: A Dame to Kill For have now decided to press on without him, giving the part to Haysbert, best known for his role as President David Palmer in Kiefer Sutherland's hit TV drama.
The film's co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller say in a statement, "Manute is a character that has been part of the heart of the Sin City tales, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan beautifully established that role onscreen. We could not tell the story of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For without Manute and are thrilled to welcome Dennis Haysbert to the cast."
The follow-up, which stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson, is due for release next year (13).
The Green Mile star Duncan died from respiratory failure in hospital seven weeks after suffering a heart attack at his home.
The long-delayed, even longer-awaited follow-up to 2005's Sin City has finally been given an official release date: Oct. 4, 2013.
Original co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller — the latter, of course, being the writer of the graphic-novel series on which the films are based — are returning to direct Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which will begin shooting this summer.
For a long time, all we had to go on for the highly anticipated sequel was years of wishy-washy speculation, but in addition to the release date, much has since been confirmed. The sequel will be shot, fittingly, in 3D and, like its predecessor, be presented in black and white; Mickey Rourke is one of several cast members returning from the first film (including Rosario Dawson and Michael Madsen, among others); and a press release teases that "huge names" will round out the rest of the cast. Could there be truth to the Angelina Jolie rumors that date back to 2006?!
A Brief History of 'Sin City 2' Rumors
Production Begins on 'Sin City' Sequel 'A Dame to Kill For'
Robert Rodriguez Heating Up 'Fire and Ice'?
Mickey Rourke and Rosario Dawson are to reprise their Sin City characters for a prequel to the Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller-directed movie. Rourke's tough guy character Marv was killed off in the first film, while Rosario played kinky hooker Gail. The all-star movie also featured Clive Owen, Jessica Alba and the late Brittany Murphy.
Relatively speaking, there is quite a dearth of female-led or -centric action movies out there; fortunately, though, that trend appears to be coming to an end. Look no further than this week, which boasts not one but two such movies, Underworld: Awakening and Haywire. Here’s hoping they can hold their own against our picks for the best female action movies of all time…
The Long Kiss Goodnight
Toward the end of Geena Davis’ (and writer Shane Black’s) heyday, she kicked ass and, uh, forgot names as an amnesiac named Samantha … and Charly. Davis turns in essentially two superb performances and – surprisingly at the time – makes quite the action heroine, especially considering that she performed most of her own stunts.
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to make a modern East-meets-West revenge masterpiece wherein the Hattori Hanzo sword-wielding GIRL is dishing revenge to the GUY. Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2 are a welcome “f**k you” to the established rules of today that insist only males are capable of carrying an action movie. Also ...
Resident Evil Franchise
There’s no denying that this videogame-turned-movie franchise has been hit-or-miss (and seems to get “misser” with each new installment), but if nothing else, they’ve been a lot of fun – thanks largely to our amnesia-suffering, gun-toting, martial arts-adept, zombie-killing heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich). Oh, and the special effects.
The whole franchise (not including its recent reboot, but hopefully including Prometheus) is perhaps a little more sci-fi than straightforward action, but there’s no way to exclude Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley from a list like this. In fact, it’s fair to say that a lot of subsequent female-action roles might not exist – or be the same – without the integral alien-slaying character.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Angelina Jolie ushered in a new breed of female action movies (and her own superstardom) with Lara Croft: the videogame, or videogame-like, action heroine … with curves. It wasn’t perfect, by any stretch, but Tomb Raider was innocuous fun for the casual action fan and a wet dream come true for gamers and puberty-stricken boys (yes, we know that’s somewhat redundant).
La Femme Nikita
Luc Besson knows a thing or two about crafting strong female characters with a proclivity for action, and this 1990 film – which has spawned subpar American TV-series/miniseries versions, the decent theatrical attempt Point of No Return, and more – is probably the best example.
We all know by now that Tarantino has a penchant for ass-kickin’ ladies (and their feet) – as was the case with his half of this underrated homage to grindhouse cinema in which Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and, especially, stuntwoman Zoe Bell outrace a sadistic Kurt Russell and then proceed to beat the life out of him. But Robert Rodriguez’s offering, Planet Terror, features an undead-killing Rose McGowan, who has one of those machine-gun legs. ‘Nuff said.
Speak of the devil! Kate Beckinsale has only appeared in two of the three Underworld films thus far – she’s back for the fourth, as most people know – but the ones she has headlined have been more than passable vampire-action films. Of course, Beckinsale’s beauty, coupled with her character ’s penchant for all-leather attire, hasn't hurt.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Sin City 2 is one of those films that has been rumored for so long that it's hard to believe it will ever come to be.
The latest news on the project is that The Departed writer William Monahan is being brought in to pen the script, but even now, when things seem to be really materializing for the film, there are skeptics. And for good reason—since 2005, people have been claiming this movie was underway. We've been let down time and time again and for some masochistic reason, it's fun to revisit all those moments of traumatic disappointment over the years.
So here's a look back at a few (key word) of the Sin City 2 filming rumors that we've had to endure:
“Work had already started on a sequel to Sin City, and would feature many of the same characters.” - Robert Rodriguez, The Quentin Tarantino Archives
“I don't think the film is being made at this moment. So when it's actually going to be made, I'm sure we'll talk about it [again].” - Angelina Jolie, Killer Movies
"When I showed [Antonio Banderas] the first sample of the work, he went, 'Man I'll do anything in that. I'll be the hunchback. You have to bring me onboard, that looks amazing...So Frank met him that time too and he said, 'I have got to find something for that guy. I've never met him before. He's amazing.' [So we're] looking at the cast of characters and [looking] to see where he can fit." - Robert Rodriguez, Comingsoon 2008 “Stars coming back include Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Michael Clarke Duncan and Rosario Dawson. The sequel is expected to be finished for 2010 release.” - Angelina Jolie, Ace Showbiz "Sin City 2 is written. It's mainly a matter of working out the details of the production. I'm hoping to do it with Robert Rodriguez again in the same circumstances that we did the first one, and we could be shooting as soon as April." - Frank Miller, Ace Showbiz 2009
- Daily Motion
"I'm hearing it might be next year. I heard that from a very good source... recently." - Clive Owen, MTV
"As simple as Sin City seems, it's a very complex scheduling with all these actors and it's a very demanding shoot to be on a sound stage all day long." - Producer Stephen L'Heureux, MTV (this article also reported that L'Heureux confirmed "the story will be based upon an original script by Miller, who will once again co-direct the sequel with Robert Rodriguez.")
With Rodriguez confirming Sin City 2 at this years San Diego Comic-Con, can the rumors finally be laid to rest? Can fact finally prevail? Who knows, but it's a good excuse to watch the old movie.
Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell, Courtney Love, Kanye West, Freida Pinto, Brooke Shields, Patrick Dempsey and Rosario Dawson were also among the 800 guests who showed up at the Eden Roc hotel.
Taylor, who passed away in March (11), was remembered at the event as chair of the gala, with film producer Harvey Weinstein telling the crowd, "It was an honour to work beside her and it was an honour to watch her movies."
An auction was also held during the gala, with a limited edition 1991 photo of Taylor selling for $150,000 (£93,750), while a 1964 Andy Warhol painting of the actress fetching $400,000 (£250,000).
Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich kicked off the evening by singing I Wanna Be Loved By You, while Boy George performed a couple of tracks for the star-studded crowd, which included Janet Jackson, Robert De Niro, Goldie Hawn and Jane Fonda.
Actress Sharon Stone was slated to preside over the evening, but had to cancel her slot due to work commitments.
The supermodel took over the historic Forville Market for her Fashion For Relief spectacular, which saw Dawson, Yasmin Le Bon, Karolina Kurkova and Robert De Niro's wife Grace Hightower strut their stuff on the catwalk.
Campbell, who celebrates her 41st birthday on Sunday (22May11), was the first on the runway but it was Fonda, in a Marchesa evening gown, who received the loudest applause as she closed the show.
Campbell says, "The destruction caused by the earthquake is completely heartbreaking. It's so hard to even begin to comprehend the tragic loss the people of Japan are coping with.
"I felt very passionate to try and help in whatever way possible, to do our part and to support Japan at this time. I hope that the money raised from Fashion For Relief in Cannes will support those who need it most."
Artwork by Dennis Hopper and Jeff Koons, as well as photographer David La Chapelle's famous photograph of a nude Campbell, were auctioned off to benefit the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which devastated the country's east coast in March (11).
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The supernatural thriller The Rite is a different kind of literary adaptation a film not “based on” or even “inspired by” a written work but rather “suggested by” one. The degree to which this fictional film adheres factually to its source material Matt Baglio’s book The Rite: The Making of an American Exorcist is anybody’s guess. Fans of The Exorcist might argue that it’s more strongly “suggested by” William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic than anything else.
Erstwhile unknown Colin O’Donoghue in his first feature role plays Michael a seminary student sent to Rome to learn the intricacies of demonic possession. A pronounced skeptic who isn’t even sure he believes in god much less the Catholic doctrine of exorcism Michael is inclined toward the more humanistic view of the “possessed” as simply disturbed or schizophrenic individuals. What they really need he insists is not a priest but a good psychiatrist. (That belief certainly won't endear him to the Church of Scientology.)
To rid him of such malignant pragmatism Michael’s headmaster (Ciaran Hinds) ships him off to serve an apprenticeship under Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins) a Welsh Jesuit (shorthand for “eccentric”) and practicing exorcist. Having been around the theological block a few times Lucas reacts to Michael’s unbelief with wry nonchalance (a Hopkins specialty and the film’s most appealing trait); he knows that Satan’s arguments will prove far more convincing than any he might offer.
And Satan gets to work forthwith first using a pregnant Italian girl as his vessel then incorporating other representatives of the animal kingdom tormenting Michael with horned frogs and red-eyed demon mules. At first exhibiting admirable restraint director Mikael Hafstrom eventually employs just about every weapon in his terror arsenal bombarding Michael with harrowing visions and flashbacks (he grew up in a funeral home with an undertaker father played by Rutger Hauer who had a habit of bringing his work home with him) which offer ample opportunities for cheap scares. His trump card of course is Hopkins whose character eventually becomes possessed himself thus allowing The Rite to fulfill the Lucas/Lucifer conceit we all knew was coming.
The Rite varies wildly in tone with Hafstrom seemingly unable to decide if his film is to be a moody serious-minded psychological thriller or some campy outlandish horror-comedy. By the time Father Lucas becomes possessed and the reenactment of the first great celestial battle begins the film gives itself wholly over to the latter. As channeled by Hopkins the devil comes off as a less eloquent more vulgar version of Hannibal Lecter taunting Michael with naughty words and voraciously devouring scenery. The Dark Lord as a dirty old man is something of a novel concept I suppose. Scary? Maybe a little. Creepy? Oh hell yes.