From now on, the part of “lethal killing machine” should automatically go to Tom Hardy. The Dark Knight Rises star has just been cast as lethal covert operative Sam Fisher in the movie adaptation of the hot-selling videogame series Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Deadline reports.
The project still hasn’t landed a studio, though Warner Bros. and Paramount have been rumored to be interested. But it does have a writer, Eric Warren Singer, who cut his thriller chops by previously penning Tom Tykwer’s The International.
Hardy, who broke Batman’s spine as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and played other, slightly less menacing, slightly more intelligible badasses in Warrior and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy—and is set to inherit Mel Gibson’s Road Warrior mantle in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road—will play Splinter Cell’s pivotal central character, Sam Fisher. Fisher is a black ops heavyweight who takes on covert globe-trotting missions to battle rogue Chinese generals and Canadian cyberterrorists and investigate assassinations in places like Georgia and Azerbaijan. Much like Clancy’s best known character Jack Ryan, Fisher’s combination of brains and brawn is catnip for any actor looking to headline his own action-adventure franchise. So far 23 million copies of six separate Splinter Cell games have sold since the series began in 2002.
This is another bit of big news for Ubisoft, the French company that produces the Splinter Cell videogames, following their announcement that they’ve partnered with New Regency to turn their other big title, Assassin’s Creed, into a movie starring Michael Fassbender.
With big guns like Fassbender and Hardy attached to game-derived flicks, it’s looking more and more like videogames could become Hollywood’s next go-to storytelling well, much like a decade ago when Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros., among other studios, began in earnest to tap comic books for cinematic inspiration. As long as these movies don’t turn out like Max Payne and Doom.
Excited for the news about Hardy being Sam Fisher? And which movie adaptation are you more excited for: Splinter Cell or Assassin’s Creed?
[Photo Credit: Wenn]
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We were sold with that very first scene of Wedding Crashers — amid all the clamor over divorce proceedings, exclamations of "Hillbilly!", an ad-hoc rendition of the Isley Brothers' "Shout," and an unbridled celebration of the glory of crabcakes, we realized something: Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn were a perfect comic duo. Since the 2005 comedy hit, however, we haven't seen this pair join forces to headline a movie. Seven years! Seven years without Wilson's cavalier drawl complimenting Vaughn's rapid-fire explosion of neuroses. But this joyless hiatus is coming to a close with the duo's next feature film, The Internship.
Here, we see Wilson and Vaughn take up together on the set of the new movie, which will center around a pair of middle aged career men who lose their jobs and need to start back at the bottom of the corporate ladder with internship positions. It's the sort of loose-fitting plot that will allow the dynamic comedy borne organically between these men to flow free, producing all the laughs Wedding Crashers gave us back in '05.
So now that Wilson and Vaughn are slated for this reunion, what other pairs are we still waiting to see get back together on screen? And how would we most like to see them reunite?
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd
Imagine a 2015 without flying cars or hover boards... in other words, a time when we would, in fact, need roads. You know, the 2015 that we're actually going to get. Now, take a 54-year-old Michael J. Fox and a 77-year-old Christopher Lloyd and pair 'em up for the first time since the Back to the Future series for a tender dramedy about the misunderstood friendship between a joyless businessman and his aging former mentor. Great Scott, this would be heavy (sorry, that wasn't even clever... it just had to be said).
Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington
While they weren't exactly laugh riots in Philadelphia, we think this pair has the potential to dole out an outrageous buddy comedy. Maybe a down-on-his-luck gambling addict (Hanks) gets in bad with some dangerous characters and turns to his recovering rage-aholic brother-in-law (Washington) to get him out of this jam.This duo sets off on a journey, heading right into a series of risky adventures in an effort to escape their pursuers... and each other.
Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck
Almost three decades after Ferris Bueller's Day Off, it'd be nice to see if Ferris and Cameron have kept in touch. Perhaps a slice of life comedy about two doting dads and lifelong pals who take their kids on a camping trip, only to inadvertently thrust their unwilling children into an onslaught of family friendly hijinks. Or maybe a hard R about two desperate over-the-hill saps who head out past the confines of their New Mexico suburb, treading into the seediest clubs in the crime-laden desert. Just a couple of ideas.
Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg
I know Zombieland is hardly the time-tested classic that Back to the Future, Philadelphia, and Ferris Bueller are, but it was a damn good movie, and I really want to see Woody and Jesse again! Sorry, I was expecting a lot of "Are you kidding me?"s for this one. I'd believe them as a pair of estranged brothers who find out about one another at their elderly father's funeral, or two innocent passengers stuck amid a train heist, who must band together to save the day (with the former's brawn and the latter's brains). On board? (Hey, that could be the name of the movie!)
Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro
Here's the kicker. Will Smith is known for protecting New York City against supernatural baddies, right? And he always has a partner, right? (Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jeff Goldblum, a robot, a dog, Kevin James... what? Heartbreak is a supernatural villain!) Well, how about vampires? Or ghosts? Mummies? It really doesn't matter. All that matters is his sidekick: his Fresh Prince of Bel Air cousin Alfonso Ribeiro. Now that's something we'd all see.
[Photo Credit: PacificCoastNews.com]
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Australia is like no other movie this year -- or even this century for that matter. It’s heart and soul live in conjuring up memories of the kind of epic movie they just don’t make anymore. The incomparable Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) proves nobody does this kind of thing better. The story begins just at the brink of World War II as a prim and uptight Englishwoman Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels to the distant and uncharted Northern Territory of Australia in order to deal with her husband’s supposed infidelity. When she finds him murdered however the only way she can save their ranch Faraway Downs is to join a strapping “drover” (Hugh Jackman) in driving 1500 head of cattle to the Australian port Darwin where the military can buy them. Trying to interfere with their mission are the evil land baron King Carney (Bryan Brown) and his henchman Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) who are determined to add her ranch to their collection. As inevitable romance rears its head Lady Ashley must also protect a precocious aboriginal kid Nullah (newcomer Brandon Walters) a half breed she is determined to adopt before he is turned over to the state for re-education. Meanwhile the Japanese loom closer. Luhrmann provides a grand showcase for a wonderful array of actors from Down Under including Kidman and Jackman. Kidman who has had a recent dry spell in films is back in form as the rigid Brit who is transformed by her visit. It’s the kind of role Katharine Hepburn did so well in movies like The African Queen. Newly crowned People Magazine “Sexiest Man Alive ” Jackman lives up to the title all brawn and bravado the epitome of the rugged cowboy who becomes the dashing hero. Together the two actors steam it up and redefine what it means to be matinee idols. As the half-caste kid Nullah 13 year-old Walters is a marvel and steals the show. Veteran Aussie actors Brown and Wenham (Lord of the Rings) are properly menacing and hateful while the group accompanying Jackman and Kidman are splendid including: legendary Jack Thompson (Leatherheads) as the gregarious over-the-top Kipling Flynn; Drover’s aboriginal partner Magarri (David Ngoombujarra); and the mystical King George (David Gulpilil) Nullah’s grandfather who seems to show up at the oddest times. There can be no question Baz Luhrmann is the most flamboyant old school director working today. After completing his “Red Curtain Trilogy” of musicals including his Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge he goes above and beyond with Australia throwing in everything -- including the kitchen sink. Baz loves old movies and you can tell. Maybe more like Lawrence of Australia this film is a mind-boggling wonder with epic scope and splendor. The spectacular CGI-driven cattle drive and the bombing of Darwin are all done in large strokes. He even throws in an homage to The Wizard of Oz that takes the film to the kind of sentimental heights fans will probably eat up. How contemporary audiences will react to this throwback to Hollywood’s heyday of big brawny cinema is anyone’s guess but the singular vision of Luhrmann is to experience Australia and fall in love with the possibility of grand movies all over again.
Based on Patrick O'Brien's 20-book series the film revolves around the Capt. Aubrey and Dr. Maturin characters introduced in the first novel Master and Commander but employs the broad narrative outlined in the 10th installment The Far Side of the World. The film succeeds largely because like the books it attends to every historical detail--and there's no pussy-footin' around. Right from the start you're immersed in an intensely realistic battle in the waters off the coast of Brazil between the massive British frigate HMS Surprise led by Capt. "Lucky" Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and the French Privateer Acheron one of Napoleon's best ships. Although the Surprise had been ordered to intercept the Acheron the French ship gets the better of the British and launches a "surprise" attack of its own appearing unexpectedly from a fog bank. Throughout the Acheron's merciless assault--as cannonballs rip through sail plank and bone--the highly decorated naval commander Aubrey bravely inspires his crew to battle on while below decks the Surprise's doctor and Aubrey's trusted confidante Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) tends to the wounded in grisly and rudimentary fashion with rusted tools and limited resources. Maturin even performs skull surgery on a wounded sailor using a primitive metal plate as a patch. When the Surprise finally breaks away from the Acheron the British ship has sustained heavy damage and should head home for repairs but Aubrey isn't about to turn tail and run. Against Maturin's advice the headstrong captain decides to beat the Acheron at her own game: He will take her as a prize for England--at any cost--and the chase is on.
The perfectly cast Crowe could be looking at his fourth Academy Award nomination for his role as the strapping 19th-century naval warrior Aubrey even though the character doesn't have the usual Oscar-earning trappings such as deep poignant moments of self-reflection or twitchy mannerisms. The proud able-bodied Aubrey raises hell on the high seas but he's a fair leader who keeps his crew's loyalty even while sending them into almost impossible situations--usually because of his foolish pride a quality that gives him just enough fallibility to take the edge off his arrogance. To counteract Aubrey's brawn Bettany's Maturin provides the brains of the outfit; in addition to tending the wounded aboard ship as a naturalist he anticipates Charles Darwin's evolutionary theories when he discovers the Galapagos Islands a full 20 years before Darwin wrote about his findings there. Unfortunately his attempts to collect specimens from the islands are thwarted due to Aubrey's Acheron obsession--and Bettany amusingly shows Maturin's annoyance and generally does a wonderful job bringing this colorful character to life. The actors who starred together in the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind complement each other like two sides of a coin; their rapport is immediate and genuine. Besides these two characters it's hard to invest any emotion in the rest of the Surprise's crew but there are a few you end up rooting for especially Lord Blakeney a 12-year-old midshipman played by newcomer Max Pirkis who embodies qualities from his two mentors--Aubrey and Maturin.
Director Peter Weir known for handling intimate films such as Dead Poets Society and Witness had his work cut out for him when he decided to make an epic like Master and Commander. First he conducted an extensive search for an authentic ship to be his Surprise finally finding it an American tall ship called the Rose a 20th-century replica of a 19th-century British Royal Naval ship. The filmmakers also built a second 60-ton Surprise from scratch for the more complicated battle scenes. In addition over 2 000 19th-century uniforms were made for the ships' crews. The real task for Weir though was keeping a two hour-plus movie about two ships chasing each other over open seas interesting and he succeeds. While there are a few lulls in the action they're generally brief and the action itself is engrossing. The wild trip around storm-whipped Cape Horn is a doozie as is the trek around the Galapagos--all while anticipating the final showdown between the warring frigates. Weir must somehow be possessed by the spirit of naval seamen everywhere because he's created an authentic and Oscar-worthy masterpiece.
A violent and gritty film A Man Apart follows DEA agents Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel) and Demetrius Hicks (Larenz Tate) as they try to stop the drug pipeline along the US/Mexico border. After seven years of surveillance they take down Baja California cartel kingpin Memo Lucero (Geno Silva) whose ominous last words to Vetter are "You have no idea what kind of mistake you are making." Vetter doesn't take the threat to heart--until a hail of bullets kills his wife Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors) as she sleeps. Vetter discovers the man responsible for Stacy's death is Diablo who has stepped in to claim the Baja cartel. A grief-stricken Vetter enlists Hicks's help to avenge his wife's murder but his personal involvement in the case clouds his judgement--and at this point we know for certain that two things will happen. First Vetter will be pulled off the case and second he will go after his wife's killer without the department's authorization. When this ultimately happens Vetter turns to the jailed Memo for help tracking down Diablo. But just when you think you have the story all figured out it comes back at you with a twist.
A Man Apart gives Diesel a chance to play a character with more depth than um Zander Cage in XXX or Dominic Torreto in The Fast and the Furious. He definitely sinks his teeth into the role--a little too much. As Vetter Diesel shares some "tender" moments with his on-screen wife but the chemistry between the two is lukewarm and their oh-so-perfect marriage is too fairytale-like to buy. They drink red wine and dance on the beach at sunset (really). And as a widower Diesel overdoes the dazed and detached thing. In one scene Vetter beats a man to a pulp then slumps down against his car and stares vacantly into the distance a victim of his own misbehavior. But Diesel's performance lacks sincerity. Vetter's DEA partner Hicks is played by Tate (Biker Boyz) who carves out a more grounded and representational character. Tate shapes Hicks into a multifaceted character that is tough streetwise and sympathetic--minus the showboating. Worth an honorable mention is Timothy Olyphant (Dreamcatcher) in the role of Hollywood Jack an obnoxious drug supplier who runs a tanning salon. This two-faced hoodlum steals some of the film's best moments.
If there is one thing that director F. Gary Gray has mastered it is the art of making cheesy material watchable. Like Gray's last two films The Negotiator and Set It Off A Man Apart is a gritty urban drama that is entertaining if you allow yourself to be absorbed in the director's dynamic visual style. There is never a dull moment here and like a trailer it cuts from one action-packed scene to another. But if you stop to analyze what's going on or being said corny lines are likely to pop out and cause you to laugh out loud when you're not supposed to. Imagine a line such as "You alone are trying to bring down a monster. As a cop that's impossible; you must become a monster" reverberating in your head. It's enough to distract you from the film's hair-raising violence. Not all of the dialogue is laughable however and there is one scene in particular that is funny and bitingly genuine where Vetter and Hicks pump a dealer named Overdose for information. It's reminiscent of the wisecracking dialogue in Gray's 1995 directorial debut Friday.