On paper Sylvain White’s ensemble thriller The Losers doesn’t display much promise. Its budget (around $25 million) is miniscule by action-movie standards; its cast apart from female lead Zoe Saldana is unexceptional; and its plot about a group of disgraced Special Forces operatives who seek revenge against the shady arms dealer (Jason Patric) who had them framed is hardly original. And yet The Losers makes for a surprisingly entertaining ride an apt prelude to the summer blockbuster season. Call it The B-Team.
Though based on a graphic novel (what Hollywood movie today isn’t?) The Losers boasts no superheroes just a quintet of mercenaries with complementary skills and catchy names like Cougar and Pooch. Presumed dead after being double-crossed during a black ops mission in the Bolivian jungle they languish in a third-world limbo until a mysterious woman named Aisha (Saldana) approaches their leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) with an enticing opportunity.
The Losers establishes a lively pace from the outset and with the exception of one appallingly disjointed planning scene director White adroitly handles the challenges of a plus-size cast. Save for a few extraneous twists that mar the film’s second half screenwriters James Vanderbilt and Peter Berg maintain a straightforward storyline keeping the tone determinedly light (always best when dealing with the constraints of a PG-13 rating) but never too cartoonish -- at least not by comic book-movie standards.
Morgan who previously underwhelmed in Zack Snyder’s doomed Watchmen adaptation isn’t the ideal choice to headline the film’s male cast and he appears hopelessly overmatched by Saldana. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if The Losers didn’t try to sell us on a hastily-hatched romantic subplot between the two which serves only to provide us with a few scantily-clad glimpses of the sultry Avatar star. Needless to say there are worse sins a filmmaker can commit.
The only aspect of The Losers that truly vexed me was the performance of one of its castmembers. I doubt that Joe Johnston director of the upcoming Captain America adaptation caught a screening of this film before he chose to award Chris Evans the coveted starring role in the big-budget comic-book flick. Because if he had I’m certain he’d have chosen differently. Evans’ clownish wiseass routine is instantly and perpetually grating. Even when delivering the most innocuous of line readings he radiates a natural douchiness that no Super Serum can fix.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter has just confirmed that British actress Haley Atwell (Brideshead Revisited, The Duchess) has won the coveted role of Peggy Carter in Joe Johnston's The First Avenger: Captain America.
In comics lore, Carter not only dated Captain America but was an agent helping the French Resistance. She later became the aunt of Sharon Carter, Captain America’s love in modern times.
Marvel conducted an extensive search for the part, with Emily Blunt and Keira Knightley among the names in the mix at one point. Atwell clinched the role after screen testing in London last week.
Chris Evans toplines the big-budget action film as Steve Rogers/Captain America, with Sebastian Stan as right-hand-man Bucky Barnes. Hugo Weaving is still in negotiations to portray arch-nemesis The Red Skull.
Lensing is set to begin this June for a July 22, 2011 release. Paramount Pictures will distribute the highly anticipated film.
After a lengthy period of casting hoopla for the title role in Joe Johnston's adaptation of Marvel Entertainments and Paramount Pictures The First Avenger: Captain America came to a close last week when news of Chris Evans accepted the offer, Variety reports that Sebastian Stan will portray Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers' equally patriotic right hand man on the front lines of World War II.
For the uninformed, Bucky is a key character in the Captain America comic books. An orphan who discovers Cap's true identity and partners up with him to fight the Nazi's, he later comes back from supposed death as the Winter Soldier and even has a stint as the Star Spangled Super Soldier after the assassination of Steve Rogers in 2008.
Stan's deal, like most who are in business with Marvel, covers Johnston's film as well as potential Captain America sequels and other projects that inhabit the same cinematic universe, including The Avengers, which is slated for a May 2012 release.
For those who have been following this film's lengthy casting quest that took place over the first quarter of 2010, Stan's involvement should come as no surprise - he was one of many actors who had screen tested for the coveted title role. Lucky for him, he'll still get to gear up for what is sure to be a blockbuster of epic proportions.
Chris Evans has finally been selected to don the star-spangled superhero suit for Captain America.
After weeks of reports flying back and forth as to potential candidates, Marvel made an offer that Evans accepted last week. The deal, reports Variety, calls for the actor to star in at least three Captain America movies.
The First Avenger: Captain America is set to open on July 22, 2011. Paramount will distribute.
Evans would also reprise the role in The Avengers, which will unite Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton) in one pic, notes Variety. That film is set for May 4, 2012.
Joe Johnston will direct Captain America from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Kevin Feige will produce for Marvel, Stephen Broussard serving as co-producer. David Maisel, Stratton Leopold, Louis D'Esposito and Stan Lee will exec produce.
Deadline.com originally reported on the Evans offer from Marvel on Friday.
Source: Deadline New York
Deadline New York reports that Channing Tatum has been approached by Marvel Studios and director Joe Johnston for the lead role in The First Avenger: Captain America.
He joins the latest group of actors in the mix, including Chris Evans, Mike Vogel, Garrett Hedlund and Wilson Bethel.
Meanwhile, the studio is also testing leads for the female role of Peggy. So far, they're looking at Keira Knightley, Alice Eve and Emily Blunt.
We wonder if the audition went anything like this?
The actor, who became a top villain in The Matrix movies, is the frontrunner to play Red Skull in the Joe Johnston-directed film.
Captain America has yet to be cast but Chris Evans has emerged as one of the favourites to land the role, according to industry insiders.
Source: Heat Vision Blog
Yesterday, we reported that John Krasinski is the frontrunner for The First Avenger: Captain America, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Today, Heat Vision has received an update on who Marvel Studios is looking at now for the coveted role. According to them, Wilson Bethel (HBO's Generation Kill, The Young and the Restless), Mike Vogel (Cloverfield), Chris Evans (Fantastic Four movies) and Garrett Hedlund (upcoming Tron Legacy) are reading for the role, have tested or have received test offers.
Actors previously reported as testing including Krasinski, Michael Cassidy, Chace Crawford, Scott Porter and Patrick Flueger are no longer under consideration, say the sites. The part calls for a nine-picture deal, the second of which would be The Avengers
To be directed by Joe Johnston, The First Avenger: Captain America is scheduled for a July 22, 2011 release.
After being cursed by delays The Wolfman Hollywood’s latest spin on the popular werewolf myth finally bares its ugly fangs in theaters this week. Predictably the film is a train wreck of a debacle -- one would expect nothing less from a notoriously troubled production that saw its original director Mark Romanek abandon ship just two weeks before the start of shooting -- but The Wolfman’s problems stem less from the late-game addition of helmer Joe Johnston who at the very least delivered a terrific looking film (its gorgeously eerie Victorian aesthetic evoking a palpable exquisite sense of dread is by far its best feature) than from the misguided efforts of its producer and star Benicio Del Toro.
The Wolfman is the brainchild of Del Toro an ardent horror fan who conceived the film as an homage of sorts to the low-budget “monster movies” from the ‘30s and ‘40s that he loved dearly as a child. It’s fashioned as a loose remake of 1941’s The Wolf Man a film that both established Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance as the definitive take on the character and introduced aspects of the werewolf legend now considered sacrosanct. The notion that a werewolf can be felled by an item made from silver for example owes its origin to The Wolf Man.
But Del Toro feels all wrong in the role of Lawrence Talbot the prodigal son of a 19th-century English aristocrat whose fateful encounter with a bloodthirsty lycan the same creature that brutally murdered his brother just days prior triggers his unwitting initiation into the accursed tribe of feral man-beasts. Del Toro's resume of low-key understated performances marked by a muttering often imperceptible delivery in films like Traffic and The Usual Suspects suggests a skill set better suited to playing another famous movie monster one significantly less loquacious than his character in this movie. Seriously -- the guy should have remade Frankenstein instead.
Playing an American-bred (but English-born we’re told) character in an 1890 setting looking uncomfortable in period attire surrounded by such “proper” British actors as Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt and fully annunciating all of his line readings for the first time that I can recall Del Toro appears hopelessly out of place in The Wolfman.
Things only get worse unfortunately when Del Toro’s character transforms into the dreaded werewolf. Each time the moon is full the film transitions with increasing ridiculousness from a somber Victorian drama into a hard-core horror flick replete with grisly shots of torn flesh exposed spines and severed limbs. The first overly gruesome attack triggers a kind of nervous laugh more from the shock than anything else. The second invites an amused uneasy chuckle which soon snowballs into an outright belly laugh. And the effect soon spreads to the dialogue the outrageous gore rendering the film's mannered melodrama strangely hysterical.
Of all the Wolfman players only Hopkins seems to get the joke reveling in his manipulative mischief as Talbot's inappropriately glib stoutly aloof father. If only he'd let his castmates in on it.
Pre-production on The First Avenger: Captain America is moving into high gear, with director Joe Johnston expected to soon reveal the name of the actor who will ingest the Super Serum and battle the Nazi scourge in the superhero's World War II-set origin story, which is slated to hit theaters in July of 2011.
At a press conference last weekend for The Wolfman, the troubled horror flick he guided to completion after landing its vacated directing job just two weeks before shooting, Johnston dismissed concerns that Marvel Comics' famously patriotic superhero might be played by — gasp — a foreigner (say, Aussie Sam Worthington, for example). Johnston stated that he was "absolutely" commited to casting a Yank in the role, adding, “I don’t think we could make the film without an American playing the part.”
But while the actor playing Captain America will almost certainly be an American citizen, he may not necessarily be a famous one; Johnston is unsinterested in A-listers. “I’m looking for a complete unknown,” he declared, putting to rest various dubious reports that had pitched everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Will Smith for the role. “I hope it’ll be somebody that we discover, and who has never been in [anything]. Well, he’s probably been in something, but you won’t know who he is. You won’t recognize him. And we’ll surround him with more prominent names.”
Of course, “unknown” is a relative term, one that provides fuel for endless debate among members of the fanboy community. Are we talking Chris Pine-level unknown, Brandon Routh-level unknown, or Matt Salinger-level unknown? Recent reports seem to land somewhere in the middle, with Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome from TV’s Chuck) and Cam Gigandet (Twilight, The Unborn) among the names being mentioned as leading candidates for the potentially star-making gig.
Presumably, whoever eventually receives the nod will have undergone an extensive vetting process to verify his credentials as a genuine, full-blooded American (but not too American — sorry, Adam Beach), lest the production find itself besieged by the comic-book equivalent of the “Birthers” movement.
Interestingly, there apears to be considerably less pressure from German citizens for Johnston to choose a suitably Teutonic actor for the role of Red Skull, Captain American’s crimson-domed Nazi nemesis. However, some of the more optimistic fans of the comic harbor the vain hope that Austrian star Christoph Waltz, recently nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Gestapo fiend Hanz Landa in Inglourious Basterds, might eschew typecasting concerns and sign on to portray an even more cartoonish Third Reich villain.
The supporting players of The First Avenger: Captain America are slowly coming into focus as well, with CHUD recently confirming that The Invaders, a second-tier, international supergroup of B-list Marvel heroes like Silver Scorpion, Union Jack, and Bucky, will figure prominently in the film.
A billionaire TV producer (Robert Mammone) has a great idea for a reality show that he wants to put on the Internet and his goal is to beat the 40 million Super Bowl audience. He has compiled a crack team of young hip and immoral tech geeks directed by Goldman (Rick Hoffman) and puts cameras throughout a remote island where former prisoners are going to kill each other while audiences watch after shelling out the pay-per-view fee. The location is done on a remote secret island and the death row prisoners are bought from prisons around the world with the promise that the survivor gets to walk free. Among the contestants are a rogue Aussie named McStarley (Vinnie Jones) a martial arts expert (Masa Yamaguchi) a husband-and-wife team (Manu Bennett and Dasi Ruz) a monstrous killer who doesn't do much more than grunt (Nathan Jones) and others known only as The Italian The German and other monikers quickly forgotten. Enter the sole American Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) who's in a South American prison for some obscure reason and is recognized on TV by his wife (Madeleine West) who tries to save him. However it looks like Conrad is pretty good at helping himself. Don't expect the acting to be much more evolved than what could be seen among the World Wrestling Entertainment superstars especially since many of them were plucked from the ring to star in this morality tale. But Austin (who had in a strong cameo in Adam Sandler's Longest Yard) proves he has a sense of humor as well as strength. Vinnie Jones is ridiculously over-the-top as the Aussie who's the hand-picked winner of this game shown setting up alliances Survivor style only to turn on them later. The supporting cast are refreshingly entertaining but one-note caricatures both in the contest and running the contest. It's obvious that they aren't going to be around long but the actors do milk their tiny roles for every bit of attention they can get. Rick Hoffman as the brilliant camera mastermind of the project is both whiny sniveling and mean-spirited so when he joins some of the rest of the crew and suddenly develops a backbone and a conscience he ends up stealing the movie with his acerbic humor. But it's the understated American hero Conrad who holds a mirror up to the people who like to watch this stuff. Director Scott Wiper who co-wrote this story has also acted in similar movies like this (A Better Way to Die). It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing with The Condemned and develops a sense of voyeuristic angst like those of us who can't keep our eyes off a train wreck. Like the darkly subversive Belgian film Man Bites Dog the camera crew remains safely distant and remote until the reality directly involves them. Then the crew wonders "What the hell are we doing?" while the audience might be thinking "What the hell are we watching?" Much like Series 7: The Contenders Rollerball and other movies which show a dark and bloody near future this kind of reality doesn't seem too far away and maybe proves that movies which provide this type of gladiator spectacle target a certain segment of the human population who need to blow off steam.