February 18, 2003 10:38am EST
At the tender age of 12 Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) was splashed in the eyes with radioactive waste and lost his sight--but his other four senses developed with superhuman sharpness. He grew up to become a bleeding-heart lawyer running a law practice with his best friend Foggy Nelson (Jon Favreau) and chasing beautiful women including the bright and fearless Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner). By night he is the masked vigilante Daredevil using his incredible senses and abilities to defend the downtrodden in New York City's Hell's Kitchen. Daredevil the movie stays true to all the elements that are pervasive in the Marvel Universe: drama love action violence revenge a spiteful police department and best of all the probing reporter on a quest for the truth. Here moviegoers will become familiar with events that become catalysts in Daredevil's crime-fighting career including the death of his father (David Keith) at the hands of the mob and the victimization of those close to him. The villainous underworld figure Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) and his hired hand the psychotic killer Bullseye (Colin Farrell) are also introduced as Daredevil's foes--and the battle between good and evil is born in this gritty urban borough.
Daredevil's appeal is that he does not possess any superpowers which made Affleck (Sum of All Fears) a good choice to portray this rather vulnerable crime fighter. While he beefed up for the role Affleck still retains that guy-next-door quality that makes both Murdock and Daredevil so relatable. His love interest in the film Elektra is played by Garner better known as Sydney Bristow on ABC's Alias. Elecktra is as brawny as she is brainy and Garner is the perfect fit for the character: she's gorgeous in a non-Hollywood kind of way and convincing as skilled fighter. Playing Murdock's lifelong friend and partner Foggy Favreau's (Made) role here is the most low-key of the bunch but he delivers some comic relief with some really funny lines. As far as villains go no one could be better suited for the role of Kingpin than the larger-than-life Duncan (The Scorpion King). This massively muscled character had to be played by someone with a powerful presence and sophisticated intellect making Duncan the ideal candidate. Rounding out the malefactors is Farrell (The Recruit) who churns out a powerful performance as the psychotic killer Bullseye complete with the nervous twitches and shifty eyes.
The decision to place Mark Steven Johnson at the helm of Daredevil was a little surprising. His 1998 directorial debut Simon Birch and his screenwriting credits Grumpy Old Men and the astoundingly bad Jack Frost hardly seemed on a par with an action adventure feature like this. The fact that Johnson hasn't worked extensively with digital effects becomes apparent in some of the film's action sequences that include a CGI Daredevil running upside walls and taking giant leaps from rooftop to rooftop. The completely animated version of Daredevil doesn't behave naturally and lacks details such as muscles texture highlights and shadows. But Daredevil didn't have a huge budget (compared to Spider-Man at least) and what it lacked in f/x it made up for with a gripping and gritty story line. Daredevil's mission is to rid Hell's Kitchen--not the universe--of as much crime as he can and his vendettas are personal--and grotesquely violent. More importantly Johnson's screenplay stays true to the comic book characters and their attributes. Fans of the comic book will appreciate his truthful touches such Bullseye's maniacal talents which include being able to turn a paperclip into a deadly weapon and Kingpin's ritualistic removal of his blazer before pounding the snot out of adversaries.
NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2000 — It used to be impossible to step out to the movies and not bump into Quentin Tarantino, not in the popcorn line, of course, but up on the screen. As director, screenwriter, producer and even actor, the wünderkind had a career that took off like a bat out of hell in the early '90s with such hits as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction."
Alas, Tarantino's acting turns in films like "Destiny Turns on the Radio" and "From Dusk Till Dawn" were, um, not terribly memorable, but who cared? Tarantino was so hot he was even cool in lukewarm roles.
But Tarantino got cold. Just like that, one of the busiest, most visible filmmakers of the '90s seemed to disappear.
Now comes word that Tarantino is back as an actor, and we have director Steven Brill, New Line Cinema and Adam Sandler to thank. The prematurely retired filmmaker has a "significant" role in New Line's upcoming "Little Nicky," which boasts Harvey Keitel starring as the devil and Sandler as his son, who takes off for New York City in search of his little brother.
Tarantino plays a blind preacher, who may or may not project a "devil may care" attitude. Frank Coraci, who directed Sandler in "The Wedding Singer" and "The Waterboy," plays a hot-dog vendor. Rodney Dangerfield also has a cameo. Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon and Jon Lovitz also join Tarantino in what amounts to one "hell" of a cast.
GOOD MEDICINE: "Scream 3" scared up an estimated $35.2 million for Miramax Films over the weekend, the company's biggest-ever weekend debut.
The stunning box-office performance was a much-needed coup for Miramax, which has failed of late to get filmgoers to line up the way it used to. Yes, Miramax has the Matt Damon-starrer "The Talented Mr. Ripley" for overseas, but stateside, Paramount is basking in "Ripley's" glory.
In addition to breaking records, the smashing weekend bow of "Scream 3" proved to be a terrific get-well card for Miramax's co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, also the film's executive producer, who got out of the hospital last week.
Weinstein, whose ailment and hospital digs remain mysteries even to Miramax execs, missed such important industry events as the Golden Globe Awards and Sundance. But because he is such a forceful figure, his absence made lots of news and won him plenty of plugs. Gwyneth Paltrow, of course, addressed Weinstein the moment she hit the stage at the Globes. And it was almost impossible to read a dispatch from Sundance that didn't refer to the New York-based mogul.
Happily, Weinstein came home just in time to celebrate his company's record-breaking "Scream 3" weekend. The film's stars and director Wes Craven couldn't have given a nicer present. Maybe Weinstein will return the favor and greenlight what is thought to be impossible -- "Scream 4."
LET 'ER RIP! We haven't had a film from prolific Oscar-winning producer Arnold Kopelson ("Platoon") since the Gwyneth Paltrow/Michael Douglas flick "A Perfect Murder" but Kopelson, say Those Who Should Know, will soon have "Riptide" in production.
Based on the novel about a surgeon who joins a professional treasure hunter on his family's island off the coast of Maine, "Riptide" is now quietly being cast. No actors are yet signed but what has been selected is the film's location -- not good news for U.S. crews. You guessed it -- "Riptide" looks to be headin' north to Vancouver, Canada, where a nickel almost gets you (and those economy-minded Hollywood studios) a tinny Canadian dime.
Kopelson, also known for such hits as "Falling Down," "Murder at 1600" and "Seven," spent years producing on the Warner Bros. lot. "Riptide" marks his debut feature for Kopelson Entertainment at its new berth at Fox, where he produces with his wife, Anne Kopelson. Let er "rip!"
BUZZ CUT: Which newly minted entertainment mogul is being followed around by CNN cameras and loving every minute of it?