Author

Jordan Smith
  • Justice Gets a Sleek Upgrade in 'Robocop' Trailer
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 07, 2013
    We’ve thrown a lot of stuff out as a society since the 80’s. Gone are the days of blown out hair, neon colors, and absurd violence at the movie theaters. We've shed a lot of excess in the three decades since, resulting in things being sleeker, suits cut slimmer, and everything looking leaner and more minimalist. Even our dystopian-future-Detroit-area-super-cop-social-commentary action films have gotten a slick upgrade, ironing out the distinctive kinks in the process. A new trailer for Robocop was just released and the film seems to have gotten rid of its Reagan-era weirdness in favor of a more straightforward tear through the themes of imperialism, overpowered corporations, and fascism.  In the trailer, a corporation named Omnicorp wants to put its police drones on the streets, but is rebuffed by a public too "robophobic" to allow it. CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) decides that all they need is a machine with a human touch to ease the public into the idea of a robotic police force, and just as luck would have it, Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) has blown himself to bits just in the nick of time. Murphy is rebuilt into a one-man war on crime, but unlike its baby blue predecessor, this Robocop is fitted with cleaner edges and a sleek black profile that screams modern sensibilities. MGM/Columbia It was always going to be a tricky maneuver rebooting Robocop; a series with an '80s Detroit so hard-coded in its base DNA sequence that even the idea of creating a version for today's audience feels like a taboo right out of the gate. Hopefully, this new film will have new things to say about our modern era, while it's busy blowing stuff in Detroit the hell up. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @CurrentlyJordan
  • Netflix and Marvel Team Up for Four Original Superhero Series
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 07, 2013
    Mike Allred/Marvel Disney and Netflix are having their own superhero assembly, but one with noticeably fewer capes and cowls, and more business suits and risk-assessment meetings. The two media mega-giants have come together to create not one but four Netflix original live-action series based on various Marvel properties, plus a mini series event to cap things off. Starting in 2015, Netflix will roll out with a 13-episode Daredevil series, followed by additional series featuring Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones. After this initial rush of individual series, The streaming service will finish up with a mini series event based on Marvel's team up comic The Defenders. For Marvel and Disney, this is a chance to expose its casual movie fans to the depths of its comic book catalogue by featuring characters that wouldn't necessarily show up in an Avengers Initiative movie. Some of these characters have already made the jump from ink to live-action, but others haven't seen much life outside the panels of comic books. The characters chosen for this new crop of series also have the benefit of being more diverse, but not only in racial terms, but storytelling ones as well. Characters like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones have powers and problems that differ greatly from the square-jawed sameness that fills the ranks of the cinematic version of the Avengers. Over the past 40 years, comic books have prided themselves with being one of media's most forward thinking entertainment mediums, and it's nice to see that their live-action offerings are catching up with the original illustrated inspirations. For Netflix, this is just another step in their steady effort to reprogram the way people think about television. The company has shown that it is a force to be reckoned with its original series Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. Hopefully this foray into superheroes will continue Netflix's winning streak of crafting quality television hits tailor-made for long unproductive binge sessions. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • What Can We Learn from the New 'Star Wars Episode VII' Casting Calls?
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 06, 2013
    Walt Disney Disney and J.J. Abrams have been busy searching far and wide for the perfect cast for Star Wars: Episode VII.  Bleeding Cool has reportedly confirmed that a UK casting call for an unnamed Walt Disney film is actually a casting call for the next Star Wars film. While the casting call is a bit sparse on the details, only painting broad character strokes, they do contain neat clues that we can examine in regards to the next adventure in a galaxy far far away... including two character names ("Thomas" and "Rachel," which sound decidedly un-spacey). RachelSeeking young woman to play 17-18 year old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi and multi-racial) Must be over 16. Rachel was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17, she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead While the character bio skimps on any concrete facts, we can do some detective work to zero in on who this might be. Since the call is open to all ethnicities, then we can safely assume that this is a brand new character that isn't tied to any of the existing families in the Star Wars Universe. The casting call also says that she has to survive in a dangerous town. This sequel might take place on a whole new, yet unseen planet in the Star Wars universe, or perhaps the seedy sands of Tatooine. The image of an orphan slumming around the rough and tumble desert planet certainly conjures up some parallels between "Rachel" and a certain father-son pair who spent their childhoods living on ol' Tat without much in the way of actual parental contact. ThomasSeeking young man to play 19-23 years old. Must be handsome, smart and athletic. Must be over 18.  Thomas has grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life to seriously The fact that this casting doesn't specifically highlight being open to all races and ethnicities like Rachel's does, and judging by the franchise's fairly monochromatic history of human actors, we can assume that Thomas is going to be white. This opens up the idea that the character might be related to some of the familiar faces from the previous films in the series. If we were to hazard a guess that Thomas is the son of either Han and Leia or Luke and his future spouse, then what conclusions can we make? If Thomas is Han and Leia's KidIf this is "Thomas Solo," then what happened to Han? The description says that Thomas grew up without a father's influence, but it doesn't explicitly say that Thomas grew up without a father, or that his father died. What if Han is a deadbeat dad who sends child-support from across the galaxy? Or maybe he's off smuggling somewhere to help provide for his family, rarely able to touch base back home? Perhaps Han once again found himself on the wrong side of a slab of carbonite? Han has always been a bit of an adventure seeker, so maybe he hit the road once things got too comfortable. The casting call says that Thomas can "appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life to seriously" so perhaps Han's kid did pick up something from the sardonic pilot. If Thomas is Luke's kidLuke, on the other hand, is certainly not the kind of person that would abandon his child, so if this really is his son, Mr. Skywalker is either dead or really busy with something important. Maybe Luke is cruising the galaxy trying to rebuild the Jedi order while his son is sitting at home missing his dad? Again, it would take something really drastic for Luke to abandon his family... and hey, all the other Jedi have come back to pay visits in ghost form, so even in death he wouldn't be totally absent. The mystery thickens. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Recap: Fitz-Simmons Are Finally Becoming Real Characters
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 06, 2013
    ABC Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's biggest misstep in its first season has been its characters. Its worst offenders are Fitz-Simmons, the rambling co-dependent scientist duo that are so one-note, even the other characters can't be bothered to call them by their separate names, instead often hyphenating them into a single data-spouting entity. With "F.Z.Z.T," Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has delivered one of the show's better hours by raising the stakes and putting one of its characters in actual danger, while also giving some much-needed character development to the dorky duo in question. The episode opens with a troop of Marvel's version of the Boy Scouts (since this is in the Marvel Universe, lets call them Captain America Campers) gathered around the fire. One of the adult troop leaders hears some mysterious humming and goes off to investigate, but ends up getting killed by an unknown entity with static electric powers that leaves his body mysteriously floating in the air. Next, we catch up with the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew. Coulson is getting a physical and appears to be in perfect health, but something about this second chance at life is still gnawing at him. Elsewhere, Skye is feeling the chill from Ward's cold shoulder after the events of the last episode. Betraying your team to your previous hacktivist organization tends to leave some people a little frosty. Fitz and Simmons lighten the mood with some fun Ward impressions, but the fun is fleeting when the team is called to investigate the mysterious case of the floating man. The S.H.I.E.L.D. gang travels to the campsite with the body to investigate what happened. Simmons gets too close to the gravitationaly challenged man and gets a seemingly innocuous static zap that causes the body to fall to the ground. Coulson and the others wonder who or what could have caused the man's death. The team then picks up another electo-static event, this time in a barn where they find another man floating in the air. It turns out the two victims were both firefighters that were among the first responders to the battle of New York. The team travels to the firehouse where they find another man who hears the humming. Coulson comforts the man by telling him of his own experience with death before leaving the man to die the same way his friends did. Simmons puzzles out that the random electro-static deaths are due to a dormant alien virus left on a Chitari helmet, a virus that has also infected Simmons herself. Coulson puts Simmons in quarantine while she scrambles to create an anti-serum for the virus, but fails in every attempt to stop the disease. It turns out that if Simmons dies in the same electro-static event that killed the others, the jet will be blown out of the sky. When a last ditch effort to find the right anti-serum appears to fail, she decides to sacrifice herself and save the rest of the team by jumping out of the jet.  Naturally, the last anti-serum turns out to indeed work. Agent Ward goes full superhero by jumping out of a jet in an impressive bit of sky-diving, and manages to impossibly save Simmons from going splat and injects her with the correct antidote. Back on the plane, everyone's relieved that Simmons survived, and Coulson reveals that he feels different since coming back, but Melinda May tells him to embrace his second life, however different he might feel. The scene also hints that May has had a death experience of her own. Simmons' looming death gives way to some good character work that S.H.I.E.L.D has been in serious need of. The episode also helped to develop Fitz and Simmons as indvidual characters.  Jemma coming that close to death also asserts to the audience that these weekly adventures are actually pretty dangerous, and that the risk of death for these characters is always in the air. Hopefully the show will continue this upward swing in momentum in the coming weeks. Quipiest Quips and Other Observations"I'm agent Grant Ward. I can shoot the legs off a flea from 500 yards, as long as it's not windy.""Do you want a cookie?" Melinda May offering people baked goods is terrifying."Little heavy on the iron, but don't worry, you don't have to start calling me Iron Man." I think I heard the distinct sound of the entire world groaning after that line.Knowing that this is a Joss Whedon show in some capacity, I sort of expected Simmons to bite the dust. Joss loves killing of characters just when you thought they were safe. Hold on, I'm having a bit of television PTSD
  • Kristen Stewart Is Doing Another Movie, This One with 'Aventureland' Costar Jesse Eisenberg
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 04, 2013
    WENN Jessie Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart are joining forces to be tepidly awkward together once again, but not for the hotly anticipated Adven2reland. The pair will star together in American Ultra, an action comedy directed by Nima Nourizadeh. The film's screenplay was written by Max Landis, the scribe of 2012's super-hero thriller Chronicle. In the upcoming film, Mike (Eisenberg) is a lazy stoner who lives with his girlfriend Pheobe (Stewart). One night, their lives take an unexpected turn when Mike's past comes back to haunt him, and he becomes the target of a government operation set to wipe him out. The two stars possessed a nerdy charm and chemistry that made Adventureland an enjoyable indie hit. Hopefully they can transfer that chemistry to this new film which sounds like it has more of a moving plot then a coming of age amusement park dramedy. Ever since Adventureland, the two stars have had divergent career paths —Eisenberg successfully taking on high profile projects like The Social Network and being nominated for awards, while Stewart stormed the box office (and the gossip columns) as Bella Swan, but has had trouble kicking off a new film franchise. After the Twilight explosion ended and Snow White and the Huntsman flopped, Stewart has been seeking shelter in indie projects. While this mini Adventureland reunion could be a satifying dose of 2009 nostalgia, it is missing a key component. Unfortunately, creepy Ryan Reynolds will not be taking part in the new film. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • 'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan Will Also Guest Star on 'Community'
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 04, 2013
    WENN Community has improbably found another person to cram into the show's fifth season. This time, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan will grace the halls of Greendale Community College for an episode shooting some time this week. According to Entertainment Weekly, Gilligan will be playing a smooth-talking gold digger that starts a fight between Annie (Alison Brie) and Abed (Danny Pudi). This news all but cements our working theory that Dan Harmon has set up camp by an unemployment line in Albuquerque, and is offering everyone a hot meal and a televison guest-spot. Breaking Bad alum Giancarlo Esposito has already appeared on the show. while Jonathan Banks is also set to guest-star in an episode sometime in the upcoming season. Gilligan's casting is just the newest name in an absurdly long list of season 5 guest stars including: Walton Goggins, Nathan Fillion, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Katie Leclerc, Ben Folds, Jonathan Banks, and Vince Gilligan's fellow showrunner/non-actor Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz among others. The amount of famous people popping up in Community is positively insane and we're starting to wonder whether all of these new guest spots might unbalance a season that is already losing two of its anchor points (Donald Glover and Chevy Chase). Community always manages to embrace epic and unweildy ideas really well for a 30 minute sitcom, but some of the program's best moments are when it dials back and focuses on the Greendale Seven. Hopefully the new faces don't upstage the ones we've grown to love. We're starting to think that Donald Glover really left the show because all the extra people were stealing his favorite snacks at the craft service table. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • The 'Thor 2' Tie-in on 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Could Be a Great Idea
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 04, 2013
    ABC The conclusive events of Thor: The Dark World will likely spill out into the plots of the other Marvel films coming down the cinematic pipeline, but they will also leak into Marvel's newest TV offering. The company has revealed that an upcoming episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will tie in with the Thor sequel. According to Marvel, "In the aftermath of the events chronicled in the feature film Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, Coulson and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up the pieces -- one of which threatens to destroy a member of the team." The tie-in will occur in the Nov. 19 episode of S.H.I.E.L.D titled "The Well."  Over the course of this first season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has slid into a comfortable, softly padded mediocrity. For a show about secret agents and superpowered foes, it lacks the sense of daring, adventure, and fun that makes Marvel's film events such a joy to behold every season. Instead, S.H.I.E.L.D. feels more like an episode of NCIS in a jet. A dull procedural without any sense of urgency or interesting character developments. Those of us still watching are tuning in habitually to see what vaguely interesting danger the S.H.I.E.L.D. team will find itself wrapped up in this week.  And maybe this is because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D also feels decidedly cut off from the rest of the Marvel universe that it is said to inhabit. The characters are sure to tell us  repeatedly that the show takes place in the same universe as Iron Man, Thor, and The Avengers, but it fails to make it feel as such. Outside of the frequent name dropping of superheroes and references to events from the movies, the show almost feels like a piece of  fan-fiction rather than a full-fledged part of Marvel's ever growing world. Obviously, the films' extra whiz bang special effects aren't possible on a paltry TV budget, but there's no reason that the quality of writing has to take such a nosedive as well. Adding a plot continuation from the Thor sequel could toss in a dash of Marvel's movie magic to a television series that has struggled to justify its existence in its early going. It could also give Marvel junkies who haven't watched S.H.I.E.L.D. a reason to tune in if they want the full story of what happens after the credits of the film roll. If Marvel wants Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be relevant, the show has to feel like a vital part of the universe, something that fans can't miss, or risk losing key sections of the super hero mosaic that Marvel is painting with its films. The move might feel a tad desperate, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • 'Last Vegas' Director Jon Turteltaub Talks Working with Hollywood's Finest
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 01, 2013
    Walt Disney via Everett Collection Last Vegas director Jon Turteltaub had a gargantuan task in front of him. One that was not for the faint of heart. He had to manage the likes of Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Morgan Freeman in one single film, actors that are as close to royalty as hollywood gets. With such a huge task comes even bigger expectations. But even trickier that the star-filled waters he had to navigate, are the constant comparisons to The Hangover that his film will continually have to dodge in the small pool of Vegas comedies. John Turtletaub wants you to know about the joys and woes (mostly joys) in working with such a legendary cast, why he needs to makes movies for everyone, and why Last Vegas is definitely not "The Hangover for old people." What first struck me about Last Vegas is that it looked like a ton of fun to film?You know what’s funny? As fun goes, movies aren't fun at all to make. But as work goes, they're fun to make, and it was really enjoyable to be in a room with all five of those actors, including Mary Steenburgen. Everyone was so good at their jobs. It was clear that the movie was going to be good. Usually you don’t know. In this case, we had a really good feeling just when we were filming. Just by how good these actors are and everyone was on their best behavior around these guys and everyone was nice and wonderful. It's funny, people always say when they do these interviews how fun it is or what a family everyone became and I always watch that stuff thinking 'Screw you, I want you to be miserable and work hard to entertain me. I don't want you to have fun.' But I'm sorry to say, in this case, we actually enjoyed ourselves. It definitely came across on screen. There was this instant chemistry among the four leads. We're supposed to believe that they've been friends all their lives and it definitely feels that way.It's a combination of a few things, I think. One is that all these guys are faces that you've seen for 40 years and you just feel comfortable with them. It seems like they all must know each other anyway, even though no two of them have worked together before. That's one of the more surprising tidbits. It's a mixture of that, the ease they felt together onscreen, but also starting the movie with them as little kids really propels you into a sense that they really are a group that’s been together a long time. Was it ever intimidating working with such huge actors?Terrifying! It was! I'm supposed to be a very cool director who doesn't get fazed by this stuff but I was really excited and nervous. You're not just nervous because you want them to love you, but you're aware also of the other directors they've worked with and how talented those men and women are. You know you're being compared to the greatest directors of all time. The key isn't to not be scared, the key is to not show it. That's what I told myself, at least. The film did a great job of managing the huge personalities. Was it a challenge not letting one actor take over the whole film?That kind of balance is there in the script, but it's also something you work hard on in the editing room to make sure that it all feels like a movie about a group of guys, not two of them. And they couldn't have been easier to work with. They've earned the right to be sh**ty on set, and none of them were. I think they were all competing on who could be the nicest because they wanted to not only be the one to not make life difficult for me, but to not make life difficult for each other. With a movie about a group of friends in Vegas, it's easy to make comparisons to The Hangover, but is it too simple to call this film The Hangover for old people?I think so. I hate the phrase that "It's The Hangover for older people." I hate less that it's "The Hangover with older people," but I still feel like, yeah, it is a bachelor party in Vegas and I totally get the comparisons to The Hangover and The Hangover 3. But it really is such a different movie. It has a different flavor to it, a different feel to it, and different intentions. Last Vegas seems like a movie that a lot of people could enjoy, were you shooting for a wide audience?I always set out to make a movie for a general audience, that all people can enjoy. When I made National Treasure, the studio thought we were making an R-rated Jerry Bruckheimer action film, and I turned it into a PG-rated Disney adventure film. I can't help myself. I really believe that making a movie for the widest audience is a really difficult and really rewarding task. That's what I wanted to do with this. Humor should be universal and funny should be funny to everybody and emotions and heartbreak should feel tragic to everybody. If you're doing it right, then you're hitting these very universal ideas for a very broad audience. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Review: 'Last Vegas' Has Great Actors, But No Jokes Worth Telling
    By: Jordan Smith Nov 01, 2013
    CBS Films Getting the likes of Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline in one film should be a recipe for a rousing success, and in many ways throughout Last Vegas, the casting is very successful. The main cast gives everything actors can really contribute to a film, and they excel as well as they can with what they're given. But the film shows that, at the end of the day, the script is king, and Last Vegas falters because its dreadfully weak writing hinders some fun performances. Like another Vegas comedy, to which comparisons are unavoidable, the film centers around a bachelor party. Billy (Douglas) is trying to hold onto his youth with the grip of an iron vice. He's engaged to a much younger woman and decides that his wedding is the perfect time to rekindle his relationship with his three best friends, a group friendship that has frayed over the years. Archie (Freeman), Paddy (De Niro) and Sam (Kline) pack up to experience a weekend full of geriatric high jinks before Billy's wedding. Each of the four characters travels to Vegas with a certain amount of baggage stowed away in the carry-on compartment, and it's all related to aging, but the resolution to all of these character threads ends way too predictably. The first resolution to each of their stories that swirls around in your head while watching will undoubtedly be the one that pops up on screen before the credits roll.  One of the biggest sins Last Vegas makes is that it's just not all that funny, and the problem lies in the script. The film seems content with telling the same joke about old people over and over again, ad nauseam. It can barely mine humor from any other source besides the characters' advanced ages, pounding that theme into your head like a pulsing jackhammer. Jokes are fired at a machine gun pace, but so many of them fall ridiculously flat. Even when the cast is able to sell some of the feeble punchlines, they still aren't very clever or memorable. If anything, it makes it clear to see why these actors are as celebrated as they are. They all posses a serious amount of charm that bounces across the screen and makes the duds clank a little less loudly.  CBS Films In fact, any enjoyment to be had from Last Vegas stems solely from the performances of the principal men, and sultry lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen). All five actors possess a natural chemistry that carries the film's limp material around long after the script has forgotten how to be clever. They all have an excitable energy that permeates the rest of the film, but energy means little when they aren't saying anything particularly interesting. During the film, you're never quite bored or offended, but you're never excited either. It just chugs along in a miasma of general competence but not much else. Last Vegas isn't quite dead on arrival but it's no a spring chicken either. Its high points ride on the backs of its stars' finely aged charisma, and much of the pleasing aspects that exist in Last Vegas would still be intact if the film just consisted of the actors sitting in a room, chewing the fat with each other without a script or direction. At the very least, they would have fewer stupid things to say. What happened in Vegas probably should have stayed there. 2/5 Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @CurrentlyJordan //
  • Everything Is Awesome in the Hilarious 'The Lego Movie' Trailer
    By: Jordan Smith Oct 31, 2013
    Legos were always the best toys as a kid because everything just fit together so well. Of course, it was all by design, but there was joy in knowing no matter what playsets you had, they would all connect in whatever combination you wanted with a swift click. With some easy construction, you could have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teaming up with Batman and it all made perfect sense in a playtime logic sort of way. Now all those childhood battles come to life in the newest trailer for The Lego Movie. The trailer is infused with the most amount of joy one can possibly inject into molded plastic. Chris Pratt's exuberance is the perfect fit for the lead character as we watch his jerky, joint-less movements explore the colorful land of Lego World. The story follows Emmet, an ordinary guy who is mistaken for The Master Builder, the only person capable of saving the Lego World from the tyranny of Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Along for the ride is an assortment of great voices including Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, and Morgan Freeman. The clear standout is definitely Will Arnett's take on Batman, who has all of the caped crusaders dark confidence, but none of his actual competence. Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube Warner Bros. has constructed what looks to be a suffocatingly likable adventure built brick by brick with references that hit every square inch of the pop culture landscape in a bonanza of an animated movie. One of the surprising things about the trailer are all the adult jokes that skate around the clip's colorful energy There are even vintage lego pieces dotted throughout the trailer, copies of which are probably stuck between your mom's couch cushions right now.  The Lego Movie hits Theaters February 14th. Follow @Hollywood_com