Allen Hughes

Broken City Trailer

Broken City seemingly has all of the ingredients to be one of those action/dramas that is so cheesy it delivers – there’s Mark Wahlberg being tough, there’s Russell Crowe with a horrendous spray tan and a Donald Trump-lite combover, there’s Catherine Zeta-Jones with an equally horrendous spray tan, and there’s director Allen Hughes, who has some street cred as one half of The Hughes Brothers directing team. And corrupt politician dramas are usually fairly entertaining, right? Not so much here. Broken City, instead, is largely a misfire. The film’s plot meanders and leaves many open threads, likely the result of re-edits, and none of the characters are particularly likable. There’s just so much a balls out Russell Crowe performance can save a movie, and shockingly enough, Crowe doesn’t even have all that much screen time. The film opens with Wahlberg’s NYC Detective Billy Taggert shooting someone in the head in a NYC housing project, Bolton Village – he has a beard, so clearly, he is coded as being troubled. He is tried (now beardless), since his self-defense plea is questionable at best. There is evidence that surfaces that can put him away, but Republican-seeming Mayor Nicolas Hostetler (Crowe) decides to keep that evidence for his own eventual gain, allowing Taggart to go free, albeit without his job.

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Girls Lena Dunham

Hosts Geoff LaTulippe and Scott Beggs hate Girls, so they’re celebrating it with Kate Erbland, who was nice enough to help them understand the genuine love for Lena Dunham‘s terribly average HBO series. Also on this week’s show, Broken City director Allen Hughes talks shooting fast, celebrating 20 years of Menace II Society and why he loves crime dramas, and Geoff explains a truly despicable “management” scam that aspiring screenwriters need to protect themselves against. Don’t get suckered. Listen now. Download Episode #2

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Broken City Trailer

There are two kinds of dangerous men in the world: those that have been treated like they’re important for so long that they start to feel like the rules don’t apply to them, and those that have been beat down for so long that they stop caring about the consequences. In Allen Hughes’ (of The Hughes Brothers fame) new film Broken City, Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg are called upon to play one of each. Crowe’s character is a well-manicured but corrupt big city mayor who does what it takes to get what he wants. Wahlberg’s is a scruffy, down-on-his-luck ex-cop turned private dick. The intrigue of the film comes when Crowe’s character hires Wahlberg’s to tail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and get some evidence that she’s been cheating. Once he does, that’s when the murders, cover-ups, and dirty pool starts happening. Suddenly Wahlberg is sucked into a downward spiral of noir badness, and Broken City becomes a battle of brains vs. brawn between its two stars.

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According to Deadline Hollywood and The Los Angeles Times, there are two new foreign films set for English-language remakes, and it’s no surprise that they’re both thrillers. That seems to be a genre of choice for this brand of remaking (maybe because of their high concept, fan-pleasing nature). As Jee-woon Kim makes his English-language debut with The Last Stand, the director will see Allen Hughes take on a remake of his 2005 A Bittersweet Life – the story of a mobster assigned to find out if a mob boss’ mistress is cheating who, of course, becomes taken with her charms. The second thriller from overseas to land in the remake trap is the Icelandic Jar City from 2006. The film, which has a murder unraveling a bunch of secrets and a police detective who’s too old for that shit, will be made by Game of Thrones director Brian Kirk. Both movies are excellent examples of genre work, so it will be interesting to see if either of these filmmakers will be able to make something comparable. And if A Bittersweet Life: American Style is a hit, does that open the door to remakes of I Saw the Devil or, shudder, The Good, The Bad, The Weird?

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What great news. Considering his entire body of work (but especially L.A. Confidential), Russell Crowe signing on to a film about a private investigator delving deeper than he was hired to is a thrilling prospect. This time around, Mark Walhberg will be the private dick, and Crowe will play the Mayor of New York City who believes his wife is tickling someone else’s fancy. According to Deadline Harlem, Crowe is locked for the Allen Hughes-directed, Brian Tucker-scripted Broken City. Since he’s been working on Man of Steel and The Man With the Iron Fists, this will be the first non-metal-based movie for Crowe in a while. But more to the point, it’s great to see hard-boiled films like this being made. Of course, it’s being independently financed by Emmett/Furla Films to the tune of an estimated $60m. More and more it seems like those larger independent houses are making a mark on the landscape while the studios focus on their tentpoles. Getting Crowe for this role will certainly help put a stamp on this film. Hopefully there’s greatness here.

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