Anthony Mackie

Jesse Owens biopic

Plenty of American heroes never quite get their due, especially cinematically, but it seems as if Olympic champion and beloved national superstar Jesse Owens is about to get an embarrassment of riches when it comes to big screen portrayals. The track and field star and four-time Olympic gold medalist rose to prominence during the 1936 games — held in Berlin, Germany — when Adolf Hitler reportedly “snubbed” Owens by refusing to shake his hand alongside other (German) winners. Although the exact nature of the snub has been debated, it is clear that Hitler meant to use the Olympics to show off his Nazi Germany and prove the superiority of German athletes, which Owens’ winning streak pretty handily derailed. However, what is clear is that our own president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, did snub Owens, who later commented: “Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.” FDR also didn’t invite him to the White House, as was commonplace at the time.  Owens, who was previously the subject of a 1984 television movie (an Emmy winner, no less), may now be the subject of no less than three brand new feature films. Although it remains to be seen if all of these projects will make it to the big screen — and it seems safe to assume that not all of them will — it’s unclear who will emerge the victor of this cinematic race to the finish, so let’s get to know each […]

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Repentance offers a golden opportunity to everyone who’s already seen Misery, but would like to see it again with Forest Whitaker instead of Kathy Bates. Sure, there may be a couple other slight alterations too. Anthony Mackie‘s writer protagonist deals in self-help books, not novels. Whitaker breaks the agreed-upon rules of “kidnapping your favorite author to magically fix all your problems” by throwing in a couple of extra kidnappings down the line (totally not cool). And there’s also a scary ghost mom that may or may not be a hallucination. But the idea’s the same: fan loves author, fan kidnaps author, fan tortures author in ways relating to author’s most popular book. Go ahead and check out the trailer below.

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news paul bettany takes shelter

Paul Bettany, like so many other actors, is spinning himself into a cocoon, preparing to blossom into a fully-formed ‘actor/writer/director’ triple threat. This remarkable transformation will be captured in his upcoming directorial debut, Shelter. Deadline reports that the film will star Anthony Mackie and Bettany’s real-life wife Jennifer Connelly, and is being financed and produced by BiFrost pictures. What hasn’t been reported on, yet, is the film’s plot. One can assume that some kind of shelter will be involved, in either a literal or a figurative sense. Perhaps one of the announced leads will seek shelter with the other. Maybe from the other. Maybe from an invading force of inter-dimensional beings?

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Pain and Gain

Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) believes in fitness – and the American dream and bettering himself and making money and a whole mess of other stuff – but he mainly believes in fitness, and he believes that it is his unique dedication to fitness that will turn him into a success. And, if that doesn’t work, he can always just rob someone. Based on a true story (a claim that gets progressively harder to believe as the film goes on because this stuff is bonkers), Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain centers on the 1990s crime spree committed by Miami’s own “Sun Gym Gang,” one that saw personal trainer Lugo (along with his equally stupid cohorts, Paul Doyle, played by Dwayne Johnson and Adrian Doorbal, played by Anthony Mackie) hatch the brilliant (sarcasm all-around) scheme to trick a gym customer out of everything he owned. What started as a simple plan – kidnap millionaire moron Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), get him to sign over all his worldly possessions and funds, release him, and enjoy the spoils – goes hilariously, disastrously, and almost immediately awry. Crime does not pay, but crime really does not pay when you’re an evil idiot.

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Michael Bay‘s wacky true-life passion project, Pain & Gain, is finally set to explode on to our theater screens in a mess of steroids, sweat, tank tops, fire, blood, and greyhounds later this month, and if you’re still unconvinced that this thing is going to be some sort of insane masterpiece, we’ve got a batch of new stills for you to eyeball. This new gallery includes plenty we’ve seen before - Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson looking swoll (as the kids say), Anthony Mackie looking ever-so-slightly dubious, Rebel Wilson looking like she’s having the best time ever, and Tony Shalhoub getting the crap kicked out of him – but it also comes complete with some new stuff, like said greyhound. Seriously, if you came up with a harebrained scheme to knock over a rich guy, wouldn’t you celebrate by buying a new purebred pup? Of course you would. After the break, soak up some roid-laced rays with a fresh look at Pain & Gain and its inherent nuttiness.

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The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty is currently in limited release and about to go wide, but while it’s unclear what the film’s box-office reception will be the critical one has been fairly unanimous. Unless you count the Academy Awards. Bigelow’s previous visit to the Middle East netted six Oscars including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (for Mark Boal), and like her new one, it faced its fair share of criticism over accuracy. Director and writer both sat down for a commentary track, and while they don’t comment directly on those claims, Boal in particular seems very aware of them. Keep reading to see what I heard with this week’s The Hurt Locker Commentary Commentary…

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gangster 1

This weekend’s Gangster Squad may invoke classical conventions of the mobster genre, but director Ruben Fleischer never set out to make an old school throwback. His dramatic action movie is a part of a new breed of period pieces, ones made with a very modern sensibility. They move at a bullet’s pace, are shot with feverish popcorn energy, and avoid any preconceived notions of being stuffy. Fleischer didn’t set out to make an epic like The Godfather, and after 30 Minutes or Less and Zombieland we wouldn’t expect that from him, but that doesn’t mean he settles into expectations either. Generally if you work in a genre more than once, you become distinctly known as, in Fleischer’s case, “the comedy” guy. While Gangster Squad has its laughs, it shows Fleischer working on a whole new level as a visual storyteller in a different genre . Speaking with Fleischer, he was obviously happy to escape the pigeonhole with his third feature film. Here’s what he had to say about seeing his movie 400 times, the hilarity of Sean Penn and why he’ll continue to shoot digitally:

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World War Z certainly had a bumpy production trip to the big screen. The movie got pushed back six months, had a troubled shoot, and an ending which needed assistance from man who isn’t exactly well-regarded for his endings. Based on this first trailer for the film, some of the more creative troubles are on display. Word was Marc Forster was unsure of what type of zombies he wanted, and the kind he went with go against the gritty, grounded style he’s clearly aiming for. Whenever a horde of CG zombies appear in this trailer, Forster’s “serious” approach falls flat. Nothing can take someone out of a movie more than an all-CG character, but there looks to be plenty of cartoon zombies running amok in World War Z. Check out Brad Pitt running, staring off, and shouting a lot in the full-length trailer for World War Z:

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10 Years Review

The high school reunion film genre has been so flooded with entries that it’s reached the point of being nothing short of played out, so any new entry needs to justify its existence by offering some kind of unique spin on the usual, or at least by featuring characters that transcend the normal archetypes. Writer-director Jamie Linden fails on both counts in his 10 Years and seems to think that the film’s all-star cast compensates for those deficiencies. It doesn’t. No matter how much you love Channing Tatum, Aubrey Plaza, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pratt, Ari Graynor, or any of the other notables who turn up here, there’s no getting around the simple, basic fact that Linden’s movie doesn’t tell a story. It merely brings to life the world’s least interesting reunion, featuring a swath of staggering dullards played by talented people.

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Those with comic book reading experience can tell you that Marvel’s recent announcement that Captain America 2 will be released under the title Captain America: The Winter Soldier points to the fact that the bulk of the film will be concerning a Russian secret agent who has ties to Cap’s World War II past. And yet, a new report coming out of THR seems to prove that secret Cold War projects aren’t the only ground this sequel is going to be covering. According to the trade,  the prolific and under-appreciated Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Gangster Squad) is currently in negotiations to join directors Joe and Anthony Russo’s film as the character of Sam “Snap” Wilson, A.K.A. The Falcon. This is noteworthy news because – holy crap – the Falcon is going to be in a movie! For those that need a little background, the Falcon – who debuted in Marvel Comics in 1969 as their first African-American superhero – is best known as being an associate of Captain America, but he’s also an accomplished hero and a card-carrying Avenger in his own right. Growing up in a tough part of Harlem, Sam Wilson watched both of his parents’ lives get claimed by street crime as he was growing up. He tried to fight back against said violence by being a community volunteer early in his life, but eventually his anger over his upbringing allowed the all consuming criminal culture to corrupt his soul, and he briefly took a job […]

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

“The joke ends in the title” has been a popular selling point for the makers of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Now, with the film out in the world, there will inevitably be question over that statement. However, what no one can question is the all-out seriousness the cast and director Timur Bekmambetov took Seth Grahame-Smith‘s material. There is no 21st century irony in sight here. Namely, there’s the lead of the film – Benjamin Walker, who goes as straight-faced as one can in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. No matter how ridiculous the situation – Lincoln running on top of horses or, you know, killing vampires – Walker never winks or smirks at the silliness. Here’s what Benjamin Walker had to say about the melancholic superhero nature of Abraham Lincoln, adjusting to makeup, and how the film is a Lincoln biopic which just so happens to have blood-thirsty vampires roaming around:

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

It’s hard to imagine how Abraham Lincoln could loom larger in the American mythos, but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter appears to have found an answer. After all, what could compare with the awesome legacy of saving the Union and emancipating the slaves quite like prolifically slaying the undead on your downtime? Timur Bekmambetov’s adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s mash-up novel (the author also wrote the screenplay) offers a vision of Honest Abe (Benjamin Walker) as an avenger hellbent on the destruction of bloodsucker bigwig Adam (Rufus Sewell) and the rest of his kind after vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) murders Lincoln’s mother with just one bite. The movie cleverly reworks both the familiar events of the 16th President’s life and some broader archetypal period moments, and Grahame-Smith and Bekmambetov stick closer to the historical record than you’d think. When he’s not studying the law or romancing Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in Springfield, Lincoln is serially, secretly disposing of hidden vampires. His close companion Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) aids him on his otherworldly mission. Jefferson Davis recruits the undead to the Confederate Army. The tragic 1862 death of Willie Lincoln is given a fresh spin.

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“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is not the most cinematic of books. If Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel was a completely faithful adaptation, it’d make for a ten-hour movie. In its translation to the big screen, the story has been stripped down to a two-hour, atmospheric, and violent 3D actioner. The director who took on the challenge of bringing Smith’s tonally tricky novel is Timur Bekmambetov, the filmmaker behind Night Watch, Day Watch, and Wanted. Like his previous films, Bekmambetov once again blends both fantasy and reality with his Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He plays with more than a few fantastical and silly ideas, but always keeps them attached to the real world. This time around, though, Bekmambetov gets to capture that style of his with 3D. Here is what Timur Bekmambetov had to say about the power of 3D, how free dreaming and character informs his visuals, and why Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is his Dusk Watch:

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Poor ‘lil Stevie Spielberg. Come Oscar season he may have a tough act to follow with his Daniel Day Lewis-starring Lincoln pic, the one which probably won’t feature Lincoln’s finest achievements: chopping off vampire heads, marrying Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and getting Anthony Mackie to somehow be your sidekick. All in all, that’s quite the life, as this bloody red band trailer for Timur Bekmambetov‘s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shows. Check out Abraham Lincoln acting like a “mad man”:

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t exactly pop out as your typical summer blockbuster. To broadly compare it to this season’s offerings: it’s not based on a comic book, isn’t adapted from a toy line, and isn’t a reboot or sequel. All in all, pretty distinct, and I didn’t even mention that the film features one of our greatest Presidents kicking vampire ass. To further add onto that pile, Timur Bekmambetov‘s adaption of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s book is a hard-R summer movie. If you’ve read Smith’s book, then you know it has its fare share of violence. If you haven’t read the book, here’s a good example: it features a vampire slaughtering a baby. Today I spoke with author/screenwriter Grahame-Smith as a part of our summer preview, wherein we briefly discussed how far the film pushes the book’s violence and what type of R-rated material to expect.

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Goddammit, Michael Bay. All I want to do is make fun of you for your stupid TNT-rigged and robot-starring Transformers franchise and you just won’t let me. While we all know by now that Bay is indeed resurrecting his never-dead-to-begin-with Transformers series for Paramount, we also know that he won’t get to it until he finishes his next project – a true-life tale that is going by the title Pain and Gain. The problem with Pain and Gain? It’s that there is no problem – it’s a phenomenal story that’s perfectly suited to a cinematic adaptation and Bay is stacking his film’s cast with solid talent that are more than just appropriate for their roles. Dammit, Bay, you might make a fan out of me. Pain and Gain is the unbelievable true story of a pack of Floridian bodybuilders that get involved with extortion, kidnapping, and murder, among other things. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson are already slated for starring roles in the film, and now Bay is apparently looking to bring on Anthony Mackie to play Adrian Doorbal, another one of the dumb-bell bodybuilders who get tangled up in a messy scheme that leads to all kinds of crime. The tone of the film has been compared to something like Fargo, and while other outlets might just be calling the film a comedy, it’s not – it’s a dark comedy. Really dark.

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Not a whole lot of negotiators on film look like Elizabeth Banks. They’re usually gruff, jaded, overweight, sloppy, and any other cliche description you can think of. Most of those adjectives don’t much apply to Banks, whose negotiator even uses her looks for the job. However, even though the actress doesn’t come anywhere close to the appearance of a 300-pound 50-something, she still gets to do plenty of things those old men get to do. She gets to shout, “This is my negotiation,” and without having to be bold and off-putting while doing it. That’s an accomplishment right there. It’s a nice little twist on the genre, and in my brief conversation with Banks, that’s what she seemed to be the most impressed about when it came to Man on a Ledge, the new thriller involving Sam Worthington hanging on a ledge for mysterious reasons…mysterious reasons that were mostly revealed in the trailer.

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Man on a Ledge

“You know, Mikey, one day you’re going to stick your dick in the wrong door, and somebody’s going to slam it,” and that line represents Man on a Ledge in a nutshell. Goofy and laughable, but overall kind of charming. Director Asger Leth, with the assistance of commercial honcho mega producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, has made a through and through B movie. What you’d expect from a movie called Man on a Ledge, you get. It’s all fairly preposterous and thin, and Leth knows not to let it go on too long before its cheesy charms lose steam. The plot, well, you already know it. Anyone who’s seen that trailer has seen it all. For those of you who live under a rock though, Ledge follows Nick Cassidy, played compellingly enough by Sam Worthington and a dodgy accent. Cassidy wants to prove his innocence over a stolen diamond, so like any wise man, he escapes prison and goes to hang out on a ledge. But things aren’t what they seem, as is always the case. As he teases a suicide, his brother Joe (Jamie Bell) and his eye-candy girlfriend, played by the suavely named Genesis Rodriguez, go about robbing the man who may have framed Nick, the snarling David Englander (Ed Harris).

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr tapes some alcohol bottles to his knuckles and gets ready to brawl with wolves. Unfortunately, he first drinks all the booze in the bottles and ends up passing out in the snow. When he wakes up, he brushes himself off and heads downtown to climb on the ledge of a tall building. The police are called to try and save him, but Kevin ends up jumping when he learns that Katherine Heigl is brought in to talk him down. Fortunately, Kevin survives the fall and stumbles to the local multiplex to check out this week’s new movies.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strips down to his boxers and starts a new training regimen to make him look more like Huge Jackman. He’s got a head start, considering his torso looks almost like Jackman’s… if you turn it upside down. After duking it out with some robots in a boxing ring, Kevin tries his hands at politics because it’s the kind of business where you don’t necessarily have to look like Ryan Gosling to get a young hottie like Evan Rachel Wood. But the primary system leaves him depressed and cold, so he takes a trip to the Sudan to play target practice with some warlords. He hears the Sudan is simply lovely this time of year.

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