Broken City

Django

This week, our Video On Demand Power Ranker Supreme 3000 has been a little viral and under the weather (we told him to be careful when going on robot dates, but he says he loves and trusts Siri, and we think she gave him robot-mono) so it’s not exactly a quantity week. That said, with directors like Quentin Tarantino and Terence Malick leading the way, it sure is a quality week of VOD and digital releases.

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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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Gangster Squad Reshoots

2012 is over. Gone forever. Never coming back. Based on our staff picks for the best features of 2012, it was far from a bad year. We had all kinds of good-to-great films, and we’d be lucky to have another year like it. Considering what we’ll see this year, 2013 could match 2012, as we’re getting movies from Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, Sofia Coppola, Edgar Wright, Jonathan Glazer, Steven Soderbergh, Park Chan Wook, and, most exciting of all, Adam McKay. Plenty of pictures to get excited over this year, and, to the start the year off, we have about 5 to build some anticipation over. Here they are:

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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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Barry Pepper makes everything better. You might say he’s the salt of character acting. Now he’s going to be adding his particular spice to two more projects. According to Variety, Pepper is joining the cast for Snitch – the drama starring Dwayne Johnson as a man who goes undercover to help out a son facing drug charges – and Broken City – the Allen Hughes project where Mark Wahlberg plays a private investigator trailing the philandering wife played by Catherine Zeta-Jones of a politician played by Russell Crowe. In Broken City, Pepper’s character will be running for mayor against Crowe’s, and he’ll no doubt pull from his Emmy-winning performance as Bobby Kennedy to sharpen his role. There’s not much to say beyond all of this because Pepper is amazing. If he and William Fichtner co-starred in something together, I’d watch it 18 times. So, yes, this news is reason to celebrate.

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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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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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