Chris Morgan

Paul Walker

In the wake of actor Paul Walker’s untimely death back in November, the team behind his calling card blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise was stuck with the unfortunate task of deciding the future of the series while still mourning one of their stars. The car crash that claimed Walker’s life happened during a holiday break, with the Fast and Furious 7 cast and crew slated to return for more filming the following week, ensuring that the nasty business of actual business was going to have to infringe on the worse business of mourning. Basically – it may be crass to talk money and timing after someone dies, but deciding the fate of the billion-dollar franchise is also hugely important to the livelihood of hundreds of people involved with the series. After weeks of back and forth, buzz, and chatter, it seems as if Universal and the rest of the Fast team have decided on a course of action that’s respectable to Walker’s memory, feasible for the production team, and compelling for the franchise’s fan. Is it the best thing Universal could do in the face of Walker’s death? Well, yes.

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Gina Carano in Haywire

Gina Carano’s claim to fame is that she can stomp people into the ground while, simultaneously, looking fabulous. So far she’s used these seemingly at odds traits to build a promising little career in entertainment, originally by being the first MMA athlete to bring real mainstream attention to the female fight game, and lately by transitioning her physical skills to the acting world. We got our first look at how Carano will fare on the big screen earlier this year in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, where the budding actress proved (in a starring role) not only that she could be just as alluring and magnetic as the biggest actresses working in Hollywood today, but also that there was a certain action magic to be had when your lead actress is able to perform all of her own fight scenes, probably better than any stuntwoman would be able to. Carano’s character in that film was overly stoic, however, and everything she was asked to do there seemed to be crafted to emphasize her natural looks and physical skills, and to de-emphasize any real emoting or serious acting that her inexperience might not yet be able to handle. That approach isn’t going to be able to last forever though, and now that Carano is signing up for a couple new roles, we might start seeing for the first time what she really has to offer as an actress.

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While writing F6st and the Furious, director Justin Lin, screenwriter Chris Morgan and star/producer Vin Diesel just couldn’t jam in all the story and character development they needed. Nay, that the story itself demanded. According to Diesel (via THR), they’ve decided to add a seventh movie into the franchise. “We have to pay off this story, we have to service all of these character relationships, and when we started mapping all that out it just went beyond 110 pages,” said Diesel. “The studio said, ‘You can’t fit all that story in one damn movie!’” Well, what were they expecting? The movies in this franchise have always been primarily about character arcs, emotional evolution, and providing audiences with a keyhole look into the soul of humanity. Plus, it’s helpful that Fast Five has made $626m worldwide so far. It seems crazy, but it’s wonderful to see such a dialogue-based, mature story being such a smash blockbuster commercially. Let’s all raise a glass to the intellectually nuanced F7st 7nd F7r777s! That is, if you can hear yourself thinking over the crunching of popcorn and revving engines.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a sad Doctor Who fan tonight, that’s for sure. With the premiere of a new season less than a week away, tragedy has struck. We must press on, but we must also remember fondly Elisabeth Sladen. There will also be a slew of interesting news, but first, some sadness… Elisabeth Sladen — best known as Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who fame — has passed away this week at the age of 63. For those who are not familiar with her work, she was one of the most famous companions in the long history of Who. She was the show’s heart and soul for a time, and reprised the character many times over the course of 38 years. That’s one hell of a run. She will be missed.

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Gears of War Movie

According to the LA times, New Line’s Gears of War adaptation has stalled and is set to be re-jiggered with a lower budget and new director.

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I would love nothing more than to simply print the title above and allow you all to giggle like little school girls who just saw a kid pee his pants in 3rd period English, but there’s more to the story.

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After delivering four fuel-filled installments in the Fast and Furious series, writer Chris Morgan appears to still have more in the tank. That’s a car joke, by the way.

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Gears of War

I don’t really get it? How is this any different from Halo or any other futuristic, other-worldly, shooter game? While the graphics are pretty dark and creepy, and the content is certainly for a mature audience…is it really that special?

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