Daniel Espinosa

Close your eyes and picture Michael Fassbender in that upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie that Michael Fassbender is making for some reason. Okay, open them back up. What did you see? Probably Fassbender, in a fancy robe/cape/hood of some sort. I’m guessing he was leaping across different chunks of architecture while wielding a fancy-looking knife or two. There may even have been some mention of time travel, if your mind-Fassbender had any dialogue in his general vicinity (mine didn’t, too busy leaping). Now consider Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. That, too, had fancy robes, edifice-jumping, exotic daggers and time travel. Similar stuff. And it can be difficult to picture two comparable images and not imagine comparable results: that Assassin’s Creed will make a reasonably large amount of money (somewhere around Prince of Persia‘s $355m takeaway), but wow a scant number of the people who actually paid to see it. But maybe Assassin’s Creed will buck the established trend that movies based off video games are all more or less awful. The first thing it’ll need (besides a lead actor like Fassbender) is a competent director. And the film might just have that… maybe. According to Twitch, Fox is looking towards Daniel Espinosa, director of Safe House and Snabba Cash, to helm the film. There’s a hint of promise here, with Snabba Cash a strong demonstration of Espinosa’s action movie abilities. But considering Twitch’s report doesn’t mention anything about deals or negotiations, and only refers to Fox as having “zeroed […]

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Editor’s Note: On July 11, 2012, Easy Money opened its limited release in the United States. In honor of that release, we’re republishing Allison Loring’s review from the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival. She was quite fond of it, which leads us to believe that you should read the review and perhaps even see the movie… Based on the novel “Snabba Cash” (also the film’s original title) by Swedish author Jens Lapidus, Easy Money tells the twisted tale of what it really means to make “easy money” and the ramifications of those supposed shortcuts. The film opens with Jorge (Matias Varela) staging a daring prison break (despite only having a year left on his sentence), and subsequently falling right back into the world of drugs and violence that clearly got him locked up in the first place. But a move like that never comes without consequences, as we meet Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) who has suddenly found himself a full-time father while still trying to run his (at times) brutal business practices. Far from the world of drugs and criminals is enterprising business student Johan “JW” Westlund (Joel Kinnaman) who is liked by all, but (despite how it may seem) struggles to keep up with the lavish lifestyle of his wealthy friends and classmates. At first glance, it doesn’t seem obvious that these three characters have anything in common, but we soon realize that the thread that connects them all is the desire for quick cash, the hope for a better life because […]

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Looks like Hollywood has picked their next big action director, and they’re not wasting much time setting him up with his next project. Daniel Espinosa likely made Universal very happy with his first English-language film, Safe House, which has already grossed $135m, and now Warner Bros. wants in on what the Snabba Cash helmer is dishing out. The studio is reportedly in negotiations for Espinosa to direct The Outsider, “a gritty action film” that centers on “a POW in Osaka in WWII who goes to work for the Yakuza.” Grit? Action? Bad people? Yup, that’s Espinosa’s wheelhouse. The script’s been written by newcomer Andrew Baldwin, and he comes with his very own pedigree. While Baldwin hasn’t seen one of his scripts hit the screen yet, he’s a hot commodity in Hollywood. Last October, he was hired on to rewrite the Logan’s Run remake that Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling have been all over, and he’s been on the Black List twice – once with The Outsider in 2011 and once with The West Is Dead in 2008. When it appeared on the Black List, the logline for the film read “In post World War II Japan, an American former prisoner-of-war rises in the yakuza,” so yeah, that’s about what we’ve got for now.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in his Jedi robes and grabs his lightsaber, heading to the theater to see the 3D re-release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. While there, he faces a sea of estrogen as ladies of all type swarm into the multiplex to see Channing Tatum’s abs multiflex. After using his lightsaber to break through the wall of pre-Valentine’s Day ladies, he faces more obstacles with twentysomething dudes heading out to see Safe House and obnoxious families to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Fortunately for Kevin, he is able to dispatch everyone with his Rock-inspired “pec pop of love.” It was an early Valentine’s Day massacre.

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If Hollywood has taught us anything about the CIA it’s that those bastards really can’t be trusted. The exception to the rule is that the lower the character is on the agency’s totem pole the more honorable and good they’ll most likely be. They’re naive idealists who have yet to be molded by the big, bad world into heartless, morally bankrupt pricks motivated by warped patriotism and self interest. Which brings us to Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a low level agent stationed at the same, boring post for the last twelve months. He’s a “housekeeper” at a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, and every day he waits for a coded call alerting him to the imminent arrival of an incoming “guest.” The call finally comes when Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) mysteriously turns himself into the local US embassy after a decade on the run as an ex-agent turned traitor and killer. He’s moved to the safe house and immediately interrogated via water-boarding and harsh language. But when the inaccurately named safe house is attacked by a gaggle of heavily armed men Weston finds himself tasked with his guest’s safety and on the run from killers both foreign and domestic. The result is a film that offers no surprises in its story or character arcs but still manages to thrill with some stellar action sequences and two talented and charismatic leads. (That’s right. Two.)

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On the eve of the Berlinale, Swedish director Daniel Espinosa joins us to talk about waterboarding Denzel Washington and the mind games of Safe House. Plus, we look forward to a few films to catch in Berlin, and it’s Matt Singer versus Alison Willmore in a Filmspotting: SVU showdown of Movie News Quizzing. Download This Episode

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The upcoming Daniel Espinosa-directed thriller Safe House continues to fill out its cast. The film is said to be about a CIA safe house where criminals are detained, a young agent who acts as house sitter to the institution, and his attempts at moving a high profile criminal to another location once the house is under attack by a villainous organization. Denzel Washington was the first on board, playing the criminal who needs to get moved, and Ryan Reynolds signed up soon afterwards to play the young CIA agent. Now the rest of the cast is starting to come together as a start date looms. According to Deadline Kurpinova, Vera Farmiga has joined the cast, playing the CIA operative who supervises Reynolds’s character.  This choice was probably a no-brainer for the film’s casting agents as Farmiga has become something of a go-to whenever you need a slightly older, yet still attractive woman to play some sort of authority figure. Whether it be a doctor, or a successful businesswoman, or what have you, throw Farmiga in some business clothes and you’re good to go. Most recently she was seen in Source Code playing, you guessed it, a government agent. Say what you will about type casting, but Farmiga is a solid actress and playing these sorts of character roles is a great way to build a robust filmography and work with a lot of other great people. Plus, you have to appreciate the lady, because every time she gets cast in […]

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Matthew Vaughn might be the top choice for Fox, but they’ve got a list of talent a mile long. And by a mile, I mean there are six names on it.

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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