Eduardo Noriega

laststand19

As written, The Last Stand is not an interesting movie. It’s a simple modern-day western as action flick with dialogue that’s nearly 100% expositional and a plot that offers nothing in the way of surprise, suspense or subtlety. It could really have been made at any time and starred any major or minor actor and been roughly the same as what we’re looking at this weekend with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the leading role. But The Last Stand is arriving now and indeed with Schwarzenegger’s name on the top of the marquee, his first starring vehicle in ten years. That makes the movie of note all by itself, in such a way that it might as well be actually titled “The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Or “Arnold is Back,” although this would imply that it’s an opportunity for winking bits of self-awareness. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of silly references to the Arnie classics and signature lines. He thankfully got the obvious “I’m back” shtick out of his system in last year’s The Expendables 2.

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Jee-Woon Kim’s Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring story about a western sheriff running afoul of a Mexican drug cartel leader seems to be getting closer to shooting, because a bunch of names have been added to the cast list. We already found out that Friday Night Lights star Zach Gilford would be joining the cast as Schwarzenegger’s young deputy, but now a whole host of pretty diverse, kind of interesting actors have been added to support that duo. The biggest of the new names on the Lionsgate cast list are probably Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville; one man who is famous for acting in a bunch of movies over the last three decades and another for getting hit in his balls a lot. Okay, that’s not fair, Knoxville has been fine in the few films I’ve seen him in, and I’m sure he’ll be fine with whatever they give him here. And Whitaker is always at least interesting to watch, even when he goes super hammy. But that’s a weird couple of actors to pair with Schwarzenegger if you ask me. I’d probably feel more comfortable with the choices if I knew what kind of characters they were playing. Whitaker and Knoxville aren’t the only new names though, a handful of less famous but still notable actors have been added as well. Let’s run through them: there’s Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Harry Dean Stanton, and Eduardo Noriega. Jaimie Alexander I’ve only seen in her small role in Thor, but she was playing a […]

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When Mateo Gil’s Blackthorn was first announced, the film sounded like a cheap attempt to capitalize on the good name of the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But while George Roy Hill’s film (from William Goldman’s near-perfect script) mixed adventure and humor, Gil’s take on a late-in-life Cassidy strikes something more serious, a film that shows a character rarely portrayed as the hero in gun-slinging Westerns – the ruined elder.   The film reimagines the fate of Cassidy (played here by Sam Shepard), finding him living out the sunset of his life in Bolivia under the name James Blackthorn. But Cassidy is lonely sans Sundance Kid, and longs to return home to die. As he sets out on his faithful stead, all seems aligned for the once-wild man to quietly return home to the United States. But when Cassidy gets mixed up with a brash young law-breaker (Eduardo Noriega), thanks to both circumstance and temperament, that plan’s off – and a new one is on. The first trailer for Blackthorn hints at the more melancholy side of Cassidy in between a rash of pistol-shootin’ battles alongside his new sidekick, and that’s the intriguing element of Gil’s film (with a bullet). Saddle up and check out the trailer after the break.

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Joana Prats is the daughter of a genius in magnification technology in 19th century Spain. Her father owns a company that has just developed the world’s most powerful hand-sized sniper scope. Dr. Prats knowing the danger of releasing such technology has kept the formula a secret and vowed not to put the scope into production. When the man passes he leaves the company in monetary trouble and in the hands of his right-hand man, the same man promised his daughter’s hand in marriage. The company being without many options has to desperately attempt to attain the secret of the formula to the undeveloped scope and they believe Joana may have the key.

The only problem is that Joana has a peculiar condition called Agnosia – an affliction in which she has an inability to accurately recognize familiar faces and locations. The people in desperate need of the formula derive an elaborate scheme to use this condition to their advantage in the hopes of tricking Joana into divulging the information. That is, if she even knows it.

In the six year history of Fantastic Fest there is probably not a more well-represented country, or filmmaker community, than the Spanish. They’re consistently some of the most complex and well-made pictures each and every year. So, needless to say, Agnosia which is the latest film from first year Fantastic Fest alumnus Eugenio Mira and scripted by the co-screenwriter of The Devil’s Backbone was one of the most highly anticipated of this year’s lineup.

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Emily Mortimer in Transsiberian

The Machinist director Brad Anderson spins a web of deception in this intense drama about traveling abroad.

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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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