Elmore Leonard

Lionsgate

Ordell (Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes) have planned the perfect kidnapping. Their target is Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), wife to a sketchy businessman named Frank (Tim Robbins) who’s hiding a fortune in a secret bank account. The plan is simple. Kidnap Mickey, tell Frank to pay the ransom if he ever wants to see his wife again and then retire in style. But they never considered the possibility that Frank might not want his wife back. Chronology is a funny thing. The inclination will be (and has been if you check the IMDB page) to label Life of Crime a straight-up rip-off of 1986’s Ruthless People. In actuality though this is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s 1978 novel, The Switch. Keep moving backward and you’ll find that all of these incarnations share an inspiration in O. Henry’s 1907 short story, “The Ransom of Red Chief.” The problem for this film then is how to stand apart from the crowd, and unfortunately, it’s a problem the film never really solves.

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Life of Crime trailer

Few horrors can compare with the Friends curse. “I’ll be there for you,” we all sang in time to our TVs just a few short years ago, happy and contented and all sporting the exact same Jennifer Aniston haircut. But we’re not there for the Friends now. No one is. Not in a world where headlines like, “Fat, grey and struggling for work- would you be Friends with them now?” exist. It’s a tough life, not only for the Friends cast, but for the brave officers of the NYPD who stand guard around that Central Park fountain, fending off repeated attempts from a Matt LeBlanc or a Lisa Kudrow to break in and splash around like the glory days. When the fountain’s on, no one can see the tears. Technically, none of the Friends cast have ever done that, as far as you or I might know. But the fountain isn’t even in Central Park — just some WB backlot in Los Angeles, so it’s a moot point anyway. But of the Friends, Aniston’s the only one to keep her head above water in recent years. Horrible Bosses and We’re The Millers have no doubt kept her pockets lined with green, and that steady string of not very good, yet somewhat successful rom-coms can’t hurt either.

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Escargots JGL

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. This weekend sees the release of two major films directed by former child stars. There’s Rush by Ron Howard, who got his true start as a boy on TV shows like Dennis the Menace and The Andy Griffth Show, and Don Jon by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who got his true start as a boy on TV shows like Family Ties and Roseanne. So, given the link, I thought it would be worth it to double up on the latest column. Both actors eventually became directors (Howard made the full switch while Gordon-Levitt is actually still a rising screen star), and before the made features they directed a few shorts. Howard’s are more like home movies made with his brother Clint and friends. Gordon-Levitt’s are mostly animated collaborative works produced through his hitRECord company. Let’s look at Howard’s first. In 1969, he shot three amateur Westerns, which he also appears in. Maybe he directed others in those teen years, but we only know about Old Paint, Deed of Daring-Do and Cards, Cads, Guns, Gore and Death because they were included on the DVD of The Missing. Because of the genre. Cards, etc. is the only one I can find online, and man is it adorable. And very bloody. The plot is your basic cliche card game that get out of hand when someone is accused of cheatin’. Young Ronny […]

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310 to Yuma

Elmore Leonard has died at the age of 87, leaving us with millions of already well-worn copies of novels and short story collections. He was a raw talent with a knack for delivering stark, bloody drama that worked strongly both on the page and on the screen. If you don’t already have the physical copies on your shelf, there are more than a few options (some of them free) for streaming Leonard’s adaptations online.

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A quick search of the site archives tells me that we haven’t done much reporting on the upcoming movie Switch yet, and that’s kind of a shame because it’s an interesting project for a number of reasons. The biggest and most obvious of these reasons is that it’s an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, and a sort-of prequel to Jackie Brown. What does that mean exactly? It means that this story features some of the earlier shenanigans of the Louis and Ordell characters that Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson played in the Quentin Tarantino adaptation of Leonard’s “Rum Punch,” which became Jackie Brown. I said this was a sort-of prequel to Jackie Brown though, so don’t expect to see Tarantino or either of those actors back. This is a completely new take on Leonard’s material involving completely new people. But, the good news is that all of these new people kind of rule, too.

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Movie News After Dark: Katy Perry

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie collection of links, posters, videos, and other newsworthy mediums that mostly have to do with movies. Sometimes we mix in a bit of television. Other times we’re talking about something completely different. Call us unfocused if you must, but don’t you ever call us boring. Leading with a photo of Katy Perry, not my finest moment. Rest assured, though, as there is some actual movie news associated with the buxom pop singer picture above. Paramount Pictures — the studio that brought you the box office cow Justin Bieber: Never Say Never — is planning a Katy Perry 3D movie documentary concert film thing. Squee!

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Charles Matthau’s upcoming adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel Freaky Deaky was all set to be a star studded, A-list affair. First, it scooped up William H, Macy in a starring role. Solid, sturdy, that’s a good choice. Then it began filling out the ranks of its cast with big names put in supporting roles. Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Craig Robinson, they were all on board, and it was looking like this could end up being a big hit like one of Leonard’s other page to screen adaptations, Get Shorty. But then, suddenly, the entire cast dropped out of the pic and were recast with names that are more, uh… B-list. Uh-oh, that can’t be a good sign.

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Charles Matthau’s big screen adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel Freaky Deaky has been hiring actors right and left to fill out some of its bigger roles. Being a Leonard novel, I’m sure you can imagine the complexity of the plot, and the amount of roles that need to be filled, so it’s encouraging that Matthau and his casting crew seems to be off to a good start. We already knew that everybody’s favorite actor William H. Macy has signed on to play a drunken, irresponsible movie mogul, and that saucy young dish Camilla Belle is attached to do something as well, but today there’s a trio of casting announcements that really put what this project is going to end up looking like in better perspective. The film’s plot involves two former political activists and bomb experts who intend to use their pyrotechnic expertise to intimidate and trick Macy’s character out of millions of dollars. One of the activists, Skip Gibbs, we now know will be played by Brendan Fraser. Matt Dillon has signed on to play Chris Mankowski, a bomb squad officer who stumbles on Fraser and company’s plot and therefore gets sucked into the whirlwind of nonsense that is an Elmore Leonard story. And lastly, Craig Robinson has been hired to play Donnell Lewis, a former Black Panther who has become the assistant to Macy’s character due to a newfound love of capitalism. All of these actors have their strengths, and it sounds to me like the roles […]

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I’ve been crushing on Camilla Belle pretty hard ever since I saw her show up on Conan last week to promote her upcoming film From Prada to Nada. So it was some strange serendipity when news came down the line that she has signed on to upcoming Elmore Leonard adaptation Freaky Deaky, seeing as I’d already been creepily Googling her name all day. It’s like she’s trying to tell me something! But the charm and beauty of the lovely Ms. Belle isn’t the only thing that this one has going for it. Elmore Leonard novels have a surprisingly decent track record going when it comes to big screen adaptation to begin with, and this one has already signed on everybody’s favorite actor William H. Macy to star.  Plus the story is about an estranged couple who made their living blowing things up reuniting one last time to cash in on a huge blowing things up score all while being hunted down by a Detroit cop who is having his last day on the bomb squad. I love movies about cops who are trying to retire, but get sucked in to chaos! So, to recap: This movie adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel has 1) Camilla Belle 2) William H. Macy and 3) Lethal Weapon plot tropes. Where I come from we call that a triple threat. And explosions! Source: The Playlist

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Well, that’s not entirely true. You see, Elmore Leonard, famed author and all around interesting chap, created the character of Raylan Givens in a pair of stories. That character was then brought to the small screen via the excellent FX original series Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant. So like, speaking accurately, Elmore Leonard didn’t actually create the show. Just the character. But you know what? Shut up, I’m trying to give you a free book. With a career that spans 60 years, features forty-four novels, twenty-one feature film adaptations, and three honorary doctorates, Elmore “Dutch” Leonard celebrated his 85th birthday on October 11th. Also cause for celebration, his newest novel, Djibouti, was released on October 12th. If you didn’t immediately run out and buy it, you may be in luck: we’re giving away three copies.

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leonard-freaky

The master of the edgy, humorous, gritty thriller will see his work on the screen again. This time it’s his 1988 novel “Freaky Deaky” that’s been tapped for a screen adaptation

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