Frank Grillo

Iko Uwais in The Raid

Iko Uwais isn’t a household name just yet, but anyone who has seen any of director Gareth Evans’ last three films — Merantau, The Raid, The Raid 2 — likely remembers both his face and his sick moves. If you’re of such an ilk, the kind of moviegoer who relishes in the strange and ambitious fare of the science fiction genre, you are probably also away of the 2010 alien invasion film Skyline from VFX wiz-kids Greg and Colin Strause. Made on a small budget and delivered with great scale, Skyline was an imperfect but remarkably impressive entry in the packed landscape of alien invasion cinema. Now these two things are coming together. Badass fighter + badass alien effects. You’re welcome. More details after the jump, including word of yet another Indonesian ass-kicker’s involvement.

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The Purge Anarchy

Writer/director James DeMonaco seized the attention of film fans last summer with the darkly alluring premise of The Purge, earning an unpredicted $34 million domestically on its opening weekend. Logically, a sequel was born, bearing the challenge inherent to every successful film’s sequel: topping the first one. For DeMonaco, this wouldn’t be too difficult. The Purge followed only one, well-off family, locked up in their home, leaving the rest of the grisly purging world unexplored. The Purge: Anarchy takes us there – to downtown Los Angeles over the 12-hour course of an Annual Purge night. The film opens with three sets of characters whose stories intersect quickly. There’s fiscally struggling mother Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and daughter Cali (Zoë Soul); separating couple Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez); and lastly, soul-cleansing, vengeful Leo (Frank Grillo). These five characters find themselves on the streets for radically different reasons, but they promptly form a desperate alliance. Leo falls naturally into the leader role, and though the rest of the group unanimously considers him morally ambiguous, they don’t have much of a choice. Plus – he’s got guns. A lot of guns. They make their way from skirmish to skirmish, flattening their bodies against buildings and scampering through alleyways, and are witness to the merciless purgers, the unfortunate victims and a group of purge-opposing rebels inspired by their enigmatic leader Carmelo (Michael K. Williams).

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The Purge: Anarchy

America. Land of the free, home of the brave, good country for crime. At least, that’s the angle that this summer’s hotly anticipated horror sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, is going for in its latest trailer. The next film from creator James DeMonaco takes us still further down the crime-ridden rabbit hole he first presented to us with last year’s The Purge, a cinematic universe that imagines that all crime (even murder, as some kind of super-happy announcer-lady declares in a tone of voice that’s definitely more chipper than it should be) is legal for a single, terrifying twelve-hour period every year. Time to move to Canada. Bye, guys! The Purge itself appears to be a wholly American creation, one launched to help citizens let off steam in the most demented of manners. It’s presented to its citizens as a good thing (along with its apparently unwritten rule to never, ever help anyone else out ever ever ever, because nothing says “USA” like not given a crap about your neighbor), but it’s pretty obviously a totally insane and evil thing, and it sure makes fake future America seem like the kind of place that’s not even worth the scant visit. Still, you know what’s really American? A hero — one like Frank Grillo, whose starring role in the film should pretty cleanly seal up his bid for cinema’s next “tough guy with a heart of gold” slot. Check out the latest trailer for The Purge: Anarchy, and be happy this premise isn’t true (well, yet):

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The Purge 2

“If you’re not purging, we advise you to get off the streets as quickly as possible.” Here’s the thing about The Purge (the fictious day that The Purge films, now blossoming into one heck of a franchise, centers on) — it seems easy enough to avoid. Just stay inside. Hide in a closet with a weapon and ride it out. Get an alarm system. Don’t look out your windows. Hey, maybe even get out of town? Or, at the very least, why not take the whole day leading up to the crime-addled night off, so that you might have some small smidgen of hope that you’ll be off the streets when it starts? See! Easy! Just stay inside, you guys. Of course, we’ve already learned that staying inside — even with all the trappings a big-ass security system and a good plan can provide — doesn’t always work. James DeMonaco‘s The Purge (last year’s surprise horror hit) saw a family attempt just that, and it didn’t really pan out for them. So if literal security can’t save you during the Purge, what can? Perhaps Frank Grillo, as the tough-talking leading-man-in-the-making provides a sliver of salvation in the latest trailer for The Purge 2: Anarchy.

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stanfield

There was some kind of strange alchemy going on when they put together the trailer for The Purge that convinced mainstream audiences that this was absolutely the next movie thriller they needed to go out to the theater to see. Whether it was just the weird masks that the bad guys wore, or the fact that the home invasion angle played on a deep-seated fear that afflicts most people, there was something in there that had every person I talked to for a month leading up to the film’s release asking me if I’d heard anything about it yet. And then the fairly thrifty production went on to earn somewhere around $89 million worldwide after its release. The sad part of that success story is that the movie just didn’t end up being any good though. It spent way too much time explaining a premise that didn’t hold up under scrutiny, it tried to get too heady when it should have been a survival romp, and in general it was just a big bummer for all of the people who went into it feeling excited. Of course, seeing as the film was so profitable, the less than ideal reactions it got aren’t stopping it from getting a sequel, and though original writer and director James DeMonaco is all set to return for The Purge 2, there has been some indication from the casting process that the sequel could end up being a lot more engaging than the original.

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review disconnect

Discourse on the growing disconnect between us due to the overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives is nothing new. How many friends we have on Facebook becomes more important than how our real friends are doing. We fall in love with online confidants whom we’ve never even met in real life. Cell phones are omnipresent at dinner tables and movie theaters or even behind the wheel of a moving car. It seems the more connected we are with our online, virtual or electronic personas the less necessary our real ones become. Disconnect takes an intimate, sad and occasionally heartbreaking look at the phenomenon through multiple stories woven together into a whole. The immediate comparison most people will make is to Crash (much like I did in this review’s title), but that’s only because that film is the most high profile and recent example of this kind of shifting narrative. I include that disclaimer because most folks hate the ever loving hell out of Crash, and it would be a shame to imply the level of quality and sincerity on display between them is comparable. The three main stories spill into each other and outward to form additional smaller stories, but they almost all work to make their point with an honesty humanity towards their characters. It’s sometimes too honest in fact as the film can occasionally feel overly bleak and uncompromising even at its most hopeful. It’s almost enough to make a person want to go off the […]

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Frank Grillo

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the way to get news regarding all of those upcoming super hero sequels. Tomorrow it might be something else. Though we’ve still yet to have the pleasure of taking in the first two installments of Marvel’s super hero movie Phase II, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already coming up in 2014, so it’s probably about time we started hearing some casting news. And, wouldn’t you know it, Variety brings us just that. Not only has the trade revealed that End of Watch, The Grey, and Warrior star Frank Grillo will be joining the cast as the Red Skull’s brutal henchman Crossbones, but they also have news that some familiar SHIELD faces from The Avengers will be showing back up in Cap’s second solo adventure. More specifically, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, and Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will all be coming back. You remember them, right?

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Frank Grillo

If you have to top Hugo Weaving‘s fun turn as Red Skull, hiring a reliable actor like Frank Grillo isn’t such a bad idea. Rumors are Captain America: Winter Soldier is in search for an actor to play Crossbones, who is a powerless, skillfully violent soldier.  He also happens to have crossed paths with previous Cap baddie in the comics, Red Skull. Although we may see Crossbones in the sequel, we may not see Weaving’s Red Skull in Winter Soldier. At the Cloud Atlas press day Hugo Weaving — who’s terrific in the Wachowski and Tom Tykwer epic — didn’t sound very optimistic about returning as the sunburned villain, to put it kindly. Apparently his experience on Marvel’s best film wasn’t a pleasant experience for him. Sadly Weaving isn’t all that interested in having some campy fun as a performer anymore, which there is much to be had in the Cap universe Joe Johnston set up. Adding a talent like Grillo is a promising direction to go in. The Grey actor has the proper chops and look to provide the intimidation factor as, so let’s hope this rumor, based on a deleted tweet made by Grillo and a confirmation made by IGN UK, is more serious than all the other Marvel casting news we hear every week.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr tapes some alcohol bottles to his knuckles and gets ready to brawl with wolves. Unfortunately, he first drinks all the booze in the bottles and ends up passing out in the snow. When he wakes up, he brushes himself off and heads downtown to climb on the ledge of a tall building. The police are called to try and save him, but Kevin ends up jumping when he learns that Katherine Heigl is brought in to talk him down. Fortunately, Kevin survives the fall and stumbles to the local multiplex to check out this week’s new movies.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr horses around this week with the legendary racehorse from the 1970s, hoping he too can go home with Diane Lane. After racing out to see Secretariat, he wonders if Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel would be anything more than a pretty couple. Then he gets down on his knees and prays: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I beg you skip My Soul to Take.”.

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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+
published: 12.05.2014
C+


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