Gary Oldman

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Reeves

When some actors and directors promote an adaptation or remake they’ll pretend they’ve always been fans of the original movie or the comic. You can generally tell when they’re lying, trying to pander to fans. Thankfully, real die-hard fans often get to be a part of properties that actually mean something to them. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, Matt Reeves, is one of those people. Like most kids growing up in the ’80s, the New York-born filmmaker gravitated toward E.T., Close Encounters, and Star Wars. For Reeves, though, those films never held a candle to Planet of the Apes. “That was my obsession. That was my Star Wars,” he tells us over the phone, counting the hours until the film opens this Friday. When it comes to the Apes franchise the original film and, the strangest of the series, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, are his favorites — Reeves is still shaken by the image of the mutated humans removing their faces in the latter film. He also has a deep fondness for the television series which only lasted, to his surprise, three months back in 1974. “I thought for sure it was on for years because it took up so much of my childhood. I had dolls, the records, and these comic books. I was so obsessed with that world.”

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was so impressive it washed the taste of Tim Burton’s failed Apes remake out of our mouths for good. If there was a problem with the 2011 reboot, it was that the humans, while adequate, did not match the screen presence of the real leads of the film: Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his followers. The sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, wisely keeps its focus on the apes while also putting enough thought into the humans to make director Matt Reeves‘ movie a consistently thrilling and emotional summer blockbuster. Ten years after the Golden Gate Bridge showdown, the simian flu has killed billions. The Apes, who’ve now built a peaceful community together, even wonder if there are any humans left. Led by their strong leader, Caesar, who’s now a family man, they live by a simple code: apes don’t harm apes. They’ve seen the mistakes made by humans and do not want history to repeat itself. Their way of life is interrupted (as it often is) when people enter the picture. Led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a group of humans want to enter Caesar’s territory, hoping to bring power back to San Francisco. Both sides have to work together to make this happen, so naturally, hate and distrust bubble up between the two sides.

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review robocop

Everyone has their own idea on what constitutes the best remake, but most people can agree that the goal should be to improve upon the original in some meaningful way or to at least make the new film salient for a modern audience. The best remakes (John Carpenter’s The Thing, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, the Coen brothers’ True Grit) take the core plot elements of the originals but find their own identity in relevant stories, fascinating characters, and casts that fully engage the material and the audience. RoboCop (2014) has chosen a different path all together, and while it avoids the degree of pointlessness reached by far too many Hollywood retreads, it still fails to justify its existence. It’s a cleaner package, but the contents are far less filling. You know the story. The multinational OmniCorp corporation has made a fortune developing robots to secure the streets, but while the rest of the world has signed on the United States refuses to accept armed drones walking its soil. Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) meanwhile is brought to the brink of death after an attack by a purportedly vicious criminal, and his only hope is an experimental procedure designed to meld man and machine into the ultimate, drably-colored law enforcement officer. It’s a match made in heaven, but Murphy’s new gig as RoboCop lands him in a personal hell. At least he’ll be bringing some “friends” down with him.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The teaser trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one steady breath before the exhalation of war. It’s a free shot of adrenaline provided by director Matt Reeves, who brings his Cloverfield-sized destruction to the world that Heston wrought. Not only does the CGI look uncomfortably real (can Andy Serkis get an Oscar now, please?), the action looks excellent, and Gary Oldman seems to be bringing his usual enthusiasm to what might be the last chance for humanity. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Scenes We Love: The Fifth Element

It sometimes seems like Luc Besson‘s name is attached to everything these days. Hardly a week goes by without seeing some new action flick- a Taken here, a Columbiana there- with Besson attached as a producer or writer, but as a director he’s far less prolific. He’s directed a slew of Arthur movies, based off a series of children’s books he also wrote himself, but besides that, the words “directed by Luc Besson” are scarcely seen. So this weekend, which sees the release of the Besson-directed The Family, is a happy occasion (unless you’re Jack Giroux, our own critic who didn’t particularly care for the film). There’s no better time to take a fond look back at one of Besson’s most ambitious and, not coincidentally, most bizarre films: 1997’s The Fifth Element.

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true romance hopper

Tony Scott‘s True Romance is probably one of my top ten all-time favorite movies, which is kind of weird since Badlands is one of my top five all-time favorite films. Or maybe it’s appropriate that this is the case. I’m sure that one of the reasons I fell in love with this movie is because of how directly it’s inspired by and references the earlier Terrence Malick film. Notice I make the distinction between movies and films. Scott made movies, Malick makes films. Scott also made a movie I like that directly references another of my all-time favorite films (Enemy of the State –> The Conversation). I was sad when Scott died particularly because I was hoping he’d eventually cover all my top shelf titles (just imagine what he could have done with Duck Soup!). Then again, maybe he’d have just redone himself, the way he did with Domino, which is like a bad remake of True Romance. Anyway, True Romance turns 20 years old this week. Warner Bros. released the movie on September 10, 1993, and it came in at #3 for its opening weekend, behind reigning champ The Fugitive and fellow newcomer Undercover Blues (uh?). In honor of the anniversary, let’s take a look at some scenes we love. It was hard to narrow down, of course, so we went with major character moments.

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trailer robocop 2014

Blah blah blah remakes. No one wants them, but they just keep coming. All we can do is take them one at a time with the understanding that each new reboot has zero effect on the original film we probably love, like, or don’t honestly remember. And with that in mind our first real look at director José Padilha‘s remake of the gleefully violent, morbid and twisted Robocop has finally arrived. The story remains the same as a corporation takes over the business of policing a city with unintended results. A cop (Joel Kinnaman), wounded under suspicious circumstances, is used as the meat in a half man, half machine, all cyborg sandwich representing the company’s latest weapon in the war on crime. But what happens when he’s no longer interested in being a tool for the Man? I’ll tell you what happens. PG-13 violence happens. Check out the mildly competent yet wholly generic-looking trailer for Robocop below.

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PARANOIA

There’s a scene fairly early on in Paranoia where Harrison Ford‘s character has a party at his home in the Hamptons. It’s a lavish affair held in the backyard of a house that costs more than most of us are likely to make in our lifetime, with waiters bringing around wine in crystal flutes on silver trays, you get the idea. It looks like Diddy’s Off White Party, with everyone dressed quite fashionably in shades of cream and pearl. Everyone except Ford who’s dressed in a grey t-shirt that looks like the kind Michael Jordan has taken to hawking on TV and a pair of dad jeans. Probably Wranglers. It looks like his entire wardrobe for this rather lavish party, could easily be had for around $20 at any Wal-Mart in America. He’s not just under dressed, it’s like he simply decided not to try and he’s perfectly, blissfully happy with that decision. Which is interesting, because it seems like the people who made Paranoia made the exact same decision and are just as giddy about it. Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) wants more. A glorified intern for Wyatt Mobile, Adam and his fellow low-level grunt workers are ready to pitch Mr. Wyatt (Gary Oldman) on the project they’ve been working on for months. But when it doesn’t go well and they all get canned, Adam remembers the corporate credit card they were given for research expenses and takes the crew out for a long night of VIP drinking at an […]

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15-Robert-Redford

What is Casting Couch? It’s a roundup of all the day’s most important casting news. Today we have a bunch of legit reports, and one of those dreaded short-lists. It’s a short-list concerning that much talked about Natalie Portman movie, Jane Got a Gun though, so it’s kind of a pressing matter. It looks like Captain America may be trading in his sidekick Bucky in order to team up with The Sundance Kid. Deadline is reporting that Robert Redford, the patron saint of independent cinema, is making a surprise move and negotiating to join the cast of Marvel’s very commercial superhero sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If he officially signs, he’ll reportedly be playing a high-ranking member of SHIELD, that government agency run by Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in all of the Marvel movies. I wonder if he gets his own flying aircraft carrier? If he does, that could be the thing that seals the deal.

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IntroBioPic

Biopics are always praised for their lead actor or actress’ realistic or unique portrayal of the subject, but what of the supporting cast? Sure, we do recognize their efforts, they might even receive an Academy Award, but rarely are they honored with something as prestigious as an online comedy list. It’s time to rectify that. Here are some of the more talented, memorable, or uncanny portrayals of people who were important enough to be featured in a movie, but not important enough for that movie to be about them.

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Elite Squad director José Padilha‘s RoboCop just began principal photography, but for the past few weeks things have not been looking up for this mostly unwanted PG-13 remake. There was word over Padilha being pushed around behind-the-scenes, that the script is a disaster, and the fantastic prospect of Hugh Laurie terrorizing the futuristic cop was killed. So, after a string of disappointing news, this first-look at Joel Kinnaman rocking the new RoboCop gear isn’t helping matters. Check out Kinnaman looking more like a superhero than a man whose shot up body bits are being reused as a symbol of facism, and while you’re at it, read why that’s a bad thing:

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The twelve-year run of prohibition in the United States was a period that punctuated social imparity, religious activism, and was a launchpad for some of the biggest names in organized crime. Basically, it’s a mixed bag of deeply interesting subject matter that is spot-on perfect for the big screen. Director John Hillcoat‘s Lawless is a violent slice of that era’s dying days. Distilled by screenwriter Nick Cave from the pages of Matt Bondurant‘s 2008 historical novel, “The Wettest County in the World,” Lawless tells the story of the Bondurant brothers, a family of moonshiners in the Blue Ridge Foothills of Franklin County, Virginia. In the midst of the Great Depression, the citizenry of Franklin County carved a living out of  making moonshine, and none are more successful than the brothers Bondurant, who run a healthy bootlegging racket.

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The moviegoing world was saddened earlier this week when it was learned director Tony Scott had died. Despite the manner of his death, it’s no less sad when a filmmaker such as Scott, who continued making films well into his 60, had many more films to helm. We felt it was time to hear some filmmaking insight from the man himself, which leads us to True Romance. The movie itself is a modern classic, an energetic tale of love, drugs, and a whole bunch of bullets courtesy of fledgling – at the time – screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. He also provides a commentary for the film, a rarity for the Pulp Fiction writer/director, but we’ll cover that another time. This is Tony Scott’s time, and here, without further ado, are all the things we learned listening to him speak about his film, True Romance.

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2010’s The Expendables gave fans of iconic action hero badasseration a taste of what it would be like to experience some of our favorite face punching, public property demolishing, one-liner dropping stars of recent yesteryear share the big screen. It was over the top, explodey good times. Stallone, Li, Crews, Statham, Lundgren, Couture, and Rourke were a fun sample course. Sly, never being one to shy away from sequels (still waiting on Cliffhanger: Hang Some More), poured moonshine in the formula and give us more Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and the perpetual awesomeness that is Chuck Norris in The Expendables 2.   Even better, the villain finally gets an equal measure of excellence in the form of The Muscles from that Place in Belgium, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Sorry Eric Roberts, I love you but…Sharktopus. Still, one JCVD chair-splits punch alone isn’t enough to compete with those  three decades worth of action superstars, and whomever tangles with them next will have to compete with an action aficionado wet dream of additional Expendables. What is a top bad guy to do? Contract out — pull an equal measure of baddies from the past together and give Barney Ross and company a run for their money. Below are my ten Anti-Expendables, in no particular order.

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When you take all of the distaste for remakes and reboots that’s out there and add it with the love that people have for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, it adds up to a situation where not very many people are looking forward to José Padilha’s upcoming re-do of the material. And yet, with every casting announcement that this new RoboCop makes, it’s becoming harder and harder to not be at least a little excited about its possibilities. First off, Padilha cast an on-the-rise young actor who’s done nothing but impress so far named Joel Kinnaman in the title role. Then he systematically surrounded his star with supporting names that everyone loves, like Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley. It would be hard to sneeze at that cast no matter what they were being assembled for, but get them all together for a post-apocalyptic tale of robot cops versus violent street gangs and evil corporations, and it’s not too difficult to start forgetting how much you dislike all of the remakes going on in Hollywood. I don’t know how they get ya, but that’s how they get ya.

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Aural Fixation - Large

With temperatures on the rise and Comic-Con officially over, there is one place comic book fans can still find solace in the middle of these hot summer months – your local movie theaters. Christopher Nolan is poised to complete his epic Batman trilogy with the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, set to hit theaters this weekend. Not only will Christian Bale be returning as Gotham’s caped crusader, he will once again be joined by his trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), his business manager/tech wizard, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), and Batman champion, Commission Gordon (Gary Oldman) – to name a few. And in true Nolan fashion, some other faces familiar to the director’s work will help round out this final battle with Inception alums Tom Hardy taking on the villain role as Bane and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as hopeful police officer, John Blake. But Nolan’s affinity for working with those he has before does not stop at the cast. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight composer Hans Zimmer (whose score for Inception was one of the most memorable of 2010) returns to finish out the trilogy as well. While most of us will have to wait until this Friday (or for you late-nighters, Thursday at midnight) to see the conclusion of this heroic tale, Zimmer’s score (now available) takes us there now.

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Christopher Nolan‘s third and final Batman film hits theaters this summer, and it promises to be huge in pretty much every way. It’s all but guaranteed to be one of the year’s highest grossers, and fans are equally assured to eat it up like Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter. The film opens eight years after Batman (Christian Bale) took the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes at the end of The Dark Knight and sees a new master criminal in the form of the terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy). He’s forced back into the spotlight to protect the city, but by the looks of things he may not fare that well in his first face-off with the muscular, muffled Bane. Early teasers have underwhelmed some viewers, but WB has just released their final full-length trailer, and it’s loaded with new scenes of action, scale and a real sense of finality. There are some genuine chill-inducing moments here that not even the appearance of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman can ruin. (I still don’t see how her presence here turns out okay. And by ‘her’ I mean both the actress and the character.) Check out the new trailer below.

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Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie came to America from the UK after a successful career in comedy and quickly found himself playing lead in a critical and commercial hit on the Fox network. His film work over here has been relegated to small, supporting roles, but it looks like he may get a chance to flex his dark side on the big screen in a big way. Per Variety, Laurie is in talks to join MGM’s upcoming Robocop remake for director Jose Padilha as the film’s main villain. He has large, partially bald shoes to fill if he hopes to be half as entertaining as the original’s main baddies played by Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox. Clarence Boddicker is a memorably brutal (and brutally funny) psycho, and Dick Jones is the epitome of a dickish CEO, but while it’s rumored Laurie would be playing a brand new version of the latter he’d kill in either villainous flavor. The film is also set to star Joel Kinnaman in the title role, Gary Oldman as a the scientist behind the technology, Abbie Cornish as Mrs. Robocop and Samuel Jackson.

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Casting for Jose Padilha’s upcoming reboot of the RoboCop franchise seems to be coming along swimmingly. First he landed up-and-coming The Killing actor Joel Kinnaman to come on board as the main character, Alex Murphy, who starts off as a normal police office and then gets blown away by a bunch of bad guys, resulting in his transformation into a robotic cop. Then he really swung for the fences and got Gary Oldman to agree to come on board as a morally conflicted scientist, the only person in the film who foresees the eventual complications that might come from resurrecting dead people and turning them into robots. The latest bit of casting news might be the biggest of all, however, given the recent world-beating success of The Avengers. Heat Vision is reporting that Jedi Knight, head of SHIELD, and longtime badass Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast as well. He’ll be playing a character named Pat Novak, who’s said to be a charismatic television mogul. There’s not yet much information out there about how closely Padilha’s remake will resemble Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 version of RoboCop, but seeing as this is a property that naturally lends itself to social criticism, one can assume that Jackson’s character will be used to skewer the greed and irresponsibility of modern media.

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The MTV Movie Awards are good for two things: pouring slime on people and premiering footage from highly anticipated, forthcoming movies. Plus, one of those things is done by the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, so you do the math. Fortunately, there’s no difficult math involved in this amazing Dark Knight Rises footage that came as part of the Twilight/Hunger Games worshiping ceremony. It features a difficult conversation between Anne Hathaway‘s Catwoman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s policeman surrounded by explosive images, crowded fight scenes, and a dire warning. Check it out for yourself:

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