Harrison Ford

Demolition Man Poster Crop

For such mindless entertainment, the Expendables movies sure can get the brain working if you’re interested in the nostalgic samples they’re selling. Sylvester Stallone is a smart guy who knows how to work on multiple levels, and of course his most brilliant act is to make it all seem dumb as hell without pandering to the audience that can appreciate that. He’s the male modern Marilyn Monroe in a way. With this series he has assembled more all-star action heroes than good plot ideas, but the simplicity of the storytelling is just to provide a lot of bullets and explosions for the mindless crowd and a bunch of reflexive call-backs to the cast’s earlier movies for those who like to play the spot-the-allusion game. Most of the latter is cheap references through repurposed dialogue and slightly altered character names. But The Expendables 2 kind of beat that whole thing to death with its “I’m back!” and “Yippee ki-ya” lines and the entire role played by Chuck Norris. For The Expendables 3, the reflexive bits are more self-aware nods to the casting of these movies, not in a nostalgic sense as much as in a winking treat for anyone who follows their production. There are jokes referencing the reason Wesley Snipes couldn’t be in the series until now and recognizing that Terry Crews took his place and there’s a couple more regarding Bruce Willis‘s departure and recognizing, in case we couldn’t already tell, that Harrison Ford is finally having a ball in […]

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Lionsgate

A routine assignment to capture a rogue arms dealer leaves Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of immortal but highly moral mercenaries beaten and diminished. Worried his personal vendetta will put his men in danger (?) Barney shelves his Expendables and hires a new team of dispensable youngsters who more properly fit the definition of “expendable.” Can he corral these upstarts long enough to capture the villainous Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), or will the more seasoned ex-expendables need to suit up once again? This is a rhetorical question. The Expendables 3 is a film at odds with itself. It’s an action film filled with dull, instantly forgettable action sequences. It’s a massive ensemble picture where the talent too frequently couldn’t be bothered to shoot scenes together. It’s meant as a loving ode to the tough, ass-kicking action films and stars of the past but has its bloodless hands tied with a PG-13 rating and an abundance of shoddy CGI. And it’s the third film in a franchise but still manages to be the best of the three. To put that last one in perspective though, Ebola is the best disease when grouped together with HIV and malaria.

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Pip Andersen and Crystal Clarke for Star Wars 7

Misdirection. It’s the classic technique of going “HEY LOOK OVER THERE” while secretly preparing an elaborate magic trick and/or hiding the garbage bags containing your neighbor’s corpse. But misdirection isn’t just used by magician serial killers anymore. Now, even the folks at LucasFilm have employed this tried-and-true method in the latest casting development for Star Wars: Episode VII. Yesterday, the company put out a press release announcing to the world that the long process of holding open casting calls and scouring through millions of young actors mesmerized by the words “Star” and Wars” has paid off. Officially joining the cast are two unknowns: Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen. Clarke, an American acting student, will make her feature debut in next year’s The Moon and the Sun, the I-desperately-hope-it’s-true story of King Louis XIV, and how his “quest for immortality leads him to capture and steal a mermaid’s life force.” Fingers crossed on that one. Andersen, on the other hand, was a competitor on MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge. Less impressive, but for all we know Ultimate Parkour Challenge had an episode where the contestants had to reenact scenes from the original Star Wars films while also flipping between a series of really tall dumpsters. So Disney stood up and shouted, “Look! Look at these ridiculously good-looking young people! Watch as they do parkour!” (And yes, the press release did link to a Sony ad where Andersen wears a Spider-Man outfit under his clothes and does backflips in and out of various buildings.) And […]

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Blade Runner sequel

This was sort of inevitable. Once Harrison Ford signed on to star in the next entry into the Star Wars franchise, we should have expected that it would open the floodgates for other productions to beg for their star to return for more ill-advised sequels (though we’re still not opposed to another Indiana Jones feature, so long as it ditches the aliens and bars the gates against Bradley Cooper). First up — Blade Runner.  We’ve known that Alcon Entertainment was hellbent on launching a sequel to the seminal 1982 feature since way back in 2011, when the production company announced its plans to make both prequels and sequels to the Ridley Scott-directed sci-fi classic, but this first film has been through so many fits and starts, we’d sort of hoped it would never happen. Despite having some elements to recommend it — like the return of original screenwriter Hampton Fancher – not much else of sounds that good. Even Scott, who is back to direct the new installment, isn’t exactly a selling point, as his output in the past few years (cough, Prometheus, cough) has been on the decline. But you know what could really make this thing sing? If we could get Ford to come back! But, you guys, what if Harrison Ford is tired?

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Star Wars Episode 7 Cast

Alright everybody, you can breath a deep sigh of relief — the official Star Wars: Episode VII cast list has just been announced after months — no, years — of speculation and rumor patrol. The roster for the franchise’s newest incarnation is intriguing, if not downright spectacular. The press release  confirmed what so many already knew (especially after they were spotted cavorting around London together this week), that the saga’s original stars, the holy trilogy of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will be back in action, as will their old pals Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2). 

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Chewbacca in Star Wars

Just imagine any of the original Star Wars ensemble not making at least a cameo appearance in Star Wars: Episode VII. There’d at least have to be an explanation for why, maybe for what happened to that character. Like if Harrison Ford was on board and reprised his role as Han Solo but there was no Chewbacca, we’d want to know how the Wookie died. And he would have had to have died, because we wouldn’t accept that he and Han went separate ways, for any reason given. After all, Chewie has a sworn debt to protect Han for the rest of his life. Of course, there’d never be such a case with Chewbacca, anyway, because technically anyone (with a height of 7’3″) could play the part underneath the hairy costume. Fortunately, though, that also isn’t necessary because, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Peter Mayhew is returning to play the big furry oaf for the fifth time (excluding the Holiday Special and other non-movie appearances), and thanks to recent surgeries to help the actor with his physical health issues (see details via the upcoming Kickstarter-funded documentary Standing in the Stars), the Wookie won’t be needing either a wheelchair or cane. 

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Bradley Cooper in The A-Team

According to Latino-Review, Bradley Cooper is at the top of the list to replace Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Per their spot-on context, he’d be the George Lazenby to Sean Connery’s James Bond. This is hardcore rumor status, but it raises an important, inevitable question: will you accept seeing someone who isn’t Ford, claiming to be Indiana Jones on screen? The Lazenby comparison is apt (although any actor taking the whip would prefer Roger Moore as the model…) because both Connery and Ford thoroughly defined those characters in a way that makes it extremely difficult for a new actor to realize. It’s likely that a new incarnation — regardless of the actor — would be seen as a pretender. The parallels continue since Connery was replaced while still active. That would also be the case if Harrison Ford is replaced, even though it’s far easier to argue that Ford is more past his prime for running away from blowguns than Connery was (especially since Connery returned to the role almost immediately after giving it up). To that point, there’s still a chance that Indiana Jones 5 could happen with Ford as Indy, and it’s probably one of the most emotionally conflicting possibilities. As quick as any of us are to bow down, there’s also a palpable feeling that Old Ford would be replacing Young Ford and not necessarily doing it gracefully (see: Crystal Skull + 7 years). That raises the true question here: is it better to have more adventures with Indy even if […]

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indytruth-1

Personally, as a die-hard Indiana Jones fan, I’m quite forgiving of a lot of the problems people have with the series (which shouldn’t be surprising, considering I will defend the Star Wars prequels as well). Still, I cannot deny some of the goofy things that happened in the fourth installment six years ago. I’m not just speaking of Shia LaBeouf’s Tarzan-like swings from jungle vines (that kid makes a career out of stealing other people’s shticks), but also the dreaded nuking of the fridge. This got me thinking… was nuking the fridge really the most ridiculous thing that happened in the Indiana Jones series?

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jeditruth-1

One of my favorite movie series of all time is the Star Wars films. Yes, even the prequels. I’m sure whatever happens with the upcoming sequels, they will make the list, too. I’m an shameless fanboy when it comes to this series, and I can forgive a lot – from Greedo shooting first to Jar Jar Binks. Since I was a child, seeing the original Star Wars at the tender age of five, I have loved the series. My youthful mind always wished I could be a Jedi Knight myself. Now, I know that’s impossible because I certainly don’t have nearly enough midi-chlorians in my blood for that. In fact, it was a relief for me to learn this plot patch when I saw The Phantom Menace because by watching the original trilogy as a child, it seemed so easy to train to be a Jedi Knight. Going back and watching that original trilogy again, it got me thinking: Just how long does it take to complete Jedi Knight training?

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ENDER

Director Gavin Hood received mass acclaim for his 2005 film, Tsotsi, before moving on to direct Rendition and eventually land the gig for 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That comic book adaptation didn’t sit too well with critics or fans, but its shortcomings don’t all fall on the feet of Hood. That production was reportedly plagued with creative differences and had a script constantly in flux, which is likely why Hood says, while discussing his new film, Ender’s Game, how beneficial it is to have a completed script before shooting. His adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s sci-fi classic centers around a young boy, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), who literally has the world’s fate placed on his shoulders, and it’s a remarkably faithful adaptation when it comes to the book’s emotion and the finale its fans are familiar with. Hood sat down with us at the film’s press day to discuss the challenges of remaining faithful to Card’s book. Here’s what he had to say:

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review enders game

It’s been fifty years since aliens attacked Earth, killing thousands before a lucky strike brought the invading mothership crashing to the ground. The time since has been spent building up a military capable of fighting back in case the intruders ever choose to return. It’s not soldiers they’re after, though. The military brass are searching for a leader, a strategist capable of beating the alien swarms faster and harder than the space bugs can beat mankind. Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) thinks he’s found that great mind in Ender Wiggen (Asa Butterfield), a young boy whose two elder siblings have both failed out of the academy — a brother for being too aggressive and a sister for being too empathetic. Graff suspects Ender might be the “just right” in the Goldilocks analogy he probably makes offscreen. Young Ender is whisked up to an orbiting battle school to commence with the training that just might save humanity, but his biggest battle will be within himself. Dun dun dun! Ender’s Game, based on the bestselling novel by Orson Scott Card, is a sci-fi action film that manages to best most YA adaptations at their own game. Card’s book was published before the YA designation came into fashion, but it has all the hallmarks including a teenage protagonist with social issues who just so happens to be the super special chosen one destined to save the world. A strong lead performance and some exciting action sequences follow, but they’re brought down by narrative lapses, […]

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The Love Parade

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Ender

If you can cram in 3,000 man hours into the next week, you can have your very own home version in time for Ender’s Game to see theaters on November 1st. To be fair, this featurette is more entertaining than informative, but it has a few layering shots that spotlight the intense process that went into building the world that Ender and friends do battle in. Digital Domain took the lead here, but the movie also features effects work from companies like Behold 3D (Riddick), Quantum Creation FX (Tron: Legacy) for specialty costuming and XYZ-RGB (Elysium) for 3D scanning. No word yet on whether they were able to digitally insert a smile onto Harrison Ford’s face.

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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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01-1

Where were you in ’73? August 11, 1973, to be specific? I wasn’t alive, but just because I wasn’t there on opening night doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the 40th birthday of American Graffiti, which hit theaters on that date*. Just the same, it doesn’t matter that I can’t really answer the film’s tagline of “Where were you in ’62?” George Lucas‘s nostalgic teen movie is as classic as the cars that appear in it, and that’s because it resonates for viewers of all ages and all eras. Maybe we didn’t grow up on the same music and meet up at the same kind of hangout as Mel’s Drive-In, but we can all find something familiar in this multi-narrative feature. It’s no wonder Richard Linklater’s own nostalgic ensemble teen movie, Dazed and Confused, is so similar to Lucas’s. Teen life hadn’t changed all that much in 14 years. Nor is it all that different after 51 years. It’s kind of strange to think about how American Graffiti was set only 11 years before its release. We’re quickly nostalgic today, but that was a pretty quick turnaround for audiences to get so sentimental about the culture of a decade prior. It’d be like us getting a deeply nostalgic movie about 2002 now. Yet 1962 probably felt more like an eon ago to people in 1973. The characters in the movie haven’t been through the JFK assassination yet, let alone RFK and MLK, they haven’t seen the worst of Vietnam or the […]

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news ford wants more indy

Let’s all try to process this together. After the overwhelming monstrosity that was 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford freely admitted out of his own volition to the Telegraph recently that he thinks making a fifth Indy film could be a neat idea. Though he didn’t give a definite “yes” to the hypothetical film, he had this to say: “We’ve seen the character develop and grow over a period of time and it’s perfectly appropriate and okay for him to come back again with a great movie around him where he doesn’t necessarily have to kick as much ass. To me, what was interesting about the character was that he prevailed, that he had courage, that he had wit, that he had intelligence, that he was frightened and that he still managed to survive. That I can do.”

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02_the_fugitive_blu-ray

Very famously, Harrison Ford is the sort of grumpy curmudgeon who doesn’t like it when he has to field questions about Star Wars or his experiences playing the iconic character Han Solo in that series. Which is understandable, you know, because us nerds can get pretty pushy. Probably the guy would get more sympathy from people if he didn’t then go and do things like make unwanted Indiana Jones sequels, agree to appear in the new Star Wars trilogy, and now agree to appear in yet another series that’s built almost entirely on nerd nostalgia, though. What series based on nostalgia are we talking about? Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables series, wherein the movies always seem like they’re going to be action-packed larks where all of your favorite action stars from the 80s finally team up to go on the same adventure, but then end up being inert bores where old guys dress too young for their own good and do their best to prove that their knees can no longer handle the stress of running (except for JCVD, who was actually good in The Expendables 2).

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Ford Enders Game

Listen, kids, you thought middle school was rough. You didn’t have Harrison Ford plucking you out of obscurity to yell at you every day about saving the human race from alien destruction. Luckily, the rest of us just get to watch it happen in the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved Ender’s Game this fall. In the second trailer for the epic space tale, directed by Gavin Hood, just a teensy tiny bit more of the plot is revealed than from the first glimpse. Here’s what we know: decades after a brutal alien war, Ford, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis are training child super-soldiers like Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld to do battle once more. But their last hope comes in the form of an exceptionally gifted boy named Ender (Asa Butterfield), who will lead them to victory with his prowess.

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kramer

Joe Lynch’s removal from Knights of Badassdom has been a very public affair in the online world. The movie that surprised Comic-Con audiences all those years ago that disappeared only to re-emerge went through its troubles, namely Lynch’s cut being butchered in an editing bay. Directors don’t always (or normally) have final cut, but what Lynch is going through is a matter of being locked out completely. The film was recently picked up for distribution, but, from the sound of it, we won’t be seeing Lynch’s version any time soon. We don’t hear about these behind-the-scenes issues that often, but another famous case was The Weinstein Company’s handling of 2009’s immigration drama Crossing Over. Despite featuring Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Alice Eve, Ashley Judd, and a few other familiar faces, the movie went unnoticed at the box office and critics didn’t much care for it. In addition to the strong cast, it was directed by Wayne Kramer, the man behind The Cooler and Running Scared. Those are two fully-realized movies, while Crossing Over is a movie that, although containing commendable performances and moments, never quite comes together in the way that it should. And there’s a reason for that. The film certainly doesn’t deserve a 16% on Rottentomatoes, but, even Kramer would agree, it’s not on par with his other work. There are many, many political reasons why that’s the case, and when we spoke with Kramer for his new film, Pawn Shop Chronicles, he was ready to speak about the serious troubles he ran into at the Weinstein Company.

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hood

Imagine a chubby, pasty high school kid who, to my great embarrassment, wore a military-style Red Hot Chili Peppers jacket. Tacky, I know, but also picture him obsessively reading Ender Game‘s — Orson Scott Card‘s incredible piece of science-fiction — during his sophomore year. That kid dreamed of making a movie of it one day, preferably with George Clooney as Colonel Graff. Sadly, that boy’s dream is dead, thanks to director Gavin Hood. But Hood can’t be blamed for crushing a wonderful child’s will to dream. One thing is for sure, Ender’s Game is a big ambitious swing of a project for Hood. Card’s novel is not a sure thing of a blockbuster, and considering its source material, it’s a story that isn’t exactly suited for all kids. Hood’s past film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, felt watered down all around, but with this latest project Hood seems to have captured the spirit of a sprawling space adventure.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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