Harrison Ford

42

Baseball hall-of-famer, social activist, and boundary-breaker Jackie Robinson has long been due a full-scale feature film to chronicle his many achievements, and while Brian Helgeland’s 42 wisely sticks to telling the remarkable story of Robinson’s burgeoning Major League career as anchored by uniformly great performances, it’s an otherwise stale portrayal of one of America’s greatest heroes. 42 will likely be hailed as some manner of crowd-pleaser, but the film’s frequent lack of emotional punch and linear sense of history leave it far more suited for sharing within a classroom setting. Helgeland’s film feels safe and stagey, a bizarre take on Robinson’s bold and brash life story, and it only occasionally allows moments of true emotional impact to fly out of the park, seemingly beyond Helgeland’s control. 42 picks up with Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) in his post-collegiate and -military life, as a star player on the Kansas City Monarchs, part of baseball’s Negro leagues of the 1940’s. Unbeknownst to Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ club president and general manager, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), had his eye on then-shortstop, as he was cooking up a plan to drive revenues (and, apparently, his own good sense) by bringing on the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues. He wanted that player to be Robinson, and 42 centers on Robinson and Rickey’s dual struggle to overcome all manner of prejudice, hate, and stupidity to give Robinson his quite well-deserved place on the Dodgers and in the majors.

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mnad_ofthrones

Your Thursday night will end with Anna Kendrick being the most adorable person on the face of the planet. But before that, we’ll talk about why Game of Thrones is the most important show ever, why fans of Selena Gomez need to get over Spring Breakers and why Jon Stewart’s directorial debut is already getting panned. It’s all here on Movie News After Dark.

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Harrison Ford

What is Casting Couch? It’s your handy roundup of news stories regarding which actors managed to land gigs over the weekend. Today we have an update on what’s going on with Guardians of the Galaxy as well as news of who gets to be Johnny Depp’s latest leading lady. Film fans have been keeping a close eye on Harrison Ford in recent weeks, just waiting for the official confirmation that he’s going to be reprising his legendary role as Han Solo in J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars movie. Today we all got a curve ball thrown at us though. While it’s looking more and more likely that Ford will indeed be revisiting his legendary role, it also appears that he’s not done making new legends. THR is reporting that he’s now the latest name to sign on to Anchorman 2, where he’ll be playing a “legendary newscaster” who’s being likened to Tom Brokaw. Given that description, one can’t help but imagine a perfectly quaffed Ford smelling of tanned leather, scotch, and stale tobacco, and wonder if this character is going to be a rival to Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy, or possibly a mentor figure. Either way, it should be interesting to see Ford going for something this broadly comedic. You know, given how grumpy he is.

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Han Solo

According to Latino Review, Harrison Ford is returning as Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars movies. The details are fuzzy beyond that core casting news, so it’s unclear to what extent the film (or films) will utilize him. Ford will turn 71 this year, but he’s obviously not retiring from the business any time soon; he’s appearing in as many as three movies that will see release in 2013, including 42, Paranoia and Ender’s Game. Maybe the last one gave him a renewed love for space-set sci-fi that made agreeing to play Solo again possible. It’s clear that the guy doesn’t take jobs he doesn’t have to, and the last time I interviewed him, he laughed at the suggestion that taking roles (including the re-up of Indiana Jones) had anything to do with a sense of nostalgia or longing for the past. The point? If he’s really in for the new Star Wars films, he’s in it for his own reasons and on his own terms. Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has already claimed that Episode VIII and Episode IX will start from a clean slate, but it’s definitely possible that Episode VII could include the history of Solo as detailed in the novelizations in the 1990s where Solo marries Princess Leia, and the couple has three children that set in motion massive changes to the universe. At this point, everything on that end is speculation, but as for Ford returning, it’s difficult to see how it could be seen as a bad idea. Put it this way: we live in […]

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42 Trailer

The historical drama, the meditation on race relations, and the inspirational sports story: separately they’re all crowd-pleasing film genres that tend to do well at the box office and earn plenty of recognition during awards season. But put them all together and you get some kind of unstoppable super movie. Or, at least, that’s probably what writer/director Brian Helgeland was hoping when he made 42, a biopic of baseball player Jackie Robinson. For anyone out there whose nerdom doesn’t travel over into the sports world, Robinson was the first black player to cross the color line and play in Major League Baseball during the modern era. Which, you might imagine, was something that a number of tobacco-spitting ballplayers and drunken fans in the stands didn’t take kindly to back in the late 1940s. 42 seems to focus on the struggle of going somewhere you’re not wanted, so that you might pave the way toward opportunity for those who come after you; a noble goal that’s ripe with dramatic potential.

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Han Solo

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that’s been talking way more about a movie based on a racing video game than it imagined it would be. Read on for more information. It’s bound to get pretty annoying following every rumor that pops up about the new Star Wars movie between now and 2015. But, let’s face it, when comments start getting thrown around about Harrison Ford playing Han Solo again, even vague rumors start to get pretty interesting. So, when Inside Movies announced that they have sources claiming that Ford has reversed his famously grumpy position on Star Wars being lame, and that he, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are now all “upbeat” about more movies getting made, geeks everywhere instantly started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. Let’s try to not let this Star Wars thing get out of hand—but Harrison Ford might play Han Solo again, y’all!

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your Monday look at all of the great work casting agents and PR people did over the weekend to keep those Hollywood gears turning. UPDATED: We dreamed too soon, kids. It seems like Sylvester Stallone is fully committed to his experiment of figuring out how many big name celebrities have to be packed into an Expendables movie before one of them actually becomes interesting. The latest news regarding his quest (found on Stallone’s Facebook page by JoBlo) is that Nicolas Cage has been confirmed for a role in The Expendables 3, and that Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and Mickey Rourke are the names he intends on recruiting next. You keep on trucking there, Mr. Stallone. With the addition of just five or ten more celebrities, The Expendables 3 is bound to be the one that finally gets out of first gear and actually becomes a decent action movie. We have faith!

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Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.

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42 Movie

A young boy stands between two sets of train tracks, bat in one hand, the other pointed out toward the Heavens. It’s a simple twist on a classic image and just one of many found in the first trailer for Brian Helgeland’s 42. The film tells the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, and with carefully crafted shots and a booming reminder from Jay-Z that Brooklyn goes hard, it’s a hell of a way to introduce a movie. Although, you might be thinking, “A Helgeland period piece with modern music? Is this A Knight’s Tale with an infield fly rule?” If you are, that’s an oddly specific reference to go to, nerd, and the movie itself probably won’t feature anything but mid-1900 jams. So keep heart. Without a doubt, this will be a break out chance for Chadwick Boseman, who plays Robinson, but it’s Harrison Ford who’s nearly unrecognizable here as Branch Rickey, the man who signed Robinson to the Dodgers. Check out this exciting trailer for yourself:

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Today is Grandparents Day. So where are all the movies aimed at Americans celebrating the holiday? Is it that we still don’t honor the occasion the way we do with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, even after 35 years of its existence? Or, is it that, in spite of always being proven wrong by movies such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hollywood still thinks seniors don’t go to the movies? It might be a combination, though I did take notice the other day that the trailer for Parental Guidance arrived appropriately this very weekend. The comedy stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as a couple who have to watch their grandchildren while their daughter (Marisa Tomei) goes on a business trip. And the humor apparently comes from the elder duo’s generational disconnect from kids today. First question: Are Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are old enough to play grandparents now? Well, they’re in their mid-60s, which seems about right looking at it as someone who feels late to the parenting game myself. My mom and dad are in that age group, and though my kid is an infant, there are some people from my high school class already seeing theirs off to high school this year.

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The Expendables 3 Cast?

Seeing as The Expendables 2 has yet to hit theaters, it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything concrete yet nailed down for The Expendables 3. That doesn’t mean Sylvester Stallone and his crew don’t have some ideas about what tricks they want to pull out of their sleeves for the eventual trilogy capper though. And, in a chat with Total Film, Expendables producer Avi Lerner found himself spilling the beans about which big name actors that haven’t yet been involved in the franchise they want to sign up for part 3. According to Lerner, “We’ve approached Clint Eastwood to be one of the guys, we’ve got a character in mind for him. We’re talking to Harrison Ford. [And we want] Wesley Snipes when he comes back from prison. I’ll give you one more name, we’ve got Nicolas Cage to play [one of the characters].” Of course, wanting and approaching doesn’t exactly equal having, so these names should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Two of these guys don’t really do much acting anymore, and one is still in prison, so Lerner could be pinning his hopes on long shots.

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Kenneth Branagh wants to hurt Jack Ryan

When news first broke that Paramount would be bringing Tom Clancy‘s adventurous accountant, Jack Ryan, back to the big screen few people were all that thrilled. The character’s three previous incarnations (across four films) struck some as a series of diminishing returns creatively and a box-office flat line. But hey, even Ben Affleck‘s turn in The Sum of All Fears collected just under $200 million worldwide, and Paramount isn’t stupid enough to let go of a built-in audience. As long ago as 2008 word was that Sam Raimi would be helming Ryan’s return, but news and interest seemed to dry up shortly thereafter. A year later Chris Pine enlisted for the lead role, but the film seemed no closer to production. Earlier this year though Kenneth Branagh tossed his hat into the ring and signed on to direct. Would that finally be enough to get this thing going? Per Variety, Branagh is moving forward and has even gone so far as casting the lead villain to play against Pine’s heroic CIA analyst. Following in a long-standing Hollywood tradition he’s gone ahead and hired a British thespian to play a Russian bad guy.

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Just a few months after the glory of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws finally made its Blu-ray debut the world’s most popular director is readying another hi-def premiere. Paramount has just announced the fall arrival of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray. The set includes all four three goddammit four films with remastered video and audio. Extras have yet to be detailed, but they’re reported to include special features both old and new. The best news though is evident in the care given to the series’ first and best film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The 1981 classic has been “meticulously restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film.  The original negative was first scanned at 4K and then examined frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired. The sound design was similarly preserved using [Ben] Burtt’s original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981.” Check out the press release and full front-cover art below.

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Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made. Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.

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Drinking Games

This coming weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Ridley Scott’s visionary science fiction film Blade Runner. We are only seven short years from the predicted dystopia of 2019, and while we don’t have cool flying cars or synthetic snakes yet (let alone replicant love slaves), we can still hope for the future. Whether you prefer the studio’s “Director’s Cut,” the Ridley Scott-approved “Final Cut,” or the less adored theatrical cut from the summer of 1982, you can enjoy it fresh with this drinking game. Buffer your stomach with some noodles from an Asian street vendor or drink the liquor straight from the bottle as Rick Decker does (though you probably won’t last through 20 minutes of the film if you choose to do it that way). Also, gird your loins for the rumored Blade Runner sequel in the future because you’ll need some strength and copious amounts of alcohol to deal with the aftermath of that film.

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Harrison Ford in Blade Runner

While it’s still hard to believe that a sequel to Ridley Scott‘s seminal sci-fi film Blade Runner is actually happening, the production does appear to be ticking right along – at least when it comes to rumors and buzz. While the latest news reports that the film will be led by a female protagonist, that doesn’t rule out the return of Harrison Ford‘s Rick Deckard, the star of the original film. But what does Scott think? In an excellent and very comprehensive interview over at The Independent (via /Film), Scott reveals just a bit about his vision for the sequel and Ford’s part in it, saying “I don’t think it’ll be Harry [starring in the film]…But I’ve got to have him in it somewhere. That’d be amusing.” So…that could be anything! Or it could even be nothing! As of now, it’s impossible to say the depth of the role that Scott would like to put Ford in, and this seems like the kind of rumor and chatter we can expect to hear for months and months until the sequel actually gets made.

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“It is absolutely patently false that there has been any discussion about Harrison Ford being in Blade Runner. To be clear, what we are trying to do with Ridley now is go through the painstaking process of trying to break the back of the story, figure out the direction we’re going to take the movie and find a writer to work on it. The casting of the movie could not be further from our minds at this moment.” That’s Alcon producer Andrew Kosove busting a vein to deny the previous rumor about Ford jumping aboard the forthcoming sci-fi project from Ridley Scott. So, yes, the headline is a joke, but isn’t it a bit incredible how Scott has captured our attention with Prometheus and promises of more replicants? The internet movie nerd world hasn’t seen this level of passionate/absurd argument since nipples were put on the Bat Suit. And it’s all over the distinction of whether Scott’s stories will be continuations or prequels or have the same DNA. It’s downright bizarre, because the movies will be what they are, and the only thing that will matter is if they excite us and transport us. Hopefully after they hit theaters, no one will care anymore what their label is. As for Ford, it’s a harsh rejection from Alcon. They seem more than a bit defensive about the rumor – perhaps because it would injure their ability to craft the story, perhaps because they’re trying to avoid Ford and the credibility/baggage he […]

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Gavin Hood’s upcoming adaptation of the legendary Orson Scott Card (is it too new to be legendary? It’s at least flirting with legendary) sci-fi novel Ender’s Game just signed a new name to its cast, one who’s already pretty legendary in the sci-fi world himself: Han Solo. Harrison Ford joins a cast that already has Hugo’s Asa Butterfield starring in the lead role of military recruit and Earth’s last hope Ender Wiggin, and youthful Oscar nominees like Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin playing supporting roles; so it’s starting to look like Hood’s sci-fi epic pitting man against bugger is going to have quite the ensemble when it finally gets put in front of cameras. I know that everyone was a little upset when the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was hired to direct such a beloved novel, but I don’t think there’s any way we can complain about this cast. Ford is set to play the role of Colonel Hyrum Graff, the man responsible for training the recruits at the military school Ender attends. He’s a manipulative man who’s plan is to control Ender’s development from small boy into the perfect military commander through secretive and mysterious means. In this world, the human race is at the brink of extermination due to war with a race of alien beings, and it has been decreed that Ender is the only recruit with the potential to bring them back from defeat with his brilliance. I think Ford will be suitably grizzled to […]

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Drinking Games

Just in time for the gift-giving season, the studios have dropped a large number of big name DVDs and Blu-rays on the marketplace. Many of these are the would-be blockbusters from this past summer, including the Jon Favreau sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens. It may not have been the biggest hit, but now you can check it out in the comfort of your own home, watching either the theatrical version or the extended one. So pull up a bar stool, as if you’re in your favorite saloon, and knock back a few drinks with James Bond and Indiana Jones in the old West. Though we’d suggest a cup of suds over the harder drinks, or you might not make it through the movie.

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Culture Warrior

A genre nearly as old as filmmaking itself, the western thrived throughout the years of the studio system but has zigzagged across rough terrain for the past forty or so years. For the last fifteen-ish years, the struggling, commercially unfriendly genre was either manifested in a neoclassical nostalgic form limited in potential mass appeal (Appaloosa, Open Range) or in reimagined approaches that ran the gamut between contrived pap and inspired deconstructions (anything from Wild Wild West to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). But last December, True Grit – a bona fide western remake that relied on the opportunities available in the genre’s conventions rather than bells, whistles, or ironic tongues in their respective cheeks – became a smash hit. Did this film reinvigorate a genre that was on life support, as the supposed revitalization of the musical is thought to have done a decade ago, or are westerns surviving by moving along a different route altogether? Three westerns released so far this year – Gore Verbinski’s Rango, Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, and, as of this weekend, Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens – suggest mixed directions for the dusty ol’ genre.

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