Headhunters

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Remakes get a bad rap for some legitimate reasons. From the sheer creative laziness involved to the unfortunate reality that such a high percentage of them are far from good, the mere announcement of one is enough to trigger disappointment. That response is often heightened when the original film is not only fantastic, but in a foreign language too. Why? Because people shouldn’t be so afraid to read some damn subtitles. Of course it’s worth noting that for every ten worthless remakes there’s often one really good film that finds new fans and just maybe becomes a classic in its own right. Think The Thing, The Fly, The Departed, The Ring, The True Grit… So when Summit picked up the rights to the Norwegian thriller Headhunters last year some of us chose to be optimistic about the news. Was a remake necessary? Hell no, but with Mark Wahlberg interested in starring and Sacha Gervasi attached to direct it looked to be heading in the right direction. The original film, like the Jo Nesbo novel it’s adapted from, is a fast-moving and deft mix of suspense and black comedy that feels like a darker After Hours with its abrupt timeline and series of unfortunate events occurring throughout the lead character’s arc. It’s a quick tale by necessity of the plot, so of course the feature remake has been scrapped in favor of stretching it beyond necessity and recognition into a TV series for HBO. I can’t prove it, but I have to think this is somehow Peter Jackson’s fault.

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Morten Tyldum

If you’ve yet to check out Norwegian director Morten Tyldum’s 2011 release, Headhunters, then it’s high time you tracked it down and finally gave it a go. Not only is it one of the most brutal, gross, unique, and exciting action thrillers that have come out in a long time, but you’re also going to need to know what Tyldum is capable of in order to properly get excited for the news that he’s just signed on to make another movie. Deadline reports that his new project is called The Imitation Game, and it’s coming from a Black List script by Graham Moore that was adapted from an Alan Turing biography that Andrew Hodges wrote called “Alan Turing: The Enigma.” The film was originally set to be made by Warner Bros., with J Blakeson on to direct and rumors that Leonardo DiCaprio would star, but the studio dropped the project back in August. For those that might not know, Turing was a pretty interesting guy whose rich life could make for good movie fodder in a number of ways. Just take a look at the source material’s Amazon description, which states: “Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a […]

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Searching for Sonny Elliot reluctantly heads home for his ten-year high school reunion, but instead of the expected disappointments he discovers a missing friend, a murder and a mystery. Writer/director Andrew Disney’s feature debut is an indie rarity in that it’s as funny as any big screen comedy. The laughs come in part due to Disney’s sharp and witty script, but credit should also go to the main cast of Jason Dohring, Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney. The trio has a smooth and perfectly timed chemistry together, and they help make the film a joy to watch. The lovely Minka Kelly helps in that department as well. [Extras: Commentary, additional scenes, bloopers, featurettes] Also available on Blu-ray.

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Depending on who you ask 2012 is either on target to be a great year for movies or an underwhelming one. It’s worth noting though that anyone who answers with the latter is a complete and utter tool. There have already been several fantastic movies in theaters over the past six and a half months including The Grey, The Avengers, The Raid: Redemption, 21 Jump Street, The Cabin In the Woods, Moonrise Kingdom and more. In addition to being fantastic entertainment though, most of those movies also had studio support to increase awareness and help make them big hits. As for The Raid and Cabin, well, you can’t say the internet didn’t do its damnedest to get the word out on just how awesome they are. Not our fault if American moviegoers didn’t listen… But a third group of great movies exists this year too. Ones that had little to no push from studios or distributors, a minimal presence on movie blogs and a near negligible presence at the box-office. The year’s only half over, but we wanted to share our choices for the best movies you’ve most likely missed this year…so far.

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Finally, readers, the summer movie season is upon us. So far this year has been solid, but sorely lacking in mega-blockbusters. John Carter did not deliver for the fifteen people who saw it and The Hunger Games, as successful and good as it was, wasn’t an epic actioner or packed with real spectacle. Yet there’s much promise in the action department for the summer of 2012, and it’s starting off just right, with something we’ve all been anticipating. Hopefully the rest of the summer will follow that film’s mighty lead…

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage, but it hits select theaters this weekend, so it’s time to check it out once more. Headhunters has an instinct about it that’s cutthroat with a smile. It’s a comedy of errors with a gun pointed at its head, and it all works with an intensity that manages to be thrilling right up to the end. In the movie, Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is in over his head (which he considers already too low to the ground) because he thinks his wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) needs the finer things in life. He’s a well-respected job placement rep, connecting the highest salaries to the biggest companies, but he has to supplement his lifestyle by stealing art. When he catches wind of a new client (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) with a criminal career-endingly expensive lost masterpiece, he jumps at the chance, but there are forces much larger at work which see him running from his life and fighting for his marriage.

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Mark Wahlberg seems to be busier now than ever before, and while some people may find that news to be unfortunate I myself am happy to see it happening. (Not to be mistaken with me being happy to see The Happening…) He’s a charismatic actor, and his limited range rarely prevents him from being entertaining at the very least. He released the mild hit Contraband earlier this year, is in post-production on two films and is already potentially attached to another four including Michael Bay’s first non-robot movie in seven years, Pain and Gain. Headhunters is a blackly comic thriller from Norway about an insecure corporate headhunter who moonlights as an art thief. His casually extravagant life takes a dark turn when a robbery goes awry and he finds himself double-crossed and on the run. The film, based on the slim novel by Jo Nesbø, is a an absolutely fantastic ride and was one of my personal favorites from last year. It’s funny, violent, and constantly surprising…and Summit quickly snapped it up for a US remake with Sacha Gervasi attached to helm. According to Shortlist, Wahlberg recently fell in love with the Norwegian film and apparently made a personal appeal to Gervasi to be a part of the remake. It’s assumed Wahlberg is interested in playing the lead role for three reasons. One, it’s the lead. Two, he’s the closest thing there is to a sympathetic hero in the film. And three, a big part of the character’s motivation and […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the ketchup on your ice cream. Good evening and welcome back! We’ll begin with a piece from film critic and feline advocate Scott Weinberg who’s compiled a list of the best foreign action films to hit our shores in the last few years. Prompted by a recent screening of festival darling The Raid, which should be assaulting American eyeballs in the next month or two, Weinberg runs down plenty of ass-kicking titles to feed your Netflix queue. Head on over to Movies.com for the full piece.

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The title of this post is pretty self explanatory, so no introduction is really needed here. But… I do feel compelled to point out the same thing I point out every year. Nailing foreign releases down to a particular year isn’t an exact science. Obviously every film has an actual date of initial release, but most foreign titles don’t hit our shores until the following year, if at all. I try to go by original release date whenever possible though which means some of my choices have yet to be screened in the US outside of film festivals and import DVDs. That said, here’s a list of my eleven favorite foreign films for 2011 in alphabetical order. (Be sure to check out my lists from 2010, 2009 and 2008 too.) And because I know someone will ask, yes, I did see Certified Copy.

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If you’ve been paying as much attention to the lineup for this year’s AFI FEST as the rest of us Rejects (read: quite a bit), you’ve surely noticed that the festival’s programming is packed with a number of films that have played some of the year’s biggest festivals. If you’re in Southern California, the Hollywood-based (and free) film festival will give you a chance to check out the same films that played at Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, New York, Fantastic Fest, Sundance, London, and more. It’s like traveling without leaving your own area code, or spending the cold, hard cash it would take to fly halfway around the world. Sounds pretty simple now, huh, shut-in? AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available right HERE). The complete schedule grid is online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, check out 22 festival favorites (and a sampling of some of the other festivals they’ve played) that you may have missed throughout the year. Not sure if they’re worthy of clearing your AFI FEST schedule for? I’ve linked to all of our previous coverage, too, so you really have no excuse.

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Another day, another lineup announcement from AFI FEST 2011 that sends me positively reeling. Today sees the film festival rolling out their World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short selections. Today also sees me jumping up and down and repeatedly screaming, “ALPS! ALPS! ALPPPPSSSS!” As has been the trend with AFI FEST’s recent lineup announcements, this crop of films guarantees that the festival is a can’t-miss for any film buffs in the Los Angeles area. There’s a number of titles here that festival-obsessed cinephiles will recognize from recent events – films like Ben Wheatley‘s Kill List, Morten Tyldum‘s Headhunters, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti‘s Carre Blanc, Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestrial, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film, and for Dogtooth obsessives like me, Yorgos Lanthimos‘s Alps. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). Free, guys, free. After the break, check out the full list of the films to be featured as AFI FEST World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short Film selections.

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If you somehow aren’t aware by now, we take Fantastic Fest pretty seriously ’round these parts. America’s largest genre festival will kick the doors off the hinges for its 7th incarnation this September, and your faithful crew here at Starship Reject could not be more excited. As always, we’ll be assembling our Fantastic Fest Death Squad to attempt the insane goal of reviewing each and every film that plays this year. Take a gander at some of the titles that have jumped out at us from this latest batch. First up is Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia. Antichrist was huge at Fantastic Fest back in 2009, and the buzz out of Cannes and from a brief run in LA has me chomping at the bit to see Von Trier’s latest as soon as possible. While certainly polarizing, Von Trier is also an extremely versatile and uncompromising filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see him put his own unique spin on a story with sci-fi elements. You can bet the Rejects will be first in line for this one come September. You also know we’re looking forward to You’re Next, the new film from the team behind last year’s A Horrible Way to Die. While their previous effort wasn’t a perfect film, the last 20 minutes in particular were chilling and showed quite a bit of promise with their fresh take on serial killer celebrity. Adam Wingard returns to direct You’re Next, and genre favorite AJ Bowen joins a cast that includes […]

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