Headshot

It’s back to the Big Apple with another batch of some of the most compelling titles that this year’s Tribeca Film Festival has to offer. This time around, we’re zinging over to Thailand for an eye-opening spin on the crime noir (no other film this year will make you want to invest in a helmet more), before zipping back to the U S of A and over to the left coast for two films about life in Los Angeles, relationships on the rocks, and cinematic twists that both surprise and sustain. Which one of these films marks the voice of an exciting new independent director and which will leave audiences begging for more, of all things, gimmicky behavior? As is the best part of all film festivals, let’s discover something new. Check out our latest batch of mini-reviews for Headshot, Caroline and Jackie, and Double or Nothing after the break.

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Earlier this week, our own Cole Abaius announced the first wave of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival‘s film lineup. That assault was impressive enough, complete with lots of compelling picks in the World Narrative Feature Competition, World Documentary Feature Competition
, and Viewpoints sections, but today’s release of the final feature film sections is a whole other volley of firepower. With today’s announcement of their Spotlight, Cinemania, Special Screenings, and the 2012 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, the fest has completed their feature announcements – and made me start to wonder if I should try to hit Gotham for the festival, running April 18 – 29. Picks that stand out to me already include the delightful 2 Days in New York, Chicken With Plums, Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey, The Giant Mechanical Man, Headshot, Lola Versus, Take This Waltz, Your Sister’s Sister, and Sleepless Night. Check out the full list of films (along with Tribeca-provided synopses) after the break.

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Based on Win Lyovarin‘s novel, Headshot (Fon Tok Kuen Fah) is a noir assassin story that features a killer who takes a bullet to the brain – leaving him seeing the world upside down. Considering that it’s from Thailand, has a crazy premise and involves violence, there’s a word of warning that should come along with writer/director Pen-En Ratanaruang‘s film: it’s far more drama than action film. For whatever reason, Ratanaruang and company chose to abandon anything about the story’s gimmick that makes it viable and loaded down their structure with faulty flashbacks and confused caricatures. It’s a fairly standard crime story with wasted potential, but it has a leading man that comes close to making it worthwhile.

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A man awakens from a long coma to some disturbing news. First, he discovers that it was a bullet to the head that almost killed him. Second, he now sees the world upside down. Headshot tells the story of a hitman who recovers from a bullet wound to the cranium and returns to the job with a minor handicap. He can move, think, and behave normally, but he’s forced to view everything upside down. This literal flip flop bleeds out to his metaphorical world as well leaving him discombobulated, confused and intent on discovering the truth about who shot him and why. Obviously the Christopher Nolan comparison is a bit of a stretch, but a few elements bring his name into the discussion. The most obvious being that the production company behind the movie is called Memento Films. But there’s also a lead protagonist with a head injury whose moral compass seems a bit out of whack and a storyline that lives the majority of its time in the past. Tenuous connection or not, Headshot looks to be an exciting and intriguing thriller. Check out the trailer below… but only if you don’t foresee watching the movie anytime soon. It appears to give way too much away.

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As was reported in last night’s Movie News After Dark column, a television actress by the name of Sarah Shahi that Neil Miller has some sort of creepy, obsessive crush on has been cast to play Sylvester Stallone’s daughter in the upcoming Walter Hill film The Movie Formerly Known as Headshot: Formerly Directed by Wayne Kramer. Clearly, the project has had a few hiccups getting all of the pieces together to move ahead with filming. But there are a few things about it that we know for sure. The first is that it’s an adaptation of the graphic novel “Bullet to the Head”, which was penciled by Colin Wilson and written by something called Matz. Because of this we also know that it is the story of a New Orleans based hitman who teams up with a police officer to take down the killer of their respective partners. Stallone has always been set to play the hitman, that’s for sure. And the cop is either going to be portrayed by Thomas Jane, or somebody with more of an ethnic flavor like Fast Five’s Sung Kang, we don’t really have any solid news on that. But what there is some new news on is who will be playing the role of the killer, Keegan. The Latino Review is reporting that actor Jason Momoa, whose gargantuan size and intimidating presence has led to him playing the horse lord Khal Drogo on the HBO series Game of Thrones and Conan the Barbarian in […]

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The last time I heard about The Cooler and Running Scared director Wayne Kramer, he was jumping off of Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming hitman movie Headshot because they couldn’t agree on a direction for the film. Kramer reportedly wanted to make it more dark and violent, while Stallone was looking for a lighter, more humorous approach. Needless to say, at the thought of Stallone doing more comedy, I easily fell down on Kramer’s side of the disagreement. So now that he’s gotten some distance between himself and the Headshot debacle, what is the director going to try for next? According to Deadline Tembisa he’s going to be filming Ecstasia, an original script that he wrote himself, for Relativity Media. Ecstasia is said to tell the story of an alternate universe where love no longer exists. In order to feel any sort of emotional attachment to someone, people must go through a medical procedure called “commitment” which sends emotional signals to your brain through an implanted computer chip. The problem is, commitment is a very expensive procedure to maintain, so when couples run out of money they either have to resort to desperate measures to keep it going, or fall out of love completely. Ecstasia centers on a couple that is in just such a predicament. Given Kramer’s penchant for the dark, I’ll be interested to see just what those “desperate measures” end up being. And also what his explanation is for people who can’t fall in love wanting to fall in […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that often sits around in its best lingerie a little too much. Like Emma Frost in the new X-Men film, it loves walking around in its skivvies. However, unlike Ms. Frost and her lovely attire, it does not receive a positive response. It’s okay, because this movie news column is not a real thing. It’s just an object. We begin tonight with a scantly glad, hollow-gazing January Jones lounging around in Matthew Vaughn’s uber-stylish X-Men: First Class. What I find interesting about Jones is that whether she’s about to turn into a woman with diamond-coated skin or she’s waiting for Don Draper to come home from a night of whoring around, it’s the same facial expression. That’s consistency.

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We previously reported that Sylverster Stallone was courting Walter Hill to direct Headshot after Wayne Kramer dropped out over creative differences. And what a sexy courting that must have been. Now, an email to Aint It Cool’s inbox from Stallone makes it official. Even setting aside that this is an action film, and that Stallone will finally get to work with Hill, I’m just excited to see Hill get back to work. His output has been spotty in the past decades, and it’s mostly been low-budget action flown under the radar. This promises to be a higher-profile flick that could see Hill back on top of his game. The last really great film he directed was Another 48 Hrs. back in 1990 (unless you just really love Wild Bill), so while Stallone has hit the cinema world again, this would be a lazarus act for Hill. This would obviously work best with Hill writing from page one, as well, so we’ll have to see how that process pans out. Stallone is domineering in projects, so hopefully Hill will be able to let his voice shine through as early on as possible.

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It was just reported yesterday that director Wayne Kramer was exiting Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming starring vehicle Headshot, and already there is word of who might step in to take his place. As far as his falling out with the film’s original director Wayne Kramer, Stallone says, “Initially, Mr. Kramer was hired to direct a dark comedy. However, his vision was much darker and exceptionally more violent than how the project was originally conceived. It was decided that it would be better for everyone to move on and consequently Mr. Kramer was dismissed by producers earlier this week. There were no volatile clashes, it was simply a professional parting of the ways.” So, who does Stallone think has what it takes to fulfill his more comedic vision for the project? One of the top names being considered, and the one Stallone seems to want, is veteran director Walter Hill. Stallone says, “I completely respect Walter’s incredible body of work and hopefully this legendary director will become attached to the project.” I can’t fault that sort of logic. If you want to make a funny film, what better way than going out and getting the guy who made Brewster’s Millions? I have to say that I am a little disappointed to hear the reason for Kramer’s dismissal, however. While Hill has made one of the most beloved action comedies of all time with 48. Hours, I think Stallone is forgetting what his own track record with the comedy genre is. Has Stallone […]

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Headshot was going to be the first movie that Sylvester Stallone starred in without directing himself in quite some time. When the project was announced a couple months ago it was said to be stemming from a script written by Alessandro Camon, that it would star Stallone, but someone else would direct. That someone else turned out to be Wayne Kramer, director of The Cooler and Running Scared. But that’s now off after Kramer and Stallone have reportedly clashed over the direction of the film, and Kramer has decided to leave the project to make something he wrote himself instead. There have been stories about Stallone being hard to work with going around Hollywood ever since there has been a Sylvester Stallone in Hollywood. I remember once hearing his brother Frank Stallone tell an anecdote about how Sylvester hates Renny Harlin because when they worked together on Cliffhanger, Harlin did whatever Stallone wanted and ostensibly directed the film as his puppet, but when Stallone hired him to make Driven, he went off on his own in the editing room and made his own choices. The nerve of the man! Most of the commentary on Kramer leaving Headshot presupposes that Stallone may just bite the bullet and end up directing himself, but I imagine it’s just as likely that he’ll find someone younger and less headstrong than Kramer, and then simply direct the movie through them. When the chips were down and his career needed a serious resurgence, Stallone sat in […]

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Sylvester Stallone has signed on to star in a new action film coming from IM Global and EMJAG Prods. Which are apparently two companies that make movies. The film Headshot will see Sly star as a hitman from New Orleans who finds himself forced to team up with a New York City cop to solve an investigation into several murders. Several murders that I would guess took things from being business to being personal. I love it when things get personal. Executive producer Stuart Ford says of the project, “Headshot is exactly the type of fast-paced, universally themed project that suits our business model. Sylvester Stallone is an international icon and we’re really excited to be in business with him.” Fast paced? Universally themed? International icon? Yikes, what a terrible quote. Ford might as well have just yelled from the rooftops that he’s making this one for all the wrong reasons. Normally I would just be marginally interested in a project this generic sounding because of the delightful proposition of Stallone trying to growl out a Cajun accent, but there are a couple glimmers of hope that indicate Headshot could be worth our time anyways. Firstly, it’s the first film that Stallone has agreed to star in that he didn’t direct himself for quite some time. That could be a tell that there’s something more going on here than meets the eye. And secondly, the script was written by Alessandro Camon, who also wrote The Messenger. That one was pretty […]

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