Ice Cube

Columbia Pictures

Really, Ice Cube? Must you be in a constant state of one-upping poor Dave Franco? It wasn’t enough that Franco’s winning turn in 21 Jump Street was outdone by Cube’s endless reserves of angry black police Captain sass. Now, mere hours after The Disaster Artist became a weird Franco family reunion, Cube has gone to The Wrap with reports that he is doing the same. Only better. And weirder. According to The Wrap, the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton has cast its first member of the legendary rap group- O’Shea Jackson Jr. will be playing a pre-Are We There Yet? Ice Cube. And for those who don’t know, O’Shea Jackson is Ice Cube’s given name, making O’Shea Jackson Jr. the eldest son of House Cube.

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review ride along

Ah, the mismatched buddy cop movie. Films like 48 Hrs, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Rush Hour have established this particular type of action/comedy as a genre unto itself. Both halves aren’t always cops, but they’re most definitely an oil and water-type pairing kept alive through friction, wisecracks, and an escalating series of action-fueled escapades. Of course not every outing can be a Lethal Weapon. Sometimes we get stuck with more of a Lethal Weapon 4. Sometimes we get Ride Along. Ben (Kevin Hart) is a security guard dreaming of becoming a cop. The job change is due in part to his desire to make himself into a man worthy of his girlfriend Angela’s hand in marriage, but he also thinks being a cop would impress her brother, Detective James Payton (Ice Cube). Payton knows otherwise, so after Ben receives notice he’s been admitted into the police academy James takes him out for a celebratory ride along hoping to scare him straight into another profession and out of Angela’s bed.

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The power of casting Kevin Hart is now so overwhelming that the actor/comedian can rescue even the most plagued of projects. Hart, recently cast in such varied fare as the About Last Night remake, an uninspired Kevin James comedy, and a buddy cop comedy with Seth Rogen, has now signed on to star alongside Ice Cube in Ride Along for Universal. The comedy will be directed by Tim Story, and it reunites the director with his Think Like a Man star (Hart) and producer (Will Packer). Ice Cube will also produce the project, alongside Matt Alvarez and Larry Brezner. The film was first announced back in 2009 (via a report from Variety), but has languished at New Line until now, with Universal Pictures picking it up out of turnaround. Deadline Venice reports that this was “partly over trying to figure out the leads, but Universal was ready to move quickly in reteaming Story, Hart and Packer after Think Like A Man, a sleeper hit that has grossed $91 million domestic for Screen Gems.” However, the comedic script has apparently gone through a number of drafts, including the original one from Greg Coolidge, a pass from Steve Faber and Bob Fisher, a “quick rewrite” from Cube himself, and at least one more version from The Dictator star Jason Mantzoukas. Casting issues aside, a script that’s been touched by at least five different writers (especially a comedy that sounds relatively straightforward) is also cause for both a bit of pause and some concern. […]

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Word on the street is that Oren Moverman‘s Rampart is pretty damned good. It stars Woody Harrelson as an LAPD cop in the wake of the Rampart scandal in the 1990s. It also features Ice Cube, who doesn’t at all still represent the LA of the early 1990s. The thing is, even if the movie were terrible, this poster would still be awesome. It looks absolutely stunning, and we’re giving one away. Plus, one (1) lucky winner will get a Harrelson-signed script to go with their new wall art. How do you enter? Excellent rhetorical question! Here’s how:

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While it was generally always assumed that Marvel would be doing a sequel of their Captain America film after their super hero team-up project The Avengers got out of the way, it was only recently that the film was made official. Marvel Studios announced that they’re looking to give us the second installment of the star-spangled super hero’s adventures come April 4, 2014, and a short list of possible directors who may take on the project included names like Community directors Joe and Anthony Russo, The Adjustment Bureau director George Nolfi, and Law Abiding Citizen director F. Gary Gray. Short as that list is, today a news report from Deadline Watts has made it even shorter. It turns out F. Gary Gray can no longer be considered a front runner to get the Captain America job, because he’s just signed on to make a biopic of the legendary rap group N.W.A. instead. Calling back to one of the group’s most famous releases, the film will be called Straight Outta Compton. Set up by N.W.A. member turned actor Ice Cube’s production company Cube Vision, Straight Outta Compton is a story that details the formation of the seminal gangsta rap group, which, in addition to Cube, included Eazy-E, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Dr. Dre (the one with the headphones, not the fat one from Who’s the Man?).

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A movie based on the show 21 Jump Street? Dumb, right? Well, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller acknowledge that right out of the gate. In doing so, they’ve crafted a hilarious and whip-smart comedy with a big heart and mind. The duo didn’t make a series of a action movie references, but an actual action movie. The Jump Street program, which remains the same concept as the original television series, has been resurrected due to a “lack of imagination.” Two of the young-looking cops chosen are Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), two wannabe badasses. Schmidt and Jenko were on opposite sides in high school: Schmidt was a juggling club loser who went through an Eminem phase, while Jenko was the popular jock. A few years later, the dynamic has changed. Schmidt and Jenko become buddies to even out each other’s respective athletic or academic weaknesses. When they’re thrown back into high school to crackdown on a drug aptly called “Holy Fucking Shit,” their friendship gets tested.  Schmidt is no longer the outcast, and Jenko quickly realizes acting like an asshole isn’t exactly cool anymore.

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Over two years ago we got to see a whole new side of Ben Foster. With director Oren Moverman‘s The Messenger, Foster gave a quiet and powerful performance, right next to Woody Harrelson, who also showed something we hadn’t seen from him before. With Rampart, the duo continue to explore new territory. Unless I’m mistaken, we haven’t seen Harrelson play a damaged and narcissistic cop, and the same goes for Foster in an unrecognizable appearance as a homeless vet. That type of transformation and change is something Foster seems to embrace. If you know about Oren Moverman’s work ethic, then you’re well-aware he searches for honesty, which Ben Foster obviously has great admiration for. Here’s what Ben Foster had to say about reacting, never having enough time to prepare, and how any director who says they have the answer is full of shit:

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Writer-director Oren Moverman’s terrific feature debut, The Messenger, was about trying not to deal with grief, while his character-driven “cop” drama, Rampart, is about attempting to not deal with everything. The lead of the film, Dave Brown, rejects change in a major time of change. Despite Moverman using his latest film to track a far more morally corrupted character than he previously dealt with in Messenger, he still shows an equal measure of empathy. The film follows Woody Harrelson‘s Dave Brown, as he confronts both a new time and a new way of life. Brown, a former soldier who sees himself as something of a man’s man, is unwilling to get with the times. With the true-life Rampart scandals serving as motivation, the LAPD is making major changes – ones that Brown won’t (or can’t) go along with. The cop is a sickly, paranoia-driven enigma who (forgive the cheesy as all hell expression) plays by his own nonexistent rules. Dave is stubborn, racist, fearful, and believes that he’s someone important enough to be spied on. He’s a real bastard.

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Only mere hours ago, I watched Oren Moverman‘s Rampart. It’s much, much different from his fantastic 2008 directorial debut, The Messenger. Since I’ve only seen the film so recently, I’m not 100% comfortable discussing it at length. It’s a film that needs time…but I can say that this trailer is not the best representation of Moverman’s meditative drama. There is no hard rock music in the movie, it’s not fast paced, and the film is not as clichéd as the trailer suggests. If this trailer gets anything across right, it’s all the hints at how great Woody Harrelson is as Dave Brown. Harrelson fills a through-and-through bastard with a surprising amount of humanity, and even a little bit of uncomfortable empathy. It’s a powerful performance. But does Harrelson really look like the most corrupt cop you’ve ever seen on screen? You be the judge:

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That Thing You Do! is the kind of movie only a man with a particular amount of clout can get made. An off-beat comedy about a fake rock band from the ’60s starring a bunch of unknowns and unfamiliar songs to boot? Maybe if it was a comic book first. But thank the powers that be for Tom Hanks and his odd sensibilities. He may be a two-time Oscar winner and an impassioned producer of WWII serialized dramas, but when it came to his directorial debut, the end product was something closer to his Bosom Buddies/The Man with One Red Shoe days. When That Thing You Do! hit theaters it bombed, barely making back its budget and putting Hanks’s directing career in question. Not even Tom Freakin’ Hanks could get his passion project to play with audiences. That very well could have been the end of the actor behind the camera. But lo and behold, a decade and a half later, Hanks returns this weekend with another oddball flick, Larry Crowne. Whether the new comedy (sporting plenty of familiar faces) can counter-program Transformers 3 and survive the competitive summer isn’t the point — we should be happy enough he made something. With Larry Crowne, Hanks has succeeded in doing what so few of his actor-turned-director friends have managed: to make a second movie. Here are a few thespians who took the plunge into filmmaking, only to return to their day jobs after one outing.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It ain’t messin’ with you, bub. You should know that up front. It’s only bringing you the best of the weekend’s news, tidbits and otherwise noteworthy items. It believes that you shouldn’t mess around either. That’s why it recommends reading it every single night before you go to bed. Today begins with a project that I know many of you are excited about, 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool. A perfect fit is Ryan Reynolds in the titular role, as are Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick on scripting duties. This week the project got a director, effects artist Tim Miller, whose credits include X-Men, X2 and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. He has also served as the Inferno Supervisor (read: Guy Who is In Charge of Digital Explosions) on several other projects. That’s a pretty wicked line of work.

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AreWeThereYetTV

Yes, Are We There Yet? is up for a series. No word yet on whether it will come with a warning label.

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the-game-header

This news comes with a free pinch of salt!

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If a List of 10 Rap Artists that crossed over into film with varying degrees of success doesn’t seem timely, it should, because a movie about hardcore rappers came out just last Friday: Step Brothers.

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Apparently Cube would love to get a crack at the role of B.A. Baracus and feels he could bring something special to the film. We don’t.

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