In the Blood

Doppelganger Releasing

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Black Out Jos (Raymond Thiry) used to be a very bad man. But he’s reformed now, on the straight and narrow, and engaged to be married to a wonderful woman. All of that’s put at risk when he wakes up the day before his wedding in a somewhat compromising situation… namely with a dead body lying beside him and no memory of how it got there. Now he’s in a race to discover what’s happening, who’s behind it and how he can keep his bride-to-be from hearing about it all. This Dutch action/comedy has been a long time coming to our shores — we saw it back at Fantastic Fest 2012 — and it’s an absolute blast from beginning to end as it mixes a dark sense of humor with extreme acts of violence and some highly memorable characters. Comparisons to early Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino are fair, but director Arne Toonen makes it his own creation. Highly recommended for fans of funny, profane and fast-moving R-rated fun. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, short film, bloopers, gallery]

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Gina Carano and Amaury Nolasco in IN THE BLOOD

Gina Carano found success as an MMA fighter, but my aversion to sweaty acronyms meant I first learned of her existence in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire. She plays a CIA (more my speed) agent framed by her own people, and the film is basically her kicking one Hollywood leading man’s ass after the next including Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and Antonio Banderas. It’s a combination of star power and a very frequent use of Carano’s impressive fighting abilities that makes the film so fun, but more than that, those elements helped deflect attention away from the sloppy script and her poor acting. Fast forward three years later and she’s finally found a follow-up leading role, but oddly and unfortunately, In the Blood has very little clue what to do with her. Ava (Carano) and Derek (Cam Gigandet) are newlyweds on their honeymoon in the Caribbean, and while his father (Treat Williams) has made his disapproval and mistrust of Ava clear Derek has chosen love over his dad’s concerns and worries. A local offers to show the couple a good time at a nightclub, but trouble arises in the form of a gangster named Big Biz (Danny Trejo) who forces Ava’s violent hand (and other hand and feet) into dishing out bone-crunching moves on the dance floor. Ava and Derek try to put the experience behind them the next day with some zip-line action, but a fall leaves him badly injured. Even worse? The EMTs kidnap him. Now Ava’s on a […]

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Gina Carano in In The Blood

Ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano had dabbled in acting a bit before 2011, but it was Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire that really made her name in the world of action cinema. The director wasn’t the only recognizable name on the picture as he made sure to surround his star in the making with a cast that included Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender. It wasn’t a big hit by any means, and no one was impressed with Carano’s acting abilities, but action fans took note and looked forward to whatever Hollywood would offer her next. That whatever turned out to be a supporting role in Fast & Furious 6 and a guest spot on Fox’s Almost Human. If you saw Haywire then you know that’s a bullshit waste of an impressive talent right there. Fortunately, that dry-spell is coming to an end this year as Carano finally gets a second crack at a leading role filled with ass-kickery. Unfortunately, it’s in a movie that looks to be heading to VOD and/or the direct-to-DVD market. Check out the trailer for In the Blood below.

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Cate Blanchett

What is Casting Couch? It’s a round-up of Hollywood casting news, not one of those porn videos where a 19-year-old gets exploited in a grimy-looking office. Move along, perv. Now that we’ve got all of those live action Snow White movies out of the way, it makes sense that we would move down the fairy tale lineup and start seeing a rash of new Cinderella projects popping up. And, if Disney has their way, their Mark Romanek-directed Cinderella script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna will be the hit that starts the trend. They’re trying to get casting for the film off on the right foot with the acquisition of a big name, as Deadline reports that the House of Mouse is in serious negotiations with Cate Blanchett to come on board to play a character called Lady Tremaine, known in some circles as the wicked stepmother. Given her experience playing a creepy elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, this seems like something of a perfect fit.

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Gina Carano in Haywire

When you think of the typical action hero, the image that immediately leaps to mind is undoubtedly that of a bloody, bandana-clad dude with a massive gun, or a rouge tough guy cop, or perhaps a macho kung-fu master. In other words…males. While action is a genre long dominated by men, there have been a few notable (read: 100% ass-kicking) action heroines that have left their own indelible mark: Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. To that list, we must now certainly add Gina Carano, star of Steven Soderbergh’s recent action thriller Haywire. Gina however had the advantage of being a certified badass long before throwing her first punch on screen. She is a longtime student of Muay Thai, a former champion MMA fighter, and was in fact involved in some of the first sanctioned female fights in MMA history. With knockout after knockout Carano, an undeniable knockout herself, proved that beauty and strength were far from mutually exclusive. Her work in Haywire, coupled with her successful MMA career, inspired the head honchos at ActionFest to create a new award for which she will be the first recipient. The Chick Norris Best Female Action Star Award, playfully adapted from the name of fest founder (and action legend in his own right) Chuck Norris, celebrates the contribution women have made and continue to make to action cinema. We got a chance to talk to Gina about the award, about Haywire, and, oddly, […]

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In 2009, Steven Soderbergh took Sasha Grey, a non-actress (unless you consider receiving a load to be emotional construction), and turned her into an indie darling for a brief moment. She’s since turned the opportunity into several other film roles including one in the upcoming and all-too-appropriate Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story. In 2012, Soderbergh pulled the same trick by casting MMA fighter Gina Carano in Haywire. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress is positioning herself for even more action by signing on for John Stockwell‘s In The Blood. Essentially, the movie is Taken with a female lead whose husband is kidnapped and much ass needs to be kicked to bring him back safely. However, it’ll be startling to see the husband dancing in a metal bikini for potential Arab buyers. Let’s hope she saves him before it gets to that. Stockwell’s previous work includes Into the Blue and Blue Crush so it’s nice to see him not working blue here, but in all seriousness, Carano needs to take a full course in acting lessons before launching herself into more projects. Getting away with blandness in action is one thing, but it won’t help if the only thing she’s good for is slamming her foot into people’s faces.

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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