Jaume Collet-Serra

Liam Neeson in NON-STOP

You’d think, at a certain point, people would stop messing with Liam Neeson. Kidnap his daughter? He will kill you all. Mess with his memory? He will kill you all. Abduct his wife? He will kill you all. Glue his parents into place? He will ki-well he won’t be happy about it anyway. But no, the bad guys refuse to catch a clue, and now the fools are at it again. Bill Marks (Neeson) is an Irish-born U.S. Air Marshal having a really bad day. He’s drinking heavily, arguing with his boss, and heading out on a trans-Atlantic flight to London. Oh, and he hates to fly. Things worsen when an anonymous text hits his phone threatening to kill someone on-board the plane unless $150 million is wired into a specified account. Ever the professional, Marks sets out to find the culprit by any means necessary. Non-Stop is closer to Taken than it is to Unknown on the sliding scale of Neeson ass-kickery flicks, meaning it’s miles ahead of the brain-dead Taken 2, and that’s great news for fans of fun, quotable action-thrillers.

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mindscape

Is House of Wax and Orphan director Jaume Collet-Serra really enough of a name that movies can sell themselves by giving him a Tarantino-esque “Presented by” credit in their advertising? Likely not, but that’s not stopping Warner Bros. from trying to sell a new supernatural thriller called Mindscape with his name anyway, even though he’s just involved as one of its producers. The most unusual part of this development is that Mindscape isn’t the sort of subtitled, genre-heavy pick that studios usually pull these sorts of tricks on—actually it’s a pretty intriguing-looking thriller that’s seemingly performed completely in English, and it has big time movie star Mark Strong’s handsome and compelling face at its center to boot. Add in a supernatural element wherein Strong’s character can enter people’s memories and an up-and-coming young actress in Taissa Farmiga (The Bling Ring, American Horror Story), and this is exactly the sort of movie that audiences don’t mind giving a chance to. No offense to Mr. Collet-Serra, of course. I’m sure his help is appreciated, and maybe this is just a marketing strategy that they’re using in Spain? Click through to watch the trailer.

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akira

By the time Orphan and Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra was originally hired to helm the live-action adaptation of the legendary manga and anime property “Akira,” the project had already seen so many ups and downs and been forced into so many compromises that we reacted incredulously to the idea that he’d ever actually get the job done. Sure enough, a number of months later it was announced that, due to problems with budget, script, and casting, the entire production was being put on hold. It wasn’t long after this hiccup that Collet-Serra, an in-demand director, dropped off the project completely in order to head for greener pastures, thus rendering Akira delayed indefinitely Despite all of this, Akira has long proven to be a project that refuses to die, just about as fervently as it refuses to live, so of course there are reports that the whole thing is about to start up production all over again.

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The proposed live action Akira being developed over at Warner Bros. is slowly and steadily becoming the most talked-about film project of all time. The ups and downs of bringing this beloved story to the big screen have been well documented, but the most recent news made it look like this project might finally be ending its wild ride. Reports came in last week that all work on the film had been halted, the entire thing was being rethought, and maybe it could get scrapped indefinitely. But that was last week. This week, Variety is reporting that a new strategy for resuscitating director Jaume Collet-Serra’s project is being hatched. It sure didn’t take long to get the roller coaster going again. Last week’s reports said that the main reason for Akira being halted was that it needed to, yet again, go through some budget cuts. But according to a source that talked to Variety, that’s not exactly the case. While trimming some more fat from the budget is certainly something that Collet-Serra and his producers are looking at, mainly the reason the film is being re-tooled is just that there are still problems with the script they’re working with. Reportedly there are still questions about some character elements and the film’s look. And that’s after this thing has already received rewrites from the likes of Steve Kloves and David James Kelly.

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The live-action adaptation of the legendary manga and anime property Akira has had one of the rockiest roads to the big screen of any movie I can remember. There is a lot of disagreement out there about what a Hollywood version of Akira should look like, but I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that nothing Warner Bros. has tried to do with the property so far has come close to hitting the mark. Back when Albert Hughes was still going to direct the project there were fan gripes about the film being forced into a PG-13 rating, after Hughes left the project everyone was left to complain about a new director and a slashed budget, and I don’t think anybody has been thrilled with any of the casting that has been done. But, finally, the time for tears may be over. Heat Vision is reporting that a stop has been put to all work on the project. Offices are closing, talent is being sent home, and the whole thing is being re-thought. Director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar will spend the next couple weeks ironing out issues with the script and trying to once again cut the budget, this time from the $90m range down to the $60 or $70m range, so that deals can be made with more actors. As of now, Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) is the only name that they’ve been able to secure, with actors like Kristen […]

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After Gary Oldman reportedly passed on the role, Ken Watanabe (an actual Japanese person!) has been offered the part of The Colonel in the remake of Akira. The fine folks at Twitch dropped the news, and they also point out that Watanabe’s work in the United States has all been through Warner Bros. so the partnership makes a lot of sense. What doesn’t exactly make sense is why they didn’t go to him first. His profile is fairly high after so many years in the spotlight, especially after coming through strong in Inception. What also still doesn’t make sense is why all the characters are keeping their Japanese names while being completely white bread. If everyone signs on the dotted line and Watanabe ends up calling Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart by the names from the Manga (while they simply call him The Colonel), it’s going to sound more than a little bizarre. Hooray for Americanized remakes!

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This whole Akira remake business is still incredibly flimsy, but it’s starting to get some weight behind it. Even though Jaume Collet-Serra hasn’t done anything so far to prove that he can handle this type of material (or that he’s anything more than average as a filmmaker), and even though it was recently rumored that Tron Legacy‘s Garrett Hedlund was being considered for the main role, news of two heavy-hitting actors possibly joining the cast might help wash away all the bad aftertaste. Or at least some of it. Twitch is reporting that two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham-Carter and shockingly no-time Oscar nominee Gary Oldman are in more developed talks to join the cast as Lady Miyako and The Colonel respectively. Oldman’s role (going by the original) would see him doing some awesome genetic testing, placing Neo-Tokyo (or wherever they end up setting it) under martial law, and generally being a bad ass. As for Bonham-Carter, Miyako was a male figure in the original, so it’s unclear whether she’d be playing his wife, or if the character has been changed to a female role. Casting two incredible actors helps a lot, but the whole project is still a massive gamble that just hasn’t set any fireworks off yet. Seeing a poster for a beloved story that reads “From the Director of Orphan” isn’t exactly the kind of thing that sets heartbeats pounding. Maybe a villainous Oldman is enough?

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Jaume Collet-Serra is a filmmaker that specializes in the ridiculousness. With both Orphan and Unknown, he managed to spin conventional sounding stories into big pieces of oddball-ness, although he was less successful with his “I don’t know who I am!” thriller. Somehow, his slightly deranged Orphan and slightly less deranged Unknown made bank for Warner Brothers. So it’s not much of a surprise that the studio has brought on the up and comer to helm the Akira remake, which I think we have a good chance of seeing in, let’s say, 2025.

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We’ve known for a while that since Zack Snyder is directing Man of Steel, somebody else will have to come on board to direct the sequel to 300 and that it probably won’t end up being called Xerxes, like Frank Miller’s graphic novel sequel was. Things seem to be progressing on both those fronts. We now have word of what that new title is going to be and that the suits have narrowed the candidates to direct down to two choices.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hit his head and spent the better part of his time wandering around Berlin looking for January Jones. Soon he unlocked the key to his past and realized he was an alien who is hiding among the people of Earth, hunted by big dudes with tattoos and trench coats. Fortunately, he woke up from this terrifying dream to realize the true nightmare… there’s another Big Momma movie with Martin Lawrence and on-screen son Brandon T. Jackson in fat suits. To quote many a movie: “Noooooooooooo!”

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Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his daughter wife Elizabeth (January Jones) arrive in Berlin for a conference, but as they enter their hotel he realizes he’s forgotten his briefcase back at the airport. He hops in a cab to retrieve it and instead crashes into a river, dies for a couple minutes, and winds up in a coma. He awakens a few days later and discovers another man (Aidan Quinn) has stepped into his shoes and stolen his identity. And his wife is going along with it. No one believes he is who he says he is, all of the evidence points to the contrary, and not even a very particular set of skills may be enough to prove otherwise. It’s Taken meets Frantic (by way of a handful of titles that would surely ruin the film’s main reveal were they to be named) as Harris is forced to scour his way through Berlin in search of the truth with only a troubled woman (Diane Kruger) and an ex-East German Stasi agent (Bruno Ganz) on his side. Has the world gone mad? Has he? Or is there something far more sinister at play here? The film builds and maintains a fairly suspenseful mystery complete with a handful of solidly staged action sequences before eventually revealing the secret… at which point the entire thing gets lost in a stink cloud of ridiculous and convoluted storytelling.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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If someone made a movie that combined The Fugitive, The Game, and Taken, would that pique your interest? Of course it would. And, of course it will. The new trailer for Unknown (which apparently isn’t called Unknown White Male anymore) shows a very confused, very pissed off, very revenge-fueled Liam Neeson as a man whose identity seems to have been stolen. The world that opens up is one of deception and conspiracy, and the coma he was in probably doesn’t add much to his credibility. The bottom line: this trailer is intense and promises a complex film with plenty of asses being kicked.

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liamneeson

After riding around in a black-painted panel van, Liam Neeson will hop out, get in a car accident, and wake up to a world that doesn’t know who he is. Sound great right? Only one problem.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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