Jo Nesbo

Music Box Films

2011’s Headhunters is a refreshing blast of blackly comic Norwegian fun that mixes laughs and blood-soaked shenanigans into a deliriously enjoyable cinematic cocktail, and it rightfully exposed Jo Nesbø‘s fiction (on which it was based) to a wider audience. Remake rights were snapped up by Mark Wahlberg, Nesbø’s other books received attention from Hollywood (including one that attracted Martin Scorsese’s eye) and it even made our 2011 Best Foreign Films of the Year list. But it wasn’t the only movie that year to be based on the best-selling Norwegian author’s work. Jackpot features a lot of the same ingredients — dark comedy, graphic violence, inept criminals — but those similarities start and end at the surface. Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) is the only survivor of a shootout that left eight people dead. The police are actually working the carnage-strewn crime scene when Oscar arises from beneath a corpse surprised both that he’s alive and that the cops are staring at him. Oh, he’s also a bit unsure as to why there’s a shotgun in his hands. Detective Solør (Henrik Mestad) immediately takes him in and begins the interrogation, but Oscar’s explanation as to the events leading up to the massacre repeatedly tests the veteran detective’s bullshit detector. Even so, Oscar swears it all started with a bet on a soccer match.

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news headhunters hbo series

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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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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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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