Kellan Lutz

THE LEGEND OF HERCULES

Oh, January. It’s like we don’t even need any other months when the first one can supply us with such strong contenders for the best of the year and the worst of the year. Guess which category The Legend of Hercules falls under. Hint: it’s not playing at Sundance. I know, it’s too early to be sure that this will fall on our list of the most awful movies of 2014, and we’ve got another Hercules movie out this summer from Brett Ratner, so you know it could actually get much worse. At least that competing blockbuster has The Rock as its lead, promising a charisma that Legend star Kellan Lutz just completely lacks. Not that more personality would have made this movie a lot better, but it could have used someone with more appeal than if they’d just cast an actual rock in the role of the demigod. This is supposed to be a legendary figure, after all. Until this movie, Lutz was best known for being a regular in the Twilight movies. Those are movies I’ve seen and, I have no shame in saying, sometimes enjoyed. And yet I have absolutely no memory of his presence or character in that series. That’s how unimpressive he is as an actor. He kind of reminds me of Sam Worthington, only without the talent. In The Legend of Hercules, he’s occasionally part of a large battle scene, and whether he’s wearing a helmet or not doesn’t matter; he never stands out. Nor does […]

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Starring Kellan Lutz

Many a year ago, Taylor Kitsch was lauded as the next great male heartthrob. Then came John Carter. Then, Battleship. Now, he’s lucky to have landed a role in Almost Heroes 3D, the next animated feature from DigiArt Productions (which sounds more than a little like an accredited online institute). Kellan Lutz has clearly been studying under Kitsch’s wing- stepping into the spotlight as a somewhat generic megahunk with the Twilight films and Immortals, then plunging immediately downward. The actor may be a part of the next Expendables film, but so is every other male actor in Hollywood; the only two starring roles he’s got lined up now are a couple of low-budget clunkers. Neither Hercules: The Legend Begins nor Tarzan 3D have a whole lot going for them. So let’s start with Hercules, shall we? The film is already in the unfortunate position of going up against Dwayne Johnson‘s 265 pounds of mythical Greek fury, but a look at the newest trailer (which comes courtesy of Yahoo) only make the situation more dire. The Legend Begins mixes equal parts 300, Gladiator and Spartacus, as the mythical son of Zeus is forced to test his legendary strength in the gladiatorial arena. He’ll build a rapport with the crowds who munch popcorn and await his gruesome demise (Gladiator) and test the bounds of film editing as he abruptly switches from slow-mo, to fast-mo, to slow-mo once more (300). You can’t really hold this against Lutz. Hercules: The Legend Begins just looks like old […]

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dueling hercules

Something oddly wonderful happened in early ’70s Hollywood the likes of which was never glimpsed again. No, I’m not referring to Elliott Gould’s emergence as a leading man and international sex symbol. Instead I’m talking about a situation where two studios with similar projects decided to combine forces instead of racing to complete competing movies. 20th Century Fox had the rights to Frank Robinson’s and Thomas Scortia’s novel “The Glass Inferno,” and WB had the rights to Richard Stern’s “The Tower.” Both books were disaster tales about a devastating high-rise fire, so the studios combined their efforts resulting in 1974′s The Towering Inferno. It was an immense success. Similar scenarios have happened many times since with competing projects bearing a remarkable resemblance to each other in plot or subject, but none of them have ended in that same congenial way. Either one film drops out of the running (think Linda Lovelace biopic Inferno surrendering to Lovelace), or two similarly themed movies hit screens within months of each other. That’s actually the most common scenario, and it’s set to happen again next year. Kind of. Two CGI-filled epics about Hercules are set for release in 2014. February will bring Hercules: The Legend Begins, a Renny Harlin film starring Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz as the muscular hero, and then Brett Ratner‘s Hercules with Dwayne Johnson in the title role flexes its way into theaters in July. While these head-to-heads are often tough to call a victor on in advance, this one seems like a […]

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I believe Mickey Rourke to be one of the greatest actors of his generation. Thought to be the second coming of Brando in the 1980s, he turned in incendiary performances in such films as The Pope of Greenwich Village, Diner and Barfly. His career – and physical appearance –  suffered a major setback in the ’90s, forcing him to take roles in lesser movies until his salvation appeared to have come in the form of his Oscar-nominated performance in The Wrestler. His appearance, therefore, in Conor Allyn’s messy Java Heat is especially sad because he did not coast on the success of that performance but rather backslid into roles not meriting his talent. Java Heat is a complete waste of Rourke, as he phones it in as French-accented terrorist, inexplicably named Malik, who is up against American FBI Agent/Marine Jake (Kellan Lutz) and Indonesian cop Hashim (Ario Bayu) in the quest to recover the kidnapped Sultana of Java (Atiquah Hasiholan). While the film has decently directed action sequences and colorful, bustling crowd scenes filmed on location in Indonesia, the plot is extremely silly and predictable and features more than a few tasteless moments. And while Lutz is adequately ripped to front an action film, he does not a leading man make.

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Java Heat

A reckless American bad boy who doesn’t play by the rules? An exotic locale with a quip-delivering partner? Lots of bullets flying with little consequence? Java Heat has it all — including the cherry on top: Mickey Rourke being a crazy bad guy. In the film, a terrorist attack leaves the Sultana of Indonesia dead and his daughter kidnapped. Jake (Kellan Lutz) struggles to produce complete sentences while trying to solve the case alongside Hashim (Ario Bayu) who doesn’t think Jake has enough clever comebacks to be a real policeman. But seriously,  you should watch the trailer just to try to understand why Lutz has trouble saying his lines. It’s baffling:

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

As someone who’s somehow resisted the pull of Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight books but has seen all five films, I feel confident saying the first three movies (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) exist on a sliding scale of awfulness. They’re bland, lacking in anything resembling emotion or humanity, poorly acted, terribly written and insulting to the concepts of free will, family, gender equality, canine care, individuality and love itself. Breaking Dawn Part 1 changed some of that for the better. The themes were still offensive to rational people who prefer a uterus be connected to a functioning and free-spirited brain, but director Bill Condon managed to inject a degree of humor and zaniness to the proceedings that embraced the entertainment value inherent in the story but missing from the earlier films. Basically, he made it fun. And thankfully, he returned to helm part 2. To recap part 1, Bella (Kristen Stewart) the human and Edward (Robert Pattinson) the vampire have married, fornicated and given birth to a baby they felt it necessary to name Renesmee. While still a fetus the little scamp had sucked the life from its mother leading to Bella’s death shortly after Edward decided to perform an emergency Cesarean with his teeth. He acts quickly and bites her again, this time in an attempt to save her life by turning her into a bloodsucker, and it works. She opens her inhuman, crimson eyes, and the credits roll. Oh, and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) the werewolf pees on Bella’s newborn daughter […]

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Tarzan 3D

As of this summer, there was still a considerable interest in Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ mostly hairless ape. Writer Adam Cozad revealed some heavy interest from directors for his take, Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer was planning a trip of his own to the jungle and Kellan Lutz had signed up for a motion capture version called Tarzan 3D from German director Reinhard Klooss. Because the world has a sense of humor, it’s the last one there that got made and has a trailer out. To be blunt, the CGI involved is rudimentary, but there’s something pleasing about seeing how far the world of low-rent mo-cap has come. It’s still far behind the technology curve, but that’s to be expected from a small outlet. At the very least, it’s the kind of thing that – even if you laugh at it – you can still find encouraging in a small way. Unfortunately, even if the visuals can be overlooked, the trailer itself is a long, slow drag at 2 minutes. Of course, the trailer (via The Playlist) is in German, but have no fear because I’ve provided a translation. Check it out for yourself:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes to war. He strips down to his muscular awesomeness and shimmies into a codpiece. After applying a solid gold breastplate, he’s too exhausted to actually go to war, so he heads to the local movie cinema to catch Immortals, wondering if Isabel Lucas has ever eaten a carbohydrate in her life. Then he slips into a housedress and sneaks into an early screening of J. Edgar. After a quick nap, he tries to escape the horror that is Jack and Jill, but alas, that did not happen. You can send him care packages now, courtesy of his local mental institution.

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On the final big movie day for Comic-Con, Cole, Robert and Jack had their sanity tested and almost passed. Proof of this came at the end of the night when all three ended up delirious in a fancy hotel room watching the Resident Evil movies. What on earth could cause anyone to watch those movies? Exactly. This year’s Con was subdued in a great way. The movie content suffered because of it (in terms of blockbusters and big moments) but it also triumphed because smaller films were able to have their day in the sun. Day One was full of great toys and strange Twilight moments, Day Two had R-rated pizza guys and a Spielbergian explosion, so what did Day Three have in store?

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“Coming this fall: an action event from the director of The Cell and The Fall.” Yeah, it still sounds odd to me, too. Once it was announced that Tarsem would be tackling a big swords and sandals epic, it elicited a feeling of both excitement and confusion. As for the exciting part — wouldn’t it be interesting to see how such a visionary can put a spin on this genre and what he could do with an action beat? As for the confusion — isn’t this a big studio picture? With epics such as this, directors have countless people to answer to. But Tarsem didn’t seem interested in answering to those people. This a director that couldn’t have a greater distaste for by-the-numbers filmmaking. As he says below, he’s a polarizing filmmaker. Both The Cell and The Fall received both wild appraise and heaps of venom. Can Tarsem still bring that interesting polarization to a sizable fall release? From the sound of it, yes, he can. When I approached Tarsem to discuss The Fall and wish him luck on Immortals, the very funny and honest filmmaker ended up giving me a quick and unplanned 1-on-1 about not dealing with studio suits, his work ethic with actors, and the methods of Mickey Rourke.

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The comparisons to 300 will be inevitable, so let’s just get them out of the way. Yes, the teaser for Immortals makes it look an awful lot like 300 (and the “From the Producers of 300” bit only amplifies it), but it looks like a far more visually dynamic version. Snyder’s movie looked amazing, but Singh has a more varied palette and a bigger paint brush, so everything here seems a bit more vibrant instead of automatically being washed out in sepia tones and blood reds. Those are definitely still there, though. This teaser is intense, and it showcases Singh’s best strengths as a filmmaker: his eye for production design. Check it out for yourself and get your blood flowing:

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Two minor roles are betting hard on their importance and demanding more money to make all the girls squeal one last time.

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Daniel Dae Kim will be headed to Louisiana with Samuel L. Jackson. Hopefully, they’ll do it road trip style and document the journey.

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Perception is everything in Hollywood, up to and including being more important than reality. And when a major production goes into a period of reshoots, that is often perceived as a bad thing.

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Twilight Cast

When we first started covering the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s sensational novel, Twilight, less than a week ago, we definitely did not realize how much interest it was going to generate. We also didn’t realise exactly how many articles we gonna crop up as soon as we started monitoring it!

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