London Boulevard

This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Some fun titles are hitting shelves today, and not a single one of them rocked the box office. Of course, some of them never had the chance… but Tower Heist? Pretty sure that was intended to be a hit. Other releases this week include the Elizabeth Olsen stunner Martha Marcy May Marlene, the Korean action epic War of the Arrows, the bland Channing Tatum (redundancy alert!) thriller Son of No One, and more! As an added bonus one of the eleven entries below has been contributed by the highly educated and spry Landon Palmer! Can you guess which one? As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Retreat A couple dealing with marital issues heads to a remote island to save their relationship, but when a stranger washes up onshore with a fantastical tale of a worldwide plague the three of them enter into a deadly game of survival.This British thriller takes major cues from the superior Dead Calm, but it manages to create solid suspense, tension and uncertainty of its own. Cillian Murphy and Jamie Bell give strong, convincing performances as the husband and stranger, respectively, but Thandie Newton doesn’t fare as well. Still, this is the kind of thriller that deserves better than to get lost in the shuffle. Check out my full review here.

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Writer, now director, William Monahan crafts a unique brand of hard-boiled men. The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter never follows a guy who’s gonna throw-down and flex at any chance he gets. His protagonists are flawed, paradoxical, and in London Boulevard, even kind of feminine. Monahan’s adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel features a sensitive lead with no interest in being a gangster, an antagonist who’s more interested in kissing the Farrell character than killing him, and every other so-called mobster in this film could not be more incompetent. Unlike The Departed, Monahan has written an anti-gangster picture. Here’s what writer-director William Monahan had to say about vulnerable men, the current state of exposition, and why the last shot of The Departed still works, even if you didn’t get it:

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Earlier today I spoke with William Monahan about his directorial debut, the really fun London Boulevard (now on VOD), and while speaking with the candid filmmaker, I couldn’t help but ask about the viking epic he was initially going to write for Mel Gibson. The untitled project was announced almost two years ago; there have been next to zero updates since then, with the exception of Leonardo DiCaprio leaving the project. Is Monahan still penning Gibson’s viking epic? No, and he never did. The writer/director said that he’s no longer working on the project — when asked about it, he responded by saying, “No, no. I don’t know exactly what’s happening with that, except it’s not going on right now. I didn’t [write anything for it], and it never went past the announcement, I believe.” Anyone who’s seen the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven knows that Monahan is more than capable of crafting an epic, and the same goes for Gibson; their sensibilities would be perfect for one another. Sadly, their two grand styles won’t be colliding for this once promising-sounding project. Hopefully it’ll still happen for Gibson, though. It’s been too many years since Apocalypto, which is one of the best chase films ever made.

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William Monahan‘s directorial debut, London Boulevard, has been sitting on the shelf for some time now. The gangster pic got released in the U.K. last November, but we have seen no official press materials stateside. FilmDistrict was originally going to distribute the film for us American folk, but that no longer seems to be the case. IFC Films has swung in and picked up the U.S. distribution rights. With the talent involved, it could very well be their first investment to earn more than ten dollars. Considering they are a company that takes admirable chances, good for them. They will be giving Monahan’s film their usual indie treatment. First, it’ll premiere on VOD (October 5th), then later on hit limited release (November 14th). One would think a movie starring Colin Farrell would get a wider release than this, but the strategy makes sense. London Boulevard is not the most commercial film, and it’s far from a critical darling. The movie was ripped to shreds by critics in the U.K., and it’ll probably be received the same way here.

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It’s really hard to get a handle on what William Monahan is doing tonally with London Boulevard in the first trailer for his directorial debut. At first, it seems like a zany gangster comedy in the vein of Guy Ritchie; Ritchie seems to be the comparison everyone else is using, and it’s understandable why they’d want to market it that way. But when “London Calling” kicks in, it starts looking more serious and more in the vein of Monahan’s The Departed.

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statham-assassin-1

Jason Statham has been cast in a movie! Will he take his shirt of at some point? (Rhetorical question.)

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