Luis Guzman

laststand19

As written, The Last Stand is not an interesting movie. It’s a simple modern-day western as action flick with dialogue that’s nearly 100% expositional and a plot that offers nothing in the way of surprise, suspense or subtlety. It could really have been made at any time and starred any major or minor actor and been roughly the same as what we’re looking at this weekend with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the leading role. But The Last Stand is arriving now and indeed with Schwarzenegger’s name on the top of the marquee, his first starring vehicle in ten years. That makes the movie of note all by itself, in such a way that it might as well be actually titled “The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Or “Arnold is Back,” although this would imply that it’s an opportunity for winking bits of self-awareness. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of silly references to the Arnie classics and signature lines. He thankfully got the obvious “I’m back” shtick out of his system in last year’s The Expendables 2.

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The Last Stand

When The Last Stand hits theaters in a few months it will finally put an answer to two congruent question marks. One, can Arnold Schwarzenegger still carry an action film? And B, can Kim Ji-woon manage the same level of quality with his American debut that he’s enjoyed with his Korean films? The first teaser for the film gave us little to judge (aside from too much of co-star Johnny Knoxville), but now a true trailer has debuted. It fleshes out the supporting cast to include Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Luis Guzman and Jaimie Alexander (who was kind enough to bring along the tiny town from Thor), but the story remains similarly simplistic. A high-profile prisoner escapes federal custody and makes for the Mexican border in a souped-up sports car and protected by a small army of thugs. The only thing standing between him and freedom? A small-town sheriff, his ill-equipped deputies and the guy who pretended to be mentally handicapped from The Ringer. Check out the full trailer below.

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It’s hard not to be excited for the eventual release of Aztec Warrior, seeing as it’s set to combine the skills of Black Dynamite’s delightful director Scott Sanders and character acting’s patron saint Luis Guzman for a ridiculous tale of warring Mexican professional wrestlers. But, due to some concept art for the film that Twitch posted today, suddenly everyone’s feelings about the film might be a lot more confused. Sure, this poster titled ‘Aztec Warrior vs. The Office Robot’ looks pretty dang awesome, but what the heck are we actually looking at? Yep, you guessed it, that’s an artist’s rendering of Luis Guzman wearing a suit and a lucha libre mask while facing off with Robocop’s haywire robot ED-209. The question that any sane person must be asking after seeing this image is, “What exactly does a giant robot have to do with a movie about warring professional wrestlers?” Well, for one thing it’s not appropriate to ask a sane question about what is clearly going to be an insane project, and, for another, the image starts to make a lot more sense if you’ve followed the film careers of Mexican wrestling legends like Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras, whose movies Sanders cites as being inspirations for what he’s doing with Aztec Warrior.

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Luis Guzman has been a prominent character actor for long enough now that he’s practically become a household name just from playing the wacky side character is so many movies. But through his work with top notch directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Soderbergh, Guzman has long proven that he has the chops to provide a film with more than just wacky humor. This guy is a real actor, with potential to do great things. And still, even in a world where a leathery and tattooed Danny Trejo has gotten a chance at a starring role as Machete, Guzman is an actor who we’ve only seen playing the silly best friend (that I can recall, if you want to comb his ridiculously long IMDB page and prove me wrong, please do). But all that is about to change. Deadline Cayey is reporting that Scott Sanders, the man who made the hilarious and probably underrated Black Dynamite, has cast Guzman in the starring role of his next film, Aztec Warrior.

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Jee-Woon Kim’s Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring story about a western sheriff running afoul of a Mexican drug cartel leader seems to be getting closer to shooting, because a bunch of names have been added to the cast list. We already found out that Friday Night Lights star Zach Gilford would be joining the cast as Schwarzenegger’s young deputy, but now a whole host of pretty diverse, kind of interesting actors have been added to support that duo. The biggest of the new names on the Lionsgate cast list are probably Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville; one man who is famous for acting in a bunch of movies over the last three decades and another for getting hit in his balls a lot. Okay, that’s not fair, Knoxville has been fine in the few films I’ve seen him in, and I’m sure he’ll be fine with whatever they give him here. And Whitaker is always at least interesting to watch, even when he goes super hammy. But that’s a weird couple of actors to pair with Schwarzenegger if you ask me. I’d probably feel more comfortable with the choices if I knew what kind of characters they were playing. Whitaker and Knoxville aren’t the only new names though, a handful of less famous but still notable actors have been added as well. Let’s run through them: there’s Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Harry Dean Stanton, and Eduardo Noriega. Jaimie Alexander I’ve only seen in her small role in Thor, but she was playing a […]

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Cliches like the headline shouldn’t be taken lightly. They should be avoided at all cost, except when they are so accurate that it would make your nose bleed. In the case of Russell Brand slurping hooch and pitching woo in the remake of Arthur, we may need to recheck the records to see if Dudley Moore died in the same hospital on the same day Brand was born. The strength of Arthur rests solely on its actors. The sequences are more than interwoven sketch comedy, but they aren’t much more, and without the humor and absurdity inherent in the all-too-popular new character of the man child, this thing would have been as flat as if a giant magnet bed fell on it. Russell Brand is Arthur. And what Arthur is, is hilarious and heartfelt.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: The Taking of Pelham 123 and Imagine That.

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FSR

Kevin Carr looks at The Day the Earth Stood Still, Nothing Like the Holidays, Slumdog Millionaire and Wendy and Lucy, in theaters this week with the FSR Report Card.

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Columbus Rejects! Get a chance to see Nothing Like the Holidays two days before it opens… for free!

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