Parker

discs murderer lives

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Murderer Lives at 21 (UK release) A murderer is stalking the streets of Paris, and his only calling card is a literal calling card bearing the name “Monsieur Durand.” The police are getting nowhere fast, but when a petty criminal offers evidence that the killer resides in a local boarding house a top detective goes in undercover to ferret the murderer out for arrest. Hilarity ensues. I’m not kidding about it being hilarious either. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot would go on to make Wages of Fear, Diabolique and others, but his debut film shows an assured hand with both the visual style and a fantastic tonal balance between the mystery and the laughs. The dialogue moves at a ’40s screwball comedy pace, and it’s loaded with wit, smarts and innuendo. Even more impressive is the film’s final shot… especially knowing it was shot during the Nazi occupation of France. [UK DVD extras: Interview]

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The Last Stand Arnold Schwarzenegger

In the summer of 2002, an action film was released that declared itself a new kind of spy movie. It said goodbye to the archaic days of Pierce Brosnan’s tired, nostalgia-mining James Bond in favor of something more 21st century. And in 2002, that meant a lot of nu-metal and X-Games stunts. That film was the absurd xXx, which turned out to be a minor hit before Vin Diesel’s action star career went into near-permanent stall mode for the better part of that decade. However, it was a much less arrogant film that ended up changing the spy genre. Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity made Matt Damon into the unlikeliest of action heroes. He proved that American action stars didn’t need to look and talk like professional wrestlers. Damon’s lean, agile, reserved, and intelligent character didn’t require obvious quips, unquestioning jingoism, or a money shot of him walking away from a sea of explosions to be a threatening bad ass. As the first three Bourne films were released to an exponentially bigger cult of admirers, the brute action stars of old faded into obsolescence. Arnold was a politician, Sly was nowhere to be seen, and a post-Shyamalan Bruce Willis took seemingly every part he could get his hands on, good or bad, only briefly returning to his action movie roots with a PG-13 muzzle. Then, at the end of the decade, with the release of The Expendables, the brute action hero nostalgia machine kicked into high gear. And promptly went […]

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Alfred Hitchcock Fighting Steven Spielberg

This week on the show, Scott and Geoff discuss Shane Carruth‘s 9-year hiatus as a viable career option, get some thoughts on Upstream Color from Rob Hunter at Sundance and talk to up-and-coming actor Micah Hauptman about his first big break in the movie Parker. Plus, in the main event, short filmmaker Aaron Morgan (No Way Out) and Aint It Cool‘s Eric “Quint” Vespe stop by to discuss the legacy of two titans of filmmaking, asking the all-too-important question: In 50 years, will Steven Spielberg overtake Alfred Hitchcock as the more popular icon of movies?  Download Episode #3

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Parker Movie Jason Statham

Adapting material from one medium to another is never an easy proposition. Script to screen is perhaps the most dangerous transition of all as the phrase “the book was better” is so often a common sentiment. The waters are especially murky for an established character like Donald E. Westlake‘s Parker, the star of no less than 24 novels and a dozen or so mostly unofficial film appearances. Perhaps the most well-known is Mel Gibson’s Porter from the 1999 film Payback. Using a different novel as the source material, screenwriter John McLaughlin and director Taylor Hackford are bringing the Parker character back to the big screen this weekend in the aptly, if simply, titled Parker. Adapted from “Flashfire,” one of the more recent Parker novels, Parker sees our titular antihero (played by Jason Statham) teaming up with four other guys to rob the Ohio State Fair. Things go south after they make good their escape only to spring the news that they’re using the take as seed money on a bigger score. Parker, of course, just wants to walk away with his share like they agreed on. After a heated disagreement in a Surburban, the four send the weakest guy to shoot Parker. Thinking him dead, they move on to planning their big job in Palm Beach. Injured but not dead, Parker sets out to hunt the four men down and settle the score.

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Parker Trailer Jason Statham

Jason Statham has made so many movies where he plays a gun-shooting, high-kicking criminal who lives by a strict moral code that the Jason Statham Movie has become a genre unto itself. Generally all of these movies have forgettable one word titles, like Crank, Safe, or Blitz, but that doesn’t end up mattering much, because you can just tell people that you’re going to see the new Jason Statham Movie, and they’ll know what you’re talking about. Jason Statham Movies generally have another thing in common, as well. They feature Jason Statham’s gruff charisma and high-impact fight scenes as their star, and offer up little else. Things like storytelling or supporting talent don’t really matter when you know that you can trot Statham out a couple times a year, have him go through the motions, and still turn a profit. Parker looks like it’s going to be a Jason Statham Movie with a couple more tricks up its sleeve, though. Instead of relying on the star power of Statham alone, director Taylor Hackford’s new film teams him up with big names like Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, and Nick Nolte (and Bunk from The Wire!). The results are impressive at first glance, with Statham obviously having immediate chemistry with Lopez especially.

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Nice work America, you really did it this time. This was the season that everybody was finally supposed to stop watching American Idol. This was the season they were coming back without all of their signature judges, surely a death knell for any long running television show. But instead of abandoning a sinking ship, you people kept watching the show in bigger numbers than ever, and now there’s renewed interest in the career of replacement judge Jennifer Lopez. I’m not saying that I have anything against Jennifer Lopez. She’s probably a nice enough rich person, and I respect the size and shape of her butt, but I was pretty content living in a world where she didn’t star in lame romantic comedies anymore, and those days appear to soon be over. Reports are that Lopez is in negotiations to appear in two films. The first is the Jason Statham starring action film Parker, which has been previously reported as being directed by Taylor Hackford and adapted from the written works of Richard Stark. Parker is a literary character who has been brought to the big screen before, most notably as played by Mel Gibson in Payback and Lee Marvin in Point Blank. If Lopez signed on to the film she would be playing the girl. I can’t imagine there’s much more to it than that.

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Jason Statham isn’t just an action star; he’s an action star with such a specific style, and whose films have adhered to such a coherent aesthetic, that I think of him as having a genre completely unto himself. Jason Statham is the star of Jason Statham movies, and it looks like he’s signing on to be in at least one more. He is under negotiations to star in Parker, which is under the direction of Taylor Hackford (Proof of Life, Ray) and coming from an adapted screenplay by John J. McLoughlin (Black Swan). What that screenplay is adapted from is the work of writer Richard Stark, or as he was known when he wasn’t being all pen-namey, Donald Westlake. The man wrote 28 novels over the course of his career, and 24 of them were featuring the character of Parker, a single word named, cold-blooded criminal type who engages in ruthless behavior but lives by his own code. Sounds very Jason Stathamy. This is the first time that the Parker character has been brought to the big screen in name, but he has been used as source material before, for things like Lee Marvin’s character in Point Blank, Robert Duvall’s character in The Outfit, and Mel Gibson’s character in Payback. There is no word on whether or not this film will be a direct translation of any of Westlake’s works, or if it will just swim around in the Parker milieu, but I’m sure we can all bank on the […]

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