Sam Worthington

Arnold Schwarzenegger and friends in SABOTAGE

Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s post-Governor career is an interesting, if not wholly successful, mix of a little bit of new and a whole lot of desperate clinging to the past. The former will be on display in the upcoming Maggie where he plays father to a daughter infected with a zombie virus, and the latter has been evident in The Last Stand, Escape Plan, his appearances in The Expendables franchise, and upcoming sequels to past triumphs. His action films have been cartoonishly unrealistic and as interested in being “fun” as they’ve been in being exciting. His latest film though is a far more serious affair. Deadly violent, incredibly gory, and saturated with themes that echo both Schwarzenegger’s past as an action hero and the real life cost of fighting evil. Unfortunately, David Ayer‘s Sabotage also wants to be fun, and therein exists just one of its missteps. John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Schwarzenegger) is head of an elite DEA assault team populated by the manliest of men and one gung-ho woman. Their latest bust involves infiltrating a known drug dealer dwelling, and it ends with numerous dead bad guys, one of their own down, and $10 million in dirty money missing. The team brazenly steals and hides the cash during the bust, but when they return for their payout the cash is gone. An investigation and suspensions follow, but when the team returns to work they find themselves prey to a violent predator with a taste for the grotesque. It’s the end of days and […]

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Arnold Schwarzenegger continues the post-gubernatorial Hollywood comeback that started with 2012′s The Expendables 2, with the one-liner laden Sabotage, which appears not to be content until it has checked the box of damn near every action flick standard. I have zero problem with this. Co-written with screenwriter Skip Woods (Hitman, The A-Team) and directed by David Ayers (Training Day, End of Watch) the film features Schwarzenegger as John “Breacher” Wharton, the hard-ass leader of an equally hard-ass crew of elite DEA operatives. When Breacher and his team stash a 10 million dollar haul after being sent to take down the safe house of a drug cartel, they’re slowly picked off one by one for their dirty deed. The premise is interesting, because they’re definitely not straight up good folks. Still, audiences will be rooting for them plenty all the same. Hardcore bros and hot ladies with guns slinging awesome zingers and fist bumping between battles with baddies is almost always fun times, right? Check out the red band trailer (courtesy of IGN) for Sabotage below, and being that it’s the weekend, feel free to make a drinking game of the liberally used f@#ks scattered throughout.

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Beer ads may be a cornucopia of cheap jokes, swimsuit models and burly bearded men stirring great barrels of barley, but it’s not always easy cooking up those brews. Especially if you’re Freddy Heineken, the grandson of the Heineken beer founder and a victim of kidnapping in 1983. But the world will soon become far more acquainted with the Heineken heir and his story, as the aptly titled Kidnapping Freddy Heineken has just filled out its cast with a slew of recognizable names. The most recognizable being Anthony Hopkins, who’ll be portraying the titular victim. As well, The Hollywood Reporter has Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten joining the cast, along with the lesser-known Dutch actor Mark van Eeuwen and the Australian Tom Cocquerel (who’ll be making his debut performance in a feature film). Heineken was kidnapped by five men, so it’s fairly safe to assume that at least a few of these new male additions will be stepping into the shoes of his kidnappers. Heineken’s driver was also kidnapped alongside him, though, so expect at least one more name to be added to the cast. Daniel Alfredson, director of the first two Swedish Dragon Tattoo films, will be helming Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, and filming will take place in Belgium, Amsterdam and New Orleans, so the film will likely have some Northern European flair to go along with its Dutch protagonist.

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Movie Stars

As if answering our well-established hypothesis about Hollywood shutting down the production of genuine movie stars, the industry offered a positively scientific blitz of testing this year to challenge that assertion and ultimately prove it correct. The home version of the game is to try and name the last movie star minted by the studios, the last big name to emerge and become wildly popular because of their appearances in motion pictures, the last figure to be crafted by the system in order to help secure a bigger box office for it. However, filmmakers gave us something much more concrete this year in order to prove once and for all that — while a face or two still rises from the periphery to the forefront in movies – we should be mourning the concept of “The Movie Star.” They gave us Channing Tatum and Taylor Kitsch. Let’s start with some magic.

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Drift Movie 2013

Drift, from the appropriately named Morgan O’Neill and Ben Nott, treks back to the 1970s to explore some truly horrendous wigs and the wild west of surfing down under. This is where the sport evolved from hobby into an international industry. In the movie, Jimmy (Xavier Samuel) and Andy Kelly (Myles Pollard) struggle with family debt, the drug underground and societal backlash while opening up a surf shop out of their backyard. Sam Worthington is the biggest name here with perhaps the worst wig of all, playing a wandering surf photographer that becomes friends with the brothers. The trailer showcases a blend between a sports movie and an Aussie crime flick. Check it out for yourself:

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It’s fair to say Jake Sully isn’t all that fascinating of an accent dropping character. He’s all stock, but the world of Avatar certainly was not. James Cameron apparently gets that, since he already plans on losing Sully for Avatar 4. That’s right, Cameron is already thinking of Avatar 4. After he completes his “thematic” trilogy, he’ll return to Pandora to give us a prequel.

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Up until this point they’ve been calling David Ayer’s upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring crime film Ten. Which has made sense, because its a story about 10 DEA agents who rip off a drug cartel and then get bumped off one by one. But Ten is also a generic title that could mean just about anything, so in order to make the film stand out and be more recognizable they’ve now given it the super descriptive and unforgettable title of…Breacher. Okay, so that just makes it sound like this is a movie about a whale or a submarine. Who actually knows why they changed the title, but the deed has been done, and the important thing to focus on is that there’s some new casting news that might be of interest. Breacher, as has been reported, comes from a Skip Woods script that’s loosely based off of an Agatha Christie story called “And Then There Were None.” Christie’s original story detailed the systematic comeuppance of ten previously unpunished murderers. Seeing as the very core of this story is a group of people getting what’s coming to them, it’s going to be very necessary for Ayer to compile an ensemble cast. And as much as we all might love to watch Schwarzenegger don various wigs and prosthetics to play every part, that’s kind of Eddie Murphy’s thing, and wouldn’t be appropriate.

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With most of the movie-going world still unsold on Sam Worthington as a leading man (really, guy, Man on a Ledge? The Titans films?), the Aussie actor has perhaps made a very wise choice for his next big action role. Variety reports (via ComingSoon) that Worthington is in talks to join (and is, in fact, expected to accept an offer) for David Ayer‘s Ten, a film that would see him starring alongside, you guessed it, ten other stars (including Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joined the project in May). Reportedly a “testosterone-heavy riff” of an Agatha Christie-penned classic (“And Then There Were None”), the film has been scripted by Skip Woods and sounds like one hell of a blast. It will follow “an elite DEA task force that deals with the world’s deadliest drug cartels. Specializing in complex mobile operations, the team executes a tactical raid on a cartel safe house. What looks to be a typical raid turns out to be an elaborate theft operation, pre-planned by the DEA squad. After hiding millions in stolen cash, the team believes their secret is safe – until someone begins assassinating them one by one.” Sounds like a more cerebral spin on The Expendables, which sounds like some superb popcorn cinema.

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True-life American military tales are gunning for a real resurgence lately – what with Ben Affleck’s Argo, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, and the Robert Pattinson-starring Mission: Blacklist – and it looks like that means we’re not safe from a 3D take on such projects. A morning press release out of the Cannes Film Festival (oh, and heads up, get ready for a metric ton of these in the coming days) reveals that Freedom Films and Paradox Entertainment have made a deal to produce the “epic action pic Thunder Run,” based on the book “Thunder Run – The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad.” In case that title doesn’t quite clue you in on the film’s subject matter, it will detail “the untold story of the dangerous and bloody capture of Baghdad by American Forces at the onset of the Iraq War. In April 2003, three battalions and fewer than a thousand men launched a violent thrust of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into the heart of a city of five million, igniting a three-day blitzkrieg, which military professionals often refer to as a lightning strike, or ‘thunder run.’” Despite the fact that the film’s producers are already flashing about its 3D bent and terming it an “epic,” Thunder Run is coming at us (really, right at our faces) with a solid action pedigree. Simon West (The Expendables 2, Con Air) will direct from a script by Robert Port and Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), who are adapting from the book […]

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It’s gotten to the point where studio period and fantasy epics are as ubiquitous as sequels, remakes, and superheroes. This of course creates a paradox in that the entire reason for the existence of these films is their flash and spectacle. If Wrath of the Titans, a sequel to a remake focusing on a mythological superhero, has taught me anything, it’s that it might be time for these movies to vanish to the ethereal plains…at least for a little while. The latest in a string of underwhelming, despite themselves, period epics, Wrath is a tedious chore as messy in its visuals as it is frustratingly poor in its construction. The story here is that Perseus (Sam Worthington), having saved the world from both Medusa and the Kraken, is called into hero service again when his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) is taken prisoner by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez). The two conspirators plan to use Zeus’ power to release the sinister father of gods: Kronos. I use the word “story” loosely because whatever moments in the film aren’t the chapter distinctions in “How Not to Write to Write a Screenplay” are simply cribbed from Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”; more accurately from someone reading “Baby’s First Edith Hamilton” picture book. The screenwriters flipped through it, carelessly flopping their fingers on the most eye-catching beasts, exclaiming, “this one, and this one, and this one…put them all in there.” At this point, one intelligent assistant offered, “guys, those aren’t even Perseus stories.” That […]

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Drinking Games

With the weekend here and most DVD and Blu-rays hitting the shelves on Tuesday, you might have already checked out our weekly drinking game for The Thing. If you want another chance – or another excuse – to drink a little this weekend, try out this bonus drinking game based on the killer thriller Texas Killing Fields. If you liked the teaming up of current “It” stars Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington, both of whom have been in about six dozen movies in the last couple years, you could watch this film…or The Debt. But if you watch The Debt, this drinking game won’t work very well.

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Not a whole lot of negotiators on film look like Elizabeth Banks. They’re usually gruff, jaded, overweight, sloppy, and any other cliche description you can think of. Most of those adjectives don’t much apply to Banks, whose negotiator even uses her looks for the job. However, even though the actress doesn’t come anywhere close to the appearance of a 300-pound 50-something, she still gets to do plenty of things those old men get to do. She gets to shout, “This is my negotiation,” and without having to be bold and off-putting while doing it. That’s an accomplishment right there. It’s a nice little twist on the genre, and in my brief conversation with Banks, that’s what she seemed to be the most impressed about when it came to Man on a Ledge, the new thriller involving Sam Worthington hanging on a ledge for mysterious reasons…mysterious reasons that were mostly revealed in the trailer.

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Man on a Ledge

“You know, Mikey, one day you’re going to stick your dick in the wrong door, and somebody’s going to slam it,” and that line represents Man on a Ledge in a nutshell. Goofy and laughable, but overall kind of charming. Director Asger Leth, with the assistance of commercial honcho mega producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, has made a through and through B movie. What you’d expect from a movie called Man on a Ledge, you get. It’s all fairly preposterous and thin, and Leth knows not to let it go on too long before its cheesy charms lose steam. The plot, well, you already know it. Anyone who’s seen that trailer has seen it all. For those of you who live under a rock though, Ledge follows Nick Cassidy, played compellingly enough by Sam Worthington and a dodgy accent. Cassidy wants to prove his innocence over a stolen diamond, so like any wise man, he escapes prison and goes to hang out on a ledge. But things aren’t what they seem, as is always the case. As he teases a suicide, his brother Joe (Jamie Bell) and his eye-candy girlfriend, played by the suavely named Genesis Rodriguez, go about robbing the man who may have framed Nick, the snarling David Englander (Ed Harris).

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr tapes some alcohol bottles to his knuckles and gets ready to brawl with wolves. Unfortunately, he first drinks all the booze in the bottles and ends up passing out in the snow. When he wakes up, he brushes himself off and heads downtown to climb on the ledge of a tall building. The police are called to try and save him, but Kevin ends up jumping when he learns that Katherine Heigl is brought in to talk him down. Fortunately, Kevin survives the fall and stumbles to the local multiplex to check out this week’s new movies.

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The Reject Report - Large

Not to be confused with Reject Report, The White, which is what happens after we do battle with the Balrog. Reject Report, The White is never NEVER wrong. But in our current form we have to take into account things like star power and demographics and mass appeal, the kinds of aspects that go into making a film financially successful. This week sees three new movies wanting that success and one Oscar contender expanding to wide release. Liam Neeson fights wolves, Sam Worthington faces a ledge, and Katherine Heigl takes on…money, I guess. I’m not really sure. Only one of these movies can be the victor while the other two scrounge for scraps to make up $10-15m. Not even worth the effort really. It’s the Reject Report, and you shall not pass. Okay, now you can pass. Go ahead.

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Here’s a fun way to release some movie news or marketing on a day when no one will care about it – drop a trailer onto Apple within the very hour that they premiere the first official trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Death wish, right? Either that, or the team over at Warner Bros. wants to push stuff out before the holiday or (more likely), their brand-new Wrath of the Titans trailer was always slated to premiere today, but WB had to jump the gun when that horrific cell-phone video bootleg of the TDKR trailer hit the web and was spread across the Internet as if copyrights laws never existed. Whatever the reason is, now also have the first theatrical trailer for Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to Clash of the Titans or That Time Warner Bros. Launched a Truly Terrible Post-Production 3D Conversion Job and Everyone Still Went to Go See It. While we can’t judge the 3D from this trailer, one thing is for sure – this next entry into the ostensible …of the Titans franchise is super-wrathy. If you’ve already watched today’s trailer for The Dark Knight Rises enough, check out the trailer for Wrath of the Titans after the break.

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If you knew nothing about filmmaker Ami Canaan Mann going into Texas Killing Fields, her second feature directorial effort, you’d immediately pinpoint Michael Mann as a major influence. After all, the film is an atmospheric crime story rendered with rich cinematography and featuring characters with muddled motives. That the two are actually father-daughter hardly lessens the impact of the younger Mann’s work in creating this assured, moody police procedural. With a memorable Jeffrey Dean Morgan performance at its center, Texas Killing Fields boasts a human dimension that enhances the impact of its strong noir craft. The blackness engulfing the picture’s Texas City setting mirrors the tormented souls of detectives Brian Heigh (Morgan), a New York transplant, and hotheaded local boy Mike Sounder (Sam Worthington). The men are investigating a string of unsolved murders that have culminated in the bodies of teenage female victims being found in an oil field outside of town, which the locals have nicknamed the “killing fields.”

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The Debt is a painstakingly old-fashioned drama that’s far more interested in the nuances of human behavior than exploitation or pyrotechnics. At the same time, in telling the parallel stories of Mossad agents hunting a Nazi doctor in East Berlin circa 1966 and those same agents dealing with the consequences of that mission 30 years later, John Madden’s film evokes the existential themes that lie at the heart of Israel’s creation. To straddle both those worlds within the constraints of a tightly-wound thriller is a considerable accomplishment. And this eloquent remake of a 2007 Israeli picture with the same name harkens back to the old-fashioned aesthetics of genre movies that mean something, films that are unafraid of drawing out big ideas between familiar lines. The film stars Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciarán Hinds as the older version of agents Rachel Singer, Stephan Gold and David Peretz, who discover that the book has not been written on their mission of 30+ years ago with the finality they thought it had. Jessica Chastain, Martin Csokas and Sam Worthington play their younger selves, tracking the sadistic Doktor Bernhardt (Jesper Christensen) astride the Iron Curtain.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr readies for a Labor Day vacation at a lake house surrounded by bloodthirsty sharks. Once dinner is over for the little beasties, he goes undercover in 1960s-era East Berlin to help a bunch of emotionally brittle Mossad agents to kidnap a Nazi war criminal. Unfortunately, all they uncover is dozens of hours of video recordings from a lost NASA moon landing. So Kevin decides to edit all of this footage together into a feature film and hock it to the Weinsteins, convincing them that it really happened… or did it?

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Why are spies so sad and mopey now? Where are the cool, suave, and untouchable secret agents? Lately, nowhere to be found on the big screen. Director John Madden certainly is not bringing back the era of smooth heroes with his latest film, The Debt. The director’s small, claustrophobic remake focuses on lost individuals who display more heartache and moral uncertainty than your typical heroics. Madden did not make a film about a secret mission gone awry, but a film about regret and the power of lies. A few years ago director Matthew Vaughn was attached to helm the thriller, and if he ended up behind the camera, The Debt would be a very different film. Instead of going for a stylish and poppy feel, the Shakespeare in Love filmmaker went with something far more claustrophobic and full of moral uncertainty. As a result, Madden made something many, many notches above Kill Shot in the quality department. Here is what director John Madden had to say about his three damaged Mossad agents, taking a serious matter seriously, and the power of regret:

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published: 04.16.2014
C-
published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-

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