Samuel L Jackson

Frank Grillo

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the way to get news regarding all of those upcoming super hero sequels. Tomorrow it might be something else. Though we’ve still yet to have the pleasure of taking in the first two installments of Marvel’s super hero movie Phase II, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already coming up in 2014, so it’s probably about time we started hearing some casting news. And, wouldn’t you know it, Variety brings us just that. Not only has the trade revealed that End of Watch, The Grey, and Warrior star Frank Grillo will be joining the cast as the Red Skull’s brutal henchman Crossbones, but they also have news that some familiar SHIELD faces from The Avengers will be showing back up in Cap’s second solo adventure. More specifically, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, and Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will all be coming back. You remember them, right?

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Samuel L. Jackson

Bittersweet news today as Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast of Spike Lee‘s Oldboy remake in a vital role. According to the LA Times, the actor is in for Spike Lee’s remake, but he won’t be playing the squid sushi that gets eaten alive. Instead, and spoiler alert here for those who haven’t seen the original, Jackson will be playing a thug who the protagonist (played here by Josh Brolin) confronts with a very interesting grab from the toolbox. It was an iconic moment in the original flick which led into an even more unforgettable sequence involving that same tool and a very long, enemy-filled hallway. It’s a fascinating casting choice because it will require Jackson to shed almost all of his typical rough exterior in favor for making Brolin look even tougher. On that front, it’s an excellent way to give violent credibility, and it could lead to a great, counter-intuitive performance from Jackson. Very exciting. Also exciting is the news that Bruce Hornsby will be composing the score for the film, which means that Grateful Dead completists are in for a crazy movie.

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When you take all of the distaste for remakes and reboots that’s out there and add it with the love that people have for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, it adds up to a situation where not very many people are looking forward to José Padilha’s upcoming re-do of the material. And yet, with every casting announcement that this new RoboCop makes, it’s becoming harder and harder to not be at least a little excited about its possibilities. First off, Padilha cast an on-the-rise young actor who’s done nothing but impress so far named Joel Kinnaman in the title role. Then he systematically surrounded his star with supporting names that everyone loves, like Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley. It would be hard to sneeze at that cast no matter what they were being assembled for, but get them all together for a post-apocalyptic tale of robot cops versus violent street gangs and evil corporations, and it’s not too difficult to start forgetting how much you dislike all of the remakes going on in Hollywood. I don’t know how they get ya, but that’s how they get ya.

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Over Under - Large

If one were to conduct a scientific study meant to determine what the most successful action movie of the 90s was, chances are pretty dang good that Speed would be near the top of the candidates for consideration. A success both financially and critically, this high-octane tale of a bomb on a perpetually moving bus solidified Keanu Reeves as one of Hollywood’s go-to leading men, launched the gigantic career of Sandra Bullock, and even gave its director, Jan de Bont, a success to add to his resume. All of that should be enough to solidify Speed’s place as one of the most important 90s action movies already, and we haven’t even factored in how it also managed to introduce the phrase, “Pop quiz, hotshot,” into the cultural lexicon. So, pop quiz, hotshot: Die Hard was the greatest action movie ever made, but its sequel, Die Hard 2, was a derivative bore churned out by one of the most prolific manufacturers of schlock of the last few decades, Renny Harlin. What do you do? You get the director of the original, the inimitable John McTiernan, to come back for the third film, Die Hard With a Vengeance. DHWAV, from what I can tell, isn’t hated. It’s widely considered to be the second-best entry in the Die Hard franchise, it certainly made its makers some money, and it doesn’t get derided as the death of the franchise like the belated fourth sequel, Live Free or Die Hard, does. But it doesn’t get […]

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Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie came to America from the UK after a successful career in comedy and quickly found himself playing lead in a critical and commercial hit on the Fox network. His film work over here has been relegated to small, supporting roles, but it looks like he may get a chance to flex his dark side on the big screen in a big way. Per Variety, Laurie is in talks to join MGM’s upcoming Robocop remake for director Jose Padilha as the film’s main villain. He has large, partially bald shoes to fill if he hopes to be half as entertaining as the original’s main baddies played by Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox. Clarence Boddicker is a memorably brutal (and brutally funny) psycho, and Dick Jones is the epitome of a dickish CEO, but while it’s rumored Laurie would be playing a brand new version of the latter he’d kill in either villainous flavor. The film is also set to star Joel Kinnaman in the title role, Gary Oldman as a the scientist behind the technology, Abbie Cornish as Mrs. Robocop and Samuel Jackson.

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Casting for Jose Padilha’s upcoming reboot of the RoboCop franchise seems to be coming along swimmingly. First he landed up-and-coming The Killing actor Joel Kinnaman to come on board as the main character, Alex Murphy, who starts off as a normal police office and then gets blown away by a bunch of bad guys, resulting in his transformation into a robotic cop. Then he really swung for the fences and got Gary Oldman to agree to come on board as a morally conflicted scientist, the only person in the film who foresees the eventual complications that might come from resurrecting dead people and turning them into robots. The latest bit of casting news might be the biggest of all, however, given the recent world-beating success of The Avengers. Heat Vision is reporting that Jedi Knight, head of SHIELD, and longtime badass Samuel L. Jackson has joined the cast as well. He’ll be playing a character named Pat Novak, who’s said to be a charismatic television mogul. There’s not yet much information out there about how closely Padilha’s remake will resemble Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 version of RoboCop, but seeing as this is a property that naturally lends itself to social criticism, one can assume that Jackson’s character will be used to skewer the greed and irresponsibility of modern media.

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Samuel L. Jackson finally gets to put Nick Fury aside and play a serious, well-rounded character in The Samaritan, a new film noir. The experience of watching Jackson actually act is the primary pleasure to be gleaned from David Weaver’s movie, which places the star in a narrative that’s so grim and hopeless it’s no fun at all. Experienced con artist Foley (Jackson) leaves prison after serving 25 years for the murder of his partner. He just wants to be left alone, but alas, that’s not to be. His partner’s embittered son Ethan (Luke Kirby) has orchestrated a gigantic snare aimed at forcing Foley to take part in an ambitious, risky con targeting crime kingpin/oenophile Xavier (Tom Wilkinson). Foley spends most of the movie angrily resisting Ethan’s overtures, engaging in repeated violent confrontations. But his antagonist, played with sheer smarminess by Kirby, has a big trump card: a pretty young woman named Iris (Ruth Negga) who’s carrying a big secret.

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Culture Warrior

Crowding a movie with talent often seems like a good idea only in the abstract sense. In practice, such films can easily feel overstuffed. For example, the basic conceits for both The Expendables and Grown Ups sound like products of wishful thinking held during a drunk conversation between a group of 19-year-olds at 3am. Yes, in theory a movie featuring all of the action stars of the 80s or the most successful SNL cast since the late-70s would be great – however, a bunch of famous people do not a seminal action film or great comedy make. What’s most surprising about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is that the whole somehow proved greater than its parts. A movie with this quantity of iconic superheroes runs the incredible risk of being overstuffed and only half-cooked. The standards created by previous Hollywood films indicate that studios would be happy enough allowing the conflagration of bankable characters stand in for (or, more accurately, distract from the lack of) actual entertainment value; mammoth opening weekends, after all, are always more a sign of effective marketing than good filmmaking. But The Avengers not only stands as an equal to some of the stronger entries in Marvel’s 4-year, 5-film multiverse-building, but is arguably superior. Some of these characters came across more fully-fleshed and three-dimensional as part of an ensemble than in their respective standalone films.

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Every Girl’s Guide to The Avengers By Internet Princess Quartney Vagington Hey, gurrrrls! It’s your BFF Quartney Vagington! I’m gonna save your cute butts again, so get ready to thank me. Your boyfriend has probably looked up from his Xbox a couple times in the last week to say, “Dude, we gotta see The Avengers on Friday! It looks totally sick!” I know Trevor has! I just rolled my eyes and was like, “LOL, whatever you want, honey-bun,” and then I went back to texting. But guess what, bitches? He’s totes serious about it! Your boyfriend is too, unless he’s like a dork or whatever, in which case, ew, why are you dating a dork? Anyways, me and Trevor are gonna see The Avengers on Friday cuz it’s his turn to choose the movie, cuz he let me choose which Olive Garden we went to last week (the nice one, or the one close to Pinkberry), and so I was like, “Aah! I don’t know what these dumb comic book movies are about!” So then I was like, “Help me, Facebook, LOL!” And so then Facebook was like, “Here are some Tumblrs and Wikis about it!” So you guys, I totally did some research to help you know what the eff is going on when you see “The Avengers” with your boyfriend! You can thank me later, I accept Hot Topic gift cards, LOL. (P.S. if you do not have a boyfriend then I don’t know what to tell you […]

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Reel Sex

To turn a phrase from my favorite family of Northerners, “Summer is Coming.” And by coming, I mean today. After waiting what felt like an eternal Westeros winter, Marvel Studios will finally reward us with the release of Joss Whedon’s take on The Avengers. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read our review of the film, re-watch the trailers, and then meet me back here for some fireworks and sno-cones. People have been saying for weeks now that the film is pretty great, and thankfully that is true. Whedon built a rich world for these Marvel characters; putting so much detail into their stories and their lives that it’s virtually impossible not to get wrapped up in the battle trickster Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wages with his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the rest of the Avengers gang. But there is one surprising element lacking from The Avengers—pivotal women sharing scenes. Shocking considering Whedon has always been an advocate for female role models and has fought TV and film studios for years over the way he prefers to portray women in his cannon. Yes, he had huge pressure on his shoulders to craft a stellar superhero film, but of all the things Whedon could have done wrong why did he have to separate his two major women characters from each other? It’s a bit troubling to say the least.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column dedicated to movie news and links, written hastily this evening because its author is due to get in line and see The Avengers at a midnight show. Please excuse errors in spelling, grammar, logic and common sense — beyond the usual, of course. We begin with a new shot of The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man. He’s holding Peter Parker’s camera, which he will likely crush in a sign of his abject disrespect for the young spiderkund. He’s quite scaly.

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The Avengers want you to see The Avengers in theaters.

It’s been open overseas for a week, already raking in more than $200m, and now The Avengers is landing on U.S. soil with one of the biggest summer openings in history. But does that mean you should see it now? Or do you wait for home video? Sure, there’s plenty of arguments as to why you can wait, including obnoxious crowds, high ticket prices, and the general hassle of getting your butt off the couch and driving to your local multiplex. However, here are seven ultimate reasons should convince you to, paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Get thee to a theater!” and witness Marvel’s greatest achievement in superhero movies.

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The Avengers the film needs no introduction, and that’s mainly because The Avengers themselves need no introduction. A dream team of superheroes and superallies, The Avengers first appeared in the Marvel universe in 1963, so for fans of the mighty band of heroes, a big screen cinematic adaptation that would do justice to the justice-doers has been a long-held wish. With Marvel Studios churning out blockbusters for eventual Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk in recent years, it was only a matter of time before that wish was granted and the heroes united for one massive film outing. It goes without saying that Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers is already a big hit here at FSR (our own Cole Abaius called it “Marvel’s mightiest movie” in his review), and we’re all anxious to see what movie-going audiences think of it. To whet your palate for the inevitable Avengers bonanza, here are 12 things that we learned at The Avengers press conference (spoiler-free if you’ve seen a trailer or two!). The event featured a massive gathering of Avengers and pals, including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemwsorth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk/Bruce Banner), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Kevin Feige (Marvel President), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton),Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), and Joss Whedon (writer and director). Check it out after the break!

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Joss Whedon‘s excellent action geek-out The Avengers hits US theaters this weekend after a storm of anticipation that’s lasted for four years and five movies. Marvel’s ultimate team is finally together, and the results are incredibly impressive. You can read my review here, but while you sit in your Captain America uniform, unwilling to remove it or bathe for the next week, gear up to new giddy levels of excitement with these behind-the-scenes videos. From a disoriented Robert Downey Jr. to Jeremy Renner in fight choreography practice to a running Scarlett Johansson to Mark Ruffalo blissfully posing with a nude mini-Hulk, there are some really fascinating bits here:

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In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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Joss Whedon has sought to make The Avengers unique, and the latest way was shooting a scene for the movie after the movie premiered. According to HitFix, the entire team (from Robert Downey Jr. to Scarlett Johansson) used the opportunity of the occasion to shoot one last scene. Apparently it’s tough getting a dozen notable names in the same room. There’s no telling what the scene entails, although there’s speculation from Mark Ruffalo‘s press conference statements that the scene will appear at the end of the movie. It’s not the stinger; the audiences on Wednesday night already saw that. It’s definitely an interesting move. Or a really expensive way to get one audience to want to see the movie again. It’s not like they need it. The movie is already tracking for a $135m opening. Let’s see all of them try to get in the same room after that.    

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Meeting Evil writer/director Chris Fisher joins us to talk about how necessary movie stars are to getting financing in the indie world (and how to talk to Samuel L. Jackson on set). Plus, we go beyond the headlines to explore the Alamo Drafthouse‘s expansion into New York City with CEO Tim League and to push the envelope of film festivals with Tribeca Executive Director Nancy Schafer. Download Episode #129

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Before he gets his eye patch on for The Avengers this summer, Samuel L. Jackson is taking Luke Wilson on a bizarre killing spree. From director Chris Fischer, Meeting Evil tells the story of a man facing foreclosure and joblessness who helps out a man who comes to his house looking for some help with his car. That helpful hand pulls him into dangerous territory with a man capable of ending lives. Shockingly, it’s Jackson who plays the BAMF waving a gun around. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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It’s called a character arc, and everybody has one. It’s the progression of a character throughout a film as they go from “A” to “B” and change emotionally, intellectually, and physically along the way. It exists because nobody sane wants to watch two hours of some dude sitting in a chair…which just so happens to be the story of how this very list was made. When it comes to action, horror, and any other fast-paced genre of film, one of the best things about watching the characters adapt is that since the environment they exist in is so do-or-die, there is a incredibly steep learning curve – so by the end of the film, you most likely have a completely different person you started with…and considering that they are still alive, they probably got way, way more badass along the way.

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The Avengers

Wow. People holding Tribeca badges and passes just got a kick in the pants from a dude in a metal suit, a guy who rips his purple shorts with rage and a host of other dysfunctional family members. According to their latest press release, the Tribeca Film Festival is closing its 2012 calendar with The Avengers. At a film event that celebrates James Franco’s eccentricities alongside indie filmmakers famous and not-yet-famous alike, this is a blockbuster move – one that the fest is using no doubt for publicity and as an opportunity to celebrate the heroes of New York City and beyond. Firemen, police officials, military personnel and others will have a special chance to join in on the screening. Marvel head Kevin Feige weighed in, saying, “We are proud that Marvel‘s The Avengers is the closing film of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and we are excited to welcome local heroes to the screening as special guests. We all know and love our iconic Super Heroes, but when it really counts, it’s our real-life heroes who save the world every day by making it a better place for all of us.” Despite its normal focus on the obscure, this fits well with the Tribeca mission which arose from the ashes of 9/11 as a means to prop up the New York City economy and to celebrate its art. On another level, it’s a booking that’s incredibly cool and makes native New Yorker Joss Whedon very happy. The director had this to […]

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