Samuel L Jackson

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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I tease, of course. The Avengers is almost guaranteed to be a gigantic hit this summer and probably one of the year’s highest grossers. The film has a built-in audience by virtue of its characters, history and the intentionally structured universe that Marvel has created with the earlier films. It’s going to be huge thanks to the presence of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo/CGI) and others. And it’s going to be fun thanks to Joss Whedon in the director’s chair. But will it be any good? All signs point to yes, and that’s including the new TV spot below.

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Over Under - Large

The concept of satire has been around for a really long time. I’m sure it goes back to some famous Roman or something. But the modern spoof movie as we’ve come to understand it has much more recent roots. Now, by spoof I’m not talking about satire in general, something that comments on familiar tropes, I’m talking about one movie that makes direct references to other, very famous movies. A lot of people trace these things back to the 1980 release Airplane!, a movie that’s still highly regarded and that launched its creators on the path to doing things like Top Secret!, The Naked Gun, and Hot Shots!; all films that are also generally well-regarded among fans of comedies. One spoof that isn’t so fondly remembered is the 1993 film National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1. Its star, Emilio Estevez, got so much crap for starring in what was viewed as a lesser spoof movie, right after his brother did the Hot Shots! movies, that they even had to address the issue in the film. And the director, Gene Quintano, he didn’t go on to do shit. Does this movie deserve the reputation it has for being a bottom tier pretender, though? No way! Have you watched it lately? There’s a lot of good stuff in there.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood cinema; nature is lethal, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the McRib. Welcome to the feast of intellectual famine! For our first course, we will be serving skewered schlock seared over a hot flame of merciless ridicule. We will follow this with a round of genuine affection sweetened with just a suçon of my completely indiscriminate, and therefore dubious, taste. For dessert we will be serving an actual food, of the junk variety, paired thematically to the film. Hey, yesterday was Thanksgiving wasn’t it? It’s hard to tell here at JFC because we feast like manic depressive sea cows on a weekly basis. But now that you’ve had ample time to digest, and now that you’ve again worked up an appetite by spending all day hip-checking soccer moms to obtain $3 seasons of Cagney & Lacey on DVD, we horribly humbly submit another feeding frenzy for your destruction consideration. Today’s Reheated Nugget: Deep Blue Sea.

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The casting news for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming foray into the Western genre, Django Unchained, just keeps getting better and better. Like a sports nerd amassing the perfect fantasy baseball team, Tarantino has been looking over the stats and picking out the most rock solid actors to fill key roles on his squad. Like a seasoned Dungeon Master, he has been amassing the Hollywood personalities with the most awesome points to accompany him on his quest. And Variety is reporting that the man is nearing yet another blockbuster acquisition. Now he’s in talks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt to join an already-excellent ensemble. Apparently Gordon-Levitt has every intention of working with Tarantino and joining this increasingly awesome-sounding movie, but there are some scheduling hiccups to work out. You see, JGL is a busy, busy man, and he’ll probably have to shift some stuff around in order to get his skinny little hinder on set when Tarantino needs him. If the two parties are able to work things out, it will see Gordon-Levitt joining a cast that already boasts names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, and Kurt Russell. That’s almost enough to make what Stallone is doing on The Expendables 2 look girly in comparison.

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When the first public trailer dropped for Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers film, it was met with a collective sigh from many, including yours truly. It wasn’t very exciting and the only thing it had going for it was some pedestrian banter that relied solely on the charm of Robert Downey Jr. Even on a visual level, the trailer failed to deliver the scale expected from an Avengers movie. It’s with that attitude that I entered the IGN theater at the New York Comic Con this past Saturday. When the panel started, moderator Chris Hardwick walked out to a crowd that was already coming down from the high of The Walking Dead panel and introduced the film’s producer Kevin Feige. Feige commented on how the teaser just recently dropped, but that it was on the computer and then proceeded to ask the audience if they would like to see it played on the three giant screens in the theater. This was met with great enthusiasm.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and editorial column that likes you. So much that it would get your named tattoo’d on its back, should you promise to read it every weeknight until the end of time. So lets make this happen, people. It’s got at least 200k names worth of back space. We begin tonight with a shot of Rooney Mara as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as published by a French photography portfolio. It’s one of a group of images that show a black and white David Fincher, a snowy Daniel Craig and plenty of the tattoo’d girl herself. Are we still looking forward to this one? Oh yes, we are.

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It’s not quite hyperbole to say the The Avengers is the most eagerly anticipated film of 2012. The ensemble superhero film features several characters who have already proven themselves in their own movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor) as well as a few who haven’t (Hawkeye, Black Widow), but the idea of bringing them all together into one adventure has been a dream of Marvel’s and the fans for quite some time. And now it’s almost here. We’ve seen some images and a very brief teaser, but Marvel and Paramount have released the first real trailer this morning. It’s still teaserish at only two minutes, but it offers up a good idea of what we can expect from director Joss Whedon’s upcoming blockbuster. Check it out below.

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“Hey Quentin, come sign this and we’ll give you some money.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s probably how it all went down. Upon inspection, it’s hard to miss the “Director Approved” sticker on the outside of the Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown Blu-ray releases. Signed, sealed and kissed with love by director Quentin Tarantino. It’s a slick piece of marketing by the folks at Miramax, who have released these through Lionsgate, to convince you that there’s something special about these releases. As if they were meticulously transferred to high definition in a dark room by the mad cinematic scientist who dreamed them up in the first place. I find that part hard to believe. In fact, it’s hard to believe that there’s much in these that wasn’t more than passed over by Tarantino. Does that make them a bad batch of Blu releases? Not exactly. There’s still plenty of love in owning Pulp and Jackie on a higher format, but that doesn’t exactly make them quite as special as that ‘Director Approved’ sticker suggests.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a collection of news that fell through the cracks, will make you crack up, or that’s addicted to crack. How can movie news be addicted to a controlled substance? It’s unclear, but it’s a harsh world out there when the sun goes down. We begin tonight with the vague news that Ghostbusters (the original) will be hitting theaters again in October. No, not a version of Ghostbusters III that’s been secretly filming for the past year amidst empty press releases. The original flick will play. But when? Where? The movie’s Facebook page is short on answers, and when I checked with Columbia/Sony, so were they.

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Talk of a sequel to The Long Kiss Goodnight has been openly floating around since at least 2007, and this Summer, Samuel L. Jackson again confirmed that he was up to the task. Jackson claiming to be in development is something that happens twice a day, but I recently spoke with director Renny Harlin for Reject Radio, and he confirmed that he wasn’t just twiddling his thumbs about it. He’s hired a writer to pen the script. “I just came back from Miami where I directed an episode of Burn Notice. I really like that series so I went to go and direct an episode, and the writer of the episode was Ben Watkins who is one of the producers of the show. I’d read quite a bit of his stuff, and he turned out to be a giant fan of [The Long Kiss Goodnight] so we started talking, and we decided we’re going to do it together,” said Harlin. The director also confirmed that the concept for the film hasn’t changed much. It will still focus on Samantha’s (Geena Davis) daughter Caitlin (played by Yvonne Zima) who teams up with Jackson’s character Mitch to seek revenge on the people who take her mother’s life. Of course, Caitlin would be 21 or so (which puts Zima in the running to reprise the character age wise), but it’s unclear as to whether they’ll seek a bigger name or stick with true continuity. Either way, Shane Black will not be involved considering […]

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Here’s something cool for your Monday morning. Or afternoon, depending on your time zone and commitment to sleeping in. Marvel.com has revealed a full promotional banner for The Avengers, which is now the next big Marvel film event. In short, it’s going to be the Marvel event now that Captain America is out in the wild. Prepare yourself for months of inundation in Avengers, Avengers, Avengers. Anyone have objections to that? I didn’t think so. Moving on…

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Afro Samurai started off as a manga series written and illustrated by Takashi Okazaki. After garnering some fame and acclaim it then became an animated mini-series back in 2007. Then, in 2009, they made an Afro Samurai made-for-TV movie called Afro Samurai: Resurrection that was so well received it scooped up a couple of Emmys. Not bad for a little cartoon about a guy with an Afro avenging his father’s murder. In it’s cartoon form, the lead character of Afro Samurai has been voiced by blustery badass Samuel L. Jackson, and now a press release has come out stating that Jackson and the newly formed distribution house The Indomina Group will be bringing the adventures of the big-haired one to the big screen, and in live action to boot. Jackson said of the venture, “This has been one of my very favorite properties ever since our amazing debut at Comic Con with the original series pilot out of Japan. I can’t wait to produce the epic feature film version with our new partners at The Indomina Group.”

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There’s already been a lot of high profile casting news for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Western Django Unchained. Jamie Foxx is going to be playing the lead role, an ex-slave who is going after his ex-owner to liberate his wife. Leonardo DiCaprio is going to play said slave-owning creep. Samuel L. Jackson will be his manipulative servant. And Christoph Waltz is set to play a German bounty hunter that shows Django the ropes. That’s a fine enough sounding cast right there, but strap yourself in, there’s more. Deadline Las Cruces is reporting that Tarantino is in negotiations to get Robin Hood to join the cast. That’s right, the one true Robin Hood, the Bryan Adams Robin Hood: Kevin Costner. You might also know him as that guy who drank his own pee in Waterworld. However you remember the guy, you probably can recollect that once upon a time he was a pretty big deal. And history shows that Tarantino loves to take actors who used to be a big deal and give them a chance to shine once again. If Costner signs on the dotted line, he will get a chance to do just that, as the role he is up for is that of Ace Woody, the brutal taskmaster who trains slaves to fight one another in gladiatorial battles. It’s a showy, villainous role that could very well get Costner a lot of attention, much like Waltz’s Jew hunter character did in Inglorious Basterds. As he showed in Mr. Brooks, […]

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Movies We Love

The year was 1998 and Michael Bay’s Armageddon was in the middle of sweeping the box office and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan was just hitting it. But in a cluster of giant blockbusters sat a film from acclaimed music video director F. Gary Gray. It was his third feature and starred Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Yes, I’m talking about that amazing action/thriller known as The Negotiator. Danny Roman is the Chicago Police Department’s best hostage negotiator, and seems to be on an unstoppable reign of high profile cases. But things do a complete one eighty when his partner Nate is found dead in his car. Danny is now the prime suspect in a case that goes all the way to the top. His only recourse is to take over the CPD’s internal affairs headquarters in an attempt to unravel the mystery of his frame job. His only demand? A fellow hostage negotiator named Chris Sabian.

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Culture Warrior

No doubt you’ve read about it if you haven’t seen it. The Other Guys, the latest collaboration between masters of the sophomoric Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, concludes with an animated chart-and-graph sequence over its end credits detailing the inner workings of Ponzi schemes, the exponential disparity between the wages of corporate CEOs and their average worker, and the rather comical eventual release date of currently imprisoned white-collar criminal Bernie Madoff. It seems startling at first, for one of the most hilariously dumb comedies of the summer (I certainly don’t mean this as an insult, as true silliness is hard to come by and McKay/Ferrell routinely pull it off masterfully) to conclude with something of a visual lecture. It’s confounding for a film that asks the bare minimum of its viewer to conclude with what seems to be a message built from populist outrage, a message for which there seemed, on the surface, little if any buildup toward. The best course of action – for most critics, anyway – has been to read and enjoy The Other Guys wholly separate from its end credits (films, after all, are often misread as ending before their credits; we’re conditioned not to any pay attention to them). I find this reading of The Other Guys too selective, and its end credits – as didactic and ill-placed as they may seem at first to be – paint a rather different film in hindsight to the one we think we have been seeing.

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The Avengers Movie Logo

If this Comic-Con teaser for Marvel’s The Avengers proves anything, it’s that you can’t successfully pull off the “voice-over only” teaser unless you have someone like Samuel Jackson narrating. The man makes everything sounds like it’s happening at the end of the world, right as humanity faces its greatest threats in its daring final hours. It’s appropriate in this situation, as Marvel would like us to see The Avengers as the ultimate moment in their cinematic landscape. It’s going to be big, gaudy and full of ripped muscles and even more flavorful egos. Whether it will all work out is still in question, as I explored in a recent editorial. But for now, at least we have the tantalizing voice-over teaser that you can watch just after the jump.

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The Avengers Movie Logo

Three days ago, Marvel Studios assembled its team of Avengers. And right there on the stage in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, they lit fires in the hearts of 6,500 fans present and countless others as word began to ripple across the internet. I’m sure that it was a sight to see. And from a distance, even I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of anticipation for the superhero team-up — one that will put Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) on screen together. The 2012 film will be a cinematic event unlike anything ever attempted before. There’s no doubt about that. Never has a studio embarked on a comic adaptation quite so ambitious. Then again, there’s never been a studio making comic adaptations quite the way young Marvel has done. It all seems as if planets are aligning, deities are smiling and harmony between the world of comics and the world of movies has finally come to pass. But when we wipe away all of the manufactured bliss created on stage by Marvel Studios on Saturday, we realize quickly that there are still plenty of questions on the road ahead. In fact, there are more than questions — for Marvel, there are giant speed-bumps in the form of two films yet to be finished and released, and an entire team-up film to be planned and executed. It’s no small task. And even though the […]

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr welcomes the summer movie season by handing out a grade to Iron Man 2.

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Daniel Dae Kim will be headed to Louisiana with Samuel L. Jackson. Hopefully, they’ll do it road trip style and document the journey.

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