Scott Speer

LASERS!

Not content with just one wildly entertaining and highly improbable dance-based franchise, Lionsgate/Summit has picked up a spec script by their Step Up 5 scribe, John Swetnam, that centers on “the world of electronic dance music.” Deadline also reports that Step Up 5 (and, lest we forget, the glorious Step Up Revolution) director Scott Speer will helm the film, titled Spinback. An already-set Speer/Swetnam reunion is surprising, but seems to point to the studio potentially being pleased with SU5, which is wonderful news for anyone into popping, locking, and total insanity. Spinback is touted as a murder mystery that also includes a “returning soldier” storyline. Drama! Deadline reports that the film’s basic idea, which was cooked up by producer Todd Garner, is as such: a “soldier returns from Afghanistan. When his brother, a prominent DJ on the EDM circuit, is murdered, he must infiltrate that world in order to figure out the killer. The project aspires to have a fast-paced niche subculture vibe reminiscent of The Fast and the Furious and XXX.” Sold. Speer is also particuarly dedicated to the film, as he made “a mock trailer for the movie, featuring EDM footage and footage from other movies which cut together established the tone they are after” with Spinback. Anyone in possession of said trailer is encouraged to send it over our way. Everybody dance now.

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Step Up

Because there is not an original idea left in Hollywood and also because Summit’s Step Up franchise has, over seven years and four films, morphed into one of the most dazzlingly insane and entertaining properties to pop and lock across our collective movie screens in decades, we’re getting a fifth Step Up film. I hesitate to use this word, but – duh. Deadline Hollywood reports that the studio has picked rising screenwriter star John Swetnam to write the fifth installment of the franchise, proving that Swetnam’s apparent niche of penning found-footage thrillers doesn’t preclude him from writing a film about teen dancing. O-kay. Swetnam has previously written 2012′s Evidence, a film that no one saw but that apparently centered on a detective using found footage to solve a grisly gas station-set massacre, and the upcoming Black Sky, that found-footage tornado film once known as Category 6. Yes, he should most definitely write a Step Up film now.

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Though the setting of the fourth Step Up film, Step Up Revolution, follows its predecessor’s lead and sets its action far from Baltimore’s Maryland School of the Arts (the setting of the first two films, which I have come to miss) and down in steamy Miami, the rest of the film’s basic structure still smacks of every other entry in the franchise (and many other films in its particular genre). As has become the Step Up norm, Step Up Revolution centers on a pair of star-crossed lovers (one rich, one not-so-rich) who are brought together by dance before they are torn apart by outside influences (friends, parents, economics, the usual). Ultimately, they must turn back to dance to repair their relationship and to somehow “beat” whatever it was that tore them apart in the first place. While Step Up Revolution makes no great strides (or twirls) in some of the most basic elements of moviemaking – acting, writing, even simple plotting – it does manage to boast the best dance sequences of any of the four films. In other words, thank goodness this is a dance film.

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In popping-and-locking news of the day, Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick will serve as the leads on Summit Entertainment’s Step Up 4. As an unabashed fan of the ludicrous property that is the Step Up franchise, I feel very secure in announcing my thoughts on this casting announcement. One word alone will sum up my feelings, based on my vast knowledge of the films – who?

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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