The A-Team

Aural Fixation - Large

Bringing a beloved (or at least nostalgia inducing) television show to the big screen is no easy undertaking (especially for shows that have been off the air for a few good years.) The task of adapting existing material (whether it be from a book series, a comic book or a well-known public figure) can be daunting as you hope to live up to expectations while also trying cultivate new fans. When it comes to turning a television show into a film, having a few well placed cameos from the original cast, rooting the film in a story true to that show’s world and (seeing as many of these shows were comedies) not letting the film version take itself too seriously seem to be the keys to these adaptation’s success. With Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s updated 21 Jump Street taking to the silver screen this weekend, I realized that the one thing all these shows have in common (regardless of when they aired, who starred in them or what they were about) is also the one element that many television shows on air today have done away with – a catchy theme song.

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Joe Carnahan

The first reaction of anyone coming out of The Grey probably won’t be, “I bet the director of The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces, and that BMW short Ticker made this!” Joe Carnahan prefers it to be that way. The director’s fifth feature film isn’t a full-blown action romp, but is instead a thrilling meditation on life, death, and survival. (Check out our review here.) Similar to Carnahan’s breakout feature, Narc, The Grey shows all the trappings of a true personal project — the kind of story that a filmmaker had to tell. And, after speaking with Carnahan for 25 minutes, that was clearly the case. From White Jazz to Killing Pablo, when the personable man finds a story that comes from his core, he’s got to get it made. Here’s what Joe Carnahan had to say about the life and death themes of The Grey, writing and portraying real men, and why he never wants to become a “one for them, one for me” filmmaker:

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Liam Neeson in The Grey

One of the few, if only, highlights of seeing Breaking Dawn last night was seeing some new trailers, including a brand new one for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a much leaner and brisker peak at the film. The teaser for The Grey, which hit the net back in September, was shown as well. It played well and managed to get an audience full of girls excited, despite the film being a total sausage fest set in the middle-of-nowhere. Now a day later another trailer has been released, and it’s much longer and spoiler-y than the previous footage we got. This plays out more as a sizzle reel than an actual finely-tuned trailer, but the first half is attention-grabbing. The set-up is sold tremendously well. Unfortunately, the second half of the trailer is a little long-winded. Still, Joe Carnahan‘s film looks like a fun, brutal, and atmospheric man vs. nature survival tale. Carnahan certainly a knack for hilarious brutality, as shown in the extremely fun Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team, but this seems more dramatically and tonally related to Narc.

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If there’s one shot that’ll get your juices flowing for Joe Carnahan‘s upcoming survival epic, it’ll be one that features Liam Neeson sporting broken glass – why aren’t they plastic? – knuckles to face off against a hungry wolf. From the looks of it, that seems to be the plot of The Grey. Most of this slick teaser features CG wolves looking like angry CG wolves, with the scared and pissed humans looking like scared and pissed humans. Will the film be just two hours of that? I hope so. Director Joe Carnahan is certainly never someone to shy away from going a little nutso. Even in a tent-pole film like The A-Team, the man had a set-piece involving Bradley Cooper and a flying tank. Would Christoper Nolan ever have the gusto to do such a thing? I think not. Take a look at a gruff and cold Liam Neeson in the teaser for The Grey after the break.

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At the end of 2010 we counted down the ten best action films of the year as an introduction to this column, the (almost) cleverly titled Bullet Points, our newest, most explosive column focusing on the action world. Beyond just reviewing action films, Bullet Points sets its sights on the genre as a whole- from stunts to guns, ass kickings to wire-fu and even just what the hell makes action films so great in the first place. In what is effectively our first official Bullet Points entry we wanted to get right to the ignition point of the explosion and discuss the ultimate principle of the action universe. That is, what makes a damn fine shoot ‘em up, beat ‘em up, blow ‘em up?

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In many ways, the end of the year is just like every other part of the year: we want to make lists. So we come up with lots of list ideas. One idea this year, like almost every year, is a list of the best action films. But this year, 2010, is special. This article is special. Why? Because this Year in Review article is going to kick off a brand new column that you’ll be able to rock and roll with every Wednesday in 2011: Bullet Points. Like The Coroner’s Report, Bullet Points will focus on a particular genre. I’m not talking down to you when I say that it’s action films,  though you probably guessed that pretty quickly. To kick off this column right and make 2010 just explode all over itself, we’re counting down our ten favorite action films.

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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Boiling Point

This weekend I got my Action Team fix on by watching The Expendables, The Losers, and The A-Team. Yeah, it was a good weekend. With the latter film, I opted for the Extended Cut – usually these things are unrated, as there really isn’t a reason to resubmit the film for ratings approval for DVD. Sure enough, The A-Team case has “UNRATED” printed very clearly across it. Surely this must mean that there will be bodies hitting the floor! Blood! Bad words! Everything that was missing in the theater from a supposed group of badass mercenaries. So I start watching. Pretty soon, within the first 15 minutes of the film, there is the F-Bomb. Three times. Sort of.

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Drinking Games

Were you alive in the mid-1980s? If so, and you weren’t in diapers still, you had a chance to watch one of the greatest television shows of that era: The A-Team. It was a bizarre mix of comedy, action and family-friendly violence. And it was the coolest thing for kids to watch on Tuesday nights. The new movie may not have been an huge hit over the summer, but it was hella fun for A-Team fans, and now that it’s on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s a chance to enjoy real fake bad guys getting really fake killed in the privacy of your own home.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Trash-pickers who take down major weapons dealers, animated villains looking to steal the moon, an angry one-eyed John Wayne and a team of tough guys who specialize in the ridiculous. This Week in Blu-ray is going to be a busy one. Then again, isn’t it always sort of busy for this column? With more and more classics being brought to the most modern format and a slew of pre-holiday releases hitting shelves, the war being waged against your pocketbook has never been more intense. Lucky for you that I’m here to help. I may not be a man with grit that’s true (and thus have never had a song sung about me by Glen Campbell), but I do have some knowledge about all things Blu-ray. I also have DVD reviewer extraordinaire Rob Hunter swooping in to help out. Now onward with this week’s release slate.

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This Week in DVD

Most DVD Tuesdays see a random smorgasbord of titles released with no discernible pattern, and this week is ultimately no different. But it does feature a fairly hefty sampling of one genre in particular… documentaries! Who’s up for some true stories and real life drama, mystery, and comedy? Don’t turn your nose up so fast people. There are some fascinating true stories below, yes, even the one on Joan Rivers, and they’re all worth a watch or two. Titles out this week include The Other Guys, Cyrus, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Town, Gasland, and more.

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Culture Warrior

For better or worse, this summer of movies is over, and now we’re in the early-Fall transition into the inevitable season of so-called “serious” awards-friendly films, films that supposedly say a lot about human nature and our time and place as a culture. However, I’ve always contended that it is often the films that seemingly exist only for “entertainment’s sake” that have the most to say about culture, mainly because they operate in such a way that allows us to turn our minds off, passively consume them, and therefore go along unquestionably with the socio-political presumptions explicitly or implicitly embedded within their narratives. Such films that purport to exist solely for entertainment value often end up telling us a lot about how and what we think about the present, and it just so happens that these types of films are most often relegated to the summer months. Summer movies in 2010 ranged from highbrow to lowbrow, blockbuster to indie to sleeper, with head-scratchers and brain-cell-killers alike, but many of these films, intentionally or not, had something to say or assume about the present cultural moment.

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The A-Team

While they may not have dominated the box office with their crazy tactics and awesome weapons, the A-Team did entertain. You know the deal.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Eric D. Snider from Cinematical, Film.com, and ericdsnider.com joins us, we get caught with weed, and we try to fight off the uprising of the Promotional Movie Screening Regulars.

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The Karate Kid

Remember back on Thursday when I said I didn’t see too many more $50-million plus opening hitting our theaters before the end of the Summer? You can scratch that, because The Karate Kid has already proven me wrong.

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What is The A-Team? It’s a big budget revamp of an eighties TV show! It’s a typical summer action movie with more boom than brains! It’s a rare example of Hollywood showing the US military in a positive light in an effort to finally make Aleric happy!

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Joe Carnahan

The A-Team seems like an odd change of pace for Joe Carnahan. One, it’s a summer tent-pole popcorn movie that’s an inevitable blockbuster. Two, Carnahan is one known for his grit and his more extreme nature when it comes to the violent side of things. And three, it’s got wide appeal — unlike (the underrated) Smokin’ Aces or Narc. We pulled in an interview with Carnahan — who’s an actual Film School Reject himself — at the last second to discuss all of this.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hops in a time machine to 1984 to grade The A-Team and The Karate Kid.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil hop in a time machine and travel back to 1984 to relive the glory days of The A-Team and The Karate Kid. Then they lay down a Fat Guy Five about 80s TV shows that should get their own movie before learning the true meaning of Mr. Belvedere.

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80s TV shows

With The A-Team hitting theaters June 11, I felt inclined to compile a list of ’80’s television gems that are ripe for studio picking. I’ve narrowed said list down to my ten favorite nostalgia inducing shows, adding a gentle twist to each plot to maximize studio head salivation.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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