The Raid

Universal Pictures

Hey, remember that time in 2012 when Taylor Kitsch was poised to become the next great Hollywood leading man? And then he saw two $200M+ films tank in the span of two months and was flung into the depths of Failed Leading Man Hell to rot for all eternity? It turns out eternity isn’t as long as we expected, and instead it appears he was just biding his time in Failed Leading Man Purgatory. Now that he’s served his time, Kitsch is back, baby, to try this Hollywood star thing all over again. He’s working hard to secure a part in the second season of True Detective – a lofty goal sure, but it’s not quite “leading man” material — but who knows if Kitsch is even capable enough to wrench the spotlight away from folks like Colin Farrell or Elisabeth Moss. What he needs is to look at the big picture… with an action picture. Something medium-sized would do — high-profile enough to give Kitsch’s career some oomph, while not being so gargantuan that if he accidentally John Carters it, a major studio won’t be going belly-up. Something like that American redo of The Raid.

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teaser the raid 2 berandal

I have a simple rule regarding trailers. If I already know I’m interested in the film I try my best not to watch teasers or trailers for it. But if I’m on the fence or completely disinterested, then I’ll give it a view on the off chance it changes my opinion, does its job, and makes me want to see the movie. Which brings us to The Raid 2: Berandal. The first teaser has just dropped for it, and it’s below for your viewing pleasure (courtesy of Twitch). I won’t be watching it though because I’ve seen, loved, bought on Blu-ray, and re-watched a dozen times The Raid. Writer/director Gareth Evans returns along with star Iko Uwais with a direct sequel to that film, and that’s all I really need to know to get my ass into a seat when Sony Pictures Classics releases the film here next year. Well, that and the smile on Hammer Girl’s face in the poster above. For the rest of you though, check out the first teaser for The Raid 2: Berandal below. Just don’t tell me what you see.

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Film_Teddybear_613411a

One of the things I love about the latest Fast and Furious movie (whatever it’s called, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 6 or my own title, “Planes, Tanks and Automobiles”) is its casting. Not only is the ensemble made up mostly of hyphenate professionals who weren’t originally actors (including a wrestler, a bodybuilder, a former Miss Israel, a couple music artists, a couple martial artists), but a few of them are rather fresh faces to film, new to the franchise and surely on the rise in their movie careers. As much as I look forward to seeing what each does next, I’m also excited to have a new reason to spotlight the fairly recent breakthrough performances that likely got them this gig. In addition to using the opportunity to recommend those films, none of which has been seen by nearly as many people as will see a Fast and Furious movie, I’ve compiled a broader list of movies to now watch after seeing Fast & Furious 6. It’s partly a way to note some of its forebears and possible influences without going my usual negative route of criticizing this as a derivative work. It’s obviously imitative to a degree yet it’s also highly original in some of its stunts and their execution. Besides, just as in music we should accept and appreciate derivatives for their potential to lead fans backward to their (often better) predecessors. Of course, there are some reminiscent predecessors I’d rather not choose to recommend (Cars 2, […]

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The Best Action Movies of 2012

Movies are many different things to many different peoples. A film may tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone, or change the way you look at the world. But sometimes all you want from a movie is an adrenaline shot straight to the heart, a testosterone booster right to the balls, or whatever the female equivalent of getting really hyped up over an action film is. 2012 didn’t see the apocalypse, but it did see a bunch of cinematic ass-kickery, the best of which is counted down here for your pleasure.

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Blu-ray Spotlight

Duhnuh…. Duhnuh… Just when you thought it was safe to go out and buy some Blu-rays, here comes another Blu-ray Spotlight with a look at this week’s most prized and wallet-worthy releases. As our own Rob Hunter accurately tagged it on Tuesday, this is a wallet-busting week of new releases. And it all starts with the big guy. The Great White King of all summer blockbusters. The movie that has long been heralded as the first great summer movie. The one that birthed a sun-scorched blockbuster tradition that lives on today. He’s the reason you’ll never see me more than knee-deep in any large body of salt water. You know him as Jaws, and he’s back. With this edition of Blu-ray Spotlight, we take a look at the triumphant return of Jaws as well as one other movie worth adding to your collection. You may have heard of it. It’s a little action film out of Indonesia.

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Game of Thrones Board Game

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column dedicated to the cool, the weird, the entertaining, the brief, the good, the bad and the ugly of the entertainment news world. Also, there’s some philosophical talk about Sharktopus, because that’s just how the Internet rolls. We begin this evening with an image of a handmade Game of Thrones board game that is absolutely fabulous. Created by Fay Helfer, it’s basically a Risk board in the shape and detail of Westeros. And it’s brilliant.

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Mondo

If you’re the kind of movie fan who enjoys violence, action and seeing an audience squirm with “oohs” and “ahhs” throughout a 90-minute kick to the face, it’s my sincere hope that you were able to see Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption in a theater with a crowd. If you didn’t, the gods of cinema have given you a second chance this week with a Blu-ray/DVD release that should be at the top of your shopping list. Get a few friends together and have a watch party. It’s better if your friends have not yet seen the movie either. In celebration of this release, the folks at Mondo are having a little party of their own. Only their version of a party includes a gorgeous print from renowned artist Jock. Just after the jump you’ll find Jock’s take on The Raid and all the details on how you can pick this one up. You may want to hurry, as it goes on sale tomorrow.

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“Relentless–It’s second to no film.” – Todd Gilchrist, Indiewire “The best action film in decades.” – Twitch Film “An expertly crafted explosion of good old fashioned hand-to-hand-to-machete-to-fist-to-head-to-wall brilliance.” – Yours truly Few other words would accurately describe the experience of seeing The Raid: Redemption, the sensational sophomore effort from director Gareth Evans (Merantau). It’s fast, it’s relentless, it’s bloody and it features a killer score from Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. There will be no more exciting release this year. At least not one that doesn’t come with a big superhero team-up or a guy dressed like a giant bat. And now the whole thing’s coming to Blu-ray, so those of you who missed it can get caught up on all the action. Trust me, I know there are plenty of you who missed it. The film made $4 million at the box office, and at $10 per ticket that’s only 400k people who saw it in the U.S. There are 311 million people in this country. We’ve got a long way to go.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s like a nightly version of American Top 40, but with movies and no Casey Kasem. Actually, it’s nothing like American Top 40. It’s just about movies. We begin tonight with a piece of Drew Struzan’s The Thing poster for Mondo, all part of the Alamo Drafthouse’s Summer of 1982 series. Even though it’s reminiscent of the original poster for the film, it’s still quite cool. Movies.com also has a pretty solid interview with the postering legend, which you should read. And now, the news…

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s just a nightly movie news column that has problems finding a place to park, just like the rest of you. We begin tonight with a stop at The Mary Sue, where images have been uncovered featuring Doctor Who‘s new companion, as played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. According to Steven Moffat: “Who [Coleman is] playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.” Fun.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s The Raid. Made with claymation cats. By Lee Hardcastle. Do you need an embossed invitation? What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener for sharing this on his site.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It happens nightly. It’s about movies. Sometimes television, too. It’s written by a guy who thinks he’s funny. He is often wrong. We begin this evening with a quick programming note. For the second time in the history of this column, we will be celebrating a week of guest entries. Once again, members of the FSR staff have come forward to pledge their swords to the battle for excellent nightly movie news link-dumps. I will be away doing my usual moving and shaking, while the likes of Nathan Adams, Kevin Carr, Luke Mullen, Kate Erbland and a doubtfully sober Robert Fure will be taking the reigns. I have faith that you will all survive their week of debauchery. I bid you to go with god. Above, Bane reacts to this news in a new image from The Dark Knight Rises.

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If you’re just catching up, Junkfood Cinema auteur Brian Salisbury and I have driven across the country to attend ActionFest, a new film festival dedicated exclusively to the best in ass-kicking action cinema held annually in Asheville, North Carolina. After a 20 hour drive and less sleep than is advisable, we tackled day 1 with a vengeance taking in 6 films. You can read about that in my first piece here. With the closest thing to a full night’s sleep we were likely to get, we made our way back to the Carolina theater for day 2. The Carolina is much nicer than your standard multiplex, with a large open lobby, a concession stand featuring actual human food alongside popcorn and candy and a nice selection of beers on draft. There’s a lounge area above the concession stand featuring yet another small bar and a decent sized home theater-like cinema with a nice 100+” screen, an HD projector hooked up to a Blu-ray player and plush leather couches and love seats that can probably comfortably accomodate 30-40 people. This area is reserved for press and VIP badge holders during ActionFest and makes for a great spot to relax a bit and chat with other fest goers during breaks between screenings.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Who even knows anymore… We begin this evening with something strange, a shot of Johnny Depp in full Tonto make-up on the set of The Lone Ranger, meeting with leaders of the Navajo nation. I wonder if they have any problem with the fact that Johnny Depp is exactly 0% Navajo. Nope: “We are honored the movie The Lone Ranger is being filmed here on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has beautiful landscape and we are glad it is being shared through filmmaking.” 

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Boiling Point

Here’s a question: when we did we stop being fans of movies and become defenders of them? Follow up: when did it become a punishable offense not to enjoy things the same way others do? Sub question: since when is not liking a film as much as someone else the same as hating it? I’m assuming that since movies have existed, people have enjoyed talking about them. Shortly after the awe and wonder faded, they probably also enjoyed (or at least engaged in) debating over their particular merits. You know, once there started being more than one released every few months. Here’s a troubling trend I’m noticing: movie critics now consider themselves defenders of films, rather than critics or writers. With the rapid spread of information (and random words) through things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, it has become increasingly difficult to even properly identify someone as a critic. What makes a critic? If you publicly reveal your opinion to the masses on the internet, is it not a topic for conversation? Is it not then welcomed for people to engage in debate? Doesn’t that make you a critic? If you didn’t want people to comment on your comment, shouldn’t you have kept it to yourself?

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As someone who lives and breathes for the genre, I think it’s fair to say that action movies have gone soft. Well, that is, American, big studio action films have gone soft. The fight sequences are mostly shot in tight close-up with a volley of cuts that dilute all semblance of impact. Thankfully, foreign filmmakers are still bloodying their knuckles and breaking their backs to bring us action films that leave us as bruised and fighting for air as the sundry characters lying demolished on the floor by the time credits roll. One such actionteur is Welsh director Gareth Evans. That’s right, one of the burgeoning authorities on martial arts action films is from Wales. In 2009, Evans brought us Merantau, the heroic tale of a young man on a journey of self-discovery…who kicks plenty o’ ass along the way. Filmed in Indonesia, with a local cast, the film utilizes the fighting style Silat, indigenous to the island nation. But if we thought we’d seen the full extent of Evans’ talent with Merantau, we were so very, very wrong. This week, Evans will unleash his latest film The Raid upon unsuspecting audiences nationwide. I when I say it will be unleashed, I mean that the intensity and relentless pacing of its violent fight sequences will have you reevaluating the value of human life. The Raid, after garnering huge buzz during Toronto and Sundance, has now been picked up by Sony for both theatrical distribution and remake rights. It’s also been […]

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Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s messing with the bull, and ain’t scared of the horns. We begin tonight with a look at Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. He tweeted the picture himself, which is the hip new way to get first looks at new films out into the world. Which sucks, because now I have to follow him on Twitter and sift through what Hugh Jackman ate for breakfast just to see what he looks like with a convict beard. My life is so hard, you guys.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like Abe Vigoda, it’s still very much alive. We open tonight with a rather stunning shot of Captain America in The Avengers. Not that everyone would know that The Avengers is set in New York, but there’s something in me that stirs a little 9/11 vibe from this photo. It might be me projecting a bit — and no, the film has nothing to do with that very real, very horrible tragedy — but it’s a striking image, nonetheless. Also, that movie is going to be awesome, dudes.

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Take all the box office records out there, the biggest openings and fastest to whatever astronomical dollar amount is considered a hit these days, put them up on a wall, and throw a dart. Chances are good whichever you one you hit, The Hunger Games either ranked exceedingly high on it or it took the #1 spot with a fury. The record shifting began early with the film, the first of many if Lionsgate has anything to do with it, boasting the 15th widest opening in history. Then, with $19.7m, The Hunger Games set the record for midnight sales for a non-sequel. We’re getting into some qualifiers here, but non-sequels being hits are a rare breed these days.

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Boiling Point

In doing a quick bit of research for this article, I came across an article from none other than our own publisher, Neil Miller. Now, I didn’t bother to read the entire article, because I got what I needed and wouldn’t want to be swayed by facts or reason or anything, but his opening felt perfect for this topic, so I’m going to use it here: “Expectations are a funny thing. For a critic, they are the worst thing to have. Going into a film with any kind of expectations, good or bad, can color one’s ultimate perception of a film and sway a review one way or another.” I hope that now Neil feels good knowing that I think he has a really good point there, because in a minute, I’m going to use him as an example of what the fuck is wrong with this world. His point is relevant though, because expectations definitely influence how we view movies. If you go into a movie with super high expectations, you may feel let down. If you go in with low expectations, you can be pleasantly surprised. The best thing to do would be to go in with no expectations and just feel the movie slip inside you, deep and raw. But the modern world doesn’t allow this. Everyone is vying for the top spot when it comes to the final word on a film. To be noticed, we shout out the following words: amazing, funniest, greatest, best, of […]

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