The Rock

Dwayne Johnson

In a move that makes so much sense that it’s kind of absurd it hasn’t already happened before, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is partnering up with DC Comics for an undisclosed project in 2014. Well, to be more specific, they’re “partnering up to create the cool bad assery,” as he announced on Twitter to his followers on New Year’s Eve. Whatever “bad assery” could entail has yet to be explained, but we have Johnson’s semi-regular #RockTalk sessions and that one intrepid Twitter follower to thank for asking questions. The year has just begun, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start thinking about what went on during that meeting with the Warner Bros CEO. It’s certainly not the first time that he’s had his name attached to DC Comics projects, so maybe this time the promise/threat of bad assery will stick. All the way back in 2007, Johnson was tagged to play Black Adam, the sometimes villain, sometimes anti-hero hailing from Ancient Khandaq, in the Shazam movie that never came to light.

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IntroOneLiners

A good method of determining the realism of a film isn’t by body count so much as it is the weight a writer puts on each death. For example, if the death is preceded by any of the following one-liners, it probably wasn’t valued very much. That isn’t to say these are bad films by any stretch, just films that you wouldn’t want to be caught dead dying in, lest your final breaths be a gentle laugh at the lunacy uttered by your attacker.

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1200

It may not be the biggest hit at the box office this weekend, but Escape Plan could wind up a cult favorite. As our review states, it’s “entertaining” and “gloriously silly.” And truth be told, it’s the first movie for either Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone in about 20 years that deserves a sequel. Or needs one, because personally I found the team-up of these two 1980s action heroes a little less fun than I’d hoped. Honestly, I dozed off a bit in the middle. But Escape Plan 2 could be bigger and even more entertaining and much sillier in an even more glorious way. For starters, I’d like to see a follow-up where the actors are actually equal, dual protagonists rather than seeing Arnie as a sidekick along for another one of Sly’s adventures. Maybe the sequel could instead reverse the premise and have it be Schwarzenegger’s character’s story. Instead of coming up with original ideas to pitch to the makers of Escape Plan, and potentially just have them stolen, I’ve selected 10 plots that already exist in other movies, which could be remade for Escape Plan 2, Escape Plan 3, etc. And the good thing is many of these titles are already in line to be remade. Just tweak the scripts with some one-liners referencing both stars’ past hits, and you’re good to go!

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review furious 6

In 2011, theaters scored the biggest Memorial Day weekend of all time with $276m, led by The Hangover Part II. This year, a third Hangover film found its way to the box office on this holiday weekend, but it was Fast & Furious 6 that dominated while smashing the previous record to bits. With $98.5m domestic, the Justin Lin film took the top spot on a four-day weekend that will be north of $300m total. Plus, with a smaller budget at $160m and massive foreign success, Fast 6 ($275m) is already better positioned than Star Trek Into Darkness ($248m worldwide) with one fewer weekend under its belt. Not to mention it beat Fast Five‘s opening weekend by $12.4m. This is absolutely incredible. When has a sixth entry into a franchise been this big? James Bond aside, it’s remarkable that a series once headed straight to video was resurrected so thoroughly that it now towers over other summer entries. The shorthand version of all this? Get ready for Fast & Furious 7 in 2014 and then gird your loins for Fast & Furious 8-12 in the years to come. As long as they have The Rock and this, they’ll be able to go bigger and make movie fans leave their homes.  

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Armageddon

This week, Michael Bay did something that I thought was only possible if you were named Joel Schumacher: he apologized for a loud, bloated late-’90s summer stimulus-athon. In an interview with the Miami Herald promoting his Florida-set Pain & Gain, Bay said, “I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’ But the movie did fine.” It’s unclear exactly what Bay’s problem is with the third act of Armageddon that isn’t also characteristic of the film as a whole (cloying sentimentality, a rushed pace, the central premise), or whether or not, in typical Bay fashion, his real problem is solely with special effects or the film’s box-office performance (“the movie did fine” here seems to relinquish any issues he may have had). But one thing’s for sure: Armageddon, according to its maker, is not a pure, ideal Michael Bay vision. (Bay, of course, later refuted the story and says he’s proud of the film, as he should be.)

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the rock shower massacre

Given all the positive buzz we’re hearing for Pain & Gain, Michael Bay could very well have his first critical hit since 1996 when the movie opens this Friday. And it might just be an even fresher tomato than the lonely red orb affixed to The Rock seen here. Interestingly enough, this new release stars someone named The Rock, further proving that Dwayne Johnson isn’t just franchise viagra but also a kind of Hollywood miracle in general these days. Not that Bay has been struggling as far as the industry is concerned. At all. It’s not important for us to defend the quality of Bay’s movies. They are what they are. Some are more entertaining than others. Most fulfill a certain demand by audiences for action, broad humor and flag-waving. And occasionally they do surprise us, especially in times when our expectations are at their lowest — or simply on that horizon to which we anticipate his work, neither high nor low, just there. We do enjoy some of it. Maybe not even whole films but individual bits. So, this week’s Scenes We Love highlights six favorite moments. And as usual we invite you to share your own picks.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s not an actual couch, you guys. Seriously, stop it. Kristen Wiig may have walked away from her regular gig on Saturday Night Live to focus on her film career, but she would be insane to walk away from the chemistry she has with her former SNL cast mate Bill Hader; getting those two together is always a comedy goldmine. And though they’ve appeared together as a big screen duo before, they’ve never really gotten the chance to anchor a film together as the stars. That all changes now! Variety is reporting that the twosome have signed up for an indie comedy called Skeleton Twins, where they will play two estranged twins who reunite after both have near death experiences on the same day. Luke Wilson is also set to appear as Wiig’s husband, a character who is described as being a “nature frat boy,” whatever that means. Regardless, the results are bound to be hilarious.

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The Rock is a hype man, born and bred. I guess that’s kind of inevitable when you grow up in a house with a dad and a grandpa who are both professional wrestlers. So any talking up of his film projects the guy does on Twitter should be taken with a grain of salt; he is a carny at heart, after all. Still though, it should be noted that after yesterday’s announcement that G.I. Joe: Retaliation was having its June 2012 release date changed to a March 2013 one (so that it could be converted to 3D) disappointed pretty much everyone else on the planet, The Rock seemed to be the only guy who was enthusiastic about the news. Soon after the story broke, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took to his Twitter account and had this to say: “Commitment to make GI JOE a massive world event just got bigger. New release 3/29/13. Rock + Ass kickins + 3D = #AwwwwShit” It seems that in Mr. Johnson’s mind, a finished film that’s already been heavily marketed and was  set for release in a little over a month getting pushed back nine more months isn’t a sign that there are serious problems with the finished product, it’s just a sign that the studio is more committed than ever to making sure that it’s the most awesome movie possible. Kind of like how Marvel just gave Iron Man 3 an extra $60 million to play with, only completely backwards.

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s the end result of a long work day, a half dozen mini doughnuts, a glass of cheap Canadian whisky, Robert Fure, and a keyboard. Suck on it, suckers! This week’s movie news after Drinking is brought to you by Revel Stoke spiced whisky (We should not get paid for this because I’m not drinking this again. Or no we should still get paid, but I’m not drinking this again). But basically the deal is I get kind of drunk and then try to type up a whole bunch of movie news before my arms stop working. If you’re wondering why I’m typing all this nonsense, it’s because we need a certain amount of buffer before we move into the news to put a proper text break in here. But totally keep reading because Will Smith NO JOKE SLAPS A RUSSIAN IN THE FACE IN THE FIRST STORY. (OH LOOK AT ME I’M FRILMCRIT HULK BECAUSE THIS IS ALL CAPITALS)

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There are few things in life that say ‘Do-Over’ more than killing off almost all of your main cast in the opening moments of your movie. It’s an apology with a thousand rounds of ammo and tactical missiles. The new G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer wastes no time in wiping the slate clean so that Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis can add some more muscle to the franchise. Of course, it also helps that Jon M. Chu has subbed in for Stephen Sommers and the pair behind Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, tagged in as screenwriters. So, yes. The slate is clean. Now it’s time to blow it up. Simply put, this trailer is explosive.

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Gina Carano in Haywire

Gina Carano’s claim to fame is that she can stomp people into the ground while, simultaneously, looking fabulous. So far she’s used these seemingly at odds traits to build a promising little career in entertainment, originally by being the first MMA athlete to bring real mainstream attention to the female fight game, and lately by transitioning her physical skills to the acting world. We got our first look at how Carano will fare on the big screen earlier this year in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, where the budding actress proved (in a starring role) not only that she could be just as alluring and magnetic as the biggest actresses working in Hollywood today, but also that there was a certain action magic to be had when your lead actress is able to perform all of her own fight scenes, probably better than any stuntwoman would be able to. Carano’s character in that film was overly stoic, however, and everything she was asked to do there seemed to be crafted to emphasize her natural looks and physical skills, and to de-emphasize any real emoting or serious acting that her inexperience might not yet be able to handle. That approach isn’t going to be able to last forever though, and now that Carano is signing up for a couple new roles, we might start seeing for the first time what she really has to offer as an actress.

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It seems that when it comes to tales of good and evil – we often see anything besides good winning and evil losing as some kind of a cop out. Like… we’d rather see the villain fall to their death or be eaten by hyenas than learn the error of their ways -something that’s more than evident in Disney films, which have featured both killer hyenas and high places. But, you know – when a bad guy ultimately turns good, if done right, it’s way better to watch. More often than not they still usually end up dying horrible, so there’s that too, but at least they die good. There’s probably going to be a lot of spoilers below.

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According to a report from Variety, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is currently in negotiations to star in Brett Ratner’s next film, Hercules. Normally I might be scoffing a little at this news, but today it’s striking me as being a good move, and for several reasons. The first being that while I usually find Brett Ratner’s work to be less than satisfying, last night I gave Tower Heist a watch, and while it was pretty stupid, it wasn’t completely offensive. And the best parts of the film were the performances by Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda, two charismatic actors who were given pretty decent platforms to show off their inherent charm. If there’s one thing that The Rock has got in spades, it’s charisma, so perhaps there’s hope for a Brett Ratner film yet. The second reason I’m cautiously optimistic about this news is just that it’s a movie about Hercules. Any career move that shows Johnson intends on continuing his re-commitment to getting huge in the gym, dropping elbows on people at Wrestlemania, and starring in big budget action movies is a good sign to me. He lost me there for a few years when he was way trimmed down and just trying to subsist on smirking his way through kids’ movies. The world needs another action icon, not another former symbol of masculinity degrading himself for money. Leave that to Ice Cube.

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It seems there’s a pervading opinion that children’s entertainment doesn’t have to be good. Any criticism of a work of art intended for the younger members of our society is almost immediately met with cries of “oh come on, it’s just for kids.” It’s a strange form of hypocrisy given that most parents almost always want the best for their kids, except, apparently, when it comes to films. Films seem to get a pass no matter how shitty they may be. But if your kid’s sick and needs a doctor, you want the best possible doctor to treat them. It’s an unfathomable double standard. There should be no shame in demanding better films for youngsters, and, unfortunately, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is not one of those better films. The film centers on Journey to the Center of the Earth lead Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson), who receives a coded message that he randomly decides must be from his long lost grandfather. Despite his hatred for his mother’s new guy, The Rock, the two team up to break the code, which says that Jules Verne’s writing about a place called The Mysterious Island was fact and not fiction. The island exists and so Sean and The Rock take off for the island of Palau to find the so-called mysterious island. They team up with helicopter pilot for hire Luiz Guzman and his pretty daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), who just happens to be about Sean’s age, crash land on the island and find Sean’s grandfather (Michael Caine), […]

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Channing Tatum is back as Duke, Ray Park is in as Snake Eyes, and Lee Byung-hung is reprising his role as Storm Shadow, but that’s about all the true connective tissue you’ll find between G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Plus, from the looks of the trailer, its Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock that will really be leading the team. Behind the scenes, Joe is being led by a new director in Jon Chu and new screenwriters in Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. It’s truly a brand new team. But the trailer speaks for itself with pyrotechnics. Check it out for yourself:

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Bogart and Bacall, Tracy and Hepburn; some Hollywood pairings work so well that they’re iconic, linking the actors in people’s minds so intrinsically that they become just as recognizable as a duo as they are as individuals. It’s looking like a new pair of names could get added to that list; Sarandon and The Rock. That’s because Susan Sarandon is in negotiations to join the already-cast Dwayne Johnson in a new drama called Snitch. Ric Roman Waugh is re-writing a script by Justin Haythe and also directing the film, which is based off a Frontline documentary about a father who agrees to go undercover and take down a high-ranking drug lord in order to get his teenage son’s rather ridiculous 30-year drug sentence cut down to something less soul-crushing. If all goes well, Sarandon will be playing the role of an ambitious attorney who thinks a high profile drug bust could really help out her career. I imagine the stoic Johnson, risking it all for his son, and the sleazy Sarandon, looking to exploit people to boost up her career, will make for some pretty good banter. Hopefully at some point they’re forced to share a hotel bed together and they hang a sheet between them to act as an impenetrable grope-stopping wall. That’s always a classic. [Heat Vision]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Sometimes it likes to think that it is a carefully constructed Rube Goldberg machine constructed by a popular rock band that quickly became on online sensation. It also sometimes thinks that it’s a world famous traveling circus of puppets. Sadly, it’s just a nightly column of movie news and interesting links. Sorry. Have any of you seen a recent picture of actor Jonah Hill? He looks odd, to say the least, having lost a great deal of weight. Is it me, or does he look like a nerdy white version of President Obama? Slightly unrelated is his being cast in Neighborhood Watch alongside Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.

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Dwayne Johnson found out about Osama Bin Laden’s death before everyone else, and in this picture he posted on his twitter feed from G.I. Joe 2 makes it look like he was one of the ones hunting him. For the first day of shooting, Johnson finds himself heavily costumed and strapped down with weapons, standing in a desert that’s either in some exotic location or somewhere near Chatsworth. I’m not the foremost expert on the original characters, and I didn’t care that much about the costuming from the first film. So, fans, is this what Road Block should look like?

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Most of the toy-to-film talk that goes on this week will probably be about the new Transformers movie tearing things up at the box office, but the guys over at that other 80s franchise G.I. Joe aren’t taking the matter lying down. In the midst of Bay-mania they have done a whole host of casting for their second film, and the guys they’ve got to join their elite team include a grappler, a rapper, and… some white dude. Star of the recent Fast Five, Dwayne Johnson, or The Rock if you will, has become quite the source of news over the past few months. First he knew about the death of Osama bin Laden before everyone else, and now he managed to scoop the world with the announcement of his own casting in G.I. Joe. On his website Johnson posted a mockup picture of himself beside the Joe Logo and added the caption, “It’s official: Call the Pentagon, get me my big ass gun – Rocks a JOE!” Johnson had been previously rumored as playing the character of Roadblock, the rhyme talking, gourmet cooking, Joe who carries around a gigantic gun, so these comments seem to help confirm that suspicion. Word has also leaked, this time from The Hollywood Reporter and not Dwayne Johnson, that famed rapper the RZA will also be joining the cast. RZA may be best known for his position in the legendary rap troupe The Wu-Tang Clan, but he’s also dipped his toe into acting by […]

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema: we have come here to chew bubblegum and worship bad movies…and we’re all out of bubblegum. Pursuant to our mission statement, hastily written in soy sauce on the wrapper of a Zagnut bar, every week we will tempt your cerebral taste buds with all the most decadent, delicious treats it doesn’t want to admit it craves. We will slice, dice, chop, and screw the movie; basting it in its own faults along the way. But then it will lovingly bake in our hearts at 98.6° for 3-5 paragraphs until it becomes golden brown with our misguided affection. We will then transform metaphor into substance by offering an actual snack food item paired with the film in order that no part of your insides remain unaffected by this odious column. If losers are always whining about their best, we achieve the complete opposite effect by lauding the worst with a barbaric yawp. Today’s Blue Plate Special: The Rock

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