Val Kilmer

true romance hopper

Tony Scott‘s True Romance is probably one of my top ten all-time favorite movies, which is kind of weird since Badlands is one of my top five all-time favorite films. Or maybe it’s appropriate that this is the case. I’m sure that one of the reasons I fell in love with this movie is because of how directly it’s inspired by and references the earlier Terrence Malick film. Notice I make the distinction between movies and films. Scott made movies, Malick makes films. Scott also made a movie I like that directly references another of my all-time favorite films (Enemy of the State –> The Conversation). I was sad when Scott died particularly because I was hoping he’d eventually cover all my top shelf titles (just imagine what he could have done with Duck Soup!). Then again, maybe he’d have just redone himself, the way he did with Domino, which is like a bad remake of True Romance. Anyway, True Romance turns 20 years old this week. Warner Bros. released the movie on September 10, 1993, and it came in at #3 for its opening weekend, behind reigning champ The Fugitive and fellow newcomer Undercover Blues (uh?). In honor of the anniversary, let’s take a look at some scenes we love. It was hard to narrow down, of course, so we went with major character moments.

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lazlo

Growing up with Real Genius, I’ve mistaken it for a guilty pleasure. The college comedy, which opened in theaters 28 years ago today, was easily lumped in with a number of other nerdy teen movies of the era, including WarGames and Weird Science, the latter of which opened just five days before this and went on to make more money and reign as the better known of the sci-fi oriented pair. And Real Genius is really silly, with its penis enlargement jokes and goofy pranks. It always felt like, as it sort of is, a PG-rated knockoff of the previous year’s Revenge of the Nerds. Little did I know then that it received a good deal of positive reviews, including a 3 1/2-star rave from Roger Ebert. Never mind what the critics thought, though. While it’s always hard to objectively re-examine a beloved movie from your youth (don’t dare tell me Maximum Overdrive isn’t a good film!), there’s at least some proof that Real Genius was intelligently produced and meant to be different from the pack it seems to run with. It also has a more interesting legacy than it’s given credit for.

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The moviegoing world was saddened earlier this week when it was learned director Tony Scott had died. Despite the manner of his death, it’s no less sad when a filmmaker such as Scott, who continued making films well into his 60, had many more films to helm. We felt it was time to hear some filmmaking insight from the man himself, which leads us to True Romance. The movie itself is a modern classic, an energetic tale of love, drugs, and a whole bunch of bullets courtesy of fledgling – at the time – screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. He also provides a commentary for the film, a rarity for the Pulp Fiction writer/director, but we’ll cover that another time. This is Tony Scott’s time, and here, without further ado, are all the things we learned listening to him speak about his film, True Romance.

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Culture Warrior

Enduring cultural figures like Batman endure precisely because of the slight but notable changes they incur over time. Batman has had a long history in the moving image, and while the character has maintained both the central conceit of being a crime-fighting detective, the cinematic Batman of seventy years ago bears little resemblance to the Batman we’re familiar with today. The character and his myth have been interpreted with variation by a multitude of creative persons other than Bob Kane and Bill Finger. In the moving image, Batman has been embodied by a range of actors including Robert Lowery, Adam West, and George Clooney, and Batman has been realized by directors and showrunners prone to various tastes and aesthetic interpretations like William Dozier and Christopher Nolan. While Batman is perhaps best-known by a non-comic-astute mass culture through the many blockbuster feature films made about him, including this summer’s hotly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, the character’s cinematic origins are rooted in the long-dead format of the movie serial. Batman first leapt off the page in a 15-part serial made in 1943 titled Batman and another six years later titled Batman and Robin. These serials did not influence Batman’s later cinematic iterations realized by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher as much as they inspired Batman’s representation on television. Batman’s presence in film serials and on television have had a decisive and important impact in terms of how mass audiences perceive the Batman of feature films. At the same time, these serials […]

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The Avengers hits theaters this Friday, but we’re looking to the future. The not-too-distant future but further out than this coming Friday. May 3, 2013, to be precise, when Iron Man 3 hits. Naturally, it stars Robert Downey Jr., still the comeback kid whose A-list status may as well be written in Adamantium. But it’s also being written and directed by Shane Black, the amazing screenwriter who brought us Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, The Last Boyscout, and this week’s film on Commentary Commentary, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It was Black’s debut as a director, and it’s arguably his best piece of work in 25 years. This week we’re listening to what Black and Downey Jr. have to say about this “indie” action/comedy. Val Kilmer joins the commentary party, too, because any party with Kilmer is better than any party without him. He just loves to drop names, as is indicated by this very bit of audio. With these three in the room together, talking about this very entertaining film, you know a healthy dose of fun is about to be had. So here you have it. All 38 things we learned listening to the commentary for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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There’s no way that a project called The Fourth Dimension, being billed as three movies in one, being directed in part by Harmony Korine, starring Val Kilmer could be self-indulgent could it? The movie is also directed by Aleksei Fedorchenko and Jan Kwiecinksi and defies easy definition. Themes of identity and enlightenment come together (apparently with Kilmer shouting at people in a roller rink) to try to grope at higher planes of existence. At any rate, it looks just as out there as it sounds. Self-indulgent, perhaps. But maybe it should also be celebrated. Check it out for yourself:

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War zone reporters and the dangerous, adrenaline-fueled lives they lead are not new topics in narrative cinema. They’ve been around as long as there have been movies, but the 80s seemed to be the genre’s heyday with films like The Year Of Living Dangerously, Salvador, and The Killing Fields all providing political commentary and harrowing drama. Recent years have seen far fewer films on the topic even though there appears to be just as many international conflicts in need of documenting. Richard Gere took a stab at it in 2007 with the Bosnia-set film The Hunting Party, but that may just be it for recent non-documentaries focused on journalists under fire. (Well, unless we’re counting Uwe Boll’s Far Cry of course.) The past year has seen a slight uptick though as two new films hit screens with stories about members of the press on the front lines of battles around the world. The first one, The Bang Bang Club, was released earlier this year (and arrived on DVD this week) and focuses on photographers covering the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The second film starts a limited theatrical run on Friday and explores the conflict around Russia’s invasion of neighboring Georgia in 2008, but what starts as an earnest and important look at a real-world travesty quickly fades into a generic series of action scenes and setups. Should we have expected more from a post-millennium Renny Harlin film? Probably not, but it never hurts to dream. (Unless you’re a […]

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This year’s Comic-Con was predictably more quiet than in years past, so when Francis Ford Coppola announced his revolutionary presentation plan for his next film, Twixt, at the project’s panel, it swiftly turned into the hit of the convention (check out Cole’s wrap-up of the panel here for a bevy of other details and information). Coppola’s plan involves taking his film on the road and editing it as he fits for each individual screening, thanks to his own computer set-up and a specialty program. A lauded director using new technology to flip the script on how movies are shown, paired with some gimmicky 3D face masks and a talented cast, it all sounds like damn interesting stuff, right? So why is none of that innovation even hinted at in the film’s first trailer? Probably because a tiny Francis Ford Coppola can’t shrink down and fit inside everyone’s computer and edit the trailer as he sees fit for each individual trailer-watcher. Or can he? Okay, no, he can’t, sorry to get your hopes up.

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Francis Ford Coppola started his panel with a ton of electronics on the stage and a second ton of film history ready to impart. Twixt may be an antique story featuring Gothic Romance elements, but it’s set firmly in the modern and made by the future. What Coppola intends to do with the film is to take it on tour and (using high-powered new tech (and an iPad)) edit the film in real-time alongside live music scoring provided by Dan Deacon. He likened the concept to the way composers would take their music on tour, which means he’ll be responding in part to what the audience loves or hates. He will, on the spot, “change the experience to suit the audience.” It’s an ancient idea that will be re-painted as a revolution for the way a film is digested. This is film as opera, as live performance, as organic material that is re-shaped every single night that it plays.

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As you might know, Kill the Irishman is based on a lot of true stories. It’s also based on what little can be known about those true stories. Starring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Linda Cardellini, and Christopher Walken, the film focuses on Danny Greene, a brutal man in league with the mob during the rough and tumble times of 1970s Cleveland. Fortunately, Cleveland looks exactly the same, so setting it in the 1970s wasn’t a big deal. The movie is out on DVD this week, and included in the special features is a documentary about the real-life story. This clip is a little bit sad, a little bit grotesque, and it’s a stirring reminder of the violence that men do.

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When people think back on the earlier, more successful portion of Val Kilmer’s career the role that gives them the most warm fuzzies is probably Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday in Tombstone. In that film he was cool, charismatic, and he basically stole the whole thing out from under Kurt Russell, who had the meatier part of Wyatt Earp. Now comes the news that Kilmer is going to slide over a spot and take on the Wyatt Earp role himself for Mike Feifer’s The First Ride of Wyatt Earp. Feifer has done mostly direct to video work over the course of his career, and Kilmer has recently sunk into that same world, but perhaps this is the film that is going to allow both men to get into the swing of things when it comes to big studio releases. With the huge financial success of True Grit, I imagine there are going to be a lot of studios looking to gamble in the western genre.  If they are able to knock this one out of the park I could see it getting a good distribution deal. Either way things go, I’m just glad to hear word of people making westerns again. What’s cooler than cowboys and horses and guns? Except for maybe pirates and ninjas, I can’t think of anything. The movie takes on the format of an older Earp sitting down with a reporter and telling him the story of his earlier exploits. There hasn’t been word as to […]

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Car bombs dominate the cinematic landscape in Kill the Irishman. They do so literally, as there’s practically a new explosion every ten minutes, and psychologically, as the fear of the bomb, the pervasive threat of a sudden and spectacular death, powerfully informs the lives of the gangsters in filmmaker Jonathan Hensleigh’s true portrait of the mob wars that rocked 1970s Cleveland. The thick, persistent tension which comes with the understanding that it could all be over at any second cuts through the familiar mob movie tropes. Despite the presence of standards such as clandestine meetings in dark restaurants and thickly-accented spaghetti-inhaling goombas, Hensleigh’s film — which he co-wrote with Jeremy Walters (based on a book by Rick Porrello, an Ohio police chief) — hews closer in tone to a war picture than Goodfellas. Thus, with notable visceral force, the film conveys organized crime’s sheer futility, the pervasive notion that it’s comprised of grown men with outsized egos engaged in deadly battles for scraps of nothing.

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It’s still unclear what to expect from Jonathan Hensleigh’s Kill the Irishman, but Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Linda Cardellini are involved, so it hardly matters. The plot focuses on a man the mob just can’t kill. Also, Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer are in a movie together, in case you didn’t hear before. In this clip, Linda Cardellini plays a brazen barmaid who gives Ray Stevenson’s character a smile and pick up line that would melt steel.

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Spartan (2004) You need to set your motherfucker to receive. Synopsis Val Kilmer plays Bobby Scott, a selection member for an elite and very secretive branch of the military. His methods are anything but traditional, but his results are definite. When he is called in to help the secret service search for the missing daughter of a high-ranking government official (you can just assume that official is the President, though it’s never openly said), Scott soon realizes there is anything but a standard kidnapping taking place. Why We Love It In a word: Mamet. The story behind Spartan could have been handled with the minimal amount of effort put into characters and dialogue, and it probably could have still worked given a decent director and fine actors. This being a David Mamet films, you know you’re getting more than anything typical especially in terms of dialogue. The lines in Spartan crack like a whip and give you much insight into the characters who are delivering them.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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There are several names that look perfect together, but for some reason, have never made it anywhere near each other. When those names happen to be brought together near the phrase “horror thriller,” it’s like learning you can have oatmeal cookie ice cream with your chocolate peanut butter cups. Hopefully the ice cream being made by Francis Ford Coppola and Val Kilmer will have some blood in it. According to Deadline Warrenville, Coppola is “quietly working” on a flick (which means they’re using inside voices) called Twixt Now and Sunrise (subtle candy product placement there) in which Kilmer plays a horror novelist. Elle Fanning and the incredible Bruce Dern are also involved, and that’s all it takes to generate some excitement. It’s great to see Coppola picking up steam again (and hopefully taking a break from grapes), and it’s promising to see him return to some horror roots with a talent that deserves more than direct-to-video fare. It’ll be fascinating to see what these two can come up with together.

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Drinking Games

I know, I know… very few of you actually saw MacGruber in the theater. I know… waaaaay more people have seen the MacGruber sketches on Saturday Night Live than even considered seeing this movie. I know… less than $9 million domestic box office. But this is bound to be a hit with a cult following on home video. Trust me.

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Pixel to Projector

Editor’s Note: Today we launch a brand new column called Pixel to Projector, by Dustin Hucks. It’s our way of staying at the center of where video games and film meet. For more, check out the Pixel to Projector homepage. The five hundred year old Meikyokan Dojo, teaching the disciplines of Master Narukagami Shinto, is hidden within a large modern city; a secret society of assassins knows as Kage reside within. Utsusemi, an honorable swordsman, loses his position as leader of the dojo to the skilled fighter Hanzaki, in a fierce battle. Hanzaki gained respect as the head of Kage, until his discovery of the cursed sword Yugiri. He began to change; disregarding the honor and traditions held by the assassins and the students of the ancient dojo. One day, a Kage escapes the confines of the dojo with its secrets. Several members of the society are sent to dispatch the defector…on penalty of death.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hands out grades to Shrek: The Final Chapter 3D, MacGruber and Human Centipede.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin gives his lukewarm review of the new Shrek movie while Neil shows some 80s action movie love for MacGruber! The Fat Guys also promise to play a listener voice mail, then reneg on that promise (they’re awesome like that), then take a look at the gruesome and controversial Human Centipede.

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