William Fichtner

Megan Fox in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

Two years ago, the appropriate amount of outrage fumed when news circulated that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be aliens instead of, you know, mutants. Straight from Michael Bay‘s mouth, it was another example of the we-like-it-let’s-change-it thinking that infects so much of the worst of franchise filmmaking. Nevermind that the new incarnation was under Platinum Dunes’ wing. There’s also a long production history that has taken a cult comic creation and transformed it enough already. We’ll never get a true vision of what Eastman and Laird put down on comic book pages, but while accepting that, it felt even stranger to see large modifications made to an origin story for seemingly no real reason. Enter the trailer.

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William Fichtner Lone Ranger

William Fichtner isn’t an actor afraid to go big. Maybe that comes with the territory of being a character actor, but no one can ever accuse Fichtner of playing it safe. There are many examples, and perhaps some others better than this one, but take a moment to reflect upon the Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito comedy vehicle, What’s the Worst that Can Happen?. Not exactly a comedy classic, but, even if you only vaguely remember that movie, you definitely remember Fichtner’s performance as a flamboyant detective. It’s the kind of performance that breathes life into a scene. The same can be said for Disney’s The Lone Ranger. Bartholomew”Butch” Cavendish is a villain with a mustache itching to be twirled, but, as Fichtner put it, he refused to do any twirling of the sort. That’s right, no twirling of any kind. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to have fun in another Jerry Bruckheimer production, making for his fourth feature with the Hollywood big shot.

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review wrong

Note: Rob Hunter’s review originally ran during Fantastic Fest 2012, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Weirdness has its place in cinema. It can be a fun element in everything from comedies to horror films or used to add a lighter texture to serious topics, but the one thing it can’t be is the only thing. Quentin Dupieux‘s first feature, the innocuously titled Rubber, is one of the most absurd films of the past several years. Its core plot follows a tire that comes to life and begins exploding peoples’ heads via telekinesis, but it’s also an extremely smart commentary on consumer and audience expectations. The goofiness just makes it funnier. Dupieux’s follow-up is equally weird with random character dialogue and actions that make zero sense, visual gags that go unexplained and plot story threads that go nowhere in particular. A man wakes one morning to find his beloved dog is missing. His search for the pooch brings him in contact with neighbors, gardeners, policemen and more, and all of them without fail act incredibly weird. Why? No reason.

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Wrong

If you don’t recognize the name Quentin Dupieux at first glance, you may better know him as the totally strange film director who made Rubber, a movie about a car tire that could kill people with its mind. The last time we heard about his latest film, Wrong—which appears to be a movie about a character played by Jack Plotnick losing his dog and discovering more than he was bargaining for during the quest to find him—it was wowing people after playing at Sundance, but it had yet to find itself a North American distribution deal. Now the film is back, and not only does it have a VOD premiere date of February 1 and a limited theatrical release date of March 29, it’s also brought along a fancy new trailer that makes it look a little less like an abstract art film like the first one did, and a little bit more like an absurd though hilarious romp instead. But maybe romp isn’t putting it strongly enough. This trailer takes the rhythms of Plotnick’s character’s experiences and mixes them into a funky electronic beat that’s likely to make you wiggle in your seat while you’re watching it. That’s just fun.

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image_elysium sharlto copley

One of the more anticipated films hitting theaters next year is Neill Blomkamp‘s Elysium. The sci-fi epic is the director’s long-awaited (well, since 2009 anyway) follow-up to his breakout hit District 9, and it follows a similar path melding action, science fiction and social commentary. It stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Diego Luna, Talisa Soto and Sharlto Copley. He played the hero in District 9, but Copley’s turn here is of a far darker flavor. Empire Online has just debuted the first glimpse above of Copley in full bad guy gear, and he’s nigh unrecognizable. Elysium is set in the year 2159, and pits the oppressed people of the ruined planet Earth against the privileged elite aboard the Elysium space station. Matt Damon is ex-convict man-on-a-mission Max, fighting with the Terrans for equality, and Jodie Foster is the dastardly government official intent on enforcing anti-immigration laws and keeping Elysium for the Elysians; Kruger is her relentless attack dog.” Elysium invades theaters August 9th, 2013.

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Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) is as regular a guy. He goes to work everyday, at an office from which he was fired months before and where it rains indoors all day. He has a best friend who is moving away in order to drive to the edge of the world. One morning Dolph wakes up to find his dog is missing. To distract himself from the anxiety, he calls a new pizza place and inquires at length about the metaphoric accuracy of the logo. It’s about this time that his gardener informs him that the tree in his backyard has impishly transformed itself from a palm tree to an evergreen. Soon after that, he meets Master Chang, a spiritual and self-help guru who believes in pet telepathy. Tired old story, right? Wrong! However, anyone who has seen Rubber knows this is par for the course when it comes to Quentin Dupieux. His films are experiments in unbridled absurdity. The man crafted an entire film around the conceit of a sentient tire who kills people via telepathy. As if that weren’t enough weird for one movie, he also created a bizarre Greek chorus that both observed and commented on the actions of said tire; breaking the fourth wall at will and lending a self-aware vibe to the insanity. Obviously, this kind of abandon of traditional narrative, as well as all semblance of logic, is a recipe for a limited fanbase. Understandably, Dupieux is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I loving […]

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With his last film, Rubber, French director Quentin Dupieux proved that he could make a movie that has an inanimate object serving as its main character and have it not only refrain from being completely ridiculous, but actually turn out kind of moody and interesting. His tale of a serial-killing tire wasn’t exactly high art, but it wasn’t the sort of non-self-aware schlock that you might expect from a film with such a ludicrous plot description either. So it’s interesting to see that his new project, Wrong, takes a completely mundane plot and seems to inject it with more craziness than you could shake a stick at. On its surface, Wrong is the story of a man (Jack Plotnick) who loses and then goes on a quest to recover his dog. But, if the film’s new trailer is any indication, said quest doesn’t go at all how he imagined it would. What results is a mind-bending mixture of comedy and thriller that doesn’t seem like it should work on the page, but which looks interesting enough that you have to hope Dupieux has what it takes to pull it off.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s your hero. It knows what movie and entertainment news you need, and it delivers in the nick of time. That is, if the nick of time is late at night. If your nick of time happens at any other time, you’re out of luck. We begin tonight’s very art-heavy edition of News After Dark with a piece of a piece of art by Scott Reifsnyder, a tribute to Pixar’s The Incredibles. That’s just an impressively fun movie about heroes.

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William Fichtner is a badass. This has always been true, even as the character actor rocked his way through Baygasms and indie hits alike. With Dwight Yoakum out of Gore Verbinski‘s forthcoming Lone Ranger, there was a spot to fill, and the production has improved on its casting with the opportunity. Yoakum is interesting, sure, but no one touches Fichtner’s track record of stellar acting that makes everything he’s in just a bit better than it was before. So while Nathan questioned whether the acting singer’s departure was a bad omen in the link above, it looks like everything’s worked out for the even-better. Now the question is whether he can translate this into the kind of stardom the guy has deserved all along. It’s a massive movie with Johnny Depp pulling in crowds and a proven large-scale filmmaker, and even though he’s been in this position before, Fichtner has always been tucked away into a larger ensemble. Here, he’ll be even better equipped to steal scenes as well as boost (and get boosted) by actors like Tom Wilkinson (who will play a big boss villain). Fichtner’s role, Butch Cavendish, is the leader of a gang and the main villain facing off against Armie Hammer’s Ranger. That’s fertile ground.  At any rate, even if this doesn’t make him a household name, it’s still great to hear him cast in anything. Maybe there’s hope for this strange bird after all. [Deadline Destin]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news. It will not try to sew your face to someone else’s butt. It will, however, make your hind quarters sore. So give yourself over to it — it will be gentle, at first. Fox’s upcoming Planet of the Apes prequel, previously titled Rise of the Apes, has been retitled to give it that ole’ familiar ring. It will now be called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which should hold until they can figure out a less concise way to title it. Either way, it’s got James Franco, so I’m seeing it.

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Movies We Love

“It’s the size of Texas, Mr. President.” Does it get any better than that? Of course it doesn’t. Armageddon is without doubt one of the finest motion pictures ever created by humans. If that snippet of dialogue made audible by Mr. Billy Bob Thornton himself didn’t convince you, maybe this will. “You think we’ll get hazard pay for this?” I’m going to pretend you’ve been living under a rock since 1998 and summarize one of the greatest summer blockbuster films ever made for you. So Billy Bob Thorton is sort of the head honcho of NASA and one day he’s supervising a standard in-space satellite repair when all of a sudden a meteor shower rips his crew to pieces. We then cut to New York City, which seems to always be the city that gets destroyed in big budget disaster movies, and sure enough the meteors tear through the city demolishing Grand Central Station, decapitating the Chrysler Building [insert Unstoppable joke here] and finally, in a moment fraught with unintended significance, the camera slowly zooms out to show the twin towers of the World Trade Center on fire. Then we’re treated to quickly cut scenes of people yelling and running through hallways and trying to figure out why Keith David keeps calling. Essentially, a giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and no matter where it hits, it will wipe out all life as we know it. Jason Isaacs convinces the President that the best plan is to […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr snubs his nose at all the films up for the Oscar in order to enjoy the R-rated smorgasbord that is available in the theaters. He kisses his wife and takes six days off from marriage, just like Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis in Hall Pass. He takes those six days to find a fast car so he can Drive Angry, following Amber Heard and her short shorts in 3D. Apparently no one told him she’s a lesbian now.

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Nicolas Cage is miffed; you might say perturbed. His daughter and her husband have been murdered and his infant granddaughter has been abducted. The perpetrator of these vile acts is the leader of a satanic cult of which his daughter was a former member. Cage proceeds to scorch the Earth between him and this madman in an effort to recover the only remaining connection he has to his beloved daughter. Along the way, he becomes involved with a waitress who accompanies him on his odyssey of rage. They are set upon by a mysterious suited man who calls himself The Accountant and seems to have a knack for seemingly impossible homicides. Will our intrepid anti-heroes be able to rescue the child before the forces of darkness claim her? What is the secret the vengeful rider seems to be harboring? Is that Tom Atkins?! Sometimes unique providence shines upon a critic when he is presented with a film that perfectly speaks to him. Every element, every frame, every absurdity seems suspiciously designed to strike just the right chord. The drawback inherent in a situation like this is that it becomes difficult to write a review that will communicate the quality of such a film for the masses. In short, trying to convince you that Drive Angry is a great film outside of an extremely esoteric appreciation may prove difficult. Drive Angry is essentially the perfect example of Junkfood Cinema fare: technically terrible but nevertheless lovable. If that doesn’t sound like your […]

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The Week That Was

It’s been a very big, hyper-serious week here at Film School Rejects. Well, everything but the hyper-serious part anyway. We celebrated a big birthday by finally getting potty trained, we pulled the wheels of a big time movie director’s campaign against critics, we rapped to you, we reviewed a bunch of movies that weren’t so great, we reported on epic, Asgardian trailers and movies about Egyptian democracy and we interviewed people, shared opinions about movie universes and took you to Funky Town. Okay, all but the part about Funky Town. But you know it’s coming. Bask with me in the glory of this week’s best articles as we recount The Week That Was.

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William Fichtner needs no introduction. He’s headed a sting operation against Ecstasy dealers, had Heath Ledger shove a grenade in his mouth, and now with Drive Angry, he plays a mysterious figure that’s short on talk and big on results. Especially if those results involve a baseball bat and the oh-so-fragile human skull. The Accountant is bound to be an iconic character in the same vein as Pulp Fiction‘s Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe. He’s an unflinching hunter not bound by the laws of this world (or the laws of physics), and Fichtner delivers the usual acting power that he’s known and applauded for. Fortunately, Fichtner was nice enough to take time out to speak with me about the role, his love of cars, and what KC and the Sunshine Band has to do with demons from Hell.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to see every single picture from Drive Angry because I’ve seen the movie, and it’s about as fun a ride as you can imagine. The 3D is gimmicky and wonderful, the story is on a hellbent mission, and William Fichtner creates a character that will live forever as an icon. He, however, is not the main focus of these new pics from the movie. That focus happens to be Amber Heard in Daisy Dukes. The marketers know what they’re doing. Enjoy the new pics intermingled with some old favorites:

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