By Mark L. Lester, DGA Chances are, you’ve seen Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger because it is, without a doubt, the greatest film of all time. I should know. I directed it. Naturally, a lot of people stop me on the street and ask, “Mark, how did you ever make a movie as great as Commando?” I usually smile and say I just happened to be holding a bottle in the middle of a lightning storm. They always laugh. I bet you did, too, because you realize that this film wasn’t an accident, just like Jesus wasn't an accident. It took real vision to pull off, starting with the theme of a parent’s love for his child, and the lengths he will go to to get her back from a wily South American dictator. Also, it has explosions, and a rockin’ saxophone-driven soundtrack that really gets the people moving in their seats. Of course, that’s not even the half of it. But after wrapping production on Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon for television, I had an opportunity to reflect on what we achieved, and really figure out what makes it all so timeless. So here I am, baring my soul to you, the adoring public, for nothing in return. This is more than just the only film school you’ll ever need. Think of it as a free version of The Secret. Think of it as your all-access pass inside the Greatest Story Ever Told. For the next three days, I will take you through Commando, my magnum opus, my gift to humanity. Let us begin with Part One. MAGIC STARTS WITH OPENING CREDITS… And so begins the ballad of John Matrix, played pitch-perfectly by Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the opening moments, we see Arnold’s instincts from his past life as a soldier person. Sweating, he masculinely chops wood with a hatchet, but also sneakily eyes the moving form in its reflection. We think he is going to harm the shadowy figure behind him, but then he drops the axe and turns to hug… his daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano). This is called narrative economy: setting up a killing machine with compassion – in two shots. The sequence that follows – with wonderful flute and string accompaniment, I might add – puts any expository opening credits to shame. We see how much Matrix cares about Jenny because he lets her smash ice cream into his face. While developing the backstory for Matrix, Arnold and I decided that in his past, Matrix once was the victim of ice cream to the face by a Russian spy, and carved out his trangressor’s heart with a hunting knife. So, it takes an immense amount of love for Matrix to not do the same to Jenny, even though she’s only playing. That’s character development. SETTING UP THE STAKES In this scene, we set up the bond between father and daughter by showing that John is in touch with his daughter, Jenny’s lifestyle. He uses his knowledge of what’s tops on “pop culture street” in order to develop a playful rapport with Jenny over sandwiches. It’s here that Matrix’s verbal wit shows its face for the first time, as he wryly asks Jenny about pop idol Boy George, “Why don’t they just call him Girl George?” This is something Arnold came up with on set, and it was such a perfect adjustment. It really won over the studio, who had originally given me notes to "not have Arnold speak" in the film. But Arnold’s questioning of Boy George’s sexuality is thought provoking, albeit a tad juvenile. And Jenny’s retort – “That’s so old, Dad" – is such an honest moment. The young child never wants to admit she’s been one-upped by a parent. Matrix, ever the model father, is then sure to temper his immature remark by following up with a socio-political lesson. “In East Germany, the Communists said that rock and roll was subversive.” It’s no doubt that Jenny was head of the class in her school with such a worldly teacher constantly serving up “wisdom food” like that!
According to Slash Film, "Fox Atomic has acquired the rights to turn indie developer Zombie Studio’s original action property "Blacklight" into a feature film, comic book series and video game." It's supposedly a "covert military action epic set 25 years into the future" and will be told using a this multi-platform approach of print, video game and feature film. And the cool part is that all the pieces will interconnect to create one larger arc. Well, it's cool if you can afford it. Sort of reminds me of the hell my grandparents must've gone through finding all those Voltron Lions. (You can imagine the disappointment of having an amputee robot.) More artwork after the jump.
Our friends over at Dread Central posted the new Red Band clip for the upcoming Lesbian Vampire Killers flick, which is an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, of course. LVK is shaping up to be a pretty good piece of camp cinema, if I do say so myself. And I just did. So click for the jump, sit back, relax, and have some good, sexy, bloodsucking laughs courtesy of Momentum Pictures. (We've also included the trailer, as well as some kickass poster art and stills.)
This Friday, Rose Byrne will be teaming up with Nic Cage in the supernatural apocalyptic actioner Knowing, directed by The Crow and Dark City's Alex Proyas. Where You've Seen Her: Rose, an Aussie, is probably best known for her role opposite Glen Close in FX's Damages. But she also made memorable turns as Scarlet in 28 Weeks Later, as Briseis in Troy, and as Cassie in Danny Boyle's Sunshine. She also had a minor role as one of Natalie Portman's doppelgangers in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Pointless Quote: "I see myself more as a character actress than a celebrity." See more pics of Rose after the jump!
Nothing says St. Patrick's Day like a Leprechaun commandeering the mic at a strip club and then proceeding to wax lyrical about his roots. He's quite the M.C., but I suppose that's par for the course with a mythical goblin who speaks in anapestic line verse. That's poetry terminology, son! I'd like to imagine that the little guy stayed around to intro the featured strippers when they come out to do their pole dance on stage.
Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that Natalie Portman is the frontrunner to play the female lead in Kenneth Branagh's screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' Thor. I don't know about you, but when I think of Natalie Portman, I think of Jewish American Princess, not Asgardian Goddess. Then again, they can do a lot with a blonde wig these days… In any case, there aren't a lot of chicks in Thor's world. At least, not many with juicy roles. So it leads me to wonder if she'd be playing Amora the Enchantress… Thor's arch enemy and sometimes lovaaaah. If that's the case… I'm thinking we need some other casting possibilities in the mix, you know, just to keep Natalie on her toes. Here are some ideas:
The trailer for Thirst, the new vampire flick from Oldboy director Chan Wook Park, has arrived. We can usually expect a few juicy taboos from Park, and this one looks like it has it in the form of a bloodsucking priest. Check out the trailer after the jump…
After noticing Watchmen's Box Office numbers slip 65% in its second weekend, we thought to ourselves, why aren't they marketing this film toward female retirees looking for some full frontal male nudity? Because, man, there's enough blue penis in this movie to make Vanity Smurf come out of his tiny closet.Well, some folks over at Liquid Generation are helping keep the Watchmen buzz alive at the other end of the age spectrum, and figured that gamers like their penis 8 bits at a time. Check out this Kung Fu-inspired scrolling actioner featuring a monster… ahem… swordfight… after the jump.
The Hollywood Reporter breaks the news that TV's MacGyver will be getting the big screen treatment through Raffaella Productions, run by Raffaella De Laurentiis, daughter of Dino De Laurentiis. Dino will executive produce. Now, everyone knows that MacGyver is the world's most ingenious adventurer. He can take a rubber band, a watch and a graphite pencil and make a low-grade bomb to break through a prison wall. He can use a bowl, a spoon and a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup to overthrow a South American dictator. You try to do that, Donovan McNabb's mom!Ultimately, though, it's the Mullet that makes the MacGyver. And we at Screen Junkies thought we could help drastically in the De Laurentiis clan's quest to cast the big screen MacGyver by putting several leading men through what we like to call: The MacMullet Test.See our contenders after the jump and vote for your favorite in the comments section (or feel free to suggest others). The De Laurentiis family – and MacGyver: The Movie – need your help!
This morning I woke up to discover that character actor Ron Silver had died of cancer at age 62. Silver is probably best known for his work in dramas like The West Wing, Chicago Hope and as the villain in Timecop. But he also made one of the funniest self-deprecating turns in unaired TV show history when he played the villain – and himself – in the Ben Stiller-created, Jack Black-starring Heat Vision Jack. See the clip after the jump. And now, the rest of the news… Sam Raimi Talks Remakes & Evil Dead 4! (IGN) Awesome Concept Art from The Goon (/Film) ex-NFL'er Michael Strahan to Follow in OJ Simpson's Path – minus the murder part. (Variety) Thoughts on SXSW screening of Bruno. Vassup! (AICN) Exclusive I Love You, Man Clip (ComingSoon.Net)
Turn off that Depeche Mode song and listen up! We're giving away a free Special Edition DVD or Blu-Ray copy of Twilight, hitting stores Tuesday, March 21st. And don't give us that, "but Twilight's a chick flick" BS. You can always win the DVD, then give it to some girl, like you did with The Notebook. (Or if you're a girl, give it to yourself, because you deserve it.)Here's what you gotta do:1) Sign up for a ScreenJunkies account.2) Watch the clip below.3) Email email@example.com with a list of ALL 20 VAMPIRE MOVIE TITLES in the order they appear in the clip. AND INCLUDE YOUR SCREEN JUNKIES USERNAME IN THE EMAIL!!! The first person to get it right will be sent his or her copy of Twilight as soon as it hits the street.
Earlier today, Screen Junkies attended the Fast & Furious junket in Hollywood. We had a chance to sit down at a roundtable Q&A with most of the principal cast, including Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, as well as director Justin Lin. Probably the juiciest tidbit of information that came out of the sit-down was the hint of where the series might go – literally – should Universal decide to manufacture an even newer model.First up was Paul Walker, who seemed laid back and comfortable to answer everything thrown at him as candidly as possible. When asked if he was already contracted out for another installment, Walker responded:"No but I've heard it. I've heard it in the rumor mill. Like, I've spoken with executives at Universal at this point, and they're pretty serious about it. They know where they want it to take place. They want to do it in Europe."
What would you do if bad people raped and left your daughter for dead? So spouts the basic message of the trailer for The Last House on the Left, and apparently, from the few clips shown, the answer is to kill them in as cinematically gruesome ways as possible (if it’s funny, that’s a plus). Wes Craven’s original back in 1972 answered this question by showing us what completely disturbed, depraved, and downright terrifying places a human could go if pushed hard enough. This remake misses the point – most of the killings wind up feeling like those clichés designed only to make you laugh and maybe cringe a little, but hardly ever scare you, and certainly not disturb you. This much-hyped remake is something of a dud, and you can check out exactly why after the jump.
The new trailer for the upcoming Sci-Fi thriller, Pandorum has been garnering some interest around the 'Nets, so we thought it was high time we had it here on Screen Junkies. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, and is schedule to open in September of 2009.
Director: Christian Alvart Cast: Cam Gigandet, Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid, Norman Reedus, Cung Le Synopsis: A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities. Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Release Date: September 4, 2009
This morning, Cinematical gave us some telling tidbits from that downloadable Indiana Jones transcript we linked to a few days back. Apparently there was a pretty glaring section dealing with the original intent of Marion and Indy's relationship that isn't quite the squeaky clean serial fun that we remember Raiders of the Lost Ark having. Start running a hot shower because when you finish reading this, you'll want to stand under it fully clothed.Here's a segment from the transcribed conversation:George Lucas: I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven. Lawrence Kasdan: And he was forty-two.
This morning, The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the classic Stephen King story, It, will be making a leap to the big screen. The 1990 TV movie adaptation was probably the best TV movie ever made (next to anything Meredith Baxter Birney puts out), and scared the ever loving crap out of me. I can only imagine what a rated R film could do – but I always knew Pennywise the Clown would be back for me now that I'm an adult. Dave Kajganich (The Invasion) is set to write the script for Warner Bros. And now for some news that doesn't summon dark memories from my childhood:Jonah Hill to scribe 21 Jump Street for big screen. (Film Drunk)Pics from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (ComingSoon.Net)Stimulus Package Movie Night (Film.com)SXSW Update: Troll 2 Gets Its own documentary! (Aint It Cool)
Ain't It Cool just broke a story this evening with insider information on some of the upcoming Marvel Studios releases whose release dates that Screen Junkies covered this morning. It seems as though there's a spy among the True Believers at Marvel, and this "Fuzzy Dunlop" has given us some very interesting tidbits on casting, directors and those Fox remakes of Fan 4 and Daredevil we keep hearing about. Boiled down bullet points after the jump.
This Friday, you can see starlet Raquel Alessi in her first big role as the titular character in Miss March. Actually, her character's name is officially Cindi Whitehall, but I just wanted to write titular not only because it's a perfectly appropriate word choice, but also because I'm feeling like an 8-year-old today. Boobies.Check out a tasteful spread of Miss March herself after the jump.
Marvel has announced the release dates for four – count em' – four upcoming films, including Thor, Spider-Man 4, The First Avenger: Captain America and the mega-super-ensemble The Avengers. See how it's shaping up after the jump…
What happens when Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and new hard-driving FF villain "Fenix" race against the clock in a secret tunnel underground? A whole lotta burnt rubber, scratched paint and the occasional wrecked ride. See for yourself in this brand new clip from the upcoming Fast & Furious – a Break Media exclusive! I had the chance to see a preview of the film, and while this clip lives up to the testosterone-fueled racing of the past films, it's just the tip of the dipstick for the amount of road rage Fast & Furious has to unleash on audiences. Other Junk You Might Like:
HollywoodDeadline's Nikki Finke reported earlier today that Mickey Rourke is, in fact, joining the cast of Iron Man 2 as a villain. But now Finke follows up with the very surprising news that Black Widow will now be played by Scarlett Johannson, not Emily Blunt, as thought before.
This trailer is CUUUUUURSED! And in this case, it's a good thing. I have to say, this actually looks pretty damn good, and it's not just because I'm deep into Bruce Campbell's autobiography, If Chins Could Kill, which recounts Raimi's Evil Dead glory days in sordidly beautiful and beautifully sordid detail.Hopefully no Saturday Night Fever tributes in this one. I'm talking to YOU, Spider-Man.
Director: Sam Raimi Cast: Justin Long, Alison Lohman, Jessica Lucas, David Paymer, Reggie Lee Synopsis: A loan officer (Lohman) ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, who turns her life into a living hell. Genre: Horror Release Date: May 29, 2009
This Friday, the remake of Last House on the Left hits theaters. If you haven't seen the trailer already, be sure to check it out here. The film looks like every protective parent's revenge fantasy come to gritty, visceral, head bludgeoning life, and Ms. Monica Potter gets to play Mommy Deadliest. We know Monica from TV's Trust Me and Boston Legal most recently. She's done several films in the past, probably most notably Patch Adams, Head Over Heels with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Saw. In all three films, she was horribly, brutally victimized. Check out some photos of Monica after the jump…
This morning, SlashFilm reported that an enterprising trekkie named Yopmio (that sounds vaguely Romulan) decided to see how JJ Abrams might create a trailer using all the elements from the original series. I know this sounds sacrilegious, but I think I like the old series better this way. Check out Abrams' 2009 Star Trek trailer here, then check out the embedded mash-up after the warp-speed jump…
Director: Dennis Iliadis Cast: Monica Potter, Sara Paxton, Garret Dillahunt, Martha MacIsaac, Tony Goldwyn Synopsis: After kidnapping and butchering two teenagers, a gang unknowingly finds refuge with the parents of one of the victims — hosts who devise gruesome revenge. Genre: Horror
So, according to Moviehole.net, another Lethal Weapon (that would make it 5) got put on ice by Warner Bros. The words came straight from the mouth of series creator Shane Black, who was up to direct the movie himself.Apparently Mel Gibson turned it down because the studio wouldn't let Richard Donner direct it. And now Mel won't answer Joel Silver's calls. Danny Glover's sweet residuals from Gone Fishin' have just about dried up by now, so I'm guessing about half those voicemails from Joel Silver "trying to get the gang back together" sound remarkably like Danny Glover.In any case, Weapon 5's script supposedly had Riggs and Murtaugh teaming up once more, but this time alongside Murtaugh's son, also an LAPD officer. I see a trend here…
According to IESB this morning, 20th Century Fox is officially preparing to reboot their Fantastic Four franchise.Fox's original Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer performed below expectations for the studio, so they're cleaning house. The movies did well financially (a bit over $600 million worldwide combined), but the fans and critics were harsh. So Fox said it was clobberin' time and cleaned house.