Inside Pulse » Jeff Bridges A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:00:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Jeff Bridges R.I.P.D – Review Mon, 22 Jul 2013 14:00:41 +0000
Not the worst film of the year … but close

The one thing about R.I.P.D that needs to be said is that it’s not the worst film in the world. Far from it. The pre-release buzz, especially in a year where big budget films are flopping all around us, has been that of it being just another awful film that is about to lose a ton of money. It’s being labeled the worst film of the year, etc, and the final proof that Ryan Reynolds isn’t a movie star. While the latter may be true R.I.P.D isn’t the worst film of the year, century, decade or ever. It’s far from it, actually.

That’s not to mean it’s good, either. In fact it’s pretty bad … it’s just not awful.

It’s a fairly intriguing premise. Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is a Boston cop who’s a bit on the dirty side. He’s starting to feel remorseful, though, and his ex-partner (Kevin Bacon) has a problem with that. He’s a true crooked cop, not the one with the heart of gold like Nick, and opts to kill Nick during a raid on a drug dealer. Nick doesn’t wind up being dead, though. He’s given a chance to work for the Rest in Peace Department to atone for his sins by being a lawman for the undead world. Partnered with a cowboy from the Wild West (Jeff Bridges), we follow Nick as he has to save the world from the Apocalypse.

If the plot sounds familiar it’s because this is a film that’s essentially a re-imagining of Men in Black but with the undead instead of aliens. Unfortunately the film doesn’t have a lot of the good qualities of that film, starting with its main star. The film does have an intriguing premise, though, enough to make the first act fairly engaging.

The concept of Nick trying to let go of his mortal life, which his partner advises him to do, while he learns this world of “deados” who won’t leave the mortal coil could make for a great film. It’d make for a better television series, most likely, but as a film there’s enough out there to be the start of a John Carpenter style police procedural/action film. There’s enough in this that Nick becoming a undead police officer, with his wacky partner, could be something special.

The setup is there but the execution is sloppy, mainly because it has a dull story, uninspired dialogue and nothing much to distinguish it from every other generic action film. And a lot of it has to do with Ryan Reynolds just not quite having presence enough to make the film feel bigger with his presence.

Ryan Reynolds has always been pushed as a big action star and for good reason: he looks like he should be starring in big budget action films every summer. He’s good lucking, always in tremendous shape and has a good comedic presence as well. If there was a “movie star draft” based on potential alone he’d be a high first rounder, for sure, just based on everything he brings to the table. If you wanted to make a movie star Ryan Reynolds would be the guy you’d be drooling over if you were a movie star scout; he’s got everything you’d want in a movie star (on paper) and yet … he’s never really crossed the line to become one.

And R.I.P.D needs a movie star in the lead, not just another actor, which is a big chunk of its problems.

Reynolds just doesn’t have that presence one needs to carry a film like this. That’s the difference between this and Men in Black, which is about as good in overall quality. Will Smith’s ability to be a massive movie star and bring his presence to the role is what turned that film into something that’s been his biggest franchise. One imagines that Reynolds agreed to do the film because of the same reasons, of course, but he just doesn’t quite have the big presence to be a movie star of the magnitude required to carry a film like this. He’s a good actor but he’s not a movie star; if there ever was a part designed to showcase Reynolds taking that next step and becoming a movie star R.I.P.D would be it.

Unfortunately it would appear he doesn’t and as such the film doesn’t quite fire off without it. This is a film that needs Reynolds to be that guy because it needs someone to elevate its rather shoddy material. The film’s inherent flaws of script and structure come out because there isn’t someone in the lead with enough star power to make us forgive it. The flaws of this film become exposed because Reynolds doesn’t have that Will Smith ability to make us forget about them.

Ultimately R.I.P.D winds up as a star vehicle needing a star … and has an actor in the lead.

Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi, based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name
Notable Cast:
Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak×120.jpg

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R.I.P.D Trailer Directly Rips Off Men in Black Trailer, No One Cares Because Ryan Reynolds Is In It Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:00:10 +0000 It’s interesting to watch the trailer for R.I.P.D; it looks an awful lot like Men in Black. You can compare both below.

Plot Summary: After a young cop is shot dead in the line of duty, he joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest In Peace Department and tries to find the man who killed him.×120.jpg

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Houston Cinema Arts Festival: Casting By – Review Tue, 13 Nov 2012 13:00:09 +0000
A documentary about an overlooked profession and trailblazer Marion Dougherty.

Prior to the start of Casting By, I was sitting in a row all to myself and listening attentively to two couples sitting behind me. They were discussing The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and how the legendary late-night show was a place to discover new talent. If a performing comedian or comedienne made Carson laugh heartily, he would invite him or her over to sit on the couch with Ed McMahon.

Nowadays, late-night talk shows follow a similar theme with little in the ways of surprises. If Jay Leno is on vacation, NBC airs repeats. If Carson were away from his nightly throne, he would have a guest host lined up, be it Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, or Kermit the Frog.

What this has to do with Casting By is simple: There seems to be regression when it comes to finding new talent. Tom Donahue’s documentary looks to illuminate and inform people about the art of casting and how it is very much a creative process. Just as a production designer building a set or an editor trimming a film to fulfill the director’s vision, casting is a critical component to moviemaking.

In this brisk 90-minute jaunt through Hollywood’s glory days, which saw an evolution from sticking with studio contract players to casting a bunch of no names, we begin to notice how important casting is to a production. The fact that casting is the only main-title film credit not recognized with an Oscar category seems like a disservice to the profession.

A number of casting directors are featured but the documentary as a whole acts as tribute to the late Marion Dougherty who blazed a trail as a New York casting director before Hollywood came calling.

Said to be a five year labor of love by its producer Kate Lacey who was in attendance at the screening, Casting By features a who’s who list of luminaries speaking about being discovered by Dougherty and the birth of New Hollywood. The impressive line-up of interviewees includes Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Danny Glover, Robert De Niro and filmmakers Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Taylor Hackford. All but one of those directors contends that casting should be recognized by the AMPAS.

In Old Hollywood, casting was more form fitting and organizational, as if the producers looked at the studio contract players as widgets and put them into roles according to body type and looks. Dougherty changed all that when she pioneered a shift in actors based on ability and not appearance. Me being a moviephile I knew of Marion Dougherty having seen her name in several Warner Bros. releases of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which included Batman Returns and The Last Boy Scout. But I never knew, or at the very least took an interest to see, how many Casting By/Casting Director credits she had accumulated over a thirty-year span. To my surprise, she was instrumental in populating two landmark series in the 1960s, Naked City and Route 66, where she would trawl Off Broadway shows and acting schools to find talents like James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Maureen Stapelton, and Christopher Walken among others. Her experience working on Kraft Television Theatre made her close friends to directors that would go on to have major film careers, among them George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting) and Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon).

Keeping a box of index cards – the pencil markings smudged due to handling – that highlight the attributes of the actors and actresses that have read in Dougherty’s presence, the Queen of the Casting Couch shows that she has more in common with a seasoned police detective, oftentimes going with her gut in making decisions. This is especially true in an episode involving Jon Voight. After the actor botched his first professional acting job on Naked City, five years later he was championed by Dougherty for the starring role in Midnight Cowboy over the more established Michael Sarazzin.

Full of great anecdotes, my favorite may be when she was the head of Warner Bros. casting department and she championed Danny Glover for the film Lethal Weapon. One of my favorite Christmas movies (up there with Die Hard), it was always my belief that the film had been written to have a white actor and black actor in the leading roles. I had no idea that the role of Roger Murtaugh was inferred to be white. But because the script didn’t outright express that the role wasn’t for a person of color Dougherty didn’t see a problem with casting Glover in the role. It was her vision to create a then-modern day Abbott and Costello and she succeeded. (Honestly, can you envision Lethal Weapon without Gibson and Glover?) Other choice anecdotes include Bette Midler being discovered and the casting of Glenn Close and John Lithgow in The World According to Garp.

Marion Dougherty may be the focus of the documentary, but director Tom Donahue also celebrates the work of Lynn Stalmaster. He would be the first to be recognized with an on-screen credit for his work and was instrumental in casting such films as In the Heat of the Night and The Last Detail (where Randy Quaid got a role that was nearly John Travolta’s). He even found the Appalachian banjo-playing kid for John Boorman’s Deliverance.

Casting By closes with the lack of respect given to the profession of casting directors, stemming from misperceptions about what the job involves. Of those filmmakers mentioned above (Scorsese, Allen, and Taylor Hackford), the only one who comes off with a pompous attitude is Hackford, the president of the Directors Guild of America. He is insulted that the word director be associated for anything other than the sole person hired by the studio whose creative vision matters above all. Even describing a cinematographer as a “Director of Photography” makes Hackford uneasy.

Like other fields of entertainment, movies are a collaborative art form and to be dismissive of a field like casting shows a lack of concern of your own profession. The director may have final say in casting roles, but Nancy Klopper, who has been casting Hackford’s films since An Officer and a Gentlemen, was probably very instrumental in casting Louis Gossett Jr. in his Academy Award-winning role.

The fact that the Oscars remain resistant to awarding casting directors while the Emmys have Outstanding Casting categories shows how progressive television has gotten over the years. Programs like The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Homeland are supported by strong acting and to award the casting directors signals an appreciation that goes in the creation of such programs.

As for Dougherty’s contribution and influence to the profession of casting, well for now Casting By will remain her tribute. A write-in campaign to get her an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar was attempted in the early ‘90s but it was ultimately nixed. One can only hope that this release will make the Academy revise their arcane practices and at the very least give her a posthumous honor.

Picked up by HBO and set to be released sometime in 2013, filmlovers should definitely seek it out. Just like the documentary A Decade Under the Influence is a history lesson about the ‘70s movie industry, Casting By will be essential viewing for those who want to learn how one woman with an eye for talent would make a bunch of no names into some of Hollywood’s greatest stars.

Director: Tom Donahue
Featuring: Marion Dougherty, Lynn Stalmaster, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Lane, Jon Voight, Bette Midler, John Travolta, Robert Redford, John Lithgow, Ed Asner, Ned Beatty, Peter Bogdanovich, Jeff Bridges, Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Taylor Hackford, Paul Haggis, Buck Henry, Norman Lear, John Sayles, Jerry Schatzberg, Cybill Shepherd, Oliver Stone×117.jpg

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Marisa Miller Joins Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:00:29 +0000 You can add Marisa Miller’s name to the slew of Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated models that are slinking into acting, at least according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Miller, a Victoria’s Secret Angels and 2008 SI Swimsuit cover model, is joining the cast of R.I.P.D., Universal’s latest starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. She’ll be making her film debut after having peeviously appeared in Entourage, Gary Unmarried, and How I Met Your Mother. The film follows a murdered cop (Reynolds) who is recruited to work in the Rest in Peace Department, a police force comprised of ghosts who battle spirits unready to depart this world.

Bridges is playing Reynolds’ ghostly partner; Miller will be a human avatar, the form humans see when Bridges’ character is in his earthly form.
Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, and Stephanie Szostak also star.

images (1) images (2) images Miller-198x300×120.jpg

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The Fisher King Coming To Blu-Ray Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:45:26 +0000 Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King is finally getting the Blu-ray treatment and will be released on November 8th. At this time no specs or features for the Blu-ray release have been announced.

The Fisher King (Gilliam’s first film made in the US) tells the story of shock jock Jack whose callous remarks on the air lead to a brutal massacre by one of his listeners. Years later, Jack is washed up and a shell of the man he used to be. One drunken evening he comes across a homeless man named Perry whose life was also destroyed by the massacre in far more devastating ways. Could this tenuous and unlikely friendship mean redemption for both men?

With a fantastic cast including Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl (in an Oscar winning role!) and Amanda Plummer (you even get Tom Waits in a cameo role!), The Fisher King offers you everything you would want from a Terry Gilliam film. The auteur was truly at the top of his game when he made this film and I for one am super excited to see this film in high definition.×120.jpg

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The SmarK DVD Rant: Remake-O-Rama II! Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:01 +0000 Let’s face it, Hollywood is lazy. Why go through the trouble of coming up with an original concept when you can recycle an older movie? Heck, even I’m lazy enough to make a sequel to my own remake post! So this time around, I go for the most tenuous of DVD connections by noting that both of our contenders this time are remakes of previous movies. One of them is a much better film than the other, I’ll let you guess which one.

True Grit

The Coen brothers have had some wild successes, creatively speaking, and some tragic misfires, sometimes within the same movie (Ladykillers, I’m looking at YOU), but you know they never fail to entertain when given a chance. The original True Grit was one of the few classics I’ve never seen (never been much of a Duke fan, sorry to say) so I came into this one without any previous judgment on it. In a word, AWESOME. Although this is technically the remake of the original John Wayne movie, the Coens more specifically went directly from the 1968 novel, giving a movie that’s much more faithful to the original source material.

Back in the late 1800s, Mattie Ross is a 14-year-old girl who watches as her father is gunned down in cold blood by drifting con man Tom Chaney. Given that she’s ill-equipped to seek vengeance on her own and the law doesn’t appear to be interested in helping her, she enlists the services of crusty drunkard Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges, reinventing the classic Wayne role) and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (pronounced La-Beef, because they’re in AMERICA, dammit). The charm of the movie isn’t in the told-and-retold story of revenge, it’s the details that the Coens throw in to keep the old western yarn interesting. Mattie’s surprisingly hard-nosed negotiations with a horse-dealer are like something right out of The Big Lebowski (“Oh no…are we dealing again?”) and kind of set the playful tone that the movie adopts as it’s own. It never really veers into a full-on comedy, but there’s a definite sense of playfulness from the directors, like when Rooster’s attempts at a one-man ambush goes decidedly south. (“That did not pan out,” notes Cogburn in the typical subdued Coen humor).

Hailee Steinfeld completely steals the show from everyone as Mattie, commanding the expedition as surely as any adult would, until the story finally puts her into the damsel-in-distress role that Hollywood demands for whatever reason. What I really liked about the eventual payoff is how pathetic the big bad Tom Chaney turns out to be. After all the buildup, he’s just another sad drifter who gets overruled by his boss when the chips are down. Unfortunately, this isn’t a movie that ever reaches classic status, as the weirdly stilted language of the novel carries on here (characters speak entirely without contractions in the most glaring example) and it can get really off-putting after a while. As well, the middle portion of the movie, with LaBeouf seemingly unable to decide if he’s going or sticking around, kind of drags compared to the fun beginning and gunfighting finale. And let’s face it, The Dude is not The Duke. Still, if you enjoyed the remake of 3:10 to Yuma from a couple of years ago and you’re looking for something in a similar vein, it’s hard to go wrong here. Extras are good, although I would have liked a commentary track. The Blu-ray offers a bunch of making-of pieces covering the novelist, the costuming, set design and a bunch of other topics, as well as the DVD version of the movie on a second disc and the ubiquitous digital copy that no one cares about. Recommended.

Jackass 3.5

“Football to the groin! It works on so many levels!”

  • Homer Simpson

So this is also technically a remake, although of a much more recent movie. Jackass 3D was not exactly a triumph of cinema, but it made a shitload of money and there’s a devoted audience, so now we get the leftovers. There was apparently another movie’s worth of footage left from what made the cut in the original movie, so Jackass 3.5 acts as both a making-of feature and a giant compilation of deleted scenes. In case you’re totally new to the Jackass phenomenon (and really, is anyone unaware of the formula by this point?), a group of ex-skaters who now make millions of dollars a year but still look like homeless people engage in whatever idiotic “stunts” they can convince their insurance company to underwrite. Example: Everyone gets an enema, and then does a long jump to force themselves to poop. Repeat for 90 minutes. For this release, new stunts are intercut with interviews with the cast and crew, as they talk about what didn’t make the cut and why. Some deletions are obvious (Bam Margera trying to run into a wooden post with a pole vault never really goes anywhere, while the human bowling ball exists only as a Johnny Knoxville prank on the rest of the guys) and some stunts had enough goofy charm that they probably could have existed in a longer cut of the original movie. But it’s probably for the best they didn’t, because 90 minutes of this stuff is about the most anyone can take before it wears out its welcome. Even here, the first half of the movie is sometimes gut-bustingly hilarious in a “I can’t look, but I can’t look away” fashion (Barrel Surfing, the various adventures with treadmills, slow-motion camera injuries, and a competition to dropkick Bam in the face all come to mind).

After an hour or so, it starts to get numbing, and by the nutshot compilation that ends things, you’ve had enough for a while. I think that’s why the TV show was such an effective formula: 30 minutes was just enough time not to get sick of the Jackass crew. I’ll say that I laughed a lot here, but this was really a 40-minute deleted scene reel edited into a 90 minute movie. Not as painful as a basketball to the nuts but not as funny either. Extras include MORE deleted scenes (which really shows you that you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel), as well as an extended version of the original Jackass pilot with new cast and crew interviews. I liked this well enough, but if I wasn’t getting this sort of thing sent to me by the studio, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance on the shelf. Mildly recommended as a companion piece to Jackass 3D if you really loved that movie, but as a standalone product there’s not much to recommend. It’s basically like that Matrix Revisited DVD that came out in between the first and second movies – a glorified second disc of special features, but no substance on its own.

The winner this time: True Grit.×120.jpg

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Tron / Tron: Legacy (Five-Disc Collection) – Blu-ray Review Thu, 12 May 2011 11:00:00 +0000

When Tron was released in 1982 there literally had been nothing like it before. People didn’t have Internet or smart phones back then. The world of Tron was just as strange and new as outer space or the deep sea. And while by today’s standards it doesn’t have the greatest special effects, it was way ahead of its time and it still a fantastic film to watch. And now it’s even better on Blu-ray! Oh, and Tron: Legacy is on here as well which is pretty cool.

In Tron Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a computer programmer, is sucked into the computer by the Master Control Program where programs are forced to face one another in futuristic gladiator arenas. With the help of a program called Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) Flynn must find a way to destroy the MCP and return back to his reality.

28 years later brings us to Tron: Legacy. It seems that some time in the ’80s Flynn disappeared from the public eye. Many thought he was dead. His son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) thought he’d been abandoned until one day when his dad’s partner, Alan Bradley (Boxleitner), points him in the direction of his dad’s old arcade. There Sam unwittingly follows in his father footsteps and finds himself trapped on The Grid.

Flynn’s program, Clu, turned on him and took control of The Grid. Sam must first find his father before taking on Clu before he brings the world of The Grid to our reality.

Legacy is a fun film, and the special effects are absolutely mind-blowing. They have a sleek modern look while still maintaining an esthetic connection to the original. The story is not as engaging as the first, but it’s still a fun film and it’s great to return to The Grid again.

The creepiest part of the film is the CGI used to make Clu look like an ’80s Kevin Flynn. It’s not a 100% perfect and it can be really distracting. As Clu it’s okay, as Clu is a program, but in the beginning of the film when Kevin last sees his son Sam it’s just wrong.

All-in-all this is a fantastic collection. Both films make a great set and they both look fantastic on Blu-ray. This five-disc set also comes with a 3-D disc if you’re into that sort of thing. If not, you can always get the four-disc set.

Tron is presented in 2.20:1 widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with French and Spanish language tracks and English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Tron: Legacy is presented in 2.35:1 & 1.78:1 widescreen and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround with French and Spanish language tracks and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Both these films look AMAZING! TRON has never looked better! One of the best Blu-ray’s I’ve seen in a while.

Tron: Legacy Disc (Blu-ray ONLY):

The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed: (46+ min.) A fun fake documentary about the history of Encom and Kevin Flynn, and it is even cooler cause I’m in some of the footage that was shot in here in San Francisco! Also, at the end you can type in three letter codes to see different footage including some of the viral stuff and a “vintage” commercial for Space Paranoids. Good stuff.

Disney Second Scene: A way to get more behind the scenes stuff while you watch the film, you need an app for your iPhone or iPad or a program for your computer to make this work.

Launching A Legacy: (10 min.) This shows just how important fans are to a film. The filmmakers made a short trailer for the film and showed it to an unsuspecting Comic Con audience. They loved it and the rest is history.

Disc Roars: (3 min.) At Comic-Con the director used the audience to be his audience for the movie. This is really cool. It shows the Comic Con footage then the footage in the film.

Derazzed, Daft Punk video: (3 min.) Great song, cool little video.

Tron: Legacy Disc (Blu-Ray and DVD):

First look at Tron: Uprising: (1 min.) Promo for an upcoming Disney cartoon that takes place before Legacy. Could be okay.

Visualizing Tron: (12 min.) A typical look at how they developed the look of the film. How they designed the suits is very interesting.

Installing The Cast: (12 min.) A usual but interesting look at putting together the cast of the film.

Discovering Blu-ray with Simone and Pumba: (4 min.) A commercial to convince you to buy a 3-D Blu-ray player and TV.

Tron Disc (Blu-ray):

The Tron Phenomenon: (10 min.) Cast and crew, past and present, talk about the films.

Photo Tronology: (16 min.) Writer/Director Steven Lisberger sits down with his son to look at some old photos from when the first TRON was made. I guess this is better than just a photo montage, but it’s still kind of boring.

You also get all the original DVD Features including: Audio Commentary, Development, Digital Imagery, The Making Of, Music, Publicity, Deleted Scenes, Design, Storyboarding and Gallerys.

Digital Copy of Tron: Legacy

Tron is an ’80s sci-fi cult classic, Tron: Legacy is an entertaining all be it flawed sequel. Together they make a fantastic Blu-Ray release worthy of your hard earned dollars. And I can be seen in one of the special features! What other reason do you need to buy this?

Disney presents: Tron. Directed by: Steven Lisberger. Written by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan and Bardard Hughes. Running time: 96 min. Rated PG. Originally released in 1982.

Tron: Legacy. Directed by: Joseph Kosinski. Written by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen. Running time: 125 min. Rated PG. Released: April 5, 2011.×120.jpg

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Coens’ True Grit Saddles Up for Blu-ray Wed, 09 Mar 2011 19:20:44 +0000 Having earned more than $165 million worldwide and being nominated for 10 Oscars (though came up empty in all categories), there’s only one thing left for Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit to do: Come out on Blu-ray.

In an early announcement to retailers, Paramount Home Entertainment has indicated that True Grit will arrive as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo title on June 7, 2011, packing over an hour of special features, including behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring the cast and cinematography of the film, the period costumes and guns, a fascinating portrait of the brilliant but reclusive novelist Charles Portis and more.

The True Grit Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The DVD in the Combo Pack is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Surround and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Blu-ray Extras:

    o Mattie’s True Grit

    o From Bustles to Buckskin—Dressing for the 1880s

    o Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western

    o Re-Creating Fort Smith

    o The Cast

    o Charles Portis—The Greatest Writer You’ve Never Heard Of…

    o The Cinematography of True Grit

    o Theatrical Trailer

DVD Extras:

    o Hailee’s True Grit

    o From Bustles to Buckskin—Dressing for the 1880s

    o Re-Creating Fort Smith

    o The Cast

The standard DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description with French, English and Spanish subtitles.

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo of True Grit carries a SRP of $29.99 (current price on is $27.99), while the DVD is listed at $19.99 (current price on is $16.99). U.S (DVD)

Rooster Cogburn, an irascible U.S. Marshal hired by a 14-year-old girl (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) to bring her father’s killer (Josh Brolin) to justice. Matt Damon is an overzealous Texas Ranger who is also tracking the killer, hoping to capture him and bring him to trial for another murder.×120.jpg

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R0BTRAIN’s Badass Cinema: The Badasses of 2010, Part 1 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 20:00:07 +0000 In regards to 2010’s best of lists and year-end awards, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the quality of the movies we ended up getting last year as a whole. While I’ll be the first to admit that not all of 2010’s offerings were shining examples of great cinema, and that the past year did fail to produce that sort of transcendent movie like The Dark Knight or Avatar, I’d argue that there was still plenty of greatness to go around, especially considering films such as Inception and The Social Network not only hit theater screens but were widely celebrated and appreciated. Even further, when it came to producing action cinema and bad-ass characters, 2010 was overflowing in this department, making it hard to just keep my annual list to just 25 characters.

Several years in the past I found it a little difficult to come up with 25 viable candidates, even scraping the bottom of the barrel at times, but in 2010, there were so many cinematic badasses produced that I had to turn away several amazing ass-kickers (Noomi Rapace The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and John Hawkes from Winter’s Bone, for example), and even had to come up with a rule (with one exception) that prevented multiple characters from coming from the same movie. Otherwise, this list may have turned into 2010’s Biggest Badasses from The Expendables and The A-Team. Classic action was back in a big way in 2010, and I can only hope that 2011 gives us a few throwbacks in amongst the gigantic blockbusters so that 2011’s Badass list can be just as impressive.

Now, as it is with every year, expect spoilers throughout the list. Hope you guys have as much fun reading it as I did compiling it.

The Badasses of 2010, Part 1

25. Thomas Craven, played by Mel Gibson – Edge of Darkness

“Well you had better decide whether you’re hangin’ on the cross or bangin’ in the nails.”

 I’ve seen very few actors have worse years than Mel Gibson managed to have in 2010, but before things totally hit the fan with his personal problems, the actor was trying to make a bit of a comeback with the revenge thriller Edge of Darkness. Taking a page from Liam Neeson’s success in Taken, this movie had Gibson in full-on Martin Riggs-retribution-mode, which has his Thomas Craven taking out bad guys by the score after the murder of his daughter. While the movie has its problems, Thomas Craven isn’t one of them, as Gibson’s patented, grief-stricken fury is on display like we hadn’t seen in some time. Culminating in an awesome showdown featuring a mansion full of bad guys; Gibson’s Craven deals out justice with no mercy, making us remember better times when we could root for the action star without any guilt.

24. Remy, played by Jude Law – Repo Men

“Almost every job I do ends the exact same way. Some whimper. Some cry. Some even laugh. But in the end, they all do the same horizontal mambo, twitching and thrusting their way into the great beyond.”

Repo Men is the sort of amoral science fiction tale that reminds you of the work of Paul Verhoeven from his heyday, and in the middle of the movie is an amoral man to go with it. Jude Law’s Remy is a man that likes his work; retrieving the mechanical organs out of the bodies of people who are past due paying for them.  The problem comes when he becomes one of those he has hunted in the past. Receiving an artificial heart makes him a killer with a conscience, but one that has to keep killing to survive. Driven with purpose, his knives finally come out with meaning instead of malice, leading to a hallway full of bad guys and one of the best fights of 2010.

23. James Coughlin, played by Jeremy Renner – The Town

“If we get jammed up, we’re holding court on the street.”

You would think that an actual team of criminals would try to do their best not to have a “wildcard” amongst their ranks, but in a heist movie there seems to be a rule that there’s always that one guy that ends up being completely unpredictable when the pressure is on. Like Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs or Kevin Gage in Heat, Jeremy Renner’s James Coughlin is the same sort of short tempered lunatic enforcer for The Town’s crew of outlaws. It’s actually the threat of violence that puts Coughlin on this list more than anything else, as he’s simply terrifying in nearly every scene, like a rattlesnake coiled to strike. Whether taking on local thugs or the entirety of the Boston Police Force, Coughlin won’t back down from a fight and would rather go out swinging than possibly die in a jail cell.

22. Francis Costello, played by Johnny Hallyday – Vengeance

“I must take revenge.”

If you were really looking for the “older gentlemen’s badass revenge movie” successor to Taken, I’d give Johnnie To’s Vengeance a try and see how you like it. A sly, Leone-esque shoot’em up, Vengeance has style to burn, and at the center of the movie is a terrific performance from Johnny Hallyday as Frank Costello, a French chef (and former assassin) who comes to Hong Kong after his daughter and her family are gunned down in their home. Problem is, Costello is also losing his memory, so we’re left with questions about the nature of revenge and why retribution is called for, even if the pain of the original incident has vanished. World weary and yet charming, like a cross between Charles Bronson and Alain Delon, Costello’s rampage is a red-blooded odyssey through Hong Kong’s underworld that takes you to places you wouldn’t expect, but completely leaves you satisfied with its bullet-riddled finish when you get there.

21. Rinzler, played by Anis Cheurfa – Tron: Legacy


Tron: Legacy’s equivalent of Darth Maul or Go-Go Yubari, Rinzler is the biggest badass in the Tron universe. Adorned with two identity discs and a face covering helmet, he’s not only the coolest looking killer in the entire movie, Rinzler is unstoppable in the game grid, no matter what deadly competition is up for the crowd’s amusement. Not heavy on character development, but when a character makes this big an impression and kicks this much ass, there’s not much more you could ask for.


20. Eli, played by Denzel Washington – Book of Eli 

“Both thorn and thistles it should bring forth, for us. For out of the ground we were taken for the dust we are, and to the dust we shall return.”

Like a samurai wandering the desert or Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name roaming from town to town, Denzel Washington’s Eli is a man on a journey through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, righting wrongs with his machete in hand. Book of Eli’s pseudo-religious message is a bit on the heavy-handed side, but Denzel Washington is riveting every moment he’s onscreen, no matter if he’s speaking softly or separating a bandit from a limb or two. Washington’s most badass character since Man on Fire, his steely presence doesn’t require a lot of conversation before handing out justice on the wicked.

19. Rooster Cogburn, played by Jeff Bridges – True Grit 

“I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned, or see you hanged at Fort Smith at Judge Parker’s convenience…”

There’s nothing quite like a grizzled western lawman, and they don’t come much more grizzled than Rooster Cogburn. Though his drunkenness may throw off his aim a bit, when the chips are down there’s no one you’d rather have in your corner. Even 4 to 1 odds aren’t enough to deter him, as Ned Pepper’s gang of villains finds out in the True Grit‘s amazing action climax. While some may have complained about Jeff Bridges stepping into John Wayne’s shoes, Bridges’ Rooster embodies the entire man, bringing this character to life with a gruff reality; at once making him hilarious and one not to be trifled with. Westerns may have produced better U.S. Marshals before this new Rooster Cogburn, but they’ve never produced a meaner one.


18. Quintus Dias, played by Michael Fassbender – Centurion 

“In the chaos of battle, when the ground beneath your feet is a slurry of blood, puke, piss, and the entrails of friends and enemies alike, it’s easy to turn to the gods for salvation.  But it’s soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do they dying, and the gods never get their feet wet.”

Michael Fassbender‘s Quintus Dias isn’t some big epic hero like Maximus or William Wallace. Instead, he’s just a soldier stuck behind enemy lines trying to get home, and if he has to cut down thousands of savages and travel hundreds of miles to get out of there, then so be it. Like a Rambo in Roman armor, Dias uses cunning and the environment to make his way through hostile territory, fighting off all comers even as his compatriots die off one at a time. Braving the elements, being held face down in a bucket of urine, or being chased by an entire tribe of Picts won’t deter him; Dias can’t be broken and will not yield until he makes it back to Roman country or all that stand before him are cut down.

 17. Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

“You’ll pay for your crimes against humanity!”

A lot of us have had to fight to keep a relationship going before, but most of the time you don’t have to literally fight for one like Scott Pilgrim does. Seven evil exes and their henchmen aren’t enough to stop this bass playing, kung fu fighting, flaming-samurai-sword wielding geek from being with the woman of his dreams. Through every test he stands tall, and wades through his adversaries with skill, lots of wit and ridiculous amounts of luck. Michael Cera isn’t usually the type of actor that normally has a character on this list, but with Scott Pilgrim he more than earns his spot for being in some of the best fights and action scenes filmed last year, including an epic showdown with an entire team of stuntmen. Who needs muscles when you’re packing so much awesome?!

Alright, so I’ll be back soon with my next installment of this list featuring spies, super soldiers, kimchi cowboys, and one incredible Mexican Federale.×294-120×120.jpg

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Lebowski 2: Big leak or wishful thinking? Wed, 02 Feb 2011 19:51:30 +0000 It seems, Tara Reid let slip some possibly very juicy Hollywood news.

Reid, who played the trophy wife, Bunny in the Coen’s brothers comedy classic, was recently asked by what projects she’s got coming up and and she mentioned Big Lebowski 2.

“The whole cast should be coming back for that,” she said.

Now before all you Donnie and Walter fans get all excited, one has to ask if there is any truth to this startling revelation, or is it all in Reid’s head?

Jeff “The Dude” Bridges told MTV News back in July while working with the Coen’s on True Grit that “there were no plans, man” for a Lebowski sequel, but he said, “If it happens, what a wonderful surprise.”

What do you think? Will Walter and The Dude be up to more hijinx or is Tara Reid just hoping to get a good role again? I mean, even if they make a sequel, why would they need to bring Bunny back?×120.jpg

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