April 24, 2014

Tag Archives: Homicide: Life on the Street

The Hunger Games: The hunt for a new director is on

HollywoodNews.com: The Playlist doesn’t break news all that often, merely seeing fit to be a one-stop shop for the movie news that everyone else breaks during the day (I don’t mean that as an insult, The Playlist is the site I go to if I only have time to surf one movie news site in a given day), So it’s somewhat of a big deal that The Playlist has broken a pretty major story, confirming that director Gary Ross will not be back to helm the second and/or third films in the Hunger Games franchise. There have been rumblings all week about contract negotiations, and Ross has now politely passed. The site chalks it up to both Ross’s lack of desire to stay in the same universe for the next several years combined with a somewhat low-ball offer from Lionsgate. Whatever the case, Ross is gone and the hunt for a new director is now on. While editing my John Carter obituary a few weeks ago, I removed a large paragraph dealing with the trend of giving young white-male filmmakers with barely a feature credit to their name the keys to $100-300 million franchise films while seasoned pros and/or minorities remain noticeably absent from the ‘wish-list’ (yes, I was glad to see F. Gary Gray on the Marvel wish-list for Captain America 2). And while I wouldn’t consider The Hunger Games a ‘female film’, it would be a great opportunity to make a point that female directors can indeed handle the kind of big-scale filmmaking that studios are all-too willing to offer to mostly untested male directors as a matter of course. So, perhaps arbitrarily, perhaps to prove a point about how inaccessible the ‘wish list’ is for female directors, here are nine directors who happen to be women who also belong on ‘the wish-list’ as Lionsgate hunts for a second director. These are in alphabetical order, with the exception of the final entry, who would be my ‘top choice’.
Kathryn Bigelow
Duh. In fact, she’ll probably make the wish-list as a token nod to gender-diversity, and all she had to do was become the first female in history to win a Best Director Oscar. I don’t really have to explain this pick. She’s been directing hard action pictures for thirty years. She’s helmed the likes of Near Dark (a [...]

Melissa Leo stages major comeback with Best Supporting Actress Oscar win

By Kim Palacios
hollywoodnews.com: It’s hard to believe that in 1998, Melissa Leo was unemployed and, in her own words, unemployable. During a recent interview on NPR, the actress described being fired from the role that brought her into the mainstream, that of Detective Sergeant Kay Howard on “Homicide: Life on the Street”. Leo walked a long road to her comeback, her hard work seemingly culminating in a 2008 Academy Award nomination for her lead role as Ray Eddy in “Frozen River”. She didn’t win two years ago, but she won tonight for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Fighter”.
In “The Figher”, Leo plays Alice Ward, mother and manager of boxer Micky Ward. Her performance was as memorable for her characterization of the real life figure as it was for her ability to capture the vernacular of the era.
Upcoming television appearances for Leo include multiple episodes of the HBO series “Treme”. Though if you’d like to catch her in forthcoming films, you’ll have to look hard. Most films in which Leo plays which are close to release are low budget indies that are expected to have limited distribution.
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“Superman/Batman Apocalypse” sounds wonderful on Blu-ray

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: It is perhaps unfair for me to be overly critical of “Superman/Batman Apocalypse,” as I was not a fan of the comic book story arc from which it is adapted from. The early Jeph Loeb issues of the “Superman/Batman” comic were full of fan-friendly moments and epic smackdowns, but they lacked a genuine emotional drive and anything resembling complex storytelling. And so was the case with the ‘Supergirl’ arc, which ran in issues 8-13 back in 2004. The story existed to reintroduce the character of “Supergirl,” who had been killed off in Crisis on “Infinite Earths” back in 1985. But the movie version has its own sins to account for, as (like “Superman/Batman Public Enemies”), it actually alters a rousing climax that robs the story of what geek-pleasing moments it initially contained.
A token amount of plot – a Kryptonian spaceship crashes onto Earth, bringing with it a frightened young girl with powers identical to the fabled last son of Krypton. Superman is elated to discover that he apparently has a teenage cousin, Batman is deeply suspicious of this new visitor with untapped and unchecked powers, and Wonder Woman wants to take the child to train in Themyscira. As Kara Zor-El tries to decide what her own fate should be, the tyrannical Darkseid sees her as a potential weapon in his unending war against Superman.
Like “Public Enemies,” the film has a bare-minimum of plot and character from which to hang a nonstop parade of super-powered smackdowns. Frankly, the entire last half of the film is one epic battle after another. Yes, there is a terrific mass battle scene at the midway point between the army of Themyscira and an army of Doomsday clones, but it’s never a good idea to peak at the start of your extended action climax. Furthermore, the actual climax alters the narrative of the original comic, robbing it of pathos (which to be fair, was partially due to some misdirection), and changing what is supposed to be an epic, possibly final battle against Darkseid into super-powered beings going at it in an empty cornfield. Considering all the blood-pumping showdowns that Superman and Darkseid have had in “Superman: The Animated Series” and “Justice League,” this one just comes off like a Tuesday-night beatdown.
Speaking of Darkseid, that brings us to arguably the most shocking bit of miscasting in the entire DC Animated Universe history. I have [...]

Lots of evidence that ‘Salt’ was heavily tinkered with in the editing room

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: Andre Braugher is doing okay these days. He may not be a multi-millionaire, but he’s been working quite steadily since his star-making role in “Homicide: Life on the Street” ended in May of 1999. He’s been a lead in a handful of TV series (“Gideon’s Crossing,” “Hack,” “Thief,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “Miami Medical”), and he’s had supporting roles in several movies (“Frequency, Poseidon,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “The Mist”). He may not have an Oscar nomination like Melissa Leo, but he has several Emmys and a consistent flow of featured roles. Point being, he is not so desperate for work that he would intentionally sign on for nearly wordless cameo at the end of a random summer action picture. Yet that’s Detective Frank Pembleton himself as the Secretary of Defense in the last reel of “Salt.”
Not only is he in the film right at the very end, but he gets fifth billing for his role that consists of two full sentences and a brief moment of heroism. There are other signs that Phillip Noyce’s “Salt” was heavily tinkered with in the editing room. It barely runs 90 minutes, its PG-13 yet feels R-rated in content and intent, the seemingly key role of Salt’s husband is nearly non-existent, third-billed Chiwetel Ejiofor pretty much disappears for the final third of the picture, and there are several moments (including bits of Jolie having sex with someone, possibly her husband) that are in the trailer but not in the final film. But the biggest sign of distress in the post-production phase is the shocking and shockingly brief appearance of Andre Braugher in a role that any extra could have filled.
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