September 18, 2015
        “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September        

Tag Archives: Martial arts films

Jerry Weintraub – Goodbye Good Friend

“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people… it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man say no, pretend you can’t hear him. Look confused, stammer, say, “Huh?” Persistence-it’s a cliché, but it happens to work.
The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit. This is more important than intelligence, pedigree, even connections. Be dogged! Keep hitting that door until you bust it down!
I have accomplished almost nothing on the first or second or even third try – the breakthrough usually comes late, when everyone else has left the field.” -JERRY WEINTRAUB.
So, Movie producer Jerry Weintraub, known for the films “Nashville,” “The Karate Kid” and the remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” in 2001 passed away. We are going to miss him.
Weintraub also produced the HBO film “Behind the Candelabra” starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas which was nominated for an impressive 15 Emmy Awards. His career includes promoting Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin and managing such talents as Neil Diamond, John Denver, The Carpenters and The Moody Blues, among others. His remarkable list of film hits include Nashville, Diner, The Karate Kid and the Ocean’s Eleven series.

The Bourne Legacy the top film with $40 million To the surprise of no one, the top film of the weekend was The Bourne Legacy. With $40 million, the fourth entry in the ten-year old franchise opened well above the $27 million debut of The Bourne Identity during June 2002, but that’s mostly due to ten years of inflation as The Bourne Identity’s opening would equal $38 million today. It’s below the $52 million debut of The Bourne Supremacy back in July 2004, and understandably well below the $69 million opening weekend of The Bourne Ultimatum back in August 2007.
This spin-off/reboot of the Matt Damon-led Bourne series showcased Jeremy Renner as a totally different government assassin in the same world as the three prior Bourne films. Helmed by Tony Gilroy (who had a hand in writing all three prior adaptations), Universal sadly spent $125 million on this quasi-sequel. So if the film ‘merely’ approaches the $121 million gross of the first film and earns about that much overseas ($92 million for a $214 million total), it won’t be profitable. The endless loop on USA starting in 2015 won’t hurt. The second and third films grossed $176 million and $227 million in the US respectively while earning $288 million and $422 million worldwide respectively (Bourne Ultimatum basically doubled Bourne Supremacy’s overseas take). If the film excels overseas, which it now must, matching the $288 million gross of Bourne Supremacy isn’t out of the question (it opened in a few markets this weekend and earned $7.8 million overseas).
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo
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Matt Damon explains “Bourne” insults, says he could return to series

By Sean O’Connell Matt Damon might have put his foot in his mouth during a recent GQ magazine interview — where he lobbed insults at his “Bourne” collaborator Tony Gilroy and his half-baked treatment of a fourth “Bourne” script – but the A-list star (and one-time “Bourne” lead) claims he had a reason for the comments.
If you didn’t hear, Damon called Gilroy’s draft for a fourth “Bourne” film “unreadable” in the GQ interview. Damon suggested that its part of the reason why he walked away from the franchise.
“It was idiotic of me to say anything. At the end of the day, it’s between me and Tony, and we’ll figure it out or we won’t,” Damon now says after the fact.
The rift, according to THR, really exists between Gilroy (a longtime “Bourne” writer) and director Paul Greengrass, who helmed parts two and three. “Paul and Tony have clashing styles,” a source close to the production revealed. “Tony does all the work before and delivers a finished script. Paul wants the script to be ever-evolving during shooting.”
And while Gilroy is directing a fourth “Bourne” without Damon (going with Jeremy Renner in his place), the star of “We Bought a Zoo” feels he could return to the franchise somewhere down the road.
“I think if [Bourne Legacy] doesn’t work, we can just ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen, and that’d be fine,” Damon says. “But I expect that it will work and only help us if we did another one, which I’d love to do.”
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Why Jason Statham can’t break out of the B-movie action genre For all intents and purposes, Jason Statham has been an action star since 2002, when Fox released the Luc Besson-produced The Transporter. Yes, more hardened film fans knew him from his Guy Ritchie work and from his supporting role in The One (a Jet Li vehicle from late 2001, the first of three times he would spar with Jet Li onscreen).
But for general moviegoers and action junkies, Statham was introduced as Frank Martin eleven years ago as of October 11th. In that time, Statham has arguably become the king of an all-but vanished genre. He is basically the last action hero, the lone movie star known primarily for kicking ass in a non-fantasy and non-period setting. But nine years is a long time to toil in the underbelly of grind house B-movie cinema. He’s had the occasional high-end picture (The Bank Job), supporting roles in A-level studio thrillers (The Bank Job) and flirtations with the big time (playing the second lead in The Expendables). But nine years since he literally kicked down the door to stardom, Jason Statham remains pretty much where he started.
So why hasn’t the biggest pure action star of his generation eventually found his way to bigger and better things? Call it bad timing, or the misfortune of being a star in the wrong era. Just as George Reeves became a television star at just the wrong time (after the studio contract era but before the ‘playing against type is cool’ era), Jason Statham is an action star in a time when pure action pictures are all-but extinct. He is a B-movie action star in an age where A-movie action pictures more or less don’t get made anymore.
In the 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger could move from B-movies like The Running Man, Raw Deal, Red Heat, and Commando to more A-level features like Predator and finally Total Recall in 1990. Steven Seagal could go from Hard to Kill or Marked For Death to something like Under Siege. But big-budget, R-rated, non-fantasy action pictures are more-or-less extinct in the post-Columbine era. As I’ve noted before (HERE), the post-Columbine crackdown on marketing to younger audiences have all-but completely put the kibosh on big-budget, R-rated action pictures. There really isn’t a bigger, more ‘mainstream’ action vehicle for Statham to graduate to. Studios don’t make A-level action thrillers anymore. […]

“Bunraku”, starring Josh Hartnett, Review There is a certain danger to any movie that spends the first five minutes explicitly explaining why the picture looks and sounds as it does. In this case, we have to understand why the world of Bunraku looks like a hybrid between the 1960s Batman TV show and a blood-drenched martial arts drama. The film is certainly a case of style over substance, and the utter lack of substance may be fatal for some viewers. But the picture boasts a unique visual palatte and some interesting ideas. It also boasts at least two wonderful action sequences, creative in their design and accomplished in their execution, that makes the film almost worth watching. Bunraku is not quite a good film, but it is surely a bad one worth watching for those who know what they are getting into.
The plot is pretty cut-and-dried mix of the arch typical western (a stranger walks into a corrupt town and tries to clean it up) and the arch typical Asian martial arts drama (a young man is sent on a quest by his father to win honor for himself). The two would-be heroes in this case are played by Josh Hartnett and Gact, as The Drifter and Yoshi, the Jin Samurai respectively. Support or peril is offered in the form of Ron Pearlman, Woody Harrelson, and Demi Moore. The basic gimmick is that the continuing destruction of mankind has led to a ban on firearms as well as the disillusionment of any large-scale government, which gives way to a somewhat traditional gangster saga without any actual guns. None of this makes all that much sense, and the movie runs an obscenely long 124 minutes, but writer/director Guy Moshe is certainly attempting something a bit off the beaten path. The world is unlikely any we have seen onscreen before, and the idea that these stock legends continue to play out again and again even in the far future is a compelling one.
But putting aside any deeper meaning behind the colorful mayhem, the film is first-and-for most an action picture. And on that scale it is a relative success, with several solid action scenes, all of which are fluidly shot and coherently edited. Of note are two truly wonderful action beats, both during the second act of the picture. The first, […]

Matt Damon Protests With Teachers at ‘Save Our Schools March’ On Saturday in Washington D.C., 40-year-old Matt Damon rallied with teachers on a march to The White House. The ‘Bourne Identity’ star walked with teachers to protest the use of standardized tests.
The actor, whose mother was a teacher, “joined the Save Our Schools March to protest the use of standardized testing throughout the education system,” according to
At the rally, Matt recalled a time where he was faced with standardized tests. He commented: “My mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous’.”
What do you think about Matt walking with the teachers?
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Julia Stiles, America Ferrera in a comedic “Disaster”

By Sean O’Connell When does breakfast turn into potential Armageddon? We’re going to have to check out “It’s a Disaster” to find out.
The literal-titled comedy just added Julia Stiles and America Ferrera in a movie about “four couples who meet for Sunday Brunch only to discover they are stuck in a house together as the world may be about to end,” according to a release. Todd Berger will direct from his own script, and will feature members of the comedy troupe The Vacationeers, including Kevin M. Brennan, Jeff Grace, Blaise Miller, and Berger, himself.
“It’s a crazy story and I was convinced Julia and America would think I’m crazy too, but I’m thrilled they get my sense of humor. I’m excited to have them on board,” said Berger.
From the release:
Julia Stiles’ most recent project is Showtime’s critically acclaimed series DEXTER, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. Over the years, Stiles has made her mark on the big screen starring in the BOURNE Trilogy opposite Matt Damon (THE BOURNE IDENTITY, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM); the Shakespearean film adaptations HAMLET, O, and TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU; THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS; SAVE THE LAST DANCE, David Mamet’s STATE & MAIN, and MONA LISA SMILE.
America Ferrera is best known for her fearless portrayal of Betty Suarez on ABC television’s hit comedy UGLY BETTY, a role that earned her an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as ALMA and Imagen awards. Ferrera’s other screen credits include David Ayer’s upcoming END OF WATCH opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, THE DRY LAND, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, LORDS OF DOGTOWN, HOW THE GARCIA SISTERS SPENT THEIR SUMMER, UNDER THE SAME MOON, and both parts of the THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS.

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‘Dancing with the Stars': Who is leading, who is in pain? ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is getting down to the last few contestants and it seems that there are some consistently strong competitors on board.
Chelsea Kane managed to top the leader board this week with a waltz that was called “timeless,” states People. But right behind her with only one less point was Hines Ward.
However, the real story of the night was Ralph Macchio who danced while suffering from a ruptured cyst behind his knee. He did place in last with only 46 points but did receive a standing ovation for fighting through such an injury.
Who do you think will be voted off? Will fans save Ralph Macchio?
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“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” has massive YouTube debut

By Sean O’Connell Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and announced that the original digital media series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” premiered to over five million views since its debut last Tuesday, making it one of the most watched films on YouTube over the past week.
The next highly anticipated episode is now available to view below:

From the release:
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen (“Fame”), and starring Michael Jai White (“The Dark Knight”) as Major Jackson ‘Jax’ Briggs, Jeri Ryan (“Star Trek: Voyager”) as Sonya Blade and Darren Shahlavi (“300”) as Kano, this series — produced by Warner Premiere — takes gamers deep into the history of the warriors they know and revere. 

The first of nine action-packed episodes of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” entitled “Jax, Sonya and Kano Part 1” debuted on April 12 exclusively on Machinima’s YouTube channel, the dominant entertainment network for videogamers on YouTube (
Episodes will be released weekly and feature popular characters from the franchise including Scorpion and Sub Zero, and culminate in an event featuring Cyrax and Sector to cap off the series.
“Kevin Tancharoen delivered an amazing production that millions of fans around the world are enjoying,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the reception it’s received. This is truly a testament to the quality of the series and the ongoing popularity of the Mortal Kombat characters and franchise.”
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Cameron Diaz shoots down “Charlie’s Angels 3″ rumors, embraces 3D

By Sean O’Connell Cameron Diaz sat down with me last weekend to discuss her latest picture, “The Green Hornet,” in which she plays feisty secretary Lenore Case alongside Seth Rogen’s Britt Reid. The film, directed by Michel Gondry, is presented in 3D on designated screens, and I asked Diaz if she thought the revived technology was here to stay.
“I do,” she said, adding that it was just another tool at the fingertips of modern filmmakers eager to find new ways to tell original stories.
This seemed like a softball, but I lobbed it to Diaz anyway. Is there any chance we’d ever see “Charlie’s Angels 3D” with herself, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu.
“Oh, that is an interesting idea,” Diaz told me. “But I don’t think that will ever happen. There probably will be another ‘Angels’ film, but I don’t think we’ll come back for it. Though I like the 3D idea.”
Well, Diaz was half right. The Angels are coming back, except they’ll be going back to television, where they started.
EW reports that an “Angels” remake just got the greenlight at ABC, and will be set in Miami. No word on casting, though much like the new “Hawaii Five-O,” it likely will go sleek and young. Will they get it ready in time for next fall? We’ll see.
In the meantime, “The Green Hornet” with Rogen and Diaz opens everywhere today.
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