Trailer park: Lucy, a messenger and a dame

scarlette-johanssen-lucy-trailerDing, ding! The time has come for another trailer park breakdown. If you’re unfamiliar, this is the latest in a series of posts where I provide my pick of upcoming films with a little bit of info to set the scene and, of course, the trailer to get you all fired up.

(US release 8 August, UK 22 August)
What if we could access the full processing power of our brains? Writer-director Luc Besson explores this theme via a kick-ass heroine. In the past he’s given us Milla Jovovich and Natalie Portman and now, a lady enjoying a fine run of form, Scarlett Johansson. Her character, Lucy, is forced by the mob to be a drug mule. Unfortunately the drugs get into her system… with interesting results. This could, potentially, be Besson’s best film yet.

Kill the Messenger

(US release 10 October, UK 28 November)
Based on a true tale that saw a journalist stumble onto a story involving cocaine, the CIA and rebels in Nicaragua. From the prisons of California to the corridors of power in Washington this looks an epic ride. And if story alone isn’t enough there’s also a cracking cast which includes Jeremy Renner, Michael Sheen, Ray Liotta, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Andy Garcia.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

(US and UK release 22 August)
Good lord this has been a long time coming. But good things come to those who wait, they say. And wait we have. But this also means that this Robert Rodriguez directed prequel needs to be as good as the original… Or better, if they can manage it. Some old faces return for this tale, but new additions – Josh Brolin, Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – look the part and seem to fit nicely into Frank Miller’s sinful world.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For draws closer

It’s finally here. Well, the trailer at least. And I’m as giddy as Michael Bay who’s just been handed the keys to a set of real-life Transformers with matching explosives.

I have to say, it’s been a long wait but, now images and clips are beginning to be released, there’s grimy, noir-ish light at the end of the tunnel. Great cast too: Josh Brolin, Joseph-Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Powers Boothe, and of course, Eva Green. The deadly dame. The femme fatale of our dreams and nightmares.

What with this film, 300: Rise Of An Empire and new TV show, Penny Dreadful, Miss Green looks set for quite a year. About time too, she’s been away too long. Anyway… without further ado, here’s the trailer and some images to fuel your desire for all things Basin City.

green sin city

marv sin city

alba sin city

jgl sin city

Surprising and defining roles of Bruce Willis

Addressing an injustice. A commanding and perhaps overblown way to start a piece which discusses why I think old Bruce has had a raw deal when it comes to how we perceive his filmography.

Despite most of us thinking action is his genre of choice – the Die Hard franchise being the obvious reference point – I think his best work is much more varied. Let’s look at some of the more intriguing characters that I’d argue have more effectively shaped his career:

  • Death Becomes Her (1992) – Ernest Menville
    Let’s face it, this film was largely a slugging match between Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn with Willis stuck in the middle. Although his character Ernest did, in some ways, hold the film together in an unhinged yet compelling way.Pulp Fiction Bruce Willis
  • Pulp Fiction (1994) – Butch Coolidge
    Career defining? Most definitely. To be honest, all the actors in this film walked away with their cool-o-meter firmly cranked to the max. Indeed, Bruce’s Butch had some standout scenes and lines; from Marsellus Wallace and the Gold Watch to ‘Zed’s dead baby, Zed’s dead.’TwelveMonkeys
  • Twelve Monkeys (1995) – James Cole
    In terms of off-the-rails performances he’s overshadowed by Brad Pitt, yet Willis puts in a commanding performance as a man whose life – and by extension his sanity – is in a constant loop. Whilst Terry Gilliam pulled the strings, Bruce deftly brought the character to life. Eminently watchable.
  • sin-city-sin-city-31200684-470-351Sin City (2005) – Hartigan
    Having been relatively quiet since the mid ’90s, this little film noir reignited the fire in old Bruce again, pushing his cool-o-meter back up to Pulp Fiction levels. A sublime portrayal of a washed up cop, fighting to save the most pure character in Frank Miller’s dark, gritty tale – Jessica Alba’s skinny little Nancy Callahan.
  • Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – Captain Sharp
    Bruce the action star in a Wes Anderson film? Surely not. Despite the part not being extensive, his character firmly earns a place on this list: a lonely, depressed police Captain, sharing some rather tender scenes with one of the film’s main characters, a young boy in love. Whilst Willis does cool well, he does flawed far better.

Sin City finds its dame – Eva Green

The hypnotically seductive Eva Green has been cast as Ava Lord, the ultimate femme fatale in Robert Rodriguez’s forthcoming film Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

First off I’d like to say I’m not one for overly dramatic fanboy geek outbursts when it comes to movie news. In this case I have to make an exception. I’ll readily hold my hands up and say this news had me jumping up and down like a kid at Christmas.

eva green dame to kill forIf Angelina Jolie wasn’t to be, then Eva Green is a fantastic choice. Previously, the rumours of which actress might be cast as Ava Lord had focused on Salma Hayek, Rose McGowan and Rachel Weisz, the latter for me being the most intriguing. In my last Sin City post I pondered the list of possible actresses and mentioned Eva, but only in passing.

I had little hope or expectation she’d be cast. Not because of any lack of acting talent on her part – far from it – but because the rumours suggested she wasn’t one of the favourites. Shame on me for listening to gossip! So, not only was this news fantastically exciting, but it was also unexpected – and let’s face it, surprise news is often the best.

I’m the money – every penny of it

Most of you will have had your first taste of delectable Eva in Casino Royale; her first encounter with Bond on the train was at once disarming, intelligent and alluring – not just for Bond, but for the audience too. Her piercing eyes, quirky smile and exquisite way she formed her words took us all by surprise. Who is this spell-binding woman? I imagine many of you exclaimed.

My first experience of Ms Green was Bernardo Bertulocci’s The Dreamers, a cult hit that launched her career. At the time the Director described her as ‘So beautiful, it’s indecent’. If there’s anyone more suited to play Ava Lord – Angelina excepted – then I’d like to hear who?

So, in terms of casting, we’re largely up to speed. About time too, considering they’re already filming and A Dame To Kill For is due for release November this year. I was excited before but now, with Green on board, I’ve just gone stratospheric. Book your seat now for the opening weekend and I’ll see you half way between the gutter and the stars, the heart of Basin City!

Mickey Rourke: A Rumble Fish born in the wrong century

rumble fish bar scene

For this post I’d like to offer my thoughts on Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish and how Mickey Rourke seems to be ‘born in the wrong time period’, no matter what film he’s in.

matt dillon francis ford coppola

Released in 1983 and filmed largely in black and white, it tells the story of Matt Dillon’s ‘Rusty James’, a young hot-headed wannabe gang leader, killing time at home waiting for ‘something to happen’ and trying to fill his brother’s shoes, Mickey Rourke’s ‘Motorcycle Boy’.

That’s largely it in terms of plot and story as far as I could tell. What the film does offer, is art and style. Indeed, it is incredibly stylised, Coppola’s aim at the time was to make ‘an art film for young people’, an interesting notion. Something with artistic merit rather than commercial. It does have a wonderful dreamlike quality, beautiful to look at, but perhaps not for everyone.

What stood out for me?
Firstly, the opportunity to see up-and-coming actors before they became A-list: Matt Dillon (he has never looked cooler, his most impressive role to date?), Nic Cage (bit wooden, but then it helps if you’re related to the Director), Chris Penn and Laurence Fishburne (both underused), Diane Lane (to be seen as Martha Kent in Zack Snyder’s forthcoming Superman film, Man of Steel), and last but not least, Mickey Rourke.

Which brings me on to my second point, the mystery that is Mickey Rourke. Ah Mickey, you were so pretty back then, why turn to boxing? Until now, I’ve only ever seen him during his renaissance ‘post-boxing’ period, films such as Spun, The Wrestler and Sin City.  His character in Rumble Fish – Motorcycle Boy – is mesmerising. Softly spoken (you can barely hear him at times), wise beyond his years, a dreamer. His relationship with Dillon’s Rusty James is complex. You really feel for Rusty James, wanting his brother’s approval, following him around like a lost puppy. Watch the clip below to get an idea of the dynamic between the two.

Watching this film, I was struck by the DNA it shares with Sin City in terms of style. Use of colour, shots from different angles and perspectives. Obviously there’s a 22 year gap between the two, but my point stands. Particularly at the end, where Motorcycle Boy wants to set the fish free in the river.

Born in the wrong century
Almost sounds like a Springsteen song doesn’t it? I am of course, referring to the title of this post – I get there in the end! There’s a great scene between Dennis Hopper’s ‘Father’ and his sons, Rusty James and Motorcyle Boy.

rumble fish bar scene

Hopper describes Motorcycle Boy in the following way, ‘And neither, contrary to popular belief, is your brother crazy. He’s merely miscast in a play. He was born in the wrong era, on the wrong side of the river… with the ability to be able to do anything that he wants to do and findin’ nothin’ that he wants to do…’

A similar thing occurs in Sin City, Clive Owen’s character, Dwight, describes Rourke’s character, Marv, in much the same way, ‘Most people think Marv is crazy. He just had the rotten luck of being born in the wrong century. He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield swinging an axe into somebody’s face. Or in a Roman arena, taking his sword to other gladiators like him…’

Maybe Mickey just likes to play rough and ready characters. Those with inner anger, tightly coiled rage, hidden depths, big hulking brutes with a heart of gold. Who knows. Either way, I am glad I saw Rumble Fish and some of his early work.

More to come from him in the future I hope. Until next time…

Sin City 2: Angie, where are you?

angelina jolie

Ok, I know the release date for Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For is scheduled for October 2013, but I’ve had something playing on my mind. Namely, Mrs Pitt (sounds strange calling her that). Ok, Angie or Miss Jolie – NEVER Brangelina (damn tabloids).

angelina jolieWill she, won’t she be in this film?
A quick search turned up a poster a fanboy knocked up. It’s such an enticing prospect. Some of the actresses in the first Sin City positively smouldered in every scene, namely Rosario Dawson and Brittany Murphy. They were perfect for Frank Miller’s world, but can you imagine how Angie would take it to another level?

I suppose there is always some truth in rumour. However a positive one such as this can have the opposite effect and end up pushing her away, as expectation has been built up far too much – for her or any actress – to deliver. As well as Angie, rumours are swirling around a number of the existing cast and new additions. Even IMDb isn’t sure, putting “rumoured” after various names in its cast list.

If Angie does play a part in A Dame to Kill For, I hope it is key to one of the three story arcs Robert Rodriguez has hinted at. She could bring a great mix of intensity, vulnerability and sexuality, as only she can.

Angelina JolieFilms such as: Gia (one of her early – and most captivating – characters to date), Girl, Interrupted, Beowulf (although she was annoyingly computer generated), Salt, Mr and Mrs Smith (to a degree), really makes me excited at the prospect. However, I am getting carried away. Something tells me the chances of her being in this film are quite slim, but we can hope!

There’s a blog that suggests that maybe she’s moved on, family commitments and all that. Check out the movie blog here. Let’s hope it’s not true. Watch this space!