Friday, August 13, 2010

Stallone takes one for the team in The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone's new action movie, The Expendables, hits theaters today and audiences are about to be convinced that even at 63, the guy still knows how to take a beating. No, not the kind he took for making Stop, Or My Mom Will Shoot, we're talking a serious thrown-across-the-set ass kicking. They're also going to have to admit he looks like he can still give one as well.
The fans of star driven action movies will also be hoping for another kind of beating this weekend, beating up the box-office competition.

It won't be hard for Stallone and his assembled cohorts to kick Julia Roberts' tush in her new movie adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love. It may be slightly more challenging to rough up Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in last week's number one The Other Guys. But the film were hoping gets taken to the ground and trampled is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Pilgrim is led by actor/professional wimp Michael Cera and is poised to attract a swarm of Comic Con geeks (the geekiest ones that cheer for those pimply high school angst comic books that dwell on fantasies of the nerd triumphing over cool kids and jocks while winning the girl through cleverness and math skills), who usually come out in opening weekend droves when it's one of their own on the front lines. If Stallone and crew don't come home on Monday having beaten and bloodied Scott Pilgrim, action fans and Spike TV junkies should go hang their heads in shame.

For The Expendables, we're still trying to decide which must have been tougher, doing your own fight scenes at 63 (and ripping and breaking some important body parts in the process), or assembling a cast that includes Jason Statham, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Eric Roberts, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (who opens the can of Stallone whoop-ass in the clip below) and, wait for it... the Governor of California. Body slams can be brutal but star egos? There's clearly some serious respect being paid to the guy we'd credit for fathering the genre of modern day, character driven action movies.

What may prove toughest and most important for Stallone's action swan song is coming in with a first place box-office tally by Sunday night. We find ourselves enthusiastically rooting for Stallone. After all, who knows more about triumphing against the odds than the guy who penned Rocky? (You can almost hear the theme music playing in the background.)

We'll get you ready for the weekend with a clip shot on set the day that may have ended Stallone's action hero movie career (at least as far as doing his own stunts). Here's to guy who's never walked away from the fight that is making Hollywood movies. We're glad he decided to take one more for the team.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patricia Neal 1926-2010

The second film listed on her online resumé came in 1949. It was The Fountain Head and it left an impression on me that would convince me to tackle reading the Ayn Rand novel and to years later add the download of the film to my permanent collection.
I would discover her again in a film that became one of my first science-fiction favorites, 1951's The Day The Earth Stood Still. When I first spotted a brash, young Andy Griffith in the riveting role of "Lonesome" Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd (1959), she was there as Marcia Jeffries, illuminating every thing in Griffith's character by countering it with her expression, her delivery, and with both vulnerability and determined resolve, in her eyes.

She was there again in movies like Hud, opposite Paul Newman, Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's, and as part of the exceptional cast of In Harm's Way. She is a classic. A grand lady of the screen. She will always be one of my favorites and it is very sad to say goodbye.

To her family, her friends and her fans, we at join in offering our prayers and our thanks to Patricia Neal for introducing us to her particular brand of movie magic. She is a presence in movies that helped to define the medium, and one of the first actors to help me understand the extraordinary potential movies have for unforgettable storytelling.

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's a three pick weekend!

Moviedozer's August List of the movies we'd most like to see went up earlier this week and of our 6 picks, 3 will open today.
If you're heading out to the movies and you're not playing catch up with showings of Inception or Salt or that "schmucks at dinner" thing, we think one of these three will make parting with ten bucks fairly painless. And none of them require 3D glasses.

In no particular order we'll be going out to see...

The Other Guys - The big release this weekend torques up the usual Will Ferrell comic staples with what looks to be another very funny turn by Mark Wahlberg. Along with Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson are along for the ride and as a bonus, Michael Keaton (who killed as a Ken doll in Toy Story 3) gets to add his trademark comic timing to the mix.

Middle Men - Luke Wilson, Gabriel Macht, Giovanni Ribisi and James Caan in the true story comedy of the ordinary guys who figured out that the internet was the perfect place to sell porn. God bless America. (Middle Men will be opening in just a few hundred theaters this weekend and expanding wide in two weeks.)

Flipped - Rob Reiner rediscovers his knack for directing young actors and telling nostalgic tales of growing up (which he did expertly with 1986's Stand By Me) with this new release. Directing a script he co-wrote, the young cast is complimented with veteran actors, including Anthony Edwards, Rebecca De Mornay, Aidan Quinn, Penelope Ann Miller and John Mahoney. Flipped already has some critics buzzing and the advance word is Academy worthy.

The rest of our August List opens later in the month. Rounding out the six picks are...

The Expendables (8.13) - written, directed and starring Sylvester Stallone and an action star lineup that barely fits on the poster.

The Switch (8.20) - a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. We like the set-up and we're crossing our fingers for a great ending.

Avatar: Special Edition (8.27) - Yes, that Avatar, back in 3D theaters to wrap up this summer's movie season. These guys just aren't going to be happy 'til they break $3 billion. And of course, there's never before seen added footage!

You can check out why we picked these six, along with some upcoming trailers and movie news at Just give us a click! We'll leave you with the trailer for Flipped. Have a great weekend at the movies.