I'm exploding with joy to tell you that "The Hurt Locker" is definitely the best movie of the summer, and is a contender to be one of the best of the year!
Written by Mark Boal (pictured on left) and directed by Katherine Bigelow (pictured on right), the film made its debut at the Venice Film Festival last year, and didn't make its way to the US until March 2009 at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
(From L to R: Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Brian Geraghty)
"The Hurt Locker" tells the story of an elite Army bomb squad in Iraq and the highly-combustible game they play against potential enemies. And those enemies can also be the war raging within each characters.
Anthony Mackie ("We Are Marshall," "Million Dollar Baby") stars as the by-the-books Sergeant JT Sanborn. All he wants is to get out of Iraq.
Brian Geraghty ("Bobby," "The Guardian") stars as Specialist Owen Eldridge who is also counting the days before their squadron leaves Iraq. But making their lives difficult is Jeremy Renner's Staff Sergeant William James, a newly assigned team leader with a gung-ho John Wayne attitude.
It is the intricacies between these characters that drive "The Hurt Locker" home to its jaw-dropping ending. The finale doesn't end with physical explosions, although there are many of those nerve-wracking sequences, but by internal character combustion that makes one wonder: what kind of soldiers do we breed?
Renner gives a pitch-perfect performance as the team leader who may, or may not lead his squad to danger. His eyes glimmer with excitement every time the crew gets a bomb call.
Boal, an embedded journalist in Iraq in 2004 and a Playboy contributor (he was credited with the story of "In the Valley of Elah") created rich characters facing incredible situations. The narrative flows, and grips you with alarming authenticity.
But this love letter is dedicated to director Bigelow, yes, the same lady who turned Jamie Lee Curtis into a tough-as-nails cop in 1989's "Blue Steel" and made Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze bond in 1991's "Point Break."
"The Hurt Locker's" intense, captivating mood and atmosphere is largely because of Bigelow. I've heard other critics shout with glee that a woman, yes a woman! can direct an action-packed Iraq war flick! I say phooey to that -- a movie talking about the effects of war knows no gender! So hurray that a woman can direct a film as thought-provoking, smart, and entertaining as "The Hurt Locker."
No, the film is not preachy in the war-is-bad category, but it does showcase the effects, some good, some bad, of the war in Iraq.
"The Hurt Locker" is the best Iraq war movie period, the best action film of 2009, and it's definitely high up there on my Best of Summer 2009 list!
"The Hurt Locker" gets my highest honor, 4 kisses!
The film is in limited release right now, but check the official website to see if it's playing in theaters near you. Click here to find out!
Oh yeah, and I'm loving that Summit Entertainment, the home of "Twilight," released this film! After a so-so sci-fi actioner ("Push"), a so-so sci-fi drama ("Knowing"), I'm glad the studio is putting its efforts behind "The Hurt Locker."
And one final note, check the important cameos by Guy Pearce, David Morse, and Mister Voldemort himself, Ralph Fiennes.
And watch "The Hurt Locker's" trailer below.
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Two weeks ago, we told you about "The Hangover" director Todd Phillips' plans to make a film titled "Due Date." (check the article right here)
The film will feature Zach Galifianakis as an unlikely companion of an expectant dad who races cross-country in hopes of making it home for the birth of his first child.
That expectant dad character is now going to be played by Robert Downey Jr.! Hurray!
I'm always open to see Downey in a straight-up comedy. His brilliant timing helped to add sparks when he's verbally sparring with Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts in "Iron Man" and of course, his Oscar-nominated turn as a method actor in "Tropic Thunder" is well-earned.
Although the "mismatched buddies on a road trip" plot has shades of John Hughes' "Planes, Trains, & Automobiles" or Martin Brest's "Midnight Run" with Robert De Niro, I have faith that Phillips will create a funny comedy and that Downey Jr. and Galifianakis will have vibrant chemistry!
The script is written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland.
Shooting for "Due Date" will begin in September in Atlanta, Arizona, and Los Angeles, and the film is set for release on the first weekend of June, 2010.
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Every time I'm ready to write off Johnny Depp, along comes a new, wicked performance. I wasn't particularly impressed with his Dillinger role (blame goes to the script which failed to give his real-life character depth), but then I was teased by his performance as The Mad Hatter in the upcoming Tim Burton extravaganza, "Alice in Wonderland."
(Check out the pictures right here)
Just seeing his Mad Hatter shake a finger to Alice and say, "naughty" is enough for me to wait patiently for the film's March 5, 2010 opening.
And I'm glad Depp is back with his perennial partner, Burton, although, again, their last collaboration "Sweeney Todd" was not one of my favorites! I know right? Show tunes and I wasn't loving it? (I did enjoy Helena Bonham Carter in the film, and she's also co-starring in "Alice" as The Red Queen)
So I'm waiting with bated breath for "Alice in Wonderland." It seems like a perfect movie for Burton's wizardry, and Depp's brilliance as a character actor! For now, let's be teased by the teaser/trailer:
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The low budget flick "The Strangers" gets a sequel and is set to begin shooting this fall.
The original, starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, was shot for $9 million and eventually made $80 million worldwide; hence, the inevitable sequel.
Bryan Bertino, who wrote and directed the first film, will not helm the sequel. He did write the script for it though, and the plot is being kept under wraps right now.
I think Bertino did a great job in setting up the mood and atmosphere of the original film, so why was he not invited to direct the sequel?
The producers instead, hired French director Laurent Briet, a commercial and music video director who also helped shape "The Ring's" visual effects.
We know Tyler and Speedman will not be back for the sequel (unless they return as ghosts HA!), but one thing's for sure. The masked intruders will continue to terrorize folks, preferably couples, vacationing at their remote summer homes.
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Javier Bardem's magnificent screen presence will not be seen in the forthcoming sequel to "Wall Street" called "Money Never Sleeps."
The Academy Award actor was set to star alongside Michael Douglas and "Transformers" lead Shia Labeouf until he bid farewell to director Oliver Stone and the production team.
Bardem was supposed to play the role of a risk-taking hedge fund manager. Meanwhile, Douglas is still reprising his Gordon Gekko role, the ruthless Wall Street player, while Labeouf is still set to play an ambitious trader who is engaged to Gekko's daughter.
So why did the actor leave?
Bardem's representative told WENN that the actor "loves Oliver Stone," but has had "five or six other offers.”
Of course, they all love the director of the movie that they're not going to make anymore!
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