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The Die Hard series may be alive and well, but there's a unique story behind the writing of each one…
As any action fanatic will tell you, Die Hard is among the best films of its type ever made. Tautly directed by John McTiernan, deceptively well shot by cinematographer Jan de Bont, and full of charismatic turns from Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia, it’s seldom been bettered, even by its sequels.
The key to the first film's success, and the sequels in their best moments, is hero John McClane. Tough, sarcastic but ultimately human and relatable, he cuts a very different figure from the beefed-up, larger-than-life heroes of 1980s and 90s action cinema. When John McClane gets shot or injured, he actually feels pain. It's something we were keenly aware of in the 1988 original, but gradually ebbed away as the Die Hard franchise drifted from thriller territory »
August 6th and 9th, 1945 forever changed the course of history. When the first nuclear bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, World War II ended, but a new fear was born that dominated the thoughts of all men, women, and children for decades to come. The Cold War, atomic bomb testing, a cartoon turtle telling children to “duck and cover”, and this new technology that had the actual potential to literally end the world changed the perception of what was scary. Art reflects life, so cinema began to capitalize on these fears. Gone were the days of creepy castles, cobwebs, bats, vampires, werewolves, and the other iconic images that ruled genre cinema in film’s earliest decades. Science fiction was larger than ever and giant ants, giant octopi, terror from beyond the stars, and »
- Max Molinaro
No matter how hard you try to shake the ‘woahs’ and ‘awesomes’ and ’69′s from the Keanu Reeves portion of your brain (we’ve all got one), one fact can’t be ignored. That shaggy-haired time travelling teen known as Bill has been aboard some corking action outings. The Matrix franchise, cult classic Point Break and the 1994 hit Speed. After years and Years of putting his foot down and stating his complete lack of interest in reprising his role in the latter, the actor has now had a change of heart. He’s up for Speed 3, folks.
The Jan De Bont original, about a bus that cannot go below 50 mph or it explodes, was a sleeper hit. Co-starring Sandra Bullock as the loveable Annie and Dennis Hopper as the maniac responsible, Reeves donned his Kevlar vest as badass cop Jack Traven. Made for a now-meagre $30 million, it went on to gross $350 million. »
- Gem Seddon
I haven’t seen John Wick yet, but everything I’ve heard says it’s Keanu Reeves once again embracing his inner badass. We’re talking The Matrix Reeves, Point Break Reeves and, of course, Speed Reeves. The 1994 action hit, directed by Jan De Bont, was one of the first post Die Hard action films to get everything […]
- Germain Lussier
The 1994 action film "Speed" was a huge hit, grossing $350 million on a $30 million budget, and boosting the careers of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. But when a sequel was announced three years later, director Jan de Bont and Bullock were the only ones who returned. "Speed 2: Cruise Control" cost a whopping $160 million, but earned only $165 million worldwide, many pointing to the silly storyline and lack of Reeves as major issues with the film. Then last year, Reeves was asked whether he has any interest in returning for "Speed 3." The actor replied: "That bust has left," hinting that he's done with the franchise. But a few days ago, while promoting his "John Wick" film as Fantastic Fest, he was once again questioned about reprising his Jack Traven role in "Speed 3." This time, however, Reeves seemed open to it. "Oh, my gosh! 'Speed 3: Redemption!' Sure... Jack Traven just dusting it off! »
Into the Storm, 2014
Directed by Steven Quale
Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton.
As a professional, I am contractually obliged to give you a full and in-depth review of Into the Storm, but I feel it can be summed up pretty quickly: when the tornadoes are destroying stuff it’s great and when they’re not, it’s pretty awful. At least they don’t have sharks in them eh?
Into the Storm sets up our main groups of characters who are documenting the days events for various reasons. There is a single-parent family at war who making a time capsule video, a duo of doofus Jackass-wannabes who »
- Luke Owen
Written by John Swetnam
Directed by Steven Quale
The tornado-chasing thriller Into The Storm is a film which simultaneously has no reason to exist (because “first-person storm-chaser” is one of the most popular genres on YouTube) and every reason to exist (because the aforementioned YouTube videos are typically amateurish and ugly). Accordingly, the film is plagued with the problems of not knowing sort of movie it wants to be, nor what sort of message it hopes to deliver. It’s every bit the same sort of mess that a real-life tornado leaves in its path.
Nominally, director Steven Quale is producing the same story as the 1996 Jan de Bont film Twister, which came from the same studio as Into the Storm (Warner Brothers). A group of storm chasers led by Matt Walsh and Sarah Wayne Callies head to a small Oklahoma town where an epic outbreak »
- Mark Young
In 1996 producer Steven Spielberg and director Jan de Bont jump-started the Summer box office (May 10, that’s still Spring, for goodness sake!) with the release of the thriller Twister (not based on the classic Milton Bradley game, of course). The film was a big hit and sparked a brief revival in the major studio disaster flicks similar to the Irwin Allen-produced crowd-pleasers of the 1970′s. Movie technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since then, and now mass-destruction is at the fingertips of most film makers, really just a few computer keyboard clicks away. The superheroes and giant robots have been trashing towns and cities long enough, it’s time for Mother Nature to strut her stuff once more. That may be part of the thought behind the new film Into The Storm, which has its roots in that almost 20 year-old flick and the proliferation of the basic cable »
- Jim Batts
Back in ye olde summer of 1996, few could have imagined that we would eventually look back fondly on Jan de Bont’s “Twister” as the kind of movie “they” don’t make like they used to. And yet, a scant two decades later, here comes “Into the Storm” to prime that nostalgic tear. An all-but-official redo of de Bont’s film for the YouTube/Instagram generation, director Steven Quale’s found-footage Frankenstorm extravaganza generates even more racket than its predecessor (especially in theaters equipped with the new Dolby Atmos sound system) and markedly less human interest — up to and including a shameless heart-tugging coda that wraps itself in Old Glory more snugly than a Tea Party sleepover. Ultimately little more than a feature-length demo reel for nine credited VFX companies, this mid-budget New Line Cinema slate filler may earn some quick late-summer coin from undiscriminating teen auds; all others are »
- Scott Foundas
At first glance, the horror movie that seemed most primed for success in the summer of 1999 was the remake of The Haunting. While no one had been clamoring for a remake of Robert Wise’s 1963 classic, at least the talent involved in the modern revamp was promising. You had director Jan de Bont of Speed (1994) and Twister (1996) fame and even if that wasn’t quite an assurance of quality, there was producer Steven Spielberg who clearly knew a thing or two about building cinematic haunted houses. Sure, Poltergeist (1982), with its avalanche of Ilm wizardry, had been a very different movie than The Haunting but anyone would’ve told you that in 1999 no audience would settle for anything less than the state-of-the-art – especially in the age of CGI – so going with the FX-heavy approach would be a must. Add to that a cast that included Liam Nesson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lily Taylor, »
- Ryan Turek
The one-time action movie sidekick and Hollywood's favourite funny girl, Bullock has gradually refashioned herself as a bona fide A-lister thanks to her Oscar-winning turn in The Blind Side and last year's box office smash Gravity.
With such an eclectic back catalogue it's hard to single out any one movie. With that in mind, Digital Spy opened up the floor to staff to pose one simple question: What's your favourite Sandra Bullock movie? Here are the results...
Emma Dibdin, Features Editor - The Net
In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that it's been a good ten years since I last watched The Net. Viewing it now, in the cold light of the 21st century, it has not dated well. But aside from being hugely entertaining with a plot that falls just the right side of ludicrous, »
In 1996, Warner Bros had the second highest grossing film of the year with Jan De Bont's Twister. For audiences in 1996, that film had it all: a roguishly handsome Bill Paxton, the charming sweetheart from television that was Helen Hunt, and the lovable goofball that was Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Of course, some could chalk a big portion of the film's success to a script co-written by Michael Crichton and De Bont's stylish form of directing, which are exactly the two elements missing from what looks like Warner Bros' unofficial Twister reboot, Into The Storm. Provided by Warner Bros' official YouTube channel we see that Into The Storm has Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Matt Walsh each filling one of those respective niches in the film's cast. However, instead of telling the film through a straightforward cinematic narrative, we're treated to another far-fetched found footage festival of fun! Seriously, take »
It’s confession time – I have a great affection for big, loud action/disaster movies that are made really well. I mean, it’s not a guilty pleasure thing – it’s a deep, abiding adoration. Speed, Jurassic Park, Cloverfield – these are all firmly among my favourite movies. Twister, for me, is the gold standard. Epic, humorous, heartfelt and unrelenting – the last best film of Jan De Bont’s directorial career has remained unsurpassed in the realm of inclement weather films for 18 years. Could the upcoming tornado flick Into The Storm be a real contender in the genre? If the new trailer is any indication, the odds are definitely in its favour.
Directed by Steven Quale (Final Destination 5), from a script by John Swetnam (Evidence), Into The Storm sees a group of high school students face the events and aftermath of an unprecedented series of devastating tornadoes that descend upon their town. »
- Sarah Myles
We were at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida, last week and saw that the "Twister" attraction was still up and running. That's right: "Twister." You know, the Jan De Bont film about tornados that was co-written by Michael Crichton and executive produced by Steven Spielberg (it co-starred Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, who hated each other so much by the end of filming that they couldn't even record the "Twister" ride pre-show together) that is nearly 20 years old. Apparently somebody remembers it, because not only is the ride still dazzling dozens of guests a day at Universal Studios, but New Line Cinema is about to unleash "Into the Storm," which, judging by the trailer, is a found footage homage to "Twister."
There isn't a lot of plot detail that you can glean from the trailer, although it seems to focus a father (played by "The Hobbit's" Richard Armitage »
- Drew Taylor
Directors who've made maybe one interesting, successful small film soon get snapped up by the system. But at what cost to the industry?
Director Marc Webb put together the guts of (500) Days Of Summer, his debut feature, in his house. He worked on it behind closed doors, and by the time he got to the point where he was filming it, he knew what he wanted, he'd made key decisions, and could get on with it. Interference was in short supply, and the result felt like a breath of fresh air in a very crowded genre.
Then there's Gareth Edwards. When he came to make his first film, Monsters, he sat in his bedroom and did the visual effects work on his own computer. He didn't have much budget to play with, but he had his brain, and nobody looking over his shoulder offering 'creative input'. We suspect his computer wasn't a bad one, »
Pop quiz, hotshot! Speed is turning 20, and you want to reference it without saying "pop quiz, hotshot," because that's so overused. What do you do? What do you do? While I think of an answer, let me point out that Speed came out 20 years ago this week, so if you saw it in theaters, You're Old®. You might even be above 50, never to drop below it again. Like the bus at the center of it, Speed was a risky proposition that could have ended in disaster. The director and the writer, Jan de Bont and Graham Yost, hadn't directed or written a movie before. (De Bont was an experienced cinematographer; Yost had worked in TV.) Everyone in the cast was famous, but no one was currently a major movie star. All the action is set in uncomfortable places (a bus, a subway...
- Eric D. Snider
Tfe is really into 10th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries and elsewhere you see mostly 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th business. I assume this is because recent stuff gets more traffic, but whatevs. I can only do me. So I didn't even consider Jan de Bont's Speed (1994) for celebrations here though I liked the movie quite a lot and Keanu Reeves was my (imaginary) boyfriend at the time. There's a lot of good stuff 'round the web on Speed today if you're so inclined. Crave has a road map tour of L.A. so that you can retrace the movie's drive and derailments (that seems dangerous!), In Contention has an indepth report with Keanu, Sandra and the director and Huffington Post interviews Joss Whedon who did uncredited writing on the movie. My point is this: There are a lot of Speed freaks celebrating today.
I have only one thing »
- NATHANIEL R
Pop quiz, hotshot: Can you believe it's been 20 years since "Speed" first landed in theaters?The quintessential '90s flick, about a bomb on a L.A. city bus, made Keanu Reeves a bankable action star and really introduced Sandra Bullock to the mainstream.Directed by then-newcomer Jan de Bont, the flick was a massive success at the box office -- something that came as a big surprise to Bullock."I don't think anyone had any idea what was going to happen with that film," Sandy tells HitFix in a new interview. "If someone says they did, they're lying. I certainly didn't feel it. I think we were sort of ridiculed a bit for being the 'low budget bomb-on-the-bus movie.' Not that I cared. I was just so happy to have a job and that I got to work with Keanu."She also thanks de Bont to taking a chance on her. »
- tooFab Staff
Screenwriter Graham Yost, now the showrunner of FX’s Justified, admits that the plot of Speed sounds ridiculous: A bomb on a bus will detonate if the bus travels below 50 mph. But when the movie was released June 10, 1994, a funny thing happened: It became a hit with moviegoers and critics alike. To quote EW’s grade-a review: “The film takes off from formula elements – it’s yet another variation on Die Hard – but it manipulates those elements so skillfully, with such a canny mixture of delirium and restraint, that I walked out of the picture with the rare sensation that »
- Mandi Bierly
There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. As movie premises go, this one is absolutely ridiculous, right? You'd have been forgiven for thinking so, at least, as few involved with Jan de Bont's "Speed," which was released by 20th Century Fox on June 10, 1994, could have anticipated its popularity. The film was a runaway hit, winning two Oscars and grossing over $350 million worldwide. Now, 20 years later, it's a celebrated relic of an era before blockbuster filmmaking was so awash in digital wizardry, an era when practical movie magic sold the highest of concepts to the masses. For actor Keanu Reeves, who starred as the film's hero, Lapd S.W.A.T. officer Jack Traven, it feels like that long ago if only because so much has changed over the last two decades. Though »
- Kristopher Tapley
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