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Though marketed as something of a stoner comedy, Nima Nourizadeh’s American Ultra may just catch you by surprise, as an adrenaline-fuelled, action thriller with more inclination for speed than weed, with more of a point than a mere blunt or a joint. Undoubtedly jovial in parts, with a playful, adventurous tone, what transpires is
The post American Ultra Review appeared first on HeyUGuys. »
- Stefan Pape
'Straight Outta Compton' poster. Weekend box office: 'Straight Outta Compton' to beat weak competitors, but still far from being top blockbuster directed by black filmmaker If you thought last weekend was bad at the U.S. and Canada box office, you should see what's in store for this weekend, Aug. 28-30, '15. For starters, only one movie, F. Gary Gray's sleeper hit Straight Outta Compton, is expected to earn more than $10 million. The rest – and that includes Zac Efron, Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, and the Power of (Christian) Prayer – will perform quite powerlessly indeed. In case Straight Outta Compton reaches the box office gurus' estimated $15 million, it will get close to the $140 million mark. Bear in mind there's no guarantee that will happen; despite basically no competition, the drop-off rate of Gray's hip hopping film was steeper than expected last weekend. (See updated weekend box office estimates.) Now, some »
- Zac Gille
If Lethal Weapon is to return to our screens at all, it will almost certainly take the form of a reboot. But what if Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were miraculously reunited for a fifth time? Screenwriter Max Landis has one possible answer.
During an interview with Grantland for his latest movie American Ultra, the new action comedy directed by Nima Nourizadeh, Landis was thrown a fun hypothetical question: if you were given $130m to make a new Lethal Weapon, would you do it? Landis' reply was an emphatic yes, which he followed with a remarkably well-formed, off-the-cuff pitch:
The final Lethal Weapon, if I have to pocket-pitch it right now, is Murtaugh and Riggs are asked to work with a group of, like, four cops who are younger, »
During a rare moment of quiet amid the glass-smashing, brain-bashing mayhem of “Hitman: Agent 47,” a character offers the wise observation that we are all a bit more complicated than our internal circuitry might suggest. Applying this logic to the movie itself, it’s fair to conclude that while Aleksander Bach’s directing debut is indeed the junky, incoherent shoot-’em-up we feared it might be, to dismiss it as just another late-August studio craptacular doesn’t quite do it justice. But what to call it, exactly? The 47th best action film of 2015? A feature-length Audi commercial, or a promo reel for the Singapore Tourism Board? The most unnecessary artistic contribution ever made by someone named Bach? Fox is surely hoping that “surprise box office hit” might be a plausible alternative, though the best one will likely be able to say on that front is that where disastrous franchise relaunches are concerned, »
- Variety Staff
'Sinister 2' poster. 'American Ultra,' 'Hitman: Agent 47' and 'Sinister 2': Weekend box office bombs American Ultra, Hitman: Agent 47, and Sinister 2 are the new entries at the North American box office this weekend, Aug. 21-23, '15. All three of them are expected to underperform – with American Ultra having a particularly disastrous bow, especially for a movie starring Best Actor Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and former Twilight star Kristen Stewart. Whether you blame it on a glut of movies targeting the same audience, a lack of major box office draws, or poor reviews, only one of the debutantes is expected to score more than $10 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters by Sunday evening. 'Sinister 2' According to early estimates found at Deadline.com, Ciarán Foy's Sinister 2 will lead the pack of newcomers with »
- Zac Gille
With so many classic movies receiving sequels, reboots, and reimaginings, it’s really just a matter of time before we get a fifth Lethal Weapon movie. Screenwriter Max Landis -- who previously penned Chronicle -- believes he has found a way to breathe new life into the classic action franchise. In a recent interview with Grantland, while discussing their new film American Ultra, the conversation with Landis and director Nima Nourizadeh quickly turned towards how to go about a new adventure between Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). To which Landis quickly gave his pitch: The final Lethal Weapon, if I have to pocket-pitch it right now, is Murtaugh and Riggs are asked to work with a group of, like, four cops who are younger, who were all involved in an action movie that we didn’t see. You hear the report, and it sounds »
Lionsgate released their new action/comedy movie, "American Ultra," into theaters today , August 21st, 2015, and all the top, major movie critics have submitted their reviews reviews. It turns out that it got a pretty mixed bag with an overall 50 score out of a possible 100 across 29 reviews at Metacritic.com. The film stars: Connie Britton, Jesse Eisenberg, John Leguizamo, and Kristen Stewart. We've posted blurbs from a few of the critics,below. Peter Hartlaub from the San Francisco Chronicle, gave it a decent 75 grade, stating: "The screenplay is deceptively tight, even as the main characters seem to be buzzing aimlessly through the proceedings. Like the most successful films of the drug-hazed genre, this movie only appears to be going off the rails." Leah Greenblatt over at Entertainment Weekly, gave it a 75 grade too, saying: "Check your brain at the popcorn-butter pump in the lobby and enjoy it." Brian Truitt from USA Today, »
- Andre Braddox
“American Ultra” is this August’s attempt to reel in audiences still hungry for that last bit of relentless, momentous summer action and thirsty for an original story. It succeeds moderately well at delivering both. The film follows lost soul/American slacker yute Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg). A kind, but broken burnout who spends his days manning the register at a Cash ‘n’ Carry convenience store, getting high in the empty parking lot, and sketching out the various adventures of his unrealized comic creation “Apollo Ape.” His nights pass with his beloved Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) in their not quite rundown, but “lived in” stoner love shack. Mike is crippled by paralyzing panic attacks whenever he attempts to travel and is convinced that he’s hobbling Phoebe’s full potential. She does, in fact, seem all but saintly, initially. Phoebe functions as what one character describes as Mike’s “girlfriend, mother, »
- Roth Cornet
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, August 21. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise. Wide American Ultra Director: Nima Nourizadeh Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Pullman, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins, Teri Wyble, Connie Britton, Michael Papajohn, Monique Ganderton, Lavell Crawford, Nash Edgerton Synopsis: "A stoner and his girlfriend's sleepy, small-town existence is disrupted when his past comes back to haunt him in the form of a government operation set to wipe him out." Criticwire Grade Average: C (4 reviews) Hitman: Agent 47 Director: Aleksander Bach Cast: Rupert Friend, Zachary Quinto, Hannah Ware, Emilio Rivera, Rolf Kanies, Thomas Kretschmann, Dan Bakkedahl, Ciarán Hinds, Mona Pirzad, Prince William E. Morris, Michaela Caspar, Jerry Hoffmann Synopsis: "An assassin teams up with a woman to help her find her father and uncover the »
- Steve Greene
Universal will be adding 200 theaters to their hit Straight Outta Compton's current 2,757 venues, assuring that it takes the weekend with an estimated $30M. Given the N.W.A. biopic's current domestic haul of $84M that would put it well over $100M by Monday. The rest of the field, two secret agents flicks and horror sequel, can only look at that late August haul for Compton and drool. One of those secret agent flicks, Lionsgate's American Ultra, with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, made $425K in Thursday screenings and has a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. That estimated $8M weekend Ultra is heading towards is better than the actors' last collaboration, the under-appreciated Adventureland, which opened at $5.7M on its way to $16M cume. It would be quite worse, however, than director Nima Nourizadeh's Project X, which opened to $21M in 2012 on its way to $54M. Hitman 47, the sequel to the original Timothy Olyphant Hitman, »
- Keith Simanton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
So we’re finally in the last stretch of Summer, the slow march to reach the (hopefully) cooler temps just past Labor Day. And along with those Fall breezes will come the more, somber award-worthy films. But there’s still time for a bit of mayhem to squeeze into those final August days. And mayhem seems to be the main purpose of this new release hitting the multiplex. Its main character is on a mission (not for a microchip or some, such macguffin, but to survive along with his gal) and many assassins are mowed down along with even more property damage (they blow up good). But unlike Ethan Hunt or Mad Max, he’s not aware of his “particular set of skills” at the movie’s beginning. Like Clark Kent, is he meek and “mild-mannered”? Well, more like meek and “mellow”, thanks to some tasty herbs. And he’s »
- Jim Batts
Written by Max Landis
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
Take the amnesiac spy from the Bourne franchise, throw him into the anarchic nihilism of Kick-Ass, add some romantic idealism and then bubble it all through the comedic sensibilities of Pineapple Express and you have something that approximates American Ultra. As entertaining as it is flawed, director Nima Nourizadeh’s film is sure to divide audiences with its haphazard mix of ultra-violence and heartfelt romance. A gleefully-belligerent experiment in style that thumbs its nose at your expectations.
Can a pair of hopeless romantics survive in a modern world consumed by security, surveillance, and sarcasm? Not if one of them is a merciless killing machine for the CIA! Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a well-meaning stoner who just wants to find the right moment to propose to his long-suffering girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart). Those plans seem permanently derailed when a »
- J.R. Kinnard
American Ultra aims to mix violence, absurdity, humor, and romance. It achieves this goal...poorly. Somewhat surprising, since stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart had such great chemistry in Adventureland. Unfortunately, a pedantic script from Max Landis (Chronicle) and maudlin direction by Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) doesn't recreate that magic. American Ultra had promise. A comedic take on the CIA's infamous Mk Ultra program could have been great. We'll have to wait for a better film, because American Ultra falls woefully short.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as slacker stoner Mike Howell. He and his hippie girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart); live a relatively carefree existence in a small Virginia town. They smoke weed, work menial jobs, and are madly in love. Mike suffers from overwhelming panic attacks every time he tries to leave town. His hope of proposing to Phoebe in Hawaii ends disastrously when he can't even get on the plane. »
Rolled into a joint made with the kief leftover from a dozen different movies, American Ultra is a natural underachiever. An early action scene, in which our protagonist average Joe brutally dispatches of two government goons through unconscious reflex, is a familiar one. So too are many of the events that follow, like when a military liaison explains to his CIA superior (Topher Grace, delightful) why their hit on a former asset has gone pear-shaped. “How is he still alive?” yells Grace’s pissy and psychotic company man. “Well, sir,” replies the Army brass, “he had a spoon.”
Deadpan statements shine like whites beneath the wide, spectral black light of American Ultra’s influences. It’s a paranoid pothead thriller (The Bourne Indica) that’s been hybridized with a sweetly simple relationship comedy. It’s also a violent action vehicle, a dopey stoner romp, and a Looney Tunes vision of surveillance state overreach. »
- Sam Woolf
The Long Spliff Goodnight: Nourizadeh’s Stoner Action Flick Mixes Kooky with Convention
Comprised of a tangle of similar narrative threads spliced together from a variety of genres and time periods, Nima Nourizadeh’s sophomore directorial effort American Ultra is generally more often entertaining than not, though considering the significant reputations of its leads and zany array of the supporting cast, it could have been better served with a bit more outlandishness than the conventional acts it delivers. As it stands, the success of this rural set conspiracy comedy depends mostly on the low-key charm this rather approximately defined scenario allows to transpire, but it ultimately isn’t goofy enough to allow for the cult notoriety something like this promises. As scripted by Max Landis (again returning to the landscape of youthful, self-reliant outsiders as in his 2012 Chronicle), there’s not a whole lot of surprise, but much like its drug of choice, »
- Nicholas Bell
Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg led a bevy of stars at the red carpet world premiere of “American Ultra” at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, including Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Tony Hale and John Leguizamo.
Landis told Variety on the red carpet that while writing the film, he wanted to shed the rules of the genre and present the audience with a quality experience.
“People going in here expecting the same old stuff are going to be very surprised and horrified by it,” he said. »
- Mannie Holmes
American Ultra, 2015.
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh.
A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.
American Ultra opens up chronicling the entire movie with a reverse time-lapse that seemingly promises a chaotic bloodbath of craziness. It raises hopes of impressive action sequence choreography set in various locales and an imaginative ride in a world where a stoner (Jesse Eisenberg) unbeknownst to himself is a hand-to-hand combat machine that for reasons unknown must be terminated by the CIA. The movie unfortunately can’t wholly deliver on these promises but meets audiences halfway.
The romantic relationship between Mike and his likewise pothead girlfriend Phoebe (played by Kristen Stewart because let’s be honest, she »
- Robert Kojder
The cast of upcoming spy comedy “American Ultra” made no secret of their loyalty to each other and the action movie at the Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday. Stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg gathered with Connie Britton, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, John Leguizamo and director Nima Nourizadeh on the red carpet at the Ace Theater Downtown L.A. to celebrate the Lionsgate film, which opens Friday. Dressed in a Zuhair Murad floral jumpsuit and with her hair in bohemian braids, Stewart was also reunited with her “Twilight” co-star Taylor Lautner (below), as the pair looked like old pals posing for photographers. »
- Debbie Emery
Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star as a pair of mismatched small-town stoners, hopelessly in love without prospects or aspirations in Nima Nourizadeh's "Project X" followup "American Ultra." Eisenberg's laid-back character, Mike, is also a "stoned cold killer" waiting to be activated by the CIA. And after killing two covert operatives with nothing more than a spoon, Mike and Stewart's Phoebe, become targeted by a unified U.S. military calvary. The film looks to send up the stereotype already held about stoners: they are paranoid. And they are moonstruck dreamers with delusions of grandeur that they're being followed by the FBI, or are involved in a government conspiracy plotting to take them down. Which makes Mike and Phoebe's conceits all the more plausible. Under the surface of this manic juxtaposition of firearms, black helicopters, and sleeper cell agents, could Mike and Phoebe be battling their own hazy, unwelcome high? »
- Ruben Guevara
In a summer film slate awash with reboots, sequels and dutifully box-checking superhero product, it’s refreshing to see a genre film made from a completely original screenplay. Yet “American Ultra,” a stoner action-comedy directed by Nima Nourizadeh from a script by Max Landis, too often plays like an earnest yet unsatisfying adaptation of a cult graphic novel, with most of the charm lost in translation. Full of clever ideas, bloody violence so cartoonish that it’s almost cuddly, and an eminently likable leading pair in Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, the film has a lot going for it but, like a fridge-clearing omelet prepared after too many bong hits, it can’t manage to cook all these goodies into a palatable whole. Box office should be modest, though more couch-bound demographics may well embrace it on homevid.
For a well-meaning, not-so-bright stoner who works at a run-down mini-mart and »
- Andrew Barker
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