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Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.
“Body of Work” presents Madonna’s more-impressive-than-you-think filmography, including the 25th-anniversary restoration of Truth or Dare. This weekend offers A League of Their Own, Desperately Seeking Susan, Shadows and Fog, and Dick Tracy.
Fantastic Mr. Fox screens on Saturday.
Double-billings continue with Hitchcock-Polanski, Reed-Welles, and Kelly- / Donen-Minelli.
A restoration of Howards End has begun its run. »
- Nick Newman
Is the new remake of “Ben-Hur” a disaster? Let’s call it a big mistake, and it’s one that illustrates the key principal of bad movie remakes: To really earn a place on the scroll of shame, a remake almost has to risk tarnishing the reputation of a movie we love. (Bad remakes of mixed-bag films, like “The Hitcher” or “Total Recall,” don’t matter as much.) With that in mind, here’s a list of the 10 worst movie remakes.
- Owen Gleiberman
Another horror icon joins the cast of Witchula, and it’s Kane Hodder (Hatchet, Old 37, Friday the 13th series)! Hodder will play a pivotal role in the film and will also take the position as Stunt Coordinator. Also in today’s Horror Highlights: a look at the teaser for the devilish Born Again and production details on Valentine DayZ.
Kane Hodder Joins the Cast of Witchula: Press Release: “Hollywood, Calif. – Aug. 8, 2016 – PRLog — ‘Witchula’, which many are already referring to as the “real Expendables of horror,” has announced the addition of Kane Hodder to a cast that already features horror icons Bill Oberst Jr. and Eileen Dietz, as well as indie favorite Marilyn Ghigliotti. Hodder is best known for his iconic roles of Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th franchise and as Victor Crowley in all three ‘Hatchet’ films. Hodder will not only act in the film in »
- Tamika Jones
Listen, I’ve got an inspired idea for a summer movie: an actress-led remake of “Ghostbusters.” Okay, I know, they tried that earlier this summer, and really, it was a great idea. But let’s be honest: It didn’t entirely work out. The negative fanboy buzz hurt it, and whatever you thought of the finished product, it wasn’t as funny as the original. It could have been better. So what I’m saying is, let’s do it better. By the summer of 2018, the “Ghostbusters” remake will be an ancient memory. That will make it the perfect timing for the relaunched version, which can be rowdier and raunchier and wilder, maybe skewering a little younger and hipper, with a touch of that “Suicide Squad” edge. I see Amy Schumer in the Bill Murray role, and we could team her up with Nicole Byer and — why not? — Margot Robbie. »
- Owen Gleiberman
In the effort to stay au courant we'll alternate between Netflix and Amazon Prime for streaming news each week. And we'll freeze frame select titles at random places just for fun and see what image comes up. You know how we do!
Last Chance Amazon Prime
Felton: I look... is distinguished a word?
Lange: It's a word.
In Secret (2014, expires August 18th)
What is this? Oscar Isaac, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton and Jessica Lange? Big name casts for movies that don't seem to actually exist that you suddenly realize do, in fact, exist, are kind of unnerving. Like how do movies that never really get released find financing to get made in the first place? Apparently Oscar Isaac plays an artist in this one (they're looking at a portrait he painted of Felton) so that's kind of smudgy hot regardless. Isaac with paint stains I mean.
Men weren't up to the task! »
- NATHANIEL R
It’s the tail end of the twenty-first century and Earth has nearly overstayed its welcome with dwindling resources and over-population. Scientists believe they can release the CO2 pockets underneath Mars’ surface and move the Red Planet from -50 degrees Celsius into a human-friendly temperature and atmosphere. So mankind sends rockets of moss and cockroaches to commence the process, a half-century passing before a team of colonists can finally journey forth. Everything should be ready for this hand-selected group under Ko Honda’s (Shun Oguri) supervision: go to Mars, kill the cockroaches, and return home with stories of our salvation via a new frontier. It sounds so simple and yet no one is prepared for what they’ll find because no one but Honda and the Japanese government know the truth.
- Jared Mobarak
It’s been less than a year since production began on Danny Draven’s Patient Seven, and now a trailer and an official poster have been revealed for the anthology horror film.
Take a peek at the trailer and poster located at the bottom of this story. An exact release date has yet to be announced for Patient Seven, but we will inform our readers on further updates.
Press Release: Los Angeles, CA (August 3rd, 2016) – In October of 2015, genre distributor Terror Films announced that principal photography had begun on an Untitled Horror Anthology, now titled Patient Seven. The structure of the anthology includes a wrap-around, written by Barry Jay Stitch (The Chosen) and directed by horror veteran Danny Draven (Ghost Month, Reel Evil), which intertwines 7 award winning, short films by filmmakers from around the globe. The filmmakers include: Nicholas Peterson, Paul Davis, Ómar Örn Hauksson, Dean Hewison, Erlingur Ottar Thoroddsen, »
- Tamika Jones
This week sees yet another big-budget superhero caper hit cinemas in the shape of DC’s Suicide Squad and analysts are predicting it’ll be one of the season’s biggest hits. But can you guess the biggest global money-maker of these summers?
Angels & Demons
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
- Benjamin Lee
Simply put, cult classics aren’t made, they’re born. They’re not designed with the intention of becoming hits on the home video or midnight movie markets, they just exist as sincere creative expressions that happen to catch on with audiences and critics after in its initial theatrical run. Case in point: In 1995, director Paul Verhoeven released his erotic drama “Showgirls,” starring Elizabeth Berkeley as a street-smart hitchhikers who heads to Las Vegas to climb the ropes from stripper to showgirl. While she’s there, she’s introduced to the seedy underbelly of the dancing world and comes face to face with marginalization, violence, and exploitation. The film also stars Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”), Gina Gershon (“Bound”), Glenn Plummer (“Speed”), Robert Davi (“Die Hard”), and more.
In the twenty years since its disappointing »
- Vikram Murthi
From being initially written off on the basis of the underwhelming trailers to its emergence as a funny, fast-paced and fan-pleasing summer blockbuster, Star Trek Beyond has according to most critics done a bang up job of both honouring and continuing the classic franchise on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
Key to its impact is yet another rousingly adventurous and rich score from Michael Giacchino, whose return to the Trek realm for the third time was launched with a spectacular live concert performance at the movie’s premiere in Los Angeles. But then music has always been one of the most important and powerful weapons in the Star Trek arsenal, several of Hollywood’s most legendary composers having beamed us into the unknown. »
- Sean Wilson
Back in 2014, the RoboCop reboot ended up being a disappointment, failing to live up to its predecessor and performing poorly enough both critically and financially that a sequel was never really an option. Now, it sits alongside Total Recall as a remake which never should have happened. However, it turns out that director José Padilha […]
- Josh Wilding
Before Arnold Schwarzenegger was an action star or the Governor of California, he was pumping iron on Venice Beach with a small group of pals who later became competitive bodybuilders and created an entire fitness industry. Now, Deadline reports that these formative years will now be the inspiration for the upcoming TV series “Pump,” an eight-episode hour-long drama produced by Schwarzenegger in conjunction with The Tannenbaum Company and CBS Television Studios. The series’ showrunner will be Bryan Goluboff, who has previously worked on “Blue Bloods,” “Smash,” and “Law & Order: Svu.”
The former California Governor said that he knew “Pump” would be a hit from the very beginning. “The 70’s were such a colorful, transformational time, for me and for our entire country,” Schwarzenegger says. “I look forward to bringing that color to people »
- Vikram Murthi
Ryan Lambie Jul 14, 2016
We take a look at some of the most memorable and freaky floating brains and flying heads in the history of cinema...
For some reason we've yet to discover, cinema has, for decades, been home to all manner of sentient, disembodied heads and floating brains. Note that we’re not talking about decapitations here - though goodness knows that cinema is home to plenty of those, from Japanese samurai epics to modern slasher horrors.
No, we’re talking about movies where heads and brains remain sentient even when they’re stuffed into jars or colossal things made of stone. Sometimes used for comedic effect, at other times for shock value, they’re a surprisingly common phenomenon in the movies. Here, we celebrate a few of our absolute favourites - though you’re sure »
There’s no mistaking that Japanese helmer Shinsuke Sato’s Midnight Madness-ready title “I Am A Hero” is an adaptation of a manga — specifically, Kengo Hanazawa’s comic of the same name. Sato has never strayed far from the form: His directorial CV is a list of live-action and animated feature-length film versions of popular manga titles, and his cinematic style favors angles and framing that feel directly lifted from the page and brought crisply to life.
That could suggest a lack of dynamism in the final result, or a slavish aestheticization of the image — as in the Hollywood adaptations of “Sin City” or “The Spirit,” for example. But Sato does not just get the style of his film from the graphic tradition of its source material. He and co-writer Akiko Nogi also understand the other secret of the medium’s massive popularity: the addictive, page-turning genre thrills it can deliver. »
- Jessica Kiang
Did you know Donald Trump's successor on The Celebrity Apprentice was once one of the biggest box-office draws in the world? Trippy, right? Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger became famous for his unique style and his fluctuating dialect, but he was picked for stardom for another reason entirely: he was a rippling, bulging slab of primeval, otherworldly manhood. The man was a titan, casting a shadow as wide as it was high. His fresh, smiling face and booming Austrian lungs were the perfect extras, but Arnold was thrust into the limelight because of his physique.
It was his earliest, formative years in which we saw Arnold's greatest flexes, when he relied on his jaw-dropping size for impact. In 1990 he would dominate both science-fiction and family genres, but it was in the years preceding this that his chest was most greased, skin most tanned and muscles most inflated. So let's think back, relive the carnage, and appreciate the 'King of Kings' in all his glittering majesty.
Hercules In New York (1970)
Seven long years before he starred in a breakout bodybuilding documentary, Arnie's 22-inch arms were breaking onto small screens in Hercules In New York. In Schwarzenegger's first real acting role, his unease is palpable. His thick Austrian accent (dubbed over in the film's original release) hasn't a spot of charisma and his performance is comparable to that of a re-animated corpse.
Schwarzenegger is Hercules, a demi-god sent to Earth. On his trip, he does all the things an everyday tourist does in the Big Apple: finds love, begins a career, flees pursuers in a chariot and chokes out a (man in a) bear (suit). He also finds time to fight off group of six men, using only a ridiculously long plank of wood, and best an Olympic-quality team of athletes at various track and field events. The film may have had a budget tighter than Arnold's shirt, but there is scant excuse for the lack of dimension or invention.
We are treated to Arnold's first show of size when his date shows him a poster for an upcoming Hercules picture. Our travelling deity is offended, claiming the actor looks nothing like him. Doing what any rational demigod would do, he strips off his cream turtleneck, revealing his chiselled torso. His audience-of-one loses her mind as he begins posing, before she realises what an insanely ludicrous thing has occurred. It's only the hindsight novelty factor that keeps Hercules In New York relevant.
Pumping Iron (1977)
The most alpha of males, Arnold sashays through the documentary. Whilst some of his fellow competitors look like circus strongmen, Arnold is a walking sculpture, the perfect blend of symmetry and balance. Even starring alongside a real-life superhero, the Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno, he looks ginormous. The gap between his front teeth is the only chink in his man-made armour, but somehow he even turns that to his advantage.
The moment in which Schwarzenegger pops the loudest is in a moment of silence. As the documentary takes focus on the reigning champion, we are given a look behind the camera. A photo-shoot sets Arnold alight, as he poses and flexes in complete tranquillity. The only noise we are offered is that of the shutter, focusing our attention to the spectacle before us. In a film where some scenes feel uncomfortable to observe, at one point Arnold refers to Jesus as an inspiration for his legacy, this quiet moment of appreciation is a refreshing pause.
Conan The Barbarian (1982)
Refreshing pauses were seldom offered to us in the following years. Conan's story begins as 'a tale of sorrow', before the barely-dressed warrior embarks on a tale of revenge and retribution. Schwarzenegger's seductive ex-slave possesses superior sword skills, spinning, slashing and slaying a plethora of barbaric nasties.
At the film's most glorious, Conan and his collaborator take a stand against the villainous cavalry. With axe in hand and horns on head, Conan cleaves and slices. Though his weapon looks to be made out of foam and the enemies put up less effort than a pre-relegation Aston Villa, we are treated to a whirlwind of visual and verbal masculine aggression. What's more, we are given one of Arnold's earliest one-liners. In his first prayer, Conan asks his god to "grant me revenge, and if you do not listen, then to hell with you!" It's much better heard than read. This classic scene contained all the components that made his next breakout, muscle-bound feature such an enduring success.
The Terminator (1984)
It only took until 2029 for Arnold to hit the big time. James Cameron's "blazing, cinematic comic-book" (Variety's words) was the perfect vehicle for an emerging Schwarzenegger, as his role would rely on his frame rather than his command of the English language. The Terminator's unmoving grimace removes the need to portray emotion or reaction, but it is a skill few could pull off with such menace. Schwarzenegger is perfect casting: when he loses his eyebrows, he cuts the figure of a stone-cold killing machine.
The opening moments in the present day focus on a trash collector. Electric bolts awaken the workman from his boredom-induced coma, fizzing and zapping around him. They rally to a crescendo of light, producing a figure curled up in a foetal position. This figure is the T-800, a stark-naked Arnold; we see his arse before his face. He rises like the phoenix, striding into the light without a flicker of disorientation or embarrassment. We are slapped with a shady silhouette of his flapping member as he approaches a gang of ruffians, led by a young Bill Paxton, before he utters the now immortal phrase: "Your clothes: give them to me."
The T-800 swats one lackie away, before his jacked right arm lifts another overhead. This loiterer comes down without his heart, Cameron's camera hovering on Arnold's deep red, clutching hand. The T-800 is an instant threat, legitimately scary throughout, but it is in this brutal opening that he feels most deadly. It's not just Orwell who made 1984 special...
After playing a travelling god, a rugged caveman and a killer robot, Arnold was refreshed as a loving and devoted father. As John Martix, Schwarzenegger is a family man and a killing machine. These would come to represent the two sides of Schwarzenegger's coin: his films often worked best when the two went hand-in-hand. On screen he would mow down enemies with bullets and grenades, and later help his fictional daughter with her algebra homework. What a sweetheart.
And yet, in a film where hundreds of henchmen bite the dust, it is in his role as 'dedicated father' where he is the most impressive. Matrix had left his commando days behind, now taking care of his daughter, living a reclusive existence. Almost immediately, Schwarzenegger ripples; close-ups of his veined arms and chest are all too close, but remind the audience that Stallone is a boy scout in comparison. Arnold saunters toward the camera, carrying a huge tree on his shoulder like it’s a week's laundry. Schwarzenegger doesn't finish there. Not only does he handle the log like it's a twirling baton, he finishes the testosterone fest by turning it into kindling. A guy's got to keep that fire burning.
While Commando would eventually snowball into a cult classic, Schwarzenegger's following feature would prove the key to stardom. Even before Schwarzenegger stepped foot in the jungle, he met a fellow goliath. As Arnold's pumped-up mercenary Dutch is being briefed on his mission, a lone figure, sitting at a distant table, interjects. That figure is Apollo Cre… Carl Weathers; a man whose size and wit will match Schwarzenegger's all the way.
"Dillon!" Dutch gasps with childlike glee, before grounding his joy with the deprecating: "You son of a bitch." As Dutch and Dillon stride toward one another, their formidable forearms recoil before colliding into the most powerful handshake in cinematic history. The camera shifts focus from their gleaming smirks to the strained embrace. One second turns into five, the embrace morphing into competition, each man fighting in this mid-air arm wrestle. Five seconds turns to ten - the tension grows thick as Arnold toys with his rival. This contest lasts a full twenty seconds - twenty long, facial-hair-inducing seconds.
We may never recover from a scene that powerful.
The film soon hurtles into contact with the titular chameleon with barely chance to catch its breath. This lazer-toting, extra-terrestrial assassin is Arnold's ultimate nemesis, even down to the maniacal cackle. But, not even a foe this deadly could create a scene with the power of that handshake. Even in the film that popularised the full body mud-pack, the ass-kicking action and tension-mounting drama relies on the introduction Weathers and Schwarzenegger offer.
This theme would follow our Austrian actor. His greatest muscle-bound moments would come early, as an introduction, setting the tone and character in motion. As his career developed, Arnold proved he was much more than just unisex eye-candy, developing his aesthetic allure into real Hollywood charisma. Arnold would come to blossom in attracting a younger market, mixing action roles in Terminator 2 and Total Recall with Kindergarten Cop and Junior. Not only did Kindergarten Cop have no right to be as good as it is, but Arnold had no right to be so enjoyable to watch. His size became a point of contrast rather than one of awe, towering over others without menace but humour. He became his own character, a phenomenon for a reason beyond his look. He became the epitome of the American Dream, persevering and succeeding more than anyone thought he could. The ex-army tank driver would go on to ask in Junior, "Does my body disgust you?" and later become the Governor of California.
We've had some shallow fun, picking through Arnold's early years for his most outrageous muscle flexes. But it's worth remembering that Schwarzenegger's story is one of success through a lot of hard work and perseverence.
I'm just going to leave this here in case you feel motivated; I know I do...
For over 40 years, Andy Armstrong has worked on a huge array of stunts and action sequences in TV and film. From directing 1,000s of extras in Stargate to a full body burn in Danny DeVito's Hoffa, Armstrong's experiences as a stuntman, stunt coordinator and unit director have taken him all over the world.
The brother of Vic Armstrong, the stunt coordinator and director who famously doubled for Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies, Andy Armstrong's career began when he doubled for Sir John Mills on the 1970s TV series, The Zoo Gang. That early job jumpstarted a life in filmmaking which has taken in three James Bond movies, 90s action (Total Recall, Universal Soldier) and superhero movies (The Green Hornet, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man).
Those 40 years of filmmaking experience are the pillar of Armstrong's book, the Action Movie Maker's Handbook. Intended as a reference for those thinking of starting a career in stunts or action unit directing, it also offers a valuable insight for those outside the industry, too. The book reveals the range of talents required to bring an effective action scene to the screen - organisation, storytelling, an understanding of engineering and physics - and how much input a coordinator and unit director has on how those sequences will look in the final film.
We caught up with Andy Armstrong via telephone to talk about his book and some of the highlights in his career so far. Read on for his thoughts on creating the action sequences in Thor and The Amazing Spider-Man, his hilarious behind-the-scenes memories from the 80s cult classic, Highlander, and what went wrong on the 2004 Catwoman movie...
Your book gave me a new appreciation for what second unit directors and stunt coordinators do. I didn't realise how much design work you do when it comes to action scenes, for example.
Yeah, it is true that a lot of people don't realise how much development goes into action. Especially nowadays, it's such a complex business. That becomes a huge part of it - the technicalities of it and the storytelling part of it. Some things might look great, but when you put them all together they don't necessarily work for that movie. A lot of what I've made a living doing is really creating action that is appropriate for the movie. Because the wrong type of action is just like the wrong costume or the wrong actor or something - it just takes you out of the film.
You get a lot of movies that actually have too much action in them. Then what happens is, you can't appreciate it. It's like a feast where the starter is such a huge meal that you don't even want the main course because you're full. That's like so many action movies - they'd actually benefit from having some of the action taken out of them. I'm always fascinated when you see an audience in an action movie.
When I feel there's too much action in a movie, or it goes on for too long, I always look around in a cinema. It's interesting to see people chatting to each other or doing something else. You should never have that in an action movie. Action should be like sex or violence - you want to be left just wanting a bit more. That gets forgotten in a lot of movies, which are just relentless. Stuff going on the whole time.
What happens then is that, when it comes to something special for the third act, some fantastic fight or something, you can't raise the bar enough, because the bar's been high all the way through the movie. It's a weird thing.
They have to build, action scenes.
They do have to build, absolutely. That's why I do that little graph in the book, which is something I do in every movie, just to work out how much action there should be and where it should go and, on a scale of one to 10, how big it is. It's funny how crude that looks, and yet if you compare it to any of the really great action movies, they'll fit that graph. There'll be something at the opening, there'll be something happening at the end of the first act and into the second act, and there'll be bits and pieces happening in the second act and then a big third act finale. Whether it's a movie made in the 60s or now, that formula of action still becomes the sweet spot.
A lot of these superhero movies, there's some fantastic action going on, but by the end of the movie, nobody cares. You have nowhere to go with it.
Some of them are very long as well.
Far too long. Far, far too long. You're absolutely right. I think any movie, past two hours, has got to be either incredibly spectacular or it's an ego-fest for the filmmakers. Keeping somebody in a seat for more than two hours - you'd better have a really good tale to tell. And I don't think many of these modern ones do - they just have lots of stuff in them.
So what films have impressed you recently in terms of action?
Kingsman, definitely. I thought it was absolutely brilliant, a really good take on it. I loved that it was Colin Firth and not a traditional action hero that's covered in muscles and torn t-shirts and things. And for the same reasons, really, I love the Taken series of movies with Liam Neeson. I loved them, particularly because they're grounded in reality, or set just above reality. Obviously, Kingsman you go more above reality, but they're still grounded with real gravity and real people. It's a bit hypocritical, because I've made a great living doing some superhero movies, but they're not more favourite movies by any chance. I'm very proud of the work I've done on them, but the movies I love aren't even action, really. I haven't seen the third Taken, I need to get that, but I thought the first two Takens were really very cool.
I quite liked both the Red films. I was going to do the second one of those, because the guy who directed the second one is a friend of mine. So I'd have liked to have done that, but they wanted to go with the person they used on the first film. Dean Parisot is a very good friend of mine, I did Galaxy Quest with him. That's one of my favourites.
But a lot of movies I've seen lately, I've been underwhelmed by some of them. It's funny. I like tight little movies. I think it's a shame we've not had more John Frankenheimers making things like Ronin, you know. Great action but well placed - the right action in the right place. Again, grounded in reality, real people.
Do you think stunts go through trends? Obviously, you've recently been doing a lot of wire work on superhero movies lately.
Oh, absolutely. It's kind of gone in a tight full circle, because a few years ago action went fully CG, and then the brief we were given when we did the first Amazing Spider-Man is that they want to get away from that feel, to go more gravity based, more reality. That's what we spent a lot of time doing on that first Spider-Man is the way he jumps around. I based it on real physics.
Some of the stuff on the first Amazing Spider-Man I'm really very, very proud of. We filmed some groundbreaking rig systems and high-powered winches that moved around so there was a proper organic travel when Spider-Man jumps around. It's funny, because when I agreed to do the movie, that was the brief - they want to make Spider-Man's movement much more realistic. I said, "Yes, absolutely, we can do it." But when I came out of the meeting, I have to be honest - I had no idea how the hell we were going to do that.
We did a lot of testing. They were good enough to give us a lot of time to test. One of the things I did was bring in an Olympic gymnast, and I had him swing from three bars, from one bar to the next bar to the next bar, doing giant swings on them. I videoed it, because I knew that something on the original [Sam Raimi] Spider-Man didn't look right. It sounds really obvious in the end, because your eye goes straight to it, but when I brought the gymnast in, I realised that when you see a human swinging, their downward swing is really violent. It gets faster, faster, faster until it nearly pulls the arms out of the sockets, and then as they swing up it gets slower, slower, slower until they get negative. Then they grab the next bar and it happens again. It's the massive variation in velocity that made me realise, "I get it. That's what's real." Then you can tell it's a real guy. When you see Spider-Man and his speed is the same going down as it is going up, even though you haven't analysed it in your mind, you know that it's not right. It's like the five-legged horse syndrome: if you saw one standing in a field, even though you've never seen one in your life, you'd know that it's not something from nature.
It's something I spend a lot of time doing, making things organic and real. In the book you've see a lot of reference to Buster Keaton and things, because I like to go back to that. When you've seen something done for real, then you can make anything as fantastic as you want. But you have to know where the baseline is, where real is, before you start doing something too spectacular. Or what will happen is, even though an audience has never seen an athlete on giant bars, or a guy swinging on a spider web, they'll know instinctively that it looks wrong. We're conditioned to do that - no matter how realistic a dummy in a shop window is, we know as humans that it isn't a real person. Animals know all that - they can spot their own species, they can spot other species and know what they are.
It's why, with a superhero movie, especially, I like to do a bible beforehand, so that you can have a reference. How strong is Spider-Man? Can he throw cars or push a building over? Can he just pick up a sofa? You have to have a yardstick of what people can do. Otherwise it's all over the place. We've seen those movies, where the power of the superheroes [varies]. One minute he gets knocked out by someone in a bar, the next he's pushing a house over.
It has to have some kind of internal logic, doesn't it.
It has to have some kind of logic, no matter how mad that logic is, it has to be consistent. We had it on Thor: how powerful is Thor? How much can he do with a hammer? What happens when the hammer really hits something? You have to have all these mad conversations at the beginning of the movie. If you see someone punch through a building, it's tough to then see that same person slap someone in their face without tearing their head off. You need a yardstick to go to.
I was interested to read what you said about Catwoman, and the idea you had for the big fight.
Yeah, that was a classic case. In the end I was proved right. The movie could have been fantastic. Halle Berry - in the outfit, she could stop traffic. And she was such a perfect choice for Catwoman - she had all the abilities. The movement down, the whole thing. It was such a waste, because the script got crappier and crappier. There was a rewrite every week or so. Each one was worse than the last one. It was like someone was drinking and writing worse and worse versions of it. I feel sorry for Halle as well - I don't think it did her career any good. She's such a trooper anyway.
It's funny, I remember when I saw the first TV commercial for the movie, and I'd been a bit depressed - I don't like leaving movies. I remember coming out, and you always have that second thought as to whether you should have left it or not. But I'm quite strict about only doing good stuff. The interesting thing is, I fought to get the motorcycle sequence in there, and the directors and the producers - none of them wanted it. The moment I saw that first commercial, and it was nearly all motorcycle. I remember shouting at the screen that I was absolutely right. You know when they put that in the trailer that it's the only good thing in the movie! It's very funny.
Why do you think that happens sometimes in these big Hollywood films, where you get this death spiral of script rewrites? You hear about it quite a lot.
Oh, God knows. If you could answer that I think you'd be a gazillionaire. A lot of these rewrites just get worse and worse. It's like cooking, putting this and that in, until you've got this inedible bowl of crap that's like the vision you originally set out to make. That happens so often. I think part of it happens in the main studio system because a lot of films get made by committee. That happens a lot. It didn't happen with some of the greats of the 50s, 60s and 70s, because some of those people were tyrannical, but the movies they made had a personal identity to them.
John Boorman doesn't always make great movies, but he's a great moviemaker and every movie he makes is a John Boorman movie. You look at Excalibur, you look at Deliverance, you look at Hope And Glory, they're all different, you can like them or not like them, but they have a real authority and identity to them. What happens in a studio system is you have a lot of junior executives and they all want to put a comment in there, they all want to use this actor or that actress. In the end, for right or wrong, a film has to have one real author. If it doesn't... there's the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. That's what happens to movies. There are so many people in different areas in the studio that want to keep their fingers in the pie.
The big thing about studios is, most studio executives are all eventually going to get fired or run another studio or something. The rule of thumb is, most studio executives want to be just attached to a movie enough that if it's a huge success they can say they were or part of it, and they can point out the bits they changed or suggested or whatever. And if it's a Catwoman, they can distance themselves from it as if it were a disease. That's a real thing - a fine line executives work. Because you can get the blame for a picture that you may have had nothing to do with in some ways, you had no say in it if you were a studio executive, necessarily, and you can also get lots of praise and lots of awards and a million-dollar job at another studio because you're considered to be the guy or girl that brought this or that movie to the studio and it made $300m. It's a funny game, that.
In the end, who knows what's going to be successful? Who'd have thought movies like Fast & Furious would still be successful?
Yeah, there's gonna be eight or nine of them.
It's incredible. Vic [Armstrong] and I were offered, I guess it was three or four, and then they made a change with the action team and they've had the same action team since. But we'd just started Thor so we turned it down. It's funny because they went off and did more and more of those Fast & Furious films and we did the two Spider-Mans and Season Of The Witch and some other things. I think in the end we kind of made the right choice. I'm proud of the stuff I've done.
When you think of how advanced the look of Highlander was - Russell invented that look. The very long lenses, the very wide lenses. Fantastic cuts between things. It's absolutely timeless. I watched it again recently. It's as good now as it was when we made it. And it's a beautiful looking movie.
I'm really proud of the stuff I've done on it. It's amazing to think it's 30 years [old]. There's a lot of funny stories about Highlander. When they hired Sean Connery first of all as Ramirez, it’s funny because it's a Scotsman playing a Spaniard and a Frenchman playing a Scotsman! The funny thing is, Peter Davis and Bill Panzer, the producers, cast Connery - and the movie's called Highlander, so Connery thought he was playing the Highlander!
He got some huge fee, and then they let him know that he's playing Ramirez, this Spanish guy. He went, "Oh fine", but his fee was the same - he got about a million dollars for however many weeks he was on the movie. And then Christopher Lambert, who'd only done Greystoke before, as far as English-speaking movies went, they cast him and hadn't met him. Apparently, when they did Greystoke, he learned his lines parrot fashion - he just learned the line he had to speak. He couldn't speak English. But he's such a lovely guy.
When they first met him and he answered "Yes" to every question, they realised he didn't know what the hell they were talking about. [Laughs] They were in a bar or restaurant, and Peter Davis and Bill Panzer both came outside, and they left him at the table, and said, "He can't fucking speak English!" And they'd already cast him! The deal was done! It was fantastic, you know?
It just shows you. He was so charismatic in that movie. He learned English during the movie and was brilliant.
He's also incredibly short-sighted, Christophe. I did some really cool sword fight sequences with him. He couldn't see the sword! Incredible. His muscle memory and ability to be taught a fight with his glasses on, and then take is glasses off and then shoot was absolutely astounding. I've never met anyone like it. He never missed a beat, and yet he couldn't see - he couldn't see which end of the sword he had a hold of.
You look at those sword fights, and he's better than most stuntmen doing them. Yet he could hardly see his opponent, let alone the sword. Fascinating.
Clancy Brown, who played the villain, he's still a friend. He was fantastic. A couple of funny things happened on that, I think they're in the book. We were doing some car action in New York, and I had cameras on the front of the Cadillac. The Cadillac was my choice - originally it was written as a big four-wheel drive. I wanted something classically American that would slide around.
When we were towing it through town with the cameras on for the close-ups of the two actors, Clancy's there with his slit throat with the safety pins in it and all that, and I would jump off the back of the camera car when we got to a decent bit of road or bridge or something, and I'd turn all the cameras on.
At one point, I was turning the cameras on and the cop who was helping us - or supposed to be helping us in a typical sort of New York, aggressive cop way, said, "If you get off the camera car again, I'm going to arrest you."
Now, meanwhile, the cameras are rolling. I'm not really arguing with the cop, but I'm a bit pissed off to say the least. So I got back on the camera car. But while I'm doing that, Clancy, just dicking around, was [sings] "New York, New York!" And that was just him playing around. It was actually in response to me arguing with a New York cop, really.
Anyway, Russell, when he was putting the chase together, loved that little moment. He'd done all the Queen videos, and that's when Queen came in and saw it, and they loved it. So that's when they re-recorded their version of New York, New York and it became a hit record for Queen.
It started as a mild confrontation between me and a rather aggressive New York cop! [Laughs] Whenever I see Clancy, we still laugh about it. It wasn't in the script or anything, it was just one of those things.
Andy Armstrong, thank you very much!
Action Movie Maker's Handbook is available from Amazon now.
See related Does it matter whether stars do their own stunts? Speed 2: how a dream sparked one of the biggest stunts ever Olivier Megaton interview: Taken 2, Liam Neeson and stunts Sam Mendes interview: Skyfall, stunts & cinematography Movies Interview Ryan Lambie Andy Armstrong 14 Jun 2016 - 05:40 Highlander Catwoman The Amazing Spider-Man The Amazing Spider-Man 2 interview Andy Armstrong movies »
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- firstname.lastname@example.org (Official)
If there is a reliable truism that can coexist alongside the American film industry’s dance of death with economically insane budgets that now routinely soar north of $200 million, it is that (most) critics and potential ticket-buyers can be counted on to review bad buzz and publicized woes of dollars and production instead of the actual movie once it finally finds its way to a screen. And it may in fact be true that the drama behind the scenes often outstrips the quality of the wide-screen finished product, though certainly this is not always the case. The reception of big-budget box-office flops like John Carter, The Lone Ranger, Jupiter Ascending and Oliver Stone’s Alexander are but some late examples of our number-crunching obsession with pop culture minutiae and the fascination of a behemoth’s preordained fall. Most who trudged out to see any of these films during their theatrical »
- Dennis Cozzalio
Bryan Cranston is making an anthology show based on the works of sci-fi icon Philip K. Dick. We may have just found his first co-star for the series. While chatting with Anthony Mackie about All the Way (in which Mackie plays Martin Luther King, Jr. opposite Cranston’s Lbj), I mentioned the recently announced anthology series since Mackie has some Philip K. Dick on his resume with 2011 movie The Adjustment Bureau. Mackie seems to have a genuine enthusiasm for the writer whose stories have led to tons of screen adaptations, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and The Man in the High Castle among them. “Adjustment Bureau reigns as one of my favorite movies I’ve done,” Mackie told me. “Philip K. Dick’s short stories are just amazing and from another time of writing. You used to sit and read those stories, and they would take you to a whole other world. »
- Emily Rome
Overwatch, the highly anticipated multiplayer shooter by Blizzard, is coming out soon and its trophy list has been leaked online ahead of launch. The game will feature a pretty hefty 60 trophies up for grabs.
Appearing on Psn Profiles, the trophy list is made up of one platinum, only one gold, five silvers and a massive amount of bronze trophies. The trophies don’t look easy either, with one of the silvers requiring you to earn a 20-player killstreak. However, the bronze trophies do appear to be an attempt to make players use each of the 21 individual heroes.
Here is the full list:
Overwatch Platinum Trophy: Collect all other Overwatch trophies.
Centenary: Win 100 games in Quick or Competitive Play.
Undying: Get a 20 player kill streak in Quick or Competitive Play. Shutout: Win a Control map without the enemy capturing an objective in Quick or Competitive Play. Level 50: »
- Tom Powter
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