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Stars: Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Manuela Gourary, Emma Sjöberg, Bernard Farcy, Georges Neri, Dan Herzberg, Sébastien Thiery, Philippe du Janerand | Written by Luc Besson | Directed by Gérard Pirès
Classic high-octane car chase thriller Taxi, created by renowned writer/director/producer Luc Besson, is cult action comedy about a speed freak taxi driver who is forced to make a deal with the police or lose his licence. The film has spawned three sequels, an American remake and a TV series which has sadly not found a UK broadcaster as yet. Now the original film, which introduced the world to high speed car chases and gallic action, hits Blu-ray courtesy of Second Sight, in a new high-def transfer that makes the film look as fresh and exciting today as it did on its debut in 1998.
Like a lot of more modern Besson movies, the plot of Taxi is relatively simple: »
- Phil Wheat
Back in 2007 I posted my list of the top ten Stephen King adaptations. It's always funny to revisit such lists because there will always be one or two placements that have me scratching my head. In this case it would be the placement of 1408 (still a good adaptation mind you) over both The Shining and The Green Mile. However, the placing of George A. Romero's The Dark Half at #3 would still remain, an opinion again solidified after revisiting the 1993 Jekyll and Hyde thriller on Shout Factory's new Blu-ray release. It's always been easier for filmmakers to adapt King's less fantastical stories to the big screen, films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Misery and even The Green Mile, which is definitely fantastical, but not to the extent of so many other King stories. However, when it comes to the weirder stories, it's not just the narratives that have that particular »
- Brad Brevet
Father’s Day #1
Written by Mike Richardson
Art by Gabriel Guzmán, Java Tartaglia
Dark Horse Comics
It’s de rigeur to knock Hollywood for being out of ideas, but then along comes Father’s Day. It is Dark Horse’s four-issue miniseries combining two well-worn tropes: The hitman with a heart and the child as apprentice killer, as originated in the Lone Wolf and Cub manga series and repeated in so many action films (Luc Besson’s Leon/The Professional, Hanna, Kick Ass et al).
Though plotter (and Dark Horse publisher) Mike Richardson gets things into motion with admirable swiftness. The familiarity of the elements in play is evident from the cover image on down, and the characterizations dishearteningly rote and the action uninspiring.
Our killer/daddy figure is Silas, who we will learn was once known in Chicago’s criminal underworld as The East Side Butcher. We join him, »
- Steven Fouchard
The long-awaited Jimi Hendrix biopic All By My Side opens in cinemas today (October 24).
Andre '3000' Benjamin plays the iconic musician in the movie, which depicts Jimi's humble beginnings to becoming possibly the world's greatest guitarist.
This has inspired us to compile our own list of the greatest portrayals of musicians in rock 'n' roll biopics, often going above and beyond mere physical transformation:
Andy Serkis was BAFTA nominated for his critically-acclaimed role - played to perfection - as charismatic '70s punk rock singer and songwriter Ian Dury in Mat Whitecross's 2010 biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
To portray Dury's physical condition - he contracted polio as a child - Serkis lost two stone and built up the muscle mass on the right-hand side of his body so the other side was weaker.
He added: "I had a body wax. It's the most »
It looks like the totally hypothetical Cinematic Teen Hit Girl Club is getting a brand new member. Deadline reports that The Giver star Odeya Rush has signed on to star in Hunter’s Prayer, a Jonathan Mostow-directed action-thriller about “a young girl who teams up with the assassin hired to wipe out her family to find the person responsible.” Oh, a buddy flick! Sam Worthington is already on board to play said assassin, who helps Rush’s Ella “navigate the tangled web of hitmen and thugs on her quest for justice.” And we thought you could just PayPal hitmen money. Rush now joins a subgenre of films that center on guns, girls and (screw any attempts at alliteration) just plain illegal activities. And yet, said subgenre isn’t nearly as bankable as it once (oh so briefly) was, so why do we keep getting films about gun-toting teens with attitude? (Don »
- Kate Erbland
In the latest episode of Kcrw's The Treatment, Tarantino opens up about his (radical? backward?) decision to throw digital out the window and devote the New Beverly exclusively to film prints. Listen below. The La rep theater's October slate includes films from the late Paul Mazursky ("Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice") and the late Robin Williams ("The Best of Times"), as well as a double bill of Luc Besson's "The Professional" with Tarantino's own "Pulp Fiction," both 20 years old this October. (Tarantino defends not only 35mm projection, but also shooting in 35mm.) In August, Tarantino told La Weekly: "I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35 millimeter films. I want it to stand for something. When you see a film on the New Beverly calendar, you don’t have to ask whether it’s going to be shown in Dcp [Digital Cinema Projection] or in 35 millimeter. You know it’s playing »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Quentin Tarantino officially begins his tenure as film programmer of the New Beverly Cinema tonight when he re-opens the La institution after a monthlong remodeling. On the docket is a Paul Mazursky double feature of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Blume In Love, which kicks off three months of Tarantino-programmed films, as Deadline reported last month. Many of those films, screened on film either on 16mm or 35mm, will come from Tarantino’s personal vaults. Tonight’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice print is the best known print out there, according to Tarantino, who was gifted with the newly struck print after his Django Unchained opening.
After floating the beloved New Beverly business for years, Tarantino took over as manager and programmer last month from owner Michael Torgan with a renewed commitment to screening movies only on film. New features and upgrades inside the historic theater include the addition of mechanical masking, »
- Jen Yamato
After temporarily shuttering its doors in late August, announcing takeover of theater programming and throwing digital out the window, celluloid defender Quentin Tarantino has reopened the New Beverly in Los Angeles. According to Variety, 35mm-collector Tarantino has lined up an October slate including films from the late Paul Mazursky ("Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice") and the late Robin Williams ("The Best of Times"), as well as a double bill of Luc Besson's "The Professional" with Tarantino's own "Pulp Fiction," both 20 years old this October. (Tarantino defends not only 35mm projection, but also shooting in 35mm.) In August, Tarantino told La Weekly: "I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35 millimeter films. I want it to stand for something. When you see a film on the New Beverly calendar, you don’t have to ask whether it’s going to be shown in Dcp [Digital Cinema Projection] or in 35 millimeter. You know it’s. »
- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio
Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1963, Serge Bourguignon’s Sundays and Cybèle has finally been issued in an official North American digital video edition by Criterion. For decades Sundays and Cybèle was only available to Ntsc markets through imported discs of dodgy provenance and a few murky, widely scattered VHS copies. While half a century is certainly a significant delay, the high quality of the film and this superb pressing will make most cinephiles agree it was worth the wait.
Sundays and Cybèle is the story of Pierre (Hardy Krüger), a 30-ish former fighter pilot who now aimlessly wanders the quiet streets of Ville-d’Avray on the outskirts of Paris. Pierre suffers from a severe case of what would now be called Ptsd, squarely blaming himself for a tragic accident that occurred during the heat of battle in Vietnam. Reeling from amnesia and nightmarish visions, Pierre »
- David Anderson
"I'm going to finish this." At the end of Taken 2, it seemed like Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) was on the path of getting back together with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and giving his daughter (Maggie Grace) the love he always wanted her to have. But in the first trailer for Taken 3 (or Tak3n if you want to be clever), we see that all that is cut short when Mills is framed for the murder of his ex-wife and is forced to go on the run from the law. Sadly, this time his special set of skills have him looking much more suspicious than heroic as he tries to prove his innocence and find out who is responsible for this tragedy. Watch the trailer! Here's the first trailer for Olivier Megaton's Taken 3 straight from 20th Century Fox: Taken 3 is directed by Olivier Megaton (Taken 2) and written by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, »
- Ethan Anderton
Quentin Tarantino’s passion for the New Beverly Cinema began when he was just another kid showing up for the nightly double feature. It grew when he found success as a filmmaker and began to subsidize owner Sherman Torgan to the tune of $5,000 per month to keep the place open. Ultimately Tarantino bought the building and now he’s taking over the whole theater from Torgan’s son Michael. Tarantino has grand plans to curate a program of films he is confident will please fellow cinefiles and give him an excuse to showcase his voluminous collection of film prints and trailers.
His first move: Jettisoning the digital projector that Michael installed. When the L.A. institution reopens in October after three months of renovations and a thorough cleaning of the onetime porno palace, the New Beverly will have a unique mission: All 35mm prints, all the time. “The big thing »
- Jen Yamato
Paris– Snd is teaming up with Paris-based producer Capture (The Flag) Films and U.K.’s Vertigo Films to produce Benjamin Rocher’s actioner “The Squad,” a remake of Nick Love’s “The Sweeney” that will topline Jean Reno (“The Professional”).
Reno will star as Buren, an old time cop who runs a squad In the Paris underworld and doesn’t play by the rules. When a heist turns into murder, Buren follows his guts and raids the house of Kasper, a former convict. The operation is carnage and Buren takes the fall for it. But when he realizes that the bank and the jewelry heist are part of a bigger operation, Buren with nothing to lose will play all in.
“Jean Reno, one of the most beloved French actors with a worldwide fan base, will bring all his charisma and depth to portray Buren, a tough police officer determined »
- Elsa Keslassy
Films with great women’s roles aren’t always great films. Films with poor female representation aren’t necessarily bad films. But poorly written female roles will always be a problem for cinema so long as they continue to persist. The damsel in distress. Angel-whore. The token girl. Trophy wives. Mother, daughter, sister. The unconditional love interest. These are among the popular clichés most frequently applied to female characters as they’re written on the page. Some films are so desperate for conflict that they just keep going to the well without altering the mold. Have women not earned the right by now to play more villains, complicated lovers, a-holes, The Best Friends, soldiers, comic reliefs or leads? Can a woman be sexy in a film and still have a great role? Yes. Give her agency. Can a woman support other characters but still have a great role? Yes. Keep her vital. »
- Katie Hasty and Donna Dickens
Luc Besson flits very easily between the sublime and the ridiculous, gifting the world with Léon in the early days of his career before proceeding to make visually striking, utterly silly action thrillers like The Fifth Element, Taxi and The Transporter series (as writer/producer). Lucy falls squarely into the second category; a screwball sci-fi caper with Besson going full speed ahead into far-out territory. Perversely though, it's that willingness to stretch beyond all logic and reason that keeps you watching.
His opening gambit is a damned good one, however, with Scarlett Johansson's titular American college girl getting roped into a drugs smuggling deal by her latest squeeze in Taipei, clueless about the contents of the briefcase he chains to her wrist. Besson milks every bit »
From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
In this interview for Nerdly , film correspondent James Kleinmann asks director Luc Besson where the initial concept for the story came from.
Check out our Lucy review here. »
- Phil Wheat
Concept Art by Eduardo Peña From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. Lucy also stars Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman and is produced by Virginie Besson-Silla for EuropaCorp. Universal Pictures will distribute the movie worldwide, except for France, Benelux and China. »
Concept Art by Ben Mauro Click Here - More Lucy Concept Art From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes in cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. Lucy also stars Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman and is produced by Virginie Besson-Silla for EuropaCorp. Universal Pictures will distribute the movie worldwide, except for France, Benelux and China. »
This story first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Two decades before the Scarlett Johansson starrer Lucy opened July 25 at No. 1, French director Luc Besson's first English-language film, The Professional, opened respectably in fifth place. THR called the 1994 movie, which grossed $45 million worldwide on a $16 million budget, a "stylishly executed, ballistic thriller." One reason Besson had done the film was to prepare linguistically for his next production, 1997's megabudget The Fifth Element (where he would meet future wife Milla Jovovich; they divorced in 1999) with its American
- Bill Higgins
Comic Con took place last week and Laremy and I dig into some of the reveals, offering thoughts on a few of the trailers that premiered, the images and new movies that were announced before answering your questions and voice mails, which bring up topics such as video game movies, Rotten Tomatoes and our favorite actors. Then we finish things off with our regular allotment of games. Hope you enjoy. If you are on Twitter, we have a Twitter account dedicated to the podcast at @bnlpod. Give us a follow won'tchac I want to remind you that you can call in and leave us your comments, thoughts, questions, etc. directly on our Google Voice account, which you can call and leave a message for us at (925) 526-5763, which may be even easier to remember at (925) 5-bnl-pod. Just call, leave us a voice mail and we'll add those to the show and respond directly. »
- Brad Brevet
Audiences seemed to go for it as well, the film scoring $44 million at the box-office this weekend, easily pushing aside Dwayne Johnson-starring "Hercules" to take the top spot. It is also scoring well with women, with around half the film audience being females of a variety of ages rather than the mostly male-skewing audience these kinds of action films tend to pull.
Now, Besson's Statement of Intent for the film has managed to make its way online where in it talks about how the film's three acts shift in tone and how by the third it becomes a strange reality-bending experience. Besson aimed high with the films he cites, including his own "Leon The Professional »
- Garth Franklin
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