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The moment first came in 2003's The Rundown -- a fun, cool, and not wholly unintelligent action movie -- Dwayne Johnson, formerly World Wrestling Entertainment's "The Rock", enters a nightclub on the hunt for someone he means business with. As he walks across the dance floor, he passes a familiar face, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gives him a casual glance and an even more casual "good luck." That was it. The action star torch had been passed. Seven years later, Johnson's action prowess has been called into question by films like The Game Plan and Tooth Fairy. Now, at least for a little while, he has the chance to make a claim for that title once handed to him by the Terminator himself. With Faster, Johnson shoots, punches, stabs, and walks with a purpose. Not exactly the most narratively clever or dramatically nuanced film, it makes no qualms about what it »
- Jeremy Kirk
This week, we got long haired heroines, burlesque dancers, prescription medication (hint: It's love), and some pretty fast cars. So which one's worth your time and (more importantly) money this weekend? That's right, everyone: It's time for another Cinema Showdown!
Contestant #1: Tangled
Synopsis: After the bandit Flynn Rider breaks into her tower, the prisoner Rapunzel bargains with him to help her escape. After the breakout, Flynn agrees to journey with Rapunzel to the place where "the floating lights came from," all the while being chased by Mother Gothal and her thugs.
In Five Words: Shrek, but less obnoxious.
Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider
Donna Murphy as Mother Gothal
Ron Perlman as Stabbington Brother
Theater Count: 3, 603 theaters
"Tangled, Disney's 50th animated feature, is a splendid tribute to the best moments from »
Yeah, yeah. I know this came out on Wednesday but my review for new Dwayne Johnson star vehicle Faster ran as my column this week over at Showcase and those don't go live until Thursday so you're getting it a day late. So here's a summary of my take on it.
I wouldn't go as far as to call Faster a great film but it's a really, really good one. It's the sort of film Johnson was born to make and while he doesn't knock it out of the park with his performance it's certainly a hell of a lot better to see him in something like this - easily his best action role since The Rundown - than in crap like The Tooth Fairy.
Very much modeled on the 70's style anti-hero film - this would have been a Bronson film forty years ago - it starts off as »
British actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen may not be immediately familiar to filmgoers but with his starring role alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton in the aptly titled Faster he is sure to leave a lasting impression on audiences in the Us. The star, whose looks are reminiscent of the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Pattinson, will surely attract legions of fans over the next few years. We were able to chat with the actor who is in La during a break from shooting his next film in Serbia and he opens up about his breakthrough role, his favorite action films and, of course, his stylish clothes in Faster!
The Film Stage: Can you tell us a little bit about your character in Faster, they don’t really reveal too much in the trailer other than that you and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are each other’s nemesis? »
- John Luchetti
Photo: CBS Films Wow! Oh wow! Faster is one terrible, pointless and worthless movie. It is a wonder CBS Films would want to distribute this junk, and why Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton and Carla Gugino would agree to star in it. Okay, Johnson did it because he didn't want to entirely abandon those action roots he was supposed to fill when everyone thought he would be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but still, there is nothing this movie has to offer an audience outside of senseless violence and a redemption story that doesn't add up.
Nothing is worse in movies than a gotcha moment where the audience looks on and is like, "Yeah, way ahead of yah Mr. Director." Such is the case with Faster, George Tillman Jr.'s directorial follow-up to Notorious, a film I was among the minority in liking. Here Tillman tries to »
- Brad Brevet
Dwayne Johnson is an actor who seemed destined for action-star greatness. When Arnold Schwarzenegger turns to Johnson in The Rundown and says “Have fun,” it was a passing of the torch. But that light seems to have diminished as Johnson has, much to the chagrin of his fans, chosen family fare that doesn’t really encourage the bloody mayhem someone of Johnson’s physique and charisma could deliver. As if to answer all those who were unhappy with films like The Game Plan and Tooth Fairy, in the first five minutes Faster has Johnson get out of prison, drive a badass Chevelle, and shoot a guy in the head. The film then struggles to keep the remaining 90 minutes interesting, going so far as to introduce a distracting antagonist whose only purpose is to provide brief action scenes. Weighed down further by vague notions of sin and salvation, Faster is a »
- Matt Goldberg
With Dwayne Johnson’s Faster opening November 24, we’ve partnered with a bunch of other online sites for Faster The Chronicles. The seven chapter series features exclusive interviews with the stars and filmmakers of Faster, and each one offers a clue to winning The Ultimate Guy’s Getaway trip for two to Las Vegas, which includes roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations (2 nights) and $1000 in Fast cash. If you’d like to enter, head over to the official Faster Facebook page.
Since we’ve been covering Faster extensively over the past few months (click here to read our coverage), you know this is Johnson’s return to kicking ass and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve said many times that while I understand why Johnson made those family films, I’ve always thought he should be one of the biggest action stars on the planet.
Anyway, for the final chapter of Faster The Chronicles, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
One of the biggest selling points for Faster is that it features Dwayne Johnson in an R-rated action movie, something audiences have been feeling denied all of his acting career. The Rundown is close but it’s PG-13, and while Doom is a hard-r film, Johnson isn’t really the protagonist. With Faster, it looks like Johnson is ready to tear it up. A fan-made trailer from “TheMonocularGroup” happily exclaims that it’s time to “Witness The Rock claim his birthright as a total fucking badass.” (although he prefers not to be called “The Rock” anymore) Let’s hope that will be the case. While I haven’t seen the film, I think it’s safe to assume there won’t be any fairy wings or tooth-related puns.
- Matt Goldberg
With his time as Governor of California drawing to a close what might the future hold for Arnold Schwarzenegger..?
From humble origins in post-war Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger has gone on to enjoy an extraordinary career and achieved unprecedented success in three vastly different professions. Rising to the summit of the bodybuilding world with seven Mr. Olympia titles, Schwarzenegger then turned his attention to Hollywood and became the biggest action star of the 80s and 90s before focussing on his political ambitions when he announced his candidacy in the 2003 California recall election. Defeating his nearest rival by over 1 million votes, “The Governator” assumed office in November 2003 and was re-elected three years later for a second term, which is scheduled to expire in January 2011.
Barring a change to the Us Constitution it seems the end is nigh for Arnie’s political career, so what does the future hold for the Austrian Oak? »
Are the casting, creative choices an epic fail?
As we learn more about Sony's planned reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, the question must be asked: are we just setting ourselves up for more disappointment? Can this film possibly match the hype already surrounding it over a year and a half before it is even released?
Let's take into account where the film stands so far. That means grading each cast member announced so far, as well as a hard look at the filmmakers Sony is entrusting their comic book golden goose to.
The Creative Team
Director (Mark Webb): C+
I know there are many with high hopes for Webb at the helm, based largely on whether you liked his film 500 Days of Summer. My problem with Sony's choice is rooted mainly in the fact that he is largely unproven. Besides Summer, Webb has directed episodes of Lone Star (we »
Earlier this year I got to visit the set of Dwayne Johnson’s Faster while the production was shooting here in Los Angeles. Since most of you have seen the green and red band trailers and read my set report, you know Faster is Johnson’s return to action and I couldn’t be happier. While I understand it’s good for Johnson’s career to expand his audience and that’s why he made family movies like The Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain, I’ve always felt he should be one of the biggest action stars on the planet. Hopefully Faster will be a big hit and Johnson will stay in the action genre for awhile.
Anyway, while on set, a few of us got to participate in an interview with Johnson in between takes. He talked to us about what they were filming that day, working »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
If there's one actor I'm a fan of, it's Dwayne Johnson. Formerly known as (and sometimes called still) The Rock, Dwayne has managed to successfully make the leap from wrestling ring to big screen. He did this by taking on a bunch of action roles like The Scorpion King, The Rundown and Walking Tall, before movie into family films like The Gameplan and Tooth Fairy. Now The Ro...excuse me, Dwayne, is returning to the genre that made him a superstar – action. Dwayne's new movie Faster looks to be a nice return to Dwayne doing what he does best – kicking everyone's ass. Here's the official synopsis for Faster: "Faster" follows an ex-con (Johnson) as he sets out to avenge his brother's murder with a deadly to-do list. Gugino plays Cicero, a detective who is hot on his trail as she diligently connects details of this recent crime spree with »
Dwayne Johnson started his movie career with a bang by playing off his wrestling persona, “The Rock”. His first role came in 2001 when he played a bit part in The Mummy Returns and he kept his action hero status alive by playing that role again in The Scorpion King.
What followed was a messy assortment of films as Johnson tried to find his acting groove by trying a wide variety of character roles ranging from a sheriff in Walking Tall to a gay bodyguard in Be Cool. Even when he was in a movie that wasn’t warmly received by audiences – like Doom or The Rundown – he still played a bad ass that no one wanted to mess with.
His filmography took a sour turn with a rash of un-Rock like roles in The Game Plan, Race…
- Paul Young
After the one, two punch of The Rundown and Walking Tall, Dwayne .The Rock. Johnson seemed well on his way to becoming the next Sylvester Stallone. He was destined to become Hollywood.s new, iconic, heavily muscled action hero and that was really good. Then he walked over to Disney and started making kids movie, after kids movie, after kids movie. These days he.s better known as that big guy who likes to run around making horrible movies in a tutu than as the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. But it.s not too late for him to turn that around. Enter Faster, Johnson.s first real action movie in years. The movie.s first trailer was good, but only hinted at the R-rated violence this thing is set to deliver. Now we have Faster.s first red band trailer and it delivers Dwayne Johnson as the badass, cold blooded, insanely »
I gotta admit, I expected a movie like this from Dwayne Johnson a looooooong time ago. About the same time he busted loose with “The Rundown”, I expected him to jump right into badass action hero territory like “Faster”, but instead … well, instead he didn’t. Looks like he’s making up for it now, because “Faster” looks incredibly bloody and badass and right up my alley. After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has a singular focus – to avenge the murder of his brother during the botched robbery that led to his imprisonment. Now a free man with a deadly to-do list in hand, he’s finally on his mission…but with two men on his trail – veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) just days from retirement, and a young egocentric hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) with a flair for the art of killing and a newfound worthy opponent. The hunter is also the hunted. »
Wrestling stars are muscling their way into cinema multiplexes – but can WWE really beat Hollywood on its own mat?
Brace yourself, adjust the volume controls and get ready, in a very real sense, to rumble – because the wrestlers are coming. The good news, at least, is that they're not here to grapple or drop-kick, but instead to emote, frown, wisecrack and demonstrate the full range of the emotional register.
This summer, the drip-drip of Us wrestling's incursions into mainstream cinema under the aegis of World Wrestling Entertainment's in-house movie production arm, WWE Studios, has shown its first real signs of becoming a surge. In August, former WWE wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's ascent into legitimate crossover status resumed with the Us release of The Other Guys, a Will Ferrell comedy in which Johnson co-stars. And, this month, current ace face John Cena's new film, the WWE-produced Legendary, is also released. »
- Barney Ronay
By Sean O’Connell
Perhaps it’s because the reportedly $200-million “event” picture is based on a board game. Perhaps it’s the cast, which opts for eye candy over proven thespians. (Hello, Brooklyn Decker!)
But Berg’s not Dennis Dugan. He has directed legitimately entertaining action films (“The Rundown,” “Hancock”), and his “30 for 30” about Wayne Gretzky was one of the ongoing sports series’ finest hours. So there’s hope.
Today, early set pictures of pop superstar Rihanna, who is in the ensemble, hit the Internet. ScreenCrave has images. The look of her uniform resembles “G.I. Joe,” and it’s off-putting seeing the normally glamorous celebrity dressed down in fatigues. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.
“Battleship” currently is filming, but has a »
- Sean O'Connell
Oh, Dwayne Johnson, you hurt me.
You had such potential. “The next Schwarzenegger, only he can act!”, people said. Sure, your first two movies (The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King) were terrible, but those were part of the same mediocre franchise. The Rundown was okay, if just a little too aware of itself. And then, things only got worse. Walking Tall, Doom, and the culmination of it all, The Tooth Fairy. But with Faster, it seems like maybe you’re redeeming yourself, because it actually looks alright. But with the news that he’s been cast in Journey to the Center of the Earth 2, I feel like I’m ready to give up hope.
Yeah, the sequel to that Brendan Fraser 3D movie from the Summer of 2008. THR (via ScreenRant) tells us that the film will be called Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and will have Josh Hutcherson, who »
- Nick Newman
Yes, these are being posted purely in the hope that the film turns out to be good. Why? Because I firmly believe that Dwayne Johnson is the greatest hope for a big time American action here these days, the only logical heir to the likes of Stallone. The man has charisma to burn, has proven to be a pretty solid actor, and yet has largely squandered his talent on a string of mediocre at best family comedies. And while I understand that those pay the bills, I'm putting you on notice Dwayne: You do one more film like The Tooth Fairy and I'm done with you.
Happily Faster has nothing at all in common with The Tooth Fairy other than the presence of Mr Johnson himself. This one is a big, burly action picture - the sort of thing that should have dominated his performance slate following The Rundown but strangely did not. »
The Expendables may have boasted a stellar line-up of 80s action stars, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for even more of them in its sequel. Here are Ron’s suggestions…
The Expendables isn't out just yet as I write this, but I have no doubt that it's going to be a huge hit. Well, okay, maybe it won't be a huge hit, but like Sly Stallone's return to his Rambo roots, it's going to do really well.
I mean, it's basically every major action movie star (and some minor action movie stars) from the 80s all in the same film. However, there were some shameful omissions that can be added to the mix for The Expendables 2.
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