Sunday, 12 January 2014

Rupert Friend to Replace Paul Walker in Hitman Reboot Agent 47

In the wake of Paul Walker’s death, almost all of the discussion has centered on the future of the Fast & Furious franchise and what the loss will mean for the upcoming Fast & Furious 7. That shouldn’t be a big surprise considering how successful the movies are and how much people love his character in those movies, but what many people seem to be overlooking is the fact that Paul Walker had been attached to star in a few other movies that will also need to find a way to move forward. One of those movies is a Nicholas Sparks adaptation called The Best Of Me but the potentially bigger deal is a new movie based on the Hitman video game series called Agent 47. Fox is no doubt hoping that they can spawn a franchise from this reboot and now this week they have settled on a replacement for Paul Walker.
According to The Wrap, Rupert Friend is currently in talks to take over the lead role in their upcoming Hitman reboot Agent 47. Friend starred in the period drama The Young Victoria as well as Renny Harlin’s Georgia / Russia war drama 5 Days of War, but he is best known for playing C.I.A. agent Peter Quinn on the Showtime series Homeland. (On a related note, Deadline is reporting that James Marsden may replace Paul Walker in The Best Of Me.)
Although Rupert Friend is not really a recognizable name at this point, I think he is arguably the better choice. His role on Homeland has definitely prepared him for playing an intense assassin who is a man of few words. Still, the more important question is how does he look with a shaved head??? Agent 47 will be helmed by first-time director Aleksander Bach based on a script by Kyle Ward (Machete Kills), Skip Woods (A Good Day to Die Hard) and Michael Finch (Predators). Do you have any interest in seeing a Hitman reboot starring the guy from Homeland?

New to Theatres This Weekend: The Legend of Hercules, Lone Survivor, Her

As with last weekend, there is only one major release to speak of, but a handful of awards contenders are also getting significant expansions which should give moviegoers plenty of options to choose from. Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules starring Kellan Lutz kicks off a new wave of sword and sandals flicks that will be hitting theatres this year, unfortunately it is currently sitting at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes (which isn’t particularly surprising). Elsewhere, Peter Berg’s Lone Survivorand Spike Jonze’s Her are finally in wide release while The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and John Wells’ August: Osage County are at least playing on a few hundred screens as well. In limited release, we also have a pair of acclaimed foreign films with The Rocket and In Bloom. What will you be watching this weekend?

Knights of Badassdom Finally Gets a Release Date and a New Trailer

It’s been a couple of years now since we saw the first trailer for Joe Lynch’s Knights of Badassdom, a comedy about a group of LARPers who accidentally summon a demon and find themselves forced to take up arms against it. With a cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Steve Zahn, Ryan Kwanten and Danny Pudi, the movie seemed destined to be an instant cult classic until a strange thing happened… it simply fell off the face of the Earth. Rumours swirled about one of the producers hijacking the movie away from Joe Lynch, re-editing it and then trying to sell it all on his own.
The good news is that the movie has finally found a home with Entertainment One and it will get a release in early 2014. The bad news is that this is not Joe Lynch’s cut of the movie and based on the new teaser trailer they have released, some of the post-production work looks questionable at best. Knights of Badassdom will play theatrically starting on Jan. 21st through Tugg and then go the VOD route on Feb. 11th. Check out the new teaser trailer after the jump and see what you think.

Gerard Butler in Talks for Point Break Remake

Although the past few years haven’t been particularly great ones for Gerard Butler, the surprise success of Olympus Has Fallen has at least restored his status as a semi-reliable action star. This led to a handful of projects being offered to him in 2013 including sci-fi actioner The Raven, Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt and the Kane & Lynch movie (not to mention the upcoming Olympus Has Fallensequel, London Has Fallen). Now it looks like he has landed another high profile role in the upcoming Point Break remake. Butler is in talks to play Bodhi, the same character played in the original film by the late Patrick Swayze. Hit the jump for more details.
According to THR, Gerard Butler is in final negotiations to star in Alcon’s remake of Point Break. The movie is set to be directed by Ericson Core (Invincible) from a script by Kurt Wimmer (EquilibriumLaw Abiding Citizen). The role of undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves in the original, has yet to be cast.
I guess I can see why Gerard Butler would be cast in the Bodhi role, especially after starring in the surfing drama Chasing Mavericks, but I’m still not clear on whether or not the bad guys are actually surfers in the remake. They keep saying that this new version is “set in the international world of extreme sports” which sounds pretty terrible. Either way, Butler clearly does not have have the same charisma as Swayze but hey, who does? Do you think Gerard Butler can pull off a decent Bodhi? Who would you like to see as the new Johnny Utah?

Friday, 10 January 2014

Paul Walker’s Character Will Not Die in Fast & Furious 7

After nearly a month of speculation about how they might handle the death of Paul Walker in the upcoming Fast & Furious 7, it seems that director James Wan and writers Chris Morgan and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum have finally come to a decision. It was recently announced that the movie would be pushed back to April 2015, giving them time to do rewrites and reshoots if necessary. Although there were some reports that they might scrap the whole movie and start over again, I think we all knew that was pretty unlikely. We are now hearing that they will salvage as much of the existing footage as possible and that Paul Walker’s character will not actually die in the movie. Obviously this seems like the ideal solution, but can it still make sense in the context of the entire film?
According to THR, the new plan is not to kill off Brian O’Conner in Fast & Furious 7, but rather to “retire” him. It’s unclear just exactly what that means but their goal was to “tweak the existing script so that Walker would remain a part of the story but could be written out, allowing the franchise to continue without him.” Some additional scenes will need to be written and shot, but there does not appear to be any need for stand-ins or CG work.
Although the exact details are still unknown, in theory, this feels like the most tactful and practical way to handle the situation. That being said, it really depends on how much flexibility the existing footage affords them. It would be unfortunate if they had to rely completely on other characters to explain everything that Walker’s character does. Do you think this sounds like the right way to go? How do you think they will explain the departure of Brian O’Conner in Fast & Furious 7?

Ridley Scott’s The Counselor to Get Unrated Extended Cut in February

Ridley Scott is certainly no stranger to the concept of director’s cuts and extended cuts; in fact, many credit him with popularizing the practice for better or worse. As it currently stands, at least eight of his films (maybe more) have been re-released in an alternate version of some sort, many of them seen as being superior to the original theatrical cut. With the chilly reception given to his latest film, The Counselor, this past October, you had to assume that there would be a new version of this on the way as well. Well, as it turns out, a longer cut of the film has just been announced this week, although it’s worth noting that it is not a “director’s cut.” Hit the jump for more details.
According to a press release from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, The Counselor is coming to DVD and Blu-ray Combo on February 11th. The Blu-ray release will include both the theatrical version of the film and a new unrated extended cut. The press release lists the extended cut as being 220 minutes long (3 hours 40 minutes), but before you get too excited / horrified, it seems likely that this includes some extra making-of footage that is also unrated. Further investigation indicates that the extended cut is 138 minutes long, which means we will still get 20 minutes of additional scenes.
Many people have already made comparisons between Cormac McCarthy’s screenplay for The Counselor and the final film, pointing out that there is plenty of additional insanity that we never got to see on screen as well as some additional clarity. Could this extended version of the film change some people’s minds about it or will it just make it more unbearable? I’m not sure, but I know I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it. Will you be watching the extended cut of Ridley Scott’s The Counselor?

Film Junk’s Best and Worst Movies of 2013

At this point I think most people are probably getting burnt out on year end lists, but before we can close the book on 2013 here at Film Junk we have to collect our own top 10 lists into one convenient, easy-to-read post. Here you will find a breakdown of our favourite movies of the year, least favourite movies of the year and also some separate lists for best documentaries of the year. For further discussion on how we arrived at these picks, you’ll need to listen toepisode #448 of the Film Junk Podcast. What were your favourite films of the year? Hit the jump to check out our best and worst movies of 2013.

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