Archive for January 15, 2012
January is typically the lean season when it comes to movie releases. the studios have fired off their Oscar bait over the holidays and are saving their next round of high-profile tent pole releases for the lucrative spring and summer seasons. That said, "Contraband" is better than one would expect around this time of the year, though it is only an intermittently entertaining B-movie that seems content to coast for 110 minutes. What it lacks in oomph it compensates -- but doesn't quite redeem itself -- with a modest amount of grittiness and a decent cast of character actors.
Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Farraday, a former hotshot smuggler who has gone straight and is living a peaceful domestic life in New Orleans with his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and two kids until his brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) is forced to dump a load of drugs when customs authorities raid the cargo ship he's working on. This puts him in six-figure debt with a local drug dealer (Giovanni Ribisi).
Chris is, of course, caught in the middle, and he and his ex-partner (Ben Foster) assemble a team and hatch a plan to smuggle counterfeit cash from Panama to pay off the debt.
From that point on, "Contraband" plays out like a by-the-book heist flick, one that feels overly familiar and spruced up with details lifted from other, better movies. As a crime drama it's rote, filled with the standard formula setbacks and betrayals. As an action flick it barely qualifies -- what's there is minimal, and the best it can offer is a cockeyed armored car robbery that feels cobbled together two of the best scenes from Heist and haphazardly inserted into the story.
Director Baltasar Kormakur (who starred in the original Icelandic version, Reykjavik-Rotterdam) over-reaches and can't seem to decide if he wants "Contraband" to be a pulpy crime drama or a breezy heist flick. Fortunately, it moves swiftly, and the familiar plot is populated with enough oddball stock characters to at least give us something to watch: Ribisi as yet another greasy degenerate, J. K. Simmons as a no-nonsense ship captain, Diego Luna as a paranoid Panamanian gangster (think Scarface-Lite), Lukas Haas as Chris' twitchy partner, are all weirdly amusing.
As for Wahlberg, it's the kind of role he can play in his sleep at this point (and he occasionally seems on the verge of dozing off here), but hey, we all have bills to pay. It's at least better than "The Italian Job".
Mark Wahlberg’s latest effort Contraband (co-starring Kate Beckinsale) topped the box office over the Martin Luther King weekend. The thriller should see out the four days with a great $30 million gross, or $24.1 million for three days.
Wahlberg is something of an inconsistent star, with audiences mainly going to see his action/thriller efforts (like Contraband), although Oscar winner, The Fighter, was something of an exception, grossing $93 million. In fact, Contraband (read our review) has had one of the best openings in Marky Mark’s movie career, with top honors going to Planet of the Apes ($68 million) and A Perfect Storm ($41 million), both of which went on to gross over $180 million domestically. This remake won’t hit such dizzy heights, but if it holds in the coming weeks, ...
Click to continue reading Weekend Box Office Wrap Up: January 15th, 2012
Considering the unadulterated enthusiasm and sheer joy expressed by Peter Jackson and the members of his creative team on The Hobbit in previously-released production diary videos, it’s easy to forget about all the lawsuits, studio financial collapses, directorial change-ups, union conflicts, and personal health issues that have afflicted this project for the past three years (or so).
In a new interview, Jackson touches (very) briefly on the difficulties he and his his crew have encountered, in their efforts to realize J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous predecessor to the Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen. We also have some cool new Hobbit images and thoughts from one of its co-writers (Philippa Boyens) and costar (Richard Armitage) to boot.
The first of two Hobbit-based movies (subtitled An Unexpected Journey) picks up with a young Bilbo Baggins, as brought to life by Martin Freeman (the UK version of The Office) who ...
Click to continue reading New ‘Hobbit’ Images; Interviews with Philippa Boyens & Richard Armitage
That Ridley Scott’s Prometheus will somehow touch on the backstory of the giant creature known as the Space Jockey from Alien is no secret, at this point. Even if the director hadn’t already confirmed as much, the film’s official teaser trailer features distinct glimpses of what appear to be a very Jockey-like creature (click here for our complete Prometheus image gallery).
Similarly, two Jockey-like suits are also visible in the background of the latest image from Prometheus; in addition, some unofficial (and unconfirmed) model work for the film surfaced online recently, offering more insight into the nature of these extraterrestrial beings – or, at least, the structure of their helmets.
Prometheus follows a futuristic group of space explorers as they undertake a “thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on ...
Click to continue reading New ‘Prometheus’ Pic Reveals Space Jockey Suits