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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Bruce Willis

Cannes 2012: Watch trailers of six films playing the festival

April 19, 2012 | 12:19 pm

Moonrise_kingdom-620x311

Bruce Willis, Wes Anderson, Josh Hutcherson, Marion Cotillard, Lee Daniels and Nicole Kidman are among the talents bringing films to the Cannes Film Festival, whose lineup was announced Thursday. The prestigious festival kicks off in the southeast France town on May 16. Check out the trailers below to get familiarized with some up this year’s films.

“Moonrise Kingdom,” directed by Wes Anderson
Opening the festival is the Edward Norton-starring comedy by Wes Anderson. It’s his first film to appear at Cannes. Set in the 1960s, "Kingdom" centers on two young lovers who run away from their New England town, prompting a search party to go after them. Focus Features will distribute the film in the U.S. starting May 25. Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand round out the cast.

“On the Road,” directed by Walter Salles
Starring Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley, this long-gestating adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 Beat novel will be in competition at the festival. Executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola, the film also features Viggo Mortensen, Terrance Howard and Amy Adams.

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'Kane & Lynch' struggles to break out of jail

September 24, 2010 |  7:38 pm

Lync
EXCLUSIVE: It's hardly an understatement that movies based on video games have had a shaky time out in the marketplace.

Now a new one is having a hard time getting out of the gate.

"Kane & Lynch" seemed like a slam dunk by film-development standards. But uncertainty is mounting for the project. 

Based on the popular third-person multi-platform shooter from Eidos Interactive, the movie sported a commercial premise, telling the story of two death row inmates who break out of jail and embark on a big bank job. The project had also attracted the attention of a number of buzzed-about directors. A second "Kane & Lynch" video game had studios seeing franchise.

And, not insignificantly, Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx were on board for the title roles.

The movie from Avi Lerner's Nu Image/Millennium and Lionsgate (the former is financing, the latter distributing domestically), seemed all ready to start shooting next month, with French up-and-comer Patrick Alessandrin (District 13: Ultimatum") preparing to direct.

But the latest turn has Alessandrin has fallen off the film, according to several sources familiar with the project, forcing producers to go back to the drawing board. "Running Scared" helmer Wayne Kramer and "Italian Job" director F. Gary Gray, who at various points were in talks to take the directing reins, are now back in the mix. Producers are also talking to Antoine Fuqua, who collaborated with Millennium on the crime drama "Brooklyn's Finest." But no deal has been struck.

Maybe most important, a planned start date for October has been pushed. The movie is not likely to start production until the first quarter of 2011 at the earliest.

Officials at Lionsgate and Millennium could not immediately be reached for comment. [Update, Saturday 4:24 p.m.: A Millennium spokeswoman says that "the director has not been chosen" and that a "start date is TBD."]

Some Hollywood executives continue to maintain that video games are a fertile source of development. After all, most games have brand recognition and a dramatic arc, two coveted traits for any film project. (Indeed, the "Resident Evil" and "Lara Croft" franchises have demonstrated the axiom. The former has shown surprising box office life with its latest installment, which is headed for a $200 million take internationally.)

But the difficulties in translating a story form one medium to another has more often than not proved difficult. It's  why movies such as "Prince of Persia" and "Max Payne" have been misses with both fans and a broader audience.

Things may yet turn around. But “Kane & Lynch” is the latest piece of evidence that it probably won’t happen quickly or cleanly.

--Steven Zeitchik and Ben Fritz

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Kane & Lynch. Credit: Eidos Interactive

RECENT AND RELATED:

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Prince of Persia's odd pairing

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Can someone please shoot the interracial buddy cop comedy?

February 26, 2010 |  8:41 pm

Co

The interracial buddy crime comedy -- the very subgenre that audiences will be subjected to with Kevin Smith's "Cop Out" this weekend -- has been around for decades. But that doesn't stop filmmakers from adhering fervently to the tropes as though they were handed down at Sinai yesterday.

In approximately this sequence, those rules include:  Two men of different background/race are thrown together by circumstance (and quadrant-minded Hollywood marketing executives). They chafe at and resist each other; in fact, they rub each other so wrong that comedy (and, later, a little bit of drama) ensues. But thanks to a common threat, they finally come to appreciate and help each other. We all feel a little lighter for laughing, and maybe a little elevated to boot, because, hey, if a white cop and a black cop can get along, can't all of us?

The races sometimes change (Asian instead of white, Hispanic in lieu of black); the setup varies. A raunch-minded director who made a great '90s slacker comedy, for reasons understood by no one, decides to come on board. But the rules never change.

Of course just because there's a formula and/or a cynical marketing calculation doesn't mean the form hasn't been executed well. The right chemistry, writing and timing has given us "48 Hrs.," the first few "Lethal Weapon" movies and, if your definition of crime and cops stretches a little, the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder gem "Silver Streak" (or, if your definition of buddies stretches a little, "Beverly Hills Cop"). With a little bit of dramatic heft and some well-constructed action scenes, many of these movies have worked.

48hrThey just haven't worked anytime in the last 15 years, a period in which the subgenre has spawned the "Rush Hour" franchise, future AFI honoree "Nothing to Lose" (with Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence), the "Miami Vice" remake, and this weekend's "Cop Out." You could argue that Hollywood has been unlucky. Or you could say that every avenue for comedy or action in this format has been explored (forcing filmmakers into a position where the only thing they can up is the silliness level) and filmmakers should just stop looking (this means you, all you people working on the "Beverly Hills Cop" reboot.)

One does wonder how the Kevin Smith movie would have looked if it hadn't been made at a studio, or if David Dobkin had wound up directing it, as some original discussions had it, back when it was called "A Couple of D@$ks." Dobkin directed "Wedding Crashers," so "Cop Out" might have had the freshness and vigor of that movie. Or it might have offered one more reason someone should put this subgenre out of its misery.

--Steven Zeitchik

Top photo: Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis in "Cop Out." Credit: Abbott Genser/Warner Bros.

Seond photo: Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in "48Hrs." Credit: Paramount


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