Gears, Guns and Ghosts
Aug 24, 2012 / 4:00 pm
Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has in store for us this weekend.
Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day's work for Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the best of New York's agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the fixie - super lightweight, single-gear bikes with no brakes and riders who are equal part skilled cyclists and suicidal nutcases who risk becoming a smear on the pavement every time they head into traffic. But a guy who's used to putting his life on the line is about to get more than even he is used to when a routine delivery turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan. When Wilee picks up his last envelope of the day on a premium rush run, he discovers this package is different. This time, someone is actually trying to kill him.
This looks like it could be a really fun popcorn flick filled with lots of high energy action and chase sequences. It's written and directed by David Koepp, who has collaborated with some of the top filmmakers in the industry having written the screenplays for the first two Jurassic Park films, Spider-Man and Mission Impossible to name a few. He has also directed Stir of Echoes (which I enjoyed) and Secret Window (which I didn't care for). The thing that has me intrigued to see this is the fact that he has cast two superb actors in the leading roles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon. In my opinion, next to Leonardo DiCaprio, Levitt is one of the finest young actors working today. He's been at it since the age of 6 and at the age of 15 he landed his first really big role on the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. Since then he's starred in a slew of great films such as The Lookout, Brick, Stop-Loss, 500 Days of Summer and the Christopher Nolan blockbusters Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. He's just wrapped filming Lincoln with Steven Spielberg so the sky is the limit for him as far as mega stardom is concerned. Michael Shannon, who plays the villain in Premium Rush, is a great character actor best known for his starring role in the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I would also suggest checking him out in the lesser known films, Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter. This guy can act. Hopefully the inclusion of these quality stars will elevate this material from being just another clichéd action film. We shall see.
Hit & Run
Hit and Run is a comedy about a young couple (Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard) that risks it all when they leave their small town life and embark on a road trip that may lead them towards the opportunity of a lifetime. Their fast-paced road trip grows awkwardly complicated and hilarious when they are chased by a friend from the past (Bradley Cooper), a federal marshal (Tom Arnold) and a band of misfits.
Based on what I've seen of this picture a more apt title might be Hit & Miss. It looks like it's going for that Midnight Run, Smokey & The Bandit feel to it combining comedy with loads of chases and action, albeit with a heck of a lot more violence and cursing. I'm not overly familiar with Dax Shepard, who also serves as the writer and director on this film, as I've never seen the TV show Parenthood, which he is best known for. He handily cast his real life fiancée Kristen Bell to play the love interest so I'm sure chemistry won't be an issue. I just wonder if this film will amount to much. Also featured in the cast are Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth. It might be worth checking out for die hard action comedy fans but right now I'm just shrugging my shoulders. Meh!
When frightening events start to occur in their home, young couple Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) discover they are being haunted by a presence that was accidentally conjured during a university parapsychology experiment. The horrifying apparition feeds on their fear and torments them no matter where they try to run. Their last hope is an expert in the supernatural, Patrick (Tom Felton), but even with his help they may already be too late to save themselves from this terrifying force.
I don't like to be overly dismissive of films before I see them (wait, who am I trying to kid) but this new horror film appears like just another run-of-the-mill fright flick with supernatural ghosties that usually bore me more than scare me. The fact that this film hasn't even screened for any critics yet tells me the studio has very little faith in its quality. I suppose it could be ok for those that feel the need to see every scary movie ever released, but at barely 80 minutes long I wonder how much substance this will contain. Probably best to move along folks, nothing to see here.
Also being released down at the Paramount is this quirky little romantic comedy about a novelist struggling with writer's block, who finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence. The leads are played by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan and the supporting cast also includes Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Chris Messina and Steve Coogan. This film has received some strong buzz critically so for anyone that likes their movies a little more offbeat, you might want to check out Ruby Sparks.
Movie Trivia and Tidbits
While filming Premium Rush, Joseph Gordon-Levitt rode his bike into a cab and smashed into the rear windshield, shattering it. He managed to block his face with his arms and needed 31 stitches on the right. Despite the large amount of blood streaming down his arm, he thought it was "f-ing cool." He took responsibility saying, "No, but it was my fault, I was going too fast."
Kristin Bell, who is an avid animal lover and often volunteers for animal related charities was voted by PETA as the "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" for both 2006 and 2007.
Zoe Kazan, who lives with her Ruby Sparks co-star and real life boyfriend Paul Dano, is the granddaughter of legendary filmmaker Elia Kazan, who made such classics as Panic in the Streets, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden and A Face in the Crowd.
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