Blu-Ray Spotlight: Mickey Rourke, Kellan Lutz Tangle In ‘Java Heat’

Java Heat (IFC Films)

The initial impression of Java Heat, an Indonesia set thriller featuring Twilight’s Kellan Lutz and go-to villain Mickey Rourke, is that it will hang its hat on explosions and shotgun blasts. But many movies are much more than what their Blu-ray & DVD covers suggest, and Java Heat attempts to bring a bit more mystery and cultural intrigue into the mix.

Lutz is Jake, an American who is a victim in a terrorist bombing in Java, and the first act begins with Muslim detective Hashim (Ario Bayu, who gives the film’s most arresting performance) believing Travers is responsible for the explosion, which killed the country’s Sultana (Atiqah Hasiholan).

Even though their relationship gets off to a rocky start, the pair team up out of necessity to take down a terrorist (Mickey Rourke) whose motives are extremely hard to discern (he loves corrupting little boys and feeding his Javanese women finger food while they pose as statues at his domicile).

For an indie action film, Java Heat has several well mounted action sequences, including a building explosion which puts Hashim in peril. Although both Rourke and Lutz give credible performances, it’s Bayu, who effectively portrays a lawman trying to protect his family as well as keep the integrity of his culture, that leaves the biggest impression in the movie.

Lutz’s character also has an interesting arc, as he makes one erroneous decision which leads to a string of deaths. Not having Jake be a tried and true hero, but a man filled with regret and his own share of flaws, lends an extra dimension to the narrative.

Java Heat (IFC Films, CR: Ereik Juragen)The picture also features a few twists which, although I spotted them a mile away, were still highly welcome. A surprisingly above average shoot ’em up, Java Heat also gives viewers a closer look at Indonesia, a locale which we’ve rarely seen captured on screen stateside.

Special Features: Another plus of the Java Heat trailer is the 27 minutes featurette, which features interviews with the main actors as well as several of the film’s supporting players. We also get a bit more background of the director Conor Allyn and his father Rob Allyn. Both filmmakers also collaborated on the Indonesia set features Red & White and Red & White II, and considering the production values of Java Heat, they could both pen a book on how to get the most out of one’s film budget.

Java Heat (104 minutes, Rated: R) is now out on Blu-ray & DVD.

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Prisoners A Box Office Winner With $21.4 Million Debut

PRISONERS (Warner Bros.)

The idea of an adult thriller taking the #1 spot at the box office can actually happen now and again, with the new film Prisoners serving as a prime example.  The Hugh Jackman headlined feature took in $21.4 million over the weekend to lead the field, followed by another strong outing from Insidious: Chapter 2, which took second place ($14.5 million).

Coming in third is the Robert De Niro/Michelle Pfeiffer mob comedy The Family, which is directed by La Femme Nikita filmmaker Luc Besson.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Prisoners – $21.43 million

2. Insidious: Chapter 2 – $14.5 million

3. The Family – $7 million

4. Instructions Not Included – $5.7 million

5. Battle of the Year – $5 million

6. We’re the Millers – $4.67 million

7. Lee Daniels’ The Butler – $4.3 million. Total to date: $109 million

8. Riddick$3.67 million. Overall, the film has made $59 million on a $38 million budget.

9. The Wizard of Oz (3D/IMAX) – $3 million

10. Planes$2.86 million. The Disney film has turned in a solid $142 million at the box office.


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Sandra Bullock Retrains Body & Mind For ‘Gravity’ Journey

Gravity (Warner Bros.)

Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron hasn’t directed a feature film since his acclaimed drama Children of Men, and part of that reason lies in the years it took to get his latest film Gravity off the ground. Already hailed by James Cameron as the greatest sci-fi film he’s ever seen, the film also has a ton of critical momentum that should merit a solid run at the box office (it opens Oct. 4).

The movie focuses on Ryan Stone, a researcher who must return to a space station while literally adrift in the universe. Written by Cuaron and his son Jonas, the project also stars George Clooney as an astronaut who is sent on that fateful mission with Stone.

Gravity has also received its share of Oscar talk, and awards speculation has Bullock entrenched as one of this year’s frontrunners for in the Best Actress category. By starring in huge stretches of the 90 minute film by herself, the project is essentially a one woman show, guided by Cuaron’s direction.

Click on the media bar to hear Bullock discuss retraining her body to work within the soundstage parameters of the Gravity production:



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‘Nebraska’ Trailer Finds Bruce Dern On The Road With Alexander Payne

NEBRASKA (Paramount Vantage) Director Alexander Payne’s latest work, the black and white shot Nebraska, centers on a cantankerous elderly man (Bruce Dern) who goes on a road trip with his son (Will Forte) after believing he’s won a huge sweepstakes.

Opening Nov. 15, the project continues Mr. Payne’s fascination with the ties that bind, as many of his protagonists, whether it’s a soon to be widower in The Descendants, a disengaged teacher in Sideways, or a just retired widower (Jack Nicholson), are all in need of human connection. Whether Woody Grant, Dern’s character in Nebraska, comes nearly full circle as the aforementioned men may not be in the cards. It’s a terrain Payne continues to explore, and if history serves one of his actors should receive an Oscar nod for their respective work.

Click on the media bar to hear why Bruce Dern speaks favorably of Mr. Payne, and the trailer is also below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy, and tell us what you think of the trailer!!



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‘The Three Faces of Eve’ Enters Blu-Ray Dimension November 5

The Three Faces of Eve (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

The Three Faces of Eve, a film for which Joanne Woodward took home the Best Actress Oscar, makes its way to Blu-ray via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on November 5. Woodward’s portrayal of Eve White, a woman who suffers from multiple personality disorder, serves as one of the actresses’ best known roles (along with The Long Hot Summer and From the Terrace).

The film, released in 1957, is based on the bestselling book by Corbett Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckey, and it also stars Lee J. Cobb as the psychiatrist who attempts to help White.

Director Nunnally Johnson, who also helmed the Gregory Peck feature The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, was also a successful (and prolific) writer and producer during his time in Hollywood. He penned, or was a co-writer, on the films The Grapes of Wrath, Fritz Lang’s suburban themed thriller The Woman in The Window, and the Marilyn Monroe feature How to Marry a Millionaire.

Special features for The Three Faces of Eve Blu-ray include:

*  Commentary from film historian Aubrey Solomon
*
Fox Movietone News: Academy Awards
*  Theatrical trailer

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