Director Ron Shelton (White Men Can’t Jump) hasn’t released a feature film since 2003’s HollywoodHomicide, and it’s great to see him back with the comedy Just Getting Started. The feature centers on Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman), the manager of a luxury Palm Springs resort. Though he initially butts heads with military vet Leo (Tommy Lee Jones), a new resident at the resort, the pair team up to uncover the person who’s trying to put Duke six feet under. Rene Russo, who previously worked with Shelton in Tin Cup, co-stars.
“One of the big pluses for Ron is that (when) he writes it, he doesn’t marry himself to it,” said Freeman. “If you have a better idea for a line, fine that’s what he wants . . . so that’s really good because when you get into a flow as actors there comes a time when it’s sort of free flowing and you’re not married absolutely to the text because you can see other possibilities in it and he sees them too.”
Freeman previously worked with Russo in Outbreak, and now he finally gets to collaborate with Jones. Click on the media bar below to hear Freeman talk about being a fan of Tommy Lee Jones as an actor and director.
It will be hard to top director Martin Brest’s 1979 movie Going In Style, a 1979 heist comedy starring Lee Strasberg, Art Carney, and George Burns. Director Zach Braff has that enviable task with the remake, but thankfully he has three excellent and seasoned actors (Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman) to help his cause.
With this version, the three lifelong buddies attempt to rob the Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn. Their decision to go criminal is spurred on by the dissolution of their pension funds due to a corporate merger.
At first, Arkin was hesitant to do the project but he made a few story suggestions to help shape the narrative. “I turned it down,” said Arkin. “I felt my character was a cliche and I also thought it was gratuitous. We rob a bank and I felt there was no reason. It was just three old guys with no experience who were robbing a bank. It just seemed stupid to me . . .I outlined the bare bones of what their motivation would be and they went for it and that was it. It seemed to have made a difference from what I gather.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Caine,Freeman, and Arkin talk about what type of advice they would give to their younger selves (Caine mentions a memorable Winston Churchill quote):
What the stars of Going In Style lack in youth, they more than make up for with accolades. Sir Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin have all won Academy Awards, and co-star Ann-Margaret is a two-time Oscar nominee. The allure of working with such a decorated cast brought director Zach Braff to the project, a remake of the 1979 heist caper starring George Burns. Braff — who previously wrote and directed the critically acclaimed film Garden State — told us the movie is a love letter to fans of its legendary stars. (Click on the on the media bar below to hear Zach Braff)
London Has Fallen features the return of devoted Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a one man wrecking crew whose main task is to product U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart). Movie fans craving for wall to wall action and cut to the chase escapist fare should be well served with London Has Fallen, and Butler and Eckhart inject a welcome sense of humor to the proceedings.
It’s years after the events of Olympus Has Fallen, and Banning and his wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) are expecting their first child. Understanding his all consuming day job may detract from his fatherly duties, Banning is ready to leave the Secret Service and devote more time at home. Upon the death of the British Prime Minister, Banning puts his request on the back burner and travels to London with the President and Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett).
Attending the British Prime Minister’s funeral proves to be a tragedy of epic proportions, as a terrorist (Alon Moni Aboutboul) aims to eliminate the world’s top leaders to quench his vengeful thirsts (members of his family were killed in a drone strike). Along with much of Olympus Has Fallen’s original cast (Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, and Morgan Freeman as the Vice President),the film co-stars Charlotte Riley, an MI6 agent who aids Banning in rooting out the culprits of the London attack.
Once Banning and the President arrive in the UK, the 99-minute story mainly consists of explosions, bullets flying, and a fair share of hand to hand combat. Butler, who also produced London Has Fallen, infuses Mike Banning with an unwavering sense of courage and a slight tinge of blood lust (during one sequence, Banning stabs an injured adversary while his terrorist brother listens over the phone) that some viewers may not completely endorse. Eckhart, who brings a bit of his Harvey Dent-ish intensity from The Dark Knight Rises during the final chapter London Has Fallen, is also a solid wing man for this popcorn driven vehicle.
Don’t expect any insightful takes on life or the world’s political climate with London Has Fallen, as it’s a movie that’s engineered to satiate our most primal instincts. There is a time and a place for a straight ahead, unapologetic action movie, and on that level London Has Fallen hits the mark.
London Has Fallen, as well as the Christian Bale feature Knight of Cups and The Wave, will also be discussed on this week’s episode of CinemAddicts. To subscribe to this Hollywood Outbreak co-production podcast, please go here.
Gerard Butler returns to the action genre starring in the thriller Olympus Has Fallen. When the White House is taken over by terrorists, Mike Banning, a former guard for the President (Aaron Eckhart), is stuck with the President and is trying to get him out of the White House alive. The film also stars Ashley Judd, and Academy Award winners Melissa Leo and Morgan Freeman. The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who previously directed the 2001 film Training Day (starring Denzel Washington) and the 2007 action flick Shooter (starring Mark Wahlberg).
The film seems like it will be one of the fun popcorn films of yesteryear. Take a look at the newly released trailer and let us know what you think!
Olympus Has Fallen opens in theaters March 22, 2013.