‘The Expendables’ film & other Sylvester Stallone movies: ‘I Always Believe the Violence Is Justifiable’
Actor, director, producer, screenwriter Sylvester Stallone, 64, and fellow players Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren were plugging The Expendables, Stallone’s latest vanity opus, in the United Kingdom.
Below are a couple of choice Stallone quotes (whether they were said 100 percent in jest, who can tell?) found in The Guardian:
“I always believe the violence is justifiable. The one thing in my films … I only kill people that need to be killed.”
“Let me put it this way. The ones that deserve it get it and they get it good and the ones that go after women really get it, you know what I mean? Really get it. People say: ‘Oh, isn’t that overkill?’ and I say ‘I’m not going to have a man having his way with a woman and wrecking her life and just shoot him with a bullet - it’s too civilised. He’s going to feel real pain’.”
I’m sure women everywhere would feel safer if Stallone were Ruler of the World. Or maybe they wouldn’t.
Back in the ’80s, long before Guantanamo made torture acceptable in “civilized” society, Stallone was reviled by many in the media for two of his films, both directed by George P. Cosmatos: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and, especially, Cobra (1986), in which the macho-machoer-machoest actor plays a cop that makes Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry look like a total wuss.
Intent on killing “people that need to be killed,” at one point in the film Stallone’s badged hero (or self-righteous sociopath, if you prefer) pours gasoline all over one nasty villain, tells him he has “the right to remain silent,” and then sets him on fire.
In the New York Times, Nina Darnton wrote that Cobra “is a disturbing movie from many points of view: disturbing for the violence it portrays, the ideas it represents and the large number of people who will undoubtedly go to see it and cheer on its dangerous hero.
“The film trades on the same technique used by books that attack pornography by printing examples of the dirty pictures. … [It] pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it’s really the apotheosis of that violence.”
Evidently, not much has changed in the last half century. Not in the world; not inside Stallone’s head.
Photo: The Expendables (Karen Ballard / Lionsgate)
Reading critics’ comments, Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables sounds funnier than Dinner for Schmucks, Grown Ups, and The Other Guys put together.
Better yet, the movie offers explosions, dangerous stunts, and fight scenes reminiscent of the day when action heroes were so macho, but so macho, they looked like actors in gay leather porn.
Written by Stallone and David Callaham, The Expendables tells the story of a band of mercenaries out to overthrow a dictator on a fictional South American/Caribbean island. Not that the story is supposed to matter in this sort of movie.
Stallone also stars, along with Dolph Lundgren (who fought Rocky way back when men were more manly, but movies were just as atrocious as today’s fare), Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, and David Zayas.
Additionally, The Expendables offers guest appearances by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the latter currently fighting (and losing) a battle against an opponent more powerful and destructive than a band of hungry Predators – the shattered California economy.
“It would be so easy to hate The Expendables, a super-stoked action thriller written and directed by Sylvester Stallone that injects a whopping dose of steroids into the term ‘vanity project.’ Drenched in mayhem and machismo, overstuffed with stunts, explosions, strutting and fretting and risible dialogue, this is a movie designed to leave filmgoers feeling not so much pumped as pummeled into submission, grateful for having survived an all-out assault on their senses and sensibilities.” Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post.
“Stallone is doubtless hoping The Expendables, as generic an action picture as any fan could want … will change all that and revitalize a career that has pretty much gone poof.
“The strengths: He’s a tough guy with a sensitive side.
“The weaknesses: He has never been much of an actor, and he has a sentimental and self-aggrandizing streak, which bleeds into all of his iconic roles, as wide as the Mississippi.” Leah Rozen, TheWrap.
“How expendable is The Expendables? That depends on who you are and why you’re asking.
“If that sounds a little Zen-like, that’s because the new action opera co-written and directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone exists in a Twilight Zone dimension of its own outside of normal critical time and space.
“In other words, if you want to see old-fashioned nonstop mayhem with stars so venerable that ‘The Leathernecks’ (and I don’t mean Marines) might be an alternative title, reviews are going to be superfluous. If you don’t want to go, no review can change your mind. Certainly not this one.” Kenneth Turan, who proceeds to pan the movie, in the Los Angeles Times.
“The Expendables must be given some credit for the sheer amount of death unleashed throughout. I mean, these guys really kill a whole mess of folks in new and creative ways. Jason Statham in particular shines as the next generation of action hero, if indeed that generation has put out a ‘help wanted’ sign in their ‘go kill everybody’ department. If you’re looking for 10 minutes of legitimate dialogue punctuated by hundreds of bodies flying around you’ll be very happy here. It’s only if you’re looking to recapture the magic of the ’80s that you’ll find disappointment.” Laremy Legel in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
“An ex-CIA rogue has taken control of a pretty Caribbean island nation, transforming it into a repressive narco-state. Who ya gonna call?
“Well, the Losers might be available. And then there’s the A-Team. Or maybe the Expendables. All three groups of ragtag yet invincible mercenaries are pretty much equivalent. In fact The Expendables’ director, co-writer and star Sylvester Stallone might just as well have called his squad of grizzled bad boys The Interchangables.” Mark Jenkins at NPR.
Photo: Karen Ballard / Lionsgate
Sylvester Stallone-Brazil Drama Part II: O2 Filmes’ Lawsuit vs. ‘The Expendables’ Producers
Sylvester Stallone isn’t done with Brazil, yet – though he sure wishes he were.
About ten days ago, Stallone joked at Comic-Con that while filming The Expendables in Rio (in spring 2009) he discovered that in Brazil you could kill people and blow everything up, and locals would say “thank you” and offer you a monkey. That led to a widespread Brazilian-led Twitter offensive and much criticism in the Brazilian media, which in turn led to Stallone’s apology.
Now comes The Expendables’ Brazilian partner, production company O2 Filmes (City of God and Blindness, both directed by O2 co-founder Fernando Meirelles), with a lawsuit against the US actor and the LA-based Nu Image/Millennium Films. O2 claims that they’re owed approximately US$2.2 million.
O2 said the following in a statement:
“In 2009 O2 performed production services for the film [The] Expendables, directed and acted in by Sylvester Stallone … until now, the company is awaiting reimbursement for its expenditure.”
According to a Veja magazine report, “while the Americans were in Brazil, weekly payments were made into O2’s account, but as soon as Stallone and his team returned home, the funds dried up.”
A spokesperson for Nu Image/Millennium Films (in partnership with Stallone’s Rogue Marble) told The Guardian that the accusations were “not accurate.”
A year ago, there were reports in the Brazilian media that the Expendables’ producers owed about $460,000 to 50 Brazilians who provided services for the film.
Directed/co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables opens in the US (and in Brazil) on Aug. 13. Also in the film’s cast: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, and Eric Roberts.
Photo: The Expendables (Karen Ballard / Nu Image/Millennium Films)
Davis Guggenheim directing Justin Bieber biopic?
Justin Bieber’s 3D film project needs a new director.
Moscow is enshrouded by thick smog as a result of raging wildfires and the worst heat wave ever recorded in the Russian capital.
What do those two tragedies have in common?
Well, not much, really. Except for the fact that Davis Guggenheim, he of the Oscar-winning global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, has dropped out of Paramount’s Untitled Justin Bieber 3D Project, according to Mike Fleming at Deadline.com.
A couple of days ago, Fleming reported that Guggenheim was “negotiating” to direct a Justin Bieber biopic in 3D.
Fleming adds that he’s been told “from all sides that Guggenheim decided he’ll be too busy promoting Waiting For Superman, which Paramount acquired right before Sundance.”
Fleming then wonders “if Guggenheim might have gotten too much razzing from all of his documentary peers.”
Justin Bieber singing photo: AP
Proof positive that the world will truly come to an end in 2012:
According to Deadline.com‘s Mike Fleming, Paramount Pictures will “turn Justin Bieber’s life story into a 3D feature biopic.” Justin Bieber, known for the harakiri-inducing song “Baby,” will star as Justin Bieber, while the film “will be sprinkled with performances from his current concert tour.”
Who’s “negotiating to direct” this momentous venture? Possibly Davis Guggenheim, whose Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth features Al Gore discussing the dangers of global warming.
As per Fleming’s report, The As Yet Untitled Justin Bieber Project should come out on February 11, 2011, Valentine’s Day weekend.
Once that happens, the seventh art, much like YouTube, will have nowhere else to go.
And to think I’d never heard of Justin Bieber until Alt Film Guide became part of Twitterdom late last year. (I had no idea who Lady Gaga was, either.)
Need further proof of the world’s imminent demise?
Bieber has made a deal with HarperCollins for the publication of an illustrated book of memoirs, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story.
Susan Katz, President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, says Bieber “is a force in the music industry and we are incredibly excited to be publishing this photographic memoir of his amazing journey.”
I’m sure we’re all hoping he will finally reveal (pictures of) his ancient, age-defying secret formula.
And then there’s Oprah‘s final fadeout, Alec Baldwin’s reported retirement, and the last installment of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn - Part 2.
The end of civilization as we know it is closer than you think.
Photo: PRNewsFoto/HarperCollins, Pamela Littky
The IFP’s 2010 Gotham Awards will be held at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, November 29. Like the Spirit Awards on the West Coast, the East Cost-based Gothams focus on independent American films. (Not that non-independent, non-American fare hasn’t been nominated in the past.)
Last year’s Gotham Awards winner was Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker (photo), which caused nary a ripple at the Spirit Awards the year before, but that gained momentum late in ’09, culminating in a Best Picture Oscar win earlier this year.
The Hurt Locker also won the Gothams’ Best Ensemble trophy.
The Best Documentary was Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc. The Breakthrough Director was Robert Siegel for Big Fan. Catalina Saavedra took home the Breakthrough Actor award for her performance in The Maid.
The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You was Ry Russo-Young’s You Won’t Miss Me.
Kathryn Bigelow, Natalie Portman, Stanley Tucci, and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner received career awards.
Photo: Summit Entertainment.
Rooney Mara ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Lisbeth Salander: Good choice?
Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Good news? Well, possibly. I’m unfamiliar with Mara’s work (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Youth in Revolt, The Winning Season) though I’m a fan of her sister, Kate Mara.
Anyhow, I’ll have a better chance to become acquainted with Rooney Mara once David Fincher’s The Social Network comes out. Fincher, who will be directing the Hollywood version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was himself responsible for Mara’s casting according to reports.
For all I know, Mara may turn out to be a great Lisbeth, the asocial, tattooed, nose-ringed computer hacker who helps a disgraced journalist crack a 40-year-old disappearance case. Even so, I can’t help but be disappointed that Kristen Stewart was taken out of the running a while back. I believe Stewart would have been a great choice for Lisbeth, played by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish original.
As the journalist, Daniel Craig will potentially have another franchise lying in wait for him – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is part one of late author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. That would not be a bad thing for Craig, considering all the MGM-James Bond woes of late.
Adapted by Steve Zaillian and produced by Scott Rudin for Sony Pictures, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is slated to open on Dec. 21, 2011. Robin Wright and Stellan Skarsgård are also in the cast.
Fincher’s The Social Network, by the way, opens the New York Film Festival on Sept. 24. Fincher is probably hoping that all the publicity surrounding Mara’s Dragon Tattoo casting will translate into hyped-up interest for The Social Network.
As an aside: To compare the search for Lisbeth Salander in 2010 to the search for Gone with the Wind‘s Scarlett O’Hara in the late ’30s is pretty absurd. David O. Selznick kept hunting for his Scarlett for about two years; dozens of top names – from Norma Shearer to Katharine Hepburn – were considered and/or tested for the role before Vivien Leigh nabbed it.
Perhaps Lisbeth is the most sought-after role since, huh, the lead in Sydney Pollack’s Sabrina remake? (Remember who played her?)
Photo: HO / Reuters.
Malcolm McDowell as Vlad the Impaler
Move over, Robert Pattinson…
Malcolm McDowell, the guy who wreaked havoc in the streets of London in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971), has been cast as Vlad the Impaler in Amy Heckerling’s horror comedy Vamps, the writer-director’s first project since the 2007 Michelle Pfeiffer-Paul Rudd vehicle I Could Never Be Your Woman.
For those ignorant of vampire history, the bloodthirsty Wallachian prince Vlad was presumably the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. And for those ignorant of Robert Pattinson history, according to Ancestry.com Vlad was Pattinson’s distant cousin.
Written and directed by Heckerling, among whose credits are Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Look Who’s Talking (1989), and Clueless (1995), Vamps follows two hip New York City vampires, Goody and Stacy, who fall in love – with humans, from what I understand. That upsetting turn of events will lead to a crucial decision about their immortality. Clueless star Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter play the lovestruck vampires.
The highly eclectic supporting cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Justin Kirk, Richard Lewis, Kristen Johnston, Marilu Henner, Zak Orth, Wallace Shawn, Dan Stevens, Scott Thomson, and Todd Barry.
Via Dread Central.
Leonardo DiCaprio restraining order request granted
Three-time Oscar nominee and Titanic, Shutter Island, and Inception star Leonardo DiCaprio has been granted a temporary restraining order against Livia Bistriceanu, a 41-year-old woman who reportedly has been stalking the actor and claims to be his wife and the expectant mother of his child.
Additionally, according to an AP report, in one letter Bistriceanu sent to DiCaprio she indicated the belief that he was the father of baby Jesus.
“Given this obsessive and harassing behavior, I am frightened of Ms. Bistriceanu and feel that my personal safety, and the personal safety of those around me, is in jeopardy,” DiCaprio wrote in a sworn declaration.
On Thursday, a Canadian woman, Aretha Wilson, pleaded not guilty to a charge of slashing DiCaprio’s face and neck with a piece of glass at a party in 2005.
Photo: Inception (Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.)
Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act
Whoopi Goldeber gone from ‘Sister Act’
Whoopi Goldberg, who won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Ghost (1990), has quit the London production of the musical Sister Act. After learning that her mother had suffered a stroke, the actress decided to fly back to the U.S.
Replacing veteran stage performer Sheila Hancock, Goldberg, 54, was scheduled to play the Mother Superior in the musical until the end of the month.
Maggie Smith played the role in the 1992 sleeper hit, which starred Goldberg as a singer on the run who finds a convenient hideout at a convent. Emile Ardolino directed.
Goldberg is also one of Sister Act‘s producers. The musical is slated to open on Broadway in 2011.
Tom Sherak Reelected Academy President + Annette Bening Elected Secretary
Tom Sherak was reelected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tonight (Aug. 3) by the Academy’s Board of Governors. This will be Sherak’s second consecutive one-year term in that capacity.
According to the Academy’s press release, Sherak is beginning his eighth year as a governor representing the Executives Branch. He had also served as the Academy’s treasurer.
Also: Public Relations Branch governor and past Academy president Sid Ganis was elected first vice president; Writers Branch governor James L. Brooks was elected to one vice president post and Phil Alden Robinson, also from the Writers Branch, was re-elected to a vice president post; Producers Branch governor Hawk Koch was re-elected treasurer; and Actors Branch governor Annette Bening was elected secretary.
These will be the first officer stints for Brooks and Bening.
Sherak, described in the Academy release as “a marketing, distribution and production executive with more than four decades of experience in the motion picture industry,” is currently a consultant for Marvel Studios and Relativity Media.
Academy board members serve three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive terms in any one office.
Photo: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.