It’s easy to draw the lines regarding slavery in America as “good” and “evil” where the enslavers were evil and everyone else was good. When the issue of slavery culminated in the Civil War, the battle lines were drawn between the “good” north and the “evil” south. As long as we know someone else is to blame for the evil in the world, then we remove all culpability from ourselves. With unflinching, heart-wrenching honesty, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s memoir 12 Years a Slave shows that the issue of slavery wasn’t as simple as black-and-white. There were shades of grey regarding slavery even among slaves. The evil of slavery isn’t in question, and McQueen shows it in all its ugliness. He shows slavery to the point of how it not only wears away a person’s body, but also their identity and even their soul. The exploration in 12 Years a Slave is into the culpability of all men and women, free and slave, in this unquestionable evil.
At first blush, writer/director Ric Roman Waugh’s action drama Snitch looks to be much heavier on the action part of that descriptor. If you go into the theater having glimpsed at the movie’s trailer, poster and clips, or if you just know that it stars Dwayne Johnson (Faster), you might be expecting just another fun but shallow B movie. Hopefully you’d be pleasantly surprised, like I was, to find a much more complex plot that raises the stakes for each of its fully-realized characters in a way that tests the viewer’s limits of believability without crashing through them, all while delivering on the promised action sequences. Hit the jump for my review of Snitch.
Judging by the trailer for Snitch, mandatory minimums are a great law-enforcement strategy as long as you force Dwayne Johnson to be an untrained undercover informant. Johnson plays a father who, in order to keep his son from going to jail, is forced to work with the feds to take down a drug kingpin (Benjamin Bratt). Snitch could end up being a bunch of goofy, B-movie fun especially with a strong supporting cast that includes Michael Kenneth Williams, Barry Pepper, Harold Perrineau, and Susan Sarandon. Or, it could be Faster. I’m hoping it’s the former.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Snitch opens February 22, 2013.
We’ve only been able to get glimpses of director Jose Padilha’s RoboCop reboot via a bunch of set photos and today’s no different. What is different is that this batch of photos show off Michael Keaton as the OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars, Michael Kenneth Williams as Alex Murphy’s (Joel Kinnaman) partner Officer Jack Lewis and Abbie Cornish as Murphy’s wife, Ellen. Oh and some more shots of Kinnaman in his cyborg attire. The picture also seem to confirm that Kinnaman’s Murphy will retain a human right hand: a corporate attempt to show the supercop’s human side or an Achilles’ heel of sorts?
RoboCop opens August 9th 2013 and also stars Gary Oldman, Jay Baruchel and Jackie Earle Haley. Hit the jump to see the new set photos. [Update: We've removed the unofficial images.]
RoboCop and Nicole Holofcener have nothing in common… until now!
- The Wire breakout star Michael Kenneth Williams is in talks to join Joel Kinnaman, Hugh Laurie, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Jay Baruchel, Abbie Cornish, and Jackie Earle Haley in the Robocop remake.
- Holofcener cast Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, and Eve Hewson in supporting roles in her next movie. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and James Gandolfini star.
Hit the jump for details on both projects.
The other night, The Academy of Television and Science hosted an exclusive panel with the cast and creator of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Boardwalk recounts the rise of the duplicitous Nucky Thompson torn between the political upheaval and criminal birth of the Prohibition. His rise is cast against the downfall of his surrogate son, Jimmy Darmondy, a War Veteran scarred by his time over there. It is the tense interplay between the two characters that gave Boardwalk Empire much of its dramatic heft during its first two remarkable seasons – which is probably what made Season Two’s conclusion so… surprising.
During the panel, Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt discussed the controversial finale, costar Michael Shannon lamented always playing “the crazy person”, and creator Terence Winter previewed Season Three, among many other topics of conversation. For highlights from the panel (which also included costars Kelly Macdonald, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vincent Piazza and Gretchen Mol) hit the jump.
Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) is in talks to join Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained and Ric Roman Waugh‘s Snitch. Williams was championed by the online community to play the eponymous slave-turned-bounty-hunter in Django Unchained, but the part ended up going to Jamie Foxx after Will Smith passed on the role. However, Deadline reports that Williams is in talks to play a supporting role, most likely the muscle for plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Williams’ reps are trying work out a deal with HBO so Williams can balance Django with his shooting schedule for the third season Boardwalk Empire.
Django Unchained also stars Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, M.C. Gainey, Dennis Christopher, Gerald McRaney, Laura Cayouette, Don Johnson, Tom Savini, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film opens on December 25, 2012. Hit the jump for details on Williams’ role in Snitch. [Update: Deadline is now reporting that Williams' reps couldn't get him out of his Boardwalk Empire schedule, so Django Unchained is scrapping the role entirely. There's your sad movie news of the day.]
If you liked yesterday’s trailer for David Simon’s Treme, you’re gonna love the teaser trailer HBO just premiered for their upcoming prohibition-era crime drama Boardwalk Empire. The trailer only features two lines of dialogue (and I won’t spoil them because they’re great), and the rest is set to some slick music. The visuals look great, the cast is strong, and I can’t wait to check this show out. The wait will be somewhat excruciating as the show won’t premiere until this fall.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer and read the full synopsis for Boardwalk Empire.