THE ICEMAN Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 69 days ago

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Writer-director Ariel Vromen’s dramatic adaptation of the life of notorious hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski is now available on Blu-ray.  The Iceman stars Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) in the title role: a loving and devoted family man on the surface, in actuality a brutal and sadistic serial murderer with mafia ties.  Adapted from Anthony Bruno’s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the film attempts to examine the duality of Kuklinski, but ultimately ends up being little more than a showcase for Shannon’s terrifying talent.

The Iceman also stars Chris Evans, David Schwimmer, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Stephen Dorff and James Franco.  The Blu-ray extras include the standard “making of” featurette and filmmaker interviews, but unfortunately do not include the oft-cited HBO documentary, The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman.  Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review.

TOP 5: THE LONE RANGER, 15 Movies You May Have Missed in 2013 So Far, Christian Bale Not Involved with JUSTICE LEAGUE, THE WAY, WAY BACK, Our Most Anticipated Movies: July to September

by     Posted 1 year, 144 days ago

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With a production budget in the neighborhood of $150 million and a worldwide pull of just under $50 million entering its second weekend, it’s probably fair to say that White House Down will ultimately be seen by the powers that be as a bust. Blame its proximity to the similarly themed Olympus Has Fallen (which, on the whole, received similar critical reaction but comparatively more box office success) if you will, but having watched and enjoyed the heck out of the film last night I believe at least some of the blame lies at the feet of Sony’s marketing. Whereas Fallen was packaged, and ultimately delivered, as a dead serious action/thriller, I don’t think White House Down marketing did enough to prep its potential audience members for the over-the-top, often times ridiculous, self-aware genre piece they would encounter. The best examples I can give to support this theory are the multiple scenes that left me laughing out loud while the majority of my fellow moviegoers sat quietly, unsure whether the movie was actually asking them to laugh with it or was just that silly and contrived. It’s possible that I’m going Roland Emmerich and co. too much credit, but I went with the former every single time and ended up having a great time with the film as a result.

All White House drama aside, this week’s Top 5 includes a slew of interviews from The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and more, a list of 15 movies from the first half of 2013 that you may have missed but definitely deserve a look, Christian Bale insisting that he is not involved with the Justice League movie in any way, The Way, Way Back interviews with Steve Carell and more, and a look at our most anticipated movies from July to September.

15 Movies You May Have Missed in 2013 Including STOKER, WHAT MAISIE KNEW, THE KINGS OF SUMMER, THE EAST, WRONG and UPSTREAM COLOR

by     Posted 1 year, 146 days ago

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Hard to believe we’re already half-way through 2013.  What’s even more surprising is the number of quality films from the first half of the year that flew under the radar.  Want some quirky horror?  Check out John Dies at the End and 100 Bloody Acres.  Looking for the newest efforts from some up-and-coming writer-directors?  How about Zal Batmanglij’s The East or Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong?  Perhaps historical dramas like No, Lore and Kon-Tiki are more your style.  Whatever your interest, 2013 surely has a film for you, you just might have missed it.  Hit the jump for 15 movies from 2013 that deserve another look.

Chris Evans Talks THE ICEMAN, SNOWPIERCER, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, THOR 2, AVENGERS, His Marvel Contract, Future Roles, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 205 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my interview from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  While I rarely re-post interviews, this was one of my favorite interviews of 2012 and with the movie now playing in limited release, I decided it was worth another post.]

Every once in awhile you land an interview that you can’t wait to share. The one you’re about to watch with Chris Evans is one of those. At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I got to sit down with Evans for over twenty minutes (we were scheduled for a lot less) to talk about his great work in director Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman. As you can see in the trailer, Evans plays a killer and is nearly unrecognizable in dirty long hair as Richard Kuklinski’s (Michael Shannon) friend and partner.

I’ve spoken to Evans a lot over the years, and one of the things I love about him is his honesty and willingness to talk about everything. If you ask him a question about his career, or even his contract with Marvel, he’ll talk about it. Most actors will try and deflect the question, or give a politician’s answer. That’s not how Evans operates and it’s very refreshing. So besides talking about The Iceman and working with Michael Shannon, Evans talked about how his career has blown up, the intricacies of his Marvel contract, the business of Hollywood, playing a critical character of the Marvel universe, Captain America 2 (Captain America: The Winter Solider), whether he knows anything about Captain America 3, the success of The Avengers, Joss Whedon, Thor 2, Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, the greatness of Hayley Atwell, his upcoming anti-romantic comedy A Many Splintered Thing with Michelle Monaghan, and so much more. Hit the jump for more.

Winona Ryder Talks THE ICEMAN, Playing Someone in Denial, Her Most Difficult Role, Her Obsession with THE WIRE and THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 208 days ago

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Director/co-writer Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman opens this weekend in limited release.  The drama is based on the book by Anthony Bruno that chronicles the life of Richard Kuklinski (played by Michael Shannon), a professional hitman who kept his work secret from his family.  The contract killer received the nickname “The Iceman” because he froze the bodies of his victims in order to disguise their time of death and throw the authorities off track.  The film also stars Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Robert Davi, and Danny Abeckaser.  For more on The Iceman, watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Winona Ryder.  We talked about making The Iceman, the way she prepares for a role, her most challenging role, if she still has to audition, her obsession with The Wire and The Big Lebowski, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to either read or listen to what she had to say.

THE ICEMAN Review

by     Posted 1 year, 208 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  The Iceman opens today in limited release.]

The Iceman is a hitman movie. It’s about a hitman and nothing else. Director and co-writer Ariel Vromen takes no chances on his film based on the life of mob enforcer Richard Kuklinski. The movie paints a two-dimensional character, and then wants credit for not making him one-dimensional. There’s more effort put into developing the characters’ era-appropriate facial hair than developing the story into anything more than a description of Kuklinski’s actions. Only Michael Shannon‘s overpowering screen presence stops The Iceman from being the driest crime drama in recent memory.

Michael Shannon Talks THE ICEMAN, Walking the Line Between Fact and Fiction, MAN OF STEEL, GROUNDHOG DAY, His Preparation Process, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 210 days ago

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Opening this weekend, in limited release, is director/co-writer Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman.  The drama is based on the book by Anthony Bruno that chronicles the life of Richard Kuklinski (played by Michael Shannon), a professional hitman who kept his work secret from his family.  The contract killer received the nickname “The Iceman” because he froze the bodies of his victims in order to disguise their time of death and throw the authorities off track.  The film also stars Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Robert Davi, and Danny Abeckaser.  For more on The Iceman, watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Michael Shannon.  We talked about the way he prepares for a role, making The Iceman, the balance between Hollywood-izing the subject matter versus also telling the real story, whether he still has to audition, and so much more.  In addition, he also talked about playing General Zod in Man of Steel, Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones, other future projects, losing his anonymity, and we even talked about his early work playing a Wrestlemania fan in Groundhog Day!  Hit the jump to either read or listen to what he had to say.

Danny Abeckaser Talks THE ICEMAN, His Role in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, and His Movie THE LIFE

by     Posted 1 year, 211 days ago

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Producer/actor Danny Abeckaser plays Dino Lapron, the best friend of real-life mob hitman Richard Kuklinski, in The Iceman, Israeli director Ariel Vromen’s fascinating portrait of the notorious contract killer of the 70’s and 80’s.  Abeckaser, who grew up in Brooklyn, got the acting bug at an early age, went on to become a New York nightclub promoter in the mid-90’s before returning to his first love playing small roles in friends’ movies, and then making his mark in Holy Rollers which he produced and acted in.

At the recent press day for The Iceman which opens this Friday, Abeckaser talked to us about the challenges of getting the film made, how he prepared for his role, why he liked how his character brought out the human side of Kuklinski, what it was like working with Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder, why he thinks audiences are attracted to mob movies, what he looks for in a role, and his experience rubbing elbows with a real mobster.  He also discussed his role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, his plans to shoot his own movie, The Life, directed by Fabrizio Conti, and how he’s hoping for a new Snickers commercial with Joe Pesci.

Ray Liotta Talks THE ICEMAN, THE MUPPETS…AGAIN!, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, PAWN, and THE IDENTICAL

by     Posted 1 year, 212 days ago

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Ray Liotta plays real-life mobster Roy Demeo in Ariel Vromen’s crime drama, The Iceman, based on the story of notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) whose career prospects expand when Demeo offers him the opportunity to earn a living as a mob enforcer.  The role marks the second time in 30 years that Liotta has played a real-life mobster since his acclaimed performance in Martin Scorsese’s gangster classic, Goodfellas

At the film’s recent press day, Liotta talked about getting back into that world again, why he likes playing pretend, how he researched his larger than life character, what it was like working opposite Michael Shannon, how he’s met real life mobsters, why he was reluctant to play Frank Sinatra in The Rat Pack, and why he tries to avoid typecasting and chooses roles that are diverse and challenging.  He also revealed his upcoming projects including playing himself in The Muppets…Again!, a hitman in the crime thriller Pawn, a preacher in The Identical, and a guy cheating on his wife in Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For.  Hit the jump to read more:

Robert Davi Talks THE ICEMAN, Working with Frank Sinatra, Ties between Show Business and Organized Crime, His Singing Career and More

by     Posted 1 year, 212 days ago

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Robert Davi turns in a killer performance in Ariel Vromen’s crime thriller, The Iceman, portraying Leo Marks, a character inspired by Anthony Gaggi, the captain of the Gambino crime family.  Opening in theaters on May 3rd, The Iceman chronicles the life of notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski and stars Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans and Ray Liotta.  In powerful roles that range from a James Bond villain to an FBI profiler, Davi has made a career out of playing tough guys both on the big screen and on television, and he’s worked with some of the most respected actors in Hollywood.

At a highly entertaining roundtable interview, Davi discussed his character, the appeal of the genre, getting his start in the business with Frank Sinatra in Contract on Cherry Street, the enduring ties between show business and organized crime, rubbing elbows with made men at Café Roma, and winding up on the cover of the LA Times Magazine in a feature article entitled “The Mob Goes to Hollywood.”  He also talked about launching his professional singing career, headlining The Venetian in Las Vegas, his new album Davi Sings Sinatra:  On the Road to Romance, and the script he recently finished writing.  Hit the jump to read more.

Director Ariel Vromen Talks THE ICEMAN, Researching the Serial Killer’s Story, Casting Michael Shannon and Chris Evans, NARCO, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 213 days ago

Director/co-writer Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman chronicles the life of notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) who earned the nickname for freezing the bodies of his victims to throw authorities off his trail.  A man of many contradictions, Kuklinski was by various accounts a loving husband, a devoted father, and a ruthless hitman who concealed his work from his family.  Opening on May 3rd, the film also stars Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, David Schwimmer, Ray Liotta and Robert Davi.

At the recent press day, Vromen talked about why he thought Kuklinski’s story would make a fascinating film, how he convinced Shannon to shoot a test scene that helped secure the financing, why the ying yang dynamic between Shannon and Ryder worked so well, what led to some of the surprising casting choices for the supporting roles and how he balanced those with veterans of the genre, and why he was inspired by American mob movies while growing up in Israel.  He also discussed his next project, Narco, a drug-centric action thriller set in the world of narco-trafficking submarines.  Hit the jump to read the interview.

New Trailer for THE ICEMAN Starring Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta

by     Posted 1 year, 316 days ago

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A new trailer for the thriller The Iceman has landed online.  The film stars Michael Shannon and chronicles the life of Richard Kuklinski, a professional hitman who kept his work secret from his family. The contract killer received the nickname “The Iceman” because he froze the bodies of his victims in order to disguise their time of death and throw the authorities off track.  This trailer makes the film feel a bit more dramatic than the action-oriented first trailer, but it looks like it might reveal a tad too much of the film’s plot.  Matt caught the film at the Toronto Film Festival and was not impressed by director/co-writer Ariel Vromen’s shallow take on Kuklinski, saying the pic is “about a hitman and nothing else.”

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also stars Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, and James FrancoThe Iceman opens on May 3rd.

Chris Evans Talks THE ICEMAN, SNOWPIERCER, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, THOR 2, AVENGERS, His Marvel Contract, Future Roles, More!

by     Posted 2 years, 66 days ago

Chris-Evans-The-Iceman-Captain-America-2-sequel-interview-slice

Every once in awhile you land an interview that you can’t wait to share.  The one you’re about to watch with Chris Evans is one of those.  At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I got to sit down with Evans for over twenty minutes (we were scheduled for a lot less) to talk about his great work in director Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman.  As you can see in the first trailer, Evans plays a killer and is nearly unrecognizable in dirty long hair as Richard Kuklinski’s (Michael Shannon) friend and partner.

I’ve spoken to Evans a lot over the years, and one of the things I love about him is his honesty and willingness to talk about everything.  If you ask him a question about his career, or even his contract with Marvel, he’ll talk about it.  Most actors will try and deflect the question, or give a politician’s answer.  That’s not how Evans operates and it’s very refreshing.  So besides talking about The Iceman and working with Michael Shannon, Evans talked about how his career has blown up, the intricacies of his Marvel contract, the business of Hollywood, playing a critical character of the Marvel universe, Captain America 2 (Captain America: The Winter Solider), whether he knows anything about Captain America 3, the success of The AvengersJoss WhedonThor 2Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, the greatness of Hayley Atwell, his upcoming anti-romantic comedy A Many Splintered Thing with Michelle Monaghan, and so much more.  Hit the jump for more.

TIFF 2012: THE ICEMAN Review

by     Posted 2 years, 77 days ago

michael-shannon-the-iceman-slice

The Iceman is a hitman movie.  It’s about a hitman and nothing else.  Director and co-writer Ariel Vromen takes no chances on his film based on the life of mob enforcer Richard Kuklinski.  The movie paints a two-dimensional character, and then wants credit for not making him one-dimensional.  There’s more effort put into developing the characters’ era-appropriate facial hair than developing the story into anything more than a description of Kuklinski’s actions.  Only Michael Shannon‘s overpowering screen presence stops The Iceman from being the driest crime drama in recent memory.

Line-Up Announced for 2012 Telluride Film Festival

by     Posted 2 years, 88 days ago

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The line-up for the 2012 Telluride Film Festival has been announced.  The program will include Michael Haneke’s Palm d’Or-winning Amour, the Bill Murray-fronted Hyde Park on Hudson, Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday, the Michael Shannon crime thriller The Iceman, Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, and many more.  The festival will also include some special surprise screenings, with Ben Affleck’s highly anticipated drama Argo rumored to appear.  Additionally, the 2012 Silver Medallion Awards will be given to Roger Corman, Marion Cotillard, and Mads Mikkelsen.

Hit the jump to read the full press release which includes the entire line-up.  The 2012 Telluride Film Festival runs from August 31 – September 3rd.

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