LISTS

John Wayne.

What else is there to say, really?  There are movie stars, there are icons, and then there are legends.  John Wayne was all three and even more. 

The Duke transcended mere stardom, personifying not just a heroic presence on screen, but a bygone ideal of American masculinity.  John Wayne presented the America – its ideals, its physicality, its history, its peculiar spirit – as America saw itself and, in turn, how the world saw the country in the middle of the 20th century.

Today, Warner Bros. Entertainment releases John Wayne: The Epic Collection, the perfect way to celebrate the star and his legacy.

This 38-disc DVD collection spans a whopping 40 movies from John Wayne's incredible catalog of more than 140 starring roles, bringing the cream of the crop to your DVD shelf. 

Included in the set are (in chronological order): Big Stampede, Ride Him Cowboy, Haunted Gold, Telegraph Trail, Somewhere in Sonora, Man from Monterey, Allegheny Uprising, Reunion in France, Tall in the Saddle, Back to Bataan, They Were Expendable, Without Reservations, Tycoon, Fort Apache, The Three Godfathers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Flying Leathernecks, Operation Pacific, Big Jim McLain, Trouble Along the Way, Blood Alley, The Sea Chase, The Searchers, The Wings of Eagles, Rio Bravo, Hatari, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, How The West Was Won, Donovan's Reef, In Harm's Way, The Sons of Katie Elder, El Dorado, The Green Berets, True Grit, Chisum, The Cowboys, Cahill: U.S. Marshall, The Train Robbers, McQ, and The Shootist.

The collectors edition set also boasts hours upon hours of special features from audio commentary to behind the scenes documentaries to classic short films and animated clips.  John Wayne: The Epic Collection also boasts a full coffee table book, lobby cards, photographs, memorabilia, and replica personal correspondence by the Duke himself.

To mark today's release of John Wayne: The Epic Collection, we here at IAR thought that instead of offering a ROGUE 10 of classic John Wayne moments, we would instead examine his pop-culture wake.  Specifically, we set out to compile a list of John Wayne impressions that have, over the years, captured our imaginations and made us appreciate Wayne even more.

Summer, a season when movies get bigger yet mean so much less, has arrived. 

In this season of frenzied digital spectacle, there's already an oddity in limited release: an earnest little comedy-drama from a writer-director who has delivered his share of blockbuster super-action.

This little gem fits, for a stretch of its zippy story, into a specific subgenre that we're very fond of here at IAR, the father-family road trip movie.  Damn near everyone has spent seemingly endless hours in transit with a parent, the tediousness of the highway and the proximity of a car making the conversation both boring and intense.

With the first entry on the list as our inspiration, we decided to devote the latest ROGUE 10 to some films that follow fathers and their progeny on huge journeys.  It's a surprisingly varied subgenre, and we've tried to reflect that, so please enjoy these ten examples of the form:

To an Arnold Schwarzenegger character, the entire world is an armory.

Over the course of his nearly forty-year movie career, the action star has unleashed all manner of weaponized fury using seemingly every type of gun known to man.  The former Mr. Universe himself has quippily commented on his association with firearms, saying, "I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun."

In this Friday's Sabotage, then, Schwarzenegger has a whole lot of love interests.  He plays John "Breacher" Wharton, the alpha dog and father figure in an elite, balls-to-the-wall DEA task force.  After Breacher's crew pulls off an audacious raid on a cartel safe house, $10 million in ill-gotten gains go missing.  All ten members of the task force are suspects.  Before long, they're being picked off one by one, and Breacher must get to the bottom of the case before it's too late for him and everyone he cares about.

Breacher, like so many Schwarzeneggerian heroes, knows his way around a gun.  But here's the thing about Arnold: He's no mere gunslinger.  This iconic, unstoppable slab of meat doesn't need to pull a trigger to demolish an enemy.  He'll utilize any aspect of his environment to mop the floor with a henchman foolish enough to cross him, and he'll deliver a killer zinger, too.

To Arnold Schwarzenegger, almost any item – no matter how innocuous, ordinary, or even intangible – is a potentially devastating means of wiping out bad guys.  

With Sabotage hitting theaters, we've decided to dedicate our latest Rogue 10 to Schwarzenegger and his most outlandish, most iconic, most enjoyable weaponized mayhem.  From simple swords to million-dollar aircraft to the ultimate subtle weapon, here are our ten weapons that only Arnold Schwarzenegger could have wielded so well:

Rogue 10: A Jason Statham Retrospective

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:02

Homefront, hitting Blu-ray today, is like a muscle car: a product of another age that is nonetheless even more effective now.

Jason Statham, the action-thriller's star, is similar: in an age of CGI superheroics and leading men with sculpted eyebrows, the British actor is a lantern-jawed bruiser, a throwback from an age when monosyllabic gunslingers were king and stunts commanded more attention than digital effects.  He's a man's man, a former professional athlete who specializes in gruff anti-heroes who may or may not have hearts of gold.

He's Jason freakin' Statham.  If you're a henchman, then Jason Statham is going to drop you with a single roundhouse kick to your glass-jawed ass and he's going to look like a million bucks while he does.

In Homefront, Statham plays Phil Broker, the former DEA agent from many a novel by Chuck Logan.  Looking for a quiet town in which he can safely raise his nine-year-old daughter, the recently widowed Broker is settling down.  Until, that is, he's slowly drawn into a feud with a local meth kingpin played by James Franco.

For more than sixteen years, Statham has been delivering his Stathamian brand of justice on screen.  With Homefront marking his latest contribution to the ass-whupping endeavors, we've decided to dedicate our latest Rogue 10 to a rundown of ten movies in which Jason Statham has especially excelled.

Matthew McConaughey is riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels.

Lately the actor has been on an unparalleled roll, doing career-best work in seemingly every new performance.  Just a few short years ago, McConaughey was synonymous with generic romantic comedies in which he played "The Matthew McConaughey Type" rather than real characters.

Now here we are, at a time when the dude everybody dismissed half a decade ago reveals new layers and depths on the regular.  Thanks to his devastating and dramatically physical work as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey is heavily favored to take home a Best Actor statuette at the 86th Academy Awards.

Even as rakes in accolades and awards for Dallas Buyers Club, he's turning in a riveting performance week-by-week on HBO's elegant and desolate True Detective, running with the opportunities for longer, more nuanced acting that cable television now provides.  And that's on the heels not only of his Oscar-nominated role, but a vital appearance in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street and acclaimed work in Magic Mike and Killer Joe, just to name a few.

Next year, he ups his blockbuster game with Christopher Nolan's huge, ambitious, and mysterious Interstellar.

So here, at or near the pinnacle of McConaughey's success, well beyond the turning of the tide, we've rustled up our latest Rogue 10 compiling ten outstanding Matthew McConaughey performances that are above reproach, that stand the test of time, that are worth remembered, and that you just can't McConaughate.

Every dog has his day.

And every awful superhero movie gets a tiny little something right.

Okay, maybe not every awful superhero movie.  Unless we're talking about the kind of bad that's actually funny, like, say, every moment that Arnold Schwarzenegger is on screen in Batman & Robin, then there are some cinematic spandex-fests that really don't do their subjects justice for even a moment.

But for so many maligned movies based on the exploits of our comic book neon gods, there's some small moment, some goal only briefly achieved, or some performance that really works. 

So, for our latest Rogue 10, we here at IAR have compiled a list of ten objectively bad superhero movies that nonetheless have something good or even great within them.  It's been said that you can't polish a turd, and we're certainly not looking to polish any of these turds, but we also believe that sometimes, very rarely, a turd can have a diamond somewhere inside.

Rogue 10: Ten Potential Gems of 2014

Friday, 10 January 2014 10:07

Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentleman.  We've got a good feeling about 2014.

So, naturally, we've compiled a Rogue 10 list of ten movies on the way over the next year that we here at IAR HQ are really excited about.  This isn't just the standard compilation of ten anticipated movies, though.  These are odder films, pictures that represent tremendous potential energy.

A lot of the movies on this list are here specifically because they come from filmmakers who we already know we love.  That's just in the nature of compiling a list of films that, in many cases, don't even really exist yet.  We're casting into the future, prognosticating, auguring.  So we're working from what we know.

Of course we're looking forward to heavy hitters like Interstellar and How to Train Your Dragon 2 just as much as anybody else is.  Those mega-movies already have a self-evident whiff of greatness or at least hugeness about them.  This list isn't as concerned about those movies; we already know that everybody's set on seeing those.  On this list, we're excited about movies that sound like they could have real personality, like they could just end up on favorite-movie lists long after the dust of 2014 settles.

But predictions always fall flat.  By this time next year, we're hoping to have been astonished by pictures haven't even heard of yet from filmmakers whose work will make us ask, "Who the hell made this?"  That's so much of the fun of going to the movies: getting knocked on your ass when you walked in with absolutely no idea what to expect.

We've got our fingers crossed for some pleasant surprises in the year to come, but this list represents ten specific movies we believe have the potential to be special. 

IAR'S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2013

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 13:23

Greetings “ROGUE warriors.”

As the end of the year is fast approaching, it’s time to look back at the films of 2013 that contributed to another great year at the movies! 

We’ve seen important dramas based on true stories (12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips), offbeat comedies (Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska), unusual romantic comedies (Before Midnight, Her), new projects from legendary filmmakers (The Wolf of Wall Street, Blue Jasmine), impressive independent films (Short Term 12, Fruitvale Station), gritty crime dramas (The SweeneyOut of the FurnaceAmerican Hustle) groundbreaking 3D (Gravity, Pacific Rim), wonderful animation (Free Birds, Frozen) fascinating documentaries (Stories We Tell, This American Journey), fast speed entertainment (RushFast & Furious 6) ass kicking martial arts movies (Man of Tai Chi, Only God Forgives), Marvel superheroes (Iron Man 3The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World), new installments of popular franchises (Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), remakes (Evil Dead, Carrie, Oldboy), prequels (Oz the Great and Powerful), and the triumphant return of an iconic hero … Superman (Man of Steel)!

The following is a look back at my ten favorite films of 2013. It’s important to note that at the time of this publication, I have seen almost every movie released in 2013 with the exception of Philomena, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, 47 Ronin, and Grudge Match. That being said, the list compiled below is based on the movies that I did see this year, and which of those were my favorites overall. I’m not necessarily saying that these are the ten best films of the year, but in my humble opinion, they are the ten that I enjoyed the most. 

However, honorable mention goes to Short Term 12, Dallas Buyers Club, Oldboy, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Stories We Tell, Man of Tai Chi, This American Journey, Pacific Rim, and A Place Beyond the Pines, all of which came very close to making the final cut.  

These are turbulent times, times of danger and uncertainty. 

Times that call for fixed stars in the celestial firmament, for the assurance that only heroes can provide. There is a man suited for the task, a man who can show us the way in these disorienting days. 

That man is Keanu Reeves.

For decades now, audiences have been taking the stoic leading man for granted, but around here at IAR HQ, the walls might as well be covered in posters featuring his piercing stare.  Many movie stars find their groove in a specific type of role that play to their strengths and suit their particular stripe of charisma. Despite all the easy potshots folks have taken over the years, Keanu Reeves has maintained a rare kind of fearlessness, tackling all manner of characters and collaborating with the likes of Gus Van Sant, Bernardo Bertolucci, Kathryn Bigelow, and Francis Ford Coppola.  He's played Siddartha Guatama, for example, and directed his own kung-fu extravaganza.

So out latest Rogue 10 compiles ten of our favorite Keanu Reeves performances, all of which remind us to appreciate his unique talents.  If you're looking for something tongue in cheek, something mockingly ironic, then this isn't the list for you.  This list sincerely celebrates Keanu in all his ballsy, enigmatic glory.

Next year, the star-spangled Avenger is returning to theaters. 

And we've got a good feeling about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

When last we saw Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, he was leading the titular superteam and enjoying some shawarma in The Avengers.  That summer blockbuster marked the commercial peak (so far) of the roll Marvel Studios has been on for the past several years.  Phase 2 of that roll kicked off in fine fashion this year with Iron Man 3, and continues in mere weeks with Thor: The Dark World.

But we're looking ahead to April 2014, when Cap tosses his signature shield on his first solo outing since Captain America: The First Avenger.  Unlike that two-fisted World War II adventure, Captain America: The Winter Soldier brings Rogers into a recognizably modern world, a more cynical setting in which he confronts sinister conspiracies, untrustworthy characters, and a familiar figure with a bone to pick.

Marvel Studios unveiled the first Winter Soldier teaser trailer just this morning.  By now, you've probably laid eyes on the trailer, but if not, click right here.

We've long heard that this sequel is a comic book movie riff on the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s.  The trailer shows just that, combining event movie spectacle and shadowy goings-on.  Basically, Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks fantastic.  So much so we here at IAR wanted to share just a few of the reasons that we're properly excited for the sequel after viewing the first trailer.

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