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.
We need to talk about Alan.
The Hangover Part III arrives on Blu-ray and all manner of home entertainment platforms this week, completing the comedy trilogy that began with one raucous night in Vegas four years ago. With the final installment, the strange misadventures of the Wolfpack have concluded, sending Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) figuratively riding off into the sunset.
Even Alan Garner, the man who started all the trouble by drugging his fellow bachelor partiers, achieves some resolution by the end of The Hangover Part III.
Alan is the trilogy's spirit animal: a volatile, childish, oddly innocent human non-sequitur, a dangerous and unfathomable case study who is also endearing in his vulnerability. There's a bit of Eric Cartman in Alan, along with a sprinkling of Rain Man and pinch of Pee-wee Herman for flavor. While credit must go to the filmmakers (Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, and director Todd Phillips all contributed as screenwriters), Alan unmistakably belongs to Zach Galifianakis. Anyone familiar with his absurd stand-up will recognize elements of Galifianakis's style and fixations in the character.
Tiger encounters, revelations of transgender trysts, car chases, face tattoos, and full frontal male nudity all end up inspiring lots of conversation, but our latest Rogue 10 doesn't compile such moments. Instead, we're preserving for posterity ten Alan-centric moments that don't get the same attention. These aren't centerpiece gigs destined to be included in every trailer and TV spot. These are quick, seemingly inconsequential moments that keep The Hangover films humming along, and also tell us a lot about the characters.
In this case, they originate with and tell us about the unknowable Alan Garner.
So here, for your reading pleasure, are ten moments to savor as you re-watch all three movies on Blu-ray:
Grand Theft Auto V is less a game and more a sprawling and vivid virtual world. Within that world, there are a multitude of games, really.
The latest from Rockstar Games is a masterpiece, allowing gamers to play in the digital sandbox of an impossibly detailed megalopolis. Grand Theft Auto V takes place in Los Santos – a barely-fictionalized stand-in for Los Angles – and in a variety of geographies around the faux-California of San Andreas. The whole world and the games within are a vast pastiche comprised of innumerable influences drawn from all corners of contemporary culture. Players encounter riffs on sources as disparate as reality TV, smartphones, music, advertising, talk-radio, video games of every genre, tabloids, network and cable news, and, of course, movies.
Since Grand Theft Auto III on Playstation 2, all the entries in the series have worn their cinematic influences on their sleeves. The likes of Goodfellas and The Godfather cast a long shadow over Vice City, San Andreas, and GTA IV, each of which has its own distinct personality that evokes a movie like, say, Scarface.
The DNA of its forebears is identifiable throughout Grand Theft Auto V, but this entry cranks up the filmic qualities. Playing through or just exploring San Andreas, you're reminded again and again of certain movies in ways both large and small. So, as you and the other consumers who made GTA V a billion dollar-success in mere days continue to burn through missions of every stripe, we here at IAR have put together a little list, a cinematic travelogue of sorts.
This Rogue 10 lists, in no particular order, ten movies to watch once you've finished the missions and grown bored of trips to Ammu-Nation. A GTA movie might never happen, but these ten movies are like distilled Grand Theft Auto V.
On Tuesday, May 21st, you can experience the epic cross-country oddity of The Griswold family all over again, as Vacation arrives on an extras-packed 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray.
That's right, kids, it's been a full three decades since the comedy franchise kicked off with the 1983 hit directed by Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) and written by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club), that Eighties chronicler of Middle American lives who based the story on his own family roadtrip to Disneyland as a child.
The 30th Anniversary Edition includes a commentary track from Ramis and the cast, a long with a number of goodies. Most notably, a high definition, 85-minute "Inside Story" documentary thoroughly examines the making of this classic comedy.
All of this got us thinking about Clark W. Griswold, the hapless hero played in all four Vacation films by Chevy Chase (Caddyshack). The head of the Griswold clan, Clark continually tries the patience of his loving wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) and misunderstands his kids, Rusty and Audrey (Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron in the first film). Clark's a quintessential American protagonist. He's a family man and a dreamer, a possessed of limitless vision, good intentions, hope, and naivety. Nonetheless, he leaves a trail of destruction where ever he goes.
As a father, Clark Griswold is always dispensing priceless nuggets of paternal insight. Even when he's egregiously screwing up, Clark is happy to offer up his own unique brand of wisdom. So, with the 30th Anniversary Edition of Vacation arriving on Tuesday, IAR has compiled a list of ten moments in which Clark W. Griswold shares lessons worth knowing.
Pain & Gain, hitting theaters nationwide today, April 26th, is the sort of story that could only really happen in Florida.
Mark Wahlberg (Ted), Anthony Mackie (Gangster Squad), and Dwayne Johnson (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) are a trio of burnout bodybuilders, none of whom are especially bright or industrious. Despite that, the three team up to execute Lugo's criminal plan to elevate himself out of his life as a gymrat and trainer. Lugo aspires to his piece of the American dream, and he intends to get it by kidnapping a wealthy businessman in a harebrained extortion scheme. Naturally, not everything goes according to plan and all hell breaks loose.
The movie is a longtime passion project for Michael Bay (Transformers, The Rock), who frames the action comedy with the gaudy style of mid-nineties South Beach. Not only is Miami the perfect place to tell this story, it is perhaps the only place to tell this story.
And that got us thinking, kicking around ideas here at IAR HQ. In some films, location is purely a product of which state offers the best tax incentives; it's incidental. In fewer films, though, setting is inextricably connected to story. And in even fewer films, Florida is essential to the telling of the tale. The peninsula down below Alabama and Georgia is a tropical wonderland of beaches, gators, crocs, the Everglades, Disney World, neon-soaked cities, diverse and vibrant cultures, manatees, and eccentric human behavior.
With its humid tropicality, beautiful landscapes, and general sexiness, Florida is the perfect setting for many a film. In recognition of Pain & Gain's theatrical release, we've compiled a ten-spot of movies that could take place nowhere other than the great state of Florida.
In Gangster Squad, out today on Blu-ray, a group of cops are freed from the strictures of their badges, let loose to conduct all-out war against a criminal overlord.
In order to topple the empire of Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), these incorruptible lawmen led by Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling must abandon their obligations to due process, police reports, admissible evidence, or civil liberties. Basically, the Gangster Squad is too busy shooting tommy guns at really bad guys to concern themselves with all the boring stuff that occupies police here in the real world.
So the home entertainment release of Gangster Squad got everybody at IAR HQ thinking about other cinematic police officers who don't trouble themselves with writing up detailed reports or answering to anyone. These are the renegades, the loose cannons, the hotshots who, through circumstance or character, are more inclined to action than the arduous intellectual, bureaucratic, and political processes of law enforcement. These are cops who cause their bosses unimaginable stresses, but of whom even the most chagrined chief must admit, "You're a damn good cop."
It's a breed of cop particular to the movies, as though there's one training academy that instills in them the same disregard for any semblance of actual police work. This is the kind of cop who is comfortable operating in a moral grey area – in some cases to the point of dangerous irresponsibility – but who generally gets the job done as it can only be done onscreen.
To celebrate this type of movie cop, we've compiled a list of ten law enforcement officials who are obviously unconcerned with doing any paperwork.
Starring as Billy Taggart in Broken City, Mark Wahlberg joins the ranks of actors who have memorably portrayed private investigators, cinematic seekers of the truth who operate in a moral grey area, without a badge or a uniform.
In the thriller from director Allen Hughes, Taggart is a former cop, an incorruptible officer disgraced by a controversial shooting. Now an alcoholic private eye, he's contracted by New York Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) to spy on his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Taggart expects a fairly standard cheating spouse case, but through his investigation, Taggart discovers a conspiracy that goes to the highest levels of power, a plot that could change New York forever.
Broken City is now available to purchase on DHD, or Digital High Def, weeks before Blu-ray and DVD. Early availability of DHD isn't the only advantage, either, as a download of Broken City comes equipped with bonus features, scene selection, and a high-definition presentation that can be viewed on your television, your computer, or portable electronic device, be it a phone, tablet, or anything in between.
With Broken City on DHD, we here at IAR have been thinking about Taggart's forebears, the onscreen private investigators who aren't just good at their jobs, they're great at their jobs. These are PIs who go above and beyond the call of duty, solving seemingly insoluble mysteries and getting to the bottom of dangerous cases like seasoned professionals.
So, for your enjoyment, we've compiled a list of cinematic private investigators who go all the way in the course of their jobs.
With 2012 quickly coming to an end, it’s time to take one last look back at the year in film, and frankly, it was another great year for movies!
We had excellent dramas based on true stories (Argo, Zero Dark Thirty), hilarious comedies (Ted), incredible superhero movies (The Avengers), game-changing sci-fi (The Cabin in the Woods), groundbreaking 3D (Life of Pi), outstanding animation (Frankenweenie), high-octane Westerns (Django Unchained), fascinating documentaries (Searching for Sugar Man), award-worthy biopics (Lincoln, Hitchcock), satisfying sequels (The Expendables 2), record-breaking reboots (The Amazing Spider-Man), marvelous musicals (Les Miserables), the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy (The Dark Knight Rises), and the triumphant return of a legendary film character named … Bond, James Bond (Skyfall)!
The following is a look back at some of my favorite films of 2012. It’s important to note that unlike last year, I was actually able to watch just about every movie released in 2012 with the exception of director Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (my apologies to PTA). 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 Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, Searching for Sugar Man, Cabin in the Woods, and Ted, all of which came extremely close to making the final cut.