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On Easter Sunday, I landed in New Orleans to sweat and drop by the set of RED, yet another comic book adaptation, but one packing the following A-list cast:

Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren (as a tea-sipping sniper with a 50-cal machine gun), Mary-Louise Parker, Star Trek’s Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon, and Ernest Borgnine

And I would be remiss not to list the movie’s possible scene hog: a stuffed toy pig with wild eyes toted around by Malkovich’s character…a paranoiac-genius. Shocked? The movie, due in October, is loosely based on a very lean 2003 WildStorm comic book series by Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hammer, whom we spoke with on set. Willis stars as a retired assassin named Frank Moses, a hermetic, once-valuable man now wanted dead by pesky/shady forces. Naturally, Moses seeks defense and camaraderie from a badass crew of vets (Malkovich, Mirren, and Freeman). The film, described as “hard PG-13,” is directed by Robert Schwentke, best known for the Fincher-aping Flightplan.

RED is an acronym for Retired Extremely Dangerous, and the ensemble aspect means the end product should comfortably fit into the current action zeitgeist of grizzled, last hurrah actioners (The Expendables) and specialized, quick-quip posses (The A-Team). However, on set producers compared the tone not to other genre properties but to Ocean’s Eleven with a splash of True Lies. Ellis and Hammer have both publicly endorsed the decision to forgo their comic book’s bloody, quasi-polemic seriousness in addition to much of the storyline (wherein Moses was a lone wolf). After the jump are thoughts from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Constantine), and my own observations (excluding a strip club excursion later that night with various web editors). Look for interviews with several cast members, including an expletive-liberated Willis in top form, closer to release.

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/Film will be recapping and discussing each episode of the third season of Breaking Bad. A spoiler warning applies after the jump for the recaps and for the comments section. Meth heads welcome. For previous recaps, click here.

With “One Minute,” the most engrossing arc of the third season has landed in Hank‘s lap like a decapitated, shrunken head exported from Juarez. And with five episodes left before the finale—should we begin deciphering ep titles like last year?—it will be difficult to surpass the shock of the bloody, unsettling ending here. “I swear to god Marie, the universe is trying to tell me something, and I’m finally ready to listen.” “One Minute” is the second consecutive episode where a mysterious phone call launches Hank’s life down a menacing pinball alley (ruled by fate or chaos?). But unlike last time, we’re unsure over who exactly was on the other line. We also received an origins story for the Cousins of Death, and finally learned the duo’s beer-bobbing Christian names: Leonel and Marco. And in a sign of future grisly decision making, Saul Goodman laid out a not-so-last resort for Walt.

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Summer is fast approaching and Harmony Korine—the polarizing Nashville-based filmmaker irresponsible for directing Gummo and scribing Kids—has returned to combat the season’s flabbier atrocities. For everyone’s information, Korine believes his latest movie, Trash Humpers, should not be referred to in the press or elsewhere as “a movie” or “a film.” I think I see his point. I mean, after all Humpers doesn’t contain a shirtless Vince Vaughn tripping over models in Ibiza or Egyptian robot rockets penetrating a CGI brick wall that turns into sand. But since the not-a-movie is receiving a theatrical release this summer, I asked him to elaborate. Korine said Humpers might as well be projected into a toilet bowl or mailed anonymously to a closeted politician. And then he said something profound about granny’s undergarments and snickered like an asthmatic hick with dementia.

It’s the same asthmatic snicker heard in Trash Humpers, a sound horrifying enough to make “a grown man jump from a ledge,” as Korine comments below. Directed and edited to approximate a found VHS from hell, Humpers stars Korine and pals as three elderly degenerates with poor dermatology and a recreational interest in dumpster fornication and murder. Any semblance to narrative exhibited in his past works, including 2007’s Mister Lonely about a Michael Jackson impersonator, has been blown up like cherry bombed synapses. Humpers is a canvas for Korine’s obsession with disorienting repetition, inbred culture, and dysfunctional imagery. He wants to imprint the viewer’s brain with new moods, however terrible or tedious. And Humpers seems meant to occasionally alienate and punish the viewer, not for preferring popcorn to art or vice versa, but for believing there’s sense in making sense of anything.

Hunter Stephenson: Have you visited your tax man?

Harmony Korine: Have I what? Did I visit the tax man?

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/Film will be recapping and discussing each episode of the third season of Breaking Bad. A spoiler warning applies after the jump for the recaps and for the comments section. Meth heads welcome. For previous recaps, click here.

This is my own private domicile. I will not be harassed, bitch!” – Jesse Pinkman

From an opening shot of two blazers belonging to the Cousins of Death hanging on a clothesline against a glaring desert “Sunset,” the sixth episode was imbued with the showdowns and imagery of a modern Western. The structure was free of flashbacks and high on pressure-cooker drama, with no less than three showdowns, the most memorable of which saw Walt and Jesse unexpectedly mourn a great, unsung character of sorts. And the season continued to focus on Hank’s wellbeing and search for self, the loner sheriff to Jesse and Walt’s bickering cocksure outlaws. Between the panic attacks, the fast food stakeouts, and a strenuous, ever-lonely professional and domestic life: will Hank break before he breaks the case of his life?
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The ESPN documentary series, 30 for 30, continues a phenomenal and original run at uniting fans of sports history and cinema with Straight Outta L.A. Directed and narrated by Ice Cube, in O.G. gruff mode, the doc examines the stylistic endorsement of the Los Angeles Raiders in the mid-to-late ’80s by West Coast gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A., and proposes that Cube’s group cultivated everlasting, if unsolicited, street cred for the franchise as a multi-billion dollar brand. At this point in Ice Cube’s movie and music career, I was skeptical going in. Would his contribution to 30 for 30 play like self-serving promotion for N.W.A.’s back catalogue and the NFL’s fat merchandising arm? There’s a little hustle on hand, sure, but overall I enjoyed this well-organized, brisk look at the fashionable assimilation of a corporate/athletic identity by young black artists…with attitude.

For any guy who owned/stole a “Real Men Wear Black” t-shirt, more than one Starter jacket, or Dr. Dre‘s The Chronic in the early ’90s, Straight Outta L.A.‘s subject matter is enticing and nearly irresistible. This mix of enthusiasm and nostalgia is sensed in several of the interviewees enlisted from the world of old school hip hop (Ice-T, MC Ren) and Raiders’ record books (Howie Long, Marcus Allen). And Ice Cube goes the extra step by speaking with journalists, city employees, and figure-loving merchandising guys from the era. The biggest catch is his interview with aging “maverick” Raiders owner, Al Davis, regarding the team’s legacy and its controversial move from Oakland to L.A. and back again. (Note: Darth Vader after the jump.)

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America’s very own Kenny Powers aka The Man with the Golden Dick is officially leaving North Carolina and shipping off to play ball(s) in Mexico, better known as Hell on Earth in recent months due to drug cartel violence, kidnappings, and the rest of it. So, yikes, the “sour patch” seems only to worsen for Danny McBride‘s iconic steroid-taking professional baseball pitcher turned existential curse of an oaf. In early April, I wrote of the confirmation of an international change of setting from  Eastbound & Down co-director, David Gordon Green. He first brought up the possibility in 2008 during my set visit. In recent weeks, Puerto Rico had been bandied about quite a bit as a shooting location for the HBO series, but as I hinted, the island will sub in for ever-topical Mexico. The core team has been in Rico working on the scripts for the next eight episodes (its predecessor had six), and shooting begins in May.

Now, Deadline confirms two new regulars for the second season. In line with rumors, many of season uno’s beloved characters won’t be returning. One of the regulars for season two, actor Michael Pena, is a no brainer. He played the amazing thief/mall pig named Dennis in 2009′s Observe & Report, the cult classic sophomore feature from EB&D co-creator and co-director Jody Hill. In a subtle hat tip to the movie and the series’ new setting, fans will recall that Dennis fled America in a raffle car for Mexico where “the water’s warm and the girls are wet. “ More details south of the border, including news and pics of Kenny’s vivacious new lady friend…

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/Film will be recapping and discussing each episode of the third season of Breaking Bad. For this installment, /Film discourses with Natasha Vargas-Cooper, a sharp-witted, caps-friendly writer at The Awl and author of the new book Mad Men Unbuttoned, due this July from HarperStudio. A spoiler warning applies after the jump for the recap and for the comments section. Meth heads welcome. For previous recaps, click here.

Hunter Stephenson: Before we discuss the hell-tinted game-changer that was “Mas,” tell me where Walter White resides in your obsession with masculine anti-heroes in current TV and film. What does Breaking  Bad tell us about the state of the modern man?

Natasha Vargas-Cooper: Walter White, thanks to magnificent Bryan Cranston, has quickly ascended into the highest echelon of beloved Manly Men Who Do Bad Things. He is Sopranos status for me. I think what White has—what you see echoed in characters like Don Draper, Tony Soprano, Jim McNulty—is fragmented existence. In their professional lives these men are the masters of their craft and at home they are considered failures.

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a premiere for a provocative indie, a mini review, or a look at a book on a filmmaker’s life.

Any self-respecting male should take a few moments each year to look to the life of Dennis Hopper for inspiration, and this doesn’t include watching the Hollywood renaissance man hold down his crazy button in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 or laughing in a haze at his hunt for candy in Thailand between ping pong bouts on Fishing with John. There are numerous reference books and movie history tomes available to familiarize and refresh on the actor and filmmaker’s invaluable contributions to film and counter culture. The latest is a coffee table book published by Rizzoli entitled Dennis Hopper & The New Hollywood that spans his acting career and allots a fair portion to his well-recognized black and white photography and personal art collection.

The timing of the release is ideal, seeing how last month Hopper was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in July his art work will be exhibited at the MoCA, marking the highly anticipated debut of new museum head Jeffrey Deitch. After the jump, I’ve included a few excerpts and cool page shots.

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