The life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is something that more than one filmmaker has attempted to capture in the past few years. But with respect to dramatic portrayals, none have succeeded. Oliver Stone and Joe Carnahan both tried to mount productions (Escobar and Killing Pablo, respectively) and both failed.
Now Brad Furman, who last made The Lincoln Lawyer, is nearly set to direct a version of Escobar’s story written by Matt Aldrich. Read More »
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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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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.
In movies, when bank robbers and gangsters grumble, “I’m never going back to jail, they’ll have to kill me,” the statement does not uniformly rule out visiting peers who are incarcerated. On the other side of the glass, a visit can be a sobering reminder against surrender, and a satisfying reassurance of dominance to the criminal mind—”Better him than me”—all the while keeping the enemy close. Walter White has never served a prison sentence, but he’s weathered a death sentence as a patient confined to a hospital. The time served there, the loss of freedom and control over his life, forever skewed his outlook on mortality and morality. The hospital is a sort of prison in Walter’s psyche, and in season three, he seems to gain an introspective satisfaction in visiting others there—standing over their beds, his hand—or in the enemy’s case his eyes—on theirs.
Episode seven, and especially episode eight, entitled “I See You” (a play on the acronym for “intensive care unit”) demonstrate how smoothly Walt operates in this setting when he’s not the patient. “I hide in plain site, same as you,” Gus Fring tells him. And in this episode, Walt is never far from a character who is bruised, bloodied, unconscious, emotionally scarred or confused, characters snagged directly or indirectly in the wrath of Walt’s crimes, and thus weaker than him. The hospital scenes in “I See You” are an affirmation for Walt of a reality in which he’s the patriarch of survival, his facade the armor.
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Javier Bardem, undoubtedly stirred by Vinny Chase’s stunning portrayal of Pablo Escobar, has decided not to star as the Colombian kingpin in Joe Carnahan‘s Killing Pablo opposite Christian Bale. Coming Soon reports that Bardem shot down questions about his involvement at a recent press junket, calling the rumors a “mistake.” His attachment to the film goes back to 2007, and he remains listed for the part on IMDB.
What’s more, some online press outlets have noted that Bale is not mentioning the project during his rounds for The Dark Knight, choosing instead to discuss his role in the new Terminator franchise. Update: Latino Review via Twitter says Bale recently confirmed to them that he’s still on board. The film is due to begin filming this fall, and days ago, a clearly stoked Carnahan (Smoking Aces, Narc) posted a huge photo on his blog on location in Medellin, standing where Escobar was shot dead by authorities. The director makes no mention of casting in this post.
Having read Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo, the source material for the film, I feel this is definitely a story that needs to be told on screen. The sheer scale of Escobar’s drug empire makes Al Pacino’s Scarface look as intimidating as a Scarface airbrushed t-shirt, and it set precedent for how far the United States was willing to go to capture an international terrorist, which Escobar was. Bardem was a good choice for the role. Other actors who would do the role justice: Benicio Del Toro (obviously), Jordi Molla (but he already played similar roles in Blow and Bad Boys 2), Seth Rogen and Andy Dick.
Discuss: What actor is perfect for Pablo Escobar?