Everything about going to the Playboy Mansion is arguably a good idea. Except watching a movie. Properly watching a movie takes concentration, quiet and darkness. But in a place with an open bar, Playmates and a history of sex, drugs and rock and roll, watching a film is a bad idea.

Last week, I was invited to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles to see Parker. The film, directed by Oscar-nominee Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, is about a career criminal who vows revenge on a crew that left him for dead. That right there sounds like a film you’d want to see, but seeing at the Playboy Mansion just put it over the top.

The iron gate, the valet, the massive house, the Grotto, the bird sanctuary, the game room, the alcohol — even in a very controlled environment — can be all-consuming. By the time the lights went down, people were texting, talking, getting up and not coming back, and somehow it was all okay.

So instead of reviewing Parker, I figured I’d explain why the Playboy Mansion is simultaneously the best, and worst, place to watch a movie in the world. Read More »

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Parker is a Jason Statham action movie with a crime fiction pedigree. The film puts Statham in the role of Richard Stark‘s principled but vengefully violent thief Parker, betrayed by partners and left for dead, and ultimately preoccupied with revenge. Stark’s character has inspired one of the all-time great weird crime movies (Point Blank, with Lee Marvin) and a couple of entertainingly straightforward takes on the genre, notably the Mel Gibson film Payback.

Directed by Taylor Hackford and co-starring Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, and Nick Nolte, Parker seems to be another of the very straightforward takes on the character. That’s not a bad thing, but neither is it terribly inspiring. Still, if you’re in the market for a straight-up crime thriller with some sex and violence, this will probably do the trick. Read More »

Loads of new posters have hit today, and the one that you see above is the fairly disappointing first image for Parker, which, as the pic suggests, stars Jason Statham as the title character. It’s a movie I’ve held some hope for, as it follows in a line of films (Point Blank, Full Contact, Ransom) that all adapt the same source material from crime novelist Donald E. Westlake‘s alter ego, Richard Stark.

Anyway, after the break you’ll find that full poster along with new stuff for Frankenweenie, Zero Dark Thirty, and three great images for the Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik re-team Killing Them Softly. Read More »

This year might be the point where studio reliance on tentpole films finally got out of hand. We’ve seen Sony schedule a date for the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man — that’s a sequel to a film that isn’t even close to finished, and which, consequently, no one has seen. And now Lionsgate has staked out a spot for Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, which also hasn’t finished shooting and won’t be seen by audiences for another seven months. That info, as well as dates for the thriller Parker and Henry Selick‘s new animated effort, are all below. Read More »

Here’s one of several casting breaks to come your way in the next few hours, and this one is pretty damned good. Why? Because after the break you’ll find info on the following:

  • Nick Nolte takes a role in hard-boiled crime thriller Parker.
  • Jesse Eisenberg plays dopplegangers in The Double.
  • And Mark Ruffalo and Amanda Seyfried join the increasingly promising FBI vs magicians thriller Now You See Me. Read More »

Briefly: Casting has been coming together quickly for Parker, which Taylor Hackford is directing with Jason Statham starring as the classic Richard Stark anti-hero. (As previously played on screen by Lee Marvin, Mel Gibson and others.) Jennifer Lopez is in talks for a key role, and Clifton Collins Jr. and Wendell Pierce signed to play other small roles. Now Deadline says that Michael Chiklis will play “Jason Statham’s nemesis” in the film. Word is that the John J. McLaughlin script jumps off from a number of Stark’s novels to create a new story. The debut novel The Hunter (’62)and later novel Flashfire (’00) are said to be part of the ingredient list.

Parker shoots in August.

After the long Fourth of July weekend we don’t have a lot of news on the casting front, but there are a few good stories to share, and they’re all in a similar vein. Today, the theme is crime pictures. After the break you’ll find info on the following:

  • John Malkovich is taking the lead in Siberian Education, which chronicles the culture of crime in a small community near the Ukraine.
  • Parker, the new screen version of Richard Stark’s classic crime character, gets two supporting players.
  • And French film The Lookout casts Daniel Auteuil as a cop out to catch a sharpshooter who ruined a well-laid police plan. Read More »

Jennifer Lopez is making her way back to movie screens in a big way. She’ll recently showed up in The Back-Up Plan, will voice a character in Ice Age: Continental Drift, and now she’s in talks for two roles: one in What to Expect When You’re Expecting (more on that in a different article) and one in Taylor Hackford‘s Parker, which is set to star Jason Statham as the character created by Donald Westlake (under his penname Richard Stark) in the novel The Hunter. Read More »

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