Coming Soon: The Art of the Steal and Enemy

The Art of the Steal, poster, Kurt Russell, Terence Stamp, Jay Baruchel, Matt Dillon, movie


It’s been more than two months since I’ve done an honest-to-goodness post and put it on this blog, which is inexcusable**, so if you’re actually reading this, I thank you for hanging in with me.

Back in January ’12, Dimension Films announced (by way of Deadline Hollywood ) that it had acquired the US rights to a heist comedy called,The Black Marks, with Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon and Jay Baruchel attached. Since then,  the film, written and directed by Jonathan Sobol (writer/director of the well-received, if little-seen, indie A Beginner’s Guide to Endings), has gotten a new title and added the great Terence Stamp.  Now called The Art of the Steal, it debuted at TIFF last September and is now due to open here in the US on March 14, courtesy of  The Weinstein Company off-shoot, Radius-twc.

Here’s the first trailer:

Despite the fact that they’re going after the Guttenberg Bible, this does not, in fact, look like high art. It looks like a rather slight caper-comedy, but it does boast a pretty good cast. I bring it to your attention because 1. it’s been a long time since Kurt Russell has done anything (one film in five years), let alone had what looks like fun on screen. 2. Terence Stamp 3. March is looking a little bleak at the multi-plex 3. If you’re STILL snowed in, one of Radius-twc’s raisons d’etre is multi-platform releasing, so you still get to watch it and in your jammies with bowl of popcorn and a mug of cocoa in front of a raging fire, to boot. In fact, it’s available now, before it gets to theaters, via iTunes.

“Crunch Calhoun (Russell), a third rate motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief, agrees to get back into the con game and pull off just one more lucrative art theft with his untrustworthy brother Nicky (Dillon). Crunch reassembles the old team and comes up with a plan to steal a priceless historical book, but the successful heist leads to another, far riskier, plan devised by Nicky. What the brothers don’t realize is they each have their own agenda and their plan goes awry in this con movie about brotherhood, honor and revenge.”

A number of reviewers who saw it in Toronto called it a fun take on a familiar genre, with some great dialogue.  Sounds like a good matinee to me.

The Art of the Steal also stars Katheryn Winnick of “Vikings”, Stephen McHattie, Chris Diamantopoulos (the only thing worth remembering from the Farrelly Brothers’ The Three Stooges movie AT ALL) and Jason (“The Daily Show”) Jones. Bit of trivia: did you know he’s married to Samantha Bee? Me either.

Enemy, movie, poster, Jake Gyllenhaal, Denis Villaneuve

courtesy kinoplakat

The release date, March 14 will be shared by a slew of new movies including Jason Bateman‘s directorial debut, Bad Words, the eponymous Veronica Mars crowdfunded flick, Fast & Furious clone Need for Speed, Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club (ugh) and the US debut of the possible Best Foreign Language Oscar Winner, The Great Beauty, none of which I’m excited about.  There is a film, however, that I am. Enemy is Denis Villaneuve‘s 2nd pic with his Prisoners star, Jake Gyllenhaal.

Enemy is a mystery/thriller that also stars Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Now You See Me), Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis) and Isabella Rossalini (whose name I have to say in my head with an exaggerated Italian accent…every time) about a man who “seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie.”

Take a look:

Gyllenhaal walked off the Prisoners set and on to the set of Enemy, filming the two back-to-back. He and Villaneuve have been singing each other’s praises since both Enemy and Prisoners opened during TIFF 2013, and as good as Gyllenhaal as in Prisoners (and he was terrific), he is reportedly the best he’s ever been in Enemy.   March 14 is, of course, the date of release in New York. Hopefully it will roll out to other “select cities”, or at least pop-up on On Demand, shortly thereafter.

Again, if you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading. I promise my Oscar post will be finished BEFORE the ceremony.

**I have been hanging out at my brand new Facebook page. Facebook is the debil I tells ya!

Dream Works Animation Says Merry Christmas…

How to Train Your Dragon 2, poster, movie, sequel

…with the first full-length trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to the wildly successful original from 2010.

As the trailer opens, we see that things have changed in Berk. At the beginning of the first film Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) wanted to be from anywhere but there. The sequel picks up five years later and the young Viking is obviously proud of his homeland where man and dragon harmoniously coexist.  (A good bridge between films is the short, 2011’s How to Train Your Dragon: Gift of the Night Fury.  It’s not a coincidence that it aired on television again mere days before the release of this trailer.)

Hiccup and Toothless, his pet dragon, their relationship obviously grown richer, are, of course, still adorable. They’re also still spending their time exploring and soaring above land and sea. During one such adventure, they discover hundreds of wild dragons living in an ice cave inhabited by the mysterious Valka (Cate Blanchett), who seems to be running a sort of dragon sanctuary.

trailer via’s YouTube Channel

“A mother never forgets.”  What was that? Mother? Whose mother?? Hiccup’s? Or could it be she was referring to Toothless’ mother? As it stands we have six months to wait for an answer.  Hopefully we’ll get more clues with the next trailer. In any case, HTTYD2 is definitely on my “must see” list for 2014.

The official synopsis:

The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless.  The inseparable duo must protect the peace – and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago.

Directed by Dean DeBlois (although this time without his creative partner Chris Sanders), who is also the only credited screenwriter this time around, the cast includes voices from the original Gerard Butler (Stoik the Vast), Craig Ferguson (Gobber), America Ferrera (Astrid), Jonah Hill (SnotLout), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), T.J. Miller (Tuffnut),  and Kristen Wiig (Ruffnut), as well as newcomers Blanchette, Djimon Hounsou (Drago Bludvist), and Kit Harington (Eret).

The score of the first film was, in my humble opinion, a key factor contributing to its lasting popularity. Let it be known that composer John Powell has returned to score this film as well.

The first film was released in 3D, as well as conventional 2D, and I saw it both ways. I’ve said many times that I’m not generally a proponent of 3D, but there are some movies that I do believe deserve the technology, as well as your extra ducats. The original How to Train Your Dragon was one such and I believe, judging from the aerial scenes in this trailer alone, that the sequel will also qualify.  We’ll find out when How to Train Your Dragon 2 opens in 3D in the US on June 13 and 4th July in the UK.  By the way, HTTYD3 already has a release date: June 18, 2016.

Watch this space for more!