Category: 20th Century Fox
Taglines: Courage beyond words.
Based on the beloved bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany.
In 1938, the young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery by the tracks and Liesel picks up a book, “The Gravediggers Handbook”, which was left on the grave of her brother and brings it with her. Liesel is delivered to a foster family in a small town and later she learns that her mother left her because she is a communist. Her stepmother, Rosa Hubermann, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather, Hans Hubermann, is a simple kind-hearted man.
Liesel befriends her next door neighbor, the boy Rudy Steiner, and they go together to the school. When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel becomes an obsessed reader. During a Nazi speech where the locals are forced to burn books in a bonfire, Liesel recovers one book for her and the Major’s wife Ilsa Hermann witnesses her action. Meanwhile Hans hides the Jewish Max Vandenburg.
The Book Thief is an American-German war drama film directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse. Based on the novel of the same name by Markus Zusak and adapted by Michael Petroni, the film is about a young girl living with her adoptive German family during the Nazi era. Taught to read by her kind-hearted foster father, the girl begins “borrowing” books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee being sheltered by her foster parents in their home. The film features a musical score by Oscar-winning composer John Williams.
About the Story
In April 1938, a voice representing Death (Roger Allam) tells about how the young Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse) has piqued his interest. Liesel is traveling on a train with her mother (Heike Makatsch) and younger brother when her brother dies. At his burial she picks up a book that has been dropped by his graveside (a gravedigger’s manual). Liesel is then delivered to foster parents Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson) Hubermann because her mother, a Communist, is fleeing Germany. When she arrives, Liesel makes an impression on a neighboring boy, Rudy Steiner (Nico Liersch).
Rudy accompanies her on her first day of school. When the teacher asks Liesel to write her name on the chalkboard, she is only able to write two “X”s, showing that she doesn’t know how to read. Later that day, she is taunted by her schoolmates who chant “dummkopf” (“fool” in German) at her. One of the boys, Franz Deutscher, challenges her to read just one word to which Liesel responds by beating him up. She impresses Rudy, and they become fast friends. When Hans, her foster father, realizes that Liesel cannot read, he begins to teach her, using the book that she took from the graveside. Liesel becomes obsessed with reading anything she can get her hands on.
Liesel and Rudy become members of the Hitler Youth movement. While at a Nazi book burning ceremony, Liesel and Rudy are bullied into throwing books onto the bonfire by Franz, but Liesel is upset to see the books being burned. When the bonfire ends, and everyone but she has left, she grabs a book that has not been burned. She is seen by Ilsa Hermann (Barbara Auer), the mayor’s (Rainer Bock) wife. Hans discovers that she has taken the book and tells her she must keep it a secret from everyone.
One day, Rosa asks Liesel to take the laundry to the mayor’s house. Liesel realizes that the woman who saw her taking the book is the mayor’s wife, and she is scared she will be found out. Instead, Ilsa takes her into their library and tells Liesel she can come by anytime and read as much as she’d like. Liesel also finds out about Johann here, who was the son of Ilsa and is now missing. Ilsa feels the loss of her son profoundly and has kept his library intact to commemorate him. One day Liesel is found reading by the mayor who not only puts a stop to her visits but dismisses Rosa as their laundress. Liesel continues to “borrow” books from the mayor’s library by climbing through a window.
There is a night of violence against the Jews (known historically as Kristallnacht). Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer) and his mother, who are Jewish, are told by a friend that one of them (but only one) can escape, and Max’s mother forces him to go. Max goes to the Hubermanns’ house where Rosa and Hans give him shelter. Max is the son of the man who saved Hans’s life in World War I.
Max is initially allowed to stay in Liesel’s room while recovering from his trip, and they begin to become friends over their mutual hatred of Hitler since Liesel blames Hitler for taking her mother away. World War II begins, initially making most of the children in Liesel’s neighborhood very happy. Max is later moved to the basement so that he can move around more, but it is colder in the basement, and Max becomes dangerously ill. Liesel helps Max recover by reading to him with every spare moment.
The Book Thief
Directed by: Brian Percival
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Sandra Nedeleff
Screenplay by: Markus Zusak, Michael Petroni
Production Design by: Simon Elliott
Cinematography by: Florian Ballhaus
Film Editing by: John Wilson
Costume Design by: Anna B. Sheppard
Set Decoration by: Mark Rosinski
Music by: John Williams
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Taglines: Stop dreaming. Start living.
An office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker sets off on a global journey to fix things when both of their jobs are threatened.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an epic fantasy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Ben Stiller. The film is the second adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name, following the 1947 film.
About the Story
Walter Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life magazine who daydreams of adventures and has a crush on a coworker named Cheryl. Mitty works with photojournalist Sean O’Connell, whose images are highly regarded. O’Connell has sent Mitty his latest negatives and a wallet as a gift in appreciation of Mitty’s work. O’Connell believes negative #25 captures the “quintessence” of Life and that it should be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue as it converts to online status.
The negative is missing, however, and Walter is forced to stall for time with corporate transition manager Ted Hendricks, who is handling the downsizing. While viewing the other negatives outside Life’s offices, Cheryl approaches Mitty and suggests that he think of the negatives as clues to Sean’s location. They look at three of them, including one of a person’s thumb with a unique ring on it, and another of a curved piece of wood. A third picture of a boat leads Mitty to determine that O’Connell is in Greenland. Mitty promptly flies there to find him.
A bartender in Greenland explains that O’Connell left on a ship. To find him, Mitty would need to go on the postal helicopter, and the pilot is drunk. Mitty recognizes the pilot’s thumb with the unique ring and realizes he is on the right track. He at first declines to fly with the intoxicated pilot, but imagines Cheryl singing “Space Oddity”, gains a new confidence and boards the helicopter. Nearing the ship, Mitty learns the helicopter cannot land upon it. Misunderstanding the pilot, instead of jumping into a dinghy boat nearing to catch him, Mitty aims for the main vessel and misses. He splashes down into ice-cold, shark-infested waters, losing a box of ship-to-shore radio components before being brought aboard.
Mitty learns that O’Connell departed the ship earlier. The crew offers him some cake O’Connell left behind; Mitty discovers O’Connell’s destinations in the wrapping paper. The itinerary directs Mitty to Iceland, where O’Connell is photographing the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. An eruption forces Mitty to flee, and as there is nothing left for him to do he obeys a text message recalling him to New York.
For failing to recover the negative, his first failure in a long career with the magazine, Mitty is fired. He learns that Cheryl, who was let go earlier, seems to have reconciled with her estranged husband. Mitty returns home discouraged, throwing away the wallet when he visits his mother. To his surprise, Mitty recognizes the curve of the piano in his mother’s house while looking at the last photograph. When asked, Mitty’s mom mentions having met O’Connell. She had told Mitty before but he was daydreaming and failed to hear her.
Mitty discovers O’Connell is in the Himalayas, and finds him photographing a rare snow leopard. When asked about the negative, O’Connell explains that the message on the gift wrapping to “look inside” was literal; the negative was in the wallet. When pressed to reveal the image on the negative, O’Connell dismisses the question and joins in a high-altitude soccer game with some locals. Mitty flies to Los Angeles but is detained by airport security during a misunderstanding. Mitty calls the only person he knows in Los Angeles: Todd Maher, a representative at eHarmony who has kept in contact during Mitty’s adventures.
While helping his mother sell her piano, Mitty recounts his story but mentions he does not have the wallet anymore. His mother says she always keeps his knickknacks and gives him the wallet that she retrieved from the trash. An emboldened Mitty delivers the negative to Life magazine, tells management that it was the photograph O’Connell wanted for the final issue, and berates Hendricks for disrespecting the staff that made the magazine so honored.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Vincent
Screenplay by: Steve Conrad
Production Design by: Jeff Mann
Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh
Film Editing by: Greg Hayden
Costume Design by: Sarah Edwards
Set Decoration by: Regina Graves
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
MPAA Rating: PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 25, 2013
During the Late Cretaceous period 70 million years ago, the Alexornis bird Alex narrates about three Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi, Scowler, and Juniper who grow from infants into adulthood. Alex has a symbiotic relationship with Pachyrhinosaurus. Patchi leads the herd in migrating, and they also encounter the predator Gorgon the Gorgosaurus.
Walking with Dinosaurs is based on the 1999 BBC miniseries of the same name. It is directed by Neil Nightingale and Barry Cook. The film is produced by BBC Earth, an arm of BBC Worldwide that was launched in 2009. BBC Earth’s managing director Amanda Hill and creative director Neil Nightingale sought to produce film adaptations to extend the arm’s brand of nature programming. They were inspired by returns for Deep Blue (2003) and Earth (2007), both theatrical versions cut from their respective nature documentary series.
In June 2010, BBC Earth entered a deal with Evergreen Films, based in the United States, to produce a film featuring dinosaurs. By the following November, BBC Earth entered a deal with Reliance Big Entertainment to finance the production of three films, including Walking with Dinosaurs. Production of the film was anticipated to cost $65 million, and the deal initially attached Pierre de Lespinois of Evergreen Films and Neil Nightingale of BBC Earth to co-direct the film. Variety reported, “Nightingale describes the project as ‘mainstream entertainment’ rather than natural history… but draws accurately on the latest discoveries in paleontology.”
The film features computer-animated creatures in live-action settings. Production began in 2011 in the U.S. state of Alaska, where Evergreen Films is headquartered. The film’s dinosaurs lived in Alaska during the Late Cretaceous period approximately 70 million years ago, though they lived more in the northern part of the state due to the climate at the time. Filmmakers considered Southeast Alaska’s rainforests below the Arctic Circle close to the climate that the dinosaurs experienced, so they filmed there and in Southcentral Alaska. Specific locations included Crow Creek Mine near Girdwood, Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. In 2012, the state government of Alaska awarded the production companies a subsidy of $1.7 million. Additional filming took place on an island off New Zealand.
The production incorporated animation work from the company Animal Logic, who is collaborating with animation producer Jinko Gotoh. The 3D effects were achieved with the use of the Fusion 3D system, which was used for Avatar (2009), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), and live 3D sports broadcasts. In January 2013, Variety reported that Charlie Rowe was cast “in the lead role” for the film.
Walking with Dinosaurs
Directed by: Neil Nightingale, Barry Cook
Starring: Charlie Rowe, Angourie Rice
Screenplay by: John Collee, Theodore Thomas
Cinematography by: John Brooks
Film Editing by: John Carnochan
Art Direction by: Ken Turner, Simon Whiteley
MPAA Rating: PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Taglines: Trained to kill. Left for dead. Back for more.
During an operation of a Mexican Cartel, Machete Cortez and Sartana Rivera intercept the criminals alone, but another group arrives and a masked man kills Sartana. Machete is arrested, accused of killing his beloved Sartana and Sheriff Doakes hangs Machete. But the President of the USA pardons and recruits Machete to kill the revolutionary Marcos Mendez that has threatened the USA with a missile with a bomb.
Machete goes to San Antonio to meet the Miss San Antonio Blanca Vasquez that will be the liaison between Machete and President Rathcock. Then Machete goes to the brothel of Madame Desdemona to seek out the prostitute Cereza that is Mendez’s mistress. Machete meets Mendez and learns that his heart is connected to the missile and only the arm dealer Luther Voz is capable to disarm the bomb. Now Machete needs to bring Mendez to the USA in less than twenty-four hours and save his new country in a dangerous journey with betrayals.
Machete Kills is an American action-comedy film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It is the third film based on Grindhouse fake trailers. Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Tom Savini, Billy Blair, Electra and Elise Avellan, Felix Sabates and Jessica Alba reprise their roles from the first film, as well as being joined by series newcomers Mel Gibson, Demián Bichir, Amber Heard, Sofía Vergara, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, William Sadler, Marko Zaror and Charlie Sheen (credited by his real name of “Carlos Estévez”).
About the Story
The film starts with Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) and Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) attempting to capture weapon dealers who have been supplying the Mexican drug cartels. The military men are then all killed by the gangsters, who in turn are wiped out by another intervening party. Its leader murders Sartana while Machete is arrested by a corrupt Sheriff Doakes (William Sadler) and Deputy Clebourne (Samuel Davis).
Doakes tries to unsuccessfully hang Machete but the President of the US, Rathcock (Charlie Sheen), intervenes. Machete is brought to the White House, where the president offers him US citizenship if he eliminates Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir), a psychopath who is threatening to fire a nuclear missile at Washington, D.C. if the American government does not intervene to stop the rampant drug cartels in Mexico and the corruption of its government.
Machete agrees and travels to San Antonio, where he meets his handler Blanca Vasquez (Amber Heard), an undercover beauty pageant competitor. She sends him to Acapulco to meet a young woman, Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens), who can lead him to Mendez. Machete finds her in a brothel run by her mother, Madame Desdemona (Sofía Vergara), who attempts to kill Machete before he escapes with Cereza. She takes him to Mendez’s associate, Zaror (Marko Zaror), who kills Cereza before taking Machete to Mendez’s base of operations.
There, Machete learns that Mendez has wired the missile’s launch device to his heart and triggered its launch in 24 hours. If he dies, the missile fires. After killing Zaror he captures Mendez, intending to escort him to US and find a way to disarm the missile. Machete learns that Mendez is an ex-secret agent who tried to expose his corrupt superiors, only to be betrayed and forced to watch his family being tortured. The trauma drove him insane by creating his split personalities, as well as led him to join forces with the missile’s creator.
Shortly thereafter, a hit is put on their heads. Machete is targeted by Madame Desdemona and her prostitute assassins, including a shapeshifting hitman called El Camaleón (Lady Gaga), as well as Doakes. Machete and Mendez manage to reach the US and kill Doakes and Clebourne only to be caught by a reborn Zaror and the same mercenaries who killed Sartana. Zaror decapitates Mendez and Machete is riddled with bullets by the gunmen.
Machete wakes up to find himself in a healing tank. He is taken to meet Zaror’s benefactor—corrupt businessman, inventor and Star Wars fan Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). He shows Machete Mendez’s beating heart, preserved in a jar, as well as informs him of his plan to manipulate extremists throughout the world to detonate nuclear weapons while planning to escape in a spaceship to rebuild society in space. Machete then escapes with help from Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), who had heard about the hit on Machete. She informs him that the only one who can disarm Mendez’s heart is Machete’s old enemy, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini). Machete contacts Vasquez, who instructs him to meet her at a rendezvous point.
Arriving there, Machete is betrayed and ambushed by Vasquez, who is in league with Voz. As she is escaping into the desert, Machete gives chase and jumps onto the top of her vehicle but falls off after gunfire comes through the roof. Machete is then given a ride by El Camaleón, who tries to kill him one last time. But he escapes and El Camaleón ends up being shot to death by a group of racist rednecks just inside the US border.
Machete then reunites with Luz and her group, the Network. They infiltrate a fundraiser at Voz’s base of operations. Machete realizes Voz was the one who killed Sartana and fights him. He severely burns Voz’s face, disfiguring him to the extent that Voz is forced to wear a metallic, silver mask. Meanwhile, Vasquez shoots Luz in her good eye, completely blinding her. Luz kills Vasquez in return but is captured by Voz, frozen in Carbonite and taken aboard his ship.
Machete jumps on the missile as it launches and disarms it in mid-air, while Voz boards the ship and departs with the Zaror clones, his supporters, as well as Luz. The disarmed missile then plunges into the Rio Grande and Machete is rescued by President Rathcock, who asks him to follow Voz into space and kill him. Machete agrees and uses a SpaceX rocket to depart to Voz’s Station in Earth’s orbit, where he is given a laser machete to start his mission.
In a post-credits scene, an outtake from the Luz and Blanca fight scene is included followed by a shot of President Rathcock in front of a space background inquisitively brandishing two of Voz’s guns (the molecular disruptor and the same pistol used to kill Sartana) before firing wildly at an off-screen target.
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Screenplay by: Kyle Ward
Caylah Eddleblute: Steve Joyner
Cinematography byB Robert Rodriguez
Film Editing by: Rebecca Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez
Costume Design by: Nina Proctor
Set Decoration by: David Hack
Music by: Robert Rodriguez, Carl Thiel
MPAA Rating: R For strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 11, 2013
Taglines: Play or be played.
Princeton grad student Richie, believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block. Richie is seduced by Block’s promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.
Runner Runner is an American crime thriller film directed by Brad Furman, and written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien. The film stars Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, and Anthony Mackie, and was produced by Arnon Milchan, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Brian Koppelman, and David Levien.
It was released in Belgium, France and the Philippines on September 25, 2013, and in several other countries on the following days. It was released in the United States on October 4, 2013. Some parts of this narrative are based on the life of Nat Arem, a professional poker player and former accountant at Deloitte Touche who helped uncover cheating in online poker by using statistical methods to analyze thousands of games. The film received generally negative reviews from critics.
About the Story
Richie Furst used to have a lucrative career on Wall Street; this history prevents him from receiving tuition assistance at Princeton, so he funds his master’s degree by referring students to online gambling, for which he receives a cut. After the dean threatens to expel him for these activities, Richie tries to win his tuition using his excellent poker skills in online gambling, but he loses all his money to a cheater, something he is able to prove by statistics.
Richie goes to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block, who runs the biggest empire of online gambling websites in the world, including the one Richie lost his money on. After Ivan sees the statistics, he finds coders have coded the software to allow them to cheat. After firing those involved, Ivan tells Richie he’ll pay him millions per year to stay in Costa Rica and assist with the site.
Richie slowly begins a romantic relationship with Rebecca Shafran, ex-lover of Ivan, who appears to have no objections. Ivan has Richie blackmail a gaming affiliate with videos of his infidelity to force him to sign with Ivan. FBI agent Shavers kidnaps Richie and threatens to ruin his life in various ways if he does not assist in a conviction of Ivan Block. Shavers cannot do anything legally as he has no authority in Costa Rica, but he takes advantage of this to use tactics that would be illegal and unethical for law enforcement inside the United States. Ivan tells Richie that everyone in the organization ends up confronted by Shavers at some point.
Over time, Ivan’s organization is revealed to be less than ethical. He sends Richie to bribe Costa Rica gaming director Herrera with too small a payment, which leads to Richie being beaten. Ivan tells him it comes with the territory of such a lucrative career. Ivan throws Herrera and his bodyguard into a lake of crocodiles, but pulls them out before they are eaten. Richie’s friend Andrew Cronin, who works on the software design for Ivan, finds that Ivan is running a Ponzi scheme; the players’ accounts have no actual money, and Ivan uses the money as his own bank account, keeping just enough to allow players to cash out when they need to. Cronin disappears and is later found nearly beaten to death. Aware that Richie might be wanting out, Ivan buys the massive poker debts of Richie’s father and brings him to Costa Rica, using him as a hostage.
Directed by: Brad Furman
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Ben Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Ben Schwartz, Diana Laura
Screenplay by: Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Production Design by: Charisse Cardenas
Cinematography by: Mauro Fiore
Film Editing by: Jeff McEvoy
Costume Design by: Sophie De Rakoff
Set Decoration by: Monica Monserrate
Music by: Christophe Beck
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 4, 2013
Taglines: Sin is a Choice.
A rich and successful lawyer, the Counselor, is about to get married to his fiancée but soon becomes entangled in a complex drug plot with a middle-man known as Westray. The plan ends up taking a horrible twist and he must protect himself and his soon to be bride as the truth of the drug business is uncovered and targets are eliminated.
The Counselor (spelled The Counsellor in some markets) is a British – American thriller film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy. It stars Michael Fassbender as the eponymous Counselor—who gets in over his head in a drug deal around the troubled Ciudad Juarez, Mexico / Texas border area—as well as Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. The film deals with themes of greed, death, the primal instincts of humans and their consequences.
The Counselor was chosen as the closing film at the 2013 Morelia Film Festival and also played the Cork Film Festival. The London premiere was held on October 3, 2013 in Leicester Square. The New York City premiere was held on October 9, 2013. The film has received mixed reviews from critics and was theatrically released on October 25, 2013.
About the Story
A man, known only as “The Counselor” (Michael Fassbender), and his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz) are lying in bed and speaking to one another in an increasingly suggestive and erotic manner. Meanwhile, somewhere in Mexico, cocaine is packaged in barrels and concealed in a sewage truck, driven across the border and stored at a sewage treatment plant.
After the Counselor goes to Amsterdam to meet with a diamond dealer (Bruno Ganz) to purchase an expensive engagement ring for Laura, he proposes and she accepts. He has expensive tastes, driving a Bentley and wearing elegant suits. At a party thrown by Reiner (Javier Bardem) and girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz), the Counselor discusses a nightclub he and Reiner intend to run, as well as the Counselor’s interest in an upcoming drug deal, which would be his first.
The Counselor meets with Westray (Brad Pitt), a business associate of Reiner’s. He hears of the deal’s four-thousand percent return rate, but Westray warns The Counselor about becoming involved in such a deal, saying that Mexican cartels are merciless. Afterwards, as the Counselor fully resolves to participate in the drug deal, Reiner describes an execution device called “the bolita” which gradually strangles/decapitates the victim. Reiner also describes how disturbed he was from an incident involving him, Malkina’s vulva and his car’s windshield which reminded him of the fish in aquariums that suck on the glass walls.
The Counselor visits a client, a prison inmate named Ruth (Rosie Perez) who is on trial for murder. Ruth’s son is a biker and a valued cartel member known as “The Green Hornet” recently arrested for speeding. The Counselor agrees to bail him out of jail.
Malkina, a ruthless criminal herself, employs “The Wireman” (Sam Spruell) to steal the drugs. He does this by decapitating the biker with a wire stretched across the highway. After collecting the component that will allow the sewage truck to start, The Wireman drives to the sewage treatment plant, where he steals the truck containing the cocaine.
Learning of this incident, Westray meets with The Counselor to notify him that The Green Hornet is dead and that the cocaine has been stolen, bleakly intoning The Counselor’s culpability. Westray says he is leaving town immediately and suggests The Counselor do the same. Westray explains that the cartel’s ruthlessness extends to creating “snuff films” where murder victims are filmed on camera.The Counselor makes an urgent call to Laura, arranging to meet her in another state, where he will explain.
The cartel has learned that The Counselor bailed out The Green Hornet, which appears as suspect timing and fully blameworthy for the putative purposes of the cartel. In Texas, two cartel members pretending to be police officers pull over The Wireman and his accomplice. The accomplice shoots and kills one of the imposter “police officers” and wounds the other. The wounded cartel member manages to kill the accomplice and The Wireman, also gunning down a passing-by driver.
Reiner is accidentally killed by cartel members while attempting to capture him. Laura is then kidnapped. In a last-ditch effort, The Counselor contacts Jefe (Rubén Blades), a high-ranking cartel member, for suggestions on what to do next. Jefe philosophically advises The Counselor to live with the choices he has made long beforehand.
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Christopher Obi, Natalie Dormer, Paris Jefferson, Rosie Perez, Andrea Deck
Screenplay by: Cormac McCarthy
Production Design by: Arthur Max
Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolski
Film Editing by: Pietro Scalia
Costume Design by: Janty Yates
Set Decoration by: Sonja Klaus
Music by: Daniel Pemberton
MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 25, 2013
Taglines: Where there are gods, there are monsters.
The story begins with a young Annabeth, Luke, Grover and Thalia running to Camp Half-Blood while being pursued by monsters. Thalia sacrifices herself to get the others into the camp, and her father Zeus transforms her into a pine tree, creating a magical border around the camp so that no other half-blood would suffer from a fate as she did. The scene then shifts to Percy during a camp competition against Clarisse La Rue. Percy loses the competition after he assists another camper, and is badgered by Clarisse.
Soon after, Chiron and Mr. D investigate a Cyclops that has somehow passed through the border, and the cyclops is revealed to be Tyson, Percy’s half-brother. After the campers pick on Percy and Tyson, the camp is suddenly attacked by a Colchis Bull, who breaks through the border and ravages Camp Half-Blood. Percy finally defeats it with the help of Tyson, Annabeth, and Clarisse, and Luke Castellan suddenly appears and confronts Percy, trying to convert the son of Poseidon to his cause. When Percy refuses, Luke disappears.
The campers soon realize that Thalia’s tree has been poisoned and that they have been left vulnerable to attacks. Percy asks Chiron about a prophecy he is involved in (for Luke had tried to bait him with the knowledge earlier), and visits the Oracle, who tells him of a prophecy of Percy either saving or destroying Olympus. Annabeth then proposes a quest to Mr. D, where they retrieve the Golden Fleece from Polyphemus in the Sea of Monsters and use it to heal Thalia’s tree.
Mr. D then announces the quest, but chooses Clarisse to lead the quest instead, much to Annabeth’s and Percy’s dismay. Percy then convinces Grover and Annabeth to accompany him on the quest, and Tyson joins them against the groups’ wishes. Annabeth hails the Taxi of Damnation, and Percy threatens the three drivers to tell him of his prophecy, and they give him a set of coordinates in the Sea of Monsters before ejecting the group from the cab in Washington D.C.
While walking down the street, Grover is kidnapped by Chris Rodriguez and taken to Luke. Meanwhile, Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson meet with Hermes and he gives them a thermos that releases the winds from the four corners of the earth, and a magical box sealer that, when taped around as a border, can make anything disappear. The three ride a Hippocampus to Luke’s yacht, The Princess Andromeda, where they are captured and locked in the brig. Percy frees them with the box sealer and they escape after fighting through Luke’s men and a Manticore, using the thermos to escape on the ship.
The group is consumed by Charybdis after Tyson loses the thermos, and they discover Clarisse in the monster’s stomach. Percy and Clarisse work together to escape Charybdis’s gut, and they arrive at CirceLand, Polyphemus’s lair. Percy finds Grover and the five escape Polyphemus, retrieving the fleece and trapping him in his cave. Afterwards, Luke arrives and demands the fleece from Percy, who refuses. Luke shoots a crossbow at Percy, but Tyson takes the bolt in the chest before falling to the water below, much to Percy’s shock.
Luke begins reviving Kronos as Percy laments over the loss of Tyson. The team then escapes captivity and a fight ensues. Percy grapples with Luke over the Fleece, but Luke easily gains the upper hand. Luke is suddenly thrown away by Tyson, revealed to have survived his wound, due to the water healing it, as he is Poseidon’s son. The group however watches in horror as Kronos rises from the sarcophagus. Kronos consumes Luke and Grover, before battling Percy. Percy realizes that Riptide is the “cursed blade” of the prophecy, and slays Kronos with it, who regurgitates Grover and Luke, the latter landing in Polyphemus’ Lair.
Their victory is short lived as Annabeth is stabbed from behind by the Manticore, who is killed in turn by Clarisse and Grover. Annabeth dies in Percy’s arms, but is resurrected by the Fleece. Percy then gives the fleece to Clarisse and they return to Camp Half-Blood. Clarisse places the fleece on Thalia’s tree. The group returns later to find Thalia alive, as the fleece “did its job too well” and returned her to human form. The film ends with Percy realizing that Thalia is a child of Zeus, and therefore is another possible child of the prophecy about either preserving or destroying Olympus.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
Starring: Logan Lerman, Sean Bean, Nathan Fillion, Alexandra Daddario, Stanley Tucci, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Alisha Newton, Katelyn Mager
Screenplay by: Scott Alexander, Marc Guggenheim, Larry Karaszewski
Production Design by: Claude Par
Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson
Film Editing by: Mark Goldblatt
Costume Design by: Monique Prudhomme
Set Decoration by: Selina van den Brink, Shane Vieau
Music by: Andrew Lockington
MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: August 7, 2013
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world, he will face a host of unexpected and deadly opponents in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality.
The most iconic character in the X-Men universe embarks upon on an epic journey in modern-day Japan in The Wolverine. Inspired by the celebrated Marvel comic book arc, Logan (Hugh Jackman), the century-old mutant known to the world as Wolverine, is lured to a Japan he hasn’t seen since World War II – and into a shadowy realm of Yakuza and Samurai.
Suddenly finding himself on the run with a mysterious, beautiful heiress and confronted for the first time with the prospect of true mortality, Logan will be pushed to the physical and emotional edge – further than he’s ever been. On a perilous journey to rediscover the hero inside, Logan will be forced to grapple not only with powerful foes, mutant and human alike, but with the ghosts of his own haunted past, as well. As The Wolverine crosses his adamantium claws with Samurai swords, striking out through a maze of love, betrayal and honor, he will truly come to know the price of a life without end.
“This story takes The Wolverine into a world that is vastly different from any seen before in the X-Men series,” says Hugh Jackman, who also serves as a producer on the film. “It’s visually different and the tone is different. There are a lot of battles in this story, but the greatest battle of all is the one within Logan between being a monster and a becoming a human being.”
The Wolverine first emerged in 1974, when the character made his premiere appearance in the very last panel of an issue of The Incredible Hulk — one that foreshadowed his joining the band of mutant heroes known as The X-Men. He would soon be world-renowned for his adamantium claws, his powers of self-healing and his primal “berserker” rages – all of which would serve to forge The Wolverine into a superstar of the superhero realm.
In the 1980s, The Wolverine truly came into his own – in a four-issue miniseries created by “X-Men” writer Chris Claremont and the legendary graphic artist Frank Miller (“The Dark Knight,” “Sin City”). In the series, the character makes a solo journey to Japan, only to be lured into a maelstrom of crime, betrayal and honor, in the midst of which he is forced to confront both his terrifying strengths and his undiscovered vulnerability. Trying to maneuver in a world he can barely understand, The Wolverine, for the first time, finds his inner sense of justice.
Long a favorite of fans of Wolverine, the arc had also been an inspiration for Oscar®-nominated actor Hugh Jackman, who has embodied the character in six blockbuster X-Men movies (and is currently before the cameras in a seventh film). Jackman saw in this untold part of the character’s history a rare chance to dive even deeper beneath The Wolverine’s indestructibility, and to illuminate his darkest aspects in a new way.
That desire got a boost when Jackman teamed up with James Mangold, who had previously turned the story of Johnny Cash into a riveting account of love and rebellion in Walk the Line, and re-jiggered the classic Western 3:10 to Yuma into a contemporary cat-and-mouse game set around mythic themes of friendship, duty and destiny. He was the right choice to bring a new view to The Wolverine, and to take the character outside the usual conventions of the X-Men storylines.
“Jim Mangold knows how to make a movie that is fun, has incredible action, and yet also delivers all the finer elements of character and storytelling,” says Jackman. “He pushed me to go deeper, angrier, heavier, more berserk in every way and in every take.”
From the start, Mangold wanted to break the mold of the comic book-based film. Explains the director: “What interested me about The Wolverine was doing something quite different from the standard superhero movie, where it’s about stopping a villain’s diabolical plot. In this story, the action and suspense are built more on character, and are woven into a world that makes for a completely different kind of experience, one that you haven’t seen before.”
Though characters from Wolverine’s past are brought into the mix and there are allusions to what he has gone through in his previous adventures, the focus is on an alternate track from the X-Men movies.
“When you’re making a movie about a team of people like The X-Men, there’s only so much you can get inside their heads,” notes Mangold. “But this film is able to really get inside Logan, to explore who he is and the sources of his rage. He’s someone who has been used by the Defense Department, by the government, by enemies, by villains, even by loved ones. And over time his anger at that has grown, only to be multiplied by his natural, preexisting feral quality. Yet, within this story, he begins to he learn how this rage might be able to fuel and empower him.”
Ultimately, Mangold began to see the story more as an unflinching thriller about a man with a dark past searching for his future identity, than as something from a fantasy comic-book universe. “I think one the things that will most surprise people about this film is how real it is, how much you completely lose yourself in this world, in the action, the drama and the romance,” he comments.
Mangold was especially drawn to the uncertain junction where Logan finds himself at the beginning of this story: he’s been down many dark roads, feels he has lost or damaged nearly everything he loved, and is unsure if there is any path left to redemption. The one thing he has going for him is his immortality. But even that may be more of a curse than a blessing.
“One thing I find particularly interesting about Wolverine is his immortality, the fact that with his healing factor he can go on forever like a god, and because of that he also experiences the loneliness of a god. Even when Logan loses those he loves, he knows that he will keep going on,” Mangold observes. “He’s been going on for a century now, through wars and battles and deaths of his loved ones and he’s come to a point of great weariness. It’s a classic theme – the man who can live forever but suffers because of it. Logan is a damaged hero, and this story is very much about him looking to reclaim something he’s lost in himself.”
Mangold embraced the opportunity to take Logan directly into the heart of present-day Japan, which is as full of sleek, high-tech modernity as it is rife with deep traditions and hidden codes of honor. “This story takes Logan into a kind of fever dream of today’s Japan, full of Yakuza, Ninja, Samurai, Industrialist crime, mystery and mysticism,” the director explains.
The Japanese setting allowed Mangold and Jackman to re-imagine Logan in a fresh guise: as aRōnin. “In feudal Japan, the Samurai belonged to a master, and a Rōnin is a Samurai who no longer has a master to serve. So, he is a kind of a warrior without a purpose, without a cause,” Mangold explains. “Many of the people who made Logan feel part of a cause are now gone. So, he’s essentially a lost man, capable of doing anything, with no mandate. That’s an iconography that American Westerns and Samurai films share and now we’re bringing a comic book character into it.”
Juxtaposed with the beauty of Japan are intense action sequences, ranging from accelerating bullet trains to the towering menace of The Silver Samurai. But here, too, Mangold wanted to explore beyond the usual boundaries. “We were always thinking about pushing the envelope with the action and the visuals,” he says, “but doing so in a way that you never lose the sense that what is happening is very real.”
The entire production team was excited to be doing something unusual with a character that has become so beloved. Joining Jackman as producers on the film are Lauren Shuler Donner, who has been a vital part of X-men movie history from the very beginning, and Hutch Parker, who worked together with Donner to support Mangold’s vision.
“This really is the quintessential Wolverine story,” sums up Parker. “It takes him on a deep journey. It mines the essential conflicts within him. It challenges him, both physically and emotionally, in ways that we have never seen. It takes us into a Japan that is very real yet alien to us.”
Parker sees Mangold’s approach as a strong fit with the material. “Jim has built on what has come before in his own way,” he concludes. “He wanted to make this world viscerally real and was willing to not just show Wolverine’s rage but to answer the questions of why.”
Logan in Limbo
Though this marks the sixth time that Hugh Jackman has donned the persona of Logan – the most times a single actor has ever played a comic book hero — The Wolverine is like nothing that had come before. For one thing, as the film starts, Logan is unsure of what direction to turn as he heads to Japan.
“He’s someone who has always marched to beat of his own drum but at the beginning of our movie he’s probably more isolated than you’ve ever seen Wolverine,” explains Jackman. “He’s disaffected with the world, because he was created as a weapon and he’s rebelling against that – and he feels that he is a danger to society.”
Jackman goes on: “You will see Logan more vulnerable, more at risk, and more of a monster than you’ve ever seen him before. He’s struggling with identity, he’s struggling with his reason to exist, and now he faces the choice of whether to embrace his true nature or not.”
Jackman especially enjoyed taking Logan into Japan, which he notes “is like nowhere else on the planet,” a place that both haunts and changes Wolverine the more he engages with it.
“The atmosphere of Japan seeps through the movie,” Jackman observes. “For Logan it has the effect of wiping clean all his normal ways of interacting with people and reading situations. He has to start fresh. Japan is a fairly insular society with a very strong sense of its own culture and history, so Logan is really a stranger in this strange new world. He learns about the Samurai code, the training and the honor system. But he’s immediately distrustful of it, not dissimilar to when he first entered the world of X-Men. Yet, he watches and he adapts. He starts to gain respect for the idea of being a warrior, for the sense of service that they have. And he starts to become the better version of himself.”
From the start, Jackman was committed to taking Wolverine to new levels of physicality. The meant throwing himself into the most intensive and disciplined preparation regime he has undergone yet, combining rigorous diet, hardcore physical training, and intensive martial arts instruction.
“I’ve always loved playing this character but I have always had this thing of ‘I wish I had gone a little bit further physically with him,’” Jackman confesses. “This script gave me an opportunity to go further emotionally than I’ve been and I wanted to do the same physically. I started training and started a very strict diet far in advance since we had the preparation time. And I think the results have paid off because when I look at the screen, I see Wolverine there. I think it’s important for him to be lean, to see veins, to be vascular yet very strong obviously. I’ve always wanted people to look at the screen and go, whoa.”
Learning new fighting styles was also paramount to the performance. “I have always portrayed Wolverine as a street fighter and a pub brawler. His style is not pretty, he doesn’t want to hang around and jab at you, he just wants to take your head off in three seconds and move on. His fighting style is not studied in any way. But one of the great things about this story is that when he comes to Japan, he starts to really take that kind of discipline and training to heart.”
Jackman did the same, working closely with the leading stunt team 87Eleven to hone a variety of ninjitsu and other Japanese martial skills. “The team at 87Eleven were fantastic,” he says. “I was training every day and let me tell you, I thought the gym work was hard but training on the martial arts floor is ten times harder.”
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova
Screenplay by: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, Christopher McQuarrie
Production Design by: François Audouy
Cinematography by: Ross Emery
Film Editing by: Michael McCusker
Costume Design by: Isis Mussenden
Set Decoration by: Rebecca Cohen
Music by: Marco Beltrami
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Taglines: He’s fast. They’re furious.
From the makers of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and The Croods, Turbo is a high-velocity 3D comedy about an underdog snail whose dreams kick into overdrive when he miraculously attains the power of super-speed. But after making fast friends with a crew of streetwise, tricked-out es-car-goes, Turbo learns that no one succeeds on their own. So he puts his heart and shell on the line to help his pals achieve their dreams, before Turbo-charging his own impossible dream: winning the Indy 500.
Turbo is ah American 3D computer-animated comedy sports film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is based on an original idea by David Soren, who also directed the film. Set in Los Angeles, the film features an ordinary garden snail whose dream to become the fastest snail in the world comes true. The film was released on July 17, 2013.
About the Story
In a suburban San Fernando Valley garden in Los Angeles, Theo, a.k.a Turbo, is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world, just like his hero, 5-time Indianapolis 500 champ, Guy Gagné. His obsession with speed and all things fast has made him an outcast in the slow and cautious snail community, and a constant embarrassment to his older brother, Chet. Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he’s living, but his one chance to live proves a near fatal disaster when he tries to recover a prize tomato and needs to be rescued by Chet.
Demoralized, Theo wanders onto a freeway to admire the traffic and wishes he was fast on the first star (which is actually an airplane light). Suddenly, he gets into a freak accident when he gets sucked into the supercharger of a drag racer, fusing his DNA with nitrous oxide. The next day, when Theo wakes up, the incident finds himself vested with incredible speed and accuracy, as well as some characteristics of an actual car. Unfortunately, Theo’s first attempt to show this power off ends with him crashing a Big Wheel tricycle into the garden, getting himself and Chet fired from the garden crew by their foreman.
As the siblings quarrel over Theo’s problems, Chet is snatched by a crow, but is pursued and rescued by Theo at a run down strip mall called Starlight Plaza. There, they are captured by Tito, a “Dos Bros” taco truck driver, and are brought to a snail race held by him and his co-workers. Theo astounds both humans and snails alike and earns the respect of the snails, led by Whiplash, with his crew members Smoove Move, Burn, Skidmark, and White Shadow, who have skills of their own.
Inspired by this extraordinary snail, Tito dreams to revive the strip mall with Theo as an attraction, and eventually with the help of the snails who manage to divert and strand a tour bus and drum up impressive business. At this success, Theo convinces Tito to enter him in Indianapolis 500 as a competitor. While Tito’s brother, Angelo, still declines to support him, the neighbors agree to put up the entrance fee and accompany them to Indianapolis.
Directed by: David Soren
Starring: Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman
Screenplay by: David Soren, Robert Siegel, Darren Lemke
Production Design by: Michael Isaak
Cinematography by: Chris Stover
Film Editing by: James Ryan
Art Direction by: Richard Daskas
Music by: Henry Jackman
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action and thematic elements.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: July 17, 2013
Taglines: Good Cop. Mad Cop.
FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) – the Fed – and Boston cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) – the Fuzz – couldn’t be more incompatible. But when they join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies.
From DGA Award winner and Emmy® nominee Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids (worldwide theatrical gross: almost $300 million), THE HEAT takes a look at the odd couple pairing of two law enforcement officials who, to their everlasting shock, slowly find themselves on the same page. Starring Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock, whose films have grossed $2.9 billion worldwide, and Academy Award® nominee Melissa McCarthy, who has had two consecutive smash hit comedies – Bridesmaids and Identity Thief – in as many years, THE HEAT has bawdy laughs and real emotional stakes.
The Heat is an American buddy cop comedy film written by Katie Dippold and directed by Paul Feig. The plot centers on Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn and Boston Detective Shannon Mullins, who must take down a mobster. The film was released in the United States on June 28, 2013.
About the Film
When we meet Sarah Ashburn, she’s hoping for a promotion and high-tails it from her home base in New York City to Boston, to help solve the mystery behind several murders. Standing in Ashburn’s way is a hard-hitting Boston police officer, Shannon Mullins, who’s not happy that the FBI – especially the stuck-up Ashburn — is treading on her turf. Ashburn is determined to wrestle the case away from Mullins, but the disheveled, foul-mouthed, in-your-face cop is a formidable adversary. They’ll soon discover they have more in common than they ever thought possible, including their misfit status and complementary skillsets.
The Ashburn-Mullins dynamic is akin to that eternal physics problem about an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. Only, here, it’s hard to tell who is which. Ashburn is ambitious, talented, brainy, and possesses Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction and intuition. She’s always the smartest person in the room, and isn’t shy about letting everyone know it. The socially awkward Ashburn has no family, significant other, or even friends. Her only companion is a cat…that belongs to her neighbor.
“Ashburn’s effectiveness as an FBI agent comes from her meticulousness, stubbornness and thoroughness,” says Bullock. “But she’s completely inept when it comes to any kind of social interaction. She’s trying so hard to make up for that particular weakness that she becomes insufferably arrogant on the job. Ashburn is respected but not liked because she isn’t a team player. Every time she opens her mouth, people cringe.”
If Ashburn needs to be taken down a notch, then Mullins is only too happy to oblige. Mullins, says Melissa McCarthy, is “all kinds of bark, but no bite – though she might actually bite people.” Mullins grew up on the streets of Boston, and has a shoot-from-the-hip (and mouth) style of dealing with crime and its perpetrators. She’s the “yang” to Ashburn’s “yin.”
Ashburn likes to get inside people’s heads; Mullins prefers bashing them in. It’s not surprising, notes director Paul Feig that the dynamic between Ashburn and Mullins is initially antagonistic, because “Ashburn wants to prove herself by solving a big case, but Mullins doesn’t want Ashburn on her turf. Mullins will not back down. In fact, she’s used to people backing down from her.”
So, Ashburn is stuck with Mullins, but the FBI Special Agent eventually realizes that her new partner’s street smarts can be an asset in their pursuit of their criminal quarry. “By learning from Mullins how to be more instinctual, in-the-moment, and less cerebral, Ashburn breaks out of her shell, opens up her thinking, and becomes a better agent,” says Feig.
At the same time, Mullins learns from Ashburn how to exercise a little self-control, and to take a breath before beating the crap out of someone. Then something completely unexpected occurs. “We joke about this, but THE HEAT is kind of a love story,” says McCarthy. “Mullins and Ashburn struggle with each other, get past it, and then actually begin to enjoy working together. That brings some heart to the comedy. Nobody wants to watch two goofy people do things poorly. But Ashburn and Mullins together are better than the sum of their individual skills, so you’re rooting for them.”
Turning on ‘The Heat’
The Heat is the first produced screenplay by Katie Dippold, who has written for television shows like Parks and Recreation and MadTV. The film was born from Dippold’s love of buddy-cop movies. She has many favorites, but singles out the 1986 comedy-action film Running Scared, starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as wisecracking Chicago street cops. “I’ve always enjoyed those kinds of movies,” says Dippold, who recently signed a deal to write another comedy for director Paul Feig. “The characters and actors always seemed like they were having so much fun.”
Dippold’s love of buddy-cop films provided the foundation for a script that ultimately transcended the genre with outrageous humor and heart. Feig sparked to the script, calling it “one of the funniest I’ve ever read.”
“It turns the genre on its head by adding some breasts,” jokes Bullock. “It’s gonna surprise people what women with breasts can do.”
When the filmmaker told Dippold that THE HEAT was going to be his next film, the neophyte screenwriter was flummoxed. “I thought I was being pranked,” Dippold admits. “I got an email saying that Paul wanted to have lunch with me. After reading the email, I sat there frozen for several minutes. Then, I thought it was a joke.”
“Well, that’s Katie,” says producer Jenno Topping. “She’s incredibly humble and real.”
With Dippold’s first draft in hand, Feig moved at warp speed to cast the film, a task facilitated by his visualizing his “dream team” in the script. “I’ve always been a fan of Sandra Bullock, and as I was reading I was just like, okay, Ashburn is Sandra. Ashburn felt like her. Sandra is so funny in movies and in real life. She’s confident and cool, but she’s also analytical about things to a point where it’s comical, and which I love. And that’s how I felt about the Ashburn character.”
“Sandra brings a sweet quality to what could have been an unlikable character,” adds Katie Dippold. “She really nails that ‘A+-student’ vibe, and she’s hilarious.” And McCarthy notes that, “Sandra is great, funny and weird. We are very much in sync.”
It didn’t take much convincing to bring Bullock aboard THE HEAT. She was a big fan of Bridesmaids, and eager to work with its director, Feig. “Watching Bridesmaids was one of those rare moments when I thought to myself that this is a person [Feig] I want to work with because you know he is going to make you better – and that he could turn THE HEAT into something memorable.”
To cast Mullins, Feig looked no further than his Bridesmaids breakout star, Melissa McCarthy. “On Bridesmaids, Melissa became my hero,” he says. “So, about 15 pages into reading THE HEAT, the idea of casting her just snapped into my head. The script, which was already hilarious, got ten times funnier when I read it while imagining Melissa as Mullins.
The chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy was evident from the first table read. “When we read the script [together] for the first time, Melissa and I would make the same faces, simultaneously,” Bullock recalls. “Our rhythms are different, but we worked so well together, they began to click. We made so many connections; it’s something I never thought I would have on this level.”
The strength of the Bullock-McCarthy dynamic, evident even then, inspired additional script fine-tuning. “By the end of that first read, it was obvious that Sandy and Melissa really inhabited these characters, and that it was up to Katie Dippold and me to take all that magic and get it into the script – and really let the women fly,” says Feig.
Dippold remained with THE HEAT through production, coming up with alternate jokes and character bits. “I always allow improv,” Feig notes,” but you must always start with a great script.”
For Dippold, the process was liberating. “Sandy and Melissa took what was on the page and made it funnier than I thought it could ever be,” she says. A particular favorite came during a Mullins’ tirade against her captain (played by Tom Wilson) – accusing him of lacking a set of testes – when he refuses her demand to boot Ashburn from the case. “Melissa really ran with the one scripted line, ‘Have you seen the captain’s balls?’ and turned it into something spectacular.”
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Kaitlin Olson, Taran Killam, Raw Leiba, Michael Rapaport, Kathryn Shasha
Screenplay by: Katie Dippold
Production Design by: Jefferson Sage
Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman
Film Editing by: Jay Deuby, Brent White
Costume Design by: Catherine Marie Thomas
Set Decoration by: Kyra Friedman Curcio
Music by: Michael Andrews
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 28, 2013