*Boris Kodjoe is back for the fifth installment of “Resident Evil,” playing the role of Luther West.
The sexy on screen actor is happy to have been a part of the project, alongside Seinna Guillor, Shawn Roberts and Milla Jovoich.
“I love Milla and her husband [the film's writer-director, Paul W.S. Anderson]. They’re amazing. Our families have become really close,” he explained. “My boys Kevin Durand and Johann Urb, we go way back. I’ve known them for 16 years,” Boris said.
While he’s best known for his ‘black roles,’ this particular film series opened him up for other opportunities in the industry.
“People understand that I can do action. It’s definitely added to the cache and opened up a door for more possibilities in action drama.”
Meanwhile, “Resident Evil” is this weekend’s top earning film at the box office, taking in $21 million and swamping the 3D re-release of “Finding Nemo.”
It was even bigger overseas, grossing an estimated $50 million from 50 markets, led by a $10.3 million opening in Japan. That’s the biggest of the year for a Hollywood movie there, topping both “Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers.” It also made $8.5 million in Russia, according TheWrap.
*It may have been titled “Fast Five,” but the film was definitely a six cylinder full throttle ride, that doesn’t let up on the gas for the 2 hour and 30 minute adrenaline rush. This was definitely one of the best installments to the 11-year running franchise of The Fast and the Furious.
Now there are some critics who might say, “yeah right, the fifth installment of anything can’t be good.” But due to the key factors of the combining the cast from the first four movies, excellent actions sequences, beautiful location set in Brazil, and director Justin Lin with his ability to tie it all together, it adds up be one hell of a ride, without letting off the gas.
While the story line may seem a bit familiar, not swaying away from the original formula from the other four installments, the corny yet witty humor, action packed yet decent storyline and the touching yet random sentimental scenes all some how come together and makes this film a solid beginning to this spring and summers’ line up of action blockbusters.
Bottom Line: if you’re into action packed films with breathtaking stunts and “knock your socks off” sequences, “Fast Five” is going to take you on the ride of your life. Check out the trailer below.
*Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) is winding down a 28-year career riding the rails with the Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR).
Despite the lack of a blemish on his sterling record, the veteran engineer’s being forced by the company to take an early retirement in a cost-cutting measure set to take effect in just a couple of weeks.
To add insult to injury, Frank finds himself partnered with Will Colson (Chris Pine), a young conductor who’s recently been hired because of his union connections. It is therefore understandable that there might be some tension in the air when, because of the rookie’s mistake, they end up leaving the train yard pulling a few more freight cars than intended.
However, that faux pas pales in comparison to the one simultaneously being made elsewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. For some inane reason, AWVR’s worst engineer (Ethan Suplee) decides to jump off his slow-moving locomotive to throw a switch to direct it onto another track.
Trouble is that, before he can climb back up, the throttle inadvertently slips down into the “FULL” position and the half-mile long freight train takes off without anyone aboard, quickly accelerating to 70 mph. Worse, this frightful development puts the runaway diesel on a collision course with a passenger train filled with school kids on an outing emanating from the Northern end of the state.
Can what looks like certain disaster somehow be averted? Of course, that challenge falls at the feet of fearless Frank who nobly rises to the occasion as soon as he learns about the dire situation. In so doing, he both grudgingly buries the hatchet with inexperienced Will and also suppresses his bitterness about being fired.
That, in a nutshell, is the clichéd premise established practically at the outset of Unstoppable, an edge-of-your-seat roller coaster ride designed with the Attention Deficit Generation in mind. The thrill-a-minute adventure, based on actual events, proceeds to serve up a series of near misses one after another, much like the mind-numbing, taser-like overstimulation offered by your typical computer game.
Though this film features Denzel Washington doing what Denzel does best, namely, playing the selfless stoic with good teeth, the performance is undermined a bit because his character feels so familiar. There’s definitely a “been there, done that” about the predictable goings-on here since, just last year, he similarly saved the day in the remake of another train thriller, The Taking of Pelham 123.
How long are you willing to watch an out-of-control locomotive barrel all over Pennsylvania while waiting for the altruistic heroes to enjoy their climactic moment? 90 minutes, I hope.
Good (2 stars) Rated PG-13 for profanity and scenes of peril. Running time: 98 minutes Studio: 20th Century Fox
*What makes Iron Man stand apart from other comic book screen superheroes is the savoir faire of the title character’s debonair alter ego.
Billionaire inventor Tony Stark is always quick with the clever quip, whether reacting flirtatiously to the arrival of a new employee (“I want one!”), impulsively entering the Monaco Grand Prix (“What’s the point of owning a race car if you can’t drive it?”), or dismiissing an insufferable adversary (“You look like you have friends in low places.”).
This makes the movie a delight to watch not only during the obligatory fight sequences but the rest of the time as well. Credit in this regard must go to by Robert Downey, Jr. for lending an abundance of natural charm to the role and to director Jon Favreau for ostensibly encouraging his star’s inclination to augment his scripted lines with lots of inspired ad-libs.
Besides Downey, other returning cast members include Favreau as Stark’s chauffeur Happy Hogan; Gwyneth Paltrow as his employee and potential love interest Virginia “Pepper” Potts; Leslie Bibb as reporter Christine Everheart, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson; and Samuel L. Jackson in an expanded capacity as General Nick Fury. And foremost among additions to the A-List ensemble are Don Cheadle who replaces Terrence Howard as Stark’s pal Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes; Mickey Rourke as his nemesis Ivan Vanko; Sam Rockwell as his business rival Justin Hammer; and Scarlett Johansson as the inscrutable temptress Natalie Rushman.
Robert Downey Jr. & Don Cheadle
The sequel picks up right where the original adventure left off, with Iron Man serving as a formidable deterrent to those even thinking about causing trouble anywhere on the planet. Because his identity has been revealed, Stark is soon subpoenaed to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee by a showboating Senator (Garry Shandling) demanding that he share his secrets with the military. But the suspicious genius inventor, feeling that he has successfully privatized world peace, refuses out of a concern that the state-of-the-art technology could fall into the wrong hands.
Meanwhile, half a world away, Ivan Vanko, a maniacal Russian physicist with a personal grudge to settle with the Stark family, is meeting with frustration while working on his own impenetrable suit of armor. His limited resources and lust for revenge conveniently dovetail with the needs of munitions manufacturer Justin Hammer who has plenty of money but not the know-how to compete with Stark Industries.
This straightforward setup hints at the inevitable battle royal between the forces of good and evil. En route to that spectacular, special effects-driven showdown, expect to be engaged by a variety of intriguing subplots revolving around everything from Tony’s failing health to Rhodey’s loyalty to Pepper’s promotion to CEO to Natalie’s true identity.
Overall, a satisfying sequel signaling a promising start of the summer blockbuster season. Just be sure to hang around clear through to the end of the closing credits for a big clue about which Marvel superhero might be adapted to the big screen next.
Excellent (4 stars) Rated PG-13 for profanity and intense sci-fi violence. In English and French with subtitles. Running time: 125 Minutes Distributor: Paramount Pictures
*Actors Zoe Saldana and Idris Elba and the rest of the cast of the new action flick “The Losers” hope to be winners at the box office this weekend. The movie, based on the graphic novel of the same name, opens nationwide today.
It tells the story of members of an elite Special Forces unit that was double crossed looking for payback. Saldana stars as Aisha, a femme fatale that teams up with the group as they weave through gunfire and explosions.
“It was exhausting,” Saldana said of gearing up to the do the mass action. “Sometimes you ask yourself, ‘Is this going to have any permanent damage?’ The reality is that it’s fun, it looks great, and it’s the least that I can do.”
“We have very privileged professions,” she continued. “For three months we get paid a lot of money to give the audience a really good adventure. I’ve always been one of those that if I can tell that it was not the actor doing that stunt, you’ve lost me. We really wanted to go as far as we could physically go. The reward when you get to see a scene and see your entire team, from your director to your actors and your stunt coordinator and everyone is gleaming, it’s just great. You feel really happy.”
Saldana said that it was extremely important for the actors to trust the cast and crew in order to execute the stunts convincingly.
“When you have the most amazing, professional crew, you know that if you fall they’re going to catch you. If they don’t, they better run,” she joked. “I’m guiding myself with everything that they’ve done and they’ve basically choreographed for me. It’s with the intention of getting it done and not getting hurt. When you have that trust, you can really focus on the character and on what you’ve been rehearsing and working really hard to accomplish.”
“There’s an element like when you go to the circus, there’s an element where you see the performers and they’re doing these real stunts and their faces are alive and they’re smiling. I think we have an element of that, especially in this film where we have a crew that loves us and they want to see how we’re going to do this stunt and still act,” Elba added. “That’s one of the challenges that just keeps the whole thing alive.”
“If I don’t feel that I can trust my stunt coordinator or I can’t trust the camera department or I can’t trust the director that they will yell cut in case I get hurt, I’m not going to put myself there,” Saldana said.
“And it’s kudos to us if we can throw a joke in while we’re doing something really cool and dangerous. Those subtle things, the audience picks up on.”
The cast agreed that while there is a lot of action and gunfire in the film, it’s not nearly as graphic as the novel or other films of the same vein.
“This takes it back kind of to the 80s action movie where there’s a bad guy and there are the good guys and it is obvious that they’ve been wronged and that have to bring justice for all and save the day,” Saldana said of the storyline. “That’s a different kind of violence; it feels morally coordinated, as opposed to let me just shoot this person.”
She also added the same sentiment to gratuitous sexuality. Her character’s sex appeal is a quite evident in the film, but the actress said that there is certainly a place for it.
“The reality is that we’re soldiers. Men, as trained soldiers, they are going try to do everything within their power to get the mission done. A woman would be no different. She’s a soldier. If her physical assets are a weapon that she can use, then by all means we’re not overly exploiting this,” she said.
“The unconventional feel of the film allows us to watch Aisha be a real bad-ass and also sexy at the same time in the same way that it allows Jensen (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)to be quite a campy character and bad-ass soldier,” Elba agreed. “That’s the tone of the film. In this film the characters are so unconventional and the stories are so well balanced, it allows us to have that freedom. Of course you top that off with a bit of humor and some great characters you have yourself a great film.”
“You have yourself a great action movie,” Saldana added.
For more on “The Losers,” also starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Columbus Short, and Jason Patrick, visit www.the-losers.com.
*Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Dark Castle Entertainment, presents the Weed Road Pictures production of The Losers in theaters April 23, 2010. This rated PG-13 film is full of action, comedy, romance, intrigue and fantasy – all the makings of a movie franchise.
Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo comic book series by Andy Diggle, with illustrations by Jock, The Losers star Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) as Clay; Zoe’ Saldana (Avatar, Death at a Funeral) as Aisha; Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) as Jensen; Idris Elba (Obsessed) as Roque; Columbus Short (Quarantine, Death at a Funeral) as Pooch; Oscar Jaenada as Cougar; Holt McCallany (Vantage Point) as Wade, and Jason Patric (My Sisters Keeper) as Max.
“That love scene was hard. I said can we take one more, she didn’t flip her hair right,” Jeffrey Dean Morgan laughed when talking about his love scene with his lovely co-star Zoe Saldana.
The Losers is about an elite group of Special Forces agents fighting betrayal from outside and within, in an attempt to clear their names so they can return home. The team – Clay, Hensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar – all have their own specialty skills in the fight against the enemy only known as Max. They all have their weakness too such as Pooch’s growing family and the leader Clay’s feelings for the lovely and mysterious Aisha.
“I first saw Zoe’ in Haven (2004) and was just waiting for a chance to work with her,” said the films’ director Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) about casting Saldana. “I was able to get my first choice for each character. The movie is…conspiracy…hard hitting action with…humor…you’re watching a comic book.”
I loved the futuristic technology that the film presents and yes, I like the comic books feel it gives. All the actors carried their characters to the point that I am sure each will have their own followings (and maybe spin-off films).
“I got to beat up Jeffrey (Clay),” Idris Elba laughed, “It was a wicked opportunity… to play an interesting arch (to the character). All our characters have layers so when it ends its believable.”
Executive produced by Steve Richards, Andrew Rona and Sarah Besser, The Losers is also co-produced by Richard Mirisch, and produced by Joel Silver, Akiva Goldsman and Kerry Foster. The screenplay was written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt.
Multi-Grammy Award winning Jon Secada releases CD of ‘Classics’ on Big 3 Records
*A CD of classic songs from a very classy vocalist is the recent gift from Big 3 Records as it releases its newest project from Multi-Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Jon Secada. The CD titled “Classics/Classicos” is full of English and Spanish speaking selections that returns Jon to his roots and yet also returns the listener to moments in times past that brought greatest joy.
“(The songs are) Known in both languages,” said Jon Secada about his choice of songs. “I wanted to do a remake like this, songs I grew up with…songs everybody knows in English and Spanish.”
Recorded with a full orchestra in Nashville, TN and produced by James Stroud – with Bill Edwards as executive producer – “Classics” features classic standards such as my favorites Santana’s “Evil Ways,” there is some crazy guitar support on this one; Englebert Humperdinck’s “Cuando Cuando” because Jon goes vocally crazy hitting an unbelievable high note; Frank Sinatra’s “Besame Mucho (Kiss me a Lot)” which took me – mentally – to another place; Dinah Washington’s “What a Difference a Day Make” was so sweet, it brought tears to my eyes, and I love the horn support too; the old classic ”Vaya Con Dios (God be with you)”; “Spanish Eyes” because Jon put so much passion into this one and I love the guitar support, and “LaBama” because it is in Spanish and I love the Latin culture, again the guitar support was unbelievable, and made me what to get up and party!
“I wanted to make the orchestra simple,” Secada explained when I commented on how he stayed with the way the classics originally sounded, but yet made them his. “I wanted them to recognize the standards.”