The reboot of Troma's 1984 cult classic The Toxic Avenger has a big Austrian attached. According to Variety, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in talks for the project, not to play the title character but rather another, undisclosed lead role. Perhaps a rare villainous turn for our dude Arnie?
We've got summer blockbusters on the brain this week on the Hollywood Prospectus, and so we thought it'd be a good time to run back some of the summer movies we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts, the films that epitomize everything a summer movie should be. There will be explosions, there will be bus jumps, there will be fridge-nukes. But mostly, there will be our enduring love of summer escapism in its purest form. (Also, three-breasted hookers.)
So much eyebrow-raising Hollywood casting news and project announcements, so little time. Let's get to it!
Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed he's doing Terminator 5. This isn't coming out of nowhere. There was already a money man (Oracle scion Megan Ellison, who we can thank for the existence of Zero Dark Thirty and The Master) attached to the project, as well as a pair of screenwriters (that'd be Laeta Kalogridis, best known for Shutter Island, and Patrick Lussier, best known for, uh, My Bloody Valentine 3D and Drive Angry.) Plus, Arnold's The Last Standjust flopped, and so if there was ever a right time to return to the tried-and-true, this would be it. According to reports, Schwarzenegger simply confirmed he was doing the movie, without doling out any superfluous quotes or explanation. Most impressive! He's in character already!
Surprise, surprise: Very few people said the words "I simply must go see the disgraced former governor of California palling around with a dude who used to get his nuts Tasered on a regular basis" this weekend. In other words: The Last Stand, Arnold's big post– politics and secret-love-child-with-nanny return to the multiplex, flopped at the box office, managing only $6.3 million and a 10th-place finish. My opinion? Johnny Knoxville should have been wearing a dumber hat.
When a somewhat under-the-radar movie breaks out in a big way, it's natural for producers to go back to the well and make a sequel. The problem is when this happens with a movie that wasn't really left open-ended. So with Taken 2, as with The Hangover 2, you get a lot of characters saying what the audience is: variations on "I can't believe this is happening again!" But calling it out doesn't excuse it.
So you followed up your exit from the Governors Mansion by revealing a secret love child, signing up for a bunch of movies no one seems particularly psyched about, then dropping a memoir no one really buys — what do you do next? Why, a desperate-seeming but possibly epic sequel of your very first hit, of course! Going all the way back to the original blueprints, Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed up for The Legend of Conan, a sequel that will find the warrior in the winter of his life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Simmons watch Arnold's old workouts from the documentary film Pumping Iron, and Arnold explains how much he worked out, who he worked out with, and why he later bought the "precious" film that launched his career.
Sylvester Stallone gives and gives, and then he gives some more. He gives us his heart (Rocky). He gives us his body (Rambo). He gives us his mind (Tango & Cash), his spirit (Over the Top), his very manhood (The Party at Kitty and Stud's). And in August of 2010, so drained by more than three decades of selfless, soul-depleting creation that he recognized that he might need to enlist the help of his friends to sustain his artistic output, he presented us with perhaps his greatest gift: The Expendables. You know the logline by now: STALLONE! STATHAM! LI! LUNDGREN! COUTURE! AUSTIN! CREWS! ROURKE! WILLIS! Guns were fired, asses kicked, face-paralyzing botulinum toxins injected in quantities that could smooth an elephant. Sly gave, and we received. Today, almost exactly two years later — an almost miraculous refractory period for a battalion of action stars approaching or surpassing Social Security eligibility — Stallone gives again. The Expendables 2. But should you open your arms — and, more important, your wallet — to receive his explosive largesse? We're here to ask the hard questions in an effort to help determine if an Expendables ticket purchase is the right decision for you.
In a logical move, Lionsgate, the studio behind tomorrow's presumptively weekend-exploding Expendables 2, has just released the trailer for Last Stand, Arnold Schwarzenegger's post-Governatorial, solo comeback vehicle. (A vehicle, it seems, that's got a giant cow-catcher A-Teamed to the front bumper as it hurtles toward a January 2013 release. But we digress.) It makes perfect sense to tie Stand to Expendables 2's release given Schwarzenegger's prominent role in the latter; it would feel like promotional malpractice to do otherwise.
Editor's note: When the first Expendables came out in 2010, the general consensus seemed to be "this is great seeing all these perfectly aged action stars come together for one preposterous, over-the-top testosterone explosion, but how could they have left out Liam Hemsworth?" Luckily, The Expendables 2 comes out this week to right its predecessor's wrongs. Join us as we celebrate the careers of the most illustrious ensemble cast to hit the big screen since New Year's Eve.
Editor's note: The Total Recall remake hits theaters this weekend, and aside from a few pro–Colin Farrell stalwarts who will not be named, most of us here at Grantland are just feeling misty for the Arnold Schwarzenegger action era of which the original was a vital part. Every Governator has his origin story, and this is Arnold's.
Young Arnold Schwarzenegger in Brazil
"Rio: one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It's hard to find more gorgeous beaches, mountains, and women anywhere. I came to Rio for Carnival. I'd heard a lot about it, but nothing could prepare me for a nonstop, five-day party where once a year the whole city goes absolutely crazy."
[This week, we pour one out for the late, great Ray Bradbury (and geek out over the impending release of Prometheus) with our favorite sci-fi clips. Note: If you don't see the videos, please try another browser. We put them in, we promise.]
Dan Silver: Frack off, Battlestar Galactica. I love you, but there’s been no piece of sci-fi created in the last decade (maybe two) that has been able to sniff the space jock of Duncan Jones’s brilliant Moon. Its dexterity in construction is rivaled only by Sam Rockwell’s (most heartbreaking Oscar snub of 2009) performance. I’ve sat through this movie at least five times, and am constantly amazed by Jones’s seamless blend of computer-generated landscapes and CGI with practical effects, and consistently haunted by Clint Mansell’s score. If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and Netflix it now.
With the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ YA novel The Hunger Games about to hit theaters, Americans are getting more comfortable with the idea of a reality competition in which ordinary kids are challenged to fight to the death. But Collins’ book trilogy, as well received as it has been, did not originate the notion of a dystopia in which innocents are conscripted into a televised battle for their lives: The Hunger Games is part of a long tradition that also includes The Running Man.