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.
No True Artist is any one thing. Not hero, not villain. Not God, not monster. Not snow-angel-making/love-theme-from-Top Gun-singing/light-beer-swilling/gloriously-bemulleted Arctic hedonist, not automatic-weapon-polishing/lone-wolf-hunting/murder-hungry psychopath. He goes where the Art takes him and does what the Art demands of him. And if it takes him to a distant mountaintop and demands he lie down in an icy drift to croon Berlin until he finds his Coors-sponsored Truth, so be it. Because in that transcendent moment, he takes our breath away.
Silver: For as good as the Bourne films are, they inexplicably always seem to get lost in the shuffle of summer movie marketing. So I was treating The Bourne Legacy just like I did the previous three, as a film that was just going to magically appear to be the perfect late-summer, high-quality digestif after a long summer of gorging on sugary and fatty cinematic fair.
Until now. I just circled August 3 on my calendar in red marker.
Liev Schreiber has taken on his first regular television job: the starring role in Showtime’s Ray Donovan, a family drama with comedy elements about a Los Angeles “fixer” who solves problems for celebrities and rich people but can’t work out the issues in his own private life. Sounds great! Only one question right now: How long through the first episode until someone yells out at Liev, “You’re the fixer fix it!”? Grade: A- [Deadline]
Melissa McCarthy is having an excellent week: On Sunday, she won the Emmy for Best Comedy Actress, and yesterday, CBS picked up a sitcom she co-wrote with her husband, Ben Falcone. (It is, in her own words, “about a woman in her mid-40s who has a spectacular midlife crisis” and “what a midlife crisis means for a woman, which is very different from [what it means for] men.”) If this lucky streak continues, today Melissa McCarthy will probably enter and win a very lucrative raffle. Grade: A [Deadline]
Simon Cowell is working on a stage adaptation of The X Factor for London’s West End, and has reached out to British comedian Harry Hill and comedy music producer Steve Brown to drum up ideas for what such a monstrosity might look like. This is great news for British pop star Cheryl Cole, who now has one more iteration of X Factor from which she can be fired. Grade: D [Deadline]
Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger only had cameos in the first Expendables, and that movie made $275 million worldwide. But they've both signed on for “substantial” roles in the sequel (also returning, most likely: Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, and Jet Li), so expect The Expendables 2 to make $20 kajillion. Grade: B+ [Deadline]
Just as we requested, Eddie Murphy will indeed be the host of the Oscars this year (it was confirmed shortly after the rumor went out yesterday morning). In a statement, Murphy said “I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others.” “Also, just to put the speculation to bed: Yes, I will be doing the entire telecast as Donkey from Shrek,” he did not add. Grade: A [Deadline]