Warner Bros. wants 'The Fugitive' to go on the run once again
Credit: Warner Bros

Warner Bros. wants 'The Fugitive' to go on the run once again

Who's going to get framed for murder this time?

There is a purity to the concept of "The Fugitive" that I admire. When the original four-season series ended, almost half of the available audience tuned in to see whether or not Richard Kimble would be able to finally bring the mysterious one-armed man to justice before being captured by the cops who had been chasing him throughout the entire run of the show. I can't even imagine a show so popular that half of the population tuned in at the same time, and I'm not sure TV will ever create another hit with that kind of reach in our world of a million channels.

The 1993 feature film version of "The Fugitive" was unexpectedly huge when it was released. Heading into that summer, the biggest question was whether "Jurassic Park" or "The Last Action Hero" would be the hit of the summer, and while the dinosaurs did indeed prove to be unstoppable, so did Andrew Davis's adaptation, with Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones giving an Oscar-winning performance as US Marshall Gerard.

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Review: "Mad Max: Fury Road" is a high watermark for blockbuster action films

Review: "Mad Max: Fury Road" is a high watermark for blockbuster action films

HitFix
A+
Readers
A+
George Miller's return to the Wasteland is as good as action movies get

If "Mad Max" is "A Fistful Of Dollars" and "The Road Warrior" is "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly," then clearly "Fury Road" is George Miller's "Once Upon A Time In The West," the moment when his movies move from the archetypical to the profound.

It seems impossible that George Miller has been away from live-action for 17 years. Then again, nothing about George Miller's career has ever really fit into any typical model. I always think of him as part of the Class of '82, the directors whose work really crystallized in what I maintain is the greatest geek movie line-up of all time. Most of those guys came out of the system, either through the Roger Corman training program or moving from TV to movies, trained at southern California film schools so they all had similar skill sets. Miller was different, though. He was never really one of them. He made his first film independently, and before they'd even release it in the US, they dubbed over the Australian accents. In America, "The Road Warrior" put Miller on the map in a way that "Mad Max" had not, and when he contributed a segment to "Twilight Zone: The Movie," he was definitely the odd man out in terms of process, and his segment stood apart in terms of sheer visual overdrive.

Part of what made "The Road Warrior" so special was that it felt like it really had come from a completely alien culture. The film's Australian origins meant that no one in the film was familiar, and the sound of it was unlike anything made here. Our car culture movies were of the far more redneck variety, and no one here had ever made a film that felt like it moved at the same insane velocity as Miller's movie. These days, I hear people mention Gareth Evans, the director of "The Raid" and "The Raid 2," as a potential candidate for this or that franchise movie, and every single time, I wince. Honestly, part of the reason his movies are what they are is because he makes them in Indonesia with a stunt team that works in a totally different way than anyone here in the US, for both legal and creative reasons. The same was true of "The Road Warrior." Watching those stuntmen throw themselves off those cars and trucks and crashing those giant metal death chambers into each other, it felt like you were watching something forbidden and dangerous and insane.

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Charlize Theron on the unexpected feminist kick of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
Credit: HitFix

Charlize Theron on the unexpected feminist kick of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

The star seems to have finally found the perfect action role

One thing I can state with absolute clarity is that Charlize Theron is going to walk away from "Mad Max: Fury Road" with brand-new fans, newly cemented as an action icon thanks to her work as Imperator Furiosa.

When I sat down to talk with her, I was still rabid from my first screening of the film, and I think it's pretty clear at this point that I don't have much of a poker face when I enjoyed a movie. The most startling thing about "Fury Road" is that it is unrepentantly feminist, but without treating that idea like an agenda. No one stops to explain to you exactly what the themes of the film are, but they don't have to. The films makes its points through action, defining these characters on the run.

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Junkie XL on creating the insane soundscape for 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
Credit: Warner Bros

Junkie XL on creating the insane soundscape for 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

We also ask the composer about tackling icons like Batman and Superman

The moment I was sent the download link for the "Fury Road" soundtrack, I loaded the entire score onto my iPod specifically so I could play it in my car.

Big mistake.

The first time through, I didn't even realize how fast I was going, but around the time we got to track four, "Blood Bag," I glanced at the speedometer and was startled to see I had crept up past 90 MPH. I pumped the brakes, and since then, I've had to fight my own natural inclination to speed up as I have been assaulted by the intense cacophony that is Junkie XL's "Mad Max: Fury Road" score.

I had about five days to live with the score before my phone rang one morning last week, and I jumped right into what turned out to be a great conversation with Tom Holkenborg, the Dutch composer who is building a reputation for himself as the guy who writes the music that's big enough for Max's trip down the Fury Road or Batman's first head-to-head with Superman.

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Review: Hot Pursuit - Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara's Road to Nowhere
Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Hot Pursuit - Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara's Road to Nowhere

HitFix
D
Readers
n/a
No one will remember they even made this by the end of this year

Anne Fletcher has had an admirably diverse career, and as a director, she's proven herself to be at least somewhat commercially adept. "Step Up" inspired a slew of sequels, "The Proposal" was one of the biggest of Sandra Bullock's hits, and now she's back with what looks like a big easy summer comedy hit, "Hot Pursuit."

It would be a lot easier to give the film a soft pass if it wasn't so aggressively lazy.

I get it. Formula is easy, and there are plenty of films that exist largely to play directly to expectations. Not every film has to be some radical reinvention of the form. A movie like "Hot Pursuit" is incredibly easy for the people who are giving out the greenlights to understand. "Two stars, on the road, mistaken for bad guys, lots of jokes." If you strike gold with that basic formula, you get "Midnight Run." If you strike out, you get "Hot Pursuit."

Hey, did you know Sofia Vergara has big boobs? And an accent? Did you know Reese Witherspoon is short?

There. Now you know every joke in "Hot Pursuit." The single genuinely charming sequence in the film is during the opening titles, where we see a little girl whose single father is a cop, growing up by his side, in his backseat, and surrounded by the world he works in. She grows up to become a cop, determined to live up to the example set by her father. All of this is shown in a series of sweet and funny cuts inside a police car.

And then we catch up with Cooper (Witherspoon) on the job, and she's stuck behind the desk in the evidence intake room thanks to an on-the-job mistake she made that has become legendary. She's given a chance by her boss, Captain Emmett (John Carroll Lynch), to redeem herself by accompanying a detective on a witness transfer. Felipe Riva (Vincent Laresca) has agreed to testify against a ruthless cartel boss named Cortez (Joaquin Cosio), and he and his wife Daniella (Vergara) are to be transported to Dallas where they can wait for the trial. Almost immediately, everything goes wrong when two totally different teams of gunmen show up, killing everyone except Cooper and Daniella, who are forced to depend on each other when it looks like cops and bad guys alike are trying to kill them both.

I don't watch "Modern Family," so I'm not sure how Vergara is on that show, but she's kind of a nightmare in this movie. It's the role as written, so I can't really blame her. It's like they were angry at her, so they made sure to make her shrill and spoiled and mean for no real reason, and the way Fletcher shoots her and the way she's costumed, her sexuality is a cartoon. I can't even describe it as offensive, because it's not like they treat Witherspoon any better. It's just bad writing. And the film's central "mystery" is pathetic, obvious from the beginning and it plays out as if we're supposed to suddenly take things seriously in terms of stakes.

David Feeney and John Quaintance both do a lot of television work, and one of the advantages of TV comedy is that you can start from a fairly broad character and, over time, learn what is great about the performer and the character both, and you can turn a big archetype into a human being over time. In an 87-minute film, especially one as mechanically plotted as this, all you ever get is that first broad level. Oliver Stapleton's photography is that bright washed out ugly that studios love for their mainstream comedies, appropriately anonymous, but it doesn't do either of the leads any favors at all.

It's hard to even get worked up about a film like this. It hurts when you see someone make a film that feels like they were trying their hardest but didn't make it. It can be frustrating when you see something where you radically disagree with the choices the filmmaker made. But a movie like this? I can't work up much passion about it at all, and it doesn't feel like anyone was particularly moved at any point in the process. By the end of the year, I'd be surprised if even the stars remember it happened. "Hot Pursuit" is just a placeholder until the next few big summer movies open, a write-off both creatively and, most likely, financially.

"Hot Pursuit" is in theaters Friday.

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Sony's supposed short list of 'Spider-Man' directors does not inspire confidence
Credit: Sony Pictures

Sony's supposed short list of 'Spider-Man' directors does not inspire confidence

Sony's got a lot riding on getting this choice right

There is a terrifically unkind way to report today's story, and a quick scan of Twitter should give you some idea of just how strong a reaction some people are having to the short list of directors that Deadline claims are in the mix to direct Sony's upcoming reboot of "Spider-Man."

First thought: Miller and Lord are making the wrong movie for the studio.

Second thought: why is this so difficult for Sony?

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New 'Indiana Jones' gets a little tiny bit more official
Credit: Paramount/Lucasfilm

New 'Indiana Jones' gets a little tiny bit more official

Now watch everyone overreact in their headlines today

Here's a good way to test reading comprehension.

Let's see how many people run stories today in which they state that it's now confirmed that Chris Pratt will be in an Indiana Jones movie.

Those stories, when they run, will be wrong. It will be a beautiful example of the way people connect dots, whether those dots are meant to be connected or not.

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'Hobbit' star Martin Freeman joins cast of 'Captain America: Civil War'
Credit: BBC

'Hobbit' star Martin Freeman joins cast of 'Captain America: Civil War'

Martin Freeman has joined the cast of "Captain America: Civil War."

Freeman's one of those guys who sort of bubbled along for a while, recognizable from his work on "The Office," but hardly a household name, and then all of a sudden he went nuclear. Between "Sherlock" and the "Hobbit" movies, he has become far more recognizable and culturally omnipresent in the last five years, and I'm all for it. He turns in continuously great work in everything, and I love seeing him in something like last year's "Fargo," something I would have never expected to see him in.

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Review: Schwarzenegger tries to stretch in slow-burn zombie film 'Maggie'
Credit: Lionsgate

Review: Schwarzenegger tries to stretch in slow-burn zombie film 'Maggie'

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Oddly, it's the filmmakers who fumble this one

For someone who has been making films as long as he has, there is a surprisingly short list of films where I would argue that Arnold Schwarzenegger gives genuinely good performances.

As a movie star, he doesn't really have to give good performances. That's one of the things that makes being a movie star so weird. There are legitimate legendary movie stars who have never given what I would call a good performance, but who do their jobs perfectly well. Being a movie star is far more about having a particular personality that you bring to every role. Most of the most famous Schwarzenegger films, he's just playing variations on himself. Even though I adore films like "Conan The Barbarian" and the first two "Terminator" films, I think his work in them is good because the directors of those films knew exactly what they wanted out of Schwarzenegger, and they practically build the films around him.

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It's official! Keanu will shoot even more faces in 'John Wick 2'
Credit: Lionsgate/Summit

It's official! Keanu will shoot even more faces in 'John Wick 2'

Lionsgate/Summit just sent out the announcement, and it's as direct as possible.

There will be a "John Wick 2."

Keanu Reeves will return as the dog-loving hit man with a fondness for shooting people in the face.

David Leitch and Chad Stahelski will return as directors.

And Derek Kolstad will once again write the film.

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