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One actor who was missing from the most recent Mission: Impossible movie was Jeremy Renner. We help to explain why Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt character sat out Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Although the Mission: Impossible movies started off with a rotating cast of supporting characters around Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character, the series has shied away from that with its last outings. Through the last 4 movies some characters that were introduced after part 2 and have reappeared are Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust, Simon Pegg’s computer geek turned spy Benji Dunn, and Michelle Monaghan’s as (ex-) wife Julia. When the sixth movie was announced, people assumed Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt character would also be one of those returning. Strangely enough he went missing.

When William Brandt was introduced to the series, Tom Cruise had been under fire. Not long before this he had been seen jumping on Oprah’s couch over his engagement to Katie Holmes, and as a result his sanity got questioned and his star power started waning. To make sure the Cruise brand couldn’t harm the lucrative Mission: Impossible series, the studio decided to add Jeremy Renner to play a potential new lead character in part 4: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

The audience however let go of their qualms with Cruise, and when the fifth entry (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) came out, Renner disappeared even more into the ensemble as he would not be needed as new leading man. That made it easy to write out his character for Fallout.

Renner had to sit out the sixth movie due to scheduling conflicts, which is a bit bizarre. As Hawkeye, he is part of the Avengers, so it makes sense that Avengers: Infinity War would be the movie responsible for this conflict. However, his Hawkeye character also had zero screen time. Instead Renner appeared in the average comedy Tag, about now adult childhood friends playing a game of tag. We don’t see him having chosen that over either franchise, so the whole thing is a bit weird.

Either way, Christopher McQuarrie, director of Mission Impossible: Fallout, tried to bring Renner back for a cameo, which the latter declined. Not surprisingly, as he would’ve come back just to see Brandt die. So explains McQuarrie to Empire:

“I had this whole idea that the movie would start with the death of a team member. And of course the first team member that’s always the first guy we talk about killing is Luther. Luther died in the first movie, and he quite famously said to Tom Cruise, ‘Hey man, how come the brother’s always gotta die?’ And Tom said, ‘You’re right.’ He was like, ‘Why do I gotta be the bad guy?’ And they made Luther nefarious and then suddenly a good guy, and six movies later it was the smartest question anybody’s ever asked Tom Cruise […] So I said to Jeremy, look we can’t kill Ving, it’s never going to work. No matter how many movies into it, it’s always going to be the same thing. ‘You killed the black guy.’ And we didn’t think the movie could recover if you killed Benji.

Renner replied with a no:

So I said to Renner, ‘Hey listen, I have this idea for an opening sequence where you sacrifice yourself to save the team, and that the mission-gone-wrong not only involves losing the plutonium, but involves the death of a team member.’ And Jeremy was like, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ […] He was smart not to take the short paycheck for three days of work and getting blown up.”

And there you have it: Renner didn’t show due to scheduling conflicts, and declined letting his character be killed off. This makes sense, as since the franchise has been kind to its supporting characters recently, we’re bound to see Brandt return sooner or later.

The post Where was Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt in Mission Impossible 6? appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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When actor Tom Hulce got nominated for his role in 1984’s Amadeus, he was only in his early 30s. The most notable role he had played on film before that had been in the comedy classic Animal House. It’s hard to imagine a gifted actor such as Hulce not thriving in Hollywood after a nomination, yet besides 1989’s Parenthood, Hulce seemed to vanish. Which begs the question: whatever happened to Tom Hulce?

At the moment Hulce only has 31 roles on film and television attached to his name. That is a far cry from the amount of movies someone like Eric Roberts has made. The roles Hulce did play are not even all live action, or film. As an example: one of them is as the voice of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, whereas the other is a guest spot on Frasier.

That doesn’t mean Hulce didn’t give working in film a shot. After Amadeus Hulce set up several projects, which unfortunately are mostly forgotten. There was the drama Echo Park (1985),  and the thrillers Slam Dance (1987) and Black Rainbow (1989). Having an Oscar nomination (or win) to your name is great, but as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Adrien Brody can confirm: you’re only as hot as your latest film. Although the aforementioned Parenthood did good, Hulce was not the lead in the film, but part of an ensemble.

Despite making occasional appearances in movies after the 80s, Hulce pretty much turned his back on Hollywood after that decade. That doesn’t mean he gave up on showbiz all-together, as Hulce has since gone on to . It was that original passion that had led him to landing the lead role in Amadeus in the first place. He may have moved away from acting for the most part, but over the past decades he has received accolades for his work as a producer on plays such as Spring Awakening (2007), and Significant Other (2017).

Hulce is currently living in Seattle. He still makes the occasional project in Hollywood such as a small acting role in 2008’s Sci-Fi bomb Jumper, and a producer role on 2018’s The Seagull.

Previously in this column we covered whatever happened to Bridget Fonda, whatever happened to Rick Moranis, and whatever happened to John McTiernan. Let us know who else you’re wondering about in the comments!

The post Whatever happened to… Tom Hulce appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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A24 is the film production company that has specialized in releasing arthouse films, such as Moonlight and Spring Breakers. Their strategy has paid off with critical acclaim, as they’ve currently already received 24 Oscar nominations.

One of the biggest narratives in culture is to say something is dead. TV is dead, cinema is dead, and music is dead. Anyone who is over 5 years old, knows that’s not true. Culture is too vast to go extinct, and although certain genres can fluctuate in popularity (horror is a good example here) they will never go entirely out of fashion. At the moment the narrative of cinema appears to be controlled by Netflix, and it’s true we have also spend a lot of time writing about the streaming giant disrupting the big screen experience (see How Netflix is banned at Cannes, the problem with film aspect ratio on Netflix, and Netflix’ attempts at localization. It’s also true superhero films are dominating the big screen, but that doesn’t mean there’s no space left for great smaller films. And perhaps no company has been better at releasing those recently than A24.

A24 was founded in 2012, specializes in film distribution, and kicked things off with the unassuming A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. This was a simpler time, when having Charlie Sheen as the star of your movie still seemed like a good idea. Since then however, the logo has popped up in front of some of our favorite recent movies. Here’s an overview.

Spring Breakers (2013, dir. Harmony Korine, cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez): This is a divisive film, but it’s also a true uncompromised work, in this case from the mind of director Harmony Korine. The movie sends up our society’s shift towards vapidness, with protagonists that are either bikini-clad teenagers or James Franco’s Alien, a wigger we still quote occasionally. Look at my shit indeed.

Under The Skin (2014, dir. Jonathan Glazer, cast: Scarlett Johansson): Director Jonathan Glazer doesn’t work much, but when he does his films are a must-watch. Before this he made Sexy Beast (from 2000), and Birth (from 2004). For this tale of an alien (played by Johansson) who moves through Glasgow, Scotland feeding on men he relied less on B-movie schlock such as Species than on older classy Sci-Fi fare such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Ex Machina (2015, dir. Alex Garland, cast: Alicia Vikander, Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac): Speaking of great Sci-Fi films, Ex Machina would be in our top 5 for this decade. The movie proves good Sci-Fi can still be seen on the big screen, and not just as Black Mirror episodes. This is a riveting three character piece, focused around an AI robot.

Good Time (2017, dir. Josh & Bennie Safdie, cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh): No other film in recent history has riveted us as much as this tale of a robbery gone wrong. This movie is pure energy on film, powered by a pulsating soundtrack from electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never. It’d be a shame to get into details about this one, but let’s just say you’ll fully embrace Pattinson as a proper actor after having seen it.

Those are our favorites from A24, but it’s been difficult to pick! As we mentioned the studio has been responsible for some of our favorite recent fare, and beyond these we also loved/liked movies such as The Spectacular Now, Enemy, Locke, Obvious Child, The Rover, A Most Violent Year, While We’re Young, Slow West, The End of The Tour, Mississippi Grind, Room, The Witch, Green Room, The Lobster, De Palma, Swiss Army Man, American Honey, It Comes At Night, Moonlight, The Disaster Artist, The Florida Project, and of course A Ghost Story.

It’s one hell of a list, especially given that the company has only been active since 2013. In terms of upcoming movies we are especially looking forward to seeing First Reformed, which we covered in our article on Ethan Hawke’s upcoming movies.

If you want to see the full list of A24’s movies, then head over here.

The post Why A24 is the best film production company right now appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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Seems like Neill Blomkamp – director of District 9 – has been tapped to direct a sequel to Robocop, called Robocop Returns. The South-African director had previously been trying to make a sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens, which unfortunately got shut down.

If it seems like it was only last week how we were writing about how Robocop is Jesus, that’s because it is. When putting that article together we had no idea only a week later we’d be faced with the news that Robocop is getting another sequel. Given how iconic the original is, it’s easy to forget there were previous attempts at continuations. And of course there’s also a reason we forgot, as they’re legit horrendous.

There was Robocop 2, (which featured a child villain), Robocop 3 (which had a ninja robot), an animated series (not sure we’ve seen this), a TV show (seen this, no memory whatsoever), a TV miniseries called Robocop: Prime Directives, and a reboot from 2014 that took it upon itself to rid the premise of any fun. So to answer the question of how we feel about Neill Blomkamp helming a new version: pretty good.

Now of course Blomkamp’s follow-ups to District 9 haven’t received the same acclaim as his debut. Contrary to most Elysium was the one we didn’t care much for, whereas Chappie proved to be a real winner. We suppose we have a higher tolerance for South-African rappers than others.

One thing’s for sure: Blomkamp has proven with both his movies and his short films (for his film studio Oats Studios) to be masterful at combining live action with special effects. We’re also excited about how the Robocop franchise has finally managed to snag a filmmaker again who has more on his mind than generic action scenes, as Blomkamp has previously delivered in integrating satire with action in District 9.

We hope the fact that this is a direct continuation, based on a script by original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, will help to finally steer the Robocop franchise back on track. If not, then there’s always space in Hollywood’s pile of creatively crushed filmmakers. At least that’s where we assume José Padilha now resides, who went from directing the great Elite Squad movies to the heavily meddled with Robocop reboot.

The post How we feel about Neil Blomkamp directing a new Robocop film appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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Ethan Hawke may have started off as a child actor with Joe Dante’s Explorers in 1985, but in the 90s he had already established himself as a strong dramatic actor thanks to roles in movies such as Before Sunrise, Dead Poets Society, Gattaca, and Alive. He has delivered to do great work since, so let’s have a look at Ethan Hawke’s upcoming movies.

If you’re a fan of Ethan Hawke, you’ll know he doesn’t like getting boxed into one type of role. Hawke may be most famous for his dramatic roles, but he has proven to be equally willing to take on comedy (Maggie’s Plan, Mystery Date), action (Training Day, Assault on Precinct 13) and even horror (Sinister, Daybreakers, The Purge). Even professionally he’s not just working as an actor, but also as a director (Chelsea Walls, Seymour: An Introduction) and writer (Ash Wednesday, the graphic novel Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars). This translates into his upcoming content, some of which has already screened at festivals.

First Reformed (dir. Paul Schrader, cast: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried): Paul Haggis is perhaps best known for his work as screenwriter of Taxi Driver. As a director his output has been all over the place, from Mishima to The Canyons, starring Lindsay Lohan. Luckily First Reformed is one of the good ones, in which a subdued Hawke plays a priest struggling with despair as a result of being exposed to tragedy.

First Reformed | Official Trailer HD | A24 - YouTube

Blaze (dir. Ethan Hawke, cast: Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat): No Ethan Hawke in front of the camera for this one. Instead Hawke is helming this biography of Blaze Foley, an American country singer who never made it big despite inspiring musicians such as Townes Van Zandt. Hawke has already received good reviews for this one, with some touting it as this year’s Inside Llewyn Davis.

Blaze - Official Trailer | HD | Sundance Selects - YouTube

Stockholm (dir. Robert Budreau, cast: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace): This film is based on the bank robbery that coined the term “Stockholm syndrome”, where hostages formed a bond with their captors. Hawke is playing one of the captors, despite not being Swedish at all.

Juliet, Naked (dir. Jesse Peretz, cast: Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke): A lot lighter is Juliet, Naked, in which Byrne gets involved in a romance with rock star Tucker Crowe (Hawke), who’s adored by her boyfriend (Chris O’Dowd). The film is based on a novel by Nick “About a Boy” Hornby, and reviews have either called it “charming” or “dumb”.

JULIET NAKED Official Trailer (2018) Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne Comedy Movie HD - YouTube

The Kid (dir. Vincent D’Onofrio, cast: Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan): Hawke’s no stranger to westerns (The Newton Boys, The Magnificent Seven) and this one comes from fellow actor turned director Vincent D’Onofrio. The story of Billy The Kid and Pat Garret has been told before, so it’ll be interesting to see The Kid‘s spin on it.

Let us know if we missed anything, and mention your favorite Ethan Hawke movie in the comments!

The post Ethan Hawke continues to thrive with upcoming movies appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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When Netflix saved Arrested Development all of us fans were ecstatic: finally we would get a continuation to one of the best comedy series to ever air on television. Although season 3 had wrapped in 2005, it took until 2013 to get a follow-up. Season 4 turned out to be a jigsaw puzzle of a season, and left many fans disappointed. Upon hearing Netflix would take another shot at reaching the quality of the show’s heyday we were enthusiastic, until we saw what they had in mind. Buster’s Mal Heart proves to be an even more bizarre chapter in the Arrested Development saga than season 4 was.

If you were one of the fans frustrated by season 4’s decision to keep all characters isolated for the most part, then you will not be happy with how Buster’s Mal Heart handles the beloved Bluth family. It seems Netflix has decided to emulate Disney’s Star Wars spin-off model (even though it’s been so unsuccessful that at this point it seems not even that Obi Wan Kenobi film will happen). In this first chapter in the Arrested Development film universe we follow beloved doofus Buster Bluth.

The first thing you will notice when starting Buster’s Mal Heart is the change in look. Director Sarah Adina Smith has opted to throw out Arrested Development’s bright color scheme in favor of drab visuals. Things get weirder from here on. In the same vein as Solo, Netflix decided to recast Tony Hale to show an earlier chapter of Buster’s life. Although we are big fans of Rami Malek’s performance in Mr. Robot we can’t help but be confused at his casting as a younger Buster. Although the two performers have a similar twitchy attitude in their way of acting, they couldn’t seem further apart in terms of similarities.

The logical choice would’ve been to follow Buster’s romance with Lucille two – given the title – yet instead we follow Buster as he becomes a family man who takes a night shift job working in a hotel. It gets weirder from there as instead of cameos from our beloved Arrested Development gang, we are treated to a plot involving conspiracies and Sci-Fi elements. None of our favorite gags are referenced, and the new ones don’t reach the height of the show. This despite the casting of comedic legend DJ “Road Trip” Qualls.

Since watching this spin-off movie we’ve seen the fifth season of Arrested Development. We are equally confused as we are happy to say at no point this odd detour in Buster Bluth’s saga gets acknowledged. We hope this marks the end of this Netflix experiment, before the Arrested Development name gets dragged even further down the mud.

The post Buster’s Mal Heart is a terrible Arrested Development spin-off appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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When we’re lucky enough to have the apartment to ourselves, one of our favorite pastimes is to get a few beers and to consume them during a random B-movie we have available. How else would you explain our review of Roddy Piper’s Hell Comes to Frogtown? The genre littered with action movies, and if you’re looking for something to watch after a hard week at work, Netflix’s your best choice. At least that’s how we ended up finally watching Jason Statham in Mechanic: Resurrection.

It seems currently Netflix’ action selection is littered with recent DTV output of Bruce Willis & Nicolas Cage, so we felt blessed to find this surprisingly competent action flick on the streaming platform. Of course our hopes weren’t very high, as we only remember the first Mechanic film as being an average remake of the fun original with Charles Bronson.

Luckily no memory of the previous film is required, as this sequel couldn’t give a fuck about plot or how it all ties in with the original. From the first five minutes, in which Statham throws a table at a woman trying to blackmail him, we knew what we were in for.

Make no mistake, Mechanic: Resurrection is aggressively stupid. The best description we found for the movie was “like watching someone else play through Call of Duty“. The very loose plot involves Statham being blackmailed to commit three hits, to ensure the freedom of his love Jessica Alba. That love by the way, Statham only met two days before she got kidnapped.

Luckily everything is in place here to provide a great piece of schlock cinema. Statham is at his most invulnerable, moving from one set piece to the next, Alba shows up as eye candy once again, and only gets bested by Thailand as the main location for this movie. Furthermore, it features a – unfortunately small – cash grab role by one of our favorite slumming actors: Tommy Lee Jones. We feel like the producers only agreed to pay Jones royally for his small role if he agreed to show up sporting a goatee and wearing red-tinted glasses.

The missions Statham – as if anyone cares what his character’s name is – goes on range from watchable to glorious, with the best taking place in a skyscraper. There’s enough gunfire to keep you entertained for an hour and a half, and Statham even gets to have some fun pretending to be a drunk pedophile, in a – successful – attempt to get thrown in jail.

It’s all good fun, containing classic B-movie tropes such as the horribly overqualified character traits attached to a horribly under-qualified actress (in this case Alba being a former operative who just wants to help those poor kids in Cambodia), and having some inventive kills.

If you ever wondered what Mission: Impossible would be like if it was written by a 12-year old and starring Statham, then this movie’s perfect for your Friday.

The post B-movie review: Is Mechanic Resurrection any good? appeared first on The Brain Jar.

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