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Posts Tagged ‘Ray Stevenson’

The Book of Eli, 2010 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on January 14, 2010

Director: The Hughes Brothers
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Tom Waits, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Frances de la Tour, Michael Gambon

This great review by the good people of CBR – spoilers ahead.

The film opens on nuked-out forest, with Eli (Denzel Washington) hunting his dinner – a hairless cat – as he wanders a post-nuclear event Western U.S. After scavenging the wasteland for a new pair of shoes and having an encounter with a group of highwaymen, Eli finds himself nearing a settlement. But before he arrives, he notices another group of men harassing some refugees, simply because they have books.

Once in the town, Eli trades with a tinkerer, played by Tom Waits. The exchange reveals some of the specifics of this world. Currency is anything that functions from the old world, with Chapstick in particular being a major form of payment. Across the road, Eli enters a tavern where he meets up with the crew who harassed the people with books outside of town. A fight ensues and Eli is stopped from killing them by Solara (Mila Kunis), the tavern girl.

Eli is then brought before the man in charge of the crew — and the town — Carnegie (Gary Oldman). After witnessing the fight, Carnegie believes Eli to be the man capable of finding a book he desperately needs to consolidate his power. Carnegie controls access to the clean water in the local area, but requires a very special book to unite the area. Little does Carnegie realize, Eli already has the book, but he can also tell that this town is not the tome’s proper final destination.

Eli spends the night as Carnegie’s guest. Solara is offered to him, but rather than have a carnal encounter, the two simply talk. She is intrigued by the stranger and his odd ways and, during the course of their conversation, Solara learns how to pray. The next morning, Solara tries to teach the prayer to her blind mother (Jennifer Beals) and Carnegie learns that Eli has the book he so desperately seeks.

Thus begins the chase, with the book as the ultimate prize.

The book, as it turns out, is The Bible. After Eli’s departure from Carnegie’s bar, Solara runs after him and learns that he has wandered the country for thirty years, all the while searching for a place where the book might be safe. Meanwhile, Carnegie informs his right hand man (Ray Stevenson) that “it’s not just a book, it’s a weapon.”

The first major surprise of the film is just how willing it is to accept the existence of The Bible, especially since one of the key features of popular science fiction is the genre’s general atheism. The various politics aside, sci-fi actioners of this scale rarely enter these theological waters. At the same time, the film is fairly even-handed in its spirituality. Events can just as easily be explained in sober, rational ways as they can be interpreted as acts of God. Eli’s faith, for example, is a power that only armors himself and does not necessarily offer others the same protection.

In Denzel Washington, Eli comes off as a fairly sober, rational person. Despite claiming to hear voices, the audience never perceives Eli as being crazy. This is entirely due to Washington’s screen persona and the actor’s sheer conviction in the role. Whether he is about to decapitate a cannibal or tell Solara about the world before it ended, you never doubt the character. There is a twist to the character, however, and it’s one that Washington gives subtle hints at throughout the film, resulting in an ultimate reveal that is completely rewarding.

As Carnegie , Gary Oldman is an effective antagonist. The actor portrays the villain ass soft-spoken for the most part and fairly naturalistic. He explodes only two or three times in the film, and the first of these is terrifying. Unlike the Oldman baddies of old, Carnegie does not need to prove his lethal force with every movement. He can afford to be affable because everyone in his town understands exactly what he can do. Carnegie is not a simple villain, either. In one memorable scene, he leans in to Eli and asks of the titular character, “Pray for me.” It is a sincere request, and Oldman’s eyes reveal just how much of Carnegie’s soul has been lost because he had to be the boss.

All of the film’s powerhouse acting is aided by some great action set-pieces. The film opens with a confrontation between Eli and the group of highwaymen that are revealed to be cannibals. The scene, tightly choreographed and edited, is played in shadow, and Eli reveals a ferocity and talent that is as mysterious as the book itself. The film’s centerpiece sequence is a raid of a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere where Eli and Solara are aided by a gentle, elderly couple. With inventive camera tricks, escalating levels of firepower and even a good dose of humor, the sequence plays extremely well.

In addition to the quality of the action, the Hughes Brothers — the film’s co-directors — bring a sense of reality to the proceedings. Although post-apocalyptic settings are pretty standard sci-fi movie fare after twenty years of “Mad Max” rip-offs, you never really question the situation in “The Book of Eli.” In similar films, there is often the sense of the present day just off screen. In the cheapest of these sorts of films, you will even see working highways and people not involved with the film going about their daily lives. Shot in New Mexico, “The Book of Eli” feels vast yet isolated. When the characters arrive in the ruins of a recognizable city, it’s much of a shock to the viewer as it is to Solara, a character who has grown up with no concept of cities.

The film does, however, take its time in getting to the plot. Eli’s initial walk to the town takes twenty minutes or so, and the ruins of the world are at times a little obvious. That luxurious opening could grate on those well-versed in the genre who are itching to see things move along, but once Washington begins to interact with others, the slow speed is replaced by the tension between two points of view on the book, represented by Washington and Oldman.

While there are several twists in “The Book of Eli,” the film’s most surprising effect is the way the premise will haunt the viewer. The film invites those that watch it to put themselves in Eli’s well-worn shoes, asking of them the question, given the last copy of the knowledge found in The Bible, what would you do with it? Destroy it? Cloister it away? Perhaps use it to form a new nation under your “careful” guidance? Maybe even preserve it? While the film never takes sides or presents the audience with an answer, it allows for a consideration of all of those viewpoints and leaves the audience with an intriguing puzzle: a mind game as entertaining as the film.

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Thor – Ray Stevenson to go Nutty Professor as Volstagg

Posted by LiveFor on December 11, 2009

As mentioned a while ago Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, Rome) is Volstagg of the Warriors Three alongside Stuart Townsend and Todanobu Asano in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. The main question I had was whether Volstagg in the film would be as rotund as he is in the comic. 

Empire Online sorted the issue out when they spoke to Stevenson about Volstagg’s look. He won’t be going all method De Niro Raging Bull style instead he’ll be donning a bodysuit 

“It’s fantastic,” Stevenson said “I’ve tried the suit on, and what they’ve done is kind of sex him up: he’s sort of slimmer but rounder.”

Sounds promising. He’ll be bigger than normal and close to the comic book but not as silly looking as Volstagg can often appear. Apart from the physical side of things it does sound as if Stevenson has a good handle on the actual character. 

“He’s got every bit of that Falstaffian verve and vigour, and a bit of a beergut to suggest that enormous appetite, but he’s not the sort of Weeble-shaped figure he is in the comics,” described the actor. “He’s Falstaff with muscles. I’ve got this amazing foam-injected undersuit that flexes with me. I can’t wait!” 

Marvel Chief Joe Quesada recently said that Thor was going to unlike any comic book movie we have ever seen. With Branagh at the helm and some great actors involved I think he could be right. 

Now all we need are some photos from the set.

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The Irishman – Poster for new gangster flick

Posted by LiveFor on November 23, 2009

An orphan from the tough streets of Cleveland, Irish Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) rises from working longshoreman to union leader to mob ally. Forced out of the union by the feds, Danny starts anew as an enforcer for loan shark Shondor Bims (Christopher Walken), while still maintaining influence with mafia boss John Nardi (Vincent D’Onofrio).

With Detective Joe Manditski (Val Kilmer) in pursuit, Danny rapidly acquires his own power and places himself at odds with the Italians, who find him to be a very difficult man to kill. What follows is a bloody war that breaks out on the streets of Cleveland and gives it the name “Bomb City, U.S.A.”

Based on a true story, The Irishman is the saga of one man who embodied the Irish warrior mentality with a mixture of pride, brutality, ambition, and principle, as became a central figure in the 70s mob war that forever changed organized crime in America.

Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher, 2004)

Source: Collider

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Thor – Idris Elba to protect Asgard as Heimdall

Posted by LiveFor on November 20, 2009

Idris Elba is cool. That’s all you need to know. He was the ex-SAS bloke in the UK show Ultraviolet that saw him taking down Vampires, or leeches as he called them. Stateside you will know him mainly from The Wire. Plus he got to snog Beyonce in Obsessed. He is currently working on The Losers which is an adaption of the excellent DC Comic about special forces types on the run.

It looks as if he is on a comic book roll as Heat Vision have the news he has been cast in Marvel Studio’s Thor movie – not as a human character, but as the Asgardian known as Heimdall.

In the comic Heimdall is the brother of the warrior Sif. He is the all-seeing and all-hearing guardian sentry of Asgard, he stands on the rainbow bridge, Bifrost and stands watch for any attacks to Asgard. For ages, he stood as the guardian of Asgard, defending the city’s gates from any intruders, and was one of the most trusted servants of Odin.

He has also had a few battles with Thor in the comics either stopping him entering or leaving Asgard so I could well imagine we’ll see something like that in the film.

The movie follows Thor (Chris Hemsworth) a Norse God banished to Earth for his arrogance and reckless behavior in the Asgard, the capital city of the Norse Gods. On Earth, he falls in love with a nurse named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), but must become a true hero when his sinister brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) brings the darkest forces of Asgard to wreak destruction on humanity. Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet), the film co-stars Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Dominic Cooper, Jaimie Alexander, Colm Feore, Stuart Townsend, Ray Stevenson, and Tadanobu Asano.

It is shaping up to be an amazing cast.

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UPDATED: Thor’s Warrior Three are the Punisher, Gengis Khan and Dorian Gray

Posted by LiveFor on November 17, 2009

Big news on Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is that the Warriors Three have been cast. None of them are Jude Law, Dominic West or Robert De Niro.

Instead the word on the street is that that Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, Rome), Stuart Townsend (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Queen of the Damned) and Tadanobu Asano (Mongol) are to play the trio. Apparently, Stevenson will take on the role of “Volstagg the Valiant”, Asano will be “Hogun the Grim”, and Townsend will portray “Fandral the Dashing”.

Now this news has come from Variety, but every link I follow on other sites takes me to a dead page on Variety and looking at the list of movie news on their site I just can’t see it listed. It is probably just me being a bit blind today. I am assuming it was on their, but has since been removed. If that is the case then that could mean the news isn’t true or someone has messed up somewhere down the line.

I thought I would share the news anyway. It doesn’t quite ring true to me though as none of these actors have been linked to the film before now. Although Stevenson would be great (I am assuming Volstaag won’t be as big as he often is in the comic) and Asano already looks like Hogun, I feel the week link is Townsend. Just a personal thing, but he doesn’t cut it for me. He was naff as Dorian Gray in the naff LXG and he was down to play Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings but after a few days shooting he was replaced.

There you have it some news which may not actually be correct (hopefully Variety will sort it out), but it may be. Who knows!

UPDATE: Marvel is now confirming the casting – “Fandral will be played by Stuart Townsend. The job of Hogun goes to Tadanobu Asano. And Volstagg will be portrayed Ray Stevenson.”

What do you think of the casting? If not them who would be better in the roles?

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The Vampire’s Assistant – Trailer

Posted by LiveFor on August 5, 2009

vamp
Director Paul Weitz is behind the adaption of Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak, renamed as the much less impressive The Vampire’s Assistant. John C. Reilly plays Larten Crepsley, the film’s main vamp. The film also stars Ken Watanabe, Chris Massoglia, Josh Hutcherson, Patrick Fugit, Ray Stevenson, Michael Cerveris and Frankie Faison.

Due out in October. Here’s the trailer.

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The Book of Eli – Denzel looking for the Book of some guy…I forget the name

Posted by LiveFor on February 26, 2009


Warner Bros has released the first photo from The Hughes Brothers adaptation of The Book of Eli in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly. In this post-apocalyptic western, Denzel Washington stars as the title character, a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson and Jennifer Beals co-star. The Book of Eli is out on 15th January 2010.

Source: /Film

HOMEDiscuss in the Forum

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Punisher: War Zone, 2008 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on December 6, 2008

Director: Lexi Alexander
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchison, Wayne Knight
Running Time: 103 / 107 minutes
Score: 6 / 10

This review by Joestank15.

The Punisher – Frank Castle aka “The Punisher” (Ray Stevenson) continues his one man war against the scum of New York. I am unsure as to whether this is a reboot or a sequel to the 2004 Thomas Jane movie, and about ten minutes into this stopped caring. It’s just the Punisher punishing criminals, beginning and end. You either like this sort of brainless action or you don’t.

I’m a sucker for comic book films and loved Ray Stevenson on the amazing HBO mini-series “Rome”. He’s a big stocky brute of a man, and looks believable as a killer. I applaud his decent American accent.

Unfortunately Stevenson’s got maybe 50 lines in the entire film. It’s two action scenes into the film before he says anything. The Punisher has one scene where he visits his families’ collective grave site, and one scene where he talks with a preacher about what the repercussions Frank’s style of street justice might return to him. That’s all the introspect we get.

It is nice to see Wayne Knight doing work again. Lets hope he picks some better movies in the future. Julie Benz plays a supporting part, which is fitting as what my friends kept saying of this year’s “Rambo” (which she also co-starred in) kept running through my head. I love her in “Dexter” but she too needs to find better films. Ones that don’t require an on off again New York accent. It’s fascinating to see actors I like in a really stupid film.

It’s about half of a good movie thanks partly to a script that cripples the proceedings every step of the way with characters named “Loony Bin Jim” and writers (“Prison Break” writer Nick Santora, and Art Marcum and Matt Halloway) that don’t know how to make believable original villains or deal with what might be going on in Frank’s head. The latter two guys helped write “Iron Man”, so you’d think some greatness would’ve rubbed off on them from that venture. C’mon guys! Marvel kept The Punisher going for 40 years! You’d think somewhere down the line they had issues where he talked to people about what he was thinking, the effect killing has on a man’s soul, and all of that.

The violence is ridiculous. Equal parts stupid, funny, and awesome. As such, it lends a “Grindhouse” air to the film. It’s brutal, even if director Lexi Anderson doesn’t always know how to film it. Speaking of “Rambo”, Frank also kills a man with a punch to the head in this one. Yes horror movie physics are strangely in play here, where anything that can kill, does kill in increasingly silly ways.

I’d like to say that the film is self aware of the unintentional humor, but it starts off so somber. When we follow Frank around the film takes itself seriously, with gritty tones and grays and greens. When the villains (Dominic West and Doug Hitchison), and the general supporting cast for that matter, pop up the quality changes to some 80’s Steven Seagal film. The villains are a plunge back to the guys who killed in comically easy ways, chewed scenery like there’s no tomorrow, and laughed for absolutely no reason at all. Dominic West talks like a New Yorker from the 1930’s and just leers at everything. Doug Hitcherson snickers like it’s his job and is so far beyond the top it’s not even funny. It actually is, but quite, I think, unintentionally. The damn near parodying of villainy in this film kind of makes Frank’s burden and vendetta into a mockery. The film is impossible to take seriously, so Stevenson, the only one who seems to take it seriously, is left in the dust. Shame. He’s such a fine actor. For what it’s worth though, it is fun, and I kept watching.

For those who loved 2008’s Rambo, Die-hard fans of The Punisher and action junkies. For everyone else, you could do better.

The word camp seems to be being used an awful lot to describe this film around the web. For a Punisher movie that is not a good word to use! Have you seen it? What did you think of it?
Punisher: War Zone – Which is the best Punisher?
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Final Punisher: War Zone Poster

Posted by LiveFor on December 5, 2008

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The Punisher is after The Book of Eli

Posted by LiveFor on December 2, 2008

Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, TV’s Rome) has joined Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis in Warner Bros. Pictures The Book of Eli reports Variety.

Stevenson will play an enforcer dispatched to kill Eli (Washington) as he fights his way across the American wasteland, protecting a sacred book that may hold the key to saving humanity.

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