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Tag Archive: Marianne Jean-Baptiste


training-day

Director Antoine Fuqua, who is pretty much an ace in the hole with great movies like Shooter, The Equalizer, and last year’s The Magnificent Seven, brings another one of his hit movies to television this month.  This time Fuqua is in the executive producer role along with Jerry Bruckheimer for Training Day, a sequel series to the film, airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Central on CBS, starring Bill Paxton (Aliens, Apollo 13, Edge of Tomorrow, Twister, Weird Science) and newcomer Justin Cornwell, with Julie Benz (Angel) and Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace).  The series is directed by Danny Cannon (Gotham, CSI, Eleventh Hour).

Training Day was the 2001 surprise hit that garnered Denzel Washington an Oscar and Ethan Hawke one of his four Oscar nominations.  It’s known for its gritty realism and its view of urban street life with a rookie (Hawke) in his first day in a new role with a veteran cop of questionable motives and actions (Washington).  The series is far less gritty, fitting the modern police procedural framework with more humor and bordering a bit on the melodramatic.

For the series, which aired its first episode last night, we’re brought 15 years after the events in the movie with young do-gooder detective Kyle Craig, played by Cornwell, tasked by the squad’s deputy chief (Jean-Baptiste) to track the actions of an alleged crooked cop, Detective Frank Rourke, played by Paxton.  Training Day’s first episode reveals this is just the latest in decades of L.A.P.D. shows going back to Dragnet.  It’s plenty fun simply to watch an hour of Bill Paxton spouting those quirky words of wisdom his characters are known for.  Episode one even throws in a Western stand-off complete with some background music straight out of an old Western TV show.

training-day-series-a

The plot of the series is swappable for any police procedural.  The hook with the series is the title, which fit the movie better since the entire movie took place in one day, but Training Day could easily be a follow-up to Martin Scorcese’s Departed, another film about a rookie trying to get the goods on a bad cop.  The change-up is in the title–who is training whom?  The TV series updated the movie’s 1979 Monte Carlo with an even earlier muscle car for the series taking place so many years later–you can envision a series 40 years from now still using 1970s cars as their street rides.  Ultimately it will be enough for Paxton fans to see him driving around in that car in a seedy L.A. doing his shtick every week.

Here is a behind the scenes look and a preview for CBS’s Training Day:

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Blind Spot NBC

This year’s San Diego Comic Con netted many interesting trailers, and one of those we haven’t yet discussed is NBC’s next new series beginning next month, Blindspot.  It is also billed as featuring a “female Jason Bourne,” and a pile of unique previews indicate we might have the next new kickass female genre character coming our way.

Jaimie Alexander plays a Jane Doe–left in a duffel bag in the middle of Manhattan, she awakens with no memory, covered over her entire body with tattoos.  One of those is the name of an FBI agent, played by Australian native Sullivan Stapleton.  He and acclaimed actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste co-star in the series as they try to piece together her secret past.

blindspot_firstlook

NBC has created plenty of previews for Blindspot, including one specifically for Comic Con.  Each gives another angle to attempt to get us interested–enough that we’re sure to at least give this one a try.

Check out several of the previews for Blindspot, after the break:

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RoboCop and OldmanReview by C.J. Bunce

If you’re a fan of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven science fiction classic RoboCop starring Peter Weller, you might have decided to avoid the reboot showing in theaters this month.  But if you skip the new RoboCop, you’ll be missing out on a great sci-fi vision realized with a stellar cast and cutting edge special effects.  Where recent remakes of classic sci-fi movies didn’t equal the original, as with Tron: Legacy, or completely missed the mark, as with Total Recall or Man of Steel, RoboCop manages to meet or exceed the original in almost every way.

Fundamentally, the original RoboCop is lauded for its social commentary on media, capitalism, and authoritarianism.  The new film hits all of these areas head-on in light of the changing realities of the 21st century.  This begins with a failed, televised peacekeeping mission in Tehran with the giant EV-109 robots (similar to the two-legged walkers in the original film)–predecessors to both the robot/android cops, and later to the man-in-the-machine RoboCop, played by relative newcomer Joel Kinnaman.  Timely elements help bring the storyline into the 21st century, like Detroit’s closed circuit surveillance grid, which makes the RoboCop effective, and parallels the current real-world controversy surrounding drones for spying.

Robocop tehran

The supporting characters are pulled from the headlines, too.  Michael Keaton’s leader of Omnicorp is the typical entrepreneurial Wall Street “big corporation” CEO you’d expect, and Samuel L. Jackson’s talking head Pat Novak might as well have been an impersonation of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (with some Stephen Colbert dramatics thrown in).

Where Peter Weller’s RoboCop was all machine with little soul, Joel Kinnaman’s version gets to flesh-out (literally) the physical and emotional journey from man to cyborg, in a way touched on in Jake Gyllenhaal’s equally riveting Source Code, but not otherwise fully explored on film before now.  If rumors become reality of Leonardo DiCaprio playing a big-screen version of Bionic Man’s Steve Austin, it will be difficult for audiences to avoid comparisons with this RoboCop, as the stories of both Alex Murphy and Steve Austin have many mirrored origin story scenes that unfold over the course of the film.  This includes a nice performance by Gary Oldman in a superb take on The Six Million Dollar Man’s Dr. Rudy Wells.

Joel Kinnaman;Gary Oldman

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Edge-of-Tomorrow-Poster

Emily Blunt is a standout in every film she’s in.  As the obsessive mom in Looper, the forbidden girlfriend in The Adjustment Bureau, or even as Miss Piggy’s receptionist in The Muppets–she’s someone we can’t get enough of.  The first trailer is out for the futuristic sci-fi flick Edge of Tomorrow, and it appears Blunt will have a major role, starring opposite Tom Cruise. (Flash forward to our opening day review here).

Cruise, of course, continues to pump out two movies a year these days.  Pretty exceptional for a Hollywood superstar who has had a movie in the theater every year except eight since 1981.  And many years he has starred in two films.  More importantly he has delivered the goods in every action film he’s made–from Top Gun to Mission Impossible, from Minority Report to War of the Worlds, from The Last Samurai to Valkyrie, we can’t enough of Tom Cruise, too.

Edge of Tomorrow clip

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Declan Shalvey RoboCop cover excerpt

BOOM! Studio announced this week that Steven Grant will be writing an adaptation of Frank Miller’s unproduced original RoboCop 3 screenplay, in an 8-issue mini-series titled RoboCop: Last Stand.  The series will be illustrated by Korkut Oztekin with cover art by Declan Shalvey and is expected to wrap up Miller’s early vision of the future cop.

Boom RoboCop panel from early comic book series

Grant also wrote an adaptation of Frank Miller’s script for Robocop 2 with Avatar Press.  Now holding the RoboCop rights previously held by Dynamite Comics, BOOM! is planning on releasing that earlier series as a deluxe hardcover.  Marvel, Dark Horse, Avatar, and Dynamite have all previously published RoboCop titles, making BOOM! the fifth publisher to take on the classic borg policeman.

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