AMERICAN ASSASSIN *Cast/Director Interviews & Review*

The late Vince Flynn spent more than a decade writing about fictional counter-terrorism expert Mitch Rapp.  While American Assassin is based on the novel of the same name, this origin story is actually the eleventh book in the series.  Rapp’s early story appealed to director Michael Cuesta.

As he started reading the script, Cuesta was captivated by the first ten pages.  He says, “I love action movies, but when you don’t care you disengage despite the fact that there’s so much action. [After] that opening sequence…you can take me anywhere as a viewer. I’ll do anything and trust almost anything [Rapp] does.”

Cuesta cast Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf) as Rapp, drawing inspiration from an experience with the Mossad.  While shooting the second season premiere of Homeland in Tel Aviv, the Mossad gave series star Claire Dances a bodyguard for protection.  Cuesta says, “I kept complaining where the f*** is the bodyguard?  I thought the guy wasn’t around and then finally, I’m like who’s your friend?”  Cuesta learned the young man shadowing Danes wasn’t her friend, but her protection.  He says, “they come in all shapes and sizes.  They don’t have to look like Stallone.”  It was with that image in mind that he cast O’Brien in the lead role.

O’Brien’s appearance contributes to the nuanced relationship among the characters.  Michael Keaton plays Rapp’s mentor, Stan Hurley, creating a father/son dynamic in look as well as theme.   In fact, the familial dynamic is an important one throughout the movie and is referenced repeatedly.  Roles and relationships are constantly shifting.  Sanaa Lathan’s Irene Kennedy is Hurley’s boss, though as a child she looked up to him as it was her father who was Hurley’s contemporary.  The constant struggle of childlike insubordination and subsequent maturation is a recurring theme and evident across multiple relationships.

For more about families in American Assassin as well as interviews with Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien, take a look below:

 

 

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

All film photos are courtesy of CBS Films.

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD Review & Analysis

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is flying under the radar to the detriment of audiences looking for a good popcorn flick.  Prior to the heavy movies of Oscar season, this buddy comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson is pure fun as the actors embrace roles that seem tailor-made for them.

There’s nothing new and noteworthy here and if you don’t like Samuel L Jackson in pretty much any other role he has ever played, then this isn’t the movie for you, either.  While The Hitman’s Bodyguard doesn’t reinvent the wheel, there’s enough action, comedy, camaraderie and chemistry to keep it afloat.  Salma Hayek seems to relish her role as the female baddie as well.

For more about The Hitman’s Bodyguard, including the significance of all the clocks in the movie, take a look below:

 

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

All photos and video are courtesy of Lionsgate.

DUNKIRK Review & Analysis

Dunkirk is a rare movie that manages to use war as a setting without exploiting the blood and gore that traditionally accompanies the genre.  Instead, director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) relies on thematic opposites of silence and music, water and fire, to create a sense of dramatic tension that rarely falters for nearly two hours.

While inspired by a true story, fictionalized characters stand in for the real heroes of Dunkirk.  During World War II, Allied troops were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France.  The troops were rapidly losing ground and couldn’t evacuate by water because the war ships were too large to venture close to the shore.  Desperate, the British requisitioned civilian boats to sail across the channel, bringing home more nearly 400,000 men.

This is not only their story, but the story of heroes who come in all shapes and sizes.  If Dunkirk manages to teach us anything, it’s that heroism is not relegated to a specific few and that bravery is a choice.

Dunkirk stars Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh.

For more about Dunkirk, take a look below:

 

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Review & Analysis

The Fate of the Furious is the 8th installment of the action movie franchise starring Vin Diesel and once again it delivers exactly what audiences expect: car chases and action.  F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) directs an ensemble who drive, fight and shoot their way out of seemingly-impossible situations.

In fact, it’s the cast’s deep commitment to the premise that makes it all work.  Whereas other projects include actors who seem to wink at the camera in an “isn’t this ridiculous” sort of way, these actors are all-in.  In addition to Vin Diesel, the movie stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Kurt Russell.  They believe, so I believe.

The Fate of the Furious has some uncredited stars as well: the companies featured in moments of product placement.  To learn how product placement works along with behind-the-scenes info about shooting on-location, take a look below:

 

 

 

Stay in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @RealZoeHewitt.

—>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

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