Tag Archives: Bill Duke

The Set of 400: #255 – My Favorite Flaming Wheelchair

Today! Because I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man –

Red Dragon (2002)

Directed by Brett Ratner

Starring Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson (x2), Anthony Hopkins (x3), Harvey Keitel, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x3), Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Ken Leung, Bill Duke (x2), William Lucking (x3), Frank Whaley (x2), Mary Beth Hurt, Ellen Burstyn

First of all, let me just say SHUT UP. I know the later Hannibal Lecter movies are not exactly beloved by audiences at large. This especially seems to apply to Red Dragon, mainly because of Manhunter, I guess? And okay, I get that – it came out first by quite a bit, and is a solid movie, so if you saw it first and were bitter Brian Cox didn’t get cast in Silence in the Lambs or something, okay. You hang on to that bitterness.

But no one can convince me that Manhunter is actually a better movie. It didn’t have the built in obstacle of needing to overcome a director like Brett Ratner at the helm, I’ll give you that – Michael Mann is by-far the superior filmmaker – but I feel that Red Dragon improves upon the original with every single actor in the film. Again, this isn’t necessarily to slight Manhunter – it’s a fine movie – but this seems to be the main argument against this movie, and I think it is ludicrous beyond words. The only aspect that I might say the original handled better is Lecter himself – because that movie didn’t treat him like he was somehow the star. The Red Dragon story has very little to do with Lecter, and when the original was released – five years before Silence – no one would’ve been clamoring for it be about him. This movie, of course, was concocted as a way to keep making Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal films, giving it that lingering cash-grab feel that people couldn’t shake.

On the other hand, Manhunter did go with this choice

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The Set of 400: #399 – My Favorite Gruesome Earring Removal

Today! Because I got hammered –

Payback (1999)

Directed by Brian Helgeland

Starring Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, William Devane, Lucy Liu, Kris Kristofferson, David Paymer, Bill Duke, John Glover

Hyper-violent revenge fantasy of the late ’90s that it is, Payback is basically a bunch of pretty unlikable characters beating the shit out of each other. What’s not to enjoy in that? Director Helgeland was coming off writing his Oscar-winning screenplay for L.A. Confidential with this fun, bloody knockaround, starring reputed real-life villain Gibson as Porter, a lowlife double-crossed for $70,000 and out for vengeance. Considering the torture and beatings throughout the movie, it somehow manages a pretty light tone, with a lot of comedic bits, especially from the never-better Gregg Henry, film MVP as Porter’s opposite number Val Resnick, and a vintage ass-kicking Lucy Liu, just prior to her Charlie’s Angels/Kill Bill prime. Continue reading

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John McCain Claims He Was in Predator, Too

With various polls showing him trailing Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama by a substantial margin, Republican nominee John McCain made a stunning announcement yesterday that he too appeared in the 1987 sci-fi action hit Predator, along side future governors Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with hopes that this would convince young voters that he was not only qualified for the Presidency, but also that he was “cool,” “hip,” and “with it.”

“I have been reluctant to share the details of my involvement in the film for many years,” McCain told a surprised crowd at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.  “This is mostly because filming occurred during my first run for the Senate, and I thought it would reflect badly if the people of Arizona knew I was skipping off to Mexico for weeks at a time to make this action film.  But yes, I too was in Predator.  No one has recognized this all these years because I, in fact, was the Predator.”

"Six hours in the make-up chair, every day."

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