What can I say about this one? I did not like the first one and yet, thanks to an old friend of mine, I’m now the not so proud owner of the following statement; “I saw The Expendables 2 in theaters.” What can I say about this film that you cannot already predict from the trailers that were released? Was the acting bad??? Yeah, you didn’t see that one come a mile away? Is the action good??? It’s actually underwhelming. Are the one liners are rapid fired?!? Of course they are!

(spoilers follow) The Expendables 2 follows the group as they are black mailed into doing a top secret mission for the mysterious Church (Bruce Willis) that sees them heading to Eastern Europe. However, before they can complete the mission, they are thrown for a whirlwind when one of the members of the team is brutally killed and their loot is stolen. Now, they’re on both a mission for Church and a mission of revenge as they find themselves becoming heroes in one of the most unlikely places. This is a film riddled with cliches and judging from the plot line I just provided, it shows you that there’s no ingenuity here. You’ve seen this plot a hundred times before and I know we’ll see a rehash of it down the line. For a men on a mission-vigilante-revenge tale it is not even executed all that well. The plot will get you shaking your head more then once and that’s just a big no-no in my book.

The film’s best actor is actually its youngest one in Liam Hemsworth and I cannot help but feel that he, like his brother Chris, is a future action star. The guy has great screen presence and easily held his own against all these action vets. Speaking of them, how in the hell did Jean Claude Van Damme become the most entertaining of them all?!? As Jean Vilian, he was brilliant as the film’s bad guy and I cannot help but think that he should be sticking to playing the villain and this might be his best turn since starring in JCVD. I will say that Chuck Norris’ entrance in the film was a hoot and his presence on the screen was appreciated after so many years off, but I absolutely hated that they butchered the classic “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” music to elevate his character. That really wasn’t cool.

The story of the film was really stupid though and in the end the novelty of the premise is wearing off. Not sure if I’ll be back for a third installment, but I know that these guys had enough fun to want to come back. And how can you blame them? They have nothing else going for them. Well, except for Arnie and Stallone. And maybe JCVD if he can build some momentum and stick to more comedic roles. Was this film a good bad film? Yes. Just wait for this one to hit a Redbox near you. Not worth the price of admission. Everybody in this film has done better. Everybody.

*½

I’m a huge fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. The original was one of the films that defined horror to me as a kid and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 was one of those bad films that was so much fun that I could watch it over and over. Most of the other six films in the series were forgettable or more of the same, but you’ll find that with any horror series. Texas Chainsaw 3D is the seventh film in the series and it is really weird.

Even with the “3” in the title, this movie is not a sequel to the two modern rebooted movies in the series from the Platinum Dunes (the 2003 Jessica Biel starring The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning). No, Texas Chainsaw 3D is a direct sequel to the 1974 original, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Ironically, this would mark the third direct sequel to the original film after 1986’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 from the original director Tobe Hooper and 2004’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. So maybe the three in the title is deserved?

The poster is a nice homage to all of the Leatherface movies and it should be interesting to see how they try and connect the films. It has been revealed that archive footage from the original movie will be used in the new one that shows original actors Verna Carson and Gunnar Hansen. The plot is familiar; “A young woman travels to Texas, along with her friends, to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding maniac is part of the reward.” It doesn’t sound like this has to (or should be) a direct sequel to the original rather than just another Leatherface movie. What is with director’s obsession to make a direct sequel to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Guys, just get your stuff together and do your own thing. Pay your respect to the original, but don’t try so hard to make the definite sequel. The time has passed, no one is looking for it. The horror flick is scheduled for release on January 4, 2013 from Lionsgate.

Welcome to an all new edition of The Pit. I hope you like our new format. As always, feel free to send suggestions and news to us through our contact form.

We have some good news and bad news for you in regards to the upcoming Robocop reboot from director José Padilha of the Elite Squad series. The very talented Hugh Laurie has sadly left the project. He was set to portray the villainous CEO of OCP.

On the up side though is that the underused and just as talented Michael Keaton is stepping into the role. The former Batman just isn’t in nearly as many movies as he should be these days. He was last seen on the big screen in The Other Guys and a guest spot on the NBC comedy 30 Rock, both of which he stole the scenes he was in. Other recent cast additions to RoboCop include Jackie Earle Haley and Jay Baruchel.

It is official! The movie and television rights to Daredevil, “man without fear”, are heading back to Marvel Studios and their parent company Disney. This is especially good news with the announcement of a Joss Whedon led SHIELD television series [SEE: Marvel’s SHIELD to Save TV!].

What better way to distance Daredevil from the forgettable Mark Steven Johnson directed 2003 flick than to reintroduce him as his alter ego, the blind lawyer Matt Murdock, in a multiple episode arc that establishes him as part of the overall universe. Maybe he is defending a villain against SHIELD in court before he teams up with the agency to take out a bigger threat? Or agents recruit him for an assignment that only he can handle because of his unique senses?

Finally, someone somewhere has come to their senses and after its sixth season (that is six too many), MTV’s Jersey Shore is coming to an end. I’m sure the network will continue to find ways to make New Jersey and fake Italians look bad. They already have too many spinoffs, including Snooki & JWoww and The Pauly D Project (for the record, any amount of spinoffs from this trash is too many).

The sixth season begins on October 4th with a special marathon and retrospective/preview for the final season on September 6th before the MTV Video Music Awards. I would have preferred it if the series had been cancelled before the sixth season, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Release Date: August 29, 2012
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Guy Pearce
Plot: Lawless is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic gangster tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel “The Wettest County In The World”, the loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation’s most notorious crime wave.

Thoughts: I should really be more excited for this film. It has a lot of the things I like in my gangster movies and yet, for some reason, the trailer’s have underwhelmed to the point where I’ll likely wait for this movie to pop up on Netflix or TV before I actually watch it.

Lawless is a film that stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke as brothers who run a bootlegging business during prohibition era America and finds them hunted by the authorities as they try and build up their increasingly illegitimate business. Directed by John Hillcoat, the man responsible for one of the most depressing films of the last decade in The Road, and the terrific western The Proposition. I cannot help but feel like the star power of Lawless might hurt it more then make it great. Unfortunately for Shia LaBeouf, it is hard for me to buy into him being increasingly more dramatic in his films. He has shaken his Disney image but he has yet to shake his sense of comedic timing in his more serious roles and I cannot help but get the feeling from the trailers that, as the youngest brother of the core group, he’s going to be the one designated with unleashing the quippy one liners this film will have.

Now, what is likely going to get me to see the film is really if the word of month is good enough that I’m practically forced to go to the theater by friends just to see it. Unfortunately, though, I cannot help but shake the feeling that this film will be underwhelming even with all the talent that is on the screen.

There is so much going on across all entertainment. I might have to make The Pit bi-weekly again to keep up with everything! Today lets talk about a few recent news bits and pieces…

This is pretty amazing, according to Vulture, Sony Pictures Television is teaming up with Will Gluck and a Michael J Fox to make a new series that will loosely be based on Fox’s life and star the Back to the Future actor. Gluck was the director behind the really enjoyable Easy A. Apparently they are aiming for a 2013 launch and all of the majors are fighting over getting the show.

Most recently, Fox has been guest starring on The Good Wife, with other TV appearances in recent years on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Rescue Me. His last regular TV role was on Spin City, which he left in 2000 due to Parkinson’s disease. I would love to see Fox return to TV on a regular basis and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with Gluck.

The Marvel Comics and Fox prequel/sequel The Wolverine has an official plot synopsis and has cast one of its leads, the mysterious Viper. Released on the movie’s Facebook page; “Based on the celebrated comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.

Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova, best known from last year’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Sp, will be fitting into the boots of Viper, also known as Madame Hydra and leader of the terrorist organization HYDRA.

While on the subject of Marvel, Disney has revealed that it intends to release Joss Whedons sequel to The Avengers on May 1st, 2015. The first weekend in May is historically a slot for Marvel movie adaptations and has been the home of Spider-Man and Ironman.

With the Falcon being cast to fight along side Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the new Avengers Assemble animated series, I think it is a safe bet that he will be joining the Avengers in the sequel. What are you hoping for in the sequel? Doctor Strange? Luke Cage? Spider-Woman? How about Daredevil now that it looks like Marvel is getting the rights back to the blind lawyer/vigilante?

With all of the recent Marvel movie news, you might need GPS trackers to find your way through all of it! Next week we’ll take a look at what companies besides Marvel still hold rights to Marvel’s popular characters and we’ll also have the second part of our Justice League movie suggestions column.

Release Date: August 17, 2012
Studio: Universal
Director: Simon West
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charisma Carpenter, Terry Crews, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Plot: The Expendables are reunited when Mr. Church enlists them to take on a seemingly simple job. When things go wrong, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory, where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time – five tons of weapons-grade plutonium, more than enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary they seek revenge from.

Thoughts: I feel like I’m in a minority when I say that I’m not a big fan of the first Expendables. To me it was like a lot of the straight to DVD films that most of the cast was starring in before this big nostalgic reunion. It was too violent for its own good with poor acting, poor story telling, and poor directing- even if the cast was having a blast on screen (literally and figuratively).

For me, I do have some raised expectations when it comes to The Expendables 2, with a change in director and writers. But most of all because of the inclusion of some of the more funnier leading action man of yesteryear in Arnie, Bruce Willis, and Jean Claude Van Damme (who also impressed the hell out of me in JCVD). I’m hoping for a film that improves on the first one. The trailers have been pretty cool and I’m hoping this is just a lot more fun then the first film and that it becomes a little more cheesey (on purpose) and a bit little less serious. If director Simon West gets the tone right this time around, I think it will be safe to say that The Expendables is the newest action franchise for a lot of these yesteryearers,. I’m just hoping this one pans out, especially since I’d like to see a few new Chuck Norris movies- it has been far too long, even if he’s spent his break saying things that, well, I don’t necessarily agree with.

Finally Warner Brothers and DC Comics are getting their act together! The behemoth that was The Avengers this summer seems to have lit a fire underneath the suits in Burbank. First Gangster Squad writer Will Beall was given the task of scripting the film that will finally (hopefully) bring all of the big DC comics Titans together on the big screen for the first time. Last week the studio was reportedly eying Ben Affleck to direct with Harry Potter alum David Yates next on their list. Could we be finally seeing this happen? If it does here are some suggestions that I think WB/DC should take into consideration.

Story and Villains
Give the Justice League a full on challenge, not just something like the Injustice Gang plotting to take over the world. Put the whole world in danger and have this be the reason for why they have to team up. Don’t team them up simply because Joker, Luthor, Trickster, and Star Sapphire have joined forces so that means Batman, Superman, Flash and Green Lantern should team up. Throw the team together because Earth is being invaded by Darkseid and his forces from Apokolips. The story from the recent reboot, DC’s “New 52” is perfect for that. Have the Earth be in serious trouble from a real threat. Give us the full fight of the league vs Darkseid. That was my biggest complaint about The Avengers. When you took away all the geek factors and other story parts you essentially had an Alien Invasion movie with no real pay-off at the end. Instead it was a mid credits teaser where the big villain was revealed and now you have to wait presumably until The Avengers 2 to see it. Don’t do that here! Make the league face Darkseid individually and fail then lead up to them fighting together to stop him.

Creative and Personnel
Get the right people involved on the production, Hire Paul Dini and Bruce Timm from every recent memory DC Comics animated series and features to look over scripting and story details. Get Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Dan Jurgens to make sure DC’s interests are kept true to the comic universe. These are key to the process. Warner Brothers need to do what they been doing wrong all these years. Make this a collaborative film, pick the right storylines from the comics to help inspire the story. Now we’ve seen Ben Afflec’sk name come up already in line for the gig though his rep’s reportedly say he has passed (which I don’t believe). My gut tells me he is probably still talking to them. Yes he turned down the Man Of Steel allegedly, but he is obviously impressing people at Warner Brothers with his work. I’m a fan of his directorial work, Gone Baby, Gone and The Town were two of the best crime films I’ve seen in a long time. The guy knows his stuff, but the question remains can he do a big action film. My answer to that would be yes he probably can. He’s worked on those type films as an actor, so he would have had to picked up something along the way (good or bad). He is also a comic book geek so he will know what kind of audience he has to aim the film for as well. I think Affleck’s previous work has earned him a shot. I would also be happy with Warner’s rumored second choice, David Yates. He can make a solid film and has huge spectacle film experience. Some of the action sequences from the Harry Potter films he has directed have been nothing short of excellent. I would hope Warners interviews or talks to a few more directors before anything is made official and I hope we get to hear who they are.

Check out Part 2 of my Justice League Movie Suggestions: Casting the Big Three.

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