By John Coffelt, Staff Writer
The coming New Year brings with it a collection of eagerly awaited films, a stream of sequels and some original features.
On the original list is “Pain & Gain,” directed by Michael Bay, starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, a dark comedy, due in theaters in April.
The film takes its name directly from a series of stories about a gang of body builders in the Miami News Times.
The Times describes the three-part series dating back to 1999 by its writer Pete Collins as revolving around a gang of local bodybuilders with a “penchant for steroids, strippers, and quick cash … later known as Miami’s Sun Gym gang and quickly developed a taste for blood and money.”
Smalltime thugs Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie of “Man on a Ledge” and “Real Steel”) solicit the help of ex-con Paul Doyle (Johnson) to kidnap and torture a wealthy gym patron.
After escaping and a brush off by the local police, the victim hires Detective Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) to bring down the criminals.
Another intriguing work in the crime genre is the upcoming neo-noir film, “Gangster Squad,” directed by Ruben Fleischer that boasts an all-star cast including Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte and Emma Stone, slated for a January release.
Kingpin Mickey Cohen (Penn) finds that Los Angeles in the 1940s is no place for organized crime when his underlings square off against the city’s new taskforce that will not allow the legality of its actions to keep Cohen and his associates out of the city.
Originally set to release in 2012 but was held back following the Aurora, Colo. shooting, the film looks to regain the cinematic feel of noir classics like “The Maltese Falcon,” and “Double Indemnity.”
With its muted gray cinematography, “Gangster Squad” promises to revive what color stole from the genre in films of the late 20th century. The shadowy world of Sam Spade, of antiheroes and femme fatales, lost its defining look with the advent of color, something that it could really never recover.
Neo-noir films like Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown,” or “Mulholland Falls,” also starring Nolte, nailed the genre’s conflicted antiheros. But while great gritty films, these lack the quintessential low-keyed lighting and despairing look of the great old black and white films that “Gangster Squad” emulates.
Due out in June is the latest addition to the Superman saga, “Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill (as Clark Kent), Russell Crowe (Jor-el) and Amy Adams (Lois Lane), and Kevin Costner.
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