Samuel L. Jackson

Test Your Knowledge of the Direct-to-Video Vehicles of Yesterday’s Movie Stars!

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Buried among this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is a little something called Absolution, an action thriller that teams Vinnie Jones (remember him?) with Steven Seagal. It’s the third film in which the former Under Siege star plays contract killer John Alexander, and if you’re not familiar with the series, don’t worry — you probably aren’t aware of of most of Mr. Seagal’s recent filmography, which (with the exception of his jokey cameo in 2010’s Machete) has consisted of low-profile movies, usually shot in Europe or Asia, and released straight to home video.
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‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and the Inevitable Onset of Superhero Fatigue

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Superhero movie fatigue is a real thing, and I’m afraid your correspondent has come down with a case of it. Sure, there have been dribs and drabs before, in the grim solemnity of Zack Snyder’s joyless Man of Steel or the endless recycling of the Spider-Man franchise. But amidst all the clutter, the Wolverines and Ghost Riders and Green Lanterns, the Marvel movies have been an oasis (y’know, Thor movies aside). Iron Man gave us a hero with real dimension, acted sharply by Robert Downey Jr. and directed with intelligence by Jon Favreau. Captain America: The First Avenger had a golden glow of nostalgia and a giant heart at its center. Joss Whedon injected the series with a shot of genuine wit in the first Avengers — he insisted that blockbusters could be (in fact, should be) funny, a notion taken up well by Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s back at the helm of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has several thrilling action sequences, a great many good jokes, and an unshakable sense that everybody is just going through the paces.
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The 50 Funniest Cameos in Movie History

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This week, Olive Films is releasing, for the first time on Blu-ray, The Road to Hong Kong, the last of the seven “Road” buddy comedies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Hitting theaters a full decade after the penultimate entry, Hong Kong is an occasionally funny and occasionally wheezy bit of business, with one honest-to-God great sequence: an unbilled cameo by Peter Sellers, who strolls into the picture and steals the damn thing outright. Hope and Crosby were early adopters of the kind of inside-joke comedy that yielded such cameos, which became increasingly common in the years that followed; we’ve gathered up some of the funniest in movie …Read More