A podcast q+a with Karl Urban, one of the many stars of Red

By Adam Lippe

Here’s a podcast with Karl Urban, co-star of the action-comedy Red with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox (who was also in a 2008 movie named Red).

This is a recording of a conference call between Karl and 3 journalists, including me. It runs quickly and it is short (under 15 minutes).

Now, Karl is a professional (he’s probably already done these press tours for Star Trek, Pathfinder, The Chronicles of Riddick, and the two The Lord of the Rings films he was in) and you can hear how used to the promotional process he is. When he’s caught off guard, and it happens, he can quickly get back on track. There’s nothing all that special about any of his answers, they’re carefully worded, but it gives the listener more insight into the push-pull process between critic and movie star. We try to straddle the line, not revealing our feelings towards the movie too much and the movie star has to pinpoint to us what makes his part of the movie worth highlighting. It’s funny that Karl is barely featured in the ads, but he has the most interesting character to play since the “bad guy” with a real family is a new wrinkle, and so his scenes don’t follow the action-comedy formula as much as the rest of the film. The trailers are trying to sell Red as wacky and cheeky, which it is, and Karl supports that (and there’s a nudge towards asking about Helen Mirren, who has been officially deemed sexy by society, a socially encouraged granny lust), but what would have made Red even more interesting was dealing with the normal mundane day of a CIA agent who is unsure if he’s on the right side, but dutifully does his job and fights to the death anyway. There are a few spoilers in the interview, but if within the first five minutes of watching Red, you can’t tell exactly what is going to happen, you’re probably not older than 7. In which case, congratulations on listening to your first podcast!

P.S. My silly question about his visual resemblance in Red to Johnny Knoxville is partially based on the fact that Knoxville’s film Jackass 3-D opens the same weekend as Red and covets a similar audience, but without being watered down to a PG-13 (Red is the most violent PG-13 film since Knowing).

Download the full interview.
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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.