This week’s movie releases

This week’s movie releases

FILM: RIDDICK
CAST: VIN DIESEL, JORDI MOLLÀ, MATT NABLE, KATEE SACKHOFF, DAVE BAUTISTA, RAOUL TRUJILLO, BOKEEM WOODBINE, KARL URBAN
DIRECTOR: DAVID TWOHY

In 1999, when filmmaker David Twohy cast a relatively unknown actor named Vin Diesel to play escaped convict Richard B. Riddick in 2000’s intimately terrifying sci-fi film ‘Pitch Black’, neither the director nor the performer had any idea that the small movie would garner the astonishing following it has grown to enjoy since its release.

In response to that success, Diesel and Twohy again joined forces in 2004. This time, Diesel not only stepped back into the role of the galaxy’s most-wanted outlaw, but also took the reins as one of the film’s producers. In the visually ambitious second installment, ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’, the team expanded the antihero’s universe by bringing us to new worlds and introducing sentient beings, including the fanatical Necromongers — a religious sect that simply converts or kills all who oppose them.

Diesel admits that the stoic, misunderstood felon has long been one of his favorite characters: “I fell in love with the role on paper because Riddick is such a well-executed character and a true antihero.” The actor believes that much of the popularity is due to the connection that fans have with Riddick. “People identify with his plight, and that’s why they gravitate toward him. They identify with being prejudged, ruled out, given up on and underestimated; those are feelings we all have at some point. The fact that Riddick is able to overcome that through action is something people welcome.”

Over the past decade, the franchise has evolved to include two popular video games, as well as an anime DVD, but it’s long been the desire of the two men who started the first film together to see Riddick return to the big screen. For Twohy and Diesel, whether or not they’d create a third chapter was never a question. Simply put, the champions of the first two movies demanded it. Explains Twohy: “We never stopped hearing the drumbeat from the fans. Of all the movies that I’ve done, they ask me the most about Riddick.”

With more than 45 million followers on Facebook, Diesel was likewise questioned by those who wanted to discover additional creatures and meet new players of the universe that the fugitive inhabits. Shares Diesel: “People wrote, ‘When are we going to get more Riddick? You have to make this movie.’ It was comments like this that made us feel like we had to make it at all costs.”

Fortunately, throughout the years, Twohy and Diesel had met regularly to ponder what should and could come next. It was during these marathon conversations that they expanded Riddick’s universe and the mythologies and characters that reside within. Because the two are self-described “fan boys,” they are steeped in the intimate details of the series. As a matter of fact, they have backstories for every character that’s been introduced and long envisioned what this franchise would look like in future iterations.

As few know the world of the last Furyan better than Twohy and Diesel, it proved fortuitous when the chance arose to take creative control over the franchise. Their decision to craft this third chapter as a taut, intense sci-fi thriller that hearkens back to ‘Pitch Black’ while integrating the deep mythology of ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ was met by excitement from executives at Universal Pictures. In fact, the studio agreed to allow Diesel’s One Race Films the rights to the franchise while Universal agreed to distribute the film in the US.
Alongside producer Ted Field, Diesel and Twohy proposed the idea of bringing the saga back to the R-rated roots of the first film, supported by top-notch craftspersons who could bring their precise, epic vision to life.

Diesel explains his driving passion: “As an artist, there is a need to have creativity without censorship. The closer you get to that ‘R’ rating, the freer you are to tell the story without holding punches. With so much of my business being in the ‘PG’ arena, it’s nice to go unforgivingly dark.”
In ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’, it was revealed to the hero that he was of Furyan blood and that a Necromonger, driven by prophecy, invaded Furya and orchestrated genocide on its people when Riddick was born.

One of the themes that Twohy and Diesel wanted to explore in the next chapter was Riddick’s quest to find out who he really is. “There’s another huge reason why I gravitate toward this character,” says Diesel. “We all have a quest for identity to some degree. Riddick is no exception and wants to know more about where he’s from.”

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A-scene-from-'Battle-of-theFILM: BATTLE OF THE YEAR
CAST: JOSH HOLLOWAY, CHRIS BROWN, LAZ ALONSO, JOHN PECK, CAITY LOTZ
FILM: BENSON LEE

Battle of the Year is an international dance crew tournament that attracts all the best teams from around the world, but the Americans haven’t won in fifteen years. Los Angeles Hip Hop mogul Dante (Laz Alonso) wants to put the country that started the Sport back on top. He enlists his hard-luck friend Blake (Josh Holloway), who was a championship basketball coach, to coach his team. Armed with the theory that the right coach can make any team champions, they assemble a Dream Team of all the best dancers across the country. With only three months until Battle of the Year, Blake has to use every tactic he knows to get twelve talented individuals to come together as a team if they’re going to bring the Trophy back to America where it started. The film is inspired by the actual world championship held yearly in France.