The first place that Lawrence Bender saw was the Bronx in New York City. Being born in such a rich cultural environment must have given him an extra dose of creativity, judging from his future endeavors. As he grew up in New Jersey, his parents, both of them educators, instilled in him a good work ethic and the desire to reach for excellence.

Lawrence’s grandfather was a civil engineer and he knew that he could have a lucrative career following in his granddad’s footsteps. He made the decision to do just that in high school and went on to graduate from the University of Maine with a degree in civil engineering in 1979. The direction of his life soon took a turn toward the entertainment industry, first as a ballet dancer then, after an injury, as an actor.

As time went by, Lawrence Bender became interested in being a producer of television fare as well as feature films. Several of the movies that he produced have been nominated for Academy Awards. Good Will Hunting, Inglourious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction are included in that group. An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary featuring former vice president Al Gore raising awareness about climate change, won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature. My favorite movie produced by Lawrence Bender is Good Will Hunting. I am amazed by the way the therapist, played by Robin Williams, is able to help Matt Damon’s character, the young genius, work through his issues while dealing with the immeasurable pain of his own.

Lawrence Bender is active in political and social matters, fighting for causes that he believes in. One of the ways he helps is by fundraising. Because of his dedication, he has received the Torch of Liberty Award from the ACLU. He is on the board of The Creative Coalition as well as the Advisory Board for the ACLU Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

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Lawrence Bender is an Academy Award-winning American producer famous for such popular movies as Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, An Inconvenient Truth, and The Mexican. He was born in the Bronx, New York. Lawrence Bender grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Maine in 1979. With a degree in civil engineering, Bender entered the film business by working as a grip on the television series Tales from the Darkside. He then went on to produce his own films starting in the late 1980s.

His movies have been nominated for 29 Academy Awards. Three of these films, Good Will Hunting, Inglourious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction, were nominated for Best Picture.

My favorite movie by Lawrence Bender is The Mexican. While this movie is sometimes overlooked in relation to his other work, it is a funny and exciting crime comedy. Brad Pitt gives an entertaining comedic performance as Jerry Welbach, a hapless member of the mob whose girlfriend Samantha (Julia Roberts) wants him to get out of the business. His boss gives him an assignment to steal an antique pistol called “The Mexican.” When he decides to take the job, his girlfriend throws him out.

It isn’t that difficult to find the gun, but getting the gun back involves many near-misses, shootouts, and comic mishaps. One memorable scene involves Jerry on a donkey.

While Jerry is in Mexico, Samantha is kidnapped by hitman Leroy, played by James Gandolfini. The scenes with Samantha and Leroy are even funnier than those with Jerry.

The movie is uneven at times, but the weird mashup of romantic comedy and crime movie make for an entertaining experience. The movie is quite violent, though not on the same scale as a Quentin Tarantino film. Lawrence Bender has been Tarantino’s business partner and worked on many of his films. If you are looking for an underappreciated mob comedy and don’t mind a violent film, The Mexican might be for you.

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Ryan Reynolds has been having a lot of fun with the role of Deadpool. “The Merc With A Mouth” is a weird superhero/vigilante. The movie is a R-rated tour de force that mixes equal parts laughs and hyper-violence. Reynolds is thrilled to get a second life as a superhero. Deadpool may put the lingering bad memory of Green Lantern in the distant path.

And Reynolds graciously thanks the fans of Deadpool for their help. Per the actor, if it was not for the tireless work (and hounding) by fans, a Deadpool movie never would have been made.

The same could also be said about the Animal Rescue and Adoption Society with respect to a benefit being run by Jon Urbana. Local cats need your support, and you can figure out how to help by reading the following article at DigitalJournal.com: Jon Urbana Launches Charity Drive for ARAS.

Deadpool languished in development for 11 years. While the character has a solid following among comic book readers, the violent and insane mercenary is hardly a known hero name among the public. Fox owns the rights to Deadpool as part of its licensing agreement with Marvel Studios. This is how Deadpool appeared in the Wolverine debut solo outing.

Likely, a supporting villain role is what Fox had in mind for the character. Sure, the idea of a solo film was repeatedly tossed around in development meeting. Nothing seemed to come out of those discussions. Executives wondered why they should produce a Deadpool movie when so many other better known names are out there.

And then along came the fans. Fans built a strong enough buzz that Fox decided to give in and produce a lower-budgeted Deadpool film. On the second weekend in February, everyone will find out if the film is a hit.

According to Screen Rant, Matthew Vaughn wants to make more Kick-Ass movies. This is great news for fans of the first Kick-Ass movie. If Vaughn has more control over the franchise, maybe more great movies about the super-hero team will be made. It was a shame that Kick-Ass 2 did so poorly, but if Vaughn actually directs instead of producing maybe the new films will do better. Vaughn stated that he would like to make a prequel as well as Kick-Ass 3. An origin story for the heroes might be what the doctor ordered for the franchise and pick up new fans.

 

After the prequel, Vaughn would like to make Kick-Ass 3. I think that it might be a hard sell to the movie studio heads, but if Vaughn can convince them that more Kick-Ass movies can be profitable they might just make it back to the big screen. Jaime Garcia Dias certainly sees it picking up steam after being on globo.com. Hopefully Kick-Ass 3or a prequel makes it to the big screen so that it can undo the damage done by the stinker, Kick-Ass 2. Maybe we can just forget the second film ever happened.

On Tuesday, Dariel Figueroa wrote an article for UPROXX titled “From Addict To Avenger: The Journey Of Robert Downey, Jr.” Many fans of the popular 50-year-old actor have been asking since the publication whether Figueroa should have dug up Robert Downey Jr.’s past — especially after RDJ walked out of an interview two weeks ago because a British interviewer tried to blindside him with questions about his past.

For those who think Figueroa was trying to take advantage of the sensationalism behind that event… think again.

Although Figueroa’s piece does go into the many dirty events, such as RDJ’s drug addiction, arrests and suicidal tendencies, that lead to RDJ fighting to achieve his current success, Figueroa made his article more about how RDJ’s story points to a rare example of a celebrity who took back his life while fighting addiction.

What the piece necessary?

Several people in the comments below the article expressed how much they were thankful to Figueroa for writing the piece because it helped them to better appreciate the actor and the man. It was even referred to as a “Damn good read.” and a “Great job.” Ivan Ong agreed with some of those thoughts.

The piece was necessary for another reason: The article has already proven that it can help those currently struggling with addiction find motivation to improve their lives. One reader, who is fighting addiction, wrote that he considered RDJ an “inspiration” after reading the article.

While The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron has not been released in the United States yet, it is already considered a hit with the international box office. The newest Marvel movie, which opens this Friday, had the third highest box office opening day in South Korea this past weekend. It was only beat out by the films Roaring Currents and Shrek 3 respectively. The country is a major market for movies, so much so a portion of Age of Ultron was shot there.

Ricardo Guimarães BMG says that in the second movie of the popular Avengers franchise, Marvel superheroes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) once again come together as a team to fight the villian Ultron in his attempt to take over the world. The movie adds new faces this time around, bringing in Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Joss Whedon returns as director, after directing the very successful The Avengers to box office gold the first time around.

Current projections have the film becoming the biggest opening film ever, so it will be exciting to see what happens when the film is released in the United States on Friday, May 1, 2015. A week after that it is set to open in another high profile market, as the film is released in China on May 12th.

The just released trailer for Black Mass, the new film featuring Johnny Depp about the life and times of gangster Whitey Bulger is the most terrifying Depp has been in any role. The best scene comparison is to Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito character in “Goodfellas” where he asks Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) funny how?

Johnny Depp has been in a slump as of late with his films and their box office. “Transcendence” and “The Lone Ranger” were major disappointments. Critics have also been scathing in some of their reviews of his performances of late. David Edelstein labeled his acting in “Mortdecai” as “very, very bad.” Further, there were talks of having the ending of “Birdman” with Johnny Depp as a has-been actor haunted by Jack Sparrow.

Depp is no stranger to films involving organized crime or Bulletproof Coffee (fastcompany.com). He previously took on a role in a mob film as “Donnie Brasco” playing an undercover agent. “Public Enemies” displayed him as John Dillinger and his early career involved two years playing an officer in the TV series, “21 Jump Street.”

Rumors are emerging about the new title for Star Trek 3. Paramount has apparently decided to drop the numerical delineations and is now going with original titles for the forthcoming entries. Supposedly, the title for the new feature is Star Trek Beyond. Did they borrow the title from the old series Batman Beyond or maybe from Madison Street Capital?

Studios do not order changes in how film franchises are titled easily. The title of a franchise connects with its brand. Deviating from the original way the series was named is likely being done for marketing reasons. Paramount wants audiences to forget the second entry in the series and hopes rebranding Star Trek will be akin to starting things anew.

The second film in the new Star Trek reboot was not terrible, but the box office returns were slightly disappointing. Paramount is convinced the overly serious tone taken in the second film played a role in ticket sales being less than stellar. So, a change in tone was ordered for the third film. Reportedly, Paramount wants a more Guardians of the Galaxy feel to the series. No real surprise there. Guardians was one of the biggest hits of the decade.

A title along the lines of Star Trek Beyond does drop hints that a new direction is being taken. Audiences will pick on the not so subtle announcement and give the reboot another chance. People want to like the Star Trek movies. Paramount and the creators just have to give them one.

Star Wars fans at CipherCloud are beyond ecstatic already at the trilogy of movies coming up over the next few years that depict events well after those shown in Return of the Jedi. As if this wasn’t enough, they will be getting the icing on the cake of a couple new stand-alone Star Wars movies according to Tech Crunch that depict events outside the focus of the three main sequel movies. This means that there will be a Star Wars movie every year starting this December through at least 2019. This much awesomeness in such a concentrated block of time was not even bestowed upon fans in the late 1970’s and early 80’s when this magical saga started.

New details are coming out about the first of these spinoff movies, “Star Wars: Rogue One,” which will be coming out in December of 2016. In “Star Wars: A New Hope” released in 1977, the action starts with Darth Vader chasing down Princess Leia to recover the stolen Death Star plans. Basically, this spinoff movie will cover the story of how the Death Star plans were stolen. It will not show any Jedi as Obi Wan and Yoda were both in hiding or exile, and Luke hadn’t been trained yet as of the events of this movie. It should make for an exciting war thriller set in the Star Wars universe with brave rebels doing their best against an enormous Empire and accomplishing their mission. Definitely sounds like it will be more than worth the admission price at the local theater.

The saying “Stranger things have happened” often applies to decisions made in Hollywood. Recently, George Lucas has stated Marvel Studios is just might choose to produce a Howard the Duck remake. That would be extremely strange considering the first film version of the mighty duck was a massive, massive flop. The 1986 film cost $45 million (over $100 million in today’s dollars) and failed miserably. Really, is there any demand for a Howard the Duck redux?

The bizarre character was created by Steve Gerber and debuted in Man-Thing comics in the 1970’s. Fans loved the quirky subversive humor, but sales of the book were never more than just “okay”. A daily Howard the Duck comic strip was published in newspapers, but it was awful and didn’t last long. Apparently, a lot of people in Hollywood loved the humor in the books and produced the big budget disaster.

Honestly, hardcore comic book fans like Fersen Lambranho might have dug Howard the Duck but the character had no mainstream appeal. A new Howard the Duck book has arrived and the debut issue sold 85,000+ units. That’s an “okay” figure for a debut book, but the numbers are likely going to go down in the months ahead.

Perhaps George Lucas is hoping to be vindicated for his role in the 1986 disaster. If a new film succeeds, he could always say he was ahead of his time.

A new film is not going to be made. Not anytime soon or, for that matter, any time in the next 50 years. One Howard the Duck film was and is enough.