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Archive for June, 2009

2012

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

2012 DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Release date: Friday November 13, 2009
Genre: Action/Drama/Adventure.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Screenplay: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Producer(s): Harald Kloser, Larry Franco, Mark Gordon
Cast: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson
Official Site: sonypictures.com/movies/2012
Rating: Not yet rated
Available film art: 2012 movie posters

Synopsis
With the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, a large group of people must deal with natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, typhoons and glaciers.


Twilight Saga: New Moon Secrets Extended Cut

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Twilight Saga: New Moon Movie Poster - Style A

Entertainment Tonight as released extended behind-the-scenes footage from their New Moon set visit. The new video has some recycled footage that has already aired, but there are a few new nuggets of knowledge for vampire fans to sink their teeth into. You can watch the video below:


Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger in Public Enemies

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Pister - Style A

Criminals fascinate, and always have. Whether it’s Jack the Ripper and the Krays on this side of the Atlantic, or Jesse James and the Mafia on the other, they generate conflicting emotions in all of us. Yes, we know it’s wrong to rob trains or machine-gun our rivals. Yet down deep, admit it, there’s a part of you that wanted Ronnie Biggs to live the rest of his life on some sunny Brazilian beach.

What drives these feelings, I think, are the petty frustrations we all share with the rules of life, the mortgage that must be paid, the pompous boss who must be flattered, even the long queue at the supermarket (or bus stop with the strikes). Wouldn’t you love to rip up that mortgage bill, deck your boss or jump that line? That’s what criminals do. They break the rules that we cannot, and we live vicariously through them. Best of all, they usually meet justice in the end, confirming our faith in societal rules that we may dislike but know that we need.

Throughout history the glorification of criminals tends to rise during hard times, when living by the rules no longer protects us from losing a job or a home. This breeds resentment, and thus a tendency among some to root for those who flaunt the rules, who fight back. A case in point was America during the Great Depression, when legions of disaffected Americans cheered on an army of outlaws who rampaged through the Midwest, robbing banks and kidnapping millionaires. At the peak of this crime wave during 1933-34 the most visible of these gangs were led by Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly and Ma Barker. All these vaunted criminals rose and fell during the same 18 months.

Dwarfing all of these, however, at least in terms of international notoriety, popularity and headlines, was a flamboyant Indiana-born stickup man named John Dillinger, who is being brought back to life this summer in the movie Public Enemies.

The film, which is based on a book that I wrote a few years ago, is no straight-to-DVD indie either. Dillinger is portrayed by Johnny Depp, his nemesis, the FBI agent Melvin Purvis, by Christian Bale. The movie is directed by Michael Mann, the director of such memorable films as Heat and Last of the Mohicans.

For all the notoriety that Dillinger received during his lifetime, his profile has dimmed over the decades, in large part because, unlike Nelson or Kelly, he never earned a memorable nickname or, like Bonnie and Clyde, attracted a top-tier director.

Yet Dillinger is in many ways the consummate American antihero, an incorrigible criminal who was nevertheless cheered on by thousands of ordinary Americans. Part of this can attributed to the Depression; people were out of work and angry at the banks and businessmen who they considered to have put them there. They applauded Dillinger because, as a symbol of public outrage, he was able to do what they could not: fight back. But much of it was due to Dillinger’s outsized personality. He had charm and charisma to spare, vividly displayed in newsreels after one of his arrests, and he assiduously catered to his public, draping his coat over women who he took hostage during his bank robberies. “We don’t want your money, mister,’ he famously told one startled bank customer. “Just the bank’s.”

I won’t give away the movie, but one may safely assume that Depp is able to convey Dillinger’s likeability in spades. That will no doubt oblige reviewers and many customers to ask: how do these Hollywood myths compare with reality? The answer, at least when it comes to the greatest American crime stories, has been not very well.

From The Untouchables to Mississippi Burning, Hollywood has taken the facts of famous crimes and twisted them into wonderful narrative dramas in which, alas, the facts are inevitably and badly outgunned.

The classic example is the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. It’s one of the best films yet made, but as history it’s sadly lacking. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, beautiful and dashing, were nothing like the real-life Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, a pair of white-trash spree killers from the slums of Dallas, Texas. Bonnie and Clyde were never rebels or philosophers. They were pint-sized, unattractive, barely out of their teens, dirty, smelly murderers for whom crime was a kind of game. You can see it in the silly photos that they took of each other, posing with machineguns and fat cigars. They weren’t even especially adept criminals, knocking off far more drugstores, filling Continued from page 1 stations and supermarkets than actual banks.

Their story has no clear narrative arc, no real rhyme or reason. Between 1932 and 1934 they simply took one long road trip through the Midwest, robbing things when they ran out of money and killing anyone who tried to stop them; Clyde and his partners murdered about a dozen innocent lawmen. Even their peers looked down on them, and their fame was largely limited to Texas and neighbouring states; the only time Bonnie and Clyde made the front page of The New York Times was the day after their deaths. The scene in the movie that hews closest to history is the last. Bonnie and Clyde really were cut to pieces by a hail of bullets on a dirt road in rural Louisiana.

Worse, at least in terms of historical accuracy, was the 1970 movie Bloody Mama, starring Shelley Winters as the criminal mastermind of another infamous Depression-era group, the Barker gang. In the film Winters portrays the submachineguntoting Kate “Ma” Barker, who, legend and the FBI has it, led her sons and their hillbilly pals in a string of bank robberies and kidnappings. Yet research for Public Enemies proved that Barker did nothing of the sort. She never carried a gun, had her face on a wanted poster or walked into a bank to do anything other than make a deposit. “That old woman,” one of the gang said decades later, “couldn’t even plan breakfast.”

The myth of Ma Barker, however, owes less to Hollywood invention than J. Edgar Hoover’s desperation. In reality, it was Barker’s son Fred and his partner Alvin Karpis who ran the gang. Ma Barker travelled with them from time to time, happily living off their ill-gotten gains, but she spent most of her time sitting by the radio doing jigsaw puzzles. The seeds of her legend were planted on the day that the FBI cornered Fred in a Florida lakehouse in January 1935. Once the smoke cleared from the resulting gunfight, FBI agents found that they had killed Fred Barker, as planned, but were startled to find that they had also killed his 62-year-old mother. Rather than explain this to the press, Hoover told reporters that Ma had been the brains of the outfit. Only with the opening of case files decades later can we see that the FBI did not gather a single fact to suggest that Ma Barker was anything but a dimwitted grandmother.

Dillinger presents special challenges for the historian and, in particular, the film-maker. He never intended to become a criminal. He never intended to be much of anything. He was the son of an abusive Indianapolis grocer, and a terrible student given to petty crimes; after high school tried the Navy, which he didn’t take to, and marriage, which didn’t work either. He was loafing in his neighborhood pool hall in the early 1920s when a local troublemaker enticed him into the drunken mugging of a grocer. A judge threw the book at Dillinger, giving him what became nine hard years, most of it in the Indiana State Penitentiary.

In prison he fell in with a hardened group of bank robbers whose friendship, one suspects, warmed once it became apparent that Dillinger would be given parole first. At that point his pals taught him how to rob a bank, gave him a list of promising targets and then made him promise to use his illegal proceeds to free them. That is exactly what Dillinger did, smuggling in a set of pistols the group used to break out of prison in September 1933. “There’s no denying I did it,” Dillinger told reporters after his subsequent crime spree and arrest. “Why not? I stick to my friends and they stick to me.”

That impromptu press conference in January 1934 introduced Dillinger to millions of Americans. His fame can be attributed in large part to his being one of the few “public enemies” to be captured and interviewed during his career; almost all the others were seen only as rigor mortis set in.

His performance in front of those reporters was breathtaking. He smiled and joked, leant his elbow on a prosecutor’s shoulder and admitted everything. As one scribe put it the next day, Dillinger “rates in the eyes of calloused observers as the most amazing specimen of his kind ever seen outside of a wildly imaginative moving picture”.

Dillinger has been portrayed by diverse actors in several movies, though by far the best-remembered is Warren Oates in the title role of Dillinger, directed by John Milius in 1973. The movie’s storyline bears little resemblance to history, and Oates, while a fine actor, is far too rugged a performer for Dillinger. The real Dillinger was a lover, not a fighter, absolutely smitten by his girlfriend Billie Frechette, and his politeness toward those he robbed was legendary.

Even worse was the movie’s portrayal of the lead FBI agent, Melvin Purvis, played by the hulking actor Ben Johnson. In the film Johnson is the walking personification of the taciturn western sheriff, a big man of few words who takes out gangsters by the score with nothing in his hands but a gun and a cigar. The real Purvis was a small, squeaky-voiced 29-year-old whose ineptitude was one of the main reasons that Dillinger was able to remain at large for so long. Little of this was Purvis’s fault. He was earnest, good-hearted and hardworking. But the FBI was very much in its infancy at the time. Until the gunfights of 1933 its agents were not allowed to carry firearms and, legally, could not make arrests. Purvis was simply never trained to the things he was called upon to do in the pursuit of Dillinger. Though the press never caught wind of it, Purvis was ultimately replaced. He later resigned from the FBI and killed himself in 1960. About the only thing that the 1973 Dillinger got right was in the young Richard Dreyfuss’s portrayal of the cackling psychopath Baby Face Nelson, Dillinger’s sidekick.

The Dillinger and Purvis you will see in Public Enemies are far closer to history than just about any cinematic gangster of recent issue. Yes, there is a degree of fictionalisation, but that’s Hollywood; if the film was 100 per cent accurate you’d call it a documentary. Mann, a stickler for historical accuracy, managed to shoot at the actual scenes of Dillinger’s most famous jailbreak; the site of his most famous gunight, at the Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin; and the site of his death, shot by the FBI outside the Biograph Theatre on Chicago’s North Side. For the Biograph scenes, Mann prevailed on the city of Chicago to hand over six blocks of North Lincoln Avenue, which were transformed into an exact replica of that steamy evening when Dillinger met his fate 75 years ago, in July 1934.

I was an extra in these scenes, portraying one of the first reporters to rush toward Dillinger’s fallen body. As someone who spent almost five years researching his story, it was an eerie experience. Everything was as it had been that night. Depp was dressed exactly like Dillinger; it is said that he was even wearing some of Dillinger’s clothing. Once he fell, to the same stretch of pavement where Dillinger died, I rushed past Christian Bale, as Purvis, towards him. This scene was shot over and over, and every last detail was true. History and Hollywood myth are seldom the same, but in this one small case I was able to smile, because Hollywood, for once, had got things right.

Bryan Burrough is the author of Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 Public Enemies opens nationwide, July 3

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Exclusive Clip: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style C

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is set to set a new box office record this weekend. Here is an exclusive clip for your viewing enoyment.


New Movie Releases: June 12, 2009

Friday, June 12th, 2009

These are the movie arriving theaters this Friday.

Imagine That
Imagine That DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

A successful financial executive (Eddie Murphy) has more time for his BlackBerry than his seven-year-old daughter (Yara Shahidi). When he has a crisis of confidence and his career starts going down the drain, however, he finds the solution to all his problems in his daughter’s imaginary world.

Cast: Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Davies, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Matt Damon, Ted Danson, Dale Dye, Dennis Farina, Harve Presnell, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston, David Wohl, Leland Orser, Joerg Stadler, Maximillian Martini, Amanda Boxer, Harrison Young; Directed by: Steven Spielberg

The Taking of Pelham 123
Taking of Pelham 123 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber’s (Denzel Washington) ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. Ryder (John Travolta), a criminal mastermind and leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train’s passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour.

As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there’s one riddle Garber can’t solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape?

Cast: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, John Turturro, Luis Guzman, Michael Rispoli, James Gandolfini; Directed by: Tony Scott


Movie Review: Away We Go

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Away We Go Movie Poster Print - Style A

Who would have thought that the director of American Beauty and Revolutionary Road would make a film with an optimistic attitude about the power and strength of love? But that’s exactly what Sam Mendes has done with Away We Go, a story about two people searching for their place in this world, and finding it in each other. After the cynicism and “hopeless emptiness” of his previous projects, Mendes’ latest effort offers a refreshingly realistic and supportive couple who take on the world together as a unified team. The result is a sweet little film that doesn’t attempt to confront any grand, philosophical issues, but approaches life-sized dilemmas thoughtfully, without manufactured conflict or forced sentimentality.

Co-written by married novelists Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, the story follows expectant parents Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) as they travel around the country looking for a place to settle after Burt’s self-involved parents (Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels, the first wave in a steady tide of terrific supporting players) announce they’re moving to Belgium a month before the baby’s due. Determined to live near someone they know, Burt and Verona set out to visit friends, relatives and acquaintances in different cities, from Phoenix to Madison to Montreal. The road trip that follows becomes a sort of Dante’s Inferno-esque tour through successively awful circles of nightmare parenting scenarios.

The first stop introduces us to Verona’s mouthy former boss Lily (Allison Janney) and her willfully pessimistic husband Lowell (Jim Gaffigan) , who turn a day-long outing at the dog track into a sort of white-trash version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? That’s followed by a visit with Verona’s sister (Carmen Ejogo) in Tucson, where we get a little of her closely guarded backstory. Then it’s on to Madison and a disastrous dinner with Burt’s childhood friend LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her partner Roderick (Josh Hamilton), who flaunt their trust-fund-supported neo-bohemian lifestyle and embrace a very specific method of child rearing – “no sugar, no separation, no strollers.” Just as Janney does in her scenes, Gyllenhaal dives right into her contemptible character, and the scene escalates into one of the laugh-out-loud funniest sequences of the entire film.

Vastly different situations are explored in Montreal – where Burt and Verona’s college friends Tom (Chris Messina) and Munch (Melanie Lynskey) have built a loving home for a multiracial brood of adopted kids – and Miami – where Burt’s brother (Paul Schneider) is dealing with the departure of his wife and his sudden status as a single dad. There are no big revelations or showy fireworks at the climax of the film, just a simple understanding as Burt and Verona come to terms with their past, present and future through the lessons they’ve learned on their journey.

Mendes takes a naturalistic, low-key approach to the material, making good use of the different locations to set the chapters apart from one another. Along with cinematographer Ellen Kuras, he gives each destination a distinctive feel, from the overly bright, sunburned desert hues of Phoenix to the rich, smoky dive bars of Montreal to the soft pastels of Miami. Thankfully, he resists the road-movie cliche of long tracking shots showing nothing but scenery, often transitioning between segments in more interesting ways, such as a view of a plane reflected in the mirrored glass of a building.

What keeps all these strands connected in a single through line is the performances of Krasinski and Rudolph. Here is the best example of the old adage that comic actors often do the best dramatic work, and their palpable chemistry makes for a believable, if unconventional, couple. Verona steadfastly refuses to marry Burt, but her true reasons are oddly romantic when they’re finally revealed. As many successful couples do, they seem to instinctively correspond to each other’s peaks and valleys, taking turns being the one to freak out and the one to provide reassurance.

Of the two, Verona is the more reserved, maintaining a quiet strength that belies a depth of emotion. Fans who only know Rudolph from her work on SNL may be surprised at her range here and how well she functions as the straight woman in the film. When we first meet Verona, she’s a bit of a mystery, closed off and unwilling to talk about her past. But as the film goes on and she slowly opens up, it’s like watching a flower bloom in time-lapse. When she’s ultimately called upon to deliver a long, riveting monologue near the end of the film, she makes it look effortless.

Similarly, with the help of glasses, a shaggy mop of hair and a bristly beard, Krasinski sinks into the role of Burt like a comfy pair of shoes. His slightly rumpled, rough-around-the edges style is miles away from The Office’s Jim Halpert. Though the two characters may be compared in their affability and their unfaltering love and support of their significant others, that’s where the similarities end. Burt is filled with a childlike, almost naive, enthusiasm that’s nicely complemented by Rudolph’s motherly qualities. And though he has some of the funniest bits in the film, when situations arise that strip away that genial veneer, it is something to behold. This is Krasinski’s best feature-film role date, and with more projects like this under his belt, he’s assured of a long, steady career beyond The Office.

The other element that holds the film together is the soundtrack, provided for the most part by singer-songwriter Alexi Murdoch. Having a single artist predominate the score ends up working nicely as a connective device. His wistful guitar refrains give the journey a forward momentum, seamlessly carrying us from one chapter to the next, and his deep, honeyed voice sets a contemplative tone that underscores some of the film’s best and most emotional moments.

Some audiences may avoid this film because it reeks of an indie sensibility, while others may have soured on Mendes as a director after Revolutionary Road. While both of those predispositions are valid, there’s a lot more to Away We Go than meets the eye. Like a typical independent film, it eschews glossy imagery and extravagant production values for a more ordinary, grounded point of view, but it doesn’t have any lofty aspirations or take itself too seriously. It’s just a basic, well-acted road movie that will break your heart and put it back together again.


Movie Review: The Hangover

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Hangover DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

According to Christopher Monfette of IGN.com, this is one Hangover that you won’t want to go away.

Almost more than any other genre, comedy is virtually critic-proof, completely and utterly subjective in the face of your own sense of humor. Nine times out of ten, a black cat leaping out of an alley will scare most people. More often than not, a weepy scene between loved ones parted by either distance or death will elicit an audience’s sympathy. But when it comes to comedy, unless there’s simply nothing of good, old-fashioned, laugh-out-loud value, anything beyond a guy slipping on a banana peel or taking a shot to the nuts – which are universally funny – is ultimately at the mercy of taste. And so, it turns out, the absence of funny can be measured; the presence of funny is entirely up to you.

With that in mind, if it were up to this critic, The Hangover would easily be praised as potentially the funniest comedy to hit theatres in the last few years. It’s been awhile since I remember having laughed this hard or having been so effortlessly amused by a movie, and where so many Bachelor Party-inspired comedies grab too quickly for the low-hanging fruit of nudity and vulgarity – neither of which are necessarily bad, mind you — The Hangover manages to create a clever mystery and real, honest-to-goodness characters in the midst of its many of shenanigans. And that’s a surprise, quite frankly, given what this Las Vegas-set comedy could easily have become, but despite a few pacing issues in the middle of the film, The Hangover rises above the trappings into which other, similar comedies have so often stumbled.

It’s the eve of Doug’s wedding, and so his two best friends, Phil and Stu (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms), as well as his fiancé’s slightly off-balance brother, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), take Doug for a wild night in Vegas prior to the big day. And before you can say “What could possibly happen!?” the s**t gets real. Cut to twelve hours later when Phil, Stu and Alan wake up in a luxury suite, sans Doug, with a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, a stolen police car downstairs at the valet, and absolutely no memory of the previous evening. The big question is, “Where’s Doug?” but to answer that the gang has to retrace their steps from the night before, making The Hangover a kind of comedic mystery involving a hooker, an imprisoned Chinese mobster, a pissed-off Mike Tyson and an assortment of progressively stranger encounters. Also praiseworthy are the subtle, completely logical clues that the film provides the audience as to where Doug may have vanished, leaving the sharper-eyed viewers with a sense of accomplishment that they might have put things together before our main characters.

It’d be easy to simply set up an insane scenario, populating a room with animals and objects, and let the audience’s imaginations fuel the laughs – which, indeed, they do for the first portion of the film – but where The Hangover succeeds is in making the truth of what actually happened live up to the promise of the aftermath. That said, the film is admittedly funniest in its first half, but that director Todd Phillips and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore were able keep the back half as amusing as they did is as much a tribute to the film’s comedic chops as to the absolutely hysterical performances from Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis.

You’d be hard-pressed to name a better-matched comedy trio since Phillips’ own Old School back in 2003, but where Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn seemed like separate elements competing for the comedy crown, these hungover friends work seamlessly together to earn and support almost every single laugh. Cooper is the likable but smarmy, self-obsessed pack-leader who, despite his ego, undoubtedly loves his buddies, while Helms plays the brow-beaten straight man with the domineering girlfriend. Galifianakis, however, completely steals the movie as the eccentric Alan, who may or may not be developmentally challenged…Make no mistake, this is the movie that will pull Galifianakis from the realm of the cult comedian into the mainstream, but one wonders if playing awkward, quasi-simpletons isn’t simply his trademark shtick. If so, it’ll certainly limit how far Galifianakis can go as an actor and calls into question whether he could ever carry a movie as a lead, but he’s just so damn funny that we can’t help but hope that he has a long, successful career in cinematic comedy ahead of him.

The only real failing of the film is its second act, which suffers from some minor pacing issues, and a 15-minute lull where the laughs simply aren’t as abundant. And that the determination regarding just where Doug disappeared to ultimately comes from a play on words during a seemingly random dialogue exchange – rather than from a legitimate clue – seems a bit too easy, like the writers were looking for a quick way to shift gears into the third act. Thankfully, however, the third act stuff – which could have felt as if the film had given up or lost its steam – actually regains some of the comedic punch of the opening moments, culminating in a series of photographs that’ll have audiences howling riotously in their seats throughout the credits.

The Hangover could easily have been a cheap, crass, throwaway comedy, but with a great cast and a solid director, audiences are about to get one of the most bankable, legitimately hilarious films we’ve seen in quite some time. With a possible sequel already given the greenlight, we’re hoping that this same group can capture lightning in a bottle one more time.


Upcoming DVD Releases: June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Gran Torino DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Clint Eastwood stars in the drama “Gran Torino,” marking his first film role since his Oscar-winning “Million Dollar Baby.” Eastwood also directs the film in which he plays Walt Kowalski, an iron-willed veteran living in a changing world, who is forced by his immigrant neighbors to confront his own long-held prejudices.

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Cory Hardrict, John Carroll Lynch, Geraldine Hughes, Brian Haley, Dreama Walker; Directed by: Clint Eastwood


New Moon Trailer

Friday, June 5th, 2009

New Moon

By now, we’ve all had time to watch (and rewatch, analyze, and then rewatch again) the New Moon trailer that debuted during the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. Even though it was under two minutes long, it certainly gave us a lot to sink our teeth into, including our first glimpse of Jacob’s transformation into a wolf (not to mention Taylor Lautner’s sudden transformation into a heartthrob!)

So what did you think? Judging by the new trailer, are you expecting the sequel to sparkle as bright as the original movie, or is it already in the doghouse? Let us know you opinion.


Actor David Carradine Dies

Friday, June 5th, 2009

David Carradine

Actor David Carradine (born John Arthur Carradine) was found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok.

Actor David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu” who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies, has been found dead in the Thai capital, Bangkok. A news report said he was found hanged in his hotel room and was believed to have committed suicide.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family.

The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation cited unidentified police sources as saying Carradine was found Thursday hanged in his luxury hotel room.

It said Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot a movie and had been staying at the hotel since Tuesday.

The newspaper said Carradine could not be contacted after he failed to appear for a meal with the rest of the film crew on Wednesday, and that his body was found by a hotel maid at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. The name of the movie was not immediately available.

It said a preliminary police investigation found that he had hanged himself with a cord used with the room’s curtains. It cited police as saying he had been dead at least 12 hours and there was no sign that he had been assaulted.

A police officer at Bangkok’s Lumpini precinct station would not confirm the identity of the dead man to The Associated Press, but said the luxury Swissotel Nai Lert Park hotel had reported that a male guest killed himself there.

Carradine was a leading member of a venerable Hollywood acting family that included his father, character actor John Carradine, and brother Keith.

In all, he appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby.

But he was best known for his role as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest traveling the 1800s American frontier West in the TV series “Kung Fu,” which aired in 1972-75.

He reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine’s grandson in the 1990s syndicated series “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.”

He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s two-part saga “Kill Bill.”

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