City Blows Up In 'Gamer' - Albuquerque Journal

City Blows Up In ‘Gamer’

When the film “Gamer” shot in Downtown in late 2007, those of us who live Downtown were awakened by huge explosions and inconvenienced by some road closures.

But it might have been worth it to see the Albuquerque Convention Center get blown up or trucks flip end over end on the corner of Fifth Street and Marquette, in the shadow of City Hall.

The corner of Third Street and Silver Avenue was blocked off for weeks, with the film using the then-empty lots and parking garage as a set, which was, of course, blown up. The explosion of a fake building, which was actually made of foam instead of brick, left little chunks of white foam up and down Gold Avenue for weeks.

From the BMX track on Avenida Cesar Chavez to the rail yards and the streets of Downtown, no film has used as much of Albuquerque as “Gamer.”

The film is set in the near future when computer games have taken over and people use joysticks to control real people, and, in this case, prisoners. If the prisoners play the games well, according to their online masters’ whims, they’re released early.

In “Gamer,” gym rat Gerard Butler — who rose to fame as the buff King Leonidas in “300” — plays a prisoner who’s the best at the game.

The film was directed and written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the geniuses behind the “Crank” series of films. The latest, the early 2009 blockbuster “Crank: High Voltage,” will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday.

Yeah, it’s just like the guys from the “Crank” series of films to pick an overly muscular actor to play the lead.

The “Crank” films star Jason Statham as a guy who’s followed by a series of explosions that, for some mysterious reason, cause him to rip his shirt off and my girlfriend to ask, “Why don’t you have abs like that?”

There’s lots of talk about films that are going to be made in the state, but the New Mexico State Fair will host a Made in New Mexico Film Retrospective.

This is a chance to see 33 of the best films made right here, from “Salt of the Earth” in 1954 and the communistscare flick “Red Dawn” in 1984, to newer films like “3:10 to Yuma” and the Oscarwinning “No Country for Old Men.”

There will be no charge to see the films, beyond the regular fair admission. Films are scheduled for three showings per day: at 10:30 a.m., and 2 and 7 p.m. during the 17-day fair, which runs Friday through Sept. 27. All films will be shown in the 300-seat auditorium in the African-American Performing Arts Center.

Like he didn’t find worse filming “Juno” in the wilds of Canada?

You almost want to feel sorry for Jason Bateman. Almost. This week, the star of “Extract,” which opened this weekend, was on the “Late Show With David Letterman” to promote the new film, and he talked about how many bugs and creepycrawlies New Mexico has.

Bateman was here earlier this summer to make the scifi comedy “Paul,” which will be released next year.

While chilling and watching TV, he told Letterman: “A snake starts to wiggle its way up a screen door. They’re tough things to love. They can’t hug.

“So that scares me.

“One day later, the coup de grass-es,” he said mispronouncing the French phrase, “or however that goes … was something skitters across the floor in the middle of the night. I’m in my robe and slippers.

“It’s a centipede that’s thumb thick and it’s about 8 inches long, yeah, and the business end of it, the thongs, or whatever it is, the fangs, the daggers, I don’t know what it is … the pain inflicting portion of the centipede is taunting me.”

Then, Letterman and Bateman talk about the merits of slippers before Bateman continues his tale of woe in New Mexico.

“So I figure, I get a face towel out and that will cover him,” Batman said, “The worst part of it all is the housewife squeal that came out of me when I stomped on it. I didn’t know I had so much estrogen in me. Awful.”

Well, at least he didn’t stay in Placitas, where mountain lions are showing up in the locals’ backyards. They’re much harder to cover with a face towel.

The Web link is at

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