This article was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad
Movies really ought to be seen (and reviewed for that matter) on their own terms. But what if their very terms are -- "it's all connected!?" I had the exhaustive if qualified pleasure this week of attending "The Ultimate Marvel Marathon," in which select theaters across the nation played back-to-back screenings of all 11 of Marvel Studio's films. Those take you from Iron Man (2008) through to the latest superheroic orgy of mayhem known as The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Between the screenings (20-30 minute breaks) were interstitials selling the television program "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" that frequently reminded us that it was 'all connected'. Does the latest film The Avengers: Age of Ultron satisfy all on its own? My early guess -- only time will tell -- is "not so much" but then, is it really intended to?
Seeing the movies back-to-back threw their problems into sharp relief: the movies are ultimately formulaic, disinterested in women, and have weakly conceived villains (an oddity given that good villains are such a comic book staple). They also betray an unfortunate tendency to end with a battle in which large inanimate objects frequently collide or crumble, mistaking mass destruction as the highest form of entertainment when the figurative character beats as well as, yes, literal character beatings are nearly always the most pleasurable moments.
On the plus side, the marathon was a great reminder of why blockbuster culture has been stampeding all over more intimate cinematic triumphs for a long time now. [More...]
Before We Get Started...
Here's the only sane reaction to the news that The Lovely Laura Linney (who has barely been on movie screens these past five years) has joined the cast of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. This comes from Aaron Fullerton on Twitter:
Laura Linney was cast in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 and, for her sake, I hope she simply introduces it like an episode of Downton Abbey.
NY Times profiles Tom Hardy on the cusp of even wider stardom with Mad Max: Fury Road
The Guardian looks at five great moments from Shirley Maclaine's career
CHUD Director Josh Trank (Chronicle) has left the as yet untitled Star Wars spinoff film
EW interviews Matthias Schoenaerts about Far From the Madding Crowd, being called "the Belgian Brando" and his favorite movies (he loves David Lynch!)
Coming Soon from Shakespeare to a video game adaptation? The MacBeth team (Fassy, Cotillard, and director Justin Kurzel) are doing Assassin's Creed together.
The Dissolve Helen Hunt reuniting with the director of The Sessions for a road trip movie. Dakota Fanning co-stars
The Dissolve Because A24 is the best one of their next projects will have Cary Fukunaga telling the true story of a father who went on a cross-country walk to work through his grief about his gay son's suicide
Deadline Channing Tatum to star in an adaptation of the old sci-fi novel "The Forever War" from the 70s which is about soldiers fighting an endless war with no clear concept of why they're fighting. Apparently the novel has ideas about the future including the eliminating of heterosexuality (?) and the melting pot creating one homogenous race that are hard to imagine in movie form, given Hollywood's timidity about race and alternative sexuality
MNPP a fun new poster for the horror comedy Cooties
Time Out the first ten Marvel films in 40 gifs -- this would have been so much faster than that Marvel Marathon I attended!
Comics Alliance shares 11 in universe or comics references within the movie
Bryan Singer keeps releasing photos of his new X-Men team from the set including Jean Grey () in acid washed jeans and Jubilee in that familiar yellow jacket
Mark Ruffalo is calling Marvel out on their lack of female action figures
Pajiba collates a list of actors and directors considered for all the Marvel movies - what a difference many of them would have made
Dark Horizons they've narrowed down the new Peter Parker to Asa Butterfield and Tom Holland. Holland is the better actor but immensely less famous so let's hope they realize they don't need pre-movie fame for one of the most globally famous heroes ever created
Showtune to Go!
Remember Robin De Jesús, that awkward drag-loving teenager from Camp (2003)? He recently turned 30 and here he is from his new cabaret show #TheStruggleisReal (May 4th at 54 Below) doing Miley Cyrus ("Wrecking Ball" is totally a standard already) and reminding us that there was more to that movie than Anna Kendrick's breakout.
So, as those of you who read every post know, I attended the Ultimate Marvel Marathon from Wednesday to Thursday night. The AMC staff was very present and high energy and it was a fairly well run event. The best part was that once you were seated, you got to keep that seat for the duration so if you wanted a sleeping break, you could have it and when you came back your seat was still there for you! Magic.
The only super gross part? How filthy with popcorn and garbage the theater got by the end as their were no cleaning breaks. Here's my Age of Ultron review but if you're curious about the general marathon event. Read on.
Herewith a few casual observations from the Marathon as well as some impromptu lists
THE EVENT SCHEDULE
6:00pm IRON MAN (2008)
Twas curious to see this again knowing what it spawned, and how confident it was that it would be spawning it since it ends with an Avengers tease (then still 4 years away). It's also alarmingly sexist which I had kind of forgotten with Leslie Bibb in an awful role as a Vanity Fair reporter.
8:25pm THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
This was the film I had the vaguest memory of. Tim Roth makes a committed villain but once he's CGI he's no longer special. Edward Norton is like the opposite body type of Mark Ruffalo so that's an interesting casting switcheroo. It was also funny to notice that they used to paint abdominal muscles on the actors as opposed to making them workout for months prior to filming; things changed quickly as superheroes began to dominate pop culture. P.S. Liv Tyler's voice sure is breathy!
That's today's burning question since the April Foolish charts for both screenplays are up this May 2nd (shut it - I tried to finish by April!) and, as per usual, the year's Adapted Screenplay competition looks fairly robust while the Original Screenplay competition is harder to parse since the films don't come with as much pre-release prestige. My whole life I've tended to prefer films written originally for the screen -- this year I'm most curious about what Diablo Cody has written for us with Ricki & The Flash -- but Oscar feels differently and Adapted Screenplays are often where it's at for them.
See the two charts here and tell me this:
Have you read any of these books that are 'soon to become major motion pictures' in 2015 do you plan to? And which book-to-film for 2015 do you suspect will only become a "minor motion picture"?
(that's the cast of Signature's CABARET playing in DC later this month
including ever crushworthy Wesley Taylor from Smash)
On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you that May has arrived? I think I'm at a 15. Feeling very optimistic. You?
Sebastian here with a heartfelt criticism of dubbing movies for foreign markets.
This Monday I took a four hour train ride to see a movie.
I've done crazier things in the name of cinephilia. A few years ago I coerced my friends to take a day trip to Strasbourg just so I could see Steve McQueen's Shame three months before it opened here in Germany. But this time it was't about some small independent film. This time I went to all this trouble to watch a movie called Avengers: Age of Ultron. Maybe you've heard of it?
The superhero sequel had already been playing in German cinemas for a week and it's even playing in my small town. So why go elsewhere?