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Entries in Joss Whedon (36)


Avengers... and Saint Laurent? Round Two

Don't judge but I went to see Age of Ultron again. I picked the earliest show of the day on a weekday in a neighborhood theater that is generally empty for early showings because I wanted to see it free of mass frenzy / noise and a seat far away from the screen - completely different than last time. But get this. I walk in to a jam-packed theater and I spy like one empty seat way back 'guess I'll sit there,' Only to be stopped by a woman who tells me that this is a field trip for the high school and ALL of these seats are taken.

A HIGH SCHOOL FIELD TRIP ... TO SEE A SUPERHERO MOVIE. Who do I call about where my NYC tax dollars are going? How is this educational unless this is a business school and the students are studying Marvel's world-domination tactics?  (The only movies I got to see on field trips in high school were French ones for French class.)

May 8-10 Weekend
01 Avengers: Age of Ultron $77 (cum. $312.5) Review & Marathon & Podcast
02 Hot Pursuit $13.3 NEW Review
03 Age of Adaline $5.6 (cum. $31.5)
04 Furious 7 $5.2 (cum. $338.4) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $5.1 (cum. $58)
06 Ex-Machina $3.4 (cum. $15.7) Review
07 Home $3 (cum. $162.1) the rise and fall of Dreamworks
08 Woman in Gold $1.6 (cum. $26.9) 
09 Cinderella $1.5 (cum. $196.1) Review
10 Unfriended $1.4 (cum. $30.9) 

Five More New Releases
The D Train $.4 (1004 screens) Review
5 Flights Up $.2 (87 screens) 
Noble $.2 (175 screens)
Maggie $.1 (79 screens) Review
Saint Laurent $.03 (4 screens) Review

For what it's worth, despite a shitty seat and lots of noise and cel phone activity in the theater (argh) the movie was more enjoyable this time around after expectations had settled reasonably. Expectations are like that floating city, in this cumbersome analogy comin'atchawatch out!, in that the higher they rise the more billions of people die when they crash back down to earth unless Iron Man

... I lost the thread.

In fact, I was almost agog at how elegant Joss Whedon could make such a cumbersome thing. Which is to say that it's about as graceful as something this gangly and multi-limbed could hope to be on the day it's first learning to walk if you know what I mean. Should you ever see it again, clock how many disparate agendas the screenplay and direction is asked to address in virtually every scene and you suddenly won't be as bitchy about this "disappointment". The second time around the Scarlet Witch's arc is much stronger since the plot clutter dissipates but the Thor digression is still a f***ing mess and though the trip to Hawkeye's "safe house" is a much needed breather it's way too long, losing the action-packed momentum. And it doesn't help that the scene to rev you back up, the hijacking of "the cradle," is the weakest action setpiece.

Meanwhile in Limited Release
Saint Laurent, France's Oscar submission from last year, finally opened this weekend, too. It occurred to me the other day that in the rush of Oscar campaign madness last season (and two very fun trips to LA) I never shared the story about the time I went to that French party in Saint Laurent's honor.

Here I am speaking to Gaspard Ulliel, probably about his penis.

Well it does have a glorified star cameo in the movie!

He was actually quite chatty and for all my significant qualms about the movies length and its last half hour when we jump forward to Yves Saint Laurent as an old man (and lose Gaspard in the process), he's terrific in the movie and it's quite memorable (the movie I mean -- get your minds out of the gutter). I still remember certain brilliant sequences vividly. Anyway, I would have mentioned this much sooner but distributors like to strike when the iron is cool and it's just now hitting theaters. The highlight of this party was meeting Brenda Vaccaro and Jacqueline Bissett - they were freaking hilarious (which I was not expecting) and teasing each other about recently meeting Idris Elba (at a different event). My point is this: I'm now desperate to see them in a buddy comedy.

Sadly I lost my phone in LA and with it many notes about these tiny celebrity run-ins. *sniffle*

But let's get back to the present tense. I saw Age of Ultron and a few eppys of Grace and Frankie and otherwise I played with friends who were visiting from out of town.

What did you see this weekend?


Podcast (Season Debut): Furious Ultron 7 

The Podcast is Back!

For this season's spoiler-heavy debut episode, Nathaniel is joined by Joe Reid and Anne Marie Kelly who share their feels about the Furious 7 and its home franchise from corny sentiment to Michelle Rodriguez's biceps. We also talk Joss Whedon, crowded and empty theaters, and the various intermittent joys of The Avengers: Age of Ultron from Elizabeth Olsen's elaborate hand gestures to Mjölnir getting around.

Running Time - 42½ minutes
00:01 Intro and "Previously On..."
02:00 Avengers moviegoing: geek behavior, costumes, crowds
09:00 Age of Ultron
33:00 Furious 7

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes.  

Furious Ultron 7


A.I. 'Buffybot'

Some say it's better than the real thing.”

With those words we are introduced to Buffybot, a robotic replica of everyone’s favorite Pointy-wielding, banter-spewing blond vampire slayer... 

Manuel continuing our Artificial Intelligence theme week.

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains one of the best examples of how to use superpowers, monsters and villains as generative metaphors for such varied things as puberty, high school, sexual assault and the systemic misogyny that pervades our contemporary world. This latter issue is at the center of “Intervention” the 18th episode of Buffy’s fifth (and I’d argue best!) season. [more]

Click to read more ...


Q&A Part 2: Wanting EGOTs and Missing BSG

For this week's "Ask Nathaniel" party, I asked people to be inspired by the theater (Tony season is upon us) or by the science fiction genre. I promised 10 questions. 10 answers but that's too long. So in Part One yesterday I answered four of them (topics: Avatar, Streep, Instant Classics, and Sci-Fi on stage - why haven't you commented?) and here are the remaining chosen questions that ended up organizing themselves around me missing Battlestar Galactica somehow.

LADYEDITH: If you could put any actress in charge of a Starship in a movie (doesn't have to be Star Trek) which actress would you choose? 

the answer and 5 more questions after the jump...

Click to read more ...


A Glorious Geeky Gospel-Infused Pop Culture Collision

Grant Gustin & Jesse L Martin in "The Flash"I wasn't aware that Jesse L Martin, one of the best singing actors, was hoping to finance a musical short for himself but he is. The world collectively fell for his voice on the Original Cast Recording of "Rent." David E Kelley let him sing fairly regularly on "Ally McBeal" (those bar scenes made full use of the many musical alums in Ally McBeal's cast) and then he reprised his star-making role for the ill-conceived Rent movie. Since then he tends to be cast in non-singing roles -- even in musical shows like "Smash"! He's currently the adoptive father / police detective hero on CW's hit "The Flash" and he doesn't get to sing on that show either.

But listen to this -- here he is with two of his current co-stars on "The Flash" (Carlos Valdes and Rick Cosnett) to sing the theme song for Joss Whedon's "Firefly" It's a thank you to Joss who donated to their collective kickstarter project. A fourth co-star is also involved in this would be short (Patrick Sabongui who plays the incidentally gay police captain boss on the series) but he's not in this thank you video. Maybe he sings, too?

Let this double as a cry for action aimed at the CW writers room: The Flash obviously and desperately needs a musical episode. Make it happen in Season 2. To its very entertaining credit your show already embraces "anything can happen" insanity (Gorilla Grodd, hi!) so if Grant Gustin can't sing, just give the other guys all the songs. Make it work.

UPDATE: Grant Gustin can very much sing. (Sorry, I stopped watching "Glee" before he arrived and have never regretted the decision). A musical episode must happen.

Why are actors always so multi-talented? It's unfair. And wonderful.


Beauty vs Beast: Vamp Thru The Heart

It's Monday which means it's time for this week's "Beauty vs Beast" - Jason from MNPP here again to talk us in. Did you know that tomorrow is the 18th anniversary of Joss Whedon's television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer's premiere on the WB? I'd say Buffy's old enough to graduate from High School but we all know what happened the first time around (SNAKES) so let's not. Coincidentally over the weekend Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar was asked what she thought about revisiting the character, what with all these series (The X-Files, Twin Peaks) of yore getting brought back - she doesn't seem terribly keen on the idea, sadly. Anyway I don't know if anybody noticed but Joss is kind of busy right now.

But we can look back! So look back we shall. I've already used "Buffy vs Faith" for this series before so let's turn our eyes unto the main menfolk of the show - yup, I speak of Buffy's undead amours Angel (David Boreanez) and Spike (James Marsters). Put on your shipper hats and go!

Whose team are you on?
Team Spike0%
Team Angel0%

As usual you've got just one week to vote, so dust off your pointy things and prepare to make some hard choices. 

PREVIOUSLY Last week we were All About Eve... actually make that all about Margo, since it was Bette Davis who took the wheel and drove right over Anne Baxter (talk about a bumpy ride) taking a whopping 86% of the vote. Bette will not be denied. Said Akash:

"All About Eve is an ensemble that ends up feeling like a one woman show. THAT'S how powerful Bette Davis is is in every gesture, quip and sashay. One of the greatest performances in American film history and it's unbelievable that one of her Oscars wasn't for this iconic role."


Yes No Maybe So: Avengers Age of Ultron

And by Yes No Maybe So I mean Yes Yes and Also YAAASSSS.

Tony Stark modelling the signature look from Hulkbuster Summer Line 2015

Though the thought of 20 plus superhero movies in the next few years makes me psychologically ill (nothing is special if it's all the time - see also Streep playing every part for women over 60 and tv shows about lawyers/doctors/crimescenes) at least roughly half of the Marvel movies are actually good examples of this soon-to-be oversaturated genre, generally getting the balance right of big pop flair, comic relief and stylized gravitas. And by "half" I'm referring of course to both Captain Americas, Joss Whedon's take on The Avengers and every other Iron Man. I'm hoping the genre goes out* with a big bang, that bang being Avengers: Age of Ultron.

But before we begin a word about "premieres." why do movie studios even bother announcing "premieres" or anything anymore when they then immediately retract the specialness of every debut by shooting their wad early. On Tuesday night's Agents of SHIELD they made a big fuss about how the Avengers Age of Ultron trailer would premiere on next Tuesday's episode (theoretically to boost ratings/interest) and then within 24 hours Marvel had officially posted the trailer online thereby killing the excitement of watching it next week during Agents of SHIELD

Anyway, for this supersized Yes No Maybe So (our series wherein we break down movie trailers to those three categories) we're doing roughly every image, in the order it appears because we can't help it. Mmmm, can't get enough.

I'm going to show you something beautiful...

Click to read more ...