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Entries in The Avengers (59)

Thursday
Mar052015

The Avengers (Again). Three Grabby Shots

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is nearing Spider-Man 3 levels of giving the game away before it opens. Which worries. Why the hard sell with a third trailer when you're going to break records even if you advertised with only the illustration of a turd -- and I don't mean the shitty poster, but an actual turd. This hard sell combined with the bleak tone of all the trailers (where's the fun of the megahit original?) combined with Joss Whedon calling the production "a nightmare" has me suddenly worried. Because, true story: I want it to be great. I love The Avengers (in comic and movie form). Yes, TFE complains about the glut of superhero movies but that doesn't mean they should've have a place in the movie ecosystem. They just shouldn't dominate it is all. They're dessert, not a balanced meal.

So at the risk of obvious spoilers (hey Marvel provided them not us) here are the three moments we must discuss...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb242015

Thoughts I Had... While Looking at 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Poster

Thoughts I had while looking at the Age of Ultron Poster as they come to me...

Wow, that's ugly! And since this movie would make a billion dollars even if they advertised with a giant stinky turd as the poster, you'd think they could be a little more creative. You can get away with anything, Marvel, so make it count. Revive the art of the movie poster... it's not like you don't know the important of a good "cover" for your comic books.

And don't make it so obvious that Samuel L Jackson is bored of his role. 

Where's Drew Struzan when you need him? His posters could assemble multiple characters, amplify their already potent iconography, be fun and beautiful all at once. If you love poster art of the 1980s, you should consider buying his coffee table book.

Who knew that the Black Widow was a fan of Tron: Legacy 

You can see The Vision floating up near the top. They let him keep that bright yellow cape though we don't know if his skin will be red and his costume green. Seems unlikely. That's a lot of primary colors for a movie! I don't know why but I now equate his relationship with The Scarlet Witch to with Doctor Manhattan & Silk Spectre so if there's not a CGI generated scene co-starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany with a bright red penis, I'm going to be disappointed.

Thor is about to hammer Captain America [ahem]

I hope the robots made of pixels have more character than those nameless alien pixels they battled at the end of the first movie.

I miss The Leftovers (I'm not the only one who was reminded of this). Come back Carrie & Justin

OMG remember The Rapture (1991)? Mimi Rogers was so amazing in that movie and it seems like no one has seen it. My Oscar nominees that year woulda been Foster/Davis/Sarandon/Rogers/Dern with apologies to The Bening! (What? It always comes back to best actress.)

Monday
Feb092015

'Nobody's Baby,' But Everyone's Cover Girl

Another wave of Scarlett Johansson mania is nearly upon us courtesy of The Age of Ultron. Here she is very late seventies/early eighties styled for W magazine's spring issue

Photography by Mert Alas

As a child in New York, Johansson was fascinated with every aspect of show business. “I had a big imagination,” she said. “I particularly loved Judy Garland, and, to me, she did it all. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an actor. And I wanted to do everything. When you’re a kid, they send you on a lot of commercial auditions, and I was terrible at selling things. I never got those parts. I remember crying in the subway, and my mom said, ‘Look—let’s forget it. Do something else.’ And I replied, ‘No. You can’t take this away from me. I want to be an actor!’ Waiting for the B train, I had my come-to-Jesus moment.”

So Johansson (and her mother, who became her manager) decided she would audition only for films. In addition to a precocious mix of sexy and cute, even as a girl, Johansson had a trump card: her deep, slightly hoarse, smoky speaking voice. 

This new W magazine profile is by Lynn Hirschberg and Scarlett shares that the black hair in Under the Skin was her idea. A good one! Strangely the photos for this article aren't up despite a link saying they are.

Tuesday
Dec092014

Interview: James Chinlund's Evolutionary "Apes" Vision. (Plus a Look Back at "The Fountain")

Production Design James ChinlundThough today's film culture is as as overun with franchises as the decaying cities of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are with unchecked vegetation, franchise movies do have a few beautiful unique pleasures all their own. Chief among those, we'd argue, is the sheer scale of imaginative spectacle they can provide when the right people are hired behind the scenes. 

James Chinlund, the award winning production designer behind the fantastic world-building in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of those people.  Though his filmography was once mostly the domain of scrappy ambitious auteur indies, he's recently experienced a sort of super-size me effect. He credits Marvel's gamble in hiring him to design their biggest blockbuster The Avengers with reinvigorating his film career. This led directly to Dawn of the Apes, one of 2014's most acclaimed giant-sized hits. Though Chinlund undoubtedly has his share of film offers these days, he prefers the mix of small and large scale projects that his still-diverse career provides and opted out of superhero sequels from the time commitment. 

Apes, Avengers, and The Fountain are after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct302014

Calendar-Man v. Film Culture: The Bubble-Bursting Wars

With every studio hopping on the "universe building" trend that Marvel perfected for cinema -- too bad Pixar's early "all original concept / few sequels" success didn't translate to cross-studio trends -- cinema will be becoming a lot more like television. It already has, of course, with those annual editions of popular franchises playing like big budget TV miniseries with all their episodes smashed together for one bingewatch a year (think Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter). With the Star Wars universe now planning annual showings and Bond & Star Trek till and that planned resurrection of the entire original iconic movie monsters, one has to wonder if Original Content will finally be put down by the 2020s. Or will the bubble burst and audiences will grow tired of continuing stories with overly familiar characters and often padded multi-part stories with no resolutions. You know, the kind they can get at home on television for free?!

This comic panel has been slightly altered to better illustrate my argument.

All entertainment trends are cyclical. This is a fact, however much people valiantly argue year after year that whatever's hot right then will live on forever. But when exactly will the bubble burst?

I was initially very excited about the growing genre of superhero movies -- like many boys I spent countless hours in childhood and adolescence dreaming of seeing my favorite characters on the page in live action environments (X-Men, The Avengers, The Teen Titans, Cloak & Dagger, Green Lantern and Daredevil figured chief amongst my fantasies in this regard). But even though I wanted this, I'm already kinda bored of seeing it actualized especially since so much of it plays more like a nightmare (see the first film versions of Green Lantern and Daredevil - or better yet, DON'T, if you've managed to escape them).

Backstage blog handwringing and the superhero glut after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

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 ...

Sunday
Aug032014

Linker by the Dozen

Salon talks to Patricia Clarkson about her career and why she never married or had kids
Pajiba 25 best triple exclamation point quotes from (recent) movie history. I added the (recent) because you know how people do with lists. It's always our lifetimes + one classic. But it's a fun list
Daily Telegraph interviews actress Rachel Griffiths on juggling career and family. "You can't win" she says
Antagony & Ecstasy remembers Eyes Wide Shut and wonders what would have happened if Stanley Kubrick had had more time with it


Gawker Bill Murray doing voicework for Jungle Book as "Baloo"
Film Stage first images from Rosewater, Jon Stewart's directorial debut
Towleroad a review of The Way He Looks. So bummed I missed this Brazilian romance at NewFest. Keep hearing good things
/Film Harry Shum Jr will co-star in the as yet untitled Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel (it's based on the book Iron Knight Silver Vase but I'd be VERY surprised if they kept that title). So glad he found a post-Glee role. Love him.
Awards Circuit polled their whole staff on '10 greatest performances'... but i don't do 100s of click throughs to see all the lists so someone tell me who has the best taste ;)

super world
Comics Alliance on the importance of Superman's forelock curl
Variety looking back at Marvel's Phase 1 and Phase 2
Kate Mara Fantastic Four is a wrap. Cute photo of the cast 

...and finally. 8 Bit Video attacks The Avengers. These things are so cute but I long for them to do something less expected than a blockbuster action movie. You know?

 

I apologize in advance for this but why does my brain always want such incongruous things as 8 Bit Far From Heaven: Help Cathy retrieve her flying scarf. Find Cathy's philandering gay husband. Train is about to depart. Or 8 Bit 12 Yea-- no, too soon. 8 Bit Black Swan Slam your psycho mother's fingers in the door for points. Pirouette until you transform into a bird. Kill your doppelganger.   8 Bit The Hours: Think you can buy the flowers yourself? Load your pockets with stones. How long can you stay underwater? Make a birthday cake while a need child looks on. GO!