Review: Her is a Creative Outlier Amongst Possible Best Picture Contenders

Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance Directed by:  Spike JonzeStarring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett JohanssonWritten by: Spike Jonze
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
Written by: Spike Jonze

 

Synopsis: A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

 
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Spike Jonze is known for his abnormal films (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) but with his latest film Her, the usual abnormality is accompanied by a slew of creative elements that captivate an entire spectrum of emotions. Viewing this film was an emotional journey that brought laughter, sadness, inspiration, and awe, while also leaving a lasting impression that implored me to call Her my choice for the best picture of 2013.

 Even in isolation, you can feel the characters sharing a moment
Even in isolation, you can feel the characters sharing a moment

I have been anticipating the return of Joaquin Phoenix and he comes back strong in Her. With his main supporting actor being entirely auditory based, Phoenix is able to masterfully exhibit the characteristics and expressions that accompany a relationship with another person even though every action required nothing more than a sincere vocal response. What I loved about his performance was that his change in vocal diction matched his physical responses flawlessly, which is quite a task for any actor and even more so if there is very little sharing amongst actors when it comes to screen time. The rest of the cast is completely overshadowed by Phoenix, but not in a bad way. Probably to maintain the theme of the film, the other roles are initially brief with only slightly increased moments of screen time following their introduction. The focus of this film is the Operating System (or “Her”) and the relationship with Phoenix (or “Him”) therefore making any other characters nothing more than a window to the world outside of their relationship.

 

TESTTT Job
Despite the lack of physical interaction, the turmoils of love still exist

This film definitely places focus on character development but the setting and period of the film are elements that make the relationship between man and computer both feasible and acceptable from the audience’s point of view. Expanding upon the rapid progression of social media and technology, it is easy to see how our relationships with technology could evolve from a pastime or dependency to a deep emotional connection or feelings of love. The futuristic setting provides the means for the characters’ relationship and the evolution of that relationship is the backbone of the film. The technological “elephant in the room” is quickly addressed through a series of humorous moments and is then forgotten after focus is taken to the main characters’ emotionally engaging conversations and progression of their relationship. Despite the lack of physical interaction, there are many common stages of many everyday human relationships. The initial excitement that fades, the fear of loss, the fighting with each other, and the fighting for the relationship are all stages that are addressed and relatable to the average couple. Every stage that accompanies the relationship is genuine but also throws in a short and quick reminder that this is not a normal human to human relationship. The progression and digression of the relationship is what connected me to the characters and the quick reminder of their differences is what continually piqued my interest from beginning to end.

Physical supporting roles are brief to bring focus to Phoenix's solitude
Physical supporting roles are brief to bring focus to Phoenix’s solitude

Without spoiling the ending, I will say that this film fit together like a puzzle. The socially secluded lifestyle of Phoenix’s character is an effect of his own insecurities which slowly disappear over the course of his relationship with the Operating System. The relationship is something more than love, it is a catalyst for self-discovery from the human and machine perspective. As they both learn more about themselves, they find comfort in who they are and discover their place in the world.

 

Overall, Her is a film that takes you on a journey. During that journey you discover that love can be found anywhere but that journey cannot progress until you love yourself. The scenery is beautiful, the moments are heart-felt and sincere, the plot is captivating, and the acting is absolutely superb. It’s a shame that this film has not received the media coverage that it deserves because it is truly a creative masterpiece and my favorite film of 2013.

Her – 9 out of 10

My choice for the 2013 Best Picture

Michael Keaton is On Board for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice 2

keatonBeetlejuice
 

Beetlejuice is a film that is synonymous with Tim Burton. While it only pulled 74 million at the box office, it quickly became a cult classic with its dark comedic them and the lively and animated performance of Michael Keaton. There has been speculation for awhile regarding a sequel and now it seems as though Michael Keaton is in preliminary discussions with Tim Burton and just waiting for the moment to sign on for the film.

Michael Keaton went ahead and made “Beetlejuice” fans’ millennium by revealing that he’s all but officially signed on to a sequel to the 1988 supernatural cult comedy.
 
“I’’ve emailed (original “Beetlejuice” director Tim Burton) a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff,” Keaton told MTV News while promoting his latest movie, “Robocop.”

Via: NY Daily News

 

I have no doubt that Michael Keaton can revive the character that we’ve known and loved for so long. The question that comes to my mind is whether or not the sequel will be able to do as well as the first film. I’m guessing that the plot will most likely exclude main characters like Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, but there is still strong speculation that Winona Ryder will be involved. The key to this film working is Keaton and I have to say that I’m glad he’s on board.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Set Videos from South Africa

avengersAOA

Some recent amateur set footage has shown up on Instagram for the Avengers sequel. Nothing too revealing other than the set location in Johannesburg South Africa and a rather humorous video showing how the scenes with the Hulk are shot. Still it’s more media than we’ve had thus far so enjoy it while you can!

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently shooting in Johannesburg, which looks to be the real-world setting for one of the film’s action sequences (though rumors about Black Panther’s fictional home turf Wakanda persist), as the first set photos/videos reveal.

Screenrant

 

nathi_artist’s video on Instagram

 

nathi_artist’s video on Instagram

The Monuments Men Can Be Lengthy But Provides Historical Value

Genre: Action | Biography | Drama Directed by:  George ClooneyStarring:  George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill MurrayWritten by: George Clooney (screenplay), Grant Heslov (screenplay)
Genre: Action | Biography | Drama
Directed by: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray
Written by: George Clooney (screenplay), Grant Heslov (screenplay)

Synopsis: An unlikely World War II platoon are tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.

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The Monuments Men is filled with an A-List cast and directed by an A-List name (Clooney). The film is based on a true story that shows a side of the second World War that many may not be familiar with. Towards the end of World War II, Hitler had accumulated quite a collection of historical art. Historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) convinces Franklin D. Roosevelt to let him put together a group of like minded individuals to risk their lives saving pieces of art stolen by the Nazis. The underlying theme throughout this film questions their mission asking, “Is a man’s life worth a piece of history?” That question is what surrounds the film. As these men risked their lives in a war on the decline, many questioned their intentions and they had little support for their cause. Since most of the war was on the decline, many long-term soldiers were reluctant to assist in a task that put lives at risk. This left this group of historians, teachers, and architects to handle a majority of the mission on their own.

Unlikely soldiers with a unique mission
Unlikely soldiers with a unique mission

This film is different from many other World War II films. Much of the focus is on the aftermath of war and its impact on society rather than focusing on the usual violent gunfights we see in many other films. This causes the film to drag a little bit, especially for those who have expectations of seeing a “war” film. While there are many moments of interesting historical fact and stories that honor the men this film is based on, there is also a lot of long winded conversation surrounding the speculation of where the pieces of art may or may not be. These conversations take away from the story by unnecessarily prolonging it rather than adding any substance. The plot would have been better served by exploring the main characters along with their mission so that the audience could establish a deeper connection with them and have a better understanding of the passion for their cause.

The war is on the decline leaving many areas a wasteland
The war is on the decline leaving many areas a wasteland

The characters themselves were well played but not very well scripted. Reiterating my statement above, the film needed stronger character development because we learn very little about who these men are. Without any backstory, we have to rely on a series of moments shared by each of the characters. The most memorable film moments to me were the ones that had Bill Murray in the scene. His lighthearted humor was a refreshing break from the long-winded moments that seemed to drag during the film. It wasn’t just his humor, there was a particular moment of sincerity that gave a glimpse into his character’s story that no other character in the film had. The other main characters, George Clooney and Matt Damon, contribute their parts to the mission and nothing more. Clooney seems to be absent throughout the middle of the film yet it seems to be fitting as he is the one that starts and ends the mission. Matt Damon has one sole purpose, which is to question a french woman (Cate Blanchett) who may know about the locations of the stolen art. There was no bad acting throughout, just weaker characters who acted as mechanisms to the mission rather than actual people. For those interested in the historical story alone, this may have little impact towards your entertainment value of the film, but I left wanting to know more about the characters I was watching.

Bill Murray is the highlight of the film
Bill Murray is the highlight of the film

Overall I would say that I enjoyed this film despite its flaws. It had an interesting story that gave a different perspective on a war that many are familiar with. There were a variety of moments that stood out that held my interest and even made me laugh. Despite its unnecessary length, it honored men that many may not have known about while providing some rich historical value. It’s not a film that I would rush to the theater to see but it’s a film that I feel is definitely worth watching.

 

The Monuments Men – 7.0 out of 10

A long-winded film that provides adequate historical value…

Paul Bettany is The Vision in Avengers Age of Ultron

bettanyVision
 

There are so many new faces for the next Avengers film and now an actor who has been a notable voice in the previous film will play an entirely new character. It was recently announced that Paul Bettany, who is the voice of Iron Man’s A.I. computer JARVIS, will play the role of another Avengers member known as The Vision.

 

Paul Bettany, best known in the Marvel world for voicing Jarvis, Tony Stark’s helpful A.I. system, will be playing the Vision in Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Via: Variety

 

I do think the role fits for Paul Bettany, but this may have revealed some of the plot. In the original origin story, it was Hank Pym AKA Ant-Man that created Ultron. The Vision was then created by Ultron to battle the Avengers but then switched sides and fought with them to defeat Ultron. There has been speculation that Ultron will be created by Tony Stark given that the SDCC teaser for the film showed Iron Man’s helmet morphing into Ultron’s helmet and Hank Pym is not in the film. If this is true then I would say it is likely that JARVIS becomes The Vision, which would make sense for Bettany being cast as The Vision when he is well known as the voice of JARVIS in multiple films. To me, this sounds like a plausible story…what do you all think? See the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser below.

 
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Academy Award Winner Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead at 46

1967 - 2014
1967 – 2014

 

It’s unfortunate to announce that Philip Seymour Hoffman has been pronounced dead today. He was found unresponsive in his apartment and the EMS team pronounced him dead after they were unable to revive him. While the results are not entirely conclusive, a syringe was found in his arm along with two bags of heroin. He had been struggling with addiction and had remained clean for quite some time until having a relapse. Instead of focusing on how he died, we should be focusing on how this Academy Award winning Actor lived.

Hoffman, 46, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Greenwich Village apartment by police responding to an emergency 911 call, and Emergency Medical Service workers declared him dead on the scene, the New York City Police Department said in a statement. An investigation was ongoing.
 
A police spokesman said investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and recovered two small plastic bags in the apartment containing a substance suspected of being heroin. A police department source earlier told Reuters that Hoffman had died of an apparent drug overdose.

Via: Chicago Tribune

 

Despite starting with a variety of small roles in films like Scent of a Woman and Twister, my first memory of Hoffman is his role in Boogie Nights. In the film he played the role of Scotty, a closet homosexual man obsessed with the film’s star Dirk. In my opinion, it’s the first role that showed his range as an actor and his star potential.

Hoffman as Scotty J in Boogie Nights
Hoffman as Scotty J in Boogie Nights

Over the next few years he had a variety of small roles in many notable and cult-classic films. Appearing in films like The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, and The Talented Mr. Ripley were all significant additions to his film repertoire but his role as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous was what made him more of a familiar face amongst audiences.

Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous
Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous

After Almost Famous, Hoffman seemed to be on a journey of discovering his abilities with films like Punch Drunk Love, Red Dragon, and Cold Mountain. Then just a year before his Oscar win, he gave a disgustingly funny performance in Along Came Polly alongside Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. I’ll admit that his role was more memorable than any other actor’s in the film with his crude yet comedic performance that still makes me laugh with disgust to this day.

Hoffman as Sandy Lyle in Along Came Polly
Hoffman as Sandy Lyle in Along Came Polly

The following year, Hoffman gave the performance of his lifetime and was commended by the Academy with an Oscar for Best Actor. His performance as Truman Capote in the 2005 film Capote was so iconic and such a transformation for Hoffman. His critical acclaim for the role showed the world that he had the abilities as an actor to step away from just supporting roles and step into the spotlight as a star.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote (Capote)
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote (Capote)

After his Oscar win, the world was Hoffman’s oyster. He was sought out for the role of the villain in Mission Impossible 3 starring alongside Tom Cruise. After the film was released, he was immediately proclaimed the best villain of the Mission Impossible series thus far. After his villainous role, he gave another Oscar worthy performance as a supporting actor in Charlie Wilson’s War starring Tom Hanks. After sharing the screen with Hanks, he shared the screen with other great actors like Meryl Streep in Doubt, George Clooney in The Ides of March, and Brad Pitt in Moneyball. The following year he gained his final Oscar nomination in the low profile yet critically acclaimed film The Master as Lancaster Dodd.

Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd in The Master
Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd in The Master

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career has been a distinguished one. He has been an actor that treated his profession as a passionate art that he clearly loved from his choices in roles and the performances he gave in those roles. He had mostly finished shooting for his role in The Hunger Games series, so despite his passing, we can expect to see him on the big screen again. He was a credit to his profession and he will be genuinely missed. Rest in Peace.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor Jeremy Irons as Alfred

LexLuthorEisenberg
 

We recently heard about the delay for Batman vs. Superman AKA Man of Steel 2 which, despite experiences with other films, I believed to be a constructive decision for the film. Before that, there was an uproar about Ben Affleck as Batman, which has since fizzled out and even had some of the naysayers change their minds and give him a chance. With the latest news, we find that Lex Luthor has been cast. It looks like they didn’t pick another fan favorite (Bryan Cranston) and instead threw us another curveball with their selection of Jesse Eisenberg.

 

He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.

Via: ScreenRant

 

I’ve been thinking about this all day and at the moment I just can’t digest Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. It could be his youthful, frail appearance or maybe that he’s been typecast in so many roles, but I can’t see him fitting into the Lex Luthor that I envision. In my opinion, Luthor should be a smart, brooding individual that has the persona of a politician or corporate executive. Hell, even Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) seems like a better fit than Eisenberg right now! Jesse Eisenberg can play smart and devious but he’s not taking on the Winklevoss twins for Facebook this time, he’s taking on arguably the most powerful superhero in comic book history.

 
ironsalfred
 

The other casting announcement is a lot easier to take in. Jeremy Irons will be taking on the role of Alfred, the butler of Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman). I can see Irons as Alfred but more of the battle worn version with his signature shotgun. I don’t think this is an exciting choice, nor do I think it is a bad one, I think it’s a role that can fit.

 

It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne. — Snyder

 

For now, let’s give some time for the dust to settle before we start making judgement calls (which I’ve already made). Zack Snyder is taking some risks and I’m just hoping they pay off and he gives us something that we’ll love.

Marvel Casting Updates: Johnny Depp as Dr Strange, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym

DeppStrange
 

Let’s start with the latest news first. While Johnny Depp isn’t “officially” confirmed for the role of Doctor Strange, sources say that Marvel is definitely courting Depp and having meetings regarding the role. It seems the only issue at this point for him is scheduling conflicts.

A well-connected source informed me tonight that Johnny Depp has taken a meeting with Marvel to discuss taking on the role of Dr. Strange.
 
The 50-year-old actor is a comic book fan, and is said to be very interested in jumping onto the Marvel machine. Johnny Depp also happens to have a very fruitful relationship with Marvel’s owner, Disney.

Via: Latino Review

 

Johnny Depp used to be a favorite of mine before the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy. Since then he has had a number of films that have flopped and seems to have been typecast for his Jack Sparrow persona which is a cross between a borderline drunk and rambling idiot. Given that Disney owns Marvel, I don’t even want to take the chance of them pushing that persona on Doctor Strange, I want some originality. I hope this casting doesn’t work out, Johnny Depp isn’t ready for Marvel until he distances himself from these typecast roles.

 
DouglasAntMan
 

The next Marvel casting update is regarding Ant-Man. Previously we reported that Paul Rudd was Ant-Man which turns out to be half true. The media had assumed that Paul Rudd would play Hank Pym who is the original Ant-Man, but it turns out that he will be playing Scott Lang who is the second Ant-Man based off the comics. Hank Pym is now confirmed to be played by Michael Douglas and we’re uncertain whether or not he will have any action as Ant-Man. My guess is that Douglas will create the suit as Hank Pym and Rudd will don the suit as Scott Lang. It’s an interesting concept for the origin story, but my guess is that they’re trying to appease fans of both characters that wore the suit, much like adding a nod to Donald Blake (Thor’s original alter ego) in the first Thor film.

Review: Lone Survivor Brutally Depicts the Courage of Four Brave Heroes

Genre: Biography | Comedy | DramaDirected by:  Peter BergStarring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch Written by: Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell (book)
Genre: Biography | Comedy | Drama
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch
Written by: Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell (book)

 
Synopsis: Based on the failed June 28, 2005 mission “Operation Red Wings”. Four members of SEAL Team 10 were tasked with the mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd.
 
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There have been a number of war films, so many that they deserve their own genre. A majority of war films are generally based on actual events, so being that Lone Survivor falls into this genre, what differentiates this film from others? In short I would say that this film captures the brutality of war more accurately than many similar films. A plethora of blood and gore is what most films use to depict the brutality, and while Lone Survivor does have that, it is the focus on the cause of the injuries that honestly shows the pain and intensity of war. The harsh falls followed by the sounds of bones breaking, the sound of bullets tearing through the skin, and the realistic emotional responses from these actors are all elements that make this film stand out.

The brutality is so authentic it makes you cringe
The brutality is so authentic it makes you cringe

While the film stars Mark Wahlberg (whose performance is adequate), it is Ben Foster and Taylor Kitsch that shine in my opinion. They fit into the role of the soldier very well and courageously take a beating both physically and mentally while authentically conveying their diminished spirit. They are the catalyst that starts the film’s initial suspense as Wahlberg carries it for the rest of the film. Emile Hirsch on the other hand did not fit as well into the soldier role. While abstaining from preconceived notions due to his previous roles of more innocent characters, I still couldn’t accept him as a soldier. His candid nature and vocal diction made him an outlier among the group while the rest seemed the grasp the sense of urgency and panic.

The courage of these men is depicted accurately
The courage of these men is depicted accurately

Director Peter Berg is a bit of a wildcard. He’s had some horrible films like Battleship, some mediocre like The Rundown, and some great ones like Friday Night Lights. Fortunately, Lone Survivor falls into one of his better films, but while he tells a great story he still has a few noticeable negative moments throughout the film. For those that hate lens flare, it’s a bit overdone in this film. Much like a Michael Bay film, there is quite a bit of camera panning and zooming accompanied by lens flare with the movement of the camera. There are some points where it is appropriate like the sunrise over the military base or as a means to depict time passing and the stillness of the wooded area. Besides those two moments, these camera shots are slightly overused but not do not distract from the overall film. Despite some stereotypical cinematography, there are many great action shots and overall landscape shots that accurately create the setting of war.
 

Overall I would say that I enjoyed this film. It accurately depicted the struggle of war and courage of the soldiers better than most films of this nature. The way that the brutality is depicted is what makes this film so honest and the combination of acting, cinematography, and storyline are the building blocks of that depiction. For those war film fanatics or those that casually enjoy a war flick, I would highly recommend this film. Even if you’re not a fan of war films, I think that this film will invoke a strong emotional response that gives Lone Survivor lasting appeal.

Lone Survivor – 8 out of 10

A brutal war film that accurately depicts the brutality of war…

Gerard Butler in Final Negotiations for Lead in Point Break Remake

butlerPointBreak
 

Point Break is a cult classic film when it comes to surfing. It’s filled with so many surfer stereotypes and bad dialogue that it has fallen into the “so bad it’s good” realm of films. Due to its cult following and sentimental nostalgia, I think that it’s a film that should not be remade but unfortunately it is in the works and Gerard Butler seems to have the lead role.

Gerard Butler is in final negotiations to star in Alcon’s remake of the early 1990s classic surf film Point Break.
 
Butler will play Bodhi, an expert extreme-sports athlete who seeks nirvana through the conquest of a series of athletic feats such as surfing 100-foot waves. He saves Johnny Utah, the undercover FBI agent, and brings him into the fold of international criminals. The part of Utah is not cast yet.

Via: The Hollywood Reporter

 

I don’t see how this film can live up to the original in any way. Hollywood is obviously trying to capture the interest of a niche market whose unexpected interests were in retrospect of the original film. What the original had cannot be recreated because it was the unintended nature of the film that appealed to the masses. You can’t recreate unintentional elements of a film with the intentions to recreate them, the statement alone doesn’t make sense. Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze were a horribly good pair in Point Break and I cannot see Gerard Butler capturing the nature of the character Bodhi. As Bodhi would say, “They only live to get radical…so they’ll never get the spiritual side of it.” Expect this film to be something loosely based on the original, hoping to gather audiences through its name alone.

‘Bad Words’ Lives Up to the Title in this Red Band Trailer

badwords
 

Bad Words follows the story of a 40 year old man that finds a loop hole that allows him to compete in national children’s spelling bee competitions. The film is directed by Jason Bateman who also stars in the film. Outside of the film’s main theme, there seems to be a number of crude laughs due to Bateman’s crude behavior and his friendship with one of the spelling bee competitors. Take a look at the trailer below.

 
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This seems like a comedy that I can get behind. I am a fan of Jason Bateman’s sarcastic humor and with the accompanied crude language and behavior I am interested to see what this film is about. The trailer also asks an open ended question of why someone would want to participate in an adolescent competition such as this. This reminds me a little of Bad Santa (which I also enjoyed) given Bateman’s relationship with the main child but with a story that is intriguing as well. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think I might be taking a sip.

Kevin Feige Discusses the Reasoning behind Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengersultron
 

Kevin Feige finally decided to spill some more details about Avengers: Age of Ultron when he sat down with SFX Magazine. In the interview he discusses the reasoning for their choice of Ultron as the villain, the relationship to the similarly title comic, and the new casting choices for the film.

 

When choosing an antagonist in a film, you have to realize how many parts of that film will be affected due to the strength of the opposing force and the affect that opposition has on the entire plot and its characters. Joss Whedon strongly pushed for Ultron as the villain thinking that he was the most viable choice for reuniting the time once again. When he presented his idea to Feige, he had found a way to create a great story that adapted the origin of Ultron into the cinematic universe.

Joss Whedon had a great idea for the character and how to use him to unify the Avengers again and acquire their services once more. He was a favorite. Joss and I were on the production of the first Avengers movie and we started having conversations about Ultron, and how he could come about and how we could adapt his origin to the continuity of the cinematic universe. It literally was just little discussions between takes but thankfully Joss files all that kind of stuff away in his brain. Then when the time arrived, he started outing it, so he went back to that and built a very good story.

 

Similarly titled comic book
Similarly titled comic book

 

For the comic book fans out there, you may be familiar with last year’s popular miniseries titled “Age of Ultron” which focused on an alternate timeline where Ultron ruled the Earth. Given that the next Avengers film carries the same title, many have wondered how many similarities would exist between the comic and the film. It turns out that they were in love with the name rather than the story. They couldn’t just title the film “Avengers 2,” they needed a catchy subtitle to accompany such a big sequel and “Age of Ultron” seemed to fit best.

We didn’t want to merely have a ‘2’ after Avengers so we wanted to give it a subtitle. We have various things that we were looking at and Age of Ultron – which just happened to be a the name of a comic book series as well – was our favorite.

 

When it came to casting Ultron, the choice seemed to be a simple one. Due to an introduction between Kevin Feige and James Spader in the past, Feige thought that James Spader belonged in the Avengers universe. Fortunately, Ultron turned out to be the part for Spader.

“I first met James Spader two or three years ago. I thought it would be great to have him in our universe and we finally found the right role with Joss’s version of Ultron.”

 

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver

 

With the addition of a new villain there comes the addition of two new heroes. Besides the question of casting (which has been answered), many have wondered how and why Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will fit into the story and if there will now be too many heroes to follow. Feige assures that Joss Whedon has found a way to incorporate them into the story while juggling the proper amount of screen time so that it’s not distracting. Overall, Feige claims they do hold a purpose and are not just added fluff.

It’s always a balance with any movie, not to overwhelm it with too many story elements. Certainly when it comes to comic book movies, you can fall into the trap of having too many villains and in the case of team-based movies, having too many heroes. But what Joss has in mind to bring those characters into the story happens in a very natural fashion over the course of the story. It’s also the tradition of the Avengers to switch up the roster every now and again and to have new characters coming in. It’s just part of the fun, but we wouldn’t have included them if it had just been a case of ‘Oh, we want two new figures, two new costumes.’ It very much flows with the story that Joss is creating.

Via: Geek Tyrant

Saving Mr. Banks May Not Be Entirely Factual But it is Genuinely Honest

Genre: Biography | Comedy | DramaDirected by:  John Lee HancockStarring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose BuckleyWritten by: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
Genre: Biography | Comedy | Drama
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley
Written by: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith

 
Synopsis: Author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for the adaptation of her novel, Mary Poppins.
 
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Saving Mr. Banks is based on the actual struggle between Mary Poppins Creator P.L. Travers and Walt Disney when trying to adapt her character to film. The negotiations went on for close to twenty years and this film sheds light on the details of Travers’ hesitancy and the emotional struggle of letting go.

 

Travers and Disney had a very combative relationship
Travers and Disney had a very combative relationship

 

While this film may be emotionally captivating, some of the key moments have been embellished to most likely to capture the hearts of audiences. Going into this film I would suggest viewing it without any preconceived notions gained from fact checking. This film is entirely character development driven and you will enjoy this film to its fullest if you can view this story as a reimagining rather than a fact driven movie.

 

With that said, this is a beautiful story filled with a slew of lovable characters. Emma Thompson is the embodiment of P.L. Travers capturing her passion for her work, her strong-willed independence, and her adamant wit. Her rude yet humorous conflict with most anyone she comes into contact with creates a semi antihero persona that makes you want to root for her to find peace and let someone inside her secluded bubble. Tom Hanks, who should be the antagonist, is instead Travers’ jovial opposition, playing a more lovable version of Walt Disney which was most likely pushed by the Disney studio executives to honor his memory. While Hanks fits into the given role just as well as any other character he plays, his abilities are harnessed by the lack of depth and dialogue given to this vision of Walt Disney. The Walt Disney we see on screen is almost too good to be true, much like a Santa Clause figure. There are a few idiosyncrasies revealed about him but nothing that provides the honesty or depth to connect us with the character like we do with Travers.

Colin Farrell is the backbone of Travers' backstory
Colin Farrell is the backbone of Travers’ backstory

 

The plot surrounds the story of P.L. Travers that starts as a mystery that is systematically deconstructed as the film progresses. Colin Farrell takes the role of chipping away at the mysteries playing her troubled yet charismatic father, Travers Goff. Intermittent flashbacks throughout the film depict Travers’ childhood and her relationship with her father. Because of this troubled relationship and the impact of this relationship, I would say that Colin Farrell’s role supersedes Hanks’ role through his dedication and acting as the foundation for P.L. Travers’ characteristics and mysterious origins. While I’ll reiterate that Emma Thompson shines as the star, Colin Farrell earns a bit of the spotlight through his animated and heartfelt performance that is welcomed added support for Thompson.

 

Saving Mr. Banks is a film about inner redemption. Regardless of this film being strongly or loosely based on facts, it does not diminish the film’s genuineness or honesty. This film is incredibly moving and that credit goes to Emma Thompson who may have given the performance of her life. For fans of Mary Poppins or those who’ve never seen it, you can expect an emotional fulfilling journey on all levels.

Saving Mr. Banks – 8 out of 10

A genuinely honest, inspirational film…

Paul Rudd is Ant-Man Marvel’s Next Superhero

antmanrudd
 

While he may seem like a strange choice to some, Paul Rudd has reportedly landed the lead in Marvel’s Ant-Man film. He is in early negotiations but based on the variety of sources confirming it, it sounds like he’ll be taking the role.

Marvel is ready to name its next superhero as sources tell Variety that Paul Rudd is in early negotiations to star in “Ant-Man.”
 
Rudd, along with Joseph Gordon Levitt, was considered one of the front-runners for the part, as Variety first reported.

Via:Variety

 

Paul Rudd is known for comedy but slapstick comedy wasn’t where he started. As surprised by the choice as I am, I’m not necessarily disappointed. Let’s not forget that Robert Downey Jr. had a very rough career prior to Iron Man and he had such an impact on the role of Tony Stark that many current comic books began to emulate his persona. I’m not saying Paul Rudd is capable of that, but I’m also not saying he isn’t capable. Hank Pym AKA Ant-Man is a role that I can see Rudd fitting into, given Rudd’s witty and sarcastic humor that could be perceived as a confident intelligence. Lately I’ve been liking the casting risks Hollywood has taken because it gives these actors a chance to prove themselves to the fans. To be completely honest, I’m a little excited to have Paul Rudd in the role just so we can see what else he is capable of.

Anchorman 2 Proves That Recycled Humor Can Still Bring Laughs

Genre: Comedy Directed by:  Adam McKayStarring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve CarrellWritten by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Genre: Comedy
Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell
Written by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay

 
Synopsis: With the 70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm.
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Anchorman was a film that wasn’t a box office success but quickly became a cult comedy classic and is now one of Will Ferrell’s most iconic roles. When the studios were pitched the idea of a sequel, the director and cast had to fight long and hard to get this film made. Now that the film has finally released, the question is whether or not it lives up to the hype.

 

If you’re a fan of the original film, you can expect the same moments of laughter that you had with the first. By the same, I mean an almost complete carbon copy of the same jokes and situational humor while slightly straying from the original plot. While I would usually call something like this lazy, I felt this formula fit into the “ain’t broke don’t fix it” category. Even though some of the humor was easily expected, making some jokes more long-winded, I found a majority of the humor to be more of a continuance of laughter from the first film with a fresh revival. For the audiences that were not a fan of the original, I could easily say you will not be a fan of this film due to the amount of repeated humor. For those that were indifferent to the original, I would say it’s a toss up and this could be a film that you wait to rent rather than seeing in theaters.

Ron Burgundy Stayin' Classy!
Ron Burgundy Stayin’ Classy!

 

While this film may be a worthy successor, it isn’t a replacement. Some of the actors are now much bigger actors and their screen time is of course prolonged for this film. For some characters it’s welcoming to have a little more time with them but with others, it takes away from the foundations of their original character. Brick (Steve Carrell) loses that abrupt surprise midway through the film. This is obviously because Carrell has become a headliner and deserves his share of screen time, but because of this Brick’s dialogue is extended which makes his timid and coy humor seem lost amongst his incoherent ramblings. Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) also gets some added screen time but like Ron Burgundy, the extended dialogue just magnifies his already cocky attitude which keeps the laughs coming. Champ (David Koechner) gets about the same amount of screen time which is just the amount we need because “Whammy” can only be said so many times. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) of course is still the ringleader of the group and the star of the show. He’s like a sampler platter of humor taken from each of the other cast members with his own added bits. For some, his humor might seem a bit ridiculous at times but by the end of the film he and the other cast members finish strong.

 

As far as the other elements of the film go, I’d suggest to take them with a grain of salt and just enjoy the humor. The plot is simplified to most likely focus on the humor and get everyone their fair share of screen time. The first film had some clever underlying stabs at the 1970s and the idea of women in the workplace which this film lacks. The references to the 1980s are limited and there aren’t any strong taboo subjects to poke fun at. The character development is limited as well, mostly relying on the fans of the first film to be familiar with who these characters are. Despite the simplistic take on these film elements, the randomness is strong enough to carry the film and bring a few laughs that will let you leave the theater with a smile on your face.

Same news team, new decade...
Same news team, new decade…

 

As a fan of the first film, I would recommend other fans to head to the theater for some laughs since there aren’t any other films to feed your comedy hunger right now. For the others who didn’t care for the first film, you should probably save your money because there’s nothing particularly distinguishable between the two. When I left the film, I left after having a majority of laughs and surprises that made me happy that I had seen the film. While there may be some that won’t appreciate the film, I think this news team’s still got it!

Anchorman 2 – 7 out of 10

The same humor bringing reminiscent laughter…

Interstellar Teaser is Here and Leaves Much to the Imagination

interstellar
 

Christopher Nolan has captivated with his visions. Whether it be the cult classic Memento, the thought provoking film Inception, or his vision of Batman, Christopher Nolan has a way of captivating audiences with his films. His next film, Interstellar, has had some buzz surrounding it and until now we’ve only had bits and pieces of new surrounding the film. Take a look at the first teaser for the film below.

 
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This teaser is quite vague. There are still a number of possibilities surrounding this film and the only thing we can do right now is speculate. So why not open up the floor to a bit of discussion surrounding this trailer?

 

Why is there so much footage related to farms and crops?

The trailer starts out with close-ups of crops flourishing and then towards the end shows those same crops burning with a trail of fire behind them. Mixed in between are bits of old footage of farmers (probably the Dust Bowl) and Matthew McConaughey driving away from a farm. As the crops are burning, McConaughey also mentions the phrase “overcome the impossible” which leads me to believe that what we may be overcoming is an inability to harvest food. This could be why there is a need to explore another world, perhaps somewhere new for humans to inhabit?

 

Why is there a focus on the progression of man?

Another focus of the trailer is showcasing the accomplishments of humans related to flight. After a continuous run of clips showing the breaking of the sound barrier, the first flight in space, and the news report of the walk on the moon, there is a clip showing the final shuttle to land from space. This is obviously paving the path for the next great accomplishment of man but what kind of accomplishment will that be? Will it be a huge jump like interstellar travel, as the title leads us to believe, or will it be something in the foreseeable future like a journey to Mars? If it is something like a journey to Mars, I hope it’s done in a unique way because there have been so many films related to that subject. Regardless of the type of accomplishment, there has to be a reason for continued space exploration and besides the speculation above, there’s nothing that reveals what that could be.

 

Could this teaser be insignificant to the film?

The other possibility is that this trailer could be entirely insignificant footage from the film that gives us no significant details regarding the plot. Remember when the Inception trailer was released? Even though there was some great footage, there was nothing particularly that gave us details about the overall plot. The footage in this trailer could pertain to a particular character only rather than anything regarding the overall plot. Unfortunately as much as we want this teaser to mean something, it could possibly mean little to nothing.

The 10 Most Overpaid Actors of 2013

AdamSandlerOverpaid
 

Forbes released its list of overpaid actors for 2013. They determine their ranking by the amount of success the actors’ films have had for the year. Here is their list of the most overpaid actors based on their profitability per every dollar they’re paid.

 
RyanReynolds

10. Ryan Reynolds

Returns $10.70 for every $1.00 paid

 
MattDamon

9. Matt Damon

Returns $10.60 for every $1.00 paid

 
jenniferaniston

8. Jennifer Aniston

Returns $10.60 for every $1.00 paid

 
stevecarell

7. Steve Carell

Returns $10.00 for every $1.00 paid

 
denzelwashington

6. Denzel Washington

Returns $8.30 for every $1.00 paid

 
kevinjames

5. Kevin James

Returns $6.10 for every $1.00 paid

 
nicCage

4. Nicolas Cage

Returns $6.00 for every $1.00 paid

 
reesewitherspoon

3. Reese Witherspoon

Returns $3.90 for every $1.00 paid

 
katherineheigl

2. Katherine Heigl

Returns $3.50 for every $1.00 paid.

 
AdamSandlerOverpaid

1. Adam Sandler

Returns $3.40 for every $1.00 paid.

 

I wasn’t surprised at all seeing Adam Sandler at the top of this list. His type of humor seems to remain stagnant in the ever evolving comedy genre. While some comedic actors have adapted, he seems to “stick to his guns” and not stray too far from his comfort zone. I was actually surprised to see that Ryan Reynolds is more profitable than actors like Denzel Washington, Reese Witherspoon, and Matt Damon. While this is based on averages, it still shows that 2013 is just not the year for some of these stars. Regardless, it seems like even the worst of the group is still pulling 3 times their salary in profit, so at least they’re still somewhat profitable.

Universal shuts down Fast & Furious 7 production Indefinitely

ff7Walker
 

Due to the recent death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker, production for Fast & Furious 7 was halted. Now it seems that the film is at a complete stop and will never hit theaters because there was too much of the film that was left to be shot.

 

The seventh installment of the street racing series had begun shooting in September. While much of “Fast & Furious 7” has been filmed, it’s far from complete.
 

 
When Walker died in a fiery car crash Saturday north of Los Angeles, the film was on break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Shooting had been planned to resume Monday in Atlanta, but production was put on hold following Walker’s death.

Via: MSN Movies

 

I didn’t know how they would finish the film with so much left to shoot. It’s better that they scrap the film and cut their losses rather than putting something together that would not do Paul justice. Once again, it is unfortunate for the loss of Paul Walker. The franchise was on a steady climb which I’m sure is due to his involvement with the films.

Bryan Singer Tweets Next X-Men Film involves Apocalypse

apocalypse
 

X-Men and Apocalypse…is it actually happening?!?! That’s what many are speculating due to a tweet from Director Bryan Singer today. There’s not much to the tweet but for those true comic book fans out there, the connection is pretty strong.

 

singerTweet

 

From the Tweet we can speculate that the next X-Men film will include Apocalypse but the question is how will he be included. My wishful thinking and many others speculations lead to the plot following the Age of Apocalypse comic book storyline due to the time traveling in the upcoming film and the alternate future that is presented in the comic book. The Age of Apocalypse is the storyline that I grew extremely attached to growing up on comics and if the speculation is true, then I’m going to have a fangasm. While that story may be the most popular involving Apocalypse, there are many others involving the villain that could be tied into the film, they just aren’t as interesting. One thing we do know is that Singer rarely follows the source material from beginning to end, so even if it is the story we want, it will still be his own inception.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer looks pretty Awesome

amazingspiderman
 

I’m sure that many of you have seen the poster above that hints at the start of the “Sinister Six” storyline from the Spider-Man comics. Before we only had confirmation that Electro would be the villain in the film and there was speculation that the Rhino would appear. From the poster and from the trailer below, it confirms that Spider-Man will be taking on three villains in the next film and from the looks of the trailer, I think they may pull it off. Take a look below.

 

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Wow, that trailer does the “Amazing” in the title justice. Electro with the added CGI effects looks a lot better than I had expected him to look. From what I can tell, it looks like the Green Goblin will be played by Harry (Dane DeHaan) and not Norman (Chris Cooper) from the profile of the character seen in the trailer. It looks like Harry and Peter may have a relationship similar to Clark and Lex on the TV series Smallville (for those that have watched the show), meaning that they’re friends but Harry has an obsession with the mysteries surrounding Peter. What do you all think of the trailer? Has this changed your expectations of the film?