Mar 5, 2013

Holy Balls! The New IRON MAN 3 Trailer Blows The Doors Off My Brain

I present this to you largely without comment.  Do yourself a favor and be sure to watch it full screen, in HD.

I'm in the midst of a rather busy day and I haven't even started to write up last night's Daley Screening, but the new trailer for Shane Black's Iron Man 3 is simply too fantastic not to share.  Marvel continues to claim that the movie is not quite as dark as the trailers have indicated, but I'm really digging the idea of a more thoughtful, wounded Tony Stark who's finally working from a disadvantage.

May 3rd, hurry up and get here already!

Mar 4, 2013

WB Wants Nolan To Run The DC Universe & Talk Bale's Batman Out Of Retirement

And the Warner Brothers/DC sideshow continues.

The latest grist in the rumor mill (coming, again, courtesy of Latino Review) is that Warner Brothers has finally admitted creative defeat and wants to bring Christopher Nolan on board to oversee the expansion of their entire DC Universe, starting with the would-be Justice League movie.  Nolan already had a producing hand in Zack Snyder's upcoming Man Of Steel and the buzz coming off that movie has been overwhelmingly positive.  Warner's has a lot of faith in Henry Cavill's Superman and they finally seem content to just take that blueprint and replicate for the rest of their potential superhero movies.  That blueprint would include keeping Snyder on to produce and possibly even direct Justice League, although my guess is that they'll hold off on a directing decision until they see Man Of Steel's box office take.

That part of the story seems like a no-brainer and I have little doubt that we'll get an official announcement confirming Nolan's involvement in the coming weeks, if not days.  If/When Nolan does come on board, I expect his brother Jonah and David Goyer to end up taking over scripting duties.  The interesting part of El Mayimbe's story is his assertion that WB desperately wants Nolan to convince Christian Bale to return as Batman.

In a related note, I really want telekinesis and a 400% pay raise.

Look, I can appreciate WB's position.  They see Bale as the guy who helped make the studio a few billion dollars over the last decade, which makes him a pre-sold commodity.  There are plenty of folks out there that probably consider him to be the definitive Batman and, conversely, will never be able to see him in another movie without thinking of him as Gotham's favorite son.  And if a virtual unknown like Henry Cavill is going to continue to play Superman, I'm sure the powers-that-be would like a familiar face alongside him in the batsuit.  (Besides, the fan reaction to Joseph Gordan-Levitt potentially taking over the role seemed a little tepid and he just doesn't have the same box office presence and clout that Bale commands.)

That said, I'm having trouble believing that Bale has any desire to come back to the Batcave.  The Dark Knight Rises spent half its running time cementing the idea that Bruce Wayne was now a shadow of his former self and simply wan't physically or emotionally able to keep leading his double life.  They did a fine job of putting Bale's Batman out to pasture, so to bring him back now for Justice League feels 100% like a business decision, not a creative choice.  I'm sure they'll back up a Brink's truck to entice Bale back, but he hardly needs the money at this point and he doesn't exactly have a track record of making paycheck movies.

Besides, Warner's wants to stay in the Batman business for as long as possible, which includes a new series of standalone movies after Justice League has come and gone.  A new trilogy (or more) of Bat-films starring Bale simply isn't going to happen.  Period.  I guarantee you that when the dust settles, Warners will have signed someone much younger and much cheaper to take up the cape and cowl.  Whether it's Joseph Gordan-Levitt remains to be seen, but whoever wins the prize will be someone Warners can build a whole new franchise around.  Bank on it.

Feb 28, 2013

"Shrimpanzees!" CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 Trailer Is Very Punny

In my former life as a Los Angeles security guard, I had the good fortune to work an advanced screening for Sony Pictures Animation's Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.  The film was not yet finished at the time, with much of the finale still comprised of storyboards and rough pre-vis animation, but even then I could tell that the movie was something special.  That hardly should have been a surprise since it was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.  These guys were the masterminds of the short-lived-but-utterly-great animated series Clone High who would later bring us 21 Jump Street, easily one of the funniest movies of 2012.

Sadly Lord and Miller are not back for this Meatball sequel, but it still looks totally charming.  The Lost World/Jurrasic Park-esque approach to the sequel, returning to Swallow Falls to discover a lush, food-based ecosystem is actually pretty clever, building on the events of the first film instead of rehashing them in a new location.  While most of the vocal cast looks to be back, I can already tell that I'm going to miss the indelible vocal performance of Mr. T as the police officer.  (It helps that the main character, Flint Lockwood, has a name that seems tailor-made for Mr. T's particularly odd brand of intonation.)  Much like its predecessor, every frame of this thing looks like a rich visual treat.  I kept wanting to pause the trailer to identify all the various food creatures, which look to be an endless source of creativity and pun-based hilarity.

I mean, come on.  "There's a leek in the boat"?

Just take all of my dollars right now.

Feb 27, 2013

Chris Cooper Is Your New Norman Osborn

Marc Webb is trying REALLY HARD to convince me that Amazing Spider-Man 2 (seriously, fix that) will not be the same kind of cinematic car wreck as its predecessor.

It's totally working.

The Hollywood Reporter is hollywood reporting that Chris Cooper will play Norman Osborn.  That is simply delightful news.  I liked Raimi's casting of Willem Dafoe, but felt that there was something lacking in the character's execution.  Mostly it's the mask.  The main reason Doctor Octopus comes across as such a better villain is because his face can actually demonstrate emotion.  Thusly, Green Goblin feels like a character truly worth revisiting.

But don't expect gliders and pumpkin bombs galore just yet.  This movie's already got two classic Spidey villains in Electro and The Godddamn Rhino so I don't expect we'll see Cooper turn to the dark side until the next film.  But Norman Osborn's presence here was inevitable; keeping him off screen but constantly talked about the last time felt like yet another layer of unnecessary mystery and bringing in Harry Osborn without his father would have felt even stranger.  That said, I expect Cooper to have a relatively small role this time out, especially considering the late hour of the casting announcement.

Webb's assembled an absolute juggernaut of a cast, so hopefully the script will actually live up to the talent assembled.  My biggest fear at this point is that between two villains, two love interests, establishing the Osborns for part three and finally getting around to the mysterious death of Peter's parents (ugh), this story is already feeling CROWDED.

Jason Clarke and Kodi Smit-McPhee Awaken For DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

I'm still playing catch up on some of the stuff I missed while I was on vacation last week, but this immediately jumped out as exciting news.  The sequel to 2011's sleeper hit Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is starting to assemble its cast after trading in director Rupert Wyatt for Cloverfield's Matt Reeves.  Andy Serkis has long been signed to reprise his incredible motion-capture performance as the main ape Caesar and now he'll be joined by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and young Kodi Smit-McPhee.  There's no confirmation as to what specific roles they'll be playing.  Hell, we don't even know if either of them are playing apes or humans.  What we do know is that the story is set about 15 years after the events of Rise as Caesar fights to lead his growing population of intelligent apes while humans struggle to survive in the face of the global plague glimpsed in the first film's closing credits.

I'm a very big fan of Clarke, who won me over years ago with his work alongside Jason Isaacs on Showtime's Brotherhood.  He pulls off that remarkable duality of being both physical threatening and the smartest guy in the room, which seems like exactly the right combination for a character that will probably turn out to be a post-apocalyptic survivor scientist.  Smit-McPhee, on the other hand, has made a name for himself in movies that have sadly slipped through my fingers.  While he did great vocal work as the hero of last year's Paranorman, his most recognizable work has been in movies like The Road and Reeves's vampire remake Let Me In.  (Both of which I'm scheduled to finally watch in the next few weeks.)

So far it appears that James Franco will not be returning, although I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with at least some kind of cameo.  The less we see of him the better.  While I don't really hate on Franco the way many others seem to, even I have to admit that the last Apes movie worked in spite of him, not because of him.  His character would be the top contender against those two idiots lost in the temple in Prometheus for the title of Worst Movie Scientists Ever.

Feb 25, 2013

THE EYES HAVE IT! Spidey Tweaks His Wardrobe

I rewatched Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man while I was cruising around the Bahamas last week and most of my original complaints and compliments still rang true: while it generally looks good and the roles are all very well cast, the story seriously suffers from a disjointed script and the absolute hack job that took place in the editing room.  I literally spent half the movie counting storylines and plot points that, having seen it already, I knew would not be resolved later.  It's an extremely frustrating watch because I really WANT to like the movie, but it just flat out doesn't work.

But all those problems feel totally fixable!  There's a tremendous opportunity for Webb's sequel to surpass its predecessor by a very wide margin.  They're seriously expanding the cast this time around, adding Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osbourne, Jamie Foxx as Electro, Felicity Jones as  an unnamed character that may or may not be Felicia Hardy and Paul Giamatti as THE GODDAMN RHINO.  While I'm wary of having two or maybe even three villains muddying the waters, at this point I'm just hoping that they've got a script that makes even the vaguest of sense.

Principle photography has already begun on Amazing Spider-Man 2 (fix that...) and before your Twitter feed fills up with cell phone shots of web-headed stuntmen, Sony has released the above pic of Peter Parker's slightly redesigned suit to the folks at  For your reference, below is a shot of Andrew Garfield's suit from the last movie as well as Toby McGuire's suit from Raimi's last effort.

Gone are his narrow Oakley eye goggles, (peripheral vision much?) having been replaced with seriously over-sized white eyes.  I really dig the rounded look, although the sheer size reminds me of some of the sillier drawn versions of the character where his eyes basically took up his entire face.  While I don't have strong feelings about raised vs recessed webbing, I do appreciate the bolder, more classic-looking chest logo.  It's hard to tell from this shot, but it also looks like they've cut back on the blue and upped the amount red overall.

Expect lots of grainy fully body shots in the coming weeks.

Feb 18, 2013

Programming Note: Cruising And A New Project

I'll be out of town for the next week, as my wife and I are going on a cruise.  I'm an experienced cruiser to say the least, but suffice it to say the events of the past week have been disheartening.  I have no doubt that we're going to have a fantastic time, but I'd be lying if I said that I haven't been going out of my way to avoid stories about shit running down the walls and people crapping in a plastic bag.

Anyway, I'll be back on the ball a week from Monday.  Also, starting a week later I'm going to be launching a whole new writing project.  Specific details will be forthcoming, but suffice it to say it's going to require a fairly significant time commitment.  I'm pretty damn excited about it, and hopefully it won't take away too much from my time here at Ansible.

See you in a week friendos.