Fortunately, early indications are that the fan favorite writer-director has delivered (at least if you listen to one of the stars of the movie). In a recent interview, Scarlett Johansson (a.k.a. Black Widow) praised the script, calling it “dark” and “cerebral.”
“I think the script is dark and it’s dry, it’s got this amazing one-liner, glass-cutting sense of humor. Obviously the script is very cerebral. It doesn’t lose that exciting comic book aspect that people enjoyed in the first film, but it’s smart and it feels like the next installment. It doesn’t feel like a rehashing, it feels like these characters are moving forward, plotlines are moving forward. It’s deep and I think that’s why people really respond to the Marvel universe, because the films are fun and exciting and have all that flashy stuff, but there’s a gravity to them. People can expect that gravity this time around.”
While the word “dark” is often thrown around for comic book movies (it’s almost become a shorthand way of giving them more credibility), there’s some nuance to Johansson’s comments that’s interesting. It doesn’t sound like Whedon’s script is “dark” just for the sake of being serious, but rather because it advances the characters in an organic way.
We know that the events of the first film impacted our heroes significantly and we’ve already seen how for some of them in Iron Man 3 and Thor 2. Whether they realized it or not, when the Avengers assembled, they stepped into something bigger than they could have planned. As Whedon explained last year, the creation of the team is not the happy ending.
“It is the beginning of something that is complex and difficult, and now I get to dig a little deeper. And maybe, while I’m digging, just twist that knife. And that’s exciting for me.”
Good sequels have a way of upping the stakes. Perhaps the greatest example is The Empire Strikes Back. By the end, Luke learns his father is his archenemy and gets his own hand cut off. Plus, Han Solo ends up frozen in carbonite. Now that’s dark.
By crafting a script that truly tests The Avengers, Whedon will give audiences more than just a bunch of action setpieces, but a story that allows us to make more meaningful connections with the characters. And in this writer’s opinion, that’s what it will take to top the first film.
Rob Frappier blogs at Screen Rant.
On “Crazy,” Dawber will portray a daring travel writer, according to TV Guide. Williams’ character Simon meets and is attracted to Dawber’s character Lily when the two encounter each other at a book signing for Lily’s newest work titled “Ninety Countries, 90 Dances!”
“Crazy” stars Williams as unconventional advertising executive Simon and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter who works at the same company. The show debuted this past fall and was picked up for a full first season by CBS soon after.
Williams turned to Twitter to express his happiness about the casting.
“The secret is out!” the actor tweeted. “Can’t wait to work with her again.”
Dawber and Williams’ sitcom ran on ABC from 1978 to 1982 and the alien character of Mork is often credited as being Williams’ breakout role. Dawber portrayed Mindy, Mork’s roommate and later wife. Actor Jonathan Winters played the couple’s child, who aged backwards.
According to TV Guide, the episode where Dawber and Williams meet will air sometime this spring.
Back in the 1990s, it seemed like every sitcom on television was tailored specifically to the comedian leading its cast. Shows like Roseanne, Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond are just a few examples of hit series that fit this bill, and all three helped keep the family sitcom a television mainstay for years. However, before those shows even aired their respective pilots, The Cosby Show accomplished both these tasks.
Running from 1984 to 1992, the series was one of the biggest hits of its time, reinvigorating family sitcoms and paving the way for more African-American ensemble casts on shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters. Now, over twenty years since his signature series came to an end, Cosby seems poised to take on television once again.
According to Deadline, Cosby is reuniting with NBC (which originally aired The Cosby Show) to develop a new half-hour family comedy. Tom Werner – whose company produced Cosby’s 1980s hit show – will produce the new series, which will feature Cosby as the “patriarch of a multi-generational family,” though no other specifics about the plot have been revealed. Cosby and Werner are currently searching for writers.
Considering that The Cosby Show lent a significant boost to NBC’s ratings, it’s clear that the network is hoping that Cosby’s presence in their schedule will have a similar effect nowadays. However, the question here is whether Cosby still maintains the same star power he did in his heyday. His last sitcom, simply entitled Cosby, ran for four seasons on CBS, but more than a decade has passed since it went off the air. Furthermore, the concept of a traditional family sitcom is far rarer and not the ratings bonanza it once was.
Still, the idea of having Cosby on the air could be an interesting idea. After all, his offbeat perspective on marriage, parenting and family life in general has worked twice before. Perhaps this new series could introduce a new generation to Cosby and fill a void left on the television landscape in the process. However, it does beg the question: how long until Phylicia Rashad, Cosby’s two-time TV wife, signs on?
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.
The Sleepy Hollow season one finale is nothing short of spectacular, as Abbie, Ichabod, and the rest of the gang fight for the survival of the human race. There are twists, turns, and more whiplash than should be allowed in a two-hour event such as this, but creators Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek) deliver a finale that will leave us all begging for the return of one of the best new series on television.
Pulling off a quality finale is no easy task, and every show does it differently. HBO’s Game of Thrones reaches its climax each season during the penultimate episode, leaving the finale as a setup for the following season. Unlike the aforementioned hit series, Sleepy Hollow has decided to let us taste all the delicacies in its final hour. In a show that has been as unpredictable as any since Lost, what else would you expect?
As with many of the reviews this season, it seems appropriate to begin by discussing the comedic aspects of these two episodes before tunneling into the horrors our heroes had to endure. Sleepy Hollow has not only given us terrifying moments and thrilling action sequences, but it has become one of the funnier shows on television. This may be blasphemous to say, but as far as comedy goes, Sleepy Hollow can at times outshine the “big boys,” like Modern Family. Perhaps that is too bold a statement to make, but where can one watch a grown man make a declaration of love and devotion to Siri, as we all witnessed this week? Ichabod’s observation of Abbie’s numerous friends on her social networks was also a moment of pure hilarity: “How is it that you have 500 friends?” Drama and comedy are difficult to mix, yet Sleepy Hollow appears to do it effortlessly.
While the finale plays like a 2-hour non-stop-thrill-ride, it is comprised of two individual episodes. The first, entitled ‘The Indispensable Man,’ leads Abbie and Ichabod on a journey to find the map to Purgatory that has been buried with General George Washington. Tom Mison gives another stellar performance, as the wearied-faced revolutionary weighs the importance of saving Katrina over saving humanity. Even after coming to an “accord” with Abbie, Ichabod’s photographic memory will not allow him to forget the map that will take him to his beloved.
Ichabod fulfilled the prophecy by giving Abbie’s soul to Moloch, but it was not on the demon’s terms. Abbie and Ichabod’s ever-evolving relationship has been one of this seasons’ strengths, and it was none more powerful as Abbie agrees to stay behind in Purgatory. It’s important to note that many (this reviewer included) feel that at some point, Ichabod and Abbie could form a romantic relationship; however, it could be a detriment to the series to take such a path. How much more passion can the two show for one another as they embrace with Ichabod promising he will return for her? Sex, or any other kind of physical contact would only cheapen their love for each other. In the future, would you like to see a more romantic link between our two heroes, or is their friendship enough?
‘Bad Blood’ is the title of the second episode, where all the “bleep!” hits the fan. In another moment of comedic genius, Ichabod does get some new clothes from a Revolutionary War re-enactment site, but it’s basically the same outfit he wore before. The tests that Ichabod and Abbie had to pass in Purgatory had similar themes, which were appropriate for their relationship. Each of our heroes had to confront their “father-figures,” whom they so desperately wished to be reunited with. For Abbie, she just wanted to see Sheriff Corbin again, while Ichabod desired nothing more than for his father to accept him as he was. Sleepy Hollow has consistently done an excellent job developing backstories for its leading characters. Captain Irving’s story, however, is another matter.
Orlando Jones has given some of his best performances over the last couple of weeks, as his family has come under attack by Moloch’s minions. The problem is not the lack of character development, it’s just not that interesting of a story. With all the drama and over-the-top action in ‘Bad Blood,’ the story of Irving turning himself in to save his daughter (Macey) is the least compelling character-arc on Sleepy Hollow. Hopefully, as the series continues to mature, Irving will be given something more interesting to do than be a side-story to the main plot. Like his counterparts (Ichabod, Abbie, and Jenny), Irving deserves a moment to shine in the spotlight.
Alright, so let’s discuss the moment where we all went OMG! Henry is actually Jeremy, who is Ichabod’s son, who turns out to be the Horseman of War, who breaks the second seal? Can anyone explain all of this madness? When John Noble first joined the cast as the “Sin Eater,” there was speculation has to how big of a role the veteran actor would play. With this new twist in the finale, it appears we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in season 2. Noble will undoubtedly be an incredible addition to the Sleepy Hollow rouges gallery, which already includes the Headless Horseman and Moloch. Now, before closing the book on this exceptional season, we should take a look at where all of our characters ended up.
It’s safe to say, that no one is in a “good” place at the end of ‘Bad Blood.’ Abbie is trapped in Purgatory with Moloch, while Ichabod has been buried alive to face the same fate as his son Jeremy. Katrina, who in all honesty needs to be fleshed out more in season 2, has been captured by her one-time suitor Abraham Van Brunt (a.k.a. the Headless Horseman). As stated earlier, Captain Irving will most likely be awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit and is unable to explain. Don’t forget Jenny, who was knocked unconscious after a terrible car accident after a run-in with the Horseman of Death. Lastly, what do you think happened to Andy Brooks (John Cho)? Was he crushed under the falling rubble in George Washington’s tomb, or do you think we’ll see more of our troubled ex-police officer in season 2?
The wait for season 2 won’t be easy, but like Ichabod and Abbie we must have “faith” that the series will return with the same vigor and reckless abandonment as its first season. Sleepy Hollow has yet to “play it safe” when it comes to crafting its characters and their fascinating stories. Like Ichabod said to Abbie before leaving Purgatory, “I choose to forge my fate with you” Sleepy Hollow. Where do you see the story going when the show returns in the fall?
David Griffin blogs at Screen Rant.
The movie release schedule for 2015 is already staggering under the weight of a number of huge sequels, from The Avengers: Age of Ultron to Star Wars: Episode VII, so it’s something of a relief that the master of box office profit, James Cameron, is saving the follow-up to his sci-fi magnum opus Avatar until 2016.
Because over four years have passed since the release of Avatar, it’s probably necessary to reaffirm a few details about the sequels, even the ones that seem obvious. Twentieth Century Fox has done just that with the announcement that Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington will reprise their roles as Neytiri and Jake Sully in the three upcoming Avatar sequels.
Both Worthington and Saldana, who weren’t too well-known prior to their casting in Avatar, have enjoyed healthy careers since its release. Saldana has seen a little more of the spotlight and is currently involved in two additional franchises, starring as Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek universe and as Gamora in James Gunn’s upcoming Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Meanwhile, Worthington has played the lead in both Clash of the Titans and Wrath of the Titans. Since Avatar remains the highest-grossing film of all time, however, it’s doubtful that either actor would be hesitant to get back into the franchise.
Despite the long wait for Avatar 2, these three sequels are currently set to release in quick succession. Avatar 2 will be released in 2016, Avatar 3 in 2017 and Avatar 4 in 2018, and the three movies will be shot back-to-back over the course of about a year, with filming set to begin on Avatar 2 in October of this year.
Even if you’re not a fan of Avatar, there’s no denying that Cameron pushed visual effects forward massively during the making of it. His technique of using a boom-mounted camera to capture the actors’ facial expressions for animators to use later has since been widely popularized in movies like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and also in the video game industry with recent releases like The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Cameron handles Avatar 2, which is said to be set largely in the oceans of Pandora and will almost certainly push the envelope when it comes to creating visual effects for underwater worlds.
H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.
After leaving Community last year during season 4, there had been rumors Chase would reprise the role of Clark Griswold for a new Vacation film starring Ed Helms as a grown-up Rusty Griswold, undoubtedly suffering though his own arduous family vacation. New Line has since placed that project on hold, and now it seems Chase is in discussion with ABC about a new comedy series for himself and Vacation co-star, Beverly D’Angelo.
Variety confirms the story as well as ABC’s offer of a production commitment, which means a pilot is a sure bet once the details are hammered out. As of now no script, writer or studio are attached, but Aaron Kaplan (Terra Nova) is on board as a producer of the single-camera comedy.
RECOMMENDED: The 25 best movie comedies of all time
Chase and D’Angelo will star as a couple in their sixties looking forward to enjoying the golden years together, but instead get stuck raising their grandchildren. Deadline reports that producer Kaplan is a big fan of the Vacation films, which is why he approached D’Angelo, who then reached out to Chase. The two actors last appeared as Clark and Ellen Griswold in the short film, Hotel Hell Vacation, which first premiered as a series of Super Bowl ads for Home Away, Inc. in 2010.
While Chase and D’Angelo aren’t reprising their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold, it’s obvious this new series is banking on the nostalgia of the Vacation films for its allure. It will almost certainly be a series about The Griswolds as grandparents (in all but name).
It will also be a test to see whether Chase still has the comedic chops to carry a series without his Community safety net. His role as Pierce Hawthorne was a significant part of the show, but it was by no means a linchpin for its success (evident by the series’ decision to carry on without him).
Community is going forward without Chase, time will tell if he can do the same without them.
Sarah Moran blogs at Screen Rant.
RECOMMENDED: The 25 best movie comedies of all time
It was back in January when X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer revealed that the growing cast of the X-Men: First Class sequel would also see the return of familiar faces Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Rogue, played by Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page and Anna Paquin, respectively. They, along with most of the franchise staples from the original X-Men movie trilogy return for the sections of the Days of Future Past story that take place in a post-apocalyptic future – in an alternate timeline.
With so many mutant characters vying for screen time in the ensemble(s), we knew many major characters from Marvel Comics wouldn’t get much to do, especially with star Hugh Jackman describing the project as three movies in one. It’s so packed in fact, that at least one of the major characters won’t even make it into the theatrical version of the film.
EW spoke with Bryan Singer who confirmed that Anna Paquin’s scenes as the X-Men character Rogue had to be cut.
“Through the editing process, the sequence became extraneous. It’s a really good sequence and it will probably end up on the DVD so people can see it. But like many things in the editing process, it was an embarrassment of riches and it was just one of the things that had to go. Unfortunately, it was the one and only sequence Anna Paquin was in, the Rogue character was in. Even though she’s in the materials and part of the process of making the film, she won’t appear in it.”
Singer continued, explaining that the decision to remove Rogue from the theatrical cut entirely had nothing to do with Paquin’s performance.
“She was awesome in the sequence. She’s a brilliant actress. I would work with her in a heartbeat.”
The scene in question involved Rogue, Iceman, Professor X and Magneto and a rescue mission and parts of that appear in the X-Men: Days of Future Past teaser trailer. We heard that she only had a few scenes but that they were relatively important ones so the fact they she’s cut out entirely could mean there have been some late-stage tweaks to the project.
It’s possible that since X-Men: Apocalype just recently became an official project in the works for a 2016 release – with Singer, Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty working out the story - that Days of Future Past has changed since it finished shooting. Perhaps now it was re-worked a bit with the extra weeks of shooting that occurred this month to lead into and setup Apocalypse but that’s just speculation. We still don’t know who’s returning from Days of Future Past for the next sequel outside of the main stairs of X-Men: First Class who are contracted for three pictures each.
As for Rogue, fans disappointed in how the character was underutilized in the X-Men trilogy – and arguably ruined in X3: The Last Stand - are so desensitized to her not getting a fair shake in the film universe that Anna Paquin’s scenes being cut will have no effect. It’s par for the course after all. While promoting X3, Paquin made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t too impressed that after three films she still didn’t get to acquire additional powers and partake in the action. That trend continues here, but in this case, it seems to be in service of polishing the story which we can’t complain about. More reason to pick up X-Men: Days of Future Past on home video?
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
The Point Break remake has been turning its wheels steadily but slowly, following Alcon Entertainment’s initial announcement that the 1991 thriller would be getting a proper makeover (technically, The Fast and the Furious doesn’t count as a remake). When last we reported on the project, it was slated to begin filming before 2013 drew to a close; that didn’t happen, but right now it’s looking pretty likely that principal photography will get underway within the next six months or so.
Point Break – starring the late Patrick Swayze, a pre-Speed (but post-Bill & Ted) Keanu Reeves, and directed by a pre-Oscars glory Kathleen Bigelow – follows “F! B! I! Agent!” Utah (Reeves) as he goes undercover and infiltrates a gang of bank robbers, led by Bodhi (Swayze) – an adrenaline junkie with a penchant for surfing. The remake will expand (and update) the premise to encompass other extreme sports, though producer Andrew Kosove has offered assurances that surfing will still be “very prominent in the story.”
THR is reporting that Gerard Butler has entered talks to play the role of Bodhi. If the 300 actor strikes a deal, then Point Break 2.0 will be one of three projects he works on this year, following Alex Proyas’ mythological tentpole Gods of Egypt and prior to the start of production on the Olympus Has Fallen sequel, London Has Fallen.
RECOMMENDED: The 50 best movies of all time
Butler played a surfer (real-life wave catcher Frosty Hesson) in the film Chasing Mavericks, though his character there was more of a paternal and wizened figure – not so much the anti-establishment, well, maverick that is Bodhi.
Directing responsibilities on the Point Break remake have been assigned to Ericson Core, who served as the cinematographer on The Fast and the Furious and Daredevil as well as the true-story based football drama Invincible (which Core also directed).
While he’s a natural fit for the project, one has to wonder how well Core’s high-octante filmmaking technique will stack up compared against Bigelow’s – seeing how that is the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director’s area of expertise. It shall be a challenge for Core to match or exceed the intensity of Bigelow’s action choreography (for example, see this sequence), though that’ll primarily be an issue for longtime Point Break fans; not so much newcomers, who’ve never seen the 1991 original.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
RECOMMENDED: The 50 best movies of all time
One of the primary advantages of doing a television series in an anthology format is the opportunity for characters and the narrative to flow in practically any direction, as the series is not beholden to a greater sense of continuity, nor are characters bound to their future story in seasons down the road. There’s a freeing sense of impermanence knowing that the storyline of a particular season is only going to last 13 episodes, and in that time, there’s really nothing that can’t be done (or undone, as is the case with American Horror Story: Coven) to serve the needs of the larger story. As with anything good, however, there always comes a warning that too much of a good thing can be bad for you, or the proverbial pendulum can swing back viciously in the other direction.
‘The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks’ makes for an excellent example of the series experiencing an overload from the supposed good qualities that spring forth from its unique format. All season long, Coven has been in search of a main thrust that might align its various characters and give them something to do. That means there have been quite a few episodes that seemed to be trying different meaningful plot threads on, only to discard them when something newer or more interesting came along.
To the show’s credit, it hasn’t completely abandoned anything; the throughline of the search for the new Supreme, Fiona’s cancer and various relationships, and a mixture of vague or sometimes overtly clumsy, subtextual elements about motherhood, sexism, racism, and ageism have generally been present at one point or another. But while these elements have mostly been there, more often than not, there comes the feeling that they are being draped over an amorphous idea of a plot, rather than a fully formed one.
Generally, things just happen on the show because the writers seem to be only concerned with the next crazy thing they could have happen. While it’s largely worked in the past two seasons of the show, the problem with this is, since most things happen in the spur-of-the-moment, there’s little context or meaning to their happening. Sure, it’s a terrific in-joke that Fiona would ask the White Witch herself, Stevie Nicks, to come by and do a special performance for her number one fan Misty Day, but there’s about as much point to Nicks’ appearance as there is in having Kathy Bates or Evan Peters on the show. That is to say: not much.
The impulsive nature of this season has led to a feeling of inconsistency that breaks down the character dynamics and works against a true sense of stability in the overall plot. Marie Laveau is suddenly living at Miss Robichaux’s and comforting Cordelia, who is suddenly being attacked by Fiona after their reconciliation following an attempt to trick her mother into committing suicide. Meanwhile, Madison is convinced she’ll be the next Supreme, since coming back from the dead somehow corrected her heart murmur. Elsewhere, Zoe shrugs off Nan killing their neighbor, shortly before Nan is drowned as an offering to Papa Legba (Lance Reddick).
Such inconsistency makes it difficult to take anything Coven does at face value, and what’s more, there’s little in the way of some larger function to any of it. In essence, it feels like the season is just waiting for the big climax of the finale, and because of that, it’ll just keep tossing out the unpredictable as a way to delay the story until then.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
If you’re a Netflix subscriber with access to their Instant service, you may have already seen the first season of House of Cards, Beau Willimon’s adaptation of the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name; those who haven’t, though, should consider taking the time to catch up sooner rather than later, as the series’ second installment will premiere in mid-February this year. To herald the program’s return to air, Netflix has offered up a trailer for season two alongside a new promotional poster to tide fans over before Frank Underwood’s quest for revenge continues once more.
Those who haven’t seen House of Cards to date unsurprisingly won’t get much out of the footage; this isn’t a show one can simply hop aboard blindly and follow along without considerable difficulty (and to that end, you may want to avoid watching it if you’re unversed in the show’s plot intricacies as of now). For everyone else, though, this juicy teaser ought to excite and tantalize with all of its promise of further politicking, scheming, and intrigue as Frank (Kevin Spacey) and his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), maneuver through the corruptible underbelly of Washington in their joint pursuit of power.
Of course, things look like they’re getting a bit more complicated for the Underwoods this time around: now that the couple has climbed a few rungs on the political ladder, lying and murdering with calculated precision on the way up, they’re prime targets for increased scrutiny and extortion. Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) has begun stitching together the pieces to observe the bigger picture of Frank’s crimes; Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney), meanwhile, is calling in favors from Frank, threatening a grim outcome should the newly nominated Vice President fail to do so. On top of all of that, privacy has become a thing of the past for both Frank and Claire in light of their newfound notoriety. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown, indeed.
Andy Crump blogs at Screen Rant.