In what’s easily classified as good news for Disney shareholders, the parent company of Marvel has officially announced that Joss Whedon, the director and writer behind The Avengers will be back to helm The Avengers 2. Whedon will also be writing the film, just as he did in rewriting Zak Penn’s script for The Avengers along with editing parts of Captain America: The First Avenger.
What does this mean for the other Marvel Studios projects over the next few years?
When Whedon initially came aboard to help Marvel Studios’ most ambitious film to date, there was understandably some skepticism due to his track record at the box office and with his latest show. Serenity, as awesome at it was, didn’t bank well, and Dollhouse wasn’t quite up to snuff with his previous television endeavors. On the comics side however, Whedon’s resume is top notch and his work on Astonishing X-Men and Runaways helped him land the gig. More than that, his ability to handle ensemble casts and his knowledge of the Marvel universe made The Avengers and its group of characters work, creating chemistry that’s hard to come by.
With The Avengers, Whedon laid the groundwork for “Phase Two” of the Marvel cinematic universe and there’s no better choice to direct The Avengers 2, a film quickly confirmed after its predecessor became the biggest box office opening of all time. He already has ideas about how to make The Avengers 2 more personal.
We know the events of The Avengers directly lead into Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the mid-credits scene featuring Thanos was a tease for Guardians of the Galaxy. So, after shooting the post-credits scene in Thor and helping out with the first Captain America before The Avengers, the question now becomes, is Whedon being confirmed now so he can lend a hand or oversee these Phase Two films that are paving the way for The Avengers 2?
While this shouldn’t come as a surprise despite Whedon’s admittance that he needs a break and was unsure of the sequel, what may be of surprise is that he’ll also be developing a live-action TV series for ABC, one that ties in with the cinematic universe. This news comes at a very convenient time after Guillermo del Toro provided an update on the ABC Hulk series, stating that they’re just waiting on a certain writer’s (“a very, very concrete name”) schedule to clear up so they can revise the script.
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
With an Academy Award nomination and appearances in two major franchises (The Hunger Games and X-Men: First Class) under her belt, there was never any doubt that Jennifer Lawrence was one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising stars. Now, the 21-year-old actress is getting paid like it.
The Hunger Games soared to success on the strength of Lawrence’s outstanding performance as 16-year-old warrior Katniss Everdeen, but the young starlet earned a comparatively low salary ($500,000) when compared to the movie’s huge box office returns (more than $680 million).
According to new reports, though, Lawrence is looking at a substantial raise for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as THR reports that Lawrence is negotiating a whopping $10 million contract for her role in the sequel. Assuming that the second movie does as well or better than the first (which is a pretty good assumption), Lawrence stands to make even more money through additional bonuses. Besides Lawrence, Hunger Games stars Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson are also getting pay bumps (though not nearly as substantial).
While $10 million may seem like a tremendous amount of money, it’s hard to argue that Lawrence doesn’t deserve the payday. When you consider the overall success of The Hunger Games, Lawrence is actually the most profitable action heroine of all time (hat tip to Box Office Mojo). Plus, the actress has more than proven her dramatic chops (see: aforementioned Academy Award nomination).
In other Hunger Games news, Woody Harrelson recently told CBS News that Catching Fire starts shooting next month in Atlanta and Hawaii. Presumably, the Hawaii set will be used to showcase the second film’s Hunger Games arena, which features a lush and deadly tropical forest.
The Hunger Games was not just a financial success, but also a critical triumph, earning a very strong 85% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. If its cast is any indication, Catching Fire will be similarly successful. In addition to Lawrence, the sequel has added Academy Award-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Amanda Plummer, and veteran character actress Lynn Cohen.
Rob Frappier blogs at Screen Rant.
If you’re not yet hooked on ABC’s triumphant storybook drama Once Upon a Time, you might be now, as the hit action/adventure is overloading its second season with more familiar fantasy faces. Premiering with over 13 million viewers, Once Upon a Time was ABC’s largest debut in five years and the show looks to continue its success with new storylines and characters, including Captain Hook and Sleeping beauty.
Making his enigmatic entrance in the fourth episode of the upcoming season, Hook is described to be a never-back-down pirate that will not stop until his enemies are defeated. Captain Hook hides his malicious intent behind his dashing good looks, classy debonair demeanor and beguiling well-mannered nature. Irish actor Colin O’Donoghue (The Rite) has been cast as Hook, which is set to be a recurring role.
Joining O’Donoghue this season is former True Blood star Michael Raymond-James, who is fixed to play a “mysterious new character” – which is all ABC is giving us for now. Although we are still left in the dark on even the name of Raymond-James’ new character, it hasn’t stopped many from speculating it might be Baelfire, Rumpelstiltskin’s long-lost son who was sucked into a portal from the fairytale world to, presumably, our reality.
Whether or not Raymond-James will be playing Baelfire’s Storybrooke counterpart remains to be seen, but he’s not the first True Blood alum to work his magic on Once Upon a Time – last year Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam on True Blood) closed the first season as the maliciously magnificent Maleficent, whose evil actions will cause many repercussions throughout this season.
Feeling the burn from Maleficent dragon breath this season are newcomers Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) and her heroic Prince Phillip, played by Irish actress Sarah Bolger (Game of Thrones ) and Pretty Little Liars star Julian Morris, respectively. Sleeping Beauty is tagged as someone who “could be mistaken for a spoiled rich girl“. Not much is known about her character beyond that – but her handsome Prince Phillip is described as a man who “has been on many long, hard journeys, and is a warrior from a kingdom that is no longer as well off as it once was.”
Sinqua Walls - who currently appears as new werewolf Boyd on Teen Wolf season 2 - will guest-star as the legendary Sir Lancelot. After being banished from the Round Table, Lancelot becomes a sword for hire who is only made more dangerous by the fact he has nothing to lose. Another fabled warrior to appear this season is Mulan, brought to life by Jamie Chung (The Hangover 2). Mulan, who will recur throughout this season, is described as having a “spirituality that enhances her tactical and strategic abilities.”
Branching out a bit more this season, Once Upon a Time will also be adding yet-to-be-cast fairytale characters Aladdin, Jafar, Ariel and Jack. No word yet on how these characters will be portrayed on the small screen, but Jack is expected to be all the Jacks of storybook land, including Jack of and the Beanstalk fame and possibly Little Jack Horner. Also confirmed at this year’s Comic-con – Emma Swan’s (Jennifer Morrison ) Volkswagen bug will not your average car - that’s right he’s Herbie the Love Bug!
Along with new the faces it has been announced that previous guest stars Emilie de Raivin (Roswell, Lost), who had a recurring role last season as Belle, and Meghan Ory (Supernatural) who played as Ruby(aka Red Riding Hood) will both be upgraded to series regulars.
Get your first glimpse of Captain Hook in the sneak peak clip below. Tick tock!:
Scott Stoute blogs at Screen Rant.
Supernatural season 8 is set to begin this October – but fans now have more than just a refreshed version of their favorite series to look forward to, as series stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have announced that they’ve agreed to return for seasons 9 and 10.
Appearing at the Supernatural NJ Convention this weekend, Padalecki and Ackles revealed to attending fans their intent to continue with the series into it its tenth season, if The CW continues to renew the show.
Padalecki and Ackles’ announcement appears to be falling in line with what new series showrunner, Jeremy Carver, previously told us about his goal of creating a story-arc that would lead Supernatural to the end in season 10.
Coming off of a few controversial seasons (in terms of quality), Supernatural fans may either love or hate the idea of their favorite hunters making it to year 10. However, unlike most series, Supernatural producers have admitted to the challenges they have faced as the series grows older, as well as what they’re going to do to make sure the show fans know and love will return – and stay – to its former greatness.
Having a series reach the ten-year mark on the air is a television miracle in its own right, but one that is able to maintain an expected level the quality throughout is almost unheard of. Though there have been a few missteps along the way, the return of Jeremy Carver – longtime Supernatural writer and Being Human (US) creator – as showrunner should help to breath new live into the cult series.
Now that Padalecki and Ackles are on board with the producers’ plans, Supernatural fans have to question whether this will be the final announcement of the continuation of the series. Following in the same path of Smallville, hitting season 10 may very well be the end of the series – either due to CW putting an end to it, or the stars looking to move on.
Ackles has already hinted that he’s been taking a note from Smallville’s Tom Welling working behind-the-scenes, perhaps revealing his post-Supernatural plans. Having directed some episodes of Supernatural, Ackles has previously stated that he’s indeed looking to break into the tight-knit circle of television directors.
That being said, if Supernatural seasons 8, 9, and 10 hit the ground running, the adventures of Sam and Dean may very well continue beyond year ten. Having moved Supernatural from its Friday time slot to Wednesday, The CW is certainly looking to use the show to help drive viewers into its core programming block. Combined with new series Arrow, The CW may very well create an extremely strong coupling that they’ll want to continue as long as possible.
Of course, since Supernatural season 10 is still more than two-years away from its (potential) premiere, it might be better to focus on what’s to come in season 8.
Anthony Ocasio blogs at Screen Rant.
We're more than halfway through 2012, and many of the year's biggest releases have already arrived; but that doesn't mean things have slowed down at the multiplex. In fact, August offers up an exciting and eclectic mix of films, and our list of highly-anticipated movies this month is even longer than the one we did last month, which was dominated by big superhero releases.
In August, Jeremy Renner takes command in a new Bourne movie, while an Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi/action film gets remade with Colin Farrell in the lead. Add to that an Expendables sequel that offers up a killer cast (including Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme), and we're in for one hell of a month at the movies.
With that in mind, here's our list of the 10 movies we're looking forward to seeing in August 2012.
August 3rd: 'Total Recall'
In 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred with Sharon Stone in the blockbuster action film Total Recall . The movie focused on a man who seeks to import false memories into his mind and inadvertently realizes that the life he's living is a complete lie. Now, the film has been remade with Colin Farrell starring alongside Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale.
From what we can tell, the remakes hews closer to the original source material than its predecessor and features a more serious tone. Additionally, as Rob Keyes' report from the set notes, the special effects and the technology look to be far more impressive in this version.
It's been twenty-two years since the original arrived, so many youngsters might not be familiar with it and that gives the remake a fighting chance. To take a look at what's in store for the film, make sure you check out its latest trailer.
August 10th: 'The Bourne Legacy'
After three Bourne films starring Matt Damon in the title role, Jeremy Renner takes over the reins of the franchise in The Bourne Legacy. Although his character- Aaron Cross- doesn't know Jason Bourne, the two characters are very similar. They were both involved in a secret government project that the CIA is eager to hide from the public at large.
Damon has served as the face of the franchise, so it will be interesting to see if Renner will live up to expectations and prolong the series. If he succeeds, and a fifth film is made, it's possible that Damon will join Renner in that new chapter.
If you're interested to see Renner try to pull off the main role, check out the film's trailer for a preview of the action.
August 10th: 'The Campaign'
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis offer viewers a respite from politics as usual with their new comedy, The Campaign. The film focuses on a Congressional race that pits an arrogant incumbent (Ferrell) against a naive political newcomer (Galifianakis). Jay Roach, who previously directed the outrageous Austin Powers films and the television movies Recount and Game Change, could be the perfect person to helm a comedy that mixes outrageous gags with a political story.
Ferrell and Galifianakis both have solid comedic credentials but it's difficult to create a political comedy that appeals to a broad audience. Will this movie live up to its potential or will it just serve as another disappointing comedy with a solid cast like The Watch did last month? We'll have to wait to find out.
Click here to see the trailer to see if this political film is worthy of your vote.
August 17th: 'The Expendables 2'
In 2010, Sylvester Stallone starred with Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and other tough guy actors in the throwback actioner The Expendables. This year, the team is back in The Expendables 2, which promises to feature more intense action and more stars. With Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, and Jean-Claude Van Damme on board, the movie could be an even bigger hit than its predecessor.
Truthfully? It's hard not to get excited based on the trailer alone.
August 17th: 'Paranorman'
The stop-motion animated film Paranorman tells the story of a young boy who can speak to the dead and is forced to save his town from a threatening curse. At the film's Comic-Con panel, writer Chris Butler noted that the feature is a "zombie movie for kids." Even though the film does feature a few scary elements, the directors said during their discussion that the PG film is suitable for kids over seven or eight years old.
The movie's voice cast includes talented youngsters like Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Kodi Smit-McPhee. And with the dearth of quality family films this summer, Paranorman could end up being a surprise hit.
You can check out the trailer here.
August 24th: 'Premium Rush'
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who last month played a major supporting role in The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), returns to theaters in the new thriller Premium Rush. He plays a bike courier who is given a mysterious message that he has to transport across the city. Man of Steel Actor Michael Shannon co-stars as a crooked cop who is trying to prevent that message from being delivered.
The trailer promises plenty of action and thrills on bicycles, and Gordon-Levitt has proven adept at choosing quality roles (i.e., 50/50, Inception and TDKR). The concept, however, may not seem that exciting for some viewers, so the movie will likely have to prove itself early on in order to make a splash at the box office.
One of its greatest assets, however, is director/screenwriter David Koepp. Koepp is responsible for writing Mission: Impossible (19966), and B-movie thrillers like Stir of Echoes (1999), and Secret Window (2004), so this film could further cement his reputation in Hollywood...
August 24th: 'The Apparition'
Ashley Greene, who plays Alice Cullen in the Twilight series, stars in The Apparition, a new horror film about nightmares becoming a reality. The story focuses on Greene's character and her boyfriend struggling with their worst fears coming true after a college experiment goes wrong. Tom Felton, who previously starred in the Harry Potter series and The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, co-stars as an expert seeking to prevent the fears from destroying all of their lives.
The movie's trailer holds promise and Felton's short resume shows that he knows how to choose quality projects. The film's PG-13 rating is surprising, given the subject matter, but the film could prove to be worthwhile if it conjures up the scares and thrills that have so often been missing from the theater this year.
August 24th: 'Hit and Run'
In Hit and Run, real-life lovebirds Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell star as a couple on the run after Shepard's criminal past catches up with them. Shepard, who wrote the screenplay, also co-directed the comedy with previous collaborator David Palmer.
The film, which promises viewers a blend of action and comed,y features a strong supporting cast. Bradley Cooper (who is barely recognizable) plays Shepard's former accomplice who recently served time in jail and is looking for Shepard to pay him back for the... ahem, 'pain and suffering' he endured behind bars. Additionally, Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth play smaller roles in the movie.
If Hit and Run sounds intriguing, check out the film's trailers to see if the new comedy is worth running to the theaters to see.
August 31st: 'Lawless'
Based on the book The Wettest County in the World, the new movie Lawless features an exciting cast of new and young actors. Guy Pearce, Shia LaBeouf, and Jessica Chastain star in the film alongside Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy, who were last seen together in The Dark Knight Rises.
The violent film - which is based on a true story - focuses on three troubled brothers who are involved in the alcohol bootlegging business in the early 1900s. The trailer definitely looks promising and the all-star cast could make this one of the most intriguing movies of the year.
August 31st: 'The Possession'
In The Possession, Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars as a father whose daughter becomes possessed after a mysterious box comes into the family's hands. Morgan stars in the horror flick alongside Kyra Sedgwick and Madison Davenport.
Although the movie hasn't received much publicity, it has potential as a psychological thriller - and with producer Sam Raimi behind the scenes, the movie could be better than expected. Will the film exceed expectations and show horror film fans a story that they've been missing?
Decide for yourself by checking out the trailer here.
July might have been a huge month at the box office, but August promises to be a big one as well. Two franchises could prove their longevity this month, while one film could show Hollywood if the public's appetite for remakes is still alive and well.
There’s been buzz about a third Hobbit movie since Comic-Con 2012, where Peter Jackson spoke openly about his desire to expand his two-movie adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel into a full-blown trilogy. The filmmaker’s wish has been granted, following recent reports of intensified Hobbit 3 talk.
Jackson is confirming that he’s been given the go-ahead on Hobbit 3 from Warner Bros., which is funding the fantasy project. Initial reports say the movie will be a Summer 2014 release, breaking from the tradition where Jackson’s Middle-earth movies are released during December (and a year apart). That’s assuming The Hobbit: There and Back Again doesn’t change from a December 2013 release.
The genesis for a third Hobbit film stems from the supplementary material Tolkien wrote about the history of Middle-earth, going into far greater detail than either Tolkien’s original Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings book trilogy. The Silmarillion is one of the better-known examples (outside the inner circle of hardcore Tolkien fans, that is), but Jackson revealed that the Tolkien estate holds the film rights to that epic tome, during The Hobbit‘s Comic-Con panel.
Deadline has the scoop on Jackson announcing that Hobbit 3 is on the way, and the site reiterates several discussion points we’ve already raised. The biggest, of course, concerns continued public skepticism about whether the basic Hobbit story foundation can stretch to cover three movies without becoming thin (even with padding, in the form of additional Tolkien narrative material incorporated by Jackson and his writing staff).
It seems that Jackson and his fellow filmmakers own the rights to 125 pages of the appendices that Tolkien published as the conclusion to the Return of the King novel. There have also been whisperings that Jackson has been drawing inspiration from an unpublished version of The Hobbit written by Tolkien, who fleshed out certain characters and retooled plot points so that the story has stronger ties to the Rings trilogy (note: that’s less official, more rumor at this stage).
Reactions to Hobbit footage shown at CinemaCon and Comic-Con were positive, despite a mixed reception to the native 48 high-frame rate format (teased at the former). Thus, for the time being, there’s little reason to not be excited about an additional Hobbit movie – seeing as Jackson feels it’s a worthwhile endeavor that could even cross into unexplored (and, more importantly, worthwhile) narrative territory.
Here is an official statement from Peter Jackson, on the matter:
It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently [co-writers Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens] and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first [Hobbit] movie – and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.’
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
3:14PM: “I have been looking forward to it, very curious as to how they would write it, yet also terrified about it,” Jennifer Carpenter says in response to an opening salvo from a reporter asking for her gut reaction to Deb finding out about Dexter’s extra-curricular activities at the end of last season.
3:16PM: Sad But True: Dexter coming out as a serial killer does make an endgame for the series a little more palpable and imminent. At least according to star Michael C. Hall who elaborates, “I think the plan is to do this season and a final eight season and really tell the story of the two of them negotiating their relationship in this new landscape. That much time feels about right.”
3:17:PM “This is without a doubt the most fundamentally game changing development as we’ve had since we’ve started telling this story,” explains Hall. “It has been so invigorating to play these scenes and to be preoccupied in ways that Dexter has never been. In a show’s seventh season no less, it’s pretty remarkable.”
3:18PM: Jennifer Carpenter believes that dropping her script and swearing in the middle of her audition is what won her the part of Deb!
3:19PM: “I play Hannah McKay, who comes into the story in episode three,” reveals Yvonne Strahovski of her first post-CHUCK role. “She crosses paths with Dexter when she begins to help the Miami Police Department on a cold case. Suffice it to say, her dark past will slowly be revealed as the episodes go on.”
3:22PM: “This season feels as genuinely informed by everything that has come before it as anything we’ve ever done,” says Hall on how this sixth seventh season is currently shaping up. “There’s a real feeling that we’ve earned this arrival and new landscape and feels as rich as ever.” Adds Carpenter, “It’s very dangerous.”
3:24PM: While pretty much a fait accompli, Michael C. Hall won’t entirely close the door on the show continuing past its planned eight season. “I remember finishing the first season thinking we should probably just stop… what are we going to do now!?”
3:25PM: On a somewhat lighter note, Carpenter claims she would call the police right away if she ever discovered her sibling was a serial killer, while Hall would think it’s ironic given his day job!
3:27PM: “As an easy solution to his problem, the thought has to at least cross his mind,” says DEXTER executive producer Scott Buck on whether or not fans should consider the possibility that Deb’s life might be in danger.
3:28PM: “I’ve never had a better scene partner than Jennifer. Her generosity, volatility of her performance, sense of danger she brings to the dynamic, commitment. sense of investment, I’m astonished watching her.” says Hall of co-star Carpenter. ” For her part, Carpenter returns the favor by revealing that “Michael sets the tone for the entire show” when asked about what exactly the talented twosome admire about one another.
3:34PM: “I think we knew we’d eventually tell the story but because it so dramatically changes the nature of the show we didn’t want to consider it until we were closing in on an ending,” says Scott Buck on whether or not Deb finding out about Dexter was something the writers considered earlier in the show’s run.
3:37PM: “It was a little intimidating but it’s exhilarating,” Stahovski says on her transition from CHUCK to DEXTER. “I’ve watched every single episode in the three weeks since joining the show and now that I get to work with these these guys it’s a beautiful experience and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
3:39PM: In response to fans who remain on the fence about jumping back on the DEXTER bandwagon coming off what many have called the show’s most disappointing season to date, Hall has this to say, “Whatever your opinion of ranking the seasons, for my money DEXTER is never more compelling than when he is in trouble and never been deeper trouble than he is now.”
3:42PM: “He brings a real gravity, weight and complexity,” Hall says of Ray Stevenson, who joins this show this season as the heave of a European organized crime syndicate. “He’s playing a character who certainly has his darkness but uniqueness and nuance and he manages to convey it all in way that to the outside seems pretty effortless.”
3:43PM: “It’s certainly in our thoughts as we broke season seven,” was Buck’s response to the question pertaining to how much thought has gone into planning the eight and presumably final season while finishing up writing the show’s seventh.
The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.
To thoroughly enjoy the romantic comedy Ruby Sparks, you’ll need to be an old pro at suspending disbelief. It’s a necessity for the lead character and it’s required activity for the audience, as well. It’ll help you hop the hurdle that is the film’s well-worn conceit, that a man’s fantasy girl can materialize just because he makes it so. But once you jump in, you’ll find a film that successfully keeps reality at bay, bringing life and loveliness to what should be an annoyingly predictable story.
There’s no escaping the familiarity. Color it one way and you’ve got Mannequin. Another hue gives you Weird Science. Add some shadow and depth and you have Stranger than Fiction. Calvin (Paul Dano), a successful writer lacking a few social skills, dreams of a wonderful woman, puts her on the page, and soon finds her living in his house. As sophomoric as it may sound on paper, Ruby Sparks clicks, making the most of rich performances by stars Dano and Zoe Kazan, with a script by Kazan that embraces as much convention as it intends to buck.
Directed by Little Miss Sunshine partners Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (below, on the set), Ruby Sparks has just enough smarts, its gimmick a metaphor for the levels of control — or lack of control — that friends and lovers can have over one another in a relationship. Once Calvin gets past his initial shock and confirms that his creation is indeed living in the material world, he instantly falls in love. Kazan, sweet, impish, cute and wide-eyed with affection, makes it easy. As Ruby, she’s an amalgam of early-romance uber-emotions, expressing jealousy, desire and confusion like a lovesick schoolgirl. But as the connection between Calvin and Ruby evolves naturally, she needs something everyone needs: independence.
If this were Calvin B.R. (Before Ruby), he’d have to react like the rest of us. Hash out his emotions, ease up his grip, or break up with the girl. But Calvin can potentially change Ruby’s moods with a just few keystrokes. Kazan’s script goes to surprisingly funny extremes to show us Calvin’s power — and the stars are definitely game — but there’s something effectively uncomfortable about a man having that much emotional control over a woman (this would have less impact if the genders were reversed). The discomfort becomes more realized with time, culminating in an exhausting sequence, daring for the possibility that it might fall flat on its face for some audiences.
Dano has evolved into a competent, unique lead player, despite the fact that his looks, youth and film choices tend to define him as just a quiet hipster. Here he gives us the expected nervousness and astonishment, but he’s able to convey a deeper, subtler palette of anxiety that is more mature than the growing pains we’ve seen in Little Miss Sunshine or Gigantic. With a hearty script and a change to his look, Dano is far more James Spader than Lou Pucci (no offense to Pucci). It’s a point of progress that probably began with There Will Be Blood, and may be necessary for the indie actors of Dano’s generation to continue moving forward.For as much as Dano fans (there are plenty, if a Boston Q&A session is any indication) and Kazan admirers will swoon over their performances, Chris Messina, as Calvin’s brother, is a legitmate scene stealer. He’s the voice of reason in a movie that demands one to successfully pay off the fantasy. Messina, from Julie & Julia and Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, offers control, intensity and a giddy incredulity that gives Ruby Sparks some early weight and an extra comic tone. It’s one of the best and most valuable supporting performances seen this year.
There’s a slosh of hippie indie style here too, in the form of Calvin’s kooky parents (played with infectious happiness by Annette Bening and the great Antonio Banderas). Their presence is strictly for narrative contrast, and the faux energy is right out of Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated, an overdone film in which Kazan co-starred. Sure, we’ve seen it before. But we’ve seen plenty of Ruby Sparks before, and it still delivers a lovable little romantic fantasy.
Norm Schrager blogs at Meet in the Lobby.
“After much deliberation, we've come to the difficult decision not to renew The Killing for a third season,” the statement read, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “AMC is incredibly proud of the show and is fortunate to have worked with such a talented team on this project, from showrunner Veena Sud and our terrific partners at Fox Television Studios to the talented, dedicated crew and exceptional cast.”
Word from Fox Television Studios, which produced the series, is that the show may go to another network.
“Fox Television Studios is extremely proud of The Killing, the extraordinary writing staff and crew, and what we believe is one of the best casts on television,” the company’s statement read. “We will proceed to try to find another home for the show.”
“The Killing” alienated some of its fans with its season one finale, in which it did not reveal the solution to the season-long mystery of who killed Rosie Larsen. Executive producer Veena Sud said delaying the reveal had always the plan for the show. The answer to the mystery became clear in the second season finale, but ratings declined during the show’s second year.
Two official teaser trailers for Man of Steel – a reboot of the Superman franchise, from director Zack Snyder and producer/co-writer Christopher Nolan – are attached to prints of Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, and can now be viewed online.
Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill (Immortals) as Clark Kent, a young journalist who was born Kal-El: a survivor of the fallen alien planet Krypton, transported to Earth by his parents Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer). Small-town farmers Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) raise Kal-El as their son, imbuing him with a strong sense of integrity and compassion so that he learn to use his extraordinary powers responsibly – even in a troubled world that views him as a threat, rather than a potential savior.
Warner Bros. premiered a sizzle reel from Snyder’s film at the Comic-Con 2012 Man of Steel panel, and there are chunks of that footage in the official theatrical trailers. The latter are shorter and more structured than their Con counterpart, but manages to leave a similar impression – namely, that Man of Steel aims to offer a nuanced and serious take on the Superman mythos, befitting the contemporary age of superhero movies (and influenced by DC Comics’ “New 52″ reboot).
That approach includes: an altered version of the Superman costume, meant to make the character look more like an armored warrior (than a guy in a skin-tight unitard) – and a stripped-down visual style that lacks the digital polish found in Snyder’s previous comic book adaptations (300 and Watchmen), in favor of the muted colors and realistic texture featured in Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Nolan’s influence is readily apparent in Man of Steel footage shown to date, what with the continued emphasis on the philosophical aspects of the Superman story – as reflected in scenes where a disheveled Clark travels the world as an ordinary man, and listens to teachings about how we shape our destiny, as passed down by both his biological and adopted father in the two separate trailers (Pa Kent – above/Jor-El – below). Those elements are woven together with Americana imagery (shots of wagons and clotheslines around the Kent farm) that harken back to Superman’s origins as an All-American hero.
Overall, the mix of old and new Superman mythology should go over well with certain fans, while others will be left grumbling about how their favorite superhero has been “Nolan-ized.” It will be arguably be more interesting to see how Man of Steel is received by the moviegoing masses as a whole. If the film is a success, it could set a precedent for the DC Movie Universe; if it flops, that could inspire Warner Bros./DC to drastically change their (as yet, unannounced) game plan.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.