Elsewhere, Joss Whedon’s Avengers showed up to gab and release, over a few days, this robot melee from Age of Ultron. Both properties also showed short teasers to the attendees, but thus far I’ve only seen them online in unflattering Kramervision form.
In a surprising twist, Zack Snyder announces Jesse Eisenberg as Batman v. Superman‘s Lex Luthor (and, in more conventional casting, Jeremy Irons as Alfred.) Hrm. Well, I like the outside-the-box risk taken here, provided Eisenberg isn’t just reprising his role from The Social Network. (Image above via AICN talkbacker JayEskimo.)
Lots of catch-up to do in the Trailer Bin…
Finally out of The Master‘s clutches, a lonely Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with, for all intent and purposes, Siri (Scarlett Johansson) in the first trailer for Spike Jonze’s Her, also with Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pratt, and Rooney Mara. I believe this is called going the full-Lars. (Also, I’m never not going to hear the name of this film as “Her?”)
Alan Rickman and Donal Logue — now there’s one of the best buddy pairings on film since Ray Winstone and Brendan Gleeson in Beowulf — meet a lot of 24 Hour Party People American-style in our first look at CBGB’s, with Ashley Greene, Freddy Rodriguez, Johnny Galecki, Bradley Whitford, Rupert Grint, Justin Bartha, Stana Katic, and Malin Ackerman (as Debbie Harry?) I see Severus is now teaching young Mr. Weasley a completely different set of Dark Arts. Hrm, maybe.
Michael Fassbender finds he’s taken a wrong turn into Cormac McCarthy land in the newest trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, with Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Goran Visnjic, and Dean Norris. Looks very McCarthyish, and no mistake. The good news is Ridley Scott still owes Fassbender a solid film after Prometheus.
It belongs in a museum! WWII soldiers George Clooney and Matt Damon put together a crack team to save priceless art and artifacts in the first trailer for Clooney’s The Monuments Men, also with John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin, and Cate Blanchett. As one wag aptly noted on Twitter, this is basically an Elseworlds Ocean’s movie, but I trust Clooney’s choices. Still, here’s hoping it works out better than Clooney & Blanchett’s last trip to Germany.
Over an unfortunately poppy soundtrack, Idris Elba and Naomie Harris channel Nelson and Winnie Mandela in the first trailer for Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. This looks a bit standard-issue-biopic-y, I’ll admit. But I’ll watch just to see Elba as Mandela — just no Henley poems, k?
Team Silver Linings Playbook joins forces with Team Fighter (sans Wahlberg) to dabble in the luxurious world of art forgery in this brief trailer for David O. Russell’s next, American Hustle, with Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Louis CK, Jack Huston, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Pena and Elizabeth Rohm.
Lowry? Has anybody seen Sam Lowry? Er, sorry, that would be Mitty, as in Ben Stiller’s adaptation of James Thurber’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, and Shirley MacLaine. I have to admit, this looks much fresher than I anticipated. Definitely maybe.
A terrible accident, an unexpected boon, and A Simple Plan all add up to another bad day for Sam Rockwell in the trailer for David Rosenthal’s A Single Shot, also with William H. Macy, Jason Isaacs, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly, Ted Levine, Melissa Leo, and W. Earl Brown. A great cast through and through, but you had me at Rockwell.
And if you need another reason to worry about Found Money, Alice Eve gets into trouble with the Russian mob, in the form of Bryan Cranston, in the trailer for Cold Comes the Night, also with Logan Marshall-Green. If nothing else, it’ll be good for Cranston to get some more menacing reps in before signing up with LexCorp (although, in that department, Mark Strong’s a solid choice as well.)
Where’s a mermaid when you need one? Tom Hanks is in considerable peril on the sea in our second look at Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, also with Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Yul Vazquez, Michael Chernus, Chris Mulkey, Corey Johnson, David Warshofsky, John Magaro and Angus MacInnes.
I thought Greengrass’ most recent film, 2010′s Green Zone, was an overly preachy dud — I get annoyed with edutainment that aggressively berates me to endorse opinions I already hold. (I’m looking at you, Aaron Sorkin.) But Greengrass has a lifetime pass after United 93, Bloody Sunday, and the Bournes, so hopefully this is a return to form.
Thor Odinson, meet Clarice Starling: In a tight spot with a new Big Bad, Earth’s mightiest Asgardian (Chris Hemsworth) is forced to enlist help from his brother in the joint in the second trailer for Thor: The Dark World, also with Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Jaimie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, and Ray Stevenson.
After The Dark Knight, Skyfall, and ST:ID, I’m not sure we need any more villains unfolding their master plans from behind prison bars this decade — Heck, even Loki himself was doing this same shebang in The Avengers last year. Still, the first Thor was better than expected, and Marvel’s on a pretty consistent streak at the moment. I’m in.
I also thought the Nick Stoller’s 2011 reboot of The Muppets was decent enough, but I’m not getting good vibes at all from this first teaser for James Bobin’s Muppets: Most Wanted, with Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, Salma Hayek, Frank Langella, Till Schweiger, Debby Ryan, Danny Trejo, Ray Liotta, and Christoph Waltz. Early yet, and I do like Stoller and Bobin’s prior output, but right now this looks like it’ll hit at about Smurfs 2 level.
So, yeah, Harrison Ford hasn’t gotten all that much better at voiceovers since Blade Runner, has he? Anyway, there’s also a new trailer for Gavin Hood’s Ender’s Game, also with Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and a ridiculous number of clichés (the Inception BWOMP, “We’re running out of time,” etc.) Everyone wants a Ford comeback, but it’s hard to imagine this one getting my money, even if Orson Scott Card wasn’t a jackass. Oh well.
All well and good, I suppose, and more indication that comic fandom is now completely mainstream. Still, while I have high hopes for the amiable weirdness currently surrounding James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it sure feels like Hollywood is churning out a lot of mediocre, uninspired, and by-the-numbers product this year.
Maybe I’m just getting old, and I suppose Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 was decent enough fun, but I found both Star Trek: Into Darkness and Man of Steel loud, dumb, and disappointing, to the point where I haven’t felt all that inclined to pony up for World War Z and Pacific Rim, which looks like more of the same: smash-mouth visuals struggling to overcome dismal writing, and 9/11y spectacle used for fake-gravitas.
Hopefully Elysium will give this summer an Inception-like jolt. As it is, we’re halfway through 2013 and the only must-see film I’ve caught is Before Midnight.
I dunno…Of course we don’t want to see the same movies as in the past, but much like Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, the tone feels off here to me. Superman isn’t Batman. He’s not particularly angsty, usually, and imo should just be the Last Boy Scout. I’m not sure I much like this Most Dangerous Catch walkabout stuff they have him doing. (And that stilted Russell Crowe voiceover doesn’t inspire confidence either.) But we’ll see.
Update: Take shelter: This iteration of Zod has since made known his demands on Youtube. He doesn’t seem to have quite figured out Earth’s video technology, however.
Hrm. I wouldn’t have picked this grim direction for Superman — seems like a Captain America vibe would work better — but at least it’s different, I guess. Hopefully the presence of Chris Nolan will help rein in Snyder’s Sucker Punch sensibilities.
In the land of Detective Comics, Zack Snyder’s Superman (a.k.a. Henry Cavill) gets a foster mom in Diane Lane — word is she joins Kevin Costner as Pa Kent. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman (a.k.a. Adrienne Palicki) gets a nemesis in Elizabeth Hurley. And Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises gets a possible plot revealed by Devin Faraci. Major story spoilers if true. (It sounds very plausible to me.)
Meanwhile, over on the DC side of things, Sorry Brandon Routh (and the Legion of Jon Hamm Fans): Zack Snyder’s Superman has found its Man of Steel in Henry Cavill, formerly of The Tudors. (The photoshopped Cavill-El above was found here.) I don’t really know the guy, but I hear good things.
“Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story, and in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story. We have a great ensemble, that’s one of the attractions of doing another film, since we’ve been having a great time for years.” Christopher Nolan discusses Batman and Superman (but no World’s Finest)
Word leaks that Warner Brothers is moving forward on a Justice League film, having hired the writers of (ugh) Mr. and Mrs. Smith to pen a screenplay for the project. “How the story arcs unfold will also affect whether the studio will make offers to actors Christian Bale and Brandon Routh to play their respective roles in the project.”
Because noone demanded it, the trailer for Disney’s live-action Underdog. (Somewhere, Krypto is sulking.) No way on God’s green earth I’ll be seeing this one, although I did sorta like the Superman Returns spoof and the “One Nation Under Dog” tagline. (And if you think this film was unnecessary, how ’bout a grown-up Hardy Boys film with Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise? That’s just straight-up bizarre.)
Quite a bit of movie news lately: Bryan Singer’s next Superman achieves liftoff, as does Harold & Kumar II. (I didn’t think much of Superman Returns, but am willing to give Singer another shot, particularly given how much better X2 was over X-Men. As for H & K…yeah, I’ll see it.) Meanwhile, the Peter Jackson-produced Halo is off for now…probably not a great loss, I suspect. And, finally, Steven Soderbergh and Benicio del Toro’s Che is now two films: The Argentine and Guerrilla, to be shot back-to-back.
As most of y’all likely already know, this past weekend was Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego, which means an exceedingly large amount of news in the fanboy department. To wit:
“Movies would gradually drift away from the ideals of 1970s Hollywood and more to the simplistic, self-deluding certainties and monochrome morality espoused by the new president. In that sense, Donner’s Superman, and to come extent Dick Lester’s sequel – the one in which General Zod and his minions traverse the universe apparently trapped inside the album-sleeve of Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack – were prescient works of art.” By way of LinkMachineGo, John Patterson of The Guardian argues that, despite his origins under Siegel & Shuster, Superman’s appeal is inherently conservative. Hmm, ok. I’d be more impressed with his thesis if [a] he didn’t immediately write off all comic-book adaptations and [b] he actually got Superman’s name right.
In today’s trailer bin, Brazil alums Jonathan Pryce and Ian Holm reunite (as voice talent, with Daniel Craig and Catherine McCormack) in the Sin City-ish new trailer for Christian Volckman’s Renaissance, and Adrien Brody delves into the death of Superman (a.k.a. George Reeves a.k.a. Ben Affleck), with Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins on hand, in the new trailer for Allen Coulter’s Hollywoodland. Update: And one more: Edward Norton conjures up trouble for the powers-that-be (with Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, and Rufus Sewell) in the new trailer for The Illusionist (not to be confused with Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, due out later in the year.)
“You don’t really love that guy you make it with now do you?” Despite a nice throwback credit sequence to kick things off, and several iconic images of the man in blue throughout, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns is, unfortunately, something of a disappointment. It’s by no means a travesty, like X3 — the FX are top-notch, and the movie does feel like some care went into it. Still, for most of its run, Superman Returns, while hearkening often to the 1978 original and its excellent 1980 sequel, never really reaches the heights of those first two films. Instead, this “requel” feels, for the most part, drab, leaden, and earthbound, and, at best, plays like a badly-paced bodice ripper (or perhaps a forgotten issue of Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane.)
Like I said, Superman Returns starts off well, with a brief look at Krypton’s fate, kryptonite’s origins, and a whirlwind intergalactic tour of a credits sequence (all of which bodes well for a quality Silver Surfer or Darkseid v. Supes movie someday.) But, soon thereafter, trouble arises. We’re treated to a jokey Anna Nicole Smith-ish re-introduction to Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey, who never gets the tone quite right — he’s either too whimsical or too dark), some Americana flashbacks of Superman’s youth in — and return after five years to — the archetypal Midwest, Luthor’s visit to the Fortress of Solitude and subsequent experimentation with Kryptonian technology, and finally Clark Kent’s reemergence in Metropolis and the newsroom of the Daily Planet, still presided over by Perry White (Frank Langella) and staffed by Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) and Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen (Sam Huntington). Frankly, all of this section of the movie takes too long — it seems forever and a day before Superman (Brandon Routh, both better and less Rushmore-esque than I expected) is finally moved to action by a Space Shuttle incident (one involving, of course, Lois.)
I’d like to say the film then finds its momentum, then…but, sadly, it really doesn’t. For one, Luthor’s diabolical master plan — involving growing craggy Kryptonian real-estate that will submerge North America — doesn’t make a lick of sense. But, more problematically, the central questions driving Singer’s Superman, IMHO, just aren’t all that interesting. Will Lois rediscover her deeply-buried love for Superman, the “one that got away,” or will she stay true to her good-hearted current beau, Richard (James Marsden, a.k.a. Cyclops, here blessed with Superempathy)? Can Superman make peace with Lois’s new life (or, at the very least, will he stop superstalking her happy household?) And where does Lois’s doe-eyed child — yep, cute kid alert — fit into all this? (Take a guess.) Not to put too fine a point on it, but, in essence, what Singer has made here is a Superman mythos chick flick, and not a very good one at that.
This is not to say that I only wanted to see Superman crush things for two hours. As sappy and unrealistic as it is, the love triangle that dominates this film might’ve worked in another context (or with another character — This type of thing works better in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman series, but Spidey is generally a more angst-ridden superhero anyway.) But, as it stands, the Harlequin Romance nature of this enterprise, as well as the languid pacing and Luthor’s completely absurd stratagem, are like kryptonite here. Superman Returns looks good, and I’d be up to see Routh don the tights again for another outing. But, as a reboot of DC’s most famous franchise, the movie is passable at best (and it has nothing on Christopher Nolan’s much more enjoyable Batman Begins.)
The new international trailer for Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, which gets a bit more spoilerish and includes a Matrix-y money shot that seems a mite out of place to me, is now online.