OK, this is the greatest thing I have seen in a long time (BUT BEWARE SPOILERS IF YOU ARE NOT UP TO DATE WITH GAME OF THRONES!!!)
I love The Princess Bride!
I’ve completely lost faith in M. Night Shyalaman over the past decade, but that being said I still think Unbreakable is his best film, and I would so love for the long-rumored sequel to someday happen. The one flaw with Unbreakable, in my mind, is that the story feels incomplete — it feels like the first act of a larger story. So every time Mr. Shyamalan talks about a possible sequel, I am happy.
So this is interesting: in the months after the success of Skyfall, there was a lot of talk that Bond 24 and 25 (the next two Bond films) would be two connected films. That was denied by the Bond producers. But amidst the recent news that Skyfall Director will be returning for the next Bond film, the 24th, comes this rumor that Mr. Mendes is going to commit to helm the 25th Bond film as well! I love the idea of a two-part Bond film, that would be super-cool if that happens.
Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel) and Bruce Timm (mastermind behind Batman: The Animated Series) are collaborating on a Superman short film in honor of Superman’s 75th anniversary? Awesome!
I have Superman because of my huge anticipation for The Man of Steel (which I hope to see this weekend!!), so now’s as good a time as any to read this terrific piece looking back at Superman II! That film was a HUGE part of my childhood…!!
There’s been a lot of rumors flying in recent weeks about the inclusion of the character of Quicksilver in both Fox’s upcoming X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, as well as the Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ upcoming Avengers 2. It will be fascinating to see how this all shakes out!
(Speaking of Days of Future Past — Nixon! Love it!)
And with that, my friends, I wish you all a great weekend. I’ll be back next week with my thoughts on Man of Steel, season four of Arrested Development, and cartoons making fun of Star Trek Into Darkness. Hope to see you all back here soon!… [continued]
In response to this summer’s lousy Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man (click here for my review), comes this great article on 10 Remakes that Got it Right. There are some really intriguing films on this list that I have never seen, but have been immediately placed on my “to-watch” list…
It’s old news by now, but I haven’t yet waxed poetic on this site about how excited I am that Peter Jackson has expanded his adaptation of The Hobbit from two films to a trilogy! Very exciting. The hints of obscure bits of story from the Lord of the Rings appendices that Mr. Jackson is going to be filming in order to flesh out the story are even more exciting still. The battle of Dol Goldur?? Awesome!!
The new X-Men film is going to be Days of Future Past??? That’s hugely exciting, but also very worrisome. Days of Future Past is one of the greatest X-Men stories (heck, one of the greatest comic book stories) of all time. The idea of that being adapted into a film is extraordinary!! Bravo to Bryan Singer and xx on taking on this iconic story. But the thought of a BAD version of Days of Future Past would be horrifying. I was burned by X3′s brutalization of the Dark Phoenix Saga (probably THE greatest X-Men story of all time), and that’s a pain not easily forgotten… I am crossing my fingers and toes about this one…
Speaking of Bryan Singer, why the heck is he still developing a Battlestar Galactica movie? Do we really need another version of Galactica, after Ron Moore’s fabulous TV series…? The only place to go is down…
I am excited to see DC’s upcoming animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s seminal “Last Batman Story” The Dark Knight Returns. (DKR was a strong source of material for Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, as I noted in my review.) However, this first trailer leaves me underwhelmed in the extreme. This trailer should have been slow, spooky, and reverent, selling us on a world that had moved on without Batman. Instead, it seems to be selling a zippy animated adventure. I hope this doesn’t reflect the tone of the finished product.
In happier news — Larry David, Dave Mandel, Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer (key players on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland, Paul) are working together on a new movie for HBO? Can’t wait!!… [continued]
I was beginning to think I’d never get to see another great X-Men movie!
I’m a big, big fan of Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films. I think they’re pretty much perfect, the first two steps in what seemed like an epic cinematic saga. When the final shot of X2 tantalized viewers with the promise of the Dark Phoenix saga (probably the single greatest X-Men storyline ever), I was overcome with gleeful anticipation. I think I’m still recovering from the disappointment at how badly the film series fumbled things from there. The studio rushed X-Men 3 into production with another director, as a big up-yours to Bryan Singer, who had been hired to direct Superman: Returns. X-Men 3 has a decent first 45 minutes or so but then things totally collapse, and the brutally awful handling of the Phoenix storyline was crushingly disappointing. And in the years since, the only new X-Men movie we’ve gotten is the abysmally terrible X-Men Origins: Wolverine (share the pain and read my review here).
When I heard that they were finally putting together a new X-Men film, and that it was a prequel, I was not pleased. I really hate prequels, as readers of this blog are probably aware. I think it’s a lazy approach to story-telling, and I’d always rather see a story move FORWARD rather than circle back upon itself. That we’ve been so deluged with prequels these past few years makes me absolutely crazy. Why do I want to see the young versions of characters I love? I want to see the experienced versions of these characters, in their prime, kicking ass and going on new adventures. Why has that seemingly been so difficult for the masterminds behind the X-Men film franchise? Can no one in Hollywood think past a trilogy? X-Men 3 was flawed, but it still made a TON of moola. Hire some new writers and get to work on X-Men 4! Of all the franchises in the world, the X-Men seems like the easiest no-brainer in the bunch. There are SO MANY great characters and story-lines in the comics to choose from. Is Patrick Stewart getting too expensive? No problemo! The comics were constantly writing Professor X out of the stories for long periods of time. Let’s see the films adapt some of the great X-Men stories from the eighties, in which Prof X was gone and Magneto tried to reform and take over the X-Men. That would be awesome! It just seems so simple to me — we should be getting brand new X-Men films every 2-3 years, like clockwork.
But, obviously, that hasn’t happened. Just one god-awful Wolverine solo flick and a prequel. … [continued]
This is a pretty funny assemblage of 1980′s movie references. Don’t miss Topher Grace’s dynamite Marty McFly impersonation that comes at around 2:30.
I was sad to read of the passing of famed composer John Barry. He’s responsible for so many pieces of iconic James Bond related music, it’s staggering. He wrote the scores for eleven Bond films, including Goldfinger and From Russia With Love.
In happier Bond news, is it possible that Javier Bardem will be the villain in the next Bond film? James Bond vs. Anton Chigurh? What an inspired idea!
In even-happier-than-that Bond news, comes this casting possibility. I really hope these casting rumors pan out! I’m very excited with the way Bond 23 looks to be shaping up so far…
Click here to read The New Yorker‘s fantastic profile of Guillermo del Toro. It’s a lengthy piece, stuffed full of delicious tidbits of information on the many projects that he has in the hopper (and some — like The Hobbit with him as director — that sadly will never be). I really hope that his adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness actually happens.
I’m a dreamer, and I dare to dream that someday we’ll get another awesome X-Men movie. (I adored X-Men and X2, but was disappointed by X3 and thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.) I’m starting to think it just might be happening when I read articles like this about The Wolverine, the upcoming film directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan), written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), and based upon Chris Claremont & Frank Miller’s famous, amazing Wolverine mini-series from 1982, set in Japan. My hopes are VERY high for this one, gentlemen. Please don’t let me down!
The moment I knew was coming has arrived: Brandon Routh is officially not playing Superman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming film. Readers of this site know that I am a fierce defender of Superman Returns, and in particular I thought Mr. Routh was phenomenal as Clark Kent/Superman. I totally understand that Mr. Snyder wants to set his film apart from Bryan Singer’s film, but I’m still really disappointed that we’re not going to get a whole series of films with Mr. Routh in the lead. It’s a big disappointment.
And, I must add, this rumor that Jessica Biel is up for the role of Lois Lane has me VERY worried. Urgh, that’s a terrible idea. But then I read that that Jessica Biel rumor is just that — a rumor. OK, whew, I thought, bullet dodged. But then I read … [continued]
So is Peter Jackson going to direct The Hobbit? Or will it be his protege Neill Bolmkamp, who directed District 9? Who knows — I just hope this mess with MGM gets sorted out soon. I’m still getting over my enormous disappointment that MGM’s financial situation resulted in Guillermo del Toro’s departure from The Hobbit films. But boy would it be great to see PJ take the helm once again…
Great new trailer is up for The Social Network, the new film about facebook directed by David Fincher and scripted by Aaron Sorkin.
So, we finally got out first glimpse at The Green Hornet and… I’m still not quite sure what to think. This film is either going to be awesome or a total catastrophe…
CHUD’s list of the Worst CGI in Film History continues, and it’s well worth your time.
Will we ever get another decent X-Men film? I loved X-Men and X2, but X3 was a crushing disappointment and the less spoken of the abominable X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the better. I hate prequels, as a rule, so when word came out last year that the next X-film would be a prequel entitled X-Men: First Class, I thought that was a big mis-step. So what now gives me hope? Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick Ass) and stars James McAvoy (Children of Dune, Atonement, Wanter) as Professor X and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) as Magneto. An ember of hope is fanned…
Are we about to finally get another decent Predator film? The first Predator is awesome — one on my favorite movies ever. But the second one (set in the future with Danny Glover as the lead) is weak, and the less spoken of the two Alien Vs. Predator films the better. But Robert Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal’s Predators is set for release in just a few short weeks, and damn if this new trailer isn’t pretty awesome. An ember of hope is fanned…
It’s hard for me to believe that a new Planet of the Apes film is really happening. And now I read that John Lithgow and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) have joined the cast? Um, okay… An ember of hope is… well… we’ll see…… [continued]
One of my first articles, when I started this blog, was about great franchises that have fallen on hard times. I was writing about my once-beloved Alien and Predator series, but we can all now safely add the X-Men films to that list. What in the world has happened to this series?? X-Men and X2 were so spectacular — but after X3 and now the rather verbosely titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine I am sad to report that the series is batting only two for four.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a Fantastic Four caliber catastrophe. Some talented actors appear on-screen, there’s some exciting action, some familiar X-Men characters pop up (one in particular really surprised me), and we finally get to hear Wolverine say on-screen, “I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do best isn’t very nice.” But the scant enjoyment I felt from those moments was short-lived. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a rentlessly dour and joyless affair, one that consistently reveals itself to be a truly B-Grade effort. What do I mean by that? Allow me to elaborate:
The film is filled with plot-holes, but more than that, it doesn’t hold together at all as any sort of coherent narrative. I respect the filmmakers’ ambition in trying to capture a number of different periods in Wolverine’s life, from his birth in the late 1800′s, through his experiences in a variety of wars (captured really well, actually, in an exciting opening credits sequence), through his time with Silver Fox, his involvement in the Weapon X program, and beyond. But none of the bits and pieces hang together. Instead of merging together to form an expansive back-story, each jump in time left me with countless unanswered questions: Why would Logan, a Canadian, fight in so many of America’s wars? Right from the first scene, he is established as a gentler soul than his mean brother Victor — so why would Logan hang around with Victor for so many years? If Stryker and the team were so upset when Wolverine left them, how and why did the whole group disband soon after? And why would Victor, of all people, be the one to remain in Stryker’s service? I could go on.
The film makes a total hash of the X-Men comic continuity. There was a lot of precedent for this, of course, as the previous three X-Men films also mixed and matched characters and story-lines from different periods of the comics with great abandon. But there’s a souless “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to this film as it ties a barrage of random Marvel Comics characters (Gambit! Deadpool! The Blob!) into Wolverine’s origin — and … [continued]
The various X-Men comic books have been a sales juggernaut for Marvel Comics for almost forty years now, and the success of the three X-Men films has certainly furthered the spread of this franchise. There have been a heck of a lot of talented writers and artists involved in the X-Men over that long stretch of time, but one man really deserves the lion’s share of the credit: Chris Claremont, who wrote The Uncanny X-Men comic book from 1975-1991.
Over the course of that incredibly lengthy run, Clarement shaped the characters, the stories, and the world of the X-Men, so much of which is known and loved world-wide today.
I started reading Uncanny X-Men towards the late-middle of Claremont’s run, in the mid/late 80’s. I’d been reading comics for a few years (my enjoyment of Marvel’s Transformers comic book series lead me to various super-hero titles such as the Fantastic Four and the Avengers), and people kept telling me “you can’t be a comic fan and not be reading X-Men.” I finally took the plunge, and I was immediately sucked into the series. Claremont was incredibly skilled at crafting interesting, really three-dimensional and human characters, and his stories were dense and sophisticated. (Claremont was the master of the “sub-plot,” in which various story-lines would weave in and out of the comic, sometimes for YEARS, before finally dovetailing with the main story being told.)
After Claremont left the X-Men comic in 1991, I continued to follow the series for many years, but it was never able to recapture for me the greatness of the Claremont era. Various writers and artists would rotate through the book, and some entertaining stories were told… but after a while I finally began to get bored, and I ultimately stopped reading. Once or twice a year I’d pick up an issue or a mini-series, but nothing ever held my interest enough to warrant my reading the title again on a monthly basis.
Then, in 2001, the British writer-artist team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely took over one of the X-Men comics. (By this point, there were several!) I purchased their first issue, titled “E for Extinction,” and was blown away. Suddenly, the characters were interesting again, and the world those characters inhabited seemed dangerous again. I was hooked, and with no small amount of disbelief I started reading an X-Men comic every month again.
Maybe I’ll return to this topic at a later date to write a lengthier review of Morrison’s run, but ultimately I was disappointed by what had begun so promisingly. From the beginning, Quitely wasn’t able to keep up a regular schedule, and without his magnificent art the stories … [continued]
May 27th, 2008
I love comic books. And that means that I grew up with a great love of super-hero stories. These days its true that many of my favorite comic books have little to do with super-heroes (looking through my “to-read” pile I see titles like David Lapham’s Young Liars, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower adaptation, Jeff Smith’s new boot RASL, Mike Mignola’s BPRD and Abe Sapien, Ed Brubaker’s Criminal, Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets, to name just a few.) But there is still something about a great super-hero yarn that really excites me. (For instance, I’ve been reading and throughly enjoying Ed Brubaker’s run on Daredevil, Brian Michael Bendis’ work on Avengers and Secret Invasion, and Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men.)
That love of a good super-hero tale extends to movies. While working on these new Iron Man cartoons, and thinking about the movies still ahead this summer (Hellboy II, The Dark Knight, and The Incredible Hulk), I’ve been thinking about what makes a great super-hero movie.
Here are my five favorite super-hero movies of all time:
5. Unbreakable — Back when I loved M. Night Shyamalan, he made this fantastic little tale about a man (Bruce Willis) who discovers that he cannot be injured. There are no costumes, no witticisms, none of the silly trappings that have come to be associated with super-heroes and super-hero movies. Just a compelling story with some terrific under-played acting from a great cast (Bruce Willis has never been better than he is here as the sad, empty man who discovers that he is different), and some really interesting scene composition, shot set-ups, and editing choices from director Shyamalan.
4. Hellboy — Adapted from a series of mini-series written and gorgeously illustrated by Mike Mignola, Hellboy follows the adventures of a paranormal investigator who is actually a demon from Hell himself. Who loves pancakes. The comic is a wonderfully bizarre, textured mix of fairy tales, folklore and some good old-fashioned monster-fighting action. The film, directed by Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, and the man tapped to direct the upcoming two films based on The Hobbit) is a remarkable realization of Mignola’s comic. The splendid, consistently under-rated Ron Perlman is brilliant as Hellboy, bringing enormous depth and warmth to the character despite all the red rubber makeup.
3. Spider-Man 2 — Like Hellboy, Spider-Man 2 is another film whose greatest strength is the way it is able to distill the essence of a beloved (albeit much more widely-known) comic book character into a compelling film all its own. Tobey Maguire was born to play the stiff, dorky Peter Parker who one day discovers that with great power … [continued]