"I am Iron Man."
That was Tony Stark's big announcement at the end of 2008's first film in what has become one of the biggest franchises in the world, the cornerstone of an even larger franchise called The Marvel Universe, a creative gamble that has paid off in a huge way. In that moment, Stark, personified rather than played by Robert Downey Jr., not only flipped the superhero formula on its head by revealing his identity to the world but also announced himself as the owner of the character. He's now played Stark five times on film, and there is no one who would argue that in terms of the pop consciousness, Downey is Stark and vice-versa.
In "Iron Man Three," as it's written during the closing credits, Stark finds himself genuinely tested by the Mandarin, a media-savvy terrorist, and a rival businessman who is angling to take away Pepper Potts. From that simple logline, Shane Black has spun my favorite of the standalone films about the character, including the first film. I think Jon Favreau deserves all the credit in the world for getting the entire thing off the ground, finding the right tone to play everything at, creating a credible world that has now expanded in ways that would have been unthinkable a mere five years ago.
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"I am Iron Man."
Alicia Keys travels back in time to what looks like the ‘50s for her steamy video, “Fire We Make” featuring Maxwell.
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One of the things I've always liked about the set of "The Office" is how functional it appears. The computers are all wired for internet, for instance, and the actors often talk about how they pay their bills, email friends and play games while they have to be in the background of someone else's scene. Not everything works, but if you were to find yourself in the middle of this anonymous building in Van Nuys (in the same complex that houses the show's writers and producers), you could be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual paper company branch office.
Production on this final season has already wrapped, but before everyone went home, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey filmed this video (exclusive to HitFix for a bit) providing a backstage tour of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton. The tour somehow runs out of steam before they get to the main bullpen, but the ladies stop by the restrooms, Toby's annex and the break room, providing trivia and old anecdotes along the way. Enjoy.
Only four episodes to go of this final season, with the next new one airing Thursday at 9 on NBC.
The Cannes Film Festival waited a long time to secure Steven Spielberg as their Competition jury president, so now that they’ve finally got him, they weren’t going to give him just any motley crew of jurors to work with. The panel of eight film luminaries announced this morning is the most high-profile in recent memory, containing as it does one former Palme d’Or winner, one two-time Oscar-winning director, one two-time Oscar-winning actor, one Oscar-winning actress and two former Cannes Best Actor winners.
One of last year's Midnight Madness films from the Toronto Film Festival is arriving in theaters shortly, and we were asked if we wanted to premiere an exclusive clip from the movie here at HitFix.
I definitely try to see as many of the Midnight Madness selections as I can, and part of that is because I trust the taste of Colin Geddes, programmer for the section, and part of that is because these tend to be the films that speak to my film geekiest side. They often represent unlikely collisions between different genres or different styles or unexpected partnerships. Perhaps the strangest of those this year saw the WWE producing a horror film that starred Luke Evans and was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.
Kitamura first gained attention with the swords-and-zombies film "Versus," and he famously struggled to get his adaptation of Clive Barker's "The Midnight Meat Train" the theatrical release he felt like it deserved. WWE Films has been pushing into genre fare pretty much from the moment they decided to get into filmmaking, thinking much broader than just action films.
I understand how you might have different levels of reaction to the various films that Sofia Coppola has directed, but I don't understand at all when I hear people try to downplay her talents as a filmmaker.
As soon as "The Virgin Suicides" ended that first theatrical screening I saw back in '99, I knew I was onboard with whatever she did in the future because that was as clear a display of filmmaker's voice as I've seen in a debut film in the last twenty years. Dreamy, literate, perfectly capturing a specific age in the life of the American teen, "Virgin Suicides" lingered long after many of 1999's more hyped movies started to fade. I quite like "Lost In Translation" as well, and even if I don't love "Marie Antoinette" or "Somewhere," I think they are absolutely the films she set out to make. She has real control over tone and she's great at building spaces for her actors.
With today's announcement of the Directors' Fortnight lineup, the slate for next month's Cannes Film Festival is officially complete. (Bar any stray late additions, of which there are usually a couple.) And the Fortnight programmers haven't made it any easier to plan one's viewing in an already stacked festival, serving up a selection rich in unexpected names and welcome genre diversions.
Focus Features doesn't have a new film every weekend this summer, so they have time to pay attention to each film fully, and they've sent out a new batch of pictures to preview the two films they are releasing.
First up, there's Edgar Wright's "The World's End," which we couldn't be more excited about. The reteaming of Wright, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg is irresistible to us, and with a cast that also includes Paddy Considine and Martin Freeman, it looks like it's going to be something special. Right now, we know very little about the plot and it seems like that's by design. Edgar Wright has played mum about almost everything regarding the film, so all we know for sure is that the film deals with a group of old friends who are reunited to participate in a pub crawl on a night where some very strange things happen in London.
Simon Pegg's look in the film is pretty outrageous, and it's interesting seeing how everyone else looks clean-cut and settled and happy. I hope that more than anything, this is another examination of the strange ways that friendships among men work. It is a thematic vein that has proven quite rich for Wright in the past.
For Fitz & The Tantrums’ second album, “More Than Just A Dream,” the Los Angeles band incorporates many of the sounds of the ‘80s, especially on first single, “Out Of My League,” so it’s entirely fitting, if not particularly scintillating, that the video for “League” looks like something from that era.
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When actor Matthew McConaughey was doing the awards circuit press rounds last year for his Independent Spirit Award-winning work in "Magic Mike," he was strikingly thin. The reason for the physical transformation was his role in Jean-Marc Vallée's upcoming "Dallas Buyers Club," which has just found a home at Focus Features.
The singles on Phoenix’s new album “Bankrupt!” aren’t there like they were on breakout “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” but that doesn’t make this new album inferior to the previous. In fact, the French dance-rockers have a much deeper and dimensional coherence to sound than ever before, making this effort seem much more complete as an album, and not just a vehicle for hits.
At this point, I think of Don Cheadle as Rhodey, Tony Stark's good friend, and I have to be reminded that he didn't actually play the part in the first film. That's a testament to just how naturally Cheadle stepped into the role when Terrence Howard negotiated himself right out of the sequels, and I think things ultimately worked out the way they were supposed to work out.
When I sat down to talk to Cheadle at the press day for "Iron Man 3" last weekend, I mentioned to him that I drive by the donut shop from "Boogie Nights" at least four times a week just because of where I live in the Valley. "Ever get the urge to rob it?" he asked me with a smile.