Review: Don't get me wrong... there's a lot about 'Age Of Ultron' to like
Credit: Marvel Studios

Review: Don't get me wrong... there's a lot about 'Age Of Ultron' to like

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
At its best, this is a master class in what Marvel does well

When Joss Whedon took the job as director of "The Avengers," he had a specific challenge to overcome. Even after the success of the individual movies featuring Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, it seemed like a nearly impossible task, juggling so many giant personalities in one coherent story.

Now the challenge is very different for him as writer/director, because he's following up one of the biggest films of all time, and he's also laying groundwork for the entire next phase of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The last time a director found himself in a similar position with Marvel was Jon Favreau on "Iron Man 2," and it's interesting to see the ways Whedon has responded differently, and the ways in which he's fallen into some of the same traps. Make no mistake… "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" is both a better film and a better sequel than "Iron Man 2," but I think it's clear at this point that as long as Marvel continues to build one large interlocked continuity, there are certain stumbling blocks that they will continue to face with the movies.

Read Full Post
Brad Bird's new 'Tomorrowland' trailer puts the emphasis on action
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Brad Bird's new 'Tomorrowland' trailer puts the emphasis on action

Is this movie going to be 30 minutes long, or are they hiding everything?

Based on this new trailer, it looks like almost every shot we've seen so far from Brad Bird's "Tomorrowland" is from the first third of the movie.

Either that, or it's a very short movie.

Of all of the summer blockbusters, this is the one I know the least about. There's been a cone of silence over their post-production that has been genuinely impressive. I haven't heard anything about screenings. I haven't heard from anyone who's seen it. I haven't heard a peep, and this late in the process, that is enormously rare.

Read Full Post
See This Or Die: 'Don't Look Now'
Credit: Paramount Home Video/Criterion Collection

See This Or Die: 'Don't Look Now'

Nicolas Roeg's heartbroken horror film is his masterpiece

Our weekly feature in which a writer answers the question: if you could force your friends at gunpoint to watch one movie or TV show what would it be?

Time is not a river, running one direction, no matter how we perceive it. Time is an ocean in which we are eternally immersed, and the older I get, the more I realize that we are all Billy Pilgrim, constantly awash in our own past and present, doing everything we can to survive them so we might see some future.

Read Full Post
Marvel makes an important move for diversity with 'Captain Marvel' writers
Credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel makes an important move for diversity with 'Captain Marvel' writers

Someone's got to get it right eventually

When I wrote last week about the "Wonder Woman" shake-up, I mentioned that I've had an evolution of thinking about that movie. I originally said that Warner should just hire the right director regardless of gender, but based on the last year or so of my own personal observations about the way the gender war is being waged in Hollywood, I no longer believe that. Now I think it's important… urgent, even… that whoever writes and directs "Wonder Woman" should be a woman, precisely because it is still considered unusual.

Any of the giant intellectual property machines currently in motion have diversity issues. "Star Wars" has taken some very interesting and promising steps to overcome that, and I don't think it was an accident that the first new character we saw in the first trailer for "The Force Awakens" is a young black man. If you're sending a message that this is a different era of "Star Wars," that's one way to do it. Kathy Kennedy talked about making sure that everyone feels included in these films, and I think she's very serious about that.

Read Full Post

'Batman v Superman' posters hint at the film's violent clash

I often wonder how much notice studios get of each other's plans. I've been in rooms where marketing departments had their giant war charts up, and it looks like they're all fairly well wired together, and there's a sense that they try to each maximize the way and the timing of major announcements about their films. Those plans can be complicated by a million different factors, though, none of which they control, and so you may spend months trying to decide when and how to release your first trailer for something, only to see it leak days before, throwing off your entire plan.

Read Full Post
New 'Fantastic Four' trailer gives us our best look yet at the team in action
Credit: 20th Century Fox

New 'Fantastic Four' trailer gives us our best look yet at the team in action

The biggest surprise? This thing feels positively intimate in scale

In one of those odd moments of synchronicity, just as fans were learning that Josh Trank would not be at the panel at Star Wars: Celebration where he was supposed to discuss his upcoming movie in the "Star Wars Anthology" series, the new trailer for "Fantastic Four" arrived online.

This is the trailer where fans are finally going to get to see the things they've been curious about, and it gives some indication of what you can expect from the finished film. I'm still not sure what to think. The things I've been hearing about the film from source after source after source make me nervous, but there are things I like about this trailer. It's mainly just small things, interplay between the cast or the way they handle Reed's stretching as an effect, but that's all you can ever really take away from a trailer.

Read Full Post
First 'Batman v Superman' trailer goes dark and moody in a big way
Credit: Warner Bros

First 'Batman v Superman' trailer goes dark and moody in a big way

This seems like the only logical way to follow up 'Man Of Steel' to me

As I sit here this afternoon, my kids are playing Disney Infinity with some of the newer figures they've picked up, so I am being treated to one ridiculous battle after another. At the moment, Stitch and Green Goblin are fighting, which is one of those images that is so silly that you have to love that this game can create those absurdities.

This seems appropriate as people are losing their minds, both good and bad, over the now-officially-released "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice" trailer. There's also been a good deal of indifference, which doesn't shock me. People had pretty strong reactions to "Man Of Steel," and it seems to me at this point that people are drawing battle lines over Zack Snyder in general. Right now is a pivotal moment for DC and Warner's plan for the next few years. Honestly, I can't imagine having to deliver a movie under the sort of microscope that Snyder's dealing with at the moment. No matter what he does, people are going to be watching closely and jumping immediately on anything that makes them unhappy.

Read Full Post
Waxing Episodic: Jim's generous nature made for a great 'Taxi' episode
Credit: Paramount/CBS Home Video

Waxing Episodic: Jim's generous nature made for a great 'Taxi' episode

Scatman Crothers for the win

In HitFix's new feature 'Waxing Episodic,' we reflect on an episode of television we'll never forget.

Before he ever played Doc Brown, I was a raving Christopher Lloyd fan.

We all have shows we love unreservedly. There are many TV shows that are important to me for many reasons. Many of my favorite shows are from recent years as television has hit a certain kind of stride, but the only reason we are where we are with television now is because of series that have pushed things forward in the past. There are shows that I love for single elements or single performances or even single moments.

With "Taxi," though, I love the entire thing. Top to bottom, start to finish, I think it's one of the greatest shows to ever appear on television, and even trying to explain all the things I love about it would be a Herculean undertaking. So maybe it's better that I focus on just one episode of the series, one that sums up so much of what I love, and one that came surprisingly late in the run of the series.

Read Full Post
First 'Battlefront' trailer should keep the good 'Star Wars' vibes going
Credit: EA/Lucasfilm

First 'Battlefront' trailer should keep the good 'Star Wars' vibes going

Isn't it funny how one day can alter things in a major way?

For example, heading into yesterday's Star Wars Celebration panel about "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," I was in a fairly cynical place about the state of fandom and people's ability to let go of the prequels.

The energy in that room convinced me that I was wrong about where we are right now, and then watching people react to the trailer online, I actually think it's possible to turn that corner permanently. We may finally be done with the endless talk of who did what to whose childhood and it might be time to get back to being able to enjoy these movies as what they are, our most ubiquitous modern myth.

Read Full Post
Live reactions from the 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' panel at Celebration

Live reactions from the 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' panel at Celebration

We dig deep into what the presentation means

Right now, if you'd like, you can tune into the live stream broadcast of the panel where I'm currently seated at the Anaheim Convention Center.

As a result, this isn't going to be a conventional live-blog. If you want to watch every second, you can. Instead, what I'm going to do here is try to offer some perspective on what's happening in this room. You don't really care that they're firing t-shirt cannons into the crowd right now to keep them happy while we wait for the panel to start, do you? You want something more.

I've been covering "Star Wars" as long as I've been writing about films online. I honestly think part of the reason movie news sites caught on when they did was because we ended up coming online around the same time development began on the "Star Wars" prequels, and it felt like fandom connected in a huge way around that event.

Read Full Post