First, let's address the Vin Diesel rumors. Over the weekend, Vin dropped some cryptic hints about possibly joining the cast of an "Inhumans" movie, and if he does end up in the movie, there's a strong chance he'd be playing Black Bolt, one of the main characters in the comics. Here's what makes that sort of a genius-level move on Marvel's part. When they announced Paul Bettany as The Vision for "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," it was not only a great chance to see him onscreen finally after just hearing his voice in the "Iron Man" movies so far, but it also makes sense from a story standpoint. Jarvis is part of the DNA of the creatures that are both Ultron and The Vision.
One thing I've learned about doing these on-camera junket interviews is that anything more than three people in the room can lead to chaos. In the case of this interview with the young cast from "The Expendables 3," I had four people to interview together, and it was just on the verge of devolving into total chaos.
To complicate matters, there was no way I was going to jump in and try to assert any sort of control over that group of people. I was talking to Glen Powell, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, and Kellan Lutz, who all play new characters who are recruited by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) to replace the older Expendables, since Barney's worried that they'll get killed on an upcoming mission.
By this point, I would have been entirely unsurprised if "The Expendables 3" was somewhat lazy, unfocused, and entirely too pleased with itself. That is, after all, the way the series works. The second film may have improved on the first film, but that didn't make it a "good" movie suddenly. It was just an agreeably not-good movie. And by now, I figured that was what I would expect any time they squeezed out another one of these.
And, to be clear, I think this new chapter in the series also has some weird issues, but it does indeed feel like each time they make one of these, they get closer to getting it right. I'm impressed that this is the direction they're heading, instead of just getting lazier and more diluted. None of the films have the same tone, and none of them really feel like part of a series. Instead, each film has sort of reinvented the idea of what an "Expendables" film really is.
When I first became aware of Jake Johnson's work, it was in the film "Paper Heart," and it's a very canny performance, an interesting one to see as somebody's first work. In the film, directed by Nicholas Jasenovec, Johnson played Nicholas Jasenovec, the director of a documentary about Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera falling in love. I saw it first at Sundance, then ended up moderating a Comic-Con panel for the film with Johnson, Cera, Yi, and Jasenovec all participating. Over the course of those encounters that year, I saw a good deal of Johnson, and he invariably made me laugh like an idiot at least once per conversation.
"New Girl" appears to have been the thing that finally opened the door for Johnson in terms of audiences understanding him and seeing him showcased properly. In the pilot, he was paired with Damon Wayans Jr. and Max Greenfield as his two roommates, but Wayans ended up on another show, with Lamorne Morris stepping in as a new character.
"Let's Be Cops" allowed Wayans and Johnson to work together again, and when we sat down to talk about the movie, two things were clear. First, Johnson can still make me laugh like an idiot, and second, Wayans and Johnson have very easy chemistry, something that is essential when making a comedy that hinges almost entirely on the relationship between the two leads.
Rob Riggle was also part of the conversation, which is pretty much always a good thing. Riggle's one of the most striking comedy performers working right now, and beyond that, a really good guy who has always been an easy interview. I really like where they go with his role in "Let's Be Cops," and we talked a bit about that.
Overall, this movie isn't brain surgery. It's a broad comedy that walks a very careful line in terms of how far they push some of the ideas in the movie, and we talked about that first. I think Johnson and Wayans and Riggle make it clear that they considered how far was too far, and you'll get a chance to see if you think they got it right this weekend.
"Let's Be Cops" is in theaters everywhere on Friday.
It's going to be an interesting next few years for fans of Anne Rice and, specifically, her most famous creation, the Vampire Lestat.
I still remember the furor around the first attempt to adapt the character to the bigscreen, with Rice basically freaking out over the casting of Lestat. Neil Jordan's "Interview With The Vampire" is a beautiful movie, perverse and strange and gorgeously made, and I'd argue it's about as good a film as anyone's ever going to make from that source material.
Our continuing look back at some of the biggest summers we've lived through takes us back 15 years to one of the best recent movie seasons overall.
In honor of the 2014 summer movie season, Team HitFix will be delivering a mini-series of articles flashing back to key summers from years past. There will be one each month, diving into the marquee events of the era, their impact on the writer and their implications on today's multiplex culture. We continue today with a look back at the summer of 1999.
It was the summer I became Moriarty.
To be fair, I had been contributing to Ain't It Cool for a little while already by that point, and I had been slowly but surely embracing the potential of the website and the audience that I was reaching. I had already taken a few trips to Austin, including a memorable stay at the third Quentin Tarantino Film Festival, and in the spring, I was asked at the last moment if I would attend ShoWest in Las Vegas. ShoWest is known today as CinemaCon, and it's a trade show where the studios share highlights from their upcoming slate with the theater owners. I went because I was positively crazy about "Star Wars" and I was hoping to to see new footage from it, or perhaps something from the first new Stanley Kubrick film in over a decade.
Steven Quale's movie before this was "Final Destination 5," which turns out to be a pretty great training ground for the specific skills he would need to pull off the admittedly impressive technical challenge that is "Into The Storm."
When you're directing a "Final Destination" movie, you don't have a bad guy you can point the camera at. You don't have Michael or Jason or Freddy. Instead, you've got bad luck and the environment and timing and all these subtle things all in play, and that's what ends up killing the characters. You have to be able to show that, communicate the notion of how it's all connected. You have to give character to a malevolent force that has no actual shape or form. I think Quale did a fine job, and he was the one who got to shoot that great ending that brought the entire series into a different focus, making his one of the pivotal movies of the franchise.
I spent part of Wednesday morning at a special event for Disney Consumer Products, looking at toys and clothing and home video releases for the rest of 2014. One of the Blu-rays that they were most excited about was "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and why not? At this point, Marvel's as close to a sure bet as there is in this industry.
I'm excited to get my hands on the Blu-ray so I can see the film again. I know there are deleted scenes on there, and there will no doubt be a whole fistful of extras, and just to show you what you can expect, we've got a special little sneak peek today.
Will Arnett is the odd man out in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
On the TV show that remains, for many fans, the definitive version of the characters so far, Vernon Fenwick is an adversary, a foil both for April O'Neil and for the Turtles themselves. In this new film incarnation, Fenwick is the cameraman who works most often with April O'Neil (Megan Fox), and he knows that she wants out of puff-piece features. He also knows how the game works, though, and he doesn't really seem to believe she's going to get her break. He's the cynical voice of reality.
More than most people, I understand the burning desire to get one more great "Terminator" film out of the weirdest, most haphazardly-run mega-franchise in modern film.
After all, the 1984 original remains one of the greatest indie action films ever made. Beautifully plotted and incredibly well-built, "The Terminator" is one of those movies where everyone involved was in tune and they turned out something special as a result. And 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" is one of the great action sequels, escalating the scale of the mayhem while offering some very smart twists on both character and plot.