Oh my god, it's really happening. I had written this off completely, but now it's really happening.
On February 28, Paramount will be re-releasing "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" but in what they're calling the "Super-Sized R-Rated Version" with 763 new jokes.
We wrote about this earlier, and in the editing room for the film, Adam McKay was just starting to get excited about the possibility of putting out a totally different version of the film. One of the reasons they couldn't do it at the same time as they had the other version in theaters is because the MPAA has a rule that you can't have two different ratings of the same film in theaters at the same time. You can pull the film, get the new rating, then put the new one out. But they don't want any confusion in terms of people buying tickets.
Oh my god, it's really happening. I had written this off completely, but now it's really happening.
Perhaps the least interesting thing about the "Fantastic Four" casting is the issue of race, so why are so many fanboys so hung up on it today?
It's officially time to stop using the excuse that comics are a visual medium, therefore characters have to look the same when they are translated to film. I get it… you've seen a character a certain way. But even within the world of comics, there have been so many different ways these characters have been presented that it seems like an excuse, not a valid reason. There are things that define us as characters that go well beyond how much melatonin we have in our skin, and yet that refrain comes up any time we see anyone cast a comic book in a way that challenges the norm.
Greg Ellwood and I ended up chatting today on-camera about the casting and about the overall approach that it seems Fox is taking on the film. I say "seems" because I have no idea what the script is going to entail. We can deduce certain things based on the casting and the age range of the actors and the involvement of Mark Millar, but it's all still speculation. I only know what's been said in public so far, and that's not much.
Josh Trank strikes me as a guy who really, really, really wants to get "Fantastic Four" right. When he first came onboard the film, back when Jeremy Slater was the sole screenwriter on it, everything I heard gave the impression that this was something that they took very seriously. While Fox has done the typical studio round-robin on screenwriters, Trank has been the constant here, and he remains fiercely protective of whatever it is they're cooking up. I'm certainly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt based on "Chronicle," and as I said yesterday when we posted our first piece about the casting… I have my fingers crossed. I want this to work, and I'm going to be Captain Optimism for as long as I can be.
"Fantastic Four" arrives in theaters June 19, 2015.
Are you ready for the weird era at Marvel?
It's exciting to think that we're getting ready to kick off the strangest run of movies they've made so far, because it feels like that's the only way they're going to be able to continue to grow and evolve as a studio. While Warner and DC struggle to catch up to the game that Marvel's been playing so well for the last five years, Marvel is getting ready to shake up the formula completely.
While the final fate of the film won't be written until August of this year, it's safe to say Marvel has to be feeling good about the reaction to the "Guardians Of The Galaxy" trailer this week. Considering how people have been naysaying the film since it was first announced, it feels like they turned a pretty major corner in terms of public perception, and now they've made a solid start that they can build off of for the next five months or so.
Why is the assassin such an enduring archetype?
Audiences seem to have an endless appetite for watching the adventures of people whose job is to kill for money, particularly when they start to wrestle with issues of conscience. How many movies at this point have started from the notion of the professional killer who's got "just one more job to do"?
When the HitFix movie team decided to put together a gallery of their favorite assassins in honor of tomorrow's release of "Three Days To Kill," the new Kevin Costner film, the biggest problem seemed to be narrowing everything down to the list of their very favorites. There are so many of these characters that have become icons that we could probably end up doing two or three of these galleries without running out.
If correctly pronouncing the name of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was an Olympic event, our own Dan Fienberg would be in Sochi winning medals right this moment.
When I went to the "Pompeii" press day recently, I was met outside the room by a publicist who was speaking on behalf of another publicist who was inside the room, and they all wanted to make it clear that I shouldn't bother trying to say anything beyond "Adewale" when I walked into the room. "You don't have to try his last name," she said.
Hey, if he wants to go the full Madonna, fine by me. I've always had a great time interviewing him, and I've liked his work as far back as I can remember seeing him. He made such a huge impression when he was on "Oz" that the only real danger for me as a fan is that I would call him "Adebisi" instead of Adewale. One of the things that becomes clear if you spend more than ten minutes in conversation with him is that he is crazy smart, a guy with a knack for running a conversation.
At a press day for "The Thing," we had some time to just sit and chat while they were re-lighting the interview set, a good twenty minutes or so off-camera, and we talked about his background, a Masters degree in law, and how I'd like to see him cast as the lawyer in something instead of the perpetual client. It's one of those things where I don't even think it's about race as much as it is about a sort of failure of imagination on the part of filmmakers thinking about how to cast him.
My kids were excited to talk to him for a moment about "Thor: The Dark World," and he was incredibly gracious when talking about the part he played. Personally, I thought it was yet another film where they made less than ideal use of him, burying him in (admittedly well-designed) monster make-up for most of the movie. I'll say this for "Pompeii"… Paul W.S. Anderson gives Adewale a lot of screen time, and his character plays more than just a bad guy or a tough guy. I'll have my actual review of the movie up on Friday, but it's safe to say that I was happy to see Adewale get to play someone who we can actually root for and who has more than one big moment to play.
"Pompeii" is out in theaters on Friday, and you can see "Thor: The Dark World" on Blu-ray and DVD on February 25.
Last night, as I got home from a screening, I was about to climb out of my car when I saw something or someone moving stealthily in the area beside my garage. I turned the headlights back on and revealed two large raccoons who were standing on their back legs picking through our recycling bin. They didn't look startled by my lights, but more annoyed than anything as they turned and walk off through my backyard. I started laughing because, after this week's reaction to (and omnipresence of) the "Guardians Of The Galaxy" trailer, it felt more like viral marketing than anything.
Part of what I find fascinating about the way they've brought the character to life for the film is that he looks like a photo-real creature. He's the right size, and aside from the fact that he talks and he lives in outer space and he can operate heavy firearms, he looks pretty much exactly like those two I saw last night. We've gotten to a point where the visual effects work is almost spooky it's so realistic.
If there is any superhero film on the horizon that has me crossing my fingers at the moment, it's "Fantastic Four."
There are other films I am more confident will work because of things I've seen or read or heard, but when it comes to "Fantastic Four," I want them to get it right. I want my kids to have a series of great movies about some of the best Marvel characters that remain undefined so far on film.
No offense to the team that took the first crack at it (I'm not counting Roger Corman's disastrous tax dodge version), because I think they tried to do a certain version of things, with a particular interpretation of Reed Richards, Sue Storm, her younger brother Johnny, their friend Ben Grimm, and an evil lunatic named Doom, and it's just plain not for me. The world never felt right. The casting wasn't right. The way they built their bad guys in both movies was fairly inept. It just… didn't work.
Whew. I was starting to worry this might be good.
Perhaps I should dial back the skepticism a bit. After all, they're bound to eventually make a "Terminator" spin-off/reboot/remake/sequel that's not annoying and pointless, right? All they have to do is keep cranking them out every few years with a new cast of actors with some career heat, and I'm sure they'll stumble over a good movie at some point.
Sure, they've announced three different times now that they're going to "kick off a whole new trilogy," and each time they've announced that, they've failed, but that doesn't mean anything. I'm sure it was simply because the public wasn't ready. This time… this time it will all be different.
Sure, Jai Courtney and Sam Worthington would confuse me if I had to ID one of them in a police line-up, and sure, Courtney seemed mercifully spared of the horrors of charisma in "A Good Day to Die Hard," but I'm sure it's a great idea to pin your wildly expensive franchise film on him because the public just hasn't caught up yet.
The NCAA basketball tournaments are less than a month away. Because it's obviously never been done before, HitFix is going to host its own tournament, but this battle won't take place between teams on Tobacco Road. We've got something more exciting in mind. In our competition, the greatest Heroes from the worlds of television and movies will face off versus the greatest Villains.
The committee is currently mulling over the brackets, but we need your help. There are six characters who some would consider anti-heroes, but we know then need to part of the battle royale. Do they fall in the Heroes bracket or the Villains bracket?
You decide. You have 48 hours. Choose wisely.
We've had Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg both offer up anti-heroes for you guys to vote on already, but if you haven't already been following this series, let me catch you up. We're going to ask you guys to spend March helping us eventually whittle things down to the greatest hero vs. villain showdown possible, but before we even get started, we need you to tell us where you'd place six characters.
It is entirely fine with me if I spend much of 2014 writing articles about a gun-toting space raccoon.
James Gunn's "Guardians Of The Galaxy" is not so much a radical reinvention of what Marvel Studios has been doing so far as it is a very smart way of them broadening their palette. In many ways, this is the same sort of heroic journey that their other characters have been on in film after film, but it takes place in a very different kind of world, and it brings in all sorts of new ideas that should give the entire Marvel movie universe a major shot in the arm.
The funny part of this trailer is that it's essentially the same as the footage that was shown at Comic-Con a mere ten days or so into the shoot. It's a lot slicker now, but everything up through the last big barrage of quick shots is cut the same, and the structure is identical.