SAN DIEGO - Marvel Studios began their Saturday panel with an opening preview reel that was basically a refresher as they ran through all ten of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, wrapping up with new footage from "Guardians Of The Galaxy," including a truly awesome shot of Thanos. It was great seeing a visual reminder of just how each of the puzzle pieces was dropped into place, how they've become more adventurous with each new film, how they've started playing with style and tone. Wrapping it up with Chris Pratt snarling, "We're the guardians of the galaxy, bitch" drove Hall H wild, which was a heck of a way for Team Marvel to take the stage.
As exciting as the "Batman v Superman" footage was, I have to confess that the massive sizzle reel that George Miller brought to show from "Max Max: Fury Road" caused a huge emotional reaction for me, and I think it comes down to the importance of "The Road Warrior" to me as a fan of movie action in general.
I'm losing my mind.
That may not be the most professional way to describe it, but as someone who has been steeped in the iconography of Batman and Superman since childhood, the simple teaser that Zack Snyder brought with him today was awfully persuasive.
When Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey took the stage of Hall H on Thursday afternoon, it was a genuine surprise to most people in the room. As it turns out, it was a pleasant surprise for the studio as well, who weren't sure it was going to happen until very early Thursday morning.
If they had not been there, the new trailer for the movie would have had to speak for itself, and I suspect it would have been fine. Instead, the director and the star did a nice job of setting the table for the trailer, which should be in theaters soon, and presumably online as well.
If nothing else, Sony's moderator was positively regal today.
In what I would consider a harbinger of things to come, this is the first time I've moderated a panel for a major studio in any room other than Hall H here at Comic-Con. Right now, TV just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and certain shows won't fit anywhere but Hall H. As a result, we were set for the Indigo Ballroom, where we had two films to discuss, and a very special guest to drive the event.
After all, when you've got Jack Black onstage, what else do you need?
I've had several people ask me now if I think "Guardians Of The Galaxy" is the best of the Marvel movies so far. That's a hard question to answer, because I think there are many different things that I look for in a film, and none of the Marvel movies scratch the exact same itch.
What's safe to say is that "Guardians Of The Galaxy" is the most charming Marvel movie so far. The primary ensemble (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel) is perhaps the most winning group of characters they've introduced in any of these movies so far, and while it's hard to figure out their dynamic when you just read their names together or even in clips, by the end of the film, this is a family that I would happily follow through any number of movies. I'm not sure I've ever seen a film in which every major character steals every scene from every other major character, but that's exactly what happens here. As my oldest son said as we were driving home from the film and he was trying to list all of his favorite parts of the movie, "It's like they're all good parts!"
Indeed. It is a movie of all good parts.
There is nothing quite like a Vin Diesel interview.
As the planet prepares for the seismic impact of the release of "Guardians Of The Galaxy," one of the people who seems happiest about the entire thing is Diesel, and why not? Groot, the giant plant creature who he gives voice to in the film, is poised to be one of the breakout stars of the movie. He's sweet and gentle and dangerous and hilarious and very, very, very weird, which all sounds like a perfect way to describe Diesel himself.
When I spoke to Luc Besson at Wonder-Con this year, we had a fair amount of time aside from the panel I moderated and the interview we did. At that point, we discussed the entire premise of his new film, "Lucy," and how it's based on a myth.
If you've seen the trailer for the movie, you've seen Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman lecturing to a room full of people. "Imagine if we could access 100% [of our brains]. Interesting things begin to happen." Great line. Totally wrong. Evolution has actually increased the size of our brains because we use them so much, and so efficiently. We use way more than 10% of our actual brain capacity, and we use our brains in ways that science barely understands. So we are starting from a preposterous place with "Lucy," and if that's going to drive you crazy, then I would skip it completely. The film starts there and gets way sillier.
I just reviewed Michael Gondry's "Mood Indigo," but I'll add that a week or so after seeing it, there are images from the movie that randomly pop into my head each day. While narrative and logic may not be Gondry's primary interests when he's making a movie, images are, and there's no faulting him for the way he's created these visual ideas that make "Mood Indigo" feel like something I dreamed, not something I actually saw.
The film begins to expand to more screens this weekend, and Drafthouse Films decided to celebrate by sending us an exclusive clip that I think does a wonderful job of laying out how sublimely silly Gondry's world is for this film.
"Magic In The Moonlight" is one of those Woody Allen films.
You know the kind I mean. At this point, with Allen currently directing his 45th feature film, his pace has become as much a part of his daily life as breathing or dodging uncomfortable questions about his personal proclivities. He writes and directs one feature film after another, and some of them are good and some of them are terrible and occasionally one of them is so great it's ridiculous. Often, what we get are serviceable premises dressed up with recognizable actors who are just happy to get their turn to work with Allen, and the films end up feeling thin, like first drafts of something that might work.