Which one is harder, issue number one or issue number two of a comic book?
In a first issue, you have to explain a premise. You have to set up a world. You have to convince people to come back for a second issue. There's a lot of things that have to work, or there's no reason for anyone to keep reading. WIth a second issue, it seems like some of that pressure would be off, but I feel like it might be the opposite. In many cases, it feels like the pressure of finding the right second story to tell is difficult because every option is open and there is no template for what a second issue has to be.
Marvel struggled with "Iron Man 2," easily the weakest of the Phase One films they released. I think there are plenty of things to enjoy in "Iron Man 2," but I also think it's a structural mess, and in many ways, it feels like little more than a bridge between other films. This time around, the script by Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely aims to tell an epic story that introduces more of the Nine Realms than just Midgard (aka Earth) and Asgard, and there are many things that the film gets right. In particular, I like the way they mash up the science-fiction and fantasy elements in a way that would probably make Jack Kirby tap-dance if he'd lived to see it.
Which one is harder, issue number one or issue number two of a comic book?
Do you want to win tickets to see "The Visitor" in Los Angeles this weekend at CineFamily?
Before you answer that question, let me tell you a little bit about "The Visitor," which you may not be familiar with yet. I wouldn't blame you. It's a 1979 film that is fairly hard to describe. Well, actually, I would say it looks like an Italian guy fell in love with both "Close Encounters" and "The Omen" and couldn't decide which one he wanted to rip off, so he ripped off both of them and then sprinkled in some genuine all-his-own low-budget insanity that is only enhanced by the idea that he got recognizable American movie stars for many of the key adult roles. What makes it hard to fully describe is the weird way all of those obvious influences come together. It's a deeply strange film, and that makes it a perfect fit for Drafthouse Films.
It feels like the campaign for "Nurse 3D" has been simmering for a while now, and Lionsgate has finally picked a date for the film. You'll be able to see the movie in select theaters and On Demand on February 7, 2014, and to mark the occasion, Lionsgate sent over a brand new poster for the film.
That's exciting because the posters so far have been fun. There was a limited release one-sheet for this film last year that was just straight-up explicit, a close-up of what I assume was Paz de la Huerta's boob. I assume that because Paz de la Huerta seems to be perpetually naked in pretty much everything, and that would seem to be one of the reasons to hire her for a movie.
Today we've got the newest poster for "Nurse 3D" as an exclusive debut for you, and once again, what this communicates is "Paz de la Huerta," "sexy," and "wild ride," which seems like a winning game plan overall for the studio.
I sincerely love it when studios steer into the lurid when they're selling something like this, and I'll be curious to see if the film is even half as fun as the campaign they've run so far. The film stars de la Huerta along with Corbin Bleu and Katrina Bowden, and here's the synopsis:
By day Abby Russell is a dedicated nurse, someone you wouldn’t hesitate to trust your life with. But by night, her real work begins…using her smoldering sexuality she lures cheating men to their brutal deaths and exposes them for who they really are. When a younger nurse starts to suspect Abby's actions and compromises her master plan, Abby must find a way to outsmart her long enough to bring the cheater you’d least expect to justice.
Have you ever had any variation on the stress dream where you're going to do something that you're not prepared for in any way? Like you show up for a test, and not only do you realize that you're not ready for the test, but you've never been in the classroom before, it's in a language you don't speak, and you're naked?
Well, now imagine you're sitting across from Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas when it happens.
That was my Saturday morning in Las Vegas recently. Thanks to a profound miscommunication, there was no screening of the film for me when I got to Vegas. I saw "Bad Grandpa," which was also doing interviews in town at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino across the street from Aria, where the "Last Vegas" interviews were taking place, but not "Last Vegas," so it became clear that I'd have to do the interviews without knowing what we were discussing.
In the entire time I've been here at HitFix, I've never walked into an interview unprepared. There was nothing I could do about it. I had not seen the film, and so there was no way for me to ask specific questions to the cast or the crew. All I could do was try to have a little fun and not embarrass myself.
Richard Curtis has made a career for himself by writing about love. Seems like a fairly simple topic at first glance, and one could argue that he created an entire subgenre of what could be broadly described as "the Working Title rom-com." His voice has been a major part of the comedy landscape for much longer than fans of just his films realize, and to some extent, you can divide his career into everything before "Four Weddings And A Funeral" and everything afterwards.
With his new film, "About Time," he seems to be wrapping things up, and it's a little disconcerting to see how final it feels. Many of the ideas he's tackled in his work over the years are present in "About Time," and it feels like he's grappling with his own legacy in the film. He's also doing it without the sort of star power that has driven some of his biggest successes, and I suspect the movie will surprise many audiences, and not always in the right way. Last night, as I was leaving my screening, a couple was walking through the Arclight behind me and the woman was complaining non-stop that this isn't some broad comedy about Rachel McAdams trying on hats and getting herself a man. She seemed almost offended that the film grapples with notions of family and mortality and the way we use time and how we prioritize the people and the events in our lives. It was a much heavier meal than she expected, and it obviously upset her.
By far, the most laid-back interview room I've walked into this year was Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson teamed up to talk about their new animated family comedy, "Free Birds."
Wilson plays Reggie, who is an oddball in the turkey world as the film opens. He lives on a turkey farm, and he is well aware of what the endgame is regarding their existence. He knows that they are served as food, and he knows that Thanksgiving is the great enemy. When he is picked to become the Presidentially Pardoned Turkey one year, he goes home with the President and his little girl and settles in for a life of comfort, learning to love delivery pizza and television.
That's when Jake (Harrelson) shows up, a big strong dumb turkey who has a plan and a crazy story to tell. His crazy story turns out to be right, though, and he and Reggie steal a time machine with one explicit purpose: go back in history and stop the Pilgrims from making turkey the centerpiece of the original Thanksgiving.
The only way to approach the recent and ongoing excesses of Wall Street is through the filter of jet black comedy. Anything else would simply hurt too much at this point.
Thankfully, the new trailer for Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf Of Wall Street," which is now set for Christmas Day as our own Kris Tapley noted earlier this afternoon, suggests that Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter have taken the non-fiction book by Jordan Belfort, the loathsome stockbroker scumbag who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, and transformed it into something that feels like a "Dr. Strangelove" by way of "Goodfellas," a wicked spin on a bunch of characters who don't care who they have to eat to get fat.
Jonah Hill is emphasized much more in this new trailer than in the original "Black Skinhead" trailer from July, and it looks like a hell of a performance. I am mesmerized by every single shot of his teeth.
"It's pretty much exactly what you think it is."
Go ahead and put that on the poster, CBS Films. If you've seen the trailer for this movie and it looks like something you might enjoy, I think it's a safe bet that you will enjoy it. "Last Vegas" is told with enough charm and energy that it should please audiences heartily. The cast, including Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Mary Steenburgen, makes it all seem very simple and natural and loose, and Jon Turtletaub keeps the focus on the people, not the high-concept idea of old guys on the loose in Las Vegas with a bunch of boner pills. This is much closer to the comic identity of "Cocoon" than it is to "The Hangover," and that seems to be the point.
The script by Dan Fogelman, who also wrote last year's "Crazy Stupid Love," is in the same vein as that film, nakedly sentimental but also determined to land every joke, and it's a pretty simple affair. Billy (Douglas), Paddy (De Niro), Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline) have been friends since they were kids in Flatbush, and over the years, they've always stayed in touch.
So far, Bryan Singer's done a pretty good job of keeping fans actively engaged during the production of "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," and it's impressive to see how much mileage you can get out of smartly timed Twitter photos of even the most innocuous things.
At Comic-Con this summer, the reaction to seeing everyone from pretty much all of the "X-Men" movies so far onstage together at once was amazing, and while I can be very cynical about the way studios stage the various events at those events, the interplay between that huge ensemble was very special. I think the series has some serious issues and they've hit some big speed bumps along the way, but I also think that Singer deserves credit for being one of the guys who helped define how modern superhero movies could work at a time when there was no proof they would at all, and him returning to the series is genuinely exciting.
It is probably safe to say that Amy Poehler is beloved these days, and I can't think of many people who deserve it more.
Looking back at her early appearances on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," I'm not sure I could have predicted this sort of career arc for her. She always seemed so feral and loony and it felt like she was either going to deliver a killer punchline or stab somebody. That was what made it so amazing to watch her work.
These days, though, she seems to have completely transformed herself, growing into someone both more eccentric and way more accessible. Her "Parks and Recreation" character Leslie Knope has become a fantastic character for her, and no doubt because of her, and it is nice to see someone whose comic persona is almost entirely driven by a sort of misguided optimism, an over-the-top dedication to helping others.