What’s fascinating about the trouble that’s swirled around
To add insult to injury, Scarlett Johansson’s Widow isn’t even… Read More
The rumors were swirling for a while, but now she’s made it official: Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson won’t be back for the remaining two (or, if they’re following the unfortunate current trend, three) film adaptations of E.L. James’ bestsellers. “While I will not be returning to direct the sequels,” she told Deadline, “I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.” This “one and done” pattern is surprisingly prevalent among big movie franchises. While many series keep the same director for multiple entries (Spider-Man, X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean), if not all the way through (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Transformers, The Dark Knight), some filmmakers go through the work of creating a world, making crucial casting decisions, and starting a franchise, only to decide — or have someone decide for them — that they’re not going to go through it all again. Here are a few other filmmakers that were in for a penny instead of a pound.
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Avengers: Age of Ultron has revealed some new members of its already impressive cast list: Idris Elba, Anthony Mackie and Hayley Atwell.… Read More
The star of this summer’s blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ulton, Captain America himself, Chris Evans, a native son of Sudbury,… Read More
Tuesday morning, a packed house of fans, filmmakers, actors, and media gathered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for a mysterious “event” hosted by Marvel Studios. But as the event began, the mystery evaporated: studio president Kevin Feige was there to announce the entire slate for Marvel’s “Phase 3,” the presumed blockbusters that will roll out following next summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. In many ways, it was the very essence of hype: an advertising event at which a throng of superfans freaked out over dates and title fonts. But it was a morning of mostly good news — particularly with regards to expanding representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has to this point been dominated by straight white guys. The only question is, did they go far enough?
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From its opening credit sequence, which finds Chris Pratt boogeying through an alien landscape to the strains of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” Guardians of the Galaxy seems the perfect antidote to Serious Summer Blockbuster Syndrome, a blissfully goofy and tartly self-aware slab of sci-fi silliness. Writer/director James Gunn is another of Marvel’s unconventional hires — his pitch-black 2010 comedy Super features Rainn Wilson as a mentally unbalanced would-be superhero who attacks people with a hammer while shouting “Shut up, crime!” — and for much of Guardians’ 122 minutes, Gunn’s grab-bag of quirky characters, genre ribbing, and incongruent ‘70s pop tunes goes over like gangbusters. The trouble is, it’s only irreverent to a point, and when the time comes to wrap things up, Gunn plays it strictly by the book. And this is becoming a real problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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If you look up the filmographies of Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of the new (and very good) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’re not going to see much that screams SUMMER TENTPOLE ACTION MOVIE MAKERS. Their only two previous features were the mostly unseen Big Deal on Madonna Street remake Welcome to Collinwood and the mostly unloved Owen Wilson comedy You, Me and Dupree. And then you will find lots and lots of television comedy, everything from the monkey-doctor comedy Animal Practice to more acclaimed programs like Arrested Development, Happy Endings, and Community. The natural assumption is that the powers-that-be at Marvel who handed the Russo brothers the keys to Captain America were taking a big chance. But Marvel has reached a point where it’s actually more unusual for them to pick conventional action directors for their films — in fact, what’s making their big-screen efforts stand out from the blockbuster pack is their tendency to place them in the hands of, when you get down to it, comedy filmmakers.
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