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? … Read More
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. … Read More
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. … Read More
As you’re enjoying that Netflix stream of The Avengers, the first question you’d ask might not be, “How exactly would the New York media cover this?” But luckily for you, graphic artist Kimba McG did ask that question, and the result is her MediAvengers project, in which she works up inventive covers and spreads for magazines and newspapers’ imagined coverage of the superhero crew — from Time and the Times to Forbes and US. Check out a few of her best after the jump, and swing by her Tumblr and Facebook page to see more. … Read More
Henri Langlois, co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, once said of Louis Feuillade’s 1915 silent crime serial, “I am convinced that surrealism preexisted in cinema. Feuillade’s Les vampires was already an expression of the 20th century and of the universal subconscious.” The ten-part, subversive serial runs a whopping eight hours, but it’s easy to lose track of the time when you’re following the exploits of a vampy Parisian gang — including proto-goth starlet Musidora as the infamous Irma Vep.
It’s great to see companies like Kino International bringing old-timey serials like Les vampires to Blu-ray, keeping the low-budget, action-packed chapter plays alive. These early movies are where many film tropes and characters evolved — including several of the superheroes audiences go crazy for, today — and where moviegoers grew to love (and sometimes hate) them. Click through to watch several entertaining serials that are online right now (follow the video links for other parts in the series), and school yourself on an essential chapter in cinema history. … Read More