Joss Whedon

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Marvel’s Third-Act Problem

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

  • 0

10 Great New-to-Netflix Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

The long Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and you know what that means: cookouts, quickie getaways, watching some sort of organized sporting events on television (I think, maybe?). But the shut-ins among us — and your film editor would include himself firmly among that camp — will probably want to simply spend one more day doing what we do every weekend: queuing up a bunch of flicks online, surrounding ourselves with non-perishable food items, and locking the doors. Here are some of the recent(ish) streaming releases worth your Memorial Day weekend time; simply click the title to stream them right… Read More

  • 1

Is Joss Whedon’s ‘In Your Eyes’ Worth Your $5?

When the lights came up at the conclusion of last night’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere of In Your Eyes, and the cast and key creatives dutifully shuffled up to the front for the compulsory post-movie Q&A, one key collaborator was noticeably absent — “busy making a little micro-budget superhero film,” as producer Michael Roiff noted. That film is the new Avengers movie; the missing face was that of Joss Whedon, In Your Eyes’ executive producer and screenwriter. But that face quickly appeared on the screen with an apology (“I wish I could be there with you, but I’m here with me instead”) and an announcement: April 20 not only marked the film’s premiere but its worldwide release, as a $5 rental at inyoureyesmovie.com. As Whedon explained, “It’s exciting for us because it means we get to explore yet another form of distribution, and get five dollars.” It’s exciting for his many loyal fans, because it marks a significantly shorter wait between festival and consumption than, say, that of his Much Ado About Nothing. It would be even more exciting if the film itself weren’t so puzzlingly misbegotten. … Read More

  • 0

‘Captain America’ Star Anthony Mackie Is Right: Kids Deserve More Diverse Superhero Movies

Anthony Mackie is one of those underrated and substantially gifted actors who livens up just about any movie he shows up in, and his unique fusion of genuine warmth and unflappable cool is particularly welcome in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But his most important contribution to the comic-book movie universe may well have occurred off-screen, at a recent promotional roundtable, when he said this about playing a black superhero: “When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, ‘Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.’ That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.” Or, to put a more cynical spin on his comment: why are all the comic book superhero movies about white guys? … Read More

  • 1

How to Make a Great Superhero Movie: Hire a Comedy Director

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

  • 1
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,289 other followers