James Spader’s Creepiest Performances Before <i>The Avengers: Age of Ultron</i>

When you stop and think about it, Marvel's announcement that James Spader will be playing Joss Whedon's latest Big Bad, the ass-kicking robot Ulton, in 2015's sure-to-be top-grossing movie The Avengers: Age of Ultron... despite what those Jarvis conspiracy theorists would have you believe. No, what's really surprising is that it's taken Spader this long to play a comic-book villain. The dude has been a grade-A onscreen creep since the late '80s, when movies like Less Than Zero pushed him onto a bad boy path that most recently led to his starring role as a Hannibal Lecter-style mentor on NBC's action-packed fall series The Blacklist. Considering his resume, he's the ideal choice to put Iron Man & Co. through their paces. Here are the future Ultron's five creepiest movie roles to date.

The Avengers: The Gang’s All Here

by Ethan Alter May 4, 2012 12:01 am
<i>The Avengers</i>: The Gang’s All Here

It's not hard to understand why people are so excited for The Avengers. For starters, its release signals the start of the annual summer blockbuster season, when audiences can look forward to four solid months of effects-heavy escapist entertainment. Secondly, for the millions of moviegoers who have followed the individual Marvel heroes through their own big-screen adventures (not to mention their own comic-book titles), the thought of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk sharing the same frame and battling the same common enemy (as well as each other) is pretty remarkable. And lastly, there's the fact that the Avengers are assembling under the watchful eye of writer/director Joss Whedon, at last making his leap from cult artist to mainstream moviemaker. While Whedon's name might not mean anything to a good 50-60 percent of the audience that'll show up opening weekend, there will be a significant segment of moviegoers more thrilled about seeing his name in the credits than any of the actors'. With all these various elements coming together, who can blame those viewers who are heading into the theater expecting to see the comic book movie to end all comic book movies?

Trailers Without Pity: The Avengers

by Ethan Alter April 2, 2012 5:12 pm
Trailers Without Pity: <i>The Avengers</i>

We're still having trouble believing that, in a little over a month, we're actually going to see an Avengers movie starring Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk that was written and directed by Joss Whedon. Truly, we are in a golden age for geek cinema.

Cracking the Code of The Avengers Trailer

by Ethan Alter February 29, 2012 1:12 pm
Cracking the Code of <i>The Avengers</i> Trailer

Apparently inspired by last week's 30 Rock, the good folks at Marvel Studios have given us a whopper of a Leap Day present: an all-new, all-expanded trailer for Summer 2012's first superhero blockbuster, The Avengers. Unlike the first teaser, which hit the web back in October, this one features more dialogue, more effects-heavy action (to be fair, most of the effects weren't finished four months ago) and more clips of the costumed heroes trading Joss Whedon-scripted barbs with each other. Even with all the bonus footage though, the studio is still keeping us mostly in the dark about what exactly is going to happen in the film beyond the Avengers assembling to squabble amongst themselves and battle some kind of invading interstellar army led by Thor's newly emboldened adoptive brother, Loki. (This is a Joss Whedon joint, so there's got to be more to it than just that, right? Or maybe this time the big twist will be that there is no twist...) But through a few close viewings, we did manage to tease out a few potential story points from this two-and-a-half minute sneak peak, things like...

Five Thoughts About The Avengers Trailer

by Ethan Alter October 11, 2011 12:19 pm
Five Thoughts About <i>The Avengers</i> Trailer

They're heeeeere! Joss Whedon's all-star adventure The Avengers is still seven months away from hitting theaters, but Disney is wasting little time getting footage out there to the superhero-starved masses. After a new batch of photos hit the interwebs last week, here comes the movie's first official trailer, which offers a far more substantial peek at the movie's scale and set-pieces than that short teaser at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger did. Here's our instant reaction to a trailer we're sure we'll be watching over and over again in the run-up to the movie's May 4, 2012 release.

Avengers Assemble!: A Guide to Marvel Studio's Easter Eggs

by Ethan Alter July 19, 2011 1:14 pm
Avengers Assemble!: A Guide to Marvel Studio's Easter Eggs

This week Marvel Studios is releasing Captain America: The First Avenger, a period superhero adventure starring one of their most recognizable characters. But it's also a prelude to the company's next feature, which will be a kind of comic-book movie that hasn't been attempted on the big-screen before: a team-up adventure that unites some of Marvel's biggest heroes -- including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, taking over from Ed Norton and Eric Bana) -- to combat a global threat. The title, of course, is The Avengers, the same name of the Marvel supergroup that's been battling bad guys in the four-color pages of the company's comics since 1963. Geek icon (and part-time comics scribe) Joss Whedon is writing and directing the film, which also stars Samuel L. Jackson as the group's leader, Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as the leather-jumpsuit clad spy, the Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as the ace archer, Hawkeye. Naturally, a project as ambitious as The Avengers didn't come together overnight. Marvel has been laying the groundwork for this film since the first Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, slipping in visual and verbal references to Avengers-lore in all their standalone superhero features. Here's a film-by-film guide to some of the Easter Eggs that have pointed the way to The Avengers

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

by Ethan Alter April 2, 2013 8:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why bother with other new release when you can just revisit the Marvel Cinematic Universe one more time?

Oscars 2013: Our Gut Reaction to the Nominations

by Ethan Alter January 10, 2013 10:26 am
Oscars 2013: Our Gut Reaction to the Nominations

We reflect on the just-announced 2013 Oscar nominations. Sorry DC Nation... Marvel Studios has kicked your butt one more time.

The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Ethan Alter December 27, 2012 9:56 am
The Top Ten Movies of 2012

The Moviefile puts a bow on 2012 with our official Top Ten list, plus a bunch of honorable mentions.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 25, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Captain America and Thor survey the summer box office damage left in the wake of The Avengers.

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