We sense a great disturbance in the Force...
Of all the Marvel Comics characters being brought to the big screen, Thor is the one who seems like he would be the hardest to explain. Yes, he's a Norse god, and as such his stories have been told since time immemorial (mostly to Norsemen), but his home isn't a palace in the clouds, it's a sci-fi city in space, one that connects to Earth via a rainbow. Unsurprisingly, the rainbow is downgraded to a slightly shimmering transit beam in the movie, but everything else about Thor is translated to the big screen pretty effortlessly, insofar as a Shakespearean family drama played out on massive, shiny, golden sets can be called "effortless." But since the science and magic aren't dwelt on as much, it allows the drama to play out unhindered, with plenty of bellowing and backstabbing, and action that hits like a hammer to the face.
The Super Bowl is known for its commercials, but while a new Doritos ad can be hilarious, it isn't exactly news. What is news are the latest movie trailers for some of this year's biggest movies -- sometimes the first trailers ever released! We watched the whole game to make sure we didn't miss a movie (Mindy covers all the regular commercials here), and rated the best and worst -- read on for video and commentary!
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 get that Thor is a classic Marvel character, going back to the 1960s, but how many people do you know who love Thor? I'm not talking that one friend who's a mythology nerd, I'm talking fans of the comic book Thor. I have a ton of friends who grew up reading comics, and still read them -- many of them do it for a living -- and most of them (myself included) can count the number of Thor issues they've read on one hand. But now that the first footage from the upcoming Thor movie has been shown at Comic-Con -- and leaked online -- expect a lot more people to get Thor tattoos, because it looks pretty damn cool. Here's a guide to the trailer's awesomeness.
So apparently, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which has inspired countless knockoff films, was actually based on a short story from 1942. And while most of those knockoffs flew under the radar, apparently 2007's Disturbia, with Shia LaBeouf in an ankle bracelet standing in for Jimmy Stewart in a wheelchair, has not, and the company that represents the deceased author's estate has filed a lawsuit against Dreamworks, according to Reuters. Apparently, they were waiting for Disturbia to make it to Blu-ray? And for Blu-ray to be declared the next generation of media player? And for all of the Disturbia HD-DVDs to go on closeout?
From the perspective of someone who works in an industry where most of the professionals couldn't tell you where their next job is coming from, most people in Hollywood are probably sitting around the dinner table tonight discussing how Robert Downey Jr. is like, totally set for life. The Iron Man actor has signed on to play Tony Stark in three more films. With Iron Man being, well, let's face it, the second-biggest movie of the summer, Marvel Studios nevertheless has about five hundred and seventy eight million ($!) reasons to get him back for a sequel. And while reports aren't out yet as to just how much of that juicy box-office gross they used to lure RDJ back, they got him, and not just for one sequel, but two. Oh, and also what could technically be called a spinoff.
Out on the trail to promote the 22nd James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig revealed that Marvel Studios had approached him to play Thor, according to IESB. Craig said he passed on the chance to play the comic book version of the Norse god of thunder, because "it would have been too much of a power trip," what with the mystical hand tools and flowing blond locks. Really? That's it? Too much power for one guy to handle? Somehow, I doubt it. I think there's more to it than that, after reading Craig's recent revelation in The Guardian that his scantily clad ocean scene in Casino Royale came about entirely by accident. I think the whole experience has put the actor off skimpy spandex shorts.
For a man who is notoriously the biggest part whore in all of Hollywood, it seems that Samuel L. Jackson may in fact not be playing a role that came his way. It's being reported that Jackson won't be returning as Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD, for any upcoming Marvel Comics movies. The actor, who had a small but no less cool cameo as Fury in an after-credit scene of this spring's smash Iron Man told the Los Angeles Times that he won't be appearing again as Nick Fury in any future Marvel Studios features. According to the actor, negotiations for his return broke down because "there seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world." Psst, Sam. It's not just the Marvel Comics world, buddy. You may want to put down that Snakes on a Plane II script and pick up a newspaper.
Even though the economy is in what's cheerily being called a "downturn," you wouldn't know it from the bustle around Hollywood studios lately, with more than 40 films being hustled into production for next spring and summer. Because of the writer's strike and the looming threat of an actor's strike, most studios halted production in late 2007 and, as a result, don't have much of a slate for their 2010-2011 release schedule. The few films that did go into production following the writer's strike had strike protection insurance in case the actors -- who still haven't reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and remain without a new contract -- decided to have a strike of their own. Now desperate to fill theaters with their usual crap in two years, studios are pushing to get movies made, crossing their fingers that the actor's union in-fighting continues.