Its very hard to keep secrets in the age of the internet, especially when it comes to fanboy properties like superhero movies. While talking to Marvel head Kevin Feige and Iron Man 3 writer/director Shane Black, I asked how Marvel Studios is evolving to deal with this growing interest in rumors, leaks and sometimes even misinformation.
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On June 13th 2012 I visited the set of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s This is The End. After the jump you will find a list 35 things I learned while visiting the set, including how the project was put together and the many similarities and differences between the real life Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and the versions of they play in the film.
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During my interview last week with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Iron Man 3 director Shane Black, I brought up Patton Oswalt’s awesome ad-libbed Star Wars: Episode VII pitch (a Parks & Recreation outtake) which involved a cross-over event involving Disney’s Marvel superhero and galactic universe.
While many of my colleagues were asking the softball questions like “will Robert Downey Jr come back for a fourth Iron Man” or “where will Marvel go in Phase 3?” I knuckled down with the much more important hardball question: when is Disney going to take Oswalt’s pitch seriously and give us that Marvel/Disney cross-over film? Find out the answer after the jump.
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The highlight of WonderCon 2013 was Guillermo del Toro‘s specially-cut trailer for his upcoming Pacific Rim. At the time, the director said the footage was for our eyes only. That’s now changed. Warner Bros. has officially uploaded the footage, which will shoot your expectations for the film into space. Check it out below. Read More »
(Note: This is a reprint of our Mud review from Sundance 2013. The film opens in a limited run today.)
For his follow-up to Take Shelter, director Jeff Nichols smartly casts Matthew McConaughey as a violent drifter who slides into the lives of two young boys whose families eke out a bare existence on the Mississippi River. Using the gift for gab that any character played by McConaughey must automatically possess, this outlaw wraps the boys up in his plan to achieve true freedom.
While Take Shelter trafficked in heavy ambiguity, Mud does away with uncertainty, at least with respect to the story. This is a straightforward tale that rides on the shoulders of McConaughey and two excellent young actors, Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life) and newcomer Jacob Lofland.
Mud is a riff on Mark Twain, and an exploration of the relationships between generations of men. It could be a Tom Waits song, perhaps a long-lost cut from Swordfishtrombones, revolving as it does around a man with a dark past who seeks to build an escape engine out of cast-off parts, with love as his fuel. The film casts a keen eye on people living a mostly bygone lifestyle, and wraps those observations in a rollicking little adventure that you might find in the yellowing pages of an old pulp novel.
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I know /Film really isn’t a place to blog about competition reality shows, but I thought this story was interesting enough for a post. For the record, I don’t know if the contestant stole the bit from Frank Nicotero, I’m just presenting my strange experience from the taping last night. Here’s how the events unfolded.
Last night I attended a taping of America’s Got Talent at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood (please don’t judge, I’m a big Howard Stern fan). The talent show reality series holds audition shows in cities around the country, which are edited to death and eventually televised in highlight packages in the weeks before the show goes live from New York City. The tapings are usually pretty long with a warm up comedian trying to keep the audience entertained in between the various acts.
The strangest thing happened during the taping Thursday night, something which was not staged. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole incident is never broadcast on television.
A comedian contestant named Greg Wilson came up to present his comedy act. He praised Howie Mandel, one of the show’s judges, saying he had seen his stand-up show in Dallas during the 1990′s. The two bonded in the pre-act interview. Wilson went on to perform his routine, which was basically a reenactment of a wife and husband fighting in a car. The unique angle is the bit is done from the point of view of a driver in another car, and the fight is reenacted without words, only a visual performance.
The bit killed, the audience loved it. So did the judges. Howard Stern praised the routine. Eventually it got to Howie who opened with a strange question, paraphrased, “Did you write this yourself or are you performing someone else’s material?” Wilson on stage claimed that he created the bit himself, much like Howie created his own bits. He seemed very offended by the question. Howie seemed unsure how to handle the situation. Something was off. After one of the other judges prodded, Howie admitted that he had seen this same act before, performed by another comedian.
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To say that Pain & Gain is Michael Bay’s most restrained film in six years is either an indictment of the devolution of Bay’s directorial career or an earnest wish that he return to making movies without giant fighting robots. Despite its pedigree, the film is an enjoyable, misanthropic, frequently uncomfortable testosterone-laden romp through the streets of 90s-era Miami. It feels like the type of film Bay was born to make, before he got in bed with Hasbro.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Pain & Gain is that it’s based on a true story, featuring characters that are still alive today. How a filmmaker chooses to depict real-life events can say a lot about the filmmaker and how the events themselves still resonate. According to Bay, “Pain & Gain is a mixture of Fargo and Pulp Fiction. It’s a dark comedy, and it’s all true.”
But how accurate is the film, really? I spent a couple of hours reading Pete Collins’ Pain and Gain, a riveting feature he wrote for the Miami New Times in 2000 (you can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 on the internet). In the screenplay, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the standard liberties are taken with the source material: characters were combined or excluded completely based on how they served the plot, and many of the more mundane events were eliminated as well. To see what I thought were the most significant divergences, read past the jump.
Note: Massive spoilers for Pain and Gain follow.
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A couple weeks ago I visited Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA to learn about the five year process of creating Monsters University. The clever folks at Pixar organized the day into a series of classroom environments, each with a teacher who served as a department head on the film. One of the coolest classes explained how Pixar’s art directors created the “monsterfied” college world of MU.
I must warn you, the following report is very NERDY. You’re going to learn a lot of information on the little subtle details that go into the architecture and lightening of this incredibly well-thought out computer animated world. You shouldn’t however worry about spoilers, as the details are pretty much spoiler-free. Any information discussed in terms of plot could be gained through the trailers and marketing released thus far, so don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.
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