The Nicholas Sparks drama is practically a subgenre unto itself at this point, with its own set of tropes and traditions. Lasse Hallström‘s Safe Haven sticks mostly with the formula, featuring a blandly attractive pair (Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough as Alex and Katie),a picturesque waterside setting, and of course, a grand, swooning romance threatened by a big, tragic secret.

But Safe Haven veers slightly by introducing what appears to be a thriller element to the tale. Katie’s clearly on the run from something, though the trailer tries not to give away just what she’s hiding from. Also, no one seems to be dying of cancer, or really even sick at all. That counts as a change of pace, right? Unless that’s what Sparks wants us to think, and that’s the big twist… In any case, watch the video after the jump.

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Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers became one of the biggest releases ever, in part because it is an upbeat adventure that keeps a positive tone even as it features some pretty serious conflict. The film is hitting Blu-ray and DVD next month, and Marvel isn’t letting anyone forget that. The latest reminder of the imminent disc release is a deleted alternate opening for the film.

In this version, The Avengers would have opened with a high, slow, Nolan-esque cruise over a battered Manhattan in the wake of the film’s climactic battle. The bulk of the sequence sets up a flashback structure as it features Cobie Smulders as SHIELD Agent Maria Hill, speaking during a post-battle debriefing. “Who would bring those people together and not expect what happened,” she wonders, bitterly.

Check out the scene below, which also features a really great shot of Chris Evans as Captain America. Read More »

‘The Avengers’ – What Did You Think?

The event Marvel Studios has been working towards for many years is here: the studio has released The Avengers, in which the various stars of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk unite in the sort of super-team movie that once would have existed only as a fan pipe dream. Well, most of the various stars of those films, as Mark Ruffalo steps in as Bruce Banner and the Hulk, but otherwise we’ve got the roster that Marvel has been building over the past few summers: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, and relative newcomers Jeremy Renner and Cobie Smulders.

Joss Whedon got the job rewriting and directing the film and, I think, managed a neat balance of character and action. Every member of the team gets their due, and the conflict that brews between the rougly-formed team of Avengers and Asgardian trickster Loki culminates in a giant battle sequence that occupies most of the film’s final act. But Whedon & Co. keep the action lively and the staging uncluttered enough that we can see what these heroes are doing as they repel an alien force.

So now that you’ve had a chance to see The Avengers, what did you think? Chime in through the comment section below where, as always for these pieces, spoilers are totally acceptable. Read More »

With Joss Whedon‘s Marvel movie mashup, The Avengers, the superhero movie finally lives up to its paper and ink counter part. In comic books, crossover events are common. Superheroes appear alongside other superheros all the time but, with a minor exception here and there, that tried and true comic book staple never made it to the big screen. In a fantasy-based world, the superhero team up film has long been the pinnacle of “what if?”

The Avengers not only makes that fanboy fantasy a reality, the high-octane superhero extravaganza delivers on almost every level with well-rounded characters, plenty of humor and  jaw-dropping action. A few things do get left out in the wake of all that excitement but odds are you won’t really care. The Avengers is as fun as movies come and fans who’ve been waiting for a superhero team up on the big screen will leave the theater satisfied.

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No one could accuse Marvel of being shy about showing off the goods. As the May 4 release of The Avengers approaches, the studio’s been dropping clips on a regular basis, and we’ve got two more for you right here. The first one sees Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) exchanging very angry words with Loki (Tom Hiddleston), while the second sees Loki’s beloved brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) engaged in a no-holds-barred fight against each other. Watch them after the jump.

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Although she’s long been a fan favorite on How I Met Your Mother, Cobie Smulders isn’t too well known outside of her involvement on the hit CBS comedy. That’s all about to change next month, however, when Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers hits. In her highest-profile movie gig yet, Smulders plays S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, who works with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). For obvious reasons, most of the footage we’ve seen so far has focused on the titular superhero team, but a newly released clip offers some insight into the working relationship between Hill and Fury. Watch it after the jump.

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Cobie Smulders looks great in The Avengers, want to see more? What food product is teaming with the massive Marvel team up? Where in real life have the shows Breaking Bad and Comic Book Men crossed paths? Care to see an unused credit treatment for The Amazing Spider-Man? Why is it stupid for the title of The Avengers to change to Avengers Assemble? How is Christopher Meloni dressed on the set of Man of Steel? Read about all of this and much more in today’s Superhero Bits.

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Where and when can you see The Avengers battle the X-Men? Is the Smallville story going to continue now that the TV show is over? Want to read a detailed description of the new trailer for The Avengers? How can you get a $5 gift certificate to your local comic book shop? Will Hans Zimmer be scoring Man of Steel? And what spoiler about her character did Avengers star Cobie Smulders reveal? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

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