Pain and Gain tanning

Michael Bay has never attempted a movie as complex as Pain and Gain. He’s made plenty of films that flaunt action, crime and sex, but Pain and Gain isn’t one of them, at all. Below its glossy surface, Pain and Gain is a dark, terrifying true story of one man’s twisted view of the American dream and how he strives to achieve it. That means the film’s main characters — played by Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie — are not good people. They have good traits, maybe even good hearts, but though they’re presented as muscle-bound super men, they’re not good people.

Making an entertaining and thought-provoking movie filled with despicable characters is not an easy task. It’s a tonal nightmare and Bay struggles with that balance from the very beginning of the film. Ultimately, he finds a groove and the film may win you over, but the journey to that point is as bumpy as a muscled arm. Read More »


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Captain America The Winter Soldier

You may not know the names Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, but you know their work. They wrote the three Chronicles of Narnia movies, this month’s Michael Bay film Pain & Gain, and also a little film called Captain America: The First Avenger. From there, they went on to not only Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which started production this week, but to do a lot of work on Thor: The Dark World too. So they’re a pretty fantastic authority on Marvel’s Phase 2.

We spoke to the pair on the occasion of the release of Pain & Gain and, of course, inquired about their Marvel movies. We’ll run the enlightening stuff about Michael Bay’s movie closer to release, but Markus and McFeely had some very interesting, non-spoiler, thoughts on their two Marvel movies as well as how they relate to The Avengers 2.

The pair said that the biggest thing they had to do when writing a movie to lead into The Avengers 2 was make sure the character loyalties were in a specific place. They also discussed how writing on Thor: The Dark World was a different experience, how much The Winter Soldier had changed from its initial outline, and how the sequel will put Captain America in a totally new place. Spoiler alert – they really love working with Marvel and want to continue to do so. Read the quotes below. Read More »

Captain America The Winter Soldier header

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release one year from now, on April 4, 2014. So that’s exactly how long directors Anthony and Joe Russo will have to complete the film. Principal photography began Monday, and Disney released the first image along with a full press release. The release confirms the returns of Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, and the presence of new additions Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Georges St. Pierre and others. Read it below and see the first image from the film in high res. Read More »

Everything in today’s TV Bits looks awfully familiar, I suppose because it concerns three current critical favorites and an upcoming show with a recycled premise. After the jump:

  • Parks & Recreation shoots multiple Season 4 endings
  • Community‘s animated shorts hit the web
  • Justified gets a fourth-season renewal
  • Showtime develops a TV version of You Kill Me

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[UPDATE: According to Variety’s Jeff Snieder, Mark Wahlberg has officially passed on this film. Headline and photo updated. Original article follows.]

Even though Steven Spielberg, Hasbro and a legion of robot fans want Michael Bay to make a fourth Transformers, after three in a row, he’s earned the right to do a film for himself. That movie will be a dark comedy called Pain and Gain, based on the true story of two Miami bodybuilders who get wrapped up in a world of crime. Pumping Iron meets Fargo. It’ll reportedly “only” cost $20 million and Bay is now close to locking down his two leads. Variety reports talks are well underway between Bay and both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mark Wahlberg however, with Wahlberg kind of busy, Johnson is closer to locking a deal down. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the most successful films of the summer, and a better Captain America movie than I think many people expected to see. The film will get a semi-sequel in the form of The Avengers, which next year will show what happens when Cap is integrated into the modern world after being accidentally frozen and assumed dead during World War II.

But a proper sequel to the film is being developed as well. Questions have been fired at Cap director Joe Johnston, Marvel president Kevin Feige and screenwriters Chris Markus and Stephen McFeely: what’s the story in the second film? Will it be a WWII tale, a modern thing or some blend of the two? And will we see the return of sidekick Bucky Barnes, who in the print comics continuity becomes a character called The Winter Solider?

Answers to those questions have been tentative at best. A new interview with Markus and McFeely has them talking a lot about possibilities for the sequel, but you’ll have to do a lot of informed reading between the lines to draw hard and fast conclusions. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Over the weekend I got the chance to sit down and talk with Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus and talk about the process of collaborating with Marvel, adapting Captain America to the big screen, the importance of the period story, the absence of Hitler, having Joss Whedon come in and polish their screenplay, working on Captain America 2 and if plot threads will be continued/concluded in The Avengers or the sequel, working with Michael Bay on Pain & Gain which they call “Michael Bay’s Fargo“, and much more. Hit the jump to read the interview.
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Want to see some footage from Captain America with the hero on ice? Want to know who’ll release Frank Miller’s upcoming graphic novel Holy Terror? How many lists can feature Marvel’s MODOK as a beloved character? Learn the answers to these questions and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

Even before movie audiences get see Steve Rogers injected with a super serum and become Captain America, Marvel Studios  already has writers working on his next adventure. Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus, who wrote the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger, are currently working on a script to a sequel that will take place after audiences have seen Thor, The First Avenger, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. However, according to a recent interview, that doesn’t necessarily mean the story will take place in modern times. It could take place during World War II. Read the quotes after the break. Read More »