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Marvel Studios knocked its panel out of the park today in Hall H at Comic Con. The third film on the schedule was James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy. Until today we’d seen only some concept art showing off the characters in a general sense. Now, along with a new logo treatment above, we have a concept poster design that reflects part of the footage shown today.

Even better, it gives you a very good idea of what the five primary characters will look like. Check it out below. Read More »

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Here’s the trailer for Out of the Furnace, the new film from Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. The film features Christian Bale as a Pennsylvania steelworker whose brother (Casey Affleck) gets in trouble with a backwoods but powerful criminal (Woody Harrelson). The rest of the supporting cast is impressive, with Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, and Sam Shepard playing big roles, all of which are given a few moments here.

This trailer is solid. In fact, just so long as you’re willing to have Pearl Jam’s ‘Release‘ in your head for the rest of the day, I think it’s a pretty terrific trailer, and one that will set the movie up as a must-see for a lot of people who might not have known what to expect before now. Read More »

STID Carol / FF6 Letty

It’s more or less impossible to reboot a massively popular franchise for the big screen without drawing the ire of a few fans, but one major criticsm plaguing Star Trek Into Darkness in recent days has nothing to do with J.J. Abrams‘ Klingon redesign or use of parallel timelines. Midway through the film, there’s a brief scene in which the character Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) strips down to her underwear for no apparent reason. Some fans called filmmakers out for being sexist, and so far writer Damon Lindelof has stepped up to offer his apologies.

The minor controversy was fresh in my mind when I went to go see Fast & Furious 6, which, as you’d expect, outdoes Star Trek Into Darkness‘ tiny sliver of cheesecake on every level. All of the female stars of Fast & Furious 6 are conventionally attractive to begin with, and none shy away from wearing form-fitting outfits or showing off a bit of cleavage. Additionally, scantily clad female extras are used in several sequences as little more than set decoration. And yet I walked away from Fast & Furious 6 thinking that director Justin Lin and his crew could teach the Star Trek team a thing or two about portraying female characters on screen.

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Another big Cannes premiere this year was the crime drama Blood Ties, co-written by Two Lovers director James Gray, and the first English-language film directed by Guillaume Canet (Tell No One). The film has quite a cast, and a period ’70s setting in Brooklyn, as it remakes the 2008 French thriller Les liens du sang by Jacques Maillot.

The cast includes Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard reuniting from Rust & Bone, but the prime cast members are Clive Owen and Billy Crudup, with Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, and James Caan. The plot relies on an old conceit: two brothers on opposite sides of the law. But there’s some changing of sides, and the ensemble cast expands the scope of the production by involving far more people than the two brothers.

Keep in mind, the trailer is not safe for work thanks to language. Read More »

Star Trek Into Darkness - Spock and Kirk

It’s in theaters now, and all the secrets are out in the open. Star Trek Into Darkness, the second Trek film from J.J. Abrams, has been locked (mostly) in the producer/director’s “mystery box” for over a year. For hardcore fans, at least, the secrecy around the precise nature of the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch has been a big part of the marketing allure, but the energy Abrams and his cast brought to their first outing on the Enterprise has been enough to make a huge audience curious about their encore.

And in the end, the irony is that, while there was a type of secret to preserve with respect to the character, in the end he plays a weird role in the plot. (There’s a certain kinship to Iron Man 3 in that respect.)

Abrams has said that he wanted to make Star Trek for people who aren’t Star Trek fans, and in that respect he might have succeeded. Into Darkness has a few well-executed setpieces, and loads of the same winning cast presence that made the first Abrams Trek a success. But does it work? Does the film’s wide divergence from many well-established Trek characteristics fly, and does it even really matter who Cumberbatch is playing? Weigh in below, where full spoilers are in force. Read More »

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Sequels are a tricky thing. In the best cases, they transcend the original work by adding emotional depth and context, elevating the entire story arc. In the worst cases, they’re a carbon copy of the original with perhaps a bigger “wow” factor. Star Trek Into Darkness, like many sequels, falls into the middle ground. It expands and broadens the scope of the original while duplicating most of the elements that were already in place from the 2009 film.

To follow his first Trek revival, director J.J. Abrams has made a much more visually impressive and exciting action film, and one worthy of the Star Trek franchise. It simply lacks the inspiration that made his first film so special.

After the jump, read the rest of this review and see a video blog with some differing opinions. Read More »

Star Wars Avatar

Two of the most anticipated sequels in history will reportedly start filming around the same time. Star Wars Episode VII and Avatar 2 will each begin production early in 2014, according to the producer of one project and star of the other. Bryan Burk, the long-time producer for J.J. Abrams and co-founder of Bad Robot, suggested the window for Star Wars. Zoe Saldana, the star of James Cameron‘s Avatar, mentioned the shooting schedule for Avatar 2. Saldana, who’ll next shoot Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, also confirmed what we’ve already known, that both Avatar 2 and 3 will shoot back to back. Read their quotes below. Read More »

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At movie junkets, the cast and crew of movies sit in a chair all day while hundreds of interviewers rotate in, most asking the same exact questions. The result is that the talent begin repeating the same soundbites over and over again. So much so that it almost becomes a script. Sometimes you go into one of these rooms, asking a different question that no one else has asked, and the tired actor might just try to find a way to work one of the dozen now-scripted soundbites as the answer, never really touching on your question. I always try to ask questions that aren’t asked by other journalists, but I try to stay away from the tv interview set-ups as they create an environment of recycled soundbite with not enough time to delve into any real substance.

But I do enjoy watching the tv interviews from the few journalists that find a way to keep the talent on their feet, and out of the soundbite zone. Daniele Rizzo is a German comedian who we’ve featured on the site in the past, usually working fun sketch interviews in at international film junkets. This time around Rizzo has shown up at the Star Trek Into Darkness junket as “Spocko”  to grill both cast and crew on the details of their missions. He also showed up at the Iron Man 3 junket to ask Robert Downey Jr & Gwyneth Paltrow the important questions in full costume as Italian Iron Man. He may not get any serious answers or scoops, but its fun to watch.

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