- The great Alan Rickman passed away last week after a battle with cancer. We’ll be watching Die Hard in his honor, marathoning Harry Potter, and recommending is writer/director efforts The Winter Guest and A Little Chaos to anyone who’ll listen.
- HBO has reportedly halted production on Westworld, the Jonathan Nolan-helmed series adaptation of Michael Crichton’s seminal original film. That’s the latest in a long string of mysterious production shakeups at HBO, but it’s hard to get too rattled about it considering nearly everything they put out is of impeccable quality.
- A lightsaber with a crossguard hilt will apparently crop up in Star Wars Rebels, and it’s possible (although highly unlikely) that Supreme Leader Snoke will make an appearance as well. I’m all for bringing elements of The Force Awakens into the earlier-set parts of the Star Wars saga, but the lightsaber concept alone kind of makes Kylo Ren’s iconic weapon a little less special. I hope I eat those words.
- Can we talk about the impressive unveiling of 10 Cloverfield Lane? Consider how impossible it is to keep anything a secret these days. Consider how we only have to wait two months for the film, rather than two years. Consider how J.J. Abrams must have known that the Force Awakens marketing blitz would effectively serve as its own smokescreen, press outlets wrongly assuming that J.J. wouldn’t dare think of multitasking with a Star Wars film at stake (even if T.J. Miller sniped it). Trailer below.
Continue reading Film & TV News: January 18
Yesterday morning, after I wrote about Moneyball, I went back and looked up the other films from 2011 in my little Film’s I’ve Seen notebook. I don’t actually have a little Films I’ve Seen notebook, but I do have a computer and an uncanny ability, usually, to read the title of a movie or see the poster and recall if I have recently watched it. Sometimes not. Alex Cross? I watched that? But sometimes I manage to remember something I did without even being reminded by a computer that I did it, and watching The Devil’s Double is one of those things.
I don’t know if that thing is a good thing or not, though. The Devil’s Double is definitely memorable, but it lacks the certain whatever that would make it truly unforgettable. Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark from Captain America: The First Avenger/Agent Carter and soon-to-be-star of AMC’s Preacher adaptation) pulls double duty as Uday Hussein (the eponymous Devil) and Latif Yahia (the eponymous Double) in this highly-fictionalized biopic, and he’s the reason the film sticks in your mind at all. Latif, the man forced to become the body double for the sadistic eldest son of Saddam Hussein, is the heart and soul of The Devil’s Double; Uday, heartless, soulless, is the real force of nature within the film.
Continue reading The Devil’s Double (2011)
- It’s Marvel Week here at Motion State! In preparation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, we’ll be giving the comic book movie giant more attention than it
deserves usually receives.
- Daniel Bruhl confirmed this morning that he’ll be playing Baron Zemo in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, a film which is rightly being dubbed Avengers 2.5 due to the burgeoning cast.
- The shortlist for the new, younger, quippier, Marvelier (more Marvelous?) Spider-Man includes Tom Holland, Timothee Chalamet, Asa Buterfield, Nat Wolff, and Liam James. Our pick is Holland, but we likely won’t have to wait long for the official announcement.
- David Ayer released the first picture of Jared Leto’s nu-punk Joker from next year’s Suicide Squad film. Our humble opinion on the look is…sorry, what? Squad is a DC film, not Marvel, you say? You can’t defile Marvel Week so willingly, you say? Fair enough. Thankfully, the other 51 weeks of the year are pretty much DC Weeks.
Continue reading Film & TV News: April 27
If anyone has shown a dedication to the long game in big-budget storytelling lately, it’s Marvel. The latest addition to the ever-expanding Cinematic Universe is the Netflix series Daredevil, chronicling the early days of lawyer Matt Murdock and his crimefighting alter-ego. In many ways Daredevil is the best thing to happen to the MCU in a long time. Not only is it far superior to Marvel’s other television ventures Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, but it often packs more of a punch — physically and emotionally — than the majority of the MCU films. The lack of cable television limitations or MPAA ratings means the show can be as dark as it needs to be. Most importantly, though, Daredevil shies away from the typical overblown grandiosity of many MCU ventures and opts instead for a very human drama.
It’s still a hero vs. villain thing we’re dealing with here, of course, but Daredevil is at its strongest when it plays away from that (striking the super– prefix from both hero and villain). Murdock gets his ass handed to him on a regular basis, Wilson Fisk is diabolical and yet relatable, and the street-level politics of the show are far more interesting than the end-of-the-universe Avengers stories. This is true of the comics, too, and as with live-action Daredevil it took a while to get the character right. There are a whole host of comic book influences for the Netflix series — primarily the Frank Miller tales The Man Without Fear and Born Again —which we’ll dive into now. Ye be warned: spoilers abound.
Continue reading Daredevil – Season 1
In this episode Peggy Carter is given the all-enviable task of taking the lunch order at the S.S.R. precinct, and the fourth hour of Agent Carter only sporadically raises the excitement level above that low threshold. The sentiment was more or less the same during the previous episode “Time and Tide”: with only eight episodes in total, is there really enough time to spend on lunch order gags and Stan Lee cameos?
The good thing is that the executive producers of Agent Carter did confirm that the show is not a miniseries after all, despite that being the impression nearly everyone was under up until this point, and that a second season is a possibility. If so, a slower approach can certainly work. Still, though, even as each episode is full of stuff to like, it seems as if Agent Carter is less interested in telling a cohesive story and more interested in tying everything back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Continue reading Agent Carter 1.4 – “The Blitzkrieg Button”
–The Imitation Game won the 2015 USC Scripter Award this past Saturday, which honors both screenwriter (Graham Moore) and original source author (Andrew Hodges). The other nominees were Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, Wild and The Theory of Everything.
-The Sundance Film Fest Awards were announced, with Me & Earl & the Dying Girl taking a Grand Jury Prize and Robert Eggers collecting the Directing Award for the horror film The Witch.
-In casting news, Rose Byrne will be returning for X-Men: Apocalypse after having sat out for Days of Future Past, the American remake of Sleepless Night announced Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan as leads, and Matthew McConaughey joined Born to Run. Aside from that, it was a fairly uneventful week for casting.
Continue reading Film & TV News: February 2
Not exactly a rock ’em sock ’em hour for Agent Carter in the third episode “Time and Tide”, which is a shame considering the season/series is only slated for eight episodes in total. That’s not a lot of time to gather a head of steam, and while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a solid fifteen episodes before really breaking interesting ground Agent Carter has no such luxury. It’s fortunate, then, that Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy remain so watchable in this otherwise droll episode.
Following the death of the mysterious Brannis at the end of “Bridge and Tunnel”, Peggy is left with a partial symbol and a whole host of questions regarding the theft of Howard Stark’s inventions. The symbol kind of looks like a heart, and so Peggy goes digging. She consults the Book of Symbols on her bedside (sigh) and makes a shocking discov — oh, no, sorry. This doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. Okay. Move along.
Continue reading Agent Carter 1.3 – “Time and Tide”
Blah blah Agent Carter blah. The second episode of the series (which premiered immediately following the first) was fine — but forget that! The Ant-Man teaser debuted during the commercial! Isn’t that so much more exciting?!
This is how I feel sometimes when I’m watching in-universe Marvel stuff, be it Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or even lesser MCU films like Iron Man 2. Even if the plot at hand is going along smoothly, a heavy-handed mention or knowing wink toward an entirely different Marvel thing places a pothole right in the path. “Bridge and Tunnel” progressed the plot of the pilot episode “Now is Not the End” fairly well, but it had the added obstacle of a teaser for the Ant-Man teaser during every single commercial break. Agent Carter could be one of the most distinct and independent entries in the grander MCU once it gets over the Peggy-and-Cap romance, but not if trailers for trailers and endless winks toward other shows and movies keep getting shoehorned into the middle of it all.
Continue reading Agent Carter 1.2 – “Bridge and Tunnel”
Marvel’s Captain America spinoff Agent Carter premiered tonight in two parts, bringing Hayley Atwell’s ’40s can-do spy Peggy Carter to the small screen. If your barometer for the show is the other Marvel Cinematic Universe cable tie-in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by the quality of Agent Carter and the willingness of the show to shed those ties to the larger MCU. If your barometer is a true 1940s spy serial, you might be just a tad disappointed.
Peggy first appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger (set during WWII, when Peg has a passionate fling with Steve Rogers) and popped up again in The Winter Soldier (set in the present day, so Peggy’s old as hell). Agent Carter takes place immediately following the war, and scenes from First Avenger kickstart the pilot episode and continue to frame Peggy’s loss after Cap plunged into the ice at the end of that film. Squeezing Chris Evans into your show without actually paying to cast him, or creating a new contract or convincing him to film new scenes? Nice, Marvel.
Continue reading Agent Carter 1.1 – “Now is Not the End”