25
Oct
2014

Suicide Squad comic logo

It looks like we may be getting a hint that Lex Luthor could be the connective tissue for at least the first few DC Cinematic Universe films.

As we all know, Jesse Eisenberg will be playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. A new rumor from Deadline, however, says that Warner Brothers is already exploring the possibility of him showing up in Suicide Squad.

When Warner Brothers announced its plans for DC movies through 2020, it seemed odd that Suicide Squad was next up on the list after the establishment film. It doesn’t feature any of the big name heroes, and is in fact about a bunch of super criminals. We’ve now heard about the Will Smith being courted to star, but that would still make it difficult to show how all of these films fit together. Having Eisenberg show up as Luthor would go a long way to doing that, and could possibly set up a larger story arc as we build towards the Justice League films which kick off in 2017. Perhaps Luthor is there on a recruiting mission? We won’t know for a while yet.

What I do find a bit disturbing is the rumor states that Warner Brothers is negotiating with Eisenberg for this appearance. Marvel is famous for locking folks down for multiple films out of the gate to avoid this very issue. Samuel L. Jackson’s original contract for Nick Fury locked him down for nine films in that role. Chris Evans’ Captain America contract guaranteed they could use him six times. Did Warner Brothers not follow a similar model? It would have only been smart.

There’s a part of me that thinks Warner Brothers is still making all of this up as it goes, and that is never a wise idea.

[ Source Deadline ]

24
Oct
2014

Archie Comics

Fox has begun development on Riverdale, a new take on the Archie comics characters for a potential slot on its schedule.

Greg Berlanti – executive producer on Arrow and The Flash – is the man behind this new take on Archie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Riverdale will follow the core love triangle of Archie Andrews, Berry Cooper and Veronica Lodge. This doesn’t mean you won’t see appearances from the likes of Reggie Mantle, Jughead Jones, Kevin Keller and even Josie and the Pussycats, however.

Where things seem to go a little off the rails of what you would expect of a TV series based on America’s oldest teenager is that apparently things are not as they seem in the fictional town of Riverdale, New York. Apparently there will be “surrealistic twists” in small-town life as well as “darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.”

Honestly, at first blush I would have zero interest in this project, but Berlanti has earned my trust with his other projects, and the idea of an off-kilter Archie story intrigues me. Is it enough to make me tune in for multiple seasons? Highly doubtful. Add in that Berlanti is also working on SupergirlThe Things They Left Behind at CBS,  and The Mysteries of Laura & Blindspot at NBC, he and his team are going to be spread pretty darn thin in the not too distant future.

We’ll see where this goes, but apparently with Gotham already airing at Fox, and Riverdale in development, the names of cities in comic books is all the rage.

[ Source The Hollywood Reporter ]

23
Oct
2014

Bewitched original logo

The sequel series to Bewitched we’ve all been demanding looks to be happening!

… said no one ever.

The networks are currently gearing up for the next pilot season, and the common thread seems to be mining old properties. There was talk of a series based on the film Say Anything, but an outcry of disdain caused that one to be killed quickly. Then there was talk of a series based on the John Candy film Uncle Buck which met with a similar response. And now? Now it’s a sequel to Bewitched.

According to Deadline, the pitch is that the series will follow Daphne, the granddaughter of Samanta, and the daughter of Tabitha. Apparently Daphne has used her powers to live a good life, but the one thing she can’t conjure up is, you guessed it, love.

The original Bewitched series ran from 1964 to 1972, and there was a one season Tabitha spin-off in 1977 that landed with a large thud. There was a film with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell in 2005 that did not fare well at the box office, but the original series continues to be popular in syndication.

As much as I think this idea is silly, when writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein started shopping it around last week, a bidding war apparently broke out between ABC and NBC with the latter finally winning out. Currently it only has a pilot commitment, so no clue if this will make it to series or not, but it seems the networks are hot to trot on the idea.

I can definitely live without this concept, but something tells me it will be on the schedule next fall.

[ Source Deadline ]

22
Oct
2014

Avengers Age of Ultron logo

Due to numerous leaks, Marvel has delivered an early treat in the official Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.

The second Avengers film is on its way next May (April in some territories) and it’s time to get the promotion train rolling for the sequel to the third highest grossing film of all time. The Avengers themselves don’t get a lot of lines in this trailer, but that’s fine as James Spader’s line delivery as Ultron is just too fun to listen to.

And, oh yeah, the Hulkbuster armor looks awesome.

But man Ultron sounds so good.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters in the U.S. on May 1, 2015.

22
Oct
2014

The Flash promo poster

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as it had the strongest numbers for a premiere episode in the history of the network, but The CW has picked up The Flash for a full season order.

The road for a TV series is never an easy one:

  • Get a pilot.
  • Film the pilot.
  • Hope it gets picked up for series.
  • Hope it doesn’t killed off in that in-between time.
  • Get your initial episode order.
  • Start filming those episodes.
  • Pilot airs.
  • Hope it does well.
  • Hope it keeps doing well.
  • Receive the order for the remainder of the season.

At any point in that chain your show can get the axe. So just making it to air is usually a miracle, and keeping it there isn’t a small task either. So when The Flash had its huge debut, things looked good, but The CW still needed to make it official. On Monday it did so and the new series will stay on the air for the rest of the season (barring a bizarre cancellation, of course.).

The CW also picked up Jane the Virgin… why is anyone’s guess.

21
Oct
2014

Guardians of the Galaxy banner

What once seemed like a risky gamble has paid off in a huge way for Marvel.

No one was quite sure how Guardians of the Galaxy would perform as a movie seeing as it is an unknown property to most people outside of comic books. But a highly enjoyable script, some superb performances and some fantastic directing mixed for a must-see film this summer that has landed Marvel its third highest grossing film yet.

The milestone was passed this weekend in the foreign markets thanks in large part to China. It is also the highest grossing film in the U.S. for the year, which is another feather in its cap. (Second place is currently Captain America: The Winter Soldier.) Marvel is on fire right now, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Marvel needs this momentum going into Phase 3 of its Cinematic Universe. With characters such as Ant-Man and Doctor Strange entering the mix, the brand name needs to help tell moviegoers they can expect quality even if they don’t know the character.

Here is how all 10 of its films released to date have performed through this weekend. It almost frightens me to think of how Avengers: Age of Ultron will do next May. Could Marvel break $1 billion again? Possibly $2 billion?

Title
Domestic Box Office
Foreign Box Office
Total
Budget
Release Date
The Avengers$623,357,910$895,237,000$1,518,594,910$220,000,000May 4, 2012
Iron Man 3$409,013,994$806,426,000$1,215,439,994$200,000,000May 3, 2013
Guardians of the Galaxy$327,792,643$404,800,000$732,592,643$170,000,000August 1, 2014
Captain America: The Winter Soldier$259,766,572$454,317,000$714,083,572$170,000,000April 4, 2014
Thor: The Dark World$206,362,140$438,421,000$644,783,140$170,000,000November 8, 2013
Iron Man 2$312,433,331$311,500,000$623,933,331$200,000,000May 7, 2010
Iron Man$318,412,101$266,762,121$585,174,222$140,000,000May 2, 2008
Thor$181,030,624$268,295,994$449,326,618$150,000,000May 6, 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger$176,654,505$193,915,269$370,569,774$140,000,000July 22, 2011
The Incredible Hulk$134,806,913$128,620,638$263,427,551$150,000,000June 13, 2008
20
Oct
2014

Fury Banner

The fall season is in full swing with quiet weekends and films entering the Oscar race already.

Taking first place this weekend was Brad Pitt’s new World War II tank film, Fury. The movie took home $23.5 million off of a $68 million dollar budget.

Gone Girl slipped to second place in its third weekend taking in another $17.8 million bringing it to $107 million off of its $61 million dollar budget.

Third place went to the new animated feature The Book of Life with $17 million.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day fell to fourth, but only lost 34.4 percent from last weekend and now stands at $36.87 million off of its $28 million dollar budget.

Rounding out the top five was the new romance, The Best of Me. It took home $10.2 million off of a $26 million dollar budget.

Next week’s major releases include John Wick and Ouija.

Curious how I think these films will do? Check out my The Movies of 2014 – 4th Quarter report.

19
Oct
2014

WSMS Transformers Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction isn’t so much a movie as watching one man just give up on even trying to do his job any more.

If I were to even attempt to go through everything wrong with the fourth Transformers film, I would wonder why I didn’t just finally sit down and write one of the many novels I’ve thought about producing over the years. The film is just filled with plot holes, deus ex machina contrivances, horrible acting, over used camera tricks, ham fisted product placements, racial stereotypes… in other words… it’s a Michael Bay film.

I would remiss if I didn’t lay some of the blame at screenwriter Ehren Kruger’s feet as well. He’s written three of the four Transformers films, so some of the blame belongs with him as well, but Bay is the true villain of this piece.

As I watched the movie I kept thinking about how Michael Bay had originally not wanted to return to direct this entry in the series feeling he had done enough with the other three. And it showed. As bad as the last three were, you never felt like Bay didn’t care, but this time around there was sloppiness in every corner of the frame. You could feel his boredom with the series pouring off the screen and washing over you. He just didn’t care. He showed up to collect a check, and that’s just what he did.

You have to wonder if this attitude trickled down to others in the production. In one scene the green screens weren’t even replaced. The performances by the actors were phoned in. Props were off (when stating how well you know a law, the card you carry for that law should match the number you said). It just felt like a haphazard amateur production and not a big budget blockbuster.

Of all the crimes of this film, two really stuck out to me: The statutory rape sub-plot and the length of the film.

Statutory Rape

Shane and Tessa - Transformers

This… was an actual sub-plot. When Cade (Mark Wahlberg) discovers his 17-year-old daughter is dating a 20-year-old, he threatens to call the police. Shane (Jack Reynor) then goes in to detail about how it isn’t statutory rape because of the “Romeo & Juliet” law in Texas.

Folks, there was a scene in a Transformers movie about why dating underage girls is just fine and dandy. I am not making a moral call on this situation, I am making a “Why is this in a film named for a race of giant robots?” This had no place in this film, and did nothing to strengthen the story. I actually think it would have been more interesting if she was 18 due to a few other scenes in the film, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t really matter.

Bay has never been able to wrap his head around the fact we don’t see Transformers movies for his paper-thin human characters. We want to see the giant robots we all love. They show up once in a while, but never shall they get in the way of conversations about the dangers of dating girls before they are of legal age.

Run Time

Transformers real estate agent

So, beyond a scene dedicated to, “Hey, dating your underage daughter is legal,” we had a scene dealing with a real estate agent that had no legal right to be on Cade’s property.

It had already been established that Cade was broke… multiple times. It was mentioned by two other characters, unpaid bills in the mail, Tessa’s (Nicola Peltz) inability to afford to go to college and was later covered with an eviction notice. But you clearly weren’t getting the point, and that is why a real estate agent shows up with prospective buyers and tells Cade she can do this because he’s six months behind on his payments. No foreclosure has happened yet, but sure enough she was there… in a movie about giant robots. (Are you seeing a trend yet?)

This scene was played for comedy at a moment where none was needed. There was no tension that needed to be broken, and there is just no logical reason for this scene to exist on any level. As scenes go, it’s a short one at just one minute and three seconds, but it happens less than 13 minutes into the film. By this time the money problems had already been established so this was simply beating it into the skulls of the audience for no good reason and wasting valuable story establishment momentum.

While I don’t subscribe to any certain length for a film, I also don’t believe in having my time being wasted with useless information. If this were the only establishment of the money issues, fine, it would have been acceptable. But as just one of numerous commentaries on that character development, it was useless and repetitive and is indicative of many other pacing issues in the film.

So Much Suck

I decided to focus on just two things that stuck out to me that helped me make this movie suck, but believe me there were many, many more reasons why it deserves to be part of this series of movie posts. I opted to focus on crimes against basic storytelling.

It is doubtful that anyone sees a Transformers movie expecting high art, but I think they at least expect some basic structure that makes sense… I kid, of course they don’t, but Transformers: Age of Extinction took it to a whole new level.

18
Oct
2014

Lucy 5

It appears that Scarlett Johansson may be the new hot female actions tar after the global success of Lucy and her turns as Black Widow.

Johansson was having a heck of a run as the darling of the indie film scene, but then she landed the role of the Black Widow in numerous Marvel Cinematic Universe films. She then teamed up with Luc Besson for the action film Lucy. Made for $40 million, the film went on to earn $412 million globally as her name recognition has grown.

Word is that Johannson is now pulling in $10 million per film for action roles, and she’s receiving a lot more offers. Now word is that DreamWorks has approached her to play the lead in its long gestating live action take on the anime Ghost in the Shell. This film has been sitting for years now, but things picked up some speed when Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) stepped in to the director’s chair.

No official word yet, but I think if Johannson does really come on board things will begin moving pretty quickly.

17
Oct
2014

carrie kelley robin

Rumors are circulating that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice may not only have a Robin in the mix, but it may be Carrie Kelley.

We’ve already seen that Ben Affleck’s Batman is pretty clearly influenced by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns series. During that series the older Bruce Wayne took on a new protege as his latest Robin, a girl named Carrie Kelley. It’s the only time Robin has been a girl, and seeing as that appears to be the influence for this film, it looks like the twist may show up in the new film.

Adding fuel to the fire, Jena Malone – that starred in Sucker Punch, another Zack Snyder film – has been said to be filming a secret part. No one immediately jumped to the conclusion she would be Robin, but now that the rumor has broke, everyone is noticing that two weeks ago she revealed she had dyed her hair red.

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Drastic times call for drastic measures.

View on Instagram

The pieces are definitely there to come to the conclusion Malone is playing Kelley, but only time will tell for sure. If true, count me as excited.

16
Oct
2014

Black Adam

Prepare thy self to watch a whole of super heroes coming your way in the next six years.

With the announcement yesterday of all the DC movie plans, the film schedule between now and 2020 has become insane if you’re a comic book fan. I remember when getting a comic book movie every few years sent me into spasms, now there will be some windows of time where I will only have to wait a week or two. That, to me, is insanity.

Movie
Release Date
Universe
Big Hero 611/7/14
Avengers: Age of Ultron5/1/14MCU
Ant-Man7/7/15MCU
Fantastic Four8/7/15Fantastic Four
Deadpool2/12/16X-Men
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice3/25/16DCU
Captain America 35/6/16MCU
X-Men: Apocalypse5/27/16X-Men
Doctor Strange7/8/16MCU
Suicide Squad8/5/16DCU
Sinister Six11/11/16Spider-Man
Wolverine3/3/17X-Men
Unknown Marvel5/5/17MCU
Wonder Woman6/3/17DCU
Fantastic Four 27/14/17Fantastic Four
Guardians of the Galaxy 27/28/17MCU
Unknown Marvel11/3/17MCU
Justice League Part One11/17/17DCU
Amazing Spider-Man 32018Spider-Man
The Flash3/23/18DCU
Unknown Marvel5/4/18MCU
Unknown Marvel7/6/18MCU
Unknown Fox/Marvel Film7/13/18???
Aquaman7/27/18DCU
Unknown Marvel11/2/18MCU
Shazam4/5/19DCU
Unknown Marvel5/3/19MCU
Justice League Part Two6/14/19DCU
Cyborg4/3/20DCU
Green Lantern6/19/20DCU

When you add in all of the TV shows as well, my mind just melts at how my beloved art form has finally made it’s way into the mainstream in ways it never has before. I couldn’t be happier, but it also frightens me a bit for the inevitable crash that will come one of these days and everyone tires of this style of story.

There are sure to be more films added in the coming years, but for now, sit back folks, there are about to be a whole lot of capes flying around.

15
Oct
2014

Justice League white background

Warner Brothers isn’t messing around any longer, and it’s time for it to stage a full-frontal assault on the Marvel movies.

The slate of upcoming DC movies was announced through 2020 and answered a few questions everyone had. Apparently the only missing films are solo films for Batman and Superman, but they will be announced later on.

To me, the most annoying thing is it was confirmed that the Flash will be played by Ezra Miller, meaning the TV shows such as Arrow and The Flash are not part of the film universe. I think that is a silly decision, but I think Warner Brothers is making a lot of silly choices to be honest.

  • Suicide Squad – August 5, 2016
  • Wonder Woman – June 23, 2017
  • Justice League, Part One – November 10, 2017
  • The Flash – March 23, 2018
  • Aquaman – July 27, 2018
  • Shazam – April 5, 2019
  • Justice League, Part Two – June 14, 2019
  • Cyborg – April 3, 2020
  • Green Lantern – June 19, 2020

At least Green Lantern is getting rebooted. It certainly can’t be any worse than the last one.

Expect a lot of analysis this in the coming days.