Bryan Singer

20th Century Fox

When we last left our mutant friends (in X-Men: First Class) they had just averted a third world war off the coast of Cuba, Professor X was paralyzed from the waist down and Magneto and his posse had teleported off to continue their fight against a fearful and prejudiced human species. X-Men: Days of Future Past picks up some years into the future as the end product of that war is revealed to be the impending extinction of mutants worldwide at the “hands” of giant, adaptive robots called Sentinels. X-Men old and new are dropping dead, and a last ditch plan is formulated to send Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness into the past to prevent an assassination widely regarded as the trigger behind the Sentinels’ creation. Director Bryan Singer has been on a bit of a bumpy road with his last few films, from the underwhelming Superman Returns to the under-appreciated Valkyrie to the joke that is Jack the Giant Slayer, but after starting the X-Men film franchise fourteen years ago he’s finally returned to the mutant fold. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the best X-Men film since the last one he directed.

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X-Men Movie Commentary

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom that the X-Men franchise is solidly in its teenage years. It’s going to start driving and dating soon. The series is so significant to cinema history that it is responsible for launching the modern superhero film era. (Remember that this film came out only three years after Batman & Robin.) Without X-Men, there might not have been Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series or The Avengers films. With Days of Future Past hitting the theaters, it’s time to look back to the year 2000 when superhero movies weren’t given $100m budgets and unlimited power automatically. Writer/director Bryan Singer had something to prove with X-Men, and with a limited budget and a production schedule shortened by five months, he succeeded. Five months into shooting X2: X-Men United, Singer recorded a commentary for his groundbreaking film for the X-Men 1.5 DVD, which is preserved throughout subsequent DVD and Blu-ray releases. Here’s a chance to listen in on what was happening at the dawn of the modern superhero movie.

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MGM Home Entertainment

There’s something about screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie‘s writing that brings out the best in director Bryan Singer as evidenced by the inarguable fact that The Usual Suspects and Valkryie are easily his finest films. They have a real efficiency to them, both on the page and on the screen. The cleaner the story, the more proficient Singer is behind the camera. (McQuarrie and Singer also collaborated on Jack the Giant Slayer, but let’s just forget about that misstep.) In the next month they both have films coming out, neither of which they collaborated on. Singer returns to the comic book genre with X-Men: Days of Future Past, while McQuarrie worked on the script for Edge of Tomorrow, which, of course, you should all be excited for. It’s been nearly 20 years since The Usual Suspects, and the film holds up incredibly well. What makes the film stand the test of time isn’t its famous twist, but its appealing group of skillful misfits. This is a great ensemble of characters: they’re all distinct, have their own moments to shine and are exceptionally good at their jobs. McQuarrie is a real pro when it comes to writing characters who operate at the top of their game.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

If the main creative issue with superhero movies is figuring out how to make them bigger and more bombastic, Bryan Singer and his mutant friends seem to have found solutions for X-Men: Days of Future Past. At the very least they’ve given sufficient ammo to the trailer editors, because the world they’re portraying is a massive one. Sentinel armies, time travelling jumps, Magneto’s famous hatred of baseball stadiums. Everything is offered a chance to be pumped full of BGH. Check it out for yourself:

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Time and evolution are two perfect concepts for X-Men: Days of Future Past to explore, not only because we get to see how a franchise has shifted 14 years after its modern debut, but also because we’ve now spent half a century with these characters. On that first front, it’s especially important that Bryan Singer has returned to reclaim his directorial authority. A kind of full circle that promises to keep spinning . On the second front, it’s amazing to see how fresh and young these 50-year-old mutants really are. The second full trailer for the film seeks a balance of those characters — showing off all the major players and some incredibly tall, robot bad guys.

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Bryan Singer

Director Bryan Singer has never been one to shy away from Twitter, gleefully sharing photos and production details from his latest X-Men ventures. For anyone who cares even a little bit about the X-Men universe, it’s a fun way to get a  glimpse into behind-the-scenes information and tidbits like Vines and set images. It looks like the oversharing will continue well into X-Men: Apocalypse, with the director tweeting yesterday a telling photo of his newly-formed writer’s room: Late night #XMen #Apocalypse story session. #SimonKinberg @DanimalHarris @Mike_Dougherty It’s snowing in Egypt! pic.twitter.com/GtJs3VgZ3M — Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) December 19, 2013

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apocalypse

There’s no question that the X-Men concept has proven to be one of the most successful ever created in comic book and superhero history. The mutant origin of their powers allows creators to come up with countless new heroes and villains, without the need to keep coming up with origin stories to explain away where they’re all coming from. The parallels between regular people’s fear of mutants and racism, and the main characters of the X-Men mythos and iconic civil rights leaders, allow every X-Men story told to be easily layered with metaphors and themes that elevate them above just being action stories where beings with super powers beat on each other and try to take over the world. In any good X-Men story Professor Xavier takes on the role of Martin Luther King Jr., striving toward a peaceful coexistence for all men, Magneto takes on the role of Malcolm X, fighting for a place for him and people like him at the global table, and things like robotic sentinels and shady government organizations meant to control mutants take on the role of the Nazis, oppressive regimes, and hate groups of the world, who threaten to ruin everyone’s lives with their spreading of fear, hatred, and violence. It’s a solid setup that makes it so easy to write solid stories, that X-Men comics have consistently been some of the most popular on comic book shop shelves for decades now. That popularity can be a bit of a double-edged sword though, […]

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The Bent Bullet

Fifty years after his assassination, the circumstances behind the death of President John F. Kennedy has yet another conspiracy theory that can be added to the pile thanks to Bryan Singer and the gang behind X-Men: Days of Future Past. Forget a second shooter or even Lee Harvey Oswald’s true guilt: a new viral video and website entitled The Bent Bullet claims that Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), is the man behind Kennedy’s murder back in 1963. The Warren Commission determined, after placing Magneto at the Grassy Knoll, that he bent the trajectory of Oswald’s bullets and manipulated the assassination, making him the true killer. While it might be easy to implicate the mutant for the crime, the report suggests that maybe it was too easy — making Magneto a patsy in a time where a nation was struggling to find someone, anyone to blame for the assassination, and already experienced a deep-seated fear and prejudice toward those with mutant abilities. Could it be that Magneto was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did he really kill JFK?

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singer

Yesterday the long-awaited trailer for Bryan Singer’s upcoming, time travel heavy melding of Fox’s two X-Men franchises, X-Men: Days of Future Past, finally hit, and while it didn’t include the money shot of a full-sized Sentinel in action that many fans were hoping for (likely because they’re too early in the effects process to have much to show off), it did include such a cornucopia of new characters, old characters, and dramatic moments that it was enough to get most fans of the property salivating at the idea of finally getting to see the movie. People who aren’t X-Men freaks, who haven’t been following all of the casting reports and who haven’t read the comic book source material that this story is being based off of, could have been a little bit confused watching what we were given yesterday though. Who are all of these new characters? How are mutants from the original trilogy interacting with characters from the First Class film, which took place in the 60s? And, perhaps most importantly, what’s up with old Magneto and old Professor X wearing those goofy outfits and hanging out in a location that looks like it’s right out of Stargate? MTV News got Singer on the phone to explain some of what we see in the new trailer, and then they helpfully laid his comments on top of the footage, creating a sort of trailer commentary track. If you found yourself feeling like you were somewhat in the dark while watching […]

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X-Men Days of Future Past Trask

X-Men: First Class was a genuine shock — not because of the people involved or the story they chose, but because Fox managed to get out of its own way to deliver a solid comic book movie. X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 had been cringe-worthy, they’d punted on X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, and going back in time for a prequel seemed desperate. Fortunately, the clean slate worked. The anticipation leading to X-Men: Days of Future Past is now completely different. No longer the slumping underdog, Xavier’s gifted students are coming off a hell of an introduction, and the latest Wolverine-focused installment was a success at the box office, while 5/6ths of it was a triumph of storytelling. Bringing in old faces like Ellen Page and Hugh Jackman alongside new players like Peter Dinklage to share time with Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy is a potent power play that has stacked the cast being led by director Bryan Singer. It’s still only potential at this point, though. This was a massive undertaking, so the question still looms large as to whether they’ve pulled off a difficult, fan-loved story, but the first full trailer might just have an answer:

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X-Men Days Jennifer Lawrence

If the Instagram teaser teaser weren’t enough X-Men: Days of Future Past for you to sink your teeth into, Entertainment Weekly has a new crop of photos from the time traveling mutant flick that might provide a better look at what’s to come. Though there’s still no real sign of mutant on Sentinel action to be seen, we do get to see some of the characters wearing funky seventies attire. I know you’re not convinced that this is a comparable stand-in, but that’s only because you haven’t seen Peter Dinklage with a mustache yet. As Dr. Bolivar Trask, Dinklage is working the full handlebar paired with one of the putrid brown suits that seem to be so popular in that era, and he’s killing it. Another image depicts Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) doing something futuristic as they descend a staircase, while their ’70s counterparts James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender spend some quality time staring intently at something in the distance with Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in a different photo. Jennifer Lawrence also makes an appearance in her full Mystique regalia, which while  beautiful and highly impressive, I hate to say is also looking a little puff paint-y.

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x-men

With Marvel Studios dropping a full trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier today, it isn’t likely that the other studios are going to be able to do much to speak above the sound of all the buzz they’ve created for a while. That hasn’t stopped Fox from trying to steal a couple headlines by putting up the first footage from Bryan Singer’s upcoming mutant epic X-Men: Days of Future Past though. Those marketers over there are scrappy. Before you get too excited about all of the inevitable mutant on sentinel mayhem that this movie is going to contain, know that we’re not yet getting a real trailer for the film. Instead, this is just a few seconds of sizzle footage put out on an Instagram video, which some may find to be so much of a tease that it annoys rather than arouses. For others though, the hunger for more mutant movies is so strong that we’ll take whatever we can get, and these few seconds do provide some tasty morsels. Decide which side of the fence you come down on, and then proceed accordingly.

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sentinelheader

By far the most exciting thing about X-Men: Days of Future Past, other than the possibility that its time travel plot could be used to wipe away all of the missteps made in X-Men: The Last Stand, is that it’s adapting a story from the comics that relied heavily on the presence of one of the X-Men’s coolest reoccurring villains—the gigantic, robotic, mutant-hunting Sentinels. Whether it has been for budget reasons, feelings that the special effects weren’t quite there, or just that nobody had balls big enough, we have yet to see a proper Sentinel appear in any of the eleventy-billion X-Men movies Fox has made. But this time around they’re going to be forced to finally give us our robot on mutant action, right? Yep, and today Bryan Singer tweeted out a picture that gives us our best look at how awesome the Sentinels in his film are going to be to date: a full-size, physical prop that shows off just how massive they are and proves that they won’t just be appearing in the film as possibly shoddy, shadowy CG effects. Click through to see the beautiful thing in all its glory.

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sentinel

The X-Men are one of those comic books properties where the bad guys are often as cool as the heroes you’re supposed to be rooting for. Whether you’re talking about the righteous and unbending metal manipulator, Magneto, the detached and empty shape-shifter, Mystique, or even the twisted and sociopathic geneticist, Sinister, chances are any given X-Men story is going to engage you just as much with its villainy as it does with its heroics. For some reason, there has just never been an X-Men villain that works as well as the giant, faceless, mutant-hunting robots the Sentinels though. Not only is it a lot of fun to watch mutant powers tear apart big ass robots, but there must be something to the way this particular robot design is able to embody the all-powerful and unfeeling hand of “the Man” that really makes them resonate, as well. Given fans’ fascination with the Sentinels, and given the fact that we haven’t gotten a real representation of them on the big screen yet, Bryan Singer’s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past has probably become the most anticipated X-Men movie of all time, because it has promised to be full of the metal monstrosities. And now a pretty slick viral site the film has launched is giving us all our first look at what they’ve cooked up in regards to the iconic baddies. Click through to get the info, and to watch a fun video.

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sentinels

Part of the upcoming buzz around Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is the inclusion of a few new, long pined-for characters from the mutant universe. Chief among the fan wish list are the Sentinels. Products of Trask Industries and Doctor Bolivar Trask (played in the film by Peter Dinklage), the Sentinels are designed to keep mutants under control. This sort of thing always comes with some sort of marketing campaign, so there’s also propaganda involved. Said propaganda has made it’s way to the streets of Comic-Con, where a Sentinel head has been put on display and various posters have been handed out. It appears that Trask Industries has been busy. It also appears that 20th Century Fox may be tipping their hand as to what their promised “surprise” movie will be when they take the stage this weekend with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Wolverine. But that remains to be seen.

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commentary street trash

The ’80s were a special time for horror films as the art of prosthetic gore and special effects really came into their own in a big way. From werewolf transformations and alien things to slashed throats and decapitations, the days of time-lapse photography and simple splashes of blood were left behind in favor of elaborate and often awesome visual creations. One of the joys of growing up then was the presence of Fangoria magazine on newsstands offering up the first glimpse, usually in color, of the wildly imaginative and often grotesque creations to come in upcoming horror films. It put films and filmmakers on fans’ radar well before the internet took over those duties, and one of the movies that it helped hype up for me was Jim Muro‘s DayGlo, chuckle-filled nightmare, Street Trash. The film is a low budget exploitation picture about a case of cheap wine well past its “sell by” date that causes the imbiber to melt down (or explode outward) in a neon-colored rainbow of flesh and viscera. There’s a dash of social commentary in there, too, but it’s never enough to distract from the sleazy shenanigans. And things do get pretty damn sleazy. Thankfully Synapse Films, like myself, are fans of the sleaze, and they’ve recently released a special edition Blu-ray of this ’80s classic. Keep reading to see what I learned from the commentary track for Jim Muro’s Street Trash.

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Superman Returns

In celebration of the release of Man of Steel, we will be publishing a series of articles that take a look back at Superman’s cinematic roots, analyze his successes and failures and hopefully add some context to your Superman-centric movie week. We begin with another splendid guest editorial from The Bitter Script Reader. If everything had gone to plan, this summer we’d probably be getting the concluding chapter of a Bryan Singer-helmed Superman trilogy. Indeed, for a while, it appeared we might get it. The film opened in Summer 2006 to a bigger 5-day opening than Batman Begins had a year earlier. Its worldwide gross was also about $17 million more than the Nolan Batman prequel as well. It even earned a decent amount of critical acclaim, coming in at 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. So while the film might not have been a Spider-Man-sized hit, it was a promising debut by some of the more superficial standards the industry uses to measure success. The film certainly was far from being an outright bomb. Some time ago, Quentin Tarantino mentioned that he was writing a 20-page review of Superman Returns, explaining why he loved it so much. We’re still waiting on that, and since I’m about one-fourth the filmmaker he is, it seems fitting that my own review is that much shorter.

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warpath:bishop

Over the past few months it’s become pretty clear that if you want to keep up with all of the latest news regarding Fox’s upcoming time travel mutant epic, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, you have to go no further than simply following its director, Bryan Singer’s, Twitter account. Every new casting announcement, every little plot detail, and every glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes has pretty much come from Singer, who seems eager to control who knows what about his movie. Earlier today he took things up another notch by utilizing Twitter’s relatively new video platform, Vine, to give fans another nugget of info regarding what they can expect from Days of Future Past. More specifically, he confirmed that this new X-Men movie will include comic characters who we’ve never seen in an X-Men movie before. Along with the caption, “Every mutant needs a place to sit,” came the following video:

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Beast Concept Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer recently tweeted out a quote from the original “Beauty and the Beast” accompanied by the above image of Hank McCoy in his natural form. As you can tell, Beast has gone through puberty. Here’s the tweet and a nice little photo comparison of Beast throughout the films:

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mnad_varietygaga

On this first night of April, we look back at all the wildly appropriate pranks that were actually pranks and not just a bunch of lies about who is going to star in the upcoming Star Wars movies (we’re looking at you, George Takei. For shame.) This includes Variety getting duped bad, Monsters University getting taken over by a rival, an Iron Man suit you can buy and the best possible Taken sequel idea we’ve ever seen. That and more in Movie News After Dark: April Foolpocalypse!

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