Cobie Smulders

How I Met Your Mother

On a filmmaking and storytelling level, the How I Met Your Mother series finale “Last Forever” was pretty sloppy. But the central point — killing the finally-named Tracy and having Ted end up with Robin — is the best possible way they could’ve closed this whole big beautiful mess out. Ted and Robin have always been the show’s Ross and Rachel, the “Will They/Won’t They” couple whose conflict drives the series. And yes, it does in fact drive the series: it’s the only inter-character issue that has been present for the entire series. Other things come and go, Ted and Robin’s weird, complicated, sexual and romantic tension has maintained. You might insist that finding “The Mother” is the real point of the show, but I’d argue that that’d be kinda terrible. Remember, “The Mother” isn’t a character until season 9, and doesn’t even get a name until the final minutes. Let me say that again, but with italics for emphasis. She doesn’t get a name until the final minutes. Ted’s pursuit of “The perfect woman” isn’t a romance story, it’s an emotional fetch-quest, shallow, selfish and narcissistic. Tracy just isn’t enough of an entity for the beginning of their relationship to provide the closure we need in a series like this. In storytelling terms, “The Mother” is what Ted wants, “Robin” is what he needs, and you should always give your protagonist what he needs.

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D

Brett (Chris Pratt) is a family man at the end of his rope. His career is in tatters after losing his law license, his wife is probably cheating on him, and his four young children, while adorable, will probably be the death of him. His status as a stay at home dad hasn’t earned him any more respect from his kids, and on the rare days when he wakes up feeling pretty good about his life a single call from his mother is all it takes to remind him of his multiple failures. A chance at redemption comes when he discovers his best friend has just been named in a civil lawsuit. It seems some sperm donations made two decades prior resulted in a few children, and the now grown-up progeny are suing for the right to know the identity of their biological father. It has the potential to be a groundbreaking case, and the idea of being the lawyer at the center of it all both excites and terrifies Brett. He gets his license reinstated, packs his kids’ lunches, and dives in to the deep end for the trial of his life. Ah what could have been. Unfortunately, Delivery Man is not about Brett, his struggle for self-respect, or a trial with far-reaching moral and legal implications. Instead it’s the story of his best friend, David (Vince Vaughn), a mediocre man who discovers 533 reasons why he should be a better one.

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Frank Grillo

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the way to get news regarding all of those upcoming super hero sequels. Tomorrow it might be something else. Though we’ve still yet to have the pleasure of taking in the first two installments of Marvel’s super hero movie Phase II, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already coming up in 2014, so it’s probably about time we started hearing some casting news. And, wouldn’t you know it, Variety brings us just that. Not only has the trade revealed that End of Watch, The Grey, and Warrior star Frank Grillo will be joining the cast as the Red Skull’s brutal henchman Crossbones, but they also have news that some familiar SHIELD faces from The Avengers will be showing back up in Cap’s second solo adventure. More specifically, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, and Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will all be coming back. You remember them, right?

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Cobie Smulders

Canadians have created many good things: instant mashed potatoes, poutine, the electric streetcar, the foghorn (maybe not that one), insulin, the Wonderbra, the indie film Starbuck, and actress Cobie Smulders. Surely, the country has invented a number of other top items (there’s even some debate about peanut butter!), but these are obviously the very best, and now two of them will be united together in one splashy cinematic endeavor. Variety reports that How I Met Your Mother and Avengers star Smulders is currently in negotiations for the female lead in Ken Scott‘s remake of his own smash film (Scott directed the original, and will now serve double duty as writer and director on the DreamWorks project), the sperm donor laughfest, Starbuck. 

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We normally reserve 10 & 5 posts for big movies that are familiar to the masses, but once in a while it’s good to shine a light on a low profile indie film. This is not that time though, so instead we’re taking a look at the movie with the biggest opening weekend in history. Joss Whedon‘s entertaining as hell blockbuster, The Avengers, has already earned a rare A- grade from us (read Cole Abaius’ review), but Robert Fure and Rob Hunter wanted to take a more detailed view complete with potential and actual spoilers. Warning: There are major spoilers below. Major spoilers. You’ve now been warned about the major spoilers.

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Reel Sex

To turn a phrase from my favorite family of Northerners, “Summer is Coming.” And by coming, I mean today. After waiting what felt like an eternal Westeros winter, Marvel Studios will finally reward us with the release of Joss Whedon’s take on The Avengers. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read our review of the film, re-watch the trailers, and then meet me back here for some fireworks and sno-cones. People have been saying for weeks now that the film is pretty great, and thankfully that is true. Whedon built a rich world for these Marvel characters; putting so much detail into their stories and their lives that it’s virtually impossible not to get wrapped up in the battle trickster Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wages with his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the rest of the Avengers gang. But there is one surprising element lacking from The Avengers—pivotal women sharing scenes. Shocking considering Whedon has always been an advocate for female role models and has fought TV and film studios for years over the way he prefers to portray women in his cannon. Yes, he had huge pressure on his shoulders to craft a stellar superhero film, but of all the things Whedon could have done wrong why did he have to separate his two major women characters from each other? It’s a bit troubling to say the least.

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The Avengers the film needs no introduction, and that’s mainly because The Avengers themselves need no introduction. A dream team of superheroes and superallies, The Avengers first appeared in the Marvel universe in 1963, so for fans of the mighty band of heroes, a big screen cinematic adaptation that would do justice to the justice-doers has been a long-held wish. With Marvel Studios churning out blockbusters for eventual Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk in recent years, it was only a matter of time before that wish was granted and the heroes united for one massive film outing. It goes without saying that Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers is already a big hit here at FSR (our own Cole Abaius called it “Marvel’s mightiest movie” in his review), and we’re all anxious to see what movie-going audiences think of it. To whet your palate for the inevitable Avengers bonanza, here are 12 things that we learned at The Avengers press conference (spoiler-free if you’ve seen a trailer or two!). The event featured a massive gathering of Avengers and pals, including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemwsorth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk/Bruce Banner), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Kevin Feige (Marvel President), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton),Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), and Joss Whedon (writer and director). Check it out after the break!

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In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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Here’s something cool for your Monday morning. Or afternoon, depending on your time zone and commitment to sleeping in. Marvel.com has revealed a full promotional banner for The Avengers, which is now the next big Marvel film event. In short, it’s going to be the Marvel event now that Captain America is out in the wild. Prepare yourself for months of inundation in Avengers, Avengers, Avengers. Anyone have objections to that? I didn’t think so. Moving on…

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Marvel’s Joe Quesada once called Maria Hill as “strong and imposing” as Nick Fury. Anyone who’s read much of her character knows just how true that is – she’s a vicious, strong-willed woman that ends up running SHIELD as interim Executive Director. That’s the role several actresses were vying for, and it appears that Cobie Smulders (from How I Met Your Mother, Slammin’ Salmon) might be stretching her dramatic chops for the role. According to Deadline Santa Monica, the deal to hire Smulders for The Avengers is nearly done. She was also apparently a top choice for director Joss Whedon when he was looking to do Wonder Woman. This is an interesting call, but it’s definitely not a bad one. Smulders has had to show more than comedy for How I Met Your Mother – a show that continues to toss in emotional roadblocks alongside its Slapsgiving celebrations. She’s a great, new talent, but it’ll be a real test to see how she marks up in stature next to Samuel L. Jackson. That would be the true crucible for any actress taking on the part. Morena Baccarin from V might have been a more obvious choice as a stoic bad ass with a pixie cut, so it’ll be interesting to find out what the casting team saw from Smulders that made them choose her instead.

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This is about to get very specific to my own personal tastes, so bare with me. Today brought us two separate reports that, when combined, put two people that I enjoy watching immensely into the same film. DC Pierson, of Derrick Comedy and Mystery Team fame, and Cobie Smulders, of How I Met Your Mother fame, have both joined the upcoming Stephen Gyllenhaal directed political comedy Grassroots.

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