James Gunn

Guardians of the Galaxy

We’re still a year away from James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy, but anticipation grows ever higher. Comic book readers are quivering in excitement over a more obscure group of heroes getting the big budget, big screen treatment. Non-comic book readers are scratching their heads, wondering what the hell is up with that raccoon. Well, in an upcoming Empire Magazine interview (scooped in advance by Comic Book Movie), Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has begun doling out all the details on Marvel’s weirdest upcoming movie. Those who don’t know the characters can now be quickly and easily filled in. Those who already know the characters will notice Feige making a few interesting changes. First, Feige introduces the five motley space-farers who make up the core team: “Rocket has been genetically and mechanically altered, he’s an experiment from one part of the galaxy. Groot is a species that happens to look like trees look, and is quite communicative if you can understand the different inflections in the way he says ‘I am Groot.’ Peter Quill left Earth in the mid’80s, but when we meet back up with him he’s very much a citizen of the universe. Drax has one goal and one goal only, which is to kill Ronan because of a past tragedy. When we meet Gamora, she’s a bad guy working with Ronan and Nebula and Korath, and by extension for Thanos. Gamora doesn’t necessarily like doing that anymore, and tries to find a new path for herself. […]

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Groot Guardiand of the Galaxy

Actor Vin Diesel has been playing coy about his possibly playing a role in a Marvel Studios film. You will recall back in late June he dropped a note on his Facebook page about being called in for a meeting and not knowing what for. We all speculated that he could be cast as Namor or Ant-Man or Vision or Thanos. When asked during Comic-Con for an update, all he would say is that we would get “some very big news coming at the end of this month.” Well, the end of that month (July) came and went and we got nothing. Then yesterday’s D23 presentation on upcoming Marvel movies came and went and we again heard nothing more on Diesel’s role in the Avengers franchise. So, when the heck are we going to get an announcement? The answer to that question is still unknown, but we did get yet another tease today from Diesel himself, once again via his Facebook page. And it’s the sort of hint that is either a total red herring or it’s a direct yet unstated revelation. Diesel posted a picture of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, implying that he’ll be voicing the non-human character. That’s really exciting for anyone who prefers their Diesel roles heard but not seen — a la the title robot in The Iron Giant. We’ll not only have to wait to hear official confirmation on this from the people at Disney, but we’re now also curious if the giant […]

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closecop

While most studios who make big blockbusters seem to pick from the same of-the-moment list of actors when casting their tentpole releases, Marvel Studios has set themselves apart by thinking outside the box a bit. They cast an actor many thought was a has-been as Iron Man, one who was mostly known for wisecracking as the stoic Captain America, and one who nobody had ever really heard of as Thor—and so far all the gambles have paid off. Perhaps not coincidentally, their next big property, Guardians of the Galaxy, seems to be the epitome of outside the box thinking. The film is adapting one of Marvel’s more obscure hero titles, it’s going to be populated largely by strange alien creatures, it’s set a sitcom actor up as its star in Chris Pratt, and it’s looking to give feature roles to awesome but lumpy-looking character actors like John C. Reilly and Michael Rooker. The movie is basically someone who roots for underdogs’ wildest dream. And now it’s being reported that director James Gunn is making one of his most interesting left field moves yet, as he’s taking Glenn Close, an actress most associated with high-minded, dramatic roles, and he’s putting her in a superhero movie.

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Guardians_GroupKey_01d_Brighter(2)

A big team of superheroes, banding together to fight a larger evil force. There will obviously be more to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but the studio has got a winning formula that looks to be dipped in LSD and given the James Gunn treatment here. Fortunately, the director recently spoke with HeyUGuys where he cleared up some rumors and explained a few reasons why his forthcoming superhero adventure will be different from The Avengers (and from Star Wars as well). “In terms of a lot of stuff we’re very much like The Avengers, where it’s a very big, huge movie. It’s different because it’s cosmic, it’s in outer space, it’s very colourful. We have a whole history of science fiction behind us that we’re dealing with, and borrowing from, and also fighting with to create something unique. But at the same time there’s a lot of stuff it has in common with The Avengers.” So, a giant version of The Avengers set in outer space? Sounds great. Where do we buy tickets?

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Michael Rooker

As we all know, Michael Rooker is fantastic. The man who got his filmic start as a murderer in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer has gone on to redefine intensity in a ton of roles and has most recently anchored The Walking Dead with a bizarre brand of lovable racism. According to Deadline, he’s now re-teaming with director James Gunn for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Slither reunion! Get excited. He’ll be playing the alien Yondu Udonta who rocks blue skin, a bitchin’ red mohawk and both of his original hands (until he, no kidding, gets his right one replaced by a device that converted into several different weapons). So this past season of The Walking Dead may have been one big audition tape. The character is also one with nature and kills with a bow that features arrows that can change direction at the archer’s command. Yet again, Marvel shows its superiority in casting.

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Chris Pratt

Briefly: Deadline Hollywood has just revealed – rumored short lists be damned! – that Chris Pratt (Zero Dark Thirty, Moneyball, Parks and Recreation, and lest we ever forget, Everwood) has landed one of the key starring roles in James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy as Star-Lord, a.k.a. Peter Quill and and the de facto leader of said Guardians. A number of other actors had been rumored as possibles for the role – including Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Eddie Redmayne, Lee Pace, Zachary Levi, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with this being the first we’ve heard of Pratt as as possible for the role. In short, what an awesome surprise.

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Jim Carrey

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the casting roundup with news about a talking raccoon, a frog puppet, a famous dog, a beautiful woman, and David Hasselhoff’s shorts. So far Marvel’s next big thing, The Guardians of the Galaxy, has been a great source of casting rumors, but not yet a generator of any casting confirmations. We’ve heard about a bevy of actors who might play Star-Lord, a handful who might be Drax the Destroyer, and now the Latino Review is reporting that director James Gunn and company are reaching out to both Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler to inquire about their availability for the film. What roles might they play? Perhaps they could provide the voices for either the big tree guy, Groot, or the little raccoon guy, Rocket Raccoon. I mean, it would just be too weird if either of them actually showed up playing a live action role, wouldn’t it? Definitely. Even hearing Sandler’s one goofy voice he uses coming out of a CG character’s mouth would just be too weird already. Let’s hope that rumor is completely off base.

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John Krasinski

The deluge of rumors concerning James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy continues unabated. This time around the source is Comic Book Movie, who says they have a shadowy operative close to the production and his or her latest round of snooping has led them to believe that not only is The Office’s John Krasinski the latest in a parade of actors to read for the role of Peter Quell, but that there’s also a shortlist of actors being considered for the role of the Guardians’ resident green guy, Drax the Destroyer. Rumor has it that Generation Kill actor Brian Patrick Wade; that guy from the Old Spice commercials, Isaiah Mustafa; and former professional wrestler Dave Bautista are all being looked at. Presumably they’re in some Hollywood back lot right now, letting Gunn take test footage of them destroying things.

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Michael Rosenbaum

As if the casting situation regarding the lead role for James Gunn’s upcoming Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, needed to get even more heated, today brings news that yet another candidate has been reading for the lead role of Peter Quill: AKA the half-human, half-alien intergalactic cop called Star-Lord. Michael Rosenbaum, who’s no stranger to the comic book world given his many years playing Lex Luthor on TV’s Smallville, recently took to his Twitter account to inform his followers that, “Read for my pal @JamesGunn GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY for PETER QUILL. What a treat! Thanks Jimmy. @Marvel.” If you can’t read Twitterspeak, that means Rosenbaum now joins Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zachary Levi, and Jim Sturgess in the stable of actors we’ve heard are up for the role.

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Joseph Gordon Levitt

Now that Marvel Studios has been wildly successful at turning some of their most popular comic book properties into hugely profitable feature film series, the publisher turned movie house is taking the next step in their development by trying to prop up one of their more off-the-beaten-path properties as the next big thing. Said property is a ragtag team of intergalactic superheroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The team, which includes characters like Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Gamora, is going to be brought to the big screen by director James Gunn (Super) in a big budget feature that’s scheduled for an August 1, 2014 release.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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Obama Wan Kenobi

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly mashing together of things about film and television because that’s what the kids on the Internet are into these days — mashing things together. Obama Wan Kenobi – We begin this evening with an oddly drawn but somewhat sensible conclusion about what Barack Obama had to do with saving Star Wars. And by “saving,” we’re of course referring to the part where George Lucas sold Star Wars and LucasFilm to Disney, placing it in capable, active hands that will no doubt save it with many wonderful films that have nothing to do with the prequels. Or something like that. Either way, /Film found this link and I say it’s worth a read. 

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Movie 43 Trailer

It’s been a really long time since a sketch anthology movie got released in theaters. I’m not some sort of human trivia machine, so I don’t know exactly how long, but let’s just say that it’s been quite a while since somebody showed somebody else their VHS copy of Kentucky Fried Movie in a college dorm room. The people at Relativity Media are making a big play at bringing the form back though, by recruiting an army of funny filmmakers and a legion of talented actors to put together a new sketch comedy anthology called Movie 43. Who do they have directing segments of this thing? People like Bob Odenkirk, James Gunn, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Farrelly, and tons others. Who’s starring? People like Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, and many more than can be typed without having your fingers cramp up. This movie cast Gerard Butler as its leprechaun, so you know it’s star-studded.

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James Gunn

Real talk: my knowledge of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is deeply limited and I completely loathed James Gunn‘s Super, yet the news that Gunn was potentially being tapped to helm the feature film for the studio quite pleased me. At the very least, the filmmaker is a bold, interesting choice who clearly has an affection for “comic book movies” (and Troma and cartoons and zombies and a whole bunch of other cool stuff), which can only serve fans of Marvel properties well. Also, the guy apparently also likes raccoons, so I might have to stop being so harsh on him. Gunn has now taken to his Facebook page (via ComingSoon) to confirm his involvement with Guardians, writing in a post just this morning:

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James Gunn Super cast

At this point, it’s not surprising when Marvel picks a left field director for their movies. They’ve practically made a formula of choosing filmmakers that the public would scratch their head over. In that grand tradition, Marvel is reportedly looking at James Gunn (Slither, Super) to handle their forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. This is awesome. A protege of the Troma School of Movie Mayhem is going to graduate to Marvel. Repeat: the dude who made PG Porn is a few negotiations away from getting a big budget and bunch of superheroes to play with. Can’t beat that. Of course, Gunn was also the writer behind Scooby-Doo and the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, so he’s not exactly a stranger to the mainstream, but the bulk of his work is not the kind that would inspire non-ironic action figures. That’s part of what makes this a genius idea. The other part is Gunn’s sense of humor and clear love of genre work. This choice may be from beyond the bleachers, but it’s inspired, and it could lead to a hell of a movie. Plus, it probably means at least one of the heroes gets to use a wrench on his enemies.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: A small town becomes ground zero to an alien invasion, which reaches Earth in the form of alien slugs on a chunk of space rock. After the meteor lands in the woods, a local big shot Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) becomes infected with the alien parasite, which controls his body and memories. It’s a story we’ve seen many times before, and understandably so. Director James Gunn creates a loving homage to movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Blob and Night of the Creeps, in which the small-town sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) must battle an onslaught of infected, zombified humans while trying to stop the spread of the parasite to the rest of the world. Helping the sheriff is his long-time crush and girl next door Starla (Elizabeth Banks), who also happens to be married to patient zero.

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Super isn’t tied to the world of comics. Writer/director James Gunn didn’t make a satire or a spoof; instead Super is its own extremist beast. The Taxi Driver-inspired religious tale is a gritty, dirty, and dark comedy that just so happens to have the leads sporting superhero costumes. These aren’t your fluffy and perfect men-in-tights leads, but some seriously damaged individuals. There’s a jarring dichotomy to the film and its characters, which is something that split both critics and audiences back in April. Frank D’Arbo, a.k.a The Crimson Bolt, is a sympathetic and understandable protagonist, but you question his sanity. Libby, a.k.a. Boltie, gains great glee from slicing up goons in the bloodiest ways possible, and yet has an endearing charm to her psychopathic and wish-fulfillment ambitions. These are repellant characters on the outside, but understandably unstable in the inside. Here’s what James Gunn had to say about the fluctuating tone, writing a character driven film versus a set-piece driven film, and making possible psychotics sympathetic in Super:

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Everywhere you look there’s another superhero movie these days. Countless studio dollars, a stream of big stars and endless articles have been expended on the subject. Thor, Captain America and the Green Lantern headline an upcoming summer movie season that’s chock-full of various forms of masked avengers. Concurrently, there’s arisen a far less prolific counter-industry of satirically oriented films, such as Kick Ass, that attempt an indie-friendly examination of the questionable sanity and real world practicality of these figures. It’s these latter films that I’ve personally flocked to, having long-grown tired of the formulaic non-Christopher Nolan big-budget superhero aesthetic. Thus, James Gunn’s Super is – in the same vein as protagonist Frank’s heavenly calling to justice – a gift from above. In framing the birth of a real-life superhero as a disturbed man’s religious awakening, the Slither filmmaker gets to the heart of the grandiose self-absorption at the core of superherodom. To don a mask and tights, formulate a nickname and spend your nights prowling the streets, seeking out drug dealers and other unsavory elements, you’d have to be, well, more than a little bit crazy. Frank (Rainn Wilson), the luckless, depressed everyday schlub central figure here fits the bill, driven to unhinged rage when his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) leaves him for scuzzy drug kingpin Jacques (Kevin Bacon).

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There are certain expectations that come with any filmmaker’s work based off the movies that have come before. Their styles, attitudes, and overall creative skill-set are usually visible to some degree throughout their career. James Gunn is no different. His last feature, Slither, was an incredibly fun and gross monster movie that maintained a good balance between the laughs and the horror. That combined with his previous efforts should leave you unsurprised that his latest would include copious amounts of bodily fluids, a complete disregard for good taste, and a face made of fecal matter floating in a bowl. What you don’t expect to see are scenes of real beauty, wit, and sincerity floating in a sadly disjointed mess of a film.

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The film I’m by far the most excited to see at the upcoming SXSW is James Gunn‘s dark superhero tale, SUPER. Everything about it sounds like the perfect film for nerds that crave divisive dark humor. Rainn Wilson as a wrench-wielding, head-busting vigilante? Awesome. Ellen Page as his annoying and narcissistic sidekick? Even better. The best part, though? Kevin Bacon as a slimy looking drug dealer. It’s been quite sometime since Bacon has done some solid scenery chewing and played the bad guy, which he rarely often does. I mean, who would have thought that kid from Footloose would one day be playing a charming wife-stealing drug dealer? Check out the trailer below.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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