Martin Campbell

And you thought we were done with James Bond articles for a while, didn’t you? Not so. With Skyfall continuing to tear up the box office in both North America and overseas, and with it officially becoming the highest-grossing Bond film in the domestic market, it’s not going away. Add to this the fact that MGM is giving the film a push for award consideration (a long shot, sure, but that theme song by Adele certainly has a chance to win something), and you’ve still got Bond on the brain a month after the film opened. It’s time to look back to one of Bond’s beginnings. Not the books, and not the start of the film franchise in the 1960s. Instead, let’s crack open the DVD of Casino Royale, which rebooted the franchise from the rocky path it was on behind frontman Pierce Brosnan. For the Collector’s Edition of the Casino Royale DVD and Blu-ray, which came out in 2008, director Martin Campbell explains in the then-new how the series was given a new start. He is joined by the film’s producer. There will, of course, be spoilers for Casino Royale below, but you might also want to make sure you see Skyfall before reading this in its entirety, considering there are one or two interesting connections between the films. And on to the commentary…

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The James Bond Files

For diehard fans of the James Bond franchise, each and every film is sacrosanct in some small fashion or another. Even those titles that flirt shamelessly with being totally unwatchable will offer at least a kernel of merit for those willing to hunt for it. Yes, even Die Another Day. That being said, an obvious hierarchy exists to stratify these films in terms of both excellence and their overall significance to the franchise. The natural assumption here is that, much like the geological methodology on which this metaphor is predicated, the strata composed of the oldest material would be of most significance. In other words, a Bond film’s recency is inversely proportional to its importance within the franchise. The fact is that one of the franchise’s most important films was released thirty-three years after its inaugural entry. In 1995, Goldeneye relaunched the James Bond film legacy in tremendous fashion. It offered unique balance between Bond’s past (the title being a reference to Ian Fleming’s Jamaica home in which he wrote most of the novels) and his future. Among many, Bond connoisseur and novice alike, Goldeneye is well-regarded, so assigning it underrated status is wholly inaccurate. However, what does often get overlooked is how critical the success of this one movie was to ensuring the series’ continuation.

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Drinking Games

Just because it was raked over the critical coals this past summer doesn’t mean that Green Lantern can’t be fun. And even though St. Patrick’s Day is five months away, this would be a perfect time to get your hands on some green beer and watch the film again on DVD or Blu-ray (or if you’re really ambitious, on 3D Blu-ray). Remember that a Green Lantern’s might comes from the power of will. Here is your chance to test the strength of your will and intestinal fortitude. Who knows? By the end of the movie, you might just believe that you can create things with your mind.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It doesn’t even know anymore… Megan Fox and John C. Reilly are tonight’s lead story. The choice of lead image was bound to be a sexy one. And as you can see, I believe I’ve made the right choice. He’s almost too sexy. Anyway, he’ll be starring alongside the outcast Transformers actress in Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator. No word on what role either will play in the story of a Middle Eastern dictator who ends up in the U.S., where no one cares who he is.

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So much potential and so much promise… and yet so much blandness. I had been trying to stay as hopeful as one could when it came to Green Lantern. Even after Neil – who I usually think is spot on when it comes to his criticisms – posted his review, I still held on to what little optimism I could maintain. “Perhaps Green Lantern would be this summer’s G.I. Joe, a film that is so cartoonish that you just can’t help but to laugh with it,” I thought. But, boy, was I wrong. Green Lantern is no laughing matter. Green Lantern + The guy who reinvented Bond twice + Reynolds’ mojo + Great Sarsgaard + Potential for Space Battles + Mark Strong as Sinestro = what should’ve been a real event film. Wha happened?

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As Kermit the Frog once famously said, it ain’t easy being green. The same could be said for modern superhero films and comic book adaptations. It seems a daunting task when you really think about it, the notion that you’re entering into one of cinema’s most expensive endeavors, yearning to please its most incredulous audience while trying to carry the mainstreamers along as well. In some instances, as is the case with Green Lantern, you’re task is to bring a wide audience up to speed on a complex, rich and intensely alien mythology. It ain’t easy. So as an audience, when we see a film like Green Lantern, one that does so much of the most difficult stuff right, but gets almost all the easy stuff wrong, it can be the most entertainingly frustrating experiences of our summer. The whole thing smacks of 2006, when a passionate superhero auteur named Bryan Singer gave the world a lavish, modern version of the Man of Steel in Superman Returns. The things he got right in his pursuit of faith and glossy nostalgia were dazzling. The visual effects were seamless, the world’s hardest working alien was truly spectacular in flight and feat. But when it came down to the most basic elements of storytelling, the parts where we get to human emotions like love and longing, all the personality of a once dynamic character appears to have been sucked out by a cosmic force. Left in its wake was emptiness. Green Lantern suffers, […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in green and black spandex and parades around town telling people that he is a superhero who can create anything out of sheer will. Of course, it seems that the only thing he’s able to create is an ever-growing arrest report. Later, Kevin takes a trip to his local zoo where he sneaks into the penguin habitat in order to forge a bond with these flightless birds. Unfortunately, the penguins don’t take too well to him and peck him to near death, leaving Kevin to skulk away to the local movie theater in order to catch a double feature of Green Lantern and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Movies.com‘s John Gholson offers a primer before we all go see Green Lantern, and lead creature designer for the film (and Super 8, Avatar, and many others…) Neville Page talks about creating aliens. Plus, our very own Matt Patches faces off against UGO‘s movies editor Jordan Hoffman in a Movie News Pop Quiz that’ll be one for the books. We follow it up with a Green Lantern review, so stick around. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Bare witness to the awesome power of the Guardians. Fly through Oa and watch as the entire Green Lantern Corps summons the power of its rings. Run in fear as the yellow energy of their greatest foe runs rampant in the streets. There’s no doubt that some of the marketing for Green Lantern has been flaccid, but this trailer takes a dose of the little blue pill and lets it rip. This is a coming out party for a movie that’s really a space opera, and it’s refreshing to see Warners unafraid to show the world the cards it’s laying down on the table. Prepare to be blown away:

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Last year, I had the honor of traveling down to New Orleans, piling in a van, heading to a secluded warehouse and talking to an alien. I also spoke with the first human member of an elite group of interstellar heroes, a director who has more energy than anyone at his age has a right to, and I got a glimpse into a world beyond our own. So before comic book purists protest the insanely small number listed in the headline, these are the Green Lanterns hanging up on a wall somewhere in New Orleans – character design sketches to fill out the alien landscape of those who bravely, selflessly, and fearlessly patrol the universe. Some were born from the comic books, others from the minds of the production team. Some will be featured heavily, others will be hanging out (valiantly) in the background. We’ll be bringing Green Lantern set visit coverage to you all week, but to get things started, we figured it would be a good idea to do a round of introductions. Some you already know, and some you haven’t yet had the pleasure, so we wanted to make it official. Green Lanterns, meet the world. The world, meet the Green Lanterns.

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Looks like today will be the Saturday of DC Comics movies. First is was the Superman Blu-ray announcement, and now it’s a 4-minute reel of footage from the upcoming Green Lantern film that showed at WonderCon in San Francisco yesterday. Unlike the previously released trailer, this abridged series of clips explores more deeply the world of the Lanterns and places Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) on Oa in a very real way. Also, that suit is starting to look much better. The entire affair feels a lot less cartoony and more genuinely alien. As in, alien to our world, but not our universe. Consider this your warning shot: one of the movies of summer 2011 is almost here. Take a look for yourself right after the jump.

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Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern is DC’s big hope at finally being invited to the adult’s table alongside Marvel, so a lot is riding on this particular green superhero. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a test pilot who fantasizes about The Last Starfighter and wishes a colored alien would come to take him away. His prayers are answered… kind of… and he finds himself in possession of a very special secret decoder ring and a destiny to help defend the universe. Along for the ride are his highly unbelievable pilot buddy Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), his slightly more believable bespectacled friend Thomas (Taika Waititi), and evil scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard). Can Jordan become the hero the universe needs?

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On Tuesday, Warner Bros. will unleash upon the web a first teaser trailer for next year’s superhero gamble, Green Lantern. I say gamble not because it’s bound to make or break the future of superheroes at Warners — they do still have one more Batman flick coming from Christopher Nolan — but because it’s the first non-Batman superhero flick of a new era. It’s an era that follows restructuring, retooling and the rethinking of how they will use the heroes in the DC Comics catalog. Like Jon Favreau’s Iron Man for Marvel, Lantern will set the tone for what is to come. Whether that means a slow build toward a big team-up movie or not is yet to be determined. But projects like The Flash and a long-gestating stab at Wonder Woman may hang in the balance. So the start of WB’s return to making big superhero movies starts here, with a preview of a trailer from Entertainment Tonight… What makes it most interesting is that while it’s got some silliness, there is certainly a bit of a spark in there. See what I mean after the jump.

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So the news cycle has already moved on to chirping about The Hobbit (making it feel like January again) and about Steven Spielberg making a robot movie (making it feel like 2005 and 2001 again), but that won’t stop us from going all the way back to last week and continuing the conversation about Halo. With renewed efforts being made to bring it to the screen, the question continues to be who the best director would be for the job. We don’t know the answer to that, but we do know who would make the most interesting version of Master Chief blasting the slaughter dew right out of some alien hordes. That’s why we gathered together the bold (sometimes twisted) minds of the Rejects to answer the call and deliver a list of a few directors who would look outside the box to turn something incredibly commercial into something either brilliant or completely inaccessible. Without further ado, here’s the list:

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In August, I was fortunate enough to trade the heat of Arizona for the heat and humidity of Louisiana in order to visit the set of The Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds, a ring that makes him powerful, Mark Strong, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard. I can’t say much about the visit yet (because of the court order), and I wasn’t the only one there (which is why they added “conspiracy” to the charges), but the set visit did yield a ton of really cool information about the film, and FSR will be delivering it straight to your brain like no other site can. While you wait on pins and needles awaiting all that comic book goodness, check out these two pieces of concept art that you’ll only see here (and several other websites). They both feature the design of Oa – the planet where the Green Lantern Corps makes its headquarters – and they’re both worthy of hanging up on your wall next to your poster for The Last Starfighter: The Musical. Don’t let evil or these concept pieces escape your sight, and remember to click to make the images much, much bigger:

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Every so often, a film emerges from the fray to prove its popularity and warrant a sequel. More and more, franchises are planned out in advance, but when one film turns into a franchise, a cash register sound goes off in the ears of the studio. Even though the kid stays in the picture, sometimes the director does not. Maybe the director is done working with the material. Maybe the producers want a more seasoned hand. Maybe a simple schedule conflict keeps him or her out of the chair for the next round up. But the show must go on, so the producers find another director to fill the slot – a director who ostensibly inherits all the strengths and weaknesses of a franchise birthed by someone else. Cinematic sloppy seconds that could have easily turned into sloppy sequels if it weren’t for a steady, talented director guiding the ship. Here’s a list of the ten best.

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Earlier today I was reading CHUD, where Devin Faraci cited Warner Bros.’ upcoming superhero flick Green Lantern as one of the “losers” of Comic-Con, with the film’s lack of footage bested by superhero counterparts from Marvel, namely Thor and Captain America. And while that is an interesting sentiment, and one that I’m sure doesn’t come only from Faraci, I’m still holding onto the excitement around Green Lantern. Call it a product of my Comic-Con absence, but I will continue to hold this film as one of my most anticipated 2011 releases. Mainly because it is well cast, has been placed in the hands of a more than capable director, and the script reads like something balanced with the pace of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man and the visual promise of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. And that’s one hell of a one-two punch. I’m still excited. And you should be, as well. Especially when you click through the jump and find a few lovely new teaser posters, which were released today by Warner Bros.

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Green Lantern and The Flash

It’s become clear that Warner Bros. has a lot of confidence in the Martin Campbell directed Green Lantern movie. They must be seeing something incredible from the Louisiana set. Because putting money into the first film in a B-level superhero franchise is one thing, but starting work on sequel before principal photography is wrapped on the first is something different entirely.

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The Hobbit

As I’m sure we all know by now, fan favorite director Guillermo del Toro has vacated the position as director of The Hobbit. That leaves the production with a big hole to fill. Which leaves us with plenty of room for idle speculation, guessing and (hopefully) something that seems like a logical path for the future of The Hobbit.

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The first images from the Louisiana set of Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern have been slowly seeping their way onto the web. And while the world will have to wait until post-production to see what Ryan Reynolds looks like as the ring-bearing superhero, we are getting a look at what the film’s villain — or at least one of them — will look like.

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