Matthew Vaughn

IntroGenre

By no means are directors expected to make the same movie over and over again – but they also don’t tend to fly genre to genre like some kind of bipolar carnival game either. Here are a few directors who – if they were to put on an autograph signing – would find themselves in the midst of a very polarized crowd of fans.

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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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kick-ass

When Kick-Ass hit theaters in 2010, it tainted comic book movies for me. Bringing a sense of gore and grit to escapism, it would come to color other caped members of the genre. The most recent example is Man of Steel which features a hefty, highly debated death toll, but doesn’t feature much time for reflection because, of course, they needed to have a female soldier comment on how hot Superman is at the end. In a different view on the same neighborhood, Joss Whedon actually showed people being saved amid the destructive aftermath to his battle in The Avengers. Captain America earns the thanks of a grateful group, but is it realistic that an entire alien army stormed through downtown New York City with several flying football fields, but everyone was evacuated in a few minutes? It’s difficult to shake the potential for a death toll when you fictionally destroy that many city blocks, but Kick-Ass made the loss of a single life seem grisly and as powerful as a steaming locomotive.

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jackson

Matthew Vaughn’s Secret Service is an upcoming comic book adaptation that boasts a good deal of pedigree already. Not only is it going to star Colin Firth, who is one of the best performers ever to sign on to lead a movie based on a comic, but it’s also got a whole host of other people who have seen great success in the comic book world bringing it to life, pretty much from top to bottom. Vaughn, of course, already earned quite a bit of praise for reviving the beleaguered X-Men Franchise with X-Men: First Class. Michael Caine, who was one of the prominent players in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise, is said to be on board to play the head of the agency that Firth’s character works for. Mark Millar, the guy who wrote the comic the film is going to be based on, is already known for being the creator of Kick-Ass. And, heck, even the artist who worked on Millar’s book and has likely inspired many of the visuals of this new project, Dave Gibbons, is already a comic book legend because he’s the man who drew “Watchmen.” What else could be done to make this movie look like any more of a sure thing? How about adding the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the mix?

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Mark Millar

It’s amazing Mark Millar has been appointed the coveted position of handling Fox’s Marvel adaptations and has yet brag about it or give us exaggerated news stories to scoff at. Millar actually seems to be taking this gig rather seriously. Based on his still slightly cryptic plans, we can see why. Considering Millar just signed on for the job, there isn’t a whole lot of news in what he had to say about the future for Fox’s Marvel properties. If there’s anything newsworthy in what Millar had to say about the future it’s regarding the obvious spinoffs from the X-Men franchise, “Fox are thinking, ‘We’re sitting on some really awesome things here. There is another side of the Marvel Universe. Let’s try and get some cohesiveness going.’ So they brought me in to oversee that really, so to meet with the writers and directors to suggest new ways we could take this stuff and maybe new properties that could spin out of it, because the X-Men alone feels like a universe of itself; there’re so many characters, there’re so many great potential spin-off characters.” The X-Men world is currently the only universe Fox has set up, but could Daredevil work in an X-Men world? The rumor was Fox wanted an unsurprisingly “gritty” take on the man without fear, and after the tone Matthew Vaughn established with X-Men: First Class, would the two styles mesh together well?

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Ever since the surprising announcement that we have a new Star Wars on the way, just about every movie site on the web has started running lists (including us!) of who they’d love to see direct it. I’m sure Matthew Vaughn‘s name was on more than a few of those lists (as it turned on, he didn’t appear on ours), and it seems there’s a small, small chance of that dream coming true. According to (an unconfirmed rumor on) Collider, Vaughn is in discussions to direct. First of all, take this story with a grain of salt. New Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy is probably having a lot of discussions with all kinds of directors, considering how many people would die to take a crack at Star Wars. Vaughn is most likely one of those guys and on a list of hopeful prospects they have, just like their list for who they’d want to play the old, whiny Luke Skywalker.

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Bryan Singer

Recently the world was rocked with the low down, rotten, no good news that Matthew Vaughn was dropping out as the director of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and that Fox was going to have to scramble to find a replacement. The possible silver lining in this cloud was that Bryan Singer, the guy who directed the first two X-Men movies, who almost directed X-Men: First Class, and who’s been working as a very involved producer in getting X-Men: Days of Future Past together, could possibly be the guy to step in and direct the film, thus making for an easy transition. Basically the situation was, either Singer directs, or the possibilities for the film start to look very scary.

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The best news to hit the X-Men franchise in many years was that X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn had signed on to make the sequel, and that said sequel would take its inspiration from a classic X-Men story called “Days of Future Past.” For weeks we’ve been living in a bright and sunny paradise where the future of Fox’s X-Men movies looks very bright, indeed. But suddenly, thanks to news from the party-poopers over at Deadline Hollywood, things aren’t smelling quite so rosy. They were the first to report the news that Vaughn has now decided to drop out of the project to instead focus on another comic book adaptation for Fox based off of Mark Millar’s ‘Secret Service.’ This leaves the future of X-Men: Days of Future Past somewhat up in the air. And, if you’ll remember, the last time a successful X-Men director dropped out of the franchise he was helming, the results were Brett Ratner being brought in for the abysmal X-Men: The Last Stand. There isn’t a chance that something like that could happen again, is there?

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Mark Millar

Fox hasn’t always been the most successful studio, as far as adapting Marvel comic books is concerned. Though their 2000 film version of X-Men is largely responsible for launching the current comic book movie boom, their more recent mutant movies haven’t been all that hot, and their takes on the Marvel-created Daredevil and Fantastic Four franchises haven’t been able to produce anything remotely up to snuff. Their treatment of their superhero movies has gone so far off the rails that they’re even set to lose the rights to the Daredevil property, as their attempts to get a new film together haven’t kept pace with the end of their contract. That doesn’t mean that Fox’s days of making Marvel movies are over, though. They’ve still got two more X-Men movies in the works in James Mangold’s The Wolverine and Matthew Vaughn’s  X-Men: Days of Future Past, and they’ve made a new commitment to taking another crack at the Fantastic Four franchise by bringing Chronicle director Josh Trank on for a reboot. That’s some powerhouse talent paired with some potentially lucrative material. And today Fox announced their next step toward getting their Marvel properties back under control: they’ve hired veteran comic book creator Mark Millar to come on as a creative consultant for all of the House of Ideas characters that are still under their control.

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One of the most enduring and well-liked storylines from Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s legendary run on the “Uncanny X-Men” comic book was known as ‘Days of Future Past.’ It introduced readers to a post-apocalyptic future (hilariously, 2013) where the Earth is controlled by giant robots, mutants are all either killed or locked up in internment camps, and only a small handful of rebels remain. These rebels, determining that all of this badness started with the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and his subsequent martyring by anti-mutant forces, send an older version of Kitty Pryde back to the present to warn the X-Men that they must stop the assassination at all costs. Basically, the story is a cross between Back to the Future and The Terminator, with super-powered mutants, and it’s one of the front-runners for coolest thing ever. So it’s super exciting to hear that Matthew Vaughn is apparently going to be using it as the inspiration for the sequel to his 2011 reboot of the X-Men franchise, X-Men: First Class. Confirmation of this news came from an interview IGN conducted with producer Bryan Singer. When asked what he could reveal about the First Class sequel, Singer dropped a bombshell by saying, “It’s going to be very ambitious. It’s called Days of Future Past, and it deals with aspects of that comic but also some very new things… I just don’t want to give any of it away. Matthew Vaughn will be directing […]

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Most of us are going to have to wait until next year to read Australian author Max Barry’s next novel “Lexicon,” but one man who got an advanced copy is Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn. Deadline Broken Hill reports that Barry’s agents sent a copy of the book to the director, and he gave it pretty much the most glowing review possible by coughing up enough of his own money to option its movie rights. Barry’s books are generally thrillers that satirize marketing and big business, and according to Deadline’s description of “Lexicon,” it seems to be sticking to those themes. Apparently it takes place in an alternate reality where words are powerful weapons. In this world there’s a secret cabal of people who have been using the power of language to manipulate the public into submission and promote their own positions since the beginning of time. The wrinkle in the story comes when a young member of the secret organization breaks one of their primary rules and falls in love. As we all know, love ruins everything.

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X-Men: First Class ended up being the miracle of last summer. With the quick production schedule and the less-said-about-it-the-better X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, who would’ve thought we’d get the best in the series yet? Well, we did. If you’ve seen the first three films of the franchise, you really don’t have to be an analytical comic book nerd to notice a few continuity problems. Or, if you want to look at it in a brighter and more logical light, it was Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and the brass at Fox starting anew. With Vaughn recently announced to helm the sequel to his poppy origin story, hopefully he’ll continue to build a new X-Men film universe. Who wouldn’t want to see characters like Gambit and Angel all finally given justice, and in the 1970s nonetheless? I would. Whether or not that’ll happen is still up in the air, but it seems plausible. Although Jane Goldman isn’t officially attatched to pen the sequel and she’s got plenty of other projects on her schedule, I couldn’t help but to discuss the potential of a sequel, as well as her plans for Nate Simpson‘s Nonyplayer:

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Last summer’s X-Men: First Class breathed some necessary life back into the superhero franchise, thanks to a stylistically cool film, an up-and-coming cast, and some generally energetic direction from Matthew Vaughn. While I don’t think anyone was particularly worried about Vaughn coming back to helm the film’s inevitable sequel, Deadline Warsaw has gone ahead and confirmed that Vaughn is indeed on to direct, with Bryan Singer back to produce. Their post also confirms that Simon Kinberg is set to script the film (news we’ve known about since November), which will likely be the film’s greatest hurdle, as Kinberg has yet to impress me with films like Jumper and the first Sherlock Holmes. Next up, he’s got two projects coming out that I cannot even remotely gather interest in – This Means War and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He also helped script X-Men: The Last Stand, which was decidedly not good, but at least he has familiarity with his characters. Paired with Singer and Vaughn, who both have great affection for the franchise, this next X-Men could shake out just fine.

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Bond 50

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that, tonight, is focused on a cornacopia of new Blu-ray release information. From James Bond to Jake Gittes, it’s going to be a beautiful year of high definition goodness. There is also non-Blu-ray news, for those who like variety. We begin tonight with a look at the box for Bond 50, the upcoming release of the Golden Anniversary Blu-ray edition of all 22 James Bond films on Blu-ray for the first time as one complete offering. MGM and Fox laid out plans at CES today, which included making it available for pre-order right now. Put simply, it’s beautiful. They even delivered a trailer, which I’ve included after the jump.

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all about movies, and television, and comics, and literature, and photos of hot women. Such as Miss Piggy, yo. We begin tonight with perhaps the most interesting twist of the fall movie season. In recent interviews, the likes of Frank Oz and other original puppeteers and writers from the Jim Henson school are speaking out about how The Muppets might not respect the characters they helped create. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” Oz told Metro. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”

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Drinking Games

Yeah, we realize that technically X-Men: First Class came out last Friday, but what’s the point of giving you a drinking game if you can’t actually play it. So this week, we’ve got enough drinking rules to bring out the mutant in you. Watch one of the better movies of this past summer and enjoy your favorite beverage. May we suggest a nice, cold German beer. Just be careful that pre-Magneto doesn’t show up and stab you in the hand while you’re drinking it.

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Why are spies so sad and mopey now? Where are the cool, suave, and untouchable secret agents? Lately, nowhere to be found on the big screen. Director John Madden certainly is not bringing back the era of smooth heroes with his latest film, The Debt. The director’s small, claustrophobic remake focuses on lost individuals who display more heartache and moral uncertainty than your typical heroics. Madden did not make a film about a secret mission gone awry, but a film about regret and the power of lies. A few years ago director Matthew Vaughn was attached to helm the thriller, and if he ended up behind the camera, The Debt would be a very different film. Instead of going for a stylish and poppy feel, the Shakespeare in Love filmmaker went with something far more claustrophobic and full of moral uncertainty. As a result, Madden made something many, many notches above Kill Shot in the quality department. Here is what director John Madden had to say about his three damaged Mossad agents, taking a serious matter seriously, and the power of regret:

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Gwen is on a bit of a vacation this week, so I’m taking over writing duties for the one column on the site that forces us to ogle and think deeply at the same time. Hopefully I do it justice. Hopping into a cinematic time machine to set a film in a different decade is always a precarious occupation, but for X-Men: First Class (a movie that doesn’t seem exactly topical despite coming out two months ago), the danger of portraying the men and women of 1962 was even more difficult. Sure, Mad Men had come along and made the sleek chauvinism of the 60s chic again, but Matthew Vaughn and company had to juggle the suspension of disbelief inherent in spotlighting mutants alongside the possible cartoon that forms whenever a guy in a tight cummerbund slaps a woman on the ass and goes back to enjoying being white and male in America. So is X-Men: First Class anti-feminist or a sexy love note to the powerful women of our world? That’s a tough call. And since it’s a tough call, here’s an attempt at giving both arguments equal weight.

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Culture Warrior

Themes of identity, difference, stigma, and othering are explicitly or implicitly present in much of the X-Men mythology, whether expressed through comics, television shows, or films. While I was never a devotee to the comics, as a fan of the 90s animated television series and (some of) the recent slate of Hollywood films (that have, as of this past weekend, effectively framed the continually dominant superhero blockbuster genre), I’ve always been fascinated by the series’ ability to take part in the language of social identity issues. Fantastic genres like horror and sci-fi have often provided an allegorical means of addressing social crises (vampire films as AIDS metaphor, zombie movie as conformist critique, or Dystopian sci-fi as technocratic critique, for example). The superhero genre has possessed a similar history in this capacity, even though it has thus far been mostly unrealized in the medium of film. As big entertainment, superhero films ranging from the first Spider-Man to the Iron Man films have bestowed narratives of exceptionalism and wish-fulfillment rather than shown any aspiration towards critique or insight. Perhaps The Dark Knight is most involved example of social critique thus far – a film that explores themes surrounding the personal toll on fighting terror and the overreaches of power that can result in the name of pursuing safety. What X-Men: First Class (almost) accomplishes is mining fully the allegorical territory made available by its fantastic premise in a way that few previous comic book films have.

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