Superman

IntroMundaneBadass

In reality, no job is actually mundane unless you make it that way. Washing dishes or delivering mail can be terrific if you’re happy, and you’re with people who make you happy. My point is – a job is whatever you want it to be. You can quote me on that. “A job is whatever you want it to be.” – Man wearing pajama pants Anyhoo – in the movie world this tends to be different. Very rarely do we see a character shuffling fries and acting completely content. The best however, is when a mundane job is used to juxtapose the badassness of the character – or better yet, the badass character just happens to have a mundane job attached to them. These are by far the best combinations of “boring” vs “badass” I could think up in a single afternoon while not wearing any pants. Shop smart, everyone:

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teaser man of steel shannon

Fair warning to anyone who thinks they can avoid a certain piece of information regarding who exactly Michael Shannon plays in the upcoming Superman film Man of Steel… this new teaser confirms something that’s been rumored for a while. So stop reading now if you’re still hoping to steer clear of that reveal. WB has released a new teaser for Zack Snyder‘s darker-looking continuation/reboot of the Superman films, but instead of including new footage (or any footage at all) they’re going the viral route a la Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight marketing. But just because we’re not seeing anything doesn’t mean there isn’t something to hear. Check out the teaser for Man of Steel below.

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Man of Steel

There’s a ton of inspirational philosophizing in the new trailer for Man of Steel, and damn does it also look awe-inspiring. Massive in scope, potentially intimate in its character arcs, terrifying use of Michael Shannon‘s eyes. All excellent notes (even if the song choice is a bit too cloying). If trailers can be trusted, this one yells from the cold mountaintops that Zack Snyder‘s take on Superman will be a thing of wonder. It’s exhilarating. I think I need to catch my breath. Man of Steel hits theaters June 2013.

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Man of Steel

If you were asked to design a poster for a new Superman movie, probably the first few images that popped into your head would involve the big guy flying through the air, majestic and free, or possibly lifting some sort of impossibly large object, muscles bulging – something to show off what an impressive guy this super man really is. The latest poster for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is taking things in a different direction altogether though. This poster, which debuted earlier today on the film’s Facebook page, gives us a passive and solemn Superman, handcuffed and being taken into custody by what looks to be some sort of military squad. Not exactly the kind of image you’d expect to represent the world’s most beloved and powerful superhero, is it? It would seem this is an early glimpse of that studio-mandated “grit” that’s meant to help this new franchise-launcher duplicate the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series. Grit…yuck.

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Boiling Point

A week ago, the folks at HitFix said that “according to sources,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt was going to pick up the cape and cowl and assume the mantle of Batman in the planned Justice League film. The legal minds and representatives for JGL pretty quickly pounced on the story, saying that Levitt was not attached to the production, a vague denial at best. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises you should probably stop reading. To avoid putting any spoilers, no matter how dated, on the front page, I’ll first briefly talk about another section of the HitFix article which put forth an image of Batman showing up at the end of the upcoming Man of Steel film as a segue into the Justice League flick. While that is certainly a possibly and also certainly just one man’s guess at how the new Batman would be revealed, I’d like to throw out there that it is an entirely bad idea. DC should be taking notes from Marvel and with as much as Marvel has done right on the screen, the one big thing they did wrong was Iron Man 2, when they took the focus away from the titular character and used the movie as more of a lead-in and introduction to The Avengers. With these two separate characters, DC would do well to keep them separate until they’re sharing the screen, rather than one just poking his head in. Now then….

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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Justice League Alex Ross

Development has really been heating up the over that Justice League movie. A few months ago, Gangster Squad writer Will Beall was hired to handle script duties, there was word Warner Bros. was eying Ben Affleck to direct, and then we got a director short list including the Wachowskis, Ruben Fleischer, and, who could forget, Brett Ratner. Today the project became even more real, thanks to a resolved legal dispute. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the studio is gearing up fast for a 2013 shoot and a 2015 release, which would pit the film up against The Avengers 2. After that, mostly depending on whether the film’s a hit or not, Warners would then follow up the film with a reboot of Batman and solo films following whatever heroes they decide to put in the movie. So if any of you have been holding your breath for a Hawkman movie, then perhaps your big dream may finally come true.

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Boiling Point

The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel recently made it online after rolling in front of the related DC property The Dark Knight Rises. Reactions have been mostly positive to the somber looking film, with words like “restrained” being laid upon it. Many have chosen to highlight the apparent effect that Batman producer/director Christopher Nolan has had on the Superman story. The trailer for Supes does seem to harken to a more Batman Begins esque story rather than say, Superman Returns or Green Lantern. Hey, the Batman movies were good for the most part right? Having Christopher Nolan involved is a great idea, right? Well, not if you want your universe to do anything other than implode.

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Zack Snyder

Superman doesn’t look all that happy in these first two (near identical) teasers for Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel. If you thought Bryan Singer‘s Superman was an unbearable mope, wait until you get a peak at Snyder’s, who has apparently made one of our greatest heroes in the galaxy a bearded, lonely and sad fisherman. You can’t get more “gritty” and “real” than that shocking transformation. Check both teasers out below, one with Kevin Costner narrating and one featuring Russell Crowe’s melodic grumbling.

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Superman

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Superman (1978) The Plot: Many light years away, the planet Krypton is doomed to explode, so the scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) and his wife launch their infant child Kal-El into space to find safety on the distant planet Earth. The young child’s spaceship crashes in a Kansas field, and he’s taken in by the older couple Jonathan and Martha Kent. The Kents raise the boy, whom they name Clark, as their own. However, he knows he’s different from other people, possessing amazing and superhuman powers. After finding a link to his Kryptonian past, Clark goes on a twelve-year journey to discover his destiny. He moves to Metropolis to become the city’s hero known as Superman (Christopher Reeve), all the while living a double life as a mild-mannered reporter at the Daily Planet. Superman catches the eye of the fiendish criminal Lex Luthor who plans for the hero’s destruction so he doesn’t interfere with Luthor’s plot to make a fortune in real estate.

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Culture Warrior

Enduring cultural figures like Batman endure precisely because of the slight but notable changes they incur over time. Batman has had a long history in the moving image, and while the character has maintained both the central conceit of being a crime-fighting detective, the cinematic Batman of seventy years ago bears little resemblance to the Batman we’re familiar with today. The character and his myth have been interpreted with variation by a multitude of creative persons other than Bob Kane and Bill Finger. In the moving image, Batman has been embodied by a range of actors including Robert Lowery, Adam West, and George Clooney, and Batman has been realized by directors and showrunners prone to various tastes and aesthetic interpretations like William Dozier and Christopher Nolan. While Batman is perhaps best-known by a non-comic-astute mass culture through the many blockbuster feature films made about him, including this summer’s hotly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, the character’s cinematic origins are rooted in the long-dead format of the movie serial. Batman first leapt off the page in a 15-part serial made in 1943 titled Batman and another six years later titled Batman and Robin. These serials did not influence Batman’s later cinematic iterations realized by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher as much as they inspired Batman’s representation on television. Batman’s presence in film serials and on television have had a decisive and important impact in terms of how mass audiences perceive the Batman of feature films. At the same time, these serials […]

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The release of The Amazing Spider-Man this week has left some people scratching their heads. How can a movie that is billed as “The Untold Story” be so achingly repetitive? With the first hour of the film an alternate take on the first hour of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man from 2002, people have questioned the need to rehash essentially the same origin story of such a widely-known superhero. As reported in Latino Review, director Marc Webb insists the reboot was necessary. (Spoiler: it wasn’t.) He continues to say it was to introduce the world to a new Spider-Man and, more importantly, a new Peter Parker. (Spoiler: It really doesn’t.) Whether Webb was pressured by the studio for the redux origin or if he just wanted to not have to follow any of the Raimi canon, it seems silly to tread such familiar ground so soon. In 2002, Spider-Man continued the trend that X-Men started two years before, making superhero films profitable and possible in the big studio system. Since then, we’ve seen quite a few origin stories – from full-blown reboots of known characters as in Batman Begins to introduction of heroes who aren’t known much outside of comic book fans as in Iron Man. However, with The Man of Steel coming up next year and an obvious Batman reboot once The Dark Knight Rises finishes its run, who knows what Hollywood is going to do next?

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Though the idea of making a movie about Legos initially sounded like a really bad one, once Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller pitched their take on the material it actually sounded pretty promising. Could a movie about little plastic blocks tell an engaging story that teaches children an important message? That’s a question that we won’t be able to answer for quite some time, but thanks to a report from Variety we now know a whole lot more about what this upcoming Lego movie will look like. First of all, the project’s working title has now been confirmed as the project’s official title – that would be Lego: The Piece of Resistance. Thematically this makes sense, as Lord and Miller’s initial comments said that their main character would be an average guy living in Lego City who has to unlearn the town’s strict rules of always building things according to the instructions and figure out how to create something wholly original. It would seem that The Piece of Resistance’s protagonist is being set up as something of a revolutionary; both figuratively and literally according to new information from the Variety report.

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Last week, the utterly shocking news broke that not only was Warner Bros. pursuing a Justice League movie, but it also was in no way at all ever influenced by the unbridled financial success of Marvel’s The Avengers. We can all believe that, can’t we? After all, we read it on the internet. With Man of Steel coming out next year and a no-brainer Batman reboot coming now that Christopher Nolan’s movies are wrapping up this summer, this is an opportunity for Warner Bros. and DC to set a new stage. Plus, with adaptations of The Flash and Lobo, and the potential for a Green Lantern reboot, Warner Bros. and DC have things laid out for them to work out very similar to the pre-Avengers line of films. But this is Hollywood, and so many things can go potentially wrong with a project like this. Here are seven ways Warner Bros. can avoid a potential disaster as they develop this film series.

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UPDATE: After speaking with the head of WETA’s marketing, we can confirm that the sizzle reel mentioned below was not WETAs. Again, this IMDB posting should be taken at arm’s length, and there’s also the possibility that Rothbart got the effects company wrong, but if these scenes are real, they are not the work of WETA. Original posting follows: There was never much doubt that Man of Steel would have a comic book feel. It was only slightly less guaranteed than it looking like a Zack Snyder movie. The Warners mulligan on Clark Kent is set for theaters in June of 2013, but apparently WETA just showed two scenes as part of a sizzle reel that played at a fancy gathering with smoked salmon and a bunch of visual effects artists. Allegedly, one of those effects wizards, Jonathan Rothbart (Avatar, Priest, Iron Man), posted a description of the scenes on the film’s IMDB message board. He was pretty excited. Here’s what he (spoilerifically) had to say:

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Warner Bros. has revealed a new logo for Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder directed next chapter in the ongoing saga of Superman. It was posted this afternoon to the film’s official Facebook page as the page’s new cover image. Led by Immortals star Henry Cavill as Superman, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon as General Zod, this new Superman tale is said to be a bit darker, a bit grungier than the grand gloss presented in Bryan Singer’s 2006 film Superman Returns. It’s hard to say anything beyond that, as Warner Bros. is keeping a tight marketing lid on the June 14, 2013 release up to this point. But with The Dark Knight Rises heading to theaters in July, it stands to reason that a trailer can’t be that far off. Until then, lets talk about this logo…

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Wish you could watch the Frank Darabont-scripted Indiana Jones 4? Dying to see Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen? Curious as to how a ton of great scripts got passed over before Tim Burton made his remake of Planet of the Apes? “Tales From Development Hell” author David Hughes joins us to dissect why we’re fascinated with stories of flicks that were never made, explains why At The Mountains of Madness got canned and explains how the big damned system of tentpole studio production works. Download Episode #125

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Shooting in downtown Chicago for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel will begin on Wednesday, and local rag Chicago Business has scoops on some of the locations that will be used and what they will be doubling as. More specifically, while they’re not sure of the locations of any street shots, they know what building Snyder plans to use as the headquarters of Metropolis’ number one newspaper The Daily Planet. Apparently Chicago’s Board of Trade building will serve as the Planet building exteriors (with digitally inserted globe atop, I’m sure) and the interiors of the newspaper office will be filmed inside of the Wesley Willis Memorial Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). These choices make a lot of sense, because the Board of Trade is a big imposing building that looks nice standing at the end of a street, and the Willis Tower is huge, so there’s probably plenty of room inside to be converted into movie sets. Eagle eyed Chicago enthusiasts or great big super hero nerds might have noticed that there’s a sweet little bit of trivia created by Snyder’s choice though. The Board of Trade looks so good as a big imposing building that it was also used as the headquarters for Wayne Enterprises in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. Using the same building twice for two big superhero movies shouldn’t be a big deal; you slap a big W on it the first time, you put a big globe on it the second time, […]

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When Zoolander came out on September 28, 2001, the production had digitally removed The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers from the New York City skyline in an effort to avoid displaying a devastating image in the middle of a comedy about the world of fashion. If they’d have left it in, it wouldn’t have been the first time the buildings had been featured on film or television. Since they didn’t, it marks the first time the buildings were ever erased. With the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 coming this Sunday, it’s impossible not to be consumed a bit by the gravity of an action that killed so many and lowered a different world view onto all of us. Landon and I talked on Reject Radio regarding the effect that the day had on movies and movie-watchers, but that mostly dealt with the last decade – the world that came after that morning. As a counterpart, here’s a simply-edited montage of the past. Dan Meth has built a view to the movies where the Twin Towers either stood proudly in the background, made prominent appearances in the front of the action, or acted as the set. It’s stirring in its matter-of-factness, and it’s more than a little moving, but it’s ultimately a celebration of a symbol that no longer (physically) exists. Check it out for yourself:

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A couple weeks ago a spy photo from the set of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel made the Internet rounds. It contained what appeared to be Michael Shannon wearing what appeared to be a motion capture suit. If that was the case, then that would mean General Zod, the Evil Kryptonian General that Shannon is playing in the film, would have a completely computer generated outfit akin to the super suits in the recent, awful looking Green Lantern. Okay, so your opinion may vary, but I thought that the effects in Green Lantern looked horrible. Depending on whether you agree with me or not, a recent interview that Shannon did with MovieFone could either make you weep or make you cheer. It turns out that yes, that was Michael Shannon in that photo, and yes, the General Zod costume will be created using CG. When asked about the motion capture suit Shannon said, “ … it’s funny because when I met with Zack we were talking about it before it started and he mentioned that there was going to be a lot of CGI, or whatever. I said, ‘Just don’t make me wear one of those silly suits.’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah, don’t worry, I know exactly what you’re talking about.’” It turns out that Zack Snyder is a liar. Shannon is wearing the suit. However, even though Shannon was forced to wear a silly suit because of Snyder’s lies, he assures everyone that fans will be happy with how […]

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