The Avengers

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We’ve known for months that Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver would be newest addition to the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been circling the Quicksilver role for what feels like years, but it looks like his superheroine sister has beaten him to the punch. Elizabeth Olsen, the younger (and far more talented) sister of the Olsen twins and star of Martha Marcy May Marlene and the upcoming Oldboy and Godzilla reboots, is now in final talks for the role. Scarlet Witch (who, along with her brother Quicksilver, have been a members of the Avengers since the 1960’s) has one of the most bizarre superpowers in Marvel Comics – specifically, the ability to cast hexes and manipulate probabilities. That sounds excruciatingly dull, I know; normally it translated into magically wishing bad luck upon her opponents via collapsing floors, exploding gas mains or misfiring weapons. In recent years she’s been upgraded a few times, to the extent that she can now alter the very fabric of reality.

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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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Was Loki your favorite part of The Avengers? Do you have fond memories of seeing the Asgardian villain create chaos everywhere he went, trying to take down the intrepid band of superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while also getting pummeled by the Hulk? Well too bad, because Tom Hiddleston just confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that the god of mischief will not be appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Apparently, he and writer-director Joss Whedon are in agreement that Loki’s story was played out to completion in the first film, and the sequel to the 2012 hit will focus on a new villain for the Avengers to battle. Hiddleston’s fine with it – no, really. “When I think of all the things I loved as a child, for example, Hans Gruber wasn’t in Die Hard 2. And in Indiana Jones, by the time he moved from the Lost Ark to the Temple of Doom, there was a whole new bad guy. I think keeping it fresh and new is good for The Avengers even though it’s a shame for me,” he tells EW.

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SHIELD-cast

It was just last May when we got our first look at genre TV legend Joss Whedon’s take on the Marvel Universe via his blockbuster feature The Avengers, and that look was good. It was good indeed. But The Avengers was so well-loved that the wait for another Whedon and Marvel team-up has begun to feel endless already. The good news is that we don’t have to wait until The Avengers 2 in 2015 to get another taste of Whedon handling superhero stuff though, because Marvel also put him in charge of putting together their upcoming primetime network television drama, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. And still, while Whedon getting a chance to develop another TV show is dream come true enough for fans of things like Buffy and Firefly, and the fact that this new show will give us a chance to see Whedon dabbling in the Avengers universe again in 2013 is added icing on the cake, Marvel and the network who’s going to be airing Agents of SHIELD, ABC, have been kind of jerking us around when it comes to telling us when the show is actually going to premiere. Here we are all jittery and agitated, looking for another fix, and all they’ve given us is the generic promise of “coming this fall!” Thankfully for our sanity, with the release of ABC’s new fall schedule, the premiere date for Whedon’s new show has finally been confirmed.

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There’s still a little over a week before Comic-Con unleashes all sorts of trailers, posters, and other goodies upon a horde of screaming fans, but Marvel has decided to whet fans’ appetite a little early with the first teaser poster for Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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There sure was a lot to talk about with a certain summer blockbuster this week. So much that this week’s Reject Recap is nearly half-filled with highlights of stuff written on Star Trek Into Darkness. And yes, the villain’s name comes up. It’s not a spoiler anymore. Everyone knows. And it doesn’t even matter if you know or not. Just like it doesn’t matter if Alice Eve has a gratuitous underwear scene or Benedict Cumberbatch has a shower scene if neither of them is otherwise an interesting character — and that’s a more worthwhile debate for this particular film, too. Anyway, I’ve spread the Trek links a bit, giving them the even alternating slots because there used to be (no longer, apparently) that rule that even-numbered Trek films were the good ones. Anything else happen in the past seven days? Well, our man in Cannes, Shaun Munro reviewed I think 400 movies, give or take a few. Arrested Development is returning this weekend so we had something fun to share related to that. And filmmaker Sean Hackett (Homecoming) shared a personal essay in the hopes of helping bullied movie fans out there. Two highlights come from outside the FSR gates this week, and as usual I invite you to suggest great writing on film to include here in the future. Because we can’t always cover everything, and I can’t always read everything. Oh, and one more great thing from the past week, which we humbly didn’t highlight among the ten: […]

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leader

Remember when Tim Blake Nelson‘s noggin started looking all funky in The Incredible Hulk? Well, if you don’t, it happened around the point where the Hulk and the Abomination starting ripping each other apart. While those two worked out their problems, Dr. Samuel Sterns was having a makeover. Before the finale, we saw Sterns crack a smile while making his transformation into The Leader, the brilliant green-skinned Marvel baddie. He’s a villain favorite for some, possibly even the makers of The Amazing Spider-Man, who used one of his more famous schemes for The Lizard’s grand plan. The Leader is a very comic book-y type of villain, one that could have been too much for Marvel’s Phase I, but now that the studio has pushed the boundaries of its scientific status, bringing back actor Tim Blake Nelson to terrorize The Hulk or The Avengers is a solid idea. Louis Leterrier would seem to agree. Speaking with him recently, I asked whether there was ever serious talk over using The Leader in future films.

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Nobody was surprised to learn this week that ABC officially picked up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the TV series spun-off from the Avengers movie franchise. After all, it’s a Disney-owned property and the network is also a Disney-owned company. And, well, it’s a tie-in to some of the highest grossing films of all time. Even if Iron Man 3 had somehow been a box office disappointment (fat chance), the main source of the series is last year’s enormously successful The Avengers. As we learned last fall, the popular character Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) would even be the lead, meaning he somehow didn’t actually die at the hands of Loki in that movie. Within days of the confirmed pick up for a full season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC has now unveiled the first look with a teaser trailer that premiered on the air during prime time this evening. Coulson is definitely at the center of the thing (marketing hashtag is #coulsonlives) as head of an elite yet not super powered team of agents who investigate cases involving the “strange” and “unknown,” stuff that hasn’t been classified by the agency yet. Sounds like an action-packed mix of X-Files and Heroes. It kinda looks more like the (best of the) latter in this promo, which you can watch after the jump.

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Iron Man Question

Robert Downey Jr. isn’t contractually obligated to appear in any more Marvel films as Tony Stark. That’s the only concrete fact as of right now, even as contract negotiations are underway to bring the actor back into the suit for The Avengers 2 and 3. Those seem fairly likely, but it’s unclear how committed to Iron Man 4 Downey Jr. would be. Marvel head Kevin Feige has vaguely promised more stand-alone Iron Man movies, hedging the claim by adding, “Who will be in that movie and who will be a part of that movie? Who knows. And how far down the line will it be? Will it be right after Avengers 2, will it be a few years after Avengers 2? Who knows. For as advanced as we are in terms of the advanced planning that we do, we’re already looking out to 2015, 2016 and that’s further than most people look out. Beyond that, we’re still not sure.”

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iron man 301

Iron Man 3 is a movie I’ve seen, and if you’re reading this I sincerely trust that you have too. Why? Two reasons. First, you should see it because it’s a pretty fun flick. And second? I’m about to unload spoilers below of epic proportions. My review is elsewhere on the site, and you should probably give it a read so you can call me names for the grade I gave it. The movie has issues, and more than that it leaves us with some serious questions. Again, and obviously, there are spoilers below regarding things that happen and who they happen to so tread lightly.

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Brian Tyler

Iron Man 3 hits theaters this Friday, but you can already get the soundtrack composed by Brian Tyler. While the music of the previous two Iron Man movies was rooted in rock and roll, the newest entry  ushers in a new era of Tony Stark, and Tyler rises to the challenge of creating a more epic sounding score to accompany this change in tone. Tyler and I discussed his sound profile for a new era of Iron Man, the process (and importance) behind creating a memorable theme, and the joy of recording in the same studio where an iconic film score was made.

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IntroBadassWounds

So you’ve been shot/stabbed/eaten/burned/dismembered/amputated/face melted by an ancient artifact, what are you going to do next? If you answered, “go into shock while screaming like an asshole” then you’re probably on track. In the movies, of course, that’s a different story – people like to do cool stuff while dying in movies, act all badass for our amusement. Let’s look at 20 such fallen heroes. Spoilers should go without saying. But we said it. Right there. So no one can complain.

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Oscar2013 Stunts

No matter what you think about the Academy Awards (and there is whole wide spectrum of thought as to their relevance and accuracy) there is no question that The Oscars are the pinnacle of filmmaking honors. There isn’t any other organization, ceremony, or statue in the film industry that has quite the prestige. So, it should probably piss you off that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science doesn’t offer an award for Stunt Coordinators. Yep, you read that right. They don’t even get awards in that weird little untelevised pre-show thing that they do before the awards telecast. It’s not a passive exclusion either. Each year for more than two decades, the Academy has actively rejected the creation of an award for Stunt Coordinators. So, since The Academy doesn’t do these masters of cinematic mayhem any justice, we’re going to pretend that they do. Like our other Oscar Prediction pieces, we’ll offer some insight into how the (fictional) nominees were chosen and who we think will win (noted in red):

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Best Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects. Over the years, this award has been called a number of things. In 1928, it was given as the award for Best Engineering Effects to the World War I flying drama Wings. It has evolved in the years since, recognizing in equal measure effects that are practical and digital, but most of all that live on the line in-between reality and surreality on the silver screen. It’s the only award category to consistently recognize those pioneers of film who have dazzled audiences with the yet unseen, everything from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to George Lucas’ Star Wars. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. The core criteria for the award is that it’s given to the visual effects masters whose work most exemplifies artistry, skill and fidelity with which the visual illusions are achieved. Each of this year’s nominees has these elements. And each of this year’s nominees brings something unique to the table. We’ve got the year’s highest grossing, all-out superhero explosion; the return of Peter Jackson and his WETA wizards to Middle Earth; Ridley Scott’s return to the sci-fi genre; a classic tale with a digitally saturated twist; and of course, one arty epic that is as colorful a film as was printed on celluloid (or imprinted in ones-and-zeroes) this year. Still, it might be one of the most predictable categories that Oscar has to offer in his 85th edition. The nominees are below, with our pick for winner marked with red…

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Hulk in The Avengers

After conquering the summer, millions of people want to know what Marvel has planned for its next phase and how they’ll manage to pull it off. Iron Man 3 is coming this year alongside Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits in 2014, so we’re firmly set for broody post-Avengers insight. Plus, Ant-Man still looms alongside Guardians of the Galaxy and a host of other conceptual character projects — so the comic book brand is looking ahead to its next crop of heroes. But where does that leave The Hulk? That’s the question El Mayimbe was asking over at Latino Review, but instead of talking to himself, he set out to find some answers (which could prove incredibly spoilery). According to his inside source, Marvel isn’t just interested in another attempt at a stand-alone Hulk movie; they’re intent on building their next universes around the character.

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Editor’s Note: Paul DeBenedetto is a writer and comics fan from Brooklyn who used to run the comics blog Wednesday’s Child. He is also a reporter covering the borough of Queens for DNAinfo.com, and his work has appeared online and in print for various local and national media outlets. Given that he knows his stuff when it comes to superheroes and graphic literature, we asked him to whip something up in response to the recent confirmation of Marvel’s Doctor Strange adaptation. Dr. Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, is officially coming to the big screen. That’s the news Kevin Feige had for MTV’s Splash Page, who interviewed the Marvel Studios president on Friday about their Phase Three films. This next crop of Avengers franchise titles will touch on “different corners” of the Marvel Universe, Feige said, with Doctor Strange being confirmed for release around the same time as the long-awaited Ant-Man movie from Edgar Wright. “Doctor Strange, which I’ve been talking about for years, is definitely one of them,” Feige told Splash Page. “He’s a great, original character, and he checks the box off this criteria that I have: he’s totally different from anything else we have, just like Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s totally different from anything we’ve done before, as is Ant-Man, which keeps us excited.”

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Once upon a time, the Oscar nominations were filled with titles unfamiliar to the regular Joe. Not unknown, necessarily, but at least not widely seen. But today, thanks to all kinds of home video platforms and theatrical distribution for even the short film nominees, it’s not always so impossible to see everything before the big night. To help those of you wishing to be completists, I’ve listed all of this year’s recently announced Oscar nominees and noted how and where you can see them, whether presently or soon enough. It may not be entirely doable, as some foreign films haven’t officially been released here, including one that doesn’t even yet have a date, and some titles are in the middle of their theatrical to DVD window. But there are a bunch that can be streamed right this moment on your computer via Amazon, Google, YouTube and other outlets, each of which I’ve marked accordingly courtesy of GoWatchIt. Only three are through Netflix Watch Instant, by the way (How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War and Mirror Mirror). And one short has been embedded in the post. 

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

Happy New Year. Are you still hungover? Did you start a gym membership and spend the last three evenings touring the place, contemplating which machine you’ll eventually saddle up on to fulfill your resolution to get fit? Whatever your excuse for not monitoring FSR every moment of your week, especially Tuesday when you barely got out of bed let alone took a shower, leave it at the door and just enjoy catching up with this first recap of 2013. So far, the only new release reviews are for the VOD and limited theatrical title Crawlspace and the also-limited foreign film Tristana. Obviously, with the holiday it’s been a light number of days as far as content and news is concerned. But it was also a time in which we continued our massive, awesome year-in-review content. This included our annual Reject Awards, our staff picks of the best films of the year, the Internet’s picks for the best films of the year and our lists of the best foreign films, TV shows, trailers, posters and films you didn’t bother to see. We also prepared you for the future with our most anticipated movies of 2013, a list of must-see films in January alone and a look at the short film that inspired Guillermo Del Toro to produce the upcoming horror film Mama. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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Culture Warrior on 2012

In this end-of-year editorial, Landon Palmer discusses the pattern that movies demonstrated in 2012 for telling stories through protagonists defined by their various personality traits rather than through conventional, straightforward characters. In so doing, movies this year showed how our individual identities have become divided within various aspects of modern social life. This trend made some of the year’s movies incredibly interesting, while others suffered from a personality disorder. Landon argues that movies ranging from The Hunger Games to The Dark Knight Rises to Holy Motors alongside cultural events and institutions like the Presidential election, social media, and “Gangnam Style” all contributed to a year in which popular culture is finally became open about its constant engagement with multiple cults of personality. Six years ago, Time magazine famously named its eagerly anticipated “Person of the Year” You in big, bold letters. Its cover even featured a mirror. As a result of the established popularity of supposedly democratized media outlets like Facebook and the home of the cover’s proverbial “You,” YouTube, Time declared 2006 as the year in which the masses were equipped with the ability to empower themselves for public expressions of individual identity. More than a half decade later, social media is no longer something new to adjust to, but a norm of living with access to technology. Supposing that Time’s prophecy proved largely correct, what does it mean to live in a 21st century where we each have perpetual access to refracting our respective mirrors?

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Movie of the Year: The Avengers

“That’s my secret, Cap: I’m always angry.” In the middle of 2008, director Christopher Nolan created a pivot point for superhero movies. Because up to the point when Heath Ledger’s Joker said, “How about a magic trick?” in The Dark Knight, movies based upon comic books had been going in the more colorful direction set forth by directors like Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi. Nolan’s Dark Knight (and the film that preceded it) changed things. And ever since, anyone with the rights to a comic book movie has been trying to capture that same gritty feel, that same realism. Thankfully, the folks at Marvel, who also scored in 2008 with Iron Man, thew that notion out the window. You see, around the same time that Nolan was booting up Batman for Warner Bros. and DC, Marvel was beginning its own journey as a stand-alone studio with a very specific kind of plan. A magic trick of their own, they set out to bring to life Earth’s mightiest heroes with a six-film roadmap that would lead to the most ambitious superhero movie ever produced. A massive risk that would pay off to produce our pick for the Movie of the Year. A movie that yielded the above quote, as spoken by Mark Ruffalo,  which could be seen as the turning point of 2012 at the movies. Every time I experience this moment, there’s no denying that years down the line when we look back at the movies of 2012, there’s no forgetting the year that gave […]

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published: 12.22.2014
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