Thor

The Avengers want you to see The Avengers in theaters.

It’s been open overseas for a week, already raking in more than $200m, and now The Avengers is landing on U.S. soil with one of the biggest summer openings in history. But does that mean you should see it now? Or do you wait for home video? Sure, there’s plenty of arguments as to why you can wait, including obnoxious crowds, high ticket prices, and the general hassle of getting your butt off the couch and driving to your local multiplex. However, here are seven ultimate reasons should convince you to, paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Get thee to a theater!” and witness Marvel’s greatest achievement in superhero movies.

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The Avengers the film needs no introduction, and that’s mainly because The Avengers themselves need no introduction. A dream team of superheroes and superallies, The Avengers first appeared in the Marvel universe in 1963, so for fans of the mighty band of heroes, a big screen cinematic adaptation that would do justice to the justice-doers has been a long-held wish. With Marvel Studios churning out blockbusters for eventual Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk in recent years, it was only a matter of time before that wish was granted and the heroes united for one massive film outing. It goes without saying that Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers is already a big hit here at FSR (our own Cole Abaius called it “Marvel’s mightiest movie” in his review), and we’re all anxious to see what movie-going audiences think of it. To whet your palate for the inevitable Avengers bonanza, here are 12 things that we learned at The Avengers press conference (spoiler-free if you’ve seen a trailer or two!). The event featured a massive gathering of Avengers and pals, including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemwsorth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk/Bruce Banner), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Kevin Feige (Marvel President), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton),Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), and Joss Whedon (writer and director). Check it out after the break!

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Drinking Games

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new superhero movie kicking off the summer movie season. Joss Whedon’s The Avengers assembles Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain American (along with Hawkeye and Black Widow, neither of whom got their own movie). Many superhero fans are preparing for this release by watching the first five films from Marvel Studios, which lead up to this blockbuster: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. Or, they’re planning on seeing them in a long-form marathon leading up to the midnight release of The Avengers. Both are good ideas. Whether you watch these films on video at home or are doing so at a theater that serves alcohol, assemble some adult beverages for yourself and play along.

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In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movies and television and things that are said about movies and television. Sometimes it’s full of news. Sometimes it’s weird. It’s always worth reading. We begin tonight with a fact that should be well known to readers of this column. If not, you’re not paying attention, and you should feel shame. I enjoy reading the work of Pajiba’s Joanna Robinson more than I enjoy reading my own work. Which is a lot to say, as I find myself to be downright brilliant. That said, the supremely talented Ms. Robinson has written a list all about 5 Kickass Female Characters You Wouldn’t Want to Meet in a Dark Alley — including Thor‘s Sif, as played by Jaimie Alexander and seen above. The only problem is that I want to meet all of these women in a dark alley. But not in a combative manner. Unless they’re into that sort of thing. What can I say? I’m flexible.

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Say what you will about AMC theaters being one of the central powers in the heartless, corporate multiplex system that currently controls film exhibition in this country; over the past couple years they’ve really made an effort to put together some cool events that cater to film fans. Whether it’s their yearly marathons of the Best Picture Nominees, or special re-releases for classic films hitting anniversaries, or themed marathons promoting a big release, AMC proves that, even in the multiplex, love for the movies isn’t dead. And, you know, they have to be making profits off of these things or they wouldn’t keep doing them, but let’s focus on the love right now. Their latest marathon will be taking place on Thursday, May 3rd, in conjunction with the release of Marvel’s big tentpole feature The Avengers. Starting at 11:30 a.m. participating theaters will be running through all of the Marvel Studios movies that have become the build to The Avengers, all culminating with the midnight premiere of the new film. Keeping track of these superhero movies is hard though, and it feels like Samuel L. Jackson has showed up after the credits of half the movies released over the last few years, so exactly which movies will AMC be screening?

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These items would have no doubt made Simon’s list this week, but they all come with a hefty price tag. Marvel is auctioning off several pieces of screen-used props, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, they’re expected to go for anywhere between $100 – $30,000. So what’s up for grabs? You can check out the full Captain America catalog preview for yourself, but they’ve got everything from director’s chair backs from the production to Captain America’s shield in an ice resin. From concept art to Red Skull’s SS costume to Iron Man‘s Mark II “Autopsy” Suit to a full-scale motorcycle from Captain America to Thor‘s stunt hammer. Profiles in History, the auction house in charge, has got a lot to work with. It’s almost as if they’re selling everything they used to make the movies. The whole thing will be done online, but some of the bigger items will only be available at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo on April 14th. If you’re feeling generous, this Captain America War Bonds Poster would be perfect for my office.  

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It’s not often that movie news makes you sit up and go “whaa-haa?” but that’s just what happened when this story popped up over on Deadline Mannheim – that director Patty Jenkins has left her latest, and most high-profile film, directing the Thor sequel. Jenkins was confirmed for the gig in October, a job that would have made her only the second female director to helm a Marvel property (the other is Lexi Alexander, who directed Punisher: War Zone in 2008). It’s reported that Jenkins left the project thanks to the always-popular “creative differences” excuse. However, Deadline also reports that “the feeling is that she’ll probably end up working on one of these superhero films, but perhaps not on a sequel,” so it’s possible that those differences weren’t of the knock-down-drag-out variety, though leaving a job that was buzzed about and presumably set in stone for a few months is still a pretty eyebrow-raising move. Marvel is already looking for a new director (duh), as the sequel is working under a set July 26, 2013 (update: whoops, makes that a November 15, 2013) release date. Any ideas on a pick for a new hammer-wielding helmer?

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It’s only appropriate that, on the same day two films born from the neon womb of the 80s release into theaters, we get an announcement regarding yet another project that’s cribbing straight from the glory days of side ponytails and slap bracelets. Or, rather, the high-flying times of being dangerous. For whatever reason (cough, money, cough), Paramount is going ahead with their Top Gun sequel, which we’re all going to call Top Gun 2 until someone finally announces that it’s called Top Gun: Living Life Between Your Legs or similar. The studio is now reportedly in negotiations with X-Men: First Class and Thor scribblers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz to pen this latest iteration of dudes gone wild. If you’re looking for a plot, don’t come sniffing around here, as Variety says that details are “nil,” as the script has not even been written yet. What, was there no treatment? Maybe a model fighter jet emblazoned with key words? A volleyball with character names on it? In any case, who knows what the heck this film is about and how it will tie back into the 1986 original or if it will just focus on dweebs in trailers playing glorified video games that control fighter jets (whatever Tony Scott said a few months back, I don’t quite see that aspect being the center of the new film).

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We reported previously that Marvel was close to securing Patty Jenkins as the director for Thor 2, and now Deadline Shackleton has announced that Marvel has made it official. The Monster writer/director will be picking up where Kenneth Branagh left off with Chris Hemsworth as the title superhero. That means that, depending on when they start filming for their November 2013 release, Hemsworth will have worked as Thor for 3 different directors in the span on 2 years. Jenkins is an interesting choice, not only because she’ll be the first woman taking on a comic book movie of this size, but because her resume is short but sweet. Monster was a phenomenal, performance-driven drama, but she’s also directed episodes of Arrested Development and Entourage. It’s a range that’s a mile wide and an inch deep considering that it’s been nearly a decade since directing her only feature film to date. She mirrors Branagh in the sense that she’s more known for working with actors than creating large scale action beats, but her skill set might signal that some darker drama is set for the sequel. Still, bringing on a feature director with one film under her belt, and no big budget experience is absolutely an experimental gamble. It’s fortunate that they chose someone who has displayed a keen understanding of cinematic language, but it’s a gamble nonetheless.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a collection of news that fell through the cracks, will make you crack up, or that’s addicted to crack. How can movie news be addicted to a controlled substance? It’s unclear, but it’s a harsh world out there when the sun goes down. We begin tonight with the vague news that Ghostbusters (the original) will be hitting theaters again in October. No, not a version of Ghostbusters III that’s been secretly filming for the past year amidst empty press releases. The original flick will play. But when? Where? The movie’s Facebook page is short on answers, and when I checked with Columbia/Sony, so were they.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to our weekly look at new DVD releases! Last week’s trend of TV on DVD continues as we’re heading into the Fall TV season and studios want to remind you just how great some of their shows are. As you’ll find out below though not all of those shows were actually all that great. The summer’s first comic book superhero movie hits shelves today too alongside a handful of horror flicks, a martial arts movie, and this week’s surprising pick of the week. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Meek’s Cutoff A small group of pioneers hire an adventurer named Meek (Bruce Greenwood) to lead their three wagon train west to California, but it quickly becomes clear that he may not be as capable as they believed. Tension escalates as they run low on food, water, and patience, but it’s the arrival of a lone Native American that may fracture the group for good. Kelly Reichardt’s film is an oddly attractive creation that lumbers slowly towards an uncertain fate, and while I’m still unsure of my thoughts on the ending the film as a whole refuses to leave my mind. There’s a haunted quality about it that works its way inside like so much dust and warm air and it keeps you mesmerized even as deceptively little is happening onscreen. Of course, Michelle Williams in a saucy bonnet doesn’t hurt either.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly conglomeration of movie news and editorial links that doesn’t see color. It just sees people. Because it’s people that matter. Tonight’s top story: Great Caesar’s Ghost! Lawrence Fishburne will play Perry White in Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot. He will be the first non-white version of the Daily Planet editorin any film, comic or television show. It’s a bold choice, no matter how you slice, adding further intrigue to what Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan have in-store for Kal-El.

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Boiling Point

Now, before I even get close to making a point about where the love is in the film critic world, I know how absurd it may seem to talk about love in a column about hate. But as the saying goes, it’s a fine line between love and hate and all of my rage comes from a place of love. I love movies and film and art and entertainment. I get enraged when things I love are threatened. Whether it’s Evil Dead or the actual theater-going experience, I try to only get mad for reasonable things. I mean, I get unreasonably mad, that’s true, but generally with good intent in my heart. But it seems these days it’s hip to be an asshole. It’s cool to shit on things before we know anything about them. It’s one thing to get mad early once in awhile – like against the new Evil Dead – but it’s another to get mad about everything early. It seems like every day my Twitter feed is full of two things. First, news. Second, people hating it. Where is the love?

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Boiling Point

Listen, 3D is a contentious issue. Lots of people hate 3D and let it be known almost daily. I guess I get it. I mean, sometimes 3D is done poorly. Sometimes it’s annoying. It’s kind of a gimmick. Then again, there has been some good 3D, too. Transformers: Dark of the Moon looked amazing, Thor and Captain America were both well done, and plenty of movies from My Bloody Valentine 3D to the Final Destination films (recent ones) have been fun in 3D. We’re also moving into a new age of 3D, one where some of the most respected directors in the world are making 3D films. Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, all the major players are going to play with 3D and many of them love it – like Ridley Scott who said, perhaps exaggeratedly, that he’d never make a film without 3D again. So, for now, 3D is here to stay and while it can be imperfect, often it’s fun. There is one instance, however, when the 3D kind of sucks no matter what.

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He might not be the richest Avenger. It’s pretty hard to compete with the billions upon billions Tony Stark living on, but Captain America does hold the 2011 title. At least for opening weekend numbers. Captain America: The First Avenger topped Thor by just over $100,000 to have the biggest opening for a super hero movie this Summer. Yeah, that’s a pretty in-depth quantifier that only puts it in contention with three other movies, but when those movies are Thor ($65.7m opening), X-Men: First Class ($55.1m opening), and Green Lantern ($53.1m opening), you can go ahead and hand out the bragging rights. Of course, The First Avenger came nowhere near the opening numbers for either of the Iron Man movies, and Marvel and Disney may start moving towards pimping Robert Downey, Jr. in their Avengers marketing if they want next Summer’s film to have massive numbers.

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The Thor franchise may have hit a snag when it lost Kenneth Branagh, the director of the first film in the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to let one little setback get it down. Heck no! As a matter of fact, right on the heels of that disappointing news springs forth hope for a new day. Thor 2 may not yet have a director, but it does already have a screenwriter. So we can rest assured that the film set for July 2013 is well on its way to being delivered on time. Who did they get to write the continued adventures of our favorite hammer-wielding maniac, you might ask? A guy named Don Payne. There’s some good news and some bad news about Payne doing the scripting for Thor 2. The good news is that he’s had plenty of experience writing in the super hero genre before. The bad news is that said experience was for writing movies like My Super Ex-Girlfriend and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. I’d try to bring up the fact that he was a Simpsons writer to sugar-coat things, but it was for later years Simpsons, so that’s a no-go. Hey, wait! He wrote an episode of The Brian Benben Show! How about that? Okay, okay, let’s all just try to keep an open mind. [Deadline Chesterton]

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So pleased they were with the performance of the first, they’ve decided to make another. Disney and Marvel Studios have set a release date for Thor 2, a sequel to this summer’s Kenneth Branagh directed, Chris Hemsworth starring superhero film. Usually when a sequel to a comic book movie gets announced, it’s immediately time to start speculating on what’s going to happen in the next one. With Thor 2, however, things are a little bit more complicated. Before this movie ever happens, the Thor and Loki characters are already set to appear in Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers, so the people in charge of writing Thor 2 are going to have to make sure that what they do jives with the characters’ appearances there. And we’re going to have to wait to see it before really going wild with theories on what’s next for the Odinson.

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Turns out all it takes to become a big star these days is flowing blonde locks, bulging muscles, a sly grin, and a giant war hammer. Who knew? After playing the Norse God of Thunder in Marvel’s most recent hero flick Thor, actor Chris Hemsworth has become a bit of a hot commodity. Good for him. Never to miss an opportunity, Sony has capitalized on this new Hemsworth craze by finding the actor a brand new movie to star in. They’ve acquired the rights to a film called Shadow Runner, which will see Hemsworth playing the leader of a covert team who specializes in taking on impossible tasks. The film is loosely inspired by a real life event where an Israeli hit team took out a Hamas leader in a five star hotel in Dubai, but it doesn’t appear as if that specific story is the one that will be told in the movie. So, I guess, one of the producers of this film just read an article about covert ops, had his mind blown, and decided to make a movie about it. What’s the over under on how long it takes before this thing gets retooled to be about Seal Team Six?  [Deadline Coronado]

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The Reject Report

Oh, yeah. It’s a verb now. It’s not easy for anyone to open a period piece with no A-list names and the only brand loyalty coming in the form of its director and producer. It’s even difficult for J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, which would indicate why Super 8 underperformed in its opening weekend. Don’t get me wrong. $37m is a great opening. When you consider the sci-fi/family drama/coming of age story reportedly cost $50m, that $37m seems even more impressive. Analysts, myself included, were estimating in the $45-55m range, and much of that stemmed from Spielberg and Abrams, who is directing his first film that isn’t part of a large franchise with this one. We obviously overshot the estimate, but maybe some of us just wanted the film to perform better.

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published: 12.22.2014
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