Thor

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“I think we have to get beyond the idea that we have to categorize people,” Roger Ebert once said. It is an idea that is no more felt than in the realm of cinema and celebrity, where our compulsion to categorize merges with the worst of typecasting and image-making. The minute a person excels at something they are defined by it, so much so that any and all departures become shocking diversions rather than relatable human actions. It doesn’t make sense to be shocked (we all have diverse interests that don’t fit into one neat mold), but we are, time and time again. Generally, it defines our actors as talents are typecast into one very specific sort of role that either makes us forget all that came before (like Christopher Walken being a trained song and dance man before a creepy villain), or keeps them narrowly cast until someone dares to showcase their other talents (like the countless comedians who shock people when they offer stellar dramatic work). It also happens with directors. If they dare to slip into a certain visual style or approach, we expect every film to follow suit. It can be downright shocking if they diverge from their norm, no matter how many times it happens, and no matter how many times we acknowledge how much Hollywood requires someone to manufacture an image rather than just be themselves. We forget the fact that image is what gets money, and sometimes style is the only thing that gets […]

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Jaimie Alexander in Thor The Dark World

When news hit yesterday that Thor would become a woman in the pages of Marvel comics, speculation was immediate about whether the character could also switch gender on the big screen. Considering the change in the books is not just a short-term thing, according to Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso (“We have no real exit plan,” he told Time), there’s good reason to think it could impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth has three more movies in his contract with Marvel Studios, one of which is next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Another installment each of the Avengers and Thor series is expected to fill the rest of that run. Then, maybe he can be replaced by a woman. Easy pickings, right? Well, she has to be worthy of filling Hemsworth’s boots, and that means maybe not being cast with a short, petite actress. The concept art for the new Thor doesn’t give much to go by except that she has long blonde hair, like her male counterpart, and looks pretty tough. I figure she ought to be somewhere close to the height of Hemsworth’s incarnation, too (he’s 6’3″). And she’d probably be relatively young, as Hemsworth was when he began (at age 26) — so, sorry Uma Thurman. I also don’t think Marvel would go for someone that famous anyway. Hemsworth was fairly unknown when he became the thunder god superhero. She will be, too. I’ve selected five actresses who fit the criteria as much as possible. Sadly, for nostalgia’s sake, Maia Brewton […]

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Thor: The Dark World

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thordarkworld-lokiposter-full

Everybody’s favorite Asgardian brothers are prominently displayed in two new posters for Thor: The Dark World, courtesy of Marvel. The two posters, which separately feature Thor and Loki, are kind of a breath of fresh air after the last poster, which crammed every single character from the last film plus a thousand bolts of lightning into the frame. Marvel is giving the people what they want, which is a whole bunch of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. The Loki poster does a fantastic job capturing the character’s essence as Hiddleston sits in golden ruins with a mischevious grin on his face while fire rains down from the sky behind him. What did he just do?? More importantly – why is Thor’s hammer Mjolnir sitting in the bottom righthand corner with no Thor in sight? At first glance, the Thor poster (which you can see after the break) is just an unstoppable ball of epic energy. Look at the lightning bolts. He’s flying through the sky to throw his mighty hammer down. But take a second look at that face. Thor is so uninterested in whatever is going on in this scenario. Thor is having an existential crisis mid-air.

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Thor and Loki

Another glimpse at the upcoming Thor: The Dark World is here, thanks to a brand new trailer. It’s got all the hammer-smashing, Norse fantasy and hordes of women swooning over Chris Hemsworth (that part might be implied). Marvel clearly knows what audiences want to see in a Thor film: lots and lots of Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston (as the nefarious Loki). This trailer sets its sights on the two of them and rarely (if ever) hesitates to show something about the story or any other non-Thor-or-Loki characters. All we can really gleam from this new footage is this: Thor has a problem. Loki has some knowledge of how to fix that problem. The two team up. After that, it’s all Thor swaggering, Loki sneering, and the two doing a whole bunch of fantasy-themed ass-kicking. Check it out after the jump.

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free-thor

If you’ve watched cable television at any point over the last decade or so, chances are you’re familiar with what Movies on Demand is. They’re the company that’s teamed up with all the big cable companies, like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, RCN, Mid-Continent, and MetroCast, to bring one-click access pay-per-view movies to everyone’s cable boxes. Anyway, Comic Con is coming up, which means we’re starting to see cases of corporate synergy popping up all over the geek sphere, and the latest promotional deal is bringing quite a bit of comic book movie-related content to all of us non-cord cutters’ living rooms, including free supplemental features, coverage from the Comic Con floor, and more opportunities to rent geek-friendly movies than you can shake a stick at.

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dscal1980

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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The Avengers

Editor’s note: The Avengers hits DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, so we’re reposting this list of scenes we love, originally published the weekend of the film’s release, on May 6, 2012. This week, on a very special edition of Scenes We Love, we explore all that came to pass during Marvel’s run up to the $200 million dollar bohemoth known as The Avengers. As those who follow things like news and film will note, 5 movies came before the keys were handed over to Joss Whedon, who expertly wrangled together the largest personalities in the Marvel Universe to create a spectacular start to the summer of 2012. And while there were so many memorable scenes from each of the films that came before — and many still from The Avengers itself — I tasked myself with choosing just one from each film. Though in fairness, choosing one from The Avengers came with extra difficulty, as I’d rather not spoil any of the big screen fun you’ll undoubtedly have. Perhaps we’ll come back and update the list when The Avengers reaches DVD. For now, here are six Scenes We Love, from Iron Man to The Avengers.

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Doctor Strange

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that usually doesn’t get political. But it’s time someone takes a stance on Twilight. It had to be done. This aggression will not stand. One of the best things going in this business — of movie blogging — is Marvel rumors. They’re going to keep us all employed at least until the second Avengers film comes to term, if not longer. Kudos to Rob Keyes at ScreenRant for his astute dissection of how Doctor Strange may fit into Thor 2. Yes, Viggo Mortensen. Yes.

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AAA in Thor 2

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, in addition to having a name that’s fun to say, is also a seasoned actor with credits on beloved shows like Lost and HBO’s Oz. And, heck, he’s a big screen actor with credits in a few genre works like The Mummy Returns and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra too. So he’s probably the perfect choice to play one of the villains in Marvel’s upcoming Thor sequel, Thor: The Dark World. According to Variety, the English actor has signed on to the sequel to play the role of the vengeful and powerful Kurse. A look at Marvel’s in-house Wiki of all their characters explains that Kurse started off as a Dark Elf called Algrim the Strong, who served a master called Malekith the Accursed. After Thor came knocking on Malekith’s door to rescue an Asgardian woman that he had kidnapped, Malekith set Algrim on Thor and had the two do battle. Before a victor could be declared, however, the treacherous Malekith opened a chasm under the two warriors, sending them plummeting to their deaths toward a lake of molten lava.

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Kat Dennings in Thor

Everyone, you can rest easy, Kat Dennings will be returning to the Thor sequel, Thor: The Dark World, to add her signature stinging charm and wit to the feature. Could you even imagine a film without her adorably calling Mjolnir “Meow-Meow”? No? How about a film where her Darcy Lewis is not there to even out Natalie Portman‘s perhaps overly serious Jane Foster? Got you there. Deadline Hollywood reports that Dennings is indeed coming back for more, and though they don’t have many details, they can report that Dennings’s role has been “expanded from that of the comic relief sidekick.” Sounds good to us! Thor: The Dark World will open on November 8, 2013.

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Part of the magic of Comic-Con is how you arrive with hundreds of dollars in your pocket and after walking around the floor, that pile of money has disappeared but you’ve collected several over-sized bags full of stuff you never even knew you wanted. I managed to exchange quite a bit of leafy green stuff into more tangible objects, obtaining a wide variety of cool stuff from tiny little Thors to to tiny little Batmen to the giant, potentially coolest thing at Comic-Con this year.

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There used to be a time when only die-hard comic book fans knew what Stan Lee looked like. His likeness appeared in many of the Marvel comic books for the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but to the average person, he was nothing more than a guy with some shaded glasses. Then Hollywood started putting the guy in some movies. He’s never had a very big part, but to honor the man for helping to create some of the most legendary superheroes (and some of the biggest moneymakers for the movie business), Lee has been given customary cameos in almost every major movie that has been made from characters he helped create. Those who have seen The Amazing Spider-Man (which should be most of you faithful readers, by now) were treated to one of his best and funniest cameos yet. And with more Marvel movies coming down the pike, he’s sure to show up many times again. This gave us a chance to look back on his many appearances over the years and assemble a list of his ten best cameos. Excelsior!

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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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Reel Sex

Ladies and open-minded gentlemen, this is the weekend for which we have been waiting ever so patiently. Years of watching our fellow sisters remove clothing and undulate for the good of “story” has finally paid off, and we will have our day in the sun. Our fearless prince, director Steven Soderbergh, has reached into the depths of his vast (yet dwindling) bag-o-tricks and presented us with a simple masterpiece that has been on the tip of wagging tongues for months. Magic Mike is the product of a genius, and while it isn’t a perfect film, Soderbergh’s dedication to objectifying his male cast is reassuring and welcomed. It is about time ladies get a fluff movie that isn’t about shopping, shoes, or relationships, but instead two hours of glorious female gaze. These men are hotter than this Texas drought I’m currently suffering through, and I appreciated every moment I had with them. But what makes Magic Mike something of dreams is the film’s playful self-awareness that it is, in fact, meant to be a sort of man droolfest. Soderbergh knows what he’s doing, and instead of alienating his audience he embraces them, offers up a beer, and presents six sexy, shirtless men on a platter for the world to see. I’m sure a discussable plot is in there somewhere (and I will leave that to our film review), but I am more interested in reflecting on a handful recent films that paved the way for this glorious moment of shirtless wonderment.

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Consider this a bit of serious Hollywood housekeeping after a long, boring holiday weekend. In quick succession, a bevy of release dates (some new, some moved) have been fired out of the Hollywood cannon and straight into Reject HQ eyeballs. Ouch, Hollywood, seriously, those are our eyes. After the break, check out a full round-up of today’s many (too many, really) release date shuffles and announcements, including dates for sequels to both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class, along with a new date for Thor 2 and a big move for The Lone Ranger, all rounded out by some fun assorted dates, like so much Fun Size candy of the calendar.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? The Avengers parodies were inevitable, but animator Junaid Chundrigar just won with a fantastic exploration of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and other Marvel heroes on their bad days. Instead of a story, Chundrigar relies on quick, slap-stick style comic moments. Venom struggles with an ice cream cone, Spidey meets a helicopter head on, and a city burns when a meatball gets dropped. It’s funny, and the animation has an adorable Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe that makes this short even more agreeable. No surprise that the fine folks at Short of the Week sent it along – they know quality when they see it. I can’t help but think Joss Whedon would love this. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week it’s a series of second stringer fill-ins trying not to run things into the ground while regular columnist Neil Miller disappears for a while due to reasons both glamorous and mysterious (in true Lohan fashion, he’s cited both “exhaustion” and “being dehydrated”). And today it’s a laundry list of Internet people still crushing on Joss Whedon’s superhero extravaganza, The Avengers, because Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows shit the bed this weekend and we haven’t had anything shiny to come along to steal away our fickle attentions yet. Let’s get to it. The above image comes from an artist named Hannah, who has proven that her finger is firmly on the pulse of the Internet by paying tribute both to the death of beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak as well as the work of beloved nerd-God Joss Whedon by mashing up Sendak’s artistic style with the cast of The Avengers. Is cute, no?

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Culture Warrior

Crowding a movie with talent often seems like a good idea only in the abstract sense. In practice, such films can easily feel overstuffed. For example, the basic conceits for both The Expendables and Grown Ups sound like products of wishful thinking held during a drunk conversation between a group of 19-year-olds at 3am. Yes, in theory a movie featuring all of the action stars of the 80s or the most successful SNL cast since the late-70s would be great – however, a bunch of famous people do not a seminal action film or great comedy make. What’s most surprising about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is that the whole somehow proved greater than its parts. A movie with this quantity of iconic superheroes runs the incredible risk of being overstuffed and only half-cooked. The standards created by previous Hollywood films indicate that studios would be happy enough allowing the conflagration of bankable characters stand in for (or, more accurately, distract from the lack of) actual entertainment value; mammoth opening weekends, after all, are always more a sign of effective marketing than good filmmaking. But The Avengers not only stands as an equal to some of the stronger entries in Marvel’s 4-year, 5-film multiverse-building, but is arguably superior. Some of these characters came across more fully-fleshed and three-dimensional as part of an ensemble than in their respective standalone films.

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Now that The Avengers is a Hulk-sized hit on North American shores as well as overseas, the big question is what will Joss Whedon do next. As seen in this interview with Collider, the man appears to be pretty damn tired from this monster film that officially wrapped only a couple weeks ago. But Hollywood moves fast, and Marvel Studios moves even faster. Acolytes of Whedon are sounding the charge as if a revolution has occurred that makes the later seasons of his shows pale in comparison. The question is will Whedon be courted by the inevitable Avengers 2? Will he resurrect his TV series onto the big screen? Will Neil Patrick Harris be involved in any way? Here are the main options Whedon has before him.

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published: 12.22.2014
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