X-Men

Nicholas Sparks Movies

There’s some obscure (and possibly occult) law that if enough people sob at a movie, their tears will fertilize a new film empire. It’s why James Cameron stopped making regular action movies and started putting out three-hour epics like Titanic and Avatar, all designed around jerking as many tears as possible. This would also explain the alleged reports that Cameron showed up during random screenings of Titanic to dab at people’s tears with a wad of hundreds and chuckle menacingly to himself. Nicholas Sparks did the same thing with The Notebook. He got the requisite number of sobs, and now he’s set for life. Along with this year’s The Best of Me and next year’s The Longest Ride, yet another film based on one of his novels is now in the works. Variety reports Sparks’s novel “The Choice” will be adapted into a feature by Ross Katz, whose new film Adult Beginners premieres next week at the Toronto Film Festival (Katz’s first feature, for anyone curious, is the 2009 HBO movie Taking Chance, in which Kevin Bacon escorts home the body of  fallen soldier). Here’s how Variety describes the novel: “the story of a man and a woman who meet first as neighbors in a small coastal town in North Carolina and end up pursuing a relationship that neither could have foreseen.”

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Days of Future Past Bishop

Obviously this post features a spoiler for the post-credits stinger following X-Men: Days of Future Past, so shield your eyes and don’t read further if you haven’t seen it or care. We’ve been down this road before. A superhero movie ends, the credits roll, a mysterious figure appears in a bonus scene and it’s a guy we’ve never seen before in this series. He has bluish or purplish skin and stands on a rock looking outward over what seems to be his domain. But this time it’s not Thanos — you learn about later in the car from your more comics-aware buddy, or by searching the Internet for a post such as this. At the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, beyond the acknowledgments of clips from past X-Men movies and the note that it was filmed in Montreal and the info on Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle,” which you jotted down in order to later download that track, we get to meet…

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X-Men Movie Commentary

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom that the X-Men franchise is solidly in its teenage years. It’s going to start driving and dating soon. The series is so significant to cinema history that it is responsible for launching the modern superhero film era. (Remember that this film came out only three years after Batman & Robin.) Without X-Men, there might not have been Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series or The Avengers films. With Days of Future Past hitting the theaters, it’s time to look back to the year 2000 when superhero movies weren’t given $100m budgets and unlimited power automatically. Writer/director Bryan Singer had something to prove with X-Men, and with a limited budget and a production schedule shortened by five months, he succeeded. Five months into shooting X2: X-Men United, Singer recorded a commentary for his groundbreaking film for the X-Men 1.5 DVD, which is preserved throughout subsequent DVD and Blu-ray releases. Here’s a chance to listen in on what was happening at the dawn of the modern superhero movie.

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Mystique in X-Men First Class

From the Troma library of films like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High to the higher concept blockbuster science fiction movies like Total Recall and Godzilla, mutants have been almost entirely bad news. While some movies have an occasional mutant that puts it in a class of it’s own – like the character of the Rainmaker in Looper – Hollywood generally considers mutations really problematic. Except the X-Men, of course. In the X-Men universe, mutants are the not-so-meek that will inherit the Earth. Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) in X-Men tries to legally oppress them. Professor Charles Xavier provides a sanctuary for young mutants. There are constant battles brewing throughout these films between good mutants and bad ones. However, one thing remains the same in all of these scenarios: mutants have great powers bestowed upon them. As Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) states at the beginning of the first film: “Mutation. It is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow and normally taking thousands and thousands of years, but every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.” And that got me thinking… is the human race on the brink of astounding genetic changes? Are X-Men types of mutation the next step in human evolution?

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tatumhair

Fox’s X-Men franchise is unique amongst most of the other superhero movie franchises in that its current incarnation has been a pretty mixed bag, but it still keeps on going without experiencing a reboot. Other franchises like the Fantastic Four movies or Daredevil and its spinoff were terrible from the start, and were put to bed pretty quickly. Or, all of the movies tied into the current Avengers universe are pretty good, so they seem like they’re going to go on forever. Heck, all it took was one stinker in the Spider-Man franchise for it to go from being a huge money-maker to a new series that was rebooted with a completely new cast and a completely new filmmaking team. The X-Men movies have been going ever since 2000 though, with legitimately good movies and real stinkers right next to each other in its catalogue. It seemed for a minute like 2011’s X-Men: First Class was going to finally be a clean restart for the Marvel-created mutants, after a decade of cinematic ups and downs, but by now it’s clear that director Bryan Singer’s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past is going to be linking that movie into the first franchise, in order to create one big, weird family of movies that it’s always hard to anticipate the quality of. Channing Tatum’s acting career, similar to the X-Men movie franchise, has also seen its share of ups and downs. When his name first started to become known, he was vilified […]

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IntroOneLiners

A good method of determining the realism of a film isn’t by body count so much as it is the weight a writer puts on each death. For example, if the death is preceded by any of the following one-liners, it probably wasn’t valued very much. That isn’t to say these are bad films by any stretch, just films that you wouldn’t want to be caught dead dying in, lest your final breaths be a gentle laugh at the lunacy uttered by your attacker.

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mangold

At Comic-Con Hugh Jackman didn’t quite apologize for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but he kept insisting The Wolverine was doing cleanup duty for what came before. The actor helped pick a fantastic director to help whip the character back in shape in audience-friendly James Mangold. Although Mangold hasn’t done a film of this scope yet, he’s one to easily hop between genres, whether it be an Oscar contender like Walk the Line, or a nice horror yarn like Identity. The 3:10 to Yuma director also has a history with Jackman. The two worked together on Kate & Leopold – a movie I can’t turn away from on cable (but who can?) — and now they’ve made another fish out of water picture. This one just happens to feature a brute loner with metal laced into his bone structure. There’s often an elegance in the way Mangold handles the film, in both big and small ways, and while briefly speaking with him, he says that a sense of human closeness is what he wanted to achieve in a summer loaded with explosive set pieces. That’s just one of the ways he and Jackman redeemed a mutant with a shaky origin.

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wolverine-commentary1

Back in 2009, Gavin Hood came off some smaller independent character pieces to direct the big-budgeted superhero film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. After a work print leaked online, resulting in a string of negative reviews, the film still did well in the early summer box office. It was a hit from a financial angle, but it left a lot of fans cold and led to a very different approach taken in its follow-up film The Wolverine. Now, looking back at the film, we can see how things played out behind the scenes as Hood talks over the movie in his commentary. Available on the original release DVD and Blu-ray, this commentary track highlights Hood’s love for Ryan Reynolds’ comedic timing and his views on how mutant powers manifest. But if you’re looking for an apology, it’s not here. Here’s what is:

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x-men

One of the surprise panels at this year’s Comic-Con was for David Hayter‘s directorial debut, Wolves. The panel didn’t come out of nowhere or anything, but it was for an original property. We don’t see a whole lot of original films highlighted at the Con, so to see Hayter’s picture have a presence was a pleasant addition to the festivities. It’s a movie Hayter’s been developing for the past six years, based on a script of his own. You know Hayter’s voice as Solid Snake, but you’re probably also familiar with his screenwriting credits: X-Men, X-Men 2: United, and Watchmen. Of course the first X-Men was a one of kind movie at the time. We hadn’t seen a superhero team onscreen yet, so it was far from a sure thing. The movie ended up a success, paving the way for more comic book movies like it. However, since then, a lot has changed. What worked best about those first two X-Men movies isn’t something we see very often now: simple, streamlined action. The second X-Men ends with a bang involving Jean Grey protecting the aircraft full of her friends, not William Stryker bringing a city to its knees and the X-Men having to save it. That’s what a lot of superhero movies have turned into, and sometimes, it’s somewhat of a shame. We sat down with Hayter at Comic Con, and since Robert already posted a rundown of what to expect from Wolves, we thought it’d best to save our discussion focused on Wolves for the film’s possible 2014 release. Until then, here are David […]

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super-mario-image-1

What started out with a bunch of foolish pranks and fun became a very sad week for the world of movie lovers. It’s terrible to lose any one of us, and surely many cinephiles die by the day, but this guy was among the biggest and most important. As it turns out, this week’s Reject Recap seems more filled with bad stories than good. Of course, it’s a week in which we saw a lot of recycling and — appropriately for the holiday that fell recently — resurrection of properties including Jurassic Park, Evil Dead and Finding Nemo. Looking over the list of the ten big stories, it’s a pretty disappointing time for us in general. Well, it’s not disappointing as a reader, as we hosted a bunch of great writing this week and also found some notable features by friends at other sites. Strewn through, we share some videos of Roger Ebert‘s reviews of films being discussed. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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OriginsFast

The trailer for The Wolverine hit last week, and everyone who loves violence in their comic book movies got pretty excited since Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is the only superhero appearing in movies right now who isn’t afraid to scream in someone’s face as he stabs them to death. But after you watch the trailer, you might get a sense of deja vu. That’s because almost everything in The Wolverine trailer has already happened in an earlier X-Men movie. I’m talking about stuff like…

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Editors Note: The following interview was conducted in September 2011 but has never been published before today. It is finally seeing the light now because The Day is finally hitting DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday, November 27.  In an interview posted earlier today, director Douglas Aarniokoski and actors Cory Hardrict and Michael Eklund discuss the beneficially miserable conditions of shooting The Day, a post-apocalyptic thriller about a band of starving survivalists who go up against a group of cannibals. After talking with them, I sat down with Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore and Ashley Bell to talk about their own experiences making the film and developing characters they were given little background on. Monaghan and Ashmore also addressed aspects of The Day extra-diagetically relating to their work on Lost, The Lord of the Rings and the X-Men films, while Bell discussed her role as a kick-ass action heroine, which I’ll admit is the highlight of the film. Someone should give her a franchise besides the Last Exorcism films.

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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.  By the end of Breaking Dawn — Part 2, it’s clear that the Twilight Saga, as one long story about vampires, werewolves and a chaste teenage girl, is first and foremost a romance picture. This may not sound like a revelation, but in the past four years we’ve all looked at the series in terms of how it transcends the traditional “chick flick” ghetto to dabble in elements of superhero and horror genres, potentially wooing male moviegoers in the process. Interestingly enough, the finale features a sequence that is very much aimed at fans of genre cinema just before pulling a 180 and concluding with an ending that the same audience will find mushy and sappy as (their personal) hell. While romance figures into most film genres and even dominates the conventional Hollywood denouement for movies no matter what audience is targeted, most of these features are not classifiably romance pictures. The love stories are secondary or even tertiary in importance to plots primarily concerned with adventure or disaster or some treatment of good versus evil. And although there are antagonists strewn throughout the Twilight films, there aren’t really good guys and bad guys in proper terms. Instead there is simply love and family versus threat to love and family. […]

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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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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

As we get closer and closer to Halloween, the industry is doing its part to help with great holiday-themed content. We got a trailer for Iron Man 3 to either remind the kids of that superhero as a costume idea or to provide fresh suggestions. Who wants to be so antiquated as to go as something based on this year’s movies when you can leap frog into 2013 ideas? Are Mandarin and Iron Patriot hot last-minute costumes now? And then we got the news about Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to the Conan franchise, which should give many elderly folks encouragement to dress up as a character they’re way too old for. Come on, grandmas, “sexy ___” outfits are for you too. Oh, and Cloud Atlas is out this weekend, which may well inspire some last-minute blackface, whiteface, yellowface and zombie Willy Wonka face costumes. Speaking of the film, before we round up this week’s best features, I need to remind you of the latest reviews of new releases (Cloud Atlas, Pusher, Gut, The Thieves). Also this week, we saw new trailers for Holy Motors, the next Die Hard, the remake of Evil Dead and a seemed remake of Kingdom of the Fairies that would make Melies crap himself called Empires of the Deep. And we continued our new weekly recap reviews of TVs The Walking Dead while also reviewing American Horror Story: Asylum and 666 Park Avenue. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the […]

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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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UPDATED: ComingSoon throws a real wrench in (some of) our awesome speculation with news that Will Yun Lee has joined The Wolverine as Kenuichio Harada, otherwise known as the Silver Samurai. Read on, though, as we can still have a lot of fun with our initial thoughts. Casting appears to be underway for James Mangold’s upcoming entry into the X-Men franchise, the Japan-set solo story of the world’s scruffiest mutant, The Wolverine. Of course, we already know that Hugh Jackman is on board to once again star as the title character – that’s pretty much the only thing that’s been set in stone about this project since development began an eternity ago – but now ComingSoon has some scoops on the names that will be making up the gaijin’s supporting cast, and if you know anything about Wolverine’s Japanese past, these are some big roles. Ralph Lauren model Tao Okamoto is set to play Mariko Yashida, a young Japanese girl who Wolverine falls in love with and becomes engaged to, while relative newcomer Rila Fukushima is on board to play Yukio, a sort of ninja-trained thief who often works as the clawed Canadian’s ally. The next bit of news is a little bit confusing. Listed as being cast are two more characters, one named “Shingen” and one named “Yashida.” In the Wolverine comics, the young bride Mariko has a father who is named Shingen Yashida – the head of a once great clan who disgraced their name by turning them into […]

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