I do wish there was a way for the entire Marvel universe to fall under the same studio. Spider-Man and the X-Men and the Avengers cannot interact, for they reside at Sony and Fox and Disney, respectively. This means we’re getting a different Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron than we had in X-Men: Days of Future Past. But I’d also have more faith in Disney handling Spider-Man than what Sony’s done with him so far. I’ve been really impressed with how they brought Iron Man, Thor and Captain America to the big screen.
Captain America trivia: In 1944, it was the first Marvel property to make it to the big screen. (In fact they weren’t even called Marvel Comics yet.) It was a serial for Republic Pictures, co-directed by me (look it up!) and it made Dick Purcell a star. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack right before its release.
Meanwhile, from the Disney arm that works directly with Marvel Studios, they have Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man coming in 2015; Dr. Strange and Captain America 3 in 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and two other untitled films set for 2017; three untitled films for 2018; and they’ve even staked out May 3, 2019, for an untitled film. Now factor in Sony has The Sinister Six set for 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 for 2018, and Fox has another Wolverine movie, another X-Men movie, and Fantastic Four 1 & 2 coming. If you factor in DC Comics, we’re going to be awash in superhero movies for a while.
Casting News – Tommy Lee Jones has joined the cast of Criminal, a sci-fi thriller about a prisoner (Kevin Costner) implanted with the memories of a dead CIA operative. Gary Oldman also stars.
– Domhall Gleeson (About Time, Star Wars VII) will co-star in The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The western will be directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel).
And Now… A Larry King Paragraph – Quentin Tarantino’s going to direct The Hateful Eight next. Good. After that, he’s working on a sci-fi movie. Would like to see what he’s do with that genre… Jesse Ventura is a scumbag… Glad to see the latest Interstellar trailer gives us a little more of what the journey will be like once Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are in space… Bruno Kirby died too soon… Be sure to add a little spinach in all your smoothies… Zoe Saldana’s found her way into some lucrative franchises. Star Trek, Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Pirates of the Caribbean. I hope she uses her power for good.
Catching Up on 2013 Movies:
The Hangover Part III – Well, it improves on the second one, but that’s not saying much. I’m glad they didn’t follow the same formula, but this one has more Chow (Ken Jeong), and a little Chow goes a long way. It still finds a way to sideline Doug (Justin Bartha) for most of the movie. Overall I’d say if you liked the first one, respect the memory and don’t bother with the sequels. I liked the Melissa McCarthy cameo though.
Austenland – This harmless little romantic comedy revolves around a Jane Austen addict (Keri Russell) who goes to visit Austenland, a weeks-long LARP where the people all act like they’re in Jane Austen’s day. Nice work by JJ Feild (AMC’s Turn), Bret McKenzie (HBO’s Flight of the Concords), and James Callis (Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica) as the men acting the part. It’s the directorial debut of Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite with her husband Jared, and you can tell they share the same sense of humor.
What I’m Watching on TV:
CBS’s Under the Dome – I really liked the book by Stephen King. I would recommend it. But the series has flown off the rails, and Season 2 indulges the worst instincts of Lost. Not only does it kill off two of the more decent characters in the first episode, but one of them is killed by this girl who just comes out of the lake. Is she an alien? A ghost? Dean Norris does some heavy lifting as Big Jim, the show’s villain whose motivations tend to change some scene to scene. Halfway through the second episode, I decided I’d seen enough.
TNT’s The Last Ship – A plague is spreading across the earth, but the cure might be discovered by a scientist (Rhona Mitra) aboard one of the last ships at sea where they know everyone aboard is unaffected. Nice to see Firefly alum Adam Baldwin in the cast, but I couldn’t get over Eric Dane’s cheesy machismo as the captain. I kept wanting Crow and Tom Servo to pipe in. “Man, am I handsome!” “It takes work to make my jaw this square!” After one episode, I deleted the rest off my DVR.
FX’s The Bridge – Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger are arguably two more people who snubbed by the Emmys. Season 1 was an emotional roller-coaster, with one cop from Juarez and another from El Paso trying to solve a murder on the US-Mexico border. Season 2 showed it’s going to be even darker. First scene is a man almost slipping in blood when he walks into a house full of dead people. Matthew Lillard has been elevated to series regular (yay!), and Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity) is the merciless cartel woman that Charlotte (Annabeth Gish) must now answer to.
HBO’s The Leftovers – I’ve only watched the first episode, but I’m intrigued. One day 140 million people vanish from the Earth. No one knows why, and there’s no explanation, and this series takes place three years after the incident, where the 98% left are just trying to get back to normal. Justin Theroux seems to finally have that breakout role as the police chief whose wife left him after the incident, and like most HBO series, they’ve brought together a strong cast. Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler, Christopher Eccleston, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, and Scott Glenn all look like they’re going to grow in interesting ways.