UNDER THE SKIN Review

by     Posted 147 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Under the Skin opens today in limited release.]

Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin is strange, visually absorbing, cerebral, and rarely compelling. The film attempts to obscure its fairly simple story and subtext in order to imply depth, and while it may take a while to figure out the movie’s motives, that’s due to the lethargic pacing rather than the complexities of the themes. Thankfully, there’s no pretentiousness as Glazer clearly knows what he’s going for, and has made some admittedly clever moves to get there. Unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly fascinating beneath the surface.

First Trailer and New Images for Luc Besson’s LUCY Starring Scarlett Johansson

by     Posted 149 days ago

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Universal Pictures has released the first Lucy trailer.  Director Luc Besson‘s (The Fifth Element) upcoming action thriller stars Scarlett Johansson as a reluctant drug mule who is transformed into an incredible fighter capable of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and an ability to disregard pain and emotion when one of the designer drugs enters her system.  The flick looks fun and interesting.  I like that she gets her powers from a bag of blue goo leaking into her stomach, and when she those gets powers she starts to lose her emotions.  It’s a neat premise, and the action looks good.  Also, the Morgan Freeman narration reminds me of this scene from South Park.

Hit the jump to watch the Lucy trailer and to check out some new images.  The film also stars Analeigh Tipton.  Lucy opens in theaters August 8th.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER Review

by     Posted 149 days ago

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One of the main criticisms leveled against Captain America: The First Avenger was that Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) was simply a “good guy” and therefore didn’t have any deep inner conflict (i.e. baggage).  That was one of the things I loved most about the character.  He didn’t need some tragic past to let him know that it was good to be good.  “I don’t like bullies,” Rogers said in the first film, and that was it in a nutshell: “I don’t like bullies.”  The sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, could have made the character more twisted and melodramatic by plunging him into a darker, more complex world.  Instead, Captain America isn’t corrupted by the present day.  He’s not even tested.  His innate goodness is a beacon; it’s a bulwark against corruption.   Captain America: The Winter Soldier celebrates the good guy, and when combined with smart commentary, incredible action, and a wonderful sense of humor, it’s the best Marvel movie so far.

Scarlett Johansson Talks CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, Her Reaction to the Script, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, and More

by     Posted 151 days ago

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With directors Joe and Anthony Russo‘s Marvel sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier opening in North America this weekend, every day this week I’ll be posting a video interview for the film.  In the fantastic sequel, we find Captain America (Chris Evans) joining forces with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to expose a conspiracy, fight off professional assassins, and battle a new enemy, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).  Loaded with amazing action, a fantastic script, and great character moments, Captain America: The Winter Solider is going to be a huge hit with Marvel fans and regular moviegoers alike.  The film also stars Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.

During my video interview with Scarlett Johansson she talked about her reaction after reading the Winter Solider script for the first time, whether she heard about the positive reaction to the film after the first press screening, Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron script, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

First Look at Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s Action Thriller LUCY

by     Posted 154 days ago

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The CinemaCon convention for theater owners in Las Vegas this week has been host to previews from a vast amount of upcoming films, but one of the big surprises was director Luc Besson’s (The Fifth Element) new sci-fi action thriller Lucy.  The film stars Scarlett Johansson as a reluctant drug mule who is transformed into an incredible fighter capable of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and an ability to disregard pain and emotion when one of the designer drugs enters her system.  The first footage drew high praise from those in attendance—including Collider’s own Steven Weintraub—and now the first image of Johansson in character has been unveiled.  The actress looks quite lethal with gun in hand, and I’m eager to see more from the film.  Luckily we don’t have to wait long, as the first trailer is scheduled to debut on April 2nd.  Check back here on Collider then to see Johansson in action.

Hit the jump to take a look at the first image.  The film also stars Morgan Freeman and Analeigh TiptonLucy opens in theaters August 8th.

Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Feige Talk CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, Evolution of Black Widow, and Much More

by     Posted 155 days ago

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not only a great film, in general, but it is also a bad-ass superhero movie.  Picking up after the events in New York with The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is living in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world.  When a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Captain America teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and new ally the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to take on an enemy that just might take them down first.  The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Robert Redford, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Hayley Atwell.

At a conference during the film’s press day, actors Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson talked about concerns over being typecast, how the Black Widow has evolved, the great camaraderie between Cap and Falcon, getting to work with Robert Redford, and how much they enjoy returning to these characters, while Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige talked about the possibility of a solo Black Widow movie, how they decide when to bend or break things in the Marvel canon, and his minimal involvement with the Marvel films coming out of studios other than Disney.  Check out what they had to say about Captain America 2 after the jump.

Retro-Style Poster for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

by     Posted 158 days ago

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Captain America (Chris Evans) may be out of the 1940s and in the present day, but his latest adventure, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has still gotten a retro-style poster.  Even though you’ll probably never see this poster in a local multiplex, it’s a nice way of conveying that while Cap is a brave new world of subterfuge and intrigue, he’s still the good-hearted guy with the old-fashioned values.

Hit the jump to check out the poster.  The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. JacksonCaptain America: The Winter Soldier opens in 3D on April 4th.

New Clips from UNDER THE SKIN Starring Scarlett Johansson and THE DOUBLE Starring Jesse Eisenberg

by     Posted 161 days ago

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New clips have been released for Jonathan Glazer‘s sci-fi film Under the Skin and Richard Ayoade‘s comic thriller The DoubleUnder the Skin is about an alien (Scarlett Johansson) who comes to Earth and seduces hapless men into an abyss, but then she starts empathizing with them and doubting her purpose.  The clip is just Johansson’s character driving, but it does a good job expressing the mood and highlighting the unbearable, squeaky strings that comprise most of the score.  Click here for my review from TIFF.

As for The Double, Jesse Eisenberg stars as Simon James, a shy office drone whose life is turned upside down when he meets a more confident, physically identical version of himself, James Simon.  The clip highlights not only the comedy, but also provides one of the film’s many example of Simon James’ weak personality: he doesn’t have enough ID and it’s not even worth spelling out his last name.  I can’t wait to see this movie again.  Hit the jump to check out the clips.  Under the Skin opens April 4th, and The Double opens May 9th.

TOP 5: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, VERONICA MARS, SXSW 2014 Coverage, NEED FOR SPEED, President Obama Visits BETWEEN TWO FERNS

by     Posted 167 days ago

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Last night I managed to pull myself away from Titanfall long enough to check out Veronica Mars which, surprisingly enough, is playing in a theater within an hour of me. As a fan of the series, the movie hit every note I could have asked for but also confirmed my suspicion that Mars is best suited for the type of long-form storytelling that television permits. Creator/director Rob Thomas does an admirable job of bringing us up to speed on the lives of our favorite Neptune characters against the backdrop of a ten year high school reunion. That said, 107 minutes doesn’t leave much time for breathing in between the introduction, mystery set-up, and resolution. I often felt rushed through the process, longing for 20-22 episodes for Veronica to crack the case as opposed to 75 minutes or so. This small gripe aside, Veronica Mars is a movie made for the fans (and, in no small financial part, by the fans) and I can’t imagine anyone who loved the series walking away from it disappointed by anything other than the fact that it had to end too soon.

We’ll talk a little more about VM in this week’s Top 5 which also includes a considerable amount of Captain America: The Winter Soldier content, our SXSW 2014 coverage, interviews for and Matt’s review of Need for Speed, and President Barack Obama‘s hilarious appearance on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Keep doing what you’re doing for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Watch: 15 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

by     Posted 168 days ago

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The release of Marvel’s latest picture, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is imminent, and to make the wait slightly easier (or possibly harder), the studio has released an extended reel of behind-the-scenes footage.  If you’re curious how one of these massive Marvel tentpoles gets put together, this is an opportunity to be a fly on the wall as directors Joe and Anthony Russo craft the Captain America follow-up.  The story finds Chris Evans’ Cap teaming up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to expose a conspiracy, fight off professional assassins, and battle a new enemy, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Hit the jump to watch the footage, which includes plenty of looks at Falcon.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on April 4th.

CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 Revealed to Be Marvel’s May 6, 2016 Release; Slated Opposite BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

by     Posted 169 days ago

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Last year, Marvel staked out a number of future release dates for films that they declined to reveal.  There are currently two “Marvel Untitled” films set for release in 2016 and one for May 2017.  The mystery grew deeper when Warner Bros. threw the hammer down and shifted the release of its own highly anticipated superhero team-up Batman vs. Superman to May 6, 2016, the same date as Marvel’s first untitled 2016 release.  There’s no way two major superhero tentpoles will be opening on the same weekend, so the question then became which film would blink first.

Just yesterday, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said Marvel has no plans to budge, and now we have a clearer picture of the Marvel vs. DC battle as the nature of the untitled May 2016 picture has been revealed: Captain America 3.  Hit the jump for more.

New Featurette and Character Posters for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

by     Posted 169 days ago

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Marvel has released a new featurette and character posters for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The story has Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) teaming up to face off against an assassin known as “The Winter Soldier” (Sebastian Stan).  The featurette focuses on new character Sam Wilson (a.k.a. The Falcon), who can fly around and fire automatic weapons like a badass.  Anthony Mackie, who received high praise from early reactions to the film, plays Falcon, and I look forward to seeing the talented actor get some more recognition.

Hit the jump to check out the featurette and the stylized character posters.  The film also stars Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. JacksonCaptain America: The Winter Soldier opens April 4th.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON to Film at Cheongdam Bridge, Teheran Boulevard, and Gangnam Station in South Korea

by     Posted 169 days ago

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A few weeks ago, we reported that Avengers: Age of Ultron (no time for the definite article) would be shooting “key elements” in South Korea.  According to THR, “parts of the film will be shot from March 20 to April 12 near the numerous bridges on the Han River that cuts through the heart of Seoul, including the landmark Jamsil and Mapo Bridges”.  Specifically, shooting will take place in the upscale locations of Cheongdam Bridge, Teheran Boulevard, and Gangnam Station as well as Sangam DMC and Yongsan, the latter of which is home to one of the U.S. military’s bases.  Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans will be shooting on location, but we don’t know if any other cast members will be joining them.  Shooting has already wrapped in Johannesburg, and has now moved on to principal photography at Shepperton Studios in the U.K.

The film also stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and James SpaderAvengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters May 1, 2015.

Kevin Feige Says the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Script Hasn’t Changed “At All” Due to Scarlett Johansson’s Pregnancy

by     Posted 170 days ago

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With principal photography on the Marvel sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron set to get underway in just a few weeks, the recent news that actress Scarlett Johansson is pregnant had some wondering whether it would impact the production.  Last week, we heard that Marvel planned on “fast-tracking” Johansson’s scenes as Black Widow, which would ensure that the actress could complete her portion of filming in a timely manner.

When Steve was speaking with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently in anticipation of the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which also stars Johansson), the executive spoke about moving forward with Age of Ultron in the wake of this news.  Feige said that while they have done a bit of rearranging with the shooting schedule, the script hasn’t changed one bit.  Hit the jump for more.

Scarlett Johansson Talks AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Script and Joss Whedon; Says Film Makes Marvel Universe Feel “Very Close-Knit”

by     Posted 171 days ago

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With Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Solider set to invade theaters on April 4th, earlier today Disney started doing press on the film here in Los Angeles.  While reviews are embargoed for another week or so, Disney allowed us to tweet after last night’s screening and as I said on twitter, the movie is phenomenal.   Loaded with incredible action, a great script, and fantastic character moments, The Winter Solider is easily one of the best Marvel movies and it’s going to make fans and casual moviegoers very happy.

While everyone is excited for The Winter Solider, all Marvel fans have another date circled on their calendar: May 1, 2015.  At the beginning of next summer, The Avengers return under the direction of Joss Whedon with Avengers: Age of Ultron.  While the story is under wraps, when I talked to Scarlett Johansson today for Captain America: The Winter Solider, I asked her about her thoughts on the the script.  She said the sequel makes the Marvel Universe feel “very close-knit, cerebral, and progressive” and added that it “feels like the continuation of The Avengers.”  Hit the jump to watch what she had to say.

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