Continuing the trend I started last week, today I’m bringing another Netflix instant stream recommendation your way in the form of director Eric Walter‘s documentary My Amityville Horror. The pic made its U.S. premiere at last year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin and earns its recommendation by presenting the oft-told Amityville Horror story from a unique perspective: that of Daniel Lutz. Mr. Lutz lived in the house as a 10 year old boy when the haunting events of this story unfolded. In My Amityville Horror, he recounts his experiences on record for the first time and the result is a fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking, look at the impact of living the story first-hand.
Moving from one form of recommendation to another, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailer for director José Padilha‘s RoboCop remake, a new installment of Cinemath that analyzes our perception of Woody Allen‘s career with IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes scores, an overview of the massive movie year that 2015 is shaping up to be, a terrifying new trailer for Gravity as well as a strong endorsement of the film by James Cameron, and our kickoff coverage of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. As is often the case, a brief recap and link to each of the above makes its home after the jump.
Marvel is continuing their streak of casting great actors in their films. The studio has announced that they’ve cast three-time Emmy winner James Spader as the villain Ultron in Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Naturally, there are no details beyond the casting. Since Ultron is a humanoid robot, will Spader do motion-capture, or will he just be providing the voice? How will it fit into Spader’s schedule if his new series The Blacklist (which looks quite good) is picked up for a full season? Obviously, we have no idea how Spader will voice the part, but he’s an actor I like, and I’ll be curious to see what he does with the role.
Hit the jump for the press release. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1, 2015.
We’re going to throw a variety of Marvel news at you this morning. First up, Joss Whedon fans know he’s not shy about killing off characters. He did it with Coulson (Clark Gregg) in The Avengers, but the character managed a resurrection for the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But when it comes to other heroes, Whedon tells EW that Marvel is wary of knocking off its moneymakers. “I’d have to have a really good reason, a really great sequence for [Marvel executives] to go, ‘We’ll cut off a potential franchise, that’s fine!’”, says Whedon. “They know as any good studio does, that without some stakes, some real danger, how involved can we get?” The writer-director continued, “We don’t just rule it out across the board, but neither is the mission statement ‘Who can we kill?’ We try to build the story organically and go, ‘How hard can we make it on these people?’ You go to the movies to see people you love suffer-that’s why you go to the movies.” Personally, I would love it if a nothing superhero from the Marvel universe popped up at the beginning of The Avengers: Age of Ultron and was immediately annihilated.
Hit the jump for Marvel stuff including deleted scenes and an alternate ending for Iron Man 3. You can also check out a brief shot of The Wasp in an animatic for an early draft for The Avengers.
Apparently today is the day that Marvel rumors get confirmed. We just heard that Bradley Cooper is in early talks to voice Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, and now THR has confirmed that Elizabeth Olsen is in final negotiations to portray Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon’s sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We previously heard that Saoirse Ronan was eyed for the Scarlet Witch role, but when she apparently passed, Marvel moved on to Olsen. Now it appears that the Martha Marcy May Marlene actress’ deal is nearly done, and she will in all likelihood be playing Scarlet Witch opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson as brother Quicksilver in the Avengers follow-up. Hit the jump for more.
We have a few bits of Marvel news for you this afternoon. In addition to talking about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Joss Whedon also touched on The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Specifically, he explained his vision for the eponymous baddie. Per EW:
“I knew right away what I wanted to do with him,” Whedon says. “He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers, goddamn it, he’s got a bee in his bonnet. He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain. And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone [a new character, Scarlet Witch] who’s a witch.”
If you want to know why Whedon needs to pare down Ultron’s abilities, read this list of powers he has from the comics. Also, Whedon’s statement regarding Scarlet Witch comes pretty close to confirmation that magic is a part of the movie rather than the interpretation of her ability to “calculate and control probabilities”. Hit the jump for some Guardians of the Galaxy news. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens April 1, 2015.
It looks like Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) may have passed on the role of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers 2. Now, it appears as if Whedon and Marvel have turned to Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) to play the heroine. If Olsen seals the deal, she’ll star opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2), who is the frontrunner to play Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver in the sequel. While Ronan certainly would have been a capable performer on both the action and dramatic fronts, Olsen has yet to disappoint in her young career. Hit the jump for more.
Check out Disney’s adjusted release date schedule, along with an earlier release for an anticipated DreamWorks Animation sequel below:
- The Avengers: Age of Ultron is final title of previous “Marvel’s The Avengers Untitled Sequel” (previously announced 5/1/15 wide playdate is unchanged)
- Inside Out is final title of previous “The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind” (previously announced 6/19/15 wide playdate in 3D is unchanged)
- Phineas and Ferb is removed from Disney release schedule (from “2014 Undated”)
- How to Train Your Dragon 2* will open on June 13, 2014, moved up a week from June 20, 2014; Friday the 13th be damned!
- Warner Bros. sets Akiva Goldsman’s Winter’s Tale, starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe, for February 14, 2014.
Earlier today at D23, I landed an extended video interview with Chris Evans backstage after he presented some new footage for his upcoming Marvel film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. For more on what was shown, read Dave’s recap. Since we talked about so many of his upcoming projects, I’m breaking it up in two parts. For today’s installment, he talks about making Captain America: The Winter Solider, what the film is about, how it continues the love story from the first film, what it means for him to have the entire planet watching Marvel movies, if Joss Whedon has told him anything about The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Tom Hiddleston appearing as Loki at Comic-Con. And while Evans doesn’t know much about The Avengers sequel, he did reveal filming is scheduled to begin the first week of March next year. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
Rather than being afraid to even utter a word about The Avengers: Age of Ultron, writer-director Joss Whedon has been surprisingly loquacious when it comes to other Marvel directors. Obviously, he won’t divulge plot details, but he’s been willing to announce characters, say how much of a role other characters have in the plot, and more. In the upcoming issue of Total Film, Whedon explained why he chose Ultron as the villain for the upcoming sequel. For those who don’t know, Ultron made his first appearance in 1968′s Avengers #55, and has been a problem for them ever since. His origin story will be changed for the movie, but Whedon has had his eye on the evil automaton before he even got into the director’s chair for the first movie.
Hit the jump for what Whedon had to say about Ultron. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1, 2015.
As filming is set to get underway on The Avengers: Age of Ultron early next year, writer/director Joss Whedon and the folks at Marvel are starting to make logistical preparations for the follow-up, including filling out the cast. Whedon revealed early on that he was including the characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in the film, and we learned a couple of months ago that Aaron Taylor-Johnson was the frontrunner to play the incredibly fast Quicksilver in the superhero sequel.
Steve recently sat down with Taylor-Johnson in anticipation of the release of Kick-Ass 2, and the actor confirmed that he has indeed had meetings with both Whedon and the people at Marvel about possibly playing Quicksilver, and it certainly sounds like negotiations are ongoing. In addition, Taylor-Johnson spoke a bit about director Gareth Edwards’ vision for Godzilla. Hit the jump to read on.
At Comic-Con on Saturday, Marvel Studios threw the crowd a curve ball by revealing that the killer automaton Ultron would be the villain of the upcoming sequel, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. As we previously reported, the movie will not have the same story with the recent Marvel Comics arc even though they share a title. “We came up with a few titles, but every month a new comic book appeared, and that’s a great title,” Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told Empire. “Age Of Ultron is a great title. We had a few other ‘Of Ultrons’, but that was the best one. So we’re borrowing that title, but taking storylines from decades of Avengers storylines.” Ultron had been in the words for “seven or eight months,” but some ideas in the sequel will be from ideas Feige and writer-director Joss Whedon had been kicking around during filming on the first Avengers.
Hit the jump for what Feige had to say about fan-favorite character, Loki, appearing in future Marvel movies.
Marvel President Kevin Feige is about to leave the stage in Hall H following the panels for Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy. An amped up crowd is shouting “More!” Feige returns, takes a seat, and says “There’s only one more person here. He wanted to say, ‘Hi.’ Joss Whedon!” Whedon takes the stage. “Hi. I know it’s time to go,” he says, “and I don’t have a lot to say, but I have something to add.” We cut to a trailer of quotes from The Avengers over something metal being hammered. The metal has a strange red glow. The last quote we hear is what Nick Fury told Maria Hill about the group coming back together when they world will need them. The camera then pulls out to reveal Ultron’s helmet. We then get the title for the highly-anticipated sequel: The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Hit the jump for more. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1, 2015.
The Dark Horse Joss Whedon panel definitely drew a huge crowd of Whedonites Friday night. Tthe panel basically turned into an hour of great back and forth questions and answers between Whedon and the fans. Whedon has claimed his rightful place as one of the demigods of Comic-Con, having earlier that day taken par tin the panel for his new ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite the crowd’s warm reaction to the pilot episode, Whedon still has to fight against the fatigue of his own bustling and insane career at the moment.
After a slight introduction from Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, Whedon got underway, Starbucks coffee in hand, talking about everything including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, The Avengers and The Avengers 2, and Much Ado About Nothing. Hit the jump for the highlights.
For better or worse, the final confrontation between Superman and General Zod in this summer’s Man of Steel set off a firestorm of controversy across the web. Heroes and villains were once black and white but seem to be getting away from those restrictions with every new comic book movie. Should comic book heroes be held to a higher standard of morality in today’s world of “gritty and realistic” adaptations? Is it fair to expect filmmakers to portray movie heroes and villains as paragons of good and evil, or is it time they dabble in the gray areas? Or is it as simple as looking at a particular character’s origins and tough decisions (made by writers) over the years to decide whether or not the killing of their adversaries makes sense?
We’ve taken a look at comic book movies made over the years and put together a list of combatants, conflicts and resolutions to see if the line made famous by Aaron Eckhart in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight holds true: “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Hit the jump to see how other heroes have dealt with their villains over the years.
As far as studio tentpoles are concerned, the superhero genre is undoubtedly the most popular go-to avenue for blockbusters at the moment. Marvel has now built a cohesive cinematic universe in which its many characters interact with each other across different movies—just as in the comic books—and DC is attempting to get its act together at Warner Bros. with the same idea. However, studios are limited as to which characters they can use in the films due to rights ownership, despite the fact that the real Avengers includes not only Iron Man and Captain America, but also Spider-Man and, at times, members of the X-Men franchise.
Steve recently sat down to interview Hugh Jackman at the press day for his upcoming film The Wolverine, and when asked about the possibility of having these characters interact with each other in a mega-superhero film, Jackman enthusiastically responded that he’d love to fight alongside Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the entirety of The Avengers as Wolverine. Hit the jump to see what else he had to say.