by Jason Barr Posted: April 27th, 2013 at 10:38 am
Last night I had the opportunity to check out a late showing of Pain & Gain during which I encountered a few thoughts that I couldn’t shake: 1) I wish Michael Bay would make more films like this and less of the transforming car variety. 2) Why can’t Dwayne Johnson be in every movie? 3) This is probably the craziest “Based on a True Story” movie I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard Bay say that some of the most extreme elements of the plot are also the most true to the original story. This is good to know because had someone written a lot of what shows up in the film I would likely call it too farfetched for my suspended disbelief to withstand. Make no mistake, this is a wild, entertaining ride that utilizes layers of action, crime, comedy, sex, and even a touch of sadism to keep you invested from beginning to end.
My mini-review aside, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World, Pain & Gain interviews with Michael Bay, Mark Wahlberg, and more, a recap of our visit to Pixar for Monsters University, news that Zack Snyder could take the helm of Justice League pending Man of Steel‘s success, and the first entry in a new interview series from Steve: “Breaking Down the Movie” with The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance. As is customary, a brief recap and link to each of the above is ready and waiting after the jump.
Opening this weekend is director Michael Bay’s fantastic dark comedy Pain & Gain. The film is based on a crazy true story and stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as two bodybuilders who get caught up in an extortion ring and kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong. Pain and Gain also stars Anthony Mackie, Rebel Wilson, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong, and Bar Paly. For more on the film, watch some clips or the red-band trailer.
Last week at the Miami press junket, I landed an exclusive interview with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. They talked about the crazy true-life story that inspired the movie, the long process of bringing the film to life, how it was always going to be rated R, the cast and their great performances, how the craziest stuff in the movie is real, and so much more. Hit the jump to watch and definitely check it out this weekend. It’s absolutely worth seeing.
Marvel’s run of Phase One films culminated with the smashing success of last year’s The Avengers, and while Phase Two is gearing up to kick off next month with the release of Iron Man 3, there are a couple of Marvel veterans who have their hands creatively in more than one upcoming film. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote the script for Captain America: The First Avenger, and while they were enlisted to pen the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the duo also worked on the screenplay for this November’s Thor: The Dark World.
Steve recently spoke with Markus and McFeely in anticipation of director Michael Bay’s upcoming black comedy Pain & Gain (which they wrote), and during the course of their conversation the two talked extensively about their work on Captain America 2, Thor 2, and Marvel films in general. Hit the jump to see what they had to say about Easter Eggs, Black Widow’s presence in Cap 2, the amount of flashbacks we can expect, planning for Phase Three, and much, much more.
Though Phase One of Marvel Studios’ film slate came to an end just a few months ago with The Avengers, production on Phase Two is already well underway. The studio is currently in the midst of filming two upcoming sequels at the same time: Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. The Iron Man production is winding down to a close ahead of that film’s May 2013 release date, but filming on Thor: The Dark World is still going strong in London and today the first official synopsis for the Asgardian pic has been revealed.
The logline essentially tells us what we already know: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must fight against Maleketih (Christopher Eccleston) and his race of Dark Elves, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is back, the fate of the universe is in the balance, etc. However, the synopsis does tease the film’s epic scope and the fact that Thor is forced to “sacrifice everything” in order to save us all (Thor dies?!). Hit the jump to check out the full synopsis, which includes the full cast list. Directed by Alan Taylor, Thor: The Dark World opens on November 8th, 2013.
Tim Robbins began a second career as a director in the 1990s with Bob Roberts (1992), Dead Man Walking (1995), and Cradle Will Rock (1999). He took a break from features after that, though he directed a few television projects in the years since, including two episodes of Treme. Robbins is ready to return to the big screen, as THR announces that the actor/director has signed a deal with Endgame Entertainment to helm City of Lies. Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely will adapt the Arthur Phillips short story Wenceslas Square, which follows two spies who fall in love while on separate missions in Prague. Phillips read an abridged version of the story on This American Life.
TAL‘s Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp will produce along with Douglas E. Hansen (An Education) and Endgame’s James D. Stern (The Raven). Philip Noyce was previously attached to direct before Robbins came on board.
Having wrapped on his Transformers trilogy (although who knows if he’ll be lured back), director Michael Bay has turned his focus to the dark comedy Pain and Gain. The story is based on a 1999 Miami New Times article about two bodybuilders who got caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that went terribly wrong. In October, Bay said of the film, “It’s a very quick shoot and quite funny.” Pain and Gain has been one of Bay’s passion projects for the past decade and carries a reported budget of only $20 million (the word “only” is used because of Bay; few other directors would get that adjective in front of their budget).
According to Variety, Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg are circling the lead roles, although their participation will depend on scheduling. Hit the jump for more. [We've updated the story after the jump]
With Captain America: The First Avenger arriving in theaters next weekend, I spent most of yesterday interviewing the cast and filmmakers. As I said in the intro to my Chris Evans interview, I absolutely loved this movie and think everyone involved did an amazing job bringing Captain America to life. Trust me, if you were nervous about Chris Evans as Cap, or that Marvel couldn’t make a period piece, you’re going to be blown away next weekend.
Of course no movie can work without a great script, so credit needs to be given to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. And I’m not alone in thinking their script was solid, as a few months ago we reported they’d been hired to write the sequel. So when I sat down with them for an exclusive interview yesterday, they talked about how they got the job, how much input did they have in the story or did Marvel come up with the major plot points, the Easter Eggs, the challenge of making the movie fit into the Marvel universe, and we spent a ton of time discussing the sequel. Hit the jump to watch.
For the past few days at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times hosted the second annual Hero Complex Film Festival. In attendance were Warren Beatty for Dick Tracy, director Nicholas Meyer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, writers/producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof for Star Trek (2009), Richard Donner for Superman and Superman II (with an appearance by Geoff Johns), Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. (who was a surprise guest) for Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Of course they both talked a bit about Iron Man 3, The Avengers and Magic Kingdom.
In addition to the previously announced guests, Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely premiered the new trailer and talked about the movie, and Mike Mignola talked about going back to Hellboy. For more on the Festival, hit the jump.
Update: Added some video of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.
On Tuesday, we reported that Joss Whedon was in final negotiations to write and direct The Avengers. Today, Pajiba reports that Whedon might also be re-writing the script for Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger. The extent of Whedon’s polish on Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s script is unknown but since Whedon’s greatest strength is his dialogue, I’d wager that’s where we’ll see his thumbprint.
This news combined with his Avengers deal has me shocked that Whedon is so far into the Marvel Universe movies. At this point, we possibly have Whedon directing Marvel Studios biggest film and writing two of its superhero scripts. Hell, since Whedon wrote the must-read Astonishing X-Men, might as well give him the next X-Men movie. At some point his fans will blow a fuse in their brains. And then they’ll be all like, “Where’s Dr. Horrible 2?!?!” Commence construction of the Whedon Cloner.
Hit the jump for a brief refresher on Captain America: The First Avenger.
Having just wrapped post-production on the spy flick Salt, starring Angelina Jolie as a CIA spook accused of working for the Russians – which I predict will be the at least slightly surprisingly monster hit of the summer when it comes out July 23 – director Phillip Noyce is already booked for more spy games.
According to Variety, he’s been tapped to helm the spy thriller Wenceslas Square, based on the short story by Arthur Phillips and with a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It’s set in Prague in the late Cold War era and revolves around a young CIA officer and a beautiful Czech spy. Endgame, which is producing this, is said to be “fast-tracking” it, so stay tuned for more details on it probably very soon.
What I’d really like to see Noyce, easily one of my favorites, direct is that adaptation of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, but that seems to be on hold, perhaps forever. In the meantime, I love me some spy games, so bring all this on.