The Problem with Superhero Sagas: Why Treating Movies Like Television Is a Bad Idea

by     Posted 73 days ago

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When Marvel Studios started producing its own films with Iron Man in 2008, many in the industry and the public at large were quite sure that they would fail.  Headlines famously accused the comic book company of delving into its “second-tier superheroes” in order to compete with the likes of Batman and Spider-Man at the box office, and few could have predicted just how successful the studio’s new venture would be—or that Iron Man was only the beginning.  The tag at the end of the Iron Man credits introducing Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury kicked off one of the more ambitious feats in recent film history, beginning a series of interconnected movies that featured different lead characters inhabiting the same cinematic universe.  This culminated in the 2012 team-up film The Avengers to the tune of $1.5 billion.  Marvel Studios is now no longer just a production company; it’s a brand.

As with any successful brand, imitators followed.  Other major studios are aiming to mimic Marvel’s success with their own interconnected universes, and just recently Warner Bros. announced release dates for nine untitled DC Comics adaptations that will surely all connect to one another.  However, this new approach to franchise filmmaking—ostensibly treating movies as episodes in a TV series—may actually be robbing us of more creatively satisfying superhero adaptations. 

LEGO Reveals THE DARK KNIGHT Tumbler as Well as Heath Ledger Joker

by     Posted 92 days ago

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LEGO and Batman have been together for years, but always in a fun, cutesy way.  But at San Diego Comic-Con, LEGO Batman is getting a little grittier by releasing not only The Dark Knight Tumbler, but also a Heath Ledger Joker minifigure.  The Tumbler will be on display at Comic-Con beginning Wednesday, and will go on sale in September.  The toy has 1,869 pieces and will retail for $199.  If you want to buy it, you’re also going to have to clear some shelf space because the toy measures 15 inches tall and 9 inches wide plus it comes with a fact-sheet/plate.

The Tumbler set also includes a new Batman figure, which is painted slightly differently than previously released Batman minifigs, yet it doesn’t have the same Bat symbol as the one from The Dark Knight.  But where things get a little confusing for me is the Heath Ledger joker.  It will be included in the Tumbler set, but I can’t think of another LEGO minifigure that was based on such an intentionally disturbing character.  Does it come with a pencil?  Or just knives and lint?  Hit the jump to check out LEGO Batman Heath Ledger Joker and the Tumbler.

Geek Gifts: THE DARK KNIGHT’s Joker in Bank-Robber Mode from Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles

by     Posted 96 days ago

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If you’re like me, you remember quite clearly the first time you saw Heath Ledger as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.  In fact, that entire opening sequence is rather memorable, but the appearance by the Clown Prince of Crime was the cherry on top.  Now, you can reenact the scene itself (scaled down, and in the relative safety of your own home, that is) with the new Joker collectible figure from Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles.  This bank-robbing version of the late Ledger’s now-iconic character comes with interchangeable heads, 30 points of articulation, and way more weapons in his pockets than simply knives and lint.

Hit the jump for more images and a list of specifications for Hot Toys’ Joker or click here to pre-order on Sideshow’s website.

Over 160 Pictures and Video from THE BATMAN EXHIBIT at Warner Bros. in Burbank

by     Posted 115 days ago

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This summer, Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour celebrates Batman’s 75th anniversary with The Batman Exhibit, which was created in close collaboration with DC Entertainment.  Recently, I was one of several lucky journalists invited to attend a super cool event that coincided with the opening of the new attraction and featured a tour of the exhibit.  What made this especially fun and exciting was that it marked the first time all seven Batman films have come together in a themed exhibit on the studio’s historic Burbank lot.

We began our tour with a visit to the Picture Car Vault located on the studio lot, where a selection of the Caped Crusader’s most iconic vehicles, including the Batpod, Bathammer, Tumbler and Batmobile, are showcased.  The Bat-Signal used to call Bruce Wayne’s alter ego at a time of need is also on display.  While we were there, Danny DeVito, who played the Penguin in Batman Returns, stopped by to welcome us, pose for photos, and turn on the iconic Bat-Signal.  Visitors to the Picture Car Vault will have an opportunity to activate the Bat-Signal and pose at a Batman-themed interactive green screen photo opportunity.  Hit the jump for pictures, video and more.

Toy Fair: Over 100 Pictures from NECA Booth Including DIVERGENT, PACIFIC RIM, ALIEN, PREDATOR, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and More

by     Posted 247 days ago

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The moment the floor opened, the first stop of Toy Fair 2014 was the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) booth and it was a good thing we started there because this year’s display was overloaded with new items from Captain America: The Winter Solider, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Pacific Rim, Arkham Origins, The Dark Knight and so much more.  Divergent fans should have their eye on NECA, too, because the company also revealed a whole bunch of products for the March 21st release. Hit the jump for more on the upcoming Divergent line and the rest of the NECA 2014 lot including over 100 pictures.

Anthony Michael Hall Talks DEAD IN TOMBSTONE, What It’s Like to Play a Badass Western Villain, THE DEAD ZONE, Working with Christopher Nolan on THE DARK KNIGHT, and More

by     Posted 364 days ago

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When director Roel Reine’s shoot-em-up western Dead in Tombstone was filming in Romania last year, I got to visit the set along with a few other online reporters.  The film stars Danny Trejo as the leader of a gang of outlaws who frees his half-brother (Anthony Michael Hall) from prison in order to loot a mining town.  The plan backfires when Hall double crosses Trejo and kills him.  Trejo makes a deal with the devil (Mickey Rourke) and comes back from the dead to seek revenge.  As Patrick said in his Blu-ray review, “Dead in Tombstone has some really impressive stunts and set-pieces – from horse-drawn carriage flips to chandelier swings (classic!) and massive explosions – and they’re all staged and shot better than most Hollywood action fare.  One particular explosion near the end looks impossibly large, though no CGI was used.  Action fans will definitely want to check out this unique supernatural revenge thriller.”

During my on set video interview with Anthony Michael Hall, he talked about how he got involved in the project and his respect for Trejo and Rourke, what it’s like to play a badass western villain, his experiences on Community, The Dead Zone, and working with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight, what people always want to talk to him about, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Hans Zimmer Talks MAN OF STEEL Sequel and His Thoughts on Ben Affleck as Batman

by     Posted 1 year, 10 days ago

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With Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and this summer’s Man of Steel, composer Hans Zimmer has now had the chance to write music for arguably the two most popular comics characters in the world: Batman and Superman.  Now that Zack Snyder has decided to bring a new Batman into the fold for the Man of Steel follow-up, Zimmer is faced with the decision of whether to revisit the Dark Knight or step aside and let someone else tackle the character.

Steve recently visited Zimmer in his studio and during the course of their extended conversation, the composer talked about whether he would be willing to return to score the Man of Steel follow-up and how his work with Nolan affects his decision.  Zimmer also chimed in with his thoughts on the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in Snyder’s film.  Hit the jump for much more.

Everybody Needs to Calm Down: Why Fan Outrage over Ben Affleck Playing Batman Is Premature

by     Posted 1 year, 59 days ago

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When it comes to a character as old and popular as Batman, everybody has an opinion.  Following the announcement that a Batman/Superman movie was in the cards for Warner Bros., we knew there would be some debate over who the studio and director Zack Snyder should choose to don the cape and cowl for their Man of Steel follow-up.  Early word was that they were looking to cast an older, more experienced Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s young Superman, and names like Josh Brolin and Jon Hamm were bandied about.  However, when the studio announced last night that Ben Affleck has been cast in the role, the reaction was unsurprisingly vehement.

The internet specializes in snap judgments, and the casting of Affleck as Batman is no different.  But fan outcry and caps-lock rants are premature; people are already rating a performance that we won’t see on screen for nearly two years.  Hit the jump for more on why everybody needs to calm down.

Full Official Details for THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY: ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION Blu-ray Set Revealed; Available September 24th [UPDATED]

by     Posted 1 year, 111 days ago

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Details for one of the must-haves of this coming holiday season, The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set, started trickling out last week as we got a peek at the potential cover art for the set, and now Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has revealed the full official details for the home video release, which will hit stores on September 24th.  The six-disc collection includes all three films with their existing extras, two new featurettes, and new collectible memorabilia including Hot Wheels vehicles for each film (Tumbler, Batpod, and The Bat), new art cards by Mondo that highlight the main villains, and a 48-page hardcover book.  Hit the jump for more.

[Update: We've been provided with a high-resolution image of the official artwork for the set. Take a look after the jump.]

Christian Bale Not Involved with JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie, Looks Forward to New Vision for Batman

by     Posted 1 year, 112 days ago

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Concerning Warner Bros. and DC Comic’s Justice League movie, we’ve heard from Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and producer Deborah Snyder, screenwriter David S. Goyer, and, of course, Christopher Nolan.  Now, we hear from Nolan’s Batman himself, Christian Bale, who reflects both on his experience during the trilogy of Dark Knight films and just what level of involvement, if any, he has in the Justice League team-up.  Hit the jump to see what Bale had to say.

Maggie Gyllenhaal Talks WHITE HOUSE DOWN, the Great Advice Jamie Foxx Told Her, Making THE DARK KNIGHT, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 116 days ago

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With director Roland Emmerich’s latest actioner White House Down opening this weekend, Sony held a big press junket across the street from the White House.  While I’ve done a lot of interviews, it was incredibly cool to be talking to the cast and Emmerich with the President’s home right in front of us.  If you’ve missed all the trailers, the film follows a rejected Secret Service applicant (Channing Tatum) who must save the President (Jamie Foxx) when a heavily-armed paramilitary group takes over the White House.  White House Down also stars Maggie GyllenhaalJames Woods, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, Jake Weber, Lance Reddick, and Jason Clarke.

During my interview with Gyllenhaal she talked about whether it was a fun shoot, if she wanted to be involved in more of the action (which leads to a great story about making The Dark Knight), what advice Jamie Foxx told her, deleted scenes, what she learned about the White House, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Has the DARK KNIGHT Trilogy Blu-ray Set Been Revealed?

by     Posted 1 year, 117 days ago

When Christopher Nolan’s closing chapter in his Dark Knight saga The Dark Knight Rises was announced for Blu-ray release last year, fans of Nolan’s trilogy understood that a collector’s trilogy set would eventually come to home video.  It was subsequently confirmed that Warner Bros. would indeed be releasing the full Dark Knight Trilogy Blu-ray set in the third quarter of 2013, and now a possible first look at the set may have landed online.  If this is indeed the Blu-ray collection we’ve all been waiting for, it certainly looks like it’ll be well worth purchasing.  Hit the jump for some images.

Take a Quick Look at Heath Ledger’s Joker Diary from THE DARK KNIGHT

by     Posted 1 year, 143 days ago

The Dark Knight is one of the biggest films of the last five years, and while the Blu-ray has a good amount of special features, none of them focus on Heath Ledger.  I can understand the omission since it probably would have seen exploitative at the time.  But now that there’s been some distance from his death, we can respectfully approach the amount of work he put into his unforgettable portrayal of The Joker.  But in the five years since the movie has been released, almost no material has surfaced, which is surprising since it’s more than likely that the Blu-ray would have an extra about his performance had he lived.  But today, a brief video of Ledger’s “Joker Diary” has surfaced.  I wish the video was longer and we could get a more detailed look at the pictures, but it does show how much work he put into his character.  I know there are some who attribute his death to being too lost into his character, but I think that’s a facile explanation.  Rather than speculate on his loss, we should simply appreciate his tremendous talent.  Looking at this journal is part of that appreciation, and hopefully there’s more of his behind-the-scenes work out there waiting to be discovered.

Hit the jump to check out the Joker Diary.

David S. Goyer Talks Future BATMAN Movies and Whether He’d Consider Being Involved

by     Posted 1 year, 201 days ago

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Though director Christopher Nolan is more widely associated with the most recent feature film iteration of Batman given that he’s, well, the director, David S. Goyer was also intricately involved with bringing The Dark Knight Trilogy to the big screen as Nolan’s close collaborator.  Goyer and Nolan came up with the initial story for all three films and the two co-wrote the script for Batman Begins.  Nolan has put an end to his relationship with Batman with last year’s closing chapter The Dark Knight Rises, but Warner Bros. will obviously be bringing Batman back to the big screen sooner rather than later given that it’s a billion dollar franchise.

Steve recently sat down with Goyer in anticipation of the upcoming Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons, which Goyer created, wrote, and executive produced.  During the course of their conversation, Steve asked the scribe if he would consider working on a future Batman film should Warner Bros. seek his involvement.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

Toy Fair 2013: Over 100 Images from Convention Floor Including BATMAN, STAR WARS, REAL STEEL, SUPERMAN, Marvel, GODZILLA, IRON MAN, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 252 days ago

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If you’re a toy collector, you’ve likely had a great past few days.  That’s because every February at Toy Fair in NYC, all the toy manufactures  show off tons of upcoming toys and many are being revealed for the first time.  Over the past 24 hours we’ve posted a ton of them broken down by manufacturer, and we’re not close to being done.  However, due to how many we’ve yet to post, I’m going to take a group approach to this article.

As you can see after the jump, we’ve got over 100 pictures from the convention floor and you can check out some of the new toys for Iron Man (and Iron Man 3), The Walking DeadBatmanThe Dark KnightStar Wars, DC Justice, Real Steel, Marvel Selects, Resident Evil, Arkham City, Star TrekSupermanThorWonder Woman, Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible, and much more.

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