The cast list for X-Men: Days of Future Past is starting to get a little ridiculous. Featuring the bulk of the cast from X-Men: First Class and significant portions of the original X-Men trilogy, the film is going to be the most jam-packed mutant spectacular this side of the funny books.
So the most recent casting news should not come as a huge surprise. Deadline is reporting that Bryan Singer has nabbed yet another classic X-Man for his upcoming new film:
Deadline has confirmed the actress will reprise her role as Storm in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past. There had been serious concern this wouldn’t work out, but I’m told it has. The X-Men: First Class will be bolstered by most of the original X-cast, including Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore and Hugh Jackman.
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What the Hell is going on? Who’s in what car? Which one is the bad guy? These are the questions that arose during the first fifteen minutes of A Good Day to Die Hard‘s car chase. That the action confuses more than excites is a bad, bad sign.
The movie opens in a Russian prison where billionaire Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) is awaiting trial for…um…potentially snitching out the bigwig Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov). From the outset, it’s not clear who is actually the bad guy — Chagarin explodes when Komarov refuses to give him a certain file, so maybe he’s the bad guy, but then Komarov is a billionaire — and one who plays chess in prison at that — doesn’t that automatically mark him as the bad guy?
But then we switch to a night club, where Jack (Jai Courtney) assassinates Anton (Roman Luknar). Is Jack the bad guy then? Apparently not, since we’re now in America, where John McClane (Bruce Willis) is at the airport, heading to Russia to bail out Jack, who’s his son. Evidently Jack works for the CIA, which now condones public killings.
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When it was announced that Matthew Vaughn was leaving the director’s chair for X-Men: Days of Future Past, the geek community felt an inescapable fear that things might be falling apart. Even the seemingly good news that original X-Director Bryan Singer was coming back didn’t seem to dissuade the growing fear that Fox was once again messing up the X-Men.
Then the online nerd populous started putting two and two together. If the next film was going to tackle one of the most famous comic book time travel stories, and the director was the guy who made the first two great X-Men movies, would we be getting a giant cross generational X-Men X-travaganza?
Well, the answer seems to be a resounding yes, and according to the twitter account of Bryan Singer himself it keeps getting better:
Very excited to welcome #annapaquin, @ellenpage &@shawnrashmore to #XMen #DaysofFuturePast - thank you @BrettRatner for letting them live!
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Broken City is no Chinatown. It takes many of the 1974 Polanski classic’s basic elements – both protagonists are private eyes who used to be cops and specialize in extramarital affairs. Both get involved in schemes to bilk to poor schlubs of a major city (both schemes being land deals, no less). Both have troubled pasts, get in over their head, and see a case through when they’d be better off keeping their eyes shut. Both have confrontations with the villains that end with them being told that they may know what they’re doing but don’t. Only Chinatown did it really, really well and has what is widely recognized as one of the best screenplays of all time.
Broken City, to put it mildly, doesn’t. Despite being among the Hollywood “blacklist” of the purportedly best yet unproduced scripts, it’s an immensely plodding and dull story whose “twists” are so predictable, that one can easily lay out the movie’s entire course simply from the trailer.
Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, the P.I. who’s hired by the mayor of New York City (Russell Crowe) to discover whom his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is schtupping. Naturally, Wahlberg uncovers some sordid details about both the mayor as well as his political rival (Barry Pepper). Someone tips the ruckus, some people get whacked, and Taggart all but ignores it to struggle with his own personal issues including an actor girlfriend (Natalie Martinez) and a history of possible alcoholism.
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The following was discovered in the journal of Sir Heinriech Blossom Bugfellow, Gentleman:
During my travels, I came across a curious figure of Mr. Snipe, a derelict of the town who, for a small sum, would relate his tales from across all corners of the world. On this occasion, he spoke of his journey to the Gallery of the Wizened Master, a painter of rich and moving tapestries. As Mr. Snipe recalled, the Master was well known throughout the world, and his latest exhibition featured works done with a new kind of paint, one which made the images leap from the canvas and poke at your eyes.
The works were representations of a famous folk tale featuring all mixes of animals, people, landscapes, and the like. Mingling with each other, they produced images of great wonder, such as a still ocean reflecting the sky above or endless pools of glowing bioluminscence or a vast and enveloping view of a sunken ship. Certainly they stole many a breath, for one viewer was scared to cough for fear that the painting would disperse. Mr. Snipe, he assured me, found them delightful as well, but noticed, when he walked behind these pictures, that each one disappeared when viewed from a different angle.
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Matthew Vaughn is a frustratingly great director. He is great in regards to his four feature films all being excellent, and he is frustrating because the man seems to take great pleasure in agreeing to do awesome projects and slipping away from them so close to production.
For those of you who don’t remember, Vaughn was the original choice to direct X-Men: The Last Stand after Bryan Singer jumped ship to his Superman snore-fest. Everything seemed great in the X-Universe until, at the last-minute, Vaughn dropped out and Fox was forced to call in Brett Ratner who has a history of bringing in projects on time and on budget. Now X3 had an extremely mixed reaction (I actually loved it, ask me to defend it to a hater some time for raucous debate) but one thing is certain, the film suffered from Vaughn’s departure.
Fast forward a handful of years and Vaughn finally made his X-Film and it ended up being the best of the franchise and single-handedly saved the struggling mutants from an impending cinematic reboot fate. Now we stand at the precipice of another X-Film production with Vaughn at the helm and, wouldn’t you know it, the man bows out.
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Charlie Brown and his famous band of christian buddies have lived in pop culture continuously for over 60 years. The brain child of Charles Schulz, Peanuts is a phenomenon that has effected every generation since it’s inception. Well, save for perhaps the current generation who only know the characters as shills for MetLife and those droopy trees that people seem to love around Christmas.
According to Deadline, Fox is looking to change that, by acquiring the rights to an animated feature staring everyone’s favorite adolescents:
Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Ice Age makers Blue Sky Studios will turn Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock and the whole Peanuts gang into an animated feature film franchise. Fox has closed a deal for the rights to turn the strip by the late Charles Schulz into a film that has already been set for release on November 25, 2015. That date commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip, and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Rather ambitious to already have a release date three years out, but it makes sense.
There is also some brewing concern about the animation style of the movie. If you look at Ice Age and the Seuss films you don’t exactly see the Peanuts ascetic. We have faith though, Blue Sky managed to take the Seuss style and make it work in a 3D space rather well. There is no reason to believe that they can’t replicate that level of respectful modernization for Schulz’s iconic style as well.
Stay tuned to The Flickcast for any news regarding this far off project as it develops.
Few people remember the time leading up to Iron Man 2 when the relatively new ‘it’ girl Emily Blunt was nearly cast to play Black Widow. Of course her schedule didn’t clear up and the role went to Scarlet Johansson, which has worked out well enough so far.
Now it seems like the lovely Ms. Blunt is getting another crack at the Marvel Movie-Verse with rumors starting to run rampant that she is going to be up for the role of Ms. Marvel. A popular member of the Avengers who has been a major player in the comics in the last decade.
Her set of super powers might sound familiar to any of you X-Fans who were confused when Rogue didn’t take off plying and punch things real hard in the X-Men movies. Ms. Marvel was zapped dry by Rogue in the ’80s setting up the version of that character who was popularized by the X-Boom in the early 90′s. Although it is not terribly likely that a Fox owned X-Character will be popping into an Avengers film to basically take out one of their new heroes.
Or is it?
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2011 smashed one long-held cinematic rule, that on almost every occasion prequels suck. There were two very high-profile, very low expectation prequels that summer, and both ended up being franchise salvaging hits.
Sequels to those prequels have already been green lit and given release dates by Fox. The creative team behind X-Men: First Class were able to jump right into pre-production with almost all of the behind the scenes crew intact. The ride has been a little more bumpy for the next Apes film, with Rise director Rupert Wyatt jumping ship.
The rumors have been circulating for a while that Wyatt was on the way out, but it was only very recently made official. However, according to deadline, just as quickly as one director leaves another jumps in his place. That director happens to be Cloverfield helmer, Matt Reeves.
Reeves is a fine choice to step into the Apes universe, as he is one of the few directors who has shown an ability to make a story his own while maintaining the previously established story. If Reeves manages to tap into the tone of Rise of the Planet of the Apes while bringing something new to the table we stand a great chance at getting another great flick.
This week’s Monday Pick is the 1984 multi genre classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Director/screenwriter W.D. Richter (Dracula (1979), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Big Trouble in Little China) created one of the weirdest and most beloved cult classics of the 1980s.
Peter Weller (Robocop) stars as the multi talented neurosurgeon, physicist, rock musician and comic book hero Buckaroo Banzai who battles aliens know as Red Lectroids from the Planet 10 who plot to take over the Earth. Buckaroo Banzai’s character was influenced by the 1930s pulp novels of Doc Savage, much like Lucas and Spielberg’s Indiana Jones that was influenced after the literary adventure character of Allan Quatermain.
Buckaroo Banzai has always been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in theaters in the summer of 1984. It’s a very interesting/hard film to describe to anyone who has never scene it. The premise is beyond absurd but that’s what makes the film so lovable. Banzai and his team of do-gooders known as The Hong Kong Cavaliers (a version of Doc Savage’s Fabulous Five) battle the evil Red Lectroids under the command of Lord John Whorfin (yes an alien leader named John) played to psychotic perfection by John Lithgow, who is actually an Italian physicist known as Dr. Emilio Lizardo. Yeah, it’s a little confusing but when you watch the film it all comes together.
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We told you last week that Marvel and Fox were in talks to make a trade of sorts. Fox would get an extension on their Daredevil rights and Marvel would recoup certain specific character rights from the Fantastic Four universe, including Silver Surfer and Galactus. This seemed like a no brainer for both sides and was potentially step one for cross studio cooperation.
Of course when something seems to good to be true it often is. Word is now out that the talks have fallen through and Fox will lose the Daredevil rights and retain their full Fantastic Four catalog. This development is the very definition of a good news, bad news situation.
On one hand, any time Marvel Studios gets a chance to pull in the rights to one of its characters and their universe it is a good thing. It is unlikely that Matt Murdock will be fighting alongside The Avengers any time soon, but Marvel Studios is ever-expanding, and it is likely we will see a faithful Daredevil adaptation in some form or another eventually. Plus keeping Silver Surfer and Galactus with the Fantastic Four allows for the chance that a proper FF reboot can use two of their more important in-universe characters.
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By now everyone realizes that the cinematic rights to certain characters and franchise within the Marvel Pantheon are not actually held by Marvel Studios. They are spread out among several other major studios, most notably Sony and Fox, with those studios holding lucrative deals that allow them to keep the franchises so long as they are using them.
This means that as Marvel Studios blows everyone’s collective minds with their spectacular feature films, several key characters are off-limits to them. Up to this point that was not really a big deal because Marvel had plenty of their own marquee heroes and villains to play with. However, now Marvel is looking to expand into the cosmic corner of their universe with ‘Phase 2′ and the two most popular and known cosmic characters are currently held by Fox.
Under normal circumstances this would simply mean Marvel would have to find replacements for Galactus and Silver Surfer as they move forward with their cosmic phase, but timing might just be on their side. Fox is under a tight deadline to get their Daredevil reboot off the ground, and they just recently lost their director. Instead of simply scrabbling, Variety is reporting that Fox has proposed a trade with Marvel Studios to extend the Daredevil rights, a deal that would bring Galactus and Silver Surfer back home to Marvel.
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In its third week of release The Dark Knight Rises once again trumps all competition to reign supreme in the Box Office battlefield. Honestly, I could have written that sentence two years ago it was such a forgone conclusion.
Bringing in another $36 Million over the weekend, the final Nolan Batman film managed to ease a soft 41% after last week’s rather steep decline. The solid hold helps establish the film third on many of the all time box office speed records.
Unfortunately for the movie, almost across the board it is third to the only two films people want to compare it to, The Avengers and The Dark Knight. It is possible that the movie can climb into the top seven or eight all time and still have a tiny shade of disappointment. Thus is the magic of context.
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The X-Men film franchise has undergone a roller coaster of quality. Like any good roller coaster there are ups and downs, and some times wicked loops, and right now the franchise is about to hit one of those pretty big, gut churning upside down loops.
Matthew Vaughn’s First Class was welcome return to quality, but was a tad confusing in the continuity department. It was clearly a prequel, and Fox remains steadfast in the concept that the whole franchise fits together. So people have been wondering what, if any, steps the sequel will take to help bring things together.
Recently producer Bryan Singer confirmed the film’s title, which gives us a very good indication of where potential connective tissue can arise to properly connect First Class with the rest of the franchise. The new X-Men film will be known as X-Men: Days of Future Past.
For those uninitiated in X-Men lore, Days of Future Past refers to a story written by Chris Clarmont that revolves around an alternate, dystopian future and the attempts of one mutant from that time to travel backwards to stop an assassination. In other words, a perfect template for a film set in the past to tie in with a set of films that are perpetually set in the ‘not to distant future’.
What makes this even more perfect is that Days of Future Past doesn’t really need to be a perfect adaptation. The story is very malleable so the filmmakers have some wiggle room to change things as they see fit to make a good movie. A luxury Fox hasn’t had in the past when they tried to change the Galactus and Phoenix story arches.
Stay connected to The Flickcast as we will be on top of any new updates on the next X-Film in the coming months.
Despite a divided reception among fans and critics, Prometheus still managed to be a mild financial success for Fox this summer. So much so that the studio is actively working on a sequel to the prequel-ish film.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned directly from Fox that the potential continuation of this new branch of the Alien universe is in go mode:
Scott and the studio actively are pushing ahead with a follow-up (stars Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace are signed) and are talking to new writers because Prometheus co-scribe Damon Lindelof might not be available. “Ridley is incredibly excited about the movie, but we have to get it right. We can’t rush it,”… A Prometheus sequel would be released in 2014 or 2015.
People give Fox a lot of gruff for how they have been handling their genre franchises in the last decade, but recently they have shown a commitment to those franchises that goes beyond the new standard of reboot. It is almost refreshing to see a studio stubbornly standing behind the good and bad of what came before.
In the case of Prometheus, even though some people didn’t like the film, few people disagree that heady sci-fi like that should be encouraged. So this news is met with cautious optimism, if for no other reason than the hope that we get the definitive Fassbender as a decapitated head film.
Keep it tuned to The Flickcast for any new updates on Prometheus 2: Electric Boogaloo.