Here’s What’s Going On 06/18/2013: Joss Whedon Talks AVENGERS 2

Loki will not be the Big Bad… John Hurt will probably not be the Doctor for long… KUNG FU PANDA 3 seeks harmony with China… YouTube live video capture seeks no harmony with Google Chrome (you’ll see, sorry)…
From the luxurious Cinefantastique Online Studios in NYC, Dan Persons brings you up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of genre media.


Avengers director comes out for Romney

Just in the nick of time, with the nationwide election only days away, Joss Whedon (creator of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and director of THE AVENGERS) has recorded a video endorsing Mitt Romney for President. Whedon’s reasoning may strike some mainstream liberals as untenable, but those attuned to the political message in DAWN OF THE DEAD should understand completely. After all, spam has its own key.

The Avengers: The Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast – 3:18

Left to right: Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr, and a mass of pixels that look kinda like Mark Ruffalo prepare to do some avenging, because they are THE AVENGERS.
Left to right: Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr, and a mass of pixels that look kinda like Mark Ruffalo prepare to do some avenging, because they are THE AVENGERS.

There are so many ways a grand conglomeration of super heroes could turn into a car wreck (case in point: THE FANTASTIC FOUR), that we should be grateful when a film manages just to clear that bar. Fortunately, and quite happily, THE AVENGERS not only manages that base-line feat, but goes far beyond it, becoming a rare example of a top-notch comic book movie. Granted, the team-up of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), aided and abetted by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), doesn’t boast much more than a bare-essentials plot — demigod Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to take over the Earth ‘cuz… well, just ‘cuz — but under the direction of Joss Whedon, the proceedings offer enough kick-ass action and delicious character moments that plot barely matters.
Come join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and Dan Persons as they break down the first official blockbuster of summer 2012 to find out what makes it pop and where it fizzles. Also: What’s coming to theaters.


The Cabin in the Woods & Lockout: The Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast – 3:15

Adhering to Form: Fran Kranz preps for survival in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.
Adhering to Form: Fran Kranz preps for survival in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.

Joss Whedon has just been the busy, busy little bee lately, hasn’t he? He was one of the producers of the Morgan Spurlock documentary COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE last week; he’s the director of eagerly awaited THE AVENGERS, coming up in May; and this past weekend he produced and helped co-write THE CABIN IN THE WOODS with first-time director Drew Goddard (who previously wrote CLOVERFIELD). A deconstruction of the by-now-well-known stock “slasher” horror movie, CABIN takes its clutch of cliche teenagers (played by Kristen Connolly, THOR’s Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, DOLLHOUSE’s Fran Kranz and Jesse Williams) besieged in a country cabin by a family of zombie sadists, and twists the scenario around by having it being monitored and manipulated by a bunch of shirt-sleeve, nine-to-fivers (including Richard Jenkins, Amy Acker, and Bradley Whitford), for mysterious ends.
Join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they critique the critique, looking into what Goddard and Whedon bring to the (torture) table above and beyond a replication of the form, how the film’s mythology holds up under close scrutiny, and whether the SCREAM franchise has anything to worry about. Then, the gang takes a capsule look at the outer space prison riot film LOCKOUT. Plus: What’s coming in theaters.


Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope: Documentary Film Podcast

Crossing Generations and Genres in COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN'S HOPE.
Crossing Generations and Genres in COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN'S HOPE.

For some, it is Valhalla; for others, it is a seething, roiling, chaotic pit of humanity. For many, I suspect, it’s a phenomenon just slightly more indecipherable than Naked Lunch. It is San Diego Comic-Con, and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, with the help of Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and aintitcool’s Harry Knowles, has endeavored to crack the code in COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE. Rallying a massive production unit and focusing in on a handful of attendees that include a couple of aspiring artists, a costumer seeking to catch attention with her ambitious creations, and an old-school vendor wondering whether there are any comics left at the con — plus celebrity interviews from the likes of Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Seth Rogen — Spurlock cuts through the myths of obsessive behavior, social awkwardness and bad hygiene (although there’s plenty of that, as well) to create a more human portrait of the people who have found pleasure and fulfillment in the worlds of genre media, and the event where they can let their geek flags fly.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Spurlock.


'The Avengers' in Empire

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

Disney/Marvel’s THE AVENGERS is featured in this week’s Empire Magazine , which hits the stands Thursday.
In addition to this cover picture, alternate solo covers featuring Scarlet Johansson’s  Black Window, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man and Chris Humsworth as Thor can be found at the link above.
A tidbit from the article gives us Tom Hidddleston’s take on Loki, and his importance to the film.  “He knows who he is now, and what his powers are.

“In order for The Avengers to come together, Loki has to be more menacing, and all of his malevolence is founded in a completely delusional dream.”

Sounds very much in keeping with the Marvel theme of tragic underpinnings to their heroes and villains.

'The Avengers' — Official Trailer

Press Release:
Joss Whedon brings together the ultimate team of superheroes in the first official trailer for Marvel’s The THE AVENGERS — out Summer 2012

When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as SHIELD, finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
The Avengers continues the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.
Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble in summer 2012.

'The Avengers' Assemble for EW

Entertainment Weekly’s latest covery story is Marvel Studios’ THE AVENGERS .AVENGERS_EW Cover
The article mentions that although the cast got along famously, the assembled Avengers do NOT hit it off well at all. Well, no surprise there, if you’ve read the comics…
Director Joss Whedon notes that much of the dialog is being rewritten as they go, somestimes on-set. Iron Man Robert Downey Jr has been urging Whedon to push the boundries, it seems. Hopefully, it will give the film extra drama and humor, which has worked well in the past with the Marvel characters.
THE AVENGERS is due in theaters May 4th, 2012.