Nothing like using the patriotic holiday of the Fourth of July to re-introduce the U.S. to a beloved New York Commie liberal. Or THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, if you will: Big Apple native and irradiated-arachnid-bit crime fighter. Sony has decided to punch the reboot button for what is actually the fourth installment of the franchise (but should we start counting from one again?). Gone is the post-college, working-joe Peter Parker; the revenge-obsessed Harry Osborne; and romantic shuttlecock Mary Jane. Here instead is Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), humble high-school student; big bad villain, the Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and alt love-interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Plus the wrinkle of a whole new conspiracy theory added to the tragic death of Parker’s parents and his eventual transformation into the cocky web-slinger.
Come join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they determine whether going back to square one was worth the effort, how director Marc Webb’s approach to the legend varies from Sam Raimi’s, and whether there are limits to Chekov’s observations on introducing a gun in the first act. Then, Dan will give his takes on the indie horror comedy SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE, and the cult animated kids show, ADVENTURE TIME: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON. Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
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.
In a pair-up as enticing as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE combines the rich, nutty goodness of Nic Cage with the tasty junkiness of the Neveldien/Taylor directing team. Transporting Marvel’s tortured, soul-sucking biker to Eastern Europe, the sequel has him joining forces with Idris Elba and Violante Placido to save a young boy from the clutches of Satan — here portrayed by Ciarán Hinds — and his minions. As befits a GHOST RIDER story, much road-based action ensues; as befits CRANK-masters Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, much frenetic craziness gets layered onto that.
Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons rally together to discuss whether the Neveldine/Taylor style is enough to overcome the script’s stock elements, and whether even the extensive depth of the 3D screen is enough to accommodate a Nic Cage performance. Also: Steve gives his capsule review of THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY; and what’s coming in theaters and on home video.
Deadline reports that the Fox Network has made a “put pilot commitment” to ABC Studios and Ed Bernero (CRIMINAL MINDS) for a TV adaptation of Marvel Comic’s The Punisher.
A put pilot commitment generally means that a network agrees to make and broadcast a pilot episode of a series (subject to penalities if they fail to do so). Many pilots never make it to the air, “put pilot” projects often do.
THE PUNISHER is being “described as an hour-long procedural… and a new take” on the comic book character, originally created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr. & Ross Andru.
Initially an antagonist for Spider-Man (The Amazing Spider-Man #129 , February 1974), the conflicted, lethal vigilante later bcame seen more as a force for justice.
In the series, Frank Castle will apparently be a “rising star detective with the New York Police Department, who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher, seeking justice for those the system has failed.”
The comic book Frank Castle is a justice-obsessed Army veteran with no secret identiy, per se. He generally kills his criminal targets, usually organized crime figures. However, more colorful “super-villain” adversaries can become his focus at times.
Ed Bernero will executive produce the pilot for ABC Studios, with Marvel Entertainment. He also has a paranormal western, THE EYE in development at ABC.
FOX has also ordered a pilot of DC Comics’ supernatural avenger, THE SPECTRE.
The Punisher has previously appeared in the live action films THE PUNISHER (1989), starring Dolph Lundgren, THE PUNISHER (2004) , played by Thomas Jane, and PUNISHER: WAR ZONE (2008) with Ray Stevenson in the role.
The character has also been used on various animated Marvel shows, and featured in video games.
We’re betting Paramount would’ve preferred that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER had come out on the Memorial Day or July 4th weekends. However, martial-arts-happy animals and big-ass robots claimed those two slots, so here we are in later summer, trying to get our patriotism back for a red-white-and-blue bedecked super hero doing his bit for mom, apple pie, and gas-guzzling cars in the thick of WWII. Does director Joe Johnston’s ROCKETEER-tested period style work its magic for this final bit of table setting before next year’s THE AVENGERS? Are two hours enough time for an origin story, rescue adventure, and ultimate clash between good and evil? And where the hell are all the Nazis? Join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they discuss these issues and more.
Also in this episode: Dan gives his capsule review of the moody, science-fiction drama, ANOTHER EARTH.
It isn’t particularly well known, but mutants were with Washington when he crossed the Delaware, with Einstein when he developed the theory of relativity, and with Sarah Palin while she was waiting for Russia to raise its head above Alaska. Most specifically, they were directly engaged in the Cuban Missile Crisis — the world-changing historical event that is the backdrop for the first meeting of the psychic Professor X a.k.a. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the magnetically-charged Erik Lehnsherr, otherwise known as Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Come join special guest Orenthal V. Hawkins as he sits in with Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons to discuss X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, the latest installment of the Marvel film franchise that uses comic book action to address some potent social issues. Does this chapter live up to the standard established by Bryan Singer? Is the first team-up of mutants — which includes Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), and Darwin (Edi Gathegi) — as impressive as the more famous ensemble of the previous films? And is Moria MacTaggert’s (Rose Byrne) choice of lingerie government-issued, or does Victoria’s Secret sell bullet-proof brassieres? Listen to the show and find out!
Most Mother’s Days, loving children show their gratitude with flowers and breakfast in bed. This Mother’s Day, the kids had the option of taking Mom to the multiplex, where she could drool over the handsomely chiseled Thor in the newest, big-screen adventure out of the Marvel stable. Is THOR — directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth as the mighty-thewed (thewed?) God of Thunder, Natalie Portman as his potential love-interest, and Anthony Hopkins as Big Daddy Odin, with a special guest appearance by Gort’s younger, more ambitious brother — the film that will bring a Shakespearean gravitas to comic book drama, or is it just so much table setting for the impending THE AVENGERS movie? Join The Chronic Rift’s John Drew and Cinefantastique Online’s Dan Persons as they discuss the movie behind the myth.
According to Latino Review, the villains THE AVENGERS will be facing in the Joss Whedon scripted/directed Marvel team-up film will be THOR’s big bad Loki and the Skrulls.
There’s some plausibity to this claim; back in 2009 Marvel Entertainment honcho Kevin Feige told the site:
“In my opinion, The Skrulls are really the only viable threat that would require so many super heroes to fight as a team. Sure, you could have The Hulk as a villain in the beginning, but then they have to come together for an even bigger threat. Something hinted about in IM2, Thor and Cap by Nick Fury’s presence.
Plus Fox doesn’t have the rights to The Skrulls, only the Super Skrull. But this is just my inner geek thinking out loud and hoping.”
Un-named sources claim that Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s evil “brother” is the main villain, and he uses the Cosmic Cube, which will be seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and THOR to summon the alien Skrulls to Earth.
Of course, we’re all leery of “unidentifed insiders”, so treat this as rumor. However, other pevious news stories have given this particular item some weight.
This X-MEN trailer for the new anime series to air on G4 looks good.
But since it’s in Japanese, I’ll have to just enjoy the action, and guess at the rest.
IRON MAN, X-MEN, WOLVERINE, and BLADE will all be getting 12 episode arc, 30-minute length animated programs on G4. The shows will be largely set in Japan and the Far East, and done in an Anime style, as seen in the video.
Award-winning comics writer Warren Ellis oversaw the animated productions, produced by Madhouse and Marvel Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.
From The L.A. Times, here’s the first official picture of Chris Evans as Cap in an action scene from Marvel Entertaiment’s upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.
The outfit, properly photographically graded, is starting to grow on me a bit, I must admit.
Look for Captain America to hit the screen July 22nd.