Two New THOR: TDW Character Posters

Marvel Studios has nearly completed its set of character posters of The Warriors Three from THOR: THE DARK WORLD. The studio released posters for Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) and Fandral (Zachary Levi) yesterday to compliment the Lady Sif poster from a couple weeks ago. With bigger battles apparent and promises of journeys across the nine realms, The Warriors Three will not be short on opportunities to live up to their namesake.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD is just five weeks away and will be released on November 8, 2013.

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Samuel L. Jackson Confirms AVENGERS Casting

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In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Samuel L. Jackson confirmed the casting of Elizabeth Olsen (KILL YOUR DARLINGS) as Scarlet Witch in THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Nick Fury himself dropped this little piece of information when describing what he knows about the film thus far.

I know we’re shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. [Elizabeth] Olsen [who will play the Scarlet Witch], but I don’t know what she’s doing, if she’s on the inside or the outside. I haven’t seen a script.

Marvel has yet to officially announce Olsen’s casting, so it is possible Jackson is just working off of the same rumor that’s been floating around for several weeks. Then again, it’s hard to imagine Jackson even attempting to keep up with online AVENGERS chatter. At this point it, would be surprising not to see Olsen’s name in an upcoming press release for THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

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Film Review: GRAVITY

GRAVITY

Synopsis (From the official site):Dr. Ryan Stone is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) in command. But on a seemingly routine mission, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left.

But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

GRAVITY isn’t something to be seen, it’s something to be experienced.

In the hands of lesser actors or directors GRAVITY could have easily been A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS set in space. In the capable hands of Alfonso Cuaron (CHILDREN OF MEN), this fairly straightforward story becomes a gripping and emotional tale of survival, both of the body and the soul.

In IMAX 3D, GRAVITY is truly a wonder to behold. Its 3D serves the story in a way that, while not necessary, enhances everything about the film and draws you deeper into the journey it takes you on. Unlike the bombastic, gimmicky 3D of other movies, GRAVITY’s 3D exists for a reason.

It allows the inherent physics of space travel to exist without needlessly drawing attention to them. This allows the film to overwhelm you in ways both quiet and grandiose. It’s sneakily immersive, and the best use of 3D in a film I’ve ever seen.

The imagery is astoundingly beautiful and awe-inspiring. The long, single takes Alfonso Cuaron is well known for are a perfect marriage for this story. They capture the majestic wonder of the cosmos as well as its inherent danger, often in the same shot. Cuaron’s ability to manage these conflicting emotions will leave you with an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach that serves to further engage you in the events as the unfold. I’ve never appreciated nervousness as much as I did during my viewing.

GRAVITY’s performances deserve just as much praise as its direction. In a film set against the vast infinity, they keep you riveted to the story of two people on a seemingly impossible odyssey.

Gravity-George Clooney

George Clooney is a necessarily charming and calming presence as Matt Kowalski. His performance strikes a perfect balance of authority and humanity, assisted by what seems to be his inherent charisma and affability. Whenever he’s on screen, you find yourself appreciative of his character and very glad to see him. Clooney turns in a powerful portrayal that is felt throughout the film.

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Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of Dr. Ryan Stone is even more powerful due its multifacetedness. She’s given numerous physical and emotional beats to play, and does so convincingly by doing so naturally. So often in films are a character’s driving forces clumsily beaten into the audience until they no longer care about them. In GRAVITY, Stone’s pathos is handled just enough to make you aware of it and inform you of her mental state when the time for big decisions arrives.

Bullock deserves so much of the credit for this film, as it’s built upon her constant presence which never wears thin or causes you to tire of her. That’s an amazing testament to her abilities as an actress and to the quality of her performance. It’s an intense investment that lasts for the entire 91 minute running time.

In the end, it’s hard for me to say anything about GRAVITY that numerous critics haven’t already said. The film is earning a lot of praise from a lot of people, and it’s all well deserved. I will however add one more thing as a movie fan and not as a critic.

Appreciation.

GRAVITY succeeds largely because it has an astounding sense of its innate self. The film understands what it is, it understands its purpose. And it doesn’t try to be anything other than that. Its reach doesn’t exceed its grasp and in being exactly what it needs to be it becomes something more. An experience that can mean as much or as little as the viewer wants it to. Its steady pace tells the story that needs to be told and ends it at the most natural point. What a relief it is to see a critical darling of a film that in no way insists upon itself with over dramatics or pretentiousness.

I appreciate GRAVITY because it delivered exactly what I expected and yet so much more. It’s a breathtaking beautiful, genuinely affecting, visceral experience that demands to be seen in the theater, with an audience.

More than anything though, it’s enjoyably good movie.

Rating: 5 out of 5

REVOLUTION: Season Two Review- “There Will Be Blood”

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REVOLUTION stepped up its game this week with their best episode in a long time. “There Will Be Blood” embraced the post-apocalyptic side of the show’s premise to deliver a nearly perfect mix of character moments and mythology building that also advanced each storyline in intriguing directions.

Though last week’s scene featuring Aaron’s resurrection was handled in a hastily clumsy manner that detracted from what should have been an emotional moment, Zak Orth’s excellent performance in this episode completely repaired any damage there and turned the plot point into a new found strength for the show.

Watching Aaron begin to wrestle with the ramifications of returning from the dead was touching and, in typical Aaron fashion, funny. Who else among the cast could deliver lines like, “I’m a little dehydrated and hungry for brains”? But the humor with which Aaron deflects others’ concern for him is a coping mechanism that can’t last too long when you’re having visions of your dead friend. Aaron’s journey throughout the rest of the season looks promising, and Zak Orth is selling his evolution in a compelling manner.

He’s not the only one. David Lyons made Monroe more sympathetic tonight than he’s ever been and gave the former dictator some long absent depth (coincidentally, in the deep end of a drained pool). In the first season, Monroe’s growing megalomania was emphasized too much, and he was in danger of becoming a generic black hat villain.

His conversation with Charlie was a powerful reminder that his quest began with the noblest of intentions. Lyons played their exchange with a combination of righteous intensity and a powerful sense of loss. This episode went a long way towards revealing again Monroe’s inherent humanity, a trend I’d like to see continued.

As Monroe was slowly regaining more of his humanity, Neville was losing his. In my favorite part of the episode, he staged an “assassination attempt” against Justine Allenford before thwarting the attempt himself to get into the good graces of The Patriots (or are they the Illuminati?). As with everything Giancarlo Esposito does in this show, his deviousness was a pleasure to watch.

It doesn’t bode too well for his relationship with Jason though, who looked shocked/disgusted/sad at his father’s treachery (but really, at this point shouldn’t he kind of expect it?).

And of course, shocked and disgusted are the only words that apply to Alby Grant Titus Andover and his gang of lost boys war clan. Matt Ross is doing a delightfully creepy job of playing the former boys school headmaster.

As if the situation wasn’t frakked up enough, he holds prisoners in dog cages, tests their blood, keeps an as yet unidentified woman resting in bed behind a mysterious “red door”, and keeps the memory of Debby Boone alive through an old music box (that bit took it over the top for me). There’s also his decision to share with Miles (for no apparent reason) that his Blackout story involves the police coming to arrest him for child pornography (we get it, he’s a bad guy).

But of course, his crowning achievement tonight was whacking Miles’ sword hand with a hammer (fans of THE WALKING DEAD and GAME OF THRONES know it could be worse). Seeing how Miles HANDles (get it) this situation could add layers to his character as well. Watching the most bad ass of the characters lose his primary advantage in a world where every advantage counts is a situation rife with story potential. This being REVOLUTION though, it’s just as likely he’ll be healed by nanobots or some other storytelling short cut. We’ll see.

What did you think? Were you as impressed by the dark turn of this episode as I was? Did the thousands of dead rats creep you out? Let me know where you stand below!

Question of the Week

From the legend known far and wide as “Walker, Texas Ranger” to the old bedtime story of “The Ghostbusters”, this week’s episode of REVOLUTION showed that even after fifteen years without power, the pop culture of today is still alive and well.

If you were tasked with keeping one movie or television show alive through storytelling, what would it be?

REVOLUTION: Season Two Review- Episode One, “Born In The USA”

Say Hello To SyFy’s HELIX

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER debuted the first official photos from SyFy’s upcoming series HELIX. The story revolves around a team of scientists from the CDC who are tasked with investigating an outbreak at a remote Arctic research facility. Once there, they discover something more sinister.

HELIX comes from a team headed by Ronald D. Moore (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and will feature Billy Campbell (THE ROCKETEER) as the series’ lead. It’s already received a full order for a thirteen episode season and is the first step in SyFy’s move back to its traditional science fiction roots with more scripted dramas over the next two years.

I had the pleasure of attending the show’s panel during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and I gotta say, the creative team behind the show seemed to get it what makes a show like this good. executive producer Steven Madea (LOST) and writer Cameron Porsandeh used terms like “Kubrickian” in the right context and with a healthy amount of respect for the genre. It also helps that the series has already been given a full season of thirteen episodes, which gives the show enough time to establish itself.

HELIX airs on SyFy in 2014.

You can view the new photos, as well as the show’s Comic-Con teasers, below.

Helix - Pilot

Helix - Pilot

Helix - Pilot

Helix - Pilot

Helix - Pilot

 

Look! It’s ANT-MAN!

Edgar Wright has returned to Southern California from his promotional touring for THE WORLD’S END and is ready to work. Just over an hour ago, he told his Twitter followers, “Now I’m back in LA. It’s high time to finish a little something I’ve been working on…” before attaching the image below.

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It’s ANT-MAN, folks! Wright has not provided any additional hints as to what might be happening here. It could be a simple screen test with a stuntman in the suit. It could be a post-credits scene for THOR: THE DARK WORLD or CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLIDER. It could be that ANT-MAN is actually ready for production and Marvel has successfully kept casting for the title role a secret.

The first two scenarios are the most likely, but in any event, it is great to see forward movement for Hank Pym’s cinematic debut.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD TV Spot #2

Another episode of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. brings another TV spot for THOR: THE DARK WORLD. The new footage shown provides the best hint we’ve received as to how and why Malekith and his Dark Elves have come to Midgard. There also appears to be more at stake than Thor’s preferred realm this time around.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD arrives in theaters on November 8.

 

Level 7 #2: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.- ’0-8-4′

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After a remarkably successful first outing MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is back with its sophomore episode, “0-8-4.” In this chapter, the team must storm before it can fully form and the naturally arising conflicts are heightened thanks to an unknown, but very threatening object found in Peru. Do the hits keep coming in Marvel’s second televised at bat? Download the show for our full review!

Download HERE.

IMAX Goes “Behind The Frame” With THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

IMAX celebrates today’s start of ticket sales for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE with a new promotional behind the scenes feature with the film’s director and some of its stars. Of particular note is the revelation that the IMAX format is reserved in the film exclusively for scenes taking place in the Arena so as to make it an immerse audience experience.

It’s really good to hear the cast and crew speak of the scope and ambition of the production. They seem to have put a lot of effort into making it not only a worthy follow up to THE HUNGER GAMES, but a deserving film in its own right.

The fire continues to rise with the release of four CATCHING FIRE character focused covers for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. The covers feature Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth), and the guy all the ladies are sure to be swooning over, Finnick (Sam Claflin). You can take a look at the covers below.

Catching Fire- Katniss EW Catching Fire- Peeta EW

Catching Fire- Gale EW

Catching Fire- Finnick EW

Tickets for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE are on sale now. The film will be released on November 22. Tick Tock…

New THOR: THE DARK WORLD Images

Marvel Studios has lifted its embargo on all media outlets that visited the set of THOR: THE DARK WORLD last year. To mark the occasion, Marvel has released several new images from the film. For an excellent rundown of what was seen and heard on the set, check out Collider’s full report which includes new details about the film (mild spoilers) and interviews.

 

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From Batman to Superman to the Avengers and Beyond! Our Heroes. Our Mythology.