Empire Covers CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Empire has delivered to us all a belated Christmas present in the form of two covers dedicated to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. The first shows Chris Evans as Cap in his new S.H.I.E.L.D. approved suit while the second, limited edition cover surrounds the same image of Cap with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and a very clear look at Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier. The CAPTAIN AMERICA sequel doesn’t hit theaters until April 4, 2014, but you can check out this issue of Empire on December 31.

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Vote For The MODERN MYTH MOVIE AWARDS!

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The end of the year is upon us and all studios have shown their superhero slate for 2013. We will soon be recording our third annual MODERN MYTH MOVIE AWARDS podcast and all of our readers and listeners are a collective member of the distinguished Academy of Modern Mythological Arts and Sciences. Please cast your vote to help decide the winner in each of the categories below.

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MMM Podcast #157: Teaser Trailer Park 2014

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Yes, 2015 could very well be the biggest year in the history of blockbuster movies, but 2014 is no slouch by the looks of some outstanding teaser trailers that have debuted over the past few weeks. The Gentlemen expand the scope of their modern mythology conversation to break down the teasers for INTERSTELLAR, TRANSCENDENCE, GODZILLA, and DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Which of these teasers stood out among the rest? Listen for our take, then give us your pick in the comments section below!

Download HERE.

MMM Podcast #156: Ant-Man, Groot, & The Spider-Verse

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Officially, it’s been a big week for Marvel movie fans with confirmed castings for ANT-MAN and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and Sony announcing its plans to spin Spider-Man’s web off into an entire cinematic universe, so to speak. The Gentlemen give their analysis of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Vin Diesel as Groot, and the prospects of the VENOM and SINISTER SIX films. Listen to the show and then weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments section below!

Download HERE.

MMM Podcast #155: Batman Tells Superman, ‘ARGO… Never Mind.’

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It was a big news week for the Batman-Superman crossover sequel to MAN OF STEEL. May we please have a title for this movie? Anyway, The Gentlemen are back to ponder the Joaquin Phoenix’s villainous possibilities and discuss the ramifications of Chris Terrio taking a pass at David Goyer’s script. Listen to the show, then join our conversation in the comments section below!

Download HERE.

Vin Diesel Is Officially Groot!

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It’s been months since Vin Diesel first hinted at voicing Groot in Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, but now he can officially shout, “I AM GROOT,” to his heart’s content. Marvel, Diesel, and director James Gunn confirmed the casting yesterday and released an image of the actor with a bust of his character that was used during principal photography. Gunn voiced his own excitement over the latest addition to an outstanding cast on Facebook.

Yep it is completely official. AND he’s amazing. I never knew someone could say I AM GROOT so many different ways and with such feeling (and that sounds like I’m kidding but I’m not!)

Diesel has done voice work before in IRON GIANT and brings a lot of star power to an unknown property that could certainly use the extra attention. Marvel is probably saving a pretty penny or two by hiring Diesel for a couple days’ worth of recording as opposed to paying his full quote for a live-action role. That’s good value for a studio known for its cost control while also preserving Marvel the option to cast Diesel in a live-action role in a later film, if it so chooses.

Paul Rudd Is Officially ANT-MAN!

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Rumored for the past two months, Paul Rudd is now officially the title character in Marvel’s ANT-MAN. Rudd was originally reported to be a finalist for the role along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but based on Gordon-Levitt’s immediate denial of the report and what Marvel is saying today, Rudd has been director Edgar Wright’s first choice all along. In the official announcement from Marvel, President of Production Kevin Feige shed some light on how Rudd became a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

When Edgar Wright came to us with the idea of Paul Rudd, we felt a huge sense of relief because the first step in creating any Marvel Studios film is finding the right star. We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we’d ever met with about doing the work, we knew we’d found the right guy. We couldn’t be more excited for our audiences to see what he’s going to do to bring Ant-Man to life.

Paul Rudd’s comedic talent is certainly going to be a good fit for Edgar Wright. There is an inherent sense levity that comes with the concept of a hero whose signature ability is shrinking to the size of an ant. The trick will be to make sure any and all humor comes naturally from the characters and story rather than having Rudd be overly zany to the point where he’s shouting at the audience that he knows how ridiculous he is being. Wright and Rudd will most likely avoid that potential land mine.

It is worth nothing that Marvel Studios has yet to miss on casting the lead role in any of its films. Rudd is a fine actor with more range than he gets credit for having and the fact that both Marvel and Wright were able to agree on him as the ideal fit for their film so early on is a wonderful sign. Their faith in Rudd is sure to be validated when ANT-MAN hits theaters on July 31, 2015.

SAVING MR. BANKS Review

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In an era of moviemaking belonging to superheroes, Walt Disney Studios has released a biopic that offers the finest definition of the very real place imaginary characters hold in our lives. SAVING MR. BANKS, the story behind Walt Disney’s acquisition of the film rights to P.L. Travers’ MARY POPPINS books, is a harrowing, but ultimately uplifting tale of the power a beloved character has to heal the emotional trauma from which they were born. More than that, these works of fiction are family to those who create and those who enjoy them.

As Mrs. Travers, Emma Thompson gives a powerhouse performance of a woman begrudgingly putting one foot in front of the other, seemingly being pushed into a deal with the dancing mouse devil, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). Disney, of course, is no devil, but he may as well be to Travers, whose greatest fear is to hand the rights to her beloved Mary Poppins over to Disney, only to watch him relegate her to trivial, cartoonish nonsense. Thompson is masterfully nuanced in her depiction of a woman whose forced reserve too often overpowers the universal human need to embrace the silly and fun simplicities in life.

Hanks is with Thompson step-for-step; his Disney is the irresistible force to Travers’ immovable object. He is a charismatic, savvy studio executive who obviously wants what he knows will be a hit, but he also understands the bond between creator and creation. His recognition of the power Mary Poppins has along with his desire to share her with the entire world is sincere. Hanks is at his best, though, when Walt is not “on” and he’s just a man overwhelmed by Travers’ continuous reluctance to believe in him and embrace his vision.

Travers’ familial background plays a far bigger part in the story than the trailers indicate, but it adds an emotionally authentic dimension that makes the film a more complete experience. Colin Farrell is heartbreaking as Travers’ father, a man whose love for his children has not exactly granted him clarity on all the responsibility that comes with parenthood. Ruth Wilson is the relatively silent and ultimately unappreciated mother. Despite her limited dialogue, Wilson’s performance is noteworthy in its sorrowful honesty.

The magic of Disney filmmaking is best exemplified by the performances of B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman as Robert and Richard Sherman, respectively. They are comic relief who lift the film back up from its flashbacks of despair, but also the stewards who effectively guide the creative journey from page to screen. As Travers’ driver to and from the studio lot, Ralph, Paul Giamatti is in some ways the emotional conscience of the film who effectively endorses the merits of child-like wonder. He grounds the story with his revelations of whom a creation like MARY POPPINS can help the most.

SAVING MR. BANKS is a beautiful film. It is far more than homage to a classic from Disney’s past. It is a testimonial to how and why our icons matter and why they will always endure. Our minds may tell us characters like Mary Poppins are not real, but the effects they have on us are genuine. These permanent residents of our imagination inspire real love in our hearts that we happily pass on from one generation to the next.

Warner Bros. Adds ARGO Writer To Batman-Superman Movie

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Tatiana Siegel of The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Warner Bros. is brining in ARGO writer Chris Terrio to pen a draft of the script to the untitled MAN OF STEEL sequel featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. David S. Goyer has already completed at least one draft of the screenplay, but is also busy with a number of other comic book properties for Warner Bros., so Terrio will step in to help get the script ready for principal photography. Terrio certainly brings an added level of credibility to the film after picking up an Academy Award for the screenplay to ARGO last year.

Terrio obviously has a strong relationship with the new Batman, Ben Affleck, so perhaps the star helped make a case for adding his ARGO pal. This is sure to bring criticism of Goyer from the fans and entertainment reporters who never miss a shot at him, but it’s fair to say that Goyer tends to work best when collaborating. Working with another outstanding writer in Christopher Nolan certainly helped THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY and MAN OF STEEL, so perhaps Goyer can find some of that same team-up magic with Terrio.

How one chooses to interpret this news is a matter of perspective. Regardless of whether or not one thinks the script to the MAN OF STEEL sequel is in trouble, it is worth keeping mind that it usually isn’t a bad thing to give an Academy Award winner a pass at a screenplay.

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