Is ‘Iron Man 3’ Just ‘The Avengers 2?’

Don’t let the beard and social deficit fool you – I’m actually not all that into superhero movies, unless I’m seeing one to win a bet with my friend about how bad it will be (Jesse, you still owe me for Watchmen). But the Iron Man franchise, deftly done by Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau and others, is a nice exception. They’re breezy pop films with humor and heart and little Christopher Nolan bombast. All the same,  Iron Man 3 suffers one notable hiccup.

It’s not the script or direction by Shane Black of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, though I am starting to think the man can’t write a movie that doesn’t take place over Christmas. Nor is it the villains – and the twist on Ben Kingsley’s role that is so good you have to be glad the trailers didn’t spoil it. Even the 140-minute run time didn’t cause scenes to drag very much. The only issue with it is: all the characters keep talking about the events of The Avengers

Look, I get it: you want to have this immersive Marvel world where none of the blockbusters contradict each other. It’s a noble idea, but it just doesn’t work in a field where characters are rebooted every six years regardless. Iron Man 3 does an okay job of wittily conveying the nature and consequences of what happened “in New York” for those who don’t know, but when you begin to build on The Avengers – which itself builds on Thor – you lose out to the comic book geek’s idea of overnetworked narrative when you might have done something a bit looser, which is what Iron Man has always been about. 

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Jessica Chastain to Join the Cast of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

Jennifer Lawrence may have taken home the Oscar for Best Actress, but there’s no denying it’s Jessica Chastain who has become Hollywood’s most coveted actress—and rightfully so. After first seeing her in Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, the world fell under her spell of talent and charm and watched closely as went on to give one of the year’s best performances in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. And since, directors have been pining after the actress, landing her starring roles in the upcoming Miss Julie from Liv Ullmann and Crimson Peak from Guillermo del Toro. But now, it appears she can add another notable name to the list as she joins the cast of Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated Interstellar.

We reported last month that Matthew McConaughey would be joining the cast as well, in the film that was originally set in place by Steven Spielberg in 2006. In January, Nolan signed on to write a script that merged the original idea about the existence of wormholes used for time travel written by his brother Jonah, with his own original idea. Nolan and Emma Thomas producing will be prodicing and, "the ambition is a film that will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding." 

So although shooting is set to begin later this year, a date has already been set for the film’s theatrical release, a prime November 7th spot for 2014.

FujiFilm Discontinues Motion Picture Film Production

Well, it’s certainly a sad day for celluloid. Yes, Fujifilm has officially stopped production on motion picture film stock.

In a statement released yesterday the company went on to say:

We would like to thank you very much for your patronage during the long history of manufacture, sales and marketing of these products which will continue to be available until the inventory is exhausted. Please contact our worldwide distributors for availability information.

Fujifilm will continue to provide products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and exhibition such as Recording film for Digital Separation [ETERNA-RDS] for long-term archiving, Imaging processing system [IS-100], and high-performance Fujinon lens for digital motion picture camera and projectors.
 
With an expertise in optics, image processing, storage and archiving, Fujifilm will continue to provide new and innovative products and services to contribute to the creative entertainment and broadcast industry.
This certainly opens up the floor to discussion on how film’s decline will effect cinema, the topic Chris Kenneally explored in his documentary Side By Side—which happens to now be streaming on Netflix. In the doc, speaking to the archival possibilites of film vs. digital, Christopher Nolan noted, "There are no archival formats worth anything in the digital realm that you would put any stock in." In addition, Martin Scorese went on to say, "The only way you can make sure that a film or anything on the moving image is going to be around sixty or seventy years from now, interestingly enough, ironically enough, is celluloid." But on the other hand, George Lucas noted that "there’s too much digital information out there not to figure out a fool proof way to store it forever," with Joel Schumacher adding that "the people who’ve come before us gave the world new ways to dream. I think it’s our job to continue that and to try to give people new ways to dream."
 
So while you mourn the end of film stock, check out his illuminating doc and peruse our interview with Kenneally from back in September HERE.

Matthew McConaughey May Take the Lead in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

In the past few years Matthew McConaughey has proved that pithy romantic comedies are clearly not where his heart lies. With a string of roles in Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and Jeff Nicholas’ upcoming Mud, the 43-year-old actor has finally come into his own. And his own being these rough and seedy southern men on a fringe of the law. But earlier this year, we had been seeing a more gaunt looking version of the handsome actor as he prepared to play the lead role in Jean-Marc Vallée’s AIDS drama Dallas Buyer’s Club. And now, it seems that he’s been tapped to star in one of the most anticipated movies of the next year, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises follow-up, Interstellar

Deadline reports that although "getting details on a Nolan project is more difficult than getting the line on the Pope selection process," McConaughey has been offered the lead role of Cooper in the film that was originally set in place by Steven Spielberg in 2006. But in January, Nolan signed on to write a script that merged the original idea about the existence of wormholes used for time travel written by his brother Jonah, with his own original idea. Nolan and Emma Thomas producing will be prodicing and, "the ambition is a film that will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding."

So although he’s been working in Hollywood for over two decades now, McConaughey’s career has had a rather odd trajectory. With Dazed and Confused and A Time to Kill followed by years of films like Failure to Launch andThe Wedding Planner, it took scaling down into independent cinema for his true talents and desires an actor to be unleashed. So it would be amazing to see this new McConaughey or this true McConaughey star in something as epic as a Christopher Nolan movie about time/space travel. I mean, I would gladly watch McConaughey in anything, so I’m game—how do you feel, MM?

But while we’re here, let’s look back on some choice McConaughey moments.

‘The Dark Knight’ Trilogy Condensed Into Three Minutes

I haven’t watched any of the films in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy over the past five years because, frankly, I don’t care. Not the one with Heath Ledger. Not the one with Anne Hathaway. Not the other one. If you’re like me, and vaguely aware of a Batman-ish cultural thingies, then this three-minute-long ScreenRant cut be for you.  

The overview of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises shares only the briefest snippets of plot. Scary masks? Gotham’s in trouble? Health Ledger is dead and that is sad?

Okay, I still don’t have any idea what this series is about, not do I care anymore than I did before. (I’m not sure Business Insider’s "spoiler alert" is actually true.)

But if you’re a Batman nerd, and you might be because there’s a lot of them, it’s worth checking out: 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter

Five Terrible Remakes In The Works

From gritty reboot to plain old plagiarism, here are the worst remakes currently in the pipeline.

Three Men and a Baby:

"Adam Sandler is planning to remake 1980s hit comedy flick ‘Three Men and Baby’. He would team up with Disney, who made the original for the project … Adam wants to remake the same movie again with Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider in the lead roles. The original ‘Three Men and Baby’ was also a remake of a French movie."

Highlander

"For fans of [Ryan] Reynolds’ other work, we wonder what this means for any potential of him suiting up soon for that other buzzed about project with a hard-to-kill sword-swinging protagonist: Deadpool. And more importantly, are we going to see Reynolds sport long locks like his predecessor? Is he going to rock a fake Scottish accent in flashbacks as part of the Clan MacLeod?"

RoboCop:

Unlike the original RoboCop, whose chrome-and-black armor suggested something that was part-man, part-carburetor, the new suit is a more anatomically-inspired and streamlined design, more exo-skeleton than cyborg. It recalls certain examples of superhero outerwear—more specifically, those worn by Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.

Evil Dead:

Sam Raimi himself is producing the remake, as well as helping out Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Young AdultJunowith scripting duties.

Dirty Dancing:

Lionsgate is postponing the Dirty Dancing reboot. The studio has put the remake on ice for another year for casting reasons, Deadline has learned. The remake of the 1987 Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey film was scheduled to be released in July 2013, but now the movie is off the studio’s release dance card at least until 2014.

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Am I Really Going To Have To See ‘Skyfall’ Now?

I like James Bond. I really do. I don’t, however, cotton to this trend in modern cinema in which Very Serious Directors reboot classic movie franchises, strip away everything that makes then fun and endearing (read: the silliness and the camp and the sex), and then make them long, boring epics with Very Important Actors and scores usually provided by Hans Zimmer and a slew of vuvuzelas. Christopher Nolan made me excited for the prospect that there might never be another Batman movie, and that new Superman movie for which the trailer was too long and only featured Clark Kent, like, driving around a field? (Yeah, that seems FUN.) So I don’t really care that the guy who directed American Beauty (which, in retrospect, everyone should know is a piece of shit) is in charge of this new one. 

But apparently people are enjoying it! All of my friends are tweeting stuff like, "I don’t even like James Bond but I liked Skyfall." Which, you know, is a pretty good indication that I will not like it. Why make a genre film for people who are not fans of the genre? Because doesn’t that make it not a genre film, and just an action movie with a character whose name recognition can carry a lot of advertisers and convince people that making more bloggy lists called "The Best Bond Theme Songs" and "The Ugliest James Bond Girls" is a really good idea? Can’t we, like, either do something NEW or just make it the same as it was before? Is that too hard to ask?

Because, look. Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig’s James Bond is a dour figured compared the groovy (and, let’s face it, funny and personable) guy that Roger Moore and Sean Connery portrayed. Even Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was someone you’d want to hang out with! But nooo, we’ve got to go with the dark and gritty and, honestly? The boring. I can nap at home for free with Adele’s theme song playing on a loop on iTunes. That’s, I must admit, seems a lot more exciting to me.

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Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Promises ‘Star Wars’ Episode VII

Great news for anyone who likes nerds to suffer grievous self-harm: Walt Disney Co. has purchased Lucasfilm Ltd. for a modest $4.05 billion. The merger agreement includes plans for a Star Wars sequel—actually, three, for the full trilogy of trilogies, or nonology—with Episode 7 slated for 2015. Better dig out a costume and get on right line now.

George Lucas, the world’s foremost lightning rod for geek rage, had this to say in his statement about the deal:

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”

So who should we expect to take the helm, here? As it’s Disney, they could always go full CGI cartoon—that would really make some superfan heads explode. Or maybe Chris Nolan can give us a “gritty” reboot of the whole franchise. Because what’s left to do after the second death star is destroyed? Will it be set thirty years later, and a dissolute Mark Hamill is just wandering the galaxy, using the Force to win bar bets? Did Han Solo marry into Alderaanish royalty? I imagine Carrie Fisher chucking her phone through a window and then taking hostages the first time they call to ask about a cameo. Now that’s a movie I would watch.

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David Cronenberg Hates Batman

Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel, opens today following weeks of a post-cheating scandal media blitz that has blown up in its leading actor (and BlackBook cover boy) Robert Pattinson’s face. He’s hurting! He’s confused! People are forcing him to eat on camera! And everyone forgot about poor David Cronenberg, the beloved director behind cult hits like Scanners, Dead Ringers, Videodrome (and also the unfortunate A Dangerous Method, but we’ll let that one slide). What’s a critically acclaimed director to do in order to get people to pay attention to him? Well, bash Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, of course.

In an interview with Next Movie, Cronenberg is pretty frank when it comes to his feelings about the artistic merit of superhero movies, in which he finds absolutely nothing to gush over:

David, you’ve done drama and horror. Some fairly formidable directors have branched out into superhero movies pretty beautifully —is that something you would consider doing?
DC: I don’t think they are making them an elevated art form. I think it’s still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don’t think it’s elevated. Christopher Nolan’s best movie is Memento, and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting though they’re 20 million times the expense. What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in American Cinematography Magazine, and technically, that’s all very interesting. The movie, to me, they’re mostly boring.

Do you think the subject matter prohibits the elevated art form?
DC: Absolutely. Anybody who works in the studio system has got 20 studio people sitting on his head at every moment, and they have no respect, and there’s no…it doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been. And obviously Nolan has been very successful. He’s got a lot of power, relatively speaking. But he doesn’t really have power.

So that’s a no.
DC: I would say that’s a no, you know. And the problem is you gotta… as I say, you can do some interesting, maybe unexpected things. And certainly, I’ve made the horror films and people say, "Can you make a horror film also an art film?" And I would say, "Yeah, I think you can."

But a superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, you know, Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Well, now my dreams of watching The Riddler’s head explode in David Cronenberg’s Batman’s Back have been DASHED AGAINST THE ROCKS. Friday mornings, man. What a bummer.