Actor Adam Driver has emerged as the frontrunner to play Robin to Ben Affleck's Batman in the Man Of Steel sequel. The Girls star is currently in talks to take on the role of Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, according to The Wrap.com.
According to Batman myth, Grayson, who is better known as Robin, adopted the identity Nightwing after growing out of his other alter-ego, aged 18.
Bosses at Warner Bros. studio are also currently searching for the female lead in the film with Olga Kurylenko, Gal Gadot and Elodie Yung emerging as the top actresses to portray Wonder Woman and her alter-ego Diana Prince.
Batman vs. Superman, which also stars Henry Cavill, is set to hit theatres in 2015.
I'm in the minority (or so I've been told) on the first G.I. Joe movie, 2009's Rise of the Cobra. The movie was popcorn movie lunacy, a blockbuster adaptation of every kid's experience squaring hordes of action figures against each other in a giant sandbox battle. Director Stephen Sommers owned the attitude, introduced us to Channing Tatum as action hero who could ground absurdity, and went to town with the toys.
That style didn't work for everyone — including the people behind the film's sequel, G.I. Joe Retaliation. If Rise of the Cobra was about bringing the childhood fantasy of playing with Joe figures to life, Retaliation is grown from the brand's darkest moments.
The world of Joe has an expanded mythology, constructed over decades by comic book writers. Director Jon Chu makes it loud and clear that his fondness for the property is drawn from that character-driven material, grounding Retaliation in reality and only sporadically introducing the Joes' arsenal of futuristic weaponry and vehicles. Having scrapped nearly the entire original cast from the first movie, Chu, working from a script by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, quickly introduces us to the new team, a playful group led by Duke (Tatum) with assistance from newcomer Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson). Between the first movie and Retaliation, Hollywood discovered Tatum and Johnson's comedic abilities, and they're on full display here. In the opening moments, it's made clear the duo can maneuver stealthily, engage in shootouts, and break goons in half. But they can also crack wise. An early scene where the two harass each other while playing Call of Dutyis among the highlights.
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Speed is the name of the game for Retaliation, which relies on a surprising amount of Rise of the Cobraknowledge in order to shift the sequel into high gear. Roadblock and his two underlings Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) are eventually stranded on their own, the Joes division disbanded and hunted down by The President after a mission gone awry. The twist is The President (Jonathan Pryce) is actually COBRA's master of disguise Zartan — a thread picked up from the first movie. Running the nation, Zartan's diabolical plan is to rescue Cobra Commander from jail, integrate his troops in to the U.S. army, and convince the nationals of the world to agree to a nuclear disarmament plan… so that they can eventually be blown away by COBRA.
Retaliation actively works to undo the events of Rise of the Cobra, breaking off various elements into bite size morsels that work on their own. Spliced between Roadblock's mission to prove the Joes' innocence and take down Zartan is the zanier material forced into Rise of the Cobra. On the other side of the globe, mute ninja Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and his sidekick Jinx (Elodie Yung) follow the trail of Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee), hoping to bring the kitana-wielding warrior to justice. The movie's biggest action scene plays out along the face of a cliff, an acrobatic chase between Snake Eyes and COBRA's ninja army. After battling it out with Storm Shadow in the confines of a dojo, Snake Eyes and Jinx swing off a mountain and the dance of swordplay and wire work plays out. It's like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragonwith actual physics — exhilarating.
The movie's biggest issue is that it can't build momentum to bigger and bigger stunts. Cobra Commander goon Firefly (Ray Stevenson) and Roadblock have a number of tussles, the two hulking actors bringing physicality to the franchise for the first time after mostly CG-enhanced battles. They're fun, but few and far between (especially when Stevenson once again chews up every bit of scene he can get his teeth on). Chu, a dancer and the man behind two installments of Step Up, has a clear eye for action choreography, adeptly orchestrating the mayhem of a Joe-style infiltration or a cross-cutting undercover operation (one that recalls the opening scene of De Palma's Mission: Impossible). What Retaliation needs is more: bigger, badder, crazier. The only gripe against the sequel in the action departments is that there isn't enough of it.
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What helps make up for Retaliation's smaller scope are the colorful performances and rather subversive script. The Rock continues his trend of being a watchable badass. Sweet, yet fully capable of punching you into tomorrow; Palicki stands out as an actress who can pull off the physical stunts while breathing life into a part written for arm candy; and Pryce, whose scant appearances in Rise of Cobra teased his talent, is hilariously evil as the Zartan-masked Commander-in-Chief. He rattles off one-liners faster than mini-gun does bullets. "They call it water boarding, but I never get board…" is as priceless as they come. Pryce lays down the poetic punnery alongside some truly nefarious themes. Retaliation manages to raise some serious questions about patriotism, government actions, and how much we can take our leaders at face value. Unless The Rock promises to be around to save our butts, we might be as good as nuked.
There's a middle ground between Retaliation and its predecessor that could make for the perfect Joe movie, one entranced by camaraderie and kicking ass in the name of the U.S.A. and one that completely unleashes his imagination. Bruce Willis' General Joe Colton — the original Joe — ends up embodying that. He's a real life American hero… who keeps a pimped out tank in his garage, complete with missile launchers. That's the movie in a nutshell, all the Joe franchise needs next is a few extra doses of that thinking. Retaliation delivers thrills, but it's the rare case where playing with more toys would have helped.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures]
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December 14, 2011 12:53pm EST
Let’s put the cards on the table: I have not read Steig Larsson’s best-selling “Millennium Trilogy” and therefore cannot comment on whether or not Columbia Pictures’ big-budget (American) adaptation of its first novel is a spot-on transfer of the shocking story or if Rooney Mara has lived up to the punk-goth-genius of an anti-heroine he created. This review is about director David Fincher’s craft and the dream cast he has assembled to make The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo one of the most brutal and engrossing films of 2011.
Right from lustrous sexy title sequence evoking torturous S&M imagery to the ultra-cool Karen O/Trent Reznor rendition of Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” the Oscar-nominated filmmaker plunges his audience into a very specific experience. This is not to say that the story itself is notably inventive; Dragon Tattoo is more or less a standard serial killer thriller wherein a pair of investigators attempts to solve a decades-old murder that has ties to other gruesome mysteries and a wealthy Swedish family. It’s the sinister atmosphere and tone he cultivates using color music and lighting that makes this tale so unique and highly watchable in spite of the terrible events that occur throughout.
Perhaps most compelling though is its mixed bag of characters from different walks of life including Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) a recently disgraced financial journalist in need of an assignment Martin Vanger (Stellan Skarsgard) a yuppie-ish corporate tycoon charged with running the family business started by his uncle Henrik (Christopher Plummer) and Lisbeth Salander (Mara) the alpha-outsider and titular character of this eerie epic. All are emotionally scarred and the actors charged with portraying them go the darkest corners of their own souls to make them their own. Mara in particular must be praised for her ghoulish and extreme embodiment of Salander who suffers physical and emotional torment unlike anything we’ve seen in cinema this year. This more than her scene-stealing presence in Fincher’s The Social Network is no doubt her star-making turn; expect to see her name on a marquee soon. Though she and Craig at times struggle with the Swedish diction (the latter’s native British accent slips through more times than I can count) they more than make up for it with their physical personifications facial expressions etc. Yet it’s Skarsgard who is most impressive as the younger Vanger (he’s of Swedish descent) and delivers a stunning and chilling performance that will rival Mara’s in defining this film in years to come.
Still this is a Fincher film through and through and I cannot think of source material better suited for the maker of Se7en and Zodiac than this disturbing chronicle. Visually he’s given the opportunity to create damp decaying interiors familiar to fans of his work but contrasts them with beautifully filmed exteriors including some terrifying whiteout conditions that are sure to lower your body temperature. In terms of form he and editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall effectively lay out dual character arcs (that of Salander and Blomkvist) that run parallel but connect in uncanny ways until their eventual convergence resulting in a highly literary feel. Both Baxter and Wall won Oscars for cutting The Social Network and I’m afraid that their penchant for quick transitions between shots has a decreasing effect on the terror; for a film that so closely treads the line between horror-thriller I felt that letting certain shots play out a bit longer could’ve had more dreadful results.
Still in no way I am saying that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo doesn’t come with its share of nail-biting suspense. Fincher takes tense situations to the next level using unconventional camera angles and Reznor’s unnerving score making many sequences in the movie hard to watch. It’s a tiring but entertaining task; one that is a pleasure and pain to endure but the auteur’s masterful methods are quite magical even when being used to tell a story as menacing as this one.
There’s nothing else playing at the multiplex this season that’s quite like it and should you choose to view it you’ll carry its shocks with you for days after.
To date, the biggest problem I have with Paramount's G.I. Joe sequel is its title. Cobra Strikes? Didn't the evil organization already strike in the 2009 original, when it demolished the Eiffel Tower, the Joe's headquarters and a slew of other locations? Seems kind of redundant to me, but thankfully it is the only element of the follow-up that can be described that way.
Much is different this time around. Jon Chu (Step Up 3, Never Say Never) is taking over directing duties from Stephen Sommers. Most of the original cast (including Rachel Nichols and Marlon Wayans among many others) has been scrapped to make room for new recruits like Dwayne Johnson, RZA, Adrianne Palicki and Elodie Yung, although Channing Tatum, Ray Park and Byung-hun Lee will reprise their roles from the first flick. However, another thing that remains the same is that the franchise's producers wish to give the property the international flair it needs to be a global hit, and that's where Ray Stevenson comes in. The Rome actor, fresh off his turn as an Asgardian warrior in Thor, has just signed up to take a villainous turn in the film. He'll play Firefly, who's described as a saboteur, ninja and explosives expert. Sounds like he'll be keeping the Real American Heroes quite busy.
It won't be the first time Stevenson has walked on the dark side. He recently played bad guys in The Book of Eli and The Other Guys, though he's best known as a heroic type thanks to HBO's fantastic forementioned series, King Arthur and Punisher: WarZone (well, actually let's forget about that last one).
Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes will strike theaters sometime next summer.
Even a laughable, shouldn't-have-been-made pilot can't stop Adrianne Palicki's rise to stardom. The former Friday Night Lights star and would-be Wonder Woman has just joined Paramount Pictures anticipated G.I. Joe sequel Cobra Strikes, according to Deadline. She joins series veterans Channing Tatum, Ray Park and Byung Hun-lee as well as other newcomers like Dwayne Johnson, DJ Cotrona, Elodie Yung and the RZA.
Jon M. Chu, director of Step Up 3D and Never Say Never, is filling in for Stephen Sommers, who passed on helming the sequel to pursue his adaptation of Odd Thomas. His 2009 original grossed $300 million worldwide despite some pretty middling reviews, and the property is still ripe with trilogy potential. Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have provided the script for the new film, which means you can expect some better dialogue than what Stuart Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett concocted for the first.
I've got nothing against Palicki; in fact I think she's perfectly suited for a movie like this. She's a genre superstar at this point, having appeared in last year's supernatural actioner Legion and will continue on that path with the Red Dawn remake which will hopefully hit theaters later this year. Taking on the role of Wonder Woman was the biggest move of her career and even though audiences may never get to see her as the Mother Theresa of Super Heroine's, joining the Joe's will ensure that she'll stick around for some time to come.
G.I. Joe 2 hits theaters summer 2012.