The romantic action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is like nothing — and if you’re a person between the age of approximately 18 to 35 everything — you’ve seen before. British director Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead Hot Fuzz) adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novel is so densely laden with pop-culture references it often times feels less like a movie than a mixtape. Those who share the tastes of the film’s 31-year-old writer and 35-year-old director will find the experience to be exhilarating; those who don’t however will likely be at a loss to comprehend what all the fuss is about.
The list of ‘80s and ‘90s video game nods in Pilgrim alone is daunting: Tekken Super Mario Bros. Tetris Zelda and even retro titles like Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man are represented just to name a few. To fit all of it in Wright must practically invent a brand-new kind of filmmaking. Using techniques and iconography culled from the holy fanboy triumvirate of comic books video games and anime/manga and armed with a clearly generous effects budget he splatters the screen with a dazzling array of CGI visual aids as the action unfolds: informational pop-ups supply key details on each character as they are introduced; words like “Boom!” and “Pow!” burst forth when blows are landed during fight sequences; a “Level Up!” graphic indicating increased levels of key character attributes appears after the film’s hero triumphs in battle. Even the old Universal Studios logo has been revamped by Wright rendered in the rudimentary graphics and sound of the old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Call it easter-egg filmmaking.
At the center of this digital maelstrom is Scott Pilgrim a 22-year-old Canadian hipster waif played by 22-year-old Canadian hipster waif Michael Cera. Unemployed and in no great rush to find work he splits his time evenly between jamming with his middling band Sex Bob-Omb (a Super Mario Bros. reference) combing thrift shops for new additions to his near-limitless collection of ironic t-shirts and pining for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a beguiling New York City emigre whose signature attribute is her constantly-changing hair color.
After a few abortive encounters Scott finally gets Ramona to reciprocate his affections. Thus begins the quest — or "campaign " as gamers call it — portion of the film as Scott soon discovers that in order to secure Ramona’s hand he must defeat each of her seven evil exes (six boys and one girl) in spontaneous death matches of decreasing novelty. (A few of them could easily have been excised without harming the narrative but that might invite the ire of comic book fans who typically demand nothing less than absolute adherence to the source text.) With a variety of found power-ups and an entirely implausible collection of fancy kung-fu moves he faces off against among others a pompous vegan straight-edge (Brandon Routh) a self-absorbed action star (Chris Evans) a spiteful lesbian (Mae Whitman) and a smarmy record producer (Jason Schwartzman).
I expect Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will polarize audiences and not just because of Wright’s distinctively dizzying directorial style. (Which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it occasionally overdoses on manufactured quirk and is a bit too proud of its cleverness.) The film glosses over Scott and Ramona’s wooing process in its rush to commence with its succession of comic-book battles which grow somewhat tedious toward the end. It’s simply assumed that Ramona would fall for our protagonist as it’s likewise assumed that we already have. But not everyone will embrace Scott’s castrati hipster affect which too often comes across as grating rather than charming. (The movie’s funniest moments come courtesy of Scott’s sassy gay roommate played by Kieran Culkin who is never without a clever barb for his lovelorn pal.) And beneath Cera’s self-effacing sheen exists an unmistakable whiff of pretentiousness that isn’t entirely justified — at least not yet. Far less debatable is the appeal of Winstead whose spunky Ramona appears every bit worth the hassle of fending off seven or more ex-lovers.
God knows what she sees in him.
Jeremy Renner is nearing a deal to play Hawkeye in Marvel's The Avengers while Neal McDonough is closing in on the role of Dum Dum Dugan in the studio's Captain America: The First Avenger.
This begs the question of where Josh Holloway may fit into the Marvel universe. Reports earlier this week said the studio was eyeing the TV star for a lead part in one of its upcoming projects including both the Hawkeye and Dum Dum roles. So, is Ant-Man still on the table?
The Joss Whedon-directed Avengers will see Renner will play the bow-and-arrow-carrying hero Hawkeye, says the Heat Vision blog.
Renner will join Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Don Cheadle as War Machine.
McDonough, meanwhile, will join the Joe Johnston-directed Captain America, says Deadline. Production starts in July in the UK.
Marvel did not confirm either report.
Source: Heat Vision Blog
Just when you thought that one villain would be enough of a challenge for Chris Evans' Captain America, The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision Blog today announced that Toby Jones (W, Infamous) will play Nazi genetic engineer Arnim Zola in Joe Johnston's upcoming event picture.
In comics lore, Zola created clones and various monstrosities for Hitler. He also captured his own mental self, inserting it into a robot, and survived the war. Hugo Weaving will portray main baddie The Red Skull in Paramount Pictures fourth superhero film, which will blast it's way into theaters on July 22 2011, just a two and a half months after Thor.
The World War II-set movie also stars Sebastian Stan as Cap's sidekick Bucky Barnes and Hayley Atwell as the hero’s love interest, Peggy Carter. All parties are gearing up for a summer shoot in England, which should begin in July.
Source: Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios today confirmed the long running rumor that Hugo Weaving (The Matrix and LOTR trilogies) will portray Nazi supervillain The Red Skull in their coming blockbuster The First Avenger: Captain America.
He join Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Hayley Atwell in the Joe Johnston directed origin tale that will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogersvolunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. In the early comics, Johann Schmidt was drafted into loyal service of The Third Reich and renamed "The Red Skull." The character will be updated for the feature adaptation that was penned by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.
The film will be released in the US on July 22, 2011 and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
The actress was offered the chance to play Captain America's love interest Peggy Carter in the forthcoming comic book adaptation, but rejected the role because she wants to remain open to other projects.
She tells MTV.com, "I'm a big supporter of (director) Joe Johnston and I think that Captain America is going to be really fun and I gather that the story is really interesting. It just wasn't what I wanted to do next, to be honest.
"There's definitely a high commitment level and I'm not someone who likes to plan too much ahead. That would also be an issue for me as well."
Blunt previously gave up the part of the Black Widow in Iron Man 2, which was later handed to Scarlett Johansson, due to scheduling conflicts, but the 27 year old remains optimistic she'll get to star in a comic book film soon.
She adds, "I don't tend to be fatalistic about these things. I think for me the job always has to be the right thing at the right time. Neither of them happened to be that."
Blunt's fiance John Krasinski was the front runner to play Captain America but the role eventually went to Fantastic Four actor Chris Evans, while rising British star Hayley Atwell was handed the leading lady role.
On paper Sylvain White’s ensemble thriller The Losers doesn’t display much promise. Its budget (around $25 million) is miniscule by action-movie standards; its cast apart from female lead Zoe Saldana is unexceptional; and its plot about a group of disgraced Special Forces operatives who seek revenge against the shady arms dealer (Jason Patric) who had them framed is hardly original. And yet The Losers makes for a surprisingly entertaining ride an apt prelude to the summer blockbuster season. Call it The B-Team.
Though based on a graphic novel (what Hollywood movie today isn’t?) The Losers boasts no superheroes just a quintet of mercenaries with complementary skills and catchy names like Cougar and Pooch. Presumed dead after being double-crossed during a black ops mission in the Bolivian jungle they languish in a third-world limbo until a mysterious woman named Aisha (Saldana) approaches their leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) with an enticing opportunity.
The Losers establishes a lively pace from the outset and with the exception of one appallingly disjointed planning scene director White adroitly handles the challenges of a plus-size cast. Save for a few extraneous twists that mar the film’s second half screenwriters James Vanderbilt and Peter Berg maintain a straightforward storyline keeping the tone determinedly light (always best when dealing with the constraints of a PG-13 rating) but never too cartoonish -- at least not by comic book-movie standards.
Morgan who previously underwhelmed in Zack Snyder’s doomed Watchmen adaptation isn’t the ideal choice to headline the film’s male cast and he appears hopelessly overmatched by Saldana. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if The Losers didn’t try to sell us on a hastily-hatched romantic subplot between the two which serves only to provide us with a few scantily-clad glimpses of the sultry Avatar star. Needless to say there are worse sins a filmmaker can commit.
The only aspect of The Losers that truly vexed me was the performance of one of its castmembers. I doubt that Joe Johnston director of the upcoming Captain America adaptation caught a screening of this film before he chose to award Chris Evans the coveted starring role in the big-budget comic-book flick. Because if he had I’m certain he’d have chosen differently. Evans’ clownish wiseass routine is instantly and perpetually grating. Even when delivering the most innocuous of line readings he radiates a natural douchiness that no Super Serum can fix.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter has just confirmed that British actress Haley Atwell (Brideshead Revisited, The Duchess) has won the coveted role of Peggy Carter in Joe Johnston's The First Avenger: Captain America.
In comics lore, Carter not only dated Captain America but was an agent helping the French Resistance. She later became the aunt of Sharon Carter, Captain America’s love in modern times.
Marvel conducted an extensive search for the part, with Emily Blunt and Keira Knightley among the names in the mix at one point. Atwell clinched the role after screen testing in London last week.
Chris Evans toplines the big-budget action film as Steve Rogers/Captain America, with Sebastian Stan as right-hand-man Bucky Barnes. Hugo Weaving is still in negotiations to portray arch-nemesis The Red Skull.
Lensing is set to begin this June for a July 22, 2011 release. Paramount Pictures will distribute the highly anticipated film.
Ignoring a clear record of underperforming TV and film projects, Marvel has hired Serenity director and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon to helm the big-screen adaptation of The Avengers, Deadline.com revealed today. The legendary superhero ensemble, which debuted in 1963 with founding members Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Thor, and The Hulk, is currently slated to assemble on the big screen with a somewhat tweaked lineup in May 2012, barring a Mayan apocalypse.
With The Avengers, Whedon, most recently known for the web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, faces his biggest challenge yet: How to transform a guaranteed blockbuster into a generally well-regarded but largely unprofitable cult favorite? It seems impossible, but I have no doubt he'll rise to the occasion.
The news comes on the heels of Marvel's recent announcement that Chris Evans has been chosen to play Captain America in Joe Johnston's adaptation of that hit title. Expect to see Evans in Whedon's Avengers as well. And expect to find me nowhere near the multiplex when it opens.
The race to land the coveted role has been a two-year marathon, with many comic book fans urging movie chiefs to sign up Mad Men star Jon Hamm for the lead.
Some critics have slammed the decision to hire Evans, insisting the 28-year-old actor is too young to play Captain America, but the comic giant's editor-in-chief is adamant he's the best man for the job.
Quesada tells Comic Book Resources, "Here you have a guy who absolutely embodies every aspect of Cap (Captain America), including the look and feel of the character. (Producer) Kevin Feige was absolutely beaming after meeting with Chris and seeing what he could do, and I've got to tell you, I think he's perfect as well.
"That to me is the beauty of the movies that we at Marvel produce. We know the characters better than anyone outside of our fans, and we know how important it is to cast just that right person. We aren't a bunch of Hollywood execs who don't understand the source material or its history.
"It's Marvel guys and gals making Marvel movies, and that's a huge difference."
After a lengthy period of casting hoopla for the title role in Joe Johnston's adaptation of Marvel Entertainments and Paramount Pictures The First Avenger: Captain America came to a close last week when news of Chris Evans accepted the offer, Variety reports that Sebastian Stan will portray Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers' equally patriotic right hand man on the front lines of World War II.
For the uninformed, Bucky is a key character in the Captain America comic books. An orphan who discovers Cap's true identity and partners up with him to fight the Nazi's, he later comes back from supposed death as the Winter Soldier and even has a stint as the Star Spangled Super Soldier after the assassination of Steve Rogers in 2008.
Stan's deal, like most who are in business with Marvel, covers Johnston's film as well as potential Captain America sequels and other projects that inhabit the same cinematic universe, including The Avengers, which is slated for a May 2012 release.
For those who have been following this film's lengthy casting quest that took place over the first quarter of 2010, Stan's involvement should come as no surprise - he was one of many actors who had screen tested for the coveted title role. Lucky for him, he'll still get to gear up for what is sure to be a blockbuster of epic proportions.