After teetering on the cusp of creative disaster, Marvel has finally put its Ant-Man film back on track, but the project - now on its second director - still looks like a bit of a question mark for the blockbuster studio. Luckily we might have some new answers flowing through the rumor mill. According to some new rumors from JoBlo, Paul Rudd's Scott Lang character will be a petty thief and single dad that steals the Ant-Man technology from Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas. There are also whispers of the identity of the new villain, as the site also alleges that comic book character Darren Cross will be the film's central antagonist. In the comics, Cross is the founder of Cross Technological Enterprises, a large bio-tech firm that rivals other Marvel universe corporate giants like Stark Industries and Oscorp. Cross will reportedly have a suit similar to Ant-Man's but more militaristic, and might be played by Corey Stoll or Patrick Wilson. It's important to note that Cross' character in the comics takes on a Hulk-like appearance, but the film might not head in that direction, given the current rumors. Cross' cousin, William Cross, is also a villain named Crossfire in the comics.
While these are all rumors, and should be taken with the appropriately sized grain of salt, we wonder if Ant-Man would benefit from heading in a different direction villain-wise. Darren Cross is only the latest in a long parade of evil businessmen wreaking havoc in the Marvel universe. There's been Jeff Bridges' Obadiah Stane in the first Iron Man, Sam Rockwell's sniveling Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, and Guy Pierce's Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3. But even outside of Disney's output, comic book films are completely stuffed with corporate boogeymen. There's the enterprising Bolivar Trask in this year's X-Men: Days of Future Past, and yet another rendition of Lex Luthor via Jesse Eisenberg in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The sinister businessman has remained a well used trope in the sprawling Marvel universe, and while it makes sense that Tony Stark would frequently bump heads with other enterprising industrialists, hearing that Ant-Man might also be clashing with big immoral businessmen has us wishing that the film would look for some other antagonists. Ant-Man, whose chief ability is to grow very small and still retain his normal strength, is comic book absurdity at its very finest, and the fact that he can communicate telepathically with ants makes it even more over the top. It feels like the powers that be at Marvel should have something zanier up their sleeves than yet another cutthroat capitalist in a three-piece suit that worships the American dollar. A weird hero should have even weirder rogues to do battle with.
With all that said, there might be more to Darren Cross than meets the eye. Maybe the character does turn into a giant pink Hulk in the film's climax? We'll just have to wait and see.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Seventeen years ago, Harrison Ford grumbled four simple words that defined a genre, a demographic, and a country: "Get off my plane." In a pre-9/11 world, there was no shortage of jingoistic glee in a movie like Air Force One, in which a man's man American president doled out justice to a militia of Russian loyalist terrorists who made the silly mistake of attempting to hijack his flight home from Moscow. In 2014, we don't have the luxury of facing a plotline like this with reckless merriment. There's a damp gravity to the premise behind movies like Non-Stop, which in another time would have been nothing more than Taken on a Plane. But rigidly conscious of the connotations that attach to a story about a hijacking of a civilian international flight into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, Non-Stop doesn't play too fast and loose. It still plays, and has some good fun doing so, but carefully.
From the getgo, we're anchored into the grim narrative of Liam Neeson's U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks, who settles his demons with a healthy spoonful of whiskey. A dutiful officer even when liquored up, Marks eyeballs every nameless face in London's Heathrow Airport, silently introducing the bevvy of characters who'll come into play later on. After takeoff, Marks finds himself on the unwitting prowl for the anonymous party who's attempting to take down the red-eye through a series of manipulative text messages, well-timed threats, and clandestine killings. Chatty passenger Julianne Moore and flight attendant Michelle Dockery join Marks in his efforts to identify the mysterious criminal before the entire aircraft falls to his or her whims. So less Taken, more Murder, She Wrote.
Our roundup of suspects challenges our (and their) preconceived notions, and quite laughably — most vocal among Neeson's fellow passengers are a white beta-male school teacher (Scoot McNairy), a black computer engineer with an attitude of entitlement (Nate Parker), a softspoken Middle Eastern surgeon whose headwear gets more than a few focal shots (Omar Metwally), a middle-aged white businessman whose latest account landed him more than your house is worth (Frank Deal), an irate black youngster draped in irreverence (Corey Hawkins), and a white, bald, machismo-howling New York cop who secretly accepts his gay brother (Corey Stoll). Just a few talking heads short of Do the Right Thing, Non-Stop manages to goof on each man's (notice that they're all men — Moore, Dockery, and a barely-in-the-movie Lupita Nyong’o are kept shy of the action for most of the film) distaste for and distrust of one another as they each try to sidle up to, or undermine the harried Marks.
Non-Stop plays an interesting game with its characters and its audience, simultaneously painting the ignorance of its characters with a thick coat of comedy while pointing its finger straight out at us with accusations that we, too, thought it was whoever we just learned it wasn't, and for all the wrong reasons. "Shame on you!" Non-Stop chides, adding, "But let's keep going, this is fun!"
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It is fun — that's the miraculous thing. Without any "Get off my plane"s or "Yippee ki yay"s, Non-Stop keeps its action genre silliness in check (okay, there is a moment involving an airborne gun that'll institute some serious laugh-cheers), investing all of its good time in the game of claustrophobic Clue that we can't help but enjoy. It sacrifices some of its charm in a heavy-handed third act, tipping to one side of what was a pretty impressive balancing act up until that point. But its falter is not one that drags down the movie entirely. Fun and excitement are restored, sincerity is maintained, and even a few moments of sensitivity creep their way through. We might not live in a world of President Harrison Fords any longer, but Air Marshall Liam Neesons could actually be a step up.
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Best Motion Picture, Drama12 Years a SlaveGravityCaptain PhillipsRushPhilomena
Best Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyNebraskaAmerican HustleThe Wolf of Wall StreetInside Llewyn DavisHer
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, DramaChiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips Robert Redford, All Is Lost Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyBruce Dern, NerbaskaLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale, American HustleOscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn DavisJoaquin Phoenix, Her
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, DramaCate Blanchett, Blue JasmineSandra Bullock, GravityEmma Thompson, Saving Mr. BanksJudi Dench, PhilomenaKate Winslet, Labor Day
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyMeryl Streep, August: Osage CountyJulia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough SaidAmy Adams, American HustleJulie Delpy, Before MidnightGreta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Best Director - Motion PictureAlfonso Cuaron, GravitySteve McQueen, 12 Years a SlaveDavid O. Russell, American HustlePaul Greengrass, Captain PhillipsAlexander Payne, Nebraska
Best Screenplay - Motion PictureJohn Ridley, 12 Years a SlaveBob Nelson, NebraskaEric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American HustleJeff Pope and Steve Coogan, PhilomenaSpike Jonze, Her
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureMichael Fassbender, 12 Years a SlaveJared Leto, Dallas Buyers ClubBradley Cooper, American HustleDaniel Bruhl, RushBarkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a SlaveJennifer Lawrence, American HustleJulia Roberts, August: Osage CountyJune Squibb, NebraskaSally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Best TV Series, DramaBreaking BadDownton AbbeyHouse CardsMasters of SexThe Good Wife
Best TV Series, ComedyThe Big Bang TheoryModern FamilyGirlsBrooklyn Nine-NineParks and Recreation
Best Actor in a TV Series, DramaBryan Cranston, Breaking BadMichael Sheen, Masters of SexKevin Spacey, House of CardsJames Spader, The BlacklistLiev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Best Actor in a TV Series, ComedyJason Bateman, Arrested DevelopmentDon Cheadle, House of LiesMichael J. Fox, The Michael J. FoxJim Parsons, The Big Bang TheoryAndy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actress in a TV Series, DramaJulianne Margulies, The Good WifeKerry Washington, ScandalTatiana Maslany, Orphan BlackRobin Wright, House of CardsTaylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy Zooey Deschanel, New Girl Lena Dunham, Girls Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VeepAmy Poehler, Parks and Recreation Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie American Horror Story: CovenBehind the CandelabraDancing on the EdgeTop of LakeWhite Queen
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV MovieMatt Damon, Behind the CandelabraChiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the EdgeIdris Elba, LutherAl Pacino, Phil SpectorMichael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV MovieHelena Bonham Carter, Burton and TaylorRebecca Ferguson, White QueenJessica Lange, American Horror Story: CovenHelen Mirren, Phil SpectorElisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV MovieRob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra Josh Charles, The Good WifeAaron Paul, Breaking BadCorey Stoll, House of CardsJohn Voight, Ray Donovan
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV MovieHayden Panetierre, NashvilleJacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the EdgeJanet McTeer, White QueenMonica Potter, ParenthoodSofia Vergara, Modern Family
Best Animated Feature FilmFrozenThe CroodsDespicable Me 2
Best Foreign Language FilmBlue Is the Warmest ColorThe PastThe HuntThe Wind RisesThe Great Beauty
Best Original Score - Motion PictureGravityThe Book Thief12 Years a SlaveAll Is LostMandela: Long Walk to Freedom
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American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave are going head-to-head at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards after landing seven nominations each. The dramatic comedy will go up against Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska and The Wolf of Wall Street for Best Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy.
Its stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams scored a mention for Best Performance In A Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical), while Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper picked up nods for their supporting roles and David O. Russell landed a nomination for Best Director.
The film also picked up a Best Screenplay - Motion Picture nod.
Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave also landed seven nominations including Best Motion Picture, Drama, Best Performance Actor, Drama for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o, Best Supporting Actor, Drama for Michael Fassbender, Best Director - Motion Picture for Steve McQueen, Best Screenplay - Motion Picture and Best Original Score - Motion Picture for Hans Zimmer.
In the TV categories, some of the small screen's biggest names are going head-to-head for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama. Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Ray Donovan's Liev Schreiber, Masters of Sex's Michael Sheen, House of Spades' Kevin Spacey and The Black List's James Spader are all nominated.
Meanwhile, The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies, Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany, Orange is the New Black's Taylor Schilling, Scandal's Kerry Washington and House of Cards' Robin Wright all landed Best Actress in a TV series, Drama nods.
For the Best Television Series - Drama category Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, House of Cards and Masters of Sex will go up against each other.
Michael Douglas' and Matt Damon's Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra scored three nominations including Best TV Movie Or Mini-series and Best Actor in a TV Movie or Mini-Series for Damon and Douglas.
Lee Daniels' The Butler, which has landed several nominations for the 2014 Screen Actors Guild awards, was completely shut out of the competition.
The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will take place on 12 January (14) in Los Angeles.
The nominations were announced by actors Olivia Wilde, Aziz Ansari and Zoe Saldana in Beverly Hills, California on Thursday (12Dec13) and the complete list is as follows:
Best Motion Picture, Drama
12 Years a Slave
Best Actor In A Motion Picture, Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor,12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All is Lost
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day
Best Director - Motion Picture
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope Steve, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell and Eric Singer Warren, American Hustle
Best Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy
Inside Llewyn Davis
Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Best Actor In A Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her
Best Animated Feature film
Despicable Me 2
Best Foreign Language Film
Blue Is The Warmest Color (France)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Past (Iran)
The Wind Rises (Japan)
Best Supporting Actress In A Motion Picture
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Best Supporting Actor In A Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Best Original Score - Motion Picture
All Is Lost - Alex Ebert
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - Alex Heffes
Gravity - Steven Price
The Book Thief - John Williams
12 Years a Slave - Hans Zimmer
Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Atlas, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Let It Go, Frozen
Ordinary Love, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy, Inside Llewyn Davis
Sweeter Than Fiction, One Chance
Best TV Series, Drama
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex
Best Actress in a TV series, Drama
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Best Actor in a TV series, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
James Spader, The Blacklist
Best TV Series, Comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Parks and Recreation
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lena Dunham, Girls
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Best Actor, TV Series Comedy
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best TV Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story: Coven
Behind the Candelabra
Dancing on the Edge
Top of the Lake
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Al Pacino, Phil Spector
Best Supporting Actress In A Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie
Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge
Janet McTeer, The White Queen
Hayden Panettiere , Nashville
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Corey Stoll, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Do the Bourne movies make any sense? Enough. The first three films — The Bourne Identity Supremacy and Ultimatum — throw in just enough detail into the covert ops babble and high-speed action that by the end Jason Bourne comes out an emotional character with an evident mission. That's where Bourne Legacy drops the ball. A "sidequel" to the original trilogy Legacy follows super soldier Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) as he runs jumps and shoots his way out of the hands of his government captors. The film is identical to its predecessors; political intrigue chase scenes morally ambiguous CIA agents monitoring their man-on-the-run from a computer-filled HQ — a Bourne movie through and through. But Legacy has to dig deeper to find new ground to cover introducing elements of sci-fi into the equation. The result is surprisingly limp and even more incomprehensible.
Damon's Bourne spent three blockbusters uncovering his past erased by the assassin training program Treadstone. Renner's Alex Cross has a similar do-or-die mission: after Bourne's antics send Washington into a tizzy Cross' own training program Outcome is terminated. Unlike Bourne Cross is enhanced by "chems" (essentially steroid drugs) that keep him alive and kicking ass. When Outcome is ended Cross goes rogue to stay alive and find more pills.
Steeped heavily in the plot lines of the established mythology Bourne Legacy jumps back and forth between Cross and the clean up job of the movie's big bad (Edward Norton) and his elite squad of suits. The movie balances a lot of moving parts but the adventure never feels sprawling or all that exciting. Actress Rachel Weisz vibrant in nearly every role she takes on plays a chemist who is key to Cross' chemical woes. The two are forced into partnership Weisz limited to screaming cowering and sneaking past the occasional airport x-ray machine while her partner aggressively fistfights his way through any hurdle in his path. Renner is equally underserved. Cross is tailored to the actor's strengths — a darker more aggressive character than Damon's Bourne but with one out of every five of the character's lines being "CHEMS!" shouted at the top of his lungs Renner never has the time or the material to develop him.
Writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton Duplicity and the screenwriter of the previous three movies) is a master of dense language but his style choices can't breath life into the 21st century epic speak. In the film's necessary car chase Gilroy mimics the loose camera style of Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass without fully embracing it. The wishy washy approach sucks the life out of large-scale set pieces. The final 30 minutes of Bourne Legacy is a shaky cam naysayer's worst nightmare.
The Bourne Legacy demonstrates potential without ever kicking into high gear. One scene when Gilroy finally slows down and unleashes absolute terror on screen is striking. Unfortunately the moment doesn't involve our hero and its implications never explained. That sums up Legacy; by the film's conclusion it only feels like the first hour has played out. The movie crawls — which would be much more forgivable if the intense banter between its large ensemble carried weight. Instead Legacy packs the thrills of an airport thriller: sporadically entertaining and instantly forgettable.