Long ago, the HBO network happened upon a man named Alan Taylor—an up-and-coming director with little more than Palooka Joe and Canadian television gig to his name. Over the course of the next fifteen years (and counting), Taylor would lend his vision to HBO series including Oz, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Carnivàle, Deadwood, Rome, Big Love, The Sopranos, Bored to Death, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. Needless to say, the man has done some good for the viewing world. And now, he is reported to be revisiting the big screen as the new director for Marvel's Thor 2.
A lot of news has surrounded the directorial seat on the Thor sequel. Patty Jenkins (writer/director of Monster, along with a few of her own television gems: Arrested Development, Entourage, The Killing) was at one point confirmed as the film's director. Earlier this month, Jenkins left the project, which was apparently quite upsetting to Natalie Portman.
Since Thor has been rendered Jenkins-less, Taylor has been discussed as a possible replacement. Today, it is reported that Taylor should be officially taking the spot. The installment of this new director will keep the project on schedule for Nov. 15, 2013. Thor stars Portman and Chris Hemsworth are on board to reprise their roles.
Just days after Patty Jenkins lost the Thor 2 directing gig over those ever-pesky "creative differences," Marvel is said to be narrowing its list of possible replacements. THR reports that Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan, two prolific TV directors with minimal feature-film experience, are the leading candidates to helm the sequel to the 2011 summer blockbuster, which starred Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding Norse hero and Natalie Portman as his plucky love interest. THR adds that the studio is mulling different writers for the job of re-tooling Don Payne's Thor 2 screenplay draft, including John Collee (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Robert Rodat (TNT's Falling Skies) and former Tarantino collaborator Roger Avary.
Thor 2 may not have a director or a screenwriter, but it does have a release date: November 15, 2013.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Click for more images of Chris Hemsworth:
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter also confirms that Goodfellas star Ray Liotta has also signed up for the ensemble picture, making Cogan's Trade a virtual who's who of gangster shit.
EARLIER: Johnny Sack's life didn't turn out too grand by the time The Sopranos ended its legendary run, but for Vincent Curatola, who played the New York crime boss on the multiple-award-winning drama, the fun is just starting. The actor just signed on to co-star in Andrew Dominik's new film Cogan's Trade, opposite Brad Pitt and a great ensemble cast, as a middle-aged man recently released from jail who seeks revenge on those who sent him to prison.
The project, which is based on George V. Higgins' 1974 novel, follows a mob enforcer (Pitt) investigating a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game in the seedy side of Boston. Javier Bardem, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Jenkins and Bella Heathcoate are all locked into parts, but the most exciting prospect about Curatola's addition is an on-screen reunion with his Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini, who will also occupy a (rather large) space in the film.
Production is set to begin by the end of the month while the film may see an early 2012 release from The Weinstein Company.
After being cursed by delays The Wolfman Hollywood’s latest spin on the popular werewolf myth finally bares its ugly fangs in theaters this week. Predictably the film is a train wreck of a debacle -- one would expect nothing less from a notoriously troubled production that saw its original director Mark Romanek abandon ship just two weeks before the start of shooting -- but The Wolfman’s problems stem less from the late-game addition of helmer Joe Johnston who at the very least delivered a terrific looking film (its gorgeously eerie Victorian aesthetic evoking a palpable exquisite sense of dread is by far its best feature) than from the misguided efforts of its producer and star Benicio Del Toro.
The Wolfman is the brainchild of Del Toro an ardent horror fan who conceived the film as an homage of sorts to the low-budget “monster movies” from the ‘30s and ‘40s that he loved dearly as a child. It’s fashioned as a loose remake of 1941’s The Wolf Man a film that both established Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance as the definitive take on the character and introduced aspects of the werewolf legend now considered sacrosanct. The notion that a werewolf can be felled by an item made from silver for example owes its origin to The Wolf Man.
But Del Toro feels all wrong in the role of Lawrence Talbot the prodigal son of a 19th-century English aristocrat whose fateful encounter with a bloodthirsty lycan the same creature that brutally murdered his brother just days prior triggers his unwitting initiation into the accursed tribe of feral man-beasts. Del Toro's resume of low-key understated performances marked by a muttering often imperceptible delivery in films like Traffic and The Usual Suspects suggests a skill set better suited to playing another famous movie monster one significantly less loquacious than his character in this movie. Seriously -- the guy should have remade Frankenstein instead.
Playing an American-bred (but English-born we’re told) character in an 1890 setting looking uncomfortable in period attire surrounded by such “proper” British actors as Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt and fully annunciating all of his line readings for the first time that I can recall Del Toro appears hopelessly out of place in The Wolfman.
Things only get worse unfortunately when Del Toro’s character transforms into the dreaded werewolf. Each time the moon is full the film transitions with increasing ridiculousness from a somber Victorian drama into a hard-core horror flick replete with grisly shots of torn flesh exposed spines and severed limbs. The first overly gruesome attack triggers a kind of nervous laugh more from the shock than anything else. The second invites an amused uneasy chuckle which soon snowballs into an outright belly laugh. And the effect soon spreads to the dialogue the outrageous gore rendering the film's mannered melodrama strangely hysterical.
Of all the Wolfman players only Hopkins seems to get the joke reveling in his manipulative mischief as Talbot's inappropriately glib stoutly aloof father. If only he'd let his castmates in on it.
It might seem as if Roland Emmerich's movies are just about filling the frame with as much destructive spectacle as possible, but a closer examination of his resume paints a decidedly different portrait. Dismissed by some as merely the hackneyed purveyor of lowbrow "disaster porn," Emmerich is in truth a filmmaker with a profound social conscience, a visionary artist who uses movies as a tool to raise public awareness on the pressing issues of our time.
The Day After Tomorrow envisioned the frightening effects of an instantaneous, global warming-fueled ice age. 10,000 B.C. shed light on the priceless contributions woolly mammoths made to the construction of the pyramids. Godzilla confronted us with the very real possibility of gargantuan, mutant lizards created by fallout from nuclear testing. Just because these movies are almost universally mocked by “respected scholars” and other so-called “mainstream scientists” doesn’t make them any less relevant.
Emmerich’s latest film, 2012, might be his most important yet. But don’t believe us. Listen to John Major Jenkins, Daniel Pinchbeck and Lawrence Joseph, three experts on the subject of 2012 and the terrifying scenario that could await mankind in that fateful year:
2012 opens Friday, November 13, 2009.
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.