Shared universes are a huge part of comic book superhero stories, and although Marvel has seen huge success with their Avengers franchise, studio rights make it hard for all Marvel or DC heroes to wind up in the same movie. However, since 20th Century Fox owns the rights to both Fantastic Four and the X-Men, it’s possible — and highly likely — that Fox will follow in the footsteps of Marvel’s The Avengers and DC’s Batman vs. Superman with their own shared universe.
But, the question is, how will Fox integrate the two superhero groups? The Fantastic Four reboot isn’t even slated for release until 2015 and we’re not yet sure where X-Men: Days of Future Past will leave our favorite mutants. If rumors are to be believed (and this one just might be since The Motley Fool reported it), Fox is working on adapting the 1987 four-issue Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men. Comic book fans rejoice!
The limited comic book series revolves around characters already established in Fox’s X-Men films like Kitty Pride, Wolverine, Rogue, and Storm as well as Fantastic Four characters Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. An adaption of Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men would be the best and smartest way to bridge the two franchises.
However we’re left wondering when the crossover will be introduced. Will X-Men: Days of Future Past feature a post-credits scene promoting Fantastic Four? Will Fantastic Four, when it’s released in 2015, feature a cameo from a major X-Men character? Or will it have a post-credits scene to lead into a crossover film?
Even though we might be nearly entirely sure of a Fantastic Four and X-Men crossover film, we’re not sure when we’ll see it. We have so many questions!
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
The third phase in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe will be the first to focus primarily on non-Avengers heroes since the studio kicked off the successful franchise in 2008. So far, the only definite film is Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, which will kick off Phase 3, although Variety reported that third installments of Captain America and Thor would be included as well.
However, other rumors point toward movies based on Doctor Strange and Black Widow as well as a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, which would tip the balance of heroes away from the Avengers. Additionally scripts for comic heroes like The Runaways and Black Panther have also been commissioned by Marvel, and might make it to the big screen for Marvel’s third phase. Even with planned Captain America and Thor films, Phase 3 seems like it will be a brief vacation for the Avengers crew while Marvel explores new properties (and while the studio renegotiates its contracts with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Mark Ruffalo).
Now we’re wondering if Phase 3, which will transition away from the heroes we’ve come to associate with Marvel, will be just as successful. We’d certainly like to think so. Just because something is different doesn’t mean it won’t be good. In this case, Marvel has proven that they can pull off a cinematic shared universe with well-known heroes. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Plus, fans of the franchise that haven’t read the comics will be introduced to a whole new crop of superheroes. As one of those fans, I’m particularly excited.
Given the success of Marvel so far, there’s no doubt that Phase 3 will be fantastic. If nothing else, at least we won’t have to worry about over-working Iron Man.
Fans of football, Americana, and quality TV in general were rewarded for their good taste when Friday Night Lights and Parenthood crossed over in a very special web series, Friday Night at the Luncheonette. Dillon meets Berkeley when Amber (Mae Whitman) opens the studio one night to the best band in Christian speed metal, the Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) -fronted Crucifictorious, and an accompanying rager led by perpetual maker of bad decisions, Billy Riggins (Derek Phillips). Parenthood creator Jason Katims has found plenty of work around the Braverman clan for his FNL actors, casting Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan, and Phillips (whose wedding guest character must have been an identical cousin of Billy) in the family drama. But this is the first time the two tear-jerking shows have been confirmed to exist within the same universe. And that means that crossover can happen again! Obviously, we want more. Here are a few suggestions on how these characters can cross paths in the future.
1. Crucifictorius rolls through town again.
And Landry takes Amber on a date. Those two totally worked!
2. Kristina attends a special education conference out east.
She makes friends with a smart and warm Texan principal named Tami Taylor and they share a couple of bottles of wine in the hotel bar.
3. Matt and Julie open a gallery next door to Hank's studio.
And Sarah's photos are shown in their very first exhibit.
4. Eric goes out to visit Matt and Julie and is confused by the Berkeley-ness of it all.
"What do you mean these people don't care about football? Where can I get a damn steak?"
5. Tyra comes to UC Berkeley for her first year of teaching.
Drew falls madly in love with her.
6. Tim Riggins.
Whenever, wherever. Zero reasons needed.
Outkast star Andre 3000 spent six hours a day playing the guitar left-handed to perfect his portrayal of rock icon Jimi Hendrix in new movie Jimi: All Is By My Side. The Ms. Jackson singer plays the late guitar great in the mid-1960s and was determined to look the part, according to producer Danny Bramson.
He tells Billboard magazine, "The idea of anyone playing Hendrix, let alone a right-handed guitarist, was one of the greatest challenges of the project. I found a really patient teacher and put together a regimen for Andre when he came out to Los Angeles. He sat in a small studio, six hours a day.
"His guitarmanship (sic) had to carry the idea of grace and fluidity... He kept working in a rehearsal room throughout the production."
The film will feature a soundtrack of Hendrix covers, performed by Andre 3000, aka Andre Benjamin. The late rocker's estate refused to let the producers use original recordings.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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You don't arrive at the Grand Budapest Hotel without your share of Wes Anderson baggage. Odds are, if you've booked a visit to this film, you've enjoyed your past trips to the Wes Indies (I promise I'll stop this extended metaphor soon), delighting especially in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and his most recent charmer Moonrise Kingdom. On the other hand, you could be the adventurous sort — a curious diplomat who never really got Anderson's uric-toned deadpan drudgings but can't resist browsing through the brochures of his latest European getaway. First off, neither community should worry about a bias in this review — I'm a Life Aquatic devotee, equally alienating to both sides. Second, neither community should be deterred by Andersonian expectations, be they sky high or subterranean, in planned Budapest excursions. No matter who you are, this movie will charm your dandy pants off and then some.
While GBH hangs tight to the filmmaker's recognizable style, the movie is a departure for Anderson in a number of ways. The first being plot: there is one. A doozy, too. We're accustomed to spending our Wes flicks peering into the stagnant souls of pensive man-children — or children-men (Moonrise) or fox-kits (guess) — whose journeys are confined primarily to the internal. But not long into Grand Budapest, we're on a bona fide adventure with one of the director's most attractive heroes to date: the didactic Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes mastering sympathetic comedy better than anyone could have imagined he might), who invests his heart and soul into the titular hotel, an oasis of nobility in a decaying 1930s Europe. Gustave is plucked from his sadomasochistic nirvana overseeing every cog and sprocket in the mountaintop institution and thrust into a madcap caper — reminiscent of, and not accidentally, the Hollywood comedies of the era — involving murder, framing, art theft, jailbreak, love, sex, envy, secret societies, high speed chases... believe me, I haven't given half of it away. Along the way, we rope in a courageous baker (Saoirse Ronan), a dutiful attorney (Jeff Goldblum), a hotheaded socialite (Adrien Brody) and his psychopathic henchman (Willem Dafoe), and no shortage of Anderson regulars. The director proves just as adept at the large scale as he is at the small, delivering would-be cartoon high jinks with the same tangible life that you'd find in a Billy Wilder romp or one of the better Hope/Crosby Road to movies.
Anchoring the monkey business down to a recognizable planet Earth (without sacrificing an ounce of comedy) is the throughline of Gustave's budding friendship with his lobby boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori, whose performance is an unprecedented and thrilling mixture of Wes Anderson stoicism and tempered humility), the only living being who appreciates the significance of the Grand Budapest as much as Gustave does. In joining these two oddballs on their quest beyond the parameters of FDA-approved doses of zany, we appreciate it, too: the significance of holding fast to something you believe in, understand, trust, and love in a world that makes less and less sense everyday. Anderson's World War II might not be as ostensibly hard-hitting as that to which modern cinema is accustomed, but there's a chilling, somber horror story lurking beneath the surface of Grand Budapest. Behind every side-splitting laugh, cookie cutter backdrop, and otherworldly antic, there is a pulsating dread that makes it all mean something. As vivid as the worlds of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise might well have been, none have had this much weight and soul.
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So it's astonishing that we're able to zip to and fro' every crevice of this haunting, misty Central Europe at top speeds, grins never waning as our hero Gustave delivers supernaturally articulate diatribes capped with physically startling profanity. So much of it is that delightfully odd, agonizingly devoted character, his unlikely camaraderie with the unflappably earnest young Zero, and his adherence to the magic that inhabits the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are few places like it on Earth, as we learn. There aren't many movies like it here either.
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Gun to my head, I might be able to say something positive about 300: Rise of an Empire. In a vacuum, I suppose I'd call its aesthetic appealing, its production value impressive, or its giant rhinos kind of cool. But these elements cannot be taken alone, embroidered on a gigantic patch of joyless pain that infests your conscious mind from its inceptive moments on.
It's not so much that the 300 sequel fails at its desired conceit — it gives you exactly what it promises: gore, swordplay, angry sex, halfwit maxims about honor and manliness and the love of the fight. It's simply that its desired conceit is dehumanizing agony. Holding too hard and too long to its mission statement to top its Zack Snyder-helmed predecessor in scope, scale, and spilled pints of blood, Noam Murro's Rise of an Empire doesn't put any energy into filtering its spectacular mayhem through whatever semblance of a humanistic touch made the first one feel like a comprehensive movie.
Now, it's been a good eight years since I've seen 300, and I can't say that I was particularly fond of it. But beneath its own eye-widening layer of violence, there was a tangible idea of who King Leonidas was, what this war meant, and why Sparta mattered. No matter how much clumsy exposition is hurled our way, all we really know here is that there are two sides and they hate each other.
When Rise of an Empire asks us to engage on a more intimate level, which it does — the personal warfare between Sullivan Stapleton (whose name, I guess, is Themistokles) and Bad Guy Captain Eva Green (a.k.a. Artemisia) is founded on the idea that she likes him, and he kind of digs her (re: angry sex), and they want to rule together, but a rose by any other name and all that — we're effectively lost. With characters who don't matter in the slightest, material like this is just filler between the practically striking battle sequences.
But when the "in-between material" is as meaningless as it is in Rise of an Empire, the battles can't function as much more than filler themselves. Filler between the opening titles and closing credits. A game of Candy Crush you play on the subway. Contemptfully insubstantial and not particularly fun, but taking place nonetheless.
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Without even a remote layer of camp — too palpably absent as Rise of an Empire splashes its screen with so much human fluid that "The End" by The Doors will start to play in your head — there's no victory in a movie like this. No characters to latch onto, no story to follow, no joy to be derived. Yes, it might be aesthetically stunning (and really, that's where the one star comes in... well, half a star for that and half for the giant rhinos), but the marvel of its look shrinks under the shadow of the painful vacancy of anything tolerable.
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The band The Maine, originally from Tempe, Arizona, has been active within the music scene since 2007. Formed by members John O’Callaghan, Jared Monaco, Kennedy Brock, Garrett Nickelson, and Patrick Kirch, The Maine performed an acoustic set for an intimate, sold-out crowd at The Studio at Webster Hall on February 27 for their An Acoustic Evening with The Maine tour.
Performing songs from their previous albums, the boys made this show more personal than previous tours. Talking to fans in the crowd, they got on topics ranging from playing "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder in school (they literally started singing it in the middle of their song "Take Me Dancing"), to their mutual love for That’s So Raven. We even got to enjoy a pretty entertaining story about O'Callaghan's high school years. We’ll keep it PG and just say it involved a sink and a certain bowel movement.
This past December, The Maine released Imaginary Numbers, their first acoustic EP. Written and produced by the band, this album set a different and fresh tone for The Maine. Comparing this tour to the first time I saw them perform live in 2008, the maturity of their music and confidence on stage made me not want the night to end (so cliché, right?). If you haven’t seen The Maine in concert yet, you’re in luck. The boys are touring nonstop until August and making stops in the UK, Brazil and then back to the states this June. Hurry up and buy your tickets for the show closest to you, before they sell out (because they will). You can also download Imaginary Numbers, as well as previous albums, on iTunes today.
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
A great hue and cry went up in certain quarters when indie darling Greta Gerwig was cast in the "female Ted" role for the How I Met Your Mother spinoff, How I Met Your Dad. She was soon being called a "sell out" by fans on social media, prompting Forbes, of all places, to post an article defending her right to cash in on her low-budget success. Largely left unasked, however, was the basic question of how well does Gerwig's persona translate into the established HIMYM format.
If mainstream audiences are aware of Gerwig at all, it's most likely as the flighty tour guide that steals Russell Brand's heart in his Arthur remake. Independent film aficionados know her far better for her work in mumblecore films by directors like Joe Swanberg and Noah Baumbach (who is also her boyfriend), as well as indie film god Whit Stillman. It seems safe to say that her profile will jump considerably with a role in a much publicized television project.
While it's easy to think that her work in the big budget studio-produced Arthur provides the clearest insight into how she'll come across in a network sitcom, the fact that Gerwig has a measure of creative power as one of the new show's producers means that her indie work should come into play as well. After all, Gerwig co-wrote four of the films that she starred in, including the acclaimed Frances Ha, and co-directed another (Nights and Weekends). She's established that she knows what works for her as an actress.
In HIMYM, Josh Radnor's Ted continually longed for the simpler days of college when he could sit around and discuss arcane topics to his heart's content. While there are sure to be clear differences with Gerwig's character, her film roles often have a collegial bent, whether she is playing a recent graduate in Hannah Takes the Stairs or as the Type-A clique leader in Stillman's Damsels in Distress. Making the new character hyper literate seems like a safe way to appease both Gerwig and HIMYM fans.
Of course, the main thrust of the sitcom just by definition has to be the love life of the lead character, since if she were adept at picking a mate there would be no show. In her film career, Gerwig has shown that she can play to any romantic situation just fine. In Frances Ha, she is largely unattached, focusing more on her career and finding someplace to live. In Damsels, she has rules for the type of men that she'll date. In Hannah, she's in a love triangle, and in Nights and Weekends it's a long-distance relationship. In Greenberg, she falls in love with a self-involved jerk. If any of these scenarios sound familiar to HIMYM fans, it's because the show has explored almost every one of thems.
It's still a long way until How I Met Your Dad could hit the airwaves, which should give the uninitiated plenty of time to catch up on Gerwig's film catalog and learn why indie audiences grew to love the actress. It will be at least as much fun as trying to figure out if the new show will have a female Barney.
We’re bringing you our predictions for the winners in the eight biggest Oscar night categories based on our Forecast Formula analysis – and in all the remaining categories we have our own non-mathematical, yet still insightful, predictions! We’ve also included a printable ballot, so you can compare and contrast on the big night. To get the ballot, as well as see how we arrived at our predictions and more - read the full report at Studio System News!