When you make your name in a huge, international film franchise it can be difficult to get audiences to see you in a different light. When that franchise happens to be as incredibly divisive as the Twilight series, it’s going to be even harder to shake the vampire sparkles from your screen persona. It’s no surprise then that since wrapping the final film Kristen Stewart has stuck primarily with small, indie films in order to add some variety to her resume and find the chance to leave Bella Swan behind for good. And even if her latest film, Camp X-Ray, doesn’t quite manage to do that, it will likely mark a start in a different stage of her career.
In the film, which premiered to positive reviews at Sundance, Stewart plays Private Amy Cole, young guard at Guantanamo Bay who builds a relationship with one of the prisoners that forces her to question both her job and her beliefs. It’s a difficult, complex subject – in fact, it might be one of the few topics that cause just as many divided Internet comments at the Twilight series – and based on the trailer it appears as if neither the film nor the cast will be shying away from portraying a lot of those complexities. Stewart in particular seems to bear the bulk of those complicated elements, and the trailer hints at an interestingly subtle performance. Of course, since of the major criticisms of the Twilight series was the stiff, wooden acting that might not sound like a compliment but in Camp X-Ray, Stewart appears to be making deliberately restrained choices, allowing her face to do the majority of the acting. Choosing a part that requires so much focus on what goes unsaid is a risky choice for her, but if it succeeds, it could be exactly what she needs to build a great career.
Amy is a completely different character than anything we’ve seen Stewart play so far. Having spent most of her career playing teenagers with various degrees of angst, it will be interesting to see her step into a more adult role as a character with a great deal of responsibilities, baggage and conflicting feelings. She’s dealing with questions of right and wrong and international law rather than the issues that come with dating a vampire, and she’s doing it all in a situation where she’s not free to outwardly question authority. Audiences need to see Stewart play complex characters like this in order to finally let go of the awkward, sullen girl they’re familiar with, and indies are the best way for her to build up a resume of roles like Amy.
A major studio film is likely going to want to bank of Stewart’s fan base in order to produce the next iteration of the Twilight Saga and make absurd amounts of money. Even if she gravitates towards more serious, dramatic films, studios are still going to be hesitant to market her in a role that’s completely against-type. After all, audiences know and love Bella Swan, so why change things up? Indies like Camp X-Ray and Clouds of Sils Maria, however, are less likely to force Stewart into any particular role, as just her presence in the film would be a big enough boost in terms of attention and marketing. Therefore, they’re offering her a wider variety of characters that will challenge her as an actress and challenge the audiences’ perceptions. They also offer less risk if the final product isn’t well-received, as the film probably won’t be on most moviegoer’s radar.
Stewart’s already lined up an impressive slate of films, acting opposite actors like Julianne Moore, Glenn Close and Juliette Binoche. If even one of those films does well enough to garner a decent amount of press attention, it could help audiences take a chance on seeing her in a different light, which will help her move away from Twilight and the baggage that comes with it. They’re also likely to help her gain the attention of major directors and producers, who would then be more likely to cast her in a prestigious film, which would also go a long way into changing the way the public sees her. It might even get her some awards attention (hey, Jonah Hill’s an Oscar nominee. You never know.)
Even if she doesn’t ever make it into the Oscar conversation, films like Camp X-Ray are the best way for her to build a solid, varied career, and that’s what tends to keep actors working, and working in great projects. The film might be a complete disaster, but the choices she’s making will still be enough to keep her moving towards new characters, new projects and hopefully, new fans. In the end, that’s really all an actor needs to build an admirable career.
Camp X-Ray opens in theaters on October 17.
Walt Disney Co via Everett Collection
With the recent influx of major superhero franchises, whether they’ve just been hitting theaters for the first time or have been rebooted several times over, one key aspect of the archetypal superhero experience has largely been missing: sidekicks. Although a superhero has long been considered incomplete without a wise-cracking boy wonder by his side, the recent Hero Renaissance has all but left lackeys behind altogether.
Take, for example, Batman and Robin, possibly the most iconic superhero/sidekick pairing of all time. Despite being a major part of the comics for over 50 years, Robin has only appeared in three live-action films, the most recent of which was 1997’s Batman and Robin. Although Joseph Gordon-Levitt's John Blake character in The Dark Knight Rises was revealed, in the film's final moments, to be a nod to Robin, this was hardly a bona fide appearance for the character.
Then there’s Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s loyal sidekick, who didn’t get much to do in Captain America: The First Avenger before he disappeared and resurfaced as the Winter Soldier. This time around, Cap’s partners-in-crime are Black Widow and Falcon, both of whom are heroes in their own right.
Batgirl, meanwhile, has only made it into one live-action film – again, Batman and Robin – despite being a major character with her own long-standing comic tradition. Jubilee is often a sidekick to Wolverine in the X-Men comics, but she has never received more than a cameo appearance in any of the films, and none of that screen time would give new audiences the impression that the two characters had any sort of relationship. Both Batgirl and Jubilee have strong fan bases who would likely love to see their favorite characters make it to the big screen. Yet despite having interesting and important storylines in the books, they can’t seem to cross over.
Why, if these characters are so important and popular, are the sidekicks getting cut out of these films? Well, for a start, sidekicks are often portrayed as ridiculous characters, designed for comic relief and to occasionally bail the hero our of whatever trouble he’s gotten into. Although the books give them interesting, compelling backstories and plots that help turn them into a three-dimensional character, their appearances in live-action works haven’t been as layered. It's hard to take Robin seriously as a character when the prevailing image of him featured goofy tights and and eager-to-please attitude. With the trend of superhero films leaning towards the gritty these past few years, there’s no longer a place for the goofy sidekick.
Walt Disney Co via Everett Collection
Warning: The following contains spoilers regarding the identity of the Winter Soldier in the upcoming Captain America film.
Even if the film isn’t aiming for dark realism, it’s hard to translate many sidekick characteristics without the coming across as grating or annoying. When Iron Man 3 added Harley to the film, many audiences were divided over the character. Some found him to be annoying and unnecessary, whereas others thought he added a much-needed venue to explore different elements of Tony Stark’s personality. Comic book sidekicks can suffer from this as well, which likely makes filmmakers reluctant to put them in the movies.. For every X-Men fan who loves Jubilee, there’s one who finds her mall-girl persona insufferable.
Instead, the sidekicks are replaced by other heroes. When Wolverine isn’t being a “lone wolf,” he’s surrounded by major X-Men characters; whoever is closest to him in that film depends on what story the filmmakers are trying to tell. Nolan’s Batman got backup form Catwoman in the most recent film, and even though Falcon’s role in The Winter Soldier fits the idea of what a sidekick would be, the character will likely play a major role in upcoming films. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe decides to stick with the comic book plots, he will become a full-fledged member of the Avengers, and so even now he is treated like a full-fledged hero. If the Winter Soldier ever returns to his old identity as Bucky Barnes, it’s likely that instead of falling back into his old sidekick role, he will be given a larger, more vital part, especially if rumors about Sebastian Stan taking over as Captain America are true.
It’s easier to have your hero supported by other heroes because they have backstories and layers of their own, which usually makes for a better character onscreen, and therefore, a better film. There’s more to work with and more to explore, which allows filmmakers more freedom with the kind of stories that they want to tell. Plus, with regular heroes, audiences don’t have to sit through the annoying puppy-dog stage that all sidekicks seem to go through. Instead, all of the characters are on equal footing, all of them are interesting to watch, and all of them are just as capable of taking down the villain. Besides, more heroes makes for more films, and it's easier to launch a new franchise when you already know how audiences are going to respond to a major character.
However, it is possible to put a sidekick onscreen and not have the film devolve into pure camp. The Iron Man films have allowed Rhodey to be both a traditional sidekick to Tony Stark as well as a funny, interesting, fan favorite. Part of this is due to the fact that the films tend to lean more heavily towards comedy than the rest of the universe, which allows them to explore the idea of a goofy, ridiculous sidekick. When Rhodey cracks jokes, it works because Tony is doing the exact same thing, so there’s no tonal dissonance. But Rhodey also takes part in some of the films’ more serious elements as well. When the films delve more deeply into what’s going on in Tony’s head, his friendship with Rhodey is given a greater weight, and that friendship gives the audience a better insight into Tony as a character. And, of course, he’s around for the major battle sequences, where he does just as much fighting and is just as vital to the villain’s defeat, even though it’s clear that Tony is the one in command.
Though Rhodey has proven that the new generation of superhero films can find room in their lineup for an old-fashioned sidekick, it still doesn't seem likely that other franchises are will be bringing the sidekick back to theaters. For one, the serious, gritty superhero film doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, with The Winter Soldier exploring the political thriller genre and Batman Vs. Superman planning to bring back the dark, jaded hero. Those films just don't allow for a wise-cracking, tights-wearing sidekick. Even if they did, it's still more likely that a hero who could play a major role in future films will play that part instead. As the superhero universes continue to expand and intercept, sidekicks will continue to be lost in the shuffle, since big-names heroes are always a bigger audience draw than a sidekick, no matter how well-loved they are by fans.
Which means that in the end, the best way for a sidekick to make it to the big screen is for them to embrace their own heroic destiny, and anchor a franchise of their own. After all, Bucky Barnes didn't become a major character in the Marvel Universe until he was brainwashed and turned into a vigilante, and and knowing that Falcon will eventually join the Avengers makes up for the little he gets to do in The Winter Soldier. If studios are afraid of bringing sidekicks, in all of their dumb, tights-clad glory to the big screen, then it might make more sense for them to skip past the awkward stages and bring their own heroic adventures to life. Because in the end, wouldn't we all prefer to watch a Nightwing movie than to sit through Robin tagging along on whatever Batman's doing?
When the trailer for the upcoming YA blockbuster series Divergent first dropped, there were many people who began excitedly counting down the days until the film was released in theaters. But there were just as many people who were left scratching their heads in confusion. "It looks really cool," they thought, "but I'm not sure I know what's going on. Is she in a dream world? Are they really drowning her? Why is everyone lining up to have knives thrown at their heads? Doesn't that seem a little reckless? It seems like the kind of movie I would want to see, but I just don't get the premise of it."
If you happen to be someone who's struggling to keep all of the factions straight, or can't seem to make heads-or-tails of why Kate Winslet is supposed to be so intimidating, was just too distracted by all of the train-jumping and gun-loading that you've missed an important plot point, consider this your lucky day. We've taken the time to break down the difference between Dauntless and Abnegation and explained why it's such a big deal that Tris is Divergent so that when March 21 rolls around, you'll be able to sit back and enjoy the action without getting lost. Or, you know, finally undertsand what's happening in that trailer.
So, Divergent is based on a book series, right? Yes. It’s a dystopian YA trilogy written by Veronica Roth. The books are called Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant.
Like The Hunger Games? They’re both dystopian trilogies, but other than that, no, not really.
Can you sum up the premise of Divergent in only one sentence? That’s a bit difficult, as there are a lot of different elements to the plot, but we’ll give it a shot: In a world where everyone is divided up into groups, one girl discovers that she doesn’t fit into just one category, and it’s a secret she must guard with her life.
Who’s the girl? Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, the 16 year-old protagonist of the series.
Who’s going to play her in the film? Shailene Woodley
And where is Tris’ story set? In a dystopian future version of Chicago, IL
What do you mean by ‘dystopian’? In the world of Divergent, the entire population is divided up into 5 different groups, or factions, based on their dominant personality traits. If you don’t belong to any of these groups, because you’ve been kicked out or you refused to choose one, you are then considered factionless, and therefore abandoned to survive on your own.
So, it’s important to belong to a faction? Very. Without a faction, you don’t have a community of people who will protect you and look out for you, and the government essentially wants nothing to do with you.
Kind of like The Hunger Games, then? A little bit. Anyway, stop bringing up The Hunger Games. Let’s just focus on Divergent for now.
Okay, fine. What are the different factions?The five factions are Dauntless for the brave, Abnegation for the selfless, Amity for the peaceful, Candor for the honest, and Erudite for the intelligent.
And how do they determine who is part of what faction? When you turn 16, you take a test that tells you which faction you belong in based on your personality.
What, like a Scantron? Or one of those BuzzFeed quizzes? Not exactly. The test is made up of different simulations, which allows them to determine which aspects of your personality are most dominant, based on the way that you respond to certain situations.
And who gives the test? Tris is given the test by a woman named Tori. She’s played by Maggie Q in the films.
So, is this like Hogwarts, where you’re just part of the general population until you get assigned to your faction? No, people are born into whatever faction their parents are in. Then, after they take their tests, they can choose to remain in the faction, or, if the results place them someplace else, they can choose to leave their birth faction for a different one.
I’m not quite sure I follow you. Take Tris and her brother, Caleb, for example: they were both born into the Abnegation faction, and then after their tests, Tris chooses Dauntless and Caleb chooses Erudite.
And who's playing Caleb? Ansel Elgort
Wait, isn’t he in that other movie with Shailene Woodley?Yes, After they filmed Divergent, they were both cast in The Fault in Our Stars, where Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster and Elgort plays Augustus Waters.
Aren’t they in love in that one? Yeah, but it’s okay. Caleb doesn’t play a huge role in this installment, so you shouldn’t have trouble keeping the characters separate, or feeling too creepy.
Getting back on topic, then: Where does Tris get placed by the test? Instead of being placed in one faction, the test shows that Tris has equal aptitude for three of them – Dauntless, Abnegation and Erudite – which means she’s Divergent.
And that’s a bad thing? Yes. Tris must keep her divergence a secret in order to keep the faction leaders from finding out.
Why, what happens if they find out? They will most likely try to kill her. Divergents are rare, and Divergents who split the results three ways are even more so, and so the government tries to eliminate them so they don’t cause problems.
How does she keep anyone from finding out that she’s Divergent? She covers it up by picking only one faction to belong to.
So, after Tris chooses Dauntless, then what happens? After you pick your faction, you undergo an initiation process. Since Dauntless is all about bravery, Tris’ initiation involves fighting, fear-inducing simulations, and feats of physical endurance. When the testing is done, she needs to be one of the top 10 initiates in order to take her place in the faction; otherwise, she becomes factionless.
And who’s giving that test? Four, the Initiate Instructor. He will be played by Theo James.
His name is Four?Yes.
Are there any other initiates I should know about? She’s initiated with a pretty big group, but the two most important characters to know going into the film are Christina (Zoe Kravitz), who becomes one of Tris’ closest friends and Peter (Miles Teller), who spends all of his time terrorizing Tris.
Why would he do that? Partly because he’s worried that she’s outranking him in the challenges and he wants to be the best, but mostly because he’s a huge jerk.
Wait, wasn't he in that other movie with Shailene Woodley?Yes, The Spectacular Now.
Aren't they in love in that one?!Yes. She's very lovable.
Okay. Well, I think I’ve got the faction stuff down, but what about the government? Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of revolution or uprising? That comes later in the series, and we wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you. For now, all you need to worry about is Jeanine, the leader of the Erudite, who is attempting to seize power. She’s the main enemy of Tris and the Dauntless faction.
And she’s the one played by Kate Winslet? She is indeed.
Wait, so, this movie’s just about Tris joining the faction? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of action and excitement from her initiations process, and the government threat is there throughout. That particular plot just doesn’t kick off until towards the end of the book/film.
But what about romance? Does Tris have a love interest? I’m only interested in Divergent if I get to ship something. Tris and Four’s romance plays a role in the series as a whole.
Wait, it’s just Four? There’s no childhood best friend who needs to compete with him for Tris’ affections? It’s just Four.
So there’s no love triangle? No, thank god.
Can you please tell me why his name is Four? Trust us, that's not a particularly interesting reveal.
Fine. So, if I’ve got the factions down, and I understand Divergence, and I know who the hero and the villain are, is there anything else I should know before I see the film? Nope, you should be all caught up and ready for the movie!
And when does the movie come out? Divergent is released on March 21.
And if I wanted to watch the trailer again, now that I finally get what's going on? You can check it out here:
Divergent hits theaters March 21. You can check showtimes and purchase advanced tickets at Movietickets.com.
It's impossible not to notice the similarities between Divergent and The Hunger Games. Both feature dystopian futures and strong female protagonists. Both are based on best-selling young adult book series and are the creation of female authors. Each features young people in very real danger where things don't always work out for them.
While The Hunger Games has become a phenomenon in both publishing and films, helping to catapult Jennifer Lawrence to superstardom, Divergent is closer to the beginning of the process. The movie's star, Shailene Woodley, can only hope that her film enjoys the same level of success. The Hunger Games might be the veteran and Divergent the newcomer, but which is better?
Katniss Everdeen, the hero of The Hunger Games and Lawrence's alter ego, has quickly become one of the most recognizable characters in film and literature. A reluctant hero if ever there was one, Katniss uses the skills that her father taught her to provide food and protect her family, and to become The Girl on Fire who galvanizes a repressed nation. Beatrice "Tris" Prior has no immediate skills, but she is smart, resourceful and, you know, divergent. Unlike Katniss, Tris chooses her path to some extent… even if she doesn't fully realize what that means for her future. Advantage: The Hunger Games.
Katniss has two boys that would die for her in Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). While they are both allies to the female lead, and provide help along the way, they can also get in her way… or at least her mixed feelings about them can. Divergent's Tris finds her true love in Tobias "Four" Eaton (Theo James), who trains her and helps her lead the resistance against their oppressors. Four is far more likely to kill for Tris than to die for her. Advantage: Divergent.
Donald Sutherland's President Snow is a megalomaniac dictator who uses threats and violence to keep an entire nation subservient to him and the ruling class of the Capitol. He pits young people against one another in death matches to remind his citizenship what will happen if they step out of line. In the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay films, Julianne Moore joins the cast as President Alma Coin, who on the surface appears more concerned for the needs of the people but in reality might be even more unfeeling than Snow. Divergent's Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is a dangerous genius, who's willing to drug the population and start a war to consolidate her power. Still, she's just trying to control Chicago; Snow and Coin have the whole country under their thumbs. Advantage: The Hunger Games.
In The Hunger Games, the United States has been divided up into 12 Districts, each obedient to the Captiol and forced to pay penance for a failed rebellion that wiped out a 13th district. The citizens in Katniss' District 12 — which is basically present day Appalachia — are even poorer than the rest of the country. The Hunger Games are the government's way of keeping the populace in fear by making two youngsters from each District fight to the death until just one remains. Katniss volunteers for the Games only as a way to save her younger sister. Divergent focuses solely on what was once Chicago, with the city divided into five "factions," each with a distinctive personality type. At 16, teenagers have to decide whether to stay with the faction that they were born to or to move to the one that matches their personality. Tris elects to leave the selfless Abnegation and join the more aggressive Dauntless, unaware of a building war that will bring her directly into conflict with her family. While Chicago has changed, in both Veronica Roth's books and the movie, several Windy City icons (Willis Tower, Navy Pier, etc.) are used as locations for the action. There's something fun about having something recognizable in the dystopian future. Advantage: Divergent.
There is plenty to like about both stories and there's nothing wrong with having more movies that feature strong-willed female protagonists. It remains to be seen if Divergent can reach the heights that The Hunger Games has already reached, but we have hope. Part of what makes Tris an effective hero in Divergent is the fact that people always underestimate her... so don't make that mistake.
Divergent hits theaters March 21. You can check showtimes and purchase advanced tickets at Movietickets.com.
Fox has just announced the cast of Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, and things are looking a little left of center. Joining Michael B. Jordan's Johnny Storm will be Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, and Jamie Bell as The Thing. And while some of these casting's aren't quite set in stone, this is increasingly looking like the final lineup for the film. Saying that the new movie is casting against type would be an understatement. The new cast is virtually unrecognizable compared to the 2005 version, and the internet is erupting in reactions from every inch of the emotional spectrum. From seething rage, to elation, and even mild confusion, The casting of Marvel's first family has people divided in earnest. Here are our thoughts on the casting choices.
MILES TELLERas Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
A24 via Everett Collection
How He Fits: He kind of doesn't. At all.
How He Deviates: There’s a loveable goofiness to Miles Teller, but we're not quite connecting the dots between him and Reed Richards just yet. He’s not quite nerdy enough, and he definitely doesn’t have a dignified scientist aura to him. We don’t see much of Reed Richards in Teller at all.
How He Compares to Ioan Gruffudd: Worse. Gruffudd was one of the few bright spots of the largely banal first film. He really looked the part of Reed Richards.
Public Consensus: The one phrase to sum up the twitter reactions would be a resounding "Uhhh….What?" People seem to be mostly just confused by the casting choice, and many are complaining that Teller is simply too young to play Reed. Twitter user @dylhorgan asled, "This week in bad superhero movie casting: How is Miles Teller even close to being old enough to play Reed Richards?"
Final Assessment: Teller, for our money, is the biggest question mark of the casting announcement. There isn’t anything about the actor that screams “Mr. Fantastic”, though he was obviously cast for a reason. I guess we’re going to have to wait and see on this one.
KATE MARAas Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman
How She Fits: Physically, Mara seems to be a match for the Sue Storm in the comics, especially since she’s recently dyed her hair blonde. Personality-wise, she seems like a solid choice as well, since Sue is somewhat reserved and shy – Mara plays a lot of quieter characters. Between her ambitious reporter on House of Cards and her hacker/revolution-leader in Transcendence, Mara shouldn’t have any trouble portraying Sue’s genius intellect.
How She Deviates: Mara’s characters tend to be a lot darker than Sue Storm, who gives off a more innocent, all-American vibe, which could affect the way that Sue is written for this reboot.
How She Compares to Jessica Alba: Mara’s definitely a better choice than Alba, who, while not terrible, wasn’t given much to do other than run around and look pretty.
Public Consensus: Fan response to the casting has been overwhelmingly positive. To quote Twitter user @Roby_Aguilar: "OMG. OMG. OMG. MILES TELLER, MICHAEL B. JORDAN, JAMIE BELL & KATE MARA IN FANTASTIC FOUR?!?!?!?!?! God is real. GOD. IS. REAL."
Final Assessment: Mara’s a good choice for Sue Storm. She’s a talented actress, and she doesn’t fit the “bombshell” constraints that female actresses in superhero films tend to get stuck in, which means she will hopefully get more to do onscreen than Alba did. And since it seems to have been the least outrage-stirring casting choice that the team behind this reboot has made, she also seems to be approved by the fans. She generally comes across darker and more serious than Sue is, though, and since we haven’t really seen her play particularly upbeat characters, that could keep her from meshing well with the rest of the cast
MICHAEL B. JORDANas Johnny Storm/The Human Torch
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
How He Fits: Jordan has the natural charm and charisma to play a freewheeling ladies man, but he also has a daring quality to him that a character like Johnny Storm needs. He might not have the necessary physique quite yet, but a quick trip to the gym can fix that.
How He Deviates: The biggest deviation in all of the casting news, Michael B. Jordan is nlack whereas Johnny Storm has always been portrayed as a white man. Cue the Twitter riots.
How He Compares to Chris Evans: Better. Now don't get us wrong, Evans played a fine Johnny Storm. But over the past few years, Jordan has proven himself to be a monumental young talent. While Evans certainly had Johnny Storm's trademark wit in spades, Jordan might be able to mine the character's hidden depths while still cracking wise and getting the girls.
Public Consensus: Many have commented on Jordan’s race being an issue, but (optimistically!) an emerging tide of Twitter users are trumpeting the actor's talents, laying waste to the idiotic arguments that a black Human Torch is "sacrilege." Twitter user @ZachLNFS tweeted “Michael B. Jordan is the one bright spot in the Fantastic Four cast and, of course, the most derided. Good job, Fox. Good job, internet." Other’s are wondering how Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan are going to play siblings. We're guessing adoption.
Final Assessment: The actor clearly has the goods to play a terrific Johnny Storm, despite what some of the seedier corners of the Twittersphere think about race in comic books. Ignorant tirades aside, he’s clearly the best actor of the bunch and a considerable step up from the previous Human Torch.
JAMIE BELLas Ben Grimm/The Thing
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
How He Fits: Once Ben Grimm becomes The Thing, he has a lot of trouble dealing with his new powers, which take a toll on him emotionally. Bell plays a lot of brooding characters, which means he would have no trouble portraying all of the inner turmoil that The Thing is experiencing.
How He Deviates: Ben and The Thing are huge, strong, muscular guys, whereas Bell is… not. This is less important after he turns into The Thing, but since we don’t know how much of the group’s origins the film will focus on, it might be difficult to believe that Bell spent his childhood protecting Teller from bullies. Ben’s also a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, while Bell tends to come across as serious and brooding.
How He Compares to Michael Chiklis: When it comes to giant orange space rock monsters, nobody beats Michael Chiklis.
Public Consensus: It’s pretty mixed. There are plenty of people who are excited about his casting, but many are concerned that’s he’s not built enough to play the role properly – for example, Twitter user @BCCrooky said they would "like to see Jamie bell, scrawny Jamie bell who played tinting, as Ben Grimm aka the thing."
Final Assessment: We probably would have swapped Bell and Teller’s roles, if we’re being honest. Bell just seems to work better as a serious, genius scientist, while Teller seems more likely to play his upbeat sidekick. However, Ben has a difficult time dealing with his transformation, which caused a lot of psychological trauma; Bell would definitely be able to play those aspects of the character really well. Since he’ll likely spend most of the film being CGIed into his rocky form, his acting ability is probably more important than his physical appearance in the end.
If you’ve been secretly fantasizing about the Atlanta Housewives in Street Figher-like battles, then your consider your wish granted. This week marks Round 2 of NeNe Leakes’ Pajama Jammy Jam. To review… Christopher Williams grabbed Kenya Moore’s arm. This caused Kenya’s friend Brandon DeShazer to step in and promptly get smacked down by Apollo Nida and Peter Thomas. Then M. Bison stopped by and threatened to turn the world to ash.
Round 2 finds everyone reeling from what happened. NeNe is still yelling and blames Kenya. Porsha Stewart leaves because she’s about 50 percent sure someone’s possessed. She doesn’t go on record as saying she believes in ghosts but after seeing Bill Cosby die in Ghost Dad and then show up on her television she believes in evil spirits. Kenya and Brandon leave and Apollo shows off his sexy physique.
There’s a détente and peace is restored... until Kandi Burruss brings up what Natalie Macklin-Williams said about Todd Tucker. Natalie performs the 3-hit under the bus combo and shifts the blame to Cynthia Bailey. Cynthia and Kandi exchange words and hand gestures. Malorie Massie steps in to separate the two dueling ladies and that turns Kandi into E. Honda because a thousand hand-slaps start flying. However, honestly, Malorie could eat Kandi she’s so tiny. It would be like a gazelle fighting a smurf. Luckily, Phaedra Parks steps in and diffuses the situation.
In the light of day things look completely different. NeNe is emotional about her party. She blames Kenya for the drama. It’s clear NeNe has an agenda. Where does she think things will go when she brings a bunch of people with issues into one room? NeNe is the one that started pointing fingers and reading loaded questions to the group. However, since Kenya was the catalyst to the actual fight it looks like she stole focus from NeNe and released the Kraken. You don’t want to make NeNe angry.
Cynthia is not thrilled with Kandi’s behavior. Shockingly enough, Kandi isn’t either. They both recount that night’s events. Meanwhile, at Kenya’s model home, Brandon and Kenya are starting to resemble Team Rocket, the villains from Pokemon with their lame-brained schemes. They’re ultimately harmless but they keep starting unnecessary trouble. Brandon shows up with physical scars from the fight…and a police report. He’s consulted his lawyer Jacoby not Myers and if he presses charges it will be considered a felony. Apparently, one of his ribs is broken. This is starting to smell contrived, which coincidentally, smells like cotton candy and burning hair. Keep an eye out for Kenya’s new perfume Contrived at a 99 cent store near you.
Meanwhile, the divorce clock has started on Apollo and Phaedra. She seems unconcerned with Apollo’s presence or his apology. However, he did physically throw her aside to attack Brandon. But he does look good with his shirt off so maybe it’s a wash. They then discuss furries and pajama fetishists. Then Apollo apologizes (ha!) but he seems more relaxed after having instigated a full-on brawl. Remember, the first rule of pajama parties.
After a stunt casting call for Kandi’s musical, Kandi decides she needs to stage a mea culpa for the ladies. She invites them all to a spa for free massages. Unable to refuse anything free, they all show up despite their issues with each other. Cynthia avoids Kandi until she drags all the ladies together away from their free massages for tea… out of paper cups. There the ladies engage in the most ancient of reality television marital arts – the non-pology. It’s a lot like krav maga except instead of actual hits you just use indefinite words like “allegedly” and “if” a lot. The ladies finally agree that Kandi is sorry and that Cynthia is sorry if Malorie pushed Kandi.
But NeNe doesn’t care. She wants a pound of Kenya’s flesh for ruining her pa-drama jammy jam. She says Kenya manufactured the entire situation. However, given the play-by-play conveniently provided by the producers, it’s clear that Christopher did grab Kenya’s arm and Brandon did misguidedly step in. However, if anyone is an instigator its NeNe. Kenya may be an opportunist but this situation wouldn’t have been a powder keg of drama had NeNe not invited them all there. Meanwhile, NeNe starts making some borderline homophobic comments about Kenya's gay friend, Brandon. She may be a friend to gay people but she gets precariously close to crossing the line. They agree to disagree. They're lucky this isn't Mortal Kombat. Finish Her!
Your hands aren’t clean they’re full of grease. – Kenya to NeNe
I just start seeing spirits in people’s faces. I wouldn’t say demons but there was definitely an evil spirit that entered their space. – Spiritualist Porsha
We all know Cynthia won’t pop a grape but we know her sister will pop off. – Kandi on her wine preferences?
I acted crazy and ratchet but, hey, I did it. – Kandi
When I came inside I saw a full-on episode of Jerry Stringer jumping up. She was acting like some ghetto-ass f**king heifer. – Peter describing Kandi
You were acting like your Momma. – Carmen
Phaedra: I’m very irritable today. Apollo: Only today?
I'm not sure I want to see Shade-dra. – Wordsmith Kenya
They massaged her so good she thought they put their toes up her butt. – Phaedra
Divergent fans only have to wait a month longer before the film hits theaters, but the creative team has decided to give them something to help tide them over. A new trailer was unveiled by stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James on Monday's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and it gives the world a better look at the film's dystopian world and the tests and challenges, both real and simulated that Tris will have to endure to survive. Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where the population has been divided into five different factions based on their personality traits. When citizens turn 16, they are forced to undergo a test that will determine where they belong in society, but Tris discovers she is Divergent — meaning she shows equal aptitude for multiple skills and traits — a secret that could mean death if it were to be discovered. However, it might be the only thing she has to protect herself and the people she loves against an uprising that threatens to destroy the whole society.
Watching the teaser, it's hard not to compare Divergent to the big YA film and novel phenomenon of the moment, The Hunger Games. Both feature a dystopian future where the population has been divided into separate groups, teenagers are forced to endure terrifying, life-threatening tasks in order to survive, and are the first part of a trilogy in which a seemingly-normal girl becomes aware that she is different from everyone else, and becomes part of a revolution to overthrow a corrupt and oppressive government and restore peace to a damaged society. Of course, as any dedicated fan of either series will tell you. there are several crucial differences in the character development and world building that make each franchise unique, but the trailers for Divergent seem to be focusing less on what separates it from The Hunger Games, and more on the elements that the two have in common.
The Hunger Games is currently the biggest teen-targeted film franchise, and being the primary YA dystopian series out at the moment could make things difficult for Divergent to establish itself as a film worth seeing. Currently, films that have been adapted from popular YA novels and series have been having a difficult time at the box office, with The Mortal Instruments doing poorly enough to delay a sequel green light, and Beautiful Creatures and The Host both failing to drum up any critical or commercial success, despite the popularity of their source material and the previous success of supernatural teen films. Part of their failures could be attributed to the end of the Twilight phenomenon, which ushered in a wave of YA novels and films involving supernatural characters and romances, and with The Hunger Games officially the premiere series, Divergent couldn't have picked a better release date. However, with two major dystopian franchises hitting theaters within months of each other, there's a good chance that the Hunger Games shadow could be Divergent's downfall.
For moviegoers who haven't read the novels, the plot of The Hunger Games is easier to latch onto than that of Divergent, which involves multiple factions of society, tests, initiations and conspiracies on top of conspiracies. Obviously, its difficult to express all of the nuances of the film's premise in the trailer, especially since the filmmakers want to avoid giving away any major spoilers, but even with the latest trailer detailing the factions and the threats that Tris faces because of her Divergence there's still a great deal that remains unclear and confusing to people who might not be familiar with the story. This confusion can either entice moviegoers who are curious about the story and want to know ore, or it can turn them off, as they may find it to be too difficult to connect with or grasp even the most basic elements of the plot. Even when they're actually watching the film, the story has so many elements and characters that a casual audience might find it difficult to follow along, which makes for a less-enjoyable experience, and could hurt the series in the long run, since that would mean those people are less likely to check out Divergent's two sequels when they arrive.
Then, there's the issue of the protagonists: both Katniss and Tris are normal girls, who discover some innate characteristic or ability that makes the government wary of them, and results in them leading a revolution. Since the novel was released, Tris has been compared to Katniss over and over again, and the trailer doesn't do much to discourage that idea. They're both brave and highly skilled, able to intimidate their fellow tributes or faction initiates as well as the government officials who wish to control them. The problem is that there's nothing revealed in the trailer to set Tris apart form Katniss, and highlighting only the things that make them alike could give audiences the impression that Divergent isn't offering anything new. Protagonists are such a key part of the success of any series that the entire film can live or die on their performance, and if Tris just comes across as Katniss 2.0, then there's nothing to help hook moviegoers and entice them to come see Divergent.
However, all of these similarities might not turn out to be a bad thing; in fact, they could help boost the film's profile and help it become a hit. The Hunger Games have proven that dystopian literature and films are having a moment right now, and so that popularity may benefit Divergent, by enticing moviegoers who are looking for more apocalypses and corrupt societies onscreen. With the first installment of Mockingjay not hitting theaters until November, fans who are looking for something to fill the void may flock to Divergent in the meantime. Similarly, causal moviegoers who enjoyed the Hunger Games might be won over by Divergent, and may only become interested in the film because of the ways Tris' world is reminiscent of Katniss'. The constant comparisons between the two franchises might just be what Divergent needs to stand out.
The other thing that will help Divergent differentiate itself from The Hunger Games and all of the other YA films? Tris' romance with Four. Hunger Games fans have long endured debates about whether Katniss should choose Peeta or Gale, and how important her love life is to the overall story, but Divergent cuts through all of that by establishing the relationship between Tris and Four early in the series, avoiding adding another possible suitor for her, and allowing romance to be an important part of the story, which will help the film not only establish itself as unique, but will help entice moviegoers who want their dystopian futures to have love stories in them. The lack of a love triangle will also likely appeal to fans of YA literature or films who are sick of romantic entanglements stealing attention away from the actual plot. In Divergent, the romance is part of the revolution, rather than a subplot added on for additional drama, which makes Divergent unique from all of the other sci-fi and fantasy teen films that have been released recently.
There's no doubt that Divergent's hardcore fanbase will help draw a great deal of attention to the film, and its possible that their devotion could work in much the same way as Twilight and the Hunger Games fandoms' did and earn the series attention from people who haven't yet read the books or even heard of the series before now. But since we know that the fans will be there on opening night, the film's true success will come from its ability to entice a new audience, one who is not familiar with the books, but is interested in seeing the film anyway, and the constant Hunger Games comparisons could either turn moviegoers off by giving them the impression that it's something they've already seen, or it could entice fans of that franchise to come check it out, only to win them over with all of the ways the two are different.
Divergent arrives in theaters on March 21.
U.S. Dramatic/U.S. Dramatic/Premieres
Every year, film enthusiast from across the land journey to the hinterlands of Utah to partake in the Sundance Film Festival. A yearly event which can only be described as the holy pilgrimage og independent film. This year's festival is full of great films, but these ten works are the standout favorites that have garnered the most critical attention.
BoyhoodEveryone was sitting on the edge of their theater chairs to see the results of Richard Linklater’s wildly ambitious project Boyhood, which shot over 12 years and charts the life of a child from ages 6 to 18. It seems like the dozen years it took to make Boyhood were well worth it with with words like "masterpiece" popping up every so often in the rabble of critical praise. The film finds transcendance in the small and ordinairy moments that make up childhood, and the film's relatability is one of it's strongest merits Frequent Linklater collaborator Ethan Hawke and actress Patricia Arquette play the boy's parents. Though some critics are saying that the film is a tad too long, most agree that it is a one of a kind experience not to be missed.Best Review Quote: "Boyhood shines in its engrossing, experiential understanding and it’s a special achievement that should be cherished and acknowledged." - Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter A strange, whimsical story about a young woman who becomes obsessed with a movie and is unable to separate it from reality, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter stars Rinko Kikuchi as Kumiko, a shy office worker who sets out to recover the suitcase that Steve Buscemi’s character buries in North Dakota at the end of Fargo. Based on an urban legend, the film has been described as a “spirited and sad adult fairytale [that] will surely baffle as many viewers as it enchants.” Directed by David Zellner and co-written with his brother Nathan, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter is an artsy indie film that balances the absurdity of its premise with a grounded, human performance from Kikuchi that has been greatly praised by critics. It might be one of the odder films featured at this year’s festival, and it’s unlikely to win over a mainstream audience, but with Kikuchi at the center, it’s definitely a film worth looking up. Best Review Quote: “It’s a marvelous role for Kikuchi, who has the intensity of the great silent film stars, and who’s fascinating to watch even when Kumiko is doing nothing more than sitting solemnly by the window of her apartment eating ramen noodles as a rain begins to fall.” - Scott Foundas, Variety
Life Itself This full-figured portrait of the late Roger Ebert delves into the well-lived life of the most famous and celebrated film critics of all time, and critics, some of which are his former peers, are praising its depiction of the late and great critic. The film is by turns, an unflinching and joyful appreciation of the man’s life, from it’s successful highs to its cancer-stricken lows. The film is being praised for it's sensitivity and brevity, but also for not shying away from Ebert's flaws, namely his alcholism and lust for women.Best Review Quote: "There was a thunder in Ebert's heart, and that was his love for movies, and he wanted to tell the world about films, both big ones and small. James should be high-fived every day of his life for telling the real story of Roger Ebert." - Chase Whale, The Playlist
Listen Up Philip The titular Philip is an insufferable jerk, a narcissistic author who spends much of the film insulting and berating the people around him and spending most of his time obsessed with himself and his novels. With Jason Schwartzman in the lead role, the film has been a critical favorite at the festival, with Schwartzman imbuing the right amount of charm to keep the hero from being completely unwatchable, and a sharp story that provides insight into the overbearing protagonist and the people in his life. The film has also been praised for its creative use of literary conventions, such as a voice-over narration that outlines what’s going on in Philip’s head, and chapters that shift the focus to the other characters, so that the audience can experience the story in the same novelistic way that Philip does. It’s not a film that will easily appeal to everyone, but the incredibly positive reviews should help earn the film plenty of attention and recognition.Best Review Quote: “Importantly, the protagonist disappears for a sizeable chunk of the film’s mid section (a device Perry borrowed from William Gaddis’ novel, Recognitions) and we learn as much about him in absentia as we do from being in his overwhelming presence.” - Emma Myers, IndieWire
Love Is Strange Bursting with truths that are both painful and fun yet all too real, Love Is Strange offers a portrait of love and separation. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina portray an older gay couple that gets married after 39 years of living together due to New York's changing same sex marriage laws, but vows are tested in earnest when financial hardships suddenly divide the couple. Critics are enamored with the loving authenticity that’s layered at the film’s heart, and were impressed with the heartfelt performances from the two leads.Best Review Quote: "Throughout the picture ... you understand the miracle and good fortune of finding love, and recognize the great changes in tolerance American society is currently (albeit slowly) undergoing." - Jordan Hoffman, Film.com
Obvious Child This year’s festival featured a number of films centered around a woman in her mid-to-late 20’s whose life is falling apart, but none of them stood out more than Obvious Child, the feature-length debut of writer-director Gillian Robespierre. An abortion rom-com, the film stars Jenny Slate as Donna Stern, an aspiring stand-up comic who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand, and is faced with the reality of being vastly unprepared for the sudden turn her life has taken. Critics have praised Obvious Child not only for doing away with the standard romantic comedy clichés and dealing with taboos head on, but also for handling the subject matter with realism and heart. Slate has also gotten praise for her performance, and should be able to break away from her short run on Saturday night Live in favor of being recognized as a solid actress in her own right. Best Review Quote: “There’s none of the expected movie-of-the-week scenes here—Slate never has an actorly monologue about her predicament, just a series of laugh-so-you-don’t-cry wisecracks […] And yet when Donna is laying sedated on an operating table and gravity sends her tears down her cheeks towards the clinical cold tile floor, you can recognize that her decision may be decisive, but it isn’t unfelt.” - James Rocci, The Playlist
The Raid 2: BerandalThe sequel to the Indonesian smash-hit actioner is getting acclaim from every inch of the festival for it’s wonderfully orchestrated yet absurdly violent fight scenes. Critics say that the film is a delight for genre fans who have a hunger for bloodletting, though the more squeamish members of the public should probably pack a sick bag if they want to make it to the end credits. The film is being called more ambitious than its predecessor, and some critics are divided if the larger emphasis on story and drama does the film and favors, but most agree that the sequel is a visceral and pulse-quickening follow up that certainly lives up to the first outing.Best Review Quote: "This orgy of broken bones and vicious badassery makes its cult predecessor look like a peevish bitch-slap." - David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
The Skeleton TwinsIf Will Forte's turn in Nebraska wasn’t proof enough; Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are also striving to prove the dramatic acting chops of SNL vets with their well-received performances in the comedy-drama The Skeleton Twins. The pair play twins that are both suffering through bouts of depression, and the two characters struggle to regrow the sibling relationship that distance and shared pain had witherd away. Both Hader and Wiig are being praised for their nuanced performances as the duo confidently master the film's nicely balanced tone, which flutters between comedy and drama, but doesn't feel forced or jarring.Best Review Quote: "Hader and Wiig can play serious, can weave humor into their realistic performances, but what separates them from other actors and directors who attempt dangerously tired material is a foundation of collaboration. It’s easy to buy that they’re brother and sister because the rapport is established." - Matt Patches, Vanity Fair
The Voices Perhaps the most eccentric film premiering at Sundance this year, The Voices star Ryan Reynolds as a factory worker who is encouraged by his pets, a well-meaning dog named Bosco and a manipulative and evil cat named Mr. Whiskers, to commit murder. Described as a horror-thriller-comedy, the film does its best to do away with both genre conventions and horror film tropes in favor of a weirdly entertaining psychological drama that puts the audience on the same side as its mentally ill, serial killer hero. Critics have given Reynolds, who provided voices for Bosco and Mr. Whiskers in addition to playing the lead, rave reviews, praising his ability to commit to the character’s wilder moments while still keeping the film grounded and restrained. With such an insane premise, a compelling, committed performance and excellent direction from Marjane Satrapi – artist and director behind both the graphic novel and film Pesepolis – The Voices has all of the key ingredients to become a cult favorite, and quite possibly, even a mainstream success. Best Review Quote: “The film’s combination of psychological drama -- cue the childhood trauma -- with blood-splattered limb-cutting, talking heads in the fridge and talking pets on the couch is a risky one that finally works because [screenwriter Michael R.] Perry and Satrapi find the right tonal mixture for the material, with Jerry’s reality recognizable yet strangely heightened from the start (all the overly joyous pinks in the factory should have been a give-away).” - Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
Whiplash Starring Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer who is willing to give up everything in order to become one of the greats, and J.K. Simmons has his tyrant of a music teacher, who motivates his students through fear and torrents of insults, Whiplash is a film about the question of whether or not it’s worth it to dedicate everything you have in the name of art. The film earned rave reviews when it premiered on opening night, and critics have said that it boasts career making and defining performances from Teller and Simmons, respectively. It’s not the kind of music film that will leave audiences with a warm fuzzy feeling, but with two explosive leading men and a director who lived through it himself, Whiplash became the most attention-grabbing film to premiere at Sundance. Sony snapped up distribution rights on opening night, which means it’s definitely a film to look forward to in the coming year. Best Review Quote: “For those seeking perfection, one tiny slip threatens to jeopardize the ensemble as a whole. As a result, Fletcher’s strategy is to humiliate the stragglers in front of the entire group — the sort of abuse more commonly associated with locker rooms and war movies, whose high stakes [director David] Chazelle brings to bear on this more civilized arena.” - Peter Debruge, Variety
Walt Disney Pictures/Warner Bros/20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
It's been a busy year for superhero films, and whether it be on screen or inside closed boardrooms, film studios were making moves to create or continue their ongoing franchises. While 2013 could be seen as the calm before the storm, with a huge number of big superhero films making their way towards cinemas in 2014 and 2015, It's still an exciting time to be a comic book fan at the movies. In order to wrap up 2013, we've decided to grade each studio based on the films they've released this year, and look forward to what they have planned for 2014 and beyond.
FilmsIron Man 3Thor: The Dark World
Disney proves that there are still stories worth telling outside of The AvengersWith The Avengers, Disney capped off the first phase of its ridiculously ambitious superhero multi-tiered plan with an emphatic exclimation mark. But that question that was no doubt rattling around the heads of Disney's executive board was: what happens now? How do you keep people interested in stories with lone heroes when they've already seen the big superhero team take form? Is there still interest in touching base with Iron Man or Thor when they're not assembled into something bigger and greater? The answer to these queries turned out to be a wholehearted yes from both audiences and critics. Disney succeeded in continuing its franchise of super hero films by telling well-made adventures that still resonate with each individual hero's storytelling strengths, while simultaneously gearing up the universe for a second Avengers film. Iron Man is still telling stories about corporate evil and white collar super-villainy, while Thor is still blending myth and science in super-sized tales about clashing universes. While neither film reached the dizzying height of The Avengers, they are both welcome additions to Marvel's ever growing cinematic universe.
Looking aheadIf the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier is any indication, Disney will continue to tell stories steeped in each character's own story telling strengths, and the second Captain America film looks to be a politically charged action film that duly fits the first Avenger. Disney is also expanding their universe with other film projects outside of The Avengers: Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring a rag tag group of the Marvel Universe's underdogs, is slated for August 2014, while 2015's Ant-Man has just found its hero in Paul Rudd. The big Kahuna, The Avengers: Age of ultron, is coming in 2015.Grade: A-
20TH CENTURY FOX
Fox gambled with different story telling and came out aheadAfter the one-two punch of disaster that was X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins, Fox decided to save its fledgling X-Men franchise by taking it in a different direction. Instead of rebooting the series, Fox took a hard left and used all of the messy continuity it has built up over the years to create X-Men: First Class, which threw the franchise into the past and told a 1960s prequel film featuring younger versions of both Professor X and Magneto. The film fed off of that era's social and political touchstones to create an engaging super-powered period piece the crackled with cold war tension and slick spy thrills. With this year's Wolverine, the studio took an even harder left by telling a stand-alone Wolverine tale set almost entirely in Japan, and told a story that almost feels more like a moody a Japanese melodrama, with Wolverine getting embroiled in the machinations of a wealthy Japanese family. When the film finds time to take a break from all the claw slashing and Yakuza fighting, it stops to focus on what makes Wolverine's character tick, and delivers a mostly successful Wolverine film. Fox is making its X-Men series one of the most exciting superhero franchises, by not being afraid to be daring.
Looking aheadFox is taking the biggest chances in super hero cinema by not being embarrassed by their comic book origins, and instead embracing them for all of their oddities, something that other studios sometimes feel too afraid of doing. They threw the X-Men back into their original decade and adapted one of Wolverine's best stories successfully by keeping it set in Japan. Now with X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Studio is bringing one of the X-Men's most important story arcs to the screen, and they seems to be fully embracing the original time travel narrative that made that story so popular and resonant with fans in the first place.Grade: B+
FilmsMan of Steel
Warner Bros. went too dark but is still moving forwardWarner Bros. has long stumbled in trying to create a superhero franchise outside of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, but in 2013 they've finally managed to get their feet on the ground and release Man of Steel. But just because they're finally getting somewhere, it doesn't mean they are doing so gracefully. Man of Steel was a clunky Superman origin story that had critics and fans divided into an all-out war of opinions, and we stand firmly on the side of its detractors. Man of Steel was a dreary, unweildy mess of a film that was to focused on being gritty and dark, and forgot to embrace the virtues that make Superman the big blue boy scout that he is. With all that being said, credit still goes to Warner Bros. for finally making Man of Steel a financial success that can support future films, after its previous missteps.
Looking aheadWarner Bros. isn't fooling around anymore, and in a series of volley of emphatic moves since Man of Steel hit theaters, they've announced that: 1) They're making a Batman/Superman film, 2) They will have Ben Affleck, of all people, playing an older version of Batman, and 3) Wonder Woman is also going to appear in the film played by Gal Gadot. Something has lit a fire under the studio, and whether it be desperation or confidence at their latest success, the studio is quickly moving forward to compete with Disney and 20th Century Fox's upcoming big blockbuster team-up films, without slowing down to make individual films for the characters. Only time will tell if these moves are good ones, but hopefully fortune favors the brave.Grade: C
In 1968 Jane Elliott, an Iowa elementary school teacher, performed a classroom experiment in which children with blue eyes were considered superior to children with brown eyes. This documentary explores what the children learned about discrimination and how it continues to affect them.