Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
It's hard not to feel worried for Marvel's Ant-Man, a project that was put in serious creative jeopardy when director Edgar Wright suddenly left the film to which he had been attached since 2006. In the fallout, Marvel was left with a gaping hole in the center of one of it’s most interesting projects, but after a couple weeks of scrambling, the studio has assembled a new creative team for the project. Director Peyton Reed has been chosen to helm Ant-Man in the wake of Wright with Adam McKay, who was formally in the pool of directors being considered by Marvel, helping to rewrite the script. While Reed's filmography isn't as impressive as Wright's at first glance, there is some hidden potential buried in the director's short body of work: his underappreciated comedies Yes Man and Bring It On, to be specific.
Jim Carrey, physical comedian extraordinaire, is second only to Charlie Chaplin in his ability to contort and tax his body for amusement, and Reed get's the most out of the actor's mostly rubber body in 2008's Yes Man. While the film mostly feels like a retread of Carrey's earlier modern fairy tale Liar Liar, there are some engaging moments, including this scene where Carrey careens down the streets of Los Angeles on a Ducati while just barely clad in a billowy hospital gown.
The scene offers some impressive stunt work as Carrey zips through traffic, but it's the little things that really pop and make the scene noteworthy. The awkward flailing of limbs as Carrey's character just barely holds onto the beast of the machine displays Reed's ability to meld action and comedy. Seeing as how a great chase sequence has become a requisite part of any Marvel film (think back to Nick Fury's fantastic car chase at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier), having a director that can infuse comedy into adrenaline pumping action is a huge asset.
You may have missed it, but buried about a minute into the credits of Yes Man was a mid-credit scene featuring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel strapping on suits made out of roller blades and careening down a twisty mountain road. Again, Reed shows his knack for blending action and comedy, something that an Ant-Man script written by Adam Mckay and possibly still possessing some of Edgar Wright's comedic DNA would benefit from.
Finally, we recall the cult hit Bring It On. Everybody remembers the sass and spirit fingers, but Reed's seminal cheerleading comedy also has some really dizzying cheerleader choreography, especially during the film's climax where the two rival high schools do battle with increasingly complicated cheer routines.
With a film like Ant-Man, whose action scenes will likely hinge on complex and unique choreography, a director with knowledge of how to construct an involved and dense setpiece with multiple performers is a must, and Peyton has that experience with Bring It On.
Ready, set, binge! The second season of Orange Is the New Black is now offically available for streaming on Netflix, which likely means a few of us are going to recede into our couches for the next several days. The more overeager of us are already plowing there way through the episodes as we speak... and who can blame us? OITNB is perfectly bingeable, and Netflix's best original program (but don't tell any rabid House of Cards fans that). The premiere episode of the second season is a great re-introduction to the world of Piper Chapman, and offers some satisfying answers to last season's burning questions.
"Where are we going?"After leaving audiences dangling with a particularly perilous cliff-hanger, the show zooms a month into the future where a frightened Piper is wisked away from Litchfield in the dead of night with no knowledge of where she's going and why. Of course, her brain runs in circles, trying to find a reason for her sudden relocation, and the road to her eventual destination is full of hazards and roadblocks. The paranoia is palpable. It's a great way to open the season, leaving the audience just as confused as she is.
Piper's "Dark Place"Taylor Schilling delves deep into Chapman, who has spent months in SHU wondering if she's a killer and in the fear and confusion of her sudden departure, lets it all go next to strangers in the middle of a flight heading who knows where.
Little PiperNo show in the post-Lost era has used the flashback device as well as Orange Is the New Black. Here, we get a snapshot of a nebbish, little rule following Piper bumping up against one of life's first hard lessons. Is telling the truth ever a bad thing? Past and Present Piper struggle to answer that question, and unfortunately, things don't work out well in either scenario.
Yoda the Jedi MasterCarrier cockroaches!? OITNB frequently has us pondering whether some of its more ridiculous moments are actually real, and this is certainly one of them. Do prisoners really trade goods and services through the use of cockroaches? It sounds too out there to be true, but we'd like to believe that there's a whole delivery system based on insects thanks to genuine human ingenuity.
Pennsatucky's fateWe now know that Pennsatucky is alive and well, and while that might be good for Piper's soul, it's bad for everyone else. It may sound cruel, but our darker sides were kind of hoping the little meth runt finally found her way to the laundrymat in the sky.
Alex's BetrayalThe premiere episode end with a gut punch. After Piper learns that herself and Alex were brought to the Chicago facility to testify against Alex's former drug Kingpin Kubra Ballick, Alex convinces Piper to lie on the stand, fearing retalliaton from her former boss. After the hearing, Piper learns that Alex actually did testify against Kubra and is set free because of it. Burned by the Vause once again.
A word of warning: Jenny Slate is about to blow up in a big way. The young comedian has been cultivating her career right in the periphery of mainstream attention, but that all might change with her star-making role in the Sundance gem Obvious Child, a dark indie comedy that blindsided festival goers and might give Slate her ticket to becoming a more recognizable figure in Hollywood. Really, you should hitch your ride to her wagon now, so that when everyone's fawning over comedy's biggest it-girl in a few years, you'll be way ahead of the curve. Slate has been appearing in movies on television for a while now; she had a micro stint on SNL where she's most well-remembered for dropping the F-bomb on national television. But besides giving the FCC another headache, the comedian has appeared in recurring roles on Parks and Recreation, Bob's Burgers, Hello Ladies, and House of Lies. She was also the creative force and voice behind the viral-hit, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. But one of her lesser known gems: the web series "Catherine."
Written by Slate and collaborator and husband Dean Fleischer-Camp, the series stars Slate as the titular Catherine, and it's a tough one to describe... perhaps frightfully mundane. There's no other way to aptly describe the kooky web-series besides smashing two opposing adjectives together and hoping it all makes sense. The story, told in 12 parts, follows Catherine as she goes to work, talks to co-workers, orders bread and butter sandwiches, and... that's pretty much it. But it's oddly fascinating.
It's an odd experiment in comedy and tone. The actors read their lines in a flat, peculiar monotone, but paired with subtle musical cues, everything begins to feel really creepy, like something is seriously wrong with these people. In an interview with Splitsider, Slate described the creation of the series: "I was super stoned at my house, and Dean [Fleischer-Camp] and I were talking about the idea of 'what is normal and what is neutral.' Not trying to be being boring and not trying to not be funny, but what is exactly straight down the middle? What is it when you're not trying to do anything? You're not trying to be boring; you're not necessarily trying to be funny. You're just existing somewhere in the middle. I started to act out this scene that you see in episode one of 'Catherine.' It made us laugh really hard, so we started to write down more."
It's not for everyone... it might not really be for anyone. But check it out and see if it clicks with your sense of humor.
Check out the first episode here, and find the rest of the series on YouTube.
Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com.
Get ready for your next Netflix bingeSeason 2 of Orange Is the New Black hits Netflix this Friday, and Flavorwire has you covered with the ultimate Season 1 refresher course.
"A Lannister always combs his mullet"Who knew Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage rocked such a sick mullet back in the day? Celebuzz shows off the star's high school yearbook photo and his deep senior quote.
Suns out... chest hair out?A number of male celebs need a style intervention, and VH1 shares a list of famous men who have an unhealthy obsession with plunging V-necks.
All right, all right, enough already!From Jonah Hill to Pharrell, Hollywood.com dishes on why celebrities need to stop apologizing for everything.
Is there a reason all coming of age movies are set during summer? The latest in the genre, Very Good Girls, stars Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as two young women dealing with the usual teenage roadblocks: out of touch parents, dreamy crushes, creepy Peter Sargaard, and the everpresent issue of heading off to college as virgins. During their last summer together before the rest of their lives, the two make a pact to lose the V-card that's been burning a hole in their pockets, but both girls start making googly eyes at the same guy. Very Good Girls sounds like the inverse of the countless raunchy high school comedies where young men want to lose their virginity before going off to college like their loins are timed explosives. In any case, Very Good Girls looks like a poignant indie drama.
Both Olsen and Fanning come from two very different acting families, and both families have weathered career ups and downs over the years. We've decided to compare the two sets of sisters to see who comes out on top.
YouTube/JoBlo Movie Trailers, Tribeca Film
Members: Elizabeth, Mary Kate, and Ashley
Pros: Full House of course! During the back half of the '80s and even the early '90s, the Olsen twins were America's favorite toddler, and that nation/toddler relationship blossomed until about the time Michelle Tanner started speaking... and then we never ever wanted to see her ever again. You don't got it dude. But those few silent years of Full House were comforting and safe, just like any family sitcom should be.
Elizabeth on the other hand has improbably managed to step out of the shadow of her famous sisters and become a full-fledged actor. Critics sung her praises in films like Martha Marcy May Marlene, and the actress won numerous accolades for her acting ability. She also recently starred opposite a Aaron Taylor-Johnson in mega-blockbuster Godzilla. If that wasn't enough, Olsen is starring in next summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will probably be the biggest movie ever... or at least until Avengers 3.
Cons: Full House giveth and Full House taketh away. We had to endure several years of twin themed nonsense from the elder Olsens, and there were enough TV movies and direct to video shenanigans to take up an entire section of Planet Video back in the day. Soon enough, the world grew tired of the Olsen twins and their songs about pizza, and their mystery solving, and whatever else they used to do. Despite their efforts, they softly faded out of public consciousness and into NYU. As for Elizabeth, there's nothing bad to say about her so far. Sure, she wasn't given much of anything to do in Godzilla, but that's not her fault, Godzilla was too busy crushing everything.
Members: Dakota and Elle
Pros: The Fannings were never a genuine media sensation like the Olsens were. Their stars never shone as bright. But that also means that their careers didn't have a chance to supernova. Both young actresses transitioned from child star to bona fide actor rather painlessly, and have built their careers on a mix of smaller films and bigger blockbusters to keep people from pigeonholing them. The Fanning longevity and the demise of the Olsen twins can likely be contributed to the fact that the Fannings were always actresses first, and cutesy tiny people second, and their roles reflected that. Now, instead of only one member of the Olsen family steadily working in film, the Fannings have two. Case in point: Elle Fanning just appeared in Maleficent opposite Angelina Jolie.
Cons: For a couple of years in the mid 2000s it did feel like Dakota Fanning was the only working child actress, and she came close to feeling overexposed. Luckily Chloe Moretz came just in the nick of time to give us a breather. Other than that, neither actress has been terribly ambitious with her role choices. Neither Fanning has a role as universally praised as Elizabeth Olsen's turn in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but even if they lack a genuine career high point, they make up for it in general consistency. The Fannings never disappeared of the face of the earth like the Olsens did for a few years.
We have to give it to the Fannings. Elizabeth Olsen certainly has more star power than either Fanning right now, but she's only one person. The Olsen twins have mostly left Hollywood behind, and one person does not an acting family make. Conversely, both Elle and Dakota Fanning have put in consistently solid work over the years, and it helps that their fame never rested on a twin gimmick.
YouTube/IGN, MGM/Paramount Pictures
For those looking for another glimpse of The Rock in Brett Ratner's upcoming Hercules, you're in all sorts of luck. There are two different versions of the first full-length trailer for Hercules floating around the Internet today. Both versions feature a burly version of Hercules played by the Dwayne Johnson, with traps bigger than mountains and abs cut like craggy Greek cliffs. But beyond the rock's demi-god physique and similar encounters with ancient beasts and hellish creatures, differences start to emerge between the two. While much of the narrative and action is the same, the tone of the two clips are pretty different, and seeing two versions of the same film has us wondering which one will be more indicative of the final product come July.
This first version of the trailer takes itself rather seriously. Here, a grieving Hercules seeks justice after the gods murder his family. This trailer is a tale of vengeance, and Hercules is given a darker agency. The music that swells beneath the action is ominous; even a mournful version of a Queens of the Stone Age song finds its way all the way back to Ancient Greece. Hercules' struggle has extra gravity, but there's a certain disconnect between the trailer's tone and the visuals. Slo-mo boar killing and a hero with a lion for a hat probably shouldn't be taken so seriously, and a good joke or two would make everything feel more balanced here.
Here, the second version of the trailer seems a lot more fun. This take doesn't feature Hercules' family being murdered, and all mentions of vengeance and justice are left at the wayside. What's left is a Hercules film that feels more bracing, perhaps even swashbuckling. We are also more thoroughly introduced to the supporting players, most notably, Ian McShane, a soothsayer who has foreseen his death, and embraces his coming demise with open arms, and much to Hercules' annoyance, embracing death means willfully standing in the path of flaming spears. This version seems a lot more self-aware at how ridiculous the story really is, and is willing to crack jokes at itself and the source material. The other trailer feels like it's missing the camp that this version is serving up. We're hoping the full-length film veers closer to the tone of this second trailer.
Which version of Hercules would you rather see?
Walt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
With piercing cheek bones, alabaster skin, and a thirst for vengeance, Angelina Jolie's revisionist fairy tale, Maleficent won the weekend box office with an assertive $70 Million, defying most expectations, and is well on the road to becoming one of the actress' most successful films to date. The film has given the actress the biggest opening of her career, which is actually a bit odd. Despite her nuclear star power, the actress' box office totals read a bit softer than expected. Besides her work in the Kung Fu Panda films, the actress' biggest live-action film, Mr. and Ms. Smith, didn't even scrape $200 million domestically, and things drop off significantly from there. Fame and box-office dividends don't always correlate positively, and many actor's most successful films aren't what you'd expect. Here's a list of actors and actresses with surprising highest grossing movies.
GALLERY: Actors With Surprising Top Grossing films
Columbia Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With a rapidly approaching June 17, 2015 premiere date still in sight, the folks at Marvel are currently headhunting a new director for their upcoming Ant-Man film. After Edgar Wright suddenly left the project earlier last week, citing creative differences, the studio has been left scrambling for a helmer that fits cleanly into Wright's irreverent shoes. Since it's likely that Wright and partner Joe Cornish's script will still be used on the film - albeit with whatever changes pushed Wright away from the project - Marvel would need a director that could deliver a comedic version of the Ant-Man character. The studio is now considering directors Rawson Marshall Thurber, Adam McKay, and Ruben Fleischer to shoot the project. We've combed through each director's filmography to determine which potential filmmaker has the goods to direct the Ant-Man film.
RAWSON MARSHALL THURBER
Films: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, We're The MillersPros: We're The Millers is a competent comedy that has a decent number of laughs, and Dodgeball has developed its own cult following over the years. Thurber's work has a mass appeal, which is necessary for a summer blockbuster like Ant-Man.Cons: Thurber's previous efforts have not proven that the director has a good handle on action scenes, which would be a huge aspect in any superhero movie. Ant-Man especially would require some interesting staging and set pieces to highlight the character's peculiar power set.Final Verdict: Thurber's brand of comedy is broad and likeable enough, but he doesn't have the same quirks that would have elevated a Wright-directed version of Ant-Man above the usual fare. We also have no idea if the director can do action, so Marvel should probably look for a director with a more developed genre film resume.
Films: Anchorman, The Other Guys, Talladega NightsPros: Films like Anchorman and Talladega Nights have become instantly quotable classics, and the director's heavily improvisational style might loosen up a super-hero genre that sometimes feels too stiff and formulaic for its own good.Cons: Since much of Wright's material for the film is in the final script, McKay's looser, more improvised directing style might conflict with Wright's writing, which is often very controlled and deliberate with the way jokes are set up and delivered. Also, like Thurber, Mckay lacks experience directing action scenes.Final Verdict: McKay seems particularly ill-suited to direct Ant-Man. Wright and McKay are on complete opposite ends of the comedy spectrum, and McKay's loose style of comedy doesn't really fit well within Marvel and Disney's tightly managed modus operandai.
Films: Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less, Gangster SquadPros: Finally, a director that knows his way around an action scene. Zombieland is a great blend of action and comedy, and relies on some fun visual directing tricks that wouldn't feel out of place in say, Shaun of the Dead.Cons: While Zombieland was an assured debut, the director has found himself in a deep slump as of late. Both 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad were lackluster efforts, and we wouldn't want to see Ant-Man to end up the same way.Final Verdict: Zombieland is just so good that despite his recent missteps, we have faith that Fleischer can deliver a great Ant-Man film.
While most directors prefer to keep the plot details of their summer blockbusters under lock and key, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow has been surprisingly frank and forthcoming about his upcoming installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. After JoBlo caught wind of plot details surrounding the film, which had been up until now, cloaked in secrecy, Trevorrow decided to buck the usual trend of denying rumors and confirmed much of the leaked information in an interview with Slashfilm. In the interview, Trevorrow dished about many of the leaked plot details of the film, clarifying and correcting some of the more worrisome rumors, and expressing his desire to really surprise audiences with the film: "Last week was discouraging for everyone on our crew — not because we want to hide things from the fans, but because we’re working so hard to create something full of surprises." So how do we feel about the final announcements? We've broken down and assessed all the confirmed information from the interview.
CHRIS PRATT: DINOSAUR SCIENTIST
After launching into space in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt will spend Summer 2015 in Jurassic World as a scientist studying the behavior of raptors, but Trevorrow urges that these raptors won't be doing tricks. “He’s just trying to figure out the limits of the relationship between these highly intelligent creatures and human beings.” Pratt is quickly becoming quite the diverse performer, and he has the right amount of goofball charm to work as an over-eager researcher — the kind that had dinosaur posters splattered all over his childhood bedroom. We're on board with this one.
Rating: Four shirtless Jeff Goldblums
THE PARK IS BASICALLY SEAWORLD WITH DINOSAURS
If your first you don't succeed (and your dinosaurs eat a whole bunch of people), try, try again. Jurassic World will feature a fully-realized and functional theme park on Isla Nublar with all the creature comforts: luxury resorts, restaurants, raptors, a golf course, night life, more raptors, basically everything John Hammond ever wanted for his original park. And like every SeaWorld vacation, eventually things go south. Damn humanity and our hubris! The idea of yet another iteration of Jurassic Park collapsing into chaos does seem a little trite, there are some fun twists here to shake up the formula.
Rating: Three stubby T-Rex arms
...AND, LIKE SEAWORLD, PEOPLE ARE OVER IT
The kids in Jurassic World just aren't impressed by the towering prehistoric creatures, already way spoiled by a steady diet of SFX dinosaurs over the years. So what's the only way to impress their young, CGI-addled brains? well, bigger dinosaurs of course. This could definitely be a fun bit of meta commentary for a franchise that first delighted fans with pre-historic action, but lost steam once it started valuing spectacle over character. Definitely great news.
Rating: Five "clever girrrl"s
BIGGER, BADDER DINOS, BUT NO MUTANT FREAKS
The original rumors reported that the new film will include a new genetically modified dinosaur spliced with DNA from other animals, like snakes and cuttlefish. It turns out that the rumor was only partly true. Trevorrow says that in order to shake things up and jog some interest back into disinterested park patrons, the geneticists at Jurassic World get a corporate mandate to create a bigger, louder, and more ferocious dinosaur. While this dinosaur will likely dwarf the creatures of old, the director doesn't want you to think of them as "mutant freaks." Trevorrow assures us, "It doesn’t have a snake’s head or octopus tentacles. It’s a dinosaur, created in the same way the others were, but now the genetics have gone to the next level. For me, it’s a natural evolution of the technology introduced in the first film." Despite Trevorrow's assurances, a genetically modified dinosaur does sound like the film is drifting away from the spirit that made the original film great. We'll have to wait and see about this one.
Rating: Two doorknob-turning raptors
NO FRIENDLY DINOSAURS
An earlier rumor suggested that there would be a ton of dinosaur vs. dinosaur action, and that some of the dinosaurs would be fighting to protect humans thanks to some training via Pratt's character. However (and thankfully), Trevorrow amends that rumor. "There’s no such thing as good or bad dinosaurs. There are predators and prey. The T-Rex in Jurassic Park took human lives, and saved them. No one interpreted her as good or bad. This film is about our relationship with animals, how we react to the threat they pose to our dominance on earth as a species." We definitely think creating "hero" and "villain" dinosaurs would have been a terrible move. Cheers to morally ambiguous lizards.
Rating: Five stolen dino embryos
Focus Features via Everett Collection
Notoriously creepy Ukrainian film "journalist" Vitalii Sediuk took a swing at Brad Pitt the red carpet premiere of Maleficent last night. If that name sounds familiar, it should: Sediuk has been playing a unsettling game of one-upsmanship with himself over the years, creating increasingly odd and unnerving run-ins with celebrities. Two years ago, the man attempted to kiss Will Smith at the Russian premiere of Men in Black 3, to which Smith reacted with a slap. Then, this month, Sediuk thought it was a good idea to actually crawl inside America Ferrera's dress at the Cannes Film Festival like he was subletting the place. Now this guy, who mysteriously evaded criminal charges after outright sexual assault, straight up punches none other than Brad Pitt in the face. Luckily, Pitt knows how to take a hit. From trading jabs with Edward Norton in Fight Club, to getting slogged by John Malkovich in Burn After Reading, there's a rich history of Brad Pitt getting clobbered on film. Here's a collection of Brad Pitt getting punched in the face... but these are movies, so it's okay:
Really, Norton? Who hits someone in the ear?
I guess everyone got tired of trying to figure out what the hell he was saying.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Just another date night in the Brangelina household.
Burn After Reading
Truth be told, Pitt's foul-mouthed character is so stupid in this movie, the whole audience was ready to punch him.
Pitt's character should have been punched a second time for thinking "El Trucko" was the correct translation for truck.
Pitt takes a break from galavanting with Robert Redford for some torture via fist.
Finally, Pitt gets "punched" by a spear in Troy. That definitely counts, right?