Captain Killjoy: Why you probably won’t see nova in “guardians 2”

Now that we have full confirmation that a sequel to the insanely popular Guardians of the Galaxy is on the books, along with a dozen or so other projects running into the 2020’s, fans are getting antsy for a few scraps of info, just to get them through the difficult Christmas season. One of the big topics of discussion currently surrounding the uber-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Hardly Guardin’ (my own title suggestion), is whether or not we’re likely to see the Marvel character Nova rear his pointy-helmeted head.

For those of you who don’t know who Nova is because you have better things to do with your time (and more power to you), just think of him as the Marvel Universe’s Green Lantern. If you don’t know who Green Lantern is, or you don’t care, just give the following paragraph a miss.

So the story goes that the final surviving member of the Nova corps decided that he wanted to be succeeded by a high school student from New York named Richard Rider. So Rider gets the uniform and a few few super powers thrown in for god measure and he starts fighting crime on earth. Eventually he discovers the spaceship of his predecessor orbiting earth and he uses it to travel to Xandar, the home planet of the Nova corps, to fight in the war against the Skrulls – an alien race that, along with the Kree (Guardians) and the Chitauri (Avengers), we are hopefully going to see more of in the coming Marvel epics.

We got a decent look at Xandar and the Nova Corps in Guardians along with a few other Nova corps members lifted right from the comic books, but sadly no Nova. Will we be seeing him in the new Guardians adventure? Short answer, not. Long answer, probably not.

Gunn has been reported as saying that he doesn’t want to overcomplicate the Guardians story with too many lone-wolf earth heroes. He explains his reasons more thoroughly in his Facebook post on the subject of connected universes and the possibility of Nova:

“I don’t want Nova right now because I think Quill being the only earthling is important. That serves the entire movie going audience and not just the handful of Nova fans… I have nothing against Nova in future movies, but it doesn’t serve the movie right this moment.”

Gunn also explains in a previous post that he wants the sequel to be about “getting to know the characters on a deeper level, knowing them more intimately and uncovering facets of those characters that make them more real to us”.

Lego Nova looks bummed out. This picture really has no bearing on the article, I just think it's funny. Look how square his feet are!
Lego Nova looks bummed out. This picture really has no bearing on the article, I just think it’s funny. Look how square his feet are!

This is a fair statement. I’m sure we can all think of a good few sequels that misguidedly focus on cramming in more and more characters to appease die hard fans instead of working with the characters they already have and going somewhere deeper and, hopefully, more exciting with them. When you consider the number of X-men movies that have characters who don’t even talk or influence the plot a great deal (I’m looking at you, Toad in Days of Future Past), you can kind of understand why Gunn wants to go in a different direction.

Of course, none of this is set in stone, but I wouldn’t hold your breath under that home-made Nova helmet of yours.

 

 

Man of the moment: richard linklater to receive visionary award for “boyhood”

And the good news just keeps on coming! Legendary writer and director Richard Linklater has been recognised by the powers that be of  the Palm Springs International Film Festival to receive the Visionary Award for his work on Boyhood, released earlier this year. A clown car of worthy actors have been selected for some of the most coveted awards at the festival, and they’ll have to make some room in the boot for Linklater. Here’s a list of a few of the winners announced so far:

1. Rosamund Pike – Breakthrough Performance Award, Actress (Gone Girl)

2. J.K. Simmons – Spotlight Award, Actor (Whiplash)

3. Eddie Redmayne – Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor (The Theory of Everything)

4. Julianne Moore – Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress (Still Alice)

The PSIFF Awards have served as a pretty dependable early warning system for Oscar nominations, so this is the best sort of news for all involved.

Director Linklater and "Boyhood" star Ellar Coltrane: just two dudes hanging out in a truck.
Director Linklater and “Boyhood” star Ellar Coltrane: just two dudes hanging out in a truck.

Festival Chairman Harold Matzner describes Linklater’s Boyhood as “…A one of a kind epic undertaking shot over the course of 12 years with the same cast”, and especially praises Linklater for “…his creative innovations in filmmaking…”.

The full name of the award is the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, and the previous winners combined are a check-list of untouchable film makers: Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Hazanavicius and Tom Hooper. The awards will be hosted by Cartier, in case you were wondering.

To be honest I was certain Linklater would take the Director of the Year award, but the Visionary award is it’s own special medal of prowess and exuberance in the field.

This is really only the start of the announcements, though. Many award winners are yet to be named, including the recipients of Career Achievement, Director of the Year, the Frederick Lowe Award for Film Composing, the Icon Award, the Chairman’s Award and the Ensemble Performance Award. We’ll keep you updated as the info comes in, so keep those peepers peeled!

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will run from January 2nd-12th 2015. The Gala Awards will be held on January 3rd .

Wait, What? Andy Serkis does the voice-over in “Force Awakens” Teaser

“Apes…together….force push!”

Two big debates were guaranteed to come out of the release of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer: who did the creepy voice-over about darkness and awakenings, and why is R2-D2 a Dyson roller-ball?

Well, at least we can put the first debate to bed. There’s been gigabytes of speculation throwing out names like Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, who’s confirmed to have a role in the film, and Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s rumoured to be attached to every film ever.

But it turns out that the answer to the riddle in the dark is Gollum himself. Hitflix has officially confirmed that the ominous tone poem was the work of Andy Serkis. He was confirmed as a main cast member for J.J. Abram’s Star Wars sequel earlier this year and even though he wasn’t seen in the trailer, he definitely made one of the biggest impacts.

The Force Awakens isn’t the only precious action/sci-fi property Serkis is attached to. The motion capture mogul is also starring in Avengers: Age of Ultron, scheduled to be released May 1st 2015. His role hasn’t been confirmed, but hopefully he’ll be making just as much of an impression as he did in the Star Wars teaser. Now we can start the new online debate of what role Serkis will have in the galaxy far, far away. I’ve already made a Planet of the Apes and Lord of the Rings reference, and since I can’t think of a clever King Kong one I shall leave it there.

What did you think of the voice-over?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be unleashed on December 1st 2015.

 

Gyllenhaal smash! “Nightcrawler” star bulks up for “Southpaw”

I love a good body morph, don’t you?

Deadline just released an exclusive photo of Jake Gyllenhaal playing a championship prize-fighter in Southpaw, scheduled for release in 2015. The transformation from his reptilian turn as Lou Bloom in this month’s Nightcrawler to a fierce fighting machine is pretty unbelievable, especially when you consider that Gyllenhaal already lost 25 pounds to star in Nightcrawler. Now this might not be quite as extreme as Christian Bale’s mighty morph back in 2005 when he went skeletal to play an anorexic in The Machinist only to gain it all back and more to play an modestly bulky batman.

Either Gyllenhall has hulked out or Andy Serkis' motion capture studio is getting more work.
Either Gyllenhall has hulked out or Andy Serkis’ motion capture studio is getting more work.

 

But considering how much love Gyllenhaal’s garnered for playing the Loud Bloom (my own included), I’m just as intrigued. From the looks of the shot, he’s still going to be drawing on the same kind of violence – although not quite as sociopath-ish – and that definitely seems to be In Gyllenhaal’s wheelhouse these days.

It sounds like Gyllenhaal’s taking the training seriously as well. In an interview with Deadline Fuqua said “I had him training twice a day in the boxing ring, he did two-a-days seven days a week. I pretty much had him with me and my trainer every day…He trained in New York at Church Gym with real fighters. We literally turned him into a beast…”. Fuqua’s as much a fan of Gyllenhaal’s new lease on acting life as he is of the actor’s fighting skills. “Jake is going to change how people see him”, said Fuqua.

The director and actor will also be working together on Fuqua’s upcoming project The Man Who Made it Snow, which will see Gyllenhaal as Jewish hotel engineer-turned-drug smuggler Max Mermelstein and his transformation of Pablo Escabar’s Medellin Cartel.

Southpaw is directed by Antoine Fuqua with a script from Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, and concerns Junior Middleweight Champion Billy “The Great” Hope who fights to make up for everything he’s lost. The title role was originally meant for Eminem and based on some of the rapper’s past struggles, but the part went to Gyllenhaal in March of this year when Fuqua officially signed on to direct. Alongside Gyllenhaal the cast includes Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent and Rita Ora.

So who’s liking Jake Gyllenhaal right now?

You’re welcome! Teaser Trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For anyone who hasn’t been furiously refreshing iTunes for the last twelve hours, I commend your bustling social life! As a reward, here is an early thanksgiving treat: the very first teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens in delicious high def. We’ve only gotten snapshots and potential artwork up until this point, so this will be our first taste of some real action. Here’s the trailer, courtesy of Youtube.

Although we don’t get any shots of Ford, Hamill or Fisher (it was a long shot to be honest), there were a few looks at other actors we’ve heard were attached to the project, including John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. Boyega’s sporting most of what appears to be a storm trooper suit as rumours have suggested, although if you think back to A New Hope that could mean almost anything. We also got a look at a potential sith lord, whomever that might be, brandishing a pretty whacky looking broadsword-style lightsaber – a festive red, of course.

It would be really tempting to break down this trailer scene by scene, and I’m sure there will be dozens of analyses of each potential character by tomorrow morning. But for now, let’s just enjoy this teaser. No matter how these films turn out, good, terrible or otherwise, we can always remember back to today and how buzzed we were about seeing the Millennium Falcon as that old John Williams fanfare starts up. Oh, did I not mention the shot of the Millennium Falcon? It made me pee a little bit…I’m not proud of it. So check it out!

Scheduled release is December 18th 2015. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Andy Serkis, Warwick Davis, Domhnall Glesson, Lupita Nyong’o, Peter Mayhew and Adam Driver. Script by Lawrence Kasdan (Indiana Jones, Star Wars Episode V + VI) and Abrams.

“Nightcrawler” director has script in the works for Fuqua’s “Storming Las Vegas”

There is no stopping Dan Gilroy right now! Audiences are still getting over Gilroy’s latest directorial endeavour Nightcrawler and the skin crawlingly sinister performance of Jake Gylenhaal as an opportunistic crime reporter. And before we can even finish our much needed cold shower, The Wrap reports that Gilroy is already working on a new script for director Antoine Fuqua of Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer fame.

Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal stunned audiences with Nightcrawler this month.
Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal stunned audiences with Nightcrawler this month.

The project, currently titled Storming Las Vegas (really hope that will change to “Vegas Has Fallen”), is based on John Huddy’s 2008 novel Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down The Strip To The Tune Of Five World Class Hotels, Three Armoured Cars, And Millions of Dollars – I only mention the whole title because it really helps my word count.

The book follows the real life story of down-and-out Cuban  Jose Vigoa and his stupendous campaign of armed casino robberies in the late ’90s, covering a whopping sixteen month crime spree. On the other side of coin Lt John Alamshaw, heading the team of robbery detectives who takes Vigoa’s Robin Hood rampage a little badly and sets out to bring him down by any means necessary. However loyal they choose to stay to real life events, this sounds like a humdinger of a plot.

Fuqua has been connected to the project since 2011 for Summit entertainment, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura to produce. I’m a sucker for a non-fiction novel adaptation, but what really makes this project exciting is the introduction of Gilroy’s script. He’s already proven he can direct a crime, so let’s see how he does with a few armed robberies. We’ll hopefully have more details on potential casting and release as we go, but you can always read the book until then  – provided you don’t mind a spoiler or two.

Who do we want directing Blade Runner 2?

With Ridley Scott taking the Producer’s chair in the upcoming sequel to the classic 80’s sci-fi noir, the director has yet be announced. It might be too early to start culminating a Christmas list right now ( a lot can happen in a year) there are definitely some sci-fi heavy hitters that we’d love to see running the Tyrell Corporation. Which would be your best guess?

Jonathan Glazer made a terrifying impression with this year's Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson.
Jonathan Glazer made a terrifying impression with this year’s Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson.
  1. Jonathon Glazer – I don’t know if you noticed, but Under the Skin was pretty damn creepy! Scarlett Johansson’s man-eater from the beyond the stars could very well have been a replicant herself…except, you know, for the big pools of bedroom water and the empty skin bags.
  2. Garth Edwards – It’s hard to hear the name Garth Edwards without having flashes of soldiers levelling pistols at giant reptilian monsters of all sorts, and for good reason. But remember that Edwards already had a crack at an ’80s sci-fi franchise with Dredd (2012). Despite the reviews not being fantastic and hopes for a sequel all but diminished, there was a lot of Blade Runner in the grim, endless city-scapes of Mega City One.
  3. Jake Paltrow – Having not directed a movie since 2007’s The Good Night, Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby brother has come out swinging with Young Ones, a post-apocalyptic drama where people get pretty antsy when you try and take their water rations away from them. While the film didn’t quite make the impact it was hoping for, it shows that Paltrow might have promise if he’s given the right material.
  4. William Eubank – Following in a fairly new tradition of shoestring-budget indie sci-fi at Sundance, William Eubank’s The Signal did well, just not really well. If nothing else, the road-trip-turned-thriller proved that Eubank’s got big ideas. Another sci-fi try-hard that could benefit from a little mentoring, from an old master perhaps.
  5. Dan Gilroy – Since I saw Gilroy’s Nightcrawler at the end of last month, I’ve had some trouble sleeping. Maybe it’s Gilroy’s unmistakable talent for working with darkness and night scenes, or it could be the realisation that Jake Gyllenhaal actually appears in my dreams now, with his cutthroat razor grin. I don’t know, but what I do know is that is the kind of dark matter energy that would be really exciting to see in a Blade Runner sequel.
  6. Michael Bay – No, I’m just kidding. Seriously, can you imagine?

So that’s what I’ll be asking for this Christmas. What do you think? Did I leave out your ideal Blade Runner frontrunner? Why not yell at me about it?

Red band trailer for Vince Vaughn’s “Unfinished Business” redefines the wheelbarrow.

Say what you will about Vince Vaughn, because the odds are you’re not a celebrity so he probably won’t hear about it. He’s had a few hit and misses on the big screen lately, so it was really exciting to see him added to the roster of True Detective, the cast of which is getting more and more titillating as the weeks go by. But Vaughn isn’t saying goodbye to good ol’ comedy romps just yet, and will be back in theatres with Unfinished Business, which sees Vaughn as a struggling businessman trying to close a deal that will keep him from bankruptcy. The things standing in his way are his “crack” team, played by Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson, and former-workmates-turned-business rivals James Marsden and Sienna Miller. Throw Nick frost in there for a sprinkle of English wit – or at the very least a few accent gags – and this looks to be a pretty well rounded feature. I’m a fan of Vaughn’s so I’m glad to see him in something a little more fast paced that can better match his dialogue. Here’s the red band trailer, straight from Yahoo.

As far as comedies go, the red band trailer is pretty damn red, so keep an eye out for some top-notch nudity if that’s your sort of thing.  Or you can watch the green band, if you just like jokes and stuff.

Should we be worried that Ridley Scott isn’t directing Blade Runner 2?

Over the last two days we’ve gotten some intriguing if a little empty updates on two defining sci-fi properties. Behind curtain number one we have Independence day, prom king of mid-’90s action sci-fi, slated to return for a long-debated sequel in June 2016 as reported by Deadline. And then we have Blade Runner, the moody ’80s goth who turns out to be coolest guy in school after all, with its own sequel scheduled for who-knows-when. Roland Emmerich is locking down his directorial return for Independence Day, so the soon-to-be franchise is being treated as business-as-usual by movie fans. But Ridley Scott has stated in an interview that he’s going to be sat firmly in his producer’s chair instead of directing Blade Runner 2.

If the whole idea of a Blade Runner sequel wasn’t a big enough gamble, the absence of Scott as director has gotten people into a tizzy, more so than the apparent absence of Harrison Ford in anything but a smaller “third act” role, as described by Scott himself. This revelation, despite being a drop in a bucket of apparent scoops in the lead up to Thanksgiving Weekend, has people split down party lines. The pro-Scott camp has strong doubts that a sequel without Scott directly at the helm could be anything but a lukewarm disaster. On the other hand you have the anti-Scott’s, who are citing Scott’s track record of underperforming projects including Robin Hood, The Counsellor and the controversy over the unseasonably pale Exodus: Gods and Kings as testament that he is going the way of all ageing directors and walking out into the snow storm…at least until The Martian comes out.

Either way, the absence of Scott even by a title bump is making waves, if not moderate ones. The question is, why do we care so much?

har ford
Harrison Ford is hanging around for the Blade Runner sequel, if only for a “Third Act” entrance.

For a regular sequel to a successful first film, it makes sense to want the original director to come back and weave some more of his or her magic. But Blade Runner was 32 years ago. This is the first time in cinematic history that properties have hibernated for decades instead of years and still awoken to relative excitement form the fans. But is the director vital to that revitalisation? Let’s not forget Dumb and Dumber To: a 20 year gap, the writers and directors come back, the key comic performer (Carrey) comes back, and the what should be the greatest high school reunion of all time is a half empty gymnasium with deflated balloons on the walls.

And then you’ve got Star Wars: prequels notwithstanding, it’s been 31 years since Harrison Ford was in a Star Wars Movie, but once again he’s playing doctor and resuscitating his other trigger-happy ’80s icon. But no one is trembling in their boots because George Lucas isn’t directing; if anything people are more excited to have someone new taking the helm – although you could argue that Lucas had his chance at a Star Wars revamp and failed. The fact is, there are no rules for how to make a good sequel with twenty or thirty years of air in between, and there’s an argument that the original director is not required to make a great great grand-sequel.

Over the last 24 months we’ve seen the dams break on the new sci-fi directorial talent in Hollywood. With people like Garth Edwards and Alex Garland establishing themselves as dependable monster hunters and computer hackers, not to mention the wave of indie sci-fi that has kept a steady pace this year, room has to be made to let these guys do what they do best. And what better way to get them to flex their muscles than with properties that audiences are already psyched about? Maybe this is what Scott has in mind by taking a back seat.

How do you feel about the plans for Blade Runner 2?