“Captain America: Civil War” Gets a Synopsis and a Shooting Date

With the sheer influx of official and unofficial news on upcoming comic book movies, it’s getting to a point where we’re so focused on films years down the line that we’re not appreciating the comic book movies coming out now. Did you know Avengers 2 is coming out in a few weeks? But who cares, let’s talk about Captain America 3 and get bummed out that it’s not coming out yet.

Ridiculous.

So anyway, we’ve got some news on Captain America 3.

Screenrant has reported that a synopsis and start date have been released for the future Captain America sequel, Civil War. With a name like Civil War, there’s not much plot leeway for people in the know or have a vague knowledge of the comic series of the same name. But all the same, it’s nice to have some confirmation and know that we haven’t just been handed a big JJ Abrahms style misdirect.
Here’s the summary, courtesy of the alleged note that went with casting scripts:

Following the events of Age of Ultron, the collective governments of the world pass an act designed to regulate all superhuman activity. This polarizes opinion amongst the Avengers, causing two factions to side with Iron Man or Captain America, which causes an epic battle between former allies.

Well that’s comforting at least. The plot is pretty much exactly the ribcage of the civil war comic book. However, there’s still a decent amount of wiggle room when it comes to minor details, especially if they follow on from Age of Ultron.

Along with a summary, we’ve also got a start date. There were already drips of information that Cap 3 would begin shooting at some point in April. Now we have confirmation that the start date for shooting is 1st April.

So as far as exciting new news goes, it’s not a bolt of electricity. This is more like confirmation of what we already sort of knew.

Fortunately the best way to fill in the blanks for plot is with Avengers 2. We know that Tony Stark builds Ultron as a tool for peace that royally f&#%s them all over. So it could be the case that Stark’s ballsup causes the registration of superheroes to be initiated. It would also make sense that Stark would feel some serious guilt for his Ultron blunder and willingly promote registration. But that doesn’t sit right with the Cap, who had his own governmental reality check in The Winter Soldier. So it’s all coming together.

Now let’s all shut up and enjoy Avengers 2.

“Dredd” Screenwriter Dashes Hopes for Sequel

Fans rallying for or against a sequel is a common enough thing, since movie-goers can be fickle and passionate on equal measure when the right mood takes them and the right movie sways them. But when someone involved in a film goes one way or the another it has considerably more gravity. So when Alex Garland, the screenwriter behind the love it or leave it (loved it) shoot em up Dredd, says he’s given up hope on a sequel, that’s a significant bummer.

Screenrant has reported that the screenwriter on the bare knuckle reboot has thrown in the towel when it comes to a Dredd sequel. The film didn’t do well at the box office, but was a sleeper hit with solid DVD and Bluray sales and a generous cult following. Even so, Garland isn’t hopeful. Here’s the writer talking to Collider about Dredd while promoting his new film Ex Machina:

“The ‘Dredd’ thing is a surprise. It’s a really complicated set of emotions. I have a lot of regret about how things worked out with ‘Dredd,’ but it’s very gratifying. The regret it – you do a kind of transaction, particularly with the creators of it, which is that we want to do this thing and honor what you did, and try to do it properly, and then the film will reward that trust. That act of faith and trust and decency. And I think that the film rewarded them in one sense, but not in another. I do believe it rewarded them creatively, unless they’re lying to me about that. But I think it has created this thing of this movie that fails. The story of ‘Dredd’ is that of a failed movie. Both times, for fuck’s sake. And to be party to that, when that was exactly the intention—to not do that – is kind of difficult.”

Garland has a pretty rational take on the whole thing. Both Dredd and Judge Dredd – starring Sylvester Stallone – were commercial failures, and despite Dredd’s higher rating with fans it’s hard not to draw a straight line between the two and Garland knows it.

Dredd executive producer Adi Shankar has been keeping the fire stoked his own way since the Dredd debate started, producing gritty, realistic shorts of fan favourites like Venom, Punisher and Power Rangers. Some people have suggested this was a demonstration of how popular Dredd-esque adaptations or reboots could be. But in spite of this, Garland suggests that fans should divert their hopes elsewhere:

“… I also feel a sense of responsibility because I know there are these people who do this stuff like they’ve got money and they spend money on a DVD to try and up the chance of a sequel getting made. Because I don’t have an online profile or persona or anything like that I can’t speak to these people directly, but what I want to say is that’s so good of you, and thank you, but keep your money because the people who make the decisions don’t get moved by that kind of thing. They’re moved by other stuff, other equations, other algorithms.
“How can I say this without being soppy? It’s touching. It means something that these people support the film in that way, but the thing people want, which is a sequel, I don’t think is going to happen. I think it will happen (let me rephrase that) I don’t think it’s happening with me and the people who made the last one.”

So for Dredd fans it’s not great news. But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else makes their own Judge Dredd film a few years down the line that incorporates the best parts of Dredd with some more mainstream elements so we can get a ruddy good saga going!

Are you peeved that there might not be a Dredd 2?

Lucasfilm Will Release 20 Books and Comics to Connect Episodes VI and VII

In the most basic, terms there are two kinds of Star Wars fans: those who love the films, and those love the films AND ingest every other possible medium. This may not seem like such a big difference, unless you know how staggeringly vast the non-film based canon for Star Wars is and how multifaceted a machine it is. In a way, strict film lovers are like vegetarians and multi medium lovers are like super strict vegans. In any case, we say see a considerable migration of fans, in the current film vacuum, to comic books and novelisations? Why? Because it may reveal something about the upcoming Episode VII.

Screenrant has reported that Lucasfilm is releasing a whole new stack of novels and comic books specifically to connect the end of Return of the Jedi with the start of The Force Awakens. The first installment will be a novel called Star Wars: Aftermath. Now we could speculate on what this title means like we did with the upcoming spinoff Rouge One, or we could hear it from the horse’s mouth. Here’s Jen Heddle, the Senior Editor of Lucas Books, spilling the beans on Aftermath:

“The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?”

So the Empire’s not totally dead? Bummer. Although this looks like it will answer a lot of logistics questions that sceptics have had about how the hell the structure of the galactic government works in the Star Wars universe. Boy, did I made that sound dull.

Even though we may not be seeing all the characters from the new film turn up in the books – they do have to fill in about thirty years of blanks – Heddle has promised that there will be a lot of new intrinsic characters to sink your teeth into:

“What I can reveal is that you will be introduced to a sweeping new cast of characters, along with a fan favourite from the films. And who knows what other familiar faces will pop up along the way? And once you’ve seen ‘The Force Awakens’ in movie theaters, you may find that certain names and places in ‘Aftermath’ have a relevance you never knew–so keep your eyes wide open!”

What a teaser! It’ll be intriguing to see how the old favourites, who we will turning up in Episode VII, will make their way in the galaxy in the interim. Maybe we’ll also see the device or the happy ending of other characters, like the ewoks, or… Actually the ewoks are the only characters I care about. Seriously, who cleaned up all those dead storm troopers in Endor? You could make a whole book out of that!

Whilst I’m not sure I’ll be partaking of the books, I’ll certainly be that annoying cheat who looks up the synopses on Wikipedia. I am nothing if not unbearably lazy.

Which of your favourite Star Wars characters do you want to see in the books?

Check Out First Trailer for Chris Columbus’ “Pixels”

Pixels is one of those files that I’ve been dying to get a good look at. Not because I’m convinced that it will be a great film, but kind of the opposite: I have absolutely not idea how good or bad this film will be. Sure it lends itself to The Lego Movie style comedic action and nostalgia, but could that last long enough to sustain what could just as easily be a digital SNL short? Well we’re gonna find out, ’cause a trailer has officially dropped for the half animated half live action summer movie. But will it be a blockbuster? Let’s find out, courtesy of Sony Pictures:

Well that was… I honestly don’t think that helped me make up my mind. The action portion of Chris Columbus‘ looks pretty badass, and the way live action miscellany dissolves into CG pixels when attacked by the arcade characters is a gorgeous touch. We all  got some looks at Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage as aged nerds taking on an alien horde that mistook ’80s video games as a declaration of war.

The question remains, as it always does with family action comedies, as to where the focus will lie. The reason this question is so much more important with this movie as opposed to say Night at the Museum, is the comedic cast. A good portion of movie-goers may consider not even humouring this film because Adam Sandler and Kevin James are holding the reins. Neither has had an astounding track record recently when it comes to features (the less said about Blended the better), and while the comedy looks solid enough, it doesn’t wow. However, this could just be a skewed view – the jokes may have been perfectly delightful coming out of someone else other than Sandler. Also the decent supporting cast us more than capable of picking up potential slack – and it is still potential at this point. In any case, I’ll be going to see Pixels this summer, and solve the mystery once and for all!

Ryan Reynolds Says “Deadpool” Will Do Right by Fans

It would be fair to say that Marvel doesn’t really own the character of Deadpool anymore. Deadpool has two new surrogate parents: Ryan Reynolds, who’s been standing face to face with that black and red mask in every dream he’s had for the past six years; and the Marvel audience, who’s far more maternal and gets protective of Deadpool when Reynolds wants to take Deadpool rock-climbing and let him stay up past his bedtime.

After the debacle of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it’s bizarre depiction of Deadpool as a lesson in graphic irony, the Marvel audience got full custody of Deadpool for a while and Reynolds didn’t really have any visitation rights. But late last year Reynolds starred in some test footage that sparked the opposite of public outcry – I guess it would be called in-laugh? – and the Marvel audience forgave him, letting him see Deadpool on alternate weekends.

I guess my longwinded point is that Ryan Reynolds knows what it means to pass off a Marvel fan, so he knows how important it is that the new Deadpool film be faithful. Well, according to Slashfilm, he’s pretty confident about his chances. Here’s Reynolds talking to Shortlist about what he expects from the film:

“I’m incredibly happy about it —we’ve got a director that understands that world and writers with a slavish devotion to the canon of that character. That’s the most important aspect: it’s made in a way the most critical of fanboys could embrace. Well, that’s the hope.”

Slavish is definitely a word that should not be taken lightly. So it sounds like they’re pushing the boat out when it comes to authenticity.

Director Tim Miller is directing the project from Blur House, which is the same animation studio that produced the test footage that drove everyone crazy.

This opinion is a little more reputable since he’s not talking about a script that hasn’t been written. The script exists and has been lauded by readers as something of a gem. The script, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Warwick, has roles for TJ Miller, Gina Carano and Morena Baccarin, as well as an actor-less Colossus.

It’s certainly comforting to see Reynolds so confident about the upcoming semi reboot, let’s just hope it’s justified.

Deadpool will hit cinemas on February 12th, 2016.

Alexandre Desplat to Score “Star Wars” Spin-off

So, in case you’re not in on all the latest star wars news, let’s give you a quick punch to the gut update: forget about the main Star Wars films, Gareth Edwards is directing the first Star Wars spin off, and it’ll be called Star Wars: Rouge One. Now that you’re all up to speed, let’s drop another bomb. Empire announced that composer Alexandre Desplat has been officially connected to the spinoff to a film we haven’t seen yet. The nature of his connection? Uhm, he’s a composer. Probably could have said that right off the bat.

Anyway, Desplat will probably ring a bell after taking home an Academy Award for Best Score for his work on Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel. That may make it sound as though he’s a weird choice for concocting an operatic space fanfare, but trust me… Desplat’s got moves. The composer has worked with Gareth Edwards before on the patently dark Godzilla reboot. Along with work that Desplat did on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – that’s both parts, folks – he has a pretty well rounded resume. This is a vital skill for any Star Wars film, which is mostly intensive but requires a fare dose of introspection. With that in mind, Desplat sounds like a pretty safe bet.
The composer has also mentioned before how influential John Williams‘ work has been on his own work, so he’ll likely be concocting a very innovative score but from a baseline that is very faithful to the original Trilogy. We hope.

Even though we don’t know anything about the spinoff – or the film it’s spinning off from, really – from the title Rogue One it’s a safe bet that there’ll be some fighting and fighting to the extreme. If that’s the case, it’ll be exciting to see how Desplat reflects it on the score sheet.

Force Awakens is out on 18th December 2015, while Rogue One will be a year later on 16th December 2015.

Eddie Murphy to Play Richard Pryor’s Dad in Biopic

After seeing the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Show, I was reminded of what a soft, soft spot I have for Eddie Murphy. So it was gratifying to see that the SNL alumni will be starring in a new project. Even though it’s not a comedy, Murphy’s has a good track record of taking the rug out from under people with his non comedic roles. According to Empire, this particular role is in the upcoming Richard Pryor biopic from director Lee Daniels.

While director Bill Condon had concocted a Pryor project in the past – you might call it a prior Pryor project – with Murphy to play the comedian. However that is one of many takes on the idea, all of which have been swept under the rug – not the same rug that Murphy pulls out from under you – to make way for Daniels’ biopic. In this version, Murphy will play Richard Pryor’s dad, war veteran boxer Leroy “Buck Carter” Pryor. Pryor will be played by Mike Epps, who was picked by the real Pryor for the role of himself before he died.  Pryor also wanted Walter Hill to direct, but the project has since been handed over to Daniels, who has previously worked on The Butler.

In a way, this choice of casting is more exciting than that of Bill Condon. While it would seem to make perfect sense for Murphy to play Richard Pryor, it could be a lot more gratifying to see him take in Pryor’s dad, and not be in the business of being a funny man playing a different funny man. It’ll be intriguing to see how Mike Epps takes on the role and how the two actors bounce off each other. There’s easily as much darkness as there is joy in Pryor’s story, so this is bound to be an eye opening biopic. It’s not clear at this point how big a role Leroy Pryor will play in the role, but a little Murphy is better than no Murphy at all!

Marvel’s Ruffalo and Saldana Star in “Infinitely Polar Bear” Trailer

Sometimes JJ Abrahms gets a little stressed and boxed in when he’s working in various Wars and Treks, so when things get a little too much he’ll pack his bags, kiss his house trained pot-bellied pig Tonto goodbye and take a producer gig on a drama. That may sound like just as much work, but there are far fewer fanboys in mainstream drama, which means far fewer millennium falcon dioramas crammed in his letterbox. Hey, did you notice how it’s called the Millennium Falcon but you don’t see any actual falcons in the films? Food for thought.
But Abrahms doesn’t want to leave the fanboys to far behind him, so the drama he’s currently producing is Infinitely Polar Bear, starring Marvel stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. So the deal with this project is that Ruffalo is a husband and father who chooses to abandon his bipolar disorder medication and tackle his intensive moods alone. In the process his wife played by Saldana leaves and the film ultimately centers around Ruffalo trying to overcome his own mind whilst forming a stronger bond with his children. We have a trailer for you, courtesy of Empire News, so check it out below:

This film looks to have quite a refreshing sensibility. Often characters with conditions like Bipolar disorder are kept in the supporting circles, maybe for a surprise third act dramatic turn. So it’s refreshing to see the disorder looked at with greater depth and consideration.

Infinitely Polar Bear has a limited US release set for June 9, and should be appearing nationwide after that.

Liam Neeson Plans Action Break in 2 Years

Did you know that Liam Neeson is 62? How awesome is that? The star has been kicking audience’s assessment with a hurricane of action movies since he appeared in Luc Besson‘s sleeper hit Taken in 2008, and by that point he was already 55. We know that he can’t  keep karate chopping forever, but it looks as though Neeson is already making plans to tie a bow on his action career.
In an interview with The Guardian, Neeson alluded to a 24 month clock he’s put on himself to finish up any leftover action projects.

“Maybe two more years. If God spares me and I’m healthy. But after that, I’ll stop [the action], I think.”

He looks to be taking a very considered approach to the decision, so we can assume that this has been in the works for a while now. Neeson’s career has taken an almost unprecedented right angle when he began displaying his very particular set of skills. The action route has taken him through a reboot of The A Team, animation like The Lego Movie and self referential comedy with Life is Short. The Taken franchise alone has been a household name for seven years now, and Neeson has said in the past that he is open to the idea of Taken 4. Although whether that would still be the case following this announcement is up for debate.

“I’m in a very, career-wise, great place. The success of certainly the ‘Taken’ films… Hollywood seems to see me in a different light. I get sent quite a few action-oriented scripts, which is great. I’m not knocking it. It’s very flattering. But there is a limit, of course.”

Perhaps we’ll be seeing Neeson return to more critically compatible or independent projects. When you consider his early work like Michael Connolly and Breakfast on Pluto and more dramatic breakthroughs like Schindler’s List, he’s had very few low points for such a long career – Phantom Menaces excluded of course. Even his less critically acclaimed later work has been popular as all get out. However, it may be that Neeson doesn’t want to go backwards – what a backwards! – and would instead like to try something new all over again! In any case, it’s an exciting time to be Liam Neeson!

“Inside Out”‘s Josh Cooley Named as “Toy Story 4” Director

Ok, look. It’s not that we don’t like Toy Story or that we wouldn’t love to see another adventure with Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang. But when you have an ending as ideal and satisfying as the ending we got with Toy Story 3, you can’t help but be a little bamboozled and – dare I say it – sceptical about the idea of Toy Story 4. Where can it go? Will it try to top the emotions of Toy Story 3, and if so, how?

Well if there’s one thing Disney and to an extent Pixar are old at – other than making movies of course – it’s crowd control. They both took to Twitter and announced that Josh Cooley  was being brought on as co-director of the latest Toy Story project. He’ll be working alongside John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Cooley’s an unsung hero of sorts over at Pixar, working on storyboards and artwork for a whole mess of films including Ratatouille, Cars, Cars 2, The Incredibles, and Up. With a mix like that, it’s safe to say Cooley’s as comfortable around action and fast paced plot development as he is with emotion driven story.

Most recently Cooley has worked on Inside Out, which is one of the most anticipated animated films out there. So by announcing Cooley as director for Toy Story 4, Disney and Pixar are killing two birds with one stone: they reassure people about Toy Story 4, whilst simultaneously promoting Inside Out by giving Cooley such a high profile job off the back of it.

Cooley has never directed a feature length animation before, but with enough storyboard experience behind him – not to mention a wealth of Pixar project knowledge – he should be a solid choice. Toy Story 4 will hit cinemas on June 16th 2017.

So which Pixar film are you looking forward to more?