Archive for the ‘X-Men’ Category

News That Caught My Eye: Moses Meets 300? Toy Story 3, Star Trek, And X-Men

October 19, 2009

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for News That Caught My Eye, where I round up some of my favorite news articles about the movie world from the past week.  In this edition, we have have news about some sequels, a brand new trailer for a hotly anticipated Summer 2010 release, and the most delightfully strange idea ever!

Star Trek Sequel in 2012?

Lots of great information in this one from TrekMovie about the future of the Star Trek franchise.  J.J. Abrams will definitely be back as a producer, but it’s not clear if he’ll produce.  A Summer 2012 release seems likely.

Toy Story 3 Trailer Released

Alright, so this really isn’t a news article, but the blogosphere was all in a tizzy when Disney released the trailer for the latest Disney-Pixar masterpiece.  Toy Story 3 comes out this Summer, and I can’t wait!

The Ten Commandments, 300 Style?

Variety reports that Peter Chernin, over at Twentieth Century Fox, has purchased a treatment of the story of Moses to be told in the style of Zak Snyder’s 300?  This could be amazing, but it may also have “fail” written all over it.  Either way, I’m intrigued!

Bryan Singer To Return To X-Men?

You realize you want to come back to the franchise, now?  Couldn’t you have come to this conclusion before X-Men: The Last Stand?!  Oh, well.  Better late than never, I guess. Via THR.

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Fox Developing "Deadpool" – Is This A Good Idea?

May 6, 2009

Yesterday, hot on the heels of Wolverine‘s $85 million debut, The Hollywood Reporter broke news that Fox has begun development on a Deadpool spinoff:

[Ryan] Reynolds is attached to reprise the character for what for now is simply being called “Deadpool.” Lauren Shuler Donner and Marvel Studios would act as producers.

Deadpool is known as “the merc with a mouth,” a character that under Reynolds lived up to his billing in “Wolverine” until the end, when the movie deviated from the comic book persona, imbuing him with several superpowers and sewing his mouth shut.

It is understood that Reynolds would regain the ability to mouth off, with the movie going back to the roots of the character known for his slapstick tone and propensity to break the fourth wall. The character also was disfigured in “Wolverine,” though it’s unclear at this time how much the studio would want to mess with Reynolds’ handsome mug.

The project is out to writers.

I think this decision may have been a bit of a premature decision by Fox. Has Wolverine‘s performance really been great enough to justify the sequel? The $85 million opening is certainly a good figure, but it’s 2009, and that means that a movie like Wolverine is going to be extremely frontloaded. Word-of-mouth certainly won’t be great, and there’s a slew of competition (Terminator Salvation, Angels And Demons, Star Trek, Up) coming up for the rest of May. At this point, a $180 million finish seems rather likely, but we’ll have to wait and see how Wolverine holds against Star Trek this weekend before any final judgments are made.

Here’s the thing, though. Fox spent $150 million to produce X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Then they had the prints and advertising costs. Then they had twelve days of reshoots. At the very least, Fox has already shelled out $225 million on this one, and unless Wolverine turns out to be inexplicably leggy, Fox will have to rely on international grosses and DVD sales to see any profit. And this is Wolverine, a well-liked, notable character, we’re talking about here. Deadpool is a totally different ball game. Most people don’t know who Deadpool even is, and I doubt a Deadpool movie is going to be able to transcend the total gross of Wolverine. I would also point out that Ryan Reynolds is not a proven box office draw, but neither is Hugh Jackman, outside of the X-Men universe.

The biggest advice I can give Fox is to make sure the script is good! People will get on board for a quality movie (see last year’s Iron Man), even if they don’t know much about the character. The second most important advice I can give Fox is to spend less money! If the script is good, and you shoot efficiently, I think you can get this whole project off the ground for $150 million. Then, you could launch a new franchise character, gain some sweet profit, and everyone would be happy! Would you see a Deadpool film? Me? I’d be more excited for Gambit!

UPDATE: Reed and I wrote about the same thing at the same time! Read his take on Deadpool!

Fox To Continue Their Destruction Of The X-Men Franchise With Deadpool

May 6, 2009

Warning: minor spoilers.

Like everybody else, I saw Wolverine this weekend, and very much enjoyed it. And by enjoyed it, I mean I was entertained by the fact that it’s an incredible, awesome, adrenaline-pumping, terrible movie. Generally a movie like this either sacrifices story for action (Crank) or action for story (Superman Returns). Wolverine somehow manages to do both. There were times where I thought the story was going the right way, but that the action was somewhat lacking (namely, the first half). Then the story unravels, and ‘Weapon XI’, though fantastic for action, is completely decimated as a character. (And correct me if I’m wrong, but if those samurai swords were in his arm, how could he bend them?)  Then people who should be dead aren’t, and people who should stay dead don’t… It just becomes a little bit of a mess. But I went into it with low expectations and a need for high excitement, which it delivered. After X3, I had to avoid anticipating a great overall movie, such as the one Bryan Singer gave us in X2.

Now, Wolverine had flaws (more Gambit, please), but if you go in expecting them to be there, you shouldn’t be miserable. Fox seems to agree, since they’ve already green-lit a spinoff starring Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. I loved the character, at least in the first part of the movie. As mentioned in code in the above paragraph, he has a pretty terribad ending. Apparently they’re going to try to salvage it. The movie is likely not a prequel either, which might seem most logical. But for those who stayed after the credits, you saw how a sequel might be in the works. Though now he has samurai claws… Pretty lame.

Deadpool seems like a neat mutant. In the comics he is completely aware that he is a fictional character, and is known to constantly break the fourth wall, which could be really intriguing in a movie. It’s also very risky. I’d hate to see it as some sort of freeze cam, Zak Morris meets X-Men type of thing… Though I’d perhaps rather see Gambit, Deadpool has potential to be another mindless, entertaining X-Men movie, which would be okay, but I’d like to think Fox will shoot for something higher.

UPDATE: Grady and I wrote about the same thing at the same time! Whoops! Read his take on Deadpool!

Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Is One Ridiculous, Wild Ride!

May 2, 2009

About five minutes into X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hugh Jackman (as Logan) and his wife (Lynn Collins) leave their mountain-top shack and drive their beaten up truck through the Canadian forest to a lumber yard. As enormous machinery lifts gigantic trees in the background, Jackman, clad in heavy duty pants and a flannel shirt, with an axe slung over his shoulder and a chewed up cigar in his mouth, steps out of the car, kisses his wife goodbye, and throws the axe to one of his fellow bearded buddies, before stepping into the truck bed and riding off to work. The whole scene exists as if to say, “Look how manly Wolverine is! He’s a badass that’s hairy, tough, and gruff! He’s strong and looks like a wild animal!” In all reality, the scene actually sets up the film quite well, for that’s about as subtle as Wolverine ever gets. Bombastic, clichéd, cheesy, and explosive, Wolverine elicited much the same reaction as when I saw 300: It’s definitely not good, but it’s awesome!

The plot is roughly summed up like this: Logan was once a part of group of bad mutants that used their powers to accomplish some decidedly bad things. Alongside Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), John Wraith (Will.I.Am), Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), Bolt (Dominic Monaghan – LOST actor #1), The Blob (Kevin Durand – LOST actor #2), and his brother, Victor/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), Logan worked as a criminal for years. Somewhere along the line, though, Logan has a change of heart, decides to turn from his evil ways, move to Canada, get married, and live a humble life as a lumberjack. (Keep in mind, I never read the X-Men comic books, and I’m sure that massive liberties were taken in constructing Wolverine’s past, but I’m going on that I was presented with.) Logan’s woodsy life is all well and good until his brother shows up one day and wreaks massive havoc on him and his wife. Turns out, Sabretooth is working for William Stryker (Danny Huston), a scientist who wants to “help” Logan, who renames himself “Wolverine” because of some ridiculous fable, become much more powerful by bonding a newly engineered indestructible metal, adamantium, to his entire skeleton. For the record, I was so happy when this actually happened- the three boney claws that came out of Logan’s hands before were just gross looking.

Anyway, it turns out that Stryker has a hidden agenda, and Wolverine is not keen on helping him after his metalization is complete. He lets his inner animal rage, and he runs away. From there, the rest of the movie follows Wolverine’s journey to take revenge upon his brother and bring down the company that made him into his new self. Along the way, Wolvy gets into about 10-20 fights, almost decapitates his brother about 30-40 times, gets stabbed and instantly heals about 50-60 times, and entertains the audience for about 70-80 minutes. We also meet a myriad of other mutants along the way, and it becomes abundantly clear that Fox is planning on making many more of these “Origins” movies with the introduction of Emma Frost, Cyclops, and Deadpool. And while it’s certainly fun to see all these characters come to life on the big screen, one of them stands out above the rest:

Gambit! Thank goodness we finally get Gambit! As a fan of the 1992 X-Men TV series, I was always sad that he was left out of the original film trilogy, but I can see why- he’s so similar to Wolverine. Friday Night Lights’ Taylor Kitsch was perfectly cast as the sarcastic, rebellious, poker-playing, kinetic-engergy-controlling Cajun, and it was a delight to watch the Southern gent go up against Wolverine. In my favorite scene in the film, Gambit and Wolverine go head-to-head in a game of Texas Hold’em poker, and it appears that the filmmakers wanted to give a shoutout to the legions of online poker nerds, as the scene features poker pro, Daniel Negreanu! But the card game quickly escalates into an all-out brawl in the alleyway with some of the coolest special effects I’ve ever seen. Forget 2011’s Magneto, I want to see X-Men Origins: Gambit! The Gambit effects in New Orleans are second only to the effects in the Wolverine‘s final fight scene, which I won’t give away, but trust me: it’s amazing.

Wolverine is far from a perfect film. The dialogue is often ridiculous, and the story is completely secondary to the action. The film serves simply to show audiences how Wolverine got to where he was at the beginning of 2001’s X-Men, and the ending (I mean the first ending, not the other two that roll during and after the credits) feels very abrupt. Still, Director Gavin Hood had to spin a lot of plates at once, since Wolverine had to serve as a sequel to the X-Men franchise, a prequel to the X-Men story, and a foundation for all future X-Men movies that Fox and Marvel want to produce. Of course, a better script would have helped tremendously, but for what it is, which is a summer popcorn flick, I was more than entertained. Liev Schreiber plays the antagonist effectively, and Hugh Jackman has true screen presence, and even if he does flex and roar a few too many times throughout the film, Wolverine is definitely a fun character.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the perfect film for these recessionary (or if you’re a college student- final exam) times. It allows you to turn off your brain, kick back, laugh at the dialogue, and enjoy the special effects and excitement. For a couple of hours, you forget about the stress of life and instead walk in the shoes of an adamantium-lined superhero. Like I said before, it’s not good, but it’s awesome. I’ll give it a B.

Now I want to hear from you! Let’s hear what you thought about Wolverine in the comments!

Weekend Preview: Wolverine Slashes Into Theaters To The Start "Summer"

May 1, 2009

For whatever reason, somewhere over the course of the last few decades, a Hollywood executive must have thought it was a good idea to claim that the first week in May was the start of Summer movie season. Logical? No. Summer doesn’t actually begin for another 7 weeks, and I see no reason why the whole world should follow anything that Hollywood says, but for whatever reason, we’ve all bought into this lie, and its expected that the first film of the “Summer” (seriously, though, we aren’t even halfway through Spring!) will be huge. “Huge” would certainly be an appropriate term to describe this weekend last year, as Iron Man found $98.6 million in its opening weekend on its way to a $318 million finish. This year, the debut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine begs the question: Which is stronger, iron or adamantium? Also, Matthew McConaughey opens his latest romantic comedy, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and an animated movie I honestly know nothing about, Battle for Terra, hits screens.

Sorry Beyonce, but your brief reign atop the box office chart here ends with the opening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The rebellious Marvel character that Hugh Jackman popularized in the first three X-Men films gets his own treatment with Wolverine, which also serves as a foundation for the dozens of “Origins” spinoffs that Fox will instantly put into production if Wolverine breaks out. Advertising has been pervasive, and awareness is huge for Wolverine, and if the success of Fast And Furious is any indication, audiences are more than game for a loud, explosive action movie this year, and it doesn’t even matter if reviews aren’t great.. Some analysts have argued that audiences might be getting tired of Wolverine as a character after the trilogy of X-Men films, but in this Era of Easy Entertainment, comfortable familiarity is what sells, so I don’t think that should have a negative effect on box office. Wolverine is clawing its way into a whopping 4,099 theaters, and it should have no trouble trouncing the rest of the Top 12. Look for $96 million by the end of this weekend, and a greenlight for Magneto and Gambit by Monday.

With a film as huge as Wolverine hitting screens, everything else ends up seeming like an afterthought. Still, Warner Brothers may be able to find a decent gross for the rom-com Ghosts of Girlfirends Past, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. This is a classic example of counter-programming, and as The Devil Wears Prada showed us in 2006 when it debuted to $27 million against Superman Returns, there’s more than enough room for two big openers in one weekend. Personally, I don’t understand why people like McConaughey so much. He has always come across to me as smarmy, cocky, and dumb. Ladies, if that’s what you’re looking for in a man, then I’ve sadly got little to offer you. Despite my disapproval, though, McConaughey is a proven draw, and Garner makes for a likable romantic lead. Reviews are saying that the fantasy comedy is lacking in originality and humor, which is pretty much consistent with every other romantic comedy released these days, but advertising has been strong, and this provides women with an option other than Wolverine. Popping up in 3,175 theaters, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past could nab $20 million this weekend.

What the heck is Battle For Terra? I’ve seen literally no advertising for this Lionsgate release. With a little cyber-sleuthing, though, I’ve gathered that it’s a 3-D sci-fi animated film about a space war between aliens and humans. Reviews are only alright, there is zero awareness for this title, and similarly themed Monsters Vs. Aliens, even in its sixth week, will outshadow this one for sure. Terra zaps itself into just 1,159 theaters this weekend, and a gross of $3 million should result.

Among holdovers, we’ll probably see some larger-than-usual drops due to Wolverine‘s debut. Last week’s champ, Obsessed, which was destined to be front-loaded anyway, will probably fall by a steep 60% to about $11.5 million. Fighting has a lot working against it. It’s a teen film, which always signifies a big second weekend drop, and it’s an action film, which looks a lot less cool than Wolverine. The Channing Tatum feature might find $4.5 million. It will be interesting to see if Jamie Foxx’s non-sequitur appearance on American Idol this week will soften the second weekend drop for The Soloist. Still, unless there is some sort of divine intervention, The Soloist (with its $60 million pricetag) won’t be considered a hit. Give it $4.7 million as well. Disney’s re-edited version of the popular Planet Earth miniseries, Earth, actually has the best chance for a solid holdover this weekend. Appealing to families and intellectuals alike, Earth has been doing well during the week, and it might find $5.5 million over the weekend frame.

Predicted Top 12 For May 1-3, 2009
1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $96 million
2. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past – $20 million
3. Obsessed – $11.5 million
4. 17 Again – $6 million
5. Earth – $5.5 million
6. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $5.5 million
7. The Soloist – $4.7 million
8. Fighting – $4.5 million
9. State Of Play – $4 million
10. Hannah Montana The Movie – $3.6 million
11. Fast And Furious – $3.3 million
12. Battle For Terra – $3 million

How much do you think Wolverine will earn at the box office this weekend? Can it break the $100 million barrier? Put your predictions in the comments!

Top 5 X-Men Characters That Should Get Their Own "Origins" Film

April 29, 2009

In two short days, Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine claws its way into theaters to (hopefully) start off the Summer movie season with bang. It’s no secret that Fox and Marvel are hoping to capitalize on the pantheon of characters within the X-Men universe, and if Wolverine proves to be successful, there’s no doubt that a 2011 release for X-Men Origins: Gambit is in the cards. Now, I can’t claim to have the read the X-Men comic books, but I definitely grew up with the cartoon, and since its List Wednesday, I thought I’d count down my top five X-Men characters that deserve their own “Origins” film. Read my list, and then weigh in with your thoughts in the comments!

5. Gambit
This wise-cracking, fiery-card-slinging Cajun was easily the coolest character in the world of X-Men. With sarcastic dialogue and explosive action, a Gambit film has the potential to be all kinds of entertaining. The only reason he’s this far down on the list, is because with his introduction in Wolverine, it’s basically a foregone conclusion that the next Origins movie is his.

4. Colossus
Coolest. Power. Ever. Giant. Russian. Covers. Body. In. Steel. Crushes. Anything. On the inside, though, I’m sure he’s really quite gentle, shy, and kind.

3. Rogue
A Rogue movie could be an incredible thing. The only problem is, the X-Men franchise already showed us a lame version of how Rogue developed as a mutant. Anna Paquin’s Rogue has been weak, whiny, unconfident, and just plain boring! I remember the Rogue of the television program was brassy, buxom, self-assured, and she could even fly! I suggest a complete reboot. Forget about teenage Rogue, and bring on the cool, grown up, powerful, raspy-voiced Rogue I know and love!

2. Nightcrawler
The presence of Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United was a major bright spot of the film. Furthermore, the blue teleporter’s interactions with his shape-shifting, villainous mother, Mystique, contained the most fascinating, potent dialogue in the entire movie. A look into Nightcrawler’s childhood could be a great thing to see. How did he discover his teleporting ability? How did he deal with growing up blue? What caused him and his mother to split? I’d be at the theater in a second.

1. Jubilee
Jubilee was never one of the major characters, but she was integral to the 1992 TV series, and I found her in the deleted scenes of X2, so I know producers have at least considered her. Jubilee was a rebellious, immature, rollerblading runaway teenager, who was hiding out in the mall when she was brought to Professor X’s academy for mutants. She could generate and manipulate multi-colored energy bursts and guide them to do pretty much whatever her mind desired. I’m thinking a Jubilee film could be an amazingly snarky, action-packed affair, like an injection of Mean Girls into the X-Men universe. A high school perspective on the mutant world, complete with all the bitchiness, romance, and drama that high school brings, could make for a super cool, super exciting entry into the X-Men franchise. Think Sky High with edge.

Which X-Men character do you all think deserves their own movie? What order do you predict Fox will roll out these films? And are my hopes for a Jubilee film out of wack? Let me know in the comments! (And really do speak your mind- commenting has been almost non-existent lately! I miss hearing what you all think!)