Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Warner Bros. to 'Reinvent' Batman Once Again

We’re still more than a year away from the release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises—the film that completes his Batman trilogy—but Warner Bros. has already revealed that they are planning to “reinvent” the character in the fourth film.

Keep in mind, Wortmaniacs, that Warner Bros. last rebooted the character with 2005’s Batman Begins, a film that introduced moviegoers to a more realistic Gotham City after Joel Schumacher turned Tim Burton’s series into a campy, neon-lit, cringe-inducing sideshow.

“We have the third Batman, but then we’ll have to reinvent Batman…Chris Nolan and [producing partner and wife] Emma Thomas will be producing it, so it will be a conversation with them about what the next phase is,” Warner Bros. executive told the Los Angeles Times. Also on the slate is a Justice League film in 2013 in addition to Flash and Wonder Woman solo films.

I’m all for a big-screen Justice League film—especially if Warner Bros. follows Marvel Studios’ example in setting all of the other superhero films in the same universe—but it’s pretty clear that characters like Wonder Woman, Superman, Hawkman and Martian Manhunter wouldn’t make sense in the film world Nolan created. Is Warner Bros. reinventing Batman to somehow distance the character from the realism Nolan has worked so hard to retain through three movies? Is the studio deliberately taking the character back into Schumacher territory?

Furthermore, where does this summer’s Green Lantern stand in all of this? It’s hard to imagine a cinematic Justice League without Hal Jordan among its ranks.

In any event, with Green Lantern making his big screen debut, Wonder Woman returning to TV in the near future and Superman soaring back into theaters next year, it seems as though Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are finally paying attention to the rich array of costumed characters at their disposal (that aren’t Batman). Could a Booster Gold movie trilogy be that far behind? Fingers crossed.

The Dark Knight Rises
is slated for release on July 20, 2012.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chewbacca Set to Appear on the Season Three Finale of 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

Based on all of the familiar faces that keep popping up in Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, that galaxy far, far away might not be as expansive as we once believed. Lucasfilm has revealed that everyone’s favorite loveable Wookiee Chewbacca will appear in the season three finale of The Clone Wars, helping Anakin Skywalker’s padawan Ahsoka Tano escape from the scaly clutches of some Trandoshan hunters on a planetary game preserve.

The series’ supervising director Dave Filoni told Yahoo! Movies that the two-part finale is some of his team’s best work yet, largely due to the involvement of the live-action Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew. The towering actor advised the animators on the movement, posture and mannerisms of the character during the episodes’ production. “We couldn’t have done it without him; it just wouldn’t have been Chewie,” Filoni said.

Having had the chance to meet Mayhew at New York Comic Con back in 2009, I’m glad to see him still involved with the saga. However, Chewbacca’s forced inclusion in Revenge of the Sith was more distracting than anything, and his debut on The Clone Wars seems equally motivated by the desire to sell new Chewbacca merchandise. Star Wars? Driven by toy sales? A shocking revelation, I know.

The season three finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs April 1 at 8 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Watch a brief clip from the episode below.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amy Adams Is Lois Lane

Wow, what an alliterative casting announcement!

Amy Adams (The Fighter) has been cast as crack Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane in Superman: Man of Steel, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have revealed. Adams stars opposite Henry Cavill in Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder’s anticipated reboot of the Superman movie franchise.

It’s interesting that Warner Bros. has gone with a redhead to play Kal-El’s iconic raven-haired love interest, but, as noted by Snyder in a statement, Adams “has the talent to capture all of the qualities we love about Lois: smart, tough, funny, warm, ambitious and, of course, beautiful.”

Can’t argue with him there. For more on this huge casting news, visit The Hollywood Reporter.

Zack Snyder Describes His 'Realistic' Take on Superman

Based on his hyper-stylized previous films—Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen and the just-released Sucker Punch—Zack Snyder doesn’t seem all that interested in realism, but the director affirmed in a recent interview with io9 that his forthcoming Superman reboot will be “the most realistic Superman movie ever made.”

So I take it the Man of Steel won’t be flying around the world to turn back time or flinging cellophane “S” emblems at the bad guys, will he?

Snyder explained, “It takes place in the real world much more than [my previous films]... I mean, I’ve just never had the subject matter that needed that, you know what I mean? Like everything I’ve done up to this point really has the benefit of existing in a stylized world. It’s fun for me that the most realistic movie, the movie that I’d say I'm making in the most realistic way of any movie I've ever done is a movie called Superman! That's kinda fun!”

Interesting. While one might assume based on this statement that the next Superman film will be a dark and gritty Batman Begins-esque reimagining of the Last Son of Krypton, Snyder clarifies that this isn’t the case.

I wouldn’t say, “Oh, that’s what Chris did with Batman…”, but I’m just saying that makes sense to me for the character. Because I’d say that the thing that makes him real, and the thing that makes Superman awesome, is if you feel like he's real, what makes him real is that he exists in a world that you can say, “Oh yeah, I’ve been to that grocery store, I’ve been to that.”

Honestly, I think Superman is a comic book character that would work quite well in a stylized world, but we’ll see what Snyder has in store.

Speaking of Snyder, I’ll be seeing Sucker Punch later tonight. To find out what I thought of the movie, follow me on Twitter.

New 'Captain America' Trailer Wins the Internet

Have you seen the new trailer for Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger? Well, yeah, you probably have. No self-respecting nerd could have possibly avoided it this week, and since all card-carrying Wortmaniacs worth their longboxes are prone to trailer dissection, I’m convinced you’ve all seen it more than once.

Since I don’t believe anyone could possibly have too much of a good thing, here’s the trailer once again. Initially, I was worried about Steve Rogers’ transition to the screen, but based on this footage, director Joe Johnston seems to have the right idea.

Captain America: The First Avenger—starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving and Tommy Lee Jones—hits theaters on July 22.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Principal Photography Begins on 'The Hobbit'

Be excited, J.R.R. Tolkienites! Warner Bros./New Line Cinema and MGM Studios have announced that principal photography has officially begun on The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s highly anticipated two-film prequel to his Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Furthermore, as I learned on /Film, Jackson will be keeping fans updated throughout the production with an official Facebook page, featuring news and photos from the set (including the one posted above). Check out and “Like” this page on Facebook by clicking here.

In other Lord of the Rings news, we’re getting a monstrous Blu-ray boxed set of the Extended Edition trilogy on June 28. For more on that, head over to Topless Robot.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Darren Aronofsky Leaves 'Wolverine' Sequel

And things were looking so good for The Wolverine, Fox’s sequel to its 2009 suckfect X-Men Origins: Wolverine. With star Hugh Jackman’s admission that its predecessor didn’t live up to its potential and the attachment of celebrated director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan), it seemed as though fans would finally be getting a proper solo film outing for their favorite cantankerous clawed Canuck. Well, those same fans were probably none too happy that Aronofsky has left the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of The Wolverine would keep me out of the country for almost a year,” Aronofsky said in a joint statement with Fox. “I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again.”

And what did Fox have to say about Aronofksy’s departure?

“Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making The Wolverine,” the studio affirmed. “We will regroup and move forward aggressively.”

The thing is, as the studio has proved with its last two X-Men films (the jury’s still out on the upcoming X-Men: First Class), it’s great at “aggressively” moving forward…in the wrong direction.

'Entertainment Weekly' Unveils First Look at Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman

Zoinks. Earlier this week, Entertainment Weekly unveiled this first look at Adrianne Palicki in full Wonder Woman garb for NBC’s reboot of the 1970s series starring Lynda Carter.

According to the accompanying write-up on EW.com, this new look for DC’s iconic Amazon, the costume de-emphasizes the original character patriotism and ramps up “the comic’s Greek mythology.” If David E. Kelley’s pilot is picked up, this series will evidently “offer a serious, non-campy take on the DC Comics character.”

Wait, what? If anything, this PVC costume screams camp, as does the plot that positions Diana as an executive for a company called…wait for it…Themyscira Industries. Her adversary is played by Elizabeth Hurley, who heads a pharmaceutical company producing a drug that makes people stronger. Serious.

I get that the showrunners are trying to follow Jim Lee’s recent changes to Wonder Woman’s traditional swimsuit-inspired garb, but I don’t want to live in a world where Wonder Woman wears pants.

More like this, NBC:

Monday, March 14, 2011

'SNL' Spoofs Julie Taymor's 'Spider-Man' Departure

Mercifully, Julie Taymor has been ousted from the troubled Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. This week, Saturday Night Live gave Ms. Taymor a proper send-off on “Weekend Update.”

Watch the clip below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Has Julie Taymor Left ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark?’

Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor has evidently exited Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as producers plan to shut down the seemingly cursed musical for drastic retooling, the New York Daily News reports.

“Taymor is out. She’s left the building” an anonymous source told the newspaper. At this time, it’s not yet clear whether she quit or was fired. In any event, she’ll finally have the free time to read some of those Spider-Man comic books she’s heard so much about.

While the show was scheduled to open on March 15, its producers’ plan to overhaul the $65 million production will push the opening back yet again to June.

It looks like the people behind Turn Off the Dark are determined to salvage whatever they can. But is this Broadway debacle really worth saving? After all of the cast injuries, technical issues and brutal critical thrashings, does anyone honestly think there is anything remotely redeeming about this show save for its increasingly abundant trainwreck appeal?

By my estimation, attempting to resurrect this disaster doesn’t make a lick of Spidey sense.

For the full story, click here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Diane Lane Is Martha Kent in 'Superman' Reboot

The undeniable hotness of Diane Lane notwithstanding, it’s easy to get excited about Warner Bros.’ announcement that the Academy Award-nominated actress will be playing Martha Kent in Zack Snyder’s 2012 reboot of the Superman movie franchise.

As reported by MTV Splash Page, Snyder stated, “This was a very important piece of casting for me because Martha Kent is the woman whose values helped shape the man we know as Superman. We are thrilled to have Diane in the role because she can convey the wisdom and the wonder of a woman whose son has powers beyond her imagination.”

In other news, Viggo Mortensen is reportedly being considered to play the villain in the film, but it’s unclear at this point just who that adversary will be. I’m hoping that it’s anyone but Kryptonian criminal General Zod, as the main problem with Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was that it was essentially a retread of Richard Donner’s 1978 classic. We saw Zod in Superman II, so why not give us someone we haven’t seen before? Brainiac, Darkseid, Metallo and Parasite are all excellent candidates. Anyway, for more on that story, visit The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First 3D 'Star Wars' Film Gets a Release Date

Via StarWars.com, Lucasfilm Ltd. And Twentieth Century Fox have issued an official theatrical release date for the first installment of the 3D Star Wars saga: February 10, 2012.

Unfortunately, the first Star Wars film to make the jump to the third dimension is The Phantom Menace. So, in this case, the extra “D” also stands for disappointment.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Will Anne Hathaway Become Catwoman in 'The Dark Knight Rises?'

If the thought of seeing Anne Hathaway in skintight leather and/or latex excites you, I’ve got some great news.

Although we’ve known for several weeks that the Academy Award-nominated actress and 2011 Oscar host would be playing Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, fans have been speculating whether Ms. Kyle’s seductive, pointy-eared alter ego would also be appearing in the anticipated Dark Knight sequel. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Hathaway provided some degree of clarity when she described her role in the 2012 film as “Catwoman,” never once specifying that she’ll only be playing Selina. At one point, she even screamed “I’m Catwoman!” at the top of her lungs.

It’s possible that she’s merely simplifying things and we’re all just looking far too deeply into her choice of words. After all, it’s gotta be a lot more fun for her to tell people that she’s playing Catwoman as opposed to some cat lover named Selina. Having said that, this is still encouraging news.

Cinema Blend has the full story.

I'd Buy That for a Dollar!

So, it looks like a passionate group of RoboCop fans in Detroit wants the city to construct a statue of the cyborg crime-fighter. Why, you ask? Well, why not? The 1987 original is a damn fine film, and Officer Alex Murphy’s triumphant quest to clean up the streets of the Motor City is more than worthy of a tribute of this kind.

Don’t believe me? Check out this convincing Funny or Die video starring RoboCop himself, Peter Weller.