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San Diego Comic-Con 2014

Check out all of the news right from the show floor!

Review: Hercules

The Rock steps into the Sandals of a demi-god

Lucy

Scarlett Johannson stars in the sci-fi action flick from Luc Besson

Magic in the Moonlight

Find out if Woody Allen's latest film is a hit or a miss!

DC Comics TV Previews!

Check out trailers from Gotham, The Flash, and Arrow: Season 3

7/30/2014

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Bradley Cooper


It's hard to imagine that this run of Marvel Studios dominance has only been going on for six years. Think about that for a moment. In that short amount of time they have completely revolutionized the way Hollywood works, and established comic book movies as the new standard by which blockbusters are measured. But in 2008 when this all began with Iron Man, the characters Marvel still held the rights to weren't that big of a deal. Certainly they weren't on the level of Spider-Man or the X-men. Clearly, that has changed in the years since but Marvel's shining achievement may be what they have been able to accomplish with Guardians of the Galaxy, an odd assortment of unknown heroes that may be poised to overtake The Avengers as today's most popular super-team.

One of the great things about Marvel's films is their combination of action, operatic drama, and humor, but Guardians of the Galaxy is the first that leans heaviest on laughs; fitting for the offbeat mind of writer/director James Gunn. Gunn, who has ventured into the world of superheroes before with The Specials and Super, has done what many thought would be extremely difficult if not impossible; expand the Marvel universe into the far reaches of space while still making it feel cohesive as ever. With its quirky humor, weirdly lovable characters, and eclectic soundtrack, there is no other Marvel film quite like Guardians of the Galaxy. Once that may have seemed like a reason for worry, but it turns out to be a very good thing.

With a tone set somewhere between Star Wars and Joss Whedon's Firefly, the film begins in 1988 when a young Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) witnesses the death of his mother, and fleeing to get distance from the emotional pain is suddenly abducted by a space ship. Now older and going by the ridiculous name of Star-Lord, Quill has been working alongside his abductors, a group of intergalactic scavengers led by Yondu (Michael Rooker). Well, he had been working with them before betraying them to collect the reward on a mysterious McGuffin orb that has attracted the attention of some unsavory folks.

One of those folks is the green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who has also betrayed her family by turning her back on half-sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) and their fanatical employer, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Ronan is willing to tear the universe to shreds in order to find the orb and appease his boss, the mad villain Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin), who happens to be Gamora's "father". As if that wasn't bad enough, Yondu has put a bounty on Yondu's head, which forces a disastrous encounter with gun-obsessed raccoon Rocket and walking tree creature Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel). Captured by the universal police force known as the Nova Corps (with John C. Reilly and Glenn Close turning in memorable performances), they are thrown into a space prison where they crash headlong into inmate Drax the Destroyer (WWE superstar Dave Bautista), an alien fueled by rage for Ronan and Thanos.

So what you have is a seemingly incompatible, rag-tag group of loners forced together by circumstance and mutual enemies, and if that sounds like The Avengers and Star Wars all rolled into one then you're right. Clearly both were influences in some manner but Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman give the film its own signature voice to stand out from the pack. Bruce Banner may call the Avengers a "ticking time bomb" but the Guardians are that on a galactic level, and part of the fun is how these characters' personalities hilariously clash as they rocket from one breakneck battle to the next. The laughs and action never slow down for a moment and what is a two-hour film feels like half that by the time it's over.

There are a lot of balls in the air for Gunn to juggle and while the plot is a bit messy he skillfully steers his first major blockbuster effort. Each of the Guardians get their moment to shine, but a superstar has truly been made in Chris Pratt, the funnyman who was probably the least likely yet the most perfect choice to play the irreverent Star-Lord. Fans have obviously taken to Rocket and Groot, two extremely popular characters in the comics who are now going to be very popular with moviegoers. You'd be hard-pressed to even know that was Cooper's voice, while Diesel's job is tougher than people will care to admit. Sure, Groot's single "I am Groot" phrasing is repetitive but there is nuance there for those who listen out for it....and it makes for some great gags. His performance will remind many of his soulful voice work on The Iron Giant. Bautista admirably channels much of the rage and aggression he employs in WWE rings to the role of Drax, while Saldana is probably the most experienced at playing grim and bad ass. She kind of gets the short end of the stick character-wise but Gamora is an important character with the closest ties to Thanos, and she should be more important in future movies. Speaking of Thanos, you can sense a straining to fit him into this story simply because he's going to be the big bad guy down the line. It should have been much easier considering his beef with practically every single member of the Guardians, but instead pushing him into the background leads to some awkwardly irrelevant scenes that diminish him as a universal threat. Ronan proves to be a mostly unimpressive villain, too, and his quasi-religious rantings don't hold much weight as a result. And despite a rousing, crowd-pleasing finale full of awesome aerial dogfights and beautifully choreographed fight sequences, the lack of a compelling enemy really hurts.

Fortunately, the team is so engaging and diverse that we just want to hang out with them, anyway. Guardians of the Galaxy takes us to a vibrant, dangerous, and funny corner of the Marvel universe that we've never seen before, and by the time the film comes to an end you'll be eager for a return visit.

 Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Alex Kurtzman Takes Over 'The Mummy' Reboot


Before their supposedly amicable creative split, uber-duo Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman had a number of blockbuster projects cooking. One of those was Universal's planned reboot of The Mummy, part of the studio's plan to revive their entire library of classic movie monsters. With Orci moving on to helm Star Trek 3, and Kurtzman hip-deep in Sony's Spider-Man franchise, it looks like their creative partnership is 100% kaput. Variety reports Kurtzman will direct The Mummy, and there's no mention of Orci's involvement at all.

Joining Kurtzman will be Fast & Furious writing/producing mainstay, Chris Morgan, and as we learned recently it will be their job to create a cohesive universe for all of Universal's cinematic monsters.  It sounds like there will be some tonal similarities to The Mummy movies led by Brendan Fraser, in that it will be an action-adventure with some horror elements. However this one will be set in the modern day rather than the 1920s.

Kurtzman last directed the little-seen and somewhat underrated drama, People Like Us, so this will obviously be quite a step up. The Mummy rises from the tomb on April 22nd 2016.

Domhnall Gleeson Joins 'The Revenant'; Elle Fanning Leads Haifa al-Mansour's 'A Storm in the Stars'



 Domhnall Gleeson is lining up a damn good list of recent co-stars. He'll be seen later this year opposite Michael Fassbender, Scoot McNairy, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the awesome music comedy, Frank. He's currently shooting Star Wars: Episode VII which stars everybody you loved as a kid plus Oscar Isaac and Lupita Nyong'o. And now he'll be teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy for The Revenant, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's upcoming revenge thriller. Co-starring Will Poulter, the film takes place in the 19th century and follows a frontiersman who seeks revenge on the men who left him for dead after being mauled by a bear. [Variety]

Wadjda director Haifa al-Mansour has cast Elle Fanning as author Mary Shelley in A Storm in the Stars. The film follows  "the tumultuous love affair between dangerously charismatic poet Percy Shelley and the brilliant and beautiful 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft." Filming is set for next year, but before then you can hear Fanning in Laika's The Boxtrolls this fall. [THR]

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Advance Screening



Cowabunga! Wait, do Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even say cowabunga? In any case, we are happy to offer our readers a chance to attend an advance screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, starring Megan Fox and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The screening will take place on Wednesday, August 6th at 7:30pm at Regal Majestic in Silver Spring.

To qualify you must first be a fan of Punch Drunk Critics on Facebook,so if you haven't "Liked" us yet please go there and do so now. To enter simply email punchdrunktrav@gmail.com with your full name and favorite TMNT character. The contest runs until Saturday, August 2nd, and winners will be contacted then with a unique code good for one Admit-Two pass to the screening.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens August 8th. 

Jamie Foxx to Play Mike Tyson in Biopic from 'The Wolf of Wall Street' Writer


It's kind of amazing that Mike Tyson has remained relevant for as long as he has. His once-legendary boxing career went up in flames years ago and his personal life has been marred by one scandal after another. The truth is Tyson has done a remarkable job at reinvention, partially due to appearance in The Hangover movies and various documentaries done on his life. His is a story perfectly suited for the big screen, and now it's happening, unbelievably with Jamie Foxx set to play the former World Heavyweight champ.

Variety reports Foxx will lace up the gloves as Tyson in a film written by Terence Winter, the scribe behind The Wolf of Wall Street and HBO's The Sopranos. So there's already a lot of heavyweight talent behind this one, although it's unknown at this point which part of Tyson's life will be explored. He grew up in Brooklyn and lived a life of crime and violence until he was placed in the care of trainer Cus D'Amato, who taught him to channel that rage in the squared circle. Of course it didn't always work and Tyson was known to have a violent temper in and out of the ring. Everybody remembers the infamous ear biting incident against Evander Holyfield, but Tyson was also accused of domestic abuse by his first wife and went to jail for rape in 1991.

This wouldn't be Foxx's first time in a movie based on the sweet science of boxing, either. He co-starred opposite Will Smith in Ali, playing corner man Drew Bundini Brown. Whatever period of Tyson's life they choose to look at it should prove to be exciting. Right now there isn't a major studio involved but given HBO's association with Winter and past interest in Tyson's story (they did a movie titled Tyson and aired his one-man show, not to mention his Entourage appearances) they could be a possible destination.

New Trailer for Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey


How is it that the guy who made the defining comic book trilogy of all-time has never been to Comic-Con? That was the case for Christopher Nolan until this past weekend when he turned up at the event to help Paramount promote Interstellar, his ambitious sci-fi film led by Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, and many more. And part of the presentation included a revealing new trailer which has now emerged online.

This footage is "revealing" only in the Nolan sense of the word, meaning that it gives away just enough without actually telling you much of anything. What it does is establish a grandiose tone, very much in the vein of Terrence Malick, while keeping the central mystery under wraps. McConaughey plays an engineer who joins a mission into space in hopes of finding a means to save humanity, and to do it they will use the power of a newly-discovered wormhole.

Interstellar opens November 6th.


Interstellar (2014) - Official Trailer #3 [VO-HD] by Eklecty-City.fr

'Guardians of the Galaxy' Post-Credits Scene Leaked Online


Okay, so for those who caught a screening of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy you may have noticed something was missing. The usual post-credits scene we've all grown accustomed to simply wasn't there with director James Gunn stating it would only be available to those who see the movie beginning August 1st. Understandable if annoying, but it turns out you won't have to wait until then to check it out because the scene has been leaked online.

I won't spoil what happens except to say it involves The Collector (Benicio Del Toro, also seen in the post-credits scene in Thor: The Dark World) and a long-standing Marvel character who has been rumored about a lot lately. Interested in checking it out? Cool, then you'll have to go here to do it. Enjoy.

Keep an eye out for my Guardians of the Galaxy review coming later tonight.

Wesley Snipes is Hoping for 'Blade 4'; Talks 'Blade' Influences on 'The Avengers'


Whatever one thinks about Wesley Snipes after all his legal troubles, there's no denying the impact he's had on action movies. That's a large part of the reason Sly Stallone dialed him up to be a part of The Expendables 3, and as something of a Snipes super fan I'm happy to see him back. But I'm even happier that Snipes took time to talk with MTV about the influence his Blade movies have had on today's crop of superhero movies, and also his desire to do Blade 4.

As we know, Marvel regained the rights to Blade some time ago, and there have been some rumblings of bringing the vaunted "Daywalker" back in some fashion. When asked about it, Snipes seemed open to it, and rightly noted just how influential the Blade movies were on The Avengers and literally every other comic book movie we're seeing now.

Snipes: "I'd be open to it. I think we've got some stones left unturned and there's some latitude left for us to build on and I'd love to get back in the suit again and do some things I've learned how to do now that I didn't know how to do then. I think we're better at making that kind of a film now. Some of the things we did in the early parts of the franchise were experimental and now they've become customary in a lot of the 'Avengers' films and other comic book adaptations."

Blade pre-dates the first X-men movie by a solid two years and Iron Man by a decade, and the success of it was how they were able to turn a D-list character into a box office champ. That was also during a time when vampires weren't quite the crazy they are now, so at least in my mind the Blade films are some of the most successful of the genre. But if a Blade 4 were going to happen, what would Snipes want to see in it?

Snipes:  "Blade chasing the Twilight kids around? Hey man, there's always a possibility, and I'm open to it. There have been rumors around that we may explore the opportunity, so give me one more shot! I've gotten a little bit better, and I think we can add a little flavor to it."

Let's make that happen, Marvel. 

Iggy Azalea Has a Cameo in 'Fast & Furious 7'


The Fast & Furious movies have a long history of casting musicians either in cameos or lead roles, and as we've seen with Ludacris and Tyrese, sometimes they stick around for awhile. Will that be the case for rapper Iggy Azalea, who Vin Diesel confirmed has a role in Fast & Furious 7? Who knows, and frankly I'm more disturbed that Azalea is being called a hip-hop artist when that thing she does isn't close to hip-hop. That's a discussion for another day and venue, I guess.

Diesel: "Iggy Azaela, I just worked with her about two weeks ago. We casted her in 'Fast & Furious 7'. She has a cameo in 'Fast & Furious 7'."

It wouldn't be surprising if her cameo coincides with the small role for singer Romeo Santos, who joined a few months back. Production on Fast & Furious 7 is wrapped up and ready for release on April 3rd 2015.


Kit Harington and Andy Samberg Serve Up '7 Days in Hell'; Allison Williams is Peter Pan



 Being a part of the HBO family comes with many perks. Not only are you a frequent target for Emmy nominations, but it also leads to some pretty big opportunities outside of the network. And now we're seeing two members of the HBO fam taking on new projects, one that sounds potentially awesome and another that could be disaster in the waiting.

First up, Game of Thrones star Kit Harington will team up with Andy Samberg for the star-studded tennis mockumentary, 7 Days in Hell. Check out the cast being assembled for this one: Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham, Will Forte, Karen Gillan, Howie Mandel, Soledad O’Brien (!!!), Michael Sheen, Mary Steenburgen and Oscar nominee June Squibb. Samberg and Murray Miller developed the story with Miller writing the script, and it follows two fierce tennis rivals during an epic 7-day match at Wimbledon. SNL's Jake Szymanski is directing. [Deadline]

And then there's Allison Williams, who plays vocally-challenged wannabe singer Marnie Michaels on Girls. She'll kind of get her wish in a sense as Williams has agreed to play the boy who wouldn't grow up in NBC's Peter Pan Live. She'll sing and dance alongside Christopher Walken as Captain Hook, and hopefully this won't be as terrible as their live version of The Sound of Music. Ratings be damned, that thing sucked.