The Watchers

The Watchers

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Programme 32: Superman Special

The Watchers Film Show: Ep32 Superman Special from The Watchers Film Show on Vimeo.

The Watchers Superman Special is here!

In this programme, we take a look at the Superman movie franchise from Superman: The Motion Picture (1978) to Man Of Steel (2013), giving our thoughts on each classic instalment- and yes, that includes Superman Returns (2006)- and then turning our eyes onto Man Of Steel. But is it a worthy successor to the films that have gone before? You'll have to watch to find out.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Comic Book Movie Round-Up #4: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy

In the last of our comic book movie round-ups (for now, at least), we have all the info on a double-bill of Marvel movies, both of them from Phase 2. So first up...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Provisional Release Date: April 4 2014

What We Know:

Writers Markus and McFeely confirmed before the release of Captain America: The First Avenger that they were working on a sequel to the film.

The title of the Captain America sequel was announced at Comic-Con in July 2012.

Whilst there is no official synopsis yet, it is understood that the film will be a 'political thriller' mostly set in the modern day with elements taken from Ed Brubaker's Winter Soldier comic-book storyline, which sees Captain America's friend Bucky Barnes return from the dead as a brainwashed Russian assassin. As Steve Rogers adjusts to the modern world, he must team up with the Black Widow to deal with a powerful yet covert threat in Washington DC.

Who's In?:

There are a lot of returning characters within this film and several major additions.

Chris Evans will reprise his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America. Evans revealed he signed a six-picture deal with Marvel Studios to play the character.

Sebastian Stan will also reprise his role as Bucky Barnes, the 'Winter Soldier' of the subtitle. 

Scarlett Johansson will play Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow for the third time (after appearances in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers) whilst Samuel L. Jackson returns for his sixth outing as Nick Fury. Cobie Smulders and Max Hernandez will appear as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Maria Hill and Jasper Sitwell respectively, reprising their roles from The Avengers.

Hayley Atwell, who played Peggy Carter, will appear in the sequel (it is expected that these will be mostly via flashbacks) and will also appear in a short film detailing what happened to her character after the events of The First Avenger

Toby Jones will also reprise his role as Dr. Armin Zola from the first film, as will Dominic Cooper who played the young Howard Stark. 

Garry Shandling will appear as Senator Stern, the character he played in Iron Man 2.

As for new characters, Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Gangster Squad) will be playing The Falcon, an ally of Captain America.

Frank Grillo will play the role of Crossbones, one of the movie's villains, and Georges St-Pierre will play another villain named Georges Batroc

Emily VanCamp has been cast as a character only known as 'Agent 13'

Robert Redford has been cast as Alexander Pierce, a senior agent within S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury's superior. Alan Dale, Chin Han, Bernard White and Jenny Agutter will play a team who will support Pierce, with Agutter once again playing a member of the World Security Council (as she did in The Avengers).

Anything Else?

Directors George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) and F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen) were considered for the film before the Russo brothers were chosen.

Anna Kendrick, Imogen Poots and Felicity Jones were all linked to an unspecified role, as were Jessica Brown Findlay, Emilia Clarke, Teresa Palmer and Alison Brie. It is thought this role would have been Sharon Carter, Peggy's niece and Captain America's new love interest. It is uncertain whether this character will appear in the film.

Hugo Weaving announced that reprising his role as Red Skull was 'not something [he] would want to do again' despite having signed a multi-picture deal. Weaving stated "I did sign up for a number of pictures and I suppose, contractually, I would be obliged to, if they forced me to, but they wouldn't want to force someone to do it, if they didn't want to."

Production officially began on April 1, filming in Los Angeles with this initial picture officially released by Marvel Studios:

Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Max Hernandez were seen filming an action sequence in Los Angeles:

Filming also took place in Washington DC on May 13 2013, with filming done at the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and the National Mall. Filming started in Cleveland, Ohio on May 17 and is scheduled to last until mid-June.

As part of the Phase Two preview, Marvel released several pieces of concept art for the film:

Captain America vs The Winter Soldier
Concept art for The Falcon

And a picture of Sebastian Stan in full 'Winter Soldier' gear has been released:

The short featuring Hayley Atwell as Peggy will be shown at the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2013.


So that's the lowdown on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So now, here's what we know about the penultimate film in Marvel's Phase Two (which will then lead into The Avengers 2):

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn, Chris McCoy and Nicole Perlman
Provisional Release Date: August 1 2014

What We Know:

The project was announced at Comic-Con in July 2012, along with the Ant-Man film and the sequel titles to Thor and Captain America.

There are several characters who fall under the banner of Guardians Of The Galaxy but so far the characters Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon are confirmed to appear in the film.

From l-r: Drax The Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon and Gamora
One potential plot that was revealed in August 2012, stated that the film was about 'a US pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants', which suggests that the character Major Victory would be involved. This has not been confirmed as yet.

James Gunn was officially confirmed as the director in September 2012. Directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden were rumoured to be in the running but ruled themselves out. Yes Man director Peyton Reed was apparently a back-up choice.

Who's In?:

Chris Pratt (Moneyball, Zero Dark Thirty) will play the lead role of Star-Lord, also known as Peter Quill. He is a gunslinging space-ranger, a joker but also a hero.

WWE star Dave Bautista will play Drax The Destroyer who is a human who was rescued from death and resurrected as a green-skinned berserker with a mission to kill. 

Michael Rooker is playing Yondu, a game hunter of a primitive tribe native to Centauri IV and one of the four founding heroes.

Star Trek actress Zoe Saldana will play Gamora, a green-skinned humanoid and last survivor of her race, trained to be The Most Dangerous Woman In The Universe by Thanos.

Lee Pace has been cast as an as-yet-unnamed villain, who could be an alien Kree warrior named Ronan The Accuser or as The Collector.

British actor Enzo Cilenti has been cast but there is no confirmation about who he will be playing. Similarly, British actress Ophelia Lovibond has been cast, rumoured to be playing a servant of The Collector although this has yet to be confirmed.

John C. Reilly will play the role of Rhomann Dey, a human agent who deals directly between the Guardians and Earth, reporting to S.H.I.E.L.D. about their movements. Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman and Ken Watanabe have been linked with a separate character who plays Dey's peer.

Glenn Close is attached to play a senior figure in Nova Corps, an intergalactic police force with military origins. Close's character is reported to be a counterpart to Nick Fury.

Former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan has been cast as one of the film's major villains.

Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro has been cast to appear in the film, with the option of further appearances. It is expected that he will play a lead character but, as with much to do with this film, a lot has yet to be confirmed.

Anything Else?

Joel Edgerton, Garrett Hedlund, Jack Huston, James Marsden, Lee Pace, Eddie Redmayne, Jim Sturgess, Zachary Levi, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Rosenbaum, John Krasinski, Wes Bentley, Cam Gigandet and Sullivan Stapleton were all reported to be auditioning for the role of Star-Lord.

Actors Isaiah Mustafa, Brian Patrick Wade and Jason Momoa were said to be in the running for the role of Drax The Destroyer before Bautista was cast.

It was reported that Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler were being lined up for roles (possibly as the voices of Rocket Raccoon or Groot), but Carrey has quashed the rumours and nothing more has been said about Sandler's involvement.

The villain Thanos, glimpsed briefly at the end of The Avengers, will be appearing in Guardians Of The Galaxy (as well as The Avengers 2) but it is uncertain whether he will be a major antagonist or not.

As part of their Phase Two preview, several pieces of concept art have been released for the film:

Production has already started with shooting scheduled to start sometime in June 2013.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Comic Book Movie Round-Up #3: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

So, the third of our comic book movie round-ups is for the sequel to the highest-grossing movie reboot of all time (to date). It is...

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner from a story by James Vanderbilt
Provisional Release Date: April 18 2014 (UK); May 2 2014 (USA)

What We Know:

It was announced on July 5 2012 that The Amazing Spider-Man was the first in a new movie trilogy which would explore how Peter Parker's journey was 'shaped by the disappearance of his parents'.

The official synopsis for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released on February 6 2013:

"In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy - between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can't come quickly enough. Peter hasn't forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen's father to protect her by staying away - but that's a promise he just can't keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past."

Who's In?:

Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spiderman), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacey) and Sally Field (Aunt May) will all reprise their original roles from The Amazing Spider-Man, along with Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben) who confirmed his return in December 2012.

New cast members for this instalment include- as stated above- Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx who is playing Electro and Dane DeHaan (Lawless, The Place Beyond The Fines) as Harry Osborn.

The Descendants actress Shailene Woodley will appear in the film as Mary Jane Watson.

Another Oscar-winning actor, Chris Cooper, has been cast as Norman Osborn. Whether he will make the transition to the Green Goblin is unclear.

Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) will also appear as The Rhino, another of Spider-Man's comic-book adversaries

The Office actor BJ Novak will appear as an Oscorp employee whilst Colm Feore (Thor, Chicago) and Felicity Jones (The Tempest, Like Crazy) are also rumoured to appear in as-yet unspecified roles.

Marton Csokas (The Lord Of The Rings) has been cast. IMDb has him listed as Dr. Kafka which, in the comic-books, is a female character and founder of the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. It has not been officially confirmed who Csokas is playing.

Anything Else?

Sam Claflin (Snow White And The Huntsman), Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) and Douglas Booth (Christopher And His Kind) all screentested for the role of Harry Osborn before Dane DeHaan was confimed in the role in December 2012.

Writers Kurtzman and Orci have defended the use of multiple villains in the film, claiming that all are 'essential' to the film's plot. One of the main problems of Raimi's Spider-Man 3 was too many villains, not enough time. So long as they can be balanced and well-served by the script, I don't see a problem. However if they're just there 'just because' it's not going to work. We'll have to see what happens.

This will be the first Spider-Man film to be filmed entirely in New York State.

Filming started on February 4, 2013 (shooting on film rather than on digital) and several shots have been released, including those below:

Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn
Spider-Man in action

Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) meets Mary Jane Watson (Shailene Woodley)

Paul Giamatti as The Rhino

Jamie Foxx as Electro
Spider-Man's new suit
Several set photos that have emerged point to a major spoiler for the film's plot. Please click here to be redirected if you want to find out what it is.

Sony have recently denied rumours that they would sell the rights to the Spider-Man movie franchise to Marvel Studios; Sony co-chair Amy Pascal was quoted as saying it would 'never ever ever' happen. Spider-Man is the only Marvel creation whose movie rights are owned by Sony, so I can't see them wanting to relinquish them any time soon.

Footage from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be shown at this year's San Diego Comic-Con International in July.