Monday, August 26, 2013

Casting Rumor Breakdown

First off, apologies to my (few but awesome) readers for my lengthy hiatus from the blog. Life is moving quickly as I'll be starting a new job soon. Packing isn't fun, and it's made even harder when I just plain stop, and end up watching the original Star Wars trilogy with my wife instead. (I never noticed in the late 90's re-edited versions, they completely changed how the Sarlaac pit looks. Totally unnecessary, but I digress...)

I'd like to take some time to address some of the confirmed and rumored casting calls for some upcoming movies, mainly super hero related. Read on, because I have a lot to say about this whole Ben Affleck thing, but I'll save that for last.

RUMOR: Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic in the upcoming reboot of "Fantastic Four"

Ever heard of this guy? Yeah, me neither. But I like to keep an open mind, so I did some research. This kid's film history is pretty bland. From "Project X" to the remake of "Footloose", I'm pretty unimpressed by that track record. That said, he's pretty young, so things could change, but for the moment, pretty meh.

As far as matching the character, I call folly. Just from the picture below, and if you're a comic book fan you'll know, Mr. Fantastic is older. The reboot is looking more and more like a younger version of the Fantastic Four, which I'm not a huge fan of. Give this guy 10 or 15 years and he may be able to pull off the look, but right now....eeeeeh.

RUMOR: Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in the same "Fantastic Four" reboot

HOLD UP. I apologize in advance, because I am not in any way shape or form trying to make this a racist thing, but Johnny Storm is WHITE! It's a huge part of the comics that his sister is Sue Storm. So in order for this casting choice to make sense, they'd have to make Sue Storm black as well. AGAIN, NOT BEING RACIST HERE, it just annoys me because then you're completely changing the characters to something totally different. Then don't title it Fantastic Four, because that's not who it'd be about! Jordan was in the recent super hero movie "Chronicle" which did pretty well with it's gritty super hero style, and if they cast it based on that alone, then just make "Chronicle 2" and pick someone actually suited for the role.

Let's flip this around for a moment. What if they made a movie about Luke Cage, but made him a white guy? The dynamic of the character, and even their back story, is forever changed, and fanboys likely will not be happy. I disapprove of this choice.

RUMOR: Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon in "Guardians of the Galaxy"
For those of you who may be unaware of the Guardians of the Galaxy, (first off, see my Comic-Con news round-up) long story short: they're the Space-Avengers. Rocket Raccoon is pretty much the smart-mouthed, machine gun wielding mascot. Choice of voice actor may not be critical, but the director has stressed that for the success of this movie, Rocket Raccoon has to be done right.

Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, All About Steve) is one of Hollywood's most recent prettyboy actors. So for him to take an off-camera role is an interesting turn that quite honestly would boost my respect for him as an actor. On that note, let's take a look at his chops as a voice actor. If I heard him talking on TV while I wasn't looking, I may be able to pick out who it is, but that's just because I've watched The Hangover a lot. Short of that, he doesn't have tons of experience with off-camera acting, so the casting here seems like more of a "name-drop" scenario. I'll reserve final judgement until I can hear it, but I think he'll do alright. Not great, just alright.

CONFIRMED: Vin Diesel as Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy"

Next to Rocket Raccoon in the Space-Avengers, we have Groot, the living tree. Basically an Ent (from Lord of the Rings) if they were aliens. So as a gigantic living tree, I approve of this choice of voice actor. Using the example that I did with Bradley Cooper, if I were listening but not watching TV, I'd easily be able to pick out Vin's voice. He's got a unique, full-bodied deep voice that will lend itself very well to Groot. Not much else to say about it, I think he'll do well.

CONFIRMED: Ben Affleck as Batman in "Man of Steel 2" (or Batman vs Superman)
Alright, buckle up, because I'm about to go on a roller-coaster rant here. I promise I'll try for a few positive remarks in there, but overall, I'm feeling extremely negative about this casting choice.

Director Zack Snyder did a wonderful job with the recent Superman reboot, "Man of Steel." It took the long-standing boy scout in a new, and awesome darker direction. Because this movie is effectively considered the "Iron Man" of the DC Comics movie universe (it's kind of the kick off of the eventual Justice League movie), I'm already happy that they did not have Christian Bale reprise his role as the Dark Knight. That said, I was much more excited about the previously rumored actors for Batman before they announced Ben Affleck.

A lot of people/fanboys have been saying, "Everyone said the same thing about Heath Ledger, and look how well that was in The Dark Knight!" This is a fair point. There was an equally strong backlash when he was announced as Joker. But on the flip side, Heath Ledger wasn't in Daredevil. I understand that Ben Affleck didn't write or direct "Daredevil", so most people are saying the movie was "not his fault." But I thoroughly believe that a good actor can thrive despite poor writing. Affleck did not do this in Daredevil. People say he's such a good actor, but I feel like whatever he's in, he tries too hard. This is an extreme, but take for example "Good Will Hunting". Matt Damon and Robin Williams were amazing, but both Ben and Casey Affleck were very unbelievable to me. We get it, you're from New York, or Boston, or wherever. If that's your only schtick, move along and make way for better actors.

Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Much Ado About Nothing) had this to say about himself, and I feel it applies well to Ben Affleck as well: "I feel I'd make a great Bruce Wayne, [but a] terrible Batman." Anyone can play the billionaire playboy, but not everyone has the chops to pull off Bruce Wayne's darker half. To quote Star Wars: I have a bad feeling about this.

RUMOR: Bryan Cranston cast as Lex Luthor in "Man of Steel 2

I'm going to begin with a startling confession: I'm one of the few people in America who doesn't religiously watch Breaking Bad. But before you string me up and drag me through the streets, let me say this much: I've seen enough of his character to know that he can move beyond being "Malcolm in the Middle's dad" and be a hard-ass bald guy, which in essence is all that Lex Luthor is. The most recent casting of Luthor, portrayed by Kevin Spacey, did an alright job as a pissed off bald guy. But the real trick to portraying Lex Luthor is not just being angry and having hair issues, he has to be the ultimate bad human being.

The beauty of the Lex Luthor vs Superman rivalry is that Lex is the ultimate normal human being. Just like the Joker vs Batman: Joker is nothing but color and energy, and Batman is dark, gray and black, and brooding. As long as Cranston can pull off the "ultimate normal guy" aspect of it, while throwing in some unbridled rage, he'll do just fine. Hope he loses the goatee though, or it'll just be Superman vs Breaking Bad.

CONFIRMED: James Spader as Ultron in "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
With voice actors, it can be pretty hit-or-miss when casts are announced. As discussed above, some actors such as Bradley Cooper may not be that distinguishable, whereas others like Vin Diesel may do a more remarkable or memorable job. James Spader (Boston Legal, The Office, Lincoln) to me falls in the latter category. I feel his voice is distinguishable enough that no matter who he voiced, he'll at least give the character more...well, more character. 

My first encounter with Spader was on one of the later seasons of The Office. It took me a while to warm up to his abrasive character type, but his smooth, quietly powerful voice was an interestingly entertaining part of his character. The character he'll be playing (for those of you who may not know), Ultron, is a killer robot with an artificial intelligence that has the ability to evolve itself to overcome his opponents. The character is smart, cold, and calculated. I haven't had an enormous amount of exposure to Spader's acting, but I'm not too worried about this choice. I'm kind of biased since it is a Joss Whedon movie, but either way, not a bad choice.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Special part 2

Apologies for the delay, folks. I've been a wee bit busy lately. But today we'll be finishing up the post-Comic-Con roundup! So let's hop to it.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director Bryan Singer (director of the first X-Men movie) returns for this mash-up of both the original 3 X-Men movies, and X-Men: First Class. The time-travel plot matches young and old versions of your favorite X-men, and is being compared in scale to that of The Avengers. This movie boasts a very big name cast, with newcomers to the series including Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) meeting up with series vets including Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. We'll have to wait until next summer to see if it can live up to the hype, but so far the teasers have definitely pumped up fans.

My take: I'm very excited to see veteran director Bryan Singer's return to the X-Men series. After he left to pursue other films, the original X-Men movies fell to crap. Hopefully he can return them to their former glory!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Here we go again, the fifth Spider-Man movie in the past 13 years. Marc Webb returns to direct after the successful reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man, this time bringing multiple villains to the table. As of yet, we've seen glimpses of Electro (Jaime Foxx), and slight teases of Rhino (Paul Giamatti), and we've also heard that Green Goblin will appear as well. Comic-Con was the site of the first finished footage of the movie, with a teaser trailer coming soon. The movie will be releasing next summer, along with at least 3 other Marvel Comics movies.

My take: With so many super hero movies coming out next year, it'll be difficult to separate itself from the pack. I was very skeptical about the choice of Jaime Foxx for the villain, but so far it looks pretty good. I am a huge fan of the first Amazing Spider-Man, and have high, but hesitant, hopes for this sequel.


Based on the 2003 Korean film of the same name, Oldboy tells the story of a man who is kidnapped for 15 years and kept in solitary confinement with no knowledge of who his captors are. After he's suddenly released, he begins a vengance-driven quest to find out who captured him, and why. This American remake stars Josh Brolin in the main role, and follows the same plot.

My take: Its a bit soon to remake this movie if you ask me, and it shows that Hollywood is truly out of any and all original ideas. That said, I'm a big fan of Josh Brolin's acting, and given that the original Korean movie was very grotesque in terms of gratuitous nudity and unnecessarily risque scenes, I'm hoping the American version will be toned down a bit.

Kick Ass 2

After the overly-grotesque Kick-Ass movie, the cast returns in this "what if people roamed the streets as 'super-heroes'" plot. In the sequel, the cast expands exponentially, including Jim Carey (The Mask, Truman Show), and Donald Faison (Scrubs) leading to another gory, over-the-top mess.

My take: I know the series is based off of comic books, but I still feel that they're trying a little too hard. With the main villain in this sequel being a gimp-costumed character calling himself "The Mother-F***er", I feel that the movie is probably going to try way too hard, and result in a sub-par action movie.


The unkillable gigantic lizard is back with yet another reboot from yet another director. Don't worry though, we'll be steering clear of the Americanized, Matthew Broderick-starred crap fest. This Godzilla remake is an all-out homage to the original, but with the benefit of cutting-edge, modern day special effects. As of the time of this writing, they have yet to reveal the look of the new monster, which has been described as a mix between the classic Godzilla, and the 2000 American version.

My take: I'm very excited to see what modern technology can do for the iconic monster! Movies like Cloverfield have come close, but I think they can do better without the sickeningly shaky camera. If the poster below gives any indication, Godzilla is going to be gigantic, and I can't wait!


Vin Diesel returns as the futuristic criminal Riddick. Original director David Twohy is back as writer and director. If you haven't seen "Pitch Black" or "Chronicles of Riddick", you probably aren't aware of this movie, but the stealthy action is nevertheless a fun time for those of you who enjoy futuristic action.

My take: I'm not the biggest Riddick fan, the first movie is a little too "survival-horror"ish for me. But those who like them seem to love them. Vin Diesel has a lot of talent, so I may give it a shot, but for the moment, I'm a bit meh.


Lego: The Movie

Well, it was inevitable. Every childhood toy lately seems to be getting the Hollywood reacharound, and Lego is no exception. (If you don't believe me, keep your eyes out for the incoming Stretch Armstrong and Max Steel movies) The good news is that with a huge cast (Channing Tatum, Cobie Smulders, Jonah Hill, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks), and seemingly endless Lego cameos (including Ninja Turtles, Batman, Wonder Woman, basketball stars, and many more), this movie aims to draw in adults and children alike.

My take: Frankly, I can't wait! The trailer (if you haven't seen it yet, check it out here) looks hilarious, and the star-studded cast of actors who have proven their mettle in voice acting definitely won't disappoint!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Rounding out the Comic-Con preview-palooza, we have the sequel to 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." The series takes a much more realistic approach than the 70's movies, or even the 2001 Mark Whalberg flop. Gary Oldman leads the cast as humanity deals with the aftermath of the ape plague.

My take: ....zzzzzz....wuh? Oh right. This series again. Personally I say pass, simply because I can't take killer monkeys seriously. I may be wrong, but that's just me.