Tagged: christopher nolan

New trailer for “Man of Steel”

Here’s the latest trailer for “Man of Steel.” The Superman reboot, due next summer, is directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch”) and produced by Christopher Nolan (duh). The Nolan involvement, in particular, gives us hope that the latest attempt at forcing a Superman movie will finally prove worthwhile.

Remember, the last decent Superman film (“Superman II”) came out in 1980. Since that movie came out, we have seen two crappy sequels, one so-so sequel/reboot (“Superman Returns”), 14 seasons of live-action television (“Lois and Clark” and “Smallville”) and at least two aborted cinematic nightmares (the Kevin Smith/Tim Burton version and the J.J. Abrams version, both of which would have been SO BAD in SO MANY WAYS, if the scripts are to be believed) (and that doesn’t even account for all of the other Superman film ideas/projects that went nowhere, by the way). That is a long, long, long time without what can be accurately described as a high-quality caliber of live-action Superman.

Superman is an unusually hard nut to crack, at least in terms of superheroes. The character is inherently disinteresting, or at least less interesting than Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the other top-tier comic book heroes. The first “Superman” movie, released in 1978, worked at the time (and still operates as the inspiration for every single superhero origin movie released since), but we have entered an era where that doesn’t cut it. Making a decent comic book movie (see: “The Amazing Spider-Man”) doesn’t rev anyone’s engines or rake in jaw-dropping numbers; you need to deliver something different, something special (“The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “The Avengers”).

Superman, the godlike guy with so many powers it becomes dull and the vanilla main story, is not that intriguing of a central character. But as “Iron Man” proved, the comic book character doesn’t need to be tremendous for the movie to work. All it takes is an interesting take. Nolan seems to have brought his trademark seriousness and realism to this project, and he and Snyder have assembled a stellar cast around Henry Cavill (Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, Michael Shannon is the bad guy, Russell Crowe is his birth father and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play his adopted human parents). I’m still not convinced Superman is an essential big-screen character, but this trailer shows a lot of potential. It looks like it could finally make the strained efforts at rebooting the franchise worthwhile.

Final trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises”

Well, that was unexpected. The third and final trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises” has arrived online earlier than anticipated, giving us our best look yet at what appears to be the basic story of the film.

I say the basic story because we still don’t really know the full plot of the movie, which is quite something. We know that Bane (Tom Hardy) attacks Gotham City and Batman (Christian Bale). We know Batman is badly injured and maybe/probably taken out of the game for a while. We know Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman and we know Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a Gotham police officer. This trailer gives us a much better glimpse of Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt, while also showing a bit more of what happens after Batman faces Bane. (I am oddly pleased this trailer seems to give us an idea of the basic story structure without giving away every major detail. I am also pleased that Christopher Nolan and whomever cut this trailer opted to shy away from the excessive BWAAAAM-ing that has taken over every post-“Inception” trailer.)

What else do we know? We know the city descends into chaos and Batman eventually flies his Chris Nolan-fied Batwing. We know Marion Cotillard is in there, and that is all one can say about that without spoiling anything. We know Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are back. We don’t really know the overall stakes of the story, nor do we know the backstory behind some of the things we saw photographed on-set when the movie was filming. We also don’t know perhaps the biggest lingering issue: We don’t know if Nolan truly wraps up his series — i.e. kills Batman — and leaves the franchise to completely reboot in his wake. July 20 cannot come soon enough.

The trailer is appearing in front of “The Avengers” this weekend, and Warner Bros. began pushing out some so-called “viral” marketing campaign on Monday that revealed images from that trailer. (One enterprising fan even turned these released images into a GIF.) It was expected that the actual trailer wouldn’t appear online until sometime after “The Avengers” came out. The second trailer, last December, hit theaters over the weekend and didn’t officially arrive online until after the weekend was over; as a result, many people watched crappy bootlegged versions that people had recorded in theaters. I’m guessing Warner Bros. wanted to avoid a repeat of that. And if this trailer makes “The Avengers” an afterthought, however briefly, in the week leading up to its release…well, I’m sure Warner Bros. doesn’t mind that.

New trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises”

Well doesn’t this just look awful! The second trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises” has arrived, and it just looks terrible, like the entire movie will be this boring thing filled with bad actors and poor special effects and in no way will it melt all of our faces clean off.

Okay, so I guess it looks like it could be a little bit decent. The first teaser trailer that dropped over the summer didn’t reveal much of anything (because filming was still ongoing) (and, also, because it was a teaser trailer), but this longer look actually shows us the main players, gives us an idea of the film’s themes and conveys the film’s tone and mood.

So what do we know? We know Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman (even if she isn’t referred to as Catwoman in any of the promotional materials) delivers a very Occupy Wall Street-esque line to Christian Bale’s hobbled, older Bruce Wayne. “When it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us,” she purrs. (Purrs? Purrs.) We know Hines Ward can outrun a supervillain’s dastardly plan. (I believe you get extra fantasy points for outrunning a field-leveling earthquake, or whatever that is.) We know Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Matthew Modine are in the movie, however briefly. We know there’s a Batwing.

We know it’s not July 20, 2012. We do not know how in the hell we’re going to wait another seven months for this movie.*


* – We don’t know when we’re going to stop saying “we” for everything, either.

Christopher Nolan wants to follow Batman with Howard Hughes

“The Dark Knight Rises” is set to shoot this year, followed next year by promotion and release and the inevitable online whining when Nolan is snubbed in the Oscar race in early 2013. After that, though, what is the guy gonna do next? Vulture says he’s pivoting back to the real world with a long-delayed Howard Hughes movie.

Nolan had toyed with a Hughes biopic early in the last decade, but as happens every so often in Hollywood, his project was abandoned because of competition: Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” was going to hit theaters first. (Something similar happened with Baz Luhrmann’s Alexander the Great movie, which he abandoned because Oliver Stone’s debacle got into production first.)

Scorsese’s film came out in 2004. Nolan would shoot his movie in late 2012 and release it in 2014, which would put a decade between the two films. Realistically, that should be more than enough time. For one thing, Scorsese’s film (while a pretty good piece of filmmaking, in my opinion) wasn’t really that indelible; it made some money, was up for some Oscars and seems pretty much forgotten. (The most memorable part of the film was Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-winning Kate Hepburn impression.)

But more to the point, Nolan’s movie would also highlight different parts of the guy’s life than we saw in Scorsese’s largely safe biopic. “The Aviator” largely focused on the early years of Hughes’s life, only touching on some of his later oddness; Nolan’s film would be based on Citizen Hughes, by Michael Drosnin, and look more at Hughes’s later, weirder decades.

It’s worth obligatorily mentioning, as seemingly every story will, that “The Aviator” starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes, while Nolan just worked with DiCaprio on “Inception.” After that dream-hopping movie, three “Batman” films and a flick about dueling magicians, this would be Nolan’s first movie set in the (fictional, but otherwise) real world since 2002’s “Insomnia.”


Henry Cavill is Superman

Ladies and gents, we have a Superman. Henry Cavill will play the Man of Steel in the upcoming (and as-yet-untitled) “Superman” film directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan.

My first and only memory of Cavill was his role in 2002’s “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Though just 18, he was decent as the son of Dantès and Mercedes. The British actor is largely known these days for “The Tudors” or to any “Stardust” fanatics out there. Really, Cavill’s biggest claim to fame until this point was a succession of near-misses: The guy was up for the last “Superman” reboot before Bryan Singer came on board and made “Superman Returns,” he was considered for “Casino Royale” before Daniel Craig was cast and he one of the guys Christian Bale beat to get “Batman Begins.” In other words, he’s always been the guy who almost was.

Who did Cavill beat to get the role? Heat Vision says his closest competition was Matthew Goode, who costarred in Snyder’s “Watchmen.” Goode even reportedly backed out of consideration for the title role in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” to stay open for this movie. The other actors considered largely fit what we’ve heard before: Matthew Bomer (also an also-ran who was nearly Superman the last time around), Armie Hammer (the Winklevii in “The Social Network”), Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”) and Colin O’Donaghue (who just costarred in “The Rite”).

An interesting aside to this news: Cavill is the first foreign-born actor to play Clark Kent. Actors born or raised in England now portray Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, the exalted trinity of American superheroes.

It’s hard to have a concrete take on this casting news one way or the other. Cavill has worked for years, but it’s very hard to look at an actor’s past performances and determine if they will be a great Spider-Man or Catwoman. Every Superman prior to this point has been largely unknown (whereas Bale and all of his predecessors in the cowl were established pre-“Batman”). Frankly speaking, the character is pretty damn boring. There’s a reason he’s called the Big Blue Boy Scout. Whereas Batman is all pent-up insanity, and Spider-Man is all neurotic, woe-is-me guilt, Superman is just a dull dullard who Does The Right Thing. I don’t know what is in the script or how much they try and give Clark Kent some layers, so perhaps Cavill winds up giving surprising depth to a new take on the character.

A word of caution about the movie, currently scheduled to come out in December 2012. Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. auditioned actors late last year, and Cavill met Snyder face-to-face for the first time earlier this month when the actor was invited back. The final casting decision was only made last week. There was a report last October when Snyder was hired that they picked him because they needed somebody who could quickly churn out the movie despite a rushed and iffy script. Remember, Warner Bros. has to get a new “Superman” in production this year as part of the lawsuit filed by the heirs to Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. All of that suggests that they are rushing this thing. That doesn’t mean Cavill will be bad, nor does it mean the movie will be a mess; it just means we should temper our expectations with the knowledge that this thing might not be finely-tuned when it flies into theaters.

“The Dark Knight Rises” villains will be Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane

After what seems like eons of speculation, Anne Hathaway has been cast as one of the two female leads in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Warner Bros. announced today. She will play Selina Kyle, while already-announced bad guy Tom Hardy (“Inception”) will be playing Bane.

There are several things worth noting here, but let’s start with the biggest and most obvious: Hathaway’s character, Selina Kyle, is better known as Catwoman. If this were almost any other franchise, the announcement would be cut and dried — so-and-so is playing our villain, the end. But because it’s Christopher Nolan, and everything’s a goddamn puzzle, we have to note that the announcement did not specifically say she will be playing “Catwoman.” It says Selina Kyle, so it’s possible the movie deals with Catwoman’s origins or something, or it’s possible there’s another story-related element here.

And now, the Pfeiffer Family Christmas Card

Catwoman has a famously checkered history on the big screen. Michelle Pfeiffer’s turn in “Batman Returns” was successful, though she did have to pry that role out of Sean Young’s batty hands. In 2004, Halle Berry took on the character in a solo film, and the result is one of the most maligned and abhorred movies in modern cinema. (There was also Eartha Kitt’s portrayal on the old Adam West TV series.) So whether Hathaway starts the movie as the cat burglar (right? I think?) or transforms into it, it’s pretty solid casting in my opinion. She’s an Oscar nominee, fitting the mold for Nolan’s movies, and she’s also shown a willingness in recent years to take on very diverse and interesting roles. (She’s eight years younger than Christian Bale, if such things matter to you.) She’s talented and has made some good movies. And let’s face it: This could have been much, much worse.

The announcement of Tom Hardy as Bane doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Hardy’s fine, he’s a perfectly good talent and a good fit for the vibe of the series. It sounds decent, but what I recall of Bane was that he was this big hulking bruiser who snapped Batman’s spine at one point in the 1990s. I don’t really remember much beyond that. (He was presumably a great evil strategist or something, because he was a comic book villain.) So I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that Nolan is going to slightly reinvent the character and give him some, you know, interesting qualities. (In other words, don’t expect the mute brute from Joel Schumacher’s 1997 disaster, “Batman & Robin.”) I also don’t really think Nolan is going to close out his “Batman” trilogy with the Dark Knight’s spine shattered, so it’ll be interesting to see how Bane’s character is reconfigured as we learn about his eventual role in the film.

The final thing worth noting: The Internet exploded today with the news that Anne Hathaway was cast as Catwoman, but there’s another female lead waiting to be cast. Is it Talia Al Ghul? We’ll see, but the casting of that role could tell us more about this eventual story. Is Selina Kyle a villain in the movie, or is this other character? Which one is the love interest, or is it both? The movie opens July 2012, so you have another 18 months of speculation to enjoy.

(Also, Batman had some thoughts on this news.)

“The Dark Knight Rises” circles some actresses for the two female leads

“The Dark Knight Rises” is inching closer to casting its female leads. According to some wildly differing reports yesterday, Christopher Nolan is either (A) screen testing actresses in the very near future for his third “Batman” movie or (B) has already cast them.

First, from the Hollywood Reporter‘s reliable Heat Vision blog: Over the next two weeks, Nolan is expected to test Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Kate Mara and Charlotte Riley.

Knightley, Hathaway and Biel are all already pretty famous (and Hathaway was thisclose to being in Sam Raimi’s aborted “Spider-Man 4”). Mara has had some small roles in “Brokeback Mountain,” “Shooter,” “Iron Man 2” and “127 Hours,” while her sister Rooney has the lead in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” (Also, her family owns the New York Giants, so that might sway your opinion of her positively or negatively.) Riley is a wild card, as the British actress is mostly known for her turn in “Wuthering Heights” last year — where she acted opposite her fiancée, Tom Hardy, who has already signed on as one of the villains in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Gemma Arteron (“Clash of the Titans,” “Prince of Persia”) is supposed to test, but was just cast in “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.” That might keep her out of this movie, because “Hansel and Gretel” starts filming in March and “Rises” starts shooting in May.

Remember, this movie has two female leads to fill, so it won’t be just one actress getting hired. Heat Vision also again reports that one of the two female leads is a villain and the other is a love interest. Interestingly, they say that one of the roles is Talia — as in Talia Al Ghul, who is the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in “Batman Begins”) and in the comic books was both a love interest and a villain.

So that’s from Heat Vision. We also have this report from Collider, which reports that the casting is already done, and claims to know both of the roles. They cite a source on this, and also note Nolan’s fetish for secrecy, so it’s entirely possible this is bogus. But: They are reporting that Eva Green and Naomi Watts have been cast, and they will be playing Talia Al Ghul and Vicky Vale, respectively. (Vale, remember, was the character played by Kim Basinger in Tim Burton’s first “Batman.”)

Collider does note the Heat Vision report and say it’s possible Green and Watts haven’t been cast, but they do stand by the inclusion of the Talia Al Ghul character in the film. As Heat Vision says, though, Watts can’t meet right now because she’s shooting a movie in Thailand (which would be done in time for her to make this movie, if she were cast), while Green has an Al Pacino movie filming beginning in April (which would mean she probably couldn’t make “Rises”).

The Collider report also has some information about a new Batmobile, costume and Batcave in the new film, though again, grain of salt, et cetera, et cetera.

WHEW. So. Who would be good? Honestly, any of these people. Who cares? Unless you have a knee-jerk aversion to one of them, it’s hard to argue that, you know, Biel or Hathaway or Mara or somebody would be an affront to the franchise (need I remind you that “Batman Begins” had Katie Holmes in it?).

I will say this: The biggest weaknesses of “Batman Begins” were Holmes and the third act structure. Both of those problems were fixed in “The Dark Knight,” particularly with Maggie Gyllenhaal. I know some folks aren’t a fan, for whatever reason, but it was very telling that Nolan went out and got a capital-A Actor for the movie’s love interest when he had the chance to recast it. He did much the same casting villains in his first and second movies. Holmes excepted, Nolan has a rather good eye for casting. Whether he goes with the established quantity of Hathaway or the less-known Riley, all that matters is that Christian Bale improves his Bat-voice this time around.

Anyway, we’re probably going to end up with Taylor Lautner cast in both roles, so it really doesn’t even matter.

PICTURED: None of these folks.

Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” map explains entire movie

If you look at this upside down, it says "SUCK IT BRYAN SINGER"

This map drawn by Christopher Nolan breaks down the dream layers in “Inception,” and surely explains everything for the people who were confused by this film. I have to ask, though, is that still a thing? “Inception” being confusing? It came out in July, and I have to assume anybody who was baffled afterwards either consulted the Internet or had a friend explain it to them. The thing wasn’t actually that confusing, was it? At all? There were different dream levels, time moved differently in them, the end. The whole cross-cutting between the levels might be confusing to the Olds who review films in print, but for generations raised on (CLICHE ALERT) MTV and videogames and whatnot, I dunno, I thought it was pretty clear what was going on and when and how.

Anyway, this map is pretty interesting, if you want to rewatch the movie with a handy reference map. [/Film]

The new “Superman” movie is in Zack Snyder’s hands now

The new “Superman” movie is all Zack Snyder’s now. Christopher Nolan, who with David Goyer pitched the new take on the Man of Steel to Warner Brothers, has handed the project off to him and is focusing on “The Dark Knight Rises” from here on out. This isn’t entirely unexpected, given that he has his own superhero movie to ramp up (the script is done and casting is underway for the next Batman movie).

But this is our first chance to see how Nolan The Producer operates w/r/t Nolan The Auteur. We never really knew if he was going to be the kind of producer who checked in on the project and still worked on it while making his own movies or what. His wife/producing partner, Emma Thomas, said he’s the kind of single-minded guy who can only do one movie at a time, so it’s all Batman for him (and Thomas, and writer David Goyer). Keep that in mind as more and more bits start to leak out about casting, plot details, costumes, et cetera for the new Superman flick.


Christopher Nolan confirms next “Batman” movie will be his last

Following on the heels of Christian Bale’s statement that “The Dark Knight Rises” will mark his final stint as Batman, Christopher Nolan confirmed he’s also approaching his third “Batman” film as his last turn with the franchise. He even sounds excited about it, mostly because nobody at Warner Bros. can tell him what to do: “I must say that I’m glad — I’m very, very glad — to be embarking on the last chapter of our Batman saga without any sense of obligation or duty to the studio. They did very well with ‘Inception.’ So I’m able to go into finishing our story in a very enthusiastic way,” he told EW.

Speaking of “Inception,” he says that he hasn’t given any thought to making a sequel (which is good), but that he is working on developing a videogame set in the movie’s world (that is also good, if you’re into videogames). He also says, for the umpteenth time, that he wants people to focus on the emotional meaning of the “Inception” ending, and maybe not so much asking him to say what happened.