I'd love to see a Venn diagram of the intersection of two subsets: moviegoers who saw The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, and those who plan to see his interpretation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if there was no intersection at all, just one big circle (The Avengers) and one little circle (Much Ado) sitting next to each other, but I give Whedon credit for taking time out of his blockbuster career — 12 days, to be exact — to make this labor of love and present the Bard in a contemporary setting. more »
In our pre-Mayan apocalypse era, when you want to ensure that whatever you say is disseminated far and wide faster than the time it takes to tweet 'DID YOU SEE THIS ###$$!!!' the best advice is to master the subtle art of trolling with useful facts. Case in point: Joss Whedon, who screened The Avengers and afterward, sat for one of Jeff Goldsmith's Q&As Tuesday night at the Director's Guild of America in Hollywood.
In Friday's round-up of news briefs, Joss Whedon's follow-up to his box office splash The Avengers will be counter-programming next Summer. Also, Universal will sue the planned porn version of Fifty Shades. Stephen Colbert is going Hobbit next week. The Academy is accommodating its paper ballot-oriented members. And jailed Innocence of Muslims filmmaker gives his wishes for the controversial video.
Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing Set for June
The Avengers director's modern take on the play by William Shakespeare will hit theaters June 7th via Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate. The distributors call the pic a "dark, sexy and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love.
Fifty Shades of Grey Porn Rip-Off Spurs Lawsuit
Universal claims the upcoming porn Fifty Shades Of Grey: A XXX Adaptation is a "blatant trademark infringement" on its rights to the best selling novel of similar title, written by E.L. James. "The first XXX adaptation is not a parody, and it does not comment on, criticize, or ridicule the originals. It is a rip-off, plain and simple," Universal said. Universal and Focus picked up rights to the novels in March for $3 million, Deadline reports.
Stephen Colbert Unveils 'Hobbit Week'
A big fan of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy series, Colbert said he will have stars from the big screen adaptation for an entire week on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. He will welcome as guests Sir Ian McKellan, who plays Gandalf, on Monday, December 3; Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, on Tuesday; director Peter Jackson on Wednesday; and Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum, on Friday, THR reports.
Innocence of Muslims Filmmaker Wants Video to Remain on YouTube
The jailed filmmaker of the controversial video which caused riots throughout the Islamic world wants it to remain on the online channel. Google's lawyers noted: "Mr. Youssef said he believes in the message contained in the film and he does not want the trailer to be removed from YouTube." An attorney for YouTube owners Google visited Youssef in his L.A. jail to obtain information related to actress Cindy Lee Garcia's legal attempts to have the vid removed from the internet, Deadline reports.
Academy Extends Paper Ballot
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will extend requests for a paper ballot for its members. The organization's members will have until December 14th to request paper ballots. The voting period for nominations begins December 17th and closes January 3rd. The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced Thursday, January 10th, Variety reports.
Just two quick observations about Joss Whedon's Zomney political ad, which has gotten plenty of coverage elsewhere. The video has a lot of smart, funny lines in it, but it's tough to beat the filmmaker's observation that: "The 1 percent will no longer be the very rich. It will be the very fast." more »
High And Low: The Avengers Save Earth With Subtlety & Wit, Wong Kar-Wai's Characters Swoon With Style
This week’s Low(brow) choice may have been a box-office-record-smashing mass-appeal hit, but it’s also a genre classic that sneaks a healthy dollop of wit and even subtlety into its comic-book storyline. On the High side: two swoony love stories from a modern master. With movies this good, labeling almost seems beside the point. more »
Channing Tatum May Take on Directing Duties for Magic Mike 2; Joss Whedon's Much Ado Heads To Theaters: Biz Break
Also in Wednesday morning's round-up of news briefs, American would-be filmmaker whose anti-Islam film sparked violence in Egypt and Libya reacts. And more Toronto titles head to theaters.
After months of ambiguity, Joss Whedon has signed on to write and direct the sequel to his biggest film to date, Marvel's superhero extravaganza The Avengers. According to The Wrap, Disney chairman Bob Iger confirmed Whedon's return to the billion-and-a-half-dollar franchise during a call with analysts today, adding that in addition to Avengers 2 the Buffy/Firefly veteran will also bring a "Marvel-based" television series to ABC.
His film The Avengers is one of the highest grossers of the year and legions of fans gave adulation to him at the recent Comic-Con and even more did so at the box office. So what do you do when you have a blockbuster that has made nearly $1.5 billion worldwide and quickly counting? Take on Shakespeare and Much Ado About Nothing!
Joss Whedonites gathered at Comic-Con Friday to witness the ten-year reunion of Firefly, Whedon's short-lived space Western cult series that spawned a 2005 feature film and an unusually fervent fan following. The show, Whedon announced, will get a new forthcoming Dark Horse comics continuation that will pick up after the events of previous Firefly/Serenity lore. As for fans of his other genre adaptation... well, he's not quite set on leaping back into the Avengers' director's chair. “I have not come to a decision on directing Avengers 2 yet,” he said. “I am having too much fun with this now.” [Deadline]
Start your day with perhaps the closest read in the history of close reads: Joss Whedon's history as a writer for Roseanne: "Whedon really plants his pop culture flag, however, in House of Grown-ups with the arrival of a new, high-tech VCR. (Like the discussion about pornography, it’s a tangential detail that Whedon seems to enjoy more than the actual plot.) We get a fun run of Darlene wanting to rent 'Lethal Weapon 2, Jaws 3, and Nightmare on Elm Street 4,' John Goodman busts out an impressions of Dirty Harry, and Roseanne proclaims her love for Doctor Zhivago. And, for the ultimate Whedon touch, when nobody can agree on what to rent, what film finally unites everyone? Star Wars." [Splitsider]
Joss Whedon has always kept his devout cult following close, even as his projects have made it big (or not -- right, Dollhouse fans?). So with the mega-huge success of Avengers, maybe some of the Whedon faithful were right to worry that fame might alter their idol's true path -- the one that takes a step back from a big time Hollywood future to focus on Dr. Horrible 2 and homemade Shakespeare adaptations, for instance. And so Whedon took to his blog to thank the fans who'd been Whedonettes/Whedonheads/Whedonwhatevers all along, and also to link to a poop-related internet video he appeared in last week. Oh, that Joss.
The U.S. military has a history of joining forces with Hollywood. Michael Bay's Transformers franchise and Peter Berg's Battleship have cozied up to the military to take advantage of defense material, while the Pentagon gets to market itself to moviegoers. (To say nothing of the recent Navy SEAL showcase Act of Valor.) So how did The Avengers not make the cut?
The Avengers probably wouldn’t ever find itself compared to The Cabin in the Woods if the two films hadn’t been released within weeks of each other. As it is, moviegoers have had a virtual feast of familiar tics laid before us by writer-director-geek hero Joss Whedon. My Whedon fatigue is well-documented, so I was pleasantly surprised to find some of his schtick to be the best part of The Avengers. It’s not a straight-up assessment of quality -- I liked The Cabin in the Woods better overall than The Avengers – but some of Whedon’s usual crutches worked better under the restrictions of the big-budget blockbuster than they did in the small, indie, meta-horror film, where he could let his id run wild. On the Whedonism scale of distracting to effective, here are four familiar tropes that worked well in The Avengers.
REVIEW: The Avengers Takes a Bunch of Beloved Superheroes and Builds Big Set Pieces Around Them. Is It Enough?
The Avengers is less a movie than a novelization of itself, an oversized, self-aware picture designed mostly for effect: That of reliving the experience of a movie you’ve seen before and just can’t get enough of. The picture is broken down into narrative chunks that ultimately don’t tell much of a story – what you get instead is a series of mini-climaxes held together by banter between characters. The idea, maybe, is that people already love Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor so much — like, so, so much — that all a filmmaker really needs to do is put them all into a big stock pot filled with elaborate set pieces and some knowing dialogue and he’s golden. And maybe, given the heightened-lowered expectations of movie audiences, that really is all he has to do: It's possible to have looked forward to a movie all year, to enjoy watching it, and then to have completely forgotten about it the following week.
The Cabin in the Woods is mind-blowing, daring and revelatory – unless you’re a nerdy girl who grew up watching Joss Whedon’s television series. Then it’s just kind of nostalgic and occasionally tiresome, like talking to an ex at a high school reunion. Yes, the movie’s a lot of fun, especially if you didn’t start watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer from its low-budget beginnings. But if, like me, you’re intimately familiar with Whedon’s works and regular crutches, you’re going to see a lot of things you recognize in Cabin, which he co-wrote with longtime collaborator and director Drew Goddard.