Here’s the latest movie/TV news you might have missed:
- Suicide Squad’s villain and big twist ending may have already been spoiled even though it hasn’t even started filming yet
- Toy Story 4 now has a co-director. That set-up worked great for Frozen.
- The MPAA’s global box office data for 2014 revealed some troubling trends
- Someone watched all 117 episodes of modern Doctor Who to see how many episodes pass the Bechdel Test
- A trailer for the new official Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck dropped
Suicide Squad | Warner Bros.’ adaptation of DC’s “super-villains forced to go on black-ops missions by shady government operatives” comic book definitely has my attention. How could it not when it’s going to star Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as The Joker, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. In fact, as a reader of the New 52 Suicide Squad and huge fan of the character of Harley Quinn, I am probably more excited to see this movie than Batman v Superman. The problem is that Suicide Squad is a very irreverent, R-rated comic, killing off the least essential members of its team with delightful abandon. All of that was beautifully realized in the recent DC Animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham in which the Deadshot-led Squad is tasked with breaking in to Arkham to free someone. Of course, the Joker is in there as a Hannibal Lector figure behind glass, and once he observes Harley and Deadshot together he breaks out and delightfully hijacks the plot. It’s not clear if the live-action film will be able to honor that same tone, especially since writer/director David Ayer is combining different eras of the comics, putting characters like Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and Rick Flag, Jr. (Joel Kinnaman) on the team even though they haven’t been going concerns in the comic book version since the early 90s and mid-2000s respectively. Keep reading for potentially minor plot spoilers.
When a partial copy of an early version of the script leaked earlier this year, it included some awesome moments (Contract-killer Deadshot opens the movie breaking into a supervillain prison on a mission to kill the Joker only to be thwarted by Harley Quinn, both subsequently drafted into the Suicide Squad and positioned as the co-leads of the film) and not so-awesome (hackneyed action beats, a ridiculously boring version of Rick Flagg). The re-assuring part was that the script was credited to Justin Marks, and any of its problems could easily be solved through the massive re-writes David Ayer was performing. However, there were two major, major spoilers in the Justin Marks script, and if notorious internet scooper ElMayimbe is to be believed those plot turns have not changed. Here’s what he said on Instagram:
Meet the head bad guy in #SUICIDESQUAD – #ANTIPHON who leads a badass terrorist cell called #ONSLAUGHT which is up against #DEADSHOT & the rest of the Suicide Squad. Onslaught are hunting super heroes & villains for their own agenda. They’re like a special ops team made up of mercenaries. Antiphon is a burn victim & has a prosthetic leg. Ed Harris was rumored for the role. Once Antiphon is officially cast will let you guys know.
Onslaught was the main adversary group in the Justin Marks script, serving as the answer to the question of how do you do a movie about a team of villains? You give them an even more evil team of villains to fight. POTENTIAL MAJOR PLOT SPOILER The big twist in Marks script was that Antiphon, the leader of Onslaught, turned out to be Rick Flagg, Sr., and his son was secretly working with him and against the Suicide Squad the whole time. That bit of goofiness was seen as one reason why Tom Hardy walked away from the project, but the fact that Antiphon is still in the script suggests the big “He’s really that guy’s dad, and they’re in cahoots!” swerve might still be part of the equation (Sources: WhatCulture.com, ScreenRant.com).
Toy Story 4 | We’re all a little confused by what Disney is doing with Toy Story 4, which the head of the studio recently described as being more of a romantic comedy that will not be part of the original Toy Story trilogy. Moreover, it will “not put much focus on the interaction between the characters and children” in favor of focusing more on the lives of the toys, similar to what they’ve been doing with their Toy Story specials like Toy Story of Terror! So, they’re still going to be focusing mostly on the same set of toys, though, right? Buzz and Woody will be around, right? Sure, why not. It’s being written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormick, and as of yesterday it was going to be directed by John Lasseter. Now, Disney has announced the project has added a co-director in Josh Cooley, the head of story for the upcoming Inside Out. He started at Pixar as an internet on Cars, and is as super excited about co-directing Toy Story 4 as you’d expect, telling Variety:
To be co-director on ‘Toy Story 4’ with John, who brought the ‘Toy Story’ characters to the screen 20 years ago, is a dream come true. When I first saw ‘Toy Story’ I was amazed by the groundbreaking computer-generated animation. But it was the strong storytelling that kept me coming back. ‘Toy Story 4’ will continue that tradition and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it!
Frozen had two directors. That worked out pretty well for them (Source: SlashFilm).
MPAA’s Box Office Report | 2014 was like so 3 months ago, right? Well, that’s roughly how long it takes the MPAA to run the numbers and crank out its annual report on global box office trends. That report dropped online yesterday, mostly revealing that box office seems to be going down everywhere of significance other than in Asia, whose combined power helped global box office grow by 1% from 2013 to 2014. That’s concerning, though, because year-to-year box office growth was as high as 6.4% as recently as 2012. Beyond that, the main concerns are that:
- 32% of the population in the U.S. and Canada still does not see a single movie all year
- Over 1 million fewer kids aged 2-11 went to the movies last year than in 2013
- The number of 18-24-year-olds and 25-39-year-olds going to the movies has dropped by nearly two million viewers since 2012 at an obvious average of one million fewer each year
- There were more 3D movies than ever before last year, but only barely a quarter of filmgoers saw a single 3D movie all year, down from 52% in 2010
- The overall number of female and male moviegoers remained flat, still with more females than males (Source: THR.com).
Doctor Who | Doctor Who has continually been accused of being deceptively sexist, especially during the Steven Moffat era when many have regurgitated long-standing arguments that Moffat simply doesn’t know how to write for women. That then led to evaluations of the behind the scenes make-up of the show and plenty of “Why haven’t they hired more female writers/directors?” followed by “Well, here are some women they have hired” retrospectives.
Behind the scenes politics aside, if only there were some way to assess whether or not the show is actually sexist. Oh, wait, that’s right – just use the Bechdel Test. Sure, you can debate the actual merits or perhaps overuse of the Bechdel Test, but as originally designed to be applied to film the Bechdel Test iss pretty straight-forward: Does the film have more than one named female character? Do these women talk to one other?; Do they talk about something other than men? Nate Silver discovered that just over half of 1,794 major films released between 1970 and 2013 actually satisfy all three stages of the Bechdel Test. How well does modern Doctor Who hold up? Well, one blogger watched all 117 episodes to find out, concluding that 80% of the episodes pass the test. The Russell T. Davies era is not substantial better in this realm than the current Moffat era, with 85% vs. 75% success rate. In fact, Moffat is the author of more Bechdel Test-passing scripts than any other in modern Who history. But if you want something fancy to look at here’s the corresponding infograph:
Kurt Cobain Doc |For his new documentary Montage of Heck, Brett Morgen was granted full access to Kurt Cobain’s family, friends, never-before-seen home videos, personal artwork, interviews, and even unreleased songs. Courntey Love and her daughter, Frances Bean, served as executive producers, and the documentary was well-received at its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Here’s the first trailer:
Where’s Dave Grohl? He was interviewed for the doc, but it happened to so close to the deadline that it all ended up on the cutting room floor. Montage of Heck will premiere on HBO on May 4. (Source: Vulture.com).