Jan. 10, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
On Monday it was confirmed that Scarlett Johansson has signed on to star in DreamWorks’ live-action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell,” but not all fans are embracing the news that the studio is opting for a non-Asian actress to play the lead role. While some fans of the franchise were excited to hear the project is moving further along in development, others lamented or even satirized the decision. “Ghost in the Shell,” based on Masamune Shirow’s manga series of the same name, is set in a fictional Japanese city and follows protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi and members of a covert task force within the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. The task force, known as Public Security Section 9, takes on various cybercriminals in a future where the line between technology and biology is blurred. The manga series spurred Mamoru […]
Oct. 23, 2014 | 3:30 a.m.
The first trailer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is out, revealing Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor, mysterious newcomers Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and, of course, the villainous Ultron. Marvel released the trailer, which was slated to debut during next week’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” episode, after it leaked online Wednesday. “Age of Ultron” is director Joss Whedon’s hotly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s “The Avengers,” which united Marvel’s disparate superheroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), in a battle against Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and his swarm of alien invaders. The summer blockbuster set box-office records, earning more than $1.5 billion worldwide, and was hailed as witty and worthy of its hype. “Age of Ultron,” which is due in theaters May 1, will reunite the superheroes as well as […]
Sept. 16, 2014 | 1:25 p.m.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” ranks as one of the most hotly anticipated releases of 2015 — and now, it’s become a little bit clearer what fans will see when the movie opens next May. Check out the official plot synopsis released this week by Marvel: “When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.” Joss Whedon’s follow-up to his $1-billion-plus 2012 hit, “The Avengers,” will reunite the star-studded cast of […]
Aug. 06, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Scarlett Johansson was most recently on screen playing a chemically enhanced drug mule in Luc Besson’s sleeper hit “Lucy,” but it wasn’t the actress’ first action-packed role this year. Back in April, Johansson reprised her role as Natasha Romanoff (better known as Black Widow) in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” conceived as Marvel’s answer to the gripping thrillers of the ’70s. The film, which sees Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers team up with Black Widow on a number of key missions, even as the patriotic superhero comes into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford in a key supporting turn), currently stands as the highest grossing domestic release of 2014, having surpassed $259 million at the U.S. box office. Those who missed it in theaters — or simply want to see it again — now have a chance to catch […]
April 19, 2014 | 9:35 p.m.
Luc Besson’s return to full-tilt action filmmaking with “Lucy” revved up the crowd at the Universal presentation at WonderCon on Saturday. Set for release Aug. 8, “Lucy,” written and directed by Besson, stars Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule who ingests some contraband and finds herself with enhanced abilities, apparently because the chemicals enable her to access more of her brain. (Johansson has been on a professional run lately, with turns in films including the Academy Award-winning “Her,” in which she gave voice to a sentient operating system; April’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Under the Skin”; and next month’s indie restaurant movie “Chef,” directed by Jon Favreau). In Anaheim on Saturday, Besson screened two sequences from “Lucy,” the first of which showed Johansson’s character learning to exploit the powers she’s unlocked by taking advantage of more of her […]
April 14, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.
In a competing superhero franchise, the wisecracking sidekick might have summed up “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” with a well-timed “Holy meta-narrative, Batman!” Drafting the sequel to 2011’s hit comic book movie adaptation “Captain America: The First Avenger,” screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely faced challenges above and beyond delivering the kind of slam-bang action-adventure associated with a nearly unstoppable super soldier dressed in star-spangled fatigues. “Cap 2″ (as the project became known) needed to fit squarely into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That is, into a narrative continuum established by the movie’s production company Marvel Studios where costumed heroes such as Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye and the Hulk have turned up in one another’s tent-pole movies since 2008. PHOTOS: ‘Captain America’ stars walk the red carpet Encompassing future films and TV shows whose plot lines and outcomes are all, to […]
April 08, 2014 | 6:15 a.m.
When Anthony Mackie turned up for his first tour of superhero duty as the Falcon in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” he immediately found himself strapped into a costume with wings and instructed to leap backward through the air and land on a safety mat far below. Mackie isn’t someone who’s fearful of heights — he’s a certified sky diver with more than 30 jumps under his belt — but the situation still gave him pause. “If I jump out of a plane, I have a parachute that I know is going to work, so I‘m good,” Mackie said. “But if I have some dude who’s holding a string who’s like, ‘I got you! Go ahead, jump!’ that makes me nervous, especially if I’m 50 or 100 feet off the ground swinging face-first at the pavement. Everybody had a good […]
April 02, 2014 | 12:48 p.m.
Scarlett Johansson is back on the big screen in a big way this weekend in both “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the sci-fi-inflected art house film “Under the Skin,” but those films aren’t the only projects that see her in take-charge genre mode. Set for release Aug. 8, “Lucy,” written and directed by Luc Besson, stars Johansson as a drug mule who ingests some contraband and finds herself with enhanced abilities, apparently because the chemicals allow her to access more of her brain. “It is estimated most human beings only use 10% of the brain’s capacity,” Morgan Freeman’s character explains in the trailer. “Imagine if we could access 100%. Interesting things begin to happen.” Interesting things indeed. In addition to learning Chinese in an hour, altering her perception of time and moving things with her mind, the trailer also […]
April 02, 2014 | 11:16 a.m.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” arrives in theaters Friday with the promise of bringing to the screen the famous 2005 comic book storyline by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting that inspired the name of the Marvel sequel, but star Chris Evans and fraternal directing team Anthony and Joe Russo also looked back to certain cinematic landmarks to help bring a contemporary resonance to the superhero tale. It seems to have worked — critics have widely praised the film in early reviews and Marvel already has announced its plans to bring the Russos back to direct the third “Captain America” film, which takes place months after the events depicted in “Avengers” and opens with Steve Rogers having remained in the employ of international espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and occasionally teaming with Scarlett Johansson’s spy Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black […]
April 01, 2014 | 3:19 p.m.
In his current position as movie chief at Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige might rank as one of the most envied men in Hollywood right now. The company has enjoyed a nearly unmatched run of box office success stretching back to the release of 2008’s “Iron Man” and appears poised to celebrate a new record-breaking opening with the arrival of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” this week. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the new film takes place months after the events depicted in “Avengers” and opens with Steve Rogers having remained in the employ of international espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and occasionally teaming with Black Widow on key missions. After an attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. top dog Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) puts the hero in conflict with the organization’s leader, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford in a key supporting turn), he finds […]