You are here: Home // Posts Tagged With darren aronofsky

The Mid-Week Pit, Wolverine, Star Wars, Lost, Harry Potter, Action Movies

Right off the bat I have to post this image, the first of Chris Evans as Captain America (big thanks to Entertainment Weekly!):

Entertainment Weekly Captain America

I love the color and look of the uniform (for a full body shot of the CA stunt double, click here). Revealed in the article is that Evans signed a 6 picture deal with Marvel. Epic. Okay, lets move on with some other comic book movie news…

  • One thing I’m not digging, is changes to the X-Men universe. It was revealed that in the upcoming First Class, Mystique will be an insecure teenage girl who is hiding the fact that she is really a mutant. Something about that just feels off, than again I thought the character was underused and mishandled in both Singer’s and Ratner’s X-Men movies, so I shouldn’t be surprised here. Pictures also reveal James McAvoy as Charles Xavier with hair. I wasn’t sold on him originally, but with hair he feels like a completely different character. Are they going to reveal the mysterious origin of  Xavier’s baldness? Come on guys…
  • Staying with the Marvel Comics universe of movies, a lot of names have joined Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the direct sequel to the 2007 lackluster Mark Steven Johnson movie.  Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze and is joined by Christopher Lambert, Ciaran Hinds, Johnny Whitworth, Violante Placido, and Thor‘s Idris Elba.  Elba recently talked about having a multiple picture deal with Marvel, but I don’t think people expected a supporting role in the new Ghost Rider, personally I was hoping for Elba being cast as Luke Cage, but a lot more people want him as Black Panther. How many comic roles will Idris Elba need to take before he gets a real character? The film is being directed by the team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the guys who brought us the Crank series. That gives me a lot more hope than the first one that was directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who also directed the disappointing Daredevil flick.
  • Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film has a title! The Dark Knight Rises. Yeah, seriously, it is that bad. Nolan has also denied rumors that the Riddler will be featured in the film. Earlier he said no to Mr. Freeze, so we are slowly narrowing down the villain possibilities. This might be Nolan’s last Batman film, so I’m hoping for someone good (or a good combo of villains). Maybe Hugo Strange along with a couple “monster” types; Man-Bat, Clayface, or Killer Croc? They can continue the theme of the mob and give us Black Mask. Tom Hardy, who worked with Nolan on Inception, has been cast in an undisclosed role (maybe a villain?). We have until 2012 for the film, so we might not hear anything else anytime soon.
  • Darren Aronofsky will be directing X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2. (I think they can remove the “X-Men Origins” from the title, seriously guys) Aronofsky works best with a gritty realistic style, as used in The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream. His attempt at sci-fi in The Fountain fell a little flat. I want a really good Wolverine film, but I have zero faith after X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  I don’t think Fox will let a good movie happen and I don’t think Aronofsky should waste his time here.
  • Right on the heels of news that Mark Wahlberg may take the leading role in a remake of The Crow comes news that director Stephen Norrington is off the project. Norrington directed the original Blade for Marvel, and while a good film it was very flawed (especially the ending). Since Blade he has only directed two films, The Last Minute, which I’ve never heard of, and the horrible adaptation of the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I think The Crow might be better off without him.

Are you excited about the upcoming crop of comic book movies? What will you be seeing?

I saw this film at the AFI Festival back in November. It was actually a pretty cool experience- I’ve been to AFI galas before, but this one was at the Chinese theater in Hollywood and I had to walk the red carpet on my way in. It was a lot of fun that night, plus I saw the movie over a month before it was released in theaters.

The Wrestler with Micky Rourke

Mickey Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler whose glory days are far behind him. He spends his weekends as a local legend- the last act of the night at small time gigs and doing signing appearances that attract few. On the weekdays he works in the warehouse of Acme and frequents the local strip joint. After a health scare, the doctors tell him he needs to quit wrestling, causing him to take a good look at his life outside of the ring. He pursues a relationship with Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), an older stripper at the club, and upon her advice seeks out his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood). I wonder if I had seen this film amongst all of the other nominees this year if things would have been different, but the fact is that I loved this film so much that it set my standards for the year, a standard that no other film I’ve seen since has met. Mickey Rourke fully embodies The Ram and Aronofsky captures every moment be it glorious, gritty, embarrassing, or desperate. A lot of the film literally follows The Ram from behind, tracking his every movement from behind Rourke’s head- it’s so real and introspective that I felt as though I was watching a documentary of this man’s fall from fame.

Nominations:

Best Actor – Mickey Rourke
I have no doubt in my mind that Rourke deserves this Oscar more than anyone else this year. Yes, Langella is astounding as Nixon and Penn does a fantastic job as Milk, but I’ve never felt so engrossed in a character than Rourke’s Randy the Ram.

Best Supporting Actress – Marisa Tomei
She’s great in this role- I’d say it’s one of her best performances, but her competition here is very steep. And let’s face it, this is really Mickey’s film.

Snubbed?
I could talk a lot here about how it got snubbed for a ton of awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Song), but instead I’ll just implore everyone to see it and form your own opinions, since mine appears to be in the minority. This was my favorite film of the year and that’s enough for me.

*****

Phasekitty and the Oscars

Before I break it down film by film, here are some of my initial, knee jerk reactions to the Oscar nominations this year:

First and foremost, this year has been a major disappointment to me for one movie: The Wrestler. This was by far the best movie I saw this year and it is being largely ignored. Not only do I feel that it should have been up for Best Picture, but more importantly Darren Aronofsky deserved a Best Director nod for it as well. I have yet to watch anything this year that impressed me as much as that film did in directing, writing, and acting. I do believe that Mickey will win and deserves the Oscar, but I’m pretty disappointed in the academy for not giving Aronofsky credit for his best work to date. And what is up with the song category? Did they pair it down to three nominees so that we won’t have to sit through 5 live performances during the ceremony? Because I kind of like the performances. Either way, Bruce Springsteen got screwed out of a nomination and that bugs me.

Despite this glaring omission, I do have to hand it to the Academy for giving just one (deserved) nomination to Revolutionary Road, for leaving Doubt out of the Best Picture and Director races, and for shutting out Gran Torino altogether- all were movies that were overly hyped and really just not that great. The nominations for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep’s incredibly over the top performances in Doubt are disappointing, but expected.

Let’s talk about supporting actors. I love Robert Downey Jr., but his nomination for Tropic Thunder is out of place. I expect that sort of thing from the Globes, but not the Oscars. While RDJ was certainly the standout performance in that film, I can think of plenty of other actors whose performances deserve this spot just off the top of my head: James Franco (Milk), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight), Viggo Mortensen (Appaloosa). There are a ton of performances that would suit this category better than “the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.” Even if they would inevitably lose it to Heath, it’s still nice to get the recognition.

A few more things:

  • It’s nice to see The Dark Knight get all the technical nominations, even though it didn’t make it into the big categories. Despite how you feel about big, action super hero films, no one can deny the fact that technically, it’s a fantastically made film.
  • I love the surprise acting nominations this year- Michael Shannon brings a brief breath of life to Revolutionary Road and while I haven’t yet seen The Visitor, who doesn’t adore Richard Jenkins?
  • Angelina and Brad’s nods seem like a ploy to keep them front and center, in case anyone forgot that Hollywood adores them. What a waste of two perfectly good nominations.
  • I’m not usually as surprised by the score nominations as I was this year. It’ll likely go to Slumdog, but I also expected to see Changeling and Revolutionary Road in this category. And I don’t recall a single note of Milk’s score- I would have liked to see one of those two movies in its place instead.

How do you feel about this year’s nominations?

I saw Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler at the AFI Film Festival a couple weeks ago. It is gripping, powerful, and at times hard to watch. Check out this all new trailer for the film, and if you get a chance, I’d highly recommend seeing it!