Get In Your Eyes In Your Eyes (and Ears)

In Your Eyes

The fanboy I was a few years ago would be devastated that I was oblivious to the fact that a Joss Whedon scripted film was premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. The fanboy I am these days is instead delighted by this sudden surprise piece of Whedon and in particular that he has released it online globally on the same day as its Tribeca premiere.

The film in question is In Your Eyes which was written by Whedon, directed by Brin Hill, and stars Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan as two strangers who find themselves able to sense what one another is feeling. I have yet to watch for myself but the concept certainly intrigues me infinitely more than catching up on what the Avengers are getting up to.

In Your Eyes is available to stream over on Vimeo from yesterday and costs a mere $5 which in UK money comes in at around £3. This is a very friendly price if you compare it to another streaming film such as The Lunchbox (chosen at random because I recently looked it up and ran away scared at the price) which will set you back £10 on Curzon Home Cinema.

While I no longer consider myself to be the die-hard Whedonite I once was, and certainly don’t love everything he has produced, I admire the fact that he hasn’t let the franchise world swallow him up. While he may be working on one of cinema’s biggest franchises Whedon continues to work on smaller, more interesting films that are far more rewarding than their big budget siblings. After The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, and now In Your Eyes I can’t wait to see what the indie half of Joss Whedon does next.

As for whether this new release is any good we turn to Northern Correspondent and The Cabin in the Woods reviewer Rach:

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Now watch the first five minutes, and maybe shell out £3, to see what you think for yourself:

In Your Eyes – Trailer from Bellwether Pictures on Vimeo.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – TV Review

Agents of SHIELD - Agent Coulson

Over the past few years it has been impossible to go to the cinema without bumping into a superhero as they fight a great evil seemingly oblivious to the fact that dozens of other superheroes are having very similar issues just around the corner. The worlds coexisted but remained very much apart until last year when Samuel L. Jackson, under the guise of SHIELD agent Nick Fury, united a group of superchaps and called them The Avengers. Jackson had been popping up in the superhero films for years and was consistently overshadowed by another SHIELD agent played by relatively unknown actor Clark Gregg. Gregg’s role in proceedings got bigger and bigger before climaxing in The Avengers with his death. Now Gregg’s Agent Coulson is heading up the Agents of SHIELD TV series and is very much alive and well thanks to a mystery resuscitation by executive producer/big boss Joss Whedon.

In the first episode of the series we see Coulson return to work after the events of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and assemble a crack team to help him hunt down and manage new superheroes and unusual phenomenon. The team he assembles is pretty, peppy, and overwhelmingly brunette. Everyone talks with the standard witty Whedonesque dialogue we have come to know and love through Buffy, Angel, and Firefly (I am pretending Dollhouse never happened) which gives the show a lot more humour than you might expect and makes the whole affair that bit more enjoyable. Fans of either Marvel films or Whedon’s canon will see a few familiar faces apiece to help them settle in with the newbies.

Agents of SHIELD

I hit superhero fatigue last year and failed to watch Iron Man 3 in April but thankfully SHIELD is Lycra free and focusses more on the team than anyone who can fly. Their first mission is to track down a man who was seen saving a woman from a burning building, investigate an explosion, and put an end to a mysterious group called Rising Tide. In the course of the episode we are treated to lots of fun gadgets, impressive explosions, and effects that lean towards the cinematic rather than the televisual.

It seems the show will follow the format of having a weekly problem to solve while exploring an overarching big bad and slowly revealing the mystery of just why Coulson is so chatty for a dead man. On the whole I found the episode a lot of fun, and will be watching the rest of the series for more than just my undying allegiance to Joss Whedon, but it wasn’t hugely gripping and isn’t the sort of show I will be cancelling my plans to watch nor compare theories with co-workers about.

It is quite telling that I can’t remember a single non-Coulson character’s name, and the plot of the episode itself isn’t what will have you coming back next week. Agents of SHIELD is a fun bit of popcorn TV, something to record then watch when you have an hour free to enjoy a bit of action and some amusing quips.

Agents of SHIELD hits UK TV this Friday 27th September at 8pm on Channel 4.

Wonder Woman and the Odd Choice of Screenwriter

No doubt inspired by Marvel and their assembling Avengers Warner Brothers have quietly been putting together their own mass superhero film by hiring Will Beall to write Justice League. Justice League are the DC Comics version of The Avengers and include the like of Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. This is all very well and good but it was something else in Variety’s article about this news that caught my eye; a new screenwriter has been hired to write a Wonder Woman film.

The screenwriter in question is Michael Goldenberg a man whose major credits include Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the recent Green Lantern film, on which he was one of seven scribes. I will now blindly judge Goldenberg on Green Lantern‘s performance as it serves as his sole comic book adaptation experience.

Scoring just 27% positive reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes and only just managing to earn back its production budget during its cinematic release Green Lantern was a critical and financial flop. Is this really the right man to put together a major film for Warner Brothers?

Five years ago Warner Brothers abandoned another Wonder Woman project, a project which had a relatively unknown writer-director on board. The studio and screenwriter were trying to make two different films and so in February 2007 they parted ways amicably. The writer in question was Joss Whedon, the man who recently wrote and directed Marvel’s The Avengers which was the opposite of Green Lantern in both its financial and critical success. Warner Brothers already have a script from Hollywood’s hottest superhero writer for a Wonder Woman film so why are they not rushing it into production?

I’m sure they have their reasons, presumably it doesn’t tie into their plans for the Justice League film, and if Whedon had been judged as harshly as I just judged Goldenberg he wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the Avengers set – his first film hardly set the box office on fire. I’m just intrigued as to see what Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman would look like.

Crap, I still need to see The Avengers

What a Difference Seven Years, an All-Star Cast, and $180 Million Makes

Joss Whedon has always been a big name in my circle of friends. This is the man who brought us Buffy and Angel, the man who made the short-lived and overlooked Firefly, and the man who made Dollhouse – a series I’m still trying to forget.

Now Whedon’s Avengers is breaking box office records having just had the biggest US opening weekend of all time. Joss Whedon is suddenly king of the blockbuster, the man can do no wrong and wears a crown made entirely of frozen fanboys’ tears of joy. This achievement is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that this is Whedon’s second film as director and that his first attempt was nowhere near as successful.

Serenity has a few things in common with Avengers; featuring an ensemble cast banding together to share witty dialogue and fight the good fight against bad guys from outer space. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Serenity had no big-name actors compared to Avengers, which hired the entire contents of IMDb. The budgets are separated by $180 million with Avengers costing the same as five and a half Serenitys. The origins of each film’s mythology are also wildly different; Avengers having had six feature films preceding it and decades of back-story in comic form, while Serenity was a spin-off from a 13 episode TV series that was never aired in full.

Joss Whedon’s talents as a film-maker have always been there. What has changed in the past seven years is that he has finally been given an audience willing to watch. When Serenity came out I was in full fanboy mode and saw the film three times before it was even released, a feat easily trumped by a number of other fans, but the general population barely noticed its appearance. In total Serenity made less than $40 million in cinemas, while Avengers has already made well over $700 million and counting.

Joss Whedon has only released two films as a director and they are barely comparable. His third bucks the trend even further, an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing shot in black and white in a matter of days at his own house. Whedon is sure to be a success in the future but it looks like he’ll be keeping us guessing with each new film. Now where’s my Giles spin-off?

(Marvel[‘s]) (The) Avengers (Assemble)

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
Juliet from Romeo and Juliet

“I’d sure hate to get a dozen Crapweeds for Valentine’s Day”
Marge Simpson from The Simpsons

Two very poignant lines as spoken by two of popular culture’s most ubiquitous female characters. Maybe the name of something doesn’t matter but it still would be nice to have a clear idea of what that name is. I’m looking at you Upcoming Superhero Film From Joss Whedon About Those Avengers Guys.

Back when it was announced that the UK would be getting an alternative title to America and everyone started calling the film Marvel Avengers Assemble I thought people were just being a little too literal in reading the logo from the poster (above). The title everyone kept repeating just sounded silly, surely that couldn’t the name of one of this year’s biggest releases? It’s time for another of my pointless investigations. Avengers Assemble or Marvel Avengers Assemble? Cue theme tune…

As in any such investigation my first port of call was IMDb, hallowed ground for any film fan, as was presented with precisely what I wanted; Avengers Assemble. Knowing better than to simply accept one source as gospel I double checked with the Film Distributors’ Association, they have to get it right. Sadly they offered up Marvel Avengers Assemble. Bugger.

With conflicting information I thought maybe the film’s official UK website would settle the matter but it was not that easy. They claim that the film is called Marvel’s Avengers Assemble adding an extra letter and some punctuation. Has the world gone insane!? There’s only one group who can settle this dispute, a team who legally have to get the film right. Time to check out the BBFC.

Marvel Avengers Assemble it is then. Confusion over.

Side-note: I thought it odd that the UK were getting the studio name tacked onto the start of the film’s title when the US were not. Then I checked out the MPAA’s website (they’re like the American version of the BBFC but less cuddly) and they list the film as Marvel’s The Avengers.

ARGH!

Joss, Don’t Be a Giles Tease

Way back in 2001 as the character of Rupert Giles left Buffy the Vampire Slayer (greatest TV show ever made) Joss Whedon first toyed with the idea of a spin off series made by the BBC and starring Anthony Stewart Head in his role as Rupert Giles. This series was to be called Ripper and Whedon has been mentioning the series/special in interviews ever since.

On Wednesday The A.V. Club ran an interview with Whedon discussing The Avengers in which he revealed that Ripper still isn’t completely dead yet. The relevant part of the interview is below:

The thing about Ripper — the essence of it — is that the BBC came to me at one point like, “It doesn’t have to be Ripper. It can just be [Anthony Stewart Head], and there’s magic, and he’s Tony, cuz he’s awesome.” And that’s the thing: For some reason, he keeps getting sexier every year. That’s not happening to me! I’m like, “What are you doing?” And that story was always about a mature guy who’s lived, and about the choices he’s made. So you could make that now, or you could make it 10 years from now. And I’ve tortured Tony more than any other living human with, “We’re definitely gonna do this!” Because I thought we were. He’s working so much, though, I’d feel too guilty. But that’s the thing with Ripper: It doesn’t go away in my head because he’s still right for it, and he could still bring it.

If Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favourite TV series of all time then Rupert Giles is my favourite TV character of all time. Clearly nothing would make me happier than if Joss Whedon were to finally make Ripper at the BBC with Anthony Stewart Head. I just wish that the project would either happen or that Whedon would stop bring it up and raising my hopes.

Come on Joss, poop or get off the pot. I’ve been waiting eleven years already.

The Avengers vs. The Avengers

Earlier this year it was announced that the upcoming Marvel film The Avengers would be called Avengers Assemble here in the UK. The internet being the overreacting beast that it is there was lots of anger and confusion as to why we weren’t allowed to keep the same title as the rest of the world. One theory was that the title change had been to avoid any confusion with the 1960’s British TV series of the same name.

With one being a film about superheroes and the other a TV series about spies it is initially hard to see why Marvel would be so worried about us Brits getting the two confused. Thankfully that mystery has now been solved as we have exclusive leaked footage of the first 43 seconds of the upcoming Avengers Assemble. Watch the footage below and you should be able to see that writer/director Joss Whedon has actually taken a little inspiration from the TV series when designing the title sequence for his film.

And the TV series intro for comparison:

Avengers Assemble is in cinemas on 26th April 2012 and has nothing to do with The Avengers.

The Cabin in the Woods – Review

I have a film theory degree so I should probably be able to form actual words about that, but, holy shit.

The Cabin on the Woods is released on Friday 13th April 2012

Special guest review courtesy of Rach from nph-fan.com

Cabin in the Woods – Trailer

Thanks to MGM having a minor financial collapse, The Cabin in the Woods has been waiting to be released since 2009. I’d all but abandoned hope of ever seeing it in the cinema but this past week the film has gained a release date, poster and its first trailer.

Written by Joss Whedon (of Buffy fame and Dollhouse shame) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), The Cabin in the Woods stars a host of attractive young things alongside acting heavyweights Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. I sadly spoilt myself long ago with the twisty parts of the plot, suffice to say that this is Scream meets Hostel via every other horror film.

For my taste the trailer sells the film short and gives far too much away (hence the lack of a dissection) but is embedded below regardless:

Interesting to see that there is no mention of the film being released in 3D, when the 3D conversion was at one point blamed for the film’s delayed release.

The Cabin on the Woods is released on Friday 13th April 2012 and I’m excited.

Sooo…. There’s Going to be a Buffy Film

The rumours of a new Buffy film appear to be true. Written not by Joss Whedon but by Whit Anderson who is… someone apparently.

This is essentially a reboot, something that is happing to franchises much sooner these days with varying degrees of success. Oh Spiderman, how I love you.

I could happily go off on a rant about leaving well enough alone, but this is a particular franchise that I am a little too close to to be objective. Once the film is out I will be judging it, but not before. Here are four reasons I’ll be waiting to judge:

1. Reboots can sometimes be good.
2. Joss Whedon has messed up the franchise himself in the “Season 8” comics.
3. I actually enjoyed the original film, not a lot but it is fun.
4. No matter how bad the film is it can’t stop the original series being my favourite series ever.

Give me a year and I’ll be treating Whit Anderson like she’s James Cameron.