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Avengers Director Rumours

Posted by: Matthew Turner 20/04/2010 @ 12:43
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 119
Films seen this week: Give Me Your Hand, How To Train Your Dragon (again), Repo Men, The Ghost, Agora, City of Life and Death, The Disappearance of Alice Creed (again), Streetdance UK (in 3D), The Last Song, The Calling, London River

Superhero Casting News
Two pieces of superhero movie news this week, one confirmed, the other still tantalisingly up in the air, despite the efforts of various press releases to convince you otherwise. The first is that British actress Haley Atwell has been cast in the role of Peggy Carter, Captain America's 1940s girlfriend. Atwell's a good choice, because she seems like she's better suited to period dramas than modern day movies and she'll look fabulous in 1940s get-up (think Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbour). Also, she hasn't really had a break-out role yet (her biggest film to date is probably Brideshead Revisited), so this could be the one. I confess I'm not enough of a Captain America fan to have ever come across Peggy Carter before, so this isn't as big a deal to me as it might be to others. I would have quite liked to see Alice Eve get the part though (it was rumoured that the casting producers narrowed their final choices down to Eve and Atwell). Also, I'm curious to see whether Atwell will also end up playing Cap's modern-day girlfriend as Peggy's distant relation (in the comics, Sharon Carter is Peggy Carter's niece) or whether they'll cast someone else or drop the modern-day love interest altogether.

The other piece of news is potentially very exciting, but has yet to be officially confirmed – apparently, Joss Whedon is in “final negotiations” to direct The Avengers, Marvel's superhero group movie that would see Captain America, Iron Man and Thor (plus several others yet to be announced) all sharing the big screen. Whedon has written for Marvel Comics in the past and has proved he can handled ensemble casts with Buffy and Firefly / Serenity, so he seems like a terrific choice, but it's still too early to get properly excited. The key phrase in the news story linked to above is “Marvel had no comment”. Here's hoping though.

Films I'm Dying To See: Paper Man
This is another example of a film I didn't know existed until I went trawling for trailers for the blog. Jeff Daniels stars as Richard Dunn, a failed writer who seems to have had some sort of a nervous breakdown. He finds unexpected comfort in his new-found friendship with local high school girl Abby (the lovely Emma Stone), much to the disapproval of Lisa Kudrow (who's either playing his wife or his sister – the trailer is unclear) and his imaginary superhero friend Captain Excellent (a peroxide blond Ryan Reynolds). The tone of the trailer puts it squarely in bittersweet comedy territory, which is no bad thing, while Stone's line about wishing she had a father like Richard hopefully means we won't be subjected to the usually inevitable kissing scene (watching Daniels make out with Christina Ricci in The Squid and the Whale was bad enough). The casting looks utterly perfect though and Reynolds, in particular, seems to be having a lot of fun as Captain Excellent. Basically, I was hooked right from the first scene in the trailer. No UK release date yet, so fingers crossed that we'll get to see it eventually.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Four new entries this week, with '70s coming-of-age drama Cemetery Junction (I contemplated a Merchant Gervais / Merchant Ivory joke here but thought better of it), harrowing black and white Chinese drama City of Life and Death (about the Rape of Nanking), Polanski thriller The Ghost (featuring Pierce Brosnan as a thinly-veiled Blair-alike) and enjoyably trashy sci-fi flick Repo Men all making it into the top ten. If you can still find it, I'd also highly recommend City of War: The Story of John Rabe, which makes an excellent companion piece to City of Life and Death but seems to have been largely ignored by critics. Elsewhere, you can read our press conference interviews with Dear John stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried here and here as well as our exclusive interview with Lourdes star Sylvie Testud here. Stinker of the week: The Heavy, which is one of the worst films of the year and should be avoided at all costs.

1. Whip It
2. Kick-Ass
3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
4. Lourdes
5. How to Train Your Dragon (3D)
6. Shutter Island
7. Cemetery Junction
8. City of Life and Death
9. The Ghost
10. Repo Men

DVD of the Week: Doctor Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) (out now, RRP £15.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is classic 1971 Hammer Horror Doctor Jekyll & Sister Hyde, directed by Hammer stalwart Roy Ward Baker. Ralph Bates stars as Doctor Henry Jekyll, who's attempting to find the elixir of life but instead transforms himself into a gorgeous but evil woman (Martine Beswick), who starts brutally murdering women in order to get the female hormones she needs. This is an undeniably trashy but nonetheless hugely enjoyable horror flick that positively revels in its perversity (e.g. the first thing Doctor Jekyll does when he first transforms into a woman is to rip open his shirt to check out his naked breasts). Bates and Beswick are both excellent, but there's an extra level of amusement to be had if you grew up in the 1980s and remember Bates from British sitcom Dear John (not to be confused with the current Tatum-Seyfried weepie). The only extra is a trailer which is almost as much fun as the film itself, with the gravelly-voiced trailer narrator intoning “Doctor Jekyll...SISTER Hyde...Man...or woman...or BOTH?” Brilliant.

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