Showing posts with label james gunn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label james gunn. Show all posts

Monday, 21 November 2022

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back this Thanksgiving on Disney+. This is the second Marvel Studios' Special Presentation, which began with the excellent Werewolf by Night.

Read the official synopsis:

"It's time to deck the galaxy! Lights, presents, trees, snowflakes, candy canes, and... Kevin Bacon? In The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, the Guardians, who are on a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Quill, head to Earth in search of the perfect present."

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, directed by James Gunn (The Suicide Squad), premieres exclusively on Disney+ on 25th November.

Are you looking forward to The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 21 February 2022

Is Peacemaker good?

Peacemaker is a spin-off from The Suicide Squad, which I've yet to see on Sky Cinema. Director James Gunn's follow-up series is a hit on HBO Max.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based comic book guru busy filming on location in the Imperial Sand Dunes (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi), takes a break from Marvel Comics to check out DC's latest live-action series.

Guest post by Nick Smith

The world needs a lot of things right now – ambassadors, conciliators, Nobel prize-fighters. What it doesn’t need is an obnoxious assassin who thinks he’s a superhero, with a Neo-Nazi dad and a four-year prison record. But that’s what James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) gives us in his HBO series, Peacemaker.

Gunn’s 2021 movie The Suicide Squad threw a group of awkward, abnormal villains together and made them sympathetic. The square amongst these oddballs was Peacemaker (John Cena), who was incapable of fitting in with his teammates and turned out to be the most dangerous squaddie of all.

Christopher Smith AKA Peacemaker (John Cena), a Charlton comics character inherited by DC, has always been low on the hero tier. With his shiny ‘beacon of freedom’ helmet and bright uniform, he’s always been ridiculous and unsettling – with his brutal take on making peace, he was the basis for The Comedian in Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Gunn uses the character’s flaws as the foundation for an eight-episode series that is by turns satirical, goofy and hilarious. Sometimes all three.

The satire is mostly aimed at toxic masculinity; Peacemaker’s years in prison mean he has to be schooled in the art of living in our polite, easily-offended modern society. When the joke’s not on the title character, it’s on his nerdy Government colleagues or on daft DC characters like Matter-Eater Lad and Judomaster. There’s even a blink-missed reference to that scourge of the skies, Kite Man, who really likes kites.

The series is well written, although no exposition goes by without the characters engaging in smack talk or comedic dialogue. Gunn, who wrote all eight episodes, obviously has great affection for comic books and the American way of life he lampoons. Cena shows great aptitude for comic timing, never afraid to make fun of his muscle-bound self. Robert Patrick gives a gung-ho performance as Peacemaker’s despicable dad, Auggie Smith. Peacemaker’s helpers are all likeable and there are some cute movie references (The Hidden, 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers) to add an extra layer to the lavish visuals.

However, most of the adventures are grounded in a depressingly real United States of suburbs, duct-taped trailer homes, strip malls, sexist bars and car parks. No wonder the humour has such impact, spicing up the depressing land the heroes fight for.

With its cheeky gags and characters who show no mercy teasing each other, Peacemaker lays out a manifesto for Gunn’s controversial sense of humour. Poking fun at everything he can think of, Gunn manages to have his cake and eat it too. And nothing makes Peace like a piece of cake.

Are you watching Peacemaker on HBO Max? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Peacemaker is a douchey Captain America

It's Blue Monday, allegedly the most depressing day of the year. But here's some subversive cheer!

Peacemaker, a Suicide Squad spin-off series from director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and starring John Cena (Bumblebee) as the titular antihero, is streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

James Gunn and John Cena break down what makes Peacemaker so special and how the HBO Max spin-off series expands his story in a new featurette.

New episodes of Peacemaker premiere every Thursday exclusively on HBO Max.

Are you watching Peacemaker on HBO Max? Is it fun? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

James Gunn talks Knight Rider

Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, premiered 40 years ago this year. With its iconic opening theme and talking car (voiced by William Daniels), Glen A. Larson's series soon established itself as unmissable television in 1982.

A generation of children (myself included) and adults dreamed of owning their own Knight Industries Three Thousand (KITT) car in an era where home computers were coming of age. Glen A. Larson's talking car also featured an Easter egg from his Battlestar Galactica series.

Incidentally, a decade ago Netflix launched in the UK, and Knight Rider was one of the first series I streamed along with classic Doctor Who.

The series was most recently rebooted in 2008, and Nick Smith reviewed it at the time. In the intervening years, technology popularised in the original series is now available to consumers from tech titans Apple and Tesla. I can check my app-enabled BMW on my iPhone, something I never imagined would be possible when I began watching Knight Rider all those years ago.

Director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) told SlashFilm he'd like to reboot Knight Rider:

"My friend [David Hasselhoff] and I have discussed doing a modern continuation of Knight Rider many times. The primary hurdle has been there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the cool things I want to do!"

Would you like to see a reboot of Knight Rider in an era of app-enabled self-driving cars? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 13 August 2021

The Suicide Squad

The future of cinema (as we know it) is at a crossroads enforced by the ongoing pandemic. Studios continue to grapple with the controversial implications of simultaneously releasing movies in theatres and on streaming services.

However, this has allowed for uniquely fan-driven fare Zack Snyder's Justice League, which was the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) recut I didn't know I needed when it premiered on HBO Max and Sky Cinema earlier this year.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, follows Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max with The Suicide Squad in a darkened theatre. Can director James Gunn reinvent these misfits into DC Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy?

Guest post by Nick Smith

I’m in a minority liking the original Suicide Squad movie, released back in August 2016. I was happy to see a comic book I grew up with adapted into a $175 million blockbuster. I admired the cast, which included Will Smith and Margot Robbie, bringing their acting chops to a beat-‘em-up.

I was aware that the film had been criticized for not being all it could be, and that the project had taken 7 years to get to the screen with reshoots thanks to, as actor Joel Kinnaman recently put it, ‘conflicting visions.’ What director David Ayer intended as, ‘a soulful drama,’ Ayer wrote on Twitter, ‘was beaten into a comedy.’ No wonder the result was messy.

Nevertheless, I have a soft spot for scrappy underdogs who don’t fit in with expectations and apparently, I’m not totally alone. ‘I have to give the characters the stories and plots they deserve next time,’ Ayer mope-tweeted, probably while counting his pay – the film earned over $746 million.

Criticisms of that first film ranged from ‘ugly and boring’ (Vanity Fair) to ‘ugly trash’ (Wall Street Journal). Suicide Squad aspired to be punk art; it was a supervillain version of 1967’s The Dirty Dozen, which is an action movie with some great acting and characters, dark humour and nihilistic violence? Were reviewers expecting something deeper, or were they anticipating pretty petals exploding out of soldiers when they died?

If that is what they wanted then 5 years later, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad delivers, complete with the flowers. For consistency’s sake, 4 actors reprise their roles: Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Amanda Waller (perfectly brought to life by Viola Davis). Like the first movie, The Suicide Squad sequel had growing pains – 3 different directors, a switch of one of the main characters in the hopes that Will Smith would return in the future, and helmer James Gunn’s temporary fall out of Hollywood favour for what Christ Pratt called, ‘inappropriate jokes from years ago.’

Despite all that, the new film feels cohesive under the writer/director guidance of Gunn. Like the best parts of its predecessor, it hearkens back to John Ostrander’s 1980s comic book run, featuring a group of losers most of whom the public hasn’t heard of.

Gunn’s major improvement is making his losers more likeable. We worry about them as bullets fly, buildings topple and people get eaten around them. ‘If you don’t care about the characters,’ Gunn told USA Today, ‘the heads exploding don’t really matter.’

The obscurest characters get the most sympathy – Ratcatcher 2 (played by Daniela Melchior) has a backstory that got me quite choked up, Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) has massive mommy issues, King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) suffers pangs of loneliness. This is Hollywood character-building, to be sure – nothing too deep or unrelatable – but in the context of a quirky action flick, Gunn gets it. We are engaged, emotionally and visually.

Gunn’s narrative surprises keep us guessing who will survive and what will be left of them (the teaser posters say, ‘don’t get too attached.’). There’s great attention to detail (a gate leaves grooves in the ground as if it’s been opened and closed thousands of times; realistic gore is pecked from a headless corpse). The film is broken into chapters with Will Eisner-style titles formed out of the landscape. The Squad’s silver age appearances in The Brave and the Bold and Star Spangled War Stories are homaged with a show-stomping villain later in the movie.

In the centre of all this action and affectionate comic-bookery are Bloodsport (Idris Elba), a rewrite of Will Smith’s Deadshot that doesn’t feel like a mere replacement thanks to Elba’s gravitas; and Harley Quinn, in Robbie’s best performance so far as the demented, homicidal but somehow still utterly affable anti-hero.

Audiences might come for the comedy, the vivid imagery and war movie vibes but they’ll leave with feels for the craftily developed characters who are searching for a misfit family of their own, conflicting visions and all.

Have you seen The Suicide Squad? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Doctor Who talks in The Suicide Squad

Director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) has released new TV Spots for his upcoming take on DC Comics' The Suicide Squad. Peter Capaldi, best known to Whovians (myself included) as the Twelfth Doctor, talks as The Thinker!

Here’s the synopsis for The Suicide Squad:

"Welcome to hell—a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out—even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave… and Amanda Waller’s government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement. And as always, one wrong move and they’re dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone’s laying down bets, the smart money is against them—all of them."

The Suicide Squad is in cinemas and on HBO Max on 6th August.

Are you looking forward to The Suicide Squad? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy support James Gunn

Disney recently fired director James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This was in response to historical tweets, of a controversial nature, that were politicised by a right-wing group. Subsequently, there has been an outpouring of support for the director to be reinstated.

An Open Letter from the Cast of Guardians of the Galaxy

To our fans and friends:

We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.

Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.

Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over – not by a long shot.

There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.

It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

Irrespective of which side you may or may not fall on this debate. Gunn's singular vision transformed the Guardians of the Galaxy into Marvel Studios' surprise hit franchise and made Avengers: Infinity War all the better for their input - it was the Guardians of the Galaxy writ large.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Marvel insiders love Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

THR reports director James Gunn's upcoming sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 garnered a perfect 100 during a test screening held for Marvel insiders. These lucky individuals comprise of friends and family. However, movies are subject to rigorous testing and screenings are not a pep rally.

A test score is not necessarily indicative of a movie's popularity upon release, but this score eclipses Iron Man 3 and Avengers based on internal metrics at Disney.

The sequel's Super Bowl TV Spot was well received by fans last weekend, and there's every reason to suggest we are in for another galactic treat on 5th May.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 begins filming

Earlier this week Disney announced cameras had begun rolling on Rian Johnson's sequel to JJ Abrams' monolithic blockbuster The Force Awakens. Star Wars: Episode VIII. Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran join returning cast members Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac in the next chapter of the new Star Wars trilogy.

Now it's the turn of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a cool teaser image.

ATLANTA, Ga. (February 17, 2016) – Marvel Studios has begun principal photography at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which is slated to hit U.S. theaters on May 5, 2017. The production will shoot at Atlanta’s Pinewood Studios.

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) installments and, like Ant-Man, benefitted from being a mostly standalone adventure, unburdened by heavy continuity unlike the average Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Marvel's Ant-Man is James Gunn's fave since Iron Man

Director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) raved about Marvel's Daredevil and now it's Ant-Man's moment of triumph in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Gunn posted his review on Facebook:

"Ant-Man may just be my favorite Marvel film since Jon Favreau’s Iron Man (well, maybe excluding one film to which I’m partial). Honestly, the movie is a complete blast! I was so happy after seeing it. It’s never boring for a second and it’s hilarious and warm throughout. It doesn’t get caught up in the webbing of its own science-fiction concept like so many movies do these days, remaining simple and elegant. It’s a part of the Marvel universe without being ruled by that fact..."

Naysayers have suggested the movie would be a disaster following the departure of Edgar Wright from the project. However, Ant-Man looks like a fun heist movie in the wake of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ant-Man will be appearing next in Captain America: Civil War.

Marvel's Ant-Man is released in theatres July 17th.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy series coming to Disney XD

Marvel's teased its upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy animated series on Twitter. The Disney-owned company officially announced the series at New York Comic Con in 2014.

Little is known about the new Disney XD series, but it's rumoured to tie-in with James Gunn's blockbusting movie.

Expect more announcements from Marvel this week.

Excited to see Star-Lord and friends on the small screen? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Marvel's misfits conquer all in Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy, earning an estimated $94 million on its opening weekend, is the summation of my misspent youth reading Marvel comics! It's tantamount to seeing Star Wars for the first time. Yes, it really is that good.

Director James Gunn took to Facebook to thank the fans for their support. “Thanks to all of you who saw (and are seeing) ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ this weekend, from the bottom of my heart,” Gunn wrote in a letter he posted on Facebook on Sunday.

“The Guardians are a group of oddballs, outcasts, and geeks. The movie is for anyone who ever felt cast aside, left out, or different. It’s for all of us who don't belong. This movie belongs to you. And, today, I think we're doing okay.”

Marvel's X-Men, alongside stablemate Spider-Man, filled that billing with aplomb whilst living with the consequences of a traumatic head injury at school, but the Guardians of the Galaxy bring joyous misfit mayhem to the mix (tape).

Guardians of the Galaxy is a most satisfying take on the Spaghetti Western in space, wrapped in 1980s pop culture nostalgia with a spaceship named after a childhood crush! What's not to like?

Groot and Rocket Raccoon FTW! It's the most fun I've had at the cinema since Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier scuttled S.H.I.E.L.D. and rebooted a struggling television series in the process. As always stay until after the end credits have rolled.

Seen Guardians of the Galaxy? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy gets a sequel in 2017

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is released in UK theatres this week and the Mouse House has announced plans for a sequel during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con!

The studio confirmed James Gunn will write and direct the first sequel with the original cast expected to return.

Marvel Animation announced an animated series, which will join a burgeoning roster including Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors on Disney XD.

Looking forward to more Guardians of the Galaxy? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Nathan Fillion to cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy

Director James Gunn confirmed the Firefly star has a brief cameo in the upcoming movie, as a favour to Gunn, via Twitter.

Guardians of the Galaxy is released on July 31 in the UK and August 1 in the US.

Are you excited for Nathan Fillion's cameo? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX 3D

I'm not especially enamoured with Hollywood's ongoing obsession with 3D in an attempt to woo audiences into multiplex cinemas with ever-increasing ticket prices due to lack of competition. However, James Cameron's Avatar and Gravity are notable exceptions.

A week doesn't go by without another multiformat release; the majority of which undergo 3D conversion in post-production with very mixed results.

To up the ante Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn took to his Facebook page:

Just got out of working on the 'Guardians' cut for IMAX 3D and I'm unbelievably excited about it. Guardians of the Galaxy has been planned as a 3D film from its very inception. Yes, if you see the film in 2D, you'll get a full experience. But the 3D experience promises a little something extra. Unlike many directors, I've been actively involved with converting every shot to 3D, making sure it works perfectly for the story and the film, making sure it's spectacular and immersive without being silly, distracting, or overly showy. 3D conversion was once far inferior to shooting in 3D, but over the past couple years new technology has allowed us incredible control over the 3D effects, making it equal to or in some cases greater than shooting in 3D.

As an EXTRA benefit for those who see the film in IMAX 3D, we will be changing aspect ratios throughout the film in a way that makes the experience even fuller and more encompassing. I've personally chosen all the places where the changes occur and, again, I love how it's coming along. The changing aspect ratios in this case are actually a part of the storytelling.

Just wanted to share some of this stuff with you guys since I haven't had a chance to talk about the 3D much. Hope you're all having a great day. Hi!

Kudos to Gunn for being hands-on in this instance. Other directors may be pressured into further post-production add-ons to the detriment of any artistic considerations. Edge of Tomorrow's battles were primarily set in daylight to accommodate the darker viewing experience inherent in 3D projection.

Will you see Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX 3D? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Karen Gillan as Nebula

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has posted a new photo of Nebula (Karen Gillan) on Instagram and Twitter.

Gunn describes Nebula as an interplanetary Clint Eastwood. The former Doctor Who actress looks all kinds of awesome.