Awesome New Avengers Trailer!

The new trailer for Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers manages to simultaneously make the movie look epic — by playing up the widescreen action and pumping up the threat level — and intimate — by featuring tiny little character moments that demonstrate these are Marvel characters (by which I mean, damaged souls). Check it out at Apple trailers.

And check out The Avengers in theaters May 4.

The Avengers Will Assemble in Britain — and Soon!

The U.K. poster

The AvengersJoss Whedon’s big-budget adaption of the comic book and featuring Marvel’s mightiest movie heroes teaming up — will sport a slightly different name when it is released in the U.K.  — and British fans will get to see it a full week earlier than we Yanks.

Marvel Avengers Assemble will be released on April 26, sporting the new title in an effort to avoid any nasty legal entaglements with the owners of the copyright to the ever-popular 1960s caper series, THE AVENGERS (of Steed and Mrs. Peel fame), which is a cultural touchstone in the United Kingdom. (The TV series was made into a wretched feature in 1998, starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes.)

Still, one would think there’s not much chance of mistaking the Hulk for the sophisticated John Steed…
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THE WALKING DEAD 2.10: “18 Miles Out”

This week’s episode of THE WALKING DEAD was all about confrontations that have been a long time coming — especially Rick and Shane finally…er, talking it out. That particular explosion has been simmering since early in the first season.

When Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) set out to release the captive Randall (Michael Zegen) at least 18 miles from the farm, they ended up finally talking about the elephant in the car. No, not the blindfolded Randall in the trunk, but all the issues between the two alpha males: from Shane abandoning Rick in the hospital to his affair with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) to sacrificing Otis to challenging Rick’s leadership — it was all on the table.
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2012 Oscars Postgame Analysis

OK, so how did I do with yesterday’s pregame predictions for the 84th Academy Awards? All in all, not too shabby: 14 wins and 10 misses.

In my defense, I think this was a particularly difficult year to predict – which, objectively, is a good thing.

Let’s look at the results…

Best Picture 
Winner: The Artist

Prediction: The Artist
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2012 Oscars Picks and Predictions

It’s Oscar Sunday – the second biggest American non-holiday behind Super Bowl Sunday – and that means it’s time for Academy Award predictions. When I make my picks, I like to predict who I think will win, and also list who I think deserves to win (which is not always the same).

You can jump to this entry to see a full list of all the categories and nominees for the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, which gets under way at 8:30 p.m. from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. I’ll start with the major categories, and then include the ones no one really cares about. So let’s get started…
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New John Carter Extended Clip

Check out this 4:27 clip of scenes from John Carter, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ seminal planetary romance novel.

The first half is an extended arena sequence, featuring John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) and Tars Tarkas (voiced by Willem Dafoe) battling a couple of great white apes. But the real treasure is the second half of the video, a nice selection of scenes from the rest of the movie that make it look pretty thrilling. I am disappointed, however, that the promotions are still avoiding John Carter’s romance with Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). That relationship should be vital to bringing hordes of teenage girls into theaters. Oh, well…

John Carter is being released on March 9 in 2D, 3D and IMAX formats. Catch at least one of them.

Star Trek 2: First Photos!

At last, a photo was released from the filming of Star Trek 2, 2013’s sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise. And the images are not simply actors standing around in character; these are action shots!

First up, we see Zachary Quinto as Spock, battling Benedict Cumberbatch, a newcomer to the Trek universe, who is playing the unnamed, unidentified Big Bad in the film. Some folks will doubtless recognize him from starring in the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes reboot, SHERLOCK, which transplants the Victorian sleuth to modern times.
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Pressing Issues at Sports Press Conferences

Rex Ryan

I want to take a look at a couple of interesting announcements that came out of the world of sports yesterday, both involving guys named Ryan: Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Calling last year’s guarantee of a Super Bowl victory a “huge mistake,” New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan refused to make a similar boast to reporters yesterday at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. The fact that the combine is traditionally held in Indianapolis – the city in which Ryan’s cross-stadium rivals, the New York Football Giants, won Super Bowl XLVI over the Jets’ divisional rival, the New England Patriots – surely had nothing to do with Ryan’s newfound humility.
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ALCATRAZ 1.7: “Johnny McKee”

I admit to being underwhelmed by this week’s ALCATRAZ. It was enjoyable enough, but felt very formulaic and a bit tired, even for such a new show. I think I’m getting bored with the “63 of the Week” format, more than the show itself, which remains engaging.

Poisoner storylines are not that common, even on procedurals, so at least ALCATRAZ shook up the formula to that degree. And Johnny McKee’s motivation for his crime spree was a bit different, too.
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Avengers Assembling!

Now this is how you sell a movie with still photos! (And this isn’t.Joss Whedon’s The Avengers kicks off the summer blockbuster season on May 4, so lot of teaser images are being released to get fans stoked — and it’s working! (Disney’s John Carter marketers should take notes!)

Don’t mess with the best: Avengers Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) look determined to kick some butt. I wouldn’t want to be Loki (Tom Hiddleston) or his mysterious minions (*cough*FrostGiants*cough*)!

I wonder what the balance of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), not to mention Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. — are up to while this trio is on the move.

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