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Monday, March 31, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron...

A stunt performer is suited up as IRON MAN on the set of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Director Joss Whedon began filming next year's highly-anticipated follow-up to the 2012 mega-hit The Avengers a week ago, with first glimpses of Godzilla's Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Kick-Ass' Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Jeremy Renner reprising his role as Hawkeye. While Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. weren't on set, we also see that the suits for Captain America and Iron Man have been re-designed for Age of Ultron. And of course, making his debut on the set for the Avengers sequel is none other than Ultron himself—even if he's in the guise of a stunt performer wearing a padded metallic suit that will later be replaced with a computer-generated version of the title villain. Good stuff.

A stunt performer is suited up as CAPTAIN AMERICA on the set of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Jeremy Renner is back as Hawkeye in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Elizabeth Olsen in action as Scarlet Witch on the set of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in action as Quicksilver on the set of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

A stunt performer is suited up as the villainous Ultron on the set of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction...

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION theatrical poster #1.

Clearly, Michael Bay and/or the folks at Paramount Pictures' marketing department love this particular scene (featuring the Decepticon named Lockdown and his ship) from the movie to create these posters out of it. I don't blame 'em. Less than three months to go before Transformers: Age of Extinction hits theaters nationwide!

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION theatrical poster #2.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2...

Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) is back to take on Electro, Rhino and the Green Goblin in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

Check out the newest and final theatrical trailer for this May's second installment in The Amazing Spider-Man saga. Shown in these screenshots from the preview are—along with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy—three members of the Sinister Six...Marvel's villainous equivalent to The Avengers. With Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin taking on the Webslinger in this film, it will be interesting to see if Carnage, Venom and Doctor Octopus (or Vulture... Along with Doc Ock's robotic tentacles, Vulture's wings were also featured in this trailer) show up in the next flick to destroy Spider-Man. Yea, they probably won't be very successful in that endeavor. We'll see.

Emma Stone is back as Gwen Stacy in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

Electro (Jamie Foxx) is bent on causing the Webslinger's destruction in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

The Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) uses Oscorp technology to attack Spidey in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) uses his armor and heavy artillery to wreak havoc on Spider-Man and New York City in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

The Rhino and Spidey charge at each other during an explosive confrontation in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Photos of the Day...

Jaimie Alexander, from THOR and AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., does an autograph signing at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium, on March 16, 2014.

Earlier today, I went back to L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium to attend an autograph signing by Jaimie Alexander, who played the Asgardian named Lady Sif in the last two Thor movies as well as a recent episode of ABC TV's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ms. Alexander was totally nice and cool in person... Here's hoping that we'll see more of Sif kicking arse in the next Thor flick and even Avengers: Age of Ultron (or at least in the third Avengers film). This signing came more than a month after I met Katia Winter from FOX's Sleepy Hollow at this sci-fi and comic book convention.

Posing with Jaimie Alexander at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium, on March 16, 2014.

My autograph by Jaimie Alexander.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire...

Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his Greek army wage war against the Persians in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE.

"This. Is. Sparta!" This memorable line by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) was one of many factors that made 300 such a huge hit when it was released in theaters back in March of 2007. This time around though, there aren't that many noteworthy quotes in 300: Rise of an Empire despite the fact that director Noam Murro did a commendable job retaining the visual style and gory swordplay that adorned Zack Snyder's original movie. Unlike the first 300, Rise of an Empire ends on a more upbeat note, as Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) was successful in fending off the Persians while Leonidas (whose Spartans were fighting against Xerxes' forces at the same time as the events that take place in this new film) was forced to make one last stand against a dominant enemy at the hot gates of Thermopylae. Leonidas' wife Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) sees actual combat this time around, as Artemisia (Eva Green) proved to be a formidable adversary against her fellow Greeks as she was the femme fatale who was instrumental in getting Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) to rise into power as the God-King.

Themistocles tries to persuade Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) and her Spartans to join the rest of the Greek army in its fight against the Persians in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE.

Whereas the first 300 took place in the mountainous terrain of Greece, Rise of an Empire focused on the naval battles that transpired between Artemisia and Themistocles during the Persian Wars. Despite his ships being vastly outnumbered by Artemisia's fleet, Themistocles showed that he was as much a brilliant tactician as he was a formidable warrior. Using fog and the structural weak points of Artemisia's ships to his advantage, Themistocles enjoyed many victories in the Aegean Sea until Artemisia is forced to meet with Themistocles and try to persuade him to join forces with her naval armada. Themistocles ultimately turns down Artemisia's offer...resulting in a final confrontation between the two that would lead to Gorgo and her fellow Spartans joining forces with Themistocles in defeating Artemisia's fleet—and causing Xerxes, who was watching the naval battle from a cliff overlooking the sea—walk away as his Persian army faced its first major setback.

Artemisia (Eva Green) commands Xerxes' naval fleet in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE.

Unlike sequels like The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, The Matrix Reloaded and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 300: Rise of an Empire did not conclude with its heroes having to regroup after suffering a significant defeat at the hands of their more formidable enemies. However, Rise of an Empire does end in a cliffhanger, with a third 300 movie most likely on the horizon. Xerxes' army is down but not out, and it remains to be seen if Themistocles and Queen Gorgo will avenge the great sacrifice that Leonidas and his men made in the first film. All that's certain is, if there is a 300: Part 3, you can expect Xerxes to face a bloody death just like Leonidas did in the first movie...with Gorgo or most likely Themistocles holding the God-King's severed head as his vanquisher watches Persia burn at the hands of the Greek army. (Even though in real life, Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus, one of Xerxes' royal bodyguards... Good ol' Wikipedia.) That is all.

Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) seeks one more act of revenge against King Leonidas (off-screen) in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction...

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION theatrical poster.

The newest trailer to this summer's fourth installment in the Transformers series was released online today...with glimpses into the lives of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), the sinister plan by Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) to rid the world of Autobots and all Transformers in general, and the return of Optimus Prime as he battles both ungrateful humans and a rampaging Grimlock. Anyways, check out the trailer posted below these cool screenshots. Transformers: Age of Extinction gets released into theaters nationwide on June 27.

Bumblebee and a fellow (man-made?) Transformer in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) brace for an attack by Decepticons in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Bumblebee is chased through a city by Decepticons in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Su Yueming (Bingbing Li) is among the humans caught in the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Grimlock charges at Optimus Prime (off-screen) in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Optimus Prime is ready to confront a charging Grimlock (off-screen) in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Grimlock is knocked into the ground by Optimus Prime in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

The 86th Annual Academy Awards...

Alfonso Cuarón (foreground) directs Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a scene for GRAVITY.

While Steve McQueen's historical epic 12 Years A Slave took home the Best Picture trophy at the end of the night, the Academy Awards belonged to Alfonso Cuarón and his commercial and critically-acclaimed sci-fi hit Gravity. The space-disaster film took home seven Oscars...each for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. Sandra Bullock was nominated for Best Actress on Gravity, but lost out to Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. Gravity was also nominated for Best Production Design—but Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby was honored with this award instead. Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, his co-star Jared Leto won for Best Supporting Actor and Lupita Nyong'o won Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave. John Ridley won for Best Adapted Screenplay on 12 Years, while Spike Jonze took home the Best Original Screenplay trophy for Her.

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

Gravity joins Star Wars: A New Hope, Inception, Avatar, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Apollo 13 in the club of successful sci-fi and/or space-themed movies that fell short of winning a Best Picture Oscar. Oh well. I think that NASA should be grateful that Gravity (along with the CBS TV show The Big Bang Theory) brought mainstream awareness to the International Space Station, Russian Soyuz spacecraft and Chinese Shenzhou capsules. Oh, and much props to Ellen DeGeneres for her great job hosting the Oscars, and Bill Murray for giving a shout-out to his late Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis in tonight's telecast. Carry on.

Ellen DeGeneres takes a selfie with scores of A-list Hollywood movie stars during the 86th Annual Academy Awards.
Photo courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres - Twitter.com