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X Men (#110 of 6)

Debut Trailer Drops for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Debut Trailer Drops for Bryan Singer’s <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em>
Debut Trailer Drops for Bryan Singer’s <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em>

As opposed to the growing universe of The Avengers, the X-Men saga seems less a dollar-driven mega-brand these days than an interweaving, incestuous franchise bent on its own redemption. James Mangold’s The Wolverine rather effectively removed the bitter taste of Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class opted to wind the clock all the way back to the 1960s, as if to distract us from the overreaching piecemeal mess that was Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Now comes X-Men: Days of Future Past, whose very plot involves amending the ills of days gone by, and using this valiant approach to suppress chaos and make for a better future. Allowing life to imitate art, Marvel even reached into its own past to bring this picture to the screen, tapping X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer to once again take the reins. Few would argue that Singer’s X films, particularly X2, were the strongest of the series, and then there’s the tangentially related tidbit that his Superman Returns soared above Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. It’s with that directorial promise that viewers can watch Future Past’s debut trailer with confidence, taking in the Marty McFly parallels to a comic-book storyline first penned by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, and watching Halle Berry channel Helen Slater from The Legend of Billie Jean. X-Men: Days of Future Past may not be able to wipe clean the sins of the series, but thanks to its helmer and the sheer audacity of its apparent convolution, it may just be the rare new superhero film that’s actually remarkable. Watch the trailer after the jump.

That RoboCop Trailer and the Folly of Paul Verhoeven Remakes

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That RoboCop Trailer and the Folly of Paul Verhoeven Remakes

Columbia Pictures

That RoboCop Trailer and the Folly of Paul Verhoeven Remakes

Even amid the troubling trend of remaking films that have barely collected a speck of dust, there are still movies that can surprise you. I know quite a few colleagues who were plenty keen on last year’s Dredd, a cohesive reimagining (or whatever) of the character whose first screen outing was an ill-fated, 1990s Stallone vehicle. Most often, however, in recent times, these remakes reek of desperation—evidence of Hollywood’s tendon-stretching reach for anything remotely tied to a known, sellable brand. Yesterday, the trailer for the RoboCop remake hit the web, and anyone born after 1995 probably didn’t even flinch. “Oh, look—there’s Samuel L. Jackson, that guy from The Avengers. And there’s some robot with a gun who kinda looks like a Transformer.” Following Len Wiseman’s banal-as-bathwater take on Total Recall, the new RoboCop (set for release on Feb. 7, 2014) will mark the second re-telling—I’m running out of “re” words here—of a Paul Verhoeven movie in as little as two years. By all evidence, these two films stand as testaments to the hollowness of mainstream cinema’s brand regurgitation, as their inspirations didn’t necessarily gain notoriety for their concepts, but for their director’s knowing, satirical, just-north-of-B-movie sensibilities.

Poster Lab: X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Poster Lab: <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em>
Poster Lab: <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em>

If you wait until halfway through the credits of new Marvel actioner The Wolverine, you’ll get—surprise!—an Easter-egg-y teaser of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest leg of this comic-book-maker turned film studio’s incestuous universe. In the clip [spoiler alert], Logan (Hugh Jackman) catches up with Magneto (Ian McKellen) and a resurrected Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who, now evidently on the same team, warn their furry friend of an incoming menace that’s a threat to all mutants. Thanks to this early teaser poster, and, to a lesser degree, this one, fanboys know said threat is the infamous army of towering robotic “Sentinels,” which, in the end-credits scene, are further foreshadowed by a flash of the Trask Industries logo (for the non-geeks to whom this means nothing, just roll with me).

On the Rise Nicholas Hoult

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On the Rise: Nicholas Hoult

Warner Bros.

On the Rise: Nicholas Hoult

Amid the new British invasion of rising stars (see Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo, and the entire cast of Downton Abbey), the strongest candidate for male heartthrob seems to be Nicholas Hoult, an English actor and model who just turned 23, 10 years after co-starring with Hugh Grant in About a Boy.

Born with actorly blood, Hoult is the great-nephew of Anna Neagle, British star and muse to director Herbert Wilcox, whom she wed in the 1940s. Part of Hoult’s appeal is that he carries some of the classic mystique of Neagle’s heyday, his stark features begging to be captured in black and white, and his lean frame designed for chic formal wear. It’s no wonder perfectionist Tom Ford nabbed Hoult for his ’60s-era feature debut, A Single Man, casting the then-20-year-old as Kenny, the studious slice of eye-candy who connects with Colin Firth’s professor. Through Ford’s stylized lens, viewers saw the extent to which Hoult could be an onscreen asset, providing a look both pure and dangerous, nostalgic and new. Few, though, might have expected just how big a star he was on his way to becoming, with multiple blockbusters and, potentially, three franchises on the horizon.

15 Famous Movie Impostors

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15 Famous Movie Impostors
15 Famous Movie Impostors

This week sees the release of the so-wild-it-must-be true documentary The Imposter, which tells the tale of Frédéric Bourdin, an international master of disguise who, in the 1990s, impersonated a missing Texas boy, one of countless identities the chameleonic subject assumed. Bourdin’s story may be all too real, but his is one of many impostor tales we’ve seen committed to film, as so much suspense rests on characters not being who they seem. In the cases of stars in drag, stars undercover, and stars on the run, viewers are usually in on the incognito secret. Sometimes, though, the ruse is so convincing that everyone is fooled, swept up by the yank of the proverbial rug.

Critical Distance: The Avengers

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Critical Distance: <em>The Avengers</em>
Critical Distance: <em>The Avengers</em>

For 10 years, comic-book superheroes have permeated popular movies. After the mega-success of Spider-Man in 2002, costumed white fellas saving the world became multiplex staples. Once all the iconic heroes were accounted for, studios found continued success with second-tier characters, from the previously obscure (Iron Man) to the uncomfortably jingoistic (Captain America: The First Avenger). The circuit escalated into the late 2000s, spawning remakes, reboots, sequels, and prequels with a frequency that only the most ardent fans could keep up with. A few X-Men spinoffs, a Superman hybrid, and two Hulk films later, we now arrive at a moment of superhero saturation, wherein each new release affirms the general consensus that these films represent a creatively dry enterprise.