New Clip From 'Batman: Year One' Animated Movie

Batman copyright DC Comics - Painting by Alex Ross
Aw yeah, this looks good. Check out the just released clip from Batman:Year One - the direct-to-video film from DC Universe Animated Original Movie line. It's based on the classic run of Batman comics from Frank Miller  and David Mazzucchelli, and features the voice talent of Ben McKenzie, Bryan Cranston and Eliza Dushku.

Thanks to CBR for the heads up.

If you missed it, below is the trailer from Year One

Experts Proven Wrong - World Loves 'Captain America' Movie

Paramount/Marvel Studios
Note* I'd like to thank Mandy Southgate at Addicted to Media for inviting me to guest post this article.  For insightful reviews and commentary on the entertainment world, there are few bloggers that can match Mandy. Stop by and see for yourself. 

Earlier this week, Paramount and Marvel Studios announced the box office tally for Captain America: The First Avenger (CA), and much was made about its strong showing overseas. The Hollywood Reporter ran a story with the headline "Box Office Shocker" - implying that many experts thought Cap would get a lukewarm reception outside the USA. As it turned out, it actually earned more abroad than it did at home. It did especially well in Latin America and Europe. In the UK, the movie had a strong showing, but Thor proved more popular with $22.5 million in ticket sales to Cap's $15.5 million.

As THR reported -
To date, the superhero tentpole has grossed $178 million internationally, compared to $173.5 million at the domestic box office. The overseas tally includes a strong $5 million opening in China over the Sept. 9-11 weekend.
Captain America #1- 1941 Timely/Marvel Comics 
I posted an article in July that talked about the decision to distribute the film overseas with the full title instead of simply The First Avenger. It was thought by some industry experts at the time that having "America" in the title would turn off audiences in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Eventually, the only countries that chose to distribute CA with the shortened title were Russia, Ukraine and South Korea.

As some astute commenters noted on the THR site, the bigger story here might be the relatively small American box office for CA - especially for such a well-known character and heavily promoted film. To paraphrase what one person said in the comments - This is studio "spin" to cover up CA's sub-par American box office. In 2010, American studios raked in three times as much overseas as they did domestically, so, of course, it follows that CA did well abroad. 

So, it's debatable whether or not CA was as much a financial success as it was a critical one. Let's leave that discussion for later. I'm wondering about some of the subtler points that CA's international popularity raises.

What does it mean in terms of America's image abroad when a movie as America-centric as CA does so well in the current politically charged climate? Could it mean that some of the anti-Americanism that seemed to be widespread across the globe a few years ago has lessened? Would CA have done as well in, say, 2004 as it did in 2011? We'll never know the answer to that one, but it's interesting to speculate. What did you think of Captain America: The First Avenger? Have any ideas on why it did so well around the world?

Read the THR article at the link below
Box Office Shocker: 'Captain America' Earns More Overseas than in U.S. - The Hollywood Reporter:

Michael Shannon on Playing Zod in 'Man of Steel'

Michael Shannon
How is Michael Shannon's General Zod, who will be battling the Man of Steel, going to differ from the classic Terence Stamp performance in Superman II? Short answer is, we don't know for sure, but one thing is sure, he won't attempt to copy Stamp in any way.

Here's what Shannon told The Playlist at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend -

Terence Stamp/General Zod - Superman II
“I found his performance so 
powerful that I would be 
overwhelmed by it if I tried to incorporate it into what I’m doing. There’s no reason to try and replicate it cos it’s perfect the way it is. I’m just trying to go down a different road with it, the script’s a little bit different than the original script. It’s going to have a different look and feel to it, visually. I’m looking forward to really settling into it, and playing with it.”

And as for being in his first massive, CGI-filled action movie, Shannon had this to say - 
“It’s fascinating to watch, the process of making a movie like this, it’s very intricate. There’s going to be a lot of CGI and whatnot. I think anytime an actor does one of these movies for the first time, they’re a little thrown off by it. You always hear actors talking about it, like ‘I was wearing this funny suit, nothing I was supposed to be reacting to was really there.’ To me it encourages… it’s actually very childlike, it’s like being in your backyard and imagining you’re on a space station or something. It goes back to the original impulse of play, which is pretty funny to think about when you fathom all the money that’s involved, hundreds of millions of dollars to do what you did when you were a kid.”
Read the full article at the link below.
Michael Shannon Says His General Zod In ‘Man of Steel’ Will Be Very Different From Terence Stamp’s > The Playlist:

Go Behind-the-Scenes in 'X-Men: First Class' DVD/Blu-ray

Jennifer Lawrence/Mystique 
The DVD/Blu-ray release of X-Men: First Class went on sale yesterday (Sept. 9) and, of course, it's loaded with behind-the-scenes clips and alternate scenes. If you're still debating whether or not to purchase it, here's a look at some "extras" that might help you decide.

Michael Fassbender
A couple of weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly gave us an exclusive clip from the DVD/Blu-ray which showed an alternate version of the strip club scene- the one where Erik (Michael Fassbender) and Charles (James McAvoy) try to recruit Angel (Zoe Kravitz) as a member of the X-Men. Only in this version, Charles gives Angel a demonstration of his telepathic powers that makes her see Erik dressed in drag. Don't know about you, but I think the director, Matthew Vaughn, made the right call when he left this scene on the cutting room floor. Check it out HERE and see if you agree.

Another of the goodies you'll find on the First Class home video package is a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible make-up process that Jennifer Lawrence underwent in order to become the blue-skinned Mystique. This is the kind of movie-magic stuff that I geek out over. I'm constantly amazed at the work done by make up artists like the ones shown in this clip, not to mention the patience of actors who have to endure the process for hours upon hours. Although I can't show the clip here, you can watch it at io9  

Finally, we have the clip below, which shows some of the work that went into making those cool blue and yellow costumes. For me, the suits were one of the many highlights of First Class because they referred back to the classic X-Men comic book threads, while at the same time appeared to be functional and modern (by 1960s standards, anyway). One of the designers explains that they looked to NASA and other space-age sources from the '60s for inspiration and even used actual Kevlar in the construction. How cool is that?

Tom Hiddleston on Loki and 'The Avengers'

Tom Hiddleston as Loki - Marvel Studios
Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed Thor's half-brother and archenemy, Loki, in this year's Thor, talked to MTV about his character's development in the upcoming flick, The Avengers. From the sound of it, we're gonna be in for a darker, crazier God of Mischief this time around. I've got to admit, Hiddleston was a discovery for me in Thor. I wasn't familiar with his previous work, but wow, am I glad Marvel snagged him for the part of Loki. From this interview and others, he seems to really understand the hurt and resentment that Loki carries, which makes his conflict with Thor that much more compelling.

Oh yeah, if you're wondering when Thor 2 is slated to begin filming...Hiddleston says that shooting should start in the spring of 2012 - with an opening day nailed down as July 26, 2013.

From MTV -
The Avengers - Marvel Studios
"In 'The Avengers' he’s really dark and kind of sociopathic, or maybe even psychopathic is the word, in a deluded way," he explained. "Obviously I haven’t let go of the spiritual damage at the heart of him, it still comes from that lost place, but he’s just incredibly nasty. I think that probably in 'Thor 2' his previous actions will, he’ll have to take responsibility for what he’s done." 
"The great thing about Loki is there is potential in him for greatness and awfulness, for great heroism and great villainy," Hiddleston continued. "There are still, even within 'The Avengers,' there are moments where you see within Loki a glimmer of hope and that possibility of redemption."