The Playlist

Joss Whedon's Batman, How Black Widow Nearly Got The Axe & 15 More Revelations From 'The Avengers' Press Tour

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 4, 2012 12:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
If it's somehow escaped your notice, "The Avengers" is in theaters today. One of the biggest gambles in blockbuster history, it looks to have paid off: the reviews have been hugely positive, it's already closing on $300 million from the international box office, and stands to break records over this weekend in the U.S. too.

Discuss: After 'The Hunger Games' & 'The Dark Knight Rises,' Does Less Mean More When It Comes To Movie Marketing?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 3, 2012 10:56 AM
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  • 8 Comments
The creator of "Lost" might have a horse in this fight (he's the co-writer of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus"), but he also has a point. In the last few months, marketing of major blockbusters seems to fall into two separate categories: keeping your cards close to the chest (the J.J. Abrams mystery box approach), or the show-absolutely-everything technique, bombarding fans with character posters, different trailers and enough clips and stills that you could essentially reconstruct the movie, with a basic understanding of narrative structure and a copy of iMovie.

Joss Whedon Reveals He Tossed Out & Rewrote Zak Penn's Original 'Avengers' Script

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 2, 2012 3:04 PM
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  • 11 Comments
By any standard -- critical or commercial -- not only is "The Avengers" a megahit, which by the end of this weekend could be looking at $585 million worldwide, it's also considered by many to be the best Marvel movie to date. And when the dust clears and the money is counted, Marvel and the fans will have one person to thank: Joss Whedon. While it seems like a no brainer to give the fanboy favorite Whedon the keys to their biggest movie to date, Marvel was taking a bit of a risk. For Whedon, it was his first venture with an expensive, tentpole movie with a lot riding on it, but not only did Marvel have faith he could pull it off, they let him write the damn thing too. But it could have turned out much differently.

First Footage From Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' Debuts; 'Cabin In The Woods' Goes Direct-to-Video In Australia & New Zealand

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 30, 2012 11:35 AM
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  • 6 Comments
On yesterday's "Sunday Morning" show on CBS, in a feature about "Avengers" writer/director/super-geek Joss Whedon the first footage from "Much Ado About Nothing," his micro-budgeted Shakespeare adaptation that he shot in a two week window during post-production on "The Avengers," debuted. And it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect (with one new aspect – more on that in a minute) – the small scale antidote to his superhero romp, which is poised to be the summer's first bona fide blockbuster (and with good reason – it rules). But things aren't so happy everywhere in Whedonville, as his recent horror movie Rubik's Cube "Cabin in the Woods" is getting an inglorious debut in other parts of the world.

Review: 'The Avengers' Has Its Issues, But Mostly Delivers Thrilling, Engaging, Blockbuster Fun

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • April 30, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Everything that works in “The Avengers” really works, but not everything works in “The Avengers.” A virtuoso collection of action set pieces framed by an uninspiring “getting the team together” narrative which should have been accomplished in all of those post-credits sequences in earlier Marvel movies, Joss Whedon’s stab at superheroes delivers plenty of what makes both him and his subject matter appealing, as well as an abundance of mythological set-up that’s somehow simultaneously redundant and contradictory. But as the best (or perhaps most consistently engaging) Marvel movie since the original “Iron Man,” “The Avengers” is a winning piece of popcorn entertainment that does better with characters in an ensemble setting than many ever did when they starred in their own vehicles.

Review: Marvel's 'The Avengers' Is Immensely Satisfying, Entirely Thrilling & Possibly The Best Superhero Movie Yet

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 19, 2012 7:05 PM
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  • 33 Comments
The first scene of " The Avengers" is not very good. Deep in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base, scientist Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is conducting experiments on The Tesseract, the blue cube that powered the Red Skull's experiments in "Captain America." Expriments that, unfortunately, bring to earth Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the vengeful brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), last seen plummeting from Asgard into oblivion. Loki manages to take down S.H.I.E.L.D's best -- Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) -- with ease, and soon the base is decimated. It's a perfectly acceptable place to start, but there's something off about the execution: it's stilted, awkward and humorless, and the action is pretty uninvolving, with a TV-level of scope.

The Lost, Forgotten & Undersung Projects Of Joss Whedon

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 11, 2012 11:04 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Joss Whedon is about to have a very good week. The writer/director/producer has until recently, been best known for his work on television: he turned his poorly-received screenwriting debut "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" into one of the most beloved cult series of all times (which itself got a long-running spin-off, "Angel"), and followed them up with the short-lived but passionately followed sci-fi Western "Firefly," a show that lasted as single season, but managed to get its own cinematic sequel, "Serenity," which marked Whedon's big-screen directorial debut.

To Get Ready for 'Cabin in the Woods,' Here Are The Top 5 Cabin Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 10, 2012 10:05 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Everything from “The Truman Show” to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is chopped up and blended in the pop culture Cuisinart that is Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s irrepressible “Cabin in the Woods.” But it quite clearly owes a certain debt to a very specific type of horror sub-genre set primarily in a rickety homestead in the forest, one just desolate or decrepit enough to be rife with the possibility of evil spirits, demented madmen, psychic trauma… or all of the above. When Whedon originally came to Goddard with the concept, he gleefully suggested making a “cabin movie.” While “Cabin in the Woods” ended up being much more than that (it's an acidic takedown and euphoric celebration of all things horror), we wanted to briefly cite five of the films that contributed, either directly or through the pop culture ether, to “Cabin in the Woods.”

Review: Morgan Spurlock's 'A Fan’s Hope' Comic-Con Documentary, Is An Amiable & Harmless Look At Geek Culture

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • April 3, 2012 1:57 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Celebrating its 40th anniversary later this year, Comic-Con, while originally a convention for comic books and science fiction/fantasy enthusiasts has expanded into an annual pop-culture juggernaut that as Kevin Smith says, Comic-Con has gone mainstream; in his view on par with Cannes, Sundance and even the Olympics. Even your mom has heard about it.

Watch: New Japanese 'The Avengers' Trailer Reveals Gwyneth Paltrow Is In This Too

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 15, 2012 9:44 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Upon seeing the new Japanese trailer for "The Avengers," you'll have to agree that there's something about the visuals that blends better when underlined by an indecipherable Japanese narrator. Our latest peek at the superhero epic might be our clearest showcase yet, utiziling footage from the previous trailers while debuting a bit more of its own. Notably, several scenes from the first clips associated with the film return, but this time souped up with the addition of some special effects providing added context. To paraphrase Luke Wilson in "Idiocracy," now you know whose ass is farting, and why.

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