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2014 has turned out to be a landmark year for Scarlett Johansson. The double whammy of Spike Jonze's Her and Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin saw her doing the best work of her career, in both cases playing a non-human being who develops consciousness and a soul through her contact with the world.
Then there was her fourth and best outing yet as Marvel's Black Widow. Her role in The Winter Soldier was so significant that the film could justifiably have been called Captain America & Black Widow, if not for the fact that that's a rubbish title.
And to cap things off this summer, Johansson's solo sci-fi Lucy debuted at number one at the Us box office, far outstripping the week's other major release Hercules.
With Lucy reaching UK screens this week, Digital Spy looks back on Johansson's five best roles to date.
Ghost World (2001)
While the role of »
Trevor Hogg chats with Kurtis Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins about transforming a literary icon into a swashbuckling World War II hero…
“My family is very musical, but I’m the only one who’s ever shown interest in creative writing,” explains Kurtis Wiebe (Green Wake) who won a Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Writer in 2012. “But, we grew up with stories very much being part of our lives.” Comic books were not part of reading childhood itinerary. “Not until my mid-twenties when a friend bought me an issue of Walking Dead. I had no idea comics could be anything other than superhero stories, so it was a huge eye opener. I was never into superheroes; it never really caught my attention. The idea that you could tell any story you wanted with the medium was a huge appeal to me.” The desire to take the comic book beyond the »
- Trevor Hogg
Thanks to Marvel, post-credit sequences are not just a nice surprise, but now they’re a cinematic prerequisite. They have evolved from extra perks to a completed story, to world-building links that piece seemingly disparate movies together. Even when they take a completely different approach, like Guardians of the Galaxy does, it’s in the interest of showing Marvel’s reach, rather than nodding to the magic of the film in question. Being the glue to future films is always a risky proposition. Movies like Masters of the Universe and Young Sherlock Holmes used these sequences to tease a future that would never come. And some, like Dogma, portray promises not delivered, like Alanis Morissette’s God in that movie literally closing the book on the View Askewniverse. Will we get to a future where superheroes fall and a post-credits sequence nods to a Marvel future never realized? I don’t know. But »
- Monika Bartyzel
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Scarlett Johansson is one of the hottest women on the planet, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t once have some awkward years. This week’s Transformation Tuesday is all about Scarlett’s evolution from precocious child actor in movies like Manny & Lo to self-conscious teen in Ghost World and the sultry-voiced woman we know from Lost In Translation. Now, Scarlett is ruling the box office with latest thriller, Lucy.
While Scarlett’s career has been on a steady rise for more than a decade, her fashion and beauty choices have been all over the map. From in-between teen to funky fashion mullet to dark and sultry locks and back to blonde bombshell again, Scarlett’s looks have run the gamut. We admire her for taking risks and always looking amazing. How does she do it? Enjoy this look back on Scar Jo’s style transformation. »
- Lauren Elizabeth Thompson
Comic-book movies have mostly focused on the superhero world as of late, but in the early 2000s Hollywood was taking bigger chances on darker and more independent comics such as Road To Perdition, Ghost World and arguably the biggest of the bunch, Frank Miller’s Sin City. As a twisted anthology of noir tales set in the fictional Basin City, it gave us a cruel and violent world which brought the comic to life via the use of excessive green screen, allowing director’s Miller and Robert Rodriguez to stunningly recreate the graphic novels.
This latest TV spot seems to try and convince us of a more heroic feel with the line “When outlaws become heroes.” The big stars of the original’s impressive cast return with few changes, the late Michael Clarke Duncan and the pregnant Devon Aoki are absent while Michael Madsen and Clive Owen have been replaced »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
She’s been turning heads on and off screen since her role in 2001’s Ghost World caught the attention of indie movie lovers everywhere. And with her breakthrough role in Lost in Translation, Scarlett Johansson jumped into mainstream consciousness and launched her career in the spotlight.
It’s hard to believe that it’s only seen a decade since Johansson wandered the streets of Tokyo with Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Since then, Johansson has chosen roles in everything from rom-coms to action flicks, became Woody Allen’s muse, and slipped into skin-tight leather and held her own with the men and mutants of The Avengers and its upcoming sequel.
Johansson’s latest on screen incarnation sees the actress as the titular Lucy, a woman who is forced to work as a drug mule for the mob in Taiwan. When a massive quantity of the smuggled drugs inadvertently leak into her system, »
- Rachel West
Under the Skin, 2013.
Directed by Jonathan Glazer.
A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.
Opening on an aligning of planetary activity, darkness shimmering against the beaming light of the intergalactic, it is evident from the very first frames that Under the Skin is unlike anything you’ve seen. As the planets align and then fade into the very darkness they first appeared, the camera moves slowly away to a screen of white, purposely taking its time to reveal the eye of our protagonist, in this case an alien being, who is seemingly in some sort of human “training” before being released onto the third rock from the sun.
As you can tell, this is no-compromise cinema from the outset, the sort »
- Scott Davis
We take a light-hearted look at a few of the more strange coincidences and quirks of fate in recent cinema history...
Stories are often built on coincidences and happenstance. Chance encounters at railway stations. Bruce Willis bumping into Ving Rhames while he's out and about in his Honda in Pulp Fiction. But what about those weird patterns we see in our everyday reality, or, more to the point, in cinema history?
When Batman Begins came out, it was widely noted that Christian Bale had already played an unfathomably rich man with a secret double life before, in Mary Harron's adaptation of American Psycho. Bale's character, Patrick Bateman, even has a surname that's basically Batman with an 'e' added to it.
Those are the kinds of strange quirks of fate we're looking at here. If you have any of your own, do share them in the comments section.
10. Instruments »
Based on John Green's ginormously popular Ya novel, this is a sweet, simple, dignified movie about young lovers whose every move is chaperoned by death. It seems safe to say that it will have millions of people verklempt between now and forever. When they meet in a cancer support group, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) share a sense of gallows humor, but she considers her foreshortened life with pointed intensity, and he stays afloat (sometimes desperately) with gallant charm. Where they connect - and the pair do connect, wholly - is on a level of existential and romantic bliss. »
- Tom Gliatto
It is with great sadnesss that we report that actress Anna Berger died aged 91 on the 26th May this year.
With a career spanning more than six decades, Anna was best known for her small but memorable parts in many hit films and television shows such as The Sopranos, Ghost World and NYPD Blue. The actress had a long and varied career, even performing on Broadway. She began acting as a child and was often playing older roles at a young age.
She is survived by her husband, two daughters, one of which is actress Joanna Sanchez and two brothers and two sisters. At Thn, we’d like to send our condolences to her family and friends and also celebrate her wonderful life.
Source: NYTimes »
- Lucinda Holt
The characters on The Vampire Diaries are stuck in an eternal loop. Besides the never ending love triangle between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and the Salvatore brothers that has become the backbone of the series, there’s also the viscous cycle that Elena and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) are engaged in that hovers on the edge of the narrative as if on repeat. Elena goes back and forth between being the harbinger of heartbreak and the poster child for humanity, but somehow still finds time to be the constant center of unsolicited drama.
When the dust settled after Elena became a vampire and the sire bond between her and Damon was unceremoniously disabled, the couple fell back into the familiar pattern of push and pull. Fast forward through almost two seasons and they are still smack dab in the same position. They are madly in love with each other, but suffer from »
- Lindsay Sperling
The movie equivalent of a mean girls’ game whose only goal is the humiliation of its protagonist, for your entertainment. Also: a failed parable of the twistedness of the 1 percent. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
So I was at this party one time in high school, and a bunch of mean girls thought they could trick me into embarrassing myself. The game was: I put a blanket over my head, and then I had to hand them stuff that was on my person until I hit on the one secret item that they had it in their heads that they wanted me to give them. I can’t remember what the first thing I gave them was — something innocuous, like my watch or a shoe, neither of which was the secret thing, of course. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
How great is it that we live in an age where the adorable young girl from Ghost World and The Horse Whisperer has matured into this confident, credible ass-beater? It didn.t happen overnight. Scarlett Johansson has been taking names for years now. But we.ve gotten to the point where seeing her doing her best Jason Bourne impersonation in a Luc Besson thriller isn.t shocking. It.s invigorating. The above trailer, shared via The Playlist, is for Besson.s upcoming Lucy, a hard-hitting thriller that carries this amazing logline: A drug mule accidentally swallows her cargo and finds she now has superpowers." Uh, yeah. Sign me up for that movie. Especially since, after detours into more serious genre fare with The Family and The Lady, Lucy looks like a return to action for Besson to his days filming features like La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional. And »
This upcoming month, there are two interesting genre titles playing on Fearnet that you should take note of; 'Eden Lake' and 'Dahmer.' Why? Because they both represent early movies for actors that have proved to be outstanding performers in the arts long before they honed their craft. In the case of 'Eden Lake,' the film is fronted by Michael Fassbender, long before he played Magneto in the 'X-Men' films, stole the show in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' & played the android David from 'Prometheus' with such cold, calculated perfection. Also, you can catch 'Dahmer,' the bio pic from director David Jacobson, which stars Jeremy Renner in one of his first cinematic lead roles. Now he's an Avenger in the Marvel Universe! So it got me thinking about other examples of successful stars you may have totally forgotten were in genre films. »
- Rob Galluzzo
Comic book movies are often seen as the domain of spandex-clad demigods who battle moustache-twirling villains, but if 300 and Sin City - which both originated on the pages of Frank Miller works - are anything to go by they're not essential to telling a great story.
With sequels to 300 and Sin City incoming, we take a look at 8 great examples of comic book-inspired films with no superheroes in sight.
Sin City (2005)
Co-directed by comic creator Miller and digital filmmaking pioneer Robert Rodriguez, this adaptation stayed faithful to the source material, with the filmmakers shooting actors on green screen and rendering the locations - almost exactly how they appeared on the page - in post-production.
Ghost World (2001)
Long before he was jousting with Shia Labeouf, comics »
The Bag Man is a taut crime thriller that follows the story of Jack (John Cusack), a tough guy with chronic bad luck. Hired by legendary crime boss Dragna (Robert De Niro) to complete a simple but unusual task, the plot centers on Jack and a host of shady characters that have been summoned to a remote location for unknown reasons. Over the course of a long and violently eventful night awaiting this crime boss's arrival, Jack crosses paths with Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), a stunningly beautiful woman whose life becomes physically and emotionally entangled with his own. When Dragna finally arrives on the scene there are sudden and extreme consequences for all.
Appearing in the film is one of our personal favorite actors, Crispin Glover. He plays the innkeeper at this mysterious location where a number of unsavory characters have gathered. The actor has been suspiciously absent from the »
In this directorial debut from E.L. Katz, Healy plays a freshly fired family man named Craig who, together with an old acquaintance portrayed by Ethan Embry, is convinced to undertake ever crazier challenges for money by a rich couple (David Koechner and Sara Paxton). We don’t want to say too much more but we can confirm that Healy’s character undergoes all manner of mental and physical trials, including getting a »
- Clark Collis
Trevor Hogg chats with Ales Kot about comics and the creation of Edward Zero...
“What is an artist?” asks Ales Kot. “If anything done sufficiently well is art, then I certainly come from a family of artists. My mother was a social worker and became an interior designer; her mother worked at the post office most of her life and her father worked as a steel worker, an army specialist, and a truck driver. My father worked as a miner, then sold steel and then built up a soccer club; his father worked on a high position in a steel factory and taught physics and mathematics while his mother worked in a store selling food most of her life. Thankfully, I was always encouraged to read and write and think on my own, at least by certain members of the family.” Kot believes, “Any merger of visuals and text is comics. »
Despite two remarkable new films, attention has shifted away from the actress's luminous career to her political beliefs as she becomes embroiled in a controversy over the boycott of Israeli goods
It is usually the case that studios, agents and distributors will co-ordinate release dates to capitalise on a star's popularity, but it is rare that an A-list actress will be headlining two remarkable new films and an international political controversy all at the same time. That's not your run-of-the-mill Hollywood career, but then Scarlett Johansson is no common-or-garden star.
The nature of her latest movies tells you as much. In Her, which has just opened in the UK, she plays Samantha, a computer operating system that evolves in response to the user's needs and personality. She is as present as any of her flesh-and-blood co-stars despite appearing in voice only. Her is complimented by Under the Skin, in which »
- Ryan Gilbey
Douglas Wolk“My grandmother was an incredible painter, and my father sculpted on the weekends for many years and recently took it up again,” states Douglas Wolk who is a Portland, Oregon-based author and critic. “Sadly, I didn't inherit their aptitude for visual art.” Comic books were initially a childhood fascination. “I started reading them in earnest when I was 9, although I'd probably read a bunch before that and never stopped.” Blockbuster success at the box office has had an impact on the comic book industry. “I've certainly seen a lot of comics in the past 10 years or so that are clearly movie or TV pitches, which tends to make for mediocre-at-best comics. I've heard that some comics publishers tend to reserve at least some chunk of other-media rights even for ostensibly creator-owned work. »
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