Author Archive for Adam Dileo

How Wonder Woman Is Like Donner’s Superman, Batman Begins

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Jensen, the cinematographer for Wonder Woman. Jensen, whose previous credits include Chronicle, Fantastic Four, Filth and episodes of Game of Thrones, True Blood and Ray Donovan, spoke in glowing terms of star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins. He also described the film as something intended to be on par with Richard Donner's iconic Superman and Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins.

He and I also discussed some nagging questions I, as a layperson, have always had about cinematography. And the subject of the Fantastic Four remake, which he also worked on, came up as well. Read on for our full chat...

Cinematographer Matthew Jenkins (left) talks about the aspirations of Wonder Woman and what it was like making this ambitious superhero movie. Cinematographer Matthew Jensen (left) talks about the aspirations of Wonder Woman and what it was like making this ambitious superhero movie.

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What’s It’s Really Like to Work with Michael Bay

This August I was among a handful of writers invited to watch a day of shooting with Michael Bay and the cast and crew of Transformers: The Last Knight. You can read all the new details we learned about the upcoming blockbuster here as well as what the future of the Transformers cinematic universe is here.

The explosions and action sequences we saw were of course amazing and it’s always fun to talk to movie stars. But none of that was surprising. What surprised me and I daresay many of my colleagues was how open and available Bay was, spending at least an hour talking with us throughout the course of the day. To give you an idea of how unusual that is, most other interviews lasted about five to fifteen minutes because everyone was busy keeping up with Bay’s notoriously fast pace. Yet somehow Bay kept finding his way back to our small group to chat about movies (he sees all of them without exception), filmmaking (he's REALLY into 3D and IMAX) and whatever else was on his mind (though he doesn't have any inside info, he personally thinks Bad Boys 3 will never happen).

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The Future of the Transformers Movie Universe

I was among a group of journalists invited to watch a day of filming on the Transformers: The Last Knight set in August, where we learned a ton about the film's story and characters. But another topic that kept coming up was the long rumored Hasbro shared cinematic universe. While no one on set seemed interested in confirming any sort of crossover between Transformers and other properties, many were happy to share their candid thoughts about the future of the Transformers franchise, including the Bumblebee spinoff.

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Transformers: Last Knight’s Story, Characters Revealed

Four months ago, on a scorching hot August day, I joined a small group of journalists invited to the set of Transformers: The Last Knight, which at that time was about a third of the way through its planned 130-day shooting schedule. Knowing a little about the legend of director Michael Bay I dared to hope we might see a few explosions, possibly even from the director himself if rumors were to be believed. While Bay was incredibly friendly and even-tempered all day, he did not disappoint with regard to the literal fireworks.

As we walked onto the vast outdoor lot behind Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac, MI, we passed what looked like an eight-foot-tall Styrofoam sculpture in the vague shape of a robot head lying on the ground unattended. We saw a freestanding, multi-story glass elevator set we were told had been shot on just a few days before. Most impressive was a 300,000-pound platform balanced on a massive gimbal. Earlier in the shoot that platform had been raised to a 23-degree angle (though it would eventually go all the way up to 45) to send star Josh Duhamel and more than 30,000 gallons of water rushing to the bottom. Before we left for the day we were also given a chance to walk through several truly massive, Transformer-scale interior sets built for the film.

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Shade and Rogues Returning in The Flash

Today at the DC Rebirth panel at New York Comic Con, The Flash: Rebirth writer Josh Williamson revealed that both The Shade and The Rogues will be making appearances in upcoming issues. The Shade will come to Central City after the current arc ends looking for Barry Allen's help tracking down "something he is missing." The Rogues will also come back and, while the group has functioned more or less as anti-heroes recently, in a new arc called Rogues Reloaded, the Rogues definitely won't be helping Barry out again anytime soon.

Current Flash antagonist Godspeed will give way to The Shade in the next arc. Current Flash antagonist Godspeed will give way to The Shade in the next arc. (DC Comics)

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All the Movie X-Men…So Far

With X-Men: Apocalypse now in theaters, it's the perfect time to take a look at all the X-Men who have been part of the mutant super-team in the films in the Fox-produced series. This list isn't just limited to mainstays like Professor X and Wolverine -- we've also thrown in a few major characters who served on an X-team in the comics but appeared in the films as bad guys or just solo players. (Lookin' at you, Gambit.)

Some may complain about the absence of a name here or there -- Spike (an X-student in the comics), for example, pops up briefly in X-Men: The Last Stand but is barely more than a visual effect for Wolverine to slash at. Others may protest the exclusion of non-mutant movie characters who were nonetheless crucial components of certain X-lineups in the comics, like Moira MacTaggart and Kavita Rao. But yeah... not mutants. (As Mystique would say, this list is mutant and proud!)

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New Book Delves into the Magic of Cinema and Sorcery

Fans of the zombie genre will no doubt be familiar with Arnold T. Blumberg and Scott Alan Woodard, the hosts of the zombie-centric Doctor of the Dead podcast. I had a chance to speak with them recently about their newly released non-fiction compendium of sword and sorcery fantasy movies, Cinema and Sorcery: The Comprehensive Guide to Fantasy Film.

The painstakingly researched volume provides an in-depth look at some of the most notable movies in the genre, as well as a comprehensive index listing every known sword and sorcery movie ever made. Read on for our full chat, and click here to order a hard copy of Cinema and Sorcery and here for the Kindle version.

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45 Movies from Before Spidey Conquered Hollywood

A solid case can be made for the proposition that 2000's X-Men kicked off the modern era of blockbuster comic-book adaptations. Its quality script, talented cast and believable effects demonstrated that filmmaking had finally advanced enough to take fans on a live-action thrill ride that could closely approximate the heightened reality of comic books. And when Sam Raimi's Spider-Man followed two years later, it became clear that the big-budget comic-book movie wasn't going anywhere.

Of course, there were plenty of very successful (and many more not-so-successful) live-action films and TV movies based on comics before X-Men and Spidey. Some, like The Shadow and Hop Harrigan, came 50 or even 60 years before. (Apologies for the obvious Hop Harrigan click bait. Nothing generates page views like WWII-era adventure serials.)

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Stars Who Were Almost Superheroes

It's well established Internet lore (and the subject of an excellent documentary) that Nic Cage was thiiiis close to playing a bonkers version of Superman in Tim Burton's doomed Superman Lives. But you might be surprised to learn how many other big name actors were on the verge of appearing as superheroes at various points over the years. Some left their projects willingly, some not so much.

If Paul Greengrass had his way, the cast of Watchmen might have included Joaquin Phoenix, Hilary Swank, Jude Law and Ron Perlman. Law also might have squared off against Colin Farrell in an earlier attempt to pit Superman against Batman on screen. Anne Hathaway was all set to suit up as Spider-Man's femme fatale Black Cat long before she appeared as another cat burglar in The Dark Knight Rises. Heck, even Bo Derek was once slated to star in an absolutely insane film adaptation of Marvel's ultimate disco property: Dazzler!

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All the DC Movies Heroes and Villains

The DC Extended Universe is about to get a whole lot bigger. What started simply enough with a few Easter eggs in Man of Steel referencing Wayne Enterprises, LexCorp and (possibly) Supergirl will soon expand to include a new version of Batman played by Ben Affleck and a whole host of other heroes and villains.

The next movie up is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will introduce Affleck's caped crusader, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and a giant CG Doomsday. Then in August Suicide Squad will blow the doors off the DCEU, adding Jared Leto's Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Will Smith as Deadshot and many, many more.

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