Tag Archives: Benedict Cumberbatch

Comic-Con 2014 Roundup: Winners, Losers and Others #SundayGuardian

– Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor The Sunday Guardian

In an age where it is ‘normal’ for a fully functioning male adult to own superhero costumes and where there are more superhero movies lined up in the future than romantic comedies exist so far in life, if anyone still has a doubt that the geeks have, in fact, already inherited the earth, then they needn’t look any further for conclusive proof than Comic-Con International, San Diego.

A vulgar display of all that is geek, from comics to video games to comic-book movies to fantasy-themed TV shows, Comic Con is a convention that is geek-gasmic level of awesome for the kind of people who aren’t ready to give away their GI Joe collection even after they’ve birthed other people.

But that isn’t to say that Comic Con is only a place for ‘men’ who’ve had wet dreams to Wonder Woman and Princess Leia; this year, the convention that saw 130,000 people go nuts during the massive 4-day weekend from July 24-27, included a sizeable number of women fans who were there to cheer ass-kicking super-heroines in shows like Orphan Black and Game of Thrones, or go ga-ga over the dreamy superheroes in movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice; or just revel in some of the hottest and craziest cosplay outside of the big screen.

Here’s a roundup of the best and worst of Comic-Con 2014 in Movies that would make fellow Indian geeks excited:



How to win Comic-Con: Have a cast that includes the who’s who of big-ticket names like Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and Paul Bettany (Jarvis… yes, Jarvis) all turn up on one stage, with some of them dancing (and Downey Jr throwing roses at the crowd!). Add to the cast even more stars in new entries Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), James Spader (Ultron) and Josh Brolin (Thanos) wearing the much-talked about Infinity Gauntlet. Then reveal some mad concept art for the movie scheduled on May 1, 2015, and an extended first look that includes Iron Man fighting Hulk, Captain America’s shield broken, Thor crushing a tank, the appearance of Andy Serkis (without motion capture) and a devastating scene with some Avengers possibly dead… and as the geeks go bonkers, you know Comic-Con 2014 is yours to claim.


Where Avengers was the most anticipated panel of the Comic-Con, the Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice panel was Warner Bros’ surprise gift to fans, and what a surprise it was: Director Zack Snyder brought DC Comics’ superhero holy trinity in Ben Affleck (Batman), Henry Cavill (Superman) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) to wave at the crowd (no one was allowed to interact though); tweeted the first look of Wonder Woman, and revealed a minute of footage of Batman turning on the Bat signal even as Superman is waiting in the shadows with glowing ‘heat vision’ eyes (the leaked version of the footage can be found online). The result: madness! The movie, scheduled for April 28, 2016, had the most number of social media mentions at the end of the Comic-Con.


Another huge surprise that fans weren’t expecting was the appearance of auteur director Christopher Nolan, who made his debut at the Con two years after the end of The Dark Knight trilogy, along with fellow Comic-Con virgin Matthew McConaughey, the star of his next, highly-anticipated film, Interstellar, to see “what the fuss was about”. A new trailer of the movie, scheduled for November 7, 2014, was shown to squealing fans, revealing first hand the fuss to Nolan. The trailer can now be found online. Watch the trailer here: 


Quentin Tarantino was at Comic-Con to talk about an upcoming comic that’s a crossover of his film Django Unchained and masked crusader Zorro, when a fan asked him whether The Hateful Eight, the film that Tarantino shelved when its script was leaked online by Gawker.com, would ever happen. Tarantino replied in the affirmative for the first time since the debacle, to loud cheers from fans, and within the next couple of days, also released the official poster for the film, set for a 2015 release. Rejoice, fanboys! Check out the poster here: http://goo.gl/oSTrmZ


With over 8 million views to its YouTube trailer in less than 7 days, one movie that fans all over the world are suddenly dying to watch, as a result of the buzz that its ‘sizzle reel’ generated at Comic-Con, it is George Miller’s reboot of the dystopian Mad Max franchise, that first launched Mel Gibson as a bonafide star. Mad Max: Fury Road, releasing on May 15, 2015, stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and with the maddest, baddest, biggest and loudest stunts (including an incredible car chase sequence) seen in a long time, wins the ‘Trailer of the Year’ award hands down. Watch the trailer here:  



Another King Kong movie, you say? A prequel, you say? That may possibly have fan favourite Joe Cornish attached to it as director, you say? Doesn’t sound too bad, right? But for all the geeks who went for Legendary Pictures’ panel at Comic-Con hoping to get a first look at Jurassic World, the ‘surprise teaser’ that featured a jungle with an ape instead of dinosaurs, left everyone confused and slightly annoyed, because the reboot of Jurassic Park releases before next year’s Comic-Con, so why had the geeks paid $200 for this kind of betrayal?


Another betrayal came at the hands of 20th Century Fox that stabbed fans in the back by choosing not to showcase any footage from its Fantastic Four reboot, instead having a panel on Let’s Be Cops, which is a comedy not inspired from a comic-book, which has no geek book or movie affiliations and which can only be considered fantasy if lead actors Damon Wayans or Jake Johnson are alien cops. This befuddling logic took away the buzz from X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn’s next, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE and THE MAZE RUNNER, both decent properties owned by 20th Century, which would have got a much better showcase if 20th Century Fox had appeased the fans. Watch the trailer of Let’s Be Cops and Kingsman here: 


Instead of giving any sort of a first look at any sort of a thing to do with the Spider-Man franchise or its various spin-offs in the works, Sony Pictures announced that the third part in the Amazing Spiderman franchise has been pushed to 2018 from 2016, and Sinister Six, its villain-centric spinoff, will arrive first in 2016. No news was given about The Amazing Spiderman 4 that was originally scheduled for 2018. All this added more fuel to the fire that the franchise is in trouble after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to live up to the box office expectations and Roberto Orci, who had penned the first two films with Alex Kurtzmann, left the franchise recently.


Unanimously called the dullest panel of the Comic-Con, even with stars like Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba and fan favourites, directors Robert Rodriguez and Mark Millar participating, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For generated little to no buzz at the convention this year. This could be because the film’s sequel is coming nine years after the first one, or because bigger stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis were absent from the panel or perhaps because the movie’s marketing campaign included semi-naked girls gyrating live in different parts of the convention turned people off.  Watch the trailer here: 


Legendary director Michael Mann made a surprise visit to Comic-Con to unveil the trailer of his new film, a cyberthriller starring Chris Hemsworth, but unfortunately, the only reason fans at Comic-Con were surprised was because had nothing to do with comics and Mann had no reason to be there.  The trailer’s not online yet so the damp squib of a reception that it received at Comic Con could possibly have to do with the genre rather than the trailer’s merits.


Production Studio Legendary Pictures revealed that GODZILLA will have a sequel, to nobody’s general surprise, but proceeded to tease that it will feature even more monsters than part one, including iconic Japanese monsters, Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah, which are apparently bigger and more dangerous than Godzilla. At present time, no humans were announced as part of the film. Peter Jackson premiered the first trailer in the final part of the Hobbit trilogy, THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES. The epic trailer of the movie, which releases on December 17, 2014, can be found online but the movie’s panel, which featured a cast that included the most number of adored celebrities in a single film, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkin and director Peter Jackson, among others, is an equally awesome watch, especially because of the hilarious Stephen Colbert, who moderated the panel in a Hobbit costume. Watch the trailer here: 

Guillermo Del Toro, who is omni-present at the Comic-Con every year, had another brilliant year, as he released a teaser for his next, CRIMSON PEAK, featuring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hannum, that got loud cheers from the crowd; his upcoming animation film, THE BOOK OF LIFE and his TV series, THE STRAIN. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I also debuted its trailer as did PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR, but it was the latter that stole the show amongst most big-budget trailer premieres, because its panel featured Cumberbatch, and everyone loves Cumberbatch, probably including Katniss. Watch the trailer of Penguins of Madagascar here: 

The one other movie that made a splash at Comic Con was ANTMAN that lost its long-term director Edgar Wright a few months ago, to general scorn from the internet community. Marvel Studios released a teaser poster for the movie that stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly, and is now helmed by Peyton Reed. It also showcased some test footage that was well-received, which is an indication that the movie will not ‘suck all balls’, as some internet comments have given us a reason to believe.

An edited version of this article first appeared as The Sunday Guardian cover story on August 2, 2014
Link: http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/the-winners-and-losers-at-this-years-comic-con

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoon, on Twitter: @tanejamainhoon, on Instagram: @tanejamainhoon, on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon


What to watch after True Detective & Breaking Bad #SundayGuardian #TVRecos

The World Cup of TV: What to watch during the Football World Cup, if you do not watch football

– Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor The Sunday Guardian

Not everyone watches football. If that’s a truth about you that your friends are struggling to process, and have turned you into a social outcast, here’s how you can get some mojo and shove it into their faces. Spend the nights your friends are up watching football, watching these highly addictive television recommendations from all over the world below, of outstanding, under-the-radar TV series, and you can get some massive street cred: you’d have watched the cult shows before they become cult in India!

The Returned (France) – Even as HBO and the rest of American cable TV take giant strides in storytelling, there’s been some remarkable dramas being churned out of Europe year-on-year. A recent example is one of the creepiest and most terrific shows you’d have ever seen. The Returned turns the zombie phenomenon on its head: the story is about a town whose dead start turning up again, but alive, with no recollections of how and when they died. Strange things happen within the show, but the strangest is how you cannot stop watching it once you start.

Forbrydelsen (Denmark) – Dear fans of 24, Homeland, Dexter, and generic crime thrillers on TV, if you haven’t seen Denmark’s Forbrydelsen (that was remade in the US as The Killing), you have no idea what a crime thriller can possibly be. Because each 20-episode season of this Danish show has redefined the boundaries of what constitutes the genre itself. The show about a detective, Sarah Lund (real name, I swear), who has to juggle the maze of police bureaucracy, media attention and manipulative politicians, as she tries to go about solving an emotionally devastating case, is the perfect example of how much life can offer, if only we embrace subtitles.

Luther (UK) – Memorize this name: Idris Elba. Because the 6’3 British actor, who you may only know from Thor as the gatekeeper of Asgard, is soon going to reach (Benedict) Cumberbatch-level heights because of another Brit detective show that’s just as addictive as Sherlock, but with a garnish of noir. If Sherlock is Iron Man, Luther is The Dark Knight: both are equally awesome, but the latter is shot a lot more at night (because of all the darkness).

Black Mirror (UK) – Created by Charlie Brooker, who’s married to British TV presenter Konnie Huq (google her… you’re welcome), Black Mirror is a genius anthology series with hour-long films about the dark future that lies ahead of us if we continue to live our lives obsessed with technology, voyeurism and our own selves. The series is so insanely well-written that if I were the President of the world, I’d pass a law to make it compulsory viewing to everyone who takes selfies or has watched a reality show.

Dates (UK) – Created by Bryan Elsley, who is best known for creating the controversial British teen show Skins, Dates is possibly one of the best arguments for the importance of dialogue in the visual medium. A 9-episode series, where each episode is about the first date between two people who met on a dating website; the series builds humour, suspense, thrill, romance and drama entirely from brilliantly-scripted conversations.  The cast includes some interesting faces like Oona Chaplin (Talisa from Game of Thrones) and Andrew Scott (Moriarty from Sherlock), making it a must-watch.

Masters of Sex (USA) – Disclaimer: Not porn. In fact, Masters of Sex does not even have as much gratuitous sex as a Game of Thrones or Spartacus (you are going to check this one out now, aren’t you?) Masters of Sex is a show about how sex, as we know it, came to be; it is the story of how two sexologists – Dr. William Masters (Martin Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (the stunning Lizzy Caplan) – brought about the dawn of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, through their experiments on sex. So yes, the show is about sex – but the genius of the show is that sex is always about everything but sex, isn’t it?

The Americans (USA) – A spy series on USA’s FX channel about two undercover Soviet KGB officers where you root and sympathise with the Soviet spies and hope the CIA is never able to catch them is akin to a show on Colors about ISI spies where you root… THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, OBVIOUSLY.  The absurd levels of maturity of American television creators and audiences aside, the reason to watch the show is a fantastic plot: The undercover agents in the show pose as a married couple who now have teenage children, and have to spy for the Soviet Union but also protect their very American family. Bonus reason? Rahul Khanna makes his American TV debut.

An edited version of this article first appeared in The Sunday Guardian on July 5, 2014
Link: http://www.sunday-guardian.com/young-restless/on-the-binge-what-to-watch-over-the-next-few-weeks-if-football-isnt-your-game

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoon, on Twitter: @tanejamainhoon, on Instagram: @tanejamainhoon, on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon