Summer season here we gooooooo!!!!
When an unexpected enemy emerges threatening global safety and security, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Director of the International Peacekeeping Agency (known as SHIELD), finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
Ever since 2008 swung by with ‘Iron Man’ on its shoulders, Marvel Studios has pretty much been patiently waiting and building up to this moment. And needless to say (however still said), the wait was worth it.
The best thing about this flick is how Marvel was able to get a director/writer like Joss Whedon. Whedon knocked it out of the park last month with ‘The Cabin in the Woods’, and he pretty much does the same thing here; but instead of focusing on the horror genre, he focuses on the superheros that we all know, love, and hope to be someday. Maybe I’m alone with that last one, and maybe I snuck it in so quick you didn’t even notice, but basically what I’m trying to say is that these are superheros that deserve the right treatment with everything they get. Whedon gives them all that, and much, much more. I mean after all, Whedon is a fanboy at heart but he is also a film-maker, and that is something he’ll always live up to. He knows what comic ban fans expect to see from this type of material, and he absolutely delivers.
Whedon’s great attribute to this flick is that he is able to stage so many excellent action sequences that are some of the best I have seen lately. Of course, the special effects and CGI are perfect. And the IMAX 3-D does makes this film look so cool it seems like you’re right there along for the ride, but when it comes down to some awesome, kick-ass throw downs, Whedon knows how to do it; and even better, do it right. They’re all breath-taking because they have so much intensity, but a lot of it’s because plenty of the action scenes consist of superheros fighting superheros. We get to see Thor versus Iron Man, Captain America versus Thor, Iron Man versus The Incredible Hulk, and so on and so forth. If any of you out there love these superheros and want to see what they would be like stacked up against another superhero, then definitely see this flick because almost every fight shows these heroes pulling just about everything they have out of their arsenal. It’s like King Kong vs. Godzilla, Lincoln vs. Washington, or even Backstreet Boys vs. N’Sync. It’s the battle between two opposing forces that can almost never be stopped, and it’s just pure fun. It’s as easy as that.
The strangest but most awesome thing about this movie is that it’s turns out bring one of the funnier comedies of the past couple of years. Whedon shows that he’s even better when it comes to writing witty scripts, and pinpoints perfection here with this cast of characters. I mean all of these superheros are pretty much egotistical freaks who think they’re superior to others because of their freakishly powerful skills they inherited; and that’s exactly what Whedon touches on here. There are plenty of scenes where it’s just a one-on-one outrageous verbal battle between two characters and it’s probably some of the funniest dialogue you’ll hear this whole summer. But it’s not just these verbal battles that are funny, everything else here is too, and it doesn’t even seem like Whedon is trying to write funny dialogue just to be funny and cool; it comes naturally. Even better is that it’s not just one character who gets a chance to be funny, EVERYBODY here does. There will definitely be moments where you come close to rolling out of your seat. My buddy next to me was on the brink a couple times there and I couldn’t blame him.
I honestly think that the reason this film does work so well the way that it does here is because that we’ve had all this time (4 years to be exact) to get to see, know, love and understand these characters in their own movies; and it’s just awesome to finally see them all together in the same room doing exactly what it is they do best: be freakin’ awesome. Robert Downey Jr. obviously is the star of the show and gives off a whole bunch of hilarious one-liners as Tony Stark/Iron Man (remember when people thought that movie was going to blow?); Chris Evans is THE MAN as everybody’s favorite red, white, and blue superhero, Captain America; Chris Hemsworth is once again likable and charming as the Olde English speaker/Norse God, Thor; Mark Ruffalo does a great job of replacing Edward Norton here as Bruce Banner/Hulk, and gives him this scruffy, worn-out look that coexists well especially when he gets angry and turns green; Scarlett Johansson is pretty cool as Black Widow even though it didn’t really seem like she was going to be around here much, but surprisingly, she is also great and doesn’t let us down; Jeremy Renner is pretty much cool and tough as Hawkeye; and Samuel L. Jackson‘s performance here as Nick Fury is basically him playing the Samuel L. Jackson we always see him play, but this time with an eye-patch. Is that a bad thing? Not at all people, not at all.
A superhero film like this is usually made or broken by the villains, and I think they chose right with Tom Hiddleston as Loki. To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Loki in ‘Thor’ and I actually found him to be a somewhat weak villain no matter, despite how entertaining the flick was. However, Whedon gives Loki just enough time to show how evil and dangerous of a villain he is when he allows this guy to cut a villainous monologue every time he is around one of these heroes. It sounds a bit tiring, but thankfully, Whedon keeps all of these speeches interesting simply while showing how incredibly powerful Loki can be. Also have to give a lot of credit to Hiddleston who shows that he’s definitely able to carry one villain role all by himself, but also exercise a bit of his comedic chops here as well. A lot of the funnier scenes in this movie revolve around Loki and just how ridiculous this damn dude can be.
Actually, it’s not just Loki who gets the special treatment from Whedon here, come to think of it, everybody does and that’s what’s did it for this flick. There are so many characters/superheros here, but Whedon’s still able to keep them all relevant by showing how all of their powers, skills, and elements as heroes can change the situation that they’re in while simultaneously reminding us why and how we fell in love with these characters in the first place. For example, Black Widow is definitely a character that you would expect to be forgettable in this huge cast of characters. But Whedon shows her as being a kick-ass spy and assassin that actually adds a lot more to the team than you would expect. You think a lot differently of her and what she can do with those nice, strong legs. It’s just great that Whedon lets every character have their time to shine and not have any of them get over-shadowed by one in particular. Hell, even Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson gets to have a couple of memorable moments! Joss surely does know how to share the love.
If I had to be a total dickhead here and nit-pick, it would have to be that sometimes, the film did seem to hit a lull in its pace. And not only did it seem to take a bit away from the final product, but it also made me want more action up on the screen. The scenes with Hawkeye and Black Widow were a little lame and didn’t do much for me, but then again, it didn’t matter because when it got to them kicking ass, that’s exactly what they did.
Consensus: The Avengers is pretty much everything you could expect it to be with fun action, great performances from this ensemble cast of characters that we all know and love, very funny screenplay, and just a reminder as to why nerds rule, and will never, ever go away. Best film of the year so far and a totally kick-ass ride from start to finish. Long live Marvel!
BTW: If you guys get a chance to, check out a website called GuysNation. It’s a pretty far-out site I’ve been writing for, for quite some time and just go on by, show me some love, and check out some of the other non-related movie stuff that’s on there as well. Have a good Friday night everybody!
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Before he faces the Avengers, Loki gets to bone married women. Nice year this dude’s having.
The film centers on a London socialite (Rachel Weisz) whose loveless marriage with a well-to-do and much older high-court judge (Simon Russell Beale) is crumbling. She engages in a passionate affair with an ex-RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston), a romance that is doomed from the start.
From what I hear, writer/director Terence Davies is a dude that people love and he has a style that cannot be messed with. I haven’t seen any of his other flicks except for this one and I have to say that maybe he’s not the perfect fit for a rowdy, 18-year old like myself.
What really brought me into this story right off the bat was the vision from Davies. This film takes place in one day, with plenty of flash-backs, but the film’s setting never really goes anywhere else except for its post-War England 1950′s setting and that was fine for me. The costume and production designs all look like they were taken right from a history book and put onto here and the film itself carries this very bright lighting approach that at first may be a bit distracting since it’s constantly in your face, but after awhile makes you realize that its actually drawing some extra layers to these characters and the story. It’s a very good style that may be a bit distracting at first by how damn good it is, but you start to forget it’s there and just pay total attention to everything else that’s going on…well..kind of..
The screenplay, which was adapted from a play, is pretty good even though I can say that there are a few missteps to be had here. I liked how the film showed this one woman’s troubles with both of these men and shows how they both made her happy and also how they made her go completely mad. We see her fall in love and decide whether or not she is sharing passion or love between these men and the answers in the end never really come up and it’s very brave for a film to show a woman’s love/passion in such a dark and sad way.
However, where this film fell through for me was the character development itself. We do get plenty of flash-backs of this woman and the two men in her life but barely ever do they convey any more emotions than the score tries to pull off. Both of the romances seem like they could work, mainly thanks to the cast involved, but the film barely touches on this in order to have us believe in what road she should end up choosing. The younger dude is obviously there to make her feel young again and the older dude is obviously there to make her for more upper-class and sophisticated, but there wasn’t anything else other than that here and I needed something more to work with.
Another problem was that not only did we not know how powerful of a love she shared with both of these guys was but we also didn’t know too much about her and what really made her tick. In the beginning, we see her sad and messed up over something and for the rest of the flick she never really gets out of that funk. We’re sort of left there the whole time to watch as this chick tries her hardest to make sense of what she wants, while she cries and acts like one of those chicks that you can’t trust home alone because no matter what, something will be effed up when you get back whether it be her or something in the house, you just know it.
I do have to say that this is where the cast came in and actually won this flick over for me. Rachel Weisz gives a very brave and emotional performance here as Hester, the woman in peril and gives one of the better performances that I’ve seen from her in recent time. She owns all of these scenes and as much as Hester may be a bit one-note, Weisz still seems to give her a believable side and also an understandable side as well. Tom Hiddleston was also very good here as her young lover, Freddie, and he definitely shows a lot of spunk and energy in a performance that could have easily been one of those “wild and crazy young lover” role, but instead makes it very likable and believable. Stage star Simon Russell Beale is also very good as Hester’s hubby, Sir William, and gives a good performance here as well even though I was shocked to find out that he is gay in real life. Gave me a whole bunch of more respect for him considering it’s so hard for a straight man to play a gay man, that I can only imagine how hard it must be for a gay man to play a straight man! Oh jeez, the acting skills!
Consensus: The Deep Blue Sea is beautiful to watch and has great performances from its trio of leads, but the story is a bit jilted in a way and we aren’t given much to care for here except for a couple of moments where there’s obvious devastation from our lead, but other than that, it’s all pretty lame.
Damn this kid really loves this horse. I mean he reaaaaaaaaaally loves this horse.
This is a tale of a horse named Joey who is remarkable that he starts off just a little guy in England to then be transported off into the war in France. His owner, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) goes all-over-the-world to come and find him as Joey goes throughout the world, meeting new people and gaining new life experiences.
What director Steven Spielberg has always been able to do is tug at our heart-strings no matter what the story may be. Here, he tries a little too hard for that but in the end it’s too hard to hate on a Spielberg.
The problem right off the bat with this flick was that it gets very corny, very early. You get these moments where we see just how amazing Joey is as he can row out a field, or follow his owner just by hearing a simple bird-call, or even just by walking over a piece of wood and then a huge sweeping score comes in just to let you know how magical and beautiful these moments are when in reality they are just plain and simply cheesy. I think I got the fact that Joey was a horse that was unlike any other, after about the first 10 minutes but the film just kept hammering away at this and it becomes an annoyance after awhile.
Another problem with this flick that I actually think Spielberg ran into himself was the idea of how and who was going to make this appeal to everyone. On one hand you have this very emotional story about a horse who goes through everything that is adapted from a Tony-winning Broadway play, but on the other hand you also have this very grim and disturbing tale with soldiers being killed left-and-right and horses being put away in a not so happy matter after there is no use for them anymore. What I’m trying to say here is that it’s pretty hard to center a film out there that seems like it’s for the whole family, when you have these certain darker moments that may scare away the younger people of the family.
This problem is what leads Spielberg to making a very tame film that gets by with clichés and eye-rolling moments. Take for instance the scenes between the grandfather (Niels Arestrup) with his granddaughter are scenes filled with dialogue that should be playful and come out a bit corny especially when the grandfather tells her a story about a bird flying home, which seemed totally cheesy especially considering the fact that the grandfather was kind of being a dick to her also. There are also plenty of other moments where this film just totally flames you with the manipulative moments that are supposed to make you feel something incredible but instead usually just make you want to punch whoever wrote this film.
However, when it comes to Spielberg, this guy always seems to come out on top no matter what it is that he does. The one element to this film that makes it the most watchable throughout all of these cheesy moments is the beautiful look this film has. Spielberg gives this film the epic scenery it deserves and with so many beautiful colors coming at you in every scene, it’s almost too hard to look away. Spielberg is not only just great in showing how beautiful this film can be but also very gritty as the film starts to get darker as we get more into the war which not only show Spielberg’s fine attention to detail but also how he is able to actually capture the feel of WWII but also WWI, which means that the Vietnam War is only about two movies away from being covered.
The film also shows that even though Spielberg tries to manipulate the hell out of his audiences, he still has that sympathetic bone in his body to make us care about what he is showing us on screen. The whole story basically shows Joey being the horse-version of ‘Forrest Gump’, going from one owner to another and each story somehow getting better and better as it goes on. What this horse Joey goes through is hard to watch sometimes but always made me feel something not just by how great he is, but just how useful he is even though he’s just viewed at as another horse. I’m not going to try to get into the whole “all living things should be treated the same” speech that it seems like I’m leading myself into but regardless of that, the story of Joey will make you feel something deep down inside of you and it’s all thanks to Spielberg because he always knows how to make anybody feel something.
It seems like every person who has seen this film or reviewed it is mentioning the no-man’s land scene between the British soldier and the German soldier where they meet to free Joey from barbed-wire and it really is worth mentioning apart from this flick. This scene is probably one of the best that has been in a Spielberg film in the past 10 years and it shows just how well he is able to show two conflicts being calmed down or resolved just by simply taking it easy or even just coming together to help a certain someone or something that may be in harm’s way. It’s a very powerful scene and one that makes this stand-out from recent war films.
Something else that Spielberg does here that really works is how he barely uses any big-names for his cast but that works incredibly well for the film since it keeps our minds on Joey. Jeremy Irvine is good as Albert and gives him this innocent boy act that works and makes us feel for his character when him and Joey actually get separated; Emily Watson is probably the most familiar face as his mother, and she’s great as well; and Tom Hiddleston is also very good as Captain Nicholls, even though some people may not be able to get past the fact that it’s Loki playing a British war Captain. There are many other performers here but nobody else that really stands out except for Irvine, and even he isn’t anything all that memorable.
Consensus: War Horse is heavy-handed, corny, and built on upon tons and tons of clichés, but somehow Spielberg is able to make this story heart-warming with a beautiful look, and some very good scenes that will make you feel more for this story as it goes along.
After taking French for 2 years now, I finally have a reason to go and tour Paris. Thank you Woody!
Woody Allen focuses his lens on a young engaged couple (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live as a couple. There’s more to this plot, but I can’t tell you anymore I’m sad to say. You may just have to check it all out.
Woody Allen is one of my favorite writer and directors, and it’s just awesome to see him have a film come out during the big Summer blockbuster season and actually get this small film out there. You the man Woody!
My favorite thing about this film is just the overall delightful feeling which comes from Allen’s direction and writing. The first 5 minute silent sequence of Paris throughout a whole day is just beautiful and the way Allen films each little area of Paris is amazing. So basically right from the get-go, you get the total feeling that this is Woody Allen’s love-letter to the city of LOVE aka one of the most beautiful cities of the world. The whole film I just wanted to walk around Paris and every single place this film went made me feel so warm and cozy inside. I know that all may seem a little strange but Paris really is beautiful and the way Allen films it, almost makes it look even better.
The script by Allen is also something to praise as well. This is a very well-written script that features a lot of hilarious dialogue, as well as some nostalgia that will have you looking for your vintage vinyl players, and some insight to hit your brain also. Despite all the of the beautiful scenery here, the film is about living in the now and having a great time with what you have now, rather than just sitting back and brood on how the old days were so much better. It’s pretty funny hearing this message come from a guy who hasn’t put a single song in any of his films that have been after the year 1950, but with Woody, it’s still very relatable. Also, I was totally taken away with what happens to this premise. It really is awesome when you don’t really know what’s going to happen in a film before you see it.
The only real problem I had with this film was that I felt it was way too short and just happened very quickly. I guess I was just expecting more insight, and more plot development by the end of the film and with many of Allen’s films, I usually adore how he ends his films. Here, I didn’t really like the ending and I felt it was a little bit forced to bring out some more smiles for the people leaving the theater, which is not really a complaint, I just know that Woody almost always gets a great ending for whatever it is that he’s doing.
Owen Wilson is fantastic as Gil Penders, a screenplay writer who want’s something more. You would not really think of Wilson as a suitable Woody Allen stand-in because his persona is so easy-going, confident, and totally relaxed feel to him that it’s crazy to see how likable he is in this film. It’s been awhile since Wilson has got a good role lately but here he does a pretty stellar job at not at all phoning it in, and being believable when all this crazy ish is happening around him. Rachel McAdams is a total bitch as his fiancee Inez, but a good and hot one to say the least. The one thing about this film that also had me a little annoyed was how these two actually became so in love, in the first place since all they do here is basically argue and misunderstand one another. Inez treats Gil as a total moron and for me, I don’t care how fine the bitch is, if she’s disrespecting me, she is out the door. The rest of the cast is filled with some nice supporting performances/cameos from a couple of A-listers and up-and-comers, but when you see them, you’ll be totally surprised so I won’t say anything else.
Consensus: It may end very quickly than I expected, but Midnight in Paris is a charming and delightful comedy filled with beautiful images of the city of Paris, a great central performance from Owen Wilson, and an insightful script about living in the present, rather than harping on the past. You tell ‘em Woody!
If this is the beginning of Summer, then this is gonna be a bangin’ Summer!
This Marvel Comics-inspired action flick about the thunder god Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful warrior whose father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) — the king of Asgard — forces him to live among humans on Earth and learn humility. Once there, he finds a friend (Natalie Portman), along with unexpected enemies sent from his world.
Way back when the trailer for this film came out, everybody had basically had their mind-set on this that it was going to suck. But after seeing it, I think they will all start to change their minds.
Director Kenneth Branagh is a real odd choice for this film, since he’s basically only directed Shakespearean period pieces, which none have any action what so ever but somehow Branagh is good with action. The action is really cool because the things that Thor does with his hammer is absolutely insane, and looks so cool especially when the camera is moving all-over-the-place. They also slowed down when necessary, sped up when it was right, and just worked out so well because never will you feel that a scene is running on too long.
The script is also well done too because all the characters in this film are well drawn-out. There is a human story underneath all this God talk and fighting, which really actually won my sympathy for this film in the long run. The tone here is just a lot more brighter and funnier tone than what you would expect from the source material here, and you’ll definitely remember everyone here in this film. These aren’t amazingly memorable characters, but I have to say that I enjoyed my time with them, and if they were to make a Thor 2, I wouldn’t mind seeing these peeps again.
My main only problem with this film was that I felt like when Thor was on Earth they could have used some more interesting things for him to be introduced to, since I mean he is a dude from a whole other Galaxy, there is probably something he would need to know. Also, that town that this movie takes place in looks less of an actual town, and more of one of those bomb shelter neighborhoods that the U.S. would blow up for practice in the 1950′s. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go and watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, then you’ll know what I’m blabbering on about. Actually don’t check out that whole film, but just check that scene out, because that film sucks.
I’m also very glad that we got Chris Hemsworth as Thor because here he is so cool, so charming, and just so likable that even though he may sound like a spartan from 300, you can’t help but cheer this guy on in the end. Also, he may look like a total bad-ass, but Hemsworth actually reveals a little bit of a soft spot from within Thor, and it’s actually very cool to see. Anthony Hopkins is also very good as Odin, Thor’s father, and takes away all that trash he’s been getting talked on lately about how he’s some crazy, old loony. But Hopkins brings back that flavor we all know and love him for. Natalie Portman is good here bringing a lot of wit and humor to her character as Jane Foster. Tom Hiddleston is also good as the bad-guy Loki, who brings that evil British charm that we always despise in our “hero vs. villain” movies. Everybody else does a good job here such as Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg, Ray Stevenson, and a very likable Stellan Skarsgård. There’s also a cameo from a certain someone that I can’t say, but when you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
There’s also a little zinger at the end that is actually pretty interesting at the end, and not just the same old Avengers propaganda shit that shows another new character or something. Stay after the credits, because anything with Samuel L. Jackson is the shit.
Consensus: Thor is Hollywood summer blockbuster entertainment at its finest: well-acted, great to look at, easy to follow along with, briskly paced, and just a fun film that won’t have you in much need of a brain to enjoy.