Tag Archives: The Avengers

[Oscars 2013] – Predicting The Nominations

9 Jan

An actual Oscar statuette to be presented during the 79th Annual Academy Awards sits in a display case in Hollywood

I still have a few 2013 releases to catch up with, and I though I wanted to make my Oscar nominations predictions post having seen all of them, the nods are due early tomorrow morning so I’ll have to post them now.

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[Trailer] – The Amazing Spider-Man

3 May

The Avengers has already been released and so far it’s my only A+ of 2012, and The Dark Knight Rises has the biggest hype of any movie of the year and will likely be a truly epic conclusion to that trilogy. But there’s another superhero movie coming out this year: Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man, and that one has a new trailer out which you can check out after the cut.

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[Review] – The Cabin In The Woods

29 Apr

Title: The Cabin in the Woods
Year: 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Writers: Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker, Sigourney Weaver
MPAA Rating: R, strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity
Runtime: 95 min
IMDb Rating: 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Metacritic: 72

I finally got around to seeing Drew Goddard‘s The Cabin in the Woods. It’s been a couple of weeks since it’s release, and of course I had heard the massive buzz that’s surrounded the film about its insanely awesome twists and turns; I had, however, thankfully, also managed to stay totally in the dark about the nature of said twists and turns, so that I would get their full awe-inspiring impact as I watched the film. And damn am I glad I managed to stay in the dark about the whole thing; The Cabin in the Woods is undoubtedly one of the best films of the year so far, a meta-horror flick that will manage to genuinely thrill you and surprise you while also having a terrific sense of humor.

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[Review] – The Avengers

27 Apr

Title: The Avengers
Year: 2012
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon, based on a story by himself and Zak Penn, based on the comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference
Runtime: 142 min
IMDb Rating: 8.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Metacritic: 71

Since Marvel started to produce their own films, the ultimate goal had always been assembling all of their superheroes into one huge omnibus-style movie with The Avengers, to maximize fandom and thus maximize commercial potential. That idea, of course, entirely depended on the success of the superheroes’ stand-alone outings, and on how successful the studio would be at creating a universe in which all of these characters co-exist, which was dubbed the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Thor

14 May

Title: Thor
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne, based on a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich, in turned based on the comic book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby
Starring: 
Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Joshua Dallas, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, Clark Gregg
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence
Runtime: 
114 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
7.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 
78%

And so we get to Thor, the movie that officially kicked off the summer season and one that came with huge expectations on my behalf. You might know I’m a huge comic book geek, and while Thor is far from being my favorite comic book character, and I don’t even own that many comics of him, I  was still deeply intrigued not only by how the film would choose to represent Asgard, the supernatural world where Thor inhabits, but also by how Thor, a lesser known Marvel character than the ones that have been portrayed in films previously, would be able to carry a film all by himself. Not to mention that I wanted to see how it would start shaping things up, with the help of this July’s Captain America, in preparation for next summer’s The Avengers film, which is being directed right now by Joss Whedon, geek genius extraordinaire.

So I was intrigued by Thor, and I very much needed it to be great. And it was, probably not as amazing as that first Iron Man movie but, for my money, better than the sequel to that one, and a tremendous addition to the Marvel repertoire. And I think a lot of this has to be attributed to the very bold choice Marvel made when it picked its director. As Kenneth Branagh, he who spends much more time dealing with Shakespeare than with superheroes, brought his sensibilities to the project, and instead of this one being an all-out special effects action film, we also get quite a lot of seriously solid family drama, paired up with a very witty sense of humor that’s sure to appreciated by everyone.

Which is not to say that Mr. Branagh paid no mind to special effects and the regular components of Marvel’s blockbusters, not at all, this film has splendid action sequences, and the special effects are pretty tremendous themselves, especially those used to create the world of Asgard, which looks extremely cool. Thor was, I thought, prime entertainment, a supreme way to kick off the summer season, and not just one full of superficial set pieces, but one that under Mr. Branagh’s direction makes do with some really solid performances that help this one become as good as it is.

Chris Hemsworth, the Aussie actor in charge of playing the norse god, does a really spectacular job at it. And I had my doubts about him going in, because I didn’t know this guy outside of a small role in 2009’s awesome Star Trek reboot in which he played George Kirk, and I was skeptic about how he would handle this role of a supernatural being on Earth, and if he would be able to go toe-to-toe with Robert Downey Jr. when The Avengers came along. And I honestly think he will, he not only looks the part, but he also sounds the part with his big voice, and just absolutely owns the role.

And the rest of the cast is equally impressive. You have Natalie Portman, of course, in the third film I’ve seen her in this year after No Strings Attached and Your Highness, and she’s awesome here. She plays an astrophysicist who’s the first one to encounter Thor as he lands on Earth, exiled from Asgard by his father Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins doing his usual Anthony Hopkins magic. Along with Ms. Portman’s character, Jane Foster, we have our other two main human characters, Darcy Lewis, played by Kat Dennings who’s always a favorite of mine, a student who signed up to help on the investigation Jane was conducting, and Dr. Erik Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgard, as Jane’s superior and the one supervising the whole experiment.

They find Thor and we must see him on Earth without his powers, desperately trying to get back to Asgard. And our story has two sides here, then, one is on Earth, with Thor eventually getting Jane to believe him about his identity, and falling in love with him in the process, and them doing everything they can to get him home. This part obviously includes a visit from Clark Gregg’s character who we’ve seen in both Iron Man‘s, Agent Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D., who’s sent to investigate what’s going on and deal with Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer which has landed on Earth and can’t seem to be moved by anyone.

The other part of our story takes place back in Asgard, with Loki, Thor’s brother played extremely well by Tom Hiddleston, being the story’s villain. He’s the one that betrays Thor and does everything he can to keep him from coming home. He has to deal with the Warrior’s Three, Thor’s allies and friends over at Asgard who quickly come to realize that Loki’s the one that did wrong to their home. And there’s also Heimdall, who’s played real nicely by the terrific Idris Elba, the guard of the Rainbow Bridge, where one of the movie’s climatic scenes happens and which, by the way, looks infinitely cool.

Honestly though, if you had any doubts about Thor, trust me when I tell you they’ll be vanquished as soon as you get to see what Mr. Branagh and his cast and crew did here. He really was the perfect choice by Marvel to direct this movie, his Shakespearean background really enabling him to get to the story behind it all, and getting him to shine a light on the family issues that lie so deep within Thor’s mythology. And as a film to kick-off things for next year’s The Avengers it works wonders, not only does it introduce Thor as a great character played by a very promising actor, but it keeps tying together the Marvel universe in a way that feels extremely rad and not one bit overstuffed. We get a little reference to Tony Stark made by Agent Coulson, a mention of Bruce Banner by Dr. Selvig, an actual look at Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye who’ll obviously be in The Avengers, and of course we also get our easter egg scene after the credits with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, which I won’t spoil for you here but suffice it to say it was terrific and set things up real nicely for what we’ll get this July and next summer.

Grade: A-