Posts Tagged ‘The Avengers’
Director: Shane Black
Screenwriters: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Length: 2h 10m
The world is facing a grave new terrorist threat, and it goes by the name of The Mandarin (Kingsley). The precocious Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man (Downey Jr.), is at a loss in figuring out how the maniac has left no evidence of how his efforts have caused so much destruction. And after Tony is forced to take one attack personally, he invites The Mandarin to make him his next target – which he does.
In reeling from an explosive ambush at his home, Tony discovers that Aldrich Killian (Pearce) – a genius he once ignored – is in cahoots with The Mandarin, turning humans into living bombs. With the help of Col. James Rhodes, a.k.a. Iron Patriot (Cheadle), Tony must uncover The Mandarin’s master plan and thwart it, all the while dealing with unsettling anxieties left over from his adventure with The Avengers. Will Tony redeem himself for underestimating the evil potential of Aldrich Killian, and spare the world of any more terror from The Mandarin? There’s only one way to find out.
It’s that time of year again – time to predict who will win the ultimate Hollywood prize at the grandest award show in the world. The 85th Academy Awards are going to be a place where young careers get made, long careers get rewarded, and viewers get incensed that their favorites didn’t win. We’ll get ready to hear, “I’ve never even heard of that movie,” “How could she win, she didn’t even deserve to be nominated,” and of course the old favorite, “Of course that would win. The Academy doesn’t know what people actually like.”
We must keep in mind two very important things: 1) “The Academy” is not some shadowy panel of a dozen or so anonymous judges, but hundreds of well-known industry participants. 2) The winners are not meant to represent what American culutre’s favorites are. If only box office favorites were ever nominated, we’d have The Avengers going up against The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games – none of which objectively deserve to be called Best Picture.
Figuring out who will win for which category takes a special sense of reasoning. So special, in fact, that all three of our writers – Dan Supanik, Marisa Carpico, and Cliff Bugle – claim to be the only one to have that sense. And yet, they disagree about who will in the six most important categories. Read on to see what the chances are of your favorites winning, and which of them will be left sitting in their seats giving disappointed claps of congratulations.
It is fair to say that Quentin Tarantino’s films are usually a calculated mix of Old and New. From infusing the heist genre with the Greek tragedy in Reservoir Dogs, to reintroducing America’s hegemony to pulp-level neo-exploitation with Pulp Fiction, to re-contextualizing the Japanese revenge tale with Kill Bill, to creating new history with Inglourious Basterds, the eccentric director is perhaps the best at paying homage to films of yesteryear while simultaneously producing creatively original yarns that intriguingly reflect their modern contexts. With Django Unchained, Tarantino continues this pattern. But saying that is a lot easier than proving it, so let’s go ahead and take a closer look.
The movie’s combination of the classic Western with the classic medieval romance is how it incorporates this New/Old complementation. And before you begin to wonder how Westerns can be considered new (besides in comparison to the medieval era), think of how modernized the genre has become in recent years. For instance, The Dark Knight is a Western dressed in super hero ornamentation, and Machete is a Western that simply uses a Latino protagonist and an exploitation-style aesthetic.
The genre has lived on by continually finding new masks to wear while riding the same wave of traditional masculine values it helped to establish. I say “help” because just as certain American values have subsisted since the heyday of Westerns, there are also values which still carry a European residue from long before then. Such values spring from as far back as medieval poetry, which celebrated the “ideal” man as a rescuer of the “ideal” woman and vanquisher of evil, often doing so singlehandedly and to the additional benefit of his people. Indeed, it is by looking closely at the main protagonist, Django, that we can decipher exactly how these two genres are mixed together, as well as how they reflect the context of today.
Over the past four years, we’ve been witnesses to a pretty significant phenomenon. We’ve gotten to watch a studio endeavor to create several different films of a single universe in an effort to release a crossover film that collected these films’ main characters into a team. I’m of course referring to Marvel Studios and its efforts toward making The Avengers a reality.
The road to The Avengers has been anything but a smooth one. In the four years since Iron Man, the first film planned for this Marvel Movieverse amalgamation, its films have seen changes in cast and crew, which were often caused by internal power struggles, while they tried very hard to make the universe work as a whole. Did Marvel succeed in the end? In my opinion, the only way to really answer this is to break down Marvel’s efforts film by film.
Director: Joss Whedon
Screenwriters: Joss Whedon and Zak Penn
Length: 2h 23m
Synopsis: It’s all been leading up to this. Colonel Nick Fury (Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D. has begun to call into action the Avengers initiative after Asgardian god Loki (Hiddleston) teleports to Earth to steal a cosmic cube of unlimited power called the Tesseract. The adopted brother of Thor (Hemsworth) plans to use the cube to wield a celestial army afforded to him by the bloodthirsty alien order known as the Other so he can overtake our world, but naturally the likes of Iron Man (Downey Jr.), Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), the Hulk (Ruffalo), Thor, and Hawkeye (Renner) have different plans. But our heroes are not very good at working together as it turns out, with their frictions causing them to battle each other before the gravity of Loki’s plot forces them to focus their attention. Will the suspension of their grievances come too late to win the day?
Director: Joe Johnston
Length: 2h 4m
Synopsis: The year is 1942 and America is on the verge of militarily entering WWII. Brooklyn native Steve Rogers (Evans) has been applying to join the service but keeps getting denied. Nevertheless, he refuses to give up, and on his fifth attempt he is pulled aside and offered an opportunity to enlist after convincing the recruiters he is looking to fight for freedom, not just looking for a reason to fight. Across the Atlantic the dastardly Red Skull (Weaving), an ex-Nazi, has found the Cosmic Cube, a source of immeasurable energy which he plans to use to take over the world one country at a time. To combat his efforts the U.S. military authorizes Rogers to be a guinea pig for a new Super Soldier serum, which gives him great strength and speed. With his newfound abilities he becomes Captain America, and fulfills his dreams by doing his part to protect the innocent. But even for him, defeating Red Skull will be a tall order.
Director: Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf)
Screenwriter: Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, Tropic Thunder), Don Cheadle (Brooklynâ€™s Finest, Hotel Rwanda, Oceanâ€™s 11), Gwyneth Paltrow (Two Lovers, Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Heâ€™s Just Not That Into You, The Spirit, Vicky Christina Barcelona), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler, Domino, Sin City), Sam Rockwell (Everybodyâ€™s Fine, Moon, Frost/Nixon)
Length: 2 hours 4 minutes
Synopsis: Picking up where the last film left off, the film follows Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) as he struggles to overcome a number of obstacles after revealing he is Iron Man.Â Stark fights to keep the U.S. government from taking the Iron Man technology while also competing with fellow arms businessman Justin Hammer (Rockwell).Â However, Stark has bigger problems like Ivan Vanko (Rourke), an angry nemesis out for revenge against the Stark family, as well as the threat that the piece of machinery keeping him alive may also be slowly killing him.Â On top of all this, Stark tries to cultivate his budding romance with Pepper Potts (Paltrow) while also flirting with his mysterious new personal assistant Natalie (Johansson). Read the rest of this entry »
We here at Movie-Thoughts find it very interesting to keep tabs on actors throughout their careers, especially from the time when they make their big break to when they become a full-fledged star. Below is a list of 7 actors and actresses from movies and/or television shows that our writer Marisa Carpico contests are worth keeping a close eye on, because you’re bound to see more of them in the future. Some names you might recognize, as they’ve been in the professional acting arena for several years, but they might not have thus far had the kind of notoriety that propels the gifted few into the “A” Class of Hollywood.
Lea Michele: Glee fans will know her as the borderline-obnoxious overachiever, Rachel from Fox’s hit show, but before she lusted over the cute quarterback, she lusted over the cute rebel in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening. As a successful Broadway actress with plays like Awakening, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and Les Misérables on her résumé, Michele clearly has talent. Her abilities are on display in every episode of Glee where she lends her incredible vocals to tracks like “Don’t Stop Believing” and “My Life Would Suck Without You,” both of which had strong performances on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. However, though her singing is certainly excellent, her acting is just as interesting. During her show-stopping performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl during the “Sectionals” episode, Michele lent the song an energy and abandon that made her character’s desperate need for fame evident. Michele’s skill at bringing Rachel to the point of unbearable, but always making her vulnerable and talented enough to keep viewers from hating her is likely what garnered her a Golden Globe nomination. The big challenge for Michele in 2010 will be to find roles that show off more than just her vocal talents. Read the rest of this entry »