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Entries in The Avengers (51)

Wednesday
Sep122012

Is 2012 The Year of Divisiveness?

Hello, loves. Beau here, considering something I've been knocking around in my head for the past week. There has yet to be a film that's been released this year that has garnered widespread acclaim from all viewers (critics, audiences, and bloggers alike). At this point last year, we had a few already that we could point to: Midnight in Paris, Bridesmaids, Harry Potter had all done beaucoups bucks at the box office, and garnered more than respectable responses from the general public and critics alike. But this year... what?

LAWL.

The Hunger Games, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises have made the most, but each inspired a heated dialogue about some element of the filmmaking. Examples: The Hunger Games 'should not have been PG-13'; 'bland, dull, watered-down'; The Avengers 'fan-fiction cum brand/merchandising cash cow' and 'Didn't move the genre forward'; The Dark Knight Rises 'nowhere near as good as The Dark Knight'; and 'WTF with the Bane sound design? the politics?')

Prometheus was enormously divisive, and Brave was widely regarded with a shrug. The critical darling Beasts of the Southern Wild didn't quite crossover. It's made $10 million so far but it's a fairly straightforward narrative, however poetically delivered, that elicits warm feelings and it made less than something as abstract, obscure and strange as Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. (The latter had the advantage of starring Brad Pitt, but even so, people don't always follow the movie stars - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford made a paltry $4 million back in 2007 as well.)  More... 

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Thursday
Sep062012

Summer Survey. Katey & JA (Pt. 2)

To recap... now that summer movie season 2012 is a wrap, we're polling contributors, friends and YOU about your favorite and least favorite things of the summer. It's just a glass of something light and bubbly to raise, gulp down quickly and bring a little closure before the heavier stuff hits.

In Part 1, we heard from a few good men and here's two more voices for Part 2. Parts 3 and 4 are the podcast this weekend!

KATEY
who you know and love from Cinema Blend and the occasional podcast here...

Best Movie I Saw All Summer: 
I'm surprising myself by answering Magic Mike. It's got more confidence, more imagination and more willingness to let it all hang out than most anything else the studio system produced all year. 
Scenes I  ♥ So Much I Thought My Heart Would Burst: 
1) Natasha's interrogation scene at the beginning of The Avengers-- I've always been wishy-washy on Whedon but his feminist credentials are unbeatable. 2) Norman's confrontation with the witch at the end of ParaNorman, some of the most dazzling and daring animation for kids I've ever seen. 3) The completely insane vampire-chase-on-horseback scene in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a not-very-good movie that I admired for its insane ideas all the same.

Major Summer Crush(es): Emma Stone (she really can liven up anything, even something as ungainly as The Amazing Spider-Man), Michael Fassbender (that Peter O'Toole impression just slays), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (I stand by him being the best thing in The Dark Knight Rises), and Chris Hemsworth (he seems to be the only person with a pulse in Snow White and the Huntsman
Princess Merida, Katniss or Hawkeye? 
Merida! Brave didn't get nearly enough love for all the things it did really well
At Least The Theater Was Air Conditioned: 
Hit & Run. Bad, self-indulgent filmmaking coupled with an awful audience that laughed at every dumb joke that made me cringe. 
If Only "Hulk" Had Smashed...: 
Battleship, to save Taylor Kitsch from himself. 
 
Mash-Up ~Two Summer Characters I'd Like to Introduce: 
Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild and Snow White from Snow White and the Huntsman, to teach her a thing or two about making your way through nature and asserting your power in a world that wants to shove you down. 
Best Old Movie I Saw For the First Time This Summer - Go Me! : Metropolis! When I found out the restored version was on Netflix Instant it seemed a crime to ignore it, and it turns out it's mesmerizing even on the tiny laptop screen. 
Rank the  "Magic Mike" Strippers:  
I actually wrote an article with this exact ranking!
Line Reading That Stuck In My Head...
 Jiminy Cricket, he's flown the coop!"
- Edward Norton in Moonrise Kingdom


 

JA of MNPP
Best Movie I Saw All Summer:
Moonrise Kingdom, which I only fell even more in love with on a second viewing. Everything feels just right, from Frances McDormand's sweater over house-dress ensembles on up. Or maybe Todd Solondz' Dark Horse, which broke my heart into fifty thousand little pieces.
Scenes I  ♥ So Much I Thought My Heart Would Burst: 
The Lovecraftian C-section to end all Lovecraftian C-sections in Prometheus and all of the stripping sequences in Magic Mike (although it wasn't really the "heart" part of my anatomy that was fit to burst....)  
Things I Actually Learned (at summer movie camp!)
1) Joss Whedon should direct every superhero movie from now on (I figured as much beforehand but The Avengers circled and underlined my suspicions)
2) Woody Allen should probably only make a movie every two years.
3) Prostate exams and currency debates can totally add up to sexy.
 

Princess Merida, Katniss or Hawkeye? 
Only one of these people twirled a dress right into flames, and as much as Jeremy Renner wishes, it wasn't him. 

Choose only one archer! Katniss, Princess Merida or Hawkeye

At Least The Theater Was Air Conditioned: 
The Dark Knight Rises
If Only "Hulk" Had Smashed...
Christopher Nolan's camera
Best Old Movie I Saw For the First Time This Summer - Go Me! : 
I bet this is the first time that David Lean's "Kate Hepburn takes Venice" movie Summertime has ever tied for anything with Squirm, the 1976 earthworms-run-amok flick, but that's just how I roll. 
Major Summer Crush(es):
BOMER. CHARLIZE.
Rank the  "Magic Mike" Strippers 
Mike beats Ken only because Channing can out-dance everybody else put together. From there it's The Kid, Dallas, Tito and Tarzan.
Mash-Up ~ Two Summer Characters I'd Like to Introduce: 
Bane and Jackie & David Siegel from The Queen of Versailles, for obvious reasons
Line Reading That Stuck In My Head...
I don't really like the word 'depressed'. I prefer to say I'm in a tailspin."
- Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress

 

And that's it for us until the podcast! If you have your own blog, answer the questions in a post and I'll link up. Otherwise, what do you think of JA's and Katey's summer summaries? The "Katniss, Merida or Hawkeye"? question is such a roscharch. No two answers are quite the same!  

 

Saturday
Sep012012

Live Blog: Your In-Flight Movie "The Avengers"

The following was written on the flight from New York City to Utah last week as I left on my vacation (and awesome people took over). When I returned home I discovered that The Avengers was reopening on a ton of cinemas for one week only -- Happy Labor Day Weekend -- so I ought not to have strained my neck.

Somewhere in flyover country...

my craned neck view of "The Avengers"

I can't decide which screen to look at. The first one is right in my face (ouch my neck), the other too far from me for its pocket-square size. And another so far it's like looking across the row at someone's cel phone in a bout of nosyness - that won't get you anywhere. This three screen option is one kind of 3-D at least. I have plenty of time to decide which screen to look at because the opening few minutes of The Avengers were never its strong suit. 

The sound mixing is atrocious on airplanes. Also I just realized that I'm listening to the movie in a Spanish dub --  Damn you channel 2. I've switched over to English just in time for meaningless human exposition on Earth. It's not like I would have understood the aliens in any language.  

The Tesseract is misbehaving!"

Samuel L Jackson intones this silly sentence for $500k (he's in so little of this I figure each line delivery is worth ½ a mil) because, you know, everyone understands how a cosmic cube should behave so we all get when it's being a naughty teenager.

Cosmic Cube Rebel ! © Nathaniel R

MORE...

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Wednesday
Jul042012

Halfway House 2012. Best Picture (Thus Far)

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! We're taking stock and talking 2012 crop now that the year is half over. If you asked me to nominate for "Best Picture" right now, here are the titles I'd scribble in the air with sparklers... in alpha order.  I fully expect 2 or 3 of them to be written in ink at the end of the year in my top ten list.

 

The Avengers (review)
Let's not overstate. Popcorn entertainment occassionally does come better than this but The Avengers is still pretty damn fun and clever as it hurdles the complicated 'how on earth do you combine all these franchises into one?' question with confidence and humor. It's easy to forget how wrong this could have gone. Well done Joss Whedon. Extra bonus points for redeeming the two most previously disappointing characters (The Black Widow and The Hulk) by making them the unexpected key pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
(capsule)
Benh Zeitlin's evocative utopia/dystopia journey is like nothing you've ever seen. So get to seeing it the first chance you get. We'll obviously be talking about it more as the year wears on and top ten lists and awards begin looming.

Bullhead (review)
Michael R. Roskam's brooding tragedy-laced crime drama about a lonely cattle farmer and illegal growth hormones was nominated for Best Foreign Film last year. It finally hit US cinemas this year. They always make us wait. 

Declaration of War 
Valérie Donzelli's restless, experimental retelling of her own traumatic experience as a new parent of a sick child with then boyfriend Jérémie Elkaïm(also playing a version of himself) was a bracing experiene and even an oddly joyful movie. Though it was clearly a longshot for Oscar play (they didn't nominate it for foreign film) I'm glad France submitted it bringing it to our attention here. 

 A Festive 4th of July with Dallas and the Kings of Tampa


Magic Mike (review)
Steven Soderbergh's nuanced observational portrait of a stripper/entrepeneur facing the uncertain future has stylish filmmaking, good solid laughs, and better character portraits than you usually get on the peripheries of the narrative. 

Moonrise Kingdom
(capsule)
Not since The Royal Tenenbaums have Wes Anderson's form and content enjoyed a marriage this whimsical, aching and bittersweet. It's multifaceted and, better yet, enjoyable on serious and silly levels depending on your mood. Seems likely to reward us on future viewings. 

Runners up? Not really. Those six stand head and shoulders, even groins in Mike's case, above the pack. Don't miss any of them. If I had to make a top ten list this early with so few films seen (yikes) 7 through 10 in descending order would go to... no I can't it's too unsatisying... I can't I ca... oh, all right

JUST 4 OSCARY FUN...
Try to imagine what would happen if the year ended right now. Which films do you think would make Oscar's BP list? It has to be films that are eligible (i.e. released already) so I'm feeling like there's no way it wouldn't be these five: Avengers, Beasts of, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Hunger Games and Moonrise Kingdom... with Hunger Games losing a Best Director opportunity to Steven Soderbergh for Magic Mike. I've got this alternate reality all figured out! Marketable skill.

Those five movies are arguably the only five that'll have enough devotees to cry "it's going to happen!" in five more months... even if it isn't in most of those cases. Do you agree? Or do you think something heartwarming / messagey (like The Intouchables?) or something critically supported but divisive (like Magic Mike) would surprise and knock the not-beloved-but-way-successful Hunger Games out?

Most importantly: What would your ballot look like so far? And do you think anything we've seen yet is going the distance to an Oscar nomination.

Read Also "Best Of..." Actress, Actor , Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress

Sunday
Jun242012

Box Office: Princess Merida, Bear Hunter

Princess Merida's aim was true, hitting the Pixar bullseye this weekend. $60 million plus means BRAVE can stand proudly with the studio's most successful opening weekends. Some worried that Pixar's first female lead might not prove nearly as big of an immediate draw as cars, toys and boy robots... forgetting that Princesses have never exactly hurt parent co's Disney's box office tallies. Abraham Lincoln's box office aim was messier but then axes can miss their mark and still do bloody damage.

TOP TEN PRIDE WEEKEND
01 BRAVE new $66.7
02 MADAGASCAR 3  $20.2 (cum. $157.5)
03 ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER  new $16.5 
04 PROMETHEUS  $10 (cum. $108.5) Oscar Chances?
05 ROCK OF AGES $8 (cum. $28.7) Review
06 SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN $8 (cum $137.1) Review 
07 THAT'S MY BOY $7.9  (cum $28.1)
08 THE AVENGERS  $7 (cum $598.3) Review
09 MIB 3 $5.6 (cum. $163.3)
10 SEEKING A FRIEND AT THE END OF THE WORLD  new $3.8 

Talking Points: To Rome With Love was strangely timid about its opening weekend given the renewed Woody Allen love post Midnight in Paris but had a strong per screen average anyway. Had it opened wider it surely would have outperformed Seeking a Friend... which couldn't find an audience; Moonrise Kingdom continues to be a strong performer in limited release just outside the top ten; Two months into its run The Avengers is finally losing screens but should cross the astounding $600 million mark by Tuesday, only the third film in history to do so (when not adjusted for inflation). 

Regarding The Avengers. Given the screen loss it'll be tough to pass Titanic to claim the all time #2 spot -- another $60 million is required. I was just at brunch at Harlem's Red Rooster and a little tiny barely verbal boy at the next table was veritably surrounded by superheroes -- Thor lunch box to the left of him, Spider-Man backpack to the right of him, as he excitedly pointed at an ancient comic book in glass behind him in the restaurant's wall of historic memorabilia. They indoctrinate them young into Marvel Mania. When he's a teenager he'll be buying opening weekend tickets to The Avengers holographic reboot (2025)

What did you see this weekend?

Or is your weekend still raging? If so, Happy Pride!

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