Review: The Avengers (Directed by Joss Whedon, starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth)

The Avengers

The Avengers teams up the various superheroes from Marvel Studio’s movie projects into one incredibly fun film (The films themselves built to this crossover in their subplots). Recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and featuring Captain America (Chris Evans) Thor (Chris Helmsworth) Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) as well as the Incredible Hulk (Third time’s casting the charm for him, played by Mark Ruffalo in his Bruce Banner form) Black Widow (Scarlet Johannsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). The various heroes must tame their egos and band together to stop Thor’s mad brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from conquering earth. Supporting characters Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) also appear. The movie’s fun, action-packed and colorful, with an excellent script and direction by Joss Whedon. Be sure to watch the credits and after the credits as well.

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Review: Prometheus (Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Naomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender

Prometheus

OK prequel to the Alien series tries to explain some elements of the first ALIEN movie and has some decent, scary set pieces. However, the plot feels more like the first Alien vs Predator movie, (Which also featured not too bright archaeologists and other scientists), and the film also raises more questions than answers about the relation to the ALIEN saga. There’s also a similar problem to the last three Star Wars films; while the original films featured a sort of broken-down, “used” universe, Prometheus is very high-tech and ‘clean’ yet takes place only a few decades before ALIEN. Also the creature design doesn’t come anywhere near the chilling HR Giger designed creatures from the original films (Although there is some Giger influence in some of the film).

Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean to continue

After a dozen years, a new “Jurassic Park” film has finally been greenlighted, after years of so-so script ideas (Like Dinosaurs being genetically mixed with humans) and false starts, the series will finally return next year. Spielberg will produce, no word on a director yet. This year will also see the original film enhanced by 3D this Spring. Hopefully, the production of Jurassic Park IV will not be as rushed as Jurassic Park III, which was often rumored to have production troubles. Also returning is the franchise Pirates of the Carribean. Johnny Depp of course is set to return as the character Captain Jack Sparrow in this fifth movie, but no word on whether we’ll be seeing anyone else from the other four films. Hopefully it’s better than Pirates IV, which had some good parts but overall was not as enjoyable as the original trilogy. Also I gotta wonder if this film will run the same year (2015) as Disney’s planned relaunch of Star Wars.

Review: Dark Knight Rises (Batman III) (Directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway

If Batman Begins is “Star Wars” and The Dark Knight “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Rises” is akin to “Return of the Jedi”-a decent, epic finale but not without flaws in it’s plot/logic and overall not quite as good. The plot borrows somewhat more from the comics this time around, mainly the 90’s “Knightfall” storyline and also from the popular “Dark Knight Returns” story. (Although the past films had their nods to popular comic storylines). Bane is not quite effective as earlier villains, as Tom Hardy has to wear a mask over most of his face for pretty much the whole movie. He’s kind of like Darth Vader, where his voice and physical presence are all he can do (and his voice is more kind of European sounding than Vader’s deep James Earl Jones voice). A problem is also a lot of the film is filmed during the day, which I think takes out a lot of the feel of Batman, which in most incarnations takes place during the night. On the other hand, Bale,Caine, Oldman, Freeman and newcomers to the franchise Joseph Gordon Levitt and Anne Hathaway give good performances. Still it’s an enjoyable finale, just not quite up to the standards set by the first two.

Movie Review: Ted (Directed by Seth Mcfarlane, starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Seth Mcfarlane)

Fun movie by the creator of “Family Guy” (and also the voice of Ted) is similar if you’ve ever seen the show-raunchy jokes, 80’s nostalgia and references, a New England (In this case, Boston) setting etc. It also has a touching story at it’s heart, as Walhberg’s character has to choose between his pal and his girlfriend (and she has to deal with their various misadventures).

Movie Review: “Skyfall” (James Bond 23)

I’m ressurecting this blog after over a year, to work on some movie reviews. Some are copied and pasted from my own reviews at other websites, for the sake of brevity…anyway, onto the first one:

SKYFALL (Directed by Sam Mendes, starring Daniel Craig, James Bardem and Judi Dench)

The film that “Quantum of Solace” should have been. While that film had poorly edited action scenes, this film’s action is very clear and easy to follow. Craig’s Bond is also more of a traditional Bond here, closer to his portrayal in CASINO ROYALE than the frowning, vengeful Bond of QOS. Like the other Craig films, the plot is more realistic than the diamond laser satellites and invisible cars of Bond’s past (There’s still a gadget-laden DB5 though). Javier Bardem is chilling as the villain (The first real decent bad guy in the Craig series) who has a vendetta with Bond’s boss M. Although the plot might seem similar to Brosnan’s THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, it’s handled much better here (The opening also sort of brings to mind YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE as well). Overall, perhaps the best film of the modern Bonds. Still not quite up there with Connery’s earlier films but still great Bond.

The latest 2012 big movie news (and opinions)

Back in February I posted a movie guide to 2012. Needless to say, it’s a bit outdated now. Several projects, such as Superman and J.J Abram’s next Star Trek, have been moved to 2013, and there have been several new movies added. This is not a list of every movie, just the ones that I’m personally following.

Here’s an updated list:

JANUARY:

Underworld Awakening-Latest film in the Underworld saga, will apparentally feature the return of Kate Beckinsdale. Probably revived this series due to the Twilight phenomonom.

Red Tails-George Lucas’s latest production about the Tuskegee Airmen. Hopefully after some so-so updates of his popular franchises (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) we’ll get a decent film, but I’m crossing my fingers.

 

FEBRUARY

Star Wars Phantom Menace 3D:…and speaking of Lucas, here’s the theatrical re-release, although in 3D, of what is arguably the most hated Star Wars movie.

Journey 2: Mysterious Island:…another classic adventure tale ‘updated’ for the 3D family film set. Saw the preview, seems corny.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Sequel to Nicholas Cage’s outing as the Marvel semi-hero. Not really part of the interconnected Marvel movies, but might be worth a look if they can improve on the original.

MARCH

John Carter-New adaptation of fantasy epic John Carter of Mars, done by Disney/Pixar but in live-action with of course some CG elements. Disney has struggled lately with their live-action adventure epics: The last Pirates of the Carribean was pretty bad, and attempts to recreate the originals sucess such as Prince of Persia have flopped. We’ll see how well this goes.

APRIL

Nothing I’m interested in really comes out this month.

MAY

The Avengers-Joss Whedon’s ensemble super hero film featuring Captain America (Chris Evans) Thor (Chris Helmsworth) Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) as well as Hawkeye(Jeremy Renner) Black Widow (Scarlet Johannsen) Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the Incredible Hulk (Marc Ruffalo taking over from Edward Norton). Should be lots of fun, and hopefully very good given that this is what Marvel has been building up for years.

Battleship-Another toy becomes an action movie. Probably lots of action but not a lot of substance, like Transformers and at least the first GI JOE.

Men in Black III-Long-delayed sequel to the franchise. This film apparentally had a few problems during production, not always a good omen. We’ll see how it turns out.

JUNE

Prometheus-Ridley Scott returns to sci-fi in what might be a prequel to the first Alien, but that’s not 100% clear just yet.

GI JOE Retaliation: Sequel to the 2009 film has the GI Joes blamed for a crime they didn’t commit. It is of course a set-up by Cobra, their arch-enemies. The director is known only for dance movies, but hey, the trailer for this was promising.

JULY

The Amazing Spider-Man: This reboot decides to take a different approach to the Spider-Man mythos: Whatever happened to Peter Parker’s parents? Apparentally it will figure somewhat into this story, which has Andrew Garfield as the new incarnation of the popular web-slinging hero.

The Dark Knight Rises-This is the big one. Batman, after being denounced and forced into hiding after taking the blame for Two-Face’s crimes, must return and confront a new threat to Gotham-the mysterious Bane. Also featuring Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. This film will wrap up the Nolan/Bale Batman series.

 

AUGUST

 

The Expendables II-The sequel to the earlier “aging action stars team-up” movie. But now with more Arnold and Chuck Norris.

 

NOVEMBER

 

Skyfall- After a four year abscence, Daniel Craig’s James Bond returns in what is being promoted as a more traditional Bond movie. Here, Bond has to deal with a threat from boss M’s past. Has one hell of a cast, with Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes as the bad guys.

 

DECEMBER

Lincoin-Spielberg’s latest historical epic stars Daniel Day Lewis. Not much to go on at this point.

The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey-Peter Jackson returns to the Lord of The Rings saga with this film, which takes place before The Fellowship of The Ring but which chronicles Bilbo Baggin (Martian Freeman) and Gandalf’s (Ian Mckellan) quest to take on a deadly dragon. Other LOTR alumni will have cameos as well.