REVIEW: The Avengers

15 10 2012

There are two kinds of people in this world: those that prefer “The Dark Knight” and Christopher Nolan, and those that “The Avengers” and Joss Whedon. I count myself absolutely and unapologetically in the first camp.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to like both; indeed, I did enjoy “The Avengers.” That point might be lost in this review since I will be attacking the ideology of filmmaking that produces movies like it, but Whedon recaptures the fun spirit that has been lost in Marvel films since Jon Favreau’s original “Iron Man” in 2008.

He doesn’t provide nearly enough justification for the wasting of four hours of my life on “Thor” and “Captain America,” but then again, I’m not the target audience. Just the sight of those figures will undoubtedly bring joy to many fans; I need a little bit more of a reason to care. I need to know why a purely expository story for “The Avengers” with little drama of its own is worth my time and money.

Whedon definitely embraces the inherent childishness of the comic books and places that as the center of the film; Nolan merely uses the familiar characters of renowned series as a facade to explore important social and cultural issues. There’s no discussion of serious issues in “The Avengers,” unless you count how New York would recover from the $160 billion of damage done to the city in the movie’s bloated climax.

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Random Factoid #426

27 09 2010

I just had a random thought hit me, and thus, it proved to be nice fodder for random factoid discussion.

Remember back when movies used to have “premiere previews” on the day before they opened between 7:00 and 10:00 P.M.?  Because midnight apparently wasn’t good enough for them.  The first movie I remember definitively doing this was “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” although there might have been some for “Poseidon” early that summer.  The trend ran mainly from 2006 to 2009, and some of the movie that previewed early were “Transformers,” “Iron Man,” and “Star Trek.”

(There were some earlier movies that used the model too, such as “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”)

So why did they die out?  I honestly have no idea why.  Anybody have any ideas why we have to wait until 12:01 A.M. now?

LAMB Alert: Robert Downey Jr. “Acting School”

31 05 2010

On the first morning of summer, I got up and watched “Sherlock Holmes” just because I could.

Speaking of “Sherlock Holmes,” there’s going to be another cool event going on at the LAMB involving the movie’s star, Robert Downey, Jr.  He’s the reason I decided to give it a second view after my less than glowing first opinion.  The movie works largely because of him, and it was commercially viable also because of him.  He has perfected the smug and slightly standoffish character, and Americans can’t seem to get enough of it.  $275 million and counting for “Iron Man 2” speaks as a testament to it.

But Robert Downey, Jr. has made plenty of other contributions to acting other than this character, and his two Oscar nominations have come from playing something entirely different.  In 1993, he received his first nomination for “Chaplin,” a biopic where RDJ played the famed silent movie star.  Just two years ago, he received his second nomination for a very risky comedic role in “Tropic Thunder,” playing (as the movie puts it) “a dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.”  It’s risks like these that have made Robert Downey, Jr. a unique and lauded actor.

The LAMB is celebrating the man, the actor, and the roles.  It’s really worth checking out because there are reviews of all of his movies as well as spotlight pieces on Robert Downey, Jr. and his work.  I contributed the two reviews I have written of RDJ’s latest movies, “Sherlock Holmes” and “Iron Man 2.”  I wasn’t particularly complimentary of the actor in those two movies, but I really do admire him.  In “Iron Man,” he had a dry wit and strange charm while constantly projecting an image of authority.  He showed a very tender side in “The Soloist,” a very good movie that few people saw.  And while I loathed “Tropic Thunder,” I found his turn to be strangely satisfying.

So come join in the celebration; click the image below and you’ll be directed to the event.

Random Factoid #298

22 05 2010

I’ve got a lot of soundtracks in my iTunes library, and I won’t try to hide it.  What I haven’t revealed yet is that I buy a whole lot of songs because I hear them in the trailer of a movie.  I’ll hear a tune and Google it to find out what the song is called.  Click, click, it’s in my library.

Here are some of the songs that are now proudly stored in Marshall’s iTunes library thanks to movie trailers.

“Help Yourself” by Sad Brad Smith, trailer for “Up in the Air”

“You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” by Beth Rowley, trailer for “An Education”

“Photograph” by Ringo Starr, trailer for “Funny People”

“The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” by Smashing Pumpkins, trailer for “Watchmen”

“Wild is the Wind” by Nina Simone, trailer for “Revolutionary Road”

“Rock Me Sexy Jesus” by The Ralph Sall Experience, trailer for “Hamlet 2”

“Paper Planes” by M.I.A., trailer for “Pineapple Express”

“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, trailer for “Iron Man”

“Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” by Jay-Z, trailer for “American Gangster”

And probably countless others than I can’t remember.

Random Factoid #198

11 02 2010

Oh, and one more thing about my fantasy football team, the Houston Iron Men.

Yahoo Fantasy Football leaves a space where you can “talk smack.”  When I put together my team before the official beginning of the season, I put in this quote:

“Is it better to be feared or respected?  I say, is it too much to ask for both?”

While everyone else trash talked (and while I never checked my team), I classed it up with my Tony Stark quote from “Iron Man.”

Random Factoid #196

9 02 2010

For the past two years, my fantasy football team has been called the Houston Iron Men.

The team name comes not from some sort of sports context.  Rather, it comes solely from the movie “Iron Man.”

And it sounds like a cool team name – it works in both contexts.

Oh, and if you were wondering how the team did, it’s best that you don’t ask.

Random Factoid #8

5 08 2009

I have only fallen asleep while watching a movie in a theater once.

The movie was “Iron Man.” I love the movie; in fact, I just watched it yesterday and I think I may like it even more than I thought. But I had just spent a week at a Young Life camp in Canada, and I was completely spent. By 10:50 when the movie started, we had traveled for 8 hours on buses and ferries. I managed to stay awake for the first half, but I fell asleep right aroud when Tony flies in his new suit for the first time. I was awakened from my sweet slumber by the hand of my Young Life leader yanking me forward. He later explained to me that he had tried gently nudging and talking, but eventualy it came to the point where he had to give me a hard pull, and I would either wake up or get a pavement sandwich.

Watching movies at my humble abode is a different story. If it is past 11:00, I often slip into the world of my dreams, even in some of my favorite movies.