The Avengers (2012) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Zak Penn, Joss Whedon (Story)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr,  Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: The Avengers starts as Nick Fury (Jackson) is leading the investigation on how to operate the tesseract, which ends up summoning Loki (Hiddleston) who steals it, taking Hawkeye (Renner) and Dr Selvig (Skarsgard) under his control. This leads to Nick Fury bringing the Avengers Tony Stark (Downey Jr), Steve Rogers (Evans), Bruce Banner (Raffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) for their first mission together.

When Thor (Hemsworth) joins the group, they must learn why Loki is on Earth this time and stop is master plan of unleashing an alien invader on Earth.

 

Thoughts on The Avengers

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is till adapting to the modern day, he is still as patriotic as he was, he will provide the middle ground between Thor and Tony as he is looking to solve the problem in the simplest possible outcome. Tony Stark is reluctant at help to start with, but learning he could get more information from SHIELD he steps up to help defeat Loki. Thor arrives in hope of bringing Loki back to Asgard to face punishment for his action, he must learn about the other Avengers and how to become closer to the humans he is meant to be protecting. Bruce Banner comes out of hiding to help with the scientific side, only he will need to unleash the Hulk to stay in the fight. Natasha Romanoff will show more of her skills as the agent of SHIELD, we see how she can play people to get the answers required. Nick Fury brings the heroes together to fight Loki after his own experiment goes wrong, he isn’t honest with them which only drives them away. Loki has returned to Earth for the tesseract which he will use to bring an alien invading army to take over Earth. Hawkeye is an agent of SHIELD who gets turns by Loki’s power, he is turned into one of his super soldiers with his deadly accuracy with an arrow.

PerformancesWe have the returning cast from the origin films, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson all return continuing to grow into their roles, Mark Ruffalo does make for a great replacement as Bruce, with his more human feel to the character and Jeremy Renner brings us another agent of SHIELD we want to get behind.

StoryThe story here brings the characters from their solo movies together to fight Loki who is planning on taking over the Earth with his alien invaders. This story works wonderfully because we have seen the major heroes Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk have their own movies to introduce us to them, show their strengths and weaknesses, so, stepping into this world we know how each hero knows of to use their strengths to their advantage to help each other in the battle and learn just how far they would go to save the world when the time comes. The bigger inclusion of SHIELD is great too, because we see how the mortal side of the people in the battle will do, what they can to help. Loki as the villain does work well, he always desired power and to rule which is the reason behind his appearance. To achieve the story telling that can reference previous films and eras, to give us a way to bring the superhero unit together for the first time is done to perfection here.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is the large scale battle sequences which include the jet base and the New York battle which shows each of the heroes using their strengths to win. We have the sci-fi side of the world by having the idea of aliens coming to invade Earth at the control of a high power.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we have the scattered intro, the base which seems undetectable and New York being the key to the final battle, yes, we have seen New York used in a lot of movies, but it still works for impact and the worlds eyes to see.

Special EffectsThe effects seem flawless through the film, the pure scale of the battles makes this even more impressive, when we see just how all the different powers are used to fight the good fight.


Scene of the Movie –
New York battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might miss certain references if you have seen the other films.

Final ThoughtsThis is the benchmark for any superhero team up movie now, this film showed us just how it can be done and how done correctly you will be left wanting more.

 

Overall: Must watch superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

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Emily Blunt Weekend – The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Jason Segel (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer

 

Plot: One year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together.


Tagline – A comedy about the journey between popping the question and tying the knot.

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at Relationships & Careers

 

Story: The Five-Year Engagement starts when Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) get engaged and now must start to plan for their own wedding. The problems soon start to pile up, first when Violet’s sister Suzie (Brie) gets pregnant with Tom’s best friend Alex (Pratt) and must get married first, then their careers start offering them chances they can’t say no to.

When Emily continues to get opportunities to further her career, Tom holds back him problems while waiting for the chance to move away as he sees the life he could have being lived by Alex.

 

Thoughts on The Five-Year Engagement

 

Characters – Tom is a successful chef in the big city, he is in love with Violet and ready to marry her, only the wedding date gets pushed back as he wants to support her opportunity to further her career, however frustrating he finds it living in a small city away from his own career chances. Violet is the fiancée of Tom’s who has been waiting for a chance for her own studies to give her a career opportunity, which happens, only it will delay the wedding, given the chance of a lifetime, she tries to make a career out of her work, knowing how hard it will be for Tom. Alex and Suzie are the best friend and sister of the couple that seem to go into the life Tom once imagined about.

PerformancesJason Segel and Emily Blunt are wonderful in the leading roles, they have great chemistry and they both get their individual moments to get the comedy down, while together they can show us the heart of the film. Chris Pratt is the highlight of the supporting cast, as we get a good comedic supporting cast that get their own jokes in well.

StoryThe story follows a couple that are planning to get married only for their plans to go astray when a career opportunity comes up for one of them, leaving the other to support and watch their own future getting away from them. This story does show us how difficult relationships and careers can be for a couple who both want to support each other and are driven to have their own futures. We do fly through the time which only makes us wonder what is happening through most of the time. Sometimes the film does resort to just going for an extra joke when it doesn’t need to be.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does hit well through the film, we get most of the jokes from the supporting cast with moments of situational comedy too which does work well. The romance shows us just how difficult relationships can be for the people, even if love does come through in the end.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that the couple must live in, the happy life Tom starts with to the tough location he struggles to see his own future in.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sometimes the jokes go on for one too many extra punches.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful romantic comedy that shows us just how relationships can show the best in people no matter how difficult they might be when it comes to supporting people you love.

 

Overall: Brilliant romantic comedy.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

Christmas Weekend – Silent Night (2012)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Jayson Rothwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Rick Skene, Ellen Wong

 

Plot: The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror Remake

 

Story: Silent Night starts in this small town where deputy Aubrey Bradimore (King) is forced to work Christmas Eve by Sherriff Cooper (McDowell), the town is overrun by Santa’s but we learn early on that one of them is killing he residents.

As the bodies start to build up Aubrey and Cooper must track down this serial killer Santa that has a past to the town that has caused the vengeful nature of the killer Santa.

 

Thoughts on Silent Night

 

Characters/PerformanceDeputy Bradimore is expecting Christmas off but that changes when she is forced into work, her day gets worse when a serial killer Santa starts killing people and she must face her worries to take down this killer. Sheriff Cooper is the heartless boss of the cops, he expects them to be good at his jobs and will stay loyal to them when they are in danger. The killer Santa is menacing through the film with his increased size making him a threat to anybody who gets in his way.

Performance wise, Malcolm McDowell is always a good for a horror film and he is solid throughout the film. Jaime King continues her run in horror remakes and is solid through the film too. The rest of the cast are fine but most only have the odd scene.

StoryThe original Silent Night Deadly Night is something of a cult classic now and these are the type of horrors you don’t mind getting a remake happen. This time we don’t get enough of the backstory to why the Santa has gone on the rampage, we also don’t have the best written characters as they all come of plain and the kills are all created to try and push some boundaries in the slasher kill list. The strong point is that this all happens over one day.

Comedy/Horror/MysteryCertain parts of the film will give you a laugh, this does include some of the kills too, the horror side is all slasher and a joy for the fans but does lack any suspense. The mystery comes into this one as we want to know why he is killing people.

SettingsThe small town setting does make for a good choice because the cops all know the victims and understand the trauma the families would be going through.

Special EffectsLooking at the effects the practical kills are good throughout but a couple of shots look very awkward CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for all the slasher horror fans to enjoy, I can’t see a mainstream audience wanting to see this film. most of the kills are not Christmas related which you feel is part of the ongoing joke of this style of film too.

 

Overall: Drunk Slashing Enjoyment.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Q – Quartet (2012)

Director: Dustin Hoffman

Writer: Ronald Harwood (Screenplay) Ronald Harwood (Play)

Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs

 

Plot: At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.


Tagline – Four friends looking for a little harmony

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Quartet starts as we head to Beecham House retirement home for musicians, where Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly), Cissy (Collins) are preparing for their latest show for Verdi’s birthday with director Cedric (Gambon). We follow their everyday life at the home before an icon of their industry Jean Horton (Smith) arrives causing old wounds to be opened for Reggie.

The four must rebuild their friendship to bring their once famous quartet back to the stage for the concert, but some bridges are harder to build for Reggie compared to the others, can they forgive and forget before the concert.

 

Thoughts on Quartet

 

Characters – Reggie is the calm member of the quartet, he has lived in the home for a few years with two of his former members Wilf and Cissy, he conducts himself well and teaches when the students visit, but his life is pushed when his ex-wife arrives leaving him resenting being there needing to learn how to forgive his former love. Jean is the biggest name from the former quartet, but now she is left alone in the world needing to get used to her new environment, where she is forced to come out of retirement for one final recording. Wilf is a horny former musician, he flirts at every opportunity, he gets the funniest lines through the film because he knows how to use his charm to enjoy the moments in their lives in the home. Cissy is the absent minded member of the group, it is her age getting to her but Reggie keeps her mind in the right track when needed to be directed the right direction.

PerformancesMaggie Smith is great in this role, this great British actor shows she can handle any role with grace and ease. Tom Courtenay is great too being the strong leading role where he shows the dignity his character requires. Billy Connolly is the perfect choice for the added comic relief of the film, he gains a laugh in nearly every scene, even the serious ones you know he can pull off the laugh needed. Pauline Collins rounds off the leading quartet and she is great throughout the film too, the cast gives us everything we want from their performances.

StoryThe story shows how the once respected performers reaching the retirement age, will need to find something to do in the retirement home to continue their love of music. The main group we follow have their problems between them but to have that one final moment in the spotlight drives them all to perform. The four have sacrificed during their lives to be known as the best, including families which they regret at times but wouldn’t give up what they achieved in their limelight.

ComedyThe comedy comes from how Wilf looks at life and the everyday life within the retirement home.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around the retirement home, this shows us how the members are still enjoying life, now with like-minded people in their later years.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance building.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While funny, sometimes Wilf is just seemingly there for comic relief.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable light hearted comedy drama showing us just where people can be enjoy their passions at any stage of their life.

 

Overall: Nice touching drama.

Rating