The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Something I realized the second time I watched this movie, is that it reminded me of when the first Spider-Man trilogy and Fantastic Four movies came out. Everyone thought they were amazing but that’s because that was the best we had to offer. And then Iron Man came out and we realized we could do better. And we did. With the exception of Iron Man 2 (which I like to pretend doesn’t exist), Marvel has built an amazing world, with a great cast and awesome movies.

I think I would feel less disappointed in Avengers 2 if it had not followed Cap 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy; two movies that are easily at the top of the Marvel film list. Excellent scripts, characterization, in Cap’s case, outstanding fight sequences (thank you James Young, Aaron Toney, Heidi Moneymaker, & Sam Hargrave!) This movie felt like Joss Whedon hadn’t even watched the other movies (except maybe the Iron Man films)

The fight sequences in this film were so bloated and overly CGI’d I was actually bored. Again, I got spoiled w Cap 2 and now I have higher expectations when I watch fight scenes in films. The fight scenes in this just felt lazy.

Let’s talk about good characterization vs bad characterization. I didn’t realize Joss Whedon knows nothing about Steve Rogers until I watched this movie. He seems to have this whole Invincible Soldier Who is Also a Choir Boy Lost in the Present with Steve and oh god have you even read the comics!? He reminds me a lot of the way Steven Moffat writes Sherlock Holmes; he claims to be a huge fan, but in reality he doesn’t understand the character at all and gives him 0 opportunities to grow. I know everyone loves the whole ‘language’ joke but remember that time Steve tells Nat ‘You’re damn right’? I do and I know Steve Rogers wouldn’t give a crap about foul language. He was in the army for goodness sake, have you ever been around a soldier? Steve is way more progressive than Whedon gives him credit for. And the idea that Steve can’t seem to grasp technology (which happened in the first Avengers as well) is just dumb. Steve’s not an idiot. I imagine once they thawed him out and given him time to adjust, he would spend a ton of time reading, living on the internet, studying, and just trying to catch up. Steve’s no fool, he would pick up on the present very quickly.

I know a lot of people have been criticizing Joss Whedon for Natasha but honestly, I think he does just fine with her. Until we finally get a Black Widow movie, most of these films can only put out so much information about her, so of course she’s going to be constantly mysterious. I didn’t care much for Steve’s comment to Bruce about Bruce being the only one she’s really friendly with. I felt I saw all of that in Cap 2; I thought she and Steve got a lot closer, and very much trusted one another which is a rare thing for Nat. One thing I had a problem with, and it was a big problem, was the idea that Natasha considers herself to be a monster because she’s been sterilized. No, she’s not a monster for all the people she killed while a Soviet Spy, but because she can’t have children. Really, Whedon? What were you thinking?

I gotta talk about Quicksilver for a second because I’m annoyed with everything. I was very excited to see him in this movie; Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a great actor, Quicksilver is an interesting character, and he and Wanda make a great dynamic. Everyone knows Joss Whedon loves killing beloved characters off and it has gotten very old. There was 0 reason to kill him and I’m sure Marvel will bring him back which just makes his death silly and pointless. Naturally the audience was sad about it; I was just mad because I saw it coming a mile away.

One thing I will give this movie credit for is the positive representation of parts of the world that are normally treated as Third World countries. Africa with a good police force? Eastern Europe that’s not completely run down? A+ for that one, seriously.

Last but not least, let’s talk about Bucky. I know there was not really any room in the film for him however there was no reason for him not to show up in Steve’s vision. Steve’s best friend in the entire world who he loves dearly and he’s not going to show up hanging out drinking at the USO club? Give me a break. I would have liked to have seen him in the Red Room but I get that could have been a little complicated since Natasha doesn’t seem to know who he is.

So all in all not the worst Marvel movie, but definitely not the best and I’m very glad Joss Whedon won’t be doing any more.

Oscar Nominations 2015

Well the Oscar nominations were announced today. Also, I need to stop sucking and get back to blogging dangit.

I’m not hugely surprised, but I am disappointed. My five folks I wanted nods for (Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Robert Pattinson, Miyavi, & Jack O’Connell) were ignored as I expected they would. 

The Skeleton Twins got nothing, which I expected. I think that was probably the best film of 2014, it has an 87% on RottenTomatoes and yet somehow totally snubbed. The writing was excellent and the acting was first rate. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig absolutely deserved to have their names read off today.

Unbroken got almost nothing which I sort of expected and I’m so disappointed about it. I know the critics didn’t care for it but the acting from Jack O’Connell and Miyavi was astounding. Miyavi especially, considering he had never acted before. I am very happy about the Cinematography nod though. I was sitting there during that portion of the nominations thinking “If this doesn’t get a nod I’m going to scream.”

I know no one saw The Rover, but I thought Robert Pattinson was so good. So so good and I’m disappointed that no one else seemed to see that.

I’m stunned Jake Gyllenhaal was left out of Best Actor. I think Nightcrawler is the best work he’s done. 

I am quite happy to see Marvel getting a few nods. The Winter Soldier’s nod took me by surprise but I’m happy nonetheless to see it get something.

I found it sad that Channing Tatum was left out while Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell both got in. Foxcatcher was pretty damn good and Channing Tatum was great

I’m so happy Big Hero 6 got a Best Animation nod but really bummed that The Book of Life didn’t get in. How to Train Your Dragon is the weak link in that bunch, I’d throw that one out for either The Book of Life or The LEGO Movie in a heartbeat.

And how did David Oyelowo get snubbed, man? And no Ralph Fiennes for Grand Budapest Hotel!?

And now for the bitching. I’m sorry but Boyhood and Birdman are the least impressive movies on this list in my opinion. 

Boyhood is like Citizen Kane; a mediocre movie that people think it’s amazing because it did something new. In this case, it took 12 years to film .Sorry, but w a plot that could be used anywhere and w a bloated running time, this was a completely forgettable film. 

Birdman is just strange. I can do strange, but this was just to incoherent for me. I just watched that movie last week and I can’t tell you much about it. It was just not a memorable film, just a weird one.

Okay, so I liked The Theory of Everything, but not enough to nominate it for Best Picture. The performaces were good, but the story was meh. I could have substituted Skeleton Twins, Foxcatcher, or Unbroken in a heartbeat.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Ho boy, so I can’t promise this will even remotely be a good review (it’s probably going to mostly be me ranting about Bucky Barnes) but I’ll give it a try.

I love Bucky Barnes. Like (and this is embarrassing to admit) but I didn’t know he was a ‘real’ guy when I saw the first Cap movie. I didn’t know much about comics at that point and I thought he was a character that had been made up for the movie. From the moment he showed up, being Steve’s best pal, I was smitten. I loved their friendship, how they were obviously the best of friends and willing to die for each other. And then he fell off the damn train and I was horrified. I couldn’t believe this awesome guy died and I was so upset. Meanwhile my friend (who is a comic book Nerd) is completely unconcerned and I couldn’t figure out why. After the movie I was asking her about Bucky and she explained that in the comics he’s found by the Russians, brainwashed, turned into an assassin, and comes back as the Winter Soldier. That gave me hope that he’d show up again in a future Captain America film. And then they release the title of the Cap 2 and I was ecstatic.

Okay, having said all of that, I will say this is the most excited I have ever been about the release of a film. And it did not disappoint. Great action, great soundtrack (seriously, stop what you’re doing and listen to the Winter Soldier track), the fight sequences are perfect, and the cast is wonderful as always. I really enjoyed the political message (I’ve always been a fan of the ‘Big Brother’ conspiracy type stories), it was a great roller coaster ride of emotions.

Now let’s talk about the Winter Soldier and why Sebastian Stan is one of the best actors of his generation. He only has a handful of lines and a most of them really hit you straight in the chest. The amount of acting he does with just his eyes is like nothing I’ve seen in a very long time. The Winter Soldier is basically a machine, brainwashed and put in cryo until he needs to assassinate someone. He’s not treated as a person and doesn’t think of himself as one. And yet, during the infamous “Who the hell is Bucky?” scene, you can see his defenses start to crumble because he and Steve’s friendship run deep enough that just hearing his name is enough to start the memories kicking in. During the memory wipe scene, Sebastian Stan had about 2 lines and they broke my damn heart. He’s such a tremendous actor and even though he’s mostly done really bad movies (and good but underappreciated tv shows like ‘Kings’ and ‘Political Animals’), he’s fantastic. This kid is going to be huge now. Now his name is on people’s radar and hopefully he’ll start being offered better roles because he has the potential to be up there with people like Edward Norton. So remember this face, because hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of him soon (and not just in Marvel films since he has a 9 picture deal!)

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel

I’m not a huge Wes Anderson fan. I think his movies are entertaining (in the sense that I can see why people like them), but I don’t tend to enjoy them much. They are just a little too offbeat for me I suppose.

This was a pleasant surprise. It was very funny, had wonderful dialogue, great sight gags, and of course, a great cast. It was also very bittersweet and just plain cute. It did the whole ‘Story within a Story’ thing and I really liked that. It also made me very sad for things of the past. I love history, and I’m always so sad to see things fall into disrepair and become forgotten. I am not a fan of change in that sense.

I will be forever indebted to casting directors for their wonderful choices. Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori had more than enough chemistry to help the movie out. Every person that showed up unexpectedly was a pleasant surprise and was perfect.

Also, I really want Ralph Fiennes to do more comedy because this and In Bruges are just not enough. He’s very funny and I demand more!

Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat The Rude

Eat This

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I’m an American actress and I play Beverly Katz on NBC’s HANNIBAL created by Bryan Fuller. (Spoiler Alert coming right now!!!) And she dies in episode 4 of Season 2. That episode got a lot of positive reviews, but it also incited an on-line storm of vitriol directed to Fuller himself for killing off Katz, or more specifically, for being racist and sexist. I caught wind of this myself via Twitter from our beloved Fannibals. And I thought maybe it’d be productive to talk about rather than ignore it.

Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine…

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Non-Stop

I absolutely went into this movie with low expectations. I figured it would be just another silly action flick, ‘Taken’ on an airplane. I gotta say, I really enjoyed this movie. I didn’t really care for the big reveal at the end, but otherwise it was a good ride. And the cast.  So many actors and actresses that I adore in one movie? Okay!

The plot is pretty straightforward, Liam Neeson is an air marshal on a transatlantic flight to the UK. Once the plane is in the air, he gets an anonymous text from someone claiming that a person on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless money is deposited into an account. I do enjoy mysteries like that, in limited space with a lot of suspects.

I really love how Liam Neeson has become an action hero. I’ve been a fan since I was about 9 (‘High Spirits’ FTW) and I’m used to him playing these calm, quiet characters. Watching him kick ass is a lot of fun!

I had a sneaking suspicion what was up pretty fast because I am familiar with a lot of these not-so-big names, but I won’t spoil it for you. See if you can figure it out. 😉