REVIEW: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
James Spader (Stargate)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes On A Plane)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Idris Elba (acific Rim)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Julie Delpy (Before Sunset)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Henry Goodman (Yes, Prime Minister)
Claudia Kim (The Dark Tower)

MV5BMTk4MjI3NzY4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODY4NjA3._V1_In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton – raid a Hydra facility commanded by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments – twins Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and project energy – and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.MV5BMTk4NTc1NTc0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDQ4NjA3._V1_Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoffs, who hold Stark responsible for their parents’ deaths by his weapons, and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk (Banner) to rampage until Stark stops him with his anti-Hulk armor.1
MV5BMTU1NzA3OTI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjg4NjA3._V1_A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda’s hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at a safehouse. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after realizing a mutual attraction. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron forces the team’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to perfect a new body for him. As Ultron uploads himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn against Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff.
MV5BNjczNjAzNjgwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQzMTUzMg@@._V1_The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. – who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet – into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow – one of the six Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in existence – was part of his vision. This “Vision” and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to evacuate civilians. Pietro dies when he shields Barton from gunfire, and a vengeful Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The city plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the landmass. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision confronts Ultron’s last remaining body.MV5BZDRkOGQwNWItZjQ1ZC00MjU0LWJiZTUtZWIwMjZkMTdhNWM5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_Later, with the Avengers having established a new base run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark leaves and Barton retires, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, the Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda. In a mid-credits scene, Thanos, dissatisfied by the failures of his pawns, dons a gauntlet2 and vows to retrieve the Infinity Stones himself.MV5BZmQ0YmE1MTMtYWQ2ZS00ZDNhLWIzOTctNjk4YTQ1YmQzZDZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_The Avengers: Age of Ultron is solid entertainment and best experienced on the big screen. Long-running trappings of shared movie universe storytelling remain, and the novelty of seeing iconic comic book characters together onscreen is just as impressive as it was in The Avengers.

REVIEW: I LOVE YOU, MAN

 

CAST

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Rashida Jones (The Social Network)
Sarah Burns (Life As We Know it)
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Jon Favreau (Iron man)
Jane Curtin (3rd Rock From The Sun)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Andy Samberg (Hot Rod)
Mather Zickel (Bones)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Joe Lo Truglio (Pineapple Express)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory)
David Krumholtz (Serenity)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Aziz Ansari (30 Minutes or Less)
Nick Kroll (Sausage Party)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Matt Walsh (Ted)

I LOVE YOU MANPaul Rudd stars as Peter Klaven, a Los Angeles real estate agent who, in the film’s first scene, proposes marriage to the lovely Zooey (Rashida Jones, Cop Out). Zooey immediately goes about stocking her bridesmaids from a large stable of girl friends (including lovably dirty Jaime Pressly and Sarah Burns), but is a little thrown when Peter has no one to tell. His family explains: he’s always been “a girlfriend guy,” a serial monogamist who shed his guy friends along the way. Afraid of becoming too clingy and fearing a lop-sided wedding party, Peter sets out to make some guy friends (going on a series of disastrous “man dates”) before settling on the guy who just could be “the one” (to be his best man, that is): Sidney Fife (Jason Segal), a laid-back Venice “investor” whose devil-may-care attitude (and passion for the band Rush) makes him a good fit for uptight Peter.MV5BNjczNjAzNjgwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQzMTUzMg@@._V1_Director Hamburg (Along Came Polly), who shares a screenplay credit with Larry Levin, is rather sly in his construction of Peter and Sidney’s story; the picture cleverly repurposes the standard scenes and conflicts of the modern romantic comedy, from the “meet cute” to the “getting to know you” montage to the third party that may very well break them up (in this case, Jones’ Zooey). The semi-love affairs between straight, immature men is the thread that seems to run constant between most of these films; Hamburg and Levin’s script shrewdly and wittily takes that subtext and puts it out front. It is then fleshed out by the standard Apatow-style ingredients: cheerful vulgarity, good-natured charm, off-the-wall pop culture references (Chocolat and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium get name-checked), and a heaping helping of the comedy of awkwardness.I LOVE YOU MANRudd’s goofily handsome charisma is one of the film’s greatest weapons; the wedding proposal that opens the film is winning and sweet, and gets us on his side right away. Segal’s delivery and effortless likability pairs them up nicely, and his engagement party toast is uproariously inappropriate. Jones is charmingly unflappable; most of her notable work to date has been on television, but she clearly has the chops to carry a film. Her role could have easily been overplayed as a paranoid shrew or underplayed as an empty ingénue; Jones strikes just the right balance. You can see why Peter fell for her, and how he might be losing her.Hamburg was also wise enough to surround his leads with a full staff of comic utility players: Pressly, Burns, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtain, Jon Favreau, Thomas Lennon, Larry Wilmore, and Aziz Ansari all show up, coming off the bench to grab laughs, sometimes in as little as a scene or two. Favreau and Pressly fare best, she as Zooey’s best friend, he as her husband, who openly loathes Peter.

REVIEW: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak)
Clark Gregg (Agents of Shield)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes On A Plane)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Contagion)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Ashley Johnson (What Women Want)
Enver Gjokaj (Agent Carter)
Stan Lee (Thor)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Jenny Agutter (Child’s Play 2)
Maximiliano Hernández (Ringer)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)

MV5BMTA0NjY0NzE4OTReQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDczODg2Nzc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Avengers Assemble  brings together many of the heroes from the Marvel universe who have already been featured in their own various films. The pictures have been constructed in an engaging web that, in some ways, is tied together in “The Avengers”The Avengers opens with Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s adopted and power-mad brother, breaking into a secret lab and taking the tesseract, a glowing blue cube that has the power to open gateways to other universes. He brainwashes Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Professor Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) so that he can have both a worker and a warrior, and goes about a plan that will open a doorway so that an alien army can begin to take over Earth.
So, Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls in all of the various heroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who – carefully – goes to pick up Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) Additionally, Thor (Chris Helmsworth) pops in when he hears that his brother is up to no good.
The film is enjoyable as a popcorn action flick, with solid performances and an impressively skilled level of organization of several main characters. However, the real surprise is the humor – while Downey, Jr’s character gets all the great one-liners, there are little moments that are some of the funniest of the year, including a nod to a particular early ’80’s video game (and what makes the humor of the film work are moments like this, which could have just been the reference, but go the full way and use the visual of the game as the punchline for the joke).The performances are all excellent good, although particular note has to be paid to Mark Ruffalo as Banner/The Hulk. Now the third different actor (after Eric Bana and Ed Norton) to play the role in recent years, Ruffalo really – even with limited screen time – proves himself to finally be a great choice for the role, getting the character’s inner turmoil and sadness. Downey, Jr’s wisecracking Iron Man persona continues to entertain and supporting performances are fine, as well, including a very different performance from Cobie Smulders (Robin from “How I Met Your Mother”) as Agent Maria Hill.MV5BMjMwMzM2MTg1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjM4ODY3Nw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_

 

REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)

 

CAST

Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Tim Roth (Lie To Me)
William Hurt (A History of Violence)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Ty Burrell (Muppets Most wanted)
Peter Mesnah (Spartacus)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Paul Soles (Spider-Man 60s)
Martin Starr (Superbad)
Genelle Williams (Bitten)
Robet Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Greg Bryk (Saw V)
Chris Owens (Red)
Arnold Pinnock (Cypher)
Wayne Robson (Wrong Turn)
Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years A Slave)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

MV5BMTQ2ODc0MjI2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg3NTAyNw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,748_AL_Hiding out peacefully in South America to keep his Gamma-induced mutation in control, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is looking for help to cure his affliction, trying to keep himself out of the hands of General Ross (William Hurt), who wants what’s inside Banner to create an army of super-soldiers. Heading back to America, Banner makes contact with longtime love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), who urgently wants to help the ailing man cure himself. Hot on their tail is Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a brutal, unforgiving soldier who encourages the General to experiment further with Gamma poisoning by injecting him with a dose.MV5BMjE5MTM2MDY4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTg3NTAyNw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,737_AL_Director Louis Leterrier indulges his extreme visual instincts to fashion a peppier “Hulk” for the crowds who felt alienated by Lee’s experimentation. The quest is noble and “Incredible” is stuffed with enough limb-cracking attitude to give the faithful exactly what they want from a Hulk movie.Leterrier is in a hurry to get from one action sequence to the next, and while it’s all comfortably numbing, there’s not much characterization to get excited about here. “Incredible” comes across more as a wonderful video game than a meaningful exploration of the isolated soul. Although It’s a spirited ride boosted by some nice performances, strong romantic chemistry between Norton and Tyler, and several swell tributes paid to the “Hulk” television series of the 1970s. When Hulk lets loose, there’s a horde of building-leveling mayhem to enjoy, and Leterrier is the right man for the job, infusing new momentum to the character and taking his trail of destruction to pleasing extremes.