Archives For The Avengers

There have recently been a spate of articles and blog posts discussing whether certain movies require multiple viewings. It’s all spurred by Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a film that many critics and cinephiles have claimed requires multiple viewings in order to reveal its many layers and ultimate meanings. Dana Stevens wrote about watching the film three times, and how that made the experience of The Master a more complete one. Stephanie Zacharek wrote a piece at the AV Club questioning the notion that certain films require multiple viewings as well as the notion that certain film are more self-evidently deserving of such treatment. Today, Ryan McNeil wrote a post comparing re-watching movies to listening to a song over and over before finally falling in love with it.

I saw The Master twice. I’m biased immediately. In fact, I watch lots of movies twice, sometimes three times, sometimes even more, often seeing films multiple times in theatres. I also saw Looper twice. I saw The Dark Knight Rises five times, including three times in 15/70mm IMAX. I saw Paranorman twice, Brave twice, Prometheus twice, Moonrise Kingdom three times, The Avengers twice, Monsieur Lazhar twice, 21 Jump Street three times, The Cabin in the Woods twice, and that’s all re-watches in theatres and only this year so far. (To be fair, I work at a theatre, so most of these re-watches were free.) But why would I watch these movies so many times? What do I get out of re-watches? Click to read more.

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It’s July, the seventh month of the year, which means we’re officially into the second half of 2012. WHAT A HALF-YEAR IT’S BEEN! Okay, enough of that. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that 2012 so far has been particularly good in film releases. It doesn’t help that things get confused as to whether a film is from 2012 or 2011. Anyway, there were some good ones, and supposedly it’s the job of film bloggers to list said good ones.

Let’s get this straight once more. I don’t like ranked lists. Reading them is fine, but I don’t like holding myself to them. I don’t like crafting them. But screw it, I’m doing it anyway! So here’s how it’s going to go: I’m going to present a list of ten movies, unranked, and you all will look at that list and see it in all its glory and come to your own conclusions about which film I liked more than another film. Deal? Good. On with the show! Click to see the list.

The modern movie age has become a cycle of hype more than an appreciation for film itself. I chalk it up to the mainstreaming of the nerd class and the ubiquity of the Internet. Film culture online is rarely about the films themselves, but the industry and hype surrounding them. I fall prey to it, as well. It disturbs me, though. For about half the year, all anybody cares about is how the films of the Summer will stack up. Once that’s over it’s just a big race to see which films get the most acclaim and awards. If any of these two seasons is better, it’s the awards one, mostly because the good films tend to stick around in the consciousness more, giving them more time to find an audience. The Summer season is altogether a different story. Almost the opposite, really. Months—sometimes years—of hype lead up to one short weekend, the discussion explodes for roughly a week, petering off through the next week, and nearly disappearing after that.

Take a look at this summer, for example, which arguably began early in the Spring with the release of The Hunger Games. In fact, we can start even earlier, with John Carter. Pretty much since that film’s release, the two or three-week cycle has played out like clockwork. It’s partly a sign of a year with many big releases, but it’s also an illustration of how Internet culture works. There are several stages, but essentially they come down to: The Hype, The Pre-Release Buzz, Release, Taking Sides. Click to read more.

Today, Matt Singer kicked up a bit of a storm of commentary when he wrote a heartfelt post over at his Indiewire Criticwire blog about extremely sexist comments left on a negative review of The Avengers at Rotten Tomatoes.

If you asked me now, I would observe an interesting coincidence: that eighth grade was also the year when I received the harshest bullying of my entire life.

The abuse I endured wasn’t especially serious, but it was serious enough to understand how bad it hurts to be teased or called a name because of how you look or act.  I was less than five feet tall through most of my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I didn’t hit puberty until I was 16. I had big glasses. I wore white sneakers and tapered jeans. I may as well have walked around with a gigantic target on my backpack.

What did I do instead? I found comic books.

What Matt highlights is the message behind many of the very best and most popular comic book properties. These are stories about outcasts, often people who were bullied or suffered traumatic events in their youth, who overcome adversity. These stories are regularly a plea for tolerance and acceptance, of understanding different points of view and coming to terms with those who are different from us. Though they are regularly violent, they usually depict violence as a last resort to stop those who would rather destroy peace than be a part of it. I never really read comic books as a kid, but I was bullied, and I deeply sympathize with Matt’s concerns that these self-described comic book fans have completely missed the point of comic books. Click to read more.

Much Ado About Whedon

October 24, 2011 — 3 Comments

Because apparently Joss Whedon was not content with simply being treated like a God, he had to go out and prove he really is one. The guy whose only previous film direction credit is Serenity somehow managed to pull off one of the most incredible directing feats I recent cinema history. Presumably in the middle of shooting/directing The Avengers, Joss Whedon put together a second cast and shot and directed a whole other film. Without anyone knowing!

The film in question is an adaptation of Bill Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It’s a pretty famous play, you might have heard of it. You can find the cast list and press release here.

At this point I only have two questions. First, how the fuck the Whedon manage to put this together right under everyone’s noses without even so much as a leak? Secondly, when the fuck can I slap down my $10-13 in order to see this movie?

Besides that, I think we have to applaud the uniqueness of what Joss Whedon has done. He pulled one over on all of us and as a result, next year we’ll be getting not just one Whedon movie, but TWO! The man is giving us gifts aplenty. What’s next, a second season of Firefly all set to air next week? A boy can dream.

Also notable is the fact that Whedon, who by all accounts could do whatever he wants now that he landed the Avengers gig, took the time to put together another, smaller, more personal project. It reminds me of when Whedon got together with some friends to make Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog during the writer’s strike. He didn’t need to do it. He could have just worked the picket lines a couple times a week and that’s it. Lucky for us, Joss Whedon is a true creative spirit, apparently unable to live unless he’s making some kind of TV show or movie or some sort of other artistic project.

All I can really say is, “thank you, Joss Whedon. You rock.”