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The Avengers

Avengers: Infinity War Review

Avengers: Infinity War Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) I haven’t truly loved an Avengers film yet. Both 2012’s original and Age of Ultron came out of the oven burnt and overdone. In an effort to give everyone a moment, the filmmakers made “moments” meaningless. (This was exacerbated in Marvel’s nadir: Captain America: Civil War.) With Infinity War, directors Joe and […]

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Because it begins, ends, and is about something, Avengers: Age of Ultron already has a leg up on most other Marvel movies. And boy, it needs that leg up because there are times when this feels like one of the laziest studio movies in years. At other times, however, it reaches the […]

5 Ways to Solve Marvel’s MacGuffin Problem

5 Ways to Solve Marvel’s MacGuffin Problem

The MacGuffin is one of the oldest cinematic tropes in the book. It’s generally thought of as something without meaning to the audience but of great importance to the characters in a film. (Think Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps or, more recently, the rabbit’s foot in Mission: Impossible III.) Marvel has established a series of MacGuffins […]

2013 Summer Movie Preview: Part 1

2013 Summer Movie Preview: Part 1

Last year, celestial angels with trumpets rang in the summer movie season. It was going to be the best ever—The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy, an original Pixar movie, and more. Even if the season didn’t end up meeting expectations, there was lots of good stuff out there. This year, it’s […]

The Marvel Phase 1 Movies

The Marvel Phase 1 Movies

It’s a little funny that despite my general indifference toward the majority of the Marvel canon, I’m almost always excited for their next movie (including next weekend’s Iron Man 3). As much as anything else, it probably has a great deal to do with the fact that the studio as planted its flag firmly on […]

Final 2013 Oscar Predictions

Final 2013 Oscar Predictions

The endless speculation ends Sunday night. It’s been a wild year—fun to follow, frustrating at times. I’m the sure ceremony will feel the same way. I’m less confident in my predictions this year than I have been in any year I’ve been following the Oscars. A few locks—Best Actor, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects—litter […]

Ranking the 2013 Oscar Nominees

Ranking the 2013 Oscar Nominees

It’s become an annual tradition for me to rip off In Contention’s annual tradition of ranking the Oscar nominees from best to worst. I did it in 2011. I did it in 2012. See my 2013 rankings below. But first, a list of the films I regrettably haven’t caught up with yet: Mirror Mirror, Chasing […]

2013 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: A Truly Wide-Open Race

2013 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: A Truly Wide-Open Race

As good as 2012 was for films in general, it’s been an even better Oscar race. Unpredictability reigns supreme in a field filled with mostly great films. Phase 2 will kick into gear Thursday morning after Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announce the official nominees. It was tough, but here’s what I’ve got: Best Picture […]

The Avengers Review

The Avengers Review

RATING: (3 STARS) With five separate films, years of hype, and billions of dollars all leading up to this, how in the world can director Joss Whedon satisfy expectations surrounding his new film, The Avengers? Easy: Up the stakes as high as they’ll go and pack in as many glory moments as humanly (or, in […]

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Captain America: The First Avenger, the final Marvel origin story before The Avengers next May, is a blast from start to finish. Chris Evans equips himself well as the “star-spangled man with a plan,” and Joe Johnston proves himself more than capable of delivering when it comes to solid superhero action. Hugo […]

Thor Review

Thor Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) At a time when the superhero genre is steering itself toward reality (a la The Dark Knight), Thor seems like a fish out of water. Its characters actually have powers, it takes place in fantastical worlds, and logic and reason are its first casualties. And though a film like that might sound […]

Iron Man 2 Review

Iron Man 2 Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Iron Man 2 could’ve been a disaster. The film was rushed out only two years after its predecessor captured the hearts (and dollars) of audiences across the country. The high number of new characters made me shudder—thinking of the disastrous Spider-Man 3. And while the post-credits teaser after the original “Iron Man” […]