Thor: The Dark World: It’s Hammer Time, Again

by Ethan Alter November 8, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Thor: The Dark World</i>: It’s Hammer Time, Again

The original Thor was a timid movie made by a timid studio, still uncertain how fantastical they could make their superhero spectacles lest audiences revolt. That's why the title character -- a godlike being who hails from the otherworldly realm of Asgard -- spent so much time on boring old Earth, where he engaged in lots of lame fish-out-of-water comedy, middling action set-pieces that all seemed to occur in the same three-block radius of a fake, set-bound town and a chemistry-free romance with a visibly bored female lead. So whatever its flaws, Thor: The Dark World leaps and bounds over its predecessor simply due to the fact that it embraces, rather than runs from, its fantasy origins. Much like Thor himself, Marvel has matured since their early days (banking more than $600 million on an unprecedented superhero team-up movie helps with the growing-up process) and is now more willing to take chances, trusting that audiences are with them for the long haul.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 25, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

So when are we getting the Loki franchise, Marvel?

Why The Ice Harvest Is One of Harold Ramis’s Best Movies

by Ethan Alter February 24, 2014 5:11 pm
Why <i>The Ice Harvest</i> Is One of Harold Ramis’s Best Movies

Many of the testimonials about the life and career of Harold Ramis, who died Monday morning in his native Chicago, will deservedly highlight his involvement -- as either a writer, director or actor (and occasionally all three) -- in such superior, generation-defining comedies as Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, Back to School, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Analyze This. There's one deserving movie that may be left out of the conversation, though and that's The Ice Harvest, a wicked, witty little thriller that Ramis directed in 2005.

I Want My VOD: August 2013

by Ethan Alter August 29, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My VOD: August 2013

New movies from Brian De Palma and Billy Bob Thornton are more than worth your VOD dollars this month. Paul Schrader, on the other hand, not so much.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

by Ethan Alter April 2, 2013 8:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why bother with other new release when you can just revisit the Marvel Cinematic Universe one more time?

Cracking the Code of The Avengers Trailer

by Ethan Alter February 29, 2012 1:12 pm
Cracking the Code of <i>The Avengers</i> Trailer

Apparently inspired by last week's 30 Rock, the good folks at Marvel Studios have given us a whopper of a Leap Day present: an all-new, all-expanded trailer for Summer 2012's first superhero blockbuster, The Avengers. Unlike the first teaser, which hit the web back in October, this one features more dialogue, more effects-heavy action (to be fair, most of the effects weren't finished four months ago) and more clips of the costumed heroes trading Joss Whedon-scripted barbs with each other. Even with all the bonus footage though, the studio is still keeping us mostly in the dark about what exactly is going to happen in the film beyond the Avengers assembling to squabble amongst themselves and battle some kind of invading interstellar army led by Thor's newly emboldened adoptive brother, Loki. (This is a Joss Whedon joint, so there's got to be more to it than just that, right? Or maybe this time the big twist will be that there is no twist...) But through a few close viewings, we did manage to tease out a few potential story points from this two-and-a-half minute sneak peak, things like...

Eight Highlights From the 2012 BAFTA Awards

by Ethan Alter February 13, 2012 1:45 pm
Eight Highlights From the 2012 BAFTA Awards

The Artist added another batch of awards to its shelf last night, these ones hailing from across the pond in ol' Blighty. The annual BAFTA (that's the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for all of us Yankees) Awards were handed out last night at London's Royal Festival Hall and all of the big Oscar contenders -- George Clooney! Michelle Williams! Brad Pitt! -- made the trip to press the flesh on the red carpet.

Anonymous and Other Major Director Change-Ups

by Ethan Alter October 25, 2011 12:13 pm
<i>Anonymous</i> and Other Major Director Change-Ups

The last filmmaker you'd associate with an Elizabethan-era drama exploring the identity of the "real" author behind the work of William Shakespeare would be Roland Emmerich, the director of such spectacle-driven, explosion-filled entertainments as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. And yet, there's Emmerich's name in the credits for the already-controversial Anonymous, which opens in theaters on Friday. It's a daunting departure for Emmerich, but he's far from the first director that's attempted to upend his image by accepting an assignment that seems well outside of his comfort zone. Here are some of the other biggest directorial change-ups from within the past decade or so.

Five Thoughts About The Avengers Trailer

by Ethan Alter October 11, 2011 12:19 pm
Five Thoughts About <i>The Avengers</i> Trailer

They're heeeeere! Joss Whedon's all-star adventure The Avengers is still seven months away from hitting theaters, but Disney is wasting little time getting footage out there to the superhero-starved masses. After a new batch of photos hit the interwebs last week, here comes the movie's first official trailer, which offers a far more substantial peek at the movie's scale and set-pieces than that short teaser at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger did. Here's our instant reaction to a trailer we're sure we'll be watching over and over again in the run-up to the movie's May 4, 2012 release.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 13, 2011

by Ethan Alter September 13, 2011 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We sense a great disturbance in the Force...

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