Captain America: A Real American Hero

by Ethan Alter July 22, 2011 6:00 am
<i>Captain America</i>: A Real American Hero

Ever since striking out on their own to bring their back superhero catalog to the big screen, one of the things the folks at Marvel Studios have done particularly well is matching the right actor with the right colorfully-clad avenger. Learning from such casting bloopers (most of which were committed by other producers/studios) as Ben Affleck's Daredevil, Halle Berry's Storm and Ed Norton's Hulk, the company boldly tapped Robert Downey Jr. (who, at that point, was still primarily known for his off-screen antics) to headline their first independent production, 2008's Iron Man, and then handed the title role in Thor to the untested Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth. Both of those bold picks paid off big time, as Downey and Hemsworth proved to be the best things about their respective movies. The latter's imposing size and fierce sincerity were a great match for the Norse God of Thunder, while the former's irreverence and nimble wit made him the ideal man to portray a daredevil weapons manufacturer-turned-self-employed superhero.

The Avengers: The Gang’s All Here

by Ethan Alter May 4, 2012 12:01 am
<i>The Avengers</i>: The Gang’s All Here

It's not hard to understand why people are so excited for The Avengers. For starters, its release signals the start of the annual summer blockbuster season, when audiences can look forward to four solid months of effects-heavy escapist entertainment. Secondly, for the millions of moviegoers who have followed the individual Marvel heroes through their own big-screen adventures (not to mention their own comic-book titles), the thought of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk sharing the same frame and battling the same common enemy (as well as each other) is pretty remarkable. And lastly, there's the fact that the Avengers are assembling under the watchful eye of writer/director Joss Whedon, at last making his leap from cult artist to mainstream moviemaker. While Whedon's name might not mean anything to a good 50-60 percent of the audience that'll show up opening weekend, there will be a significant segment of moviegoers more thrilled about seeing his name in the credits than any of the actors'. With all these various elements coming together, who can blame those viewers who are heading into the theater expecting to see the comic book movie to end all comic book movies?

What’s Your Number?: 7 Reasons Why This Movie Doesn’t Work

by Rachel Stein September 30, 2011 6:00 am
<I>What’s Your Number?</i>: 7 Reasons Why This Movie Doesn’t Work

Oh, Anna Faris. I think she's great, I really do. I root for her, so I hoped that What's Your Number? was going to be a fun combination of her raunchy humor mixed with silly rom-com clich├ęs that I may or may not secretly enjoy when I do not have to critique it in a public forum. Unfortunately -- and I really use that word strongly -- this movie was pretty terrible. An identity crisis of a movie, What's Your Number? was so sloppy and relied so heavily on archetypes, it felt like watching an infomercial -- you know the extended one for The Magic Bullet, where there's the one cranky guy who hates broccoli and then the crazy old lady smoking the cigarette? Clearly, those writers have made it to the silver screen. There were so many problems with this film, in fact, I think it'd be fun to celebrate the premise and give you a seven-item list of what went wrong.

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