Posts Tagged ‘chris hemsworth’

by Andrew Mooney

Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Alan Taylor (Dir.), Chris Hemsworth, Chris Hemsworth’s Abs, Chris Hemsworth’s Chiseled Jaw, Chris Hemsworth’s Back, Chris Hemsworth’s Baby Blues into which the Souls of Mortal Hetero Women Have Cascaded into a Furious Epidemic of Blue Tubes, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgaard, Jaime Alexander, Rene Russo, Chris O’Dowd, Ray Stevenson, Anthony Hopkins, Anthony Hopkins’ Body Double So He Can Spend the Day in His Trailer Sucking on a Teat Filled with a fine Chilean Chianti

Natalie: "Is Anthony Hopkins looking at my ass?" Thor: "YOUR arse? Have you even SEEN me?"

Natalie: “Is Anthony Hopkins looking at my ass?”
Thor: “YOUR arse? Have you even SEEN me?”

Ah yes, the Kingdom of Marvel has trotted out one of its lesser champions once more. This time: the eminently lickable and not-in-any-way-turning-me-gay dreamboat that is Chris Hemsworth’s utterly uncharismatic titular Thor. Now, about two years ago, before I had this blog, I charged from the movie theater frothing at the mouth after witnessing Kenneth Branagh’s ham-and-cheese scenery-chewing feast that was the original Norse-hero flagship. It was clear that the poor nerds over at the Marvel juggernaut had zero ideas on how to approach the most absurd chapter in The Avenger’s almost Sisyphean build-up. For some reason, in between coming up with men turning into angry big green monsters and mouthy teenagers getting bitten Jeff-Daniels-in-Arachnophobia-style by inexplicably radioactive spiders, Stan Lee said to himself, “I don’t have any more ideas right now. I mean, I think I’ve run through every animal and DC rip-off I can do…why don’t I just fucking steal an entire mythology?” Luckily aliens with infinitely dense hammers and really gay rainbow bridges beat out his other possibilities such as: Osiris with magical embalming skillz! Or perhaps even Shiva: The Bitch With Too Many Hands (note to self: awesome comic book idea). But no, we were offered a bemusing retelling of Henry IV, just with Frost Giants, indestructible robots, and a bad guy who wears a helmet that looks like a mountain goat after a visit to Bling Night in Boy’s Town.

"I'm confused...so is Loki king of golden dildos? I think he is. I'm going to make him king of golden dildos." Tom Hiddleston on the origin of genius.

“I’m confused…so is Loki king of golden dildos? I think he is. I’m going to make him king of golden dildos.” Tom Hiddleston on the origin of genius.

No. I did not enjoy Thor. Marvel had no idea how to marry a flamboyant romp through various realms of the universe with Iron Man’s pseudo-realistic character study. How do you solve this? That’s right, hire the fucker responsible for the slow motion CGI spear at the end of Hamlet…you know, the uncut 4-hour shitshow where Jack Lemon does to the Bard what I do to the French language (let’s just say ex-President Sarkozy won’t be inviting me round for a croissant anytime soon); the guy who not only directed and produced it, but also starred in it. I half expected the goateed British bastard to show up as EVERY CHARACTER. Also, Kate Winslet’s boobs. But that’s because she is legally obligated to show them in every movie ever. So, what does the Branagh do with Thor? Well, his job. He made it more glittery and Hopkins-ish than a Ke$ha/Silence of the Lambs themed rave. It was confusing. Tonally, it wasn’t just all over the map, it WAS the fucking map. We have ironic, flat hipster humor from Kat “I Have Boobs” Dennings, flashes of greatness of a man who’s diet is composed of nothing more than set dressing, Tom Hiddleston, as well as the best “I’m Getting a Fucking Paycheck” performance from Natalie “I Really, Really Don’t Have Boobs. Have You Seen Black Swan? Yes, the Groping Scene Confused Me Too. Is it Groping if There’s Nothing to Grope?” Portman since Anthony Hopkins was in Thor 2: Into Darkness.

"FOR THE LAST TIME, CHRIS, THOR DOESN'T SURF. STOP TRYING TO MAKE HIM SURF!" ~ Director Taylor fighting a losing battle.

“FOR THE LAST TIME, CHRIS, THOR DOESN’T SURF. STOP TRYING TO MAKE HIM SURF!” ~ Director Taylor fighting a losing battle.

But, guys, time passes. The Avengers happened. It seems that Mr. Hemsworth, a man whose very presence in this movie could be considered lewd and provocative (no joke, the theater applauded during his first shirtless scene. Notice how I said ‘first’?), has had time to settle into the duality of his character. It helps when you have Joss “Bitch, Please” Whedon helming you at some point. Unfortunately, Alan Taylor, of Game of Thrones fame, isn’t up to quite the same standard as Mr. Whedon. On countless occasions he forgets that this is an action movie and not a story enamored with the intricacies of mythological politics. Also, he must have had the job of having to prod Sir Hopkins whenever he was meant to speak, seeing as the guy somnambulates his way through every freaking frame of film. To combat the utterly incredulous battshitery of the first film’s almost Gilbert and Sullivan-esque bombast, he has cured the scenery chewing by simply adding so much goddamned scenery that Mr. Hiddleston would die of asphyxiation before he can gobble the thing down. Throughout the film’s lagging and nearly nonsensical first half, we are offered an expansive and intriguing look into the sure-to-be-a-Disney-ride fantasy of Asgard. Seeing as these days Marvel only needs to waggle its penis in the general director of a movie theater and they make a gajillion dollars, they can afford to throw some cash at the screen. And throw they did. Every second of this film, when not constrained to London, is gorgeous, offering a more vibrant and believable universe than Branagh’s towering columns and Hopkins-bellowing.

So, what is this one about? Well, there’s a lot of shit in it. And I don’t mean that metaphorically. There simply is a lot of pointless refuse tossed into the script-crafting process that both muddles and stretches the run-time to excessive lengths. Much like its predecessor, Thor: Darkness Falls opens with a prologue almost literally torn from Peter Jackson’s excessive LOTR footage explaining more than you would ever need or care to know about the blandest blandies since Blondie bonded with Bono during a Battle of the Blahs. Otherwise known as ‘Dark Elves’. Why elves? Who knows! We have an evil Doctor Who (Eccleston) who seems to have gone full white-face Drow and, like a redneck teenager, grown his rattail to a length that makes everyone uncomfortable. He is Malekith…who we can tell is evil because 1) he’s white and 2) well…his name is Malekith. Also, did I mention he’s white? Anyway, this fella wants to destroy existence. Why? Why not? Sounds legit. He has this thing called the Aether, a catch-all uber-destruction device-cum-evil-infection cum-let’s-give-a-reason-for-Natalie-Portman-to-be-in-this-movie. Aaaaaaaaaaand that’s about it. Thor has to stop him. Now there is far more stuff concerning Rene Russo turning into a CGI bladed whirling dervish and the African guy from LOST turning into a lava rhino…but the entire movie is simply waiting, like a child slobbering over an empty plate, until Mr. Hiddleston shows up.

"So...do I have a character or am I just supposed to get punched in the face?" ~ Eccleston: a pro.

“So…do I have a character or am I just supposed to get punched in the face?” ~ Eccleston: a pro.

Seriously, thank god for Loki. Up until the second act, this movie has about as much humorous glee as a clown at a funeral. Once they finally manage to contrive the character actions and plot twists to the point that Loki can finally escape from prison and leap into a delightful will-he-won’t-he tet-a-tet/knife-in-the-abs with his Goldie Locks of a brother, the movie remembers that it is meant to entertain. And entertain it does. Both Hemsworth and Hiddleston play off of each other like a young Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart…if one of those two were basically Michaelangelo’s David come to life in a bizarrely classy retelling of the seminal Kim Cattrall classic Mannequin. Also, Natalie Portman is there, and this is true, ONLY BECAUSE IT WAS IN HER CONTRACT. I’m not saying that the Oscar winner phoned it in, but let’s just say her relationship with her character is as long-distance as that time my ex-girlfriend moved to China. I’m surprised she didn’t have her assistant carry around an iPad with her skyping into every scene. At least, if they had done that, Hemsworth and Hiddleston could have just started playing Words With Friends whenever the Port-meister got boring.

Luckily, however, the second Hiddleston joins the party, the movie takes off. Even Hemsworth is instantly revitalized, tossing about quips that legitimately made me giggle. It takes a long while to get there, but the director finally realizes that you can frowny face your way through a comic book movie, a la C-Noles, and come away with a pretentious cautionary tale with harshly mediocre fight scenes…or you can have Chris “If He Were an Ice Cream Flavor He’d Be The Opposite of Chubby Hubby” Hemsworth beat the shit out of Doctor Who. Luckily, once Mr. Hopkins was convinced to stop randomly yelling in a Merlot-filled rage at anyone with a beard, the movie leaps into action. I will say this, the final fight is possibly the most inventive the MCU has seen in a long while. It seems as though Marvel, after painting themselves repeatedly into a corner by making every movie in their brutally successful anthology about “THE WORLD IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED. MUST SAVE IT WITH BOOM-BOOMS”, instead of retreading the obvious ground, they’ve simply kicked in the fucking wall and decided they need more square footage. The final fight between Thor and Malekith is not only exciting but freaking hilarious, a flash of genius that, like Pope-Bubbles, the catholic body wash, almost totally washes its sins away.

"Oh...I'm sorry, I was waiting for you to want your movie to be GOOD. Well, you came to the right man."

“Oh…I’m sorry, I was waiting for you to want your movie to be GOOD. Well, you came to the right man.”

In the end, Thor: The Dark Side of the Moon: Transformers: Revenge of the Sith succeeds despite itself. Much like Iron Man 3 and The Avengers, it only truly feels fun when its characters get to banter. The explosions go boom and we get to see more of the same antics we know and love. Also, Tom Hiddleston should be required to be in every movie ever. Right next to Kate Winslet’s boobs. Shockingly, the Marvel gurus have managed to create an action-based universe where the action is the least interesting component. In a way, it’s genius. To see a Marvel movie from, say, Michael Bay or John McTiernan would be horrifying. This is no metallic ballet of mediocre misogyny. No, no! Mr. Kevin Feige, the supposed god of all that is this MCU juggernaut, has harvested a healthy crop of intelligent and unique directors who will hopefully supply us with another slew of quality character studies that just happen to go BANG BOOM. We’ve got Captain America: The Winter Solider: Why the Fuck Are There So Many Colons?: The Andrew Mooney Story coming up next directed by the boys responsible for NBCs insane and brilliant Community, as well as Edgar Wright’s sure-to-be-rikonkulous Antman. Most perplexing of all is the red-headed step-movie/money trap that is James “Slither/Super” Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which gets a teaser in the final credits of this film. With its nonsensical mis en scene and cheaply shot digital framing, to say the footage is out of place is to say the black man who accidentally walked into a KKK rally has a small case of egg-on-face. Let’s just say Benecio Del Toro shows up as his character from The Usual Suspects but if he went through a Liberace cloning device. Poor Jaime Alexander and Ray Stevenson, the two actors look utterly lost on the cobbled together set stolen from a lost episode of Doctor Who, their expressions captured by the most uncomfortable close-ups since my brother snuck into my room with a camera while I was dreaming about that time with the emu and the peanut butter sandwich.

Don’t ask. That story is only meant for my therapist.

Also, I’m really glad that the Marvel Comics Universe has finally incorporated Chris O’Dowd into its cast. I can dream that one day we’ll see him and Richard Ayoade offering S.H.I.E.L.D. IT help. That would be the tits.

Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Drew Goddard (Dir.), Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Kristen Connelly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Bradley Whitford

Ticket sales were bloated when fans believed this was the sequel to the finale of the David Bowie Opus: Labyrinth

Ah, a return to my roots. Yes, this was the ultimate choice for my Spooktacular Hallow-Mooney Watch-a-thon 2012. Like the prodigal son returning to his homestead, bearing the bounties which he has reaped after hours upon hours of watching both brilliant and turd-ilicious films, I came back to Cabin in the Woods. To those of you who read this blog with some regularity, you might know that this is the film that encouraged me to begin writing on the Interwebs in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s faint praise. When this movie, the brain child of Joss “King of Hollywood, Apparently” Whedon and Drew “That Other Guy” Goddard, appeared on my radar a couple of years ago, sporting several rather uninspired, blood-red posters, I looked at it. I mehed. I moved on. And then, my hetero-life-mate managed to steal himself a seat (perhaps at the demise of other unbeknownst theater-goers, I haven’t asked and he hasn’t told) at a preview of this glorious batshit experiment in meta-film. He returned declaring one thing, “YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE IMMEDIATELY” and whet my palette with only a single, nonsensical spoiler: “There is a scene where Richard Jenkins is staring at a TV showing a bunch of Japanese girls and yells, ‘Fuck you, fuck you and fuck YOU.'” Well. How could my critical testes not wet themselves with anticipation? And why do my balls get wet? Is that something I should see a doctor about? Is it just sweat or some kind of unhealthy discharge? Anybody who has an medical advice, please don’t share it because it is embarrassing. Moving along…

If this is a face for radio, I vote to burn all radios.

When it came out, I saw this movie twice in three days. That’s right, TWICE IN THREE DAYS. It was at that moment, on my return from the second viewing, that I realized I had seen nothing of substance in months and, thus, in my pitiful delightfully whimsical singlehood, I turned on Melancholia and have never looked back. How appropriate then, should this movie be for viewing on Halloween night, surrounded by my movie-junkies and other assorted nutcases friends? Like the old dude in the Seven Samurai, or Yul Brynner, or some other bald gentleman of gravitas, I marched from village to village, recruiting the greatest warriors this land had to offer! (Translation: I made a Facebook event). We had the original, Alex “Steve “The Hurricane” McQueen” Huntsberger; his companion, the Queen of Snark, the Surfer of Internets, the Uncomfortably Knowledgable about Game of Thrones Meg; Vanessa: The Bearded Lady;  Theora: Frida “Holy Unibrow Batman!” Kahlo; Alex “Stranded Because of a Hurricane” Lubischer; Zack: The English; Erin “Ladies Who Lunch” Coleman; and of course, my lady of Vanderbilt. It was a crew worthy of a motion picture! But, instead, we settled for snacks and copious amounts of wine. As the libations flowed, the popcorn was nommed, and the candy, OH THE CANDY, was stuffed into mouths, we pressed play on this modern classic, sat back, and watched.

The baseball game was going fine until Eli Roth showed up. Then it took a very sharp, very ‘Heart of Darkness’ turn for the worse.

Alright, there will be spoilers. But if you don’t know what this movie is about already, shut up. Cabin in the Woods follows a quintet of college pretties on a clandestine weekend in, that’s right! A CABIN IN THE WOODS. Of course nobody has been there before, nor does it show up on any maps, and it is blatantly guarded by a man who makes every creepy-Deliverance-obsessed uncle seem like a Corgi that farts candy and dreams. But they don’t care. They want to get high, hang out and have SEX. Shock! Horror! Well, he’s the twist. Apparently, the whole thing is being engineered from an underground super-sci-fi and white-collar-as-my-pale-butt facility. We are treated to the sweetest of candied cuckoos, Mr. Bradford “Yes I know He Was in the West Wing, Now Shut Up” Whitford and Richard Jennings: BAMF Extraordinaire. These two gentlemen herd the unsuspecting coeds into situations stickier than a jam explosion at a glue factory. After inadvertently raising a family of pain-worshipping zombies from the dead, the kids have to survive cliche after cliche, all the while being picked off in a terrifyingly specific order to appease the bosses down below. It’s a clever, hilarious and completely surface examination of the horror genre in general. Goddard and Whedon attempt to unravel horror storytelling from country to country by giving it a supernatural overtone, but, like my latest alibi for ‘Who Ate the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?’, it all falls apart under close scrutiny. It’s fun, it’s dumb in its witticisms. But, and this is a big ‘but’, it is ALWAYS entertaining. From making out with wolf heads, attack bongs, Chris Hemsworth’s speech before biting it, mermen, unicorns and dismemberment goblins, this is a movie that offers up more gems of pure enjoyment than a mine staffed by Christopher Walken impersonators. I believe, upon every viewing, I never cease giggling for the final twenty minutes. For some, it’s too much. For others it’s 20,000 Leagues up Whedon’s Asshole. For me, it is a wonderful simultaneous send-up and homage to a genre that I both adore and detest depending on the time of day.

As you may have read in my ‘review’ of Tommy Wiseau’s work of genius, The Room, there is an incredible sense of ritual, of snark-tastic community, of joined souls fighting against and for a greater good, in viewing a film with a group. This movie, on it’s own, is great. But, in a crowd, half of which have seen it and the other half haven’t, it is a fucking blast. Soon, catch-phrases are born, the squeamish ones hide during beheadings while those in the know chuckle with abandon. This is what I truly love about movies. With a thing such as this, everyone knows when to be quiet, when to joke, when to laugh and when to hide. It’s a roller coaster that doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it sure has some amazing stops along the way. And, watching people who have never seen it trying to figure out what the fuck is going on during the opening scenes is a sport that reaps greater rewards than anything involving balls or bats or grown men piling on top of each other in a massive group hug in order to… Okay, side bar, I don’t get American football. I really don’t. What the fuck are they doing? Why are they doing it? And what about this sport involves feet?

‘Read ’em and weep’ has never had such a jovial connotation.

Knowing that Cabin in the Woods received a less than lackluster opening at the box office and that it’s fandom, though small, is fervent, I hope it lives on in the greater pantheon of cult films. It shall earn its place beside Nightmare Before Christmas, Troll 2, Rocky Horror Picture Show and all the rest of the motley crew. And, though it is neither as brilliant nor as revolutionary as it might think it is, it’s one fuck of a ride. Get friends. Get drinks. Get dumb. Let the bodies hit the floor and laugh when they do. Because, I don’t know about you, but I find grievous bodily harm fucking hilarious. Maybe I should talk to someone about that.

Oh! Also, I dressed up as Doctor Who with my lady as River Song. He is a picture of us being pretty and dorky in equal measures. Thank god High School is over and those two things are no longer mutually exclusive.

“I’ll sonic your screwdriver!”

by Andrew Mooney

The Avengers (2012) – Joss Whedon (Dir.), Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, oh my god so many people…

All hail Joss Whedon.

Alright, let’s get this out of the way now. There shall be no posse. I know. I’m disappointed too. I wish I could have seen the words, “Thanks for wasting my time, jerk” spelled out in raised flesh on Joss Whedon’s scarred and charred rump as he cried for his mother. But, alas, it shall not be. In fact, replace that brand for my lips and you might have a more accurate understanding of my emotional and carnal response to this mass of charming celluloid splayed out before the human population this summer. The Avengers is good. Really good. Like, melt-your-face-off-with-fanboy-glee-and-bake-into-a-tasteful-acne-ridden-face-pie good. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since…well…Cabin in the Woods. Not a good temporal marker, I know. But I’m about to say something (read: write something) that will make me want to slap myself. Move over, Independence Day, I have discovered the perfect blockbuster. Will Smith shall weep. Bill Pullman will sob. Jeff Goldblum would…do his closest approximation to normal human sadness, thereby continuing to convince the world that he is not some kind of robot designed to confuse people learning the English language.

Is the movie good? Hell no. Melancholia is ‘good’. Mississippi Burning is ‘good’. This movie is a Blockbuster with a capital ‘B’, thus the metrics are entirely warped. Acting is not measured in nuance and subtlety but in wisecracks and the ability to deliver one-liners without you wanting to punch yourself in the private parts. The cinematography isn’t judged based on its mis en scene and other French words that make American scrotums quiver with fear, but on ‘CAN I SEE WHAT IS GOING ON? YES! CARRY ON!” Even the script cannot be measured with ‘big questions’ asked, rather with ‘Does Hulk smashing his face into a wall make sense? Yes? Then, HULK FUCKING SMASH!” And so, based on a Blockbuster scale, this movie is the next coming of Jesus Christ…but instead of footprints in the sand it’s Iron Man shooting you with miniature rockets. (I don’t care who you are or which religion suits your fancy, if one could worship Iron Man, one would. Immediately. And without question.) And this film, this Joss “Nerd Samosa” Whedon epic, blows every category out of the water. Does it have people saying funny things? Yes. Is it visually coherent? Yes. Is the plot not just a giant pot of octopus piss poured across a typewriter accompanied by a nonchalant shrug, a swill of bourbon and a, “Eh. Fuck it.”? Double yes. This movie, wait for it, actually makes sense.

The Original Not-Giving-A-Fuck Master

Let that settle in. Wait…really wallow in it. Do you know what this means? Think back on every major summer blockbuster you have ever seen. Does it make sense? No, of course it fucking doesn’t. Why would a giant robot spider exist in the old West? How would you use a giant robot spider to take over America? Why did the evil Transformers attack Chicago, out of all the cities in America? Why did Katherine “Queen of Breasts” Heigl decide to have a relationship with Seth “Really?” Rogen? It doesn’t make sense. You know what does? Thor beating the shit out of Tony fucking Stark in a penis-measuring contest. Captain America and Iron Man pissing each other off. Black Widow wearing skin tight clothing…all the time…and the camera dipping so you can see her waistline…

Erhem. Enough of that. I’m not going to give spoilers and plot summaries and all of that obligatory nonsense. You have wikipedia? Use it. I want to ask other questions. Firstly, why is this good? What nerve did Whedon tickle bringing the collective fan consciousness to simultaneous orgasm in just 140 minutes? Well, let’s juxtapose this bad boy with the previous holder of fanboy sexual phantasmagoria “The Dark Knight”. These are different movies in every way possible. While Nolan was taking tired, tried material and exploring the new thematic avenues contained within, Whedon was just making this mess palatable. It was also blatantly apparent that Whedon was aware that Marvel’s strength lies almost solely in its heroes. DC boasts the likes of Scarecrow, the Joker, Harley Quinn, Two Face and Lex Luther. Complex villains, tied inexorably to the hero’s past and/or greatest weaknesses, emotional rather than physical. What does Marvel have, other than Venom? The Lizard? The Vulture? The Shocker? Seriously? Did Stan Lee just begin listing sexual positions and apply them to nefarious entities? Nuance is not his strength.

I suffered through Thor. And Hulk. Two entirely boring pieces of blandness, both about enjoyable as repeatedly licking stamps for a cumulative three hours. I even had to deal with Captain America: The First Avenger: Worst Colon Ever’s inability to conjure a second and third act. Instead of story arc, we had an extended montage of bullshittery ending with Tommy Lee Jones yelling something and driving a car and…wow…I think I just blacked out for a second. It was that pointless. Iron Man was great. Iron Man 2 was a mess of such trannie proportions that it can only be found in Boystown at 5am on Pride weekend. Somehow, Whedon managed to weave all of these mediocre, admittedly charismatic, threads into a quilt of such unprecedented awesomeness, that snugging in it would be preferable to sex with Eva Green. Again…I want to slap myself. Nothing is better than that. (Marry me, Eva. Please. I don’t like to beg…but I will. All you have to do is return one of my annotated fake travelogues of our imaginary trips to Cairo. Just one.)

Coherence keeps me happy. Coherence stops me from screaming like a bag lady at a passing subway train. Beyond that, what keeps me in the theater is having a single, unbroken shot skipping from Black Widow fucking up some dudes, to Captain America fucking up some dudes, to Hawkeye impaling some dudes (thereby fucking them up), to Iron Man flying around and fucking up some flying dudes, to Thor using electricity to fuck up some electrified dudes, to the Hulk fucking up everybody. I was leaping about in my seat like a two year old that had just spotted that last Tickle-Me Elmo and I was going to HAVE IT, no matter who I had to kill. This is synergy of such epic proportions that even God must have crossed his legs once or twice. And that dude is old. He has to use some kind of deity-strength Viagra these days. Why do you think we haven’t had any divinely impregnated virgins recently? Performance issues.

Why did this work so well? Firstly, this is the only instance of a film that combines so many major actors, all of them leading men, into a single narrative. While each of these characters’ respective origin tales required them as the centerpiece and everyone else to fit into the cookie-cutter archetypes required for narrative momentum, this movie didn’t have to. They had their backstories. They had their personalities. And we’ve all seen them. Repeatedly. Thus, all they had to do was combine and let them have at it. The result is copulatory. Seeing Robert Downey Jr. leap delightfully into a tete a tete with Chris Evans is something you will never see again…until the inevitable The Avengers 2: Electric Boogaloo. Thus, we are left with a Blockbuster that does not leave us bored to tears the second the action stops. In fact, we’re all wishing the aliens could fuck off for another ten minutes while Downey Jr. delivers another few zingers. Seriously. That’s just rude.

That is a sandwich I would not mind being in the center of.

Are there any gripes? Sort of. Whedon, for a dude, does extremely well at making his female characters not only competent, but also human. In anyone else’s hands (read: Jon Favreau in Iron Man 2) Black Widow would have been a deadly sexpot with nothing to say other than “I’m flexible”. Instead, she is offered pathos, wit, intelligence, conniving strategy…as well as an incredible body. Goddamn. Even Maria Hill, played bootily by Robin Sherbotsky, I mean, Cobie Smulders, classically the Shrew of Marvel’s ‘Taming of the’ saga, is actually capable of doing things. Even so, this movie woefully fails the Bechdel Test. To those of you not in the know, you sexist pigs, the Bechdel Test is a metric to measure female presence within film plot lines. For a movie to pass the test they must achieve a very simple task: have a scene, however long, between two named female characters that does not pertain to male characters. Think about that. Unless it’s a Chick Flick, try to figure out the last time you watched a movie that passed the test. It doesn’t mean the movie is bad, per se, you just can’t exactly tout it as the bastion of gender relations.

Also, the costumes are degrading. Why is it, in every damn action movie, they all have to be in such skin-tight, non-movable, un-breathable outfits, each of them completely unsuited to the situations at hand. I mean, come on, we know Chris Evans is ripped. We don’t need his skimpy Captain America outfit to reinforce that. You’re ruining it for all of us, Chris. You too Hemsworth. Eat a bloody sandwich. And by ‘sandwich’, I mean ‘keep eating until you are nothing but a blob of flesh, suitable only for ridicule. That teaches you for being famous, you fatass.’ Honestly, anyone of any gender profile will being popping boners/wetting theater seats for the entirety of the film’s running time. Dem some pretty peeps.

Casting-wise this thing is a filmic wet-dream. It also opens up for a few fascinating possibilities… Such as, what if Nick Fury is just Jackson’s character from Snakes on a Plane having found a new purpose in life? (Explains the eye patch, right?) What if all Mark Ruffalo’s romantic comedies from now on are required to have him turn green and grab the female protagonist and fling her about her bedroom like a rag doll? What if Stellan Skarsgard learned a real accent and not that nether-region of a mangled mess of phonemes he currently uses? A better universe for everyone, I feel.

All kidding and strained analogies aside, what The Avengers was able to achieve was something near-impossible for me. I lost myself. I forgot I was watching Scarlett Johansson. I forgot that was Mark Ruffalo. I forgot it was Chris Evans and his insanely toned arms and abs and…FUCK YOU CHRIS EVANS AND YOUR PERFECTION. Each of these actors seemed to lose themselves within their characters, each working towards a benevolent whole. Whedon created a cohesive universe and allowed his audience to take a peek. No one was fighting for the limelight. There was no Steve McQueen hanging out in the background fixing his hat. This is a team. A team of ultimate badasses playing ultimate badasses. It was like witnessing a television special with a $200 million budget. Never before has anything like these even been attempted…unless it has, but I can’t remember it so it doesn’t count. Sorry imaginary film franchise. Whedon beat you. Take it like a man…or concept. Either one.

You have been wasted, Ruffalo. Your existence has been whittled to playing second fiddle to Reese Witherspoon. That’s like playing fifth cello to Sarah Jessica Parker or ninth French horn to Julia Roberts. Achieve your potential.

The Avengers may not have made me question existence. Nor did it make me question really anything at all. I didn’t think. I didn’t analyze. I didn’t do shit. I ate my Swedish Fish, I sat back and I had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. There’s something to be said for that. We have brains that take a lot to switch off. Like Eminem’s Oscar-winning hit says, ‘lose yourself’. Have a blast. Never think about it again. There’s nothing wrong with that. At all.

by Andrew Mooney

Well, we have the movies I’m actively excited about. This list, well, this list is not that. This is the stuff in the middle. The pudgy flab, that isn’t quite ab, isn’t quite a gut. It’s just there. Neither negative nor positive. The purgatory of summer film, if you will. These are the movies that, when you witness the trailer, everything about the flashing lights and moving shapes pummels your body with messages of “YOU WILL BE ENTERTAINED” and yet, you come away with a resounding ‘Meh’. And that ‘meh’ has power. It can come from a place of frustration, the collective sigh of a civilization yearning for more and yet settling for less. These are those movies that, yes, they’re not perfect but they have their pros and their cons. Yes, we can wait until the perfect film will come along and fulfill all of our desperate needs, or we can find Mr. Right Now: The Movie. We can settle for a fling. It doesn’t bring any closure. It doesn’t even bring decent climax. It just passes the time.

For this section, I have rated each film on the internationally standardized ‘Meh’ scale. It ranges from ‘Meh’: nothing too offensive, finely constructed, yet it didn’t build any expectation that it would be anything other than what it would be, to ‘MEEEEEEEEEH, ugh, Meh!’: You know the people here are talented, they have ideas (or had) and yet this thing is a bunch of forgettable by-the-numbers crap. Don’t you remember when you were hot? Young? Ready to take on the world. Now you’re just a haggard mess of an artist, scraping what’s left at the bottom of the molded barrel, searching for that lost youth. And yet, every year it slips ever-more steadily from your grasp until you are nothing more than a husk. Taking up space. Useless. Wasted.

So, here they are:

MOVIES I WILL SEE AND HATE MYSELF

Men in Black 3

Oh Will…you fill me with such…respect. Guys, I said respect. That’s what I meant. No, I’m not blushing!

Alright, let’s get real for a second. I enjoy Men in Black. Let’s get even realer. I even, wait for it, didn’t mind Men in Black 2. There is something so effortless about Will Smith. About his finely trimmed mustache. About his smile that’s just the right amount of trickster, mixed with the perfect dash Han-Soloian sexiness, sprinkled with just the right of ‘black-person-white-people-aren’t-afraid-of’. I will watch him in pretty much anything. Even Wild Wild West. That’s like a Vegan saying that there’s a sauce so good, they’d eat horse-penis with it. This movie has a few things going for it: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin as a freakishly accurate Tommy Lee Jones and…well, that’s about it. What’s against it? They started shooting without a script. That’s beginning to cook without a recipe…or ingredients…or pots and pans. You’re just some jackass switching a stove on and off.

I’ll see it. I’ll shrug. I’ll say ‘Meh’. Maybe I’ll laugh…I probably won’t cry. It will be effortlessly forgettable…as effortless as Will’s roguish charm. Okay…this is weird. Now I’m blushing. Moving on…

The Dictator

I imagine Baron Cohen has one of these above his bed where he sleeps with Isla Fisher every night. Bastard.

So. Sacha Baron Cohen made a movie. It was called Da Ali G Movie. It was a movie. About Ali G. It had characters. A plot. It had actors in it, many of them good. My 13-year-old self loved it. It loved the gay jokes. It loved the boob jokes. It loved the hilarious misunderstanding of youth/rap culture relegated to London suburbs. As I have previously discussed, my thirteen-year-old self was an ironically sexually frustrated/fucking idiot. That movie is nine levels of awful, each level being a hell of Danterian horror, wrought with the souls of those too far-gone to salvage. We had Albus Dumbledore as the Prime Minister, toiling in a mess of gay/black jokes, stumbling around after drinking marijuana-laced-tea. We had Shakespearean thespian Charles Dance dressed in drag and tied up with leather straps. We had Rhona Mitra…well, we had Rhona Mitra’s breasts. She might have been present, though my thirteen-year-old memory is clouded with a mammary-clogged haze. It was bad.

And then Borat arrived in theaters. Now an immigrant myself, I appreciated the crass dissection of American xenophobia and bigotry. It’s characters were one-dimensional, its humor, like an Israeli brothel, specifically semitic/genital-based. What helped it surpass its basal subject was its use of actual Americans spouting some of the most hateful things I’d ever heard…until the next presidential election. Somehow, Cohen’s schtick managed to unearth the harsh underbelly of American racism, especially at a time where fears of middle eastern terrorists were at a peak. And it had a naked jew-fight in the middle of a conservative convention. I laughed. I cried. I tried to wash the sight of hairy taint from my mind by inserting bleach into my ear. I needed surgery. But it was worth it.

This has parodies of terrible people, Kim Jong Il, Gaddafi, Hussein…you know, dead guys. It’ll explore the hilarious excesses of people drowning in the belief that their very testicles are the second and third coming of Christ. Or whoever. Someone apocalyptic. It also makes light of the US murdering foreign enemies with precision robot strikes (yeah, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to unironically write that sentence during my lifetime…Sky Net is coming). And that’s fine. But it has a plot. And characters. This doesn’t seem to be Baron’s forte. Like a dog with a bone, Cohen plays with his narrative structure, knowing that he needs it, and it’s important, so much so that he has to keep it safe. But fuck if he knows what to do with it. This gets a “meeh”. A light shake of the head and face produced usually by the presence of passed gas.

Snow White and the Huntsman

“Yes, I have special powers. I bite my lip. And I pout. Well, it worked on the American public, so go to hell.”

A few summers before this, while I was still burgeoning with optimism for my life once released from the shackles of my undergraduate degree, I stepped into a movie theater and witnessed a little movie named Star Trek. I’m sure you’ll hear me rant about that film another time. The point is this: the opening to that film is one of the most unfairly affecting pieces of short sci-fi you’ll see gracing the multiplexes any time soon. Captain Kirk’s father, Cameron (this isn’t true, but how hilarious would it be to see Kirk Cameron yell about Jesus in space? Copyright, bitches), sacrifices himself to save his wife and son then becomes the aptly named ‘Captain’. I wasn’t really paying attention to the details because, seriously, this is Star Trek. Give me Han Solo and humanity’s inexplicable ability to understand every language over Spock any day. Anyhoo, sidetracked. The guy playing the Kirk’s dad was a pretty lad named Chris Hemsworth. He was also in Cabin in the Woods  and he was fucking great.

He was also in Thor, where that fascinating nuance of a beef-head with actual emotions was sorta, well, ignored. In between his hammer hitting’ stuff, and kissin’ all up in Nat-Port’s facial region, he was about as complex as George Lucas’ artistic intentions. So, let’s move onto the film at hand. Hemsworth is back: good. He plays a beef-cake: bad. Already in the trailer we had more shots of him swinging his penis axe and flicking his totally-super-manly locks of gold this way and that. We also have K-Stew who has made an entire career out of lip-biting and acting like a sack of lady-meat.

But there’s also Charlize Theron eating people’s hearts. And that creepy-Matrix-mirror thing. Remind me of my Grimm’s, but I’m pretty sure cave trolls, harpies and The Prodigy’s terrible come-back album weren’t a part of the original text. We all know Bella Snow White isn’t going to die, but what a sweet way to end the saga of Twilight if Charlize Theron ate her fucking heart. I would pay to watch that. Alas, I shall be frustrated, as I am with each film in the glitter-sporting-not-sunlight-fearing whimpy vampire pout-fest when, just before the credits roll, I pray for Wesley Snipes to show up in his Ray Bans and fuck some Cullen shit up. And yet, he doesn’t.

It’ll be pretty (hopefully). It won’t contain Julia Roberts desperately trying to murder her own career with each blinding second of Tarsem Singh’s visual insanity. I’ll watch it. I might heave up a little popcorn. I won’t see K-Stew get viciously disemboweled. Maybe another year when she delves into that inevitable crevasse of her career where she’ll play a murdered stripper trying to figured out who’s semen that was. I might see that.

The Bourne Legacy and The Amazing Spiderman

Dude, Jeremy, I think you need some new blinds. You fucked these ones up.

Alright, alright, neither of these movies look bad, per se. No, both offered the world trailers that actually seemed mildly palatable. Spiderman is taking the darker edge with the tale of Peter Parker’s forays with a radioactive spider (in real life: dead of cancer in months). We get a little of his parent’s history. It’s got Emma Stone (always good even if the film is created in total ignorance of the entire Civil Rights Movement). It’s got Andrew “That’s Right, I ACTUALLY Founded Facebook” Garfield. Also good. It’s even got the wonderfully bizarre, Notting-Hill-dwelling, tight-whitey sporting Rhys Ifans as the lizard. Sure. All of that seems fine. Even The Bourne Legacy has Jeremy “Fuck you, I was in the Hurt Locker” Renner, Joan “Not Rivers” Allen, Rachel “Most Beautiful Woman on the Planet and Sleeping with James Bond, That’s Right” Weisz and Edward “Eh” Norton. It’s even written and directed by Tony Gilroy, the crafter of that George-Clooney-Being-George-Clooney-Being-Someone-Else lawyer-fest Michael Clayton. The pedigree is all there. So, what’s my problem?

Do you remember when original movies used to arrive in theaters? Do you remember the times that the numeral ‘4’ after a title usually meant it was in the malaise-period of the Nightmare on Elm Street series? Do you remember The Fifth Element? That movie was fucking crazy and original. In fact, out of the seventeen movies this year that I’m mentioning, only six are original IPs. What happened? Did Hollywood suddenly go self-human-centipede and begin guzzling its own refuse? We have movies coming out this year based on Battleship. Read that sentence again. And again. Read it until your eyes bleed. One more time.

What makes the abdomen part of the shadow? Garfield is hung like a horse. That’s what.

I have picked these two films to berate, not because they are the worst of the bunch (just wait for Dark Shadows) nor are they particularly egregious. They are boring wastes of time. Spiderman: we already had an entire series of those fucking things about four years ago culminating with the campy-ass-lobotomy-I-will-never-get-back-my-childhood-watching-the-old-cartoon-orgy that was Spiderman 3. And now they’re rebooting it? For what greater purpose? Of course, more money. Of course. But it’s boring. It’s so, so, so boring. Piranha 3DD may be a pile of elephant anus, the likes of which the world has never seen…but it certainly won’t be boring, ladies and gents. Of that, I am sure. Marvel, do something new and good. You’ve done the Avengers. Figure it out.

But you, Mr. Gilroy, you disappoint me. You can write real movies. We’ve seen it. Why settle for a forth-quel? Are you looking to place your work on the same mantle as Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace: How Many Colons Does Lucas Need? What about Saw 4? Or Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? Or Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers, the movie that killed professional granddad of the year Donald Pleasance? Give us something new, you talented bastard. Give us some meat. We’re hungry and we don’t go for fecal matter like the bottom-feeders running some of these studios.

Both movies will be fine. They might be enjoyable. But they are both a waste of time and energy. So, Meh, with a tongue stuck out, at both of you.

Dark Shadows and Savages

Miss Hayek, blunt bangs are not your friend. Please deal with them immediately.

Hey guys! Yeah, you guys! You directors. Right, the ones with oscars sitting at home and cult classics on the shelf that will be enjoyed for decades after this. Hey, you remember when you were good? And then do you remember when your careers became less good you went one of two paths, down the route of absolute bat-shit-insanity and the route of by-the-numbers uninspired garbage? And then do you remember waking up in the morning realizing that every one of your good years is gone and you only pump these things out year after year because, honestly, its better than staying home and masturbating? Well I do.

Let’s start with you, Mr. Stone. Congratulations, this is a new movie. Not-congratulations on casting Blake Lively. She’s pretty yes, but about as compelling as See Spot Run once you know the ending (Spoiler: he runs). It’s got Salma Hayek (one of my deepest loves) forced out of her natural comedic brilliance and employed to spice up a role that, if it were cast with the dude it was written for, would be completely unforgettable. It’s got John Travolta. I don’t even need to ridicule that one. It ridicules itself. Oliver…you made Platoon, arguably the best way to witness Willem Dafoe die like Jesus (and that includes The Last Temptation of Christ). You made a movie where Charlie Sheen isn’t terrible. You have bent the rules of the universe and created work that isn’t just good, it’s fucking brilliant. What do we have now? W? Wall Street 2? Oliver, I understand that your ‘schtick’ is being an unrestrained maniac…so do something maniacal again. Yes, Natural Born Killers was, to be kind, a hot mess that could eclipse Lindsay Lohan after a long weekend in Vegas. But at least it was ridiculous. Maybe this will be that and the trailers are just terrible. Maybe. I’m hoping, not just for your sake, but for Juliet Lewis’ career. She needs the help, man. Look at her…she’s a scientologist.

Tim Burton: “I want the Addams Family, but less dynamic and more 70s”. Art Director: “So…more color?” Nailed it.

Now onto you, Mr. Burton. Once you were great. You created Edward Scissorhands, the most inspiring biopic of a bondage/hair artist the world has ever seen. You made Beetlejuice, thereby making all children terrified for modern art for the rest of their lives (and bringing the world Winona Ryder, Saks Fifth Ave. aside). When I hopefully have kids, I will force them to watch Nightmare Before Christmas so many goddamn times they’ll be afraid of even asking for Christmas presents, including the pony that, I’m sorry, we just don’t have the space or the income for a stable, I don’t care how much you plea and hug my leg and cry or tell me how you’ll do all the work or that I’m the best dad in the world… Well, alright. But don’t tell your mother. Our secret. Our secret pony.

Sorry. Distracted again. What now, Mr. Burton? Michael Jackson Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Alice in Lord of the Rings Wonderland? Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg? Okay, seriously, who thought that was a good idea? I want to know. I’m not leaving until I find out. Because I want to slap some sense back into their stupid…

Anyhoo… Now we are reduced to seeing that golden god of a man, Johnny Depp, follow you once more into the heart of darkness. This isn’t just a remake. Or just a remake of a TV show. It’s a remake of a soap opera. Sure, I could see that maybe working out…if you didn’t rely on base, poorly-timed slap-stick. It won’t be bad. It will be totally useless. It won’t piss anyone off. Nor will anyone remember it. It will be blip in the universe, two hours of completely pointless time, spent switching off one’s brain and allowing the world to trickle by. Hundreds of people worked on this thing, artists, people with ambition. And what is the result? Nothingness. Pure nothingness.

When you look back in time, inevitably forgetting each of these films, you think on the days you were young, the days you were in the best of health, the days you could get into raucous hijinks with college friends… And you’ll think…with all those gifts the world gave me, what did I do?

And you won’t be able to remember. You turn back to your kids/grandkids and you simply answer, “I don’t know. Can’t have been that important.”