elizabeth:  Just so people don’t think that Nicole and I wear matching outfits and complete each other’s sentences, we ventured out to see a couple of new releases by ourselves. Before I even put one word down about my review, let me just say this – I got screwed royally. She got to see a movie with a bunch of hot guys in really tight costumes. I got to see…well, read on. I’ll let Nicole go first. She is feeling rather smug and I am working on letting the air out of her car’s tires.

The Avengers

2012. PG-13. 143 minutes. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Joss Whedon.

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army. [imdb]

Nicole: I admit it. I like a good comic-book-into-film adaptation—even if I don’t actually read comic books. But I gotta say, this Marvel universe wowed me. It took a while, and many interpretations, but Hollywood finally got it right with The Avengers. (I know, I’m a bit late to the party on this one—it’s been out for a chunk of time. Humor me.)

I’m going to talk less about plot and more about chemistry—since I don’t want to insult hardcore comic fans with my dreadful lack of knowledge. Let’s just say I’m living proof that you don’t have to know every detail of the back story to enjoy this movie. The cast camaraderie, the direction (kudos to Joss Whedon—the ultimate fanboy—for hitting the nail on the head), and the special effects combine to make this a truly amazing 2+ hours.

First, the cast. Listen, I’d watch Robert Downey, Jr. open and read his mail for 143 minutes—so that’s a no brainer. And, as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), he’s in rare form. Maybe even better than in the standalone movies, because he gets to bounce his wit and expertise off of the other Avengers. His one-liners will literally make you laugh out loud, not just LOL. I mean, literally. Next, Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner (aka The Incredible Hulk). Let’s just say Ed Norton should really try to wipe that role off his curriculum vitae—‘cause this is the only Hulk worth watching. The best casting since the mash-up of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno in the late 70s/early 80s TV series. Hands down. (His standalone feature will be impressive—you can bet on that.) Chris Evans as Captain America is a good sport, even if his perfect gentlemen do-gooder act is rather heavy-handed. Chris Hemsworth as Thor (why do all space aliens, Vikings, and Romans have English accents in movies?) is terrifically matched against his adopted, evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who plays villain to the chord of fitfully creepy. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye could have enjoyed more back story to really appreciate his character, but was nonetheless badass. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow excels in her fight scenes, but leaves something to be desired in the others. Agent Phil Caulson (Clark Gregg) shines, as always, in this role. And, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s #1 man, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pulls everything together, even if he has a questionable secret agenda.

What’s most enjoyable about this movie is that it doesn’t take itself seriously—despite all the tremendous effects, the heavy plot, the countless details. It pokes fun at itself, while getting the job done. And a smattering of self-deprecation is always an endearing trait. Even if you don’t like these types of movies, trust me, you will be entertained. And, you may even be hooked.

Men in Black III

2012 PG-12. 106 minutes.  Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson and a bunch of revolting looking aliens. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

Agent J travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history. (imdb)

elizabeth: I went into the theatre thinking that this could be an entertaining romp through the world of good vs. evil. They had 14 years to perfect a fabulous script with lots of special effects to keep my night light on for years. Little did I know that I would end up hoping that Boris (don’t call him “animal”) would have been afforded the opportunity to wipe out all the humans on the planet (except for me and a bunch of really good looking men. Sorry, Nicole, I’ll miss you.)

The plot was weak, even though it sounds great on paper. Let’s go back and change the course of history. Count me in. Next time, bring John Lennon back. The dialogue scarcely kept you from going into REM. Being honest for a minute—I feel asleep twice during the movie. And, just for the record—I am adorable when I slumber.

The aliens looked like they could have cared less. They were just going through the motions and hoping to get a SAG card.

The one thing that did hold my attention was Emma Thompson’s hair. I kept waiting for Agent O’s hair to evolve into something sinister, but it was just hair. See where I am going with this. If the hairstyle can’t even save the movie, then why bother?

I can’t fault Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones. They are terrific actors and Josh Brolin did a stellar job as a younger Agent K (Jones).

Men in Black III stands for: Movie Is Boring to the 3rd degree.

Do not attempt to watch this movie while handling heavy equipment.

My rating. Sorry, Will and Tommy.


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