Review Rewinds 5/1/2017

Hello friends! I have a new monthly series I am finally going to announce to you.  This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Today I bring to you Review Rewinds. This is where I take a look at previous reviews and how my opinions have changed on the rewatch both for good or bad.

What? I can hear you say.  How can we trust you if your reviews change? Well, I’m a human being and my experience at a film can be impacted by a variety of factors. I could be tired, annoyed, sick of a particular actor or director. There could be a number of similar films coming out at the same time which might make me more critical and on the rewatch when I’m separated from that experience I appreciate it more.

The other factor is I often struggle to come up with a grade that adequately expresses my feelings. This is why I am very happy about my new smile and frown worthy approach. I don’t think very many movies go from being smile to frown worthy on the rewatch. They just might drop from an A to a B or a B to a C+.

Anyway, I thought this would be fun and show my history with a film not just an initial viewing.

Avengers: Age of Ultron- Original score A-. Rewind score- B-

From my original review “Got to see Avengers Age of Ultron and loved it!!  It’s a great movie and right up there with the original”. That was how I felt at the time so it was an honest response. I still love the first Avengers movie and I admire the sequel but the two movies aren’t close on the rewatch. The original film has Loki as the ideal villain and the death of Agent Coulson to gather the gang together. In Avengers: Age of Ultron you have Ultron who is fine but fairly basic. I still like James Spader as the voice of Ultron, but there’s not much to him.

But the biggest difference is they try to create emotion with Hawkeye and his family and it doesn’t work nearly as well as Coulson who we’d gotten to know in all of these other Marvel movies. I love the party scene in Ultron and the banter between the characters. That still holds up but certain scenes are bit boring like the Hulkbuster scene. Speaking of the Hulk, Bruce should put way more of a fight up against Tony’s insane ideas but he doesn’t. Especially with all Bruce has been through with the gamma radiation he should be very hesitant to do all these experiments.

Oh well. I still enjoy Age of Ultron but not as much as I did when I first saw it. Review Rewind!

Rio- Original Score C+. Rewind score- B

From my original review “They are entertaining to watch, pleasant to look at, but in the end kind of forgettable.” To my surprise I gave Rio 2 a C despite admitting it is “weaker than the original”, so that must have been some kind of mistake. I watched Rio for family movie night last summer and I found it quite charming. It’s not the greatest movie I’ve seen in my life but I enjoyed it and felt I was too hard in my original review.

One of my main problems with the film was the voice acting. I said “Of all the voices the only one I liked was Jermaine Clement as the bad Cockatoo named Nigel.” On the rewatch I didn’t have a problem with the voice acting. Sure Anne Hathaway doesn’t sound like someone from Brazil but I guess I’ve been worn down so I didn’t care. You don’t need the celebrity voices but they do fine. None of them are annoying like Kevin Heart in Secret Life of Pets.

I say the “extended musical numbers that don’t do anything for the story and are just kind of average.” Again on rewatch I like musical sequences. I think they have color and life and are a lot of fun to watch. It’s so weird because I’m usually won over by musical sequences!

I certainly think Rio is much better than Rio 2, which has a main appeal of the insane frog in love with the bird. I think if Rio came out now I would probably treat it a lot like Smurfs: the Lost Village and be dazzled by the pretty animation. I’m such a softee…

Edge of 17– Original Score B+, Rewind Score- C-

This was a mini review and I admitted ” it is expertly crafted but I found it kind of unpleasant to watch”. Sometimes this happens with a film. I will walk away saying ‘boy they did a good job…and I never want to see that film again”. I can honestly say the makers of Edge of 17 did a great job doing what they were trying to do. However, I can also say it left me depressed for the rest of the day and I never want to see it again.

It goes back to the lead character Nadine who is the quintessential surly teenager. It’s very well done. The problem is I have no desire to spend 2 hours with a surly miserable 17 year old. It reminded me of my surly days and honestly I called my Mother and apologized after, so I guess it was positive on that level. The performances are all good but it left me feeling cold and sour.

In the review I said “Everyone is comparing this to John Hughes and I guess it is like 16 Candles the most but I prefer this”. I’m not sure what I was thinking there because at least 16 Candles has some joy and goofiness in it. This is just so caustic and I found it even more so on the rewatch.

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My Thoughts on All Marvel Phase 2 Movies

So I have finished my viewings of all the Marvel Phase 2 movies.  If you want to see my best shots and thoughts on Phase 1 click here. This is all to get ready for Captain America: Civil War coming in a couple of weeks. I haven’t decided if I will do this with the X-men movies but there are fewer of those so why not? I think after that I need to do a Merchant/Ivory series or something like that. It’s kind of nuts that since the beginning of March I will have seen including Civil War and 2 viewings of Batman v Superman 30 superhero movies. That’s madness I tell you!

Anyway, Marvel Phase 2 has its hits and misses just like Phase 1. But I think that Marvel isn’t given quite enough credit for trying new things with these Phase 2 films. They went for it with Iron Man 3 with a very different director in Shane Black. They let the Russo Brothers give us a political thriller combined with great action in Cap 2 and took a real risk with James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy. I don’t think any of these movies are awful but for me the risks sometimes paid off, and sometimes didn’t, but at least they are taking them. I look forward to seeing Civil War and our introduction to Spiderman and the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America coming to a forefront. Then we will be on to Dr Strange, Thor Ragnarok and Infinity Wars!

The thing I like about Marvel movies is I like their heroes. I’ve never been much a villain girl, and I think even in the less successful Phase 2 films we got to know our heroes a little bit better. They are becoming fully fleshed out characters and that was always my issue with comic book movies. They were always too dumb for their own good and the heroes were given the shaft over flashy spectacle action and villains. Marvel also almost always nails the casting and the lighter tone is more palatable to me.

What’s your favorite Marvel Phase 2 movie? What do you think of this group of movies? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Iron Man 3-

This movie has a lot of highs and lows. The lows for me are the cheap twist of The Mandarin.  I don’t know the comics (and evidently it was a betrayal of the character in the comics) but in the movie it felt cheap. Making him an actor and so silly just didn’t work and felt a little insulting to the viewers. If you haven’t guessed by my feelings on M Night Shyamalan I’m not a big fan of twists in movies. At least I usually get really annoyed when I feel like I am being tricked or it is too cute. That said, what I did like about Iron Man 3 is Tony’s struggle with anxiety and PTSD. It makes sense a superhero would struggle with anxiety and I think Robert Downy Jr was convincing in those scenes. It makes the events in Age of Ultron make more sense when you realize how physically and mentally taxed Tony is by his duties as an avenger. So for my best shot I picked a scene where Tony is mid-anxiety attack and you can feel his panic. As someone who has dealt with panic attacks I thought it was very moving.

iron man 3 best shot2Thor: The Dark World-

The cheap gimmick of Iron Man 3 and the Mandarin made me like it less than Thor: the Dark World but it is probably the worst Marvel movie. A lot of the action is murky and hard to make out. Natalie Portman is annoying as Jane and given way too much screen time and the story I didn’t really care about. In fact, after a couple of days since my viewing I’m having a hard time even remembering what it was. The part I did like was the scenes between Loki and Thor.  Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth are so terrific for these parts and they have great chemistry. The final scene where we see Loki laughing on the throne made me smile and so it gets the best shot.

best shot thor dark worldCaptain America: Winter Soldier-

What a great entry in the MCU! The Russo Brothers proved they know how to film incredible action and write a tight, exciting story. I love Chris Evans in this part and we get some emotional growth for the character with him coming to terms with his age and what he has lost along the way. I love the dynamic between Cap and the Winter Soldier. I loved all the action in the film. But when Steve has to fight Bucky it is emotional and exciting at the same time. He even says ‘don’t make me do this’ and you feel for the character. The Nick Fury death was kind of annoying but his car crash was amazing. It’s such an entertaining film.  This shot I feel covers what is great about the movie. Cap with his shield getting ready to face off against his friend the Winter Soldier.

winter soldier best shotGuardians of the Galaxy-

I love Guardians of the Galaxy! Back when I reviewed it on my other blog I said it was one of the ‘great movies of 2014’ and I stand behind that. It was Marvel’s first attempt to create a space opera and I love what they accomplished.  Star Lord and his band of misfits join together over the course of the movie. It is not immediate and they each have different types of outlaw personalities that blend very well together. To me it was a lot of fun watching them zoom across the galaxy looking for the globe/infinity stone. All the actors do a great job and the soundtrack still makes me smile. It is well written with enjoyable action and just what I want from my space operas. I chose this shot because I love this team of characters!

guardians best shotAvengers: Age of Ultron-

I probably like Age of Ultron for unusual reasons. Most people probably like the big action scenes like Hulk fighting the Hulkbuster or the opening action battle. For me I like the back stories and visions we get of each character. I found those scenes gave a depth to these characters we rarely see in a comic book movie. It all starts with Tony getting a vision of his friends slaughtered and Cap (of all people it would be Cap) says to him ‘you could have saved us…’. Going back to Iron Man 3 and his panic attacks this vision is especially chilling. I also thought seeing the sterilization in the past of Black Widow was very moving. Same with Steve and the life he has left behind. I also liked the contrast between Vision and Ultron.  I thought it really worked. I see why many were disappointed as it is more somber and maybe over the top in the conflict but to me it worked emotionally on a different level than Avengers, which was more fun than anything else. So, I picked a shot from Tony’s vision because it captures what I admired most about the film.

ultron best shotAnt-Man-

If you had told me a few years ago that I would like a movie called Ant-Man I would have said you were nuts. They even joke about how stupid the idea sounds within the movie. However, if you get Paul Rudd to play the character suddenly I’m on board (I’ve loved Paul Rudd since I was in high school watching Clueless). I know this film had production problems but what they created was something very satisfying and fun. I like how it feels very small (forgive the pun) compared to Age of Ultron (or really any other Marvel film).  It is at heart a heist movie and it works on that level. I liked all the performances except for Evangeline Lily who I thought was wooden and flat. It made me laugh and the visuals were really cool. I didn’t even mind Yellow Jacket as the villain because I love Cory Stoll. To me it worked and this shot captures the magic of the film. (And no, I could care less about Edgar Wright leaving the film. Get over it!).

best shot antmanSo there you have it! My thoughts on Phase 2. On to Phase 3 in a couple of weeks. I’ve heard great things so I am very excited for Civil War.  It should be intense but also a lot of fun.

Avengers Age of Ultron Review

Got to see Avengers Age of Ultron and loved it!!  It’s a great movie and right up there with the original and recent strong Marvel movies like Captain America: Winter Soldier.  They have a new villain named Ultron who is an artificial intelligence created by Tony Stark and is perfectly voiced by James Spader.

He’s the kind of villain that is all bad but is extremely dominating.  There were a lot of moments where I didn’t know how they were going to get out of these situations.  I really liked the 2 new additions with Quick Silver played by Aaron Taylor Johnson and Scarlet Witch.  There is also another new character that I won’t spoil for you.

Joss Whedon has done it again with a script that is full of humor but lots of good action and tension.  All the leads are funny but have moments of growth and development.  We particularly see a new side of The Hulk and get to know more about the Hawkeye backstory.

Great music from Danny Elfman and the visual effects work great.  The climax is very exciting and like I said I really didn’t know how they were going to defeat Ultron.  There are also lots of cameos from the MCU.

I loved it.  A very satisfying time at the  movies.

As far as content there is a lot of carnage and a scene where a building is toppled to the ground with all the debris that felt a little too 9/11 inspired for my comfort levels.  There is a tiny bit of language but nothing big.  I’d say it is pretty family friendly.

Overall Grade – A- Content Grade- A