5 Things You Should Know Before Seeing Avengers 2

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Over the past decade we have watched Marvel adapt their comicbooks for the big screen. A few years ago we finally got to see the Marvel Studios shared universe come to fruition, leading up to the 2012 release of The Avengers, one of the largest critical and financial pay-offs in cinema history. So obviously there is alot of anticipation surrounding the release of the upcoming sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here are 5 Things you should know before seeing Avengers 2 from our friends at AgeOfTheNerd.com!

1. This movie is a cumulation of multiple plot threads, laid out in the many MCU installments. Unlike the first Avengers film, this movie definitely assumes the audience is up to date on the lore of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Although each installment in Phase 2 succeeds as a stand alone film, they also add to the shared universe and continue to expand on the over arching storyline that this is all inevitably leading up to. I’m not saying that every open-ended plot point will progress or even be adressed, but would like to remind the audience that this film is more of a continuation of Phase 2 than it is a direct sequel to The Avengers. Similar to the first time around, its fair to expect writer/director Joss Whedon to make mention of the of key story arcs and characters, along with quick ways to write them out of the film.

2. ‘Agents of Shield’ is irrelevant. I’m sure plenty of sites will sit down and point out all the tv show tie-ins and easter eggs, but at the end of the day that show is pretty much irrelavant when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my opinion 2 seasons attempting to generate a fan following, and coming up short is a pretty big failure. I find it kind of insane because anything live-action for Marvel sells itself at this point, yet ‘Agents of Shield’ just can’t seem to grab the viewers attention. Despite gaining some critical steam over the past season, the show still doesn’t pull in strong numbers. Maybe its because the show is poorly promoted and they have yet really sell me on the idea that it ties in the to the larger shared universe. This show is supposed to provide me with my weekly fill of the Marvel universe. Not even the fan favorite Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) can draw me in and except for the ocassional theatrical tie-in episodes, which are still often lack luster and few and far between, there is nothing compelling about the show. Overall I would have to say ‘Agents of Shield’ fails to properly utilize the Marvel brand.

3. This is not the same Quicksilver as depicted in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In this film Quicksilver is portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, not Evan Peters. There are obviosuly similarities between the two, but there are also some major differences. Some of these differences are related to the studio rights, which prevents Marvel Studios from reffering to any character as a mutant or using any of their mutant backstories. This leaves Whedon and company in charge of creating a fresh origin for the character, along with a unique film technique to showcase the characters’ powers (X-Men really set the bar for Quicksilver if you ask me). In the end we can debate over which version is better following release, but just know this is 2 different intrepretations of the character performed by 2 different actors.

4. If you can’t sit down and watch them all, here are ‘The 3 Marvel movies you should see before Avengers 2.’
As I previously mentioned this film definitely makes the assumption that the viewer is fairly up to date on the overall shared universe. You don’t half to watch all 10 of the previous MCU installments to be in the know but there are definetely a few you should check out before hitting the theater. Here is what I consider to be the three most important films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.

  • Lets start off with Marvels first installment in their shared universe, Iron Man. This is one of the most relevant standalone films in the MCU, at least as far as the pre-Avengers movies go. Tony Stark is not only one of the main characters of the Avengers, but is also the center point for many key plot threads throughout the film. Eleven movies deep and the actions of Tony Stark are still rippling through the MCU and effecting the universe in unpredictable ways. If you dont have the time to sit down and watch the entire Iron Man franchise, make sure to at least check out the first installment.
  • After Iron Man was firmly established Marvel moved on and used Phase 1 to begin development on the rest of their shared universe, introducing the other key characters, mainly through stand alone origin films. Despite the fact that I enjoy these films and could make a compelling argument on why each one is a necessary viewing experience, the truth is that if your not interested or your pressed for time you can skip ahead to our next main title, The Avengers. Like I previously mentioned Avengers: Age of Ultron is not really a direct sequel but it is still a sequel nonetheless. This is cause enough to go back and revisit the teams’ first outing before heading to the box office. The Avengers was the first time we finally got to see all the key players on screen together and kicking @ss. This film was also the worlds first real look at this shared universe fleshed out and really coming together. And lets not forget to mention you need to see the first installment so you can join the inevitable “which was better” debate that has really already begun.
  • Excluding Iron Man 3, I pretty much like every movie in the Marvel phase 2 line-up. We got follow-up sequels to all of our main characters, plus the addition of The Guardians of the Galaxy. We can quibble over the best phase 2 installment all day, but I have to say Captain America 2 has the most impact on the shared universe, at least for the immediate future (GOTG arguably has larger long-term implications). Although every installment in phase 2 has tie-ins to the larger story arc and shared universe, its Captain America: The Winter Soldier that really feels like a follow-up to the Avengers, and a lead-in for the sequel.

5. Avengers: Age of Ultron is not the final installment of Marvel Phase 2. Just 2 months after the events of Avengers 2, we will finally get to see Marvel’s tiniest hero on the big screen in Ant-Man. The first Avengers film ended the Marvel’s phase 1 initiative and returned to the big screen with a group of sequels designed to further develop the characters and lay the ground work for the future of the shared universe. This time around, we will be introduced to a new character in the final chapter of Phase 2. Weather this is due to the fact that Ant-Man is an essential aspect of Phase 2, or they just decided this would be the best time to introduce a new character, is not yet clear and honestly I feel it could go either way. It seems to me if they just planned on introducing us to a new character in a fresh solo film, Edgar Wright would still be attached to the project. At the same time there really isn’t much to suggest that Ant-Man will tie-in to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Honestly only time will tell (Thank god we don’t have that long to wait!).

Avengers: Age of Ultron will be hitting theaters in the U.S. on May 1st, 2015. Let us know what you think about the return of Earth’s Mightiest in the comments below!

The post 5 Things You Should Know Before Seeing Avengers 2 also appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Film Review: Kill Me Three Times

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Our colleague Taylor Salan of Age Of The Nerd.com provided us with an in-depth review of the upcoming film “Kill Me Three Times” starring Simon Pegg, Alice Braga, Callan Mulvey, Theresa Palmer,Sullivan Stapleton and Luke Hemsworth.

“Kill Me Three Times” is a film that is very bittersweet. On the surface, “Kill Me Three Times” has a lot of things going for it. An ensemble piece at heart, the film’s structure is something that makes it unique. The interesting thing about the structure of this film in particular is that many of the things that make it good, often get in the way of making it truly great. The film, which is directed by Australian director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog), strikes the perfect tone for the subject matter. However, this alone is not enough to save the film from it’s own ambitions.

In case you are unaware, the plot of “Kill Me Three Times” follows Professional assassin Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg) as he descends on the small town of Eagles Nest to perform a hit on Alice Taylor (Alice Braga), the wife of Jack Taylor (Callan Mulvey), wealthy local bar owner who holds a safe full of cash. This would all be fine and dandy if femme fatale Lucy (Teresa Palmer) and her hapless husband Nathan (Sullivan Stapleton) weren’t also trying to kill Alice to collect much needed insurance money. If this weren’t complicated enough, Alice is also secretly having an affair with the local mechanic (Luke Hemsworth) due to the abuse from her alcoholic husband.

“Kill Me Three Times” is the type of movie that is a slave to the structure that makes it so special. The film is essentially told in three parts, each from the perspective of a different pair of characters. While I commend the film for trying a more experimental structure like this, part of the problem is that I don’t know who to root for. With so many characters that are the focus, I found myself at one point asking who the main character was. I know whom the film thinks is the main character, but as an audience member I don’t believe in that person’s story enough to care, especially when they are surrounded by much more interesting characters. The relentlessness of the film to impress the audience is part of the reason why I checked out towards the end, but that doesn’t mean that the film is bad.

As I mentioned earlier, “Kill Me Three Times” has a lot of good things going for it. Simon Pegg is easily the best part of the film as Charlie Wolfe, and it’s quiet honestly amazing to see how Pegg completely nails this character. The other cast members are also good here, with the standout of these being Sullivan Stapleton, who plays a hilarious version of the village idiot. The score does a serviceable job, despite being too over the top and repetitive for my taste, and there are a great number of laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film (mostly from Pegg).

The tone itself is consistent from section-to-section, and that is enough to make the film serviceable, but therein lays the problem. Despite the multitude of things that work for the film, it ends up being just okay. The fact that it should be both great and memorable but isn’t is by far the most frustrating thing about “Kill Me Three Times”. Ultimately, this keeps the film from being anything other than just another Simon Pegg film. Ironically, “Kill Me Three Times” receives 3/5 Stars.

The post Film Review: Kill Me Three Times also appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Fifty Shades Of Grey Is Better Than Expected

fifty-Shades-of-grey2(PCM) We certainly had our doubts going in to catch an early screening of the highly anticipated film “Fifty Shades Of Grey”, but were pleasantly surprised that the movie ended up exceeding our initial expectations.

The film is based on the best-selling novel by the same name by British writer E.L. James and basically covers book one of the world-famous erotic trilogy. Starring Dakota Johnson as the innocent and sexually naive Anastasia Steele and Jamie Doran as the sexy, BDSM-loving billionaire businessman Christian Grey.

The push and pull of this pairs relationship is what truly makes the film. Both are incredibly intrigued by the other and the opposites attract scenario plays out beautifully. Anastasia appears to be the first woman to have the ability to begin breaking down the stone-cold walls around Christian Grey’s heart. Her intelligence, defiance, and snarky retorts are incredibly compelling to Grey, while she is intrigued by his mysterious nature, his fetish lifestyle and of course his drop-dead gorgeous appearance.

While of course many of the novel’s steamier details were left out of the film, director Sam Taylor-Johnson did a phenomenal job of showing the audience just enough and leaving the rest of the scenario to play out in our imaginations. Isn’t that about the same way that it worked when reading the novels?

While the film does bank on the fact that most of the audience has read the series of novels to fully grasp what is going on with the plot. This was especially noticeable in the way that the film dealt with time. Situations in the novel were stretched out for weeks and months, while the film made it appear that nearly everything occurred within a two to three week time period.

It is quite apparent that actress Dakota Johnson is the stand-out talent in the film as her intellect and wit truly shine and while Jamie Dornan held his own as the mysterious and sadomasochistic Christian Grey, he was never truly my first choice when imaging actors in this particular role. A film that deals with strong sexual content, especially BDSM can be an exceptionally tough one to tackle, I have to hand to director Sam Taylor-Johnson who handled it just beautifully. The artistic side of the film really flourished and everything was done to the best of her and the actor’s ability in an incredibly tasteful and not derogatory way.

This film could have very easily ended up coming out like some kind of trashy soft-core pornography, however the end result was a very artsy and cinematic take on a trash novel that is sure to satisfy those who are looking for a fun date night film to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The post Fifty Shades Of Grey Is Better Than Expected also appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Funny Or Die’s Hilarious Interview With The Cast Of Horrible Bosses 2

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(PCM) Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jason Bateman of the hilarious film “Horrible Bosses 2″ discuss texting while driving and hypothetical meals with the very strange Andre Hyland.

Recently, we were able to attend an early screening of “Horrible Bosses 2″ and if you thought the first film was hilarious that you are going to absolutely adore the sequel.

There are certain times in a comedy film that the jokes and/or comedic moments can feel forced, but this is not the case with “Horrible Bosses 2″. It is a true statement to on-screen chemistry of the cast and just how much they appear to be able to feed off one another throughout the entire film.

There is absolutely nothing that is off limits with the jokes and stunts that are portrayed in this film. It is certainly not a film for the easily offended and those of us with our minds always in the gutter will be delightfully entertained.

The post Funny Or Die’s Hilarious Interview With The Cast Of Horrible Bosses 2 also appeared on PCM Reviews.

Director David Dobkin Talks To PCM About ‘The Judge’

(PCM) The dramatic new film, The Judge, tackles major issues: the complex relationship of fathers and sons, hidden truths, and whether or not you can go home again.

In the hands of a less masterful director, The Judge, might be cliché. But director David Dobkin, (Wedding Crashers, and Shanghai Knights), was up to the challenge… and then some.

JudgeTheThe Warner Bros. film, which opened on Friday, October 10, begins with a well-written script, evoking a powerhouse of emotion, and also portrayed by a stellar cast.

Henry “Hank” Palmer (Robert Downey, Jr.), is a successful lawyer, who returns to his hometown of Carlinville, Indiana, for his mother’s funeral only to discover that his estranged father, Judge Joseph Palmer, (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murdering a local man he once sentenced, who was recently released from prison.

Hank, trying to adjust again to small-town life and reacquainting with his long lost high school sweetheart, Samantha (Vera Farmiga), now has to defend his father in court against Dwight Dickham, (Billy Bob Thornton), a prosecutor determined to see the father put away. The family dynamic includes Hank’s two brothers played by Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong.

“No matter how old we are, within five minutes of walking back into our childhood home, we are exactly who we were when we left there,” Dobkin recently explained. “We fall back into those routines; we’re subject to the same behavior and communication patterns of our youth, the same unspoken misunderstandings and unresolved issues, however great or small, which wind up driving us for the rest of our lives.”

Dobkin, 45, is a writer, director and producer, with several major film credits under his belt, including The Change-Up, Fred Claus and Clay Pigeons. The father of two young sons, is also known for creating entertaining and insightful movies that help his audiences connect to them – both comedies and dramas.

In addition to being a film-maker, Dobkin is an award-winning commercial and music video director. He has directed music videos for such major recording artists as Elton John, Robin Zander, John Lee Hooker, Extreme, Sonic Youth and Blues Traveler.

The themes of The Judge resonated with Dobkin as well as his leading men, especially Downey, whose filmmaker father was often a difficult act to follow. “My dad was this brilliant artist,” Downey recently said.  “When I started thinking I might want to [act] for a living, I felt like my dad was ‘the judge,’ because he runs everything. He’s on the bench and the rest of us are just suspects,” the actor recalled. “I have a great relationship with him now, but any dad of character casts a shadow because you are railing against what you don’t want to be, and you wind up becoming it anyway –basically it’s because you haven’t resolved stuff.”

The movie The Judge spoke to me about complicated family ties and not having regrets in our lives once we become adults. Please tell me what messages you honed in on?

DAVID DOBKIN: That’s very much for this movie was about for me. Certain movies come to mind, like Rain Man, Terms of Endearment, Kramer vs. Kramer and Ordinary People. These are movies that are all about people, but they are all built around something important that is going on in our lives – the cultural situations relevant to the time.

Please tell me more.

DD: When I started writing I was concerned about what happens when you have to take care of a parent that you didn’t get along with. We don’t live under the same roof as our parents in this culture. We move away and don’t move back in. So these were issues that were important to me. And trying to make sense of it. All of these movies I mentioned all have one component – a universal much better human drama with a lot of entertainment in it. Those are the thoughts that were in my head.

I have to admit I was also moved to tears several times during the film.

DD: I love when people say that my film moved them and had them thinking. A lot of people have told me that they called their parents after they saw the movie.

You have a stellar cast in this film. Please talk about working with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall – it doesn’t get much better than that.

DD: You are right. It was in a word – amazing. Robert Downey, Jr. was on my mind. I met him a year before I wrote the story. I was kind of blown away by him. His talent is so apparent and I saw his hunger to do great work, as well as his Vulnerability. And he is this really good guy – and I hadn’t seen that specific facet of his humanity on the screen in a long time. I believe he is one of the greatest actor’s alive and I wanted to build on this. Robert is truly a triple-crown thoroughbred and I want to build a track he hadn’t run on in a long time.

Tell me about choosing Robert Duvall for the role of the tough-as-nails judge.

DD: I have always loved Duvall. And both Robert and I loved the movie Get Low that he made with Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek a few years back. I would say that 50 percent of my job as a director is getting the casting right. The rest is can we get them to connect together, and find the right chemistry for the story we are telling.

What surprises ensued? Please take me behind the scenes of this film.

DD: I would say that there is a lot camaraderie. We had a three-week rehearsal process for the film which is a traditional theater-style process, and some that I do even in my comedies. We would break down scenes, we did some improv and really studied the material so the actors would get to know each other. Whether its an improv or not, their behavior becomes increasingly consistent with their character. I also want that to happen on the set. There’s always an element of surprise on set. We are looking for Coach very authentic moments that have pure integrity to them.

When the judge is arrested and his son has to defend him for murder it struck me how emotional it was for Hank to literally have everything in his life on the line. Have you ever felt that everything was on the line in your life?

DD: Unfortunately, I think I live there every day. I have that sense of urgency to everything that I do.

What has been the early audience reaction to the movie?

DD: I have had this overwhelmingly positive response to the film and it tested at film festivals like my crowd pleasing comedies. While it is entertaining and a pleasurable time, it is still a truly cathartic experience that makes us relate to our own family dynamics. It’s still a Hollywood movie, so I feel the pressure for it to succeed. And a lot of people don’t go see dramas about people. It’s not a big larger-than-life event, so that feels like a lot of pressure. But it’s a drama about people; it’s about big ideas and revolves around the two titans of acting – so that’s a good combination.

What kind of father are you?

DD: I am the dad of two boys, ages three and seven. And I have the same fears and concerns for them that my parents didn’t want me to pick up from them. As parents we are all just trying to change the course of the future by trying to find our own way of navigating our world.

I loved that while Duvall’s stoic character couldn’t emotionally reach his three sons, especially to Hank, he was such a loving grandfather to Hank’s daughter. Those scenes between grandfather and granddaughter were especially touching.

DD: I agree that was really special. The judge has just lost his wife [of 50 years] and this little angel comes into his life. When a family loses a member I believe that it immediately changes the dynamic. The entire family becomes collateral damage of that brokenness. When the mother dies a vacuum is created. You know that she was the buffer that holds everyone together. In a way, this little girl gives him a connection to his wife. She is a symbol of something more pure and simple and the best of him comes out. We see a glimmer of hope. There’s something special there.

I also love the line that Hank’s former sweetheart, Samantha, says to him: ‘Be the hero of your own story.’

DD: Yes, I agree. Samantha’s character is authentic. You just believe she was a woman who went it alone and went on with her life. I’m always attracted to strong female roles, and to show incredible strength through vulnerability.

Do you believe in second chances and that you can re-write your past?

DD: I want to believe that you can. I think you need to work at it. The past is populated by a lot of people but I believe in making amends and cleaning up the things and taking the opportunity to say the things you need to say. We are all here and struggling so hard to connect. We fear for each other more than we care for each other.

Here is the big question – can we go home again?

DD: Yes, I do think we can go home. But it’s not the same place that it was. Home is a place in the world where you will be accepted and that’s what I call home.

That’s what we are all yearning for – right?

DD: Yes. At the end of the movie Hank realizes that the possibility of home is there. It reminds me of the line in the Beatles song from Abbey Road, ‘Once there was a way to get back home.’ I just want to believe. It makes me move forward – and I also think that that place can be recreated and rediscovered again.

What’s next for you?

DD: I know I am supposed to have my next movie lined up but I have to look forward. I am doing a film biopic for Warner Bros. on Hugh Hefner. He is a fascinating man, who changed the culture of the world. His life is about women’s rights, civil rights, Playboy, and while he was involved in all of this he was labeled a pornographer. My mother was a staunch feminist who was extremely involved in that movement, so I think I have a unique perspective for doing this film.

Since the theme of The Judge is the relationship between fathers and sons – tell me the best part of being a dad.

DD: My favorite part is in the morning when they wake me up and crawl into my bed. It’s priceless!

Since you are filmmaker what movies do you watch as a family?

DD: My seven-year-old is a Star Wars fanatic who has seen all of the movies. And my three-year-old loves Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The post Director David Dobkin Talks To PCM About ‘The Judge’ also appeared on PCM Reviews.

The Effects Of A Fincher-Thon! Gone Girl Opening Soon!

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(PCM) We were absolutely thrilled with director David Fincher’s latest film “Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris.

The film tells the story of a man whose wife has disappeared and the entire case has become a media circus. The man finds himself as one of the top suspects in the case and things turn out to be not exactly as they seem.

The film is filled with so many unbelievable twists and turns and without a doubt keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It is a film that we would almost rather not review, not because we didn’t enjoy it, but more so to leave that air of mystery alive and well for audiences heading out to catch this amazing crime thriller in theaters without any prior knowledge of what to expect. It is pertinent that if you have seen the film or read the book on which it is based that you reveal nothing until everyone else around you has had the chance to experience this film. Once everyone has seen it then by all means let the debating begin and there is sure to be plenty when analyzing this film.

Visually the film was stunning and we would certainly expect nothing less from Fincher, whose previous films include “Fight Club”, “Zodiac”, and of course “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Also, the overall soundscape to “Gone Girl” is phenomenal as Fincher teamed up with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the film’s soundtrack.

Our friend and fellow film critic Peter Towe decided to take it upon himself to create the first ever (at least we assume it is the first ever, since we haven’t heard of one before) Fincher-Thon  in support and excitement for the upcoming theatrical release of “Gone Girl” on 10/3.

Towe made a valiant attempt to watch all of David Fincher’s other nine films all in one sitting!  He gave it his best shot and certainly gained some interesting insights out of the whole ordeal … check it out below:

 

 

 

The post The Effects Of A Fincher-Thon! Gone Girl Opening Soon! also appeared on PCM Reviews.

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