Opening This Week: ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’


“Marvel’s The Avengers” (PG-13)

Marvel Studios presents “Marvel’s The Avengers” – the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

What the Critics Are Saying:

Agent Phil Coulson will love “The Avengers.”

You surely will, too, if you recognize his name. Officious but loveable S.H.I.E.L.D. sleuth Phil is one of many Marvel Comics minions Joss Whedon summons to his energizing superhero adventure, making this first blockbuster of summer 2012 something of a geek drill.

It helps if you go to the film having already seen the two “Iron Man” movies, plus “Thor,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” all released between 2008-11 and leading up to this ensemble nerdgasm.

But you don’t have to sport a propeller beanie to enjoy “The Avengers,” and this may be the highest possible praise for what director Whedon and his co-writer Zak Penn have wrought.

They’ve cannily crafted a saga guaranteed to pass muster with the Comic-Con cognoscenti, without forsaking regular popcorn munchers who just hope to see the planet get saved with maximum firepower and a few laughs.

– Peter Howell, Toronto Star


What happens when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) goes weapon-to-weapon with a guy who’s pissed him off — namely Captain America (Chris Evans)? In one of the many rousingly intense confrontations that make up Joss Whedon’s heavy-duty Marvel action psychodrama “The Avengers,” the hammer (literally) meets the shield, and — clang! — the shield wins. At least Thor can console himself that he’s stronger than the other guy who’s busting his chops: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). When it comes to putdowns, however, even Iron Man’s snarkmeister alter ego, Tony Stark, has Thor beat. He refers to the billowy Viking megahulk as ”Point Break” and ”Shakespeare in the Park.”

The best thing about “The Avengers,” a multi-tentpole blockbuster that gathers half a dozen Marvel superheroes and unfurls them on a baddie from another planet, is that it also unleashes them on each other. Simply put:These freaks of goodness may be a team, but they don’t like one another very much. The six have been assembled by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of the peacekeeping alliance S.H.I.E.L.D., to defeat Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s megalomaniac adoptive brother, who arrives through a wormhole and steals the Tesseract — a cosmic cube that throws off ice-blue electromagnetic vapors like the best special effect of 1986. Loki, with stringy long hair, black eyeballs, and a ghostly pallor (he looks like Marilyn Manson playing Richard III), plans to destroy the world through ultimate war.

– Owen Gielberman, Entertainment Weekly

At long last and with trumpets blaring, the Marvel Comics universe comes together in a big-screen fighting force replete with WWII- and Cold War–era icons, all of them united in the common purpose of defeating evil alien snake monsters. In humanspeak, that means you’ve got a bunch of superheroes in a single movie. (Why not call it what it really is—the economy value pack?) The Avengers has burned, like the sweatiest geek’s fantasy, for years now. If you have to ask why it was so crucially important to get all of this spandex on camera at the same time, you probably don’t belong here and should immediately find a safe location in a bunker somewhere. Clearly, you haven’t been waiting breathlessly through the credits of Iron Man or Thor, desperate for a glimpse of an eye-patched Samuel L. Jackson, the almost-mystical Nick Fury, and his team to come.

Honestly, I haven’t been one of the anticipators either. Still, a certain cape-wearing savior—director Joss Whedon—should be thanked for making a summer tentpole that remembers to be fun, flip and broadly entertaining. Whedon, the pop savant responsible for TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, straddles the line between sarcastic gab and pulp solemnity like Eli Manning on a fourth-down, go-it-alone jag. Entrusted with his most expensive project to date, he’s made irreverent room for jokes about collectible playing cards, flying monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz,” the embarrassing behavior of Asgardian siblings and belated requests for stiff drinks, blissfully ignorant that millions of why-so-serious fans are depending on him. It’s a ballsy move you can’t help but love.

– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York


Tops at the Box Office

A look at the box office receipts from last week:

1. “Think Like A Man” – $17.6 million

2. “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” – $11.1 million

3. “The Hunger Games” – $10.8 million

4. “The Lucky One” – $10.8 million

5. “The Five-Year Engagement” – $10.6 million

6. “Safe” – $7.9 million

7. “The Raven” – $7.3 million

8. “Chimpanzee” – $5.2 million

9. “The Three Stooges” – $5.2 million

10. “The Cabin In the Woods” – $4.6 million














Opening Films – Friday, March 9

Let’s All Go To the Movies, Let’s All Go To The Movies …


“John Carter” (PG-13)

From filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes John Carter-a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.



“A Thousand Words” (PG-13)

Eddie Murphy is Jack McCall, a fast-talking literary agent, who can close any deal, any time, any way. He has set his sights on New Age guru Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) for his own selfish purposes. But Dr. Sinja is on to him, and Jack’s life comes unglued after a magical Bodhi tree mysteriously appears in his backyard. With every word Jack speaks, a leaf falls from the tree and he realizes that when the last leaf falls, both he and the tree are toast. Words have never failed Jack McCall, but now he’s got to stop talking and conjure up some outrageous ways to communicate or he’s a goner.



“Silent House” (R)

From the directors of the hit film Open Water, Silent House is a uniquely unsettling horror thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah, a young woman who finds herself sealed inside her family’s secluded lake house. With no contact to the outside world, and no way out, panic turns to terror to terror as events become increasingly ominous in and around the house. Directed by filmmaking duo Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, Silent House uses meticulous camera choreography to take the audience on a tension-filled, real time journey, experienced in a single uninterrupted shot.

“The directors have come up with a new and powerful way to film a thriller: Silent House contains no quick editing in the active moments, and there is never an instance when the movie cuts unexpectedly to something scary as the soundtrack thunders.” – SF Chronicle