review//AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Grade: B

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Directed by Joss Whedon
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans

The biggest movie of the year always comes with the highest and the lowest expectations. Audiences galore will be showing up to feast their eyes on every inch of digital goodness, hoping it lives up to each and every piece of hype thrown in the weeks leading up to the release. Critics will be combing each and every inch with a fine-toothed comb. If the biggest film is, in fact, a sequel, there's even more for cheer and scrutiny. Avengers: Age of Ultron falls into all of those categories. As Disney and Marvel continue to bridge the gaps between each superhero film, creating a Marvel universe, the fine line between fresh entertainment and overexposed ilk continues to be drawn.

Jumping into the action right away, the ragtag team of Avengers are beating up bad guys and relaying one-liners at almost every utterance of a word. It's hard to tell who is the main Avenger from the get-go, but pretty soon it's clear who is calling the shots. Money speaks and so does Tony Stark/Iron Man a lot. Captain America is the headstrong one with morals holding him down. Black Widow is the tantalizing, butt-kicking, femme fatale. Thor is good at reasoning and being strong. Hulk is good at getting angry and emotional.

As an admitted non-fan of Marvel films, I don't want to speak too much of the story out of fear of the wrath of the diehards. There's definitely some sort of rush for capturing a stone. I remember this being similarly important in last year's Guardians of the Galaxy. This stone lies in the headdress of a powerful bad guy/good guy created with the help of Jarvis, Iron Man's handy computer helper.

Quality or stylistic filmmaking isn't necessarily what you go to see when seeking out a Marvel film, but kudos should be given to the special effects. The acting is better than decent (which should be expected with names like Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo attached). The standout performance is the voice work by James Spader.

I feel like any true criticism with the story wouldn't be without bias towards bashing the film, so I will leave that be. I will say, though, that there were moments when I felt captivated and moments when I really wanted to pull my phone out and see what time it was. The action wasn't quite too overbearing (a la Man of Steel), but it did start feeling a little tedious by the end. Also, those one-liners from Robert Downey Jr. are becoming less and less clever and funny.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is as grand as it should be and the audience who eats it up will be satisfied. Can't wait to see the final numbers for the opening weekend.

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 141 minutes

news//THE WEEKEND BELONGS TO 'FURIOUS 7'

BOX OFFICE



In no surprise at all, Furious 7 was the weekend's top film. Raking in just over $147 million, the seventh entry in the Fast and Furious film franchise was a huge boost to the box office and wrangled opening weekend numbers that haven't been seen in almost two years.

The film was heavily promoted, mostly in reference to the death of its star, Paul Walker, during production. But, even besides its topical pop culture relevance, Furious 7 adds another layer to the crowd-pleasing set of films before it. Critics and audiences have generally been kind to the films that also star Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. In a rather poignant end to his career, the film pays tribute to Walker's place in the lives of his fellow cast members.

The only other notable release was the limited run of Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. The based-on-a-true-story drama earned just over $2 million and is set to open wider in the next few weeks.

Here are the Top Ten films for the week ending April 5, 2015:

1. Furious 7, $147 million (NEW)

2. Home, $27 million (Total: $95m)

3. Get Hard, $13 million (Total: $57m)

4. Cinderella, $10.1 million (Total: $167m)

5. Insurgent, $10 million (Total: $103.5m)

6. It Follows, $2.5 million (Total: $8.5m)

7. Woman in Gold, $2 million (NEW)

8. Kingsman: The Secret Service, $1.8 million (Total: $122m)

9. Do You Believe?, $1.5 million (Total: $9.8m)

10. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, $1 million (Total: $30.1m)

SOURCE: BOXOFFICE.COM

news//'HOME' IS SWEET WITH $54 MILLION

BOX OFFICE



It was supposed to be a close fight between Dreamworks' animated adventure Home and the comedic stylings of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in Get Hard. The photo finish didn't happen as Home dominated the box office with a $54 million opening, a higher number than that of last year's How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Featuring the voices of Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Parsons, and Steve Martin, Home earned mixed reviews from critics, but benefitted from the lack of animated offerings on screens. With no other major animated films releasing between now and June's Inside Out, Home could stretch far. It's $54 million haul was a surprise, mostly due to the pairing of the film with Get Hard. Ferrell and Hart are box office beasts in their own rights, which should have equaled gold. The comedy, however, came in a little lower than expected with only $34.6 million.

Horror film It Follows had the most surprising weekend of all film releases as the little film made it into the Top 5. Originally intended as a VOD release, the success of the flick at several film festivals led Radius and The Weinstein Company to change their release plans. The film earned just over $4 million. Strong word of mouth could take it even higher in the next week or two.

Here's the list of the Top Ten films for the week ending March 29, 2015:

1. Home, $54 million (NEW)

2. Get Hard, $34.6 million (NEW)

3. Insurgent, $22 million (Total: $86.3m)

4. Cinderella, $17.5 million (Total: $150m)

5. It Follows, $4 million (Total: $4.7m)

6. Kingsman: The Secret Service, $3 million (Total: $119.4m)

7. Run All Night, $2.2 million (Total: $23.8m)

8. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, $2.18 million (Total: $28.1m)

9. Do You Believe?, $2.1 million (Total: $7m)

10. The Gunman, $2 million (Total: $8.8m)

SOURCE: BOXOFFICE.COM