Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat. (IMDb)
It’s mediocre, thanks to writing that’s often awkward and contrived and a plot that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (especially in the final act–where did the villain get these powers all of a sudden?). That’s probably half due to the campy concept though, and the film with its solid main quartet does well at matching it with a goofy-fun vibe throughout that’s enjoyable even when the jokes don’t land (Jillian’s lip-syncing and Kevin’s interview are bits that definitely do though-I lol’d).
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe. (IMDb)
From the devastating opening scene to the goosebump-inducing climactic action sequence, the scope and spectacle here will blow you away. Rich with humour (Thor and Ant-Man are highlights but even stoic Cap hass his moments), emotion, and inside references, it brings the MCU to a remarkable climax and resolve. After the blockbuster-high wears off some issues emerge (the main plot concept is severely underexplained; some characters are–understandably–neglected), but it remains a monumental film.
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods. (IMDb)
Solid scares in the cabin, but it was the other setting that really brought the horror. That scene with the dock events in the background of the party at headquarters will stick with me for a while; it was truly disturbing on its own movie level and more so when considering its clever and biting meta angle. Fittingly, with that shot of the bloody mess in the elevator lobby also still lingering in my brain, this was my last horror movie of the Halloween season, and maybe for a while after that.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. (IMDb)
Thanos’ villain still felt a little familiar with his twisted “for the greater good” motive, but he remained an intimidating presence-a good match for the huge cast of heroes which is balanced remarkably well throughout and contributes to plenty of amazing moments both of comedy (see Thor meeting the Guardians) and action (see the Titan attack; Thor’s arrival in Wakanda). With all the superpowers going around some snags in the plot arise but its massive stakes and solid execution overwhelm them.
Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, which is at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela. (IMDb)
Thor is released from his cheesy-golden-Viking realm (“Asgard is not a place, it’s a people”) to super fun results: Hemsworth oozes goofy charm (“No, I won. Easily”) and serves as a solid lead for the fast-paced script. An eclectic supporting cast (the amiable Kiwi Korg and goofy Grandmaster are comedy gold-blum), fun cameos, a suitably intimidating villain, and just the right amount of trope subversions (see the opening scene) amidst the serious moments (see Loki’s final catch) fill it out.
Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons. (IMDb)
No, it’s not a particularly clever comedy (the “what could go wrong?” formula provides most of the jokes–usually telegraphed and juvenile) and the family bonding/marital drama sub-scenes are bland (family vs. family brawl and roller-coaster sing-along–regrettably cut off–aside), but so help me, I still laughed quite a bit (a few highlights: Day’s self-destructive rafting guide, Rusty as a terrible wing-man for his son, classic Clark fumbling a guitar, hot springs mix-up, police stand-off).
When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans. (IMDb)
Another healthy dose of enormous and entertaining action make this a fun film to watch in spite of its mostly lazy writing (see Wanda and Pietro’s weak antagonist motivations–and Ultron’s, for that matter–and correspondingly cheap turn; the half-baked Hawkeye development; the far-fetched and only vaguely explained bad guy antics), with the aid of one well-timed bit of self-awareness: “The city’s flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.”
When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves. (IMDb)
Another predictable plot with a still insufferably lame Jane in the still mostly cheesy CGI fantasy land of Asgard (the funeral scene being a beautiful exception) is iced with enough good stuff to elevate it above its predecessor. There’s better self-aware humour (see the hammer hang on the coat rack; Thor on the subway), a pretty cool–if far-fetched–final action sequence, and engaging relational development between Thor and Loki (regrettably reversed during a stupid final-seconds twist).
The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders. (IMDb)
It’s a little hard to get past the two wildly contrasting worlds, especially when the futuristic-space-viking one is saturated with CGI and cheesy costumes (though Elba’s gatekeeper intrigues). Story-wise, a decent arrogant-hero-humbled premise headed by the charming hunk Hemsworth (the supporting characters are largely forgettable) is weighed down by a cliche jealous brother/father’s approval sub-plot in space and a dull romance on earth (Portman’s strong scientist Jane feels cheapened here).