An avenging assemblage of superheroes

Despite the enraging experience of having to see the film a promotional screening — at which they tagged and bagged my phone out of the absurd fear that I would use it to record the whole movie and then sell it, even though the movie has been out in international markets for a week — I loved The Avengers.

I just saw a headline online that asked, “Is The Avengers the greatest comic book movie ever?” It’s the one of the click-here-and-argue-in-the comments sort of headlines that websites love because it gets readers to stick around and earn the site advertising revenue. I don’t know what the writer’s answer was, since I do my best not to read reviews before I write mine. But I know what my response to the question would be: No, it’s not the greatest comic book movie ever. I think there’s a case for The Dark Knight and possibly the original Superman; those are profound films that are also fabulous popcorn movies. The Avengers is about as deep as its superfluous 3-D effects, but it is the most entertaining, and most expertly made, big-budget action movie of the year. It’s a great way to start the summer movie season. Continue…

Elephants and Summer Movies

So, I reviewed Water For Elephants. It was relentlessly mediocre. Here’s the money quote:

In many ways, the film is quite old-fashioned. With a different cast and a different director, it could have been a companion piece to 1952s The Greatest Show on Earth, a circus movie considered among the weakest films to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Water for Elephants suffers from the older film’s flaws. It’s too long, and the characters are two-dimensional. A few times, August is shown to feel regret, but nothing ever is explained about why he’s such a murderous bully. We’re offered back stories for Jacob and Marlena, but they don’t really explain or deepen their characters.

Worse, Pattinson and Witherspoon have less chemistry with each other than Pattinson does with the elephant playing Rosie. When she tickles him with her trunk, the glee on Pattinson’s face is the only true, the only infectious emotion in the entire movie.

I also wrote a queer summer movie preview. I’m excited about Beginners, The Perfect Host, X-Men: First Class, and Bad Teacher. Oh, and Thor. Which I saw last week. It was awesome. Not the least because of the scene from which the photo the left was taken. Here’s how the story begins:

While the actual season we call summer doesn’t begin until June 21 and the traditional kick-off for summer doesn’t happen until Memorial Day Weekend, the summer movie season starts the first weekend of May. This year it all begins with Thor, one of the half-dozen big budget superhero flicks out over the next four months.

The summer is usually when studios, big or small, do not like to distribute their more difficult movies – like the gay ones. So, as usual, queer characters and storylines are nearly absent in this summer’s deluge of movies.

Several movies, while not technically gay, feature so much same-sex tension and subtext that you have to call them, to borrow a term from our nerdy queer theorist friends, homosocial. And, of course, there is a bunch that you might want to see, if only because the actors and actresses are so damn hot.

You can read the rest here.