Nick’s Picks – June 24, 2015

avengers-Age-of-Ultron-poster

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Avengers: Age of Ultron is more like an age of convoluted, fantastical super hero shenanigans that erupt into an adult fight on a kid’s playground. It’s fun. It’s explosive. Its action packed. It’s a popcorn movie with a sentimentality that simmers underneath the surface. We are teased with a love story blossoming between the Hulk (Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Johannson). We see the normal home life complete with wife and kids of Hawkeye (Renner). More examples of Stark’s/Ironman’s overblown ego that threatens humanity and the Avengers and a lot of references to the TV show marvel’s Agents of Steel.

Ultron, innocently created by Stark (Downey) becomes the villain out to destroy the world and the Avengers. Directed by Joss Whedon, Avengers takes us on a wild ride from the very explosive opening scene to the tamer “home-sweet-home” ending befitting this film. There are so many special effects, camera angles, characters and super heroes and villains that will send you into an epileptic seizure where you can’t think straight. The best thing you can do is go into this film with a big box of popcorn, some hot tamales candy and a large soda and just sit back without any expectations and just enjoy the ride. However roler coaster it can be.

Even the introduction of two new characters with super powers (no spoiler alert here) just doesn’t quite fit. It’s entertaining nonetheless as they struggle between using their powers for good or evil. Humor is sprinkled throughout and the scene where everyone tries to life Thor’s hammer is a classic. At least until Ultron lifted it, but still funny. If you’re a diehard Avengers fan, you’ll love this movie. If you’re a Whedon fan you’ll also love it. If not, you may come away loving both the movie and Joss Whedon. I will guarantee that you’ll fall in love with the Avengers.

Bringing in fresh blood with the new super beings may be Whedon’s way of preparing us for the future of the Avengers, losing some, replacing with others, but whatever the reason, the Avengers will live on infinitely. Why shouldn’t they? They are in fact “super heroes.”  “To inifinity and beyond.” Wait… that was another cartoon, I mean movie, right?

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth
Director: Joss Whedon
Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (intense action, violence, sci-fi destruction)
Grade: A-

 

FREE DVD GIVEAWAY

Soul Plane

We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at
winning a free copy of Soul Plane, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!

SOUL PLANE – Olive Films

Why just fly when you can soar with soul! An all-star cast, including Tom Arnold, Kevin Hart and hip-hop superstars Method Man and Snoop Dogg, takes to the skies in this “relentlessly raunchy” (The New York Times) comedy about a full-service airline complete with sexy stewardesses, a mack casino and the hottest dance club at 30,000 feet. Departing on its maiden voyage from the all-new Terminal X in Los Angeles, Soul Plane is a raucous ride that gives “fly” a whole new meaning!

THE FORGER – Lionsgate

A second-generation petty thief arranges to get out of prison to spend time with his ailing son by taking on a job with his father to pay back the syndicate that arranged his release.

IF THERE BE THORNS – Lionsgate

Christopher and Cathy live together with Cathy’s two sons, who have no idea of the true nature of their parent’s relationship. When a woman moves in next door, Christopher learns it is Corrine, and long-hidden secrets are revealed.

THE BRIDGE – Criterion

The astonishing The Bridge, by Bernhard Wicki, was the first major antiwar film to come out of Germany after World War II, as well as the nation’s first postwar film to be widely shown internationally, even securing an Oscar nomination. Set near the end of the war, it follows a group of teenage boys in a small town as they contend with everyday matters like school, girls, and parents, before enlisting as soldiers and being forced to defend their home turf in a confused, terrifying battle. This expressively shot, emotionally bruising drama dared to humanize young German soldiers at a historically tender moment, and proved influential for the coming generation of New German Cinema auteurs.

THE FISHER KING – Criterion

A fairy tale grounded in poignant reality, the magnificent, Manhattan-set The Fisher King, by Terry Gilliam, features Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in two of their most brilliant roles. Bridges plays a former radio shock jock reconstructing his life after a scandal, and Williams is a homeless man on a quest for the Holy Grail—which he believes to be hidden somewhere on the Upper West Side. Unknowingly linked by their pasts, the two men aid each other on a fanciful journey to redemption. This singular American odyssey features a witty script by Richard La Gravenese, evocative cinematography by Roger Pratt, and superb supporting performances by Amanda Plummer and an Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl, all harnessed by Gilliam into a humane, funny modern-day myth.

CURIOUS GEORGE 3: Back to the Jungle – Universal

Launch into the adventure of a lifetime with everyone’s favorite monkey in this all-new movie, Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle! When Curious George is asked to take part in a very important space mission, a little monkeying around forces him to crash-land in Africa. While a worried Man with the Yellow Hat searches for him, Curious George bravely explores the jungle and makes new animal friends along the way. Reunited at last, the two best pals have an unforgettable adventure shared with their new friends! Featuring the voice talents of John Goodman & Angela Bassett, with music by the Plain White T’s, join Curious George on his fun-filled journey that the whole family will enjoy!

AN AMERICAN GIRL: Grace Stirs Up Success – Universal

Grace has a real talent for baking and a passion for making delicious dreams come true. When her mom announces a trip to visit relatives in Paris, Grace isn’t so sure about leaving her friends and their cupcake business. That is, until she discovers she’ll get to work with her uncle and cousin in a real French pastry shop! But nothing goes as planned and her attempts to help out end in disaster. With some help from her family and a pup named Bonbon, she turns her vacation around. But when Grace returns home, she discovers her grandparents’ bakery is in trouble! With their dreams on the line, can Grace find the winning recipe for success?

THE THING WITH TWO HEADS – Olive Films

A terminally ill brain surgeon arranges for his head to be transplanted onto another body in this campy sci-fi horror film. The experiment is a success, except for the fact that the white, racist surgeon’s head is now sharing a black man’s body, leading to much racially charged conflict.

THRASHIN’ – Olive Films

Valley boys take on the punk rockers in this teen-age adventure. This time they use skateboards instead of zip guns, knives and fists. The rich Valley kids, “The Ramp Locals,” are led by Corey Webster, while the leather-clad, street-wise punks follow Tommy Hook. The trouble begins when Corey falls in love with Tommy’s little sister who has come from Indiana for a visit. The rivalry between the gangs culminates during the grueling “LA Massacre,” a 20-mile downhill skateboarding race. The winning team will earn a corporate sponsor. For the final race, the filmmakers strapped a camera in front of a skateboard to give viewers a sense of the thrills experienced by the daring “thrashers.”

STONE COLD – Olive Films

In the early ’90s, Brian Bosworth made the seamless transition from football bad boy to onscreen bad ass. In Stone Cold, the Boz plays cop Joe Huff, a brute force specialist. The FBI contracts him to take down a biker gang known as the Brotherhood, who have been implicated in drug trafficking and several murders. Joe assumes the personality of John Stone and goes undercover. His mission seems not to bust the gang but rather to kill with excessive force. Before he can take the law into his own hands, however, he has to get in with the gang’s leader, the impressively tough Chains. The Boz doesn’t disappoint, and he gets his chance in the final confrontation where he takes on several score of the Brotherhood in the street battle to end all street battles.

MEAN SEASON – Olive Films

In this suspenseful crime thriller as much about the news media and the psychology of its reporters as the warped mind of a serial killer, Kurt Russell stars as Malcolm Anderson, the only reporter who has a phone link with Alan Delour (Richard Jordan), the deranged murderer. Set in Miami and based on the novel In the Heat of the Summer by crime reporter John Katzenbach, the story opens with a scene on a deserted beach that focuses on a victim of the killer, just before she is shot. Reporter Anderson starts writing up accounts of the killing, and as a result, the killer starts telephoning him with the details of his next murder, without giving away the identity of the victim. Soon the reporter gains as much national attention as the killer, and his involvement becomes a part of the story itself. Succumbing to the ego-enhancing spotlight, Malcolm runs into serious problems with his live-in companion Christine Connelly (Mariel Hemingway) who tries to warn him of his increasingly egocentric behavior. When Christine is kidnapped by the serial killer, Malcolm is not only forced to take a hard look at reality (and the cunning manipulation of the killer), but is compelled to hunt down the murderer himself.

JOHNNY BE GOOD – Olive Films

Anthony Michael Hall stars as Johnny Walker, a much sought-after high school football star whom every collegiate program wants for their own.

Synopses used with permission.

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