One Year Blogiversary!

Blogiversary

Well here it is, my one year blogiversary! This blog has now officially lasted longer than any of my relationships. Ha ha ha…wait, that wasn’t a joke. I haven’t posted nearly as much as I’d like, but for whatever reason, there’s people out there who actually read this stuff. So thank you to all you wonderfully loyal and curious readers. As much as I would’ve loved to do something fun and unique for this milestone in history, it creeped up on me and I was not prepared. Such is life.

Before I reached this landmark, there’s two things I really wanted to do: change my blog name and keep up on at least 3 posts per week. Well, I didn’t do either of those things, so it’s looking like the horrible blog name and the sporadic posts are here to stay for a while.

I also have not yet gotten around to writing my Mad Max: Fury Road or Pitch Perfect 2 reviews. But for the record, I loved Mad Max, it’s the first film of this year I’d give a perfect 5/5 to for being such a beautiful and pure action movie. Seriously, action fanatics such as myself can only pray for a movie like this once a year. Pitch Perfect 2 would probably get a 3 for being a lesser version of the first and for trying way too hard to be funny. Pitch Perfect 2 is like that one inappropriate person who’s always cracking the worst jokes at the party and you only laugh to be polite. Hopefully within the next few days I can find the time to actually write them up. In the meantime, if you’re ever curious, I keep a ranking of all the 2015 movies I’ve seen and I always keep it updated. You can find that here: http://boxd.it/lV1e

Anyway, I thought I’d take this time to share with everyone a list of blogs I’ve spent the past year reading, because let’s face it, I would’ve never lasted this long if it weren’t for the other people on this site. So treat this as a sort of blogger appreciation post, if you will. Some of them I’ve been reading from the beginning of my blogging adventures, and some I’ve only just discovered these past few months, but they’re all amazing. I know a lot of the movie blogging community is already pretty tight knit, but there’s always more popping up all over the place with writers who are incredibly talented and well-versed on their subjects. There’s also plenty that have been around longer than I have and I have yet to discover, but that’s another story. Seriously, if there’s anyone on this list you haven’t checked out yet, please do so.

Also, thanks again Emma, Sherise, The Vern, RobbinsRealm, Zoe and The Wolf of Starbucks for nominating me for a bunch of awards that I haven’t had the chance to pass on yet. If I forgot anyone, shit, I’m sorry!

In alphabetical order:

4 Star Films
Abbiosbiston
Abstracticality
Alex Raphael
All My Life…I Wanted to Be a Blogster
Back to the Viewer
Basilmarinerchase
Ben Lane’s Reviews
Canadian Cinephile
Cinema Axis
CinemaClown
The Cinema Cynic
Cinema or Cine-meh?
Cinema Parrot Disco
Cryangosling’s House of Horrors
Damian Thomas Films Etc.
Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews
Drew’s Movie Reviews
Dynamite Review
Emmakwall (explains it all)
Film Grimoire
Film the Madman
Film Munch
FilmNerdBlog
Film and Nuance
A Film Odyssey
The Fluff is Raging
Gareth Rhodes Film Reviews
The Girl that Loved to Review
Girls Do Film
Grog’s Movie Blogs
Hard Ticket to Home Video
The IPC
Irish Cinephile
The ISCFC
Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)
Keith & the Movies
Let’s Go to the Movies
A Life in 24 FPS
Life of This City Girl
Lukas + Film
Marshall and the Movies
Movieblort
Movie Man Jackson
Movie Reviews 101
Movierob
The Movie Talk Blog
NrdGZM!
Oh! That Film Blog
Oracle of Film
Permashift
Popcorn Nights
Reel Affinity
The Review Club
RobbinsRealm
Screenkicker!
Seroword
Sidekick Reviews
Sinekdoks
The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger
SSP Thinks Film
The Stub Collector
Sweet Archive
The Telltale Mind
Ten Stars or Less
That Moment In
Thistles and Whistles
Three Rows Back
ThyCriticMan
Tranquil Dreams
The Ü
The Vern’s Video Vortex
Views From the Sofa
Vinnieh
What the Craggus Saw
The Wolf of Starbucks
Writergurlny
Writer Loves Movies
Zobo With a Shotgun

Even if I’m not posting that often, just know I’m still reading your stuff all of the time. I’ve probably said this before, but a lot of you have become my go-to critics. Screw rotten tomatoes.

Thank you to everyone who continues to read my long ramblings. Stay classy, WordPress.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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Edited by: Pat Aldo (cousin, co-author, Marvel expert)

Avengers: Age of Ultron is an exciting, action-filled spectacle and a new mark in the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since the first Avengers, I’ve been waiting for this group of heroes to team up again, and here it is. I thought it would be hard to recreate the same kind of magic as seeing them assemble for the first time, but it wasn’t. There’s more character development this time around and we get to see the relationships within the team evolve. Everything I loved about The Avengers is back in Age of Ultron, with the addition of some new, interesting heroes and a different kind of villain. Marvel fans will likely be pleased with the result, but for those who aren’t quite on that bandwagon, it’s still a pretty fun blockbuster and there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it too.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are back together as an epic team to take down a HYDRA bunker run by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), who is in possession of Loki’s scepter and is using it to experiment on humans. Siblings Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are two such humans who have developed abilities as a result. Scarlet Witch is capable of telekinesis and mind control, while Quicksilver can run at the speed of light. Because they have a personal vendetta against Stark, they allow him to take back the scepter, knowing full well what he’ll use it for will backfire. Ultimately, he and Banner use it to jump start a peacekeeping program called Ultron. Ultron, after seeing the kind of destruction people like the Avengers can cause, becomes a new threat who believes the only real path to peace is their extinction.

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Despite whatever feelings one might have about the movie’s flaws, Joss Whedon deserves a ton of credit for creating such a giant film that successfully juggles a large group of characters, ties up loose ends from the previous events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and sets up for the next few films to come, while at the same time, still maintains its own unique story. That may sound daunting, I know, but it never gets as overwhelming as you’d expect. What’s necessary to accept about the MCU is that “it’s all connected,” which means you’re going to get a lot more out of every film if you’ve been following the timeline up until this point. That’s not to say that none of the movies can stand up on their own, because many do, including Age of Ultron, but knowing what’s going on in regards to the bigger overall story is certainly going to affect your experience with it.

For me, there’s a special nerdy excitement I get out seeing these characters that I’ve been watching for the past 7 years interact with one another. What makes this experience different from the first Avengers is that the characters all know each other now so the relationships between each have had a chance to evolve. The smaller moments in the film where the team’s hanging out together are some of the best scenes, like when they’re partying at Avengers Tower and Thor challenges his fellow Avengers to try and lift Mjolnir. It’s also nice to see that some of the supporting characters from other movies aren’t totally forgotten about, like James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) from the Iron Man movies and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) from The Winter Soldier.

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The action is just as good, if not better than in the first movie, starting out with a tracking shot following the team while they work together to breach the HYDRA bunker. It’s quickly paced and full of adrenaline, and of course, you’ve got the trademark humor and one-liners spread throughout. Take it how you will, some people enjoy the humor and others don’t. The jokes are excessive at times and it does down play the threat a little bit, but Marvel’s thing isn’t to be super serious, and that’s a theme that runs throughout all its films. If you haven’t accepted that by now, you probably never will.

The formula for Age of Ultron is definitely cut from the same mold as the first. There’s some build up of story which leads to a climactic battle, and then it winds down towards the end. Most, if not all superhero films follow this formula, so it may seem a bit repetitious, but the way it is executed definitely helps. There are plenty of epic moments in the action that make up for the over-familiarity and I love seeing the teamwork in play.

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One thing I was somewhat disappointed with was that Ultron wasn’t as menacing as the trailers made him seem. I think James Spader did a good job, but the most threatening aspect of his character was the fact that he can travel through the internet and access anything he wants, gaining him the upper hand. He’s also able to upload his consciousness to any of his robot legion as well. But these individual bots are pretty easily defeated, and thus prevent Ultron himself from contributing to the larger battle sequences. I think that besides Thanos, who’s been portrayed as the puppet-master of sorts, Loki remains the MCU’s best villain to date.

Additionally, I wasn’t overly fond of what they did with Black Widow’s role in this film. I like how both her and Hawkeye have more to do this time around, and Hawkeye’s character development is great, but I can’t help but feel like Widow was reduced to a stereotype. The romance between her and Banner seemed unwarranted, and it was too random for me to get behind. Their scenes together seemed cheesy and forced, and basically, I just wish they hadn’t made the only established female character on the team a love interest. I enjoyed finally discovering Widow’s backstory, but her character can be so stiff at times. This could just have something to do with Whedon’s take on her. Something my cousin, Pat, actually pointed out to me was that Widow and Scarlet Witch don’t exchange any dialogue in the film. I think if Marvel can improve on anything in the future, it’s the way they handle their female heroes, and I’m eager to see how they fare with the Captain Marvel movie, since it’ll be the first film in the MCU centered on a female character.

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The Maximoff twins, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, are both incredibly welcome additions to the film. The Witch’s abilities are, admittedly, cooler than Quicksilver’s speed, but they both work well together. I found her capability to manipulate the Avenger’s minds particularly awesome, allowing the team’s human nature and vulnerability to be revealed. Though the twins’ Eastern European accents may have proven to be a struggle at times, I think Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson fit their roles perfectly. I only wish that they had a little more screen time.

The best addition, however, would have to be the Vision. Hands down, Vision is the MCU’s latest breakout character, and his presence was insanely rewarding. This beloved comic book character, often referred to as “the Android Avenger,” is especially visually appealing, showcasing phasing abilities and powerful energy blasts. It’s fantastic to see Paul Bettany, who has been voicing Tony Stark’s A.I. program JARVIS for years now, finally assembling with the Avengers on-screen in physical form. He serves as a wealth of knowledge and powerhouse for the team, moving forward, and his addition to future installments is incredibly exciting!

The next adventure for our heroes will be in Captain America: Civil War in 2016. Judging by the emerging conflicts shown between Stark and Rogers, I’d say Age of Ultron has already set a pretty solid foundation for this upcoming plot. Despite whatever small faults I may have had with it, I think Whedon did a job worth recognizing with such a difficult task. Avengers: Age of Ultron is an enjoyable addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and an exciting reunion for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I truly loved it.

4.5/5

Opinion Battles Round One – Comic Book, Graphic Novels Films

I’m happy to be a part of a new feature created by Darren from Movie Reviews 101, where a group of writers get to share what we think is the best film of a particular genre and the readers get to vote among the choices.

So go visit his site and vote!

Thanks, Darren!

Movie Reviews 101

Movie Reviews 101 would like to introduce our newest feature, Drumroll please.

Opinion Battles

We would like to welcome all our fellow participants into this and we would like you to pick who has selected the best choice. We will continue these battles over the year and whoever gets the most points will be crowned champion. If you would like to join in message us at moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk.

The first subject is going to be Comic Book and Graphic Novel Movies, if you want to take part in the next subject we are going to pick best Sequels, email your choice to the address above.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Snowpiercer (2013)snowpiercer

I had to rack my brain to think of my selection and I had it down to three but I have ended up picking this one. Snowpiercer is adapted from French comic Le Transperceneige and it…

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