My Week #46: The Five-Year Engagement; The Avengers

Note: For the first time I have missed a week! April 28th was the biggest moving day of a whole moving week for me, so "My Week" fell a few pegs priority-wise. Represented here are both this and the missed week. Y'know, as if I watched all that many films to warrant disclaimer. Hey, I'm swamped in boxes here!

The Five-Year Engagement - Nicholas Stoller, 2012
An amalgam of Hollywood, storybook romance and more grounded and honest love, "The Five-Year Engagement is a thoughtful and entertaining third directorial effort from Nicholas Stoller, who will always be on my good side thanks to the incredible "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", though due to its unique morals I find it sits funny. I also appreciate this as a positive, though it is an odd pill to swallow considering its presentation. I wonder if it will go down as Stoller's "Funny People", in the sense that it does not provide what audiences may expect, leaning more toward - for better or for worse (the latter in the case of "Funny People") - serious life quandary than your typical Apatow fare. In light of a predictable script that plays on screen like a 2-hour montage and is somewhat front-loaded (the first half almost feels as though a Woody Allen undercurrent is passing through it, and it features some great belly laughs, one of which involving Tom Hanks references had me rolling - I laughed out loud any time my mind floated back to it) the best the creators can do is be honest, and that they have been.

Further first-time viewings:

The Avengers - Joss Whedon, 2012
I suppose I've got to hand it to Marvel for successfully pulling together the first major superhero crossover film. The question is, however (apart from why there are so many hideous extreme low angle shots), is "The Avengers" worth five movies of build-up? Paradoxically, I find that while several key characters are - courtesy Joss Whedon - better written here and thereby far more sensical (most prominently Loki and Thor, who annoyingly contradicted themselves in "Thor" but are finely motivated now), they are more satisfying when rounding out their own films, albeit in this case films that are ultimately teases for this "assembly". As an "event" the film thankfully justifies its length with little filler, though some dangling ends from prior cliffhangers are allowed to feign insignificance in the somewhat dragging opening bits (in which Loki shows us how he rolls - in the bed of a pickup truck, apparently). Almost hilariously, all the spoiler brouhaha was for naught, as very little is to spoil apart from an obvious final tease (well, obvious to geeks, which "The Avengers" unabashedly appeals to). Actually, the much buzzed secret scene filmed just days before the premiere is a solid one-two to the spoiler-junkies. Also hilarious - and here comes perhaps the only big spoiler, so proceed with caution - is that although the universe is in peril from before the title screen's appearance, it takes Agent Coulson dying to galvanize our titular team. "Intergalactic war led by a Norse demigod is threatening our definition of existence, whatever... but they killed Clark Gregg! Those bastards!!" Outside Tom Hiddleston, the cast is rather subdued, particularly regarding the sedated Mark Ruffalo (why couldn't Ed and Avi just get along?) and the very Mace Windu-ish (with brief shades of Jules-ish) Sam Jackson. And man do I hate Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner so much. Especially Jeremy Renner. What are you doing in my franchises? Go away and don't come back until you've gained some charisma... or ever, really. Yeah, don't come back ever. And take that "Dark Knight" copycat ending with you. Anyway. "The Avengers" is exactly what this wave of Marvel films has become - big-budget pulp. If that's your bag, you're in for a good time. And there's no shame in that. It is a thoroughly entertaining flick, if one that thrives on '80s-esque ├╝ber-cheese. I admit, it is really cool to see these iconic dudes duking it out with one another in movie form, even if they are painfully devoid of developed character relationships and worthy story. But is it something I'll care to think back on a year from now? I can't imagine as much. I do now require a .gif of that guy playing "Galaga", though. And I hope I remember to refer to Thor as "Point Break" henceforth.

Total: 2

More: For the sake of my own sanity I'm just going to leave it at that, no television programs or video games or anything. Just know that I've still been watching loads of "Parks & Recreation" and "Futurama", and I cannot seem to stop sampling free game apps on my new iPad. Were I not currently wading through boxes in a new apartment, I'd be allowing myself much more time to expand in depth on how I feel about Knope 2012, or how Matt Groening's "other show" has grown on me all the more... or how "Nyancat: Lost in Space" is somehow addictive enough to draw my attention away from all my precious tower defense games. Next time!

"My Week in Movies" is a Saturdaily column in which I share preferentially ranked capsule reviews for the films I view in, well, a week, along with thoughts on other forms of media I'm taking in (or masochistically subjecting myself to).

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