Tag Archives: Scarlett Johansson

Avengers: Endgame Review

Note: This review will be as spoiler free as possible.

The final film in any film series should pack an emotional punch, ramp up the drama and end with the feeling that the audience has seen everything that they need to see.

After months of buildup and expectation, Avengers Endgame premiered this weekend.

Starting off where Avengers: Infinity War ended, the film begins with a feeling of grief. After their numbers of have been decimated by Thanos (Josh Brolin), the surviving Avengers are not themselves. The loss of their friends and colleagues has cast a pall over the team. But Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) may have the resolution to their problem. But the plan is dangerous and has the possibility to not be completed as expected.

Can Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/ The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and  Scott Lang/Ant-Man bring back the lost Avengers or are they doomed for failure?

If there any definitive comic book super hero movie, Avengers: Endgame is it. Despite it’s 3 hour-ish run, it is not boring, predictable or has the feeling that some scenes could have been left for the extras section of the DVD. It has plenty humor, heart pounding action, feels emotionally authentic and has an ending that feels just perfect.

I also loved that the female Avengers were given just as much screen time and ability to kick ass as their male counterparts.

I absolutely recommend it. I also absolutely recommend that you use the bathroom before going into the theater. Trust me, you do not want to miss a moment of this film.

Avengers: Endgame is presently in theaters. 

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Flashback Friday-Scoop (2006)

In the world of journalism, an unsolved murder is like catnip.

In the 2006 movie, Scoop, American journalism student Sondra Pransky (Scarlett Johansson) has a hot tip regarding the murder of fellow journalist Joe Strombel (Ian McShane). She follows the tip to doorway of British aristocrat Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman). But things get weird when Sondra begins to fall for the man who maybe Joe’s killer and begins to question if Joe might have been wrong.

Every filmmaker has at least one film where the tried and true becomes dull and predictable. Unfortunately, this is that film for Woody Allen. While his cast is stellar, they cannot make up for the fact that screenplay needed work.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Whitewashing-Again

Hollywood has a problem.

They think it is 1966 and not 2016.

The latest controversy is the film adaptation of the comic book the Ghost In The Shell.

The problem is that instead of casting an Asian actress in the lead role, Scarlett Johansson was cast as Kusanagi.

Not that there is nothing wrong with Scarlett Johansson, and I’m not a casting director, but there are plenty of Asian actresses who I’m sure would have been just as good in the role.

Wake up, Hollywood. We are not in 1966 anymore. Actors of colors can not only play roles where the character is not Caucasian (shocking, I know), but they can play roles where the race of the character might have been Caucasian.

This white washing has to end.

Ghost In The Shell will be hitting in theaters in 2017. 

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Star Wars And Feminism

Star Wars, despite the appearance of being the standard science fiction boys club, has a strong feminist streak. Even with the lack of female characters, the simple act of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) grabbing the blaster and shooting at the storm troopers in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope forever changed how women are portrayed in the science fiction genre.

Unfortunately, that feminist streak does not extend to all areas of the Star Wars Universe.

Any Star Wars fan knows that with the premiere of the movie comes the plethora of new merchandise. The one question that fans, especially young female fans, were asking was #WheresRey.

Hasbro claimed that they withheld from producing Rey merchandise because they did not want to give away the plot before the film’s premiere.

Pardon my French, but that is b*llshit.

This is not the first time Hasbro has done this.

With the release of the most recent The Avengers film last year, many fans asked the same question with the lack of the Black Widow action figure.

Wake up Hasbro. It is the 21st century. There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys playing with a female action figure. Women are just as loud and proud (and shockingly have money to pay for memorabilia) about their fandoms as men. It’s time they were represented in the toy stores.

In related news, NY Post columnist Kyle Smith called out the fact Carrie Fisher is no longer the younger woman that she was when A New Hope premiered (again, shocking). Her response is brilliant.

News flash, we all get older. Our bodies change.  The figure we had at twenty may not be the figure we have at fifty. Ms. Fisher is also a mother. Having a child forever changes your body.

Kyle Smith, being a man, will never have the experience of being a woman who is judged by her looks and put aside after a certain age because she has gotten older.

Bravo, Carrie Fisher.

Star Wars is 39 this year.

There is no one on the planet who does not know something about the series. It’s legacy of feminism and strong women will live on and continue to inspire women to speak up and fight for what they believe in.

 

 

 

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Thank You, Saturday Night Live

One of the more vocal complaints that has come out of audiences and female members of the Hollywood community is the limited number of strong female driven films and television programs.

Last night, Saturday Night Live hit the nail on the head.

Last year, a study of the top grossing films released in 2013 revealed that only 15% of the films had women in the lead role.

The host was Scarlett Johansson. Her latest movie, Avengers: Age Of Ultron seemed to be the audience favorite this weekend.

As much as I love this series, I have to wonder, when will Black Widow get her own movie? Every male character (except Hawkeye) has had at least one film under his own name.  Is Marvel afraid that she cannot carry a film?

I think she can, with  the right script and the right supporting players. It’s just a matter of taking that chance and finally proving that female characters can carry an action film as much as they can carry a rom-com or a drama.

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Not Funny And Not Acceptable

In making their rounds with the various media outlets to promote their new movie The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, actors Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner have made rather unpleasant comments about co star  Scarlett Johannson’s character, the Black Widow.

They quickly apologized, stating the following:

“We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize”- Chris Evans

“I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone,” he said. “It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour”.- Jeremy Renner

I will give them that they maybe exhausted. Answering the same questions asked by different reporters for days on end sounds like it becomes tedious quickly.

But that is still no excuse.

The other issue within this article is the double standard. Why are we so quick to attach a love interest to a female character, but not to a male character?  No one would think to ask if Thor or Iron Man would hook up with Maria Hill and the implications of such a hookup, if it was within the plot of the film.   As I have seen and enjoyed this franchise so far, Black Widow is just part of the team. The fact that she happens to be a female does not make the audience or the other characters question her role in the film.

And even if Black Widow was to become involved romantically with one of her teammates, that should not be a barrier to her ability to defend the world from the villain.

It is not funny and not acceptable.

The Age Of Ultron is in theaters on May 1st.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review: Yes, Captain

Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you have not seen this movie, do not read. I will not be offended.

Superhero movies, especially sequels to superhero movies, can be a tricky prospect. If the movie does well, it means that there will be more movies in the future. If the movie bombs, the fans will be up in arms and will trash the movie for all eternity.

That being said,  Captain America: The Winter Soldier is thankfully the former and not the latter.

The movie starts off several years after the first Avengers movie. In Washington DC, Shield has setup headquarters where they employ Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and The Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson). When Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) is assassinated by the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) assumes command, the truth about Shield is brought to the surface. Falcon/ Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) joins the fight against the now corrupted Shield with Captain America and The Black Widow.

I enjoyed the movie. It was long, but it did not feel long. The action was non stop, but not over the top.

I only have one criticism. I wrote a post several weeks ago about women in film and how we are still often portrayed as the fainting, needed to be rescued damsel in distress.

After seeing this movie, the scene where The Black Widow is unconscious and has to be carried by Captain America makes sense. However, I still wish she would have walked out instead of having to be carried out.

I highly recommend this movie.

 

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I am part of the generation born after the second wave of the feminist movement. I have an extreme amount of pride for my generation. We have achievements and opportunities that our grandmothers and great grandmothers would have not even considered.  But as I pointed out in my post about International Women’s Day, we still have a long way to do. For every one step we have made going forward, we have gone back two steps.

Case in point, two movie trailers:

The first, for the upcoming movie reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Back in the day, TMNT was one of the best cartoons on television. To this day, I can still sing the theme song.  April, the female lead, was strong, independent and part of the group. No different than her mutant male counterparts.

In this trailer, April, played by Megan Fox, upon meeting two of the turtles, appears to faint.

Not cool.

The second movie trailer is the sequel to Captain America. Returning to role of The Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson.  The Avengers was one of the best super hero movies of recent memory. A huge plus for the movie was that the Black Widow was just simply one of the Avengers. She was not a love interest, she was not a damsel in distress.  She had no problems taking care of herself.

In this trailer, for reasons that will be revealed when the movie opens in theaters next weekend, The Black Widow is unconscious and has to be carried to safety by Captain America.

I had hoped that by 2014, the movie industry would not still be writing females as fainting and unconscious damsels in distress who must be carried away by the male hero.

One step forward, two steps back.

 

 

 

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Don Jon Review- There Is A First For Everything

Tonight, I saw the writing and directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film, Don Jon.

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a twenty something Italian male from New Jersey who is fixated on the external images of himself and his world. While he has no problem finding female companions, he prefers pornography over the real thing.

He meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) at a club and they start a relationship.  But Jon is still addicted to porn, despite his promise to Barbara to stop.  She also encourages him to attend night school where he meets Esther (Julianne Moore).

Included in the cast of characters are Jon’s friends, Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke) and his family.  His parents,  Jon Sr, (Tony Danza) and Angela (Glenne Headley) and his sister Monica (Brie Larson).

There is a first for everything. While the lead character is certainly compelling, it is a very stereotypical view of Italians and more specifically, those of Italian descent who live in New Jersey. To paraphrase another reviewer, the character is almost out of Jersey Shore.

It an admirable first film for Gordon-Levitt, as a writer and director.  But it not the best film I have seen this year and I hope he will take both the good and the bad from this film and apply those experiences to future films.

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Behind Every Great Man- A Hitchcock Review

Behind every great man is a great woman who is loyal and hardworking & Alfred Hitchcock was no exception.

The movie Hitchcock details the making of the horror classic Psycho while allowing the audience a glimpse into the life of the movie’s iconic director, Alfred Hitchock (Anthony Hopkins) and his marriage to Alma Reville (Helen Mirren).

Alfred Hitchcock may have been public face of his movie and tv empire, but his wife, Alma was the brains behind the face, working tirelessly from begginning to end to help her husband maintain his success.

The supporting cast is well chosen: Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), star of the movie, Peggy Robertson (Toni Collette), Hitch’s assistant, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), a writer friend of Alma’s with and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), an actress who worked with Hitch in the past, but gave up part of her career to start a family.

The movie is entertaining and well done and an interesting view of a very iconic man whose personal life has been overshadowed by his work.

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