Archive for the ‘Mark Ruffalo’ Category

MOVIE: The Avengers (2012)

August 22, 2012

I actually saw this movie about a month ago, but I was having a hard time figuring out what to say about it in a review so I never got around to writing one.  But the blooper reel from the upcoming DVD release just hit the Interwebs today, and I realized it kind of says everything that needs to be said.  Which is this:  The Avengers is FUN.  It’s just REALLY, REALLY FUN.   IT IS SO FUN, YOU GUYS.

I can’t think of anything profound to say (clearly) — I’m not a superhero movie or comic fan generally speaking, and I don’t know anything about any of the characters (except for having watched a lot of The Incredible Hulk episodes as a kid, which I bet doesn’t count for much, right, nerds?).  But to me, this struck me as a movie written by a totally joyful fan boy (Joss Whedon) and acted by a whole bunch of incredible talents who were having the time of their lives on set.

Need independent proof of that?  Check out the blooper reel here:  http://vimeo.com/48114558.  Kind of says it all!

This is a movie that oozes happiness and fun.  But it’s not just silliness.  Some of the characters (Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, for example), are complex and interesting, not just big, green, and fond of breaking things (though I confess, I’m still confused why we have a group of human superheroes and then. . . a GOD?  What is Thor doing in this gaggle?  I guess I’ll have to watch his movie next and find out!).  And the script is brilliantly, hilariously written — just what you’d expect from Whedon (I’d actually forgotten he’d written the script, in fact, until the scene at the end during which Capt. America is assigning battle tasks, then turns to Hulk and says simply, “SMASH.”  Oh yes, WHEDON.  Of course!).

You could not do better for a popcorn-munchin’, summer-heat dodgin’ film, in my opinion.  This one fits that bill absolutely perfectly.

So, you know, RECOMMENDED!  Doy.  And that goes for fans of the comics and not-fans of the comics alike!

[Prequeue it at Netflix | Preorder the DVD]

Genre:  Action, SMASH
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner,  Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany

MOVIE: Date Night (2010) in 5-7-5

April 12, 2010

In the spirit of National Poetry Month, Meg’s Haiku Version, I’m going to give you a few stanzas about this film:

Tina Fey and Steve
Play a bored married couple
Looking for some spice.

Mistake number one:
Stealing a reservation
That wasn’t their own!

Mistake number two:
Leaving Mark Wahlberg behind
When he was shirtless.

(Because that’s crazy —
He looks amazing shirtless.
We all wanted more.)

Overall, this film
Lacked an interesting plot,
But we still laughed lots.

There’s a great car chase,
The rest is predictable:
Predictably fun.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Comedy
Cast:  Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mark Ruffalo, William Fitchner, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig

MOVIE: Shutter Island (2010)

February 25, 2010

The first time I read the Dennis Lehane novel this film was based on, I was absolutely riveted by it — UNTIL about halfway through, when I figured out how it was going to end and realized how much that ending was going to irritate me.  I still enjoyed it, for the most part, but as soon as I was done, I chucked my copy into a box in the garage and forgot all about it.

Last spring, though, my husband was on a serious 12-Step-Program-worthy Lehane binge and when he got this one out, read it, and then raved about it, I decided to give it a second try.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed it far more the second time around.  I think knowing how it was going to turn out  freed me from having to care about the plot (which sounds weird, I know, but sometimes the story isn’t the best part of a book) and instead let me focus on the setting, mood, and characters.  Lehane is a great storyteller, but he’s even better at setting a scene:  the moment that ferry docks at Shutter Island, you dock with it, and you don’t get back off until you turn the last page and put it down.

It’s for that reason I was excited to see this film, directed by Martin Scorsese (who I still want to punch in the face because of THIS, by the way, but whatever), even though I already knew the story. Though many people seem to think Scorsese’s last attempt at a scary movie was a major bust, I actually liked Cape Fear and found it effectively creepy.  So, I was curious to see what Marty could do with this tale.  It seemed it would be pretty hard to screw it up too badly, anyway, seeing as how it’s set in a mental institution for the criminally insane — as far as scary movie settings go, you can’t get much easier than that when it comes to keepin’ it surreal.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this film overall (though it should be noted that my husband really liked it and has way better — or at least more “normal” — taste in movies than I do).  As it turns out, it IS possible to screw up the creepiness of a movie set in an insane asylum.  You do it by loading your flick up with the same tired “scary movie” techniques we’ve seen a million times in a million different flicks.  The story may still be intriguing (hard for me to be objective about that because I was already so familiar with it), but I felt like Scorsese focused too much on that story and not enough on the rest of it.  Instead of working hard to set an effective mood, he just threw in lots of freaky-lookin’ crazy people (Jackie Earle Haley wins the prize, as per usual), framed every shot in spoooooky shadows, and scored it way too heavily in obnoxiously unscary “Hey, listen to this music’s crescendooooo…BOO!”   I got the distinct impression he figured the “twist” would carry the film, and already knowing the twist myself meant I needed the movie to grab me in some other way.

It didn’t.

That said, while the scenes on the actual island — the home of the aforementioned asylum where U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck (Ruffal0) are sent to investigate a missing patient — were uninspired and uninspiring, I found the dream sequences, in which Daniels has flashbacks about his dead wife and his experiences as one of the liberators of Dachau during WWII, utterly striking.  As flashbacks tend to do, Daniels’ start out without context (a shot of him standing in a room with tons of paper flying and flapping around, e.g.), adding more and more information in pieces, until the final horror we’ve been stomach-sinkingly anticipating is at last revealed to us.  These sequences were, in my opinion, very artfully drawn and powerful.  And DiCaprio’s acting in them was the same (though I confess I may have been a bit blinded by the glory of his masterful French inhale — I hate to describe any smoker as “sexy,” but sometimes it just can’t be helped, I’m sorry).  It’s too bad Scorsese didn’t manage to sustain the mood and craft of these scenes throughout the rest of the film.  If he had, I think this would’ve been a much more unique movie, and one that readers of the book might’ve been able to get more out of.

I think if you’ve never read the novel, your chances of liking this film are pretty good — I’d be curious to hear, in fact, from anyone who has seen the film and not read the book.  Were you surprised by the ending?  Did the setting/look of the film work for you?  For me, though, it just lacked too much in the non-story realm.  I didn’t find it terribly creative, thought it was at least thirty minutes too long, and, well, yeah.  Bored, to be honest.  By the end, just bored.

Then again, as was recently pointed out to me by a commenter on my review of Orphan, I’m a moron.  So, you know, do with this information what you will.

[Pre-queue it at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Elias Koteas

BOOK: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.

April 22, 2009

This is the first Dennis Lehane novel I ever read — way back in May of 2003. I remembered being really entertained by it, so I recommended it to my husband recently when he got hooked on Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie series and ran out of installments to read. He loved this one too, so I decided it was about time I reread it, having mostly forgotten all its intricacies. After I was done, I went back to reread my original review of this novel, though, and was pretty surprised to find I had been really pissed about its ending back then in 2003. In my defense, that was right about the time I saw the movie Identity, I think, and the two have somewhat similar denouements, which was not a plus when it came to Shutter Island. I was already irritated by that conceit, and I’m sure stumbling into it AGAIN at the end of this otherwise-fantastic novel was pretty infuriating.

This time around, oddly enough, I was still sort of disappointed when I realized anew where Lehane was taking his characters, but it didn’t seem to bother me as much as it had originally.  Go figure.

The story, by the way, is about two cops who have been sent to Shutter Island, the location of an asylum for the criminally insane, to investigate the disappearance of one of the institution’s patients. Only, once they get to the island, they start to discover there’s a whole lotta crazy stuff going on there, and it’s not all the work of the inmates.

The ending is a bit cheeseorama, if you ask me. But at the same time, it sort of works too. In even better news, I recently learned this book is being turned into a film that will be directed by Martin Scorsese and star Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, and Leonardo DiCaprio. With a crew like that, I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty entertaining ride. Looking forward to it! And if you’ve never read a Lehane novel, this might not be a bad one to start with. He’s hands-down one of the best dialogue writers I’ve seen in a long time, and for that skill alone, he’s worth a read.

[MYSTERY]

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Joss Whedon on the future of Dollhouse. Sort of.

April 16, 2009

dollhouseThis cracked me up today.  These two articles are based on the same exact remarks given by Joss Whedon at the recent Paley Festival in regards to the future of his series Dollhouse (which, incidentally, just got badassedly entertaining about three episodes ago).

LA Times:
Joss Whedon: Chances of a ‘Dollhouse’ renewal are ‘not very good’

Zap2It:
Joss Whedon tells Paley Fest fans that ‘Dollhouse’ season 2 is a total possibility

God bless the American media.  They sure keep things interesting.  (p.s. Thanks to Alisa for bringing the LA Times version to my attention!)

In other recent Boyfriend-related news, Josh Holloway just became a father.  And Mark Ruffalo is going to be starring in the upcoming movie version of the awesome Dennis Lehane novel Shutter Island, which I read for the first time a few years ago and loved, and am in the process of rereading right now.  Great story, AND the movie version will be directed by Martin Scorcese and costar Leonardo Dicaprio and Ben Kingsley.  Sign me up!

Anybody else have any Boyfriends in the News news to report?  Hit the comments, yo!

MOVIE: Zodiac (2007)

July 31, 2007

I read the book this movie was based on several months ago and found it pretty intriguing, albeit very clearly written by a cartoonist and not a reporter (it was written by Robert Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie, and his writing skills lack, uh, oomph, to put it nicely).

So, I already knew most of what was going to happen in this movie, and was kind of worried that, thus, I wouldn’t get much out of it. But, as it turns out, I did really enjoy it. It’s MUCH too long (I had the same complaint about the book, actually), but it’s still pretty effective, and much of the stuff that happens at the very end was taken, I assume, from Graysmith’s second book, so it was stuff I didn’t know anything about (though, now that I’ve seen this movie, I’m definitely planning to read the second book, despite my somewhat-reserved opinion of the first one).

The story focuses on the infamous Zodiac killer (duh), who killed a number of people in the 1960’s and 70’s in the Bay Area and then sent lots of letters and hard-to-crack ciphers to the local newspapers. When Graysmith overhears the content of the first letter, he becomes obsessed with getting involved with the case, even though it’s completely unrelated to his job as a rookie political cartoonist. He ultimately teams up with reporter Paul Avery (played by Robert Downey Jr.), and the two of them begin working on the ciphers and theories together. Eventually Avery is lost to alcoholism, and Graysmith begins thinking it’s time someone wrote a book on the case. As his investigation deepens, he begins to focus on one suspect in particular — a man who, it seems, has a lot in common with what they already know about the killer. Was that man really the Zodiac killer? We’ll probably never know. But, though movies with unresolved storylines usually drive me batty (damn you, Limbo!), the postscript of this film provides enough information to make it feel fairly satisfying. I felt like it had a sense of closure, even if that sense is somewhat unjustifiable.

In any case, I did enjoy this movie, though I would’ve edited at least thirty minutes of it out had I been in charge (why, oh why, am I never put in charge?). If you like puzzles and thrillers, you’ll probably like both this movie and the original book, I think. Great acting from everybody too — and, of course, it didn’t hurt that it was essentially a little ex-Boyfriend of the Week reunion flick either (Jake, Mark, and Robert have all been featured on the site, see links below to their write-ups). Recommended!

Genre: Thriller / True Crime
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch, Chloe Sevigny