The new trailer for The Avengers dropped today, giving a better idea of what to expect when the popular superheroes combine forces. Writer/director Joss Whedon is known for ensemble casts and prickly dialogue, so it’ll be interesting to see how he applies his sensibilities to the Marvel universe. But if this trailer is an accurate representation of what is to come, it looks like Whedon’s action sequences are hardly anything new.
You don’t see him approach the cow farm, but when an unsuspecting man closes the trunk of his car, there he is. Filmed from below, he is a massive wall of muscle and coiled anger. We’re just as surprised to see the beefy man as the other guy is, so his deliberate threat is all the more menacing. This is the bravura opening toMichael R. Roskam’s Bullhead. A startling thriller, the movie centers on Jacky, the muscular man played by Matthias Schoenaerts, and the world of illegal, hormone-driven cow farming.
It does not take a lot to hate a hippie. Sure, their carefree attitude is seductive, but then they find something they don’t like about a person and respond with their patented form of passive-aggression. The tolerance and eventual rejection of hippie culture have been covered in movies before, so it’s surprising that Wanderlust still finds a way to make it funny. Directed by Wet Hot American Summer’s David Wain, this comedy is a mainstream update of that summer camp classic, one that still preserves offbeat characters and transgressive dick jokes.
There should probably be a moratorium on fiction that centers on September 2008. There have been award-winning films, both fictional and journalistic, that revisited a month defined by bailouts and financial uncertainty. With Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat), now at The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, we can also add experimental theater to the list. Bizarre and off-putting, the play awkwardly stumbles through its attempt at provocation.
For his directorial debut, actor Ralph Fiennes proves he can be equally ferocious behind the camera. Coriolanus is an update of one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known tragedies; it is also a savage war film, complete with gunfire, explosions, and even a knife fight. Working with screenwriter John Logan, Fiennes finds clever ways to modernize the text so that audiences are never lost in the murky world of Roman politics. Fiennes also stars as the titular general, filling his character with rage and seething contempt.
The Academy Awards may be two and a half weeks away, but we’re starting our coverage early. In addition to the whiskey-soaked Oscar live-blog you know and love, BYT is reviewing all the short film nominees. I’m handling the animated shorts, and Logan and Zach is handling live action. And starting this Friday, all the shorts will be screening at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.
As usual, this year’s animated shorts are an odd bunch. There is polished CGI at its finest, as well as messy illustration. Even the happiest short has a tinge of melancholy, and two of them feature beautifully-rendered apocalyptic imagery. This crop is less successful than last year’s, yet there is no denying the creativity of these varied animation styles. So without further ado, to the shorts, onward!