Avengers: Infinity War – Take Infinite Spectacle to the Max

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
ReviewerAutar Kaw
Grade: B+
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 149 minutes

Yes, Avengers: Infinity War is 149 minutes long with relentless noise that seems to abate only a few times for its own sake and not for the audience. What is noteworthy is the embodiment of a villain by Josh Brolin, around whom the countless avengers play a secondary role. The movie is fun and it has quite a number of laughs, and some jokes do lose their effect with repeated use.

I did go to see it on Thursday with my daughter who is a big fan of Marvel movies, and one was seeing the movie with equally adoring fans. There was a lot of clapping of virtual heroes and jokes I did not get. If you are like me, to get ready for the movie, you can always read CNN’s timeline of the previous 18 movies.

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Marvel characters, from left in the foreground, Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Credit Marvel/Disney

Without mentioning any spoilers, fans will be questioning how they will continue from here but one of the six stones may hold the answer for you. If they can revive Dallas from JR’s death and that the Last Jedi is not really the last Star Wars movie, they definitely have a plan till audiences are willing to be subjected to noise, no-holds-barred battles, and state-of-the-art CGIs.

Stay till the end of credits like you usually do for Marvel movies, take what they reveal as homework and figure out its meaning. Do not google for it though like you do the solutions manual for a college course HW.

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Get Out

Get out (2017)
ReviewerAutar Kaw
Grade: A
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Rating: R
Running Time: 103 minutes

If you have already gotten out, you have been treated to a modern classic. If not, get out this weekend to see “Get Out”.
 
What seems to be a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” remake is a well-done horror movie with many doses of comic relief. Daniel Kaluya plays the black boyfriend of a white woman played by Allison Williams. They are both going to meet her parents for the weekend. But the turn for horror takes place soon after they reach her secluded home.

 
 
The beauty of the movie is how the scares are put in real and believable context, while you are simply thrust into rooting for the central good guy and other players start showing their bad side to the audience.
This is a gem of a debut from the director Jordan Peele and would like to see more from him. I hope he does not follow M. Night Shyamalan’s path, although I will publicly confess that I liked most of the movies MNS made after Sixth Sense.
 
Some believe that the movie had racial tones and references to recent incidents, but Peele has little intention of pointing out the obvious as he never gets sentimental, and instead lets the audience squirm in deciding what to do – snicker, laugh or contemplate.

Rogue One

Rogue One (2016)
ReviewerAutar Kaw
Grade: B
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 133 minutes

It was good to go and see Rogue One during the preview showing as fellow nerds, young and old, were there and laughing at jokes which only we could get.  Rogue One is the “filler movie” before the eighth episode shows up in all its glory in 2017.

The movie is not a Star Wars extravaganza as it is a spin-off, but without saying too much, it fits very well in the series puzzle in the beginning and at the end of the movie.  It took a while to figure out what was going on at the beginning of the movie but it compensates for with its climactic war that seems to go on forever.  The war is filmed in daylight and hence the attention to detail does not go unnoticed.

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You will be pleased with a few cameos from the franchise, some so short that you will have to forego blinking, while others are main characters in the film.  The droid has the best lines and he will make you chuckle at your own responses.

I am hoping that Disney will not treat the franchise like the “goose who lays the golden egg” but I am not sure as every year in the near future we will see a spin-off or an episode. I do not blame Disney as a $4 billion deal is quite a sum to recoup.

 

SULLY

Sully (2016)
ReviewerAutar Kaw
Grade: B
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 95 minutes

Well, Sully is another low-key semi-masterpiece by Clint Eastwood.

Tom Hanks with gray hair and a paunch carries the weight that a reluctant hero does. We all know the ending but the story has had many other players (passengers, coast guard, air traffic controllers, union, NTSB, transit) and they have been knitted well in the movie.

Why a grade of B – because it is straight forward and the nonlinearity of the presentation does not compensate for it, and also because Sully in his sarcasm points out, “Engineers are not pilots”.

Laura Linney as Sully’s wife was a waste of talent – but might have been just a paycheck role for her. On the other hand, Aaron Eckhart as the first flight officer gives an analytical performance.

Read the real critics reviews.

THEORY OF EVERYTHING

Theory of Everything (20XX) 
ReviewerAutar Kaw
Grade: B
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 123 minutes

The theory of everything is a brief 2-hour history of the life of Stephen Hawking. The acting is great but the science has been trivialized to sudden inspirations rather than what would have been years of calculations and proofs, and disappointments and elations. The life stories have also been cleaned up a little except for a few marital indiscretions that many will not condemn. It was enjoyable as the humor was quite subtle and refreshing.

I am here to tell you that STEM degrees are hard, and they are challenging. The more we bring this revelation to the forefront, the better off we will be. It does not mean that it has to be boring and unreachable and that we keep teaching science courses the way we have been for decades. We still need to strive for diversity in STEM as that is where the new and exciting trails of science and engineering will be created.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
Reviewer: Autar Kaw
Grade: A
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 131 minutes

Ya, the summer session is over and I have become a somewhat lenient grader. That is not true. I was just leaning toward an A-.

Tom Cruise makes 55-year-olds like me look like a mission possible. He is helping us relive the good old and sorely missed James Bond style action with a flair for stunts that are only semi-CGI and seat-edge worthy.

Two hours fly by nicely after 20 minutes of commercials which I do not mind. Some good thoughtful movies (think Oscar) are coming in October.

There is the usual comic relief from Simon Pegg with a dose of Alec Baldwin and Jeremy Renner two liners to keep the movie in Cruise control, while disabling the control during a motorcycle chase, airplane hanging, water hole jumping, and a knife fight. Who can forget to mention the grumpy Ving Rhames acting just like as if he is in the ADT commercials.

Rebecca Ferguson is the female lead who holds her own in acting chops (is that a pre-requisite), plot twists and screentime, and the directors were sensible in her having the last word in a well-choreographed knife fight.

BIRDMAN

Birdman
Reviewer: Autar Kaw
Grade: B
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Running Time: 119 minutes

A movie about a washed-out actor trying to make it on Broadway is one that will be loved by some and hated by others. I liked it and it is not a popcorn movie. The acting ensemble of six – Keaton, Watts, Norton, Stone, Galafinikas and Ryan is worthy of a watch. I did not know that Keaton is so versatile in his depiction of emotions, and Watts always makes it look so easy.

The music was chaotic and it put me on the edge – may be that is what the city of NY is supposed to be portrayed as. It will be nominated for original score for the Oscars but I think it would be for the wrong reasons.

Whatever you may think about the movie, it is a cinematography marvel because of its fluid motion camera work and many long single-shot takes. There are some good lines, but some may be pretentious, but then again we are talking about actors acting as actors.

The movie is not playing in regular theaters – so we went to Zephyrhills Cinema 10 – that may have been a bad choice as the sound system is as good as the Tampa theater. Tickets are cheap and so is the popcorn, but once one gets used to the good stuff at Muvico 20, one gets spoiled.