Joss Whedon

Is Cinema Doing Shakespeare Right?

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There is undeniable poetry within the work of Shakespeare that all should hear, and some of his themes are timeless. But one has to wonder if film’s apparent reverence towards Shakespeare is too restrictive, when cinema allows for so much …Read More

The 10 Best Uncredited Film Performances by Famous Actors

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The third-act appearance of Kevin Spacey as ‘Seven’ killer John Doe blindsided opening weekend audiences, since Spacey was unbilled on posters and in the opening credits, and unseen in the trailers and TV spots. It’s a good trick—and part of a long-running tradition of surprise, unbilled appearances by actors and actresses of note. …Read More

The Question Isn’t Why Joss Whedon and Jaden Smith Quit Twitter — It’s Why Any Celebrity Would Join in the First Place

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If you’re at all interested in the activities of Joss Whedon, you’ve probably read that he quit Twitter over the weekend. Shock, horror! Also gone from social media this week: Jaden Smith, who deleted his body of pseudo-profound sentence-case tweets and made his Instagram private. The public always seems to react with surprise when a celebrity cracks and quits Twitter. How could they? But really, the question is: Why on earth would anybody want to be on Twitter in the first place?
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‘Age of Ultron’ Opening Weekend: Insanely Huge, Quietly Disappointing, or Both?

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On Film Twitter — as, I suppose, on Twitter in general — the speed with which prevailing opinion and contrarianism appear and invert can give the casual reader whiplash, and the reactions to the opening weekend of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron were a prime case study. It opened big on Friday, as everyone expected — and then dropped off sharply, taking in less in its second day than its first, which is (to put it mildly) a rarity among giant opening weekends. It closed out the weekend with $187.7 million in the bank domestically — a giant number, and a number roughly $20 million shy of the first Avengers’ debut three years ago. Some observers pointed out that this could be perceived as a bit of a backslide (particularly since industry experts were expecting it to shatter the first film’s record by anywhere from $3-$23 million). And as soon as that opinion was out there, it was dismissed; as Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri asked, “Is anybody actually calling Ultron’s box-office a disappointment, or is this yet another hot-take-friendly straw-man?” Well, I guess this is that hot take.
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‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and the Inevitable Onset of Superhero Fatigue

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Superhero movie fatigue is a real thing, and I’m afraid your correspondent has come down with a case of it. Sure, there have been dribs and drabs before, in the grim solemnity of Zack Snyder’s joyless Man of Steel or the endless recycling of the Spider-Man franchise. But amidst all the clutter, the Wolverines and Ghost Riders and Green Lanterns, the Marvel movies have been an oasis (y’know, Thor movies aside). Iron Man gave us a hero with real dimension, acted sharply by Robert Downey Jr. and directed with intelligence by Jon Favreau. Captain America: The First Avenger had a golden glow of nostalgia and a giant heart at its center. Joss Whedon injected the series with a shot of genuine wit in the first Avengers — he insisted that blockbusters could be (in fact, should be) funny, a notion taken up well by Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s back at the helm of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has several thrilling action sequences, a great many good jokes, and an unshakable sense that everybody is just going through the paces.
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