The Avengers

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.

Jeremy Renner Will Not Stop Slut-Shaming Black Widow

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The word “slut” has already been reclaimed, repurposed, turned inside out, and analyzed ad nauseam since the ’90s. In the past few decades we’ve encountered Kathleen Hanna’s stomach “slut” scrawl, were Slutwalks, The Unslut Project, Slut! The Play, as well an entirely new term for an old concept: “slut-shaming,” a phrase that has become increasingly common shorthand for something that shouldn’t be done but is done so often that it leads to bullying and worse. Even Monica Lewinsky is fighting back against slut-shaming, while discussions about race, gender identity, and slut-shaming flourish on the Internet.

And then there’s Marvel superhero slut-shaming.
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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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Family Feuds and Celebrity Tirades: Links You Need to See

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Dennis Quaid (who, once upon a time, starred in classic family movies such as The RookieFootloose, and The Parent Trap) overwhelmed the Internet after having a meltdown on set and going off on an expletive-packed tirade. Rumors are already circulating that the whole thing might have been a hoax, but only pure hatred could produce the creative insults Quaid hurls at “Dopey the Dick” — to give an example. Take a peek at these four other ridiculous on-set rants and recall pre-Kimmel era, when we could wholly enjoy an outburst, free from the uncertainty that the ubiquity of pranks has produced. 
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Still image from "Guardians of the Galaxy"

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Marvel’s Third-Act Problem

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From its opening credit sequence, which finds Chris Pratt boogeying through an alien landscape to the strains of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” Guardians of the Galaxy seems the perfect antidote to Serious Summer Blockbuster Syndrome, a blissfully goofy and tartly self-aware slab of sci-fi silliness. Writer/director James Gunn is another of Marvel’s unconventional hires — his pitch-black 2010 comedy Super features Rainn Wilson as a mentally unbalanced would-be superhero who attacks people with a hammer while shouting “Shut up, crime!” — and for much of Guardians’ 122 minutes, Gunn’s grab-bag of quirky characters, genre ribbing, and incongruent ‘70s pop tunes goes over like gangbusters. The trouble is, it’s only irreverent to a point, and when the time comes to wrap things up, Gunn plays it strictly by the book. And this is becoming a real problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Scarlett Johansson in "Lucy"

‘Lucy,’ ‘Nikita,’ and the State of the Female Action Movie

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There’s a scene about halfway into Luc Besson’s Lucy, which finds Scarlett Johansson’s title character striding down a luxury hotel hallway in slow-motion, a gun in each hand, as the operatic music favored by the film’s supervillian swells on the soundtrack. It’s a scene you’ve seen in a million other disposable action movies, but it packs a giddy, sneaky punch here, and not just because it’s well directed by Besson (though it is), or because Johansson is so exuberantly sexy (though she is). The scene works, jumps from the screen and bounces around the auditorium, because the sight of a tough female action hero is still rare enough to give the audience an extra jolt. Say what you will about Lucy, which is an absurdly silly and sometimes aggressively stupid movie, but it’s at least interested in showing us something new.
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Original posters for "Ghostbusters" and "Gremlins"

‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’ at 30: A Requiem for the Special Effects-Heavy Comedy

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We tend to think of the releases of iconic movies as standalone events, like the world came to a crashing halt so everyone could go stand in lines around the block for Star Wars or Jaws or Jurassic Park. But the movies are a business, and rare is the week that doesn’t see multiple releases, which can make for some interesting juxtapositions. (True story: the big movie on Star Wars opening weekend was supposed to be Smokey and the Bandit.) Most of the time, such competition falls into the realm of counter-programming, which was what made June 8, 1984 so peculiar: the two new wide releases of that day were both pitched towards the same general audience, the families-and-teens crowd that had become the bread and butter of the summer movie business. Both would open well — only separated by about a million bucks — and would end up the second- and fourth-highest-grossing movies of the year. More importantly, both would remain beloved pop culture classics, buoyed by a uniquely ambitious mixture of genres that is seldom attempted today. The films were Ghostbusters and Gremlins, and they both turned 30 years old yesterday.
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