Last we spoke I was marveling Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods and now – the long awaited, Avengers movie. Whereas Cabin was taut with radical twists and turns, The Avengers was predictably silly and action packed with super hero special effects. But what sets this marvel apart from it’s lame predecessors is the branded Whedon humor. And Thor takes the cake when it comes to delivering his lackluster Shakespearian lines – talk about a meathead wielding a hammer around. Mark Ruffalo succeeds as the first credible Hulk (even if Iron Man seemed a bit to eager to see Banner bust out of his pants) and Captain America, who after fending the world off from Aliens with supernatural beings, still believes in one God, makes a defiant U.S. soldier.
What wasn’t funny was every time Scarlett Johansson opened her pouty mouth – it’s no wonder there wasn’t a movie for the Black Widow. Making no attempt at a Russian accent, Scarlett hasn’t made an effort to act as anything but a whore since Ghost World. At least she wasn’t made the love interest of the story, which would of been unbearable considering the movie is already two and half hours long. As for the unconvincing nemesis Loki, Tom Hiddleston comes off like a wannabe Cillian Murphy.
My biggest gripe with this movie is – not that it ended with the Super Heroes thwarting the single nuclear missile that was intended for them and thereby turning the tables by redirecting it to ultimately destroy the Aliens, but that they demolished my beloved Grand Central Station and knocked the fucking clock off the top of the info booth. Why couldn’t they have chosen Port Authority instead?
After the debacle of Scoop and Cassandra’s Dream, Woody Allen redeems himself with his fourth consecutive movie shot outside his beloved Manhattan. With a stellar cast, Vicky Cristina Barcelona erases the memory of Colin Farrell and Hugh Jackman. Unlike those posers, Javier Bardem tosses aside flipping coins and his captive bolt pistol from No Country for Old Men for a painters brush and an eye for beautiful American tourists (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) vacationing in Spain for the summer, trying to coax them into a menage a trois by seducing them with their artistic notions of spanish guitar, architecture and wine. But just when you think this trio is wrought with erotic lesbian tension Scarlett finds she can’t hold her liquor, even with the additional weight of her huge ass melons, and Javier and newly engaged Rebecca end up in the dark unwittingly shagging in the bushes.
Yet this episode is just the setup for the introduction to Javier’s ex-suicidal wife, Penelope Cruz, who reveals what a true tortured romantic artist really is through her genuine latin passion, her flights of fancy and raw emotion juxtaposed to those self absorbed Americans. Rounding off this ensemble, Rebecca’s husband (Chris Messina) takes time off from his high powered, social climbing, Wall St. job with the intention of getting married in Barcelona where we see what a dweeb he is compared to Javier who makes out like a bandit by screwing all three girls before he even arrives.
However, with the standard love triangle scenario, Woody shows a different angle of clashing cultures through a brief summer love affair (shot in Spain’s gorgeous light) and how New Yorkers may be too preoccupied with their own neurotic issues of stability and identity and are out of touch with the kind of unadulterated passion and love like the Spaniards. On a sour note, what boggles me is not the use of a narration but that it’s narrated by some dude who reminded me of Bill Scott’s George of the Jungle and Super Chicken and not Woody himself, along with the repetitive one song latin soundtrack from it’s opening to closing credits by Giulia y los Tellarini to help remind you where the movie is set called, “Barcelona”.
Menage a Trois?