[FILM REVIEW] Avengers: Endgame (Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, 2019)

WARNING: The very premise of this film contains spoilers for the series thus far. If you intend to watch Avengers: Infinity War blind, do not read any part of this review.

The unthinkable has happened. Thanos the Mad Titan has seized every single one of the six Infinity Stones, thereby completing the Infinity Gauntlet. With a snap of his fingers, half of the universe’s population disintegrated into dust. Countless heroes lost their lives, the Guardians of the Galaxy have fallen, and those who remain face a foe of incalculable power. With the Infinity Stones at their full potential, Thanos has control over all life in the universe, time, and every single mind in existence. Even if they mounted a resistance against him, he could easily stop them before they had a chance to effect their plan. If they were to defy the odds and strike him down, he would simply erase his defeat and respond in kind with a force his assailant couldn’t even dream of standing up to. Even with a powerful reinforcement in the form of Carol Danvers, do the surviving heroes stand a chance against this omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent enemy?

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[FILM REVIEW] Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, 2018)

Thor, Loki, Hulk, and the Asgardians have left their home world following an event known as the Twilight of the Gods – Ragnarok. However, their spaceship has been intercepted by the one who orchestrated Loki’s attack on New York City: Thanos. The Mad Titan has recently acquired the Power Stone from Planet Xandar and will stop at nothing to obtain the remaining five. The Infinity Gauntlet Thanos bears will unlock the Infinity Stones’ true potential. With them all in hand, he intends to kill off half of the universe’s population. With the Avengers divided thanks to the efforts of Colonel Helmut Zemo, Earth’s mightiest heroes will need to do everything they can to prevent Thanos’s unconscionable ambitions from coming to pass.

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Quick Takes: Apollo 11 and They Shall Not Grow Old

I used to write short reviews of films under a single post in a segment called Reel Life. I gave it up when I began writing full reviews instead. With this “Quick Takes” article, you could say I’m bringing it back, but with a different purpose. On occasion, I’ll see something that, for whatever reason, I don’t want to review using my usual metrics. In this case, I’ll be talking briefly about two different documentaries I’ve seen recently: one about the Apollo 11 mission and the other about the First World War. All I’ll say now is that both are worth watching, so if you wish to go into them blind, go ahead and see them first.

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[FILM REVIEW] Serpico (Sidney Lumet, 1973)

Frank Serpico is an idealistic young man who has just become the newest member of the New York City Police Department. He dreams of becoming a detective, hoping to qualify for the prestigious gold shield. He joins the Plainclothes Division, dressing like a hippy as part of the job, which is the source of much derision from his coworkers. As he continues his line of work, he will learn the disturbing reason behind their hostility.

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[FILM REVIEW] Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon, 2015)

The Avengers have been called to the Eastern European country of Sokovia. They are an all-star superhero team consisting of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton. They have been asked to raid a facility owned by an elite terrorist organization known as Hydra. The commander’s name is Wolfgang von Stucker. There, they are besieged by two of Stucker’s test subjects: Pietro Maximoff and Wanda Maximoff. The former possesses superhuman speed while the latter is both telepathic and telekinetic. Regardless, the Avengers are able to apprehend Strucker and retrieve what they’ve been looking for: Loki’s scepter.

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Missing Link (Chris Butler, 2019)

Sir Lionel Frost has been doggedly pursuing countless mythical creatures in an attempt to join a society of great men led by his rival, Lord Piggot-Dunceby. His last attempt at discovering the Loch Ness Monster resulted in a resounding failure, for his camera was shattered by the creature. With nothing to show for their endeavor and nearly having been eaten by the monster, Frost’s investigative partner quits. While considering his next course of action, Frost discovers a letter from somebody claiming they have irrefutable proof of Sasquatch’s existence, asking him to come to the state of Washington.  He then makes a deal with Piggot-Dunceby that would allow him to join the society if he can prove the creature is real.

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High Life (Claire Denis, 2018)

Monte is the sole survivor of a crew onboard a space vessel that has long since left the Solar System. The only other contact he has with another form of human life is a baby he named Willow. His crew was a group of death row inmates sent to find a source of alternative energy in the far reaches of space. Their goal is to extract energy from a black hole. As Monte disposes of the corpses, he reflects on the events that brought him here.

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First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017)

Ernst Toller is a Reverend of the First Reformed Church in Snowbridge, New York. Toller is also a former military captain who struggles to come to grips with the death of his son, Joseph. Worst of all, he himself had encouraged his son to enlist. Partially to ease his guilt, he has made the decision to write down his thoughts in a journal for a year, intending to destroy it once he is finished. First Reformed has existed for 250 years and was once a stop for the Underground Railroad. Its attendance has been dwindling over the years, and it now primarily serves as a tourist attraction owned by a megachurch named Abundant Life.

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Three Outlaw Samurai (Hideo Gosha, 1964)

A wandering ronin, Sakon Shiba, has stumbled upon a disturbing scene. A group of peasants have kidnapped a young, well-dressed woman, tying her up to a post in a mill. However, things aren’t quite as they seem. They have no intention of harming her as long as her father listens to their words. The woman’s father is a corrupt magistrate by the name of Matsushita, and he has made life a living nightmare for the people living under his rule. Sympathetic to the peasants’ plight and in need of a place to stay, Shiba decides to aid their cause.

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A Rebuttal to Paul Schrader: Learn to Respect Your Audience

Fresh off his latest acclaimed film, First Reformed, veteran director Paul Schrader was interviewed on the online magazine Deadline Hollywood about his take on the current state of cinema. I myself have always found the discussion of what decade could be said to be the high point of a given medium fascinating. Are the consensuses guided by nostalgia or did the masters of old really have something the current generation doesn’t possess? If one were to look at any given list of the greatest films ever made, one would get the impression the 1970s in particular was an exemplary decade for the medium.

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