Tag Archive: jeremy renner

Dir. Joss Whedon
(2012, PG-13, 143 min)

The challenge of any superhero movie is suspending disbelief. That’s usually a fair bargain, but The Avengers requires multiple suspensions of multiple disbeliefs, and the collision of a handful of superhero worlds – each with its own system of techno-mystical logic – can draw undue attention to their absurdity. A man (Mark Ruffalo) who turns into a giant green monster because of exposure to gamma radiation is all well and good, but when he sits around chatting with the Norse god of thunder and a World War II-era super-soldier freeze-dried since the 1940s, well, don’t they all start to look a little silly?

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Dir. Ben Affleck
(2010, R, 123 min)
★ ★

The Town is a watchable and competently made heist film without much to recommend it for. It’s the second film directed by actor Ben Affleck, whose first film was 2007’s darker and grittier Gone Baby Gone. This film, also set in a noir-ish Boston crime world, is constructed mostly of car chases, shootouts, and cliches — occasionally effective, but on the whole not very satisfying. I kept hoping it would develop into something of greater ambition or higher artistic stakes.

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'The Hurt Locker'

Dir. Kathryn Bigelow
(2009, R, 131 min)
★ ★ ★

I expected more.

Scoring a staggering 93 on MetaCritic and 97% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes, The Hurt Locker has been called the first great film to be made about the current Iraq War. Watching it I thought about another great film about the Iraq War, HBO’s Generation Kill, and how it’s better than The Hurt Locker — clearer, more unified, more complete. The HBO film has the benefit of greater length; it’s a seven-hour miniseries. But then there’s another great film, Taking Chance, also from HBO, which is also better than The Hurt Locker and only 77 minutes. But its focus is different, concerning military rituals of death, and a direct comparison would be unfair.

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