Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a remarkably fun film. It’s not as good as the first, but that’s hardly surprising; the first Avengers broke new ground by proving that a shared cinematic universe could work and now that we know it does work, the same thing doesn’t feel as fresh. But same isn’t always bad and this movie definitely had a lot to offer.

The movie’s biggest strength is the titular villain through and through. I don’t know if he’s as good as Loki. I mean, he doesn’t have anything nearly as quotable as, “I am Loki of Asgard and I am burdened with glorious purpose.” Still, he balances pure terror with a comedic edge that I found refreshing and certainly gives him his own identity. James Spader of Blacklist fame provides a great menacing voice that gives Ultron the right amount of gravitas that we love to see from any good super villain. I love everything about this guy right down to his animation where I was absolutely enthralled by the fact that he was allowed some form of facial expression.

The returning cast is in top form and there are some unexpected cameos from other movies that make the world feel fuller. However, it’s the newcomers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (a.k.a. The Twins), who are held under a lot of scrutiny because of the rather unique dual ownership rights case concerning their characters. Quicksilver in particular has a tough act to follow after his namesake stole the show in X-Men: Days of Future Past and while he isn’t as awesome here, he feels a lot more real than his twin at Fox and I can certainly appreciate that. Scarlet Witch is certainly good too, though her powers may confuse a lot of people when they’re explained. There was a scene in the beginning when she was sneaking up on Iron Man and she moved in a disjointed, disturbing way like something out of The Ring or The Grudge; I thought that was really creative and I was disappointed that they didn’t go anywhere with it. I also like the fact that they were given accents, as they were raised in Europe in the comics and I always find it odd when adaptations make them speak like Americans.

The film isn’t without its faults, though. I personally thought the scene during the credits was particularly weak, just telling us stuff that we already learned from the end of Avengers: Thanos exists and he plans to wreck your s***. The score is also weaker in this installment. Gone is Alan Silvestri in favor of Danny Elfman and wishing no offense to the man, he doesn’t capture the heroic and victorious qualities that the music needs. I also felt that the HYDRA villains in the beginning were a weak link, like some of them were trying to deliver funny quips and whether by awkward delivery or subpar acting, it kind of fell flat.

But a little bit of bad doesn’t erase all the good. For every one thing the movie gets wrong, it gets about fifteen to twenty things right. There’s a nice callback to the Agent Carter miniseries and a bit of groundwork laid for the upcoming Black Panther movie, but also some much needed development for Hawkeye, who seems to have gone from being a second stringer with a bow to a bit of a fan favorite. The debut of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor and the fight against the Hulk that ensues from it is one of the standout scenes, as it shows a lot more creativity than just two giants slugging each other. Also, I can’t help but impress on the fact that the movie actually allowed the heroes to balance a battle of epic destruction with them actually diverting their attention to saving people from the destruction they caused. It felt like the most subtle jab at Man of Steel ever and I loved it. While not the masterpiece that its predecessor or Winter Soldier was, it still was some quality storytelling with some great humor and acting and altogether an excellent piece of filmmaking.

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Reel Snippet – The Judge

The Judge is in no way a feel-good movie. In fact, a lot of it is depressing as fuck. But beneath all the turmoil is a story about dealing with your own past and not letting it govern or ruin your future. Robert Downey Jr. does a really good job at playing a truly miserable man who hides behind a veil of snark and wit. Anyone who has had difficulty with one or more of their parents or tried to distance themselves from their roots and hometown will be able to relate to him, even if they occasionally find his actions a bit slimy. With its great acting, dialogue, and characters, you should really give this movie the time of day.

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Reel Snippet – Chef

Chef grabbed me from the very first shot and continued to take me on a wonderful journey. As someone who enjoys cooking, the shots focusing on making food (which the internet calls “food porn”) were right up my alley, but there was so much more to love, especially the dynamic between Carl, played by Jon Favreau, and his son as their relationship continues to evolve. Creative types will be able to connect and learn from a lot of things in this movie, like satisfaction on the job, dealing with harsh criticism, and the danger of getting so sucked into your work that you lose touch with those closest to you. Carl goes through all of these and while he isn’t the most likable person at first, you really start feeling for him at some point or another. Another standout moment is the technology gap between the adults and the kids and how it’s used to further the plot in more ways than the traditional “those darn kids” route. But my favorite part had to be John Legguizamo’s character, who was the likable and fun best friend and surrogate uncle. Every scene with him was just a delight. There are only two nitpicks I have: most of the side characters in the beginning don’t come back or pay off later in the movie and the final scene left me feeling a little strange, like it felt good, but I’m wondering if it wasn’t a bit underdeveloped. Overall, though, it was a really great experience. I think this deserves just as much recognition than the standard blockbuster, even if more people probably went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on the weekend they both opened. And if you want to know what I thought of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, well…

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