Josh Brolin, son of the veteran actor James Brolin, has been following in his father’s footsteps since he first appeared in Goonies over 30 years ago. Brolin has matured into one of the most reliable character actors in Hollywood (even though that character is usually some variation on either an oily creep or an affable modern cowboy, he still manages to make either one work very very well). Brolin has been part of extremely talented ensembles in memorable films like Sicario, Only the Brave, American Gangster, and In the Valley of Elah. A favorite of the Coen Brothers in films like Hail Caesar!, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit, Brolin is capping one of the more memorable summers in recent memories with three big sequels in less than two months. The most memorable film moment so far in 2018 was Brolin’s in Avengers: Infinity War as his uber-MCU villain Thanos’s “Snap Heard Across the Universe” still has comic fans breathing into paper bags.
Bradley Cooper’s best role may be as an weapons-obsessed, semi-homicidal raccoon, but the actor has put together a solid list of performances in which he is not knee-high and betailed. When Alias exploded on ABC, everyone thought Jennifer Garner was going to be the breakout star from the cast, but, over the years, Cooper has emerged as the most talented member of that fantastic ensemble cast. He’s hit or miss as a leading man, with his best solo performance undoubtedly being sniper Chris Kyle in American Sniper. Where Cooper shines is as part of an ensemble. He works best when paired with other high caliber actors (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook) and can easily do drama, comedy, or action. His achievement with Rocket is not glib praise. Cooper completely transforms his voice to play one of the MCU’s most popular characters and manages to make a character that is silly in concept, a hysterical, often moving example of voice acting at its finest. With A Star is Born, Cooper added A-list director to his repertoire, taking his career in a direction akin to that of Clint Eastwood. Cooper has a bright future in front of the camera and behind it.
Zoe Saldana was originally a ballet dancer before her interest in theater drew her into films. She has been part of, perhaps, three of the best action/adventure films of this millennium in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Between reinventing Uhura in Star Trek, portraying Gamora in the MCU, and Avatar (and its upcoming four sequels), Saldana has taken the torch from Sigourney Weaver in becoming science fiction’s action queen. Her dance background makes her extremely gifted with fight choreography and in motion capture, and her acting skills don’t require make-up. She’s held her own with Tom Hanks in The Terminal, Mark Ruffalo in Infinitely Polar Bear, and Christian Bale in Out of the Furnace. I hope the grind of the Ava-sequel shoot doesn’t prevent her wholly from doing other films, because she’s always an outstanding addition to any ensemble she joins. Continue reading Zoe Saldana’s 10 Best Movies→
Avengers: Infinity War has premiered, and with ticket in hand for tomorrow, as the end begins, I thought it might be time to go back and rank the 18 films that have gotten us to this point. Whatever your expectations for IW, it’s half a finale and I think when we go back and rewatch this first book of the MCU and the 22 films that make it up, we’ll watch it with Infinity War and next summer’s Avengers 4 as a back-to-back conclusion (click here for the chronological way to watch the MCU).
The MCU is the most profitable franchise in film history, and in 2020 it will pass the Bond franchise for the most installments. Since Iron Man in 2008, the quality of the films has certainly wavered, but has been-overall-remarkably consistent. If anything, the films are getting better and better as Marvel gets its characters more established and takes more risks in exploring new corners of the Marvel Universe and highlighting more diverse characters. While I can find flaws in a number of the 18 films, I only have big problems with two of the entries and, once you get to a certain point, it’s really about splitting hairs as to which is the best. Of the origin story films Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man are the best, but how do you balance that against films that have had the biggest payoffs in the whole saga like Winter Soldier, Civil War, Avengers, and Thor: Ragnarok? In the end, this is just my preference; your list is just as valid. Here is my MCU ranking #18 to #1 (subject to change in 24 hours). Continue reading Infinity War Prep: Ranking All 18 MCU Films!!!→
What began in 2008 with Iron Man will begin to come to a close in 2018 with the release of Avengers: Infinity War. The first of a two-part finale to an unprecedented 22-movie story arc spanning the Marvel Universe, the film will unite essentially the entire MCU in a fight against the Mad Titan Thanos. Heroes will die. Stories will end. It’s no small coincidence that this trailer is dropping as Black Panther’s run at #1 begins to come to a close. Marvel is clearly trying to keep the momentum of its unexpected phenomenon going, and has moved up the release date of Avengers: Infinity War one week, so that we’re only six weeks out from the BIGGEST film of the year. This trailer is very Thanos-centric, fully introducing the threat first seen at the end of The Avengers six years ago. Avengers: Infinity War will open April 27, 2018.