Archive for Avengers

Quick Cuts: Fun With the Oscars

Posted in 2013, Best Of Lists, Oscar-Worthy, Quick Cuts, Special Columns with tags , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2013 by knifefighter

QUICK CUTS:  Fun with the Oscars
With Michael Arruda & L.L. Soares

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  It’s Academy Awards time.  I thought we’d have some fun and do our own Cinema Knife Fight version of the Oscars, picking from familiar Academy Award categories, but staying within specific genres.

Here’s my take on the Best of 2012 Horror movies and the Best of 2012 Action movies:


Best of HORROR movies 2012:

-Best Supporting Actress- Alice Eve, THE RAVEN

-Best Supporting Actor- Richard Jenkins, CABIN IN THE WOODS

-Best Actor- Ethan Hawke, SINISTER

-Best Actress –Kathryn Newton, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4

-Best Screenplay- Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, CABIN IN THE WOODS

-Best Director- Timur Bekmambetov, ABRAHAM LINCOLN:  VAMPIRE HUNTER

-Best Picture – CABIN IN THE WOODS



Best of ACTION movies 2012:

-Best Supporting Actress-Kate Beckinsale, CONTRABAND

-Best Supporting Actor- Leonardo DiCaprio, DJANGO UNCHAINED

-Best Actor – Tom Cruise, JACK REACHER

-Best Actress- Scarlett Johansson, THE AVENGERS

-Best Screenplay- Joss Whedon, THE AVENGERS

-Best Director- Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED

-Best Picture- THE AVENGERS


L.L. SOARES: And I’ve decided to do three list, for Horror, Action/Drama and Science Fiction.


Best of HORROR movies 2012:

-Best Supporting Actress- Hannah Fierman, V/H/S (segment “Amateur Night”)

-Best Supporting Actor- Fran Kranz, CABIN IN THE WOODS

-Best Actor- Neil Maskell, KILL LIST/Ethan Hawke, SINISTER (tie)

-Best Actress –Sarah Bolger, THE MOTH DIARIES

-Best Screenplay- Amy Jump and Bean Wheatley, KILL LIST

-Best Director- Ben Wheatley, KILL LIST

-Best Picture –KILL LIST



Best of ACTION movies 2012:

Is  DJANGO UNCHAINED really an action movie? If so:

-Best Supporting Actress-Salma Hayek, SAVAGES

-Best Supporting Actor- Leonardo DiCaprio/Samuel L. Jackson (tie) DJANGO UNCHAINED

-Best Actor – Christoph Waltz/Jamie Foxx (tie) DJANGO UNCHAINED

-Best Actress- Anne Hathaway, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

-Best Screenplay- Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED

-Best Director- Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED


-Best Fight Choreography – THE RAID


John Carter

Best of SCIENCE FICTION movies of 2012:

-Best Supporting Actress- Emily Blunt, LOOPER/ Charlize Theron, PROMETHEUS (tie)

-Best Supporting Actor- Pierce Gagnon, LOOPER

-Best Actor – Taylor Kitsch, JOHN CARTER

-Best Actress-Noomi Rapace, PROMETHEUS

-Best Screenplay- Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon, JOHN CARTER /Rian Johnson, LOOPER (tie)

-Best Director- Andrew Stanton, JOHN CARTER

-Best Picture- JOHN CARTER


ARRUDA:    Have fun this weekend watching the real thing!  Thanks for joining us!



Dan Keohane’s Picks for THE BEST FILMS OF 2012

Posted in 2012, 2013, Best Of Lists, Daniel Keohane Reviews, James Bond, Superheroes with tags , , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by knifefighter

By Dan Keohane

Ok, so, though you haven’t seen much of me in these webbie, wobbly… thingies we call Cinema Knife Fight, that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen my share of movies this year. In fact, I was pretty amazed how many 2012 releases I’d seen (still nowhere near enough, however).  There are a number of movies I did not, or have not yet been able to see (DJANGO UNCHAINED, CLOUD ATLAS, LIFE OF PI and HITCHCOCK to name only a few), but of the films I did manage to see, here are my FAVORITE FILMS OF 2012:


1. THE AVENGERS—I was left a little wanting with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) especially in its latter half, and IRON MAN 2 (2010) was a pretty weak sequel in my opinion, so I was worried about how THE AVENGERS would work out. Oh, Me of Little Faith. Joss Whedon hit this out of the park, as did every cast member. It says a lot when an entire cast’s performance makes Samuel L. Jackson’s seem almost boring. Great fun, especially for a lifetime comic fan like myself.


2. LES MISERABLES—I know, this isn’t a genre film, but I had to include it. My wife cried pretty much all the way through this, and she’d seen the play 3 times before this. I didn’t cry, but was blown away by the vocals, the acting, the choreography—you name it. The movie was brilliant. It should tell you something that I had to pee for the last 45 minutes but didn’t get up until the credits rolled.


3. FLIGHT—A sleeper that I don’t think many people saw, unfortunately. This intense, heroic and sad story of a pilot who saves a crashing airliner only to face his own demons (alcoholism and drug abuse) gives star Denzel Washington a chance to command the screen every moment he’s up there. Powerful movie.


4. SKYFALL—In my opinion, this is the best James Bond movie ever. I hear that some people fell victim to raised expectations going in and I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. If you thought Roger Moore was the best James Bond, with all the gimmicks and jokes, you might not like this back-to-basics, serious spy flick. But I did—a lot. In my mind, Daniel Craig is the best Bond, hands down.


5. THE HUNGER GAMES—An extremely good adaptation of the masterful YA novel, with a cast pulled right from the pages. The editing during battle scenes was choppy and scattered—but this was deliberate both to show the chaos and to keep the film from getting an R rating (thus excluding 90% of its audience). But that was the only negative aspect in my opinion. Besides, if I didn’t include it here, my daughter will never forgive me.


6. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY—This was exactly what I had hoped from Peter Jackson & Co., and more so. I actually left the theater wishing we’d seen the 3D version, which is unlike me, because it was so visually stunning. Very well cast, the film pays loving homage to the first third of the relatively short Hobbit novel, while adding enough extras (from other Tolkien sources) to keep you interested for 2.5+ hours. The Gollum vs. Bilbo scene itself is worth the price.


7. LOOPER—A smart, fast-paced science fiction film which does not try to explain every little detail but appreciates the intelligence of 80% of its audience. This time travel story of a man from the future trying to keep his past self from killing him in the past is fast-paced and exciting and not as confusing as I make it sound—besides, this is only half the story.


8. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN—I was not sure how this reboot / reimagining of the Spidey mythos would work (though I knew it needed something after 2007’s repetitious SPIDERMAN 3). I was pleasantly surprised. It was fun, funny, clever and exciting, as it should be.


9. WRECK-IT RALPH—Came into this one with my 21-year old son not knowing much about it, but left warm and fuzzy having seen a clever, funny and sweet film which gives many nods to the video games that were around when I was 21.


10. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD—This odd, almost experimental film is not for everyone. My wife Linda did not like it. I was spellbound from the beginning to the end. What exactly is going on it not always clear, except that these are some poor, poor people living off an unforgiving land which is about to get even more unforgiving. The relationship between the little girl and her semi-abusive, semi-loving father is equally warm and heart-wrenching.


THE LORAX (was sweet and clever and did my favorite Dr. Seuss book justice)

THE WOMAN IN BLACK (a great and spooky gothic horror, with minimal music blasts to scare you, just creepy settings and scary scenes)

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (very good finale to the series, but not my favorite of 2012, and not *quite* as good as the first two films).

Finally, even though they’re on TV and not the big screen, want to at least give a nod to THE WALKING DEAD and DOCTOR WHO as very enjoyable, unique and captivating viewing as always.

(If you noticed PROMETHEUS is missing from these lists, yes, I still have a couple of healing wounds, but I blame my own expectations for the film, not Mister Scott. He made the film he wanted to and it was vey good in its own right. )

There were many more that did not make the Top 10 but which were extremely good films in my option (CHRONICLE, THE GREY, MOONRISE KINGDOM, among others) and some not so good, but I’m out of room. I wish everyone a wonderful 2013 and hopefully we’ll see each other here more often in the months to come.

© Copyright 2013 by Daniel G. Keohane

Paul McMahon Lists THE BEST MOVIES HE SAW IN 2012

Posted in 2012, Best Of Lists, Paul McMahon Columns with tags , , , , on January 9, 2013 by knifefighter

By Paul McMahon

I spent this whole year lamenting that I didn’t have a lot of time to sit down and watch movies. Imagine my surprise when I tallied what I’d seen and discovered eighty films on the list. That’s almost two movies a week! With luck, I’ll have the same kind of “no time” next year.

I’m not going to list the films by order of greatness because that would be an exercise in futility. I only got to the theater twice this year, and those are probably the only movies I’ve seen that were actually released in 2012. Besides, most of those ‘least to greatest’ type lists I find overly fraught with nuance and personal taste (excepting the lists on this website, of course). Instead, I’ve decided to list the best movies I’ve seen in twelve different categories.


Best Overall Movie:

Best Horror Movie:
FROZEN (2010)

Best Horror/ Comedy:

Best Movie Seen In The Theater:

Best Foreign Movie:
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST (2009) was my favorite– I’ve always been a sucker for courtroom movies.

Best Movie Re-Assessment Of The Year:

Best New Christmas Movie Tradition:

Best Animated Film (Because I Have Kids And End Up Having To Watch A Lot Of Animated Movies):

Best Former Oscar Contender I Finally Got Around To:
127 HOURS (2010)

Best Classic Movie I Finally Got Around To:

Best Movie People Raved About For So Long That I Finally Kowtowed And Watched Only To Wonder Why It Took Me So Long Because That Film Was Awesome, Baby!:


Best Movie I Didn’t Get To See And Tops My “MUST SEE” List for 2013:
ARGO (2012)


I ended up a little behind my intent to read a book a week this year, finishing at 46 out of 52. Of these, in no particular order, the best were:




SNOW by Ronald Malfi

LULLABY by Chuck Palahniuk

and the story collection

SHINY THING by Patricia Russo

© Copyright 2013 by Paul McMahon



Posted in 2012, Comic Book Movies, Marvel Comics, Superheroes with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by knifefighter

A Refresher Course in Marvel History from L.L. Soares

When X-MEN: FIRST CLASS came out last year, I wrote an article comparing the movie to the “real” first class of X-Men from the comics. People seemed to like the refresher course in Marvel Comics history, so I figured I’d do the same thing with THE AVENGERS.

The Avengers first assembled way back in AVENGERS # 1, in September 1963, (© Copyright Marvel Comics )

So how accurate is the new movie version of Marvel’s THE AVENGERS in comparison with how the group really came together? Well, the movies are always going to rewrite history for their own reasons, but in some ways,  things are pretty close to the source material this time around. Let’s take a look.

Back in September 1963, Marvel was just starting out, and had introduced a bunch of brand new superheroes on an unsuspecting public. Remember, DC Comics already had a bunch of characters from the past to draw from—like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman—but Marvel had to start fresh in the early 60s. They already had one superhero team, THE FANTASTIC FOUR (which was also the first official Marvel superhero comic book), but what about all those other characters that had been created in the meantime? Why not get a bunch of them and put them together in a team that could really kick the butt of any big-time foe? And so AVENGERS # 1 came out.

And  the original AVENGERS were born.

(Note: They weren’t even the only AVENGERS back then! In the 60s, there was a  popular British TV show also called THE AVENGERS (1961- 1969) starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg as classy super spies!)

So who was in that first team? Well, Thor was there, so was Iron Man. They were two of Marvel’s heavy hitters right from the start.

A lot of people either find it hard to believe that the Hulk was an original member, or they will scratch their heads and ask “But he was one of the DEFENDERS,  wasn’t he?” However, both are true. Hulk was in the original Avengers, although he only lasted a few issues before he took off. He wasn’t really that much of a team player back then. And yes, the Hulk was also a member of DEFENDERS, another superhero team, which first assembled in Marvel Feature # 1, in 1971. That team was made up of some of the more “rebellious” characters in the Marvel Universe, including Namor the Submariner, Dr. Strange, and the Silver Surfer (and were eventually joined by memorable Defenders Valkyrie and Nighthawk, and a rotating cast of others). Somehow, Hulk was able to stick with the Defenders for a lot longer than his time in the Avengers. I was never sure why. He just never seemed like a very cooperative character to me.

Captain America didn’t join the team until AVENGERS # 4, when the supersoldier from World War II was discovered frozen in ice. But he became an indispensable member of the team very quickly and became the heart and the conscience of The Avengers.

Captain America joined the team in AVENGERS # 4. (© Copyright Marvel Comics)

Also in the original Avengers were Ant Man and the Wasp, a guy and a gal who could reduce themselves to the size of insects. Scientist Henry Pym and his partner Janet Van Dyne had previously appeared in the comic book called TALES TO ASTONISH, which would eventually showcase stories of the Hulk (and a little later, the Submariner as well). Pym was the one who would invent various cool weapons for the group. And by the time Captain America shows up in issue 4, he had already decided bigger was better and changed his superhero identity from Ant Man to Giant Man.

Where do the Black Widow and Hawkeye come into this? Well, they were both Avengers, just not right away. The funny thing is, both of them first appeared in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE, which was where Iron Man stories were published before he got his own comic book, and both of them began as Iron Man’s villains! In those days, most of Iron Man’s villains were either Russian or Chinese (making him probably the most political superhero of his day, even though, unfortunately, a lot of those storylines seem very dated now because of their timeliness back then). Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow was originally a Russian spy (and a bit of a seductress) with exceptional fighting abilities (she first appeared in Tales of Suspense # 52) and Hawkeye first appeared as a carnival archer with exceptional skill who was seduced by the Widow to help her in her attempts to defeat Iron Man (Hawkeye first appeared in TOS #57). So they do actually have a long history together. As you already know, both of them became good guys, with Hawkeye joining the Avengers in issue # 16. But since that time, he’s been one of the most recognizable and steady members of the Avengers. Meanwhile, the Black Widow would come and go, because she often had other matters to attend to (including a brief stint as Daredevil’s “sidekick” in the early 1970s).

Hawkeye the way he should have looked in the AVENGERS movie, with his distinctive mask. (© Copyright Marvel Comics)

And was Loki really the bad guy back then who brought the Avengers together? Well, yes he was! Except in AVENGERS # 1 he was able to take on the appearance of the Hulk to cause some chaos that brought the rest of the Avengers together to stop him, culminating in the rest of the team fighting the Hulk. There weren’t any aliens in the skies helping Loki back then.

S.H.I.E.L.D.  Commander Nick Fury had nothing to do with the Avengers back then. In fact, he was just starting out as the head of  S.H.I.E.L.D. himself, after a stint in World War II (in one of Marvel’s few war comics, SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS). The movies have cleverly been using him as the one who brought the team together, but back in the 1960s, he was too busy fighting the evil forces of the secret organization HYDRA.

Throughout the 60s, there were lots more interesting members of the team, including the android The Vision (one of my favorites) who would control his density at will. And the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, two original members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who started out as X-Men villains and came over to the side of good (there seemed to be a lot of bad guys turning good back then). Also members at different times were the Black Panther (an African prince turned superhero, who had first appeared in the pages of THE FANTASTIC FOUR), the demigod Hercules (who came from the pages of THOR) and the lesser known Swordsman, the Black Knight, and a one-shot character named Wonder Man (who first appeared and then “died” in AVENGERS # 9), but who would show up again a decade or so later to become a prominent member of the team.

While the Hulk didn’t last long as a member of the AVENGERS, he was a long-time member of another team, THE DEFENDERS, which debuted in 1971. (© Copyright Marvel Comics)

By the time the 70s came around, the team expanded further and had a rotating cast of characters as various members joined, left, and rejoined again.

So the movie is actually more faithful to the source material than it first appears. But this is the “way it began” for the Avengers in the comic books, where they originated.

© Copyright 2012 by L.L. Soares