The Playlist

Before They Assembled: The Best Performances From The Cast Of 'The Avengers'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 3, 2012 3:59 PM
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  • 15 Comments
For all the many strengths of "The Avengers," there's one that writer-director Joss Whedon can't take credit for: the casting. Of the main characters, only one, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, hasn't appeared in one of the previous five Marvel movies that have led to this point. So given the casting committee that assembled The Avengers, it's something of a miracle that it's ended up with one of the most enjoyable collection of actors in a big tentpole movie for quite some time.

Review: 'The Avengers' Has Its Issues, But Mostly Delivers Thrilling, Engaging, Blockbuster Fun

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • April 30, 2012 10:04 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Everything that works in “The Avengers” really works, but not everything works in “The Avengers.” A virtuoso collection of action set pieces framed by an uninspiring “getting the team together” narrative which should have been accomplished in all of those post-credits sequences in earlier Marvel movies, Joss Whedon’s stab at superheroes delivers plenty of what makes both him and his subject matter appealing, as well as an abundance of mythological set-up that’s somehow simultaneously redundant and contradictory. But as the best (or perhaps most consistently engaging) Marvel movie since the original “Iron Man,” “The Avengers” is a winning piece of popcorn entertainment that does better with characters in an ensemble setting than many ever did when they starred in their own vehicles.

Review: Marvel's 'The Avengers' Is Immensely Satisfying, Entirely Thrilling & Possibly The Best Superhero Movie Yet

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • April 19, 2012 7:05 PM
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  • 33 Comments
The first scene of " The Avengers" is not very good. Deep in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base, scientist Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is conducting experiments on The Tesseract, the blue cube that powered the Red Skull's experiments in "Captain America." Expriments that, unfortunately, bring to earth Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the vengeful brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), last seen plummeting from Asgard into oblivion. Loki manages to take down S.H.I.E.L.D's best -- Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) -- with ease, and soon the base is decimated. It's a perfectly acceptable place to start, but there's something off about the execution: it's stilted, awkward and humorless, and the action is pretty uninvolving, with a TV-level of scope.

Watch: Loki Is Impressed With His Prison In New Clip From 'The Avengers'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 16, 2012 3:22 PM
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  • 8 Comments
So, "The Avengers" had it's world premiere last week, and has since had a screenings for fans and press and everyone in between and the general consensus is that it rocks. Even among the nearly half dozen Playlist folk who've seen the film, word has been very positive. But as for this writer....I still can't get over the overblown dialogue and almost comically serious tone in these clips.

'The Avengers' Assemble For A Bounty Of Action-Packed Pics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 13, 2012 6:47 PM
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  • 2 Comments
"The Avengers" buzz is at an all-time peak at the moment. With the film making a splashy red carpet premiere earlier this week, and with fans heading to advance screenings tomorrow, the Marvel marketing machine is in maximum overdrive, and they've turned the faucet on at full force....

Watch: Loki & Tony Stark Fight...With Words...In New Clip From 'The Avengers'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 11, 2012 9:31 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Well, the long wait is nearly over as tonight at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, the red carpet will be rolled out for director Joss Whedon and his cast -- Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), Stellan Skarsgård (Erik Selvig) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) -- for the glitzy premiere of "The Avengers." And not long after, critics will be getting their taste of the picture as well.

Review: 'The Deep Blue Sea' A Beautiful, Woozy & Heartbreaking Tale Of Intense Passion

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 22, 2012 4:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment
What is love, and what is its worth? That's the burning question at the core of "The Deep Blue Sea" the latest from British master Terence Davies, a drama that burns with a blue flame intensity that is deeply beautiful and shattering all at once.

Watch: Hulk Smash, Downey Jr. Wisecrack In Full Trailer For Marvel's 'The Avengers'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 29, 2012 11:54 AM
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  • 11 Comments
Last summer saw a fairly major clash of the superheroes, with four movies featuring men in tights battling it out for box office supremacy. Marvel's duo of "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" won out over "X-Men First Class" and "Green Lantern," but as it turns out, it was all just a warm up for this summer's main event. July will see follow ups to the two biggest superhero movies in history arrive in the shape of "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises," but they won't have it all to themselves, as May doesn't just bring Thor and Captain America back, but also Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury, for Joss Whedon's "The Avengers."

Benjamin Walker, Tom Hiddleston, Lily Collins, Bella Heathcote & Jessica Brown Findlay Testing For Akiva Goldsman's 'Winter's Tale'

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • February 29, 2012 10:25 AM
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  • 3 Comments
While he may draw the critical scorn of fanboys everywhere with even the mention of his name, and rightfully so after penning the screenplays for the weak “Batman Forever” and disastrous “Batman & Robin,” screenwriter Akiva Goldsman still holds a lot of clout in Hollywood. That’s what one earns when they write behemoth blockbusters that span multiple genres, such as “I Am Legend” or “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as help usher in franchises with the likes of “The Da Vinci Code.” It was reported all the way back in February of 2011 that Goldsman would be lensing his directorial debut “Winter’s Tale," but at the beginning of this month it looked as if Goldsman called in some favors to his famous friends after the production hit some budgetary speed bumps, landing “I Am Legend” star Will Smith and “A Beautiful Mind” actor Russell Crowe in supporting roles. About $20 million was shaved off the budget and the project gained some much needed steam, so it pays to have friends in high places.

Tom Hiddleston & Anna Paquin Join Elijah Wood In Noir 'Black Wings Has My Angel'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 12, 2012 10:27 AM
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  • 3 Comments
They say patience is a virtue, and in the world of film development, that's especially true. While "Black Wings Has My Angel" may seem new, this one has actually been brewing since around 2007. A couple of years ago, Elijah Wood signed on to the lead role in the hardboiled pic and then word when quiet, but it finally looks like the pieces are coming together.

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