This Week’s Movie Releases
FILM: THE AVENGERS
Iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) answer the call to action when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., initiates a daring, globe-spanning recruitment effort to assemble The Avengers team to defeat an unexpected enemy threatening global safety and security.
Despite pulling together the ultimate dream team, Nick Fury and longtime confidant Agent Coulson must find a way to convince the Super Heroes to work with, not against each other, when the powerful and dangerous Loki gains access to the Cosmic Cube and its unlimited power.
With the successful launching of the ‘Iron Man’ franchise in 2008, the first hints for what would be Marvel’s most ambitious new franchise to date began to surface – bringing together its beloved characters in one film for ‘The Avengers’, the holy grail of the Marvel Universe. The idea for ‘The Avengers’ first surfaced during the production of ‘Iron Man’ when producer Kevin Feige had a notion that S.H.I.E.L.D. could be part of both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’.
“We started looking at the list of characters in the Marvel Universe that hadn’t been taken by other studios: Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow,” says Feige. “And I thought, ‘Isn’t that interesting; all of these characters happen to form one of the most popular comic book series – ‘The Avengers.’
“When the idea of a Nick Fury cameo started coming up, we called Sam Jackson and he thought it was a cool idea,” continues Feige. “It was his enthusiasm about it that led us to shoot that end credit scene and what he says to Tony Stark in the scene, ‘You’re part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet.’ The line was also Marvel telling that to the audience as well.”
The producer adds, “Audiences loved the cameo and the buzz about Nick Fury began. We did it again two months later on ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and the reaction once again told us ‘The Avengers’ is going to work. Our plan then became to build it one Super Hero at a time because it was really important that we introduced all of the characters first in their own franchises before putting them together in ‘The Avengers.’ We also hired filmmakers on ‘Thor’ and ‘Captain America’ who were open to the idea that they were playing in a shared sandbox.”
‘The Avengers’ was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first published in September 1963. The team originally consisted of Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp. Captain America joined the team in Issue #4 after being revived from being trapped in a block of ice.
For Stan Lee, seeing so many of his characters continue to grow in popularity is a testament to the Marvel Universe he helped create over the last 50 years. “I’d like to think that one of the reasons that Marvel characters have been so successful is when we created them, we tried to give them interesting personalities and personal problems so people would still be interested in them even if they didn’t have superpowers,” explains Lee.
CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Joss Whedon
FILM: SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
A romantic, contemporary fable, ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen’ is the tale of government employee Dr Alfred, or Fred, Jones (Ewan McGregor), a rather introverted scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Agriculture.
Trudging along in his day job, with his marriage stagnating, his world is suddenly thrown into turmoil when he’s drawn into a scheme hatched by a fly fishing-obsessed Yemeni Sheikh (Amr Waked) who dreams of achieving the seemingly impossible — introducing salmon to the wadis of the Yemen.
When the British government, desperate for a good news story in the area, gets wind of the Sheikh’s plan, the Prime Minister’s fearsome spokesperson, Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas), seizes on the idea — it’s a good news story that will deflect attention away from the government’s latest blunder.
She appoints Fred to oversee the project, which pleases him not at all. For a logical, rather stuffy scientist like Fred, the idea of introducing salmon to the Yemen is one step short of madness.
Fred, however, is eventually won over by the charismatic Sheikh and his mystical worldview, while he also begins to fall for the Sheikh’s representative, Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), a gentle and engaging English beauty who joins on him his journey into the Yemen.
When Fred is drawn into helping Harriet try and fix the troubles in her life, he learns to cast off his deep-set cynicism. With Harriet’s encouragement and support, Fred then rises to the Sheikh’s eccentric challenge, and embarks upon a journey of self-discovery and late-blooming love.
CAST: EWAN McGREGOR, EMILY BLUNT, AMR WAKED, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS, TOM MISON
DIRECTOR: LASSE HALLSTROM