Ep. 123 – Avengers: Engame spoiler-filled dissection

April 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

SPOILER ALERT! This episode of The CineSnob Podcast is a long, lengthy discussion about every aspect of “Avengers: Endgame” and should NOT be listened to unless you have seen the movie.


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Maximiliano Hernandez – Item 47

September 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Chaléwood

In the short film “Item 47,” actor Maximiliano Hernández plays Jasper Sitwell, a S.H.I.E.L.D agent who tracks down a couple who discover an extraterrestrial weapon and decide to use it to rob a few banks. “Item 47” can be found in the special features of “The Avengers” Blue-ray. It is the third short film created as a supplementary story for Marvel blockbusters such as “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

How does it feel to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point of your career?

It feels really good to be working with Marvel and Disney. Everyone is on board and behind us. It’s feels like a family. I’ve been reading comic books all my life, so for me this is a dream come true as a comic-book geek.

What comic books did you used to read and do you still read them?

I’ve had an ongoing subscription to “The Incredible Hulk” since I was 12 years old. I still get it in the mail. I get mad when my mailman folds it. It’s been a part of my entire life. I’ve used to read “X-Men,” but I was mostly interested in “The Incredible Hulk” and “Captain America.”

In the comic books, your character Agent Sitwell looks nothing like you. Were you surprised when they cast you in this role?

Yeah, it’s bizarre. In the comics [Agent Sitwell} is a six-foot tall white guy with blonde hair. In my mind I was thinking, “I’m not that dude.” But [director] Kenneth Branagh really liked what I did [in my audition for “Thor”] and he pulled the trigger. The next day I got a phone call.

Do you think that says anything about how Latinos are perceived in the film industry? I mean, they could’ve easily gone out and found someone who looked exactly like the character, but they didn’t.

I certainly hope it changes people’s perceptions. We live in a multicultural world, so everything has to reflect that. I don’t think it’s honest when you see a TV show and there is one black guy and no Latinos or Asians. I’ve enjoyed playing roles that are labeled “unspecific ethnicity” because it doesn’t pigeonhole you to a cultural stereotype many Americans have in their heads.

What would you do if you found an alien gun just lying around like the couple in “Item 47?”

(Laughs) I’d probably sell it to the highest bidder.

The Avengers

May 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by: Joss Whedon (“Serenity”)
Written by: Joss Whedon (“The Cabin in the Woods”)

It happens in the second half of the highly-anticipated Marvel comic-book movie “The Avengers,” a precisely planned superhero assemblage that has been culminating since 2008’s release of both “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” reboot (most über-nerds unfairly ignore director Ang Lee’s fascinating “Hulk” of 2003 as art-house nonsense). As “The Avengers” ensemble cast, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, contemplate how to stop the supervillain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from destroying the earth with his barrage of alien soldiers and machines, Captain America (Chris Evans) takes it upon himself to assign his comrades to do what each one of them does best.

“Hulk … smash,” he says, directing his bulging, green, gamma ray-infused super teammate who swiftly carries out his instructions by ripping apart serpent-like battleships running amok in NYC. It’s a phrase fanboys will be pleased to hear, especially since Marvel seemed to agree with their assessment of Lee’s aforementioned attempt, which prompted the studio to hit the reset button by plugging Edward Norton into Eric Bana’s transforming role as Bruce Banner (the role now belongs to Mark Ruffalo after creative differences arose between Marvel and Norton). From that point on, the comic-book conglomerate knew exactly what they needed their Universe to become.

“The Avengers” isn’t trying to reinvent the comic-book movie like Lee or Christopher Nolan with his “Dark Knight” trilogy. It’s evident that the studio’s main objective is mass commercial appeal and not to clutter things up with complex ideas and themes. That’s exactly what they’ve been doing over the last four years. With releases like “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they wanted to give fans already invested in these characters concrete evidence no one was going to wax philosophical. They wanted big, blaring scenes capable of melting eyeballs in 3D. In the simplest of terms, they wanted to see Hulk, well, smash.

And smash he does in “The Avengers” alongside the mightiest of heroes, which first appeared together in comic books written by industry savant Stan Lee in the early ’60s. Back then, the squad was created to compete with the ever-growing popularity of DC Comics’ Justice League. While the roster has changed over the years, the modern film adaptations have chosen to follow the characters best able to sidestep their natural comic-book kitsch (sorry Ant-Man, your protruding shoulder pads are just too silly to overcome). With approximately $1.8 billion in box-office revenue worldwide, geekdom has spoken. Despite its flaws, “The Avengers” is solid entertainment.

What better way to appease the geeks than with one of their own? Directed by cult favorite Joss Whedon (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”), “The Avengers” is pumped with exciting action sequences and razor-sharp special effects that can compete with anything Marvel has ever put out. Known for his clever writing ability (screw Buffy, the dude wrote Darlene’s “To Whom it Concerns” poem during a Season 2 episode of “Roseanne!”), Whedon’s dialogue is perfect for more charismatic characters like industrialist playboy Tony Stark — though far less so for characters like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the always doltish Thor, who unfortunately doesn’t provide much oomph to the already ordinary storyline. It starts with Thor’s evil brother Loki, a flimsily written antagonist who is able to get his hands on a powerful cube known as the Tesseract, which holds the key to unlimited sustainable energy. With the planet on the brink of destruction, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) rallies his all-star team together to (trumpet fanfare) save the human race. Before they can do that, however, the Avengers must experience some growing pains as a diverse superhero unit and quibble like kids on the playground. It’s during these fight scenes that fanboy fantasies come true. Watching Thor’s hammer slam down onto Captain America’s shield is the stuff of epic wonder. Other amazing feats of action bliss include the Hulk intercepting a fighter pilot as he ejects from a damaged jet, and Stark changing into his Iron Man suit in midair.

While the narrative itself leaves much to be desired, Whedon, who also has the overrated meta horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” out at theaters, does have a knack for hilarious pop-culture references, snappy one-liners that get every character involved, and some physical comedy. It all keeps the story from falling into too many past superhero pitfalls. “The Avengers” may not divert much from the typical superhero blueprint, but what hardcore Marvel enthusiast would really want that anyway?