Round-Up: Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Unfriended

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Joss Whedon’s second assemblage of Marvel’s Avengers isn’t as overwhelmingly fun as the first, but it ticks enough boxes to leave us satisfied and ready for phase three.  At 141 minutes there’s ample screen time shared between the enormous principle cast, even with some great new additions such as Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and The Vision.  Oddly enough, the one character who doesn’t get much of look-in is the eponymous Ultron himself.  The raspy, dulcet-toned James Spader goes a long way in making the character a lot of fun, but he’s never explored or exposed enough; it feels like he draws the short straw in terms of character development.

The action sequences, let down somewhat by occasionally poor CGI, offer pretty much the same as before.  They’re fun and exhilarating and it’s still awesome to see the likes of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk et all smashing up bad guys together, but the strength of Age Of Ultron very much lies in it’s exploration of the characters; the Tony Stark/Bruce Banner stuff, the budding Natasha/Bruce relationship, even all the surprisingly plentiful Hawkeye family stuff.  Overall a fun movie, but not quite Marvel’s best.  Maybe more like 3.5.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


UNFRIENDED

An interesting premise executed about as well as it could be. 83 minutes of watching a teenager’s laptop screen sounds dreadful, but to the film’s credit it just about keeps us engaged for every one of them, and occasionally on the edge of our seats. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that it sticks to its convictions through to the end.

While the lead girl (“lead” in as much as it’s her screen we’re watching) might get on your nerves a tad with her constant Googling, mouse hovering and inability to wait more than two seconds for a reply from her boyfriend, Unfriended is a tense, interesting and undoubtedly unique new strain of horror (screen-cap horror?).  Whatever we’re calling it, it’s hard to see it having as much longevity as found-footage, but at least this is doing something kind of new.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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