Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of May 1, 2015 includes Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as two limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em?
Last weekend, Furious 7 continued to reign supreme as the overlord of 2015 box office. But there’s a new king is returning to theaters this weekend with its own sequel. Just another ragtag group of heroes, you may have heard of them before. Avengers assemble! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon) Rated PG-13 [141 min] – When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it’s up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemswort, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and James Spader (Watch the trailer)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 75% • Audience – 90%
How could something so delicious make me worried about my next bite? With so many little things to enjoy about Avengers: Age of Ultron, I ultimately felt exhausted with how much Joss Whedon was able to stuff within. I’m not entirely wrought with superhero movie fatigue, but I am getting there. Sadly, this isn’t as much as an Avengers movie as it is a set up for future Marvel films. I’d say 35% of the movie’s focus is on the threat of Ultron while the other 65% is spent continuing to build this cinematic universe to allow the upcoming pics a little context. It’s great for comic readers, but it does nothing to enhance the present story that we are watching now. It’s all in good fun, but it’s almost too much of a good thing. SEE IT! – DO NOT see this in 3D (Read my full review)
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [119 min] – In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor. Starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, and Tom Sturridge
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics –82% • Audience – 81%
“It’s buoyant, pleasant and easygoing. That’s a recommendation of sorts, and also an expression of disappointment.” – A.O. Scott (New York Times)
“Nicely served on both sides of the camera, this is a concise and involving rendition of the story of a resilient young woman who comes into property in Victorian England’s West Country and is courted by three suitors, all of whom have pluses and minuses.” – Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)
Put Carey Mulligan in a film and you immediately have my attention. This gal has a liveliness to commands my attention in every scene she inhabits. Now my feelings for period pieces have not changed, I find them vile and mostly uninteresting, but the Madding Crowd presents a unique proposition that just happens to take place in Victorian England. I feel as if this could have taken place at any time, but chooses this period to better serve the story. It is an interesting tale and from what I understand from critics who have seen it is that it’s pretty enjoyable. SEE IT!
Welcome to Me (Shira Piven) [Limited] Rated R [105 min] – When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show. Starring Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, and Wes Bentley
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics –70% • Audience – 67%
“It’s here that Wiig’s wallflower wit finally dovetails with a lead role that has the depth to support it, as the film evolves into an exuberant cross between Synecdoche, New York and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” – David Ehrlich (Time Out)
“Though some of the jabs ‘Me’ takes at reality TV are clever, the film, like Alice, tends to fracture at key moments. What makes it worth watching is Wiig.” – Betsy Sharkey (LA Times)
Living in the shadow of her SNL past-life, the Kristen Wiig has stretched her acting chops from animated films to indie romps to big budget comedies. I was not a fan of Girl Most Likely, but her most recent leading role in The Skeleton Twins I found to be very moving and a complementing performance to Bill Hader’s. I’m always intrigued by character studies that explore strange, socially inept individuals such as Alice Klieg, and the trailer looks like it handles the material very sensibly and with care. MATINEE IT!
There really is no doubt that Age of Ultron will walk away victorious. 2012’s The Avengers opened to the tune of $207 million. The sequel’s figures should match or overcome that with ease. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be: