elizabeth Olsen

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ sacrifices fun for action, with mixed results

The Avengers clicked with both Marvel fans and general audiences because we loved watching these massive egos clash for the first time. It was the perfect blend of action and attitude, and its mastermind, Joss Whedon, was handed the golden ticket to Marvel’s keystone franchise. The long-awaited sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, shows the strain of trying to be bigger-and-better while still indulging the subtle pleasures of its predecessor. It succeeds, just barely, on the strength of a talented cast and our fondness for these characters. Still, it’s a decidedly somber affair that will turn off casual fans, and it stands as the most impersonal, and arguable weakest installment of Marvel’s vaunted “Phase Two.”

TIFF 2013: ‘Therese’ a dead-on-arrival debut

So-called “costume dramas” often deal in subtle yet significant helpings of sexual repression guiding their characters’ every action. The idea of an erotic thriller set in the 1860s is thereby rather an intriguing one – in which each intimate moment carries greater weight and excitement than in most present day scenarios. Émile Zola’s novel “Thérèse Raquin” is no stranger to cinema, its first of many screen adaptations dating back to a 1915 Italian silent film. Television veteran Charlie Stratton makes his feature directorial debut with a new look at the doomed yarn of lust and betrayal.

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