Is 'Avengers: Endgame' A Worthy Finale? Here's What The Reviews Say
THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

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​Nearly 11 years to the day after Marvel dropped "Iron Man" and kickstarted the largest and most profitable franchise in movie history, the saga of the Avengers comes to a close with "Avengers: Endgame," a three-hour epic that sees our heroes trying to defeat Thanos and reverse the destruction he wrought in "Infinity War." Is it worth the wait? Does it bring the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a satisfying conclusion? Here's what the reviews have to say. 

We've kept things as spoiler-free as possible, but depending on your spoiler tolerance, proceed carefully. 

Concerned About The Three-Hour Runtime? Don't Be

Just make sure you use the bathroom before the movie starts:

[W]hile the time doesn't exactly fly, it doesn't drag either. The two hours and forty minutes of "Infinity War" (also directed by Joe and Anthony Russo) felt infinitely longer. Settling scores, wrapping up loose ends and taking a victory lap — the main objects of the game this ostensibly last time around — generate some comic sparks as well as a few honest tears.

[New York Times]

Despite its epic ambitions and tumescent running time, "Endgame" often feels shorter, looser and lighter on its feet than some of its Marvel brethren.

[Los Angeles Times]


It's Chock Full Of Fan Service

If this is your first "Avengers" movie, well, maybe rethink that (and watch the other movies first). But if you're a Marvel fan you're going to be pleased:

If Avengers: Endgame were, for some bizarre reason, your first Marvel movie, it'd be a miserable experience. But for devoted fans, it functions as a greatest-hits clip-show package. It's filled with hat-tips and winks to the audience—forgivable pieces of indulgence, given the goodwill the series has built up with millions of viewers. 

[The Atlantic]

Where Infinity War had trouble finding time for characters, Endgame is about nothing but character work, the kind that can only work in a narrative as old and wide as an interconnected comic book universe. The film, again by directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, is a giant tribute to those who have stuck with the Marvel Cinematic Universe for over a decade, but a nutritious one, a cunningly crafted one… Endgame knows what its audience wants, and delivers that without feeling like quote-unquote fan service.

[Polygon]


And Maybe… Too Full At Times

After an intelligent first hour, "Endgame" amounts to a dense nostalgia trip. With "Infinity War," it was thrilling to watch a mass-market movie let the bad guy win, and it's less satisfying to see the Avengers clean up the mess one last time. The title of "Endgame" is misleading: This busy love letter to the biggest movie franchise of all time unleashes several endings at once, resulting in a fascinating — if at times messy — collection of competing agendas.

[IndieWire]


The Russo Brothers And The Script Keep The Tone Varied And Interesting

As nauseating as the aura of momentousness around "Endgame" has been for some, the movie — while certainly not lacking in ominous solemnity — is frequently funny, as the Russos, working from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, arrange their heroes in fresh pairings and unlikely contexts.

[Associated Press]

But there is growth here. Whereas Downey's fast-talking quips and occasional rudeness became increasingly callow and off-putting in his Iron Man outings, Tony Stark in this movie, at last, seems more human and dimensional. Thor and Captain America are experiencing identity issues. And the most unexpected comic relief may come from Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner… There is no question that Avengers: Endgame benefits considerably from the prioritizing of humor and character detailing on the parts of writers Markus and McFeely and directors Anthony and Joe Russo, something most of the actors clearly picked up on and ran with.

[Hollywood Reporter]

The overall journey not only produces several genuine surprises — no small feat in this context — but plenty of humor, with an assortment of lighter moments to augment the stirring and, yes, emotional ones.

[CNN]


The Climactic Showdown Is Dividing Opinion

To some reviewers, it's incredible:

"Endgame" loses some of its momentum in the middle of its three-hour run time, but unleashes the largest and most fist-pumping, goosebump-causing, insanely destructive action climax in a superhero movie yet. Good luck to anybody trying to surpass this one, because the mold's been broken.

[USA Today]

To others, it's a competent retread of superhero battles of yore:

The main criticism that can be leveled against Avengers: Endgame (or at least the only one we can discuss in broad terms without spoiling anything) is one that has plagued most Marvel movies up to this point: an overreliance on overproduced CGI battles which, despite elaborate staging, can't help but devolve into numbing, pixel-on-pixel slugfests. 

[IGN]

[The] cataclysmic showdown, an ensemble mash-up of inevitably staggering proportions that, like too many of the action sequences in these movies, devolves into a murky, indecipherable blur.

[Los Angeles Times]


There Is A Plot, But It's Not What Your There For

It's reasonable to be worried about spoilers, but at the end of the day, the plot isn't the most important thing about "Endgame":

You may note that I'm not recounting the plot, because a) it matters perhaps too much to one segment of the audience, and b) it ultimately matters not at all. "Avengers: Endgame" isn't about anything, really, except its own internal mythology and where it all goes from here. And knowing the realities of filmmaking and the needs of an ongoing franchise, most viewers will probably guess correctly which characters will have survived Thanos' (Josh Brolin) deadly snap.

[TheWrap]

Avengers: Endgame is of course entirely preposterous and, yes, the central plot device here does not, in itself, deliver the shock of the new. But the sheer enjoyment and fun that it delivers, the pure exotic spectacle, are irresistible, as is its insouciant way of combining the serious and the comic. 

[The Guardian]

 

TL;DR

Ultimately, Avengers: Endgame feels exhausting. That's not a knock against the movie, though. The exhaustion is well earned, because like Earth's Mightiest Heroes, we feel as if we've truly come to the end of a long, winding, confusing, but ultimately rewarding road. Tears will be shed, cheers will ring out, and we'll head home, tired but contented.

[/Film]


Watch The Trailer

 



Is The Seth Rogen Comedy 'An American Pickle' Any Good? Here's What The Reviews Say
IN A REAL PICKLE HERE

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The movie, which streams on HBO Max on August 6, has an enticing premise: a man gets preserved in a jar in the early 20th century and wakes up 100 years later in contemporary Brooklyn. But does the movie itself live up to its zany plot? Here's what the reviews say.


Seth Rogen Plays Two Men, Herschel Greenbaum, A Man Who Wakes Up After 100 Years In A Pickle Vat, And Greenbaum's Great-Grandson, Ben

An Eastern European labourer named Herschel (Seth Rogen) arrives in America, only to be pickled for 100 years in a factory accident. He awakes in 2020, and moves in with his only surviving relative: great-grandson Ben (also Rogen). Things are going swimmingly — until Herschel wrecks Ben's business, leading to a vengeful game of oneupmanship.

[Empire]

While Hershel is low-key confounded by these modern times (what with interracial dating, women's rights, and the high cost of produce), he is most perplexed by his descendant's priorities. Ben doesn't observe Jewish religious traditions and hasn't visited the family graves in years. He has no wife, no children, and no career that Herschel can comprehend. So tensions rise. In no time at all, the pair declare each other enemies. Herschel strikes out on his own with a pickle cart with wares pulled freegan-style from dumpster diving. Meanwhile, Ben stews over how to ruin his eccentric great-grandfather.

[IGN]


The Movie Probes Into Issues Of Jewish Immigration Identity — Though Perhaps Not Deeply Enough

In its best moments, An American Pickle knows how to thread the needle between fish-out-of-water comedy and retaining a thoughtful look at Jewish ancestry in America, but those moments are few and far between […] Every time the movie has a chance to go deeper, whether it's with immigration or legacy or American comfort or Judaism, An American Pickle skims the surface and moves on.

[Collider]

Made in the midst of a resurgence in blatant anti-Semitism across the US, it's a strange choice for "An American Pickle" to reveal that Herschel's greatest backlash comes from...violent Christians? The movie sidesteps the most alarming aspect of Jewish persecution — its resurgence in public over the last four years — and never even gives Herschel a chance to learn about the Holocaust.

[IndieWire]


As A Comedy, It Sometimes Falls Flat In Delivering Laughs

There are some scattered laughs but it's not particularly funny, and "American Pickle" […] is generally all over the place, aiming to be an abstract comedy about family and religion but losing its way trying to also poke fun at modern culture.

[USA Today]

 [T]he film fails to build its laughs into substantial comic momentum, or even construct many substantial scenes. (Tellingly, one of its funniest is a mid-credits bonus.) As it progresses, the material feels more and more like a series of slightly amusing paragraphs, with sentimentality wedged uncomfortably between flights of satirical whimsy.

[The AV Club]

There are laughs along the way with Herschel and Ben's mirror-image intergenerational, culture-clash roommate bromance. But, inevitably, as with so much high-concept comedy, the real laughs, the ones built on detachment, self-aware flippancy and cynicism, come at the beginning, with the establishment of the premise.

[The Guardian]


The Story's Emotional Beats, However, Manage To Shine Through

 Despite the acrimoniousness of their split, you root for their inevitable reconciliation, which closes the movie on a warm note […] "An American Pickle" is neither the most substantial nor the most sophisticated comedy, but its soulful sweetness outweighs its flaws.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

It may not always succeed as a comedy but as a drama, this is the real dill. Part time-travelling family drama, part idiosyncratic immigrant-adventure comedy, "An American Pickle"'s gags underwhelm, but its emotion and originality will surprise you.

[Empire]

[T]he thread of leaning on family to process grief is touching, and Rogen manages to make Herschel and Ben's longing to connect feel real. The movie is frequently funny, sometimes sweet, and never particularly deep, but it does have a uniquely odd relationship to time that gives it a peculiar extra layer. Call it the proprietary brine.

[Wired]


And Rogen's Charisma Helps To Keep The Audience Entertained, Even When The Rest Of The Movie Falters

[I]t's enjoyable enough to watch the actor single-handedly rescue the high concept surrounding him.

[IndieWire]

Rogen is an always likable actor whose reputation was built largely on playing crude, sophomoric stoners. But there's an inherent sweetness in his screen persona that's been there since the very beginning on "Freaks and Geeks," notably in the affecting story arc in which his befuddled character, Ken Miller, struggled with the revelation of his tuba-playing girlfriend Amy's intersex birth origins. It's a variation on Ken — the tender, passionate bear of a guy occasionally stymied by his blind spots — that steers "An American Pickle" through its narrative rough patches.

[The Hollywood Reporter]


TL; DR

Nothing in "American Pickle" can match the silly storybook fantasy of its opening moments, but they do a good job of getting us hooked. 

[IndieWire]


Watch The Trailer Here


Is The Google Pixel 4A Worth It? Here's What The Reviews Say
NOT PHONING IT IN

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The Pixel 4A, which will be released on August 20, is incredibly affordable at $349, but can it compete with other smartphones? Here's what the reviews say.


The Best Feature Of The Phone Is The Camera

[W]hen it comes to photos, the Pixel 4A goes toe-to-toe with the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 — and often wins.

[The Verge]

There is no distinguishable difference between the $350 Pixel 4a's and the Pixel 4's camera, a phone that starts at $800. That's incredible, and if you like your photos to look good, it's a major reason why the Pixel 4a should be at the very, very top of your list. 

[Business Insider]


Design-Wise, It's Not The Flashiest Phone

The Pixel has always been a phone that felt a lot nicer than it looked — it's not the most stylish. The Pixel 4a's design is even more basic than ever, though. It comes in Just Black and... that's it. There are no other sizes available, either. Keeping to one size and color was part of Google's strategy to reduce production costs. 

[Engadget]

The word I use most often to describe Pixel hardware is "unassuming." It's basic: no frills, no fanciness, just an easy-to-hold phone without any embellishments. It's a little boring, but at least it isn't tacky.

[The Verge]


But Helpful Software Features Like Live Captioning Might Be Drawing Points For Users

Google's software tends to make up for its basic hardware, and as usual, the company has some helpful tools that make the Pixel experience better than any other Android phone. Most of these have already been announced, like its personal safety and car crash detection feature, Google Docs integration for the Recorder app, as well as adaptive battery management. With the Pixel 4a, though, Google is bringing its Live Caption feature to calls.

[Engadget]

I like Google's bonus software features that it includes on Pixel phones. The voice recorder app is able to transcribe text, for example, and accurately transcribed about 90% of my interview with Google during a Pixel 4a briefing. It just saves me a ton of time that I'd otherwise spend trying to jot everything down. Other unique software features include crash detection, which can automatically call 911 if you get in a car accident.

[CNBC]


The Performance Of The Phone Is Generally Fine, Though It Can Be Slow Sometimes

The Pixel 4a has a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It's fine and fast enough to keep the phone running smoothly. There are a few hiccups at times, though. I noticed it would stutter while scrolling through long lists, like in Twitter, but that problem generally resolved itself after a few days. Google was aware of this, too, and it may just be that it takes some time for things to store inside the phone's memory.

[CNBC]

Anecdotally, the phone works quickly with most tasks. Unlocking the screen with my fingerprint, launching Assistant and opening apps went off without a hitch. But the Pixel 4A isn't the smoothest phone I handled. After I downloaded Call of Duty and PUBG, I had to restart the phone because both apps stalled while loading.

[CNET]


Some Of The Phone's Drawbacks Are Its Lack Of Wireless Charging And Waterproofness

Google left out one big feature that does matter: water resistance. That would save a phone that was accidentally dunked in a toilet or left out in a storm. So it was disappointing not to have it because durability was another feature that people wanted most in their smartphones.

[The New York Times]

This phone doesn't have some of the premium flourishes, like wireless charging, water resistance, a triple-lens camera, or 5G connectivity. But, it gets the core features so right that those extra flourishes seem irrelevant. 

[Business Insider]


Most Importantly Though, The Phone Is A Great Bargain With Its Cheap Price

The Pixel 4A is about $50 cheaper than its closest competitors and has 128GB of storage, instead of 64GB like years past, so it really is a solid value. And these days, any amount of money that can be saved is crucial.

[CNET]

The Pixel 4A is cheaper than high-end devices largely because it lacks the frills in fancy phones, like wireless charging and a face scanner. But for what you pay, it's a great value. Its camera quality and bright screen are on a par with many of the best smartphones out there.

[The New York Times]


TL; DR

The Pixel 4A is cheap and basic, but most cheap phones don't get the basics right. The Pixel 4A does. And just to remind you: it does so for $349.

[The Verge]


You can pre-order the Pixel 4A at Google Store and BestBuy. And if you're interested in buying a Pixel 4, you can buy one here.


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