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May the Fourth Be With Athens: What to Watch This Week

The week’s new releases brave enough to open the week after Avengers: Endgame include the promising political comedy Long Shot, starring Charlize Theron as a presidential candidate and Seth Rogen as the guy who used to have a crush on her. If you have kids, you probably cannot avoid UglyDolls, an animated musical adventure based on the line of adorably hideous plush dolls. Dennis Quaid is The Intruder threatening new homeowners Michael Ealy and Meagan Good in the new movie from Traffik filmmaker Deon Taylor, who IMDB reports has four other movies currently in post-production.

As soon as we survive Endgame, another pop-culture phenomenon celebrates a made-up “holiday.” Saturday is May 4, aka Star Wars Day. So “May the Fourth be with you” at Southern Brewing Company for a special Saturday Movies on Tap featuring the original trilogy’s opening episode, A New Hope. If you want to see the series’ best entry plus the one with the Ewoks, Akademia Brewing will be playing the original trilogy—A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi—on all its TVs throughout the day, starting at 2 p.m.

The HEAR (Holistic Health, Empathy, Accessibility and Recovery) film series, sponsored by Ciné, Family Counseling Services of Athens and Nuçi’s Space, begins May 4 at Ciné with a screening of A New High. This documentary recounts the attempts of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission to bring hope to the city’s addicted and abused men and women. After a year of training, an ex-Army Ranger will lead this cohort up one of America’s most dangerous peaks, Mt. Rainier. The HEAR series kicks off with more than just a film screening—the day includes TED Talks, info tables and acoustic performances. It is all free.

On Thursday, May 2, the Georgia Museum of Art will screen Baz Luhrmann’s polarizing adaptation of Romeo + Juliet as part of the “Love and Shakespeare” film series. If you do not recall this 1996 film, Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes swoon as the star-crossed lovers in a hip, modern update set in Verona, CA. A lot works, but what does not sticks out like a thumb sore from being bitten. On Friday, May 3, two shorts films, Is Anybody Listening? and Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Country, will screen at the Globe as part of the Athens Human Rights Festival. May brings an international cavalcade of Star Wars ripoffs to Flicker Theatre and Bar. The 1980 sci-fi comedy Galaxina blasts off with a crew featuring Dorothy Stratten—who was famously murdered about two months after the movie’s release—as the sexy, titular robot.

Now, let’s see if I can review Endgame without spoiling anything.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (PG-13) Everything collides in the 22nd entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and somehow directors Anthony and Joe Russo manage to keep this massive undertaking—and I am not just talking about its three-hour running time—from blowing up in everyone’s faces.

After the infamous snap that decimated the MCU population, the remaining Avengers—Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve “Captain America” Rogers (Chris Evans), Bruce “Hulk” Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner)—find a way, with an assist from Scott “Ant-Man” Lang (Paul Rudd), to bring back the dearly departed, like Spider-Man, Black Panther and Doctor Strange, in time for their already-announced sequels.

Hats off to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who again conjure up plausible-enough reasons to justify hope in what seems a hopeless situation. They also script interactions among the massive roster of Marvel superheroes that keep characters consistent, despite the multitude of creative voices needed to bring about 20 superhero movies. They have even founded new relationships to build upon. The remaining Guardian of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon (v. Bradley Cooper), again teams up with Hemsworth’s Creature Comforts-loving God of Thunder to retain their Infinity War superlative for best couple, even as new duo Hulk and Ant-Man give them a run for their money.

Feel free to sit with friends after the movie and nitpick the inevitable discrepancies bound to pop up in a three-hour superhero flick, especially one revolving around the particular action used to fix the Thanos Problem. (Or is it the Infinity Stone problem?) Endgame leaves no time for in-film contemplation. Every moment of an initial viewing is packed with humor, heart, action, inevitable sacrifice and wonderful, fruitful fan service.

One piece of advice: Do not stick out the nearly seven minutes of credits. Endgame does not feature any credits scenes, implying July’s Spider-Man: Far From Home—the true end of Phase Three—should possess the teaser that kicks off Phase Four.