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REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger

April 23, 2016 1 comment
Captain America The First AvengerDirected by: Joe Johnston
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Edited by: Jeffrey Ford, Robert Dalva
Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, JJ Field, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci, Leander Deeny
Based on the Marvel comics by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Year: 2011

 

Believe it or not, at one time, this was the movie I was most worried about during the first phase of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The director, Joe Johnston, didn’t have the best track record as a director, and the main star of the movie, Chris Evans, was someone who had already played a superhero in a movie series that was pretty garbage, Fox’s pre-reboot Fantastic Four movies. Rumors of the film also having a random musical number was also cause for concern, and Hugo Weaving was also revealed to be playing yet another intense villain role. Also, this was a film set before all the other films, being set during World War II. Period films were fine, but a period superhero film? C’mon, Marvel! Surely you must be crazy! No way could this live up to Iron Man and Thor, which at least had respected actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh at the helm, right!?

Oh, please. You know I was wrong on this on all accounts. Read more…

2011 in Review: My 10 Favorite Films, 7 – 4

January 23, 2012 4 comments

<<  2011 in Review: My Favorite Films, 10 – 8

Now we come to a portion of the list that, by pure coincidence, I am dubbing the nerdiest portion of my list. Three comic book films and a semi-obscure sci-fi film from a director who did an even more obscure sci-fi film with Sam Rockwell a few years ago.

This was the final year in which we got pre-Avengers films for the last two superheroes who would be getting them (with Hawkeye and Black Widow likely to be given their own post-Avengers films after that is an undoubtable success), and it was also the year that superhero films began to experiment with formulas, styles, and audience taste.

The three comic book films here largely exemplify what studios need to strive for in order to keep this genre alive and interesting, while the other film, the more obscure film, is itself a great example of using a familiar genre and its tropes to catapult a film into a touching and yet still intriguing human story.

7.  Thor (May 6)

When The Avengers were slated to get their film debut sometime in the future, I doubt anyone could have thought that this film would be any good, let alone be better than either of the Hulk’s two major film adaptations (though I did still pretty much like 2008’s take). While nobody really balked at the thought of adapting the story of a radioactive scientist who, you know, hulks out when he gets angry into an entertaining film (likely thanks to that character’s familiarity to audiences through various smaller mediums, especially the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno 70s TV series), somehow the story of the tortured dichotomy of Bruce Banner and the Hulk comes off as far more believable and, more importantly, relatable on a metaphorical level than Thor — a being who, depending on what version you go with, is either from a parallel dimension who inspired the Norse god of thunder or, more classically, actually is the god of thunder himself. Read more…

Trailer: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

December 20, 2011 1 comment

Unexpected indeed! Santa apparently forgot one gift after he delivered The Dark Knight Rises trailer. Back down the chimney he came to deliver one final (?) gift!

As soon as that music played, I got shivers down my spine. I’m not nearly as much a Lord of the Rings fanatic as my friends are — I’ve barely gotten into the first book and find it hard to get through Tolkien’s wordy, heavy prose, which is why I’m so thankful for Peter Jackson’s film series, which are masterpieces in their own right. I imagine those fans of the books and their related stories are kind of like when I scoff at people who think a great song is by a newer artist who covered it (or, sadly, just sampled the older, better song in one sad case involving Kid Rock and “Sweet Home Alabama”…), but I just can’t get into the books (or most books in general) as I can film. I’m a very visually-oriented person in many ways, and thanks to Jackson, I am able to at least partake in some form of Rings fandom, even though I at least am aware that it is a much different experience. Hey, you don’t necessarily expect everyone to read every book of every film adaptation, do you?

 

Anyway, my seemingly anti-intellectual habits aside, I’m so glad that Peter Jackson has been able to revisit the world of Middle Earth. Sam Raimi may have done well, and it’s still a tragedy that Guillermo del Toro wasn’t able to put his own touch on Jackson’s take on the world, but if it couldn’t be him, it might as well be the original, right? Of course, The Hobbit is decidedly lighter in tone compared to the heavy warfare of The Lord of the Rings, but it looks like Jackson has been able to put just the right touches on this adaptation — touches that I hope hold over into the second film in this revisit, which will be an almost entirely new story that bridges The Hobbit to the epic trilogy.

Cate Blanchett and Ian McKellen don’t look to have aged a day since Return of the King, which is good since they’re technically supposed to be younger here, and it looks as though we’ll be in for a treat with fun looking new characters in the film, new takes on familiar characters (with The Office‘s Martin Freeman taking over as the younger Bilbo Baggins), and, of course Gollum along for what looks to be a gentler, more light-hearted adventure. Also cast in the film series are the returning Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Elijah Wood and Ian Holm as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins (apparently these films are flashbacks), and Christopher Lee as Saruman, with new cast members consisting of Stephen Fry, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, and several others I admittedly don’t recognize but will likely in the future.

Of course, the question remains: are we going to see an extended, 4 hour version of each of these films, as well? I don’t think marathoners can take it…

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