I feel like I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Marvel does it yet again! I love the fact that they have been consistently making movies with style, substance, great visual effects, smart scripts and talented actors and crew. Their latest achievement is “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Like the latest X-Men film that was released a few months ago, this movie takes us back in time to introduce us to Marvel’s original hero and one of the founders of the Avengers, Captain America.
The film is set during the period of World War 2 where the world is doing everything possible to end the reign of terror being caused by the Nazis. The US has developed a serum that is supposed to turn a regular soldier into a super soldier to help combat their enemy. The only problem is finding a soldier who is worthy enough to receive the serum and one who won’t let the power given to them go to their head or change their beliefs. Thus we are introduced to Steve Rodgers, played convincingly by Chris Evans. For the majority of the start of the movie, digital effects are used to make Chris a puny, weak shell of the Chris Evans we all know. This Steve Rodgers is someone who very much wants to help his country in their time of crisis, but he continues to get sent away due to his size, however most people don’t realize his determination to do anything and everything he can to help end the Nazi reign of Europe. His dreams get answered when he meets Dr. Abraham Erskine. He is the creator of the serum and after he meets Steve and gets him into the army, Steve’s actions make it clear that he is the right soldier worthy enough to be given the power that comes with the serum.
Captain America is about as close to an adult boy-scout as you’ll ever get. He will do everything he can to help those in need even if it puts his own life in jeopardy. His beliefs and morals are beyond reproach. Because of this, a lot of the movie seemed a little sedate. I wish the action had been bumped up a notch and the villain given more time to shine. Speaking of the villain, the Red Skull is played expertly by Hugo Weaving. I love it when he gets to play the bad guy, however in this movie I wished they had given him more screen time and more to do with our hero. Every time he appears in the film, he steals every scene and completely lives up to this iconic baddie. The supporting cast of characters are also well cast and really help make this one hell of an introduction to the most famous of all the Avengers.
I can’t say enough how much I’ve enjoyed not only this movie, but all of the recent Marvel movies starring the members of the Avengers. This film rounds out all of the introductory films for each of the main members of the Avengers: Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America. Each one has been built upon the other to lead into the Avengers film that will be released next year. As this is the last film, make sure you stay until the very end and you’ll get a great peek at the assembled Avengers. I hope that they continue with the excellent track record they’ve created thus far and that the Avengers is even better than each individual on their own. 2012 just can’t get here soon enough!
J.Chandler – B+
Third time’s the charm!!! Not very often does a sequel surpass the original, but I’m here to tell you that “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is by far the best of the series. Having been a longtime fan of the Transformers cartoons, toys and brand, I’ve finally seen a live action Transformers film that gets it all right. I also don’t go see many 3D films that are currently out because they weren’t originally shot in 3D, however for this film, it is a must. Michael Bay used the same cameras to film this movie that were used in Avatar and it is very obvious once you see the film. This is by far the best 3D film I’ve seen since Avatar. Is the movie perfect? No, not by a long shot, but it is a fantastic summer movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you feel like a part of the movie itself.
The film begins in the 1960’s as America and the rest of the world begin exploring space, or at least the space between here and the moon. A crash is detected on the surface of the moon that causes the Americans to rush to be the first ones there to see what it is that has crashed. So, during the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong come upon a space ship from Cybertron that has made a crash landing. Unknowingly to us, this is our first introduction to the Transformers before we even knew what they were or were on Earth. When we jump to the present day, the Autobots continue to work with the US government to track down renegade Decepticons and keep the peace. That is until they find out about the ship on the moon and get upset by the fact that no one told them about it all the time they have been helping out. Thus a race begins between the Decepticons and Autobots to be the first to get to this ship and what lies inside, Sentinel Prime.
One of the things that I loved most about this film is Michael Bay’s direction. This is not a phrase that is used often. I think that because he shot this film using the 3D technology, it forced him to slow things down and take a different approach than he has ever used before. One of the problems I had with the previous Transformer films was the fact that so much of the action was so fast and up close that it was difficult to make things out and focus on the action as a whole. This has been corrected in this new film and the difference is like night and day. This film has put the Transformers themselves into the spotlight of the movie and they steal every scene they are in because of Mr. Bay’s new direction. If this helps to put him on the top of his game, he needs to make all of his films in 3D!
Most of the same cast has returned for this latest installment except for Megan Fox. She was replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. This was yet another great move by Mr. Bay. The chemistry between she and Shia LaBeouf is much more believable and she also seems to be in character and not just there for a paycheck. Everyone else is as they have been in the previous two films, however there is another new cast member that deserves mentioning. Patrick Dempsey plays one of the villains in this film and is completely believable. Not only does he try to take away Shia’s love interest, but he is also in league with the Decepticons and really goes all out as the films baddie.
This movie really felt like a return to the old school summer popcorn movies. The plot was far-fetched, but enjoyable. The special effects were top notch. The action was incredible. I miss the days of these kinds of summer films. Too bad this is the last of the trilogy. I felt they were finally getting this one right and was hoping to see where they took it from here.
Have you ever seen a movie whose premise was so well written and thought out that you imagined it could possibly take place in the real world and not just on movie screens??? This happened to me over the weekend while I watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. The way this film was written, performed and put together had me honestly wondering if we were currently using apes to test out drugs meant to repair the brain and it made the apes smarter than they are now. What if these drugs also had the negative effect of killing the humans that come in contact with it? These ideas had me thinking throughout the entire movie and made up one of the best films I’ve seen this summer.
For those of you that didn’t know before, this film is a prequel to the Planet of the Apes film with Charlton Heston from 1968. In this original film, we witness a world where the apes have taken over and the humans are their slaves. Charlton Heston leads a revolt against his ape oppressors and in his escape finds out that the planet is Earth. The big reveal at the end of the film that he is on Earth led to just one question, how did this happen??? Through four sequels and one remake, we are never told how the apes become so intelligent and manage to overwhelm the human population. Well, that is exactly what this new film reveals to us and it does it in such a way to become the best film in the franchise.
In the film, James Franco plays Will Rodman, a scientist who is developing a serum that helps the brain to repair itself from the effects of Alzheimer’s. As with most drugs being developed, it is being tested on chimps before they begin the human trials. Things seem to be going well with one of the chimps being tested, who they call Bright Eyes, until one day she seems to snap and breaks out of her cage and is in turn shot by the guard. Rodman comes back later to check her cell and finds out that she was only protecting the baby chimp she had given birth to. He takes the baby back to his home while they try to find a place for it to live when they soon discover that the drug was passed on from the mother and the baby, named Caesar, seems to be highly intelligent and the drug really does work. How the rest of the story plays out you will just have to see for yourself, but I found myself caring for Caesar and wishing things had worked out differently for him instead of what will all know will happen.
What I just couldn’t believe while watching this film was how real Caesar looked and responded. His movements and facial expressions were performed by Andy Serkis, also known as Gollum for you Lord of the Rings fans, using motion capture technology. Even though he doesn’t speak in the movie, I could tell every thought and emotion he was trying to convey and it is nothing short of extraordinary. This movie is about the apes and their journey to become the rulers of the planet, and in practically every scene that includes Caesar or another ape, they steal the show.
I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this film. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went in and came out thinking they hit a homerun. I do hope this film is remembered when the Oscars roll around. If not for a special award to Andy Serkis for his brilliant work, then at least for the amazing effects in the film. I do hope this will lead to a sequel, but only if they can have a script that is as well written as this one and handled with care by a director that respects the material and the franchise as a whole.
JChandler: grade A-
We first got wind that this reveal was coming late last night, via THIS post at Nerd Repository. Seems one of Howard Stern’s sidekicks/minions Tweeted that the unveiling of Cavill-in-costume would happen this morning, only to quickly delete said Tweet (but not before a number of people saw it, including Nerd Repository contributor Kyle Wilson).
I can’t get a higher-res version to upload at the moment, but JoBlo has a larger image HERE!
Earlier this week, we got a sense of Cavill as “Clark Kent” – via images you can find HERE. The Zack Snyder-directed MAN OF STEEL was recently pushed to a June 2013 release. To tide you over during what feels certain to be a very long wait, Hot Toys is releasing an insanely awesome 12″ figure of Christopher Reeve in the role…
Here is the first real look at Selina Kyle from Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises! Found at the official site. The image shows Anne Hathaway in at least her partial Catwoman outfit, which seems to be high tech goggles and skin-tight leather.
Purpose. I’ve always felt that each person is put on this planet to fulfill some kind of purpose. Whether it be something large or something seemingly insignificant, we’re all here to fulfill our purpose. This is how I feel about the story of Harry Potter. He was born to fulfill the sole purpose of defeating Lord Voldemort and rid the world of him and his followers. For the past decade we have been following Harry’s adventures on screen. We have seen him grow up, fall in love, discover his parents and his past, and realize what is at stake for him and the entire wizarding world. However, all things must come to an end and the last Harry Potter film is now upon us.
This film is truly a continuation of the previous one. The studio decided to split the last of the books into two separate films in order to tell as much of the story as they could and give this franchise the appropriate conclusion it deserves. Harry, Ron and Hermione are continuing to search for the remaining Horcruxes that each house a part of Voldemort’s soul. They know that if these aren’t found and destroyed, they will never be able defeat the dark lord. Through the course of the film, as the sides of good and evil are joined and preparing for battle, we see characters that have appeared throughout the franchise. Sometimes, not even speaking, however their presence is noticed and is a reminder of all that has happened before the final confrontation. I love how they have kept the entire cast intact in all of the eight films save for Richard Harris who died after the second film. This has really allowed us to grow with these characters and watch them evolve as their characters evolve.
I feel at a loss for words about this film. I can’t believe that it is really the last one. Put this one together with Part 1 and you have by far my favorite in the entire series. The battles are truly epic and at times emotional. The use of 3D was spectacular and I’m glad that they didn’t use 3D for Part 1 so that they could do it right for this film. I also kept thinking about purpose throughout the course of the film. Each character was created to fulfill a specific purpose, just like everyone else in life. However, each one needed to serve their purpose in order for Harry to live up to his. Ron and Hermione are there to give friendship, support and help to Harry at all times no matter what. Neville helps to rally everyone against the forces of evil in a time that they need it the most. Ginny was meant to fall in love with Harry and help him to understand the power that love can have. All of these thoughts were going through my head during the final tear filled minutes of this amazing film.
A literary and theatrical legacy has come to an end. I can’t help but be both sad and extremely grateful of everything I’ve read and seen regarding the world of Harry Potter. It has been an amazing journey, with both ups and downs, but the overall legacy is something that we outlive us all and be one for the ages. For those of you that have only ever experienced the films, do yourself a favor and go back to read the books. You will discover all kinds of characters, events and clues that you never got to see in the films. But, know that we have witnessed one of the greatest film series that has yet to be created and may never be duplicated. It’s been an amazing journey and I will miss the anticipation that comes with waiting for each new film to be released but I’m glad that I’ll be able to view and share these films for the rest of my days. Farewell Harry, you will be greatly missed.
JChandler: Grade A