Sunday, July 24, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

It's summertime and the movie blockbusters are lining up at your local theaters.  To say that Captain America was a film I've been waiting for is an understatement.  In my youth their was Captain America (cappie for short), then spiderman, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the Hulk.  I was a Marvel child (sorry DC).  I would devour all comic books as soon as I got them.  So when Captain America was announced about two years ago I began counting the days.  Even got my big boy to want to go see it since he loved Iron man.

So can you predict where this review will go?  I was not disappointed seeing Cappie and I thought Joe Johnston direction was well done.  A origin film is hard to do.  There is a lot of back story to cover, and sometimes it's hard to get it all in and be faithful to the comic.  Captain America has no problem there.  Johnston does extremely well to cover the true origin of Captain America, and stays faithful to the comic.  Chris Evans does a great job portraying Steve Rogers/ Captain America.  Some may call it a one note performance, but I do believe he gives depth to Captain America the human being.   Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, and Sebastian Stan all give great performances that add to the film.

The music by Alan Silvestri is dead on and enhances the film greatly.  How the filmmakers explain the different variations of Captain America is pretty cool.  I enjoyed seeing it as a period piece, and the filmmakers touch on the various different stages that Capie goes through.  This includes the different shields he used to his team he assembles to fight Hydra and the Red Skull.  Marvel could have made several films of Capie fighting the Nazis alone and that would have been fine, but there is a lot of material to cover and the filmmakers get through it at a good pace.

I know this all leads to the movie "The Avengers" set for next year release.  It will be interesting how it all comes together and how the characters fit.  I like how Marvel is putting their films together, and making sure each film fits into the Marvel universe.  It was also good to see that San Lee one of the creators of Marvel had a small role in it.  He even has one of the funniest lines, so look out for it if you get a chance.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is a film that will make you laugh, and shout.  It's enjoyable, and breathtaking to watch.  It remains one of my favorite superhero flicks of all time.  See it and enjoy it because Cappie's back in town.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

What can I say with two boys who are fans it was my duty to take them and get lost in the inexplicable plot that are the Transformers.   A movie based on a toy, which is based on an old animated series too.  I have to confess I was not a fan of Transformers when it was on Saturday morning cartoons, but through my boys I've learned to love the series.  The animated series did show some intelligence, and did have some interesting stories to tell.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an all out assault of imagery of robots battling, and for what small boy does this not make sense?  The series is about a blood feud between the Decepticons and the Autobots.  One loves freedom, and liberty, and the other is into tyranny and destruction.  It's as simple as that, and what director Michael Bay does is provide us with over two hours of mayhem and chaos.  The New York Times said it best in it's review "Mr Bays lax notions of coherence and plausibility are accompanied by a visual imagination that is at once crazily audacious and ruthlessly skillful".

I could not have said it any better.  It's a film that is visually stunning, and the CGI action is almost flawless.  There is also some funny performances by such stellar actors as: Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and John Turturro.  Even Leonard Nimoy is the voice of Sentinel Prime.  So the cast is entertaining.  What I didn't like was the performance and the addition of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly who played the role of Shia LaBeouf girlfriend a bit too stiff.  No doubt she is eye candy and make no mistake Ms Whiteley is a very appealing looking young women.  I just wish she had more to do then just play the girl in peril.  It always amazed me to see her with her high heel shoes on running and climbing through wreckage of battle.  I mean seriously people how about some comfortable shoes.  But no doubt Ms Whiteley was put there for us men to google lustily at.  All I can say is in a movie about fighting robots who cares about the young hottie unless she's packing an Uzi or something.  Let's say something about strong women role models who can kick ass too.  My boys certainly didn't notice anything but the fights, and that's what this series is aimed for, so next time Mr. Bay get it right.

I have to say that the film does drag, and at two hours and thirty four minutes it's a bit long even for young boys to sit through.  There's a lot that could have been cut out, yet I'm sure it'll only be extended in the directors cut on DVD.  I am one of the few people who appreciate Michael Bay.  Bay is a visual artist who knows how to paint his canvas, and keep his audience riveted to the screen.  In a way I think Mr. Bay was looking more to the animated series then the  the last two pictures.  Bringing in Leonard Nimoy seemed to be a salute to that since Nimoy did voice the villain Galvatron in the animated movie. 

Did I enjoy seeing Transformers: Dark of the Moon I can say with an enthusiastic yes.  Seeing it with ones children is almost half the pleasure of seeing a movie such as this, and it creates lasting memories that will warm my memory for years to come.  I guess that's the magic of these films.  Seeing it with your own children, and becoming a child for the amount of time that the movie is up on the screen.  Rooting for the hero's, and booing the villians is all part of the fun, and it made this middle-aged man become a little boy again, so for that I am eternally grateful to the filmmakers.

If your a fan go see it.  If you have children who want to see it go with them and share in the experience.  This is old fashion, yet high tech fun.