Sunday, August 14, 2011
Captain America - The First Avenger
The latest big budget adaptation of a Marvel Comic superhero, Captain America straddles the line that separates rousing action, sincere patriotism, and total cheese. Actually, it does quite a good balancing act. It mostly works as all of the above, and includes another peachy rewrite of history. In this new Hollywood version of WWII, Hitler is still the bad guy, but asks the question (and perhaps invades hallowed ground): what could be worse than Hitler? HYDRA, a wing of one of Hitler’s armies gone rogue. Okay, it actually doesn’t imply that Red Skull, the mad genius leader of HYDRA is worse than Hitler. But he ain’t no picnic.
Steve is a good soldier – his heart is in the right place. The experiment is a rousing success with Steve literally growing into a massive, muscle-bound soldier with a heart of gold. Did I mention this guy’s got heart? Tommy Lee Jones (good to see him) is Colonel Chester Phillips who considers Steve nothing more than the morale booster that an ambitious senator has pushed Steve into becoming.
version released in 1990 starring Matt Salinger, Darren McGavin, and Bill Mumy. The best use of special effects comes in the early scenes that show Steve as a small young man, with Chris Evans' head seamlessly and impressively grafted on a shrimpy body.
Evans is no stranger to the Marvel universe playing the Human Torch in two Fantastic Four movies. He has always brought a self conscious youthful cockiness to his roles, including one of seven ex-boyfriends in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, one of the doomed astronauts in Sunshine, and the demolitions expert in The Losers. In the Losers he played a geek, the smart one. But he has the looks of a matinee idol, and so it seems fitting, inexorable, that Evans would step back into the Marvel world as Captain America—part skinny geek who never got the girl, and part matinee super hero god who can do almost everything he ever wanted.
The Avengers, beware or embrace the hidden scene that occurs after the closing credits. It's nothing more than a glorified teaser for that movie which collects many of Marvel’s beloved superheroes into one movie. Aside from Captain America (in which Evans reprises his role), you’ll see Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Pepper Pots, and Hawkeye.
Theater location: Lowell Showcase, Thursday, August 4th, 7:50 pm. Price: 10.50. Viewed with Liz! Snack: apple, chopped and bagged.
Tin Tin. Spielberg directs this motion capture version. Not my cup of tea, but may be great for ten-year olds.
The Amazing Spiderman. Another reboot. Yawn.
John Carter. "Civil War vet John Carter is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, who is in desperate need of a savior." Huh? Notice the initials: JC.
Mission Impossible, Ghost Protocol. Tom Cruise still looks good running fast. This installment actually looks like it could kickstart this franchise, in a good way. This time Cruise has surrounded himself with a good cast, including Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Josh Holloway, and Tom Wilkinson.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Effective and disturbing, this new origins POTA cuts right into our collective primal fears. At least, one of them: apes becoming sentient and taking over. And not in a cuddly way from the look of this mesmerizing trailer. In a way that has them attacking a highway of cars and expertly throwing axes. With James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, and Brian Cox.