Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

This is a very special review. Some of you might think my reasoning for it is because both “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” are coming out soon, and that could be a valid argument for it, but that is wrong in this case. I am reviewing this movie in honor of a friend who passed away recently. He was a big fan of the Captain, and I thought that this was the best way I could honor him on here. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain America: The First Avenger”.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a young man who just wants to serve his country, but isn’t allowed due to his scrawny build. But one day he takes part in a secret government experiment that turns him into a super soldier. And shortly after this he finds himself on the path to taking down Hydra, an evil nazi death cult led by the evil Johann “Red Skull” Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). So now we have our origin story. And I have to say, I found myself more invested in the plot here than I did the first time I watched it. Sure, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like this is the most original or even most well written plot ever, but it’s far from bad… in fact, it’s quite good. On one hand you get a fun WW2 adventure with a sci-fi twist, and on the other you get an inspiring tale of overcoming great adversity despite your limitations. The plot isn’t too deep and complicated, but it makes up for that in how inspiring and entertaining it is.

The characters here are unique, interesting, and entertaining. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers/Captain America, a young man who’s been picked on most of his life. But despite this he has always stood up to bullies and bad people, always willing to give his life for what he cares about. He’s a truly inspiring character if I’ve ever seen one. And Evans is great in the role. Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, a special agent that Steve works with throughout the movie. She’s tough but she does also have a more vulnerable side, making her feel a bit more layered than some characters with similar setups. And Atwell is great in the role. Then we have Tommy Lee Jones as colonel Chester Phillips, Steve’s superior and a tough but fair military man. And Tommy Lee Jones is very Tommy Lee Jones in the role… AKA really good. Then we have Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt, AKA Red Skull, AKA evil nazi death cult leader, AKA villain. And he’s suitably intimidating in the role, making the character a bit more interesting in the process. The character in itself isn’t very deep, but Weaving’s performance is what makes him so interesting and memorable. So yeah, Weaving is really good. Then we have Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes, Steve’s best friend. You do get a good feel of their friendship and the character is decently interesting. And Stan is really good in the role. And throughout the movie you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Kenneth Choi, Richard Armitage, Derek Luke, JJ Feild, and many more. It’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and I thought it was pretty great. What I like about it is that it aims to capture the feel of inspiration and wonder that comes with Steve’s journey from Brooklyn boy to Captain America. And it does help build some decent tension at times. And in general the score really inspires me to want to go out and do some good. So yeah, the music is great.

The movie was directed by Joe Johnston and I think he did a really good job here. What I like about his direction is that he gives the movie a very retro vibe, often emulating action-adventures of the past. And I think that style really works well for the story and setting. It even bleeds through into the action scenes which are intense, badass, and just a ton of fun.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While it isn’t necessarily the best MCU film, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is an inspiring and highly entertaining action movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain America: The First Avenger” is a 9,60/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain America: The First Avenger” is now completed.

Here’s to you, Eric… you are sorely missed. Rest in peace, my friend.

Movie Review: Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)

This is a bit of a bittersweet one. As I hav stated way too many times on this blog, I am a longtime fan of DC animation, and I love talking about it. However, today I talk about this movie with a little bit of sorrow behind my words. This was the last movie/show/thing where Adam West plays Batman. So that’s it. After this, we can no longer look forward to any further appearances from him. So here’s to you, Mr. West, you awesome man.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman vs. Two-Face”.

After a horrible accident leaves him disfigured, district attorney Harvey Dent (William Shatner) takes on the alter ego of Two-Face and then starts wreaking havoc on Gotham. So it’s up to Batman (Adam West, R.I.P) and Robin (Burt Ward) to get out there and stop Two-Face. So is this plot any good? Yeah. It isn’t just a straight forward “take the villain down” story, as it has some pretty interesting twists throughout, while still keeping it relatively simple and fun. What I also like about this plot is that it’s a lot more tonally consistent than the previous movie, “Return of the Caped Crusaders”. And while I liked this plot, it’s nothing special. It’s good, but ultimately kind of forgettable.

The characters here are fun and really interesting. As said in the intro of this review, this was the last appearance of Adam West (may he rest in peace) as the Caped Crusader. And while he sounds old, his voice still has a lot of energy to it, which makes it so much more enjoyable. And really, he’s good as Batman. Burt Ward returns s Robin and he still has the childlike naivety that made his Robin so enjoyable. And Ward is jsut really good as Robin. Julie Newmar returns as Catwoman. While not as energized in her performance as Adam West, she still clearly gives it her all and she manages to do a pretty good Catwoman (even if she does sound a bit on the older side). Then we have Steven Weber, reprising his role as Alfred from “Return of the Caped Crusaders”. And if I didn’t already know that it was Steven Weber voicing Alfred, I could never guess that it was him. So yeah, he’s great. Thomas Lennon returns s the voice of police chief O’Hara, and he’s fine. Let’s talk about the newcomer here, William Shatner as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Firstly, I really liked what they did with the character here, they really managed to reinvent him in a clever way for the Westian Bat-world. As Harvey Dent he just sounded like William Shatner being nice. But as Two-Face his voice was unrecognizable, downright sinister. So yeah, Shatner was great here. Then there are a bunch of supporting actors in here that I won’t go in-depth with because I don’t want to drag this out too much. But I can say that they were really good in their roles.

The score for the movie was composed by DC regulars Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, & Michael McCuistion. And it’s very jazzy and fun, fitting the 60s “Batman” series style perfectly. And admittedly I did enjoy just listening to it in general. So yeah, it’s really good.

Rick Morales who directed “Return of the Caped Crusaders” returned to direct this, and he did a good job. The directing/animation here flows very well and feels energized enough to never feel dull. There’s plenty of goofy and fun action stuff here. And since it’s animation they are allowed to do more crazy things than the 60s live action series, and they come up with some fun, fast, and exciting action scenes that still feel like they fit this goofy world.

Since this is a small direct to video movie, there’s not a lot of data on my usual sites. But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,1/10.

“Batman vs. Two-Face” is a fun little movie and a great sendoff for Adam West. It has a good plot, great characters, really good performances, really good music, and solid directing/animation. My only flaw with it is that it’s not the most memorable in terms of plot… just kind of scoots by. Time for my final score. Holy review, Batman! My final score for “Batman vs. Two-Face” is an 8,76/10. While flawed, I’d say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Batman vs. Two-Face” is now completed.

Rest in peace, Mr. West. We miss you.

Movie Review: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)

As most, if not all of you probably know, Adam West sadly passed away last week at the age of 88. Whether you knew him from “Batman”, “Family Guy”, “The Detectives”, or something else, you can’t deny the impact he’s had on pop culture. So to commemorate this great man, I want to talk about the last thing he did as the Caped Crusader… other than the upcoming animated movie “Batman vs. Two-Face”, but that is not important right now.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders”.

Bruce Wayne (Adam West, R.I.P) and Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) have to suit up once again to stop their enemies who have teamed up to do villain stuff. So now Batman and Robin will have to once again stop the fiends. And this is basically a continuation of the 1960s “Batman” series. Especially the first half which is exactly like an animated version of a classic “Batman” episode, but with more action. Then during the second hald they do something quite interesting that plays around a bit more with the plot. Without spoiling too much, Batman starts going through some changes during the second half which becomes the primary plot thing during that part. And I’m not really sure what to say about it. There is fun to be had there, especially with some of the visuals and lines, but overall it’s quite a weird shift from that first part. So really I’d say that the overall plot in this movie is fine. It’s entertaining enough, and the pacing is good, but something just feels a bit off about it.

The characters are just as cartoony (HA!) as in the 60s show and they’re simply entertaining and for the most part well performed. Adam West (may he rest in peace), while sounding quite old, knocks it out of the park, you can tell that he still had that energy that he had back in the 60s, which makes his performance so enjoyable. Burt Ward once gain brings a sense of fun to Robin, which I quite enjoyed. Julie Newmar, yeah, she was okay. She didn’t sound quite like she used to, and overall her performance wasn’t great… it was fine. Since Cesar Romero has been dead for years, Jeff Bergman had to take over Joker duties, and he just nails it. William Salyers did the voice of Penguin in this and he was great. Riddler was played by… Wally Wingert? Huh, I guess that since he was a great Riddler in the “Arkham” gams he got to do it here… and he was great here. Jim Ward did the voice of Commissioner Gordon in this and he’s great. Alfred in this was voiced by Steven Weber, and I didn’t recognize his voice here… yeah, he was quite good. Thomas Lennon as chief O’Hara, he was good. Lynne Marie Stewart as Aunt Harriet, she was good. Overall, it’s well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis, and Michael McCuistion, with some of the tracks of course being new arrangements of Neal Hefti’s classic tracks… and this music is just classic “Batman”. It has that fun and jazzy feel of the 60s show, and it’s just awesome to hear. It just perfectly captures the feel of the 1966 series.

This movie was directed by Rick Morales and it’s overall very well handled. Everything has a nice flow to it and the animation (direct-to-video budget standards) is good. Everything design-wise is just straight up the 1960s show. And since this is animated and not live action, they have a lot more freedom with what they can do and it shows that they decided to have as much fun as possible with this version of Bats. There are plenty of fun visuals done here, both in the sense of just normal fun, and some as references/jokes. Speaking of which, this is quite funny. Lovingly poking fun at the old show and even a little bit at some of the newer and darker iterations of the character. It has the campy style of the old show while still being self-aware enough to have some fun with it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating. On Metacritic it does exist, but it has no score to it. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” is a lot of fun, at least if you enjoy the classic show to some extent. It has a good plot, great characters, really good performances, great music, and really good animation. The only problem is that something feels off about the plot from that weird shift in the second half. Time for my final score. *Nana nana nana nana*. My final score for “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” is an 8,99/10. While flawed, I’d say that it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” is now completed.

As fun as it is seeing those comic book hit things (wham, bonk, bam, etc.), nothing will ever beat this classic.

Movie Review: Frailty (2002)

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As all of you probably know by now, we recently suffered a great loss. Actor Bill Paxton unfortunately passed away at the age of 61 due to complications following surgery. I can’t possibly know what his family is going through right now, and I give my most sincere condolences to them. Not only is this a great loss for his family, but also for the entire movie/TV industry. Paxton was never one of those actors that really sold thousands of movie tickets, but he always gave it his all. He is one of those actors that always brought a smile to my face. Even when he played a bit of a dick (See: “Nightcrawler” or “True Lies”), I liked him. And it’s not really until the news of his death reached me that I realized how much I loved him as an actor. Deaths of good actors/musicians/authors/entertainers always suck, but this is one that actually hurt. So in honor of this great man, I have chosen to review a movie of his that I hadn’t seen yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Frailty”.

One dark and stormy night (I shit you not), FBI agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) finds a man (Matthew McConaughey) in his office who wants to talk to him. The man tells the story of his father (Bill Paxton, R.I.P) who apparently got visions from god, compelling him to hunt down people who were “demons” and to then destroy them. And through most of the movie we see a flashback to the time when the man was young and experienced his dad doing these things. And I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was a really solid plot. Through most of the movie I sat there wondering if the guy actually got told by god to do these horrible things or if he was just a fucking loon. And I loved how it managed to keep it like that throughout. There was also a lot of good suspense to the plot too, which made it even better. Yeah, this movie has a creepy/disturbing plot that is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all pretty interesting. Bill Paxton knocks it out of the park as the dad. His performance got layers to it. You can tell that his character isn’t just making up bullshit excuses so he can kill people, the man really believes that he’s doing the right things. Gives layers to the character. McConaughey is alright, alright, alright in this… admit it, that joke was funny. But seriously, he does a good job here. Matt O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter plays Paxton’s two kids in this movie, and they are really good in the movie. And Powers Boothe is of course pretty great too. Yeah, the acting here is really good.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler and it was really good. Sure, it never does anything particularly original, his score does take cues from a lot of horro/thriller scores (not jumpscare cues, mind you!), but it overall sounds really good. It’s ominous, it’s creepy, and it fits the movie perfectly.

This movie was the directorial debut of Bill Paxton, and I got to say that I’m really impressed. His directing here is slow and very tense, which makes for some pretty great scenes. The movie also looks really good. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of those “Wow, this is gorgeous” movies, but it does look good.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Frailty” is a surprisingly great horror/thriller. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Frailty” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Frailty” is now completed.

Rest in peace Bill Paxton… you will be sorely missed.

 

Rest in Peace Alan Rickman

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Hi guys, as you’ve probably heard (and read in the title of this post), actor Alan Rickman has unfortunately passed away at the age of 69. Apparently he had battled with cancer for a pretty short time and that is what apparently took his life. After looking back at my blog, I noticed that I’ve never really done a post about the death of a celebrity before. But I guess that comes from the fact that I’ve never properly connected emotionally to any of the ones who died during the lifespan of my blog. And that is exactly the reason why I am doing a piece on Alan Rickman… because there have been some kind of emotional connection between his work and me (if that makes any sense). Since I’ve grown up watching him in movies he has always sort of been part of my life, so it’s weird for me to know that he’s gone. So I just want to talk about some of the roles I know him from.

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Of course I have to start with the character of Severus Snape from the “Harry Potter” movies since they have been a crucial part of my upbringing. From the age of 6 (I think) I have followed the movies (and books) closely and I have always loved them. And throughout the entirety of my life I have always been intrigued by the character of Severus Snape, the potions class teacher who may or may not have been a bad guy. Of course in the final movie we found out the truth about him, but I won’t spoil it for those who may not have seen it. But Rickman was just perfect in the role and I think that may have been one of the reasons why I enjoyed the character so much.

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Another early one for me was the character of Joe in “Help! I’m a fish” which I just found out he was part of because as a kid I watched the Swedish dub of the movie which is kind of funny because it was originally a Danish movie which then was dubbed in the English language by people like Alan Rickman and Terry Jones. But I suppose Rickman would have been great in the role since he is so great at playing villains. The character of Joe was a fish who accidentally got a special brew into him (the brew was created by a weird scientist) and it turned him intelligent. And he was basically the bad guy of the movie and I am sure Alan Rickman was great in the role.

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This one is kind of one of his more low-key and not as villainous roles… even though he does kind of a douchy thing in the movie. I am of course talking about Harry from “Love Actually”, a romance movie that is actually really fucking good. Throughout the movie Harry is kind of seduced by his new secretary to the point of it basically becoming him cheating on his wife Karen (Emma Thompson). It’s a kind of depressing and not too funny part of the movie, but the acting from Rickman and Thompson is great.

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“Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” may be a cheesy and pretty stupid movie and Kevin Costner isn’t even attempting to do an English accent, but one of the high points of the movie was Alan Rickman as Sheriff George of Nottingham. Like I said earlier, this guy is fantastic at playing villains and this is no exception to that claim.

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This was a pretty weird role in a really weird movie by a super weird director. “Alice in Wonderland” by Tim Burton is kind of a polarizing movie for me. On one hand I do love a lot of the visuals, but a lot of the Tim Burton-isms show themselves. But somehow, Rickman managed to perfectly nail it as the Blue Caterpillar who really isn’t one of the most interesting characters in my opinion. But with Rickman’s unique voice I actually kind of enjoyed seeing the character in the movie. Rickman really captured the spirit of the character.

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Tim Burton strikes once again, but this time with “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” where Mr. Rickman plays Judge Turpin. And he gets to play opposite a lot of talented folks in this movie such as Johnny Depp (obviously), Helena Bonham Carter (Fucking Duh) and Timothy Spall (Less obvious). But Rickman really holds his own because let’s face it… he could act the shirts off of everyone on set. This is a movie I barely remember overall (mainly because I watched it when I was really tired), but I do remember the great acting in the movie.

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Going out with a bang we have the one and only Hans Gruber from “Die Hard”, one of the best action movies ever. This is when Alan Rickman gained some mainstream popularity, thanks to this great role. If you didn’t know Gruber is the leader of a group of terrorists that take over the Nakatomi plaza and that’s when John McClane (Bruce Willis) kind of have to step in and stop them. And from that there is cool action and one of the greatest villains of all time thanks to the memorable/excellent performance by Mr. Alan Rickman. I actually only watched this movie for the first time around 2014, but I don’t think it matters when you watch it as long as you enjoy it.

So those were some of my most memorable roles from Alan Rickman. Are there any I didn’t mention that you would like to mention? Feel free to leave a comment. Like I said, I honestly just did this because Rickman is one of the few celebrities who I’ve kind of grown some kind of attachment to thanks to him kind of being part of my entire life. I mean, it feels like I have lost someone close to me. True story: On the bus home from school today I sat and cried for most of the trip because of this unfortunate event.

Rest in peace, Alan Rickman… you will forever be missed and remembered fondly.

 

 

Movie Review: Joe (2013)

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For a few years now, movies that have featured Nicolas Cage have been…less than stellar. But you don’t need me to tell you that! Not with movies like “The Wicker Man” and “Stolen”. But the reason I was able to watch them was because of this great guy. He just makes them a hell of a lot more amusing and entertaining. He is also a weird fucking guy. Did you know he ate a live cockroach in a scene in “Vampire’s Kiss”? Seriously, Cage! Ew! But back to the actual topic…a movie featuring Mister Cage in a movie that have gotten people saying he is back in the saddle again. Well, let’s see if this reviewer rides along or just want to kill himself with laughter.

Joes and…Jos…”Joe”.

The movie follows 15-year old guy Gary (Tye Sheridan) who is looking to get something out of life…mainly a job so he can make money for his family. So he goes to ex-con Joe (Nicolas Cage) who does forest work. And what that forest work is, that is pretty interesting. They poison old weak trees and cut them down to get place for new healthy trees to be planted there. So Joe hires this kid he has never seen before. And they bond, kind of like father & son. But what gets in the way of that sometimes is Gary’s father Wade (Gary Poulter, R.I.P). There is also this rapey douchebag known as Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins) who wants to kind of,,,rape Gary’s mother and sister. And he gets his ass kicked early on in the movie by Gary and Joe…at different points. Another vital point to mention about this movie is how Joe got a lot of built in rage, and when that rage gets released…shit gets real. And throughout the movie a lot of dark and disturbing shit happens. So based on the sort of basic story of the movie, it got a lot of similarities to “Mud”. Not only in the story, but also the irony how the story combined with Tye Sheridan playing the main kid in both movies make them similar. I guess you could say that this is a more dark and disturbing version of “Mud”. The difference however (except for the obvious one of Cage-McConaughey) is that “Mud” got a little more of a focused story. I mean, this movie feels like it’s everywhere it feels like. “Mud” had more of a progressive story…and you noticed that. But in “Joe”…not so much. But overall…pretty good…maybe a little disturbing.

The characters are dark and honestly a bit depressing. The only one I don’t wanna punch in the face is honestly Joe since he is a sincere, kind and just cool guy. I also don’t wanna punch Gary. Why? Because he does everything he do for his family to help out, but his abusive/alcoholic dad is in teh damn way all the time. But the characters like I said…dark, a little depressing…and what I did not mention, layered. They have many layers of their personalities and that is what makes them more complex and watchable than expected. Godo job actors and writer!

The music is like the movie…Dark and Disturbing. And that is what makes it so good. It is a mix of this sort of…southern state style…but also the bone-chilling style that you heard in “Requiem For a Dream”. So in general…the music is really good.

I usually say “something fun about this” in this section…but this time it is not fun. It’s just depressing. The guy who plays the alcoholic father, Gary Poulter played fantastically. And while that sounds all fine and dandy, it’s not. In the movie he plays this alcoholic with a piece of crap home. In real life, he is an alcoholic homeless man. That’s right, director David Gordon Green pulled a homeless man of the streets to play a character that was a more dark version of himself…and he did great. The sad thing is that a few months after they were done filming the movie, he was found dead on the side of the road, in a shallow body of water. Depressed yet? Good. Now to mention something more amusing…Nicolas Cage legitimately picks up a poisonous snake in the movie.  Not kidding, watch the thumbnail for this review. Fun fact: Nicolas Cage likes dangerous snakes, they are apparently his friends…I told you he’s fucking weird. Also, this movie looks stunning…not kidding.

Reception for “Joe” was generally good. Rotten Tomatoes currently holds the highest overall score for this with an 83% rating and certified it “Fresh”. Metacritic gave this movie a 73/100 rating (at the time of this review). And since Roger Ebert had passed away about five months before the release of this movie, he has no review for it. But some other dude on his site has a review for it.
imdb.com currently holds the rating of 7,2/10.

So now I have given my opinions on different aspects of “Joe” and I’m ready to give it a score. I am giving this movie the score of 8,94/10. This movie is worth a buy whenever the hell it comes out. It also contains the best best performance I have ever seen from Nicolas Cage. Reason the score is under 9/10 or even 10/10 is because of how dark and disturbing it is at times.

“Joe” is now reviewed.

Rest in peace Gary Poulter…you did a great job in this movie.