Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sabotage (2014): Review

I went and saw this movie last week and although I thought it was better then i imaged it would be, I didn't have internet in my new apartment and then procrastinated writing it.  Now that I am getting around to it I would recommend that anyone who likes action movies and this type of film see it when it comes out on DVD/television because although it was pretty standard it wasn't as cookie cutter as some other films of the same flavor.
Sabotage is the new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and I think that overall he does a good job and this movie kept my interest throughout and went more for a seeder feel then some of the other recent action movies of this type which have been going more toward the weary protagonist.  In this Arnold plays John "Breacher" Wharton the head of a DEA task force that specializes in installing themselves in drug organizations to take them down.  The movie starts with Breacher's team taking down a drug cartel and in doing so steal ten million dollars from the cash store.  When the team goes to get the money they find that it has been stolen from them. They have to pull it together and act like nothing happens when the DEA suspect them of stealing the money. When the investigation is dropped for lack of evidence Breacher pulls his team back together but everything is not how it seems.  The team is being targeted and taken down and they do not know who it is who is targeting them, could it be the DEA or the drug cartel?  This movie also stars Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Terrence Howard, Max Martini, Kevin Vance, and Mireille Enos as Breacher's Team as well as Olivia Williams and Harold Perrineau as the investigators of the teams deaths.

This movie went for gritty and seedy but to me it didn't quite pull it off as it was too shiny around the edges and had high production value.  This would usually be a good thing but as it felt like the grit was wanted and to see how the team really embraces the criminal and drug world which the team had immersed themselves in.  There is lots of swearing, sex, strippers, drug use, etc.  This movie really went for the feel they wanted but didn't quite capture it.
I really liked the cast and how all the actors played off of each other. I especially liked Olivia Williams as Agent Caroline and thought that her character was very interesting to watch and I was invested in her journey of discovery.  I think that the feel of team was there between the actors of Breacher's team and that the dynamics of the team was looked at but I think that they quickly added back story without filling it in to give the motivation for decisions some of the characters made that seemed to be put in because the motivation was needed but there wasn't enough to have gone through any of the emotions of those characters.
I tend to like crappy action movies and really like this resurgence of older action stars in movies as their curmudgeonly and beaten down old selves.  It seems that when the movies go for more serious they are more successful and I believe that this one was one of the ones that worked pretty well.  It stuck to basic story's but wasn't as cookie cutter that I thought it was just phoned in.  It tired really hard for the group dynamics and character interactions which I appreciated, as well as the actin and fight sequences.

My Rating: 2-

Friday, April 4, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Review

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and I am so very very happy to state that it was amazing. I had been hoping that it would be good but trying to not get to exited for this movie because when I get my expectations up I tend to be disappointed. With this movie, I don't think that I would have disappointing no matter how high my expectations were because for me it was one of the best action movies I have seen in a while and that is saying a lot with the movies of this year.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier is definitely one of my favorite movies so far this year and I think it is a must see for everyone.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier Chris Evens continues to play Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America following the events of the Avengers (2012) movie. For an account of what happens to the Cap in his previews movies click the following links ( http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2014/04/captain-america-first-avenger-2011.html and http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-captains-role-in-avengers-2012.html ). The Captain has been adjusting to being in modern day and has been taking on missions assigned by S.H.E.I.L.D, which is headed by Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. He has been teeming up with Natasha AKA Black Widow, played by Scarlet Johannson, and working with elite shield teams to complete his assigned mission. He discovers that people are not telling him all the information about what he has been doing, specifically Fury.  When it is discovered that more is going on with S.H.E.I.L.D The Captain finds that he is being drawn into all the deception and discovers that HYDRA may not be as gone as he thought it was.  Can The Captain relay on Black Widow and new ally Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie to figure out what is really going on with HYDRA and overcome the link between The Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan, and Roger's past.
I really think that this movie has the right balance of all of its elements, the only week link was that nothing happening in the plot was that surprising or full of suspense. I think the balance of action sequences, fights, changes of pace, story, back story, Roger's journey, and banter was fantastic.  I think that some of the CG was obviously CG, but it seems like some of these graphics are so sharp that they go past realistic for me. I did see this movie in 3D and it worked as there was a bunch of stuff being thrown around (i.e. The Cap shield.) but I don't think you will really need it to be in 3D to enjoy what it going on.

I was surprised to say that I really enjoyed the chemistry between Rogers and Natasha in this movie and think that the banter and relationship growth between them really worked.  It was a way to have a female in the picture and have her build on a relationship with the male lead but without making it a romantic love interest.  I liked how she kept trying to bring up people who he could go out with and introducing the banter between them while The Cap was always the chivalrous soldier.
Overall the cast of this movie was spot on and how they all came together and played off each other was perfectly balanced.  Even the smaller roles worked in the whole scheme of things, with enough about them to work for what they were but not too much to seem out of place.  The only character who I feel should have had a bit more in the general plot was Agent 13, played by Emily VanCamp, because although she had some focus on her nothing would have been missed if she was not there.  I understand this is probably a set up for the story arc between her and Cap or just an obvious Easter Egg for fans.
One of the reasons that I think I am putting this action film above a lot of other ones is I feel that it didn't go OTT with the action sequences.  I have noticed that recently they have really extended out action sequences and the CGI battles, but in Captain America: The Winter Soldier they kept them at a good length and focused it on what the characters where working to achieve, not just focusing on the destruction and how cool the graphics looked.  Although worked in were some scenes of plot and story which broke up these sequences.

I really like Captain America as a character and think that Chris Evens is great in the role. This movie got top marks from me because I was drawn into the journey that Cap was going through and I wanted everything to work out for him.  He was able to touch the emotional connection that I as an audience member want to actually care about him and whats happening.  There have been some movies recently that missed this and I found myself watching the movie but not really feeling anything for the main character and therefore not really caring what happens to them or forgiving their faults.  Captain America, although at times preachy doesn't get pushy because you like you as a character.

My Rating: 4- (almost a perfect movie)

Side Note- Make sure to stay through the end of the all the credits because there are two after movie scenes, one a few minutes into the credits and one after they are completed.  The first one is important for the development of Marvel's Phase 2, and the second hints as another characters personal development and journey post movie.

I am not that familiar with all of the dynamics of the Marvel universe, so if someone could explain to me the general role of the people introduced in the first post movie scene, I would appreciate it.

The Captain's Role in The Avengers (2012)

In gearing up for the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): I have been re watching Roger's movies.  To see my recap of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) click here ( http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2014/04/captain-america-first-avenger-2011.html ).  Captain America's journey continues in the Avengers, where their is not much development with him but is about him playing a stable role in the team and getting in back into the game of being a hero.
It starts with Rogers, played by Chris Evens, holed up and working out.  He is waiting for a mission and a chance to get back into the world.  This happens when the tesseract is stolen and S.H.E.I.L.D. is infiltrated.  The Captain is brought in and learns that he really is a fish out of water with how things are in the world today. Although he has difficulty understanding references (except about flying monkeys) he knows how to be strong and seek to do what it right.  During the battle of New York he takes a leadership role during the battle and works to control the carnage on the group.  Throughout this movie he starts to discover that people are not always honest about what is going on and that he needs to be careful about putting his full trust in other people.

Based on the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier the professional relationship between Rogers and Natasha, (The Black Widow) played by Scarlet Johansson continues. With her being a ally and someone who helps Rogers to continue to transition into the world of modern day.

I am very excited to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier later on today!!!

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Recap & Review

In preparation of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) which came out today I re watched the first Captain America movie.  Captain American: The First Avenger is the origin story for Captain America and is mainly set during WWII.  It follows Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evens, who wants to join the US Army and serve his country but inst able to because of his diminutive size and health limitations. Through trying to join multiple times he comes to the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine, played by Stanley Tucci, who sees Rogers for the man of integrity and strength that he is.  Rogers goes through the initiative Army training where he meets Col. Chester Phillips, played by Tommy Lee Jones, and Agent Peggy Carter, played by Haley Atwell.  Rogers continues to impress Erskine and starts to grow on Peggy and is chosen as the man to be turned into a super soldier with the help of Howard Stark, played by Dominic Cooper.

  During this process the facility is infiltrated by a agent of HYDRA and Dr. Eskine is killed.  Rogers is put to work as a marketing tool Captain America because after the attack the super soldier project was seen as a failure.  Meanwhile in Europe, HYDRA who is being led by Johann Schmidt AKA Red Skull, have been working to harness the power of the Tesseract, an outer space infinity stone.  While Rogers in vising the troops in Italy, Rogers finds out that his hometown friend Bucky, played by Sebastian Stan, he recruits Peggy and Stark to help him get to the bunker where Bucky as well as the other surviving members of his unit are being held.  While he is there you can see all that Captain America is really able to do, as he battles against Red Skull, who he discovered was the original partner of Dr. Erskine and the first super-soldier.  After proving himself to Col. Phillips with his rescue mission Captain America is given his own team and set on the mission to take down HYDRA.  As he does this Bucky is killed and Captain America is put in a position where he chooses to sacrifice himself to prevent New York City from being distorted. He crash lands in the arctic and is thorough to be lost.  Captain America remains frozen in the ice until present day when he is revived by S.H.E.I.L.D. and discovered that he now in 2011.

Captain America is one of my favorite Avengers and is one if my favorite Marvel Phase I movies, it is an enjoyable one. It has a different feel then the other phase I movies because it is set during WWII and has a military focus because Steve Rogers is Captain America.  It shows and focus on the integrity of Rogers and how he always wants to do what it right and will protect others.  It is a movie worth watching and I like it.  The main down fall is that because it is set during WWII and the Captain is now in modern day the story line of a romantic connection between himself and Peggy is not possible.

My Rating: 3-

Click here to continue to get a summary of The Captain's story in the Avengers http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-captains-role-in-avengers-2012.html