Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider(2014)

I really can’t believe it has been this long. I mean Captain America 2 is still playing in some obscure movie theaters around me but for the most part its time to wait for it to be released on DVD. It has been a solid 6 years now that Marvel has been releasing movies now more attached to Marvel as a studio. Of course there has been Superman, Batman and Green Lantern from DC Comics. But Marvel has really stepped it up ever since Iron Man and the Edward Norton Hulk.

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Summer 2011 marked the first Captain America movie. I have to admit that I enjoyed it but the whole story behind Steve Rogers is not really that interesting. Its important but is not very interesting. Here’s why. We like Iron Man and Tony Stark because Stark is sort of a jerk, a genius, a billion dollars man and a womanizer. But what he is really known for and what makes him the most prominent in his business is his weapon making Stark industries. Here is a man who does not see the destruction of his ways..well until he gets forced to see it. Stark takes his bad boy, bad attitude, glamorous lifestyle and uses it for good. He gets the conviction and creates what everyone never would have thought he could have done. Bruce Wayne(Batman) does kind of the same thing. Both Stark and Wayne become self-made superheroes. However, Captain America is already sort of a good guy and loyal and is supposed to represent the sincere soldier patriot that we assume everyone is before they go to Iraq and Afghanistan. But this sequel plays it in a whole new and very non-boring way.

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Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and Ed Brubaker. Based on the comic by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan

Plot/Overview: Set some time after Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 and really very soon after The Avengers, Steve Rogers is adapting to life in Washington, D.C. Jogging around the Lincoln Memorial with elapsed time effect Steve meets Sam Wilson(a.k.a. Falcon) and introduces him to music he should listen to. Steve is also accompanied by Black Widow and that Cobie Smulders girl. Steve is thrown into his next mission in partnership with a bunch of CIA renegade types(meaning, they look like renegades). An apprehension of a ship taken captive by “pirates.” The plot thickens and turns against the ones you wouldn’t expect it. Nick Fury gets ambushed in his bulletproof car(which makes for an epic scene!) and almost dies. Steve soon discovers that he can’t really trust anyone. Up comes to the surface the Robert Redford guy(Alexander Pierce) who says, “to build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down, and that makes enemies..” Of Course this elicits Steve’s main line of the whole movie. He says, “I used to know what is right( or the right thing to do) but I don’t know anymore!” Essentially this is the good guy Steve questioning his moral compass and pressing the issue. It gets revealed that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky(his best friend in life before he became Captain America).

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. I really think I even need to see this movie again. I saw it right when it came out in April and was watching in 3-D so some details have slipped my mind. In the end Falcon fights and the Captain lives on and the Winter Soldier is not dead. They really could make a third movie and I think they should.

The deeper meaning

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I think comic books throw us off because we don’t expect them sometimes to point their fingers on deep political issues, but they can serve as very relevant pieces of art that expose our justice system. I think the whole idea of shield is similar to the idea of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act and Homeland Security and the NSA. It seems as if in order to keep America safe from terrorism that we have to develop these multidimensional secret teams and underground operations in order to “keep America safe.” Our secret torture of prisoners( or otherwise possible terrorist) in Guantanamo Bay. Its probably not so much of a secret now but it takes place. The C.I.A. and the US government has let the people believe a lot of things in order to always cover up what really is going on. S.H.I.E.L.D. borders the line of keeping people safe and protecting them with also possibly putting our “super” heroes in harms way or in a compromising way in order to keep people safe. Its a tension and its a reality.

Do we really need these super powered freaks to keep us safe. ‘No one does good, not even one!’ How can normal people with special abilities know even how to do the right thing? Sometimes, its because they are the only ones willing to do it. Captain America borders this line and question. Power hungry people like Robert Redford in this movie will always be fighting to tear down the walls of safety and the illusion of protection. Doing right becomes more of a personal, subjective conviction, rather then a general claim that we put up as people. Steve represents the good intentions of the military but the negative imprint it leaves on men and their minds and their families.

In conclusion, “its not freedom, its fear!” The building of a new world means that the system has to be questioned and tested. Aside from all of these political thoughts the action in this movie far surpasses most of the Marvel movies. And the scene in the elevator when Captain says, “before we start, does anyone want to get out?”

Who will do what needs to be done? Even if it means compromising what you believe to be right and wrong.

Everyone should see this movie..seriously see it.

Movie Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit(2014)

The first official movie review of 2014. I am in touch with what is recent but this is the first time since Catching Fire that I am seeing a movie opening weekend. I would take time to have reviewed The recent Hobbit but, well..later.

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Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Adam Cozad, David Koepp, Tom Clancy(based on his books)
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh

Russia.Let’s start with saying that Russia is the center of a lot of plots. Russia usually plays the bad guy. The last DIE HARD movie?(never saw it) ahh.. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4, which was incredible, had Russia as the bad guy and they even go into the Kremlin. I was thinking maybe THE PEACEMAKER as well was Russians having the nuclear weapons. I think Hollywood and its writer’s think the world really will involve Russia at the helm of all imminent disaster, and they actually might be on to something(but still don’t forget about the Middle East) The list goes on but in this reboot of Jack Ryan Chris Pine is found with having some room to replay a character we already love.

Plot/Overview: The previous four Jack Ryan movies(HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER,CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, PATRIOT GAMES AND SUM OF ALL FEARS). Chris is the fourth actor to play Jack Ryan and in light of Tom Clancy dying recently, it seems to be even more relevant to do this movie. Shadow Recruit goes back to the early days of Jack Ryan, studying economics in London. In light of September 11th Jack gets patriotic and becomes a marine. In route to Afghanistan his helicopter gets shot down and he saves two lives as well as his own but is given a tough chance of ever walking again. In rehab Jack meets his future girlfriend, Cathy Muller(Keira Knightley). He does humorously call her a sadist and says he hates her but only because, at that point, he couldn’t walk. In his recovery Thomas Harper(Kevin Costner) recruits him to work for the CIA as a covert financial analyst. The story skips ahead 10 years later and Jack is doing exactly as he is told. “Its gonna get lonely, but that’s how we like it,” Thomas tells him. His girlfriend doesn’t know what he does. The plot picks up to reveal that Russia is trying to crash the U.S. economy. Jack says it will be the second great depression. He goes to Moscow to try to fix what he sees to be the problem. This is when the action happens. Viktor Cherevin, played by the director of the film, Kenneth Branagh. Is at the helm of the U.S. terrorist plot. And, as revealed by Cathy, he has an imminent death approaching. All bad guys want to go down in their destructive plots and schemes as doing something worth remembering before they die. He says a very key line, he says, “regret stacks up like old books you don’t read!” In America, we say it more like, a potential terrorist is a terrorist, so lets go blow up some countries to get rid of all of them( ha ha, just kidding!)

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Jack Ryan in the past movies was at an older stage in his life. In the Harrison Ford ones he is married and has at least a daughter(if I remember right) but here Jack is at the very beginning of discovering the difference of analyzing something and then holding a gun and having to kill someone. He almost dies when he gets driven to the hotel. His girl finds out about him and the CIA. I mean, you have to tell the girl eventually.

The plot leads them back to America where Viktor’s son takes a bomb and tries to detonate near Wall Street. Jack Ryan to the rescue and played by with a sweet motor cycle sequence he stops the bomb. He is not just analyzing now, he was being fully operational.

Lines and Final Thoughts
Chris Pine had said in a Men’s Fitness article that the physical stuff of the film were easy for him. He said that the challenge of playing this character was that the audience needs to see you think.

And I think you see him think. I think knowledge and action play off each other well in this film. So many times action films just have cool action with no depth in the actual reason behind an evil menace doing what he is doing. I think you care in this film. And these characters let you care for them and care for America. It doesn’t matter what party you are apart of. The point is that America will always do what we have to to stay safe and if that means killing the terrorist then that is what we will do. And in this film, Viktor, actually dies by the hand of his own Russian friend. Or, maybe not so much of a friend, after he had failed.

Good Lines I liked
His boss tells him, “We are on a luxury yacht, don’t sink us!”-

Viktor says, “You Americans are just rude, he says you Russians like to think of yourselves as poets perhaps you are just touchy.”

Viktor says,”Regret piles up like books you haven’t read.”

Viktor says that Jack Ryan is dangerous!

Thomas finds out that Jack told Cathy and he says, “No, this is not couple’s therapy!”

I have great trust that after loving both Star Trek and this film that Chris Pine is becoming a new male figure in the spotlight. Ryan Gosling might have his demented art house thing going on(partially quoting Chris in that article saying the art house part on Gosling) but I tend to like Chris Pine way more because he isn’t mopey or walking around with something hanging over his shoulder. He is tough. He is human. He is becoming someone we will like in the future. So, see it to believe it!

🙂

Friday Night Lights: Season One Review: Episodes 4-8

And the goodness of season one continues..
Episode #4: Who’s Your Daddy
Dillon gets desperate to replace Jason Street. Buddy Garrity, who plays the ultimate die hard do whatever it takes to win football fan. Buddy had won a state championship back in the eighties. A new quarterback shows up in town, Voodoo is his name. Matt Saracen begins to like the coach’s daughter, Julie and worries that he won’t be number one at quarterback. Coach tells Matt to ask her out, whoever she is. Lyla and Tim kiss and start spending time with each other behind Jason’s back. Coach has the whole team over at this house and a brick(from the other team) throws a brick through his window that says, ‘die panther pigs!’
The team smashes up the rival quarterbacks car. Matt gets beat up by them at work.

Coach Taylor quotes : “I believe you can do anything you put your mind to, and ‘winning goes to the one who wants it most!”

Episode #5: Git’er Done

Voodoo disrespect the coach and says he is only on the team to get noticed and get into LSU. Tim gets over blaming himself and finally visits Jason in the hospital. Jason says “I need you right now..you are my best friend.” The Friday night game ensues problems with Voodoo, he calls his own plays and causes trouble. Coach yells at him and says, ‘you are done!’

Episode #6: El Accidente

This show captures the mentality that football is life. Football is all that matters. And even lying to make your team be the best of the best is acceptable in this town of Dillon. 16,0000 people fill Herman field every Friday night. In this episode ethics regarding how Voodoo got on the team confront the coach. Buddy Garrity wants to say he is eligible. Racist comments from Voodoo cause one of the kids to get kicked off the team. Someone says, “we will rise up, we will get through anything at all.” Tim and Lyla take Jason out of the hospital for a day and the famous line: Texas, forever!

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Episode #7: Homecoming

Jason Street is asked to come to the game for Homecoming night. Smash feels pressure from a scout and doesn’t have a good game, at all. Tim Riggins steps in and tears it up. Due to Brian ‘Smash’ Williams bad game the scout tells him to improve his speed and strength. This makes Smash resort to taking performance enhancers/steroids of some kind(just like the movie The Program.)

Episode#8: Crossing The Line

Matt gets Smash a job at the Alamo Freeze and tries to steal cash from the register. Smash lies to his mom about what he needs money for, and the church he attends takes up an offering for him. He gets corrupted and uses the offering money for the drugs. Billy(Tim’s brother) confronts Tim and says ‘ no one wants you!’ Jason overcomes and plays in a wheelchair game with Herc(his roommate from the hospital). Jason also finds out that Lyla and Tim have been hanging out behind his back.He yells at Tim and says ‘You are a coward Tim, you are a coward!’

Football Week

In light of the past two posts on reviewing Friday Night Lights I am declaring this football week. Every movie(or as many as can be seen). I am working on writing and filming a best of the best on football movies, documentaries,and television shows. I have come to realize that this is a massive undertaking because there are at least 50 some movies that have been made. So, it begins, this whole week I will be reviewing football movies(and maybe some other random movies in there to, since there has been so many recently).

Get ready to here from a person who is an expert on films and not football! But still be ready for it.

Masuk_football

Movie Review: Abel’s Field(2012)

Well, to just clarify, I don’t even know if writing move reviews is my niche or my thing. I just know that I like and value films and tend to not watch movies to fall asleep but rather, I, value stories coming to life. It has always fascinated me that what you see on the screen comes from the imagination of one or several people. Without further ado, here’s another review.

Writer: Aron Flasher

Director: Gordie Haakstad

Abel’s Field weaves two main character(s) struggles to one very slow Tender Mercies style and pace. Open fields, calm guitar strums in the background and the sound of small town Texas oil rigs and football as religion.

Overview:Seth(Samuel Davis) is a struggling teenager who had the misfortune of his mom dying and his dad either a misanthrope or dead( I can’t remember). Seth has two little twin sisters to care for. Seth becomes a two job working man while in school. Seth gets bullied by the football team and blamed for starting a ruckus with the star quarterback. As punishment for getting a beating( the first injustice) he has to help the groundskeeper, Abel(Kevin Sorbo), with work on the sprinkler system. Homecoming is coming and it’s time to get the school ready for it.

In the process of daily working together Seth and Abel develop a relationship with each other that becomes to center of the film. Seth is trying hard as the priest of the church tells him, ” we all see that you’re trying..have you thought about asking Him?” And Seth’s ability to take on too much responsibility catches up with Him and moves him closer to a place of needing God. After working two jobs( car mechanic and stadium concessions) Seth starts to fall apart, struggles to forgive himself and struggles to believe God is good despite him losing his parents and his house. Seth also has a brother that doesn’t want to have anything to do with Seth. There becomes  else for Seth to turn to other than God himself. Abel tells him: “How you talk to God is nobody’s business but your own.”

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Seth becomes aware of Abel’s running syndrome and finds out Abel killed his own brother. I think the naming of Abel is parallel with the Genesis account of Cain And Abel (not the first time we see that in a story, a.k.a East Of Eden). Abel realizes he has to forgive himself just like the advice he gives Seth.

In a desperate attempt to get some extra cash Seth also tries to rob the school with special access he got from stealing a key. He ends up not going through with it in the end.

With all the clichés of any story there is that moment of the man on the floor crying out to God. Not saying that is a bad thing but it certainly keeps showing up in the films I have been seeing recently. Like I have said before this direct communication of God in a movie is more than a feature in the Christian genre, rather its the center of the stories. I would have to say that this film still wasn’t that bad to watch. It brought some insights on love and forgiveness. It ends with you thinking that blame of one’s self can only last so long. The way to freedom is the power of letting go that forgiveness offers to a soul. I would recommend watching this as much as I still am looking for a better way to communicate in films( but I think I will always be on the look for that).