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Captain America: The First Avenger movie review (Quick Reviews ep 4)

 

I’m sure you’ve seen the Captain America: Civil War commercials on TV and, in preparation for what is (for me) the most anticipated movie of the year, I bring you the fourth episode of Quick Reviews, a look at the first Captain America movie, The First Avenger.
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (movie review)

I finally got around to seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend and like The First Avenger, it exceeded my expectations. It’s at 89% at Rotten Tomatoes, but how does this movie work for the hardcore, casual and first time viewer? Let’s dig in! Read the rest of this entry

Captain America: The First Avenger – a video refresher course before you see The Winter Soldier

Sure, I wrote a review of Captain America: The First Avenger when it first came out, and I could just refer everybody back to there, but what fun is that?  This is a Winter Soldier celebration!

Captain-America-USO

“I think the girls only know the one song… but I’ll see what I can do.”

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Captain America Patriot Cologne is a thing that exists

Captain-America-Patriot-Cologne-box

It’s MY attack plan.

Some folks might want to be Captain America, but Dr. Girlfriend realized I want to smell like him.

She’s not wrong.

I’m sure you’re wondering:  What does a patriot smell like? Read the rest of this entry

It's a Captain America: The Winter Soldier celebration here at CJ!

I love me some Captain America, and I couldn’t be more delighted that another flick is dropping starring Chris Evans as the Star Spangled Avenger. I’m not completely in love with the way they’re writing him (one second, it seems like the Steve Rogers I know, but the next second, he’s firing automatic rifles and hurling people to their death), but I’m pleased with the way Evans is portraying the roll. Also, I’m a big Winter Soldier fan, and I’m curious to see the movie’s take on it. Unlike before Captain America: The First Avenger, my expectations are dialed up to eleven: the trailer gives the impression that the movie is interesting, and we’ve already seen what most of the players can do with their characters, and, as history has shown us, the second movie of a series is often the best one (Matrix trilogy aside), so all signs point to a good movie.

We’ll have to wait and see…

Oh, the celebration part – I almost forgot. Well, we should have some Captain America-centric posts going for the rest of the week, and maybe beyond. Stay tuned for more stuff!

The 10 Best Superhero Movies Of All Time

Superhero movies are sprouting up faster than I can keep track of, and by the end of this summer, who knows how applicable this list will be, but I just can’t wait that long.   So, in no particular order, I most humbly present to you my incomplete list of The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time.

superman-1978-jonathan-martha-kent

“Jonathan! There’s a naked kid in this hole! Can we keep him?”

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Comic books in children’s media

I love comic books and I think they can be adapted for children, but there is a line.

captain-america-darth-vader-super-friends

I grew up on all sorts of violent media:  He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers, GI Joe… if I was watching it, someone was getting punched in the face.  Of course, I also loved comic books (and still do), but adapting this sort of thing to a story book is tricky.  The biggest stumbling block is that story books are generally the sort of thing that, for this particular age group, are a shared experience between parents and children, and it doesn’t need to be an uncomfortable experience.

GETTING IT WRONG:

Captain America, The First Avenger:  The Great Escape

This novelization of the movie of the same name only encapsulates one scene – when Cap finds out that his best friend from home, Bucky, has been captured by the Nazis.  (I know the ‘N’ word doesn’t get tossed around a lot in the movie, but that’s what they are… and, if you think about it, they’re sorta Super Nazis!)   Just look at this page:

Captain-America-The First-Avenger-The-Great-Escape

When I show this to people, they don’t even read the entire page before they look up and say, “This is ridiculous,” or “Is this real?  Did you photoshop this?”  Do you want to explain to your kid what a casualty list is?  I think not.  I love Captain America and he’s a great role model for kids (although fictional characters shouldn’t really be role models for kids), but this is going too far.

Star Wars:  The Story of Darth Vader

Because the kids have got to learn about Darth Vader somehow, right?  Better that it comes from you and they don’t pick it up on the streets.  That way, when they have to confront Darth Vader in their daily lives, it’ll be in its proper context.  Stuff like this:

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"Proper context THIS!"

Children’s literature needs more images like this.  Remember kids, train yourself to let go of all that you fear to lose, or you’ll end up like THIS!  THIS!!!

GETTING IT RIGHT:

DC Super Friends:  Heroes United

Ah, here we go:

aquaman-and-kids

See, this is how it’s done – get together with Aqua Man and go tubing!  Hooray!!

I’m not sensitive and I don’t have kids, but some of this stuff is too much.  Often, I find that we insulate  kids too much from experiences that would help them grow (modern playgrounds are a good example of this), but the fall of Anakin Skywalker probably doesn’t need to get added to the story book shelf.

Captain America The First Avenger (movie review)

stars-fourThe fourth in a series of comic book movies to debut this year, Captain America The First Avenger stands just a little bit taller than the rest, and there are a ton of reasons why, but I’m not going to bother listing the short comings of Green Lantern, Thor or X-Men First Class again.  As the saying used to go, “Let’s rap with Cap!”

First off, as a life long Captain America fan, I’m still shocked anyone showed up to watch this movie.  Much to my surprise, people know who Captain America is!  I saw this at the local mall multiplex on Sunday night with a packed house, featuring many folks in Captain America t-shirts, including the ladies.  I never expected this, and it fascinated to the point where I almost asked folks if I could photograph them as this seemed to unlikely to be real.  But, I got it now:  people know who Captain America is – duly noted.  (Or, they are big fans of Dunkin Donuts.) Read the rest of this entry

Captain America Trailer Delights Me During The Super Bowl

Since the Giants didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year, I wasn’t too excited about the game, but not only did we get a pretty good contest against the Packers and the Steelers, but the Captain America Trailer finally dropped – and it kicked my ass!

As a (nearly) life long Captain America fan, I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long time – especially after the disastrous Captain America 1990 movie.  The only thing worse than the casting, acting (actually, I remember thinking that Scott Paulin was good as The Red Skull), cinematography and soundtrack is the writing – when Cap jumps out of the plane, he’s scared.  Now Steve Rogers is a character that is well rounded and fully capable of experiencing and expressing the emotion of fear in a believable way, but he would never be afraid of something like heights or jumping out a plane…  because, you know… he’s Captain America!  Jumping out of planes is part of the job description.  The movie available on YouTube in it’s entirety – watch it if you dare.

This Captain America movie looks like it’s going to get it right.  Sure, we’re probably not going to get any Invaders and I’m guessing Bucky isn’t going to be in spandex, but you can’t have everything – at least it looks like the Howling Commandos are going to be at his side, and that’s something.  The most important thing to get right here is what they effed up so terribly in 1990 – getting Steve Rogers character right is essential, and I like what I’m seeing so far.  After the Rebirth sequence is over, he’s asked, “How do you feel?” to which he responds, “Taller,” which is a perfect Steve Rogers response.  But more than that, the words we hear Dr. Erskine tell Steve at the beginning of the trailer are so important, “Whatever happens, stay who you are – not just a soldier, but a good man.”  That’s who Steve Rogers is – he’s the best of men:  selfless, fearless and compassionate.  If that’s the character that shows up here, not the jerk who showed up in 1990, this could be a really fun movie.

Of course, we’ll find out in July if the movie really is any good, but the trailer has set my expectations high.  I can only hope they’re met.

UPDATED: Full Trailer now available!

The Green Lantern and Cowboys and Aliens movie trailers

Today, I felt like dropping a little trailer jambalaya on ya.

Within a few days, I saw both The Green Lantern and Cowboys and Aliens movie trailers.  After viewing both, I decided I need to get an unbiased opinion; as a comic book reading/movie junkie, my opinion didn’t seem like a fair appraisal, so  I sat my girlfriend down and subjected her to flashing lights, people yelling and explosions.

First, we watched The Green Lantern trailer.  After it was over, I asked her what she made of it, and she was able to gist of what the Green Lantern was all about.  I asked her what she thought about the aliens and she only mentioned “the red guy he got the ring from,” so I put the trailer on again without sound so we could bask in the digital glory.  Each crazy alien member of The Green Lantern Core is crazier looking than the next, so I thought I’d take a minute and explain what the Green Lantern Corps is, which led us to a brief discussion about Green Lantern attire.  I’m not sure if people are going to buy this – I think a of people might see this trailer and think, “This looks stupid,” but nevertheless, the trailer gives you enough tools to make a decision.  It’s a more effective trailer than I thought, though – a non-comic book person could deal with this.

Then we watched the Cowboys and Aliens trailer.  When it finished and I saw that, “What the shiz was that?” look on her face, I immediately concurred:  “I know, right?”  Apparently, we weren’t wrong:  the crowd at a midnight “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” in Santa Monica thought it was hilarious. I think its fair to say that we were closer to confusion than laughter.  Besides the weird thing on Daniel Craig’s arm, the trailer start’s off promisingly enough, but the rest is just a big genre mash-up that defies logic, or at least doesn’t gives an audience waiting to watch Harry Potter the ability to suspend disbelief.  As the New York Times pointed out, Dreamworks and Company have a lot of marketing work to do before the movie comes out.  I can’t imagine Cowboys and Aliens is as corny as Independence Day was, but then, that title is a step in that direction.  It’s not that I didn’t understand what I was seeing, I just didn’t get it, if you will.

I’d say next summer doesn’t look very promising, but I’d be wrong – we’ve got Captain America coming out!  I know we haven’t gotten any trailer yet, but I’m expecting Marvel to do this right; they haven’t screwed up in a while (unless it’s true they’ve making another Ghost Rider movie), and how hard is it to have Cap run around and punch Nazis/Hydra agents in the face?  The trailer will tell…

Iron Man 2 Movie Review

iron man 2Given that Iron Man 2 is coming to DVD and Blu Ray on September 28, I thought it was as good a time as any to take a critical look at Robert Downey Jr. as the Armored Avenger.  Be warned:  the following review contains spoilers (yeah, spoilers for a movie that made $128,122,480 in its opening weekend at 4,380 theaters) and is a giant ‘whatever’ fest.  But read on…

You can’t talk about Iron Man without gushing over its star, so let me get that out-of-the-way.  Robert Downey Jr. is the man, and he’s great in the Iron Man movies; whatever you think about the Iron Man films, you can’t deny that.  The man has talent, and I can’t think of another instance where an actor had the opportunity to play a character he had so much in common with.  Maybe the movie version is a bit sillier than the comic book version, but it works. Read the rest of this entry

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