I don’t know exactly where Thor rates on the pecking order of Marvel characters, but judging from the press coverage, few if any of the cast had heard of the comic book version of the Norse thunder god before they started working on this film. I suspect that, ten years ago, if you had told even the most ardent Thor-head that a movie version would star two Oscar-winning actors and would be the work of a director known for his Shakespearean films, that person would have backed away slowly and warily.
Fortunately, the top-notch talent in front of and behind the camera elevates the material well past what it rated in terms of cultural penetration before the film was announced. Kenneth Branagh may be slumming but he is not doing it grudgingly, not just cashing a check. Continue reading
For moviegoers, the Marvel Comics universe has been hard to avoid these past few years. We’ve been treated to the excellent (Spider-Man 1 and 2), the pretty damn good (Iron Man), a nice try (The Incredible Hulk), and the god-awful (the Fantastic Four movies). Captain America: The First Avenger slides comfortably into Iron Man territory.
As comic book film-making goes, Captain America is everything it needs to be, with a likeable hero, the right tone, nice retro touches, and a straightforward story, briskly told. Continue reading
If I didn’t already know this was based on an existing graphic novel, I might have assumed that the title was a leftover “working” title, and no one could be bothered to come up with anything better when the film was completed. Despite the major-league production values and the marquee value of Indiana Jones and James Bond in the cast, this is a forgettable pot-boiler that does proper service to only one half of its title.
A nameless stranger (Daniel Craig) wakes up with no memory of who he is, a wound in his side, and a large and strangely unremovable metal bracelet on one wrist. He reaches the nearest town, where people recognize him as Jake Lonergan, notorious stagecoach robber. Awkward.
The crimes we are investigating aren't crimes, they are ideas.
Back in 2004, Martin Scorcese released The Aviator, a biopic about a larger-than-life, but enigmatic 20th century figure, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Unfortunately, while that movie was handsomely produced and impeccably acted, it failed to get inside the head of Howard Hughes.
Seven years later, Clint Eastwood releases J. Edgar, a biopic about a larger-than-life, but enigmatic 20th century figure, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Unfortunately, while that movie was handsomely produced and impeccably acted, it failed to get inside the head of J. Edgar Hoover.
Seriously, when major directors are shooting biographical movies about major figures and failing to come to grips with their subject, it appears that their first instinct is to call DiCaprio’s agent.
Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.
If this were a better film, it could do for the sales of hand sanitizer what Sideways did for Pinot Noir.
This is not a bad film. It’s well-produced, well-acted by a first-rate cast, and diligently convincing in its scientific details. Unfortunately, it maintains an emotional distance between the audience and its characters, and this serves to keep the film from being truly engrossing.
I think someone learned the wrong lesson from the success of Iron Man. It’s either that or the movie studios need to implement drug testing before their pitch sessions.
“Hey, if Robert Downey, Jr. can be a comic book hero, what about that pudgy guy from the Judd Apatow movies?”
“Right… Here, fill this cup and give it to the nurse on your way out the door.”
It’s best not to think of The Green Hornet as a real comic book movie, but as a borderline “comedy” that somehow acquired the movie rights to the old radio show (presumably at gunpoint). That won’t actually make this movie “good,” per se, but it will at least keep expectations in line with reality and hold your disappointment to manageable levels.