Captain America: Civil War – Epic Intimacy (Review)

Team Cap in Civil War

Captain America: Civil War has, to date, pulled in a box office returns in excess of $1 billion worldwide.  The Russo brothers put their own stamp on this next installment in the development  of the Avengers.  The film pitted superhero against superhero and introduced another Marvel character while “borrowing” a couple more.

Thor and The Hulk were conspicuous in their absence but there was a reason that these two were left spending time in the bleachers.  This theme of trouble in an uneasy Xanadu of heroic men and women was more compact in nature than previous Marvel outings.

There were many who complained, when the film premiered, that the scenes were too cramped. There were none of Joss Whedon’s vast vignettes where action filled the screen on an epic scale. Once again there was a reason that the brothers Russo, Anthony and Joe, kept the shots tight and almost intimate.

Each of the prior films dealt with the Avengers learning to work as a team. Building up trust and, most importantly  learning to share the power.  The group were always going to have issues, but, as long as there was a strong leader, Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury in most of the films, it could have worked with few problems.

Then came the dissolution of SHIELD after  HYDRA staged their almost successful coup.  Fury left the controls to Captain America and  then along came Bucky the “Winter Soldier.” The previous films all dealt with issues that were bigger than life. Alien invasions orchestrated by Thor’s brother Loki,  Tony Stark’s self aware “man machine” trying to destroy his maker and everything else,  SHIELD struggling to defeat an organization bent on taking over the world.

All these threats came from without.  Captain America: Winter Soldier featured problems from within. Each superhero had a personal issue to deal with. A leader to back and support based upon their own perception of right and wrong.

The UN mandate where The Avengers were controlled via the council was the trigger and while, surprisingly, Tony Stark agrees with the move, many of the team do not. Cap, who got used to running the show disagrees and the team, that worked so hard to come together before, are now split in the middle.

Thor and The Hulk being excluded made sense. Thor is not from this world and therefore any help he renders is down to his personal choice.  The Hulk is a reluctant participant and works only when needed, the big green guy’s need for solitude outweighs the team’s needs.

All the fight scenes and action sequences were on a smaller scale for a reason.  This film was all about individuals and their beliefs and reactions.  Over and above that  was the realization that this all boiled down to issues between Stark’s Iron Man and Captain America. Cap’s friend Bucky, when he was the Winter Soldier, killed Tony’s parents.

And Cap knew.

Ultimately this film was all about the two most forceful members of the Avengers disagreeing and fighting for what they believe to be right. It is also about betrayal and loyalty to friends who do not fit into the bigger picture.

The film serves as a reminder that however much we the audience love “Team Avengers” these heroes are their own entities.  Each one with a system and agenda all their own.  ‘

The  intimate feel backs this theme of individuality brilliantly. There is no need for panoramic vistas or sweeping epic scenes where all of New York City, for instance, is used as backdrop.  The story does not require either.

Even the addition of the new “team members” are comprised of more solitary players. The superbly funny Tom Holland as the, seemingly, 12 year-old Spider-Man or his competition for comic relief Paul Rudd‘s Ant-Man and even Chadwick Boseman‘s The Black Panther are all solo acts here.

The new kids on the block take sides in what is, essentially, Cap and Iron Mans’ war.  Because the battle is internalized, the cinematography is more compact and intimate. It fits the story and the struggle perfectly.

Captain America: Civil War is a more personal tale. The Russo brothers have presented the film just as it should have been.  Tight shots to emphasize the internal battle of each super hero.

This is blockbuster cinema at its finest and presented just as it should be.

ABC Kills ‘Revenge’ and No Spinoff in Sight

With rumors of a spinoff circulating the web, which was actually addressed and shot down at E!, ABC has confirmed that Revenge has been killed off after four seasons. Fans of both Emily VanCamp and Madeline Stowe will no doubt be crushed at this news. There are few actresses on television that can provide so much in terms of eye candy combined with real talent in the acting department.

Read the rest of the article at Viral Global News…

Carriers (2009): The World Ends with a Cough

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As apocalyptic films go, this offering from the writing and directing duo of David and Alex Pastor is pretty damned good. In case you’re wondering why their names sound so familiar, it’s probably because they gave us the film Splinter as well as a few other gruesome films. I do mean gruesome in a “good” way.

The world has been infected with a plague. This viral (and air-borne) disease is an instant death sentence. With no cure in sight, survivors are trying to hold out until a cure can be found. The Green Brothers; Brian and Danny have teamed up with two girls and they’re heading to Turtle Beach. A place from their childhood; a place that holds happy memories and a chance to escape the disease.

Starring Chris Pine as the arsehole-ish older alpha male brother (Brian) of Lou Taylor Pucci (Danny) and the self acclaimed leader of their little band of survivors. The other members of the gang are: Piper Perabo as Bobby, Brian’s love interest and Emily VanCamp as Kate, who is maybe and maybe not, Danny’s love interest.

*On a side note here. Am I alone in thinking that VanCamp could pass as a Helen Hunt clone? She really resembles the older actress. Or is it just me? Answers on a postcard please.*

At the beginning of the film, this little band of travellers come across Frank (Christopher Meloni) and his sick daughter Jodie (Kiernan Shipka) rather than help the two by giving them much-needed petrol (gasoline) they swerve their car around and cause damage to the oil pump. They wind up going back and “taking” Frank, Jodie and their car with them.

It is the addition of these two that changes the path of the film and affects everyone in the gang of four.

Frank and Jodie; deadly cargo.
Frank and Jodie; deadly cargo.

I really enjoyed the film, despite it being about the umpteenth apocalyptic film I’ve seen this year. (Jeeze, obsession much?) I decided to give it a go, even though the trailer was a bit misleading. It looked like yet another Zombie Apocalypse, but it is not. It is an ensemble “end of the world” film that relies on the power of the story and the actors to sell it.

I think they succeeded.

All the actors delivered, no matter how small their screen time actually was. Mark Moses (Paul Young on Desperate Housewives among other great roles) was brilliant as the emotionally shattered Doctor who the group meet in Farmington. Honourable mention also has to be given to Kiernan Shipka as the “masked” Jodie. Despite not getting to see her whole face for the majority of her performance, she sold it, baby, she sold it.

At about an hour and a half running time, the film is not overly long and the story moves forward quite well.

I got a huge “kick” out of one moment in the film where the group have decided to stay in a posh Country Club Golf Course Hotel (and yes, all such “posh” places must be capitalised, thank you) and they have inadvertently put themselves in danger. The two “blondes” of the gang, Danny and Kate recreate the kitchen scene from Jurassic Park (minus the velociraptors). To me, it was a highlight in the film and showed the makers sense of humour and their movie “geek-cred.”

This is a real 4 out of 5 star film mainly because of the strength of the performances. Amazingly, even though I did not like Brian, the leader, I at least understood him. So great result from “Team Pastor” and all of their cast.

Bleach and petrol, images of a post apocalyptic world.
Bleach and petrol, images of a post apocalyptic world.