Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Incredible Hulk (2008)


“What is it like? When it happens, what do you experience?”
“Remember those experiments we volunteered for at Harvard? Those induced hallucination? It's a lot like that, just a thousand times amplified. It's like someone poured a liter of acid into my brain.”

            The Incredible Hulk is an interesting character. A man, a calm moral man, turns into a giant green monster capable of killing and mass destruction. This monster and his destructiveness eats at the man who does not want to hurt anyone. I like that conflict of good versus… well in this story the Hulk is not necessarily evil he and he is not necessarily bad he is just destructive when he is angered.
            Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) in an experiment at the college he worked at, took a serum that would be used for the soldiers in the US army. The serum was radioactive to the extreme. It turned him into a giant aggressive green monster who rips apart the lab and seriously hurts his girlfriend and fellow scientist Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). The military wants Bruce in order to punish him for what he did and to also run a lot of tests on him.
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            For a few years Bruce has been living in South America where he has been living a stress free life and working on staying as calm as possible. He works in a bottle plant where he one day cuts his finger and a drop of his blood gets into the soda. Bruce halts production to get to the bottle but it does not work. The military and its general Ross (Betty’s father) have been looking for Bruce in all those years and word reaches him that some old guy was just reported to have drank some soda and experienced some weird things. The military tracks down the soda to the South American plant where Bruce works and sends in a tactical team lead by Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).
            The tactical team storms the plant which gets Bruce’s blood pressure going and thus turns the poor guy into the monster he hates. Of course Bruce manages to get away where he winds up in Guatemala. Emil for some reason I cannot remember gets super pissed with Bruce and the Hulk and now wants some of the same serum or a derivative of it that will turn him into a hulk-like creature as well.
            Bruce makes it back to the states to the college. He was trying not to be seen by Betty but she sees him and they get back together. General Ross has his team go to the college to get Bruce. Bruce then turns into the Hulk and fights everyone off.
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            Betty and Bruce make their way to New York City where they are to meet up with a guy whose code name is Mr. Blue. They track him down to a college. Mr. Blue has been working on a serum to cure Bruce. It almost works until General Ross again tracks him down and literally crashes the party. Emile is there as well. He wants Mr. Blue to give him more of the serum. He looks like a junky searching for his next hit. Emile gets angry and he turns into this really gnarly monster. As much as Bruce does not want to turn into the Hulk he feels he has to in order to take that really weird monster-thing that I cannot remember the name of, down.
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            I found The Incredible Hulk to be incredibly boring. There was no life in the characters whatsoever they were so blah.  I felt like there was nothing in them for me to really care about. The story did not move at a decent pace it was very slow and way too mushy. As much as I like Edward Norton and Liv Tyler as actors they did not fit very well in a superhero movie. The Incredible Hulk is not a superhero I would rush to see. I am sure it is ten time better than the Ang Lee version from 2003 but it is not an absolute must see unless you are a Marvel freak or really like superhero movies. 
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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“This isn't the age of spies. This is not even the age of heroes. This is the age of miracles... and there's nothing more horrifying than a miracle.”

            Superheroes stories are fantastic especially the Marvel ones. I like how they take current events and issues and place them in this incredible world of heroes and villains. The story is told in such a way that you may not even realize it based off currents events and issues. When I watch a movie I want to get away from the real world I do not want to think about life outside of my focus of the story for however long a movie runs for.
            My favorite Marvel superhero is Captain America. He is my favorite because he is what America and its people should be. You could argue Steve Rogers is the ideal American man for the 1940s but I feel he is the ideal American man for any age. Steve is a good man he does not want to be a hero he just wants to do what is right and fight all the bad guys and the injustices of the world.
            Captain America: The Winter Soldier does not pick up immediately following The First Avenger. Some time has passed. Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is running early in the morning around Washington, D.C. Since he is a super soldier he literally runs laps around a fellow, much younger soldier, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Steve is still struggling with the ways of his new world. He carries a notebook to look things up whenever he comes across something he does not know. At the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum there is an exhibit dedicated to his return and his service in the army during World War II. Everyone he served with lived to an old age and passed on except for him and his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who was one of the only Howling Commandoes to die in service. There is also a video interview with the love of his life Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) from 1953 discussing Steve and her founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. Peggy is still alive but not in good health. She talks to Steve and then quickly forgets him.
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            Steve’s mindset and morals are still kind of set in the 1940s. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows him a warehouse of weapons that could bring down a small nation. Steve does not believe in weapons like the ones he is being shown and neither in how they are to be used. When Fury questions him about his service and use of weapons during the War Steve rightly says that that was different there was a worldwide threat that had to be stopped at all costs. The threats that S.H.I.E.L.D are fighting now are top secret no one outside of the government knows about them.
            While driving back to S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters, Fury is attacked. He manages to just barely get away. He goes to Steve’s apartment and covertly tells Steve that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised no one is to be trusted. Fury is then shot at through a window. Fury dies at the hospital. Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has been working with S.H.I.E.L.D and was close to Fury. She is upset with Steve she knows he is hiding something.
            Steve eventually tells Natasha what Fury had told him before he was shot and they partner up to find out what S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing with the enemy HYDRA. They find that the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) has been working with HYDRA and their secret weapon The Winter Soldier.
            Throughout the events of The Winter Soldier Steve Rogers fights like the brave, loyal, protective man and soldier he has always been yet he struggles with the morals of fighting immoral people and an immoral government while his 1940s mindset still sees the black and white of a gray world.
            Marvel movies have the best casted movies ever. Chris Evans cannot in any way get enough praise for playing Steve Rogers/Captain America. I believe him as Steve Rogers as this loving, kind, good hearted soldier who wants to do what is right for others. Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow like no one else can. Black Widow is such an awesome character. When I watch her I feel like I can see she has some emotions in her and she is not all cold as ice and tough yet she still walks around and carries herself like she is cold as ice and tough. Do not know if that made any sense. I guess I could she walks around like a boss ass head bitch in charge with this great strut and look that could kill someone just staring at her yet underneath there is a smidge of a caring person underneath all that. I loved her friendship/partnership with Steve because that is exactly what their relationship was it was a friendship and a partnership there was no love/romantic feelings between them. That was so refreshing to see a male character and a female character working together and not have all the romantic feels attached. That made me so damn happy. Bravo writers. If you go back and read my review of The First Avenger you will know that I have a slight obsession with Agent Carter … ok, ok, I lied, I’m sorry. I have a HUGE obsession with Agent Carter. I LOVE the TV show Agent Carter and I love Agent Peggy Carter as a character. Along with Black Widow, the world needs more female characters like Peggy Carter in the world. Before I get on a tirade, Peggy was not in this movie too much since she was older. The scene where Steve goes to visit an old, sick Peggy was heartbreaking! God damn Hayley Atwell and her awesome acting for hurting my feels! Evans and Atwell were just killer on the feels in that scene. You can see his longing for the Peggy he knew and for a life they could have had together on Evans’s face. Ugh, I was like just, here, take my damn heart I do not need it do with it what you will. Emily Van Camp’s character Agent 13 had so much potential. She seems like she could become another bad ass awesome female character in the Marvel Universe. Anthony Mackie… total bad ass. I loved him and his character right from his first scene. I cannot wait to see more of him in the MCU.
 
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            The script was fantastic. The characters remained the same as we knew them before but they were given a chance to grow. I really liked the story because it really was a good guys versus the bad guys which was black and white. The gray was all the ethical and moral issues with everything the good and bad guys did. The direction by Anthony and Joe Russo was incredible because it captured all the emotions of every single character and all those moral and ethical issues they were all struggling with or working against.
            Captain America: The Winter Soldier perfectly expands and continues Steve Rogers’s and Captain America’s wonderful, truly patriotic story. Like The First Avenger I absolutely loved The Winter Soldier and I cannot wait to watch it again. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Silent Sundays: The Goat (1921)

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The comedy immediately begins in The Goat as we see Buster Keaton trying to get on a breadline. His character of The Goat was pushed to the back of a bread and soup line. He went a little too far and wound up not realizing that he was standing behind two male mannequins.
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            The Goat moves along on the streets. He comes to the window of a prison where a murderer named One Shot Dan is getting his photograph taken. Dan bends down just as the photographer was snapping the photo. The Goat walks away since there is really nothing much to see. Dan in the mean time manages to get away.
            On the sidewalk The Goat kicked away a horseshoe. A guy walking by picks up the horseshoe, kisses it, throws it, and winds up finding a wallet with a very nice chunk of money in it. The Goat frantically looks for the horseshoe. He finds it but instead of giving him good luck it right away leads to bad luck. The horseshoe hits a cop on the head. The cop chases after The Goat. Soon there is a group of cops chasing The Goat all over town. At one point The Goat manages to get the cops in a truck and the truck drives away. After successfully trapping the cops, The Goat sees a man roughing up a lady wanting her purse. He tries to stop the man but the man punches him out.
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            The cops manage to get out of the truck. The Goat gets on a train to another town away from the cops. His luck gets even worse when the newspaper reports about One Shot Dan’s escape and the photograph the paper is using is not Dan’s it is The Goat’s from when Dan bent down at the prison. Now the whole town is after The Goat especially this one guy who is absolutely hell bent on getting the reward money.
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            The Goat gets away from the guy. He has stopped in front of an apartment building. He sees a pretty girl coming down the street with a bag. He helps her with her bag up to her apartment. The girl and her mother have The Goat stay for dinner since he was so nice. Unfortunately The Goat had his back turned when the father came home. The girl’s father is the guy who is was chasing The Goat all day.
            Another chase between the supposed criminal and the man ensues and of course, this being a Buster Keaton movie, The Goat gets away and gets the girl.

            I enjoyed The Goat for two reasons: 1. It was only twenty-two minutes long. If you have ever read any of my other reviews I have ADHD my attention when not grabbed wanders so bad especially when a film is silent and unfortunately boring. 2. This is one of the better Buster Keaton films I have seen a while. I thought it was very comical and enjoyable. The Goat is Buster Keaton at his slapstick, deadpan, physically comical best. I got tired watching him run all over the place and winced when he fell and it looked like it hurt. The Goat is available to watch in full on YouTube. Definitely give The Goat a watch.