Where Captain America: The First Avenger was an efficient if slightly underwhelming piece of superhero entertainment, the star-spangled hero’s second solo outing helmed by Community’s Anthony and Joe Russo is an altogether different beast; multi-layered and action-packed, it’s Marvel’s best standalone film yet and easily the best representation of the character on screen thus far.
While Thor returned to Asgard and Tony Stark retreated to his armoury, Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) has been working for S.H.I.E.L.D since the events of New York whilst trying to acclimate to the modern world. When a colleague comes under attack and conspiracy is suspected, Steve goes rogue and teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in a bid to expose the corruption, a mission made more difficult when an old friend from his past re-emerges as a formidable adversary – the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
It’s no surprise that Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop has stood the test of time. A perfect mix of biting satire, black humour and thrilling action, fans of the beloved cult hit were less than happy when a remake was announced. Thankfully, rather than go the direct remake route, José Padilha’s 2014 reimagining is an intelligent piece of sci-fi entertainment in its own right.
Padilha’s RoboCop takes place in the year 2028, with Multinational Corporation OmniCorp vying to put its robot drones on US streets to help police its citizens as they have done in Iran. However, the initiative is continually derailed by public and governmental anxiety, due in no small part to the drones’ empathy-void nature. Enter Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), an honest cop who is critically injured after an attempt on his life. Calling on bionic engineer Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellers (Michael Keaton) quickly grabs the chance to build a new breed of law enforcement officer that’s part-man, part-machine: RoboCop.
Marvel are on something of a roll at this moment in time. With Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble (2012) and Shane Black’s riotous Iron Man 3 (2013) both crossing the billion dollar mark at the global box office, it’s clear that their colourful superhero blockbusters have struck a tone with not only comic book fans, but uninformed audiences as well. There’s a good chance that Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World (2013) will continue the strong start to Marvel’s ‘Phase Two’ when it hits UK cinemas next week (you can read my review here), and smartly the studio has also seen fit to reveal the first trailer for Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) online this week to ride on the current wave of goodwill.
Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering, spaghetti western blaxploitation movie Django Unchained, is one that has yielded much discussion in the past few weeks. Slavery, a topic so frequently tiptoed around by filmmaker’s, has been tackled with an affront that can surely be expected of any Tarantino flick. Here it forms the backdrop to an engaging revenge tale. Already proving to be very successful in America (at least, at the box office) there’s a lot to appreciate in Django Unchained. However, some moviegoers may be put off by Tarantino’s take on the horrors of the time.
Read the rest of this review at Yin & Yang here.
Next week, Samuel L. Jackson will be hitting UK screens as Nick Fury in Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (2012), to which many minds may wander when they learn that he is also starring this week in Fury (The Samaritan, 2012). This is no Marvel spin-off however; Jackson stars as Foley, an ex-con eager for redemption in this Canadian thriller directed and co-written by David Weaver. Fury offers up an intriguing examination of its issues, but all too often lacks the panache that could have made it truly memorable.
Read the rest of this review on CineVue here.
With films such as The Last Airbender and The Happening, it’s sometimes easy to forget that M. Night Shyamalan has also given us some great movies in the forms of Signs and The Sixth Sense. His follow up to the latter film was Unbreakable, which offers a unique retelling of the traditional superhero origin story. In 2009, Oscar-winning filmmaker and fan of the film Quentin Tarantino smartly stated that Unbreakable would have been better marketed with the tagline ‘What if Superman was here on earth, and didn’t know he was Superman?’ With that, it’s prudent to say that this is not your usual superhero flick.
Read the rest of this article at Yin & Yang here.
Prior to writing this review, on Wednesday night I decided to re-watch Pulp Fiction whilst doing some menial housework. After all, I had seen it many a time before – I figured the film did not require my full attention. Within 10 minutes of ‘casually’ watching the film, I dropped my dustpan and brush, grabbed some food, and sat myself down. The housework would have to wait. Such is the remarkable nature of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece that you at once become absorbed in this unique, time-twisting tale.
Read the rest of this article on Yin & Yang here.