Movie Review: Captain America Civil War

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So this was probably one of the most anticipated movies of the spring, despite the fact that it was up against some intense competition, with Jungle Book and Mother’s Day being strong performers. However, I was pretty sure this one would take the number one spot, as it’s already set records outside the US. And for once, a big budget blockbuster is pleasing critics and hitting all the right notes with audiences.

And it had a lot of notes to hit.

The film opens in 1991, with a frozen Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) being thawed out for another in a series of murderous missions. One after another, the code words needed to activate the killer are spoken: “daybreak … furnace … homecoming … freight car …” Flash forward to present-day Lagos, where an Avengers squad made up of Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is foiling the theft of a biological weapon. There’s a shit ton of casualties and it all goes downhill for the Avengers from there when they have to submit for government oversight.

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There’s a lot going on, but they managed to balance it pretty well. I never got too confused, despite a cast of what feels like millions. They go through ever doggone country in the world and tie in every other franchise that Joss Wheaton ever read a comic on, and they never stop moving. All the actors blended into their characters, and there’s a lot of characters to keep straight.

But for the most part, I still knew what was going on, because the plot’s pretty straight forward. They don’t want to deal with United Nations regulators telling them what to do, despite the wake of destruction they often leave. It doesn’t become a one sided argument, because it argues the point from both sides. I mean, when you see what they leave behind when they’re being heroic, you can kind of see the government’s point.

“Yeah, guys, you got that lady’s purse back from a mugger, but there were 45 civilian casualties and your caused $85 billion worth of damage to the city. Maybe next time, don’t start with the nuclear option?”

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It all eventually culminates in one of the best battle scenes I’ve ever seen. It should have been confusing, or too much, but it wasn’t. The direction is subtle but the action is perfectly choreographed, which is why I never felt like it was too much, when this movie should be the definition of too much. There’s a method to this madness, and I didn’t even resent the over the top ads for future movies.

The latest offering of Captain America is a misnomer, because it’s got just about every other character you can think of. But it’s extremely well-done to the point where you can follow it easily. It’s controlled chaos and worth the watch. It’s one of those rare movies that’s critic and audience approved and should not be missed.

WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!

four and a half stars

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Movie Review: Annabelle (2014) – As lifeless as the possessed doll that is Its namesake

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My son and I have been arguing about the premise of this movie ever since the previews came out. He think that the only time a horror movie should have a doll as its main evil protagonist is when it’s a funny horror. Think Chucky. I think it never works because in honestly, I could take just about any doll in a fight. One word. Flamethrower.

If Annabelle, the creepy doll, looks familiar, you should note she appeared in The Conjuring. Apparently, she was evil there too. We start out the movie by meeting a couple of nurses talking about their own experiences with the doll from hell. Then, we meet the Warrens. Pregnant Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and husband John (Ward Horton) move into an apartment and acquire the doll, possibly for their ‘incredibly creepy dolls from hell’ collection. Of course, the doll is there to take the couple’s newborn baby’s soul and pretty much everything that follows is Chucky without the laughs.

I’m just going to say it. Demon possessed or not demon possessed, it will be a cold day in hell before I fear a doll. It’s a friggen doll. Just kick it, for Gods sake. Annabelle would have never survived in my house, because after my son cut all her hair off and died it blue, he probably would have tossed her in the microwave for a bit. And no more Annabelle.

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The scares are repetitive, tired and go on too long for the punch line. Its lots of paranormal scares, where you squint at the screen and say “wait, that wasn’t there before…” before rolling your eyes. The scares are those pretentious ‘smart people’ scares, like watching a Halloween episode of Jeopardy. I hate being required to pay attention to a horror like I’m paying attention to the Usual Suspects.

Enough with squeaky floors being scary. I grew up in a New England farmhouse. Trust me, I don’t fear creaky floors or even mysterious figures in white. Where I come from, a mysterious zombie-like figure wandering around in the house just means grandpa forgot to take his meds again.

You’re going to have to try a bit harder to scare me, Annabelle.

This movie is about as lifeless as the possessed doll that is its namesake. The scares are clichés and the premise is too silly to be scary. Every time I saw that doll start to run around on her little possessed legs, I had to fight off a fit of giggles.

There’s one point at the beginning of the movie that’s actually scary. Weirdly, it’s when the young couple gets attacked by psychotic hippies. They got a few jumps out of me on that. But I wasn’t sure what the hippies had to do with anything.

WE GAVE IT: 2.5 Stars

2.5 Stars

 

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