Was Captain America Overshadowed By The Avengers?

July 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Was Captain America Overshadowed By The Avengers? | Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review

DON’T YOU HAVE SOME PLACE BETTER TO BE CAP?

Captain America: The First Avenger has a very distinct advantage when it comes to attracting people to the theater.  It’s the final piece of the puzzle.  Our last batch of hints, cameos and background information for next summer’s Avengers movie.  There are people out there who probably have zero interest in Captain America but still showed up because they want to see more… assembling.

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I was looking forward to Captain America for that reason but also because it seemed like a really fun summer adventure.  I loved the idea of a superhero movie set in the 40’s.  For almost an entire week I was disappointed by the early start time of my shifts because I was unable to catch a matinee.  Finally, I managed to get to the movies.

CAPTAIN AMERICA WAS JUST…  OKAY.

Was Captain America Overshadowed By The Avengers? | Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review

I liked Captain America a lot.  I think Chris Evans was a fantastic choice for the role and all in all, the story was quite good.  I’m still baffled by how great Steve Rogers looked as a courageous yet skinny weakling.  His story resonates with us all and that’s always been a part of Captain America’s appeal.  There are days in everyone’s life when a super serum would come in handy.  I know I’ve thought about it.

Hugo Weaving was great as The Red Skull though I felt he was a bit underused in the finale.  Mostly because he’s one of the coolest looking villains we’ve seen in a long time.  What actually surprised me about the film was the humor.  Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci in particular stole the show for me.  Captain America is a perfect example of lighthearted summer fun.  It’s full of amazing shield chucking action but I was distracted by the bigger picture…

JUST ASSEMBLE ALREADY!

Marvel has done an amazing job introducing their heroes to us one by one.  In that way, the movie stands up very well next to Thor as worthy additions to this grand movie universe.  But during the movie, I found myself thinking about how wonderful it would be if we just got on with it.  I’m already in Avengers mode and that’s what interested me the most.  Every time Howard Stark entered the picture I was hoping for a new piece of information on his son Tony.  Every time I saw the cosmic cube I couldn’t help but think about the post-credit sequence at the end of Thor.  Every time Captain America fought I was more and more excited about the idea of him tossing that shield in modern times.

In a sense, it’s unfair to Captain America because a larger event and one of my most anticipated movies of all time is just around the corner.  The movie made me feel like I wanted to ‘fast forward’ to the good part.

Still, Captain America IS a solid movie and needs to be seen in order to be fully prepared next summer.

Was Captain America Overshadowed By The Avengers? | Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review

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Movies That Scarred Me For Life: Paranormal Activity

July 27, 2011 at 7:47 am

Movies That Scarred Me For Life: Paranormal Activity | Movie Blog

Movies that scarred me for life is all about the movies that keep you up at night. The horrors you just can’t seem to get out of your head. But beyond the monsters, ghosts, slashers and aliens, there are also the cringe worthy films you wish you never saw. Movies that made you wish you had the lost two hours of your life back. There are tons of ways a movie can scar you for life. This series will look at 12 of my personal favorites.

Paranormal Activity

Movies That Scarred Me For Life: Paranormal Activity | Movie Blog

Paranormal Activity was an indie phenomenon whether you liked the film or not.  Turning tens of thousands of dollars into millions was a remarkable feat.  The reason for the film’s success is a simple and terrifying concept executed to perfection.

I saw the original in theaters in a packed house with my girlfriend and had an absolute blast.  I can understand that some people didn’t like the movie but the way I see it, you either bought it or you didn’t.  Those that bought it ran for their lives in their own homes for months afterwards.  I happen to be very interested in ghosts and the paranormal so I was completely wrapped up in this chilling tale…  And ran for my life in my own home.

At the time, my girlfriend and I were 2 hours away from one another and I had to drive home by myself after the movie ended…

In the dark…  Alone…

It’s bad enough when you’re genuinely freaked out but if you’re a horror fan with an imagination it’s much worse.  I felt an equal balance of terror and inspiration during that drive.  Inspired by such a fascinating success story and frightened that a demon could be waiting for me when I got home.

A co-worker of mine won’t even allow the DVD in his home now.  I wouldn’t go that far but I was definitely freaked out as I drove white-knuckled down that dark highway.  I spent most of the time thinking about the infamous ‘dragging’ scene.  The rest of the drive was spent trying to forget the creepy smile pictured above.

Movies That Scarred Me For Life: Paranormal Activity | Movie Blog

After the drive, I was extremely tense and nervous in my house.  It was actually pretty cool.  There aren’t many movies that make me keep the lights on.  By the time I went to bed, my imagination had taken over and I was doomed.  I remember being thankful that my bed rests against a wall.  All I could think about was my door slamming shut and an invisible demon breathing on me…  That night I slept as far away from my bedroom door as possible and left the television on for good measure.

I think about Paranormal Activity every single time I hear an odd sound at night.

“Is this the night?”

Sometimes, I let my imagination get the better of me and really, that’s what makes Paranormal Activity a great horror movie.  It’s a film that takes a life of it’s own once you leave the theater.  (If you bought it of course.) In this case, the fear of the unknown took over. Paranormal Activity is one of those rare movies that scarred me for life because it kept me coming back for more.  I was first in line for the sequel and will be for every forthcoming entry into this remarkable franchise.  Sure I was terrified that first night and had a hard time falling asleep.  The difference is, I went and saw the film a second time the very next night…

I didn’t sleep any better that night.

Never before have I had so much fun being scared in theaters.

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Harry Potter 7.2 & The Incredible Battle For Hogwarts

July 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

Harry Potter 8 & The Battle For Hogwarts | Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review

WHY I LOVED NOT KNOWING HOW IT WOULD ALL END

Harry Potter has been a phenomenon since the beginning and so many people know the story.   I went to see the final Harry Potter movie with absolutely no knowledge of how the story of ends.  Would ‘The Boy Who Lived” die?  Will the other major characters survive?  Is Snape good or evil?  How will they wrap up such an epic and wonderful story?

Fans of the books went in knowing exactly how the events would unfold.  I think it’s a tale of two different types of rabid fans.  There are those who are obsessed with the books and love the films and there are those who haven’t read the books yet adore the films.

As a member of group two, I was ecstatic as the lights dimmed in the theater because it was finally time to learn the fate of the wizarding world, Hogwarts and Harry Potter…

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HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

Harry Potter 8 & The Battle For Hogwarts | Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review

I wasn’t a particularly big fan of Part 1 simply because the movie functioned only as a setup for Part 2.  The events that unfolded were crucial to the story but as a whole, you really need to see both films to appreciate the first half.

Part 2 is a masterpiece.  It’s an awesome conclusion to a movie series that spanned an entire decade.  An 8 film struggle to rid the world of Voldemort and his Death Eaters.  Not knowing what happened was a blessing in disguise because when Harry Potter’s fate was revealed, I was absolutely shocked.  I smiled ear to ear.  I couldn’t believe how J.K Rowling managed to tie all seven books together and still save the biggest surprises for the end.  Above all else, the film manages to incorporate incredibly high levels of emotion amongst countless breathtaking action sequences.

The stakes were never higher and the struggle to overcome evil was a joy to watch.

HARRY POTTER 7.2: THE FINAL ACT

A lot of giant action films do a fantastic job setting up the main villain but the final act always feels rushed and he/she is defeated too easily.  How many times have you been disappointed by a 2-3 minute final battle that doesn’t justify the hours you spent anticipating it?

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 IS the final act.  The entire film feels like the grandest final battle in cinematic history.  How many other stories have the luxury of having an entire film to wrap up their tales?  These characters do not have it easy.  Destroying Voldemort is a mission that’s taken seven films to set up and the filmmakers did an amazing job with the pay off.

Watching Hogwarts get utterly destroyed while the heroes we have grown to love defend it is nothing less than an incredible achievement.  An achievement overshadowed only by the immense struggle Harry has trying defeat his nemesis.  I was amazed at how much story they packed in between the action.  Particularly when it comes to Severus Snape and the conclusion of his tragic journey.  It’s remarkable how powerful 5-10 minutes of exposition can be when done well.

Indeed, everything has led to this.  Every moment of all these characters lives led them to this final epic battle and in the center of it all, Harry Potter.  Finally, we get the showdown between Harry and Voldemort.  Finally, we get to the end and it was worth every second we waited.  And that wait was made possible by each film’s ability to give us incredible moments that have captured our imaginations for years.

I was blown away by the finale of Harry Potter.  With so much pressure to deliver something great, director David Yates delivered something extraordinary.  I can’t wait to own them all and watch the entire tale from start to finish.

However, one question remains…  Is it now time to read the books?

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Harry Potter 8 & The Incredible Battle For Hogwarts | Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review

HARRY POTTER & THE SCREENWRITER

I spend a lot of time writing about screenwriting on this blog so I wanted to take a moment to truly appreciate Steve Kloves.  You may know him as the screenwriter of EVERY Harry Potter film with the exception of The Order of the Phoenix.  Of course, it all begins with J.K Rowling’s brilliant novels but this will stand next to, if not higher than The Lord of the Rings as the best film adaptation in history.  Each and every one of these films is a work of art and credit has to go to the skillful writing of Steve Kloves.

One day, I’d love to get my hands on the entire set of screenplays for the Harry Potter films.  I’d love to read them and the novels together to learn how to properly adapt something so challenging.  I’ve never attempted an adaptation and can only fathom the pressure he must have felt to get it right.  Not only do you have to please the fans but also the author of the source material all while trying to write something you can be proud to call your own.  I’d love to sit down with Mr. Kloves one day and talk about his journey with Harry Potter.  (I’d also love to know what it was like to reboot The Amazing Spider-Man)

Until that day, I found these interviews enlightening:

EMPIRE | Steve Kloves talks Harry Potter

COLLIDER | Steve Kloves talks Harry Potter & The Amazing Spider-Man (video)

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Movies That Scarred Me For Life: Dumb & Dumberer

July 13, 2011 at 8:01 am

Movies That Scarred Me For Life: Dumb & Dumberer | Movie Blog

Movies that scarred me for life is all about the movies that keep you up at night.  The horrors you just can’t seem to get out of your head.  But beyond the monsters, ghosts, slashers and aliens, there are also the cringe worthy films you wish you never saw.  Movies that made you wish you had the lost two hours of your life back.  There are tons of ways a movie can scar you for life.  This series will look at 12 of my personal favorites.

Dumb & Dumberer

dumb & dumberer bad movie

The original Dumb & Dumber is pretty much my favorite comedy of all time.  It’s hard to find someone in my generation who won’t laugh at least a little if someone yells:

“You sold my dead bird to a blind kid!?”

Or…

“Why you going to the airport?  Flying somewhere?”

The movie is full of quotes that dominated a lot of conversations I’ve had with my friends over the years.  Dumb & Dumber is a classic.  Plain and simple.

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THEN CAME DUMB & DUMBERER

There have been rumors for decades that a true sequel starring Jeff Daniels & Jim Carrey would arrive someday.  Lloyd Christmas himself even talked about the possibility not too long ago.  Sadly, we got a prequel instead.  Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd…

What a complete disaster.  The film tried desperately to duplicate the magic of the first film but failed at almost every turn.  If you are a die hard Harry & Lloyd fan this movie made you cringe.  Although, I will say they did a fantastic job casting the two leads.  I really wasn’t horrified by the acting at all.  It was the story that bothered me the most…

There is a very fine line you have to walk when creating a movie that is purposely dumb.  The first movie got it right.  The second movie was frustratingly bad and tainted the memories of Sea Bass, IOUs, TurboLax and “what if he shot you in the face?” 

Did we really need an imaginary pirate in the prequel?  Did the whole thing have to hinge on a special education program so a principal can steal some cash?  The first film was all about two idiots in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Yes that was an intentional quote too.)  Having someone scheme against them bothered me especially for a paltry 100 grand.

And don’t get me started on how they treated Freda Feltcher!

dumb and dumberer when harry met lloyd

For a while I was disappointed because there was so much wasted potential but I got over it.  Some movies should be left alone and Dumb and Dumber is one of them.  I suppose exceptions can be made if the Jim, Jeff & the Farrelly brothers return.  I’m not holding my breath.

It’s hard to watch some of your favorite characters get trashed on the big screen.  I watched Dumb & Dumberer ONE TIME and I’ve been trying to ignore it’s existence ever since.  Thankfully, I can still go back and watch one of the funniest movies ever made.

dumb and dumber boy this party really died

“Boy this party really died…”

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Behind The Scenes of THE HOBBIT Inspires!

July 11, 2011 at 9:15 am

Behind The Scenes of THE HOBBIT Inspires | A look at the making of the hobbit movies

I CAN’T WAIT TO GO THERE AND BACK AGAIN!

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has had an enormous impact on my life.  For me, goes beyond Frodo’s epic journey to Mount Doom.  It’s the documentaries that tell the story of how the film was made.  I’ve watched the special features on the extended DVDs more times that the actual films.  They are easily the most in depth and entertaining docs you can find.  The incredibly deep emotion the filmmakers show in their interviews is remarkable.  It’s about their passion for the story and the sacrifices they made to pull it off.  Every single crew member and actor were committed and showed such an unbelievable love for the project.

That kind of love shows up on screen as characters we have come to love ourselves battled for the freedom of Middle Earth.

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THE HOBBIT MOVIES

Thankfully, after a lengthy struggle, we are finally getting not one but 2 Hobbit films.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14, 2012)
The Hobbit: There And Back Again (December 13, 2013)

It’s going to be a long wait to finally see these amazing stories come to life but I’m okay with it.  Mainly because the behind the scenes stories have already begun to surface online.

It’s hard to believe that these movies almost didn’t happen for about 15 billion different reasons.  It’s even lost a director (Guillermo Del Toro) in the process.  I think fans of the series were okay with that as Peter Jackson stepped up to finish what he started years ago.

I know these movies will be great.  The book is legendary and the people behind the films have already proven their love and loyalty to J.R.R Tolkien’s wonderful creation.

What fascinates me is the story behind the scenes.  It looks like, once again, we will be treated to detailed and candid stories of how this project came together and what it was like to return to Middle Earth.  An unexpected journey indeed.

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Oin Gloin Gimli's Father

I’m still blown away that we are finally getting images and news from the SET!  As a fan of film and filmmaking alike, I’m always interested in following the development of movies but I don’t think there is another like The Hobbit right now.  There are movies like The Dark Knight Rises that I’m anxiously awaiting but those films are so secretive.  You won’t see production diaries online anytime soon starring Christopher Nolan.

For me, part of what makes the entire story of Middle Earth special is the filmmakers journey and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

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