Notes on Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D)

It’s pretty simple: if you like these kind of movies, you will like this one.  If you are as bored with the latter-era comic-book superhero genre as I am, you won’t.  It’s not that I don’t like superhero-action movies, but I am finding most of these movies to be re-treads of one another.  And it doesn’t help when you know that no matter how bad things get, your hero and their core entourage will always survive.

Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans

Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans

Nonetheless, I liked Captain America: The Winter Soldier  — for about the first half.  I found it dramatic enough, and entertaining, and I particularly liked the women in it: Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, and Emily VanCamp.  But the second half degenerates into trite, formulaic action movie sequences.  The whole secret organization-within-a-secret organization idea is tired, and why do big action films so often feel that they need to lay forth some supposedly high-minded moralistic message?  Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times:

For what is frustrating about this “Captain America” is that it’s saddled with the defects of its virtues. It’s a product of the highest quality, but at the end of the day that’s what it is: a machine-made, assembly-line product whose strengths tend to feel like items checked off a master list rather than being the result of any kind of individual creative touch. “Captain America” is everything a big budget superhero film should be — except inspired.

Yep.  5/10

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Film Brief: Gravity (3D)

Gravity-2013-Movie-Poster

GRAVITY IS FULL of beautiful visuals that convey — about as well as a movie can — the feeling of floating in orbit.  The story is nothing groundbreaking — a basic story of survival akin to one set on a deserted island or deep in the jungle.  But the space setting is unique, and Gravity‘s technical prowess is in full bloom — in filmmaking terms, that is — it’s masterfully shot.  I’m certain there are a couple stretches as far as the scientific and engineering aspects of space travel are concerned, but it’s of no consequence to the quality or believability of the film.  This is not meant to be the ultra-realisitic portrayal of events that was Apollo 13.

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock give dedicated and engaging performances, and carry the action well.  This movie is quickly paced and entertaining from start to finish; make sure if possible to see in the theaters in 3D — this one is undoubtably better that way.  Gravity did not disappoint my expectations, so I can forgive a plot with no big surprises.  8/10