LONG DIVISION: Captain America: Civil War


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Warning: SPOILERS

 

rev 1It takes a while for the new superhero movie Captain America: Civil War to reach the scene that everyone has paid their hard earned bucks to see: a knock down drag out between the two sides of the Avengers, one headed by Iron Man and one headed by the titular hero.

 

But when it gets there, it proves to be more than worth the wait.

 

Let’s just say, it ain’t your parents’ Sharks versus the Jets.

 

In fact it’s one of the wittiest and smartest over the top superhero fight scenes we are likely to see for some time.  It’s not just the dialog that is clever and earns its laughs, it’s also the way the fight plays out, which character gets pitted against which and how their superpower works against each other. There’s such a slick smoothness here, as if the planning of it was completely effortless; everything just fits together so well. Continue reading

AVENGERS ONE, SMALL DEFENSELESS EASTERN EUROPEAN TOWN, ZERO: Avengers: Age of Ultron


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
avengers ultron 1It seems that after razing New York City to the earth more than a few times, the makers of movies from Marvel comics have now decided to turn their eyes on a smaller, more defenseless municipality in the fictional Easter European nation of Sokovia, smashing it to smithereens in the new tentpole film Avengers: Age of Ultron.
And one really has to feel for this poor little town. Not only has it survived World War I, World War II and the Holocaust, the Cold War occupation (under Stalin, even) and the difficult adjustment after the fall of the USSR, it once again is going to be ravaged, this time by a man made robot with sentience.
I mean, I don’t know what this city did to piss off writer/director Joss Whedon, but it must have been really something. It really gets the shit kicked out of it.
The basic premise of …Ultron is that age old trope of this is what happens when man tries to play god. In this variation on the theme, Tony Stark creates an AI to protect humankind from dangers of all kinds. But in true Colossus: The Forbin Project fashion, Ultron, the AI, very quickly, and probably very wisely and logically, realizes that humankind is most in danger from, well, itself and decides to take over to save us from us. Continue reading

MOVIE MURDER MOST FOUL: The Judge and The Blue Room


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

Warning: SPOILERS
judgeHow can I cliché thee? Let me count the ways.
In the opening scene of The Judge, the new courtroom cum father/son we hate each other so much we love each other drama, defense attorney Hank Palmer (the kind of attorney who’ll defend anybody for anything as long as the price is right) is confronted by the prosecuting attorney Mike Kattan (the type of character that believes in truth, justice and the American way, so the filmmakers chose an actor, David Kromholtz, whose mere appearance would elicit laughter, to play the part next to the Ironman, alpha male, washboard stomach Robert Downey, Jr., who plays Hank) and they have one of those scene thingies where they debate the morality of it all.
At the end of the discussion (accompanied by mature goings on like Hank peeing on Mike’s pants), Hank sums up all the clichés that have taken place in that one encounter (and using the word “cliché” to describe it).
If the writers, Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque, were attempting to get away with the use of overdone platitudes, familiar formula and trite tropes by calling attention to what they were doing—well, okay, in their defense one can at least one can say they knew what they were doing when they were doing it and were trying to do something about it. Continue reading