Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ah, Life!

Watched Captain America, and didn't like it much. Apologies to fans and moviegoers who loved it, but try as I might, I checked my watch 5 times during the 2-hour film. But at least I didn't take a toilet break - a lot of other people around me did. Yay, strong bladder muscles! ;)

I actually wanted to enjoy myself as much as possible. After all, it has many elements that appeal to me - e.g. an underdog who becomes a hero, WWII and lots of Nazi-whacking, a great cast...

So, what happened?

I guess having the best ingredients can't guarantee a tasty dish if the cook isn't on the ball. And director Joe Johnston was, IMHO, not an ideal choice for this particular production.
His previous films include Honey, I Shrunk The Kids ( fluff ), The Rocketeer ( fluff ), Jumanji ( fluffy fluff ), Jurassic Park III ( very fluffy fluff ), Hidalgo ( so-so, even with Viggo Mortensen as the lead ), The Wolfman ( a case of severe misuse of a stellar cast ). The only movie which is not too bad is October Sky, but that was drama, not an attempt at blockbuster action.

( In case you're wondering, I've seen all the abovementioned shows. )

However, believe it or not, I went to see Captain America with zero inkling of Johnston's involvement. Aside from Chris Evans, I knew little about the supporting actors as well, though I recognized quite a few of them as they appeared in succession.

First, I must commend Evans for breaking out of his cocky-smart-aleck mould, thanks to a breakout role in Fantastic 4. Didn't see much of him in subsequent years, but a recent viewing of The Losers made me realize he may be more interesting than I originally thought, and I'm glad he did not disappoint as Steve Rogers.

In stark contrast to his Human Torch persona, Evans plays Rogers with ample restraint, yet successfully conveys the character's inner strength in a number of heartwarming scenes. He remains low-key even after an eye-popping transformation into the super-buff Captain America, but still generates sparks with fellow cast-mates, and handles the stunts well.

Supporting actors worthy of special attention include Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark ( that's Iron Man Tony Stark's daddy ); Sebastian Stan as Rogers' best pal, Bucky; and Hayley Atwell as the plucky but well-coiffed Peggy Carter.

Hugo Weaving - from The Matrix and Lord Of The Rings - is a fine actor in his own right, but too cheesy for words as Red Skull.
Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci, even finer actors than Weaving, are completely wasted in peripheral roles.

More grouses: there're loads of big action scenes, but most feel forced, and I can only recall a couple which stood out ( the mountain train chase is one, and another featuring a tiny helicopter-like aircraft detaching from Red Skull's Stealth plane is pretty cool too. ).

One bit I did not appreciate: Red Skull's Storm Trooper army, and all those laser guns. Is this Captain America or Star Wars, dammit?!

Reviews have been good, so everyone will probably make a nice profit, and the franchise is likely to continue.

In the meantime, we can look forward to The Avengers, which will have Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Black Widow ( among others ) joining forces. Directed by Joss Whedon - hope he does a better job than Johnston!

Almost fell out of my seat when the Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows trailer came on before the Captain America screening. There was no mention of it in the magazines I've been reading so religiously. Empire, what the heck!?

I LOVE the first Sherlock Holmes movie to death, and the sequel promises much much more. I'm absolutely thrilled! :D

I'm also extremely tickled by the fact that the "get that out my face" joke from the original is repeated. I really thought I was the only person on Earth who loved that line. Apparently not. Thank you, Mr. Guy Ritchie. :D

December 16, 2011 - I may watch it twice if it's excellent. :)

Something else worth rejoicing about this week: the return of Justified, starring the very delicious Timothy Olyphant. I had to give up on the last few episodes of season 1, when the plot got a little unwieldy, but the season 2 pilot proved that the story's back on track, with loose ends neatly tied up, and a new cast of colourful characters for U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stare down.

Olyphant is so bloody hot, I hope Justified will be adapted for the big-screen at some point. I bet he'll look gorgeous in a cineplex!

In closing, yet another Broadway musical I intend to see, if I can persuade my mother to agree to 4 consecutive shows over 4 nights.

Stephen Sondheim, Bernadette Peters and Elaine Paige - plus a star-studded supporting cast, staged at the Times Square Marquis Theater.

The song I most want to hear: Buddy's Blues. If it's anywhere as good as Mandy Patinkin's 1985 rendition, I'm happy!

Please say yes, mum. :)


mumbler said...

i love timothy olyphant too!! *swoon* too bad they're showing justified at such unearthly hours...i'm usually fast asleep by then. :(

spacefan said...

My dear, go online lah - :D