When Steve Rogers, bruised and bloody from fighting with a fully-armoured Tony Stark, puts up his fists and says, “I can do this all day,” it takes us back to the first Captain America movie and the frail little guy he used to be, and it reminds us that what makes Cap a hero isn’t his enhanced abilities or his fighting skills. It’s his spirit. He won’t quit.
We’re going to need that thought in the coming days.
Watch the movie. Reserve your tickets. Yay, Ant-Man!
1. Idris Elba
2. Idris Elba
3. Idris Elba. Make him Bond already.
4. Efficient action geography and choreography, thrilling sequences. The director is James Watkins.
5. Richard Madden (Robb Stark, Cinderella’s Prince Charming) is a graceful pickpocket, but looks like a munchkin next to Elba.
6. The interaction between Elba and Madden is funny, but the movie doesn’t try to be a cute buddy comedy.
7. Idris Elba.
8. Montmartre, particularly Barbes
9. Not the plot, which will not make the French happy.
Jake Gyllenhaal continues his quest to have the widest-ranging body of work among his peers in Demolition, a comedy about grief by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild). Jake plays a Wall Street guy who loses his wife but does not know how to grieve or be angry. So everything becomes a metaphor to him. He starts taking machines apart and trying to put them back together to see how they work—this is his way of figuring out what his marriage was. Later he takes apart larger things.
Demolition is very engaging, if a bit too cheerful for a movie about sorrow and loss, but Jake is awesome. In each of his roles, be he a boxer, a gay cowboy, an ambitious lowlife, an academic and his doppelganger, or literally a body in a box, he looks, sounds, and moves differently. In Nightcrawler he looked like a stick insect with giant compound eyes; here, he looks like a very fit, slow-moving investment banker. Demolition also stars Naomi Watts (who would be an even bigger star kung marunong lang siyang magmaganda), Chris Cooper whose sorrow is too real for this movie, and a wonderful new actor named Judah Lewis who plays a teenager who worries he may be gay.
In one scene Jake wears headphones and walks through Wall Street in an interpretative dance of confusion and bottled-up rage. Watch this movie.
Hail, Caesar! is not one of the Coen Brothers’ masterworks, nor does it aspire to be. It’s a light and jaunty romp somewhere between Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Art Thou? Like O Brother, Where Art Thou?, it alludes to Sullivan’s Travels, Preston Sturges’s brilliant comedy about filmmakers, their intentions and pretensions.
Josh Brolin stars as a “fixer” at Capitol Studios whose current duties include helping a cowboy western star (Alden Ehrenreich) transition to dramatic actor, covering up the unwanted pregnancy of an Esther Williams-like bathing beauty (a very funny Scarlett Johansson), pacifying two powerful gossip columnists both played by Tilda Swinton, and retrieving a kidnapped star (George Clooney) whose absence is holding up production of a Biblical epic called Hail, Caesar! In the course of 24 hours he crosses paths with an effete director (Ralph Fiennes is a great comic actor), a star of musicals (Is Channing Tatum our Gene Kelly? In any case, everyone is just happy to see him), and in a hilarious scene, the representatives of four major religions vetting the screenplay of the Biblical epic.
Hail, Caesar! pays tribute to the alchemy of cinema, to the way a hokey story full of cheesy lines delivered by ham actors is mysteriously transformed into an emotional truth. This is why we go to the movies.
Hail, Caesar! is now showing at Power Plant Rockwell.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in a world where soulless villains from outer space have sucked out all the color, forcing the citizens to live in browns and grays. Nope, it’s just Zack Snyder’s usual palette. What is his problem with color? Does the lack of color signify seriousness, or is it a reaction to the bright primary colors, so much like the comic books, of DC’s competitor? We revisit Metropolis two years after the mass destruction at the end of Man of Steel. Humanity’s love affair with Superman is going sour. He’s being blamed for the destruction of the city. Politicians are bothered by the way he can just do whatever he wants, acting independently of all human authority. Tech billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, horrendously miscast, turning in the worst performance of his career) plans to use all these to his advantage. And in Gotham City, Bruce Wayne/Batman is seething.
How many times have we seen Bruce Wayne’s parents gunned down in that alley? By now we ourselves should be putting on costumes and going out at night to fight criminals. Employing one of his favorite tricks, slooow motion, Snyder stages the murder of the Waynes and repeats the scenes throughout the movie in order to plant a certain name in our heads. It’s not entirely his fault, half of it is bad writing. (The Carmina and Mike Doctrine: If you see David Goyer’s name in the credits, prepare yourself.) Bruce/Batman is furious at Superman for leveling the Wayne Building in the process of saving Metropolis from General Zod. Given how much collateral damage Batman himself incurs when he’s saving the world, it looks like professional jealousy. The only way Batman’s rage could be justified is if Robin died in the collapse of the Wayne Building, and we don’t see this happening.