Joon-ho Bong’s unprecedented combination of stunning combat, stylistic eccentricities and dramatic poignancy is so rich and enthralling, there’s no way one viewing of “Snowpiercer” will ever be enough.
In an effort to thwart global warming, a chemical called CW-7 is released into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2014. Soon thereafter, the temperature plummets and the world is consumed by snow and ice. “Snowpiercer” begins in 2031, 17 years after the only survivors entered Wilford’s self-contained safe haven, a train that circles the globe once every calendar year and is sustained by a perpetual-motion engine. On that train, passengers are separated by class. The wealthy indulge in parties, fancy clothing and sushi up front while the rest are secluded to the tail, forced to live in tiny compartments and live off of unappetizing protein blocks. However, the time for change has come and Curtis (Chris Evans) has a plan to take over the front.
“Snowpiercer” is a downright mesmerizing display of hardship, combat and magnificent environments. Bong does an exceptional job developing the world, every member of the cast delivers a wholehearted performance and cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong churns out one exceptionally picturesque and telling shot after the next. There are some plot holes and believability issues in the mix, but everything else bears such an all-consuming quality that it’s nearly impossible to pull yourself out of the film long enough to assess those issues, keeping them from effecting the overall experience.
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We’re talking about a hero with superhuman powers and a weapon with the ability to pinpoint villains via satellites capable of reading DNA and identifying a propensity to attack. It’s a downright outrageous scenario, but, dare I say, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” still feels like one of the most grounded Marvel movies out there.
After the destruction in New York in “The Avengers,” Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is attempting to lay low to a degree in Washington, D.C., by continuing to try to acclimate himself to the modern world while lending a hand at S.H.I.E.L.D. when necessary. However, when Steve comes to learn of an initiative to wipe out terrorists via enormous helicarriers that can detect evildoers before they even strike, his faith in the organization waivers. When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) himself has cause to believe that something isn’t quite right at S.H.I.E.L.D., it falls on Captain America to figure out who to trust so that the technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
First and foremost, Evans is just an absolute natural as Steve Rogers/Captain America. There is a cringe worthy throwback to skinny Steve, but otherwise, Evans sells him as an exceptionally capable, believable and thoughtful hero with an honest heart. Whether you’ve seen “Captain America: The First Avenger” or not, in “The Winter Solider,” Captain America experiences an arc that rocks the power to resonate regardless of how many times you’ve seen him in action.
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WARNING: The only way to experience the full effect of Some Velvet Morning, is to walk into the film knowing nothing at all. You have been warned.
After putting colossal productions like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on their resumes, Alice Eve and Stanley Tucci opted to do a complete 180 with Neil LaBute’s Some Velvet Morning. Eve and Tucci are the only two actors in the film, the entire narrative plays out in a single location and in real time, over the course of 83 minutes. Hit the jump for more.
Tucci is Fred, a man who opts to ditch his wife for his mistress, Eve’s Velvet. After years apart, Fred shows up at Velvet’s door, confident she’ll be thrilled that he’s finally all hers. However, in the process of trying to tap back into their romance, tempers flare, passion ignites and hopes are crushed in a back-and-forth that slowly exposes the layers of their unusual relationship.
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When we’re getting superhero movie after superhero movie, it’s understandable to have that, “Oh, another one?,” reaction. However, in the case of The Avengers, it was unprecedented right from the start. Yes, it’s more superhero material, but this isn’t just a film that features the biggest team of super-powered crime fighters yet; it’s one that links together a number of other features and franchises and, in turn, really creates a living, breathing Marvel universe.
The Avengers kicks off at S.H.I.E.L.D. where Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) is hard at work at the tesseract, an energy source with the power to wipe out the planet. In addition, the tesseract can act as a door to the other end of space, and that’s where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes in. Loki uses the device to transport himself from the other side of the universe to right there in the middle of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters where he devastates the compound and steals the tesseract.
Having witnessed the threat firsthand, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is compelled to activate the Avengers Initiative. Fury sends Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) to recruit Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), not for his alter ego, but to use his knowledge of gamma radiation, something that could help S.H.I.E.L.D. track the tesseract. Meanwhile, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is bringing Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) into the mix and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is suiting up again as Captain America. Together, they’re assigned to locate and take back the tesseract.
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So far, so good for The Avengers this summer. Thor’s a pretty cool guy and now it’s Captain America to show off what he’s got. Sure, he comes with the superhero standards – buff body, noble intentions and a sleek costume – but other than that, he’s nothing more than a poster boy for Marvel movies. Steve Rogers makes for a better propaganda symbol than superhero.
Chris Evans is Steve Rogers, a Brooklyn native desperate to serve his country. Sadly, his intense determination isn’t enough to make up for his slight stature and asthma, amongst other physical deficits, and his enlistment application is stamped with a big red F, time and time again. It isn’t until Steve crosses paths with Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) that he finally gets the chance to prove himself, well, an enhanced version of himself. Erskine straps Steve to some high tech contraption, pumps him full of glowing blue fluid and so Captain America is born.
Meanwhile, Hitler is building the ultimate weapon for himself, or so he thinks. The Nazi regime funnels resources into their deep science division, Hydra, in hopes that the unit’s leader, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), will deliver a power the Allies cannot defeat. Problem is, Schmidt is obsessed with some sort of otherworldly power, a power his cohorts don’t believe in. When Hitler attempts to shut Hydra down, Schmidt, or Red Skull, is ready to take the reigns and conquer the world for himself. The only one who can stop him? Guess who.
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Chris Evans does have the comedy What’s Your Number? hitting theaters in the fall, but otherwise, we likely won’t see him much on the big screen as anyone but Captain America. As his final film before the July release of Captain America: The First Avenger, we have Puncture making its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The film is based on a true story and stars Evans as Mike Weiss, half of the Danziger & Weiss law firm. Unlike his more practical partner, Paul Danizger (Mark Kassen), Mike is rather reckless and harbors an intense drug addiction not only constantly popping pain pills, but indulging in a great deal of cocaine as well. Regardless, Mike manages to keep up a sound performance in the courtroom and, fueled by his success, is eager to take on Vicky’s (Vinessa Shaw) case, a Houston nurse who contracts HIV when she’s accidently stuck with a contaminated needle. Mike makes Jeffrey Dancort’s (Marshall Bell) “Safety Point” syringes fitted with retractable needles the center of his case, striving to get hospitals to stock the needles regardless of a massive healthcare GPO’s resistance.
There’s so much more to this story and, in honor of the film’s run at the festival, Evans, director Adam Kassen and his brother, co-director and Evans’ co-star Mark Kassen sat down to tell us all about the process of putting this iconic case on screen. Check out everything they had to say about making Puncture, a little about Evans’ thoughts on Captain America and what the Kassens are up to next in the video interview below.
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Spoof movies instantly get a bad rap. (And, for argument’s sake, let’s leave parodies like ‘Mars Attacks!’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ out of this.)
In this article, we’re talking about the ones that go for pop culture’s jugular and tear apart specific movies individually. The Wayans brothers kicked off the craze somewhat respectably with ‘Scary Movie’ back in 2000, but ever since, this type of film has been synonymous with critical panning. Even the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise plummeted from the first to second film. ‘Scary Movie’ nearly attained a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the second film came in with just a 14 percent. The third film did a little better, with a 36 percent rating, as did the fourth, with 37 percent, but we’re still looking at a series that’s just flat out not very good.
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer may have reveled in the success of their script for ‘Scary Movie,’ but once they moved on to writing and directing their own films, a positive review was a thing of the past. ‘Date Movie,’ ‘Epic Movie,’ ‘Meet the Spartans,’ ‘Disaster Movie,’ and ‘Vampires Suck’ all failed to crack even a 10 percent rating on the Tomatometer.
And these are only the more well know films of the genre. Ever see ‘Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th’ with Coolio, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Tom Arnold? Or what about ‘My Big Fat Independent Movie’? We’re basically getting spoof after spoof with little to no concern for quality. They’re relatively inexpensive to produce and some manage to earn quite a chunk of money, regardless of poor reviews. At this point, it seems as though studios are pleased with the formula.
However, there is one film out there that defies the procedure. It may fall into line with the rest in terms of the butts of its jokes, but the big difference between ‘Not Another Teen Movie’ and the rest is that not only is it downright hilarious, but it manages to combine those laughs with enough of a story of its own.
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