Tag Archives: Scarlett Johansson

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain_America_The_Winter_Solider-PosterWe’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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Review: Her

Her_PosterI wouldn’t mind living in Spike Jonez’s version of the future, but for now I’m happy to just keep watching “Her” over and over again.

“Her” takes place in a future version of Los Angeles and hones in on Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly, a soon-to-be divorced man who writes other peoples’ love letters for a living. One day, Theodore opts to purchase the hottest new piece of technology on the market, OS 1, the first artificially intelligent operating system. Soon thereafter, he creates Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), a digital secretary of sorts who’ll clean out his inbox, organize his writing and also be his friend.

If we’re heading towards Jonze’s version of the future, we might be better off. There are no hulking robots, deep space transports or overabundance of ultramodern technology, but rather mildly modified elements of the present that have clearly been changed to facilitate a more serene lifestyle. Computers are voice activated, clothing trends are practical, the streets are clean and not a single person raises his or her voice. “Her” features some heated discussions, but they’re genuine discussions, not thoughtless outbursts.

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Review: Don Jon

Don_Jon_PosterJoseph Gordon-Levitt’s highly stylized and well-executed directorial choices make “Don Jon” a raunchy romp, but then he throws in just enough of that good old JGL charm to give it some heart.

It makes sense that Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) values his physique, his home, his car, his family, his church, his friends and his girls, but porn? When it comes to things Jon just can’t live without, porn is pretty high up there. And we’re not talking about the occasional indulgence. Not only does Jon have a habit of using pornography to get the job done dozens of times a week, but he also prefers it to the real thing. Considering he tends to stick to one-night stands, it’s never really been an issue, but when Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and thinks she might be worth a long-term relationship, the porn just has to go.

After putting a handful of short films on his resume, Gordon-Levitt made the move to features and, turns out, he was ready. “Don Jon” is out there to say the least and could easily have been an unfunny, pointless disaster, but Gordon-Levitt formulates the ideal unique style that well supports the comedy and surprisingly moving character journey.

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Review: Hitchcock

Hitchcock-PosterIf you’re a sucker for horror and suspense, and have a serious soft spot for the art of making movies, “Hitchcock” is an absolute charmer, delivering the touching satisfaction of a romance, but in a wildly entertaining and somewhat brutal environment.

“Hitchcock” focuses in on Alfred Hitchcock’s (Anthony Hopkins) career just after releasing “North By Northwest” and moving on to his next project, “Psycho.” Even though the director has immense clout amongst the Hollywood community, many wonder why he doesn’t just retire at the ripe old age of 60 and go out on top, but even more so about why he wants to work with such violent material.

Support for “Psycho” is hard to come by and Hitchcock is left with no choice, but to strike a deal with Paramount – self-finance the film himself and defer his director’s fee in exchange for a percentage of ownership of the film’s negative and a distribution agreement. The studio finally gives him a reluctant thumbs up and Hitchcock goes to work.

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Review: The Avengers

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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