Knives Out (Spoiler-Lite)

I went into Knives Out with a lot of suspicion, entirely because of the director.  Rian Johnson has done two movies that I’ve seen before, both of which impressed me a lot with their emotional and visual qualities, but which disappointed me greatly because of their lack of story cohesion:  Star Wars Episode VIII:  The Last Jedi, and LooperSo there I was, watching his most recent effort, Knives Out, a whodunnit style murder mystery, where story cohesion is really the name of the game.

Knives Out b

Continue reading Knives Out (Spoiler-Lite)

Captain America: Civil War (or really, “Marvel Super-Heroes, Part 13”)

So, if it wasn’t clear already, the Marvel Studios is now officially really confident in their “shared universe” approach to their superhero movies. I mean, we’ve known that’s what they are doing from nearly the beginning, and we’ve been excited about it ever since Robert Downey jr. showed up in the post-credit scene of The Incredible HulkAvengers was built in many ways on the goodwill and anticipation that was built up by the various hero’s prior appearances in their solo films.  And we fans have come to expect the gratuitous cameo appearances, like Chris Evans showing up Thor:  The Dark World or Anthony Mackie’s Falcon getting a big scene in Ant-Man.


Captain America Civil War Continue reading Captain America: Civil War (or really, “Marvel Super-Heroes, Part 13”)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

There are a number of things that make Captain America: The Winter Soldier not quite perfect. Natasha’s speech to the governmental enquiry at the end is a bit self-righteous and silly. SHIELD seems to have been infiltrated absurdly easily. Arnim Zola is abruptly re-introduced and then destroyed in one exposition-filled scene. The villain is immediately obvious from his first appearance—and really, ever since the film’s advanced publicity material began to be released (although at least that’s overtly revealed quite early on). And there’s something more than a bit convenient about how the three giant Death Stars in the sky can be overcome by replacing three easy-to-access, unguarded circuits boards.

Yet in spite of this the movie is a huge success, and continue to show that Marvel has learned a thing or two about keeping this franchise strong, as all of their films since The Avengers can attest. Continue reading Captain America: The Winter Soldier