Tag Archives: Chris Evans

Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Review | Film

Captain America: The Winter SoldierPatriotism is a tough label to get around. For Captain America the character is forever typecast by his very name. Lucky then that the character Chris Evans portrays as the Captain has far more depth than it should.

Captain America: The Winter SoldierSince the first Captain America, the world has changed. The idealistic beginning of this symbol of hope and courage have become all too real as the aftermath of Avengers Assemble have taken their toll. Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D (so, SHIELD…) are pre-preemptively taking out terrorist targets, which cause the Captain to have something of a morality crisis.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is much happier not following the rules, and spends much of the film learning why they can, in fact, be some use after all. Fury himself even gets some time to develop as a character, at last becoming more than just a cool guy with an eye patch.

Newcomer The Winter Soldier, whose origins you either suspect or may already know, gets no such luxury however and sadly suffers for it, impressing on skill but not substance. Whether his character will grow in a future iteration of the franchise remains to be seen.


The stakes are higher this time around, thanks to a relic of the past coming back to haunt in true comicbook style, and the action rises to the occasion well. The drama shys away from the likes of romance for the most part, instead pushing ahead with the subject of morality, and plays the hand strongly, but still with a healthy dose of care from the audience about the characters.

There’s no magic or alien involvement in this Marvel story (though the technological accomplishments possible in 1945 seem a tad unlikely) so it’s up to the Cap to take on his enemies with nothing but his iron will and his insanely indestructible shield.

Captain America: The Winter SoldierThe story might be a stretch, but you can’t deny it is simplicity at its heart and this works in the film’s favor for the most part – there’s little risk of scenes dragging on too long and you losing interest.

News that Evans won’t be continuing, while not a complete shock, does surprise when you consider how naturally he falls into this role – especially after already playing a well-known Marvel character only a few years before.

Since then Evans, like his choice of characters, have come of age and taken on more responsibility as an actor. He brings a subtle physicality to the role, not wearing it on his sleeve like Hugh Jackman but undeniably well built, so much so that you can almost believe his opening mammoth sprint.

In all there’s a lot to enjoy about this film so long as you can immerse yourself in Marvel’s increasingly complex world, but at the same time resist the urge to ask questions like ‘So, where’s Iron Man while this is going on?’ and ‘No way The Hulk would sit around and let that happen’.

Whether the character has the mileage for the third film, after the difficult second compilation album that is The Avengers: Age of Ultron remains to be seen. For now, it’s a fun and enjoyable film which hits the tone just right to move things on, and leave you wanting more.

Rating: 4/5

James Michael Parry

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Ten most anticipated titles of 2014 – Part 2 | Opinion | Entertainment

2014 ones to watch pt2That’s right, we ran out of space to fit in ten before – there’s just so much to talk about. In case you missed it, have a read of the first five things we are excited about this year, then take a look at another five below. After that you may go, or if you’re feeling really interactive you can leave a comment with what yours are.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – 22 May

X-Men: Days of Future PastIs more always better? We aren’t so sure. It definitely made Spider-Man 3 messy and is history is threatening to repeat itself with the second remake (see part one). That said, it’s difficult to bet against the pedigree of the cast involved with X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Promising new-ish talent in the form of Evan Peters as Quicksilver and rising star Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, while old guard like Hugh Jackman (born to be Wolverine) bring some gravitas to proceedings and knights of the realm Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bringing up the rear.

Of course this time roles are doubled up, as both Michael Fassbender and McKellen take on the iconic role of Magneto and make uneasy alliance with James McAvoy and Stewart’s Professor X.

To say that this is an anticipated title would be an understatement. Original film series helmsman Bryan Singer is back and there’s some fantastic writers on board as well, with so many great characters, special effects and action sequences to come – what can go wrong? If the trailer is anything to go by we are in for a treat.

House of Cards: Series 2 – 14 February

The first of two multimedia TV choices on this list, both significant for different reasons. Last year House of Cards was Netflix’s first real foray into the world of original programming, and thanks to its success a handful of shows, both established and brand new, have followed suit. Now they have to do it again to prove that it’s not just a one-trick pony or a fluke – a second series is serious business.

The show isn’t strictly original, since it’s a remake of a UK show, but I think given the differences between attitudes and political systems in the two countries it can stand alone with its head held high. Kevin Spacey nails the part of Frank Underwood expertly, so much so that he gained a number of award nominations, but, alas, only a (well-deserved) Golden Globe win for Spacey’s co-star Robin Wright. Netflix will want to improve on that this time around, to prove that they ‘count’ in the big leagues.

Since the scrabble up the political ladder was vicious and frantic at times in series one, viewers won’t want Frank’s journey to get too easy this time around. All the episodes drop in at once on Valentine’s Day, will they make enough impact to tear people away from their loved ones?

The Halo TV Series – TBA

HaloThe Xbox One announcement was undoubtedly a multimedia entertainment affair, rather than a reveal of ‘a games console’. Microsoft had their sights set on something greater, and still do. Filming a TV series though, takes time, and with collaborator Steven Spielberg working on other TV projects as producer his time is sure to be in high demand.

The potential of this show is what makes it such an exciting prospect though. The Halo 4: Forward  Unto Dawn web series demonstrated fantastic production values and, crucially, a compelling story which wasn’t over-reliant on the games – a very difficult balance to get right.

The expectation from series fans is high, and as one of Microsoft’s key exclusives, they will definitely want to take the time they need to get it right first time. Particularly considering all the flack they got in 2013 for various PR mis-steps.

The potential of the concept is huge though, and there’s a lot to play for. A massive captive audience and exclusive delivery platform just waiting to get going, while the interplay between the show and the game series itself, which is also keeping its audience hungry. MS have an opportunity to make a bold statement about what they can achieve in multimedia. It might not come this year in the end, but there is sure to be more revealed by the end of the year.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – March 28

Captain America: The Winter SoldierPoor Cap. Thanks to merely his name, his origin story wasn’t as well received in the UK as it was in his homeland. Luckily he has another chance with The Winter Soldier, and early forecasts are looking extremely promising.

The character established in the first film had a surprisingly deep arc compared to his fellow Avengers, and as such was short-changed by critics. In this instalment the trailer paints a very compelling picture.

Cap is still working with SHIELD, including Nick Fury and Black Widow, and is beginning to question the motives and methods of this highly destructive organisation. Not a gritty superhero story like The Dark Knight trilogy, but a very personal story which explores his character – albeit with some explosions thrown in for good measure.

Directing are little-known pair Anthony and Joe Russo, who are sure to bring their own spin to proceedings, while the rest of the crew are equally unknown to the Marvel film universe, meaning the film has that mixture of excitement and fear you often find with an unknown quantity.

The next Google Nexus tablet – TBA

Google Nexus 10 2 concept imageGoogle have been making strides over the past few months, buying up companies left and right and making progress with both software and concept hardware such as Google Glass, but since the release of the Google Nexus 7, things have been quiet in the tablet division.

The advertising for Google Play as the place to get your music, films and TV shows has seen a marked increase, giving the softest of indications that the next logical step on their tablet journey may be coming.

Another patent deal with Samsung done and dusted in the smartphones division means there’s a few more patents to play with and since there has been a lot of expectation for a more specced iPad or wearable tech. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), product launches from Google were conspicuous by their absence and after Apple’s shares took a tumble on the back of less-than-overwhelming sales performance – now is the time to strike.

The technology needed isn’t a million miles ahead of the excellent Google Nexus 10, produced by Samsung, with its screen in particular going down well and generally performance stacking up to the equivalent offering from Apple. To really turn heads though, they will need to go further. Does that mean a Nexus 11? Time, as ever, will tell, but there’s potential there for the taking.

The ones to watch: Watch Dogs, Titanfall, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Division, The Fray – Helios, Rancid’s new album, Robocop, 300: Rise of an Empire, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Steam Machines, Oculus Rift, Hannibal and Game of Thrones.
James Michael Parry

Film | Review: The Avengers | This Is Entertainment

picture courtesy showmescifi.comWhen making a cake, experience tells us that throwing every tasty thing you can think of into the mix doesn’t necessarily give you the tastiest spongy-based confection of all time. What are we to think of The Avengers then? Aside from a clarifying or baffling name change in the UK (depending on your generation) to Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, the film represents the film equivalent of putting all of your eggs, sugar and everything else in one mixing bowl and baking it for two hours.

The build up to the film has been epic, and anyone who hasn’t seen the films which introduce our misfit band of heroes would do well to familiarise themselves beforehand. The characters are all likeable enough for a first impression though, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk manages to fit in effortlessly despite not playing the character in his hero (or monster) origin story.

The threat which brings the Avengers together is orchestrated by demi-god Loki, brother of the thunder-happy Thor. Loki intends to rule the world (yep, that old chestnut), with help from an outer-space army of grisly evil creatures called the Chitauri., who will send an army to conquer and leave Loki to be in charge of what is left of humanity.

With all of the big guns in play, it’s a fast-paced film, leaving little time for character arcs or deep and moving moments, but director Joss Weedon knows how to work an ensemble cast (not least from his work on sci-fi cult classic Firefly) and makes sure no one seems left out.

The comedy element of the film is distinctly more pronounced than its predecessors, with almost every character getting a zinging one-liner at some point or other – even the Hulk had the audience laughing out loud on occasion. Love-to-hate villain Loki (played to perfection by Tom Hiddleston) takes the crown in an exchange between him and brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thor is understandably unhappy with his younger brother’s behaviour, and the pair proceed to have a verbal sparring match in a murky wood, culminating in Thor brandishing his iconic hammer with fire and brimstone and howling at Loki to listen well. Immediately Thor is bowled over by an airborn Captain America (Chris Evans) and flings out of sight, leaving Loki to remark: “Erm…I’m listening.”

picture courtesy geek-grotto.comNewcomer Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has a hard time of it, spending most of the time on the wrong team, but manages the most memorable emotional scene in the film and some equally impressive action with his signature bow.

Despite the obvious dangers, things are kept in the balance so the film expertly avoids becoming ‘Iron Man and friends’. The effortlessly charismatic Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark manages to fit in with the team in exactly the right way, still up to his usual cheeky and reckless ways, but not to the extent that the audience becomes irritated and impatient, a fact which makes the climax’s emotional weight.

Supporting players from SHIELD like Nick Fury (helpfully pointed out as Samuel L. Jackson in the opening credits, just in case we missed it) and Agent Coulson, who is finally blessed with a first name, continue to impress. Particularly striking is the Avengers’ home base the SHIELD Helicarrier, which serves as one of the most diverse and action-packed sets in the film.

The film succeeds in being more than the sum of its parts. It might not be the most remarkable story in the world, but the balance, pacing, drama and action are all just right, making the film the defining superhero flick of the decade…at least until Spidey and The Bat return.

Rating: 5/5

James Michael Parry

Film: Review: Scott Pilgrim vs The World


From the moment the pixellated 8-bit ‘Universal’ logo ushers in the beginning of Scott Pilgrim vs The World, you know this film will never win an Oscar – and it shouldn’t.


Not because it isn’t a work of cinematic brilliance (it is), but because Edgar Wright’s first feature since wrapping Police-based actioner Hot Fuzz is just too geeky for the masses.

The fact that early reports already show the film not setting box offices ablaze in the USA is no surprise since its up against most of the 80s action heroes in the form of The Expendables and a well-established children’s franchise in Toy Story 3.


The story is hum-drum enough: Scott Pilgrim, played by the Superbad Michael Cera, with High School over and no job tying him down has only the haunting memory of his ex-girlfriend breaking his heart to keep him down. He just so happens to be bassist in (almost…) the biggest band in Toronto : Sex Bomb-omb.


Enter 17 year-old schoolgirl Knives (yes, really) who breaks Scott out of his rut when they start going out, that is until pink-haired Ramona Flowers appears to throw a spanner in the works.


As it turns out Ramona has SEVEN evil exs, not boyfriends as she’s keen to note, who Scott must defeat to win her.


Admittedly on paper it makes as much sense as the first few hundred pages of Lord of the Rings, but what makes the film soar above the average comic-book adaptations is style.


Scott’s world isn’t quite the Toronto we (probably don’t) know, apart from geographically this is a world where a ringing phone causes the air to be brazened with the word “BRRIIIIIIING”, computer games teach you complex martial arts and defeated enemies burst into a shower of coins.


Music is a weapon and Scott’s band’s struggle to get a record deal from the illusive G-Man drives the story along, in between watching Cera being pummelled by various imposing opponents.


The seven-strong evil ex roster boasts some impressive names, such as Brandon Routh, better known as Bryan Singer’s Superman and Chris Evans, better known as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four, and soon Marvel’s #1: Captain America.


Like any good comic-book villain each ex has their own evil powers, such as Routh’s telekenisis and mind-reading granted to him by being a ‘hardcore’ vegan, and fatal weaknesses which prove their undoing, of which a particular highlight is the downfall of evil ex #4 Roxie Richter (Mae Whitman) from some unusual contact.


Gaming plays as large a role in the film as music but the most surreal aspect of the action is influenced by Japanese Manga, with screen blurs, cinematic cut scenes and slow motion fighting moves in abundance.


Cera fails to shake his typecasting as the reformed loser Scott, but nonetheless makes you genuinely care about him, while being amused at his oh-so-typical teenaged awkwardness…at 22.


It’s Kieran Culkin as Scott’s gay housemate Wallace who is gifted with the best lines, but like previous Wright work Spaced the film would only ever work as an ensemble piece. Luckily the cast compliment each other and those who initially seem one dimensional, such as frowning Sex Bomb-Omb drummer Kim Pine (Alison Pill) often hint at greater depth.


The film itself lives up to what it sets out to be, a story which could well mostly be going on in Scott’s head, and some very polished visual effects bring the audience into the virtual world convincingly, at times making you long for 3D.


For those who enjoyed recent comic-book curve ball Kick Ass this is a sensational follow-up watch, and for those even slightly familiar with any of the plethora of references featured it rewards a little suspension of disbelief hundreds of times over to provide a fantastic fun summer film.


Rating 5/5

James Michael Parry

Pictures: Screen Rant, Filmofilia, The Faster Times

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