Tag Archives: Brie Larson

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Blu Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Avengers: Endgame Review

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Tilda Swindon, Dave Bautista, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong

The major downside to catching Avengers: Endgame in theatres was the risk of subjecting my bladder to irreparable damage. In my younger days, simply holding-it for three hours was no big challenge. Back in college, I even once participated in a drinking challenge where we’d see who could go the longest without relieving ourselves. I didn’t win, but did manage to make it almost four hours.

Those were different times and Endgame is a different type of epic. We’ve all sat through three-hour films before, but thanks to the Infinity War’s open-ended resolution and plethora of unanswered questions – not-to-mention a year’s worth of fan theories and speculation – taking a bathroom break would risk missing a key scene, plot twist or revelation. I’ll give the Russo Brothers credit for one thing: Every scene in Endgame feels vital at the time, making it a tough movie to walk away from, even for a moment.

At the showing my family and I attended, not a single theatregoer got up to leave once the film started. Afterwards, the continuous sound of flushing toilets echoed throughout the lobby for five straight minutes. I, for one, made the mistake of buying a soda before the movie, which I began the regret around the 90 minute mark. By the third act, my screaming bladder made it a challenge to fully immerse myself the film’s numerous emotional payoffs.

So despite being a fitting, larger-than-life capper to Marvel’s 22-film story arc, Endgame ultimately plays better at home, at least for those of us not endowed with iron bladders. In addition to reacquainting myself with the story thus-far by revisiting Infinity War beforehand, seeing Endgame a second time – able to hit pause when nature called – was far more enjoyable.

While I still loathe the practice of stretching a single story across multiple movies, Endgame justifies its existence – and length – due to the sheer number of characters, story threads and loose ends to tie in a manner that meets expectations of legions of MCU fans. A taunting task, to be sure, which Endgame manages to pull off. The film remembers its past while acknowledging the future, and is well-aware of the finality its title suggests (for the story arc and some major characters). In that respect, Endgame pushes all the right emotional buttons.

But unlike the original Star Wars trilogy’s most iconic moments, Endgame meets expectations without really ever exceeding them. As viewers, we already have a laundry list of plot points awaiting explanation, questions to be answered and characters’ odds of living or dying. All those boxes are checked-off – often magnificently, sometimes poignantly – but there aren’t any revelations as jaw-dropping as learning who Luke’s father is. And even at three hours, there are simply too many characters for everyone to get adequate screen time (some don’t even appear until the climax). Fans of certain characters will inevitably be disappointed by what amounts to a cameo.

However, those are minor quips. Endgame is ultimately a slam-bang crescendo to this massive franchise, the likes of which we won’t likely see again for a long time. While sweeping and epic in scope, it’s still filled with the smaller, character-driven moments that have always made the MCU engaging (something DC is just now figuring out). I’ve personally never met anyone disappointed by the outcome. I’m sure they’re out there, but maybe their bladders were simply too full to enjoy it the first time.

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Captain Marvel (2019) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Captain Marvel Review, Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)
Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Lashana Lynch, Annette Benning, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg

When it comes to superhero movies, I suppose kicking franchises off with an origin story is almost unavoidable. After all, not everyone’s a comic book reader, so explaining what compels a guy throw on a cape for the public good makes narrative sense (though Tim Burton’s Batman never bothered and it turned out just fine).

Even if that has a tendency to render a lot of superhero films somewhat predictable, Marvel has done a pretty remarkable job introducing everyone populating their cinematic universe. And rather ingeniously, Captain Marvel actually gives us two origin stories.

First, of course, is the story of Vers/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), whose circumstances leading to her emergence as the titular character are more interesting than those of Doctor Strange or an umpteenth reboot of Spider-Man. After a rather mundane opening act – a flashy-but-rote clash between the Kree and Skrulls – once Vers arrives on Earth in 1995, the story really takes off. She already has her considerable powers and stands-out like a sore thumb, leading to some amusing moments and frequent clashes with the shape-shifting Skrulls. Larson’s confident performance is enjoyable, displaying just the slightest bit of superiority over us puny humans (at least until she begins to remember where she came from).

Vers also meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain Marvel’s other origin story. At this time, Fury is just another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (made plausible by some Oscar-worthy CGI that makes Jackson look 25 years younger). One long-standing criticism I’ve had of the entire MCU is that, with the possible exception of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fury has never been given anything interesting to do. Here, Fury arrives early and does a lot more than provide exposition. Jackson is great, of course, like he’s been unleashed to make Fury funnier and more charismatic than we’ve previously seen, especially once he befriends Goose the Cat. How he came to need an eye-patch provides one of the film’s biggest laughs.

Elsewhere, Captain Marvel tells an interesting story that not-only fits comfortably within the MCU, but provides a few welcome, surprising twists. Speaking of which, can we give another tip-of-the-hat to Ben Mendelsohn, once-again stealing every scene he’s in? As Talos, not only does he make a terrific initial adversary, he’s personable and often very funny, no small feat considering he’s covered in alien make-up for most of the film.

Of course, Captain Marvel has plenty of the action and visual fireworks we’ve come to expect from the MCU (as well as a few moments of wonky CGI). But like the Ant-Man films, it never threatens to collapse under the weight of its own spectacle. As origin stories go, this is one of Marvel’s better recent ones.

Captain Marvel (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

Captain Marvel Review, Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay by)
Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn 

Movie Couple here!  We rushed out to see Captain Marvel this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film students we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

I love all the MCU films and have not missed one in the theatres yet!  I have read comic books my whole life, so I can remember the character of Captain Marvel from the printed page,  back when she was Ms. Marvel!  Mrs. Movie Couple  does not.  She has seen all the MCU movies, but her history of the characters does not go much beyond the films.  This is just to let you know the type of familiarisation we both are bringing with us to see this film.  We both were anticipating this movie the way we do most Marvel films, we expected this to be connected to the MCU, but also an introduction to a hero we had never seen before. Much like Ant Man and Doctor Strange. Black Panther was in Civil War prior to his solo film (which we loved BTW), but Captain Marvel seemed to remind us of Ant Man and Strange as we have never seen her until this film.

I will do the set up for this review but since we saw it on International Women’s Day, we will let the actual reviewing be done by Mrs. Movie Couple this time!  The film starts in space, on a Kree homeworld, if you don’t remember the Kree alien race brush up on your Guardians of the Galaxy films to not feel lost.  This is where we meet Carol Danvers as an amnesiac known as Vers on this planet played by Brie Larson and Yon-Ragg portrayed by Jude Law.  We get introduced to some very alien concepts very quickly.  The Kree seem to be inconstant war with an alien species called the Skrulls that can shape shift and are a somewhat conquering, terroristic race.  How Carol (Known on this world as Vers) is a part of the Kree soldier squad and has the ability to fire energy from her glowing hands is part of the mystery and teased early on.  The Kree has a Supreme Intelligence that all Kree meet sparingly and seems to rule all.  Imagine a space Wizard of OZ if it helps.  It appears to each Kree as the person they admire most.  To Carol, that is the form of the amazing Annette Bening, for reasons you will learn later and we will not spoil.  We are shown part of the conflict, as the secret “Star Force” encounters a nasty cell of Skrulls during a mission gone wrong.  Suffice to say, Carol ends up escaping to Earth (circa the 1990’s, as we are shown constantly thanks to a Blockbuster video store, Nine Inch Nail T-Shirts and slow internet) where she encounters not only a Skrull infestation, but a young Nick Fury and Agent Coulson (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg with a little CGI help)!  Oh and she learns a lot about her true past and how she got her amazing powers.  There are a few twists along the way, that we will not spoil.  A great cat sidekick, some human allies, a surprise call back to Carol’s comic book origins and a final fight scene that sets Captain Marvel up as the “Superman” level power house of the Marvel Cinema Universe!  We are not here to tell you the entre movie, so that’s all you get in the form of a description.  Did we enjoy it?  Take it away, Mrs. Movie Couple!

Mrs. Movie Couple here!  So let me get right down to the brass tacks, I loved Wonder Woman!  It was one of my favorite superhero films and I was super (forgive the pun) excited to see another solo female hero given her very own film!  Bottom line though, this movie was bad.  Brie Lawson as Carol Danvers gave a wooden almost forced performance in my opinion.  She was amazing in Room and I expected so much more from her.  Sam Jackson was his regular self, but the chemistry the script tried to create between them never came across on film.  Their banter and jokes fell flat as if they were reading from a script rather than bringing words to life.  I felt more chemistry between Jason Mamoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman and I wrote that they had zero chemistry!  Not sure if the fault lies with the script itself or the direction of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, but it was notable.  The action scenes were a bit on the shaky cam side, which I find distracting, but that’s a preference.  The entire train fight scene and chase set piece had a TV energy level and was no where near the movie cinema quality I expect from these huge Marvel blockbusters.  The comedy fell flat as well, other than a scene or two featuring the cat Goose (a scene stealer) and a joke or two involving the Skrulls all other attempts were grown inducing.  Most Marvel films have a great use of comedy!  See The Thor films or the Guardians of the Galaxy movies to see it done in spectacular fashion!  Even Paul Rudd’s Ant Man series has a nice and easy flow to its comedy.  Even tense or serious solo MCU films have found natural ways to drop humor in their movies, look no further than Black Panther or Dr Strange for how to do this correctly.  Speaking of groan inducing!  My eyes rolled halfway into my head, during a scene where Carol is tossing bad guys left and right just as No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” plays in the background!  I am not kidding!  Subtle this is not!  Besides the observations of lack of chemistry or good humor, this movie just bored me.  I did not feel any stakes, never for one second felt that Carol was challenged, she overcame any and all obstacles with nearly zero effort.  This MCU entry felt like a cash grab at worst and at best an introduction forced just so we all know who Captain Marvel is before she shows up to pick up Thor’s hammer, grab Captain America’s shield and kick Thanos tail all by herself and save the Avengers in Endgame, as Alicia Keys “This Girl is on Fire” plays in the background.  I was really disappointed.  The acting, plot and directing all ranked this in my book,  as the weakest Marvel entry yet.  Here’s hoping for Wonder Woman ’84 to come quickly.

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  Who am I to disagree with my wife on International Women’s day?  I agree with most of what she already said.  As a lifelong comic fan I loved seeing the Skrulls on screen!  Not sure I agree with a twist involving them toward the end of the film, but those of you that are comic readers can judge for yourselves.  Again, the comic fan in me wanted more explanation about where her powers come from and how she uses them, but maybe that will come in Captain Marvel 2. Sadly, all that Mrs. Movie Couple said about acting, chemistry and balance of comedy and action all ring true. This movie will get far more positive reviews then negative, because its simply not acceptable to be hard on this movie without being labeled a misogynistic, anti feminist.  This is a shame, because the character is fine, but the film just isn’t good. Marvel has many strong females portrayed in film, Wasp in the Ant Man series, Shuri from Black Panther, The Black Widow, Scarlet Witch from the Avenger films and of course, Agent Peggy Carter from the Captain America films who also starred in her own TV series! They are all strong female characters, that is not the issue.  The issue is this movie isn’t nearly as entertaining as the previous Marvel films. Just being honest. Mrs. Movie Couple hit it right on the nose!

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She hated it!  She found its message as subtle as a hammer to the head and the direction, acting and script well under par. On the drive home she told me she wanted to watch Aquaman on demand to cleanse her palate and she didn’t even like Aquaman!!!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I was really disappointed as well.  Larson and Jackson let me down.  The script was dull and the direction was choppy and lacking.  The largest sin for me was that everything felt forced and due to that it was not enjoyable.  Even the worst Marvel films so far have been enjoyable.  Just a huge let down for me.  Please don’t label me.

The car ride home comments were all negative, so we both decided to give this movie 2 Bills.  Mrs. Movie Couple wanted 1, but I say 2 for the Cat and Skrulls alone!  Captain Marvel gets 2 Bills!  A waste of both our time and money!

So until we head out to the cinema again, See you next date night at the movies!

Free Fire (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

FREE FIRE

Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump (screenplay by), Ben Wheatley (screenplay by)
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer

Plot:  Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

Running Time: 91 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 67%    Audience 54%
Why I watched it: Mostly the cast.

Thoughts: Ben Wheatley is a different director he bounces from genre to genre and a lot of the times his stuff is a tad pretentious but here he goes for a straight crime shoot’em’up.

What I liked: The set up is good, they do a nice job of giving us a glimpse of each character and then set the plot in motion.

This is a very good cast for this type of film my two favourites were Sharlto Copley who’s way over the top but his timing is so good you have to laugh at him, he fleshes out a stock character by making him weird and humorous. I also liked Armie Hammer, with a full beard and not playing his stock pretty boy, he’s very entertaining and I think gave the best performance.  Some of his asides are very fun and break up the non stop shooting and swearing, he’s actually trying to think his way through this.

I’ll give them credit this is basically one set and this is about a 40-50 minutes shoot out, they do ring tension and humour out of the situation.

What I didn’t like: I’ll be honest when I read the plot description I didn’t realise this was set in Boston and really there was no reason to have it set in 1978 except for the fact they wanted no cell phones maybe.

I really think they wasted Cillian Murphy here, he’s a very good actor and one of my personal favourites and really he has nothing to do and his character is one note and I’ll be honest I didn’t learn a thing about him, very bland character.  Brie Larson didn’t work in this at all, and actually she stands out like a sore thumb and not because she was the only women but she seem to be in a different movie, she’s cold and detached and that’s hard to be when bullets are flying everywhere.  Her character is even more bland than Murphy’s, her only thing is that she’s a women, nothing else.  She didn’t add or bring anything to the character she reacted that’s it.

Even though the film is 91 minutes, it drags and really by the 70 minute mark I stopped caring,  they didn’t throw anything new to spice up the end, this was just one big fire fight in an old factory that’s it and it did have some style but it ran out of steam and also we weren’t routing for anyone.  I didn’t care you lived or died and to that point I really didn’t care for the ending.

Final Thoughts: Decent short film idea stretched to feature film length.  It was directed well and had some good performances but mainly forgettable.

Rating: 5/10

Free Fire (2016) Movie Review by John Walsh

FREE FIRE

Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump (screenplay), Ben Wheatley (screenplay)
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley

Lacking a little in the story/plot department (there’s none to speak of), but more than making up for it with a cast bursting at the metaphorical seams with chemistry and also an enjoyable, relentless, maniacal theme of needless violence throughout. Ben Wheatley has directed easily one of my favourite films of the year so far with Free Fire.

As I mentioned it lacks majorly in terms of the story, the premise and development throughout are incredibly simple, but it somehow works and it’s a fun, enjoyable, hour and a half ride of pure escapism. It’s set in the 1970s, within the confines of a Boston warehouse, as two opposing groups meet for a botched arms deal. One side, consisting of IRA hard men, headed up by Chris and Frank (Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley); and the other, a neurotic Rhodesian once mistaken for a child genius, his ex-Black Panther associate and a menacing hitman (actually can’t recall what he was?). The latter three going by the names Vernon, Martin and Ord respectively (Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay and Armie Hammer). Acting as go between of sorts and the architect behind the meeting is Justine (Brie Larsen).

The tension builds almost immediately as the Irish await a couple of their underlings arriving, before meeting with Ord, who’s obnoxious and dismissive taunting tone does nothing to alleviate matters. And it’s said underlings that act as the catalyst for the mayhem that ensues. Vernon, you see, is a bit of dodgy git and heightens the tension by trying to hoodwink the Irish, selling them the wrong guns and seemingly getting away with it too. Unfortunately for him though, underlings Stevo (Sam Riley) and Harry (Jack Reynor) come to blows after a freak double crossing of paths, the former glassing Harry’s young cousin the night before. When shots are then fired, the entire deal goes south and the warehouse soon turns into a war zone, the events literally playing out in slow-motion at one point to weirdly humorous effect.

At this point any notion of a plot goes out the window, the main objective appearing to be who’s claiming the briefcase packed with cash that’s dropped in no man’s land between the two warring parties. Vernon in particular can be heard repeatedly screaming about it in his almost humorously, high pitched, South African accent. Later he’s heard telling Ord, without a hint of irony, “What the fuck is wrong with you? How can you think about money in a time like this?”. To make matters worse, there’s a rat in their midst and a third party soon turns up in the form of a sniper, taking pot shots at the exposed bodies on the floor. This chaotic shootout continues on for what seems like the entire running time, with some intermittent ceasefires dotted throughout, and it was incredibly entertaining for a reason I can’t really put my finger on. Maybe it was just the mindlessness of it all.

The dialogue between the characters was a massive plus for this film. It was witty, realistic and hilarious at times as insults were hurled around and retorts quickly sent flying back. My favourite of these was perhaps Frank’s cracker to Ord, “Save it for your fucking autobiography”. The timing was absolutely perfect and the little laugh that rang out after only added to it. There was so many though that it’s honestly difficult to choose. There was also a cool use of background sound in this film and I’m not totally sure if this was done deliberately or not. But there was numerous times were characters could be heard continuing their conversations off camera, as attention turned away from them and this was also evident during the wild cross fire in the extended middle act. An example of this being the aforementioned screams about the briefcase from Vernon. It was a subtle little thing I noticed and liked it.

Another hugely enjoyable aspect was the real ensemble performance from the cast. As I mentioned before, I thought there was bucket loads of chemistry between them all and the combination of this and the well written dialogue made it a joy to watch. Cillian Murphy, Brie Larsen, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley were all excellent here as they went to town on each other. Larsen in particular with her flip flopping between sides and then eventual turn to lone wolf. Whilst the grudge match between Sam Riley and Jack Reynor’s characters that threaded it’s way throughout the story to a fitting conclusion was equally brilliant. I’ve left a few names out, but there honestly wasn’t one actor from the main core of characters that was poor in this. It really did remind me of a Tarantino film in a lot of ways, with the excellent dialogue, music at times and manner in which side characters were given relevance.

This film really should be enjoyed with as little spoilers as possible, so I’ll not prattle on any more with that in mind. There’s not much more I can say other than watch this bloody film. It’s entertaining and worth giving up an hour and half of your time to see.