Tag Archives: Chris Evans

Knives Out (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

 

Knives Out Review

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Stars: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas

A masterful genre recreation that cements Rian Johnson’s legacy, Knives Out is easily the most entertaining film of the year topped with a poignant political message that subliminally lines the final moments. Wow. Big words. Knives Out is pure entertainment. It’s relentless energetic. It demands your attention and holds it. It’s an absolute marvel. I shouldn’t need to tell you anymore than that. But I will. Because it wouldn’t be fair otherwise. Knives Out takes an incredible risk. It gives you a considerable amount of information right up front. It also introduces one of the boldest plot devices in recent cinema (a character trait that is absolutely hilarious, but also befuddling upon introduction).

What results is more of a cat and mouse game than a classic whodunit. And you have an emotional connection to the protagonist to boot! But the moment when the shoe drops, the moment you’ve been agonising over for nearly 2 hours (that moment of getting the full truth), is so gratifying that it actually makes me smile just reminiscing about it. The range of emotions Johnson is able to touch on in that brilliant swelling climax is nothing short of remarkable. And the performances! Everyone across the board (save one actress that I won’t signal out but was unenthused by) delivers riveting drama. Each is guilty. What exactly they’re guilty of is the question. And that question becomes the driving force of one of the smartest narratives I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through. This is undeniably a boring review.

Who wants to read nothing but raves? As I alluded earlier, my only issue lies in an actress that I believe is miscast. As I say all the time, everyone is capable of good work, some things are just better examples than others. This actress is constantly playing at emotions rather than feeling them and unfortunately she plays a crucial role. It becomes grating. But whatever. This movie is nearly flawless. Please go see Knives Out immediately. Please give me all the sequels so I can hear that delightfully campy foghorn leghorn accent that Daniel Craig has over and over again. 9.5/10

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Movie Review By Gianni Damaia

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

I’d like to now discuss Avengers: Endgame, a film that is by no exaggeration a decade in the making. No, I’m not being political in ranking it just above The Irishman. The simple reality is that this is the movie I always wanted from The Marvel Cinematic Universe. And indeed if this was the one truly exemplary experience I had in the theatre this year, it would already have made for a better year in film than the entirety of last year. A pure nostalgia trip bottled in an emotionally impactful thrill ride. Everyone gets their moment, their own awe inducing spectacle.

It teaches exactly what it means to be a hero, the feverish persistence to do what is right no matter the costs. It features some of the best performances from its all-star cast ever put to screen, some of the best special effects ever conceived, and a devilishly beautiful climax. If all superhero movies were this, I could die happily. The greatest flaws are obvious.

If you have no attachment, this is likely not the movie to sell you (seeing as how it pivots entirely around you having a basic understanding of previous events and characters). And naturally the first act is bloated with jargon designed solely to propel us, not to educate us on the world. But what does it matter? It may not be the best movie in the MCU, but it is the best MCU movie. 9/10

 

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.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Avengers Infinity War

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by) 
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Wong

The dust has settled, the hype has died down, the fanboys have scrutinised every frame and Avengers: Infinity War has already raked in $2 billion worldwide. Now it’s time to take a deep breath, look beyond the spectacle and obligatory fan-service to assess what is still essentially half a movie (though it’s still a lot better than Age of Ultron). 

I’ve always been pretty dubious over the practice of dividing a single story into two or more separate films. I understood Quentin Tarantino’s motives behind Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2 because they were stylistically different. But two Breaking Dawns, two Mockingjays and three freaking Hobbits were just greedy, cynical cash-grabs calculated to prey on fans whose commitment to their beloved franchises gave them no choice but to open their wallets one more time than necessary.

But after seeing Infinity War twice now (once in theatres with everyone else, the second time for this Blu-ray review), I have to grudgingly concede that the decision to make it two movies might be justified (I’ll reserve a final verdict until next year). As it stands, this film has an unenviable task: Include nearly every major MCU character, work them into the film without regulating anyone to a gratuitous cameo while still moving the new story forward (“new” is relative, though…longtime fans have been aware of this coming war for years). 

For the most part, the film is successful, mainly because Marvel has done a pretty masterful job of laying the groundwork during the past decade of MCU movies. So when Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) engages in verbal chest-thumping with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the story doesn’t need to spend time establishing their personalities the way a stand-alone film must. Speaking of which, the film’s best moments are when these iconic characters are meeting each other for the first time. Those involving one-or-more of the Guardians of the Galaxy are predictably the funniest, and sometimes surprisingly moving.

The downside, of course, is that anyone not fully up-to-speed with the doings in the MCU will be completely lost. Sure, they could (mostly) follow the story, maybe even a few of the subplots, but will have absolutely no emotional stake in any of these characters. And there’s no other film in the MCU that depends more on the audience’s investment in its characters than Infinity War (especially during the final act).

Even without the burden of character exposition, bringing them all together convincingly takes a considerable amount of time (which Infinity War does by presenting three concurrent subplots). Could the rising action leading to its epic climax have been trimmed-up a bit? Absolutely. Infinity War is occasionally meandering and apocalyptic battles are so standard in this franchise that simply making them longer doesn’t necessarily make them grander. However, the story doesn’t feel gratuitously padded just to squeeze-out two movies. Casual viewers may be impatiently checking their watches after ninety minutes, but it goes without saying that anyone who loves these characters won’t want it to end. 

But end it does, with whopper of a cliffhanger that’s more Empire Strikes Back than An Unexpected Journey. In other words, the story may be incomplete, but not the experience. And if all 18 of the previous entries in the MCU can be considered converging roads leading up to this moment, then perhaps two movies is justified. I guess we’ll all know for sure next year.

Until then, because of its size, scope, references to past events and plethora of Easter eggs, Infinity War makes better repeated viewing at home than the usual superhero film. Nobody but the most dedicated fanboys would be capable of catching everything the first time. On a related note, I’m sort-of surprised at how light this Blu-ray is on supplemental material. The featurettes are entertaining, but mostly promotional and pretty short compared to those included on many other Disney/Marvel releases. 

Snowpiercer (2013) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

SNOWPIERCER

Director: Joon-ho Bong (as Bong Joon Ho)
Writers: Joon-ho Bong (screenplay) (as Joon Ho Bong), Kelly Masterson (screenplay)
Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton

Plot: Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.

Running time: 2 hours 6 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 95% Audience 72%

Why I watched it: The buzz and reviews were huge and the cast was great as well.

Random Thoughts: I find critics love the anti blockbuster, a film that has all the trappings of a Hollywood Epic but screws with the formula, usually these kind of films are made by a director from another country, critics love that. Now this film as you can see by Rotten Tomatoes has lots of followers that love it, I will say this going in I knew it was going to be different and by golly it was, it really was.

What I liked: The set up, the train looks great, I love films that create their own worlds this is an interesting looking film, dark and drape but kind of beautiful, the train feels lived in and all the different cars are amazing they’re each they’re own world. The cast is top notch, I miss John Hurt, he brought class and dignity to everything he did, he’s great here. Tilda Swinton is well, what can you say, another good but strange performance. Chris Evans is the lead and hero I guess, he underplays it and he plays a very weary and tired man, a man who’s done things he can’t undo and a man who knows things won’t end well. The set pieces, the fights and the whole uprising of the poor people of the train moving through these cars is gripping and really well filmed.

What I didn’t like: To say this film is heavy handed is a huge understatement, the metaphor of the train classes to the classes in real life is over done and really not subtle at all, we are beaten over the head with it. Now I won’t get into the whole thing where the train never stops and the world is frozen and if you leave the train you die, I’ll give it the premise but the people and how they are portrayed is silly. I’ll say this upfront, I didn’t love this film and I didn’t like it, I respect some of it but in the third act is completely falls apart for me. Man thins film feels long, and the last 30 minutes seem like a hour, some twists and reveals are almost laughable and disturbing, they make a big thing about finding out what they’re food is made out of but then we find out they ate people before that and babies, yes you read that right, this is one of these movies that want to make it clear that humanity and society are evil, when push comes to shove the worst in people come out, I get it but this film is so bleak and so determined to prove itself right that the film gets lost. Don’t even get me started on the ending, and yes there’s a few ending to get to till the last ending and it just gets more bleak as we go, it’s a dumb ending pure and simple.

Final thoughts: It’s different film, you haven’t seen anything like it but different doesn’t mean good, there’s images that are amazing and the film will have you talking no doubt but it not only left me cold but left me shaking my head cause I do feel there’s some good things in here but in the end I didn’t care for it and do feel it’s completely overrated.

Rating: 4/10