Archive for Daniel Bruhl

Captain America: Civil War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1991 the brainwashed super-soldier James “Bucky” Barnes is dispatched from a Hydra base in Siberia to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum. In the present day, approximately one year after Ultron’s defeat in the nation of Sokovia at the hands of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up to avoid capture, and when Maximoff tries to displace the blast into the sky with telekinesis, it destroys a nearby building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers.

At the team’s headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs them that the United Nations (UN) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s destruction, while Rogers has more faith in his own judgment than that of the government. At a conference in Vienna where the accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, whom T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows to kill. Informed by Sharon Carter of Barnes’ whereabouts and the government’s intentions to kill him, Rogers goes to bring in Barnes—his childhood friend and war comrade—himself. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities, but all three and T’Challa are arrested.

Helmut Zemo tracks down and kills Barnes’ old Hydra handler, stealing a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes’ brainwashing. Infiltrating the Berlin facility where Barnes is held, Zemo recites the words to make Barnes obey him. He questions Barnes, then sends him on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is the real Vienna bomber and wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed super-soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. Unwilling to wait for authorization to apprehend Zemo, Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. With Ross’s permission, Stark assembles a team composed of Romanoff, T’Challa, James Rhodes, Vision, and Peter Parker to capture the renegades. Stark’s team intercepts Rogers’ team at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers’ team is captured and detained at the Raft prison, while Rhodes is partially paralyzed after being inadvertently shot down by Vision, and Romanoff is forced to go into hiding.

Stark discovers evidence that Barnes was framed by Zemo and shows this evidence to Wilson, who gives him Rogers’ destination. Without informing Ross, Stark goes to the Siberian Hydra facility and strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, unaware he was secretly followed by T’Challa. They discover that the other super-soldiers have been killed by Zemo, who shows them footage from Hydra’s archives; it reveals that Barnes killed Stark’s parents during his mission in 1991. Enraged that Rogers kept this from him, Stark turns on them both, blasting off Barnes’ robotic arm. Rogers disables Stark’s armor and departs with Barnes, leaving his shield behind. Satisfied that he has avenged his family’s death in Sokovia by irreparably fracturing the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T’Challa stops him and he is taken to the authorities.

In the aftermath, Stark provides Rhodes with exoskeletal leg braces that allow him to walk again, while Rogers breaks his allies out of the Raft. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa grants asylum to Barnes, who chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found. In a post-credits scene, Parker tests a new gadget that he received from Stark.

REVIEW:

DC has had their turn up to bat, and they got a decent pop fly, but mighty Marvel is strolling up to batting box, surely to hit a home run, right? Pardon the very bad baseball analogy, but there is a baseball game playing in the background as I type this up, so I found it fitting. Captain America: Civil War is a film that many comic book fans have been looking forward to for a long time, myself included, given how compelling the story is in the comics. Fans want to see how it translates to the big screen. Will Marvel’s track record stay intact, or is this the one that breaks them?

What is this about?

With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges

What did I like?

Friends forever. Today, Facebook reminded me that I’ve been friends with my best friend 5 yrs today. Obviously, its been much longer than that, but its the sentiment that counts. A man needs his friends. For someone like Steve Rogers, who has outlived everyone he knew, it must be extremely tough. The filmmakers decide to show this by giving the audience a little insight into his relationship with Bucky, which we already know a little about from Captain America: The First Avenger. Seeing Cap, joke around with the guy shows a human side that we don’t see very often. Also, and I wasn’t a fan of this, his other tie to his time, Peggy Carter has an…event…shall we say, happen to her that nearly crushed my black heart!

Black Panther. I could sit here and go on and on about how awesome it is to have Black Panther make his big screen debut, but you’ve seen the trailers. He is a bad ass from those scenes alone. What you see in the film furthers that point. I do want to go a little bit into his character, a suave, smooth, respectable monarch that does not lose his cool and is highly intelligent. My knowledge of Black Panther isn’t as well-versed as others, but from what I saw in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and have read in a few comics, they nailed his personality dead on. Add in the bad ass action we get from him and we can’t forget to mention the costume…WOW! I can’t wait until we get to his movie!

Underoos. We’ve had 5 Spider-Man movies and they have yet to get him right. One franchise made got the Peter Parker side right but threw everything else out the window. The recent franchise got the Spider-Man part, right, but the actor that played him was not likable and there were just numerous other issues with that mess, which was rushed into production solely to keep the rights away from Marvel. Well, a deal was brokered to where Sony keeps the rights, but loans him out to Marvel. It isn’t the best situation, but at least we get Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If his short time on screen is any indication of what we’re going to get in the future, I’m excited. This is the Spider-Man we see in the comics and cartoons, complete with eyes that move (more of a comic thing, but they learned from Deadpool, I would imagine).

What didn’t I like?

Crossbones. It seems that the last few Marvel movies have all started with a small villain fight before the film proper gets going. That’s fine. It is a warm-up of sorts. Here’s the problem with this one, though. Frank Grillo, who I think should be playing the Punisher, was introduced as a character that seemed to be headed for a long term rivalry with Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So, what’s the problem? Well, after all that time building him up in the last film, he doesn’t make it past the first 15 minutes in this one. Making matters worse, Crossbones is somewhat of a major character in the comics…then again, so is Batroc the Leaper.

Put on the mask. In this day and age of “grounded” and “real” interpretations of superheroes and villains, filmmakers pick and choose who keeps their original costume, who gets and updated version, and who just throws the concept out the window. In the case of Helmut Zemo, they threw it out the window. In the comics he messed with a chemical that made him immortal and fused the mask to his face. I was looking for some sort of nod, if nothing else, to this origin, much like they did with Arnim Zola. Instead, there is nothing remotely Zemo about this guy.

Avengers assemble. If I’m not mistaken, this is a Captain America movie, yet it feels more like an Avengers sequel than Avengers: Age of Ultron did, and that one felt more like Iron Man 3 than the real one did. If they wanted to make this an Avengers movie, they should have just done so and given Cap a true close to his trilogy. If I recall reading early on, before this went into production, it was a totally different story (one that featured Crossbones more, too). What is it with studios masquerading sequels for one franchise as another? While I’m on this subject, how is it that what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and others not come to the Avengers attention? What about all the Inhuman stuff that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are dealing with? Just wondering, since Tony Stark was able to track down Spider-Man, as Peter Parker, mind you!

Final verdict on Captain America: Civil War? Well, it has everything you want in a Captain America movie, action, espionage, someone trying to take down American and take over the world, humor, etc. The scope and magnitude of this film won’t be as immediately felt across the MCU as the last film, but I’m sure something will come of it before the inevitable reunion in Avengers: Infinity War. In the meantime, can we just bask in the how superior these Captain America films have been to most everything else that has been released in theaters? Do you even need to ask if I recommend it? Stop reading and run go see it…multiple times!!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Rush

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

James Hunt and Niki Lauda are two highly skilled race car drivers who first develop a fierce rivalry in 1970 at a Formula Three race at the Crystal Palace circuit in England, when both their cars spin out and Hunt eventually wins the race. Hunt is a brash, young Englishman with a tendency to vomit before every race, while Lauda is a cool, calculating Austrian technical genius who relies on precision. After a falling out with his father, Lauda takes a large bank loan and buys his way into the BRM Formula One team, meeting teammate Clay Regazzoni for the first time. Meanwhile, Hesketh Racing, the fledgling racing team Hunt drives for, enters Formula One as well. Lauda then joins Scuderia Ferrari with Regazzoni and wins his first championship in 1975. Hesketh closes shop after failing to secure a sponsor, but Hunt manages to land a driving position in McLaren after Emerson Fittipaldi leaves the team. During this time, Hunt marries supermodel Suzy Miller, while Lauda develops a relationship with German socialite Marlene Knaus.

The 1976 Formula One season starts with Lauda dominating the first two races while Hunt struggles to catch up. Hunt wins the Spanish Grand Prix, but is disqualified after a post-race inspection rules that his car is too wide. Struggling to comply with F1 rules, McLaren suffers a series of setbacks on the next few races, and Hunt’s situation is further exacerbated when Suzy is discovered to have a relationship with Richard Burton. Following his divorce, he regains his competitive spirit and his disqualification in Spain is overturned, which reinstates the points he lost and puts him back into championship contention. Meanwhile, Lauda marries Marlene in a private ceremony but begins to have concerns about the effects of his marriage on his racing career.

At the German Grand Prix, Lauda urges the F1 committee to cancel the race due to heavy rain on the already notoriously dangerous Nürburgring. At the drivers’ meeting, Hunt argues that Lauda would benefit by having one fewer race in the season. The drivers vote to go ahead with the race. Both Hunt and Lauda start the race with wet weather tyres, which becomes a costly tactic due to most of the track quickly drying up. They both pit to change tyres during the second lap, but halfway through the third lap, a suspension arm in Lauda’s Ferrari breaks, sending the car flying into an embankment before it bursts into flames and is further hit by other cars on the track. After being pulled out of the flaming wreckage, he is airlifted to the hospital with third-degree burns to his head and face and dangerous internal burns to his lungs. For the next six weeks, Lauda is treated for his injuries while he watches his rival dominate the races in his absence. Against his doctor’s orders, he returns behind the wheel of his Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix to finish fourth while Hunt fails to finish the race.

The 1976 season comes to a climax at the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. Hunt’s late rally in Lauda’s absence has pulled him within three points of Lauda. At the end of the second lap, Lauda returns to the pits and retires from the race, opting to stay with Marlene instead of risking his life again on the track. This opens the door for Hunt to win the championship if he can notch a podium finish (third or better). After facing stiff competition under grueling conditions and overcoming tyre problems and injuring his hand due to the gear shifter knob breaking, Hunt finishes third, giving him enough points to win the championship by one point over Lauda. He spends the rest of the year with fame, sex, and drugs, while Lauda takes an interest in flying private planes. At a private airfield in Bologna, Lauda suggests to Hunt that he focus on the next racing season, but later on realizes that Hunt no longer has anything to prove. Hunt continues to race until his retirement in 1979, and becomes a motorsport broadcast commentator until his death in 1993 at the age of 45.

REVIEW:

My little brother was a big racing fan when he was little. I think he was more into NASCAR, but racing was racing. At least it was until he saw Dale Earnhardt’s crash live on TV. I think it left some scars. At any rate, I’ve never been a racing fan. There just is nothing appealing to me about driving breakneck speed and turning left for some 60+ laps. So, why watch Rush? A mixture of good word of mouth and being overruled by the lady of the house.

What is this about?

This dramatic portrayal of the intense 1970s rivalry between race drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt captures the contrasts between the two champions. While Hunt was a charming and handsome ladies’ man, Lauda was a loner with a single goal: victory.

What did I like?

Contrasting rivalry. Usually rivals tend to be either carbon copies of each other or total opposites. For example, take Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Harry is somewhat quiet, reserved, dark-haired, and poor. On the other side, Malfoy is loud, obnoxious, blonde, and rich. Of course they’re going to butt heads, right? Somehow this trope played out in real life as Nikki Lauda and James Hunt couldn’t have been more different. The only thing they happened to have in common was a love for racing. The contrast in their personalities was played up in this film and made for an interesting dynamic.

Races. When I watched Cars and Speed Racer for the first time, I seem to remember saying something along the lines of “if car racing was like this, then I’d actually watch.” In that same vein, after watching the races in this flick, I’d be willing to check out an event or two, if they were this exciting. Even though I’ve never watched a Formula 1 race in my life, I know they are not like this. Maybe the quick camera cuts and the built up tension and whatnot would make them more interesting, though.

Thor no more. Who is Chris Hemsworth? Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 3 or 4 years, then you have to know that this is the guy who did the impossible by bringing Thor to life on the big screen. Some thought he would be typecast as the big, blonde hunk type character for the rest of his career. Well, going strictly on an eye test, it looks as if Hemsworth shed a good chunk of that Thor muscle for this role (actually, he has to bulk up to play Thor, he isn’t normally that buff…sorry ladies), but more importantly he shows off some truly stellar acting chops that will carry him to a long career in Hollywood if chooses the right roles after this days in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are over.

What didn’t I like?

Wilde and out. Make no mistake, this film is all about the rivalry between Nikki Lauda an James Hunt, so any female distractions aren’t going to take center stage. With that in mind, one has to wonder why you waste Olivia Wilde as Hunt’s wife. She gets a little bit of screen time but not enough to justify her being in this role, as opposed to some lower profile actress. Maybe her reason for taking this role was that she just looked that part or wanted to have a part in a Ron Howard picture.

Lauda. Sometimes foreigners can come off as annoying but that is just a result of their culture clashing with ours. With this characterization of Nikki Lauda, that isn’t the case. He’s just an, as he put it, “arsehole.” Not only does he think he knows everything, he goes on to impart his knowledge to everyone, whether they want it or not. After losing a race, he complains about Hunt’s care being 5/8 of an inch over regulations. There is also the little matter of him being rich and buying his way into Formula One. Whether it is this actor’s portrayal of the man or the way he was written, I wanted to do nothing more than punch him in the face, even after his near fatal accident.

Andretti. In a few of the races, a name that is known to the sports world, especially those involved in racing, is mentioned, Mario Andretti. As far as I can tell, that is the only part he had in this film, and I think that was just so that we can have an idea of who else was racing at this point in time, besides Hunt and Lauda, that would go on to big things. I appreciate the effort, but if they were going to go through all that trouble, then they should have cast somebody as Andretti, if even for a very small appearance.

Some people felt Rush deserved more critical acclaim that it received, particularly from the Academy. While this is a good film, and I think it could have been a contender had it been released at the right time, I’m not so sure that it is Oscar-worthy. This is just one of those real good dramas that impresses its audience and leaves it at that. Sure, it could be better, but there are so many spots in here where a lesser director would have made this worse. Just imagine if this would have been a Michael Bay picture. There’s be nothing but explosions and scantily clad young girls…and the military, can’t forget Bay’s hard-on for the military. None of that would have fit in to the history. As it is, this film apparently sticks pretty close what actually happens and that, if nothing else, is worth giving this a shot. Yes, I do recommend this, so give it a go!

4 1/4 out of 5 stars