Tag: Samuel L. Jackson

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

I remember when the first poster for The Hitman’s Bodyguard came out, everyone just naturally assumed it was a joke. There wasn’t prior knowledge of some mysterious Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson movie, just a poster and a lot of laughs. It was a parody of the poster for The Bodyguard, but you know, dudes. Hilarious.

And then a trailer came out and confirmed everyone’s worst or best fears. This movie was real, and it was an action comedy, and it might be amazing. It could be the next The Nice Guys for all we know, with two talented comedic leads who also know their way around an action movie. A perfect pairing, if you will.

Little did I know, technical issues would get in the way of a good laughing.

Gun
Joke about dicks and guns.

Michael Bryce (Reynolds) used to be one of the best bodyguards in the world. Dignitaries, foreign leaders, high CEO level people would hire him in dangerous situations to make sure they made it through safely, especially if someone wanted them dead. He was incredibly thorough with his work, always detailed, meticulously planning every job to ensure the best for his clients.

But eventually, one of his clients got shot despite doing everything right. This put him on the straight spiral downward. A bodyguard is only as good as his rating, and letting a client die puts a hamper on your rating. So now he is a mess of a man, doing shittier jobs. He still does them well, but his heart isn’t into it anymore.

An ex lover, Amelia Roussel (Elodie Young), who works for Interpol one day shows up at his door needing help. It turns out they have in their custody Darius Kincaid (Jackson), one of the greatest hitmen known to man, with incredible aim and very ruthless. He isn’t being charged with a crime, but he is being brought in as a witness against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a tyrant being charged with crimes against humanity. Apparently Kincaid did a few jobs for him, so he has the inside scoop and is the only person alive who can testify to the deeds.

So of course people want Kincaid dead. And it is going to take an expert to get him there safely, while also dealing with his reckless behavior. Unfortunately, these two gentlemen are also bitter enemies, with Kincaid being the one who killed Bryce’s man those years ago. Oh how will they put this rivalry behind them?

Also starring Salma Hayek, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Tine Joustra, and Joaquim de Almeida.

Explode
The more explosions the better, I guess.

I’d love to give a real review of this movie. I’d prefer if I saw it in perfect conditions to really judge or appreciate the film, but alas, I did not.

The screening I saw had very jacked sound quality. Early on it was terrible. Everything that made a sound was louder than the dialogue, so it started off hard to follow. Later on it got better, but it turns out it was just due to less explosions. By the end, it was again an inaudible mess of just sounds and hard to decipher words. It was fucking pointless.

And I have to judge the movie entirely by this fact. Because I am not going out of my way to see it a second time to see if it was fluke. The people working didn’t say it was a mistake and try to fix it. We just got wrecked and they didn’t care, so I didn’t care either. I didn’t know when I would ever publish this review, because it feels pointless. But hey, I published my review of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which had even worse issues in my theater, so why not just rail against this movie?

Hayek was fantastic in this film though. She stole the show. Good on her.

1 out of 4.

Kong: Skull Island

I find it very odd to see a lot of hype for the movie Kong: Skull Island. King Kong has happened over and over in film’s history, and given everything I know about the internet, they hate reboots, reimaginings, and remakes of other films, so they shouldn’t care about this one.

But alas, here we are. I don’t have too many fucks to give about it of course, after King Kong 11 years ago. Overly long and it didn’t really do anything different.

I guess this one is bringing in some hardcore CGI and bigger acting names. Maybe that is it. Or people are freaking out over the potential of a Godzilla and Kong showdown in the future. Needless to say, if this film doesn’t do anything different, I will probably be mostly annoyed.

People
I don’t care about context, these two people are not dirty enough.

Kong: Skull Island makes sure you get to see a giant ape really early in the film, when two crashed World War II pilots land on the island, start to fight, and then he shows up. But this isn’t set during that war, this is actually set in 1973, during the end of the Vietnam war.

Bill Randa (John Goodman) is some sort of scientist, who believes there is a lot to discover on this skull island they have found in the South Pacific. Ancient civilizations have talked about it, there are constant storms that surround it, but he wants a mission to explore what has never been explored. Let’s call it a geologic mapping mission. With a military escort.

He is able to gather a team. He has his own crew, a geologist (Corey Hawkins) and a biologist (Tian Jing), along with some extra scientists from another company (John Ortiz, Marc Evan Jackson). They have a legendary British explorer to help explore the jungles, James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), who is in it for some money. A prize winning photojournalist, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), who helped show the truth about Vietnam to the public. And of course a helicopter team lead by LTC Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and Captain Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell), straight out of ‘Nam.

Most of them assume it is just a real exploratory mission. But really, Randa has an agenda and believes to be giant monsters on this island, and he wants to bring an end to them. They’ve got weapons of many sizes. Unfortunately, when setting off seismic blasts to detect the crust, they wake up these beasts on the island, and they do not like having explosions all over the place. Spread out over the island, the crew has three days to make it to the north side before they can be rescued.

Also featuring John C. Reilly, and a whole lot of soldiers: Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, and Eugene Cordero.

Japanese
Turns out this Kong film has a lot of Japanese influence.

At its heart, Kong: Skull Island is an action adventure flick that wants to show us giant animals fighting some dudes with bombs. Which on its own could be enough for most of the people who want to see it. I will say there are some scenes that look a bit awkward based on CGI usage. It doesn’t always mesh well. But the more pure CGI scenes like Kong fighting with the giant lizards look amazing.

The film also doesn’t pussy foot around Kong. We get to see him in the first few minutes. Within 15 more we are on the island and Kong totally fucks up the helicopters putting our characters in a perilous situation. We get a lot of Kong and they don’t tease him out.

You know what we don’t get a lot of? Character development. Basically every character in this movie is weak on that level. There is no gain. They don’t change. Well, some of them die. We have exactly one character who people will care about and does change and that man is played by John C. Reilly. His character is wonderful, an amazing addition to the film, and worthy of praise.

But Kong: Skull Island is just going to be a interesting film that could have been a lot better. With its post credit scene trying its best to imitate The Avengers it leaves some hope for the future. But have to hope they improve the scripts first.

2 out of 4.

I Am Not Your Negro

2016 was a big year for documentaries detailing the African American experience. From the Netflix release of 13th which is incredibly powerful and up to date and O.J.: Made In America, an epic documentary detailing the most famous trial of the 20th century along with race relations in LA at the same time.

But there was a third documentary that was making a significant amount of buzz. I Am Not Your Negro I first heard about because it was nominated for a Spirit Award (along with the previous mentioned two), but one I had a hard time trying to find. It was a much smaller movie and is only released a few places in the United States.

At its heart, it is about James Baldwin, a famous writer in the 50’s through the 70’s about racial experiences in America, and yes, I never heard of him before this documentary. It is a bit about his life and the life of three other African Americans, Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers (another civil rights activist). All three of those men were assassinated for their beliefs, in a span of five years in the 1960’s.

It is based on an unfinished book by Baldwin, Remember This House, which had only 30 or so pages of notes. It was going to be telling a history of the United States of racism, through their lives and their accomplishments, and what it means to be a black person growing up in the US with the knowledge that these men were killed for being black.

Not your nything
If anything I learned about Baldwin, a very interesting and influential man!

I Am Not Your Negro is an incredible ambitious project, one that could say a whole lot about the world back then and the world right now. It is also narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, because who doesn’t want to hear his voice.

And I can recognize the words and story as powerful. But I will admit they did not resonate with me as much as the two documentaries mentioned on top. It didn’t amplify my life experience, probably because I am super white.

But it doesn’t mean I didn’t think it was right. I thought it told a story that should be said. It is just one that is hard to fully relate to unless you are in the right state of mind.

If you want more after 13th or O.J.: Made In America, go for this one. But don’t let this be your starting point on the subject and let it only amplify the other stories told that year.

3 out of 4.

The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan came out in the coveted July 4th weekend, because…well, I don’t know why.

I guess generic action movies might make bank then. Well, it hit better than expected levels, given that it opened against The Purge: Election Year and The BFG, so there wasn’t a lot of real competition. It still failed to reach a positive number to break even given its extremely large budget and shit reviews.

And I avoided it because it just seemed extremely unappealing. It had that mostly-CGI lens behind it all, attempting to give a new retelling of an old story. It just made a lot of people shrug at its existence and ignoring it, not giving any fucks.

It is the sort of film that gives the bad name to summer blockbuster.

Fight
If we make it modern, we have to make it darker and edgier.

This takes place in Africa, during British colonial rule, specifically the Congo. Apparently the Belgians are close to bankruptcy, trying to bring roads and trains to the Congo, to get that sweet natural resource money. He sends down Léon Rom (Christoph Waltz) to secure the diamonds down there, but they are ambushed by a tribe, and the chieftain (Djimon Hounsou) will let him have the diamonds if they can bring him one man. You know. Tarzan

Turns out this story takes place after the normal Tarzan stories. Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) is now living in London with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). He finds out they want to send him down to the Congo to check on how things are going, as a sort of diplomatic trip, but Tarzan doesn’t want to go. Too dangerous. He is convinced by an American, George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), to go because he believes that the Belgians are abusing the Congo people as slaves in order to build developments, and Williams wants to find out.

Then of course eventually a raid happens, a trap! Jane is captured! Tarzan escapes with Williams! And they have to get her back, put a stop to the bad guys, and have some good old fashioned monkey fights.

Also featuring Jim Broadbent as the Prime Minister.

Group
If I asked who represents Africa and who represents America here, would you know without context?

Reimagining a beloved character isn’t the worst thing ever. It can require creativity, but it always feels like a cheap story nonetheless. They are requiring the public to have certain thoughts and opinions on a subject so that they can be blown away. Reimagining so that a villain is a hero is usually shit. Reimagining in a modern context is usually lazy. But what about telling the story after the story? That can provide some interesting stories to discuss how things have changed and how the character continues their life in the world.

And theoretically, that is what this story is about. It could have led to amazing things! But you know what it led to? Tarzan, going back to the jungle, swinging on vines, fighting people, teaming up with apes, and standing shirtless rain or sun. What we got is a very standard Tarzan story, despit the premise of a different sort of Tarzan story.

And don’t worry. For those saying “Hey! It is different because we don’t see him growing up as a kid with the apes, learning to swing, meeting Jane for the first time!” Nope, we still get that. Because just in case you are unaware of Tarzan, they have flashbacks for us. Baby and young Tarzan. And meeting Jane. That makes this a regular Tarzan movie, plus some extra. You should definitely feel ripped off.

In addition to all of that, it looks terrible when they have to go full on CGI. The big fights with the apes. Swinging on the vines. Just background jungle scenes in general. It has a darker tone too.

I don’t want to compare this to The Legend of Hercules, because that film is definitely a far worse overall movie (and this one is at least coherent). But they are clearly going for the exact same market here, and that is probably the reason it has been so dumbed down and made so pointless.

The Legend of Tarzan is a waste of time, but not the worst thing in the world.

1 out of 4.

The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino is a crazy sunuvabitch.

He has passion, you gotta agree with that. He loves movies and wants movies to be real. Christopher Nolan and him are some of the only reasons film is even relevant anymore.

Tarantino had a lot of problems leading up to The Hateful Eight. Like when his script was leaked before they even began filming, causing him to cancel it completely. After awhile, he apparently changed some things and did it eventually.

He also wanted to film the whole thing on 70mm film, but barely anyone had a projector that could play it. So he decided to just provide free cameras to almost a hundred movie theaters across America, just so people everywhere could see his film in the vision he had in his mind. I can respect that, but I also think he is a single man on a mission to move a mounain. So we will see if his lunacy gets us anywhere. Until then. H8FULL8.

Snow
“Replace more parts of words with numbers, I dare you.”

Set a few years after the end of the Civil War, and thus, after Lincoln’s assassination, The Hateful Eight is about a group of would be killers, maybe killing each other.

Namely, John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell), rocking the same facial hair he had in Bone Tomahawk, is bringing a bounty to Red Rock to get executed. Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a very bad murderer and she has a $10,000 bounty on her head, dead or alive. Well, Ruth brings them in alive, because they deserve to have justice done to them. By hanging. Hanging justice. He is nicknamed The Hangman.

Unfortunately, they are currently racing against a mighty big blizzard and his driver, O.B. (James Park) is hoping to get him to Minnie’s Haberdashery before it hits so they can have a place to stay until it all melts. Along the way though, he runs into Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a bounty hunter with his own set of bodies heading to the same place. He is able to get a ride. But they also run into Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), son a Rebel leader who claims he is going to be the new Sheriff of Red Rock!

But when they got to Minnie’s, Minnie wasn’t there. She apparently was away to visit relatives and left Señor Bob (Demir Bichir) was left in charge. Other patrons included Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), a British literal Hangman, Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), a cow puncher visiting his mom, and General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), from the Rebel side looking to bury his son.

Ruth thinks someone is lying. He thinks someone here is not who they say they are and looking to free Daisy and kill all the witnesses. People are lying, and now everyone might die because of it.

Also featuring some less hateful people, Dana Gourrier, Gene Jones, Zoë Bell, and Channing Tatum.

Roth
Tim Roth is actually just playing the real life Christoph Waltz.

The Hateful Eight feels like a play, and I love plays. It is definitely the best part of the film and it is why I might want to watch it over and over. The action is of course another big part, graphic and very violent once it gets going. Not as violent or crazy as his previous films, but it is still pretty up there.

The 70 mm version of the film, which is what this is based off of, did not feel too long at over 3 hours. It went quickly because there was rarely a dull moment. And hell, an intermission meant I could buy a drink and not torture myself for two hours refusing to leave my seat. The overture was a nice touch and of course the music throughout.

The film is tonally different over its two halves and I wasn’t as excited during the second half. The whole thing is set up as a mystery as to who is a liar and a cheat. Without spoiling, let’s just say the whole thing let me down. It was unexpected surely, but not in a good way. There were still some great acting moments in it, and some of the scenes were very tense, but damn, it just wasn’t that sexy of a reveal.

I cannot say for certain of the 70 mm actually added a lot to the film, it’d be hard to without seeing both versions. I believe the digital version is about 20 minutes shorter including the intermission, but I have no idea what they’d cut out of it.

Not Tarantino’s best work, and worst of his most recent films, but still quite memorable and worthy of multiple viewings.

3 out of 4.

Chi-Raq

I may be the only one excited about this film.

I heard about Chi-Raq a few months ago, and like most people, I assumed it would be some sort of Iraq spiritual movie. Chi. Get it?

No, it is Chicago. Okay, a movie comparing the violence and unrest in Chicago to Iraq. After all, Spike Lee is directing it, and that sounds like something right up his alley.

But nothing I have said should make me excited about the film. I hate Chicago (Hockey reasons), and I’ve only seen like three of his films: He Got Game, Inside Man, and of course, the shitty Oldboy remake. However, it is also a modern retelling of the Greek play Lysistrata. As an Ancient History major on my spare time, and lover of Greek plays, the idea became immediately intriguing and something I knew I had to see.

SLJ
SLJ wearing snazzy suits was reason number 2.

Chicago, the land of death. More people have been murdered in that one city than the American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan since the wars have started. That should be a big deal, but it is ignored. That is why residents of the South Side have started to call it Chi-Raq, because it is a war zone out there and every body is dying.

In this fictionalized version of the city, the war is between two main gangs, the Spartans (purple) and the Trojans (orange). The leader of the Spartans is a rapper, whose stage name also happens to be Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon, don’t get lost on me yet), who people love. The leader is of the Trojans is a guy nicknamed Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), who only has one eye of course and a sexy studded eye patch.

But they aren’t the stars. No. Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris), the most attractive woman in Chi-Raq who also happens to be dating Chi-Raq. They will make beautiful babies some day. But Lysistrata starts to get tired of all the gang violence. She has to watch a mother grieve (Jennifer Hudson) over her dead 6 year old daughter who was accidentally hit during a drive by. She has to live with the fact that her boyfriend might have done it. And thanks to the same sage advice from a neighbor, Miss Helen (Angela Bassett), she realizes she has her own weapon that she can use to sway public opinion.

Yeah. We are talking about her body. No peace? No pussy. Lysistrata gathers her friends (Anya Engel-Adams, and more) and gets with Indigo (Michelle Mitchenor), the main lady friend of Cyclops. She wants them to put their differences aside and fight for change. They don’t allow any sex until the gang violence is over. They will get all the women in Chi-Raq involved. They will even get the prostitutes. They are doing it to protect the babies and their future. And hell, fuck it. They want World Peace, while they are it. And to prove their point, they also will take over a national guard armory in their city to show they fucking mean business. By not fucking.

Sex.

Also starring a lot more dudes. Harry Lennis is the police chief, D.B. Sweeney the mayor, David Patrick Kelly a general, John Cusack the main local priest, Steve Harris the leader of the Knights of Euphrates, Dave Chappelle a strip club owner, and Samuel L. Jackson our narrator and in the “Chorus” role.

Lyst
Booty booty booty booty rockin’ nowhere.

Spike Lee might have out Spike Lee’d himself, as Chi-Raq is potentially the Spike Lee-iest thing he has ever created. It is so out there and original while being a modern retelling of a Greek play. It is amazing that I can say something like that and it totally make sense in the context in the film.

A majority of the dialogue in this film flows like poetry, complete with rhyming words and just being so fucking smooth. It was full of music and full of style. I want to have a copy of the script immediately, just to read some of the word again. I will buy this movie in the future and always watch it with subtitles, just to get the full impact and appreciate the cleverness of it all.

I hope beyond everything that Teyonah Parris gets nominated for a Best Actress award for this film. She owned the shit out of it, her presence on camera made you always focus on her and she nailed it. Some people might write off this film as just some “Sex movie” but it is a sex appeal film and not just one giant soft core porno. Parris is not afraid of anything from this film, tackling the hard subject matter in all the different ways.

Chi-Raq has all the same messages from Dear White People, but in a way that strangely makes it more relatable (not on a college campus). It is also incredibly modern, including references to every Black male shot that made political news, but also the Charleston shootings (which was in June this year) and Sandra Bland (July this year). Typing it makes me realize how long ago that was technically, I could have swore they were only two months ago. But eh, still modern as shit.

Original. Fun. Serious. Spike Lee.

4 out of 4.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Do I even have to write an intro? Yes? Well. Fuck. Okay.

The Avengers was stupidly successful. I knew it would be in 2008 or so. Everything Marvel has done has been covered in molten gold, but in a good way, not a Game of Thrones way. So of course everyone is excited about Avengers: Age of Ultron. Honestly, I am more excited about the next Captain America movie and some of the new heroes like Black Panther and Doctor Strange.

But hey. Ultron is cool too. I will take what I can get before we get 3 Marvel and 3 DC movies a year, plus random other franchises.

Ultron
Cool to the touch that is. HA HA HA HA HA.
Shits crazy. If you haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, then I can’t really help you. Spoilers on that front.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone, unless you watch the TV show then who knows. Hydra is fucking shit up. The Avengers have gotten together to stop them.

Our friends are all back, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Remember the twins after the credits of the movie I just mentioned? Well, Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) are also thrown into the fray. An evil fray.

Here’s the important facts though. The Avengers get Loki’s staff back pretty dang quick. And using its power, Tony Stark wants to return peace to the world. He would love to disband the Avengers because he doesn’t want there to be a need for them. So he uses the staff to help begin to build some AI to help protect the world from more outside threats. Shit goes badly. We got a robot that wants to take out all the Avengers now. The Avengers bring threats. They are dangerous. Without them the world would be better. Tony accidentally made an Ultron (James Spader).

What? Is that not enough characters for you? Well fine. We have some other appearances of course, and I won’t tell you how big or small their roles are. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Heimdall (Idris Elba), and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard). We also have newbie, Dr. Helen Cho (Claudia Kim), and of course Paul Bettany and ANDY SERKIS.

Thor
But Thor is my favorite so he gets his own picture, damn it.
For movies like this, there is no way I can get through these things without rambling and talking so much. So fuck it. Let’s go classic here. A simple pros and cons list of the movie. Well, a likes and dislikes. Yeah. And with fancy bullet technology!

Likes:

  • Hawkeye. They heard the complaints about him in previous films and they made sure he was an important character. A lot was added to him. He had probably two of the best lines, did cool things, and was fantastic. Everyone should love him.
  • Hulkbuster. Hulkbuster guys. Hulkbuster. Amazing fight.
  • The plot elements in the film are definitely related to the first Avengers. Characters decisions are constantly determined to make sure they don’t redo what was done in NYC.
  • Characters shared the screen. It wasn’t just a one man show and his friends. A lot of characters got a lot of screen time. Most of the new guys got their motivations and back stories. Everyone got to fight and everyone fought hard.
  • It wasn’t an exact repeat of the first movie. There are similar elements, but the threats feel different, the arguments are different, and the jokes are different.
  • They didn’t dick around in the beginning, it starts with action and goes quickly into Ultron time.

Dislikes:

  • Um. Ultron. I think. I mean. It is iffy. But from the many trailers, I expected him to be a bit scarier overall. He had creepy elements. Especially early on. But then he seemed to turn into a mostly joke cracking villain without the fear.
  • Vision. I liked him but I don’t think they did a good enough job explaining him or giving him more things to do. He felt a bit wasted.
  • Time. The movie is 140 minutes or so, but there are several times when the thing still feels rushed, especially in the 2nd and 3rd acts. There is a lot going on and a lot I liked, but some things made no real sense. Better explanation or more cutting would have helped a ton.
  • Love. There is a romance in this movie. It feels…forced and awkward the entire time. It helps lead to some of these moments where you’d like more explanation.

Also, under both categories I could say the Future. This movie does a lot to set up future movies. Future Thanos battle. Elements for the Black Panther movie. Elements for the next Thor and the Civil War (Although I thought they should have gone way stronger on that side). At the same time, this film kind of feels like a big stepping stone for the future instead of its own amazing event. Too much focus on the later movies, which we know the next many years for and not enough about Ultron.

Overall, AoU is really fucking entertaining. Make no mistake. It was a nice ride, and good action and all of that. The characters are the ones we love with new ones you will love as well. But I think it had enough disappointing aspects associated with it to make me not as excited as I had hoped. With all the set up, I think the Civil War movie will be the one that all this hype has been leading up to. Makes sense, because after it is when we start getting all the new characters outside of Ant-Man.

Go see it. Go see it multiple times. I will buy it as soon as I can for sure. But you know, not perfect.

 

3 out of 4.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Normally when movies get pushed back, I wonder and worry. Sure, sometimes it is as simple as not being able to compete with a bigger movie coming out that same day. Sometimes it is due to a production company not wanting to compete with its own product.

I have no idea why Kingsman: The Secret Service got moved from November 2014 to February 2015. February/January are generally deader months where a lot of shit goes, so it feels like the studio just didn’t think it would be good enough to make it. So they put it at the beginning of the year to hide it.

That is clearly what is going on with Jupiter Ascending, which got pushed out of Summer to February, which means they don’t think it will succeed as a blockbuster.

But this is Kingsman, and the trailer actually looked interesting. Damn it. WHY DID THEY MOVE IT?

Hold on to your butts
I can only hold on to my butts so long in anticipation!

Back in the day, Great Britain decided it needed to protect the world. That is a bit of paraphrasing. Either way, they made a secret service, based on the Knights of the Round Table. Each soldier is incredibly well trained, combat, spy gadgets, code names, Gentleman as FUCK, and lives a thankless life as they can never let their existence be known.

Galahad (Colin Firth) didn’t notice a bomb one time, and one of the new recruits died saving his life. He wanted to help out his family, so he gave them a medallion with a number on it to call if he ever needed help.

Now, seventeen or so years later, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is in trouble. Sure, he is a smart lad (British terminology), but he has wasted his life living on the streets. His mom never got over his dad’s death and is now dating an alcoholic. He is involved with gangs. He runs from the cops!

And guess what, he needs help. Quite obviously, Galahad thinks he has what it takes. They need a new member as one of their own was slashed down by rich tech billionaire Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) and his assassin Gazelle (Sofia Boutella).

So you know, training, spy stuff, gadgets, a shit ton of action, and everyone talking super funny.

Also with Jack Davenport as Lancelot, Mark Strong as Merlin, Michael Caine as Arthur, Sophie Cookson as the female main lead/training rival, and Mark Hamill as a professor. I normally wouldn’t even bring him up, but I mean, come on. Mark Hamill.

Brella Ella Ella Eh
“I came here to drink tea and give someone a good going over, and the Americans dumped all of my tea.”

Right before the movie started, I found out it was 129 minutes and thought it was way too long. Now that it finished, I found myself only wanting more.

Kingsman is based on a comic by Mark Millar, the same man who wrote Kick-Ass. Hey. Matthew Vaughn, the director, also did Kick-Ass! How quaint! Matthew Vaughn had to leave Days of Future Past to do this movie, and that is fantastic, because it made it so we got two pretty awesome movies instead of maybe two terrible ones. I can’t believe how entertaining Kingsman ended up being. The action was high octane and firing on all cylinders, and the movie built a bigger body count than you would probably expect.

Samuel L. Jackson was in it, and of course he kicked ass as the villain. He had so much personality, I was almost rooting for him by the end. Colin Firth is usually fantastic when he isn’t in a super serious role as well, and I wonder if he backed out of Paddington to build up his R-Rating persona. Another movie with questionable things going on.

I mean. Honestly, the only thing I found super disappointing, was some really awkward stuff that happened at the end. It just felt so forced and childish. It felt like a 13 year old wrote the last minute, almost. It will be very off-putting to people, even if they enjoy it.

Kingsman may be truly the first very entertaining movie of 2015, and it helped kick start my hope for some unique things to come through the pipeline this year.

3 out of 4.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Ah, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I will be honest. I wasn’t really looking forward to this movie when it was first announced.

I like the Captain, sure. But the next two movies are Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron. This one was just giving me more of an already established character. Still, I was excited enough about it to make a fake review for April Fools Day.

Being a comic book fan is sort of a double edged sword with these type of movies. On one side, it is great experiencing the comics come to life with large enough budgets to make every fanboy cry out in glee. But on the other side, we know the stories they are inspired by, so most likely the bigger plot twists and turns won’t be surprises to us.

Unless of course they create new unexpected ones like Iron Man 3, but that is a different story.

Hand grab
“Hey, stop moving so the camera can focus on your backside.”

The Winter Soldier begins by showing us what life is like for the one and only Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a national hero and now high up in S.H.I.E.L.D. He is doing missions around the world! But S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) have their secrets and Steve doesn’t really like secrets.

So when things start to get a little bit feisty at the headquarters in DC, Steve isn’t sure who he can trust. Can he trust the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who is known for half-truths and deception? Can he trust Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) head of the World Security Council? How bout Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)?

Yeah, he is kind of in a sticky situation. The spy game sure has ramped up its deception since the 1940’s, so if he is going to protect the world from a hidden threat, he will need all the help he can get. This movie introduces a few future characters as well, like the titular villain The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam “The Falcon” Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) and Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp).

Vulture? Falcon? Whatever
Holy shit the Vult-err.. Falcon. Sorry. Good Guy Falcon, Bad Guy Vulture. Got it.

Being the fanboy that I am, I have been trying to be more critical of Marvel movies lately. Just because I squeal in delight over almost every one doesn’t mean they are perfect. They don’t all deserve perfect marks.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier deserves perfect marks.

Everything about this movie is so spot on spectacular that I have a hard time believing it is even real. Captain America: The First Avenger was a good movie on its own right, but one I have never really been in the mood to watch again. I can see myself watching The Winter Soldier many times once it releases, maybe more than I saw the first Iron Man. It literally might be my new favorite Marvel movie.

It is hard to find something that is negative about the movie. It is over two hours, but never drags. There is maybe only one scene I thought was a bit pointless, but it doesn’t affect the overall movie. There is a lot of action and all of it is so well put together, from the choreography to sound editing. The movie itself is a lot more serious than other Marvel films, but it still has the nice jokes and references throughout it to keep you happy.

Did I know the big reveal? Yeah. But knowing it didn’t take away from my experience at all in the movie. This excites me because it means I will likely enjoy future viewings.

My last point I guess would be about acting. Evans gave a strong performance as the lead, but the side characters as well were all quite good. Mackie didn’t have too big of a role, but he kicked its butt and I actually enjoyed the Falcon. Redford was great, Jackson was great. Everyone was great.

To me, this movie is like an Avengers 1.5. I don’t expect Guardians of the Galaxy to have too much impact on the current Marvel universe, so this is the perfect lead up to next May. This movie has made me beyond excited for the Marvel future, and definitely for the third Captain America in 2016. Although, knowing the comic plots, I kind of already know what is likely to happen.

4 out of 4.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Yep, I am awesome. I got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a special promotion over a whole week before it came out. They just told me I couldn’t release a review on it til April.

Fine by me, early movies are early. The first Captain America I really enjoyed, but didn’t feel patriotic enough. There was a severe lack of American flags throughout the movie and I just couldn’t accept it. There was a lot of Nazi stuff too, which is silly. I want America stuff, not Nazi German stuff.

Stare-ing
Uniform looks diluted. Patriotism failed.

This movie takes place dozens of months after The Avengers. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is living a sad life. Sure, he lives in Washington D.C., a patriotic city if any, but is bored. He is still working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but he isn’t killing Hitler, so what’s the point of it all?

Which is when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) comes back. What a shifty character. Fury has some information regarding Rogers and his family. Turns out Rogers’ brother had a son a few years after World War II. That’s right, the Captain has a nephew. But the weird way time travel works, the nephew, Alexander (Robert Redford) is of course now much older than him. Hah, how silly.

But Alex also helps run the council that oversees the world in the Marvel Universe. Pretty baller. He is the one that lets him know about The Winter Soldier (Jeremy Renner). He apparently just came out of Russia, another classic enemy, has some robot parts and really wants to fuck some shit up.

Good. Steve doesn’t understand technology much anyways, so he is happy to do battle. Of course, when he realizes his true identity, he might have some moral convictions.

Chatting
Or they might just stand there chatting about the good times a couple years ago.

Man, if people were upset by the changes to the lore in Iron Man 3, they would probably be even more furious at these changes. To change the identity of The Winter Soldier like that to Hawkeye? Man. Why do they keep making him the badguy? No one even really likes Mr. Renner.

There were far too many plot twists involving who was related to who. First Steve Rogers and his nephew, then Nick Fury and his son (Anthony Mackie) it kind of got ridiculous.

This movie was supposed to be a pseudo Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) movie as well, but if I had to guess, she probably had like 3 minutes of screen time, everything you saw in the trailer, all at the end too. Must have been too busy voicing sexy robots again.

I am pretty sure this is second longest Marvel movie too, after The Avengers, and a lot of it drags on. They kept introducing other side villains who got barely any screen time that it kind of took away from the overall plot, reminding me of Spider-Man 3. Hell, it even had a strange emo dance scene in it as well.

Overall, this movie feels like a big lie. Both to the Marvel continuity, through its advertising, through so much. I am glad I guess that they killed off Steve Rogers at the end, bringing in a different Captain America story. Can’t wait to see how they spin this for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But that was about the only cool aspect.

1 out of 4.