2019 TIFF Movie Review: KNIVES OUT (USA 2019) ***1/2

Knives Out Poster
Trailer

A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.

Director:

Rian Johnson

Writer:

Rian Johnson

Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper) assembles an all-star cast (Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield) in a brilliantly conceived whodunit Agatha Christie style that brings back good memories of films like CLUE, MURDER BY DEATH and THE LAST OF SHEILA.  A wealthy author, Harlan Thrombrey (Christopher Plummer) is apparently murdered and detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is being paid a stack of cash by an unknown family member to solve the case.  

Every member of the family household is suspect as each one has been denied the inheritance and has a motive for killing.  The maid/nurse is also suspect as she is the last one to see Harlan.  The film moves fast just as these kind of whodunits go and one can never figure out who did it, though good guesses could be made. 

 Craig is great speaking in what a family member calls a ridiculous southern Texan leghorn accent.  Johnson directs in good fun and his film is totally entertaining as a super whodunit with a few unexpected plot twists in the end.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi-1NchUqMA

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Film Review: AVENGERS: ENDGAME (USA 2019) ***1/2

Avengers: Endgame Poster
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Directors:

Anthony RussoJoe Russo

Prior to the press screening of the new blockbuster most anticipated film so far for 2019, AVENGERS: ENDGAME the Disney official introducing the film made a request that the critics do not spoil the key scenes of the film and to respect the Marvel Universe fans.  As it turns out, there are many, may things that could be kept from the fans, even from the very start, on the slightest of details  So this critic will try to be as discreet as possible.

The film opens with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) having a picnic with his family.  He is teaching his daughter the bow and arrow while the wife the boys baseball.  It is a beautiful idyllic setting.  Suddenly, the daughter disappears followed by the rest of the family.  It is an excellent beginning that connects the audience to humanity despite the film  being based on super heroes.  It is soon revealed that half the Universe has been destroyed by the villain Thanos (Josh Brolin), an intergalactic despot from Titan who collected the 6 infinity stones to do the job.  This explains the disappearance of Barton’s family.  In order to say the destroyed half of the universe, the Angers band together and come up with an elaborate or impossible (but always possible in movies) scheme to reverse the damage done. 

Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)  suggests travelling through time in a quantum time machine to undo the deed.  The concept involves immense risk, which means it can be done in a movie.  Directors Joe an Anthony Russo slowly but surely introduces the other Marvel super action hero Avengers.  Iron man (Robert Downy Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans looking super dashing) are the two action heroes given the most attention and they are shown at loggerheads in terms of ideas.  Iron Man, the leader and benefactor of the Avengers is a self-described genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist while Captain America is fugitive superhero and leader of a faction of Avengers.  Almost every other marvel hero seen in films in the past decade make their appearances including Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the Hulk (ark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth who is simply hilarious as the overweight drunk), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a host of others in minor parts like Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Vision (Paul Bethany), Falcom (Anthony Mackie) and others way too many to mention.

The action sequences are more than aptly executed with the directors playing it smart to play up the human parts of the story.  There are moments that will bring audiences to shed a tear or two.  The logic of the story does to always make sense.  For example the logic of time travel is difficult to follow and the Infinity Stones also do not make much sense in the flow of things.  But these are fantasy elements that should be present in futuristic action films.  

Marvel and Disney make good again in their latest action superhero outing compared to Warner Brothers who seem to make one blunder after another.  Everyone at the press screening stayed to the end of the closing credits (lasting a full 15 minutes or so) hoping to see some surprise.   Is there one?  Sorry, no spoilers even for this point.  Stay to the very end to find out.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcMBFSGVi1c

Happy Birthday: Chris Evans

chrisevansHappy Birthday actor Chris Evans

Born: Christopher Robert Evans
June 13, 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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dir. Joe Johnston
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Chris Evans
Hugo Weaving

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Street KingsStreet Kings
Directed by David Ayer
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Forest Whitaker

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2007
dir. Kevin Munroe
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2007
dir. Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
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Johansson

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dir. Edgar Wright
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dir. Tim Story
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sexyTHE AVENGERS
2012
dir. Joss Whedon
See over 100 pages of photos and videos!

MOVIE POSTERCAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
2014
dir. Anthony Russo
Joe Russo

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Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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captain_america_civil_warCAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl, Frank Grillo

Reveiw by Gilbert Seah

Judging from the box-office successful but critically panned BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, audiences love to see their super heroes battle one another – never mind the reason, never mind who wins, and never mind anything else. In this latest Marvel superhero movie, there are lots more of the same. It is a dream come true for current action fans as there is a full 15 minute action fight scene during which two factions of super heroes battle it out with each other.

The film begins with establishing the reason for the formation of the two factions. It is a world disaster in which innocent people are killed in Nigeria following a criminal being pursued by the Avengers. As a result of the collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers aka Captain America (the handsome hunk Luke Evans) and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s Ironman (played by Robert Downey Jr.) surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

This is an AVENGERS film despite the Captain America title. Other Marvel heroes on display here include Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Winter Soldier of the film title (Sebastian Stan), Falcon from the IRONMAN films (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye with his arrows (Jeremy Renner), Vision (Paul Bettany), Spider-man (Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) the latter two providing most of the humour in the film. But the script by a multiple of writers includes many one-liners that only Marvel fans will find funny, or whoever is in the mood. But the one-liners are quite mediocre and no match compared to those found in other action films like the DIE HARD or TERMINATOR films.

So there is one faction led by Ironman with Spidey, Faclon and Spider and the other by Captain America, Winter soldier and Hawkeye. There is an extended fight scene between the two leaders as well but no one really comes out the outright victor. The heroes use their powers like Spidey his web, America his shield and Hawkeye his arrows.

The film running at almost two and a half hours is surprisingly short on both story and character development. The script contains lots of repetitions on the need to control the Avengers i.e. to substantiate the rivalry between the two groups. All this tends to be a tad boring after a while, not to mention that the matter is never resolved at the end and the film set up for a sequel.

Not much is demanded in the acting department for an action film of this nature except for the actors to look good. And they all look very bulked up or pretty as the case may be. This reviewer never liked Robert Downey Jr. as an actor (in Sherlock Holmes, IRONMAN and other films) or in person for his wise-cracking smart-ass attitude. So, the best line in the film delivered by Black Widow to him: “Are you incapable of letting go of your ego for one Goddamned second?” gave me a big smile.

CAPTAIN AMERICA is a film that would delight action Marvel fans, but those serious in their taste of cinema – might want to take all this with a pinch (or rather, heap) of salt.

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NEW Captain America: Civil War Trailer and Poster Revealed (Watch NOW)

Watch the NEW Trailer for CAPTAIN AMERICA 3:

The third installment of Captain America finds Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

See the next Movie Posters for Captain America: Civil War

captain_america_civil_war_poster

captain_america_civil_war_poster_2

captain_america_civil_war_poster_3