Tag Archives: captain america: the first avenger

Great Guy Movies (Pt. III)


Flags of Our Fathers (2006), [R]
Based on the book by James Bradley, Flags of Our Fathers is an artistically-masterful reconstruction of the events surrounding Joe Rosenthal’s famous snapshot (which quickly became a symbol of America’s triumph and indestructible spirit). Those expecting a straight-up war-actioner will be disappointed; but if you can appreciate a complex and emotionally nuanced military drama, I’ve little doubt you will find it a deeply satisfying experience – a sobering meditation on sacrifice, valor, the hellishness of war, and the nature of heroism vs. celebrity-ism.

Warrior (2011), [PG-13]
A masterpiece. Set in the violent world of mixed martial arts, Gavin O’Conner’s Warrior isn’t just another dime-a-dozen fight movie: it’s a profound and fiercely moving story about forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption. The action is gripping, the performances are stunning, and the emotional payoff is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s the best film of it’s kind since Cinderella Man, and if you haven’t seen it, you must. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Act of Valor (2012), [R]
An intense, roller-coaster of a movie. Featuring a fact-based story, stunningly authentic combat sequences, and a cast headed by honest-to-goodness Navy SEALs, Act of Valor is a rousing and patriotic tribute to the guys who risk their lives for their country and for each other. What the soldiers lack in Oscar-worthy acting chops, they more than make up for in pure genuineness. It’s rather awe-inspiring to see them onscreen; knowing that, for them, firefights and HALO jumps aren’t just Hollywood 8×10 glossy – they do this stuff for a living. The film isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s a welcome antidote to the cynicism that pervades liberal Hollywood: telling us, and rightly so, that the heroes who fight on our front-lines should be honored as such. There’s nothing “glamorous” or “fun” about what these soldiers do – but you sure respect the heck out of ‘em for doing it.

The Book of Eli (2010), [R]
Even when the world ends, the Word of God goes on. The Book of Eli may not be for everyone, due to it’s brutal and often unsettling nature; it does, however, offer something that the vast majority of movies do not: a strong Christian worldview. The Bible is acknowledged as the precious and powerful Book that it is, and stirring themes of faith, sacrifice, and redemption abound. Washington gives a terrific performance as the determined hero, and the Hughes Brothers inject the proceedings with intense pacing and brilliant cinematography. Of course, the film is not a perfect – and it shouldn’t be regarded as a comprehensive, Gospel-tract view of the Christian faith. In the end, though, the pros far outweigh the cons. I hope we see more movies like it.

District 9 (2009), [R]
As a rule, films with abundant strong language do not make it onto my list of recommended movies. But I’m going to make an exception here, for the simple reason that District 9 is an exceptional movie. Harsh and brutal though it is, Neill Blomkamp’s envisioning of the “alien vs. human” scenario offers an intensely powerful story of redemption and self-sacrifice; by proxy, it is also a thoughtful exploration of mass persecution, segregation, and genocide. The premise is brilliantly conceived and executed, the technical details are stunning, and Sharlto Copley’s performance is one of the best I’ve ever seen. In short, District 9 is a combination of potent allegory, ambitious sci-fi action, and emotionally-wrenching drama – and the result is nothing short of breathtaking. In the words of one critic, this is “science fiction as it was meant to be: intelligent and challenging.”

The Next Three Days (2010), [PG-13]
Tightly-crafted, highly suspenseful, and boasting a powerful performance by Russell Crowe, The Next Three Days is a thought-provoking crime thriller that asks, “How far would you go to save someone you love? What lines would you cross to get there?”. From a Christian perspective, the answers given are not all the right ones, but there’s plenty of weighty stuff to chew on nonetheless. It was also refreshing to see family and marriage portrayed as eminently precious things, things to be fought for, not given up on. If only that view were more prevalent in today’s society.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), [PG-13]
A refreshingly unapologetic pro-American thrill ride. You don’t wanna miss this one. It boasts fine acting, superb visual effects, a dash of humor, plenty of imaginative action, and a slick retro vibe with sci-fi gizmos galore. Best of all, Steve Rogers makes for a hero who is genuinely heroic through and through. There’s no doubt about it: Captain America is the best movie of 2011, and possibly one of the greatest superhero films ever made. To quote another critic, “Hating on Captain America just isn’t American. Go ahead and move to Canada; I’m sure they have some magical Mountie who’s thwarting evil loggers.”

13 Assassins (2010), [R]
There’s one brief scene of non-sexual nudity (easily skipped), but on the whole, this movie is a deeply stirring tale of courage and sacrifice. It’s about good men taking a stand for justice even when the odds are stacked against them. The story is intelligently told, exceptionally well-paced, and executed with a dazzling panache, and the acting is top-notch from the entire cast. But my review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the climactic battle sequence: a masterful 45-minute ordeal of gritty sword-slashing mayhem. The choreography is nothing short of jaw-dropping. To quote another critic, “Does Guinness World Records have an entry for longest on-screen fight? If it doesn’t, Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins just set it. And if a record actually exists, Miike’s film just broke it.”

I Am Legend (2007), [PG-13]
I’ve seen this one multiple times, and after each viewing, I always reach the same conclusion: I Am Legend truly is an under-appreciated gem in the realm of science fiction. The story may be grim, but it’s also exceptionally beautiful, and overflowing with profound biblical themes. Director Lawrence’s computer-generated rendering of a decaying Manhatten, NY is extraordinary and Will Smith carries the entire film on his shoulders, turning in one of the finest performances of his career as the lonely but determined Neville.

Win Win (2011), [R]
A dramedy of the highest order, with genuine humor and pathos. It’s about love, forgiveness, and life; about making mistakes, owning up to them, and doing the right thing the next time around. It also presents a superb picture of how subtly we often justify our own self-interest by telling ourselves that we’re just “doing the right thing.” The script is brilliant, the characters are quirky and believable, and the cast is flawless. Do yourself a favor and check it out – it’s a winner all the way.

Read part one and part two of this list. And if you’ve got any recommendations of your own, be my guest and leave a comment – whether you’re a guy or a gal!

Soundtrack Giveaway 2011

Ladies and germs, allow me to welcome you to the second annual Soundtrack Giveaway here at the Ink Slinger blog. Be my guest and take a seat – we’re about to begin.

If you participated last year, you know what’s going on. You probably also noticed that I’m hosting this giveaway at a rather later date than last year. The reason is fairly simple: I wanted to sample all of the soundtracks released in 2011, including the ones released closer to the new year. I’m glad I made this decision, because otherwise, I would’ve missed out big time.

If you’re new to this giveaway – and most of my readers are – you are likely wondering what the heck is going on. “A soundtrack giveaway? What is that?” Easy – it’s just like any other giveaway. Only, instead of getting a quilt, a CD, or a book, the winner receives a soundtrack.

“Alrighty,” you say. “Makes sense. But why soundtracks? I don’t see any other bloggers giving away soundtracks.” I don’t either. That’s the point. Since nobody else I know of is doing it, I’ll do it.

Of course, there are those who will inevitably respond, “But what if I don’t listen to soundtracks, or enjoy them?” Well, in that case, I’d have to say – with all kindness – that it’s your loss.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on…

2011 has been a great year for film scores, so it’s rather difficult for me to select just two for this giveaway. Nevertheless, here you are: the soundtracks I’ll be featuring this year are Hans Zimmer’s score for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alan Silvestri’s score for Captain America: The First Avenger.

Leave a comment if you would like your name to be entered in the drawing. To increase your chances, share this giveaway on your blog (or link to it via social networking), and let me know you have done so. I’ll enter your name for each “share”. The giveaway will close at 12pm MT on Friday, December 30th. Aftwards, a name will be drawn and the winner will recieve his/her choice of the soundtracks featured (on MP3).

Now… get going.

Soundtrack Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Running Time: 73 min.
Released: 2011

 

 

Captain America: The First Avenger is quite simply one of the greatest superhero films ever made. And it owes its greatness, at least in part, to the magnificent score that accompanies it. Crafted by veteran composer Alan Silvestri, it is beyond excellent: it is a score for the ages. Grand, fresh, exciting, and rousingly patriotic, it matches the high-spirited adventure of the movie with precision and breathtaking grandeur.

The album gets off to a subdued start with Main Titles, which gives us a small taste of the titular character’s theme:  just enough to whet the appetite and no more. The pace quickens with Training the Supersoldier, a short but impressive cue that coincides when the bootcamp training sequences in the film. Howling Commando’s Montage is purely thrilling, followed closely by the equally exciting Hydra Train and Motorcycle Mayhem.  “This Is My Choice” and Passage of Time are lovely pieces marked by a sense of tragedy and loss, and ultimately, hope. Everything comes to a satisfying close with the Captain America March, which fleshes out the main theme in all it’s patriotic glory – I do not lie when I say this piece is every bit as memorable as John Williams’ work for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The album also includes a pleasant, 40s-styled ditty entitled Star Spangled Man. It differs greatly from Silvestri’s score, but it’s catchy and plenty fun to listen to all the same.

Buy the MP3 album on iTunes or Amazon.com.