Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Transcendence (2014)

Year: 2014
Running Time: 119 minutes
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser

Transcendence attempts the uncommon Hollywood walk into unprecedented territory with it's ambition and creativity. The result is a well made piece of cinema, but one that doesn't have a particularly neat screenplay. The principle that Transcendence is based on is indeed interesting, yet it tries to be too intelligent and ends up getting lost within itself. The result being a film which is enjoyable to watch, but not particularly memorable.

Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) are well known researchers in the field of Artificial Intelligence, a field which many believe is unethical and are opposed to. After an encounter with a radical, Will's life becomes a time bomb and Evelyn and the Caster's friend and work colleague, Max Waters (Paul Bettany) work towards fulfilling Will's legacy with Will as the subject this time. However, nobody ever realised how far Will's memory would go.

There are two major underlying themes of Transcendence and the screenplay is moulded around these two themes. One theme is executed beautifully and the other has trouble trying to execute itself in a coherent and believable fashion. Firstly there is the theme of the ethical question of A.I. The film wants to make us ponder how far can you take A.I. before it becomes unethical. In the film we see this ideas taken to a place which demonstrates the dangers of relying on A.I., as well as on technology (a more common theme in film). However, the point which it takes us to to show us this is so extreme and it becomes a little too farfetched to be taken seriously. Not only farfetched, the basis for the story is nearly impossible and there are quite a few holes in the film which are apparent to anyone whether they are technologically minded or not. The film gives the impression of wanting to seem so spectacular and mind blowing that it ends up confusing itself as well as it's audience. It leaves the audience feeling as though they are confused, but not because of the intellectual side as much as because the execution hasn't been as believable as it should be.

The theme of grief in the film is the one that is more successful in it's execution, but clouded over by the technological side of the film. As Transcendence is first and foremost a sci-fi film, it is understandable why this theme is not the main focus, but it is still lost in the confusion more than what it should be. In the film, Evelyn is a grieving wife who's inability to let go of her husband is one of the reasons everything gets so out of hand. Her grief distorts her perception of reality, which is not uncommon for people in her situation. She hangs on to the memory of her husband and believes everything she must in order to believe that Will is still around. While grieving in the real world such a situation as this wouldn't happen, but Evelyn's behaviour is perfectly executed in the film for someone grieving the loss of their soul mate.

Despite the screenplay bringing the film down, the production side of the film is a lot more successful. Visually the film is wonderful to look at and the production design exquisite. With each location you feel as though you really are there, such as in the Caster's garden or in the laboratory. The quirky little town Evelyn travels too is incredibly interesting to see on screen.

Johnny Depp may be the top billed actor in Transcendence, but he really doesn't have too much to do in the film. There is nothing wrong with his performance, it is more that he doesn't actually physically appear in the film a great deal and his role is particularly limited in what he can do with it. A great deal more of the film belongs to Rebecca Hall. She does very well as the grieving wife and gives a particularly moving performance. Even when Will's presence is in her life after his death, she still gives the impression of a broken and fragile woman while she wasn't this before his death. The chemistry between Depp and Hall is not as strong in the first part of the film as it is in the latter part.

Paul Bettany is very good in his role as Max Waters. Bettany has the wonderful ability in this film of being able to portray exactly how he is feeling without saying a word, which is evident even in the first scene when he is in the garden. His performance is a particularly emotional and endearing one. His Max is the voice of reason in Evelyn's dark hours, but even then you can tell that it is not an easy thing for him to do.

Transcendence is a highly interesting film to talk about for it's confusing execution of an interesting subject. It tries hard, but doesn't seem to realise how to execute itself efficiently.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rising Star Bo Roberts- A Spartan with a Message

With the success of 300: Rise of an Empire since it's release early March, the Spartan warriors made famous in the first film came back into the spotlight in a big way. 300 and it's recent sequel were extremely popular due to the incredible CGI employed to create a realistic impression of the ancient world and the historic battle scenes. The Spartans in the films have almost became a cult figure not only because of their physique, but because they symbolise true warriors who were willing to put everything on the line for their home and what they believed in. 
There is one particular Spartan who's life has changed since his appearance in 300: Rise of an Empire and understands that being in the public eye comes with great responsibility, and he is embracing this. 300: Rise of an Empire may be the first studio feature film appearance for Bo Roberts, but definitely not his last as this model turned actor's star is rapidly on the rise. Roberts is set to work in Anthony Petito's film, Strain and wants to actively be a strong role model to his fans and those who support him.

Born and raised in Indiana in a family of truck drivers, Roberts is a self confessed country boy. Upon finishing school, he studied psychology and decided to look towards a career in law enforcement. At 18 and 19 he also worked as a sports coach, in particular training young people in baseball and wrestling. While in this role, he acted as a mentor to the boys he was training. As well as giving them athletic training and advice, he would also try and give them good life advice such as what to steer clear of or how to get dates. However, after moving to Florida, a photographer suggested to Roberts that he should start modelling, a career move which proved to be a wise one. His modelling has taken him to New York and also Europe before settling in Los Angeles.

Before arriving in Los Angeles, Roberts was taking acting classes and had long been interested in making the move into acting. What interests Roberts most about acting is the psychological side of it. With his background in psychology, he enjoys reading and breaking down a script, and then digging deep within his psyche and using that psyche education on himself. He says that he had always dreamt of seeing himself in movies, but had conflicting thoughts of how he was just a typical boy from the mid west and that couldn't happen. His appearance as a Spartan in 300: Rise of an Empire has now solidly changed that. Since the premiere of the film and the following days have seen him on the red carpet on more than one occasion. When asked if people have treated him differently now that he is in the public eye, he replied "My friends think it is great that Bo is in 300, but just want to know if we are still playing pool on Friday."

There has been some controversy surrounding the latest 300, as some people believe that the male body image promoted by the Spartan men in the film is unrealistic and unhealthy. When asked what Roberts thinks about these allegations, he claims that they don't bother him, but it is something he disagrees with. Roberts lives an extremely healthy lifestyle and knows how much work he put in to get himself to the point which he is at. While in high school he admits to not being in the shape he is now and it took years of training and nutrition to change this. Roberts' health regime consists of eating foods with plenty of carbohydrates first thing in the morning, and then pealing off these carbohydrates by night, when he has more protein such as tuna and salad. The message which he would rather 300 convey in regards to male body image is that if you want to make it happen, you can. 

"People may think that it is too hard, but if you do things the right way and stay focused, things happen" says Roberts. "It is obtainable. You are looking at 50 guys on screen who have that body. It takes a lot of work. Would you rather have a Big Mac or a good chicken salad?"

He also hopes that with being in the public eye he can also continue with what he accomplished in his days of coaching by being a good example to those who look up to him. He believes that coming into his own as someone who people pay attention to, will help him to guide those who look up to him in the right direction. 

Although Roberts was very excited about seeing himself on the big screen for the first time in 300, he does admit that he did feel a little disappointed as he would have loved to have done more in the film. He had been cast as Nash/The Rider in Anthony Petito's sci-fi/action film, Strain, which is based on the short film of the same name. After working in both an action and a sci-fi film, he says that he wants to work in every type of film possible, but would love to play a menacing, bad guy with great depth. 

We thank Bo Roberts for his time in speaking to us and please see below for the full interview as recorded  via Skype.

(Please note that at the time of the interview, Roberts was to work on L. Gustavo Cooper's film, June, but had to change due to scheduling conflicts)

Daniel Franzese speaks to us about Mean Girls 10 Years After

In celebration of the 10 year anniversary of Mean Girls, we are absolutely thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to speak to and interview Daniel Franzese. Everyone who has seen the film will without a doubt remember Franzese as the lovable Damian, who befriends Lindsay Lohan's Cady and has some of the most memorable lines in the film which are so often repeated in pop culture.

This week, Franzese posted a beautiful and brave letter to Damian and has had an incredibly busy and overwhelming week, but is truly humbled by the love and support he has received in the days since. We are truly grateful to him for taking the time to speak to us and enjoyed speaking to him so much!

So Daniel, it's been 10 years since Mean Girls! Does it seem like 10 years or does it just feel like yesterday?
Well, it definitely doesn't feel like yesterday, but 10 years is a long time! It's like how one would feel about a school reunion. You can't believe it is already here.

What do you believe still makes Mean Girls so popular after 10 years?
Definitely Tina Fey's amazing writing and Mark Water's exquisite direction would have to have something to do with it. The reason this film has resonated with so many people is because firstly it is one of the first teen comedies to have the internet brought into it and secondly it because it was based on Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabees" which talks about a lot of the hierarchies and teen cliques which are still around today.

How did you come to find out about the role and what drew you to Damian?
Well there was this New York casting director who found out about the role and she liked me, and thought I would be perfect for the role. So she got me to read for it, but I didn't get the role and they ended up calling me at the last minute and said they were flying me to LA. So I met with Mark and Tina and they liked me too so they put me forward for it. I really had to fight my way through the table reading to show how much I really wanted this role. I got the part and it was excellent!

So what were some of your memories from the first day on set?
First day on set....I really don't remember actually! Oh actually I first scene was the "My Nanna takes her wig off when she's drunk" scene inside the Bath and Body Works kind of shop that Janis works at. It was fun because I was working with Tina! And my Nanna is someone who has been very influential in my life and originally the line was "My Nanny takes her wig off when she's drunk" and I said "Can I say my Nanna?" Tina said "Of course! Sure!" So it was really great that I could put my Nanna in the script like that.

What were director Mark Waters and writer Tina Fey like to work with?
Mark was really great and easy to work with. You know sometimes you feel like you are working for a director and that they are just sitting back and watching, but Mark was very collaborative and open to listening to ideas. And Tina is hysterical. It was a really unique opportunity to not only be able to perform her work, but also to work alongside her and I am really grateful for it.

Did you have a favourite scene which you were in in the film?
You know it changes because every time I revisit it, it is something different. I do like the "pink shirt back" scene, because I came up with the idea to say the "I want my pink shirt back" line and they let me do it, and it was just so good! It was so good to just squeeze one joke in there when the script was so tight and Tina's work was so funny. To just get one joke in there and feel like I was playing with the big SNL players at the time, you know what I mean? So to get something in the script was really an important moment to me as a performer.

Well Tina has a big background in improv herself so she would have appreciated that!
Yeah, absolutely! Well that's how her and Amy (Poehler) met!

So was that scene also the most fun to film, or was that another scene?
Probably me singing "Beautiful", that was really fun because my mom was in the audience that day. So when you see me by myself on stage, the only person in the audience is my mom. When the camera turns around and you see the audience, that was the next day. So it was really fun to film that scene, because even though it was a really funny scene, they didn't want to have a whole group of people laughing when they were recording. So even though it was totally quiet, the crew kept laughing and we had to keep doing it again and again and again!

Excellent! So when you see you throw the shoe at Jason, was that the next day?
Yeah, that was the next day! The shoe was sort of a soft, form material and Mark was kind enough to bring it over to my mom to show her that I wasn't being hurt and that it was really soft.

That's really sweet! If you were a girl, which female character would you have loved to have played in Mean Girls?
Easy! Janis! We're the cool ones!

Out of all the characters in the film, you actually have some of the most memorable quotes in the movie. When you meet people and they figure out who you are, what lines do they feel like they have to say to you?
Certainly the number one and number two are "You go Glenn Coco" and "She doesn't even go here!" I get "She doesn't even go here!" every five minutes. Every time I get a fan come up to me, I like to play along with them, especially when it's someone who gets really excited. They'll be like "I love that movie!" and I go "You don't even go here!" and they'll be like "Oh my god! Did that just happen?!" They just freak out and I get a kick out of that!

And do you get many people who come up to you and say "Oh my god Danny DeVito, I love your work!"?
I get that too a lot. I would actually like to have a conversation with the real Danny DeVito about that because he must hear it ALL the time...I hear it all the time! I would be like "That was me, dude! Sorry!"

That's so cool! So on the set, who was the biggest practical joker?
You know it's really funny, but comedians like we are who work on that set, believe it or not we take comedy very seriously. So I mean even though we were having fun and cracking jokes a lot, we weren't really playing practical jokes or anything like that as we were really committed to putting out a good product and I am proud to say I think that shows.

It definitely does. Another question about the cast members, who do you think is the least like the character they played?
Rachel McAdams. Rachel McAdams is so cool. So not obsessed with material things or cliques or attitudes. She is just a really nice, normal girl and a really classy person.

Do you keep in contact with any of your co-stars at all?
I do! I see Lindsay (Lohan) a lot now, and Lacey Chabert. Me and Jonathan Bennett have recently reconnected, Rajiv (Surendra) and I are friends and Lizzy and I will always be friends. I see Amanda (Seyfried) every once in awhile. I haven't seen Rachel or Tina in awhile, but I do see Amy a lot. Either at comedy events because Amy's theatre, I train there and perform there quite often. Amy's the queen of that, and also at "Parks and Recreation". I have visited the set there quite a lot because I am friends with a lot of the cast members on that show.

Being such good friends with Lizzy you must be very proud of the success she has had since the film?
Absolutely. She is such a terrific actress and such a beautiful girl. I mean that was one of the things about Mean Girls is that they really gothed her up and made her look like an outsider and she is so gorgeous. Lizzy could have played any part in that movie at that time.

And what's the best thing about Lindsay, because you said you speak to her quite a bit too?
Just recently one of the coolest things I've seen with Lindsay was I was in the apartment with her and she was doing a photo shoot for a magazine. Just seeing the way she would pose and see the way she works the camera, and how many different and beautiful poses she comes up with in such a short amount of time. It was true artistry and I was so impressed and inspired by her watching her shoot with a fashion photographer.

Say you were going to write the sequel for Mean Girls with all the same characters 10 years on, what do you think characters such as Damian, Cady and Janis would be doing?
I think it would be Damian singing and dancing on stage while the rest of the cast is locked in the auditorium! What do you think? Do you want to put money into that? No really, I get a lot of fan fiction thrown at me and people asking "What do you think would happen if Damian came back and...." Not that you sounded like that! But I really don't know how to answer that as know thy are making a Goonies sequel now all these years later so maybe a Mean Girls sequel will happen. So I don't want to put any ideas in because I think whatever it is going to because whatever Tina would put in if she decided to do a sequel, I think most of us would be game and I think it would be brilliant. So I think that we will all just have to wait and see and hope that it will happen one day.

I'm guessing that this would be something you would obviously put up your hand for if it did happen?
I would definitely want to be part of it. This has become such a big part of my life and my body of work as an artist now and will always be. So yeah, I would do anything associated with it as long as it had Tina's stamp of approval.

Fantastic! So obviously you look back on your Mean Girls days with a lot of happiness and a lot of love, is that right?
I do, yeah. You know it really grew on me. For awhile it was a little daunting because I was being pigeon holed into the same type of characters in that period afterwards until I branched out and really started to embrace it. It really made me fall back in love with it, not that I ever really fell out of it, but what made me really fall in love with this movie was the fans reactions. They come up with fan art, creative memes, the way they've done fan fiction, all of the different things the fans have done. So the fans love of the movie has given me a whole new appreciation for it.

Is comedy the genre you work mainly with nowadays? You did work with the horror genre in the film I Spit On Your Grave, but is comedy your favourite?
Comedy is definitely my favourite. I'm a storyteller and I like to tell scary stories, I like to tell sad stories and I like to tell funny stories, but I am in absolute bliss when I am allowed to be funny.

Speaking of comedy, you have become a bit of a YouTube sensation with Shit Italian Moms Say. Did you like working with YouTube? Is it really that different from film?
It was the first time I had actually tried something like that. I think a lot of people who have been at my level who have made movies and stuff don't really go back and do something like that. It's kind of how a lot of my friends who were into comedy were breaking into comedy, but it really got me into making some of my own things. It got me into writing a musical with Hannah LoPatin called "Jersey Shoresical" and then lead to me writing more of my own content, writing some of my own stories and doing my storytelling and now directing a documentary even. That's the power that every young kid has is that they can go on YouTube on do their own things.

So you've made your directorial debut you were saying, can you tell us a bit more about that?
My documentary is called Allee Willis Loves Detroit, and it is about this incredible woman who is a Grammy, Tony, Emmy, Webby award winning and nominated songwriter and artist. She wrote "September" and "Boogie Wonderland" for Earth, Wind and Fire, the "Friends" theme song, "The Color Purple" musical on Broadway, "What Have I Done To Deserve This" for Dusty Springfield and The Pet Shop Boys and all these amazing songs. She wrote songs for the city of Detroit, where we travelled to over 40 locations and had thousands of people doing sing-a-longs and we choreographed music videos on the spot. Just an amazing and heart-warming experience.

That's great! So when will we be able to see that?
We are in post-production right now so it will be some time in 2015.

And you've also done a fair bit of theatre. Have you got any more of that coming up soon?
I'm doing a musical most likely this fall in New York called "Found", based off a found magazine which is a collection of notes, letters and anything written on that people have lost and someone else has found and put into the magazine. So it's a really unique musical about how the book and magazine came about and has an ensemble of people who sing about all the found pieces that people have written all over.

So is singing one of your passions as well?
Definitely! I mean, I'm not like an "American Idol" kind of singer, but I am definitely a musical/ comedy kind of performer.

And that's why you loved singing "Beautiful" in Mean Girls so much!
Yes! Absolutely!

Where would you like to be when the 20th anniversary of Mean Girls rolls around?
At the bank!

Great answer! And who are some actors or directors who you admire who you would like to work with who you haven't yet?
Such a good question, there is so many. I love Todd Haynes, John Waters and Alexander Payne and Kimberley Pierce, there are just so many incredible film makers who I would love to have the opportunity to work with. Wes Anderson....I mean, of course! I love the quirky, I love the odd, I love the queer look at everything and I really want to continue to make movies which make people turn their head and shut one eye and think "What's that about?' and hope they really enjoy it.

So I'm guessing you have seen The Grand Budapest Hotel?
No I have not. It's crazy! I was supposed to go to the premiere, but my very favourite band, my friend's band was performing and I was like "You know, I really want to go to this incredible premiere, but this is more important. It was in Brooklyn and a band was from LA, but was performing in New York so I went there to support them. I am going to check it soon as I remember to breathe! It's been crazy, but good!

What are some of your favourite movies?
I love John Waters films, I love Serial Mom very much. I love It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I love Casino, I think it's a great film. Just so many great movies. Every time some asks me what my favourites are, I'm like "What genre?"

Thankyou Daniel so much for being here and joining us!
It was such a pleasure, thankyou so much! I get a lot of love on Twitter from Australia, I'm just so happy to connect with people from there.

Below is a clip from our interview with Franzese, which is a must see for any Mean Girls fan! Remember to follow him on Twitter and Instagram @WhatsUpDanny

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

10 Years On: Mean Girls (2004)

Year: 2004
Running Time: 97 minutes
Director: Mark Waters
Writers: Rosalind Wiseman (based on the book "Queen Bee's and Wannabes" by) and Tina Fey (screenplay)
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Tina Fey, Jonathan Bennett, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Franzese, Amy Poehler

April 30 this year will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Mean Girls. The film itself has become somewhat of a cult classic with it's wicked sense of humour, timeless themes and extremely quotable dialogue. The film is as relevant now as it was 10 years ago and although it has all the elements that would make it a teenage film primarily for girls, it reaches far beyond those boundaries. Mean Girls was responsible for making several of it's stars household names, including Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried. With it's anniversary looming, taking a look back at the film reminds us why it was such a success when it was released and why it still remains a favourite of many.

Cady Heron's (Lindsay Lohan) first day of school is not like most people's. She has been home schooled while living in Africa with her parents her whole life, and her first day of regular school is as a sixteen year old. It's a complete shock to the system for Cady as she tries to learn the protocol of cafeteria dynamics at her new high school. She is quickly taken into the guidance of Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese), two misfits who are the most loyal of friends, and they give her the rundown on who is who as far as the cliques go at North Shore. The warn Cady to stay away from the Plastics, who are the most popular girls in school, but also the most evil. Yet, Cady is drawn into the world of teen queens, Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried) and discovers that being one of them is better than to be in the Plastics hating life than not being with them.

Based on the book, "Queen Bees and Wannabe's" by Rosalind Wiseman, Mean Girls is a thoroughly entertaining look at the female dynamics of high school. The reason the film remains as relevant today as it did in 2004 is because the way females interact in high school is really timeless. There will always be the popular girls known as the Queen Bee's who are like the celebrities in every school that everyone wants to know everything about and want to be liked by. With every popular group of girls, there are always the groups which are "below" them, and Mean Girls doesn't forget about these girls either. The film is completely relatable to girls who are in the same age bracket as the ones in the film, but this doesn't mean it is just for teenage girls.

Mean Girls is a lot of fun for people of any age and not just for girls, also for boys. Boys may not be able to relate to the film as much as girls can, but will still be able to relate to it in that they will remember seeing all this happen around them. This isn't to say that all of the situations in the film are relatable, but it is no secret that girls can be extremely mean to each other and while they may not all actively plot to destroy each other's figures or get them in trouble with the headmaster, they can do some pretty horrendous things to one another. The screenplay written by Tina Fey, who also stars in the film as Mrs Norbury, allows people to see these high school dynamics in an extremely amusing fashion. The screenplay is wonderfully witty and funny. There are so many memorable quotes throughout the film which just seem to resonate in pop culture. The internet age also brought a new life to these quotes as there are various memes online with these sayings and people love to use these quotes in everyday conversation. Even though Regina did not believe "Fetch" was going to happen, it has indeed happened.

Along with the wickedly funny dialogue, the film maintains it's playful style with such scenes as the girls singing and dancing to "Jingle Bell Rock" and other acts at the talent show including Kevin Gnapoor's (Rajiv Surendra) rap and Damian's rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful". All the characters are so well defined and all individual. They are all very different and are all so in depth (unlike many characters in the typical teenage genre film) and wonderfully developed. The soundtrack is also perfect for the film, as it is playful and every song is used to accentuate the scene which it is used in.

Lindsay Lohan snagged a huge amount of fans after she appeared as Cady here. Not only was she perfect for the part, but she was just overwhelmingly likable. Her naivety in the first half of the film is so endearing and beautiful, that although she changes throughout the film, she still remains an audience favourite.  Her character development is purely perfection as it is gradual and not a sudden change in attitude that seems unrealistic. This was, and still is Lohan's best performance to date due to how much the audience empathizes with her and her persona.

Rachel McAdams is so wicked that she is great. Her Regina may seem completely shallow, but she is a complex villain due to her manipulation skills. You want to see her fall from her pedestal, but love watching her at her worst. It's a completely different role to what McAdams has done since then and is still her most believable and interesting. Lacey Chabert is a lot of fun, as is Amanda Seyfried, who like McAdams, has not done anything like this role since. Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese both do well. They are two different characters who almost seem like one entity on screen and they are fantastic to watch together. Tina Fey does well, and Amy Poehler is hilarious as Regina's mother.

While it may be 10 years since we were first introduced to the cliques of North Shore High School, it doesn't feel like it as Mean Girls is as relevant now as it was then. It is hard to imagine that it would ever lose it's relevancy as as long as there is high school, there will be mean girls.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Other Woman (2014)

Year: 2014
Running Time: 109 minutes
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writer: Melissa Stack
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Kinney, Don Johnson

It is an incredibly hard task to take anything about The Other Woman seriously. It's an improbable situation with incredibly overdone and uncreative elements to it and characters who are far from being likable or well constructed. The Other Woman takes a slightly different idea and instead of doing anything new like an unique idea should, throws together some of the most common revenge methods in film and makes the whole thing all too familiar and unimpressive.

The film opens with a slow motion montage of the whirlwind and seemingly idyllic relationship between lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz) and her boyfriend, Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Everything looks perfect between the two, until it is revealed that Mark is actually married to Kate (Leslie Mann). When Mark is caught out on one of his lies, Carly and Kate meet each other in a very awkward situation. Kate finds herself in a place where she feels she is unable to speak to anyone about finding out that her husband has been unfaithful besides Carly and the two start an unlikely friendship. It isn't long till they find out that Mark was in fact cheating on both of them with a younger woman, Amber (Kate Upton). So two become three, and they set their sights on tormenting Mark and ruining his life.

The idea of having women team up to inflict damage on a man who has hurt them is only semi-creative in itself, but the idea of a married woman befriending the woman who her husband was having an affair with is quite an unique one. However, the way in which it comes to pass here is downright unlikely and as a result just seems farfetched and ridiculous. There cannot be many women who find out that their husbands are cheating and then keep turning up at the woman's workplace and apartment begging to be friends with them. It may have happened out there somewhere, but isn't normal. This is a movie and it doesn't have to be realistic, but it just seems ridiculous that someone would react this way in the circumstances. To make matters worse, The Other Woman goes from being a little too different to being too unoriginal. The revenge methods the three girls choose to unleash on Mark and the same revenge methods we have seen over and over in movies over the years. How many times can you watch a woman give a man female hormones and one person give another laxatives as payback?

There are some funny moments in The Other Woman, but again, many of these are overdone and predictable or just plain dull. Some pieces of dialogue are quite funny, such as Phil's (Taylor Kinney) reference to Fight Club, but many others are trying too hard to be funny.

The film often feels like it is just a star vehicle for Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton, as well as Nicki Minaj. All of the characters in the film are either badly constructed or just unlikable. Although Cameron Diaz is marketed as being the lead in the film, the lead is shared with Leslie Mann. Diaz is the lead for the first half of the film and then it switches to Mann. Mann's character is the one who has the most emotional attachment as she is Mark's wife, but is also the most irritating. Her role plays to her comedic talents, but her brand of comedy here makes her grief goofy and makes her more annoying than endearing. You can't understand why she does some things and doesn't do others, all of which would be typical to a woman who has been cheated on.

Diaz does well enough, but her character is again not particularly likable. The reason for her Carly not unlikable is more to do with her self confessed "hard love". Yet, she somehow switches with no reason to being a lot nicer to Kate and apologizing for her behaviour. It's a swift change of character that would seem suspicious to anyone in the real world.

Kate Upton is gorgeous on screen, but who is her character? While so much attention is paid to Carly and Kate, Upton's Amber seems out of place as there is only one scene with her without the other girls and you don't know anything about her character at all besides she seems nice and she was dating Mark. She is marketed as one of the top billing stars and she shares in the promotional posters with the other two girls, but she has nowhere near as much screen time or as much to do as the other two. It seems like more of a case of the film makers wanting to put her in the film just to have her there and show off her famous body. Then there is Nicki Minaj, who plays Carly's assistant, Lydia. Lydia is actually Nicki Minaj with a different name as she has the changing hairstyles in each of her scenes and speaks exactly like Minaj. There really is no use in having her in the film as she is a completely useless character and looks like her role is the result of someone saying "Let's put Nicki Minaj in the film because we can!" As far as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's Mark goes, he is unlikable, but obviously supposed to be that way. Yet you can't help but think how he may well be the dumbest adulterer ever. What married man gives the woman he is having an affair who he doesn't want to know that he is married, the address he lives at with his wife?

The Other Woman is a complete disaster, as it causes mayhem when the ridiculous meets the stereotypical. It is the perfect example of how to not use your stars effectively. However it will satisfy those who want to watch a completely mindless 'girl power' film.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Invisible Woman (2013)

Year: 2013
Running Time: 111 minutes
Director: Ralph Fiennes
Writers: Claire Tomalin (book), Abi Morgan (screenplay)
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, Joanna Scanlan, Tom Hollander, Tom Burke, Amanda Hale, Perdita Weeks

The Invisible Woman is a beautiful piece of period cinema. It tells a widely unknown story about a well known public figure who had another side to him, which makes the story as well as it's stunning visuals intriguing. While it is visually pleasing and wonderfully acted, The Invisible Woman is also incredibly slow moving in order to build emotional tension. This pace can also work in the opposite way as it slows down the film dramatically and allows the story to lose momentum while it is trying to build your senses.

The Invisible Woman tells the story of Charles Dickens' young mistress, Ellen Ternan. Ellen, otherwise known as Nelly (Felicity Jones) first met Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) when her and her family travel north to appear in one of his plays. Ternan was an admirer of his work beforehand and is in awe of her literary hero, while Dickens is quite besotted with the youngest daughter of Frances Ternan (Kristin Scott Thomas). As he is feeling a great distance being drawn between himself and his wife, Catherine (Joanna Scanlan), Dickens peruses Ternan who at first resists his charms in an attempt to protect her reputation, but cannot deny that she feels the same way about the charismatic writer.

The story The Invisible Woman presents us what you want to see when you go to a biographical film and that is a story which we have not heard before. The existence of the relationship between Dickens and Ternan was not a widely known one at the time, although talk did exist in the rumour mill. It wasn't until both parties were gone that their relationship became more well known. It is always a good thing to see an unknown aspect of a public figure in a film as it presents something new and intriguing. The screenplay is quite well written and the language used is perfect for the time period.

It is the pace of the film that is the real talking point. The Invisible Woman is really very slow and the use of flashbacks at different points throughout the film makes it even slower. The pace is used as a technique to build emotional tension, so you are able to feel the rise in feelings between Dickens and Ternan and really be absorbed in the beauty of the film both visually and mentally. However, it doesn't do much for the building of tension in the actual story. There is a very calming atmosphere to many of the scenes and while this is a beautiful and subtle aspect of the film, it doesn't do anything for the suspense of the film. However, the film is not supposed to be a highly suspenseful film, it is a film which is largely character driven and wants you to be swept up in the characters emotions in the same way they are and the pace must be used as a tool for this. This may not be to the delight of everyone though, as many people want a film to be driven by the suspense in the story rather than emotional tension.

The Invisible Woman is what every period film should be. It is extremely atmospheric and visually stunning. You live and breathe England in the 1850's while you are watching Dickens and Ternan. The architecture is exquisite and the set design of interiors of the houses are wonderfully fitting for the time period. The outside locations are so peaceful and calming and are beautiful in every way. The costume design is also wonderful, particularly that of the Ternan girls dresses.

Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones are both wonderful in this film. Fiennes completely embodies the great writer and is so captivating when he is on screen. He is able to uncannily give the impression of his character having many layers to his personality without having to exhibit these layers. Fiennes is also one of the wonderful actors who has the ability to direct himself perfectly. Felicity Jones is gorgeous as Ellen Ternan. It is wonderful to see Jones in a role like this and it feels as though this is her first really grown up role. She plays Ternan with a perfect amount of innocence and naivety, while also showing that she is also strong and of high morals. The chemistry between Fiennes and Jones on screen is very good. It may not be electrifying, but there are some very beautiful moments between the two which show how much romantic tension there is between the two of them.

Joanna Scanlan, who plays Catherine Dickens is also very good. Her character is quite interesting as she is the opposite to Ternan in every way, but also has some very endearing qualities. The scene when she comes to visit Ternan is brilliant as she doesn't assume the role of the scorned wife, but of a woman who is really not quite sure what to do in her situation and doesn't want to cause a scene. It is also interesting watching her and Fiennes in their scenes together, as there emotional and physical distance is not glaring obvious, but subtle. You do feel a great sympathy for her and Scanlan does well to evoke this.

The Invisible Woman is a beauty of a film and a wonderful period piece. Yet it's pace makes it not a film for everyone as it gives too much to one goal and not enough to the other.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Divergent (2014)

Year: 2014
Running Time: 139 minutes
Director: Neil Burger
Writers: Veronica Roth (novel), Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor (screenplay)
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn, Ray Stevenson, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Christian Madsen

Divergent is perfectly tailored to it's young adult target audience, without neglecting the needs of the older audience. While many aspects of the film are stereotypical to it's genre and predictable as a result, it sets itself apart from the rest with it's suspenseful plot and intense action sequences. Fans of the book will have no complaints (or only very minor ones) about the bestseller's transition to screen, but for those who haven't read the book there may be some confusion over particular aspects of the dystopian world of Divergent.

Set in the future in the city that used to be Chicago, all inhabitants are divided into five factions based on human virtues. These factions are Amity, Erudite, Abnegation, Dauntless and Candor. When they turn sixteen, the young of each faction face an aptitude test to find out where they really belong. When Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) completes her test, she is told that her test was inconclusive and that she is Divergent, meaning she exhibits behaviour typical of all factions rather than belonging in one. She is told how dangerous it is to be Divergent, and instead chooses Dauntless over staying in Abnegation. In Dauntless she must face a number of initiation tasks in order to stay in that faction, but more importantly, she must do her best to convince everyone that she is not Divergent.

The novel of the same name by Veronica Roth is a piece of fiction targeted towards the young adult audience. Yet, like many young adult novels these days, it is extremely popular with older audiences as well. The film works in much the same way as it is enjoyable for people of any age. On the other hand, it cannot be mistaken as a film in any other genre as all the things that have become known as being stereotypical parts of a YA novel turned film are there. Of course, the main character is 16 which places it in the YA genre territory straight away, but there is also the obvious romance between Tris and Four (Theo James) and the dystopian living with a fight for survival. All things which we have seen in one or two YA films before. So there really is a great deal of predictability regarding what will happen to who.

However, this doesn't matter when it comes to the film overall. It is still very entertaining and has made the transition well to the big screen. Those who have read the book will notice that the violence has been toned down a great deal from the book and there are a few things that are missing, but that is to be expected considering the film was already over two hours long without these things. In the latter half, Divergent becomes extremely action packed and the physical fighting scenes are very well choreographed and entertaining to watch. However predictable it can be at times, the film is still very suspenseful as a result of these battle scenes. The idea of the five factions and being Divergent and factionless can be a bit of a task to take in and understand, especially for those who haven't read the book.

The physical world of Divergent is wonderfully brought to life. From the beginning shot just outside the city with the deserted ship on the open plain, you are blown away by the reconstruction of Chicago to make it look as though it is futuristically war torn. The whole film is so visually intriguing, especially the images of the train and during the flying fox scene. The musical score is also perfectly suited as it has an edgy, suspenseful and futuristic feel to it, but can also feel as though it is trying a little too hard to add to the atmosphere of the film.

Shailene Woodley is perfect as Beatrice, or Tris as she becomes known as. Her character development throughout the film is perfect, as she changes a great deal from when we first meet her. When Tris is first met at the beginning of the film, it is not expected at all that this meek and curious little girl could become who she is at the end of the film, but she does so gradually and believably. Woodley, although good throughout the whole film, has one particularly memorable and powerful scene which is quite hard-hitting and emotional.

Woodley works well with Theo James, who plays her love interest. There is a great amount of chemistry between the two. James is perfectly cast as Four, who has a great deal of charisma due to his mystery. Jai Courtney, who plays Dauntless leader Eric, is also very well cast as he is just as charismatic, but in a dangerous way. Zoe Kravitz and Miles Teller also do very well as Dauntless initiates who have a great deal of character. It is great seeing Kate Winslet in such a different character than what she usually plays, and she is wonderful as Jeanine Matthews, Erudite's leader.

Divergent is an entertaining watch and although not the most unique and creative of the young adult novel turned movie category, is certainly not the least enjoyable.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chinese Puzzle (Casse-tete chinois) (2013)

Year: 2013
Running Time: 117 minutes
Director: Cedric Klapisch
Writer: Cedric Klapisch
Cast: Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Kelly Reilly, Cecile De France, Sandrine Holt, Li Jun Li

Chinese Puzzle is the long awaited follow up to Cedric Klapisch's The Spanish Apartment (2002) and Russian Dolls (2005). While fans of the previous two movies will be absolutely delighted with this third instalment, seeing the first two films is by no means a pre-requisite for Chinese Puzzle. It is a sweet, quirky and fun film which works very well as a stand alone film. The film may make a tad more sense with the knowledge of the past films, but it is knowledge that you would be oblivious to needing otherwise.

At 40 years old, Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris) has found himself incapable of getting from point A to point B without difficulty. When his ex-wife, Wendy (Kelly Reilly) moves from Paris to New York to be with her new American boyfriend, Xavier follows as he is unable to be without their two children. What awaits him in New York is more complicated. He moves in with his best friend, Isabelle (Cecile De France) who is a lesbian and carrying his child, gets married to Nancy (Li Jun Li) in order to stay in the country and is then visited by Martine (Audrey Tautou), who makes life even more complicated than it already is for him.

Chinese Puzzle is gorgeous. It is a great load of fun and a particularly easy watch. The screenplay is written as if it assumes that the people watching the film haven't seen The Spanish Apartment or Russian Dolls. The days in which they all lived in Barcelona and their past loves are mentioned, but nothing else really needs to be said as far as the story goes. Chinese Puzzle works very well as a stand alone film. The script is very witty and often very funny. The inclusion of the German philosophers and Xavier's explanation of how people speak to foreigners, as well as one of the final scenes in his apartment are quite hilarious. Yet it is also quite touching without being overly emotional. The description given by Xavier on the train of how divorced fathers are often like warriors who refuse to let go of their children is really quite moving and beautiful.

However, you do spend a great deal of the film trying to work out where it is going. It isn't a slow film, but it is not an overly eventful film either. Rather it just coasts along at a steady, but laid back pace which does work for the type of film which it is. There are several parts of the story (particularly involving Isabelle and her partner, Ju and also Xavier and Nancy) which are not really concluded as they should be at the end of the film and leave you hanging as to what actually ended up happening. Some things are concluded in perfect fashion, while some as practically swept under the mat.

Like Cedric Klapisch's past films, the cities in which the film is set in are shown with love. There is a dedication to make New York look as beautiful as possible in ways which are different from the norm. The graffiti clad rooftop is filmed in such an interesting way and it looks far more attractive than you know it is supposed to be. Chinatown in New York City is not a place you see in many films, but it is welcomed as the way it is filmed heightens your senses and makes you feel like you know the place well. The way in which Isabelle and Xavier's situation is explained visually is enjoyable, as they are made to look like cut outs in a paper world. The soundtrack is also very fun and adds to the craziness and complexity of Xavier's life.

Romain Duris knows his role well, you can tell that straight away from his performance, He knows how Xavier feels and projects this into his facial expressions. He does well and is extremely lovable. As much as he thinks he is complicated and messed up, he is just too likable to doubt his ability to work through what he is going through.

Audrey Tautou is gorgeous. She has an unique style of comedic timing which has always worked for her and does again her. Her scene in the boardroom is particularly hilarious. Her and Duris have wonderful chemistry and she is a pleasure to watch every moment she is on screen. Kelly Reilly also does well. She gives a particularly emotional performance as a woman who is on the brim of happiness, but is still worn down from what she has been experiencing.

Chinese Puzzle is charming and a wonderful feel good film. It has some very touching moments, but also some incredibly funny ones.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Noah (2014)

Year: 2014
Running Time: 138 minutes
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Leo McHugh Carroll, Nick Nolte

If there is one thing that can be said about Darren Aronofsky's Noah, it is that it's most definitely ambitious. It is a huge story to tell, controversial and visually demanding to bring to the big screen. You have to give Aronofsky huge credit for taking on the task to make this story into a film and with all factors considered, he has done a good job. It is most certainly interesting to see how Aronofsky has put his spin on the biblical figure. Although far from a perfect film, there are many good things and is a film that is just asking for you to have a heated discussion about it with others.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had three sons, Cain, Abel and Seth. The descendants of Cain and Seth walk the Earth, with the descendants of Cain building civilisation and coming to represent the wickedness in men. Direct descendant of Seth, Noah (Russell Crowe) receives a message from the Creator that he is going to send a great flood to end the world of man. Noah, his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) and three sons, Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman) and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), as well as an orphaned girl they take in, Ila (Emma Watson), start building an ark which will save the innocent animals of the Earth when the flood comes. Noah's quest does not come without great responsibility and sacrifice, and he tests the loyalty of all those close to him.

This film was always going to cause a huge amount of controversy. Noah has been banned in several countries including Qatar and United Arab Emirates as it is seen to contradict Islamic teachings. It has also been controversial among both Christians and Atheists. While the name God is never uttered in the film, several biblical figures including Adam and Eve and their children are mentioned as are angels, which are all products of Christianity. The whole film itself, whether it mentions it or not, is still based on the Bible and Christian ideas, so there is still no escaping the religion itself. However, several pieces of Noah's story from Genesis have been tweaked so it can be said that it is inspired by the Bible, but not a biblical film. This is one way which this film was always going to be a big ask for Aronofsky, as there was never any doubt that it was going to be a huge challenge to keep the majority of people happy. Of course you can never please everyone, but having more people like it than dislike it was always going to be the goal.

So all controversy and conversations of who believes in who and what aside, does Aronofsky's translation of Noah work well on the screen? It depends on which way you look at it. If you do want a retelling of the version of Noah which we have all come to know, it is adequate. The first hour of the film is very slow moving and not overly interesting. It is when the flood comes that the film becomes it's most intriguing. The first half of the film also see's the inclusion of the Watchers, which are a very strange inclusion in the film. The Watchers, although meant to be a version of angels trapped on Earth in stone like bodies, look more like a cross between Transformers and the Ents from The Lord of The Rings. Their physical appearance seem incredibly out of place in the film. On the other hand, if you see the film as being about Noah the man, it is quite intriguing. Again, the psychological state of Noah doesn't really become main theme until the second half of the film and that is when things become really interesting as we start to see that Noah is just a man with strong emotions. The only suspense (because let's face it, we know what happens to the world as a result of the flood), is seeing what becomes of Noah and if he is strong enough mentally to cope with the challenge he is presented with.

Noah was always going to be a visually challenging film. Not challenging for the viewers, but challenging for the film makers to do what needs to be done to make it realistic and spectacular. The flood scenes are the ones which were going to have the most emphasis put on them by the public as that is the event everybody associates with the name Noah. These scenes are quite spectacular, as you would hope they would be. They are powerful and all that you would hope these scenes would be. Some of the panoramic landscape shots of before the ark is built as quite beautiful, but some of the techniques employed and editing for presenting them are off-putting. Fade to black is overused and can become irritating while the family are travelling across the land, and the cinematography of the stream as it winds throughout the land feels very out of place. What is amazing is that no animals were used in the filming of Noah, which is truly incredible. There are some animals which are obviously computer generated, but some others which look so lifelike that it is a shock to think they are not as they seem.

Russell Crowe does do very well as Noah. Although this is not really a huge stretch from many of his past roles, he still plays the role very well. His best moments are towards the end when Noah really starts to first become more aggressive and then collapses under his guilt. When Noah starts to show his emotions, that is when Crowe really starts to give a great as opposed to a good performance. Jennifer Connolly is also very good, but just like Crowe, has her best moments towards the end of the film. Ray Winstone, who plays Tubal-Cain is terrifying. He is a truly great villain as you feel real hatred towards him, but he just is so good at what he does.

While Crowe may be the lead man, it is Emma Watson who is the star of the film. She is absolutely wonderful in Noah as the girl who is in love with Shem and is loved as a daughter by Noah and Naameh, but feels she is a burden on the family and Shem, especially considering she is infertile. Watson's performance is so emotionally charged and she makes a huge connection with the audience as they feel her pain and cry when she cries. This is Watson's best performance to date and she is the one in the film people will remember when they talk about this film. Logan Lerman also does well, but he really only has one scene which is considered powerful.

Noah is a memorable film, but not because it is a wonderful film. It is a great conversation starter for it's background, rather than for it's content and this isn't what makes a great film.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Year: 2014
Running Time: 136 minutes
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Writers: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (comic book), Ed Brubaker (concept and story), Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (screenplay)
Cast: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp

Every once in a while a film comes along which defies the ideology of a sequel. It's a sequel's job to try and be as good as the first, but we all know the inevitability of the pitfalls of this ambition. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a particular rarity as it is not only a sequel which measures up to the first, but is in many ways better than the first. It has all the excitement of the modern day Marvel hero, but an added historical backstory that gives it a point of difference. There is plenty of action and a well written screenplay brought to life by convincing performances by it's impressive cast.

Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans) is starting to adapt to life in the present day, but still keeps one eye in a past which is hard to forget. When SHIELD is compromised, Rogers finds Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in his apartment after he has been attacked by a mysterious enemy, who Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) believes to be the Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier is a ghost-like force who has been appearing in attacks since the war and has superhuman strength, much like Rogers himself. Rogers finds that he has to once again don Captain America's suit and armour and save humankind from a greater evil.

Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are really two very different films. This goes without saying really as one is set in the 1940's while the other is set in present day and this means that they have two completely different atmospheres. Captain America: The First Avenger was very much a historical film and very nostalgic. It played on the reception of the 1940's superhero in society and it's nostalgia for this hero came across at times as slightly comical rather than patriotic. The newer film has a completely different feel to it. It has the historical aspect which is seen through darker lenses than it's processor, but it is also very much a present day Marvel film. Captain America: The Winter Soldier also borders on being a political thriller with the inclusion of Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). It is a different superhero film than we are used to seeing as a result of a wonderfully written screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

With the inclusion of new characters in a sequel, it is often a challenge not to make the film seem too busy and have too much going on at once, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier flows perfectly and everything and everyone included as crucial to the film as a whole. The dialogue is also very good. One of the problems of the first film was that the dialogue was very cheesy, yet not so in this film. The large majority of it is very natural and when funny, not forcefully funny or over the top.

One of the reasons one goes to see a Marvel superhero film is to watch something action packed. There is absolutely no lack of action here. The film explodes into it's first action scene within the first few minutes, and although some of the camera shots are very shaky and fast paced, they are very entertaining and extremely well choreographed. Directors, Anthony and Joe Russo relied on minimal CGI in the film so to make everything look substantially more realistic, and it absolutely does.

Chris Evans is very, very good as Steve Rogers/Captain America. As this is his third film in the role, it is obvious that he is now so comfortable in the role and has really settled into the character. He is so natural in his dialogue and exceptionally likable. Scarlett Johansson here has her second outing as Natasha Romanoff/ The Black Widow and she is another who has really settled into her role. She has the right charm for the character and although she is clearly a stunning woman, it is great to see a female action character not mention a thing about her physical appearance and rather just rely on her ability. She is also incredibly likeable and has some moments of wonderful acting. Her and Evans work very well together and have a wonderful platonic chemistry on screen. Another refreshing thing about this film is that there is no romantic chemistry between the lead male and female characters. Of course if you have seen Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, you will know that Rogers' heart belongs to Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Romanoff's to Clint Barton/ Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), but is still nice to see a film which doesn't fall into stereotypical conventions.

Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury and there is no way around it. He is always a terrific character on screen. Anthony Mackie is a wonderful addition to the Marvel superhero family as Sam Wilson/ Falcon. He is fun, lively and full of character. Robert Redford also does well in his role and is a particularly interesting character. Emily VanCamp's Kate/ Agent 13 doesn't have a great deal to do in the film and it would have been nice for her character to have a bit more of a role in the film as there was potential to do so.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is completely different to it's processor and even if you didn't like the first film, there is a good chance you will prefer and enjoy the second film a great deal more.