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3 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Good inoffensive fun that could have been more exciting, 23 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Captain America: The First Avenger, directed by Joe Johnston, bears the mark of many of his films -- good, solid direction; clear and understandable characters and plot points that support the material -- but misses the mark, if only just slightly.

Steve Rogers (Chris Rogers), an underdeveloped and over patriotic young man, wants to join the 1942 fight against Hitler. What compounds this problem is his close friend Bucky is the complete opposite of everything he is: strong, confident and athletic. After several, failed attempts to "join up," an exiled foreign professor chooses him for a secret mission and the rest, as they say, is history.

Johnston and Christopher Markus' script spends a good deal of time building up the character of Rogers as a dedicated solider, willing to do anything to defend his country and his fellows. But he spends a little too much time in fact. By the time Steve Rogers becomes the hero of the moment, the audience knows he is dedicated and the action that they have paid to see distills into three adventures and a montage of attacks mounted by the Captain.

Where such films like this always tend to shine is the villain, aptly performed by Hugo Weaving. The scenes in which he is featured are truly the lynchpin of the film, with special emphasis on the climax between his character and Captain America.

Johnston's straight forward direction is technically correct but the timing and the script hamstring him. Much credit goes to the special effects team that takes Steve from wimp to pimp.

Exodus (1960)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A great movie without an ending, 15 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In my humble opinion, this wonderful directorial effort by Otto Preminger is left without an ending. With Leon Uris' novel as the backdrop, and my own mother's history as an inspiration, the movie leaves you flat.

After all of the struggle to return the Jews to Palestine, after all of the drama of death and destruction and politics, we are left with a story that ends short of the finish line. The kibbutz are under siege and the death of Karen (Jill Haworth's character)leave us with a conviction for Dov Landau, Ms. Fremont and Ari Ben Canaan to go forward to commit Israel to the freedom it now enjoys.

Of course, in 1960, it was premature to predict or film a story that would end in a free and liberated Israel. So it is not so much the story with which one must take umbrage but the time in which it was filmed.

Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson and Lee J Cobb are brilliant in the film while Paul Newman, Peter Lawford and Sal Mineo offer eye candy for the women of the day.

The story must fall short due to its timing not its inclination but all in all, a story that must be finished to be important. Time for an Exdous2?

Unforgiven (1992)
Art as Life, 4 May 2003

Westerns are typically about the fight between good and evil. And so is this one except that fight exists in one character.

William Munny is a man divided. In Unforgiven, Eastwood explores that rift that exists in all of us. Faced with the temptation to do evil over good, to what does a man succumb? Therein lies the basis that forms the characters and action for Unforgiven.

Rather than a politically correct Western, this film has no clear cut hero. Gene Hackman as the despot sheriff, Lil' Bill, represents no clear side of good or evil. Also, Eastwood as a reluctant killer driven to his old murderous ways by circumstances of accepting one last hit.

Thus, we see that Unforgiven is like life itself as most art must be. There is no clear good or evil but both existing side by side in characters driven not by large set pieces of plot but by circumstances of the moment. A character kills in a fit of rage because he's run off the road by a punk in a BMW, not because he retains the fatal flaw throughout his entire life.