Ep. 113 – Avengers: Infinity War (SPOILERS start at 10:02)

April 28, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

The CineSnob Podcast RETURNS to discuss the biggest superhero movie ever, “Avengers: Infinity War!”

WARNING: Cody and Jerrod talk spoilers starting a 10:02, so tread carefully, true believers!

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Avengers: Infinity War

April 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, lots more
Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo (“Captain America: Civil War”)
Written by: Cristopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”)

The rumors are true—it’s all been building toward this. The entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with “Iron Man” in 2008 and running through 17 movies in the past 10 years, culminates in the latest film, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Well, I guess really I should say it all BEGINS to culminate in “Infinity War” because—somewhat frustratingly, and despite reports to the contrary—the movie ends up being very much only the first part of a larger story, with a shocking ending that can’t help but call into question what exactly was at stake in the two hours and 40 minutes if this isn’t the end of the story.

Here’s the lowdown: cosmic bad guy Thanos (Josh Brolin), who we first saw in a post-credit’s stinger in 2012’s “The Avengers,” is hunting down the six Infinity Stones that have been scattered across the universe—and turned up as MacGuffins in many a Marvel movie—in order to achieve his goal of ultimate power, which he’ll use to wipe out half of the life forms in existence in order to save resources. Out to stop him is an all-star lineup of just about every superhero introduced in the MCU so far. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) stow away on one of Thanos’ spaceships, which leads them to bump into Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

Meanwhile Thor (Chris Hemsworth) takes off across the galaxy with Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and surly teenaged Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) to go forge a new weapon to take on Thanos. Back on earth, Captain America (Chris Evans) travels to Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) Wakanda with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and back-from-space Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to reunite with no-longer-brainwashed Bucky (Sebastian Stan). If you’re looking for Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye or Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, sorry—they stayed home on house arrest, even though the fate of the universe is on the line.

While I won’t go into spoilers, know first and foremost, this is very much a Thanos movie. The Russo Brothers have made an interesting choice in focusing the story on their giant purple villain, with their equally-giant roster of superheroes coming in and out of his orbit. Unfortunately, that means some all-stars (like Cap and Black Panther) and solid bench players (like Scarlett Witch and Bucky) are left with little screen time to make an impact. Conversely, the Iron Man-Spider-Man-Doctor Strange trio is a real winner, as is pairing Thor up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. But as the movie nears its ending, there’s a jaw-dropping event that finds no resolution—at least not until the next Avengers movie is released. And, since nothing takes place in a vacuum, the stakes that the move lays out are somewhat cheapened, because Marvel certainly isn’t going to stop making movies anytime soon. While there are awesome thrills and amazing battles that fans have been waiting years to see, my real wish was that this were a complete story—and it isn’t.

Ep. 79 – Captain America: Civil War, Space Jam 2 is coming whether we like it or not, and the young Han Solo has been found!

May 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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The CineSnob Podcast returns to choose sides in “€œCaptain America: Civil War.” The guys also talk about the announced “Space Jam 2″€ set to star LeBron James and how much the original sucks (according to Jerrod and Kiko), and the fellows give their take on Alden Ehrenreich being cast as the lead in Lord and Miller’€™s upcoming Han Solo movie.

[00:00-02:04] Intro/salutations

[2:04-13:45] Space Jam 2

[13:45-22:26] Alden Ehrenreich is the new Han Solo

[22:26-40:27] Review – Captain America: Civil War

[40:27-41:10] Wrap up/tease

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Captain America: Civil War

May 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”)
Written by: Christopher Markus (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”)

When the cast list was announced for “Captain America: Civil War,” it was hard to not be afraid that it would be an overcrowded mess. After all, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” tried to replicate the success of the first “Avengers” with limited amounts of success. But leave it to brother directorial duo Joe and Anthony Russo to pull off something truly “Whedon-esque.” They take something that, on paper, should not work at all, and turning it into a rousing, action-packed, spirited film.

For being a Captain America film, “Civil War” goes a long way in its development of other characters. In a huge anticipatory move, Tom Holland is introduced as Peter Parker (Spider-Man). While the initial introduction is a bit clunky, fans may be surprised by how much Spidey they get. It is also the first appearance of Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. It’s impressive how streamlined his introduction becomes, quickly establishing his place in the franchise while not seeming rushed. Of course, at the heart of “Civil War” is the battle between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as well as the friendship with Rogers and Bucky, also known as The Winter Soldier. To that extent, it is a Captain America movie. To every other extent, this is basically a third installment of “The Avengers.”

For featuring nearly every Marvel character other than The Hulk, Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Russo Brothers did an astonishing job of not letting the film feel overstuffed. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was a complete mess that had no discernible structure. On the other side of things, “Civil War” has nary a wasted frame, feeling lean and mean considering its two and a half-hour run time.

A major problem throughout most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the inability to develop a good villain. Sure, Loki was fun, but the threat in all of these movies is always a vaguely evil and impending world domination by an under-developed and uninteresting big bad. One of the biggest reasons that “The Avengers” was so successful as a film was that it pitted these characters against each other. Strife within the group proved to be the most interesting conflict the team has had to face throughout the course of these movies. “Civil War” follows suit, literally dividing The Avengers into teams. It is, once again, the most interesting aspect of the film. It’s much more satisfying and exciting to see Iron Man and Captain America violently beating each other up than it is to see entire city blocks be destroyed by fighting some random otherworldly species.

This all culminates in a scene that has been dubbed as the “airport scene.” In what is one of the most memorable scenes of the Marvel franchise, the teams have a battle royale in a giant setpiece. Not only is this scene immense, break-neck speed fun, but nearly every character gets at least one moment of sheer awesomeness and humor. It’s where Marvel gets to show off that they know what to do with Spider-Man, really Holland being a true motor mouth. It’s also where Paul Rudd actually gets to be himself, stealing every second of screentime and being the version of Ant-Man that should have been in his own previous film.

Something that sets “Civil War” apart from most comic book films in recent memory is that it actually addresses the issue of superheroes destroying cities and killing random folks without consequence. It’s an idea that is somewhat meta, considering that being an actual criticism of the genre, but also an idea that was terribly flubbed by something like “Batman v Superman.” To this degree, “Civil War” actually gives our heroes a real reason to be against one another. While the stakes may never feel quite high enough, the disputes are earned.

The end of the film is a bit of a let-down, but “Captain America: Civil War” is solidly exhilarating, engaging, and entertaining. It’s a truly astonishing feat that the Russo Brothers were able to introduce new characters, stuff nearly every Avenger into a single scene, and somehow make this film feel like a stand-alone rather than a table setter, one of the biggest criticisms of the Marvel franchise. Without question, “Civil War” is easily among the top three films Marvel has produced, and the franchise seems to be in capable hands with the Russo’s.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

May 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Joss Whedon (“The Avengers”)
Written by: Joss Whedon (“The Avengers”)

This far into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it’s called, we’ve seemed to settle on a formula as far as movies with the word “Avengers” in the title and all of the other movies shake out: the other movies are ultimately there to lead us to the next Avengers movie—2014’s excellent “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the good-time jam “Guardians of the Galaxy” notwithstanding—providing some entertaining spectacle engineered to kick up hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office while trying their best to cover up the fact that it’s all nothing but wheel-spinning until the next Avengers team up. And yet, here we are, after a banner year for Marvel movies both critically and financially, with “Avengers: Age of UItron,” a movie that feels less like the culmination of things and more like a set up for the next damn Avengers movie.

After the events of “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the powerful staff of villain Loki has ended up in the hands of Baron Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) who is using its power to experiment on humans, namely twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in order to give them enhanced abilities. The Avengers, including Iron Man (Downey), Captain America (Evans), Thor (Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), lead an attack on Strucker’s Eastern European hideout to gain possession of the powerful artifact. Victorious, the team celebrates back in New York City, but not before Tony Stark and Bruce Banner put Stark’s computer butler Jarvis (voice of Paul Bettany) to work using the staff to create the Ultron project, an artificial intelligence charged with protecting the Earth from another alien attack. Only something goes wrong, and the Ultron that emerges is a humanity-hating android (voiced by James Spader) bent on wiping out the human race, and, of course, only the Avengers can stop him.

Writer/director/nerd messiah Joss Whedon returns to script and call the shots here after turning the first “Avengers” film into a global juggernaut and cementing Marvel Studios as a bona fide blockbuster machine. His trademark witty banter and obvious affinity for stories of ragtag teams made the initial outing something special, a fun mega-budget adventure with a real beating heart, a style used once again to great success in last year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  With “Age of Ultron,” though, Whedon’s style seems lost in the excess – there is a LOT of movie to this movie – with no place to put things he likes to, so we’re left with weirdness like a Spader-voiced murderbot who cracks wise like a cast member of “Firefly.” As for the main Avengers, moments of growth and evolution from their last on screen appearances seem forgotten as well: Captain America exhibits no real fallout from the knowledge that the people he thought he was fighting for were the enemy all along, Tony Stark still has dozens of Iron Man suits even after destroying them and walking away in “Iron Man 3,” and Bruce Banner regresses to a self-doubting neurotic about his transformation into the Hulk, despite seeming to have it under control the last time the Avengers assembled.

With most of the main characters already penciled in to Marvel’s movie schedule through 2020, “Age of Ultron” feels inconsequential at best, like a place-holder at worst. When the now-obligatory mid-credits stinger is finished, you’ll be left wondering why THAT wasn’t the storyline of this adventure all along.

Snowpiercer

July 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton
Directed by: Bong Joon-ho (“Mother”)
Written by: Bong Joon-ho (“Mother”) and Kelly Masterson (“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”)

When the news came out that The Weinstein Company wanted to cut Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s English language debut, “Snowpiercer,” to make it more palatable to American audiences, many people (including those who hadn’t even seen the film) found it frustrating to see a director’s vision stifled. Even though the full runtime was only two hours without credits, the Weinstein’s allegedly wanted to cut character scenes and add voiceovers to make the film a more straightforward action and sci-fi movie. In the end, the Weinstein’s relented and Joon-ho’s vision remained intact as the full cut of “Snowpiercer” reaches American soil.

Seventeen years after the chemical CW-7 froze the planet in an effort to combat global warming, a train called the Rattling Ark continues to carry the only surviving humans on a non-stop route. The train is segregated with the rich and powerful at the front of the train and the poor in the back. After being fed up with years of subpar treatment, the passengers in the rear of the train, led by Curtis (Chris Evans), plan a revolt. Moving through the train car by car, the determined group will stop at nothing until they claim the very front car.

As “Snowpiercer” progresses and the people from the back of the train begin to trudge forward, the film is almost reminiscent of a video game, where new challenges or surroundings are behind every door. It’s a good way to construct the film and Joon-ho is able to mine a lot of tension from the mystery awaiting the rebellious group.

Though few of the characters are particularly memorable, actors like Evans and the Korean veteran Song Kang-ho provide strong performances when given the opportunity. Evans in particular is able to convey a breadth of non-verbal emotion while flawlessly delivering a mortifying story towards the end of the film. The one character that really stands out is Tilda Swinton’s Minister Mason. It is a character and performance that is incredibly odd, yet so detailed and well defined as Swinton goes all in on the weirdness. Frankly, this character could have been a complete disaster in the hands of a lesser actress.

From a technical standpoint, “Snowpiercer” thrives with fantastic sound and incredible production design for the interiors of the train. Where Joon-ho truly excels is in his treatment of the action sequences in the film. Carefully planned out and orchestrated, there is a certain quiet creativity to these scenes. Where other directors might tend to go big and kinetic, Joon-ho uses techniques like slow motion, isolated sound effects and in one fantastic scene, night-vision to carry out his action.

The film isn’t exactly shy about its themes surrounding socioeconomic status and class warfare and occasionally hammers the point home a little too hard with cliché highfalutin surroundings and people. There are also a few instances of the film getting a little too bizarre, including one scene taking place in a classroom that is particularly over the top. Despite all of this, “Snowpiercer” is brainier than your average action film, and deserves credit for going beyond the basics of the genre to provide a film with substance. With great action, performances, and tension, “Snowpiercer” is sure to stand out in the summer crowd.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

April 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo (“You, Me and Dupree”)
Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Thor: The Dark World”)

Of the stable of Marvel Comics superheroes that make up the cinematic version of The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is the one tinged with the most melancholy. Originally a shrimpy wannabe World War II enlistee, Rogers was transformed into the super soldier Captain America, accidentally frozen for 70 years, and revived to fight for a cause he’s not so sure he believes in anymore. While he hasn’t aged a day, his best girl went on to marry someone else and grow old and gray. He’s a man out of time, working for an organization, SHIELD, that seems more about intimidation than securing freedom. But Cap is a soldier, and he does what a soldier does:  follow orders.

Cap’s unease continues to grow as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” kicks off. Sent to rescue the crew of a SHIELD ship from Algerian pirates, Rogers’ trust in SHIELD is shaken when fellow team member Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) ignores his orders to covertly retrieve data from the ship’s computers. Back in Washington, D.C., Rogers confronts SHIELD leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) about his suspicions. Fury comes clean, letting Rogers in on Operation: Insight, a system of satellites and helicarriers linked to eliminate threats before they happen. Cap isn’t reassured, and during a visit with his former love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), he laments what has become of the country he signed up to fight for. Meanwhile Fury, after visiting with SHIELD official Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) about delaying Operation: Insight, Fury is attacked in the streets of D.C. by a mysterious assassin known as The Winter Solider.

A delicious mixture of superheroics and ‘70s-style political thrills, “The Winter Soldier” plants its flag firmly at the top of the Marvel cinematic universe alongside “The Avengers” and Cap’s first big-screen adventure. While “Iron Man 3” felt like it was laying the groundwork for Robert Downey Jr.’s eventual exit (presumably, anyway) and “Thor: The Dark World” kept most of its action in Asgard, “The Winter Soldier” feels like the first Marvel film since “The Avengers” dominated the box office to actually live in and shake up the world that film left behind. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo turn in a hard-hitting, exceedingly confident film that feels effortless, the same of which can’t be said for the latest adventures of Thor and Iron Man. Evans shines again as Captain America, playing it straight while not turning the part into a clichéd patriot/man from the past. Surprisingly, the veteran Redford comes to play as well, digging his teeth into the material instead of coasting on his decades of movie stardom. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” may not be flawless – once again, the standalone film conveniently ignores the fact that the hero has other super pals he could call on – but it’s close.

The Avengers

May 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by: Joss Whedon (“Serenity”)
Written by: Joss Whedon (“The Cabin in the Woods”)

It happens in the second half of the highly-anticipated Marvel comic-book movie “The Avengers,” a precisely planned superhero assemblage that has been culminating since 2008’s release of both “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” reboot (most über-nerds unfairly ignore director Ang Lee’s fascinating “Hulk” of 2003 as art-house nonsense). As “The Avengers” ensemble cast, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, contemplate how to stop the supervillain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from destroying the earth with his barrage of alien soldiers and machines, Captain America (Chris Evans) takes it upon himself to assign his comrades to do what each one of them does best.

“Hulk … smash,” he says, directing his bulging, green, gamma ray-infused super teammate who swiftly carries out his instructions by ripping apart serpent-like battleships running amok in NYC. It’s a phrase fanboys will be pleased to hear, especially since Marvel seemed to agree with their assessment of Lee’s aforementioned attempt, which prompted the studio to hit the reset button by plugging Edward Norton into Eric Bana’s transforming role as Bruce Banner (the role now belongs to Mark Ruffalo after creative differences arose between Marvel and Norton). From that point on, the comic-book conglomerate knew exactly what they needed their Universe to become.

“The Avengers” isn’t trying to reinvent the comic-book movie like Lee or Christopher Nolan with his “Dark Knight” trilogy. It’s evident that the studio’s main objective is mass commercial appeal and not to clutter things up with complex ideas and themes. That’s exactly what they’ve been doing over the last four years. With releases like “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they wanted to give fans already invested in these characters concrete evidence no one was going to wax philosophical. They wanted big, blaring scenes capable of melting eyeballs in 3D. In the simplest of terms, they wanted to see Hulk, well, smash.

And smash he does in “The Avengers” alongside the mightiest of heroes, which first appeared together in comic books written by industry savant Stan Lee in the early ’60s. Back then, the squad was created to compete with the ever-growing popularity of DC Comics’ Justice League. While the roster has changed over the years, the modern film adaptations have chosen to follow the characters best able to sidestep their natural comic-book kitsch (sorry Ant-Man, your protruding shoulder pads are just too silly to overcome). With approximately $1.8 billion in box-office revenue worldwide, geekdom has spoken. Despite its flaws, “The Avengers” is solid entertainment.

What better way to appease the geeks than with one of their own? Directed by cult favorite Joss Whedon (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”), “The Avengers” is pumped with exciting action sequences and razor-sharp special effects that can compete with anything Marvel has ever put out. Known for his clever writing ability (screw Buffy, the dude wrote Darlene’s “To Whom it Concerns” poem during a Season 2 episode of “Roseanne!”), Whedon’s dialogue is perfect for more charismatic characters like industrialist playboy Tony Stark — though far less so for characters like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the always doltish Thor, who unfortunately doesn’t provide much oomph to the already ordinary storyline. It starts with Thor’s evil brother Loki, a flimsily written antagonist who is able to get his hands on a powerful cube known as the Tesseract, which holds the key to unlimited sustainable energy. With the planet on the brink of destruction, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) rallies his all-star team together to (trumpet fanfare) save the human race. Before they can do that, however, the Avengers must experience some growing pains as a diverse superhero unit and quibble like kids on the playground. It’s during these fight scenes that fanboy fantasies come true. Watching Thor’s hammer slam down onto Captain America’s shield is the stuff of epic wonder. Other amazing feats of action bliss include the Hulk intercepting a fighter pilot as he ejects from a damaged jet, and Stark changing into his Iron Man suit in midair.

While the narrative itself leaves much to be desired, Whedon, who also has the overrated meta horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” out at theaters, does have a knack for hilarious pop-culture references, snappy one-liners that get every character involved, and some physical comedy. It all keeps the story from falling into too many past superhero pitfalls. “The Avengers” may not divert much from the typical superhero blueprint, but what hardcore Marvel enthusiast would really want that anyway?

Captain America: The First Avenger

July 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Joe Johnston (“The Wolfman”)
Written by: Christopher Markus (“The Chronicles of Narnia” series) and Stephen McFeely (“The Chronicles of Narnia” series)

In preparation for the larger than life “Avengers” film set for 2012, Marvel Studios has been fast tracking films loaded with back story on several characters that have yet to see a major film incarnation. In the final tune up for “The Avengers,” one of the most iconic comic book heroes, Captain America, is brought to the big screen. While far from perfection, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is a largely successful adaptation of a comic-book franchise looking to fit into a grander scheme of things.

Set in the early 1940s, the story begins with a scrawny and often sickly Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) trying and failing to enlist in the Army. On his sixth attempt, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) finally accepts Rogers into the Strategic Scientific Reserve, run by Colonel Chester Philips (Tommy Lee Jones) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). From there, Rogers is a guinea pig for the super soldier serum, made to genetically alter soldiers into “super-soldiers.” The experiment is successful, and Rogers, soon to take over the alter ego of Captain America, begins his mission to prevent the evil HYDRA leader Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) from taking over the world.

Chris Evans is a fine choice for Captain America, making sure to establish charm as the frail Steve Rogers and having it carry over to the suddenly bulky and heroic Captain America. However, while Evans is good in his role, it is the strength of the supporting cast that elevates the film. Tommy Lee Jones makes it look easy in his role as the hardnosed Colonel Philips, displaying among other things, perfect comedic timing. Stanley Tucci also turns in a charismatic performance, making every second of his screen time count. While Red Skull is not the most well-rounded villain, Hugo Weaving does his best to intimidate and exude evil.

Although this is one of the better all around superhero movie casts in recent memory, director Joe Johnston (“The Rocketeer”) deserves a lot of praise. Johnston nails the setting of the 1940s perfectly, with elaborate sets (especially at the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibition) and costumes giving legitimacy to the film as a period piece. The action scenes are expertly shot and choreographed, using modern special effects and weaponry and applying it to the 1940s backdrop. Stylistically speaking, Johnston’s best choice was de-saturating the colors, providing a unique, muted presentation to an explosion-packed film and giving the worn down suit and shield of Captain America an even more rustic look.

Unlike fellow pre-“Avengers” film “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” strives to be its own stand-alone film. Absent from “Captain America” are the constant winks and nudges to the “Avengers” series as well as the general campiness and silliness that audiences saw in “Thor.” Instead we get a relatively well-rounded period film in which “The Avengers” isn’t even in the audience’s consciousness until the very end.

While the final act of the film is clumsy and feels quickly thrown together, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is an overall success, and proves itself to be at the top of the pack of comic book movies this summer.

Push

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Camilla Belle
Directed by: Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin”)
Written by: David Bourla (“Larceny”)

No matter what time of the year, there always seems to be room for movies about individuals with superhuman abilities. Last year’s early entry into the genre was “Jumper,” a film about teleportation. This year, it’s “Push,” which centers on young Americans who possess telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities.

While “Push” might be enticing for regular fans of TV’s “Heroes,” the sci-fi thriller, directed by Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin”), is listless at best. The small handful of action sequences might wake you from dozing off because of the needlessly complicated script, but there not much to hold your attention that you haven’t seen before.

In “Push,” Dakota Fanning – all grown up now and starring her first real big-girl movie (she has a drunk scene!) – plays Cassie Holmes, a pre-teen with psychic powers, who teams up with Nick Gant (Chris Evans), a young man with a novice ability to move things with his mind. Both are being hunted by a group known as the Division led by the film’s antagonist Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), who basically wants to turn them into WMDs. Cassie and Nick don’t have much time to worry about who is after them. They’re mission is to find Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle), a lost girl with supernatural powers, who knows the whereabouts of a briefcase that contains a serum that can turn people with paranormal powers into weaponry.

Despite some slight mainstream appeal (mostly from its slick, “Matrix”-like look), the film turns into a sci-fi vocabulary test where if you don’t know the difference (or don’t really care) between a “pusher” and a “sniffer” and a “seer” and a “watcher” and a “bleeder” and a “reader,” you might want to bail out early before things become more intricate than your average game of paper, rock, scissors.

Unlike most films of this type, “Pusher” isn’t a comic-book adaptation. Screenwriter David Bourla (“Larceny”) starts from scratch and builds the film’s mythology one character at a time. That seems to be the problem, however. Very little of the storyline feel authentic and logical, even from a science fiction standpoint, and all of the characters are about as interesting as the minors mutants running around in the background of movies like “X-Men” where Wolverine, Cyclops, and Storm dominate the screen. It might be a new universe, but after one quick tour there’s really no reason to revisit.