Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

The author of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers has quite the experience dealing with Walt Disney and Co. as he courts her for rights to her beloved novel. She entertains them because she needs the money a movie deal will give her, but she really doesn't want to sell, especially if they're going to make as many changes to the story and characters as she's afraid they will. She's very particular that everything stays exactly how she imagined, and we slowly learn why though flashbacks of her childhood in early 1900's Australia, and then watch her protest and drag her heels in 1960's Los Angeles while bubbly assistants, scriptwriters songwriters and Disney himself obtusely parade her "Disneyfied" story in front of her.

"No, no, no!" is her favorite expression.

So the movie slowly sifts though poor Mrs. Travers' mixed and jumbled emotions as she clings hesitantly to the movie rights while Disney gently tugs on them. And it does it in a more interesting way than I originally thought it would. Half the movie is very much a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Mary Poppins, and being a fan of the movie for as long as I can remember, I found that interesting and fun.

But I also know that a considerable amount of it didn't actually happen. Like in a scene where the writers have had a breakthrough, and present her with something she actually not only approves of, but likes so much that she temporarily comes out of her shell and starts dancing around the room with the screenwriter. It was sweet; it made me smile, but I was simultaneously thinking "no way this actually happened."

I certainly hope that some of the amusing parts weren't made up though!

Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks' performances were highly praised, so I expected quite a bit out of them, and wasn't disappointed. They both gave quality, detailed and devoted performances. However, as the movie went along, I became more interested in a few supporting characters. Like Paul Giamatti, who obviously was fantastic, (when is he ever not) had a great character to delve into as Mrs. Travers' driver. By the end of the movie he is undoubtedly the most endearing character, and rubbed off on the grumpy Travers a little too.

I also enjoyed B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman as the brothers Robert and Richard Sherman who wrote the music for the film. Their endeavors to please both Disney and Travers (mostly without even knowing what is was Travers actually wanted) were very amusing. I applaud their efforts, even if in reality they had half as much trouble as the movie depicted, because the results, as we know, are now iconic.

Behold: the creators of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Of course we all know what happens -- we've all seen the result. And very few can deny it's a wonderful result. Mary Poppins is popular today because of Disney and the magic his team worked. We feel for Mrs. Travers argues to keep the film as she wants it, but at the same time we are not nearly as attached to her book as she is; all we want is for her to give in so those poor people can just make that wonderful childhood movie. Methinks the lady doth protest too much -- her desperate arguments and revealing flashbacks are certainly dramatic, but there was too much of it, and I was having so much fun enjoying the lighthearted "behind the scenes" moments that whenever it turned serious, I just wished it would go back to being fun and stay that way.

Saving Mr. Banks has plenty of sweet, sentimental insights into the mind and past of the creator of Mary Poppins -- all sprinkled with a little pixie dust -- but there's just not enough magic here to make anyone reach for this film instead of the one it celebrates. And I suppose that's how it should be.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


This is a spoiler-free review.

In this post-apocalyptic world, there is a large community living in the ruined city of Chicago protected by a huge wall. The people there are divided into factions to keep things equal and organized. They are typed either Abnegation (the selfless) Erudite (the intelligent) Dauntless (the brave) Amity (the peaceful) or Candor (the honest). Teens, at a certain (read: unclear) point in their life take a test to see which they are, and then are allowed to choose any of the five to spend the rest of their life in. Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) was born into Abnegation, but always had a difficult time being selfless. On the day of the test she's afraid she won't test into Abnegation, but she's also afraid she will. Both her fears come true -- turns out she's selfless, and intelligent, and brave. They call it being "divergent" and in this community, it's not exactly something to be proud of.

Our heroine.

I liked this movie more than I thought I would -- in spite of a few things, and because of a few things I didn't really expect, and occasionally both those things are the same things. Like the plot -- it's halfway unique and halfway silly. And after the setup described above, it's small, episodic, and focused on Beatrice (or Tris) for quite a while as she struggles to fit into the fraction of her choice, before moving on to the big stakes. Not very much happens during that time that struck me as being very important, but at the same time I enjoyed those parts most because they were the most infused with character development -- something I didn't expect a lot of, and was therefore rather impressed with.

Tris and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) at the reap-- I mean... the choosing ceremony?

I promise, I'm trying my best not to compare this film with... you know... that one movie that everyone compares it to... but I want to now, just to say that they're not really that comparable, especially in the case of the heroine. I know Shailene Woodley is a much respected up-and-coming actress (or perhaps now she's already up-and-came?) but hearing everyone say "this in the next..." -- you know -- I practically expected Tris to only be played by Woodley because Jennifer Lawrence wouldn't do it. But Lawrence as -- you know -- is very different from Woodley's Tris, who is peppy, and warm, and her charisma is friendly and inviting, and she draws our attention easily with her openness, sweet voice and those large, multicolored eyes. Since I've yet to read the book, I can't say (yet) that she's perfect, but I have a feeling, and see no flaws.

At any rate, with anyone less capable, this film would be a dismal little failure, as she carries the film very well, and almost entirely alone. There is a very large supporting cast, but none of the characters quite reach the heights of the leading lady. Theo James probably carries the next greatest amount, as the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Four (I assume that's how he's described in the book) but I wasn't too impressed with either acting or characterization. The mainly impressive thing involving him is how long it took his and Tris' relationship to turn romantic. Seriously -- it was better than you'd think.

Still, anyone could see it coming a mile away. But guess that's not the point.

I don't have much to say about the rest of the cast. None of them were bad or anything, really they were mostly just underwhelming, and the bigger the actors name the more underwhelming the impact. So smallest impact; Kate Winslet, then Ashley Judd, Maggie Q (actually, she was cool) and Tris' group of friends. But remember there's more overall character development than in your average teen movie, so they do all have their moments. Biggest name and biggest impact of supporting characters has to be Peter, mostly because I just saw Miles Teller in the Footloose remake (which he stole) and have been wanting to see him and Woodley in The Spectacular Now, so I paid more attention to him -- but then he did maintain it with a bold and interesting character, and, maybe a little bit stole some scenes. Or all of them. One of those.

This being the best still I could find of him is good proof that he wasn't supposed to make quite so much an impression (directly above Christina there (Zoe Kravitz)).

A number of things about this movie teetered on the edge of Quality, threatening to fall over into the pit of Teenage Ridiculousness, but ultimately only one aspect fell -- or rather it took a running leap -- the use of sappy modern pop music; what was up with that? When the soundtrack wasn't singing it was fine. You know how I know that? Because I never even noticed it. But every time some auto-tuned female would start crooning out "feels" I became severely distracted, and then would glance around, suspicious that someone was judging me, either for not feeling the feels or for not being twelve. Then it would end, and I would return to perfect comfort, enjoying Woodley's performance, and searching faces to see if Peter is in this scene.

As for themes, I'm not really sure what it was trying to say besides the obvious, "don't let anyone put you in a box," and the Disney-patented-classic "be yourself" but I believe that it believed that it was profound. Another reason to read that book.

After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to go see Divergent without having first read the book. I was hoping (and also fearing) that seeing the film would make a fan out of me, but I am barely less indifferent to this franchise now than I was three days ago; still curious to read the first novel, still unsure if I'll do anything more. But I enjoyed the movie for itself, in spite of its occasional diversions into typical teenage romance and drama; in spite of its not being very thought-provoking, like -- you know -- (okay fine; The Hunger Games. There, I said it.) And because of more than I expected -- like it actually doesn't steal so much from the teenage fiction playbook as to make me ashamed to say I liked it. And the acting that ranged from better-than-necessary to great, and the story and story-telling was simple, fun, involving, and even pretty exciting. Divergent falls only barely short of living up to its name.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


This is a spoiler-free review.

Going into this movie I only had a vague idea of what it was about, and no clue as to where the independent-style plot was going to lead. It turned out to be nothing like I imagined, but almost everything that I was hoping for.

Ellis and Neckbone.

Two small-town boys of Arkansas -- Ellis, played by Tye Sheridan, and Neckbone, played by Jacob Lofland -- go out to an island on the Mississippi river one day to find a boat that was stuck in a tree and claim it for their own. But when they find it, they discover that someone else has claimed it already; a very scraggly, dirty looking man called "Mud." Played by Matthew McConaughey. Mud says he's waiting for someone, and offers to give the boys the boat in return for them bringing him food while he waits. He's waiting for his long-time on-again-off-again girlfriend, (Reese Witherspoon) with whom he has a rocky past. He also happens to be a wanted man, and the authorities are closing in on him. But Ellis wants to help him -- to help him be with his true love. He's barely clinging to the hope that love like that actually exists in the world, so he jumps in willingly to lend a hand. But he gets more than he bargained for. And so does Mud.

Nice chipped tooth there, McConaughey.

Mud is an independent film, and feels it every inch. The script is precise, nuanced and has character of its own, and the dialogue is easy and natural -- and no one ever speaks in "plot points." It's also set in very rural south, so every character seems to be thinking twice as much as they ever say. You have to sift through the murky words to find the meaning -- and there's lots of meaning. It's very laid-back in pace, but still builds tension very effectively. The tension grows slowly from the very first scene to the climax with not a single break, but unforced, and so smoothly that you hardly notice.

The filming style is also very effective in that way, and the cinematography -- even though the location was either the dirty Mississippi river or a shabby little town nearby, there's no other way to describe it except "beautiful." Usually, when you think of beautiful cinematography, a requirement would be a stunning location to shoot (and then airbrush) but is spite of the grit and the grime and the sparseness of the location I was struck by the boldly eloquent look of this film.

As you can see from these pictures, the film has fantastic colors, and dramatic use of light.

The main reason for my original interest came from the acting side, as is typical for me. And I wasn't let down. Matthew McConaughey makes you all but forget he's Matthew McConaughey with this wild-looking, tan, drawling and complex character. But Tye Sheridan is the main character really, and he doesn't let his equally complex, and fantastic character be overshadowed by the considerably more seasoned actor. No one's lying about this kid -- he's talented. The longer the movie ran, the more impressive his performance grew. He has a natural and sure style which makes him a perfect fit for this movie graced with the same qualities.

All the characters are realistically flawed and defined, and all the actors portray them expertly.

So what is this movie really? Is it a love story? An adventure tale? A gritty character drama? A mystery, a coming-of-age-story, or an action thriller? Absolutely. Elements of each are present in varying amounts. And don't forget it's an indie film, which is a whole genre of its own. Anyway, I guess it depends on which angle you look at from. From mine there was a lot being said about love and the sometimes harsh realities of life, and with a surprisingly positive outlook. But mainly, all I know is that more than once, as it deviated from, and exceeded my expectations yet again, surprising and charming me all over again, I couldn't help but smile and think that I didn't want it to end.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I've never disliked Captain America. But in the same way that Superman is impossible to kill, it's pointless to tempt Captain Rogers to do evil, or even to not do what is right. The result is predictable, and predictability in movies commonly results in boring movies. The First Avenger fell victim to this conundrum a bit, and made identifying with Cap an effort. He seemed too good, too nice; almost self-righteous; I now realize that wasn't a flaw in the character, but rather the film's representation of his goodness that was slightly tongue-in-cheek. I never noticed until I was able to compare The First Avenger with The Winter Soldier.

Captain America. The First Avenger. Steve Rogers. 95 years old, and still sprightly!

In The Winter Soldier, Cap is still unswayable and upright, but there are no longer underlying hints at his being a Mr. Goody-two-shoes. He fights hard to win, not timidly as to not step on any toes. His morality and justness is not a hindrance, but goes hand in hand with his heroism, and Chris Evans, with the help of the makers of this film, finally make that loud and clear. I've never disliked Captain America, but now, finally, the character resonates with me.

Evans is, as always, great in the role. He leads the film with likeable charisma, conviction, and more complexity than ever. A better lead for a better leading character for these movies you could not hope for. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is very welcome, and fits in perfectly -- right at home whichever franchise she finds herself in. And she just keeps getting more and more complex and deep with each fresh look at her characterization, and it's awesome.

Who would've thought these two could work together so well? Well... somehow, it's obvious.

Other returning characters include Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, who gets to do more than just boss people around this time. His sense of morality (or lack thereof) clashes with Cap's to great results. Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) shows up to help out from time to time -- still waiting on a real character for her.

(Spoiler warning!)
And then there's the Winter Soldier himself, played again by Sebastian Stan. He is a great antagonist, upping the stakes for Cap for added layers, but this film (in spite of being titled in his honor) does not appear to be his main event. So what, I wonder, will the next film be called? Captain America 3: The Winter Soldier 2?
(End spoilers)

"Yikes." And also, "cool!"

The team newbie is the talented Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson. He is maybe a little stereotyped as the plucky sidekick with a fun sense of humor but is still a good and helpful addition and will hopefully get some solid development as the Cap stories continue. Emily VanCamp as "Agent 13" didn't get as big a part as I imagined she would, but she'll be back, guaranteed. My favorite addition to the Marvel universe though has to be Frank Grillo as Agent Brock Rumlow -- maybe partially because Grillo is breaking into more mainstream roles (I only recognized him from Warrior) with this cool character, but mostly because he's simply a very, very cool character.

Favorite scenes include:

"The elevator scene" hands down wins coolest, most awesome, scene. And coolest buildup to an action scene. It was a highly anticipated scene for me, and didn't disappoint.

All the scenes between Cap and Natasha. They are almost complete opposites, so they complement each other perfectly. They develop an easy friendship that is very fun to watch -- whether they're joking and flirting, clashing wit, confiding in each other, or just kicking tail side by side. I wish there were more scenes of cheerful banter between those two, and less of a few of those dull scenes. Mostly the ones in which Robert Redford's character holds droll meetings to discuss plot developments. Those scenes also include dull lighting, and no interesting camera work to pep things up; it was as if the directors (Anthony and Joe Russo) felt the same about these scenes as I do. A second viewing should prove them more interesting, but if not, they'll provide a perfect window for snack-fetching.

Your mouth is moving, but all I can hear is "blah, blah, blah..."

All other action/fight scenes. The elevator scene may be the best, but there are super cool fight scenes everywhere. Action can get dull very fast, but not here -- here it's consistently exciting, and timed perfectly to not overstay welcome. The innovative fighting style of Cap and his companions were fantastically original, awesomely choreographed, and super fun and exciting to watch. Occasionally the tight filming and cutting style let a movement slip by, but mostly it complemented the action very well.

Added up, I think my favorite scenes total to about four fifths of the movie... so... that's nice.

(Mild spoilers) I'm glad they included the scene with Cap and Agent Carter. Two old folks -- one having been affected by the progression of time and the other not -- reminiscing. It added nothing to the plot, but concluded that loose end sweetly. (End spoilers) And while Winter Soldier was pretty dark and serious compared to other Marvel flicks, and also didn't have any side-splitting "Hulk is destroying Loki like a kid in a temper tantrum" moments, there were plenty of those great witty lines, and slick winking moments that you should always find in a Superhero flick.

Finding a balance is important. The light side and the dark side should be evenly matched.

You may recall from The First Avenger a problematic climax where Cap crashes the plane in ice, and no number of re-watches inform us of exactly why. That situation was necessary to get Cap where he needed to be -- in the 21st century, and in the status of selfless hero -- but it was contrived. The Winter Soldier, however, gives him more meaningful, more solidly written situations where his selflessness and heroism comes out naturally -- because it's who he is, not who he needs to be. There are still moments of predictability, (what Marvel movie is without them?) but as with the best of Marvel, the storytelling transcends all that, and allows us to have an absolute blast watching our heroes fight against evil for the sake of others. Captain America, I salute you.

Friday, April 4, 2014


In this two-man show, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are normal, everyday astronauts who get caught in the middle of an epic space-disaster, aka, a dramatic Oscar-bait scenario. And it halfway worked; visually it was pretty incredible, and even though I didn't see it in 3D, or even on huge theater screen, I can see how it earned its Oscars in all those technical categories. But I can't judge the quality of the film based solely on the technical difficulty, and the way the content was produced being supposedly ground-breaking is no reason to ignore the lack of, or faulty content in other areas.

Avatar is another prime example of this sad phenomenon of wasting magnificent technological advances in film-making on mediocre and/or (as in this case) contrived scripts. But Avatar was far more enjoyable.

But I did start that last paragraph with the intention of giving this film its due praise, so here it is. Visually, technologically, in the way it was filmed, Gravity is unlike anything I've seen before, and though I believe I would be more impressed if I knew exactly how hard and ground-breaking it was to film, that does not mean I am anything less than impressed by it. The cinematography was immaculate, almost to the point of being tedious; the digital effects made the desolate location astoundingly real, and combined with the filming style and directing, the silent, foreign threat of space was terrifying.

It was most terrifying and chilling in the more subtle moments though, where the threatening environment itself was slowly and realistically closing in for the kill. Once one ridiculously unlucky situation after another occurred, (each followed by a proportionally lucky escape) over and over and over again, the thrill and chill and terror quickly began to die away, as every tiring turn of luck felt continually more desperate to revive it.

This is just making me dizzy...

It seems silly to be disappointed that a film was exactly what its hype said it was. I knew and know that the main point here was to stun with wonder and fear of the wonderful, but I still expected more; I expected this film to be accurate to reality (because if it's not, what is the point of all the effort put into making it look accurate to reality?) and I expected a thoughtful plot with a heartfelt theme or two for all the wonder to enhance; something to humanize the foreign heights, but no, it remained aloof and cold through and through.

Hang in there...

My first expectation was destroyed in one fell swoop, and sadly was the main turning point of the film: (Spoiler!) When Ryan is attached to a satellite and Matt is attached to her; they're flying away from the satellite, and when they reach the end of the rope it pulls tight, and then... keeps pulling. Matt detaches himself because he's pulling too hard for Ryan to pull him in, sacrificing himself for her -- but why? There was no inertia to pulling him away, so he should have just bounced right back, making any need for him to make the sacrifice obsolete. (End spoiler.) The importance of the event just makes the flaw that much more disastrous. And they seemed all too happy to be realistic elsewhere -- as long as it enhanced the suspense, and didn't get in the way of the plot! In "realistic" movies (and especially in one entitled Gravity) the laws of gravity should be obeyed, no matter how convenient it would be to temporarily ignore them.

My other expectations slowly fizzled away, as the contrived suspense took the front seat. It seemed that most of the situations were either caused, or greatly enhanced by Ryan's incompetence, or simply not thinking on her toes, not knowing what she's doing, or being paralyzed by fear (except when it was just dumb luck). It seems very unlikely that someone so inept and unable to control themselves would be allowed in space. And it doesn't make for a very likable character worth cheering for either. Happily, in the climax she comes to her senses, finally achieves something of a heroine status, and makes the ending more worthwhile than I expected it'd be at around the hour mark.

You can do it -- reach!

This is hardly worth mentioning, but in zero gravity, tears do not drip off your face and float around the room; they just pool on your face around your eye -- not nearly as dramatic I know. But I guess that's exactly my point; this movie was just contrived to manipulate a more dramatic impact out of the visual splendor, and I could sense my emotions being prodded and coerced, and it only made me less and less interested in actually letting myself be involved. In the end the only thing Gravity had that made an impact was its beauty -- and I mean breath-taking, gorgeous, precisely crafted and performed beauty -- but, in the end, its beauty was the only impact that wasn't worth beans.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Matt Smith is Puddleglum (April Fool!)

The continuation/reboot of Narnia seems to have been stalling for quite a while, but is finally picking up speed -- zero to sixty in half a second in my estimation -- by finally beginning to gather a cast for the next installment, The Silver Chair!

One of my favorites of the series, and one that I think would make the best film!

Firstly, since it's been so long since The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Will Poulter, who played Eustace, has gotten too old, so, sadly, they have to recast the character. I thought Poulter was a fantastic Eustace, so the thought of anyone else playing him is mostly disappointing to me, but they allegedly have the list down to three guys and they look somewhat like a capable bunch: Gulliver McGrath, who is Australian, not English, and Tom Holland and Charlie Rowe who look rather too nice to be Eustace. I'll be interested to see what comes of that.

But as interesting as any casting for new Narnia movies may be, this post is for one particular piece of casting that has me so excited I hardly even care about anything else: Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) is set to play Puddleglum!

The fandom world erupts into thunderous approval!

This is awesome for two main reasons. One: Matt Smith is awesome himself, and everything he does is awesome, so of course this is awesome. But two: the best reason, and why this news makes just want go full crazy fangirl everywhere is that he, by doing this, is following in the footsteps of his Doctor Who predecessor, the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, who played Puddleglum in the 1990 BBC adaptation! I imagine it was an unintentional winking reference, but it doesn't make any less cool. I guess the character is suited to Doctor types.

Hehe, I do think Smith will be significantly more awesome in the role -- sorry Four!

And even though Matt Smith isn't naturally as, well, glum as Puddleglum, I think he will pull it off brilliantly and hilariously. His lanky build and strange, long face are perfect for a Marsh-wiggle.

What do you think of this news? Which Eustace do you think will land the part? And is not Matt Smith the absolute best, awesomest and the only choice for the next Puddleglum?

[Update: April Fool! On all counts except the sentiment, and The Silver Chair has been announced as the next Narnia film. Though, I haven't seen any of the "Eustaces" act, but I did spend a lot of time finding British actors (except Gulliver, who's face was just too good to pass up) who were a good age and looked the part. And, I would absolutely adore Matt Smith as Puddleglum. Please? If anyone who ever has any kind of authority in casting The Silver Chair is reading this -- take note. No credit needed.]

Upcoming Movie Roundup - April

None of the March releases were impressive enough to get me in a theater, but that wasn't unexpected. It looks like April's interesting new releases have a theme of sorts; great casts, with at least one particularly cool addition (in my opinion anyway) per movie. (Or maybe that's the theme of all movies I find interesting... that's a thought.) However, there's still only one must-see, but it's looking to be a good one.

Draft Day
April 11th; PG-13
Probably the most anticipated film releasing this month and with good cause. By the trailer and TV spots I've seen this looks to be another great, epic and inspiring sports movie from Kevin Costner who's still going strong. Certainly will be more exciting and insightful into the behind the scenes of sports than Moneyball, if only because it's about the much more exciting and popular game of Football instead of Baseball. And what a cast--- okay that's it, I can't go on -- happy April fools day; now let's get on to the good and real stuff. Except I guess I have to include the trailer for appearance's sake:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
April 4th; PG-13
Without a doubt this is the most widely anticipated film this month. And the closer it gets to its release date the more excited I grow in anticipation of seeing, it due to the flood of positive reviews, some going so far as to say Cap and Marvel had raised the superhero bar yet again. That's enough for me, but I also like the the idea that it's more of an espionage thriller with superheros, and the fact that Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow looks to be just as much of a main character as Chris Evans' Cap -- I'm excited to see the dynamic they create together. Anthony Mackie is the new addition to non-super-powered superheroes, and I'm very interested in what Frank Grillo's character will be up to.

Rio 2
April 11th; G
Okay, so I've seen... most of Rio. And I liked it, but obviously didn't love it enough to make the effort to see the entire thing. And this sequel will probably land at the same level of mild interest, as long as the reviews generally give the same amount of praise -- in spite of my discovery from watching this trailer that New Zealander comedian Jemaine Clement is the baddie for both films, plus of course Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, makes a cool cast. And the sequel adds Kristin Chenoweth as the baddie's tiny tree frog sidekick. That one's a no-brainer.

Only Lovers Left Alive
April 11th (limited); R
On one hand, a cast that includes Tom Hiddleston and Anton Yechin -- and also Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and John Hurt, (yes, John Hurt plays a vampire, I swear this is not an April Fools joke) but mostly the former two -- sounds like a dream cast, and way too awesome to be actually true, but it is. But, on the other hand I honestly have no desire to see a movie about vampires... (no matter how removed from, or better than... other vampire movies... it is) it just doesn't appeal to me at all. Except... what a cast.

April 18th; PG-13
By the trailer it feels like a Chris Nolan film, and it's cast like one too, and that's probably because of the director, Wally Pfister, who has been Nolan's director of photography in his every film since Memento. However, this is Pfister's first film as director, so that raises a spark of suspicion, which will hopefully go unfounded. I don't see this being ground-breaking, or, say, transcending (get it?) any AI film we've seen before, but I do have high hopes of it being worthy exciting installment in the genre. There's Johny Depp and Rebecca Hall leading, Paul Bettany and Cillian Murphy for me, Kate Mara, for some reason I suppose, and Morgan Freeman to ensure the Nolan association. Here's to it all coming together.

What new films have tickled your fancy this fine Spring month? Anything besides Captain America? Something rather than Captain America?