Monthly Archives: July 2011

Movie Review : Captain America: The First Avenger

by Dan Fields
First published July 23, 2011 by the California Literary Review

Must Be the Recession…

Captain America has a lot riding on his shoulders, not merely in his own war-torn world but in the dangerously ambitious Marvel Studios project of bringing the Avengers and their various associates together in a convoluted crossover web of summer blockbusters. The difficult truth is that since Jon Favreau’s runaway smash Iron Man, each successive entry has brought the average of the franchise down.

Sadly, Captain America is no exception. For a movie about super soldiers, world domination, and rogue Nazi occultists, it packs surprisingly little punch. The flaw is not in the premise, but in the execution. Long stretches go by without a joke sticking, a blow landing, or an emotion ringing true. Thor was no masterpiece, but at least Kenneth Branagh had the sense to keep things in constant motion, and managed to make a movie as exciting as it was silly.
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Movie Review Winnie The Pooh

by Dan Fields
First published July 16, 2011 by the California Literary Review

A Big Pot of Honey

As we join our beloved nursery animals, Winnie The Pooh has a Very Important Thing To Do. This we know, and once informed by the faithful narrator, Pooh comes to know it as well. Naturally the most important thing he can imagine is answering the call of his stridently honey-hungry tummy. However, on a meandering quest for his favorite sweet treat, he learns that young Christopher Robin and his animal pals may need help with an entirely different kind of problem.
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Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

by Dan Fields
First published July 09, 2011 by the California Literary Review

Take This Job And…

Anyone who has entertained murderous fantasies about a bad boss… dare I say a horrible one… may safely enjoy this airy romp without crossing dangerous lines in real life. Director Seth Gordon, and a very funny ensemble cast, get into all kinds of trouble in this cathartic dark comedy.

Three mild-mannered pals – played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day – collectively decide that they have had enough of their respective employers. Bateman works for a heartless corporate psychopath (Kevin Spacey, doing his most colorful work in years). Sudeikis works for a coked-up loser (Colin Farrell with… ACK! comb-over) who inherited the company from his straight arrow dad (Donald Sutherland, in a kinder gentler version of his role in The Mechanic). Day is a dental hygienist in the employ of a crass, sexually domineering dentist (Jennifer Aniston) whose designs on his virtue threaten his upcoming marriage.

The trouble is that they know little, if anything, about the crafty art of murder, and much of the setup involves their search for advice in that area. In typical fashion for three white dorks, they start flashing cash in bad parts of town, hoping that eager hitmen will seek them out. Sure enough, an enterprising “murder consultant” (the excellent Jamie Foxx) agrees to teach them everything he knows, though he plainly appears to be thinking it all up on the spot.

Take one part 9 to 5, two parts Office Space, and a thin ribbon of either Strangers On A Train or Throw Momma From The Train (the script openly acknowledges the influence of the latter). Continue reading