It is my firm belief that the standard versions of The Lord of the Rings should be jettisoned in favour of the extended editions universally. Sure, the near 4 hour runtime is a tad steep, but for an absolute masterpiece like this, it's work every second and the first act of undoubtedly the best trilogy in cinematic history!
Underworld is one of those select few films which received a less than favourable reception at it's initial release, but has gone on to remain a favourite of the dark vampire genre for the past decade. Why, you might ask? Because in the intervening decade, there has been enough bullshit released on celluloid, dvd and blu-ray to prove the initial naysayers direly wrong about their initial thoughts on the movie.
In comparison to the derivative and horridly one dimensional quote-unquote vampire films which have come out in the intervening period, Underworld still seems fresh and interesting after thirteen years of finalized existence; as a film it's held up well, and the story is still interesting and grim enough to be taken seriously by the serious horror / action enthusiasts. Vampires and Lycans are both presented as a serious races who live and exist purely in nights and shadows. There is no sparkling in the sun, there is no Vampire Slayers (although that was an interesting idea in the 90s and still holds up on it's own), and there is no overtly campy love story, instead Michael and Selene are both presented right away as adults in a very mature world. At the end of the day, it's a film about vampires done well, although I can't say the same about every sequel of the franchise
Really one of those films that is as fantastic as many people give it credit for. We are not so much shown what heroin does to a young person directly but rather we see Renton, Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy, and co. experience it through a secondary lens via their experiences with junk despite this really being a film about people and how they react to different situations they find themselves in. We see their faults, we see their redeeming factors, and most of all, we see their personalities come, go, and linger like the hits they take. It would be a simpler road to make this film entirely grim as the scenario itself is, but to add comedy and a very much present sense of humor is a stroke of genius. It was a difficult task even in the 1990s to make a film showing the grim reality that some find themselves trapped in (i.e. a group of junkies in late 80s Edinburgh), but to make it believable and worthy of sitting through is a feat all in it's own. Anyone looking for clarity on why Ewan McGregor is as lauded as he is need not look further than this film.
Pink Floyd's Pompeii documentary chronicles the band during the vital period between 1971 and 1973 between the recording of their classic albums Meddle and The Dark Side Of the Moon, inter spliced with recording footage and a live concert performed in October 1971 to an empty amphitheatre in the ancient city of Pompeii.
It's difficult these days to understand how vital Pink Floyd were to the 1970s and how their music really defined a collective of eras which many people still love to this day. The concert itself showcases Pink Floyd at their zenith in terms of live abilities. It shows the band working together as a whole before Roger Waters began nudging his way into the de facto lead role of the band's creative output. The band deliver a version of "Echoes" which is often heralded as proof that there is a God along with numerous other songs including "Careful with that axe, eugene," "One Of These Days" with all it's cheesy and ultra-seventies film effects, and probably the fastest, most breakneck but heavenly version of "A Saucerful Of Secrets" followed by the second part of "Echoes" with an opening with sounds like the perfect soundtrack to the Second Coming of Christ.
The rest of the film is part interesting look into the behind the scenes process, and part look into the Floyd's cuisine habits of the day with both David Gilmour and Roger Waters being visibly stoned out of their minds in some scenes whilst Richard Wright and Nick Mason seem more collected and present in reality. For a documentary today, it would appear to be riddled with faults, but as a Pink Floyd super enthusiast, I can appreciate it's historical value just fine.
This is pure, e-metered crap. Not a film or movie, not even the cheesiest, campiest z-rated flick. Total garbage. Every copy out there of this film should be thrown into a landfill, burned, and then obliterated in a nuclear reactor.
The reason many people herald this film as a cult classic is due largely to it starring two relative stars of the 1970s in it. Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour had both made well-received big-screen debuts in successful films prior to Somewhere in Time with Seymour starring as one of the most memorable Bond girls of all time, Solitaire, in Live and Let Die and Reeve becoming a household name as Superman in the original motion picture franchise.
Somewhere In Time is one of those Hollywood what-if's in regards to what would have happened if it had been widely released with their being no actor's strike occurring to limit the marketing of the film. Would it still be such a cult favourite if Mr. Reeve hadn't been tragically paralyzed by a horse riding accident and was still alive and well today? Would the film have further made Jane Seymour an 80s icon without her having to appear in dozens more films and mini-series' in order to establish herself as such if the film had blossomed at the box office? We can never really know, but amidst the what-ifs and the theories, I can say that despite it being a romance film, -- a genre of which I am not a fan of -- Somewhere In Time is a decent enough film which does have noticeable flaws, however.
Reeve and Seymour as Richard Collier and Elyse McKenna have considerable chemistry despite them being together on screen for less time in the film than you'd think. Collier is the time-travelling playwright from the late 1970s who has fallen in love with McKenna's photograph in the Grand Hotel, determined to woo her by any means necessary, and McKenna is the detached stage starlet who is - albeit fictional - possibly one of the few people who is more introverted than Morrissey.
The film has the typical tragedy-in-disguise structure. Collier is enthralled by McKenna and learns that she was also the old lady he met at the start of the film, he spends a good amount of screen time researching her and learning how to apparently time travel back to 1912 where he meets Elyse, gets rebuffed by her, convinces her to spend a day with him in which she falls head over heels for him, for the two to finally be together for a day of two of happiness before Richard makes a mistake and is thrown back into the future where he dies from the supposed heartbreak and is reunited with Elyse's spirit in the afterlife.
Both Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour give at least decent performances with the latter's being far more genuine than the former's somewhat rehashing of the Clark Kent side of Superman into a more romanticized individual who seems to have a lot he wants to say. Jane Seymour's portrayal of Elyse McKenna is far more versatile although her character always appears restrained emotionally except for her last scene set in 1912. I found it strange while watching her portrayal of Elyse McKenna, thinking that this was also the same actress who (25 years later, mind you), portrayed characters in both Wedding Crashers and an especially hilarious episode of How I Met Your Mother which can both be classified as cougars to the point where in the How I Met Your Mother episode, Barney Stinson gets so obsessed with her that he ends up dislocating or breaking a hip while in Wedding Crashers, she makes Owen Wilson utter one of his infamous "wows" in a situation which stemmed from an unhappy marriage to Christopher Walken. Seymour throughout her entire career has shown remarkable versatility that few actors are capable of, with her performance as Elyse McKenna being one of the most intentionally-restrained of them all in true fashion of the early 20th century stage actresses.
The production design is also one of the major points where this film shines. The late seventies in which this film begins have a very modernistic feel whereas the portions of the film set in 1912 radiate with an idyllic and warm vibrancy which helps the film's overtly romantic mood. It further enhances the storyline in the scenes that Richard and Elyse are together and make it so when they finally are at the point of professing to each other that it's a fuller experience for the viewers, one that flows with a vibrance which takes the entire film higher and higher before it all comes crashing down with the tragic ending.
Somewhere In Time is very much a cult classic at the end of the day, not known by a ton of casual moviegoers, or even the typical Blu-Ray savant, but those who are fans of the film are fiercely devoted to keeping it's legacy alive, and that right there is what proves it a cult film truly worthy of the term.
What I found odd about Star Trek was that it picked the alternate-universe card when there was no real need to. We had never seen the original way Kirk and Spock had met, or how Kirk joined the Star Fleet; they only told us about it in retrospect. They could have done an entire film about the beginning of Kirk like that but they chose instead the more complex path of making a different timeline altogether and surprisingly it worked quite well.
JJ Abrams is a fiercely divided topic in terms of film aficionados theses days. Many see him as a director who specializes in flash and uses the hip cool factor to get people to see every movie he's ever made. And although I will admit that I did indeed sit through Lost and was disappointed at the ending, Abrams doesn't do that bad of a job with the Trek reboot -- In fact he does quite an interesting and decent job.
The story and the realization that this is an alternate universe Star Trek is the main driving force here. Lots of the traditional Trek-isms don't show up here. There's no Shatner saying something dramatic as the camera swings in, there's no Spock-Uhura campfire-esque strangely weird singalongs, and no Khans, Squires, Guardians of Forever, Red Hours, Talosians, Charlie X's, or Stepchildren of Plato here. It's a film that really wants to rip off the posters of Voyager, the Next Gen movies, the Enterprise series and everything past Next Generation and say "Here we are again, Trekkies, we're back to trying to make Gene Roddenberry's vision cool and new again, please love us!" and in many ways it succeeds. Star Trek is more of an action and science fiction film than anything in the Star Trek lexicon beforehand, and it's not done cheaply and lazily. I will admit that I went in thinking I was going to hate Zachary Quinto with a passion by the time I walked out but I was surprised that he did a decent job with Mr. Spock. As did Simon Pegg and Zoe Saldana as Montgomery Scott and Lieutenant Uhura respectively. However the three real stars in the acting category come in the form of Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Quinto as Spock, and Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy.
Pine's portrayal of Kirk is that of a more realistic one; Kirk begins as a reeling party-animal slash midwest hick who apparently is a fan of one of New York's prime hip hop groups more than a hundred years after their existence. Pine as Kirk is a man who has to come of age in a time of crisis and shows he is more than just a gifted mind. Likewise Quinto brings emotions to Spock in a way we rarely saw during Nimoy's portrayal of the half Vulcan half Human scientist. Although I still believe that Nimoy can never be beat as Spock, Quinto doesn't disappoint with Spock's emotions being one of the prime driving forces during his role in the film. Eric Bana also delivers a less bland than usual performance as the Romulan Nero from which we get our antagonist, but the best performance easily goes to Karl Urban's portrayal of Bones McCoy, more specifically the fact that Urban gives McCoy a more bitter alcoholic-driven cynicism that DeForest Kelley seemed to shy away from.
The final strong point the film has in it's arsenal is that it features both fantastic visual effects and production design which both bring Star Trek fully into the modern age of cinema. The Enterprise is completely re-done and now looks like what you'd expect a Star Fleet vessel to appear as. The space battle scenes are also fantastically done with the phaser-to-phaser look of The Original Series replaced by a hardened carnage-laden odyssey which reminded me of a grittier, more realistic version of the Battle of Coruscant in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. The Romulan Vessel and the planetary drill are also stunning to behold and possess the gritty futuristic-but-actually-used look which a lot of Hollywood directors have finally realized gives more of an authentic appearance.
It may not have William Shatner being William Shatner or a ton of beam-down-to-a-new-planet sequences, but Star Trek cashes in on the fact that the franchise was in a desperate need of a reboot, and that it appears that most people involved were in the right place at the right time for this one.
I was roughly twenty years away from even being conceived when The Godfather came out. Growing up as a film nut, I often heard of The Godfather as possessing a sort of mythic status which few films made after 1955 possess. I first watched it back close to ten years ago as a 12 year old, never fully getting the story with the film falling into the "great film that I didn't appreciate" category until a month or so back when I got the Coppola restoration Blu-Ray and realized as an adult how fantastic of a film it truly was.
The Godfather works so well because it isn't a film that kisses it's own ass on a variety of sub-levels. Francis Ford Coppola went out of his way not to make the film one that glorifies the Mafia in anyway, but still realized what a magnificent project it was. It begins in celebration and ends as the first part of the trilogy in bitter-sweet victory and tragedy for the Corleones with Michael having slowly morphed into a totally different character by the end and the Corleone family itself having endured tragedy after tragedy.
Depending on if you're selective to certain genres of movies -- particularly crime and heist thrillers -- the 1970s were either a fantastic time with the New Hollywood group of directors, or a pitiful time where the Anti-Hero was all the rage. I've always tried to keep a foot in both camps for the most part, but if a film like this doesn't make you at least sit there as the credits role, musing in thought like Indiana Jones after being given a clue by a recently-killed shaman or anti-Nazi spy the first time you watch it, then I'm not sure you really know how to appreciate films and movies as art and not just entertainment.
There's so many ways this film just works so well; the first is that Coppola always had a way of making the cinematography and direction style look both extravagant, but also bleak at the same time, partially through sun-faded cinematography (I'm just guessing) and also partially through the way the film itself was shot. As well as the fact that Coppola spared nothing when it came to deploying talented screen stars of the day to cast The Godfather, leading Marlon Brando to find international success once more with his portrayal of Vito Corleone, Al Pacino as the reluctant, but eventual successor to his father Vito, Michael Corleone, Diane Keaton as Kay Adams, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, and of course, a pre-Rocky Talia Shire as Connie Corleone. These cast members in particular stand out in their performances and convey a sort of detached emotion which makes the film so great (if you need clarification on this, the scene where Vito overlooks his own son's body in the morgue is a prime example).
Although it is by far the best instalment in the Godfather trilogy, the film itself does suffer from a few key points which I've never been able to reason out why they were included. Specifically the whole sequence involving Johnny Fontaine and the Woltz horse fiasco which has no real involvement in the over-arcing storyline. However with how spectacular of a film it is overall, I'm not going to sit here and bitch about it any further.
I wasn't keen on reviewing Troy originally, but long story short it was on the Space channel over five times this weekend and I ended up giving up my grudges against this film and sitting through it once or twice because there was nothing else to do and I wasn't motivated enough to climb the flight of stairs to my Blu-Ray collection so here goes.
Troy cashes in as a large-scale film mainly because of it's keen casting choices which included Diane Kruger, Brad Pitt, and snagging two of the Fellowship alumni from Lord of the Rings in the form of Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom who directed a lot of hype towards this film, but surprisingly it wasn't as lackluster as I remember it being the last time I watched it back in 2009.
Much like the previous Helen of Troy miniseries which came out a year prior, Troy tells a slightly different version of the tale of the union between Helen and Paris and how it caused the fall of the ancient city of Troy. However, unlike the miniseries which is vastly different in terms of story and character personalities, Troy focuses more on the characters and their choice rather than being centred on the events themselves which led up to the Sacking of Troy.
The more human-centred approach works well with the different spectrums of versatility the main cast brings to the table, but all things aside the film itself is decently acted most of the way through and the chemistry between Bloom's Paris and Kruger's Helen is evident, as is the platonic relationship between Pitt's Achilles and Bean's Odysseus with Bean giving the film a more world-weary approach which somewhat balances the romance between Helen and Paris although the two lovers and Odysseus barely cross paths within the film itself.
The film itself isn't on the same caliber as the opus of Lord of the Rings, or even a few other films based in Ancient times, but it holds up more proficiently than most people give it credit for, and for that I will say that in most ways, it's an okay film. Just not watched five times in a row.
If there's one thing we've learned about Quentin Tarantino as a screenwriter and director is that one should never expect a typical movie that fits the stereotypes of the genre exactly - or even remotely. We had it with Reservoir Dogs, a heist film where we never see the heist, and with both Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds - two more films which take what is typical and throw it aside.
After multiple views, I still say that Kill Bill Vol. 1 is by far the stronger half of the duo. The entirety of Volume 1 is very much a build up that never fully stops, which is unique even to revenge flicks as they usually ebb and flow with a lot of changes to the pace. Not so here.
Here was have Tarantino at his flashiest but supplemented with a reservoir of substance which endures throughout the film. The colours and look of the film are all very exaggerated and oversampled, i'm not going to lie, but with such a masterfully woven story, the two go together like Eggs and Bacon, although I doubt highly that Samurai swords are edible.
The brilliance that lies in Kill Bill is that it doesn't overreach itself. It's a revenge flick with a lot of different elements, but it doesn't try to be something else, or pass itself off as a grand odyssey. Likewise, Tarantino as always adds fantastic dialogue which especially helps the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad during the backstory segmints of the movie. Quentin doesn't just want to make films seriously, he also knows that he can also have fun during the process which is something that a few directors twice his age at the time of Kill Bill have yet to understand or even grasp at it's base sense.
Quentin's casting choices for Kill Bill don't drop the bar either - Uma Thurman returns to the "Tarantinoverse" as The Bride, after previously playing Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, as does Michael Madsen after previously appearing in Reservoir Dogs as the sociopathic Mr Blonde. Lucy Liu, Darryl Hannah, and Vivica A. Fox all play fellow members of the Deadly Vipers and succeed in establishing that O-Ren Ishii, Elle Driver and Vernita Green are all worthy of the "badass mofo" informal title which comes with being a former Deadly Viper. And finally, Bill, who has very little screen time in this first volume, but is masterfully portrayed by David Carradine who seems to be just as good as his half-brother at portraying a maniacal but composed deadly killer.
Kill Bill is at it's root, a revenge flick, but at the same time so much more than just that term. It explores territory many others haven't, is loaded with memorable scenes and characters, and a piece of cinematic paradise in terms of the showdown between The Bride and the Crazy 88's.
Perhaps it was the best that when I began watching Bond back many years ago, I decided to start at the very beginning (as is usually the best thing to do with large film franchises.) Dr. No isn't the best, or most elaborate Bond film, but it's a somewhat decent place to start a franchise with so many ups and downs in quality that the films have experienced over the years.
Sean Connery is still my favourite Bond of all time; yes, beyond Daniel Craig and Roger Moore. Aside form the fact that Connery was the first to portray Bond on the big screen, he gives Bond a personality that every other Bond actor has tried to build upon by various means, but never fully eclipsing him. What makes Connery's Bond so good is that he projects a confidence while still being extremely suave, yet he can also become cold-blooded at a second's notice; plainly said, he has by far the most dexterity and range of any of the Bonds, and the 1960s were the 007 franchises' first Golden Age.
Looking back at it, as a story, Dr. No isn't at all the most three-dimensional, and it indeed suffers from the flaws of EON having to eliminate all of it's story-arc ties with Dr. No as a novel being in the middle of the 007 series. Aside from it's story limitations, it is a resounding smash as a spy and suspense film, although not nearly as good and seamless as it's successor film.
With the Bond multi hundred million dollar budget films that are getting doled out every three or four years these days, it's often difficult to remember the limitations that the Bond films earlier on (especially in the early sixties) had to deal with. This is especially the case of Dr. No as it was the first in the franchise, and thus dealing with even a more paltry budget than it's immediate successors. Despite the limitations, though, the classic Hollywood influence does seem to seep into and shine in this film, although I think they could have structured it a tad better overall.
Aside from being the first film of the series, Dr. No is also quintessential to the franchise as it was the film that introduced all the "Bondsy" stuff which would more or less be continued throughout the series to varying degrees and make the 007 films the ones we know and love to this very day (the martini, the suits, the gadgets, the small exotic sports cars, the elaborate lairs and villains, etc.). And although in comparison to Thunderbolt and From Russia with Love, the climax seems somewhat lesser-dramatic and kind of left me wondering if that was all as the credits began to roll, but as a debut spy film made in a time when The Beatles were still playing dingy clubs, it's a pretty damn good one.
There are some instances where certain directors just go together perfectly with the project, both in terms of directing style, cinematography preferences, and it's correlation to the overall story. David Fincher directing what seemingly everyone called "that facebook movie" is one of those situations.
I feel like I could go on and on for at least sixty pages about how beautifully this film is shot. Fincher's perfectionist "one-hundred takes of every scene or bust" mentality along with Jesse Eisenberg's detached, overtly-cynical portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg meld well together on giving the film a platform for the remaining cast and story to set itself up on. The film's genius and well-calculated approach is further enhanced by casting somebody who i'd previously not believed to be a good actor in even the slightest. Justin Timberlake's portrayal of Napster co-founded Sean Parker was shockingly well-acted. It's a classic case of a former teen idol proving to the world that he has more to offer than just choreography-laden arena shows and a new album every four years that really only suburban moms know about. Timberlake does to a shockingly decent job of portraying Parker as a former high school geek turned internet entrepreneur turned cast-out wannabe-rockstar who acts as the Lennon to Eisenberg's and Garfield's McCartneys to a point.
Aside from the rockstar antics of Silicon Valley net heads (about 20 years too late to use that term?), and an admittedly detailed portrayal of both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss by Armie Hammer, the film's biggest focus-point isn't about Facebook at all; instead it's focus is on how money and an astounding wave of success on a billion dollar idea can drive two close friends apart - well, that and the stigma surrounding the whole Finals club thing, but that really isn't that important right here and now.
Eisenberg's Zuckerberg and Garfield's Saverin feed off each other quite well in terms of dynamic. Both think of themselves as quite capable as making it in real life (they go to Harvard, for the sake of all that is good and pure) except for the socializing and love department, at least at the start of the film. They're desperate to leave their handprints on the world despite Zuckerberg here being too full of himself and cynicism to admit such. And that's the beauty of the Social Network, there's no teary goodbyes, no happy ending all around, and no resolution of the main conflict. Facebook is only a fulcrum in the film's true plot line of how a subtle behind-the-scenes Battle Royale for control over a world-changing idea can rip people apart in a seemingly irreparable way.
A surprisingly decent indie film revolving around different-age relationships, career second-guessing, and literature, lots of literature. However I still can't stop seeing that there's so much of Radnor's previous role of Ted Mosby in Jesse Fischer. Aside from Radnor sort of typecasting himself in his own feature film, Liberal Arts is also a medium for Elizabeth Reaser to prove wonderfully that she can actually act and that she wasn't just that vampire stepmother from Twilight.
American Beauty is a film that appears complex but in reality is quite simple: It's a film that unabashedly tears apart the delusion of the american dream and the typical middle-class lifestyle. A genius film and a perfect closing-out for the '90s.
The brilliant part about American Beauty which proves that it's story is strong is that it does the classic progression method of multiple storylines diverging at the beginning before weaving back into one at the very end of the film. It's something that has been done many times over, but is completely brilliant to watch when written correctly, and it definitely is here.
Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening are the nucleus for most of the film, playing Lester and Carolyn Burnham, a unhappily married couple whose marriage has grown completely 100% stagnant and who are in desperate need of contact but refuse for the most part to give it to each other due to their overwhelming pent-up anger at one another which is the driving force of the film in many ways. Their daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is a sarcastic and melancholic high school student who is friends with the vain and self-important Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) who later becomes the object of Lester's desire. Jane meanwhile grows to befriend her next door neighbour and classmate Ricky Fitts, an equally different teenager who films everything he sees while dealing with an overbearing ex-marine father who is the very embodiment of conservative insecurity, and all these intersect at the grand finale where a preventable tragedy strikes at a bittersweet moment.
American Beauty is such a relatable film because many people have at least been close to relating with one, if not two of it's protagonists, whether it's the introversion of Jane, the cynical, yet desperate Lester, or any of the others who all have their own serious problems in the storyline. However, Kevin Spacey's portrayal of Lester is the driving point of the film, as everything ends up revolving around the character's fate. Spacey's portrayal of Lester paints the character as a fiercely smart person who decides to take action and bring back some freedom into his life after he has lived a torturously banal existence. It's a film that can come off as depressing, but give it the chance and you'll see that it's a true work of art, and again, a perfect closing film for one of the most manic decades of modern history. Plus, you'll discover several hilariously stuck-up and utterly conservative euphemisms for not being the complete master of one's domain.
I find it tragic, enthralling, and mysterious that one of the most innovative films in the history of cinema is also one of the least known. In many ways, it was so far ahead of it's time, and so evolved in terms of the grand vision the film possessed. Simply put, every Epic film in the pantheon of cinematic history owes something to Cabiria. An appropriate and well-deserved nickname for this film would have to be the Godfather of Epics.
There's something to be said about how perfectly Pulp Fiction flows with such a non-linear storyline. Quentin Tarantino had already earned his spurs with Reservoir Dogs, and now decided to take everything to the nines with his sophomore film. The beauty of Pulp Fiction is how the storylines are so well intersected, and yet it begins and ends nearly exactly the same way. Not only is it one of the most important films of the 1990s, but it served as a platform for incredible dialogue, a veritable showcase depicting the bleak yet flashy glamour of 90s' LA, and a scenario of sorts of just what ordinary, and not-so-ordinary people can do when under duress.
Joe Johnston struck me as an odd choice for the director of such a crucial Phase One Marvel Cinematic Universe film. I mean, sure he's proved he is a force to be reckoned with via his work bringing the visual effects of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope from concept to finished product, but I had my doubts that he would be able to pull off such an ambitious Marvel film.
However I was pleasantly surprised. Captain America: The First Avenger is still one of my favourite of the Marvel films nearly five years after it's initial release. Last night I decided to review the film for the Disillusioned Observer and sat down through all two hours of it's blu-ray goodness to find that my enthusiasm for the film is still unchanged half a decade later, and for many reasons. The first being is that they couldn't have picked a better actor to portray Captain America than Chris Evans who I first became a fan of due to his role in 2010's The Losers (Journey, anyone?). Evans gives Steve Rogers a perfect degree of the everyman quality which you don't see a lot of in superhero films but also paints Captain America as a loyal man who desperately wants to help his country cast down Hitler and the Nazis.
The second reason is that the rest of the film's cast is exceptionally chosen, specifically Dominic Cooper, Hugo Weaving, and Sebastian Stan as Howard Stark, Johann Schmidt, and Bucky Barnes respectively. My personal favourite character in this film, however, is not any of the aforementioned, nor is it even The Cap, it's Peggy Carter played to perfection by Hayley Atwell to a degree that not only is she one of the best-acted characters in the entire Marvel universe, but she is one of the few heroines in any superhero film I will admit to having a wild crush on for the past five years (yes, way more than Black Widow). Atwell's portrayal of Carter paints her as Captain America's equal, which is something which doesn't occur often in superhero films, and is a welcome change to the damsel-in-distress scenario which was frequently present in films prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The last reason is due to the fact that it's one of the few superhero films to primarily not take place in the modern day. By setting the premise of the film in 1940s wartime America as the story depended heavily upon, Captain America is further set apart from the hundreds of superhero movies which all take place in present day insert-major-city-name-here. It also allows the film to explore the time period from the blatant sexism unfairly experienced by Peggy Carter throughout much of the film to more mundane aspects such as 40s wartime films, expos, and even entertainment aspects such as Rockettes and USO tours.
Many die-hard Marvel fans I know and am friends with don't give this film enough credit, or dismiss it with the piss-poor argument that "there aren't enough big fight scenes," or "it's too slow," to which I say adult-up and let a superhero film have some texture and richer plot. Captain America: The First Avenger is proof of the fruits which come with such a labor.
One of the harshest, unforgiving, but interesting more independent films i've seen in the past five years. Polytechnique isn't so much of a film about the tragic 1989 Montreal Polytechnique shooting as it is a bleak look into the event itself and the struggle young women faced in the late 80s and early 90s; a battle with equal rights and feminism on one side, and oppression and chauvinism on the other.
The film itself is unendingly bleak; filmed in black-and-white and in every sense completely focused on the lead up, occurrence, and aftermath of the horrific shooting, whilst painting somewhat of a picture about what it was like being a university student in late 80s Montreal (loud student centres, Siouxsie and the Banshees and all.) The opening lead up in the film is beautifully filmed, but also slow and boring. However when the unnamed shooter played well by Maxime Gaudette storms into the classroom and orders the student to separate, you will find that the film takes an even bleaker turn, even after the gunfire ceases.
This is definitely not a film for young eyes or the squeamish; the production that went into the massacre segment is shockingly realistic, and the violence and bloodshed does not stop till the very end of the film. However, for those able to stomach such violence and for lack of a better word, warfare, one might be able to see a surprisingly good indie film.