Tag Archives: Anthony Mackie

Film Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron

Written by Graeme Wood
03.05.15

 

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Joss Whedon set the bar of expectation high with the first Avengers film in 2012 and the sequel employs a similar palette with a satisfying if mixed results. Presented with a number of seemingly impossible boxes to tick, from pleasing fans, children and adults, introducing new characters, joss-whedonprogressing the threads of Marvel’s TV franchise, pointing the way ahead for character’s individual movies and ensuring some decent action figures along the way you’d be surprised if Whedon didn’t drop the ball somewhere along the line. However, Whedon is a writer who is always able to find a lighter moment to punctuate what could otherwise be a po-faced affair and in the midst of skull crushing and building destruction he’ll add a knowing gag or character beat that reminds us these are (mostly) human heroes not without their flaws. If some of the plot doesn’t necessarily pass rigorous inspection, the sheer momentum of the movie ensures it sails through its lengthy running time like a breeze. It’s never boring, always restless with ideas and frequently thrilling. In contrast to almost every other superhero movie it is perfectly paced too.

We open with the Avengers in full effect and for those who have followed the Marvel characters on AgentsOfShield_Marvelboth small and big screen events tie in neatly with the current story from TVs Agents of Shield, though for those who haven’t been watching both this doesn’t take away from a standalone story in this film.

Here we see what is likely to become the film’s renowned signature shot an especially impressive slow-mo tableau of our heroes united and all leaping in to battle the hordes of Hydra soldiers. The team are attempting to recover Loki’s staff from the first film, having been stolen by Hydra following the collapse of SHIELD in the second Captain America film -The Winter Soldier. With the staff back in their possession its revealed properties open up an intriguing possibility for inventor Tony Stark who driven by a sense of failure wants to protect his friends and more importantly the world.

Stark has always seemed less of a team player and though he comes through in the end there is a sense that he is dismissive of others and always far too pleased with himself. As played by Robert Downey Jr, always a captivating screen presence, this has been a hard act to match though this film sees a more even spread. Stark’s pursuit of a laudable-but impossible-goal drives him to set in motion the creation of a new nemesis in the form of Ultron. It may have a moniker suggesting a 70s floor cleaner but this super adaptable artificial intelligence becomes the most dangerous foe the team has faced because, as one character put it, he is everywhere. Not just a series ofUltron_avengers interconnected and constantly evolving robots but living inside the Internet too. Voiced with casual menace and sardonic pleasure by James Spader Ultron’s intent is to realise Stark’s idealistic vision of a totally peaceful world by wiping out everyone and forcing mankind to evolve over. Not exactly what you might expect a super intelligence to come up with but the parallel here is with Stark who has also evolved himself by creating the Iron Man armour. Cleverly, Whedon uses the mind controlling powers of new arrival the Scarlet Witch to shorthand the fears, doubts and inner feelings of our team so we never have to second guess their motivations.

Conceptually Ulton’s plan may be a stretch and his powers do ebb and flow dependent on the demands of the narrative yet Spader’s fruity vocals and an effectively expressive CGI are sufficient to render it convincingly powerful.

Whedon is also aware enough to second guess some of our doubts and address them in the narrative, there is no doubt that Ultron is a suitably big bad foe able to create divisions within the team an aspect that Whedon returns too never allowing the film to get lost amidst the increasingly big set pieces in the second half.
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Chris Evans’ Captain America proves to be the biggest beneficiary of this approach, his no frills moral stance putting him on a collision course with Stark’s ‘the end justifies the means’ ideals. The difference in their characters means their scenes together provide a cornerstone to the film and a signpost to what will unfold in Marvel’s Phase 3 movies.

Also pleasing is that Hawkeye and Black Widow, characters without their own showcase and who tended to become side-kicks in the first film are given much more satisfying and developed arcs this time around. Scarlett Johansson’s scenes with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner are touching and subtly played even if the Hulk itself is sometimes a sledgehammer too many. While Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton provides an unsuspecting humanity and heart at the centre of the film which grounds our characters and determines their mission.

Among the new arrivals we’re introduced to the Maximoff twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, however due to the X-Men and Mutants belonging to Fox studios the twins are introduced here as AgeUltron_Quicksilverenhanced experiments rather than Magneto’s offspring. While their place in the plot is earned as individuals they fail to make much of an impact as interesting characters, particularly as the cast keeps growing. Making worthwhile cameos and even managing to expand their characters in the brief time on-screen are Don Cheadle (War Machine), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Idris Elba (Heimdal) and Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) Marvel’s watchword – ‘It’s all connected’ – never ringing truer.

The final character to be introduced is a Paul Bettany as The Vision tipping the balance perhaps a little too much as his powers seem to conveniently mop up any gaps in the skills of the others and providing the key to defeating Ultron. Nonetheless the team rally into battle in the final act and the action is impressive. Whedon’s use of Italy, Bangladesh, Johanesburg and Seoul and locations provide a suitably refreshing and global feel to the proceedings which lifts the action sequences far above the norm.

Though the outcome of the battle is rarely in doubt Whedon ensures that it doesn’t come easily and it’s not without a cost, while the cinematography and direction ensures these scenes continue to hold our attention. By the film’s close we see some intriguing story threads laid for the next sequence of Marvel’s cinematic universe and a new team of Avengers ready to continue the good fight under the leadership of Captain America. However, one must wonder if subsequent Avengers movies helmed by Anthony and Joe Russo can possibly ever match the verve of the first because Whedon has ensured these are the cream of an increasingly overcrowded market.

Interview with Anthony Mackie

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written by Lee Pinkerton
25/04/14

African American actor Anthony Mackie has been slowly building up his acting CV over the last decade.  He’s starred in not one but two Spike Lee joints (Sucker Free City and She Hate Me) but his big break into the mainstream came when he starred in the Oscar winning 2009 movie The Hurt Locker.

Also in 2009, Mackie portrayed rapper Tupac Shakur in the film Notorious, and later went onto appear alongside Matt Damon in the 2011 film The Adjustment Bureau where he plays Harry Mitchell, a sympathetic member of a shadowy supernatural group that controls human destiny.

This year he stars in his biggest budget movie so far Captain America: The Winter Soldier playing Sam Wilson aka ‘Falcon’.

If you want to get to know Mackie a little better you could do worse then check out this interview he did for the show Hooked Up.

Hooked Up with Tom Colicchio is a fishing/conversation show where chef and fishing enthusiast Colicchio takes a celebrity out on the water fishing. In the interview, Mackie chats about his movie career and why Morgan Freeman gave him the best movie career advice after working on Million Dollar Baby and  why he had such a great experience filming The Hurt Locker in Jordan with Kathryn Bigelow.

 

Film Review: Captain America, The Winter Soldier

 

written by Michael Dequina
15/04/14

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While the second solo screen outing for stars-and-stripes super-soldier Captain America, The Winter Soldier is the first “real” franchise instalment, for the previous film, The First Avenger, with its entirely (save literally the closing minutes) WWII era setting was clearly conceived and executed as a back-story vehicle–not just for the character of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) but The Avengers film that immediately followed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe chronology.

In a way, that film can be somewhat seen as buying time, given that a square-jawed do-gooder icon of middle-of-the-road Americana doesn’t easily lend itself to a unique nor–to be perfectly honest–interesting solo series identity like fellow Avengers Iron Man, Thor, or the Hulk. But directors Joe and Anthony Russo and returning screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have cracked the code, which can be boiled down to two key decisions. First, they take a comparatively more reality-bound approach than Thor’s literal mythology, Iron Man’s techno-fantasias, and Hulk being Hulk; and second, crafting a hotbed of shifty motives and outright corruption around such a paragon of old school virtue.

The film recalls another old school vibe, that of paranoid thrillers of the ’70s, in how a routine S.H.I.E.L.D.-assigned rescue mission for Cap and Black Widow (a now-fully-settled Scarlett Johansson, her third time in the role indeed being the charm, literally and figuratively) opens the door to some shady and perhaps sinister goings-on within the espionage outfit. Traditional comic book action is certainly not in short supply as Cap, Black Widow, and a new comrade, soldier Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), gradually uncover the truths about a questionable new S.H.I.E.L.D. project as a masked assassin, the Winter Soldier of the title, goes after various targets, among them Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, getting a more active role this time); Wilson is, after all, better known to Marvel Comics fans under the moniker Falcon, and his literally high-flying derring-do makes for a nice complement to Cap’s shield-throwing and Black Widow’s gun and fight skills.

Anthony Mackie in Captain-America_But Mackie’s ease with Evans and seamless integration into the MCU ensemble speaks of how the Russos and the writers get a lot right on a nuts-and-bolts character level, lending a solid foundation to the visceral thrills and plot twists. Ironically enough, the turn involving the Winter Soldier is probably the film’s weakest element (inherited from the rather contrived retcon of a storyline from the comics) and doesn’t have quite the emotional payoff that was clearly intended.

But between the lively Evans-Johansson byplay (who knew we’d ever see The Nanny Diaries co-stars re-team as a buddy action duo?), high class cast (in addition to Mackie, no less than Robert Redford joins the mix as a S.H.I.E.L.D. head), and impressively mounted action set pieces, this is a solid example of meat-and-potatoes popcorn filmmaking–befitting that most meat-and-potatoes of comic book heroes.

Michael Dequina
http://themoviereport.com

 

Turmoil as Michael B Jordan Given Role of Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot

Written by Lamar Fergus-Palmer
03.03.14


Michael B Jordan is Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot.

MICHAEL-B-JORDAN_HUMAN-TORCH_JOHNNY-STORM_FANTASTIC-FOUR_It’s a story that has continued to rumble on since it was announced, and one that has caused uproar among die-hard comic book, superhero movie fanatics.

The news that has caused controversy is that Michael B Jordan, previously known for his roles as Wallace on The Wire, Alex in Parenthood and Steve Montgomery in the 2012 supernatural movie Chronicles has been handed the role of Johnny Blaze (aka the Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four reboot, which is due to be released in 2015.Fantastic-Four-marvel-comics-5205641-1280-960-650x400

But what has caused the uproar? Is it that because up until this point Michael B Jordan hasn’t had many film roles? Is it that he’s only 27? No, what’s causing an issue among die hard comic book fans is that Michael B Jordon is African-American, and Johnny Blaze (The Human Torch) has always been played by white actors he is also white in the comic books.

So with the above in mind, is an African-American actor cast into a role that was previously seen as a Caucasian role, good news or bad news for the fans of the comic books?

Should the race of the Human Torch matter at all? White, Black, Asian, Hispanic; well I don’t think it should matter at all, after all isn’t this all fiction – in the world of fiction anything can happen cant it?

What’s the real issue for fans?

Die-hard fans of the F4 series are arguing the following:

·         The Human Torch has always been a white character, so why change now?

·         Audiences might be confused by the change.

·         But the ‘main’ point that is being argued; is that with a black Johnny Blaze, you cannot have a fantastic-FF-18R_fwhite Sue Storm (who has already been cast as Kate Mara in the new reboot, a white actress) as the two are historically brother and sister.

Of course, the counter-argument to all the above points is:

·         Many films have made the same change without any issues. For instance, Heimdall, the fictional character, based on the Norse god Heimdallr has been portrayed stoically excellently by Idris Elba in the Thor movies.

·         Furthermore, the family argument makes it sound like there isn’t a mixed-race family in existence? There has never been white & black twins born to the same mother, it’s just impossible by any means. Even more so when you take into account that the film is about four people who go into space and gain superhuman abilities, isn’t everything possible!

Therefore, when logic is applied to the arguments, the change should cause no issues at all. However, that would be far too simple for some.

On the other side of the coin…black super hero fans have finally seen….

The rise of black characters as superheroes and the transformation of original black comic book heroes onto the big screen in recent years.

There have been a number of previously white roles cast to black superheroes over the past few years.

Samuel L Jackson portrays Nick Fury brilliantly.
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Don Cheadle has a lead role in Ironman. In fact, for a short time in Ironman 2, he wore the suit and engaged in the action. Anthony Mackie is soon to be seen as Falcon, the sidekick to Captain America in the new Winter Soldier movie due for release on 28th March 2014. Perry White is played brilliantly by Laurence Fishburne in the Superman reboot.

Last but not least, Jamie Foxx spider-man-2-electrowill be Max Dillon/Electro in the new Spiderman 2 reboot, which is due to be released in April 2014.

Even with the above characters and several others, many comic book and superhero film fans are arguing that there are still; not enough black characters in superhero/comic book adaptations on the big screen.

Ultimately, with any movie role, not just in this genre, colour shouldn’t be a controlling factor. Still we understand that black superhero fans may not be too happy to see the Black Panther cast as a Caucasian superhero, but with all the recent changes could black comic-book fans still complain – probably!

As with any film role it should always be that the man or woman cast into a role; should be the person best suited to play that role as chosen by casting, regardless of their race.

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This is why there is no doubt in our minds (at Kush Films) that Michael B Jordan will make a fantastic Human Torch, and hopefully he will spur on a new generation of black superhero movie characters for the future.

We here they are looking at making a movie version of the Black Panther, which has been discussed for a number of years and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.

 

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Anthony Mackie as Falcon

Renaissance 2014 Black Movie Preview

 

By ReBecca Theodore-Vachon
Dec 27, 2013

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2013 was a win-win for Black cinema with both critically acclaimed movies (“12 Years A Slave,” “Fruitvale Station”) and in the box office (“Best Man Holiday,” “The Butler”).  Now that Hollywood has gotten the message that movies with casts of color are indeed profitable, 2014 promises more dramas, romantic comedies and action thrillers for Black moviegoers.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our most anticipated projects for 2014:

“Ride Along” Starring- Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter

UK Release Date: 07/03/2014

Fast-talking security guard Ben (Kevin Hart)  joins his cop brother-in-law James (Ice Cube)  on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela (Tika Sumpter), James’ sister.

 

“About Last Night”  Starring- Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart

UK Release Date: 21/03/14

New love for two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom and are eventually put to the test in the real world.

 

“Repentance” Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Mike Epps

US Release Date: 02/28/2014

An earnest life-coach/author, Thomas Carter (Anthony Mackie), is mysteriously abducted by a deranged client, (Forest Whitaker) who delves into Thomas’ teachings and uses his spiritual messages of Karma – action and reaction (Vipaka), against him to terrorize him and his family for their past sins.

 

“The Single Moms Club” Starring: Nia Long, Tyler Perry, Amy Smart, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews, Cocoa Brown

US Release Date: 03/14/2014

Brought together by a vandalism incident at their children’s school, a group of single mothers from different walks of life bond, and create a support group that helps them find comedy in the obstacles of life.

 

“A Haunted House 2″ Starring: Marlon Wayans, Liana Mendoza, Dave Sheridan, Iva La’Shawn

US Release Date: 03/28/2014

Having exorcised the demons of his ex, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans)  is starting fresh with his new girlfriend (Jaime Pressly) and her two children. After moving into their dream home, however, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events.

 

“Belle” Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Susan Brown, Tom Coulston

UK Release Date: 13/06/2014

An illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle.

 

“Think Like A Man Too” Starring: Gabrielle Union, Megan Good, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, Kevin Hart

Release Date: 19/09/2014

All the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas, but plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.

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“Get On Up” Starring:  Chad Boseman, Tika Sumpter, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Jill Scott

US Release Date: 08/01/2014

A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

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“Addicted” Starring: Sharon Leal, Kat Graham, Boris Kodjoe, William Levy, Tasha Smith, Tyson Beckford

US Release Date: 09/05/2014

Based on Zane’s bestseller, a woman’s sex addiction threatens to ruin her family life.

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“No Good Deed” Starring: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson

US Release Date: 09/12/2014

A wife and mother of two (Taraji P. Henson), lives an ideal life that takes a turn when her family is threatened by a stranger who talks his way into her house, claiming car trouble. The unexpected invitation leaves her terrorized and fighting for survival.

 Idris-Taraji

 


“The Equalizer”
Starring – Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas

US Release Date: 09/26/2014

Denzel Washington and “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua reunite for their second feature. Washington plays a covert operative who, seeking redemption for his dark deeds, quits a CIA-like agency and puts a classified advertisement in the paper that reads simply: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer”

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“Annie” Starring: Quevanzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Dorian Missick, Cameron Diaz, Tracie Thoms, Rose Byrne

US Release Date: December 19, 2014

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Source: http://theurbandaily.com/2013/12/27/2014-black-movie-preview/
© 2013