Film Face-off: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ vs. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Film Face-off: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ vs. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Apr 08, 2014

It’s our first summer blockbuster … in April. That’s America for you, Captain America that is. Chris Evans is back as Steve Rogers/Captain America with . He’s not the winter soldier although he was the first Avenger with 2011′s . At least we can applaud the Captain for using “The” in the title. It isn’t totally necessary, but it’s proper, just like Captain America.

In this week’s Film Face-off the original is going against the sequel, with all of the other Marvel movies getting left out. One category will not be the red, white and blue shield. It is something I’ll never quite understand. It bounces, and Captain knows where and when it will come back (like a boomerang). It will also knock out some people, but not others, and if Captain is going to jump off a building and otherwise hit the ground, the shield will help lessen the blow even though it’s stronger than the ground he’s hitting. Most importantly, it looks cool. Now onto the face-off.


Steve Rogers/Captain America

Captain America: The First Avenger

Steve has a hero deep inside that scrawny little body, he just needs some mad scientists to help bring it out.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve doubts that S.H.I.E.L.D. is always keeping the American people safe the way he thinks they should.

Winner: Captain America: The First Avenger. Skinny Steve is great. They take their time with the first film, truly getting to know what makes this guy tick. Sure, there is a lot of “Aww shucks” in the first Captain, but the film properly fits that vibe. With the second film, there are plenty of amusing moments with Captain getting to know the new world (he has a notepad with “Berlin Wall Up/Down” written down), but they don’t spend as much time on that as with him simply trying to figure out all of the evil lurking around. Evans has done a really good job with showcasing this character. He had a history of his charm being brash with roles like Johnny Storm (Fantastic 4), and Jensen (The Losers), but that never leaks in with this character. His giant muscles help.



Captain America: The First Avenger

Johann Schmidt/Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) wants to take over the world, and he has the help of scientist Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones).

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

SPOILER ALERT. The Winter Soldier is from Captain’s past, and he’s being controlled by a group trying to take over S.H.I.E.L.D. from within.

Winner: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I said spoiler alert, so that was your warning and now we’ll discuss. Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) wants S.H.I.E.L.D. to have more power than it already does. Project Insight (a lot of guns pointed at a lot of people) will take care of that problem. The way they weave that together with a small role from Dr. Arnim Zola is really nice. The Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). This should be obvious to everyone who either read anything about the film beforehand, or at least during the first half of the film as they are describing the Winter Soldier. This makes it odd that they keep teasing it. Plus, it will only be a shock to Captain, not anyone else. All of the fighting with Winter Soldier, and his desire to carry out his mission works really well. I just feel they missed the point of revealing our enemy. My hunch is this will annoy the rewatchability of the film as well. With all of that being said, the second time I watched Captain America: The First Avenger, you can fast-forward every single scene with Red Skull, and replace it will this thought bubble, “The villain is growing stronger.”



Captain America: The First Avenger

British agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) helps train Steve to become Captain America. She sees his potential, and then falls for him.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) works with Captain on the mission at hand. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) helps out and Kate (Emily VanCamp) does as well.

Winner: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Yes, I’m surprised at this one as well. I thought The First Avenger would win easily. I never once cared about the potential romance between Peggy and Steve (even though there is an attempt at a tearful good bye). That’s not to say it’s not entertaining when Peggy first lays eyes on Super Steve with all his new muscles and cops a feel. Atwell does brings some toughness and focus to the role. With The Winter Soldier they finally give Black Widow a reason to exist. Her banter about dating and kissing with Captain works great, plus the concept that she’s only comfortable when living a lie is intriguing. I feel like they are laying the groundwork for Kate with this film, almost like she’s joining the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or maybe she’s already on it. I don’t know. I don’t watch. We even get a little bit of Peggy in the second film, which pushes it barely over the top in this category.



Captain America: The First Avenger

There is a full out musical number with “Star Spangled Man.” Alan Silvestri is responsible for the musical score.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The musical score is by Henry Jackman. The song “Trouble Man” by Marvin Gaye is heard at the end.

Winner: Captain America: The First Avenger. This isn’t a crushing defeat by The First Avenger. “Trouble Man” is a good song that has a chance to make my personal annual soundtrack of the year. Plus, either “The Winter Soldier” or “The Causeway” from Jackman’s score is great. I’m not sure which it is as I can’t find the soundtrack anywhere yet, but it’s the music that accompanies the Winter Soldier fighting on the street. None of this compares with the surprise and delight of “Star Spangled Man.” Somehow this song didn’t get nominated for an Oscar, so hopefully the victory here will take some of the sting out.



Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain chases after a bad guy as soon as he gets his powers. There is also the attack on Red Skull’s fortress, a motorcycle chase scene, and a fight on Red Skull’s ship.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It begins with a boat action sequence. Plus, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has a chase scene, Winter Solider fights, and there is a big sky battle with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).

Winner: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The best thing about The Winter Soldier is the meaningless action sequences. You know what I mean. Normally, the first 75 percent of a film’s action scenes don’t matter. They are just fun to look at. With The Winter Soldier there is tension and really cool stunts. Since Captain only has the shield (and not big time weapons like Thor and Iron Man) he has to rely on his body more. The choreography from the stunt crew is great. I loved Nick Fury trying to get out of trouble and even though I didn’t love Sam’s dialogue, the flying suit is something I could spend more time with. In The First Avenger, it was fun seeing Captain fight without knowing his capabilities. The other sequences felt too familiar. With the motorcycle chase in the forest, I couldn’t help but think of Return of the Jedi.


OVERALL WINNER: Captain America: The Winter Soldier beats Captain America: The First Avenger, 3-2.

What a fun film. That’s what I take away from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Captain America: The First Avenger falls under the category of a fun idea that doesn’t totally work. We finally have Nick Fury and Scarlet Widow getting some real playing time and making the most of it. Stan Lee has one of his better cameos as a Smithsonian Guard. It’s great to see films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3 entertain even with others missing the mark (I’m looking at you Thor: The Dark World). Now, if only I can find a super nerd to explain the first of the two post-credit endings so I know what’s coming next in the Marvel movie universe.



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‘We Are the Best!’ Trailer: Punk Girls Unite

‘We Are the Best!’ Trailer: Punk Girls Unite

Apr 08, 2014

Outcast tween girls in 1980s Stockholm form a band and flip the bird to everyone who tells them punk is dead — and it’s a film? The director is perhaps best known for his devastating, challenging stories — I don’t think I’ve recovered from Lilya 4-Ever — but he shows his softer side with this adaptation of his wife Coco’s graphic novel Never Goodnight.

isn’t a brutal tale of human trafficking and isolation like Lilya, but Moodysson is still a master at revealing the inner lives of others — in this case, the alienation that rebellious girls Bobo, Klara and Hedwig feel as they try to find their place at school, at home and with each other.

There’s no American release date planned for the film just yet, but the DIY aesthetic of the film’s poster is fun, and the trailer will give any riot grrl or third-wave feminist the warm fuzzies.




Watch an Amazing Animated Short Created with Pens and Post-It Notes

Watch an Amazing Animated Short Created with Pens and Post-It Notes

Apr 08, 2014

Yellow Sticky Notes

When we think of modern animation, we tend to imagine studios full of people using computers to create the stylized visual worlds we’ve come to expect from companies like Pixar. However, it’s still possible to create some totally awesome animation with little more than a pen, some paper and a bit of talent.

Take, for instance, this animated short film entitled . Fifteen skilled animators sat down with pens and countless pads of yellow Post-It Notes, and created something truly magical. Here’s a breakdown of the project:

“Each of the animators created their sequence without knowing what the other participants were creating. Starting with a ‘to-do’ list written on the day of a memorable event, the animators transitioned from text to imagery by utilizing ‘animation meditation’ to create a visually animated poem representing how their lives were affected by that pivotal day. In the end, the thousands of sticky-note drawings are linked together to create a dynamic and inspirational animated film that connects the human spirit while celebrating individual artistic expression with the goal of inspiring future generations of animators.”

The results are pretty spectacular, especially given their humble origins. The next time you find yourself thinking you can’t do something creative because you don’t have some fancy piece of equipment, look at this video and remember that some very cool things come from simple beginnings.

[via ]



New VOD and Streaming Movies; Plus: How to Watch ‘Afflicted’ and ‘Philomena’ at Home Before Disc

New VOD and Streaming Movies; Plus: How to Watch ‘Afflicted’ and ‘Philomena’ at Home Before Disc

Apr 08, 2014

Our resident VOD expert tells you what’s new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable Movies On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and, of course, Netflix.

Cable Movies On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pretheatrical exclusives for rent, priced from $3-$10, in 24- or 48-hour periods

(drama; Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts; rated R)

(boxing comedy; Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger; rated PG-13)

(fantasy adventure; Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman; also available in 3D; rated PG-13)

(found-footage horror; Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz; rated R)

(animated family film; voices of Karl Urban, Justin Long; rated PG)

(horror; Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith; not rated)

(music documentary; Justin Bieber; also available in 3D; rated PG)

(romance; Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce; premieres 4/11 in theaters and on MOD; rated R)

(drama; Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan;  premieres 4/11 in theaters and on MOD; rated R)


Streaming/Digital Download: Rent from $4-$7 or own from $13-$20 (HD may cost more than SD)



Offers the same movies as cable Movies On Demand for rent and/or download except for Hateship Loveship and Joe. Plus:

(award-winning horror; Clif Prowse, Derek Lee; rated R)

(drama; Judi Dench, Steve Coogan; rated PG-13)

(googly-eyed animation for kids; voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson; available now to download to own—not rent—one week before disc; rated PG)



Offers the same movies as cable Movies On Demand for rent and/or download except for Hateship Loveship and Joe. Plus:

Afflicted, Philomena, The Nut Job



Offers the same movies as cable Movies On Demand for rent and/or download except for Hateship Loveship. Plus:

Afflicted, Philomena, The Nut Job


Netflix Watch Instantly: $7.99 per month

New this week:

Peeples (4/11), The Dirties (4/11), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (4/12)



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‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ Comes to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016

Following the from earlier today that Universal Studios Hollywood is opening their attraction in 2015, the theme park has also announced that The Wizarding World of will open at the Hollywood park in 2016. Check out the first image below, then read on for more details.

It's official! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ is coming to Hollywood in 2016!

— Universal Studios (@UniStudios)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood Photo

The Wizarding World of opened at Universal Studios Orlando in 2010. The theme park had previously confirmed that the attraction was coming to Universal Studios Hollywood, although it wasn’t known exactly when until now. We back in January that the Orlando attraction is adding Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express.

Inspired by the magical world created by and brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, The Wizarding World of at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive land designed for the entire family that brings the fiction and films to life with impeccable detail and authenticity. Similar to the dynamic Universal Orlando Resort themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the iconic focal point of the impressively themed environment.

The Wizarding World of is a collaboration between , Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.

was released and stars , , , , , , , . The film is directed by .

‘Soaked in Bleach’ Trailer Examines the Death of Kurt Cobain

reveals the events behind ‘s death as seen through the eyes of Tom Grant, the private investigator that was hired by in 1994 to track down her missing husband only days before his deceased body was found at their Seattle home. ‘s death was ruled a suicide by the police (a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound), but doubts have circulated for twenty years as to the legitimacy of this ruling, especially due to the work of Mr. Grant, a former L.A. County Sheriff’s detective, who did his own investigation and determined there was significant empirical and circumstantial evidence to conclude that foul play could very well have occurred. The film develops as a narrative mystery with cinematic re-creations, interviews with key experts and witnesses and the examination of official artifacts from the 1994 case. In remembrance of the twenty-year anniversary of the death of the legendary frontman, the teaser trailer for the docudrama has been released; a film that offers the definitive examination of the artist’s death from a yet unseen perspective.

comes to theaters in and stars , , , , , , , . The film is directed by .

Is Holly Hunter the Dark Knight’s Doctor in ‘Batman Vs. Superman’?

, Warner Bros. dropped another surprise casting announcement for , revealing that Oscar winner (), () and () joined the cast. The official press release stated that all three actors are playing characters “newly created for the film,” but a report from reveals that may be playing, “Leslie Thompkins, or a Leslie Thompkins replacement character.”

In the DC Comics, Leslie Thompkins is a doctor who went to medical school with Bruce Wayne’s () father before his murder, and she also knew Bruce’s Batman secret very early on. Some versions of Batman’s origin story have Thompkins comforting a young Bruce right after his parents were killed.

The character also appeared in the animated series, where she also knew about Bruce’s alter-ego and would provide medical care for injuries he couldn’t go to a hospital for. In essence, believes this character will be one of Bruce’s surrogate parents, along with the trusted Alfred (), although the site reveals they haven’t been able to confirm these details as of yet.

With production scheduled to begin soon in Detroit, under the direction of , hopefully we’ll be learning more about this new character in the near future.

comes to theaters and stars , , , , , , , . The film is directed by .

You Know You Want This ‘Alien’ Facehugger Table in Your Living Room

You Know You Want This ‘Alien’ Facehugger Table in Your Living Room

Apr 08, 2014

Facehugger Coffee Table Griffon Ramsey

When H. R. Giger first put pen to paper and drew the seeds of what we’d see in Alien, there is no way he could have possibly conceived just how long his images would endure and how they’d be passed down from generation to generation. Even though we’ve had seven feature films (if you count the sequels, crossovers, and prequel) so far that utilize his creations, none of those have tried to deviate from what he first cooked up several decades ago. That’s impressive.

And of course, fans have been paying tribute to Geiger’s designs for decades, too, and the latest one to catch our eye is this Alien egg table with a facehugger nestled inside. It was all carved out of a single tree trunk by the very talented, chainsaw-wielding artist .

Check out this time lapse video of the creation process below, and if you like what you see, check out for more carvings or the possibility of commissioning something for yourself.




Superhero News: ‘Batman vs. Superman,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Daredevil’ and the Amazing Record Marvel Just Broke

Superhero News: ‘Batman vs. Superman,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Daredevil’ and the Amazing Record Marvel Just Broke

Apr 08, 2014

Batman vs. Superman logo

Grab your capes and squeeze into your best form-fitting spandex because we’ve got superhero news to share!

Batman vs. Superman vs. Captain America 3

It was only a matter of time before Marvel and DC squared off mano y mano in a battle for superhero movie supremacy, and now we know the official date of Doomsday: May 6, 2016. That’s the date Warner Bros. plans to open the highly anticipated , which will now apparently be squaring off against Captain America 3.

While a lot can change between now and then, it looks like neither company is willing to back down in their battle to secure the first summer box weekend of 2016 for themselves. Supposing both films do make that date, which one do you go see first? [via ]

Cardboard Iron Man Armor Is Awesome

20-year-old Kai-Xiang Xhong is the Internet star of the day thanks to his amazing pictures of a complete and fully wearable set of Iron Man armor that’s made entirely out of cardboard. The level of detail on this set is astonishing, but we can’t imagine it providing any real defensive support. One good drizzle is all it would take to turn Iron Man back into Tony Stark in this get-up.

Still, you have to admit this is pretty impressive. Check out the video with its creator to see the costume up close and personal. [via ]

Daredevil: The Serial Killer Without Fear?

Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Dexter star Michael C. Hall could be playing Daredevil in Marvel’s new Netflix series about the blind crime-fighter. Now Hall himself has addressed the rumors:

“I’ve heard them, but I think that’s all they are — rumors. Don’t misunderstand, I would definitely consider it … but I can’t tell you any inside information, because I think they’re nothing but rumors. I really am enjoying mixing it up a little bit, and I’m committing to things that have a foreseeable end in sight when I start them, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of [a new series] happening at some point. But I’d have to read the script!”

This is about a billion times better than letting Ben Affleck play the character. Hopefully someone makes this happen. [via ]

Marvel Rules the Universe – or At Least the Box Office


Move over Harry Potter – with the release of , Marvel’s cinematic universe has now bumped off the boy wizard’s adventures for the title of highest grossing domestic film franchise in movie history.

To date, the Marvel films have made $2.46 billion domestically, while the Potter franchise peaked at $2.39 billion. With lots more Marvel on the way, this record is only going to grow. Maybe DC should reconsider that whole opening against Captain America 3 thing… [via ]




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Fed Up (Trailer) MOVIE PREVIEW

Fed Up PosterUpending the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and how to lose it, Fed Up unearths a dirty secret of the American food industry-far more of us get sick from what we eat than anyone has previously realized. Filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and TV journalist Katie Couric lead us through this potent exposé that uncovers why-despite media attention, the public’s fascination with appearance, and government policies to combat childhood obesity-generations of American children will now live shorter lives than their parents did. (Source)

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