Captain America: The Winter Soldier

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has set the bar high for every Marvel film that will be onscreen. It would be insulting to call this film a sequel, as very rarely is a sequel even better than the first film. The film is action packed with a strong storyline, a combination rare in a comic book film. The fight sequences are so gaspingly breathtaking you will not be able handle it.

The premiere purveyor of independent film, Robert Redford, is in the blockbuster. Samuel L. Jackson remains his born this way cool as Nick Fury. There was one point in the film I wanted him to say mothaf**ka but realized it would be inappropriate with a theater full of kids. Anthony Mackie was in incredible physical shape and apart of the comic relief as a great addition to the cast. Emily VanCamp was good as Agent 13 in the few scenes she had. Cobie Smulders had more action than just the girl behind the highly technical board. Scarlett Johansson is a killer goddess. Chris Evans seems to be more comfortable as Captain America. Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier was very good but his “I Woke Up Like This” wig was bothering me.

There is no other way to see this film but in the theater unless you have the bomb.com/~imcomingtoyohouse theater system. You will also want to see it with a group of friends to revel in what you just watched.

Cut the Chair: Denis O’Hare

Denis O’Hare is dynamic, dramatic and spellbinding. With “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the first, second and fourth season of “American Horror Story,” and his Tony Award winning performance in “Take Me Out,” he devours beyond versatility on many acting stages.

Russell Edgington from “True Blood” was not only a well-written book character but delivered by Denis as a devious and tempting vampire feared by all. Seemingly, Russell was not a villain but controlled by power and pleasure.

In “Milk,” Denis played with pure conviction State Senator John Briggs on his beliefs of denying the LGBT community their rights. While Denis had one scene, it was rousing with Sean Penn playing the title character.

Denis also starred as Dr. Sevard in “Dallas Buyers Club,” he was compelling. He will be in the film “The Normal Heart.”

Denis is a collaborator and character actor, morphing with his continual approach to bring humanity with no reservation.

Noah

When I heard Russell Crowe and Emma Watson were going to be in a film co-written and directed by Darren Aronofsky called “Noah,” I was not only excited but also curious what the story was going to be about that would bring these talents together? I had no idea it would be the biblical story Noah. For Aronofsky, this film seemed to be an ambitious project because of his work in independent film. I found out more of the cast and liked the reteaming of Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, who delivers awe strikingly as Noah’s wife Naameh. There is Connelly and Aronofsky reteaming as well as Emma Watson, who is stunning in her dramatic role as Ila reteaming, although in few scenes, with Logan Lerman, who has a definitive supporting role as Ham.

“Noah” is visually appealing, well written and as expected bravura performances ignite the screen. Clint Mansell crafted the most hauntingly beautiful score. Sir Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah has very few scenes but is commanding as ever. The biblical story seemed to translate today to climate change. Yes, that is a stretch but you really see how Earth was created, destroyed and created again and now being destroyed.

I would recommend seeing “Noah” in theaters. You want to see the effects on the big screen and hear the surround sound of every wave crashing and scream of people who are trying to survive their impending death.

Arbitrage

Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is quite the multitasker. He is an hedge fund manager, family man and philanthropist. He has the dream life with limousine service, fine dining and the mistress. When a deadly car crash threatens to unravel his pending major business deal, Robert enlists Jimmy (Nate Parker), a young man trying to rebuild his life by staying out of trouble, to help cover the tracks. This business deal would also save Robert’s finances and keep his pristine image.

Richard Gere gives a charged performance with sex appeal and confidence. Susan Sarandon plays Ellen, the typical nonchalant upper crust wife. Laetitia Casta plays Julie, Robert’s distressed mistress and is good for the few scenes she is in. Brit Marling is commanding onscreen as Brooke, Robert’s loyal daughter who works with him at his firm. Tim Roth is Detective Bryer and hell bent on convicting Robert. While I was not interested in how Jimmy was introduced in the film, his story became a life lesson in the turn of events. The relationship between Robert and Jimmy was not quite explained but he treated Jimmy like a son. The film is one hour and forty-seven minutes, which seems to be a feat for film today. Writer and director Nicholas Jarecki brings the audience into a world of wealth and opulence but tells the consequence of every character’s actions in thrilling twists. Graydon Carter, with the most recognizable hair aside from Donald Trump, has an acting appearance in the film.

Cut the Chair: Jon Seda

With a career skilled in guest appearances and supporting work, Jon Seda progresses his talent in a bevy of dramas. With “NYPD Blue,” “Oz” and “Numb3rs,” his work has a common thread that not at all restricting of his acting ability.

In “Primal Fear,” Jon played Alex, a young man whose past haunts his present. Alex was a key piece in the trial of Aaron (Edward Norton) in the killing of Archbishop Rushman. Jon’s delivery executed predator and prey with notable anger and senstivity.

Nelson Hidalgo on “Treme” was all businessman taking the advantages of a rebuilding post-Hurricane Katrina. Jon’s portrayal had the dichotomy of trust and doubt as he promised to help local contractors and residents invest and thrive using his smooth words and slick promises.

Jon is on the pulse-pounding drama “Chicago PD,” as Antonio Dawson, a cop always in the line of fire and ready to take action. Jon is pulling double duty on the gut wrenching drama “Chicago Fire. In the evolution of a career no matter on the big or small screen, Jon Seda exemplifies playing bold characters with limitless dimensions.

TBTo the Screen

Confidence, 2003

Gritty. Heart-racing. Violent. That’s just the first five minutes of the film. Actor after actor appeared on the screen as Jake (Edward Burns) is recapping to his soon to be killer the last three weeks of his life. Morris Chestnut. Paul Giamatti. Donald Logue. Rachel Weisz, who has a weak American accent and plays a con artist.

LA is the place of corruption for crooks from the East Coast. Jake meets a well-known crime boss The King (Dustin Hoffman), who may have been an Orbit gum spokesperson in his past life. Anyway, each minute detail of a bank heist is told. With the addition of Lily (Rachel Weisz) and Lupus (Franky G) to the crew, the plan either has fissures or goes smoothly, definitely not the latter.

“Confidence” is stylish, well-written and well-acted drama full of entertaining twists.

Cut the Chair: Omar Epps

Doctors and athletes may have little in common. However, when played by Omar Epps, the characters are portrayed with great awareness.

Omar gained notoriety as Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER,” portrayed with passion and dignity until his shocking fate. As Dr. Eric Foreman on “House,” Omar gave the long-running character a serious demeanor yet was still able to go toe to toe with the humor of the title character.

As Malik Williams in “Higher Learning,” the character was naïve and fueled by anger yet sensitive. In the realistically romantic drama, “Love and Basketball,” as Quincy McCall, he was loving and cocky but completely in love with his childhood sweetheart, Monica (Sanaa Lathan). Coming of age tales “Juice” and “The Wood” are rooted in hometown pride with Harlem, NY and Inglewood, CA respectively yet the stories are on opposite spectrums of drama and comedy. While his scenes were short in “Scream 2,” they were nearly iconic and re-spoofed, which is rarely done in film.

Omar is on the show, “Resurrection,” and is a welcomed departure from previous roles demonstrating growth and excitement for his career. Omar Epps brings versatility that shows no sign of slowing down.

TBTo the Screen

The Virgin Queen, 1955

The year is 1581. Elizabeth the 1st (Bette Davis) uses her power and influence to captivate Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd). Raleigh is loyal to the Queen but does not see that she wants him to love her. When the Queen finds out that Raleigh marries another, she wants off with his head and of his wife’s.

While the verbose dialogue and commanding performances carry this film, the regal costumes attract the eyes. Raleigh wears a variety of knee high boots including a pair of brown suede. He also wore a beautiful embroidered teal cloak. The scene of Raleigh negotiating to have the cloak is mesmerizing. The Queen’s jewelry was unspeakable, unlike anything anyone will own, naturally.

From the castle to the pubs, the set design was authentic to the medieval era and another key element in making this a strong film.

Nebraska

The black and white of the film attributed to the dreary lives of the characters. “Nebraska” is the destination for Woody (Bruce Dern), reflective of his slow life yet determination to get what he whole-heartedly believes belongs to him. David (Will Forte) in an effort to please his parents takes his father to Nebraska. Bruce Dern is excellent in capturing the unwilling purpose of getting what he believes is his. Will Forte was great. He showcased his ability as an actor and not just an SNL player. The film had an ensemble with supporting characters specifically Woody’s nephews Cole (Devin Ratray) and Bart (Tim Driscoll).

June Squibb. She earned her Academy Award nomination. As Kate, she did not play an old cranky woman but a person. Everyone has a family member like her. Kate had a majority of the funny lines but June’s stubborn, profanity laced delivery was perfection. Costume design should have also been recognized more. With June’s brunch coat and Woody’s plaid wool jacket, the clothing were quintessential to the character’s lives and location.

For a film at 1 hour and fifty-four minutes, the time would typically feel long. However, each piece of the sleepy town scenes were apart of Woody’s determination to get the money. “Nebraska” is delightful and heartwarming with bursts of laughter and quirk.

Cut the Chair: Andre Braugher

Character actors stand the test of their career because of their versatility and commitment to their craft. Andre Braugher is a character actor. He has delivery with a range of roles embodying a working actor. He was able to begin with “Glory” to his film credits. Moving into “The Tuskegee Airmen,” “Primal Fear,” and “Get on the Bus,” he has worked in a variety of subjects. He moved into more genres with films “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” and “Salt,” bringing in more action into his repertoire.

While “Gideon’s Crossing” and “Men of a Certain Age” have joined the list of shows cancelled too soon, the shows are of value because it still built his filmography.

Andre is on the comedy, “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” as Captain Ray Holt, a hard to read man with a slow sense of sarcasm. He has played plenty of captains but is able to bring an edge to this portrayal. Andre Braugher is not only an esteemed actor but educated in his study exemplified in each performance.

Harvey DNTD the Milk turned 1 today!

Harvey DNTD the Milk turned 1 today!

(Source: assets)

Cut the Chair: Ben Mendelsohn

Captivating. Strong. Mesmerizing. These are characteristics any actor should have with their performance. Ben Mendelsohn delivers it all in performances that demonstrate more than range but commitment to acting.

As John Daggett in “The Dark Knight Rises,” the character was a dichotomy between feeling powerful and being intimidated as a added supporting role for the conclusion of the series. He also starred in “The Place Beyond The Pines,” as Robin, a passerby Luke (Ryan Gosling) meets and gives help and shelter to Luke. With a small role as Harold in “Adore,” he spoke in his native Australian and was calm in his dramatic delivery.

With dynamic roles to his already varied filmography, Ben will be featured in three films, one “How to Catch a Monster,” directed by Ryan Gosling and “Mississippi Grind,” co-starring Alfre Woodard and Ryan Reynolds. Ben Mendelsohn works to bring extensive roles as a collaborator and student of his ability.

Cut the Chair: Harry Lennix

Harry Lennix gives presence onscreen absorbed through diligent and strong characters. From “Get on the Bus” to “Ray” and “Man of Steel,” he commands in a variety of roles that don’t shy from the incredible talent he projects.

Harry also plays steadily and with care the father role in such films as the romantic drama, “Love and Basketball” and the rousing drama “Stomp the Yard.” Being the father in urban themed films that resonate with audiences attributes to Harry’s versatility as an actor.

Harry is on “The Blacklist,” as Harold Cooper, a character with patience and intelligence. He continues his stride as a vocal actor while going against the grade.

Blue Is The Warmest Color

This emotionally beautiful film is powered by a stellar performance from Adèle Exarchopoulos. She is an actress I want to see more onscreen.

Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) begins the film as teenager curious about falling in love but falls into quick relationships fueled with sex but no romance. That changes when Adèle meets Emma (Lèa Seydoux), a philosophical and experienced woman. The film moves with the relationship between Adèle and Emma, their discovery of love, heartache and the language of expression.

The much talked about sex scene is vivid and breathless but not the centerpiece of the film. This is a must see film for its raw emotion. I am completely enamored with French people and how their carefree spirit carries the movement in their life. Clocking in at a ripe two hours and fifty-nine minutes, the film does not feel like you may not survive watching it. “Blue Is The Warmest Color” is the most romantically realistic drama in a long time, a truly heartbreaking force that will hold you for a long time.

Cut the Chair: Tamara Tunie

Acknowledged in her expansive career for distinct and resonating characters, Tamara Tunie establishes her acting ability with igniting the screen. In films “Eve’s Bayou,” “The Devil’s Advocate,” and “Flight” and shows “As The World Turns,” “24,” and “The Good Wife,” she speaks with ease yet develops multi-faceted characters with challenges and triumphs.

As Medical Examiner Dr. Melinda Warner on “Law & Order: SVU,” Tamara carried a long running character who was intelligent and strong while being a key part in solving every case. With each discovery, Dr. Warner had the audience breathing with anticipation. Tamara’s delivery distinguished a critical character for television.

Tamara can be seen in the gripping and mysterious new drama, “The Red Road,” as Marie, a protective and caring mother true to her heritage. She holds a performance her audience knows from her but adds something she has not shown. Tamara Tunie remains an original standout with roles that are soulful and stirring.