Screened Out – Captain America: Civil War

By : Stephen Miller
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Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, William Hurt, Viola Davis

Captain America: Civil War recognizes human loss. That’s a wonderful thing. Now we don’t just see empty cities crumble and cars explode. We know there is death – real and painful human collateral – as these heroes fight to save the Earth. This moral conundrum launches a war among The Avengers. It’s a painful a battle that pits onetime friends and compatriots against each other.

The Russo brothers – the directors behind Captain America: Winter Soldier – have the fighting, explosions, and entertainment. Yet much of Civil War isn’t repeated special effects. Mixed in are actually dialogue-heavy scenes. In fact, these are well written, clever scenes of a good length that help embellish character. Somehow, the Russos built on the convoluted mess of Age of Ultron. From that, they made a film that’s actually worth discussing.

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Screened Out – The Martian

By : Stephen Miller
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Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Aksel Hennie, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Glover

Visually stunning, intellectually intriguing, and emotionally charged, The Martian is a fiercely appealing story of survival. It’s also director Ridley Scott return to form – jettisoning gravitas for entertainment, injecting heart into his pictures again.

It’s all based on Andy Weir’s wonderful best-selling novel. This is the type of adaptation authors probably pray for – smart, tight, and full of life, energy, tension, and humor.

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Screened Out – Ricki and the Flash

By : Stephen Miller
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Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Rick Springfield, Mamie Gummer, Sebastian Stan, Audra McDonald

Movies and rock songs have a lot in common. They often play on recognizable themes, but they should explore them in new ways. Despite some enjoyable roadhouse rock, Ricki and the Flash doesn’t provide enough variety to its familiar refrains.

Streep portrays another anti-hero (her fifth in a row) – this time a rough-hewn cursing-and-drinking mommy who abandoned hubby Kline and her three kids nearly three decades ago. She moved to LA to become a rock goddess; she didn’t quite make it. Now, broke and working two dead-end jobs, she gets a fateful call from Kline.

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