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‘Captain Marvel’ Brings On the Girl Power

MOVIE REVIEW
It only seems right that Captain Marvel is being released on 2019’s International Women's Day. Since 2008’s Iron-Man, Marvel has presented a good chain, albeit a bit short, of strong women characters starting with Pepper Potts. Black Widow became the first Marvel female superhero to grace the screens in Iron-Man 2 followed by Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Mantis, The Wasp, Okoye and Shuri. But today, Brie Larson heads the first female-driven superhero movie for Marvel Studios.

Let’s just get this out of the way – this movie packs a “girl power” punch without putting men down in the process. While their intentions are good, too many films try to present a message of female empowerment while emasculating men in the process. Sure, the opposite has been true for many years, but this is no way to move on with injustice and certainly isn’t a message that today’s girls need to here.

Marvel Studios has toyed with an “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude between its men and…

“Loud” movie is great storytelling and Oscar worthy


Movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Cast: Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow and Viola Davis

Director: Stephen Daldry

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG-13

You would never know by watching Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, that this was Thomas Horn’s first starring role. In fact, it’s the 13 year old’s only role to date and just might be up for an Oscar next month. (Ironically, his character’s name is Oskar. Coincidence?) Horn was spotted by Hollywood after becoming a champion on Jeopardy! during Kids Week.

Despite the fact that Horn is the movie’s main star, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is not a children’s movie and how a movie about 9/11 could be made palatable is an achievement in itself. This is an artsy movie that is similar in tone to last year’s children’s angst film, Where the Wild Things Are.

Horn plays an 11 year old boy who, may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome, is incredibly bright and literally afraid of everything. He is “incredibly close” to his father, (Tom Hanks) who creates games and adventures for his son. His father seems to the only one who “gets” him. He is as close to his father as he is distant to his mother (Sandra Bullock) who is worn out by this kid.

The story takes place a year after the 9/11 attacks, where his father died in the World Trade Center. Oskar is going through some of his father’s things and discovers a key and he is convinced that his father meant for him to find it and find out which lock it opens. He knows in his heart that somehow the answer will keep him close to his deceased dad.

The movie plays out as a mystery and from Oskar’s point of view. The story has many layers revealing one thing at a time that explains why Oskar is the way he is, and why he does odd things. It features some fun and interesting characters too. There is his grandma (Zoe Caldwell), his father’s mother, who lives across the street from Oskar. She keeps a walkie talkie beside her bed just in case Oskar should need her. Then there is “The Renter” (Max von Sydow) who lives with his grandma. He doesn’t speak and only communicates by writing notes or showing his palms that say “yes” and “no.” John Goodman plays Stan the Doorman (who ironically is never standing by the door) in a role that is too small for this man’s talent.

It’s a bit of a struggle to watch this film. Oskar isn’t a very likeable kid and is quite rude to some adults, but you feel for him just the same and just want him to be happy. The strain of his relationship with his mother is tough to watch too, but overall, the film isn’t depressing, it’s interesting. You also have to have the right frame of mind while watching this movie. The story is far-fetched, but if you watch it as if you were Oskar, it will make more sense. The ending makes it all worthwhile. There are no weak spots with this film. Each actor brings a special something to the story. Sydow is especially fun to watch and Bullock shows some of her best acting yet.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is directed by three-time Academy Award nominee Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott, The Reader, The Hours) who just might be able to add a fourth to this list. It is based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel of the same name. 




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