Every now and then it happens, and it’s a real conundrum. If two of my most anticipated films opens on the same day, what’s a cinephile to do? Hey, it’s no joke. One I’ve been waiting almost a decade for, and the other has my nine-year-old son pumped and ready. How do I break a little boy’s heart and espouse that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will be in theaters for weeks, while Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin” could vanish after 7 days or so? I’ve got to take these things very seriously. In fact, I made damn sure to attend David Cronenberg’s 2012 “Cosmopolis” the evening shortly after a three-hour drive returning from a long weekend vacation. I headed out to the cinema during a violent thunderstorm. I realized it was too arty for the masses, and couldn’t possibly survive more than a week…and I was right. Plus, certain films have to be experienced on the big screen, and “Under the Skin” and “Captain II” are in that company. Same damn day. I mean, what are the odds?
I really dug 2012’s “The Avengers”, and so did my oldest boy(he was 7 at the time, but I deemed him ready for some PG-13 mayhem). 2008’s “Iron Man” was also rather good…mostly due to Robert Downey Jr.’s razor-sharp interpretation of Tony Stark. But I really disliked both “Iron Man” sequels, and I can do without both “Thor” movies. Also, 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” was really bad(far worse than Ang Lee’s much-maligned—somewhat unfairly—2003 “Hulk” film). But 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” has been the franchise’s saving grace. Yes, we lost director Joe Johnston, and I highly appreciated his vision for “The First Avenger”. We’ll also no longer have the WWII period flavor for “The Winter Soldier” either, now that Steve Rogers and his mighty shield are firmly planted in the present day. But the Russo Bros.(Anthony and Joe, of television’s “Arrested Development”)really appear to be onto something, as I view the latest trailers for “Captain 2”. Plus, we’ve retained screenplay services from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely after their fine work on “Captain 1”. After some earlier doubts, my gut is feeling that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will be a wild time. And Chris Evans has proven perfect…the best Captain A we could’ve hoped for.
Jonathan Glazer is the same age as me(48), but he’s so far released only two feature films. That is about to change, and the buzz for Glazer’s “Under the Skin” is approaching fever pitch. Originally slated for a 2013 release, “Under the Skin” was pushed back a few months, but has already been seen and reviewed by various critics, after premiering at last year’s Telluride Film Festival and also screening at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. In 2001, Glazer gave us “Sexy Beast”, a marvelous, British crime saga featuring Ben Kingsley in his best ever performance(an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor…and he was robbed!). The film was amongst my Top Ten of that year. Then in 2004, the director offered up the astonishing(and highly controversial)”Birth”, with a cast that included Nicole Kidman, Anne Heche AND the legendary Lauren Bacall. It polarized critics, but I’m deeming the naysayers freaking blind. It’s a phenomenal and haunting work—that also made my Top Ten list. And now almost ten years without a Glazer release. I bought my second home and fathered two children during that time! But the wait is almost over. And “Under the Skin” star Scarlet Johansson just may possess the power to make my #1 spot two year’s running(after her “appearance” in 2013’s “Her”). And she’s one of the stars of “The Winter Soldier” too!!! I…AM…PUMPED!
So, what to do? Consecutive days at the multiplex? Both in one day? That seems too unfathomable to even consider for this harried, working father of a pair of boys. But one thing is for certain: I’ll get to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Under the Skin” in a timely fashion, and review them right here on the blog. Unless, “The Winter Soldier” is just destroyed by my regular trusted critics. Then it’s problem solved…unless a certain third-grader forces my hand. Just 15 days to go.