After the cataclysmic events in New York that occurred in “The Avengers” we find Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), living a relatively quiet life in Washington, D.C. Cap is still working with Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. but is quickly becoming very disillusioned at the politics behind doing so. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes a central figure in unravelling a web of lies, deceit and intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk that leaves the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as the only S.H.E.I.L.D. ally he can trust. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow must enlist the help of a new hero, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to help take down a menacing force that is much grander in scope than even Cap could have predicted.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is easily one of the best films that the current Marvel universe has produced. With ramifications and repercussions that will play out over many Marvel movies to come, Winter Soldier features a brilliant script that incorporates many nods towards the comic crowd while remaining easily accessible to regular audiences as well. The film takes a more espionage/thriller slant this time around, but with some extremely successful and impressive fight sequences, think “Manchurian Candidate” meets “The Raid”. This time around Cap’s fighting style has emerged as a fusion of MMA and Parkour that is highly effective and dangerous looking at the same time. This is a particularly more lethal looking Captain America this time around, which is reflective of Cap living in the modern world and perhaps hanging/working around Black Widow more often.
Starting this weekend at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is the new documentary about the unsung heroes of the filmmaking process, the casting director, and the impact and evolution of the craft, “Casting By”. The film also serves to tell the story of the most influential and famous members of the casting world Marion Dougherty. In December of 2011, the film industry sadly lost Marion Dougherty and though most film fans would not recognize her by name; her work revolutionized the acting and casting industry.
Directed by Tom Donahue
Dougherty began her career as a casting agent in the 50s for a collection of New York based TV shows, including the Kraft Television Theatre, Route 66 and Naked City. During the studio era of film making that lasted into the early 60’s, casting was done by surveying the usual crop of studio-signed actors who were often given roles based upon their looks and personality versus their talent. However, Dougherty recognized that there was a large pool of actors in New York’s off-Broadway productions and acting schools and was the first person to cast unknown actors based upon character instead of appearance. But perhaps the best treat in this revelatory film is the massive collection of footage, screen tests and movie clips featuring legendary actors such as James Dean, Christopher Walken, Jon Voight and Maureen Stapleton, before their fame.