Appointment television seems to have died thanks to DVR’s and streaming services. But Fridays are once again becoming appointment television again thanks to Disney+ with shows like The Mandalorian and WandaVision releasing episodes one at a time. The trend continues with Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Soulder. Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his thoughts on if its worth putting on your schedule.
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER (Disney+)
We first met our titles heroes, played respectively by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, back in the Captain America movies. They’ve been a staple in the Avengers franchise since then, but we haven’t really gotten to known them on a deeper level until now. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier picks up following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Both are navigating the world without Steve Rogers/Captain America. Sam is still flying all over the world as The Falcon saving the day and is recognized wherever he goes for being an Avenger. Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, is plagued with nightmares and is a bit ambivalent during his therapy sessions. Deep down he understands he must make amends with his adversaries if he wants to move on.
The first episode kicks off with an exciting sequence with The Falcon on a daring mission aboard a hijacked plane. It’s a pretty big scene that easily could have opened any Marvel movie. Its evidence to the scope Marvel is willing to go with their series.
The first episode honors Captain America and sets the course for these two supporting Avengers. It will be fun to see how our two heroes work together given their opposing personalities.
I don’t think this series will re-invent the Marvel wheel or come with a clever new bent like we saw with WandaVision but it should satisfy Marvel fans. I’m excited to see what Daniel Bruhl may have up his sleeve with the return of Zemo.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
THE FATHER (in theaters and Video OnDemand)
The Father is one of many stage to screen adaptations out right now. Olivia Colman stars as Anne who is struggling with the right kind of care for her father, Anthony, played by Anthony Hopkins. His decline with Alzheimer’s is getting more severe and more than she is able to handle. His memory comes and goes and his unwillingness to accept help is another burden for Anne who starts to feel helpless.
Writer/director Florian Zeller’s film primarily takes place within the walls of Anthony’s London flat. It’s a place that should feel like home, but Zeller treats it not only as the physical reality but also a metaphor for what’s going on inside Anthony’s head. It’s not always a familiar place for him getting lost as to whether its his place or Anne’s.
We also see other characters come and go played by Mark Gatiss and Olivia Williams. Who they play varies depending on if Anthony is having a good day or a bad day. Your heart sinks a bit each time they arrive knowing its only getting worse for Anthony.
The physical reality of Anthony’s life isn’t the only issue, as the passage of time blurs with reality. It’s another striking plot device by Zeller keeping the audience in the dark much like Anthony. As scenes play out, you’re left to determine if they are indeed reality or a figment of how Anthony remembers them.
Hopkins has worked for decades and continues to showcase the depth he has for the work at this stage of his career. He gives another intricately calibrated performance as Anthony. He makes it seem effortless, and yet you watch him completely give over to the mental realities of someone with Alzheimer’s. The character goes from charming to prickly to aggressive all within the same scene. Hopkins is continually present as an actor never over thinking or foreshadowing what’s to come. It’s heartbreaking to watch Olivia Colman as Anne deals with being the caretaker while slowly saying goodbye to her father. We see the many faces of frustration, grief, and sadness that Colman brings out in Anne.
In theaters now and will be available to rent through Video OnDemand March 26
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
NOBODY (In theaters only)
When you think about the great character actors working today, Bob Odenkirk should come to mind. He stars as Hutch Mansell. We see him going about a very repetitive day to day routine with exercise, taking the Metro to work, and being with his family. You get the impression he’s a nobody in other people’s minds. His home is broken into in the middle of the night sending Hutch down a rabbit hole of revenge. This escalates into a fantastic fight scene on a bus and a Russian hitman named Yulian whose transporting hundreds of millions of dollars.
Bob Odenkirk is the perfect actor for this type of part. He’s got the look of the innocent dad type with a slight grumble along the way. You then realize early on that Hutch has a few tricks up his sleeve once he’s provoked. He knows his ways around weaponry and ammunition in order to protect his family.
Christopher Lloyd has a great supporting role as Hutch’s dad. He’s a retired FBI agent now living in a senior retirement community. It’s a different kind of role for Lloyd but it’s a real treat seeing someone like him in this role of a seemingly peaceful senior who steps back into action to help his son. It’s a small but memorable role and one I would love to see expanded on if there’s a sequel as Lloyd and Odenkirk play off each other so well.
Nobody is aided by an unlikely lead actor playing a clever character despite what the title may lead you to believe. It sets up perfectly for a potential franchise, which I would wholeheartedly welcome.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS