Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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Actress Denise Richards is so concerned by the bad behaviour exhibited by her ex-husband Charlie Sheen's twin boys, she has been trying to set up appointments for psychiatric evaluations. The former Bond girl, who has two daughters with Sheen, has been looking after four-year-old Bob and Max - his kids with another ex Brooke Mueller - since their mother was stripped of custody following a drugs bust in May (13), that prompted the troubled reality TV star to check into a rehabilitation facility.
Richards recently reached out to officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to reveal she can no longer take care of the boys as they have allegedly started harming her pet dogs and bullying her girls, reportedly strangling, kicking, scratching, slapping and punching them.
Richards expressed fears the temper troubles are connected to the time the twins spent with Mueller, suggesting they frequently turn violent after returning from visits with their mother.
Now TMZ.com has obtained an email Richards sent to Dr. Jay Gordon, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA Medical School, in August (13), in which she asked to have the kids assessed by child specialists.
The message reads: "As we have discussed, because of recent events involving the boys' behavior I think that they need urgent evaluation. I am very concerned about their escalating violent actions; the apparent lack of understanding of the consequences and the safety of others is most worrisome. I would like them seen by Dr. Alessia Gottlieb for a complete developmental and behavioral assessment."
However, Mueller has reportedly refused to allow Bob and Max to take part in the medical visits as she fights to regain full custody of the kids - a move which has infuriated Sheen.
He has made no secret of his feelings about her custody efforts, recently taking to Twitter.com to rant about child service officials and declare war on Mueller. In his latest bizarre outburst this week (begs04Nov13), he tweeted, "What my family and I are forced to deal with in the last four years, lives outside the pale of any acceptable conduct or decency. I am battling an amorphous enemy that needs to be swiftly disempowered.
"These crimes against my children will be exposed. These war criminals will be hanged at dusk to a cheering and jeering crowd... The storm is brewing."