NIGHT CATCHES US (2010)

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Set in Philadelphia in 1976, Marcus Washington (Anthony Mackie) returns home to bury his father and inadvertently gets drawn back into his old world, very different in some way to his younger days and in others exactly the same.

His return opens old wounds within the community regarding an event that had taken place a decade previously.

It feels like this could have been a brilliant HBO series, the film is too short, the characters earning the right to a full treatment. Everybody brings interesting work to the table. Joining Mackie is Kerry Washington, very good as an old comrade from the Black Panther days. Wendell Pearce turns up as a cop and another Wire alumnus, Jamie Hector supports well as the local man on the block.

This is a film that doesn’t shout its message from the rooftops, as in real life, there are complexities in the minutiae of life and this film approaches them with a subtler energy than usual. It’s a well put together drama about the ghosts of the past and how unless you break free of them they can keep you in a place.

The film is directed by Tanya Hamilton, which explains a lot about the way the film plays out. This was her first feature, which she wrote, co-produced and directed.
With the majority of films released helmed by men, it is a joy to get the feminine angle.
Like Wadjda the message is brought in sensitively and there are really no black and white answers to the problems. There are so many aspects to one’s life and certain sacrifices have to be made for the greater good or at least for the benefit of one’s immediate family and situation.

The problem here is that the credits roll at the point that feels like the end of the first episode.
One is left wanting more.

The music is brilliant, starting with El Michel’s Affair’s instrumental version of C.R.E.A.M and going on to use another 3 tunes from their Wu inspired album Enter the 37th Chamber (well worth getting by the way).
It evokes a time beautifully and with soul.

An interesting film looking at the relationships we have with our family, our secrets and our past.

3/5

BUY THE BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)

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Like Punch usually says given half the chance: “That’s the way to do it”.

A vast improvement on The First Avenger, this sets the precedent now for all Marvel films.
None of the previous ones have come close to the intelligent composition of this film.

The directors-Joe and Anthony Russo (Arrested Development, Community) have raised the bar as far as these kinds of films are made. You can cram in all the set pieces in the world but if there are no real stakes for characters that you don’t care about then all you have is a very shiny empty shell.
The set pieces in this one really deliver, one, which shall go un-named due to lack of wanting to spoil, is probably something I have never seen before, at least with that level of stakes and was hugely enjoyable.

Chris Evans builds on his previous ventures as Steve Rogers and cements the character as one equal to if not greater than all the others. Scarlett Johansson secures her place in the universe and it’s only a matter of time before Black Widow gets her own screen outing. A nice addition to the big screen Marvel characters is Anthony Mackie as Falcon.
It’s great that the lesser known heroes and villains are being introduced.

Samuel L brings his Nick Fury back to the table with a little more depth than usual and Robert Redford brings old school Hollywood weight as Alexander Pearce, another S.H.I.E.L.D. member.

The best thing about this film is that it doesn’t treat its audience as a bunch of idiots.
There is an intelligent script at the heart of it and it is directed with assurance and confidence.

All the previous Marvel films (this time around) have been deeply unsatisfying, Iron Men, Thors, Spidermen, Avengers, X-Men (although First Class was pretty good), and it is definitely a style over substance problem.

Maybe they were just too big for the silver screen or at least too big for the mere humans trying to make them.

Maybe this will be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Let’s hope so.

3.5/5

BUY THE BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE