One huge action flick and three lower-budgeted efforts dominated the shelves this week and offered up a no-lose bunch of flicks, provided you had the stomach for one of them.
“Captain America” — Marvel Comics’ big summer movie arrives in a two-disc edition that packs plenty of punch. The extras are nice, but the movie itself is the best part. Chris Evans is now the star-spangled avenger (having graduated from playing Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four flicks). He starts out as Steve Rogers, a scrawny patriot who keeps getting turned down for military service. He gets his chance when a scientist opts to give him a shot at being a lab rat for a super-soldier serum. His first missions amount to nothing more than advertising stunts, as he is used to hawk war bonds. Eventually, he gets his chance to serve when he’s placed on a U.S.O. Tour. This one has it all with big action set pieces , humor, and a broader canvas than your average superhero movie. Hugo Weaving is also on hand as the Red Skull, whose plot to create an army of super soldiers for the Third Reich makes up the second act. Fun stuff with a ton of in-jokes (keep an eye out for the Original Human Torch).
“A Serbian Film” — This low-budget horror yarn is not to every one’s taste but stands out as a brutal portrait of human misery. The story pulls no punches in its depiction of desperation, as a man signs on for a job in a mysterious film in order to feed his family. Turns out, this director is poised to outdo films like “Saw” and “Hostel” by filming a reality version of that sort of film. Gritty and profoundly disturbing. Warning: The uncut version features a scene where violence is directed at an infant and is guaranteed to stay with you for a long time.
“Attack the Block” — Aliens pick the wrong hood to invade when they land in South London, in this enjoyable cross between a Spielberg film and “The Warriors.” A gang of youths wind up putting their crime schemes on hold when a bigger problem presents itself — alien invasion. This turns out to be an excellent flick because they spend some time building the characters before introducing the invasion. Good stuff that also features some super-creepy space critters.
“Lethal Ladies” — Less than 20 dollars will get you this triple feature of Roger Corman flicks that features tough ladies. You get plenty of exotic locations and exploitation elements. This is grindhouse heaven, with oodles of badly choreographed kung-fu fights in sweaty Philippines locations. The titles include “TNT Jackson” and the awful “Firecracker.” Bad, in a good way.
Next week brings drama for the kids with “Cars 2” as well as adult drama with “Water for Elephants.”