Tag Archives: Robert Redford

Time Jumper

Marvel’s red, white & blue WWII hero confronts contemporary enemies

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

PG-13, 135 min.

 

Thawed out from his Rip Van Winkle-like cryogenic hibernation, experimentally enhanced WWII U.S. Army super-soldier Capt. Steve Rogers—a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans)—now adjusts to the modern world. His Nazi-hunting days are behind him, but he’s still serving his country on missions for S.H.I.E.L.D, the global protection conglomerate, with his sexy crime-fighting partner the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), a former Soviet agent.

But maybe Cap’s not so free of his past, after all. A legendary, near-indestructible assassin rumored to be almost 100 years old, with a Hannibal Lector-like muzzle on his mouth and a gleaming robotic arm, is out to get him. And he smells a rat inside his own organization; could the high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), now running the World Security Council, have anything to do with it? Paranoia is everywhere. “Don’t trust anybody,” his wounded leader, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), warns him.

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Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

A brawny blockbuster-formula movie with the brains of an espionage thriller, Captain America: The Winter Soldier recalls vintage ’70s spy romps but resonates with contemporary issues about military might, black-ops government conspiracies, historical cover-ups, war, peace and privacy in this digital era.

Sibling directors Anthony and Joe Russo stage the action with gusto and a real sense of the changing scale and proportion needed for fight sequences that take place in a variety of settings, ranging from the claustrophobic confines of a crowded elevator to the expanses of a colossal cargo ship, and eventually taking flight into the sky itself.

Savvy fans who keep up with the Marvel Comics universe will enjoy watching for the obligatory cameo from founder Stan Lee, and staying for the after-credits surprises—both of them—about where the ever-expanding franchise will go next.

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“How do we know the good guys from the bad guys?” the Cap’s new ally, Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), asks in the middle of one particularly rousing, action-y moment. It’s a good question, then and now. Who can you trust?

At least in this movie, you can always trust the guy with the shield and the star—the guy who says, “The price of freedom is high, it always has been.” He’s been one of the good guys for a long time.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Sea Man

Robert Redford goes it alone in a salty ocean saga

All is Lost

All Is Lost

Blu-ray $29.99, DVD $26.98 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Robert Redford is a standout—and a stand-alone—in this amazing drama about an unnamed man, alone on a sailboat, after his craft is catastrophically damaged hundreds of miles from shore. He’s the only actor, there’s almost no dialog, and the story becomes a moving, mesmerizing, elemental saga of water, wind and the will to survive. Can he make it to the commercial shipping lanes before his meager supplies run out? Will anyone even know he’s in trouble? And what about those sharks? Extras include commentary with writer/director/producer J.C. Chandor and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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The Old(ish) Man & The Sea

Robert Redford goes it alone in an epic struggle on the ocean

AIL-0551-Credit-Daniel-DazaAll Is Lost

Starring Robert Redford

Directed by J.C. Chandor

PG-13, 106 min.

“I must go down to the seas again,” wrote British poet John Masefield in the early 1900s, rhapsodizing the “wind’s song and the white sail shaking.”

Robert Redford’s character in All Is Lost probably read that classic maritime poem, once upon a time. But we wouldn’t know. In fact, we don’t know much anything about him at all, including his name, where’s he’s from, or why he’s alone on a sailboat, headed across the Indian Ocean, 1,700 miles from land.

All we know is that, in opening narration over a scene of lapping waves, he informs us (in words that sound like he’s reading his farewell note) that he’s “tried everything” and “all is lost.”

Then the story flashes back so we can watch his dire predicament unfold from the beginning. Awakened from a nap by water lapping on the floor of the cabin of his boat, he realizes his vessel’s been struck—its side pierced—by the jagged edge of a floating metal cargo container. Suddenly, his little pleasure craft has become a mini-Titanic.

photodazastills_3569.CR2But “Our Man” (as he’s listed in the credits) doesn’t panic. He immediately springs into action, stoically, calmly going about the business of survival. Then he notices dark clouds on the horizon, and things go from bad to worse.

Redford, the only actor in the entire film, gives a monumental, majestic performance. It’s his show all the way, and a spectacular, galvanizing display of how this one-time Hollywood “golden boy,” now 77, can still commandeer the screen.

As he shimmies to the tippy-top of his ship’s mainmast to fix an unhooked wire, later gets swept overboard, and eventually has to abandon ship altogether into an inflatable lifeboat, his age-defying athleticism is amazing. And through it all, he’s a man of few words—almost none at all.

Director/writer J.C. Chandor, whose only other film was Margin Call (2011), working with cinematographers Frank G. DeMarco and Peter Zuccarini, and three-time Oscar-winning sound editor Richard Hymns, creates a dynamic, driving existential narrative with only the slightest smidgen of dialogue. You realize just how unnecessary, impractical, and downright useless words can be in situations, like this one, when there’s no one to speak them to.

(You also realize just how yappy with blabber most other movies can be.)

ALL IS LOST

Will Our Man endure? Can he make it into the international shipping lanes, where a passing freighter may—or may not—spot him? Will he hang on to the will to live…or will that, too, sink beneath the waves? And what about those circling sharks?

I’m not telling. But I can tell you one thing: After watching All Is Lost, with all due respect to the British poet, I think I’ll pass on “going down to the seas again,” at least for a while, and I certainly won’t be going all alone in a sailboat.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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