Captain America: The Winter Soldier Press Conference

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

Last week the directors and stars of Captain America: The Winter Solider were in London to promote the film. Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo were on good form for the film’s London press conference. Here are some of the highlights…

On what Steve Rogers should catch up on

Anthony Russo: I would recommend he check out Captain America: The Winter Solider!

Joe Russo: Four words. Fifty Shades of Grey.

Scarlett Johansson: Umm, cakepops!

Samuel L. Jackson: Red 2

Sebastian Stan: The Godfather for sure, right? And maybe cronuts.

Anthony Mackie: Any Eddie Murphy movie before The Golden Child.

On putting other characters they have played into the Marvel world

Chris Evans: Oh my movies are terrible, I don’t want to do this!

Samuel L. Jackson: I’d put Mitch Henessey from The Long Kiss Goodnight into the Marvel universe.

Scarlett Johansson: If I could do the voice from Her that would avoid the early morning gym hours so I’m going to choose that one!

Sebastian Stan: Looking at my brilliant filmography outside of the Captain America movies, I’m not even going to speak right now…

Anthony Mackie: I would say Nate Ruffin from We Are Marshall because he was such a cool, hip cat.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

On Captain America: The Winter Soldier deleted scenes

Samuel L. Jackson: As usual Nick is always trying to be three steps ahead. All of a sudden when he finds out that he’s been used it becomes incumbent on him to find out why, and use all the tools he has at his disposal to make that happen. And, as usual, part of it has to do with subterfuge and diversion, even down to fooling and his most trusted compatriot. We actually shot a scene that where that’s explained but I’ve been told it slows the film down in a significant way, and they didn’t want to slow it down. But, when you get the DVD and you click on my face there’s a hidden feature that will allow you to access that scene!

Joe Russo: I think there are about six or seven minutes of deleted scenes.

On stunts and injuries

Chris Evans: Doing stunt work, it’s physical stuff and even when you block a punch, that punch lands somewhere. Any fight with Frank Grillo – he doesn’t know how to pull his punches!

Anthony Mackie: Yeah, we were hitting each other for real.

Chris Evans: If you don’t block Frank Grillo’s punch, you’re going to get knocked out. He’s a boxer, he doesn’t know anything but 100%.

Anthony Mackie: No, that’s because he is a mean person.

Scarlett Johansson: Frank Grillo beat the shit out of me! I like to be able to do as much of the stunt work as possible. As capable and amazing as the stunt team are, I would rather do some of it and have some battle wounds.

Samuel L. Jackson: I used my stuntman extensively. I have no issues with him being hurt, that’s what he’s paid to do, and he loves it, he’s from a stunt family. His father was a stuntman, all his brothers are stuntmen. Before they could eat breakfast in the morning their father kicked them down the stairs or made them jump out of a window to come downstairs to get their breakfast. I used Kiante [Elam] more than… my god, he works more than I do sometimes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

On musical talents

Anthony Mackie: I deal with the trumpet a little bit; growing up in New Orleans you have to learn an instrument. I’m nice on the spoons, I can do a funky beat, you know, slip some turntables…

Samuel L. Jackson: So in other words, no!

On Sebastian Stan’s nine-picture Marvel contract

Anthony Mackie: Damn kid!

Samuel L. Jackson: That’s what happened to the rest of my deal!

Sebastian Stan: I have no idea [what will happen with the character]. I’m still trying to realise that I’m sitting up here with these guys. Wherever [Anthony and Joe Russo] want to take the stories, that’s where I’m going.

Anthony Russo: We were going to use this press conference to announce than Anthony Mackie will no longer be with us. Falcon was a one-off!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

On Captain America 3 going head to head with Superman vs. Batman

Anthony Russo: When two cars are speeding at each other, one of them has to veer out of the way at some point.

Anthony Mackie: Hell yeah! Put it out there, baby! Tell them, tell them!

Anthony Russo: I think Marvel announced that date originally. Marvel was trading off that May date for a long time, and I think when Warner Brothers decided to move that film they moved it to the May date. I can see why Kevin [Feige] wasn’t moving from that date.

Anthony Mackie: Boom. Deal with that!

Chris Evans: All we can do is focus on making the best movie that we can make. Depending on how it gets releases, well there are other forces at work.

Anthony Mackie: In other words, punks step up to get beat down. Know about that!

Samuel L. Jackson: There’s Marvel where you have heroes, and DC where you have interesting bad guys.

On their heroes

Chris Evans: My parents.

Scarlett Johansson: David Bowie!

Samuel L. Jackson: The young people who put their lives on the line for us.

Sebastian Stan: My mum definitely, and I guess probably Jim Carrey.

Anthony Mackie: My two brothers.

Joe Russo: I can’t decide whether it’s Superman or Batman.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released in UK cinemas on 26th March 2014.

Film Review: Tower Heist

Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist is a moderately entertaining crime caper. It is unlikely to have audiences crying with laughter, but it won’t have them weeping with despair either.

Josh Kovacs is a manager at The Tower, a luxurious apartment block in Manhattan that caters for wealthy clients. When the owner of the penthouse is arrested, staff at The Tower realise that their entire pension was tied up in his failed Ponzi scheme. Having lost their savings, a group of staff conspire to rob Arthur Shaw’s apartment…

Tower Heist is moderately funny, but not an out and out comedy. The film combines humour with action and the traditional sensibilities of a heist movie. As such, Ratner’s film does get increasingly convoluted. There is nothing particularly illuminating about the narrative, but it sufficiently entertains viewers.  Syrupy sentiment is laid on a little thick with the doorman strand. There are a few lulls during the course of the 104-minute movie, however momentum is recovered when necessary.

Some of Tower Heist‘s dialogue leaves something to be desired. The jokes do not always hit the mark; there is a definite feeling that the film would have been more enjoyable with a more humorous script. At times the screenwriters think too little of their audience, over emphasising details of the plan for example. Nevertheless, there are some good scenes in the film.

There are some resounding parallels between the Arthur Shaw character and Bernie Madoff. Like Madoff, Shaw is living the high life, seemingly without financial worries. And like Madoff, Shaw becomes the target of an investigation and has lost his investors millions. There is no problem with using current affairs in a film such as Tower Heist, except that nothing particularly striking or intelligent it done with it. The character, like a number of others, is rather one dimensional.

Tower Heist features a cast of well-known actors, but some mixed performances. Téa Leoni stands out as one of the better performers. Ben Stiller brings little to the straight-man role, while Casey Affleck is not utilised that effectively. Matthew Broderick fairs a bit better, and Michael Peña brings humour to the fold. It is refreshing to see Eddie Murphy in a costume-free comedy role, although he should have been given more amusing lines.

Tower Heist is unlikely to be remembered in a few years. An adequately entertaining movie with no real lasting impression.