Reel Critics: 'Captain' takes moviegoers back in time

The original "Captain America" comic books were introduced in the 1940s as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific. The story of a scrawny little guy transformed into a super soldier resonated with a worried nation.

Marvel Studios now goes back in time to create an old-fashioned superhero movie with "Captain America: The First Avenger."

Chris Evans stars as the weakling who becomes the mighty champion. He brings the right mix of innocence, courage and humor to the role. Lovely Hayley Atwell plays his training officer and love interest. Tommy Lee Jones plays the grumpy colonel in charge of their secret army project.

The screenplay borrows from other family-oriented adventures. Familiar scenes reminiscent of "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" are obvious. But there's also a dash of "Flash Gordon" to complete the retro look of the science-fiction elements.

Any movie with evil Nazis and old Brooklyn Dodgers radio broadcasts in the background is bound to have a distinctive throwback feel. The snappy dialogue and wholesome characters add to the cornball fun of this nostalgia fest.


'Friends with Benefits'

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are "Friends with Benefits" who meet cute, talk cute — everything is cute, whether we like it or not. Their intent is not to fall in love, yet the outcome of this contrived rom-com is a foregone conclusion.

So what's the point? Raunchy "benefits" and by-the-numbers banter fill their bed, bath and beyond — but there's no conflict to make the ending genuinely satisfying.

The first rule of a good romantic movie is that "love hurts." These two don't get so much as a hangnail.



If you're into good, clean, dirty fun, check out Errol Morris' documentary "Tabloid" about a blond beauty queen who made headlines in the '70s.

Joyce McKinney is a bubbly chatterbox who tells her account of her arrest in England for kidnapping. Did she really try to rescue her "Manacled Mormon" fiancé, or was she just an obsessive girlfriend? Was she a virginal Southern lady who risked all for love, or a pretty manipulator with a sordid past?

Whether you believe McKinney as victim, attention hound or simply "barking mad," "Tabloid" is welcome fodder for our amusement that's also pretty tame by today's headlines.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa.

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