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April 11th, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernández, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Stan Lee and more.

Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo Screenplay by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely Concept and Story by: Ed Brubaker Based on the Comics by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch Music by: Henry Jackman

Premise: Still trying to acclimatize himself to the 21st century, Steve Rogers struggles to find his place and purpose in the world as SHIELD's methods don't quite fit with his own ideals on freedom and how to protect it. But when Director Fury shows up at his home wounded and with killers on his trail, Steve finds out that some things in the modern world aren't all that different from the one during World War II. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: New and familiar faces grace the cast. Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson reprise their roles as Captain America, Nick Fury, and Black Widow. Some nice dynamics develop between these three characters which made them a lot of fun to watch, especially as these dynamics are sorely tested. Robert Redford was in top form as Alexander Pierce - great to have him back acting in films. Sebastian Stan could not have been more cool.

2)  Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of explosions, gadgets, virtual HUDs, and other lovely special effects. Falcon's wings totally rocked. They even got creative with the uses of Cap's shield. The look and feel of the Winter Soldier's metallic arm was excellent.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I was quite happy when I saw the same script writers for "Captain America: The First Avenger" worked on this film as well. Out of the whole franchise of Marvel heroes, that film is still my overall favorite. But though it may not have topped itself, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is definitely up there on my list.

If you haven't yet watched the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." episode that aired on 4/8/14 called "Turn, Turn, Turn" - you should wait and not watch it until AFTER you've seen "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." There are spoilers in there which will give the big plot complication away.

Lots of surprises are hidden in the film, and they range from small to world changing. The film is filled with many cute moments as well - Black Widow playing matchmaker, Sam Wilson's and Steve Rogers's literal 'running' joke, and more.

Several themes are explored and from a number of levels - trust, loyalty, family, right and wrong. Paying your dues. What was fun about these was the fact they didn't always have something to do with the good guys.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: There are stunts, stunts, and more fun stunts in this film. All the combat sequences are excellently executed with and without CGI. The hand-to-hand combat was awesome to behold. Combined with the special effects and explosions, the 'gags' are totally riveting and keep you 'on the edge of your seat'.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Filming in Washington DC as well as different parts of Cleveland, OH and elsewhere, all the locations added the right look and feel for the film. Then they took these real locations, added some creative CGI backgrounds, buildings, and giant, floating ships, and you're served a sumptuous visual feast.

Conclusion: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is a lot of fun to watch. Darker than the first film, it is also in its own way a commentary on simpler times that really weren't so simple. Great combat scenes and special effects. Make sure to sit through the credits ALL the way to the end - there are two extra bits tucked in there.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again.)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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