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Marvel is very smart in the way they are creating and expanding their comic book movie universe. They haven't made a bad film beginning with Iron Man and have continues to give us stories that are more character than cartoon. They carefully plan out each phase and create clever ways for each one to tie in with both its' predecessor and its' successor. The thing that Marvel does best is to turn their films into an event. They make the audience (which is not just comic book fan boys) wonder what the next step will be and they include enough breadcrumbs to make you want to follow the trail.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Captain America aka Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) still adapting to a new world. He's realizing more and more that America and the idea of Freedom is not the same as it was during his time (the 1940's). To borrow from a rival comic property; he sees that "Truth, Justice, and the American way" are no longer viable beliefs in our modern world. People who were once friends are not who he thought they were, enemies he thought had vanished are returning again, and a mysterious person from his past is hot on his trail and may be the key to all of it. It's an espionage tale wrapped into a comic book movie that defies the laws of physics and pushes what we know of technology to its' limits but it works because it is, after all, a comic book movie.

Winter Soldier does not disappoint in the least. It had fast pacing with mostly well-developed characters (a key to the success of the Marvel comic films). The action scenes are intense and there's a sense of real danger for the main players.

It's a great film and (at least for now) ranks as one of my favorite films of the Marvel line, much better than The First Avenger.

A couple of big things happened locally this week, the Central Arkansas Library System Ron Robinson Theater announced they would be hosting the U.S. Theatrical Premiere of Devil's Knot, which is based on the book of the same name about the case of the West Memphis Three. The film has some heavy hitters with Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Dane DeHaan, and Bruce Greenwood. I've had several people ask me about it over the last year and while the official release date is May 9th, it's nice that the producers are including Arkansas in its' launch. Want tickets to the event? Sadly (and happily), all tickets sold out in 3 hours. You really should check out the Ron Robinson Theater. It's a state-of-the-art digital projection theater with Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound in a perfectly acoustic space. Look at their calendar at www.ronrobinsontheater.org.

The Little Rock Film Festival announced that it was expending to a full week of events from May 12th – May 18th. All of the events are located in a central area of Downtown Little Rock and the Argenta district of North Little Rock which are easily accessible by foot or trolley. LRFF also announced that two Sundance films would be showing at the festival, the award-winning documentary Rich Hill and the coal-mining accident drama Little Accidents. You can learn more about the festival events and get tickets at their newly-designed website www.littlerockfilmfestival.org.

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