Red (2010) – Never read the Warren Ellis comic it’s based on, but it probably wasn’t as frothy and fun as this entry in the Happy Hitman genre. Bruce Willis plays the Retired, Extremely Dangerous (GET IT?????) hitman Frank Moses, who is being targeted by assassins for reasons I still don’t understand. Mary Louise Parker plays his accidental girlfriend — a bored bureaucrat/harlequin romance fan who quickly gets used to high-stakes spy work — with her patented braininess and habit of never keeping her eyes on the person she’s talking too. John Malkovich is the drug-fried paranoiac who’s actually totally right. (“He was secretly fed LSD every day for 16 years,” explains Moses.) And Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, and Rebecca Pidgeon (!!) make appearances. No one seems to be working particularly hard, but they’re happier blowing shit up and shooting guns than they might be in a Harry Potter movie.
Captain America (2011) – Surprisingly good, corny, fun, although I think the long Hydra set-up might be dull on future viewings. Chris Evans, who has specialized in playing flashy jerks, is actually cool, humble, and convincing as the skinny short guy who’s Serumed into superherodom. (I’m sure Transformers will win the special effects Oscar, but the CGI that puts Evans’s head on a shrimpy guy is really something.) Hugo Weaving plays the Red Skull with a Werner Herzog accent. There are just enough scenes of a dude flying off a ramp on a motorcycle as stuff blows up behind him.