“Captain America: The Winter Solider”

This time, Captain America faces a political conspiracy with Anthony Mackie as the big screen’s first Black super-hero and Scarlett Johansson back as The Black Widow.

You know what you get with a super hero movie: the ultimate popcorn flick that’s splashy, colorful, explosion-filled with duplicity and a bit of humor. All that’s in abundance but what makes this one different is it has the feel of a political thriller from the '70s - beginning with a tip of the hat to the 1976 “Marathon Man”, with Captain America Chris Evans jogging in the heart of D.C. That’s where he meets the man who ultimately becomes the first Black super hero, Anthony Mackie. Mackie just about steals the movie. What a great addition to an already impressive franchise.

Scarlett Johansson gets to compete with herself at the box office this weekend, returning as The Black Widow here and playing the alien version of a black widow in the indie sci-fier “Under The Skin”. Love that when it comes to multi-tasking, during (what to her) are hum-drum battle scenes, The Black Widow jokes with Captain America about his lack of a love life and who he should try dating. What a delish character! Of course it’s always Samuel L. Jackson who’s the coolest ever, without trying.

Two new additions: Robert Redford as the very top brass at S.H.E.I.L.D. and “Revenge” star Emily Van Camp as Agent 13.

What makes this so much fun is the very human bonding among the beyond human super heroes. The plot is more complex than most comic flicks, but in the end it’s always our super heroes saving the world from the latest menace.

3 stars

Under The Skin”

Scarlett Johansson does her first nude scenes playing a black widow alien, not to be confused with her super-hero role as The Black Widow in “Captain America: The Winter Solider”.

While many a critic are raving about this sci-fier based on a work of fiction, I was totally confused til the end. Plus- I was completely unaware til I read the “notes” from the publicist that most of this was filmed, not with actors, but with real people who didn’t recognize a brunette-hookerized Scarlett Johannson trying to pick men up.

O.K. So here’s the story. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien in human form who drives around Scotland looking for lonely, unattached men who won’t be noticed missing after she takes them back to a cottage where she seduces them , leading them to their doom, in order to feed them to her fellow aliens, who are off in another world.

Johannson has her first full on nude scenes - 4 of them, in fact. The pacing is slow. The imagery is dark. Most of the time, Johansonn is just in her pick –up, trolling for male victims. The most jarring scene shows Johansson’s heartless alien impassively watching a crying toddler whose parents had just drowned on a chilly beach with the tide closing in on the wailing baby.

It’s a gutsy, off-beat role for Johansson, a far cry from her big film opening this weekend. Honestly, I’d have enjoyed it more had I known from the get-go that her scenes were filmed with real people who failed to recognize the superstar.

This is not your typical sci-fier. It’s super creepy , at times sexy and very artsy. In many ways, it’s unforgettable.

2-and-a-half stars

“Dom Hemingway”

A dark comedy starring Jude Law as you’ve never seen him as a raw ex-con.

Jude Law is almost unrecognizable with an pasty extra 20 pounds, receding hairline and a badly broken nose . He looks like a poor man’s Jude Law. And then there’s that unforgettable opening scene. An obviously naked Law waxing enthusiastically about his manhood, ramping up to a maniacally obscene rant climaxing in a , well, climax with another guy then scampering off. That’s how we learn Jude Law’s Dom Hemingway is in prison. He’s given his freedom in the next scene.

It turns out rather than cop a plea for a reduced term, Hemingway refused to rat out his ex-crime boss, ending up with a 12 year prison term, which cost him his wife and daughter. The very crude Hemingway is on a mission to collect his prison-earned payoff from his ex-crime boss, while at the same time, trying to reconcile with his now-grown daughter.

Jude Law fans will have fun and I have to say his transformation is impressive. But all in all, you can make this a rainy day Netflix activity.

2 stars