Iron Man 2

For me the summer blockbuster movies have begun. Iron Man 2 being the first one to hit the big screen. Without giving too much away, the movie is about a disgruntled russian, Ivan,  who is setting out to take down Tony Stark. Also there is a story line about Justin Hammer, a competitor in the arms race, trying to obtain Stark technology to create his own Iron Man to sell to the 4 armed forces division. In the simplest terms, those are the major plot lines.

The film has the usual cast of characters and a few new faces. Robert Downey Jr. (Wonder Boys, Sherlock Holmes, Zodiac) is of course Tony Stark. This is a role that seems very comfortable for him, a rich cocky superstar. Although I thought Downey Jr nailed the character, the scenes with the over the top technology was a bit much. He spent way too much time pushing buttons on hologram screens. Just way too much of that for me. Yes it showed money and wealth, and he can have anything he wants and any technology he wants, but not much else. The story did not benefit from it.

One of the new faces, Scarlett Johansson (The Other Boleyn Girl) plays Natalie. Who seems to be the new secretary for Stark Industries, then seems to turn into somewhat of her own superhero. Really she is nothing more than a cute face answering the phones until the extreme curveball with the character. Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) plays Ivan/Whiplash. Nothing really special to write home about on his performance, got the job done, but seemed to be just going through the lines. Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Traffic) is adequate as Lt. James Rhodes, but like all of these characters, seriously lacks character development. The one character that I thought was outstanding was Justin Hammer, played perfectly by Sam Rockwell. (Moon, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) Just as Downey Jr. plays the cocky rock-star, Rockwell has a nach for the slimy greaseball character.

Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, Sliding Doors) returns as Pepper Potts. Samuel L Jackson (Shaft, Pulp Fiction), Gary Shandling (What Planet Are You From?) and director Jon Favreau (Swingers, Made) also make appearances in the new film.

So, what did I think? The film really lacked in story in my opinion and seemed to go all over the place as far as a direction. It got to be very slow in the middle acts. This one just did not live up to the first Iron Man, which I really loved. Unless you are a diehard Iron Man fan, my advice is wait and rent this one. The film was entertaining, and had some nice comedic moments, but had it’s fair share of flaws as well.

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Clash of the Titans (2010)

The new movie out for the weekend is Clash of the Titans. It is out there for 3D viewing as well, which I opted for. This is a remake of the classic Ray Harryhausen version. Everyone probably knows a little about the story through mythology in school, or seeing the 1981 version of this film. So I won’t spend time, or waste my precious typing skills telling you the plot.

The film stars Sam Worthington who must be the new action star as he was in both Terminator Salvation and Avatar last year. Liam Neeson (Taken, Schindler’s List) stars as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Schindler’s List) as Hades. You would think with all these Oscar nominated actors there might be a decent performance, but everyone is just going through the motions in this one.

Well, about the movie as a whole. First off, let me say, seeing this in 3D was not that big of deal. I always thought that 3D was a pretty neat novelty but Avatar has set the bar so high as to what good 3D should be, “Titans” pretty much sucked with their 3D. What took James Cameron years to do with 3D, “Titans” tried to do in 8 weeks, and it shows. Not that any movie can touch Avatar with 3D, but since Avatar, to me there is good 3D and bad 3D. 3D is no longer a gimmick. 3D is here to stay it seems, so please Hollywood, do it right and don’t just churn out junk like the preview of Piranha I saw.

This film never really develops into much of anything. It seems to be in a hurry just to get to the next battle scene. So much of a hurry it doesn’t give any character a chance to develop and no character is ever given a chance to do anything other than swing a sword at a CGI creature. Even with todays special effects, the world created in “Titans” is not nearly as magical as the world created in the original. So, you can imagine what I recommend, go rent the original and enjoy Harry Hamlin, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier and of course the special effects of the great Ray Harryhausen, which is now available on bluray. Save your ticket money on this one.

Drag Me To Hell

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Drag Me to Hell….no, Drag me to a mediocre horror movie, wait, that is the same thing. I Really enjoy Sam Raimi horror films like Evil Dead, and even more serious suspense films like The Gift, but Drag me to Hell just rides the fence line not really knowing what it is. It really had potential in spots, but needed to take on a more serious tone or get more campy. 

 

I really lost some respect for this film early on when the whole premise of a curse is put on a bank loan officer for turning down a gypsy woman who was already delinquent on a loan…TWICE. Pretty freakin lame. You mean to tell me that this woman had no other problems and life is so good, that a loan officer is the most evil person she had encountered and therefore deserved to given the curse of being Dragged to hell. 

 

Alison Lohman plays the loan officer, Christine Brown and her boyfriend played by Justin Long (The Mac guy in the Mac commercials) are just there. Nothing worth bragging about as far as performances. The special effects came across very cheesy, had they taken the direction of over the top campy horror, I would have chalked it up to that. One scenario seemed to be taken seriously, yet played like a scene out of Scooby Doo. Ropes and pulleys tied to an anvil, ahhh….cut rope, anvil smashes person. I know I have my anvil hanging in my garage!

 

As you can tell, I wasn’t real impressed with this one. Earned brownie points with the wife though by going with her. My choice next weekend. This one might be a good for an afternoon rental, if there is nothing good on the Food Network. 

 


 

Doubt

Doubt

Finally watched Doubt again since the last time I saw it was in the theatres. I thought it was very good, very well acted movie back then, and I enjoyed it a bit more this time around. Originally I thought the last three Meryl Streep’s character really came too far out of character. The second viewing I read some things into that final scene that I didn’t think of before. Other than that, I thought it was a real incredible movie.

 

Meryl Streep gives an Oscar worthy performance. In my view, she was just as good or better than Kate Winslet in The Reader. And Philip Seymour Hoffman (Best Actor for Capote) had it not been the year for Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight, probably would have won a supporting Oscar for himself. The final scene with Hoffman and Streep are what movies are all about, and this scene is worth the price of admission (or DVD) alone! Amy Adams also gives a particular good performance,and Viola Davis has a very powerful 8 minutes…..and both deserving of Oscar nominations.

 

I don’t want to give to much away for those who have not seen it, but would love to hear feedback on everyone’s thoughts. Guilty, not guilty, what were the doubts? This movie is worth seeing for sure, and even seeing more than once. Very compelling and thought provoking.