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.

Wedding Crashers

065935221012Wedding Crashers is a decent comedy, in the same vein as Meet The Parents and American Pie. John, played by Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Shanghai Noon), and Jeremy, played by Vince Vaughn (Swingers, Clay Pigeons) are long time friends that have mastered the art of hooking up with girls at weddings. There are dozens of rules and even a Wedding Crashers playbook to follow. All of that goes out the window when they attempt to crash the wedding of weddings. Well known politician William Cleary, played by Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can), is hosting the wedding for his daughter, and while crashing the wedding John starts falling for Claire, played by Rachel McAdams (The Family Stone, Mean Girls). Wanting to get to know Claire better, John agrees to go to a weekend get-a-way at the Cleary house on the coast, and of course Jeremy has to go along….all the while being pursued by the Cleary youngest daughter, Gloria, played marvelously by Isla Fisher (Swimming Pool). The comedy continues as John and Jeremy experience about every awkward situation you might imagine during their stay, complete with Mrs. Cleary (Jane Seymour, Live and Let Die) hitting on John!

As far as performances go, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn make for a good comedy team pairing. They are so different comically and physically, they really play off each other well. For instance during the touch football game, it is the bigger of the two, Vaughn, that gets so banged up, which is perfect for Owen to chime in and comment on. Probably even a better pairing is Vince Vaughn and Isla Fisher, who are even further apart physically, and she plays the young girl obsessed and possessive so well, and Vaughn’s reactions to avoid her make them a very comical duo to watch. OK, Will Ferrell (Anchor Man) has just a bit more of a cameo in the film and just seemed out of place and in the way. I will admit there are very few things that I have actually enjoyed him in. He overacts so much he is just annoying. Ignore him though, plenty of other things to laugh at in this one.

I don’t believe this was as funny as the movies listed in the beginning, but it is a darn funny movie. There are several sexually themed jokes, but nothing over  the top gross or anything. I would say if you are in the mood for comedy this is a good one to catch.