Tag Archives: Movie Review

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron_Man_3_theatrical_poster

After the lackluster Iron Man 2; I was hoping that the new film would provide audiences with a reason to enjoy the series again. Well I’m happy to announce that we’ve been saved by this sequel. This installment was an action packed joy ride that filled the theater with laughter and loud explosions, enough to keep me on the edge of my seat and entertained thoroughly. Including some of the finest names in acting, Iron Man 3 is a great start to the superhero sequel streak that will fill the summer and beyond.

Tony Stark is back and flawed as ever, with his panic attacks running rampant. Spending all his time building Iron Man suits is beginning to take its toll on both him and his relationship with Stark Industries’ CEO Pepper Potts. When an attack by the elusive terrorist mastermind known as “The Mandarin” injures Happy Hogan, Stark issues a taunt; allowing the Mandarin’s forces to find and eliminate him. However with Extremis soldiers on his tale and no Iron suit available, he improvises his way to a final showdown between himself and Extremis’ most powerful soldiers; finding out whom he really is in the process.

Robert Downey Jr. returns to grace the screen as Tony Stark and once again proves that he has returned as the master of his craft. His strong performance coupled with the humour and heart that he portrays makes for a solid scene stealing execution. His talent allowed him to be incredibly humourous, especially when bouncing his relentless asshole banter off child-actor Ty Simpkins; and incredibly serious when dealing with Stark’s increasing imbalance after his experiences with the alien invasion of New York and the increased threat caused by The Mandarin and AIM’s “Extremis” Soldiers. Truly one of the best actors in the industry at this time, and this film showcases all he has.

They really stepped up to the plate and brought the full force of Hollywood talent to the screen. Ben Kingsley was incredible as the Mandarin. His portrayal brought the perfect blend of fear and funny that I was hoping for. As one of the most famous villains in the Iron Man universe, they had to pick someone who would bring their talent full bear, and Kingsley performed admirably. Guy Pearce, who I hate for his character in The Count of Monte Cristo, returns to the screen as an equally hateable villain Aldrich Killian. His purpose to cover up the misdeeds of his Extremis creation by (mumbling spoiler) is clever, and seeing Pearce return to his conniving villain roots was a refresher. Special love to the familiar faces rounding out the cast. Gwyneth Paltrow’s sweet performance allowed her to retain the professionalism of Pepper Potts, and show off some muscle in the movie’s action packed climax.

Master of fear, Mandarin!

Master of fear, Mandarin!

Hey, does anyone remember the 90’s? I think the most fun anyone had out of the movie, besides the whole thing, was when Eiffle 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” played during the film’s opening flashback sequence. Did anyone else think that was cool? The song was pretty big for a one hit wonder in North America and is very memorable to me and judging by the reactions of people in the audience, it was memorable for them as well.

During the final scene, one thing struck me as pretty damn odd. Apparently the Iron suits are made from cardboard and are easily destructible by super strength. We’ve seen the suit take punishment before, but in a battle involving say 42 Iron suits they seem to be just toys that break apart so easily. We’ve seen it take hits from tank shells, numerous gun fights, electrical whips and fighting another suit. Yet it seems like some extreme heat and a punch can take out most of the suits. They’ve been reduced to the durability of a Battle Droid.

Four out of five of you won't make it.

Four out of five of you won’t make it.

The film was a triumph over the second, but doesn’t live up to the full expectations I had, nor can it reach the original’s legendary status. The inclusion of the veteran all-star cast gave the franchise a fresh feel, while keeping with the spirit. I liked the action, loved the intrigue and enjoyed it immensely. If you liked the original and want redemption for the kick in the ass that was the second film, you’ll want to go see this right away. Seriously, its 7:57 when I’m writing this; get out and see it.

Final Score: 8.5

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A Good Day To Die Hard (2013)

I can’t boo hard enough at this waste of time. The fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise has lowered the bar so far that the stale breath of Bruce Willis can’t even escape the clearance. When it was announced I didn’t really have high expectations, my expectations were so low they were floating above the planet core, but this is just awful shoddy work. The script is bad, the acting is worse and the villains make so many stupid ass decisions that this film is right down on my bottom list with the likes of Salt. If you’ve read my work, you know how mad I was about that movie.

Who wrote this? This garbage pile of donkey shit had the worst writing ever. At the same time that John McClane is trying to find his son and make up with him for years of unseen neglect, he is also completely wittingly pulled into a half assed terrorist plot by the most poorly written Russian terrorists I have encountered since, you guessed it, Salt. So you get the whole trying to make up during the scenes where they are resting between these really stupid action scenes that throw plausibility out the window. It completely puts the movie off kilter, trying to blend a father/son bonding with an action film. It is done so poorly, so poorly.

I’m holding back so much rage writing about this. So here is the stupid plot filled with stupid SPOILERS. The movie begins with a good father and daughter relationship repaired after the events of the fourth movie, so it’s time to fly to Russia to rescue the father/son relationship. One weird, Sinatra filled, Cab ride later, we arrive at the courthouse where his son is about to be executed arraigned likely killed by terrorists that are trying to get to a Russian scientist so he can lead them to “The file”. Jack, John’s son, is also trying to get his hands on the file so the American government can stop an evil Russian politician from gaining power through blackmail. John McClane serves to fuck everything up for his son, but provides his services as a brutal, one-liner spewing, killing machine throughout the entire film. Eventually ending up in Chernobyl, Ukraine; John and Jack find that the man they are protecting is in reality the evil mastermind behind the whole operation.  They kick everything’s ass. End game.

Get use to seeing this.

Get use to seeing this.

I don’t want to get started on this flick, but that’s what this is about. The movie was a mess. The bad guy’s defection was the only surprising moment of the film. It seems that this one tried to follow a lot of what James Bond has been trying to do as of late; that is to introduce weird quirky villains. This one has a stupid laughs and eats carrots when he’s taunting you. What the hell was that? There is practically no exposition in this film. The end of the action only serves as a loading screen to the next action scene. In fact, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed in this if it was a Die Hard video game. No! You have to sit through it and watch it for its short and disappointing run time. You don’t get to choose, this movie sucks any way you look at it.

The ending of the film was by far the worst ending to a film ever written, even worse than Salt! So after John McClane drags a helicopter down by driving a truck out of the back end. When the helicopter regains its momentum, it is out of ammo… and out of pure vengeance, the pilot and daughter of the Russian leader tries to ram the helicopter into the building to kill the John’s McClane. But instead of aiming right the hell at them, she aims to the left, enough to literally watch them jumping out the window completely avoiding the death she attempted to rain on them. She dies… the stupidest and needless movie death ever. Her poor co-pilot dies too. Poor guy. Then the McClanes get home… and silently walk into the sunset, freeze frame on them smiling and scene. Fuck you Die Hard 5.

Oh, almost forgot. They try to carbon copy the fall out of the window that Hans Gruber does in the first film. Which fails miserably.

Much better.

Much better.

This film also includes the death of John McClane, not literally mind you. He dies because his character has no character. He is very little like the original. It is quite obvious that the writer (who wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The A-Team, so you know he was ready to tackle a beloved franchise like Die Hard) had absolutely no idea what to do with this legend of a character. So he did nothing. He said lines, and shot guns and that’s all John McClane does right? Right? Wrong you asshole! Wrong! John McClane has a load of character. This tired excuse of an action hero was nothing like what we saw in Die Hard 4, which wasn’t that long ago mind you. He was great in that because he was given things to do. Things go boom in this film and it’s John’s doing. That’s all you get folks. No character, whatsoever.

Final Word: Forget this. Don’t ever see it. It’s not worth the aggravation. It’s not worth the DVD. I want my money back and my mind wiped.

Final Grade: F

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

I’ve been looking for a movie that would really make me scratch my head and January’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” made my scalp bleed with questions. There are plot holes upon plot holes, useless characters and a plethora of WTF moments. Don’t get me wrong, in no way was this film anything short of entertaining. However, to borrow a phrase from Red Letter Media’s Harry S. Plinkett, this film was made for the “dimwitted popcorn eating masses.” And ate it up they did because this beat Mama out of the top box office spot, and I hear that is nothing short of worth it. Oh well, here’s what I think of this film.

Poor editing and sloppy writing plague what could have been something pretty good, but instead we sit through an underwhelming ninety minutes of confusion. We have characters jumping leaps across forests in a single scene without explanation to show up for plot convenience, needless deaths caused by bad writing, villains whose plights make no sense whatsoever. I could go on, but I’m afraid I’d kill someone. I’m really saddened by this, because there were some good names attached to this film. Without the proper source material, you get this pile of garbage.

Spoilers Begin HERE.

Throughout the film, without any explanation how they are able to travel miles of forest, people just kind of show up at different locations for plot convenience. The first such situation is when Hansel is injured in a battle with witches and BAM, the woman he saved earlier shows up to heal him. Why was she there? How did she know he would be there? I don’t even. Anyways, then later when Hansel and Gretel are separated and Hansel happens upon their childhood home BAM Gretel is there. They were very much separated at this point. There is no possible way they could have traversed the distance needed to meet in the time allotted in this short ass film.

Furthermore the geography of this forest seems to change for plot convenience as well. In an overhead pan we are shown that this forest goes on as far at the camera can see. However we are later shown a rather large mountain range not established in that shot. Unless the camera was facing directly away from the range, I don’t see why it wasn’t in that shot. Also, again for plot convenience the locations in the film seem to move around so that you can get from A to B in seconds. I guess when you don’t have a Lord of the Rings length film, then you can’t have several traveling montages and you really need to get a move on.

Something that really surprised me when I saw this film was the violence, nudity and coarse language. Now I may sound the intro to a movie that you’d see on TV, but this was a film not suited for children. The violence was bloody and gratuitous with its B movie special effects, there was a brief scene of nudity and that was fine by me and this film had enough swears to be on par with your swear-tailored South Park episode.  Not that I have any issue with this, but I had no warning coming into this and I was kind of happy no one brought their kids.

So who was the violence directed at? The first would be the Witches, whose sole purpose in the film isn’t revealed until the last twenty minutes. They’ve decided to make themselves immune to fire which will apparently stop them from being captured and burned. However this doesn’t stop them from being killed by the numerous other ways shown in the film which includes nothing short of decapitation, hanging, numerous gunshots, crossbows, being cut in half, tasers. I could go on, but apparently fire is their number one concern and eliminating this will make them, and I am quoting the movie here “invincible”. Good luck with that.

What saves this film from a horrible score is that while filled with plot holes, you have to give it credit for what it offered. It offered humorous jokes, some boobies for the guys and mind-numbing action. Does that save this film from being bad? Not in the slightest. I’m glad I went to the cheap theatre and didn’t see it in 3D because a $17 ticket just wouldn’t have been worth the money.

In short Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is nothing short of pretty awful, but has some redeeming qualities. I would actually recommend going to see it at the cheapest theater you can find. I can only imagine that the DVD would actually be more expensive. It is worth some cheap laughs and an entertaining evening, but don’t expect leaving without at least a few questions.

Grade: C-

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

While not being as impressive as its predecessor, The Dark Knight Rises is a true testament to what film making is today. It is visually stunning and sounds amazing. Newcomers to the franchise including Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Jason Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard wove themselves in to the universe so well, you believe their characters lived in this universe and experienced what they did. This incredible plot lives up to the hype of the film and raised my interest in the film as it continued.

I wasn’t surprised when I thought as the credits rolled “This wasn’t as good as The Dark Knight”, but found solace in the fact that while it wasn’t; it had elements that I found pleasing. Christian Bale’s performance is a bit more seasoned and far more understandable than his role in The Dark Knight. It was easier to understand his deep and often guttural speech. His presence in the film and the role he played was significantly different, as the story tells of Bruce Wayne well after having abandoned the cowl and cape, eventually returning to free Gotham from the clutches of Bane and the League of Shadows.

Once you have seen this movie, then you have my permission to die.

I have much to say about the casting in this film. I was happy with it, and most of the character changes between TDK and TDKR. You may notice many of the actors in this film appeared together in the 2010 film Inception (Tom Hardy, Marion Cottilard and Jason Gordon-Levitt), and do just as well in this film as they did in their previous Nolan film. The choice of Tom Hardy as Bane continues to fuel my fascinations with his roles, as he was introduced to me in Star Trek: Nemesis ten years ago.  His portrayal of Bane relied heavily on the strength and body language of the character. His confidence in both his training and his strength gives him a malevolent stance when facing off against Bale’s Batman. Jason Gordon-Levitt’s role as John Blake is confusing at best, but certainly entertaining. His character doesn’t really serve any purpose to main plot per say, but does well as an auxiliary character. Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Selina Kyle is fantastic. She does well portraying a thief on the run, while also keeping composure as both a master of deceit and eventually as a partner to Batman. Her role resembles many of the earlier incarnations of Catwoman, although not named directly, her role as an anti-hero continues to be prevalent.

While I was very impressed with the overall plot of the film, I have to give special praise to giving the Nolanverse Batman a bit of vulnerability. It was the fact that he had met his match in Bane, and again in Selina Kyle, that gave Bruce Wayne the drive to return to Gotham and save it from certain destruction. I enjoyed the fact that it had to do with the return of The League of Shadows, an incredibly powerful group that received much of the same training as Bruce Wayne did under the command of Ra’s Al Ghul. It also had to deal with Bruce Wayne accepting his role as Batman, and finally finding the peace he deserved after his parents death.

Hans Zimmer returns to score the third film, again showing his incredible talent in scoring such an epic film. His co-writer James Newton Howard did not return which marks the first Zimmer only film in the trilogy. His exceptional skill at crafting the music to fit exceptionally into each scene gave compliment to the film, its cinematography and the characters. There were many instances in the previous film that had Nolan using silence as a major piece in a lot of his movements.

As with any review I have written, there are always be a negative aspect of the film that has to be addressed. There were way too many characters in this film, especially minor ones. John Blake, despite having a pivotal role at the end of the film, is shown far too often and Commissioner Gordon is shown far too little. Deputy Commissioner Foley was an incredibly annoying character that kind of served to just yell at characters when they were trying to do things right in the film. He is reminiscent of Deputy Chief Dwayne D. Robinson in Die Hard, a character notorious for his bonehead police procedures.

Aw, shit; I’ve been mentioned.

So would I recommend it? Sure! Whether or not it lives up to TDK as a successor is a moot point. It was hard to gauge this as a film because it loomed in the shadow of a film that broke so many accolades it makes my character on STO blush. If you haven’t seen it, and I imagine you have, see it. If you have, see it again. Especially if you were in second row IMAX and pretty much looked at Bruce’s crotch for the whole film.

Final Grade: A

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