Iron Man 3 is a terrible movie, an experience so painful that had I been forewarned of its limitless agonies, I would have saved myself the time and money and simply punched myself repeatedly in the face. I say this with little to no hyperbole. This is a bad film, muddled and confused, full of plot lines to nowhere, uninteresting characters, muddy visuals and a villain that cannot seem to sort out the motives for his villainy. I composed the opening line of this review about halfway through the movie, but stuffed it into the closet of my memory in hopes that things would pick up in the second half. I wanted a sudden turnaround, a classic come-from-behind victory; a home run deep into overtime. Alas, things only got worse, and my mind turned to thoughts of which kind of fertilizer I should use in my garden before the final and profoundly stupid third act had even begun.
Archive for the ‘Action’ Category
Tags: Film, Film Review, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Jon Favreau, Movies, Robert Downey
Tags: Film, James Franco, John Lithgow, Movie Review, Movies, Planet of the Apes
Ninety percent of the time, I sit down to a movie with no expectations at all. Occasionally, I’ll anticipate, as I do any movie directed Paul Thomas Anderson or starring Daniel Day-Lewis or Meryl Streep. I anticipate the next Rahmin Bahrani film, because his “Chop Shop” and “Man Push Cart” moved me. I look forward to anything with Jessica Chastain. But most of the time I try to go in to a movie untainted by critical praise or slaughter as a means to judge it fairly. I broke my rule for “Where the Wild Things Are” a few years back. That film was preceded by one of the most extraordinary trailers I’d every seen; that it was directed by the great Spike Jonze didn’t hurt. I had high expectations. But “Where the Wild Things Are” disappointed me.
Tags: Daniel Craig, David Fincher, Film, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Movies, Review, Rooney Mara
If I were Rooney Mara, I’d be very excited for my career. In a single year, she’s gone from a small but memorable part as a jilted girlfriend in “The Social Network” and starring in the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” to the coveted role of a cyber-punk hacker with deep emotional scars in David Fincher‘s American remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It would be a courageous leap for any actor, but Rooney Mara seems to have jumped without a safety net.
Tags: Film, Jeremy Renner, Mission: Impossible, Movies, Review, Simon Pegg, Tom Cruise
I remember very little about the first three “Mission: Impossible” films. There’s a vague recollection of labyrinthine plots and Tom Cruise dangling precariously from a zipline, but not much else. This doesn’t mean the films were bad; it just means they don’t share as much space in my movie memory bank. So, I sat down to “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” with a clean slate, unconcerned with the specters of its predecessors. I expected little, despite the rave reviews. To my great pleasure, I came away thinking I’d seen one of the most accomplished action films in years. Yes, Tom Cruise dangles precariously from a zipline in the this one, but that’s nothing compared to the spectacular moment when he literally hangs by his fingertips from the tallest building in the world.
Tags: Chris Pine, Denzel Washington, Disaster, Film, Movies, Review, Runaway Train
What’s It About: A freight train filled with tons of diesel fuel is boring, full-throttle, toward a Pennsylvania town. Soon-to-retire conductor Frank (Denzel Washington) and upstart newcomer Will (Chris Pine) are unceremoniously tasked with heading off the locomotive before disaster strikes. They’re helped out along the way by a feisty yard manager, Connie (Rosario Dawson), who instructs them on the path of the train from the relative safety of her command post, which means she was really never in danger to begin with. Do they stop the train before it derails and kills thousands of people? Does the title make a declarative statement that must otherwise be refuted by the outcome of the film?
Is water wet?
Tags: Danny Trejo, Film, Jeff Fahey, Machete, Movies, Review, Robert De Niro, Robert Rodriguez
What’s It About: The great, if terrifying, Danny Trejo finally lands his signature role, as an ex-Federale hired to assassinate a virulently anti-immigrant U.S. Senator (a brilliantly hammy Robert De Niro). Trejo discovers too late that the job is a set-up, manufactured by the Senator’s aide to boost the representative’s chances of re-election. Suddenly a wounded fugitive, Trejo sets out with an eclectic mix of characters to take down the people responsible for the double-cross.
What Works: Machete began as one of the terrific faux trailers in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation epic, Grindhouse (2007). That short promised a cornucopia of violence, blood, gore and sex (as required by the genre), and Rodriguez has somewhat delivered on that promise with his full-length feature. (more…)
What’s It About: Bruce Willis (in a performance mix of John McClane and AARP) plays retired CIA operative Frank Moses, who finds himself on a death list being carried out by the very organization he served. Frank goes on the run, and it’s to the misfortune of Sarah, his lonely Social Security administrator (a hilarious Mary-Louise Parker), that she’s been conducting an over-the-phone flirtation with him: the CIA have her on radar, so Frank drags her along for the ride, ostensibly for her own safety. Along the way, they meet up with Frank’s former colleagues–all of them over the hill and on the same execution schedule–and that they’re played by Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox, is no small testament to casting genius. The re-banded assassins battle time and rheumatism to uncover a plot that leads straight to Washington, improbably dodging a fireworks show of bullets and blasts as they go. (more…)
What’s It About: A late-night cable staple of my 80′s childhood, Looker claims to be about…well, I don’t really know what it’s about. What I do know is, Albert Finney plays an L.A. plastic surgeon whose patients begin to die off with startling frequency. His investigation leads him to a shady market research organization (headed by the ancient James Coburn) that’s engaged in something that has to do with something that has to do with something else, and it’s all tied to a little gun that makes neat sounds and puts people into trances. End credits.
What Works: The rad (and quite possibly bitchin’) 80′s synth soundtrack, big hair, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, and leggings. Plus, there’s a nifty Looker Ballad at the beginning that’s so unintentionally funny, it has to be heard to be believed. There’s a very cool sequence about half way through the film where Finney finds himself at the mercy of a henchman who repeatedly uses the trance gun to attack him, but that’s about it. Seriously. (more…)
(Back to things after a long break. And since I’m still trying to figure out a format that works best for me, I thought I’d try something new.)
What’s It About: Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck, who also directed) commands a small group of bank robbers fresh off a recent heist, in which they kidnapped–and subsequently released–bank manager Claire. MacRay’s mentally unstable “brother” and cohort, Jem, convinces himself that Claire will talk to the FBI and recommends taking care of things. Doug, ever the polite criminal, promises to smooth things over by arranging an accidental run-in with Claire at a laundry mat (they were masked, of course, so she doesn’t recognize him) and soon finds himself falling in love. This leads Doug to think it might be time to leave the business–much to the chagrin of his benefactor and boss, Fergie “The Florist” Colm–setting up a moral dilemma as the group tries to get him to pull one last job. (more…)
“There is no way–no way–that you could come from my loins. As soon as I get home, the first thing I’m gonna do is punch your mama in the mouth.”
That line is uttered by Sheriff Buford T. Justice–his Louisiana bayou accent practically dripping off his tongue–about half way through Smokey and the Bandit. And when he says this to his shockingly inept son, Junior (Mike Henry), we just about believe he’ll follow through on the promise.
You see, Junior was all set to marry Carrie (Sally Field), but she ditched the poor oaf at the last minute and met up with the Bandit (played by Burt Reynolds, his Fuller Brush moustache fully intact), who’s hauling beer across the Georgia state line with his long-suffering trucker friend, Cletus. Justice isn’t too happy about the situation, and makes it his personal mission to take the Bandit down.