Iron Man 3 (2013)
Directed by: Shane Black
Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pierce,
Don Cheadle, and Ben Kingsley
Link to trailer on youtube.com:
After the catastrophic events that transpired in New York City while fighting alongside the Avengers, it’s back to the drawing board for billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Downey), who is trying to perfect his latest and most effective Iron Man suit yet. While keeping himself preoccupied, the nation is under serious threat. A series of mysterious bombings by a terrorist known as the Mandarin (Kingsley), has intelligence authorities baffled and unable to retaliate. When Stark decides to get personal with the terrorist, he issues a televised threat and challenges the Mandarin, who responds by ordering a massive air strike on Tony Stark’s home in an attempt to destroy everything, including the Iron Man.
Iron Man 3 is a superhero film directed by Shane Black, who also co-wrote the films screenplay together with Drew Pearce. The film is the third film installment in the Iron Man film franchise and the seventh installment in connection with several other Marvel Universe films that will eventually build up to The Avengers series of film.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. returns to his role of Tony Stark, with actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actor Don Cheadle also reprising their roles as Pepper Potts and James Rhodes, respectively. Actors Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley make their debut in the series as villains Aldrich Killian and Mandarin.
The Iron Man film franchise is probably the most impressive of the Marvel Studios released films. The series has been consistent in it being darkly comical, action packed, and just non-stop high-adrenaline entertainment. Robert Downey Jr. again proves that he is spot for the role of Tony Stark and that the actor doesn’t have to do much or be in the middle of all the action in order to make this film great. Whether dawning the Iron Man suit and locking horns with hostiles, or just being locked up in a dusty garage with an annoying kid, Downey’s presence makes this film great and entertaining. The addition of an underrated talent in actor Guy Pearce, who plays the films main villain is brilliant, and Ben Kingsley, well Kingsley is just as always awesome on screen.
The story line is very well written and is probably the best one of the series. The few comedic twists were a bit of a throw off, but was not at all damaging to the film. If anything, it was actually that “slap in the face” humor that you know you had coming. With that in mind, it’s funny how after waiting for the end credits to role out, that surprise clip gives you the same feeling.
There is plenty to love in Iron Man 3. This is definitely hands down the best installment in the series yet, and a great first release following The Avengers film as well. With several more Marvel films to the build up of the Avengers sequel, there is plenty more Marvel superhero madness to look forward to.
G.I. Joe Retaliation (2013)
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Arnold Vosloo, Adrianne Palicki,
DJ Cotrona, Bruce Willis
Link to trailer on youtube.com:
The G.I. Joe unit is framed for stealing nuclear warheads from Pakistan and are accused of committing crimes against the country they so proudly serve. As a result, a surprise massive airstrike on the G.I. Joe base camp is immediately put into motion by order of the United States President, with the intent to terminate the very existence of G.I. Joe and everyone involved. Those who survive the attack, Roadblock (Johnson), Flint, and Lady Jaye (Palicki), are all that remains of the G.I. Joe team. The surviving Joes go rogue in their search for answers, as they address the very threats within the government that wants them dead, and before the brewing forces of Cobra unleash their plans for world domination.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a science fiction action film directed by John M. Chu and is co-written by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on characters from Hasbro’s popular G.I. Joe set of toys and action figures, comic books, and cartoons. The film is the second installment in the G.I. Joe series of film and is a sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe : The Rise of Cobra.
The film stars an ensemble cast led by actor/pro-wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, actor DJ Cotrona, and actress Adrienne Palicki, with an appearance from actor Bruce Willis, who plays a special role in the film.
Also reprising the roles they had portrayed in the first film are actors Channing Tatum, Arnold Vosloo, Jonathan Pryce, British martial artist Ray Park and South Korean actor Byung-hun Lee.
After a disastrous first film, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), which in my opinion had underwritten characters, an unengaging story line, and overall just had a bad leading cast who did not give justice to any of the characters in the film, it was likely that this film franchise was doomed right from the start. Some four years later and here we are with the second installment, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, marketed as a sequel to the first, but feels more like a forced reboot of the film series.
A major change in a lot of the first films main cast and some of its lead roles may be a sign of the trouble in production this film was heading for. The character of Duke, who is played by actor Channing Tatum both in the first film and here, and who was the main character in The Rise of Cobra, SPOILER ALERT: is surprisingly killed off within the first 30 minutes of the film. Why they would kill off arguably one of the most popular G.I. Joe characters in the franchise is just insane. From then on, the lead is taken over by actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who will most probably be replacing Tatum as the face of this franchise and hopefully save the film series.
Just like its predecessor, this second film is a flop in my books. A sad combination of uninspiring story telling and bad casting. Director John M. Chu, who is best known for directing Step Up 2, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and the web series Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, was an odd choice for directing this film. Im surprised we actually didn’t see the cast suddenly break out in song and dance. Jokes aside, the action sequences were nicely choreographed and the overwhelming number of explosive events, heavy artillery, and special effects is good candy on the eyes, but overall it just doesn’t surpress the fact that this is another bad adaptation of the series that not even the combined machismo of action star Bruce Willis and WWE Champion “The Rock” can control.
Red Dawn (2012)
Directed by: Dan Bradley
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson
Link to trailer on youtube.com:
The morning after a mysterious nationwide power outage, the city of Spokane, Washington finds itself caught in the middle of a serious threat, after the military forces of North Korea stage a surprise attack on the United States. As the city is swiftly taken under military control, a group of teenagers lead by off duty U.S. Marine Jed Eckert (Hemsworth), find refuge in the woods, where they tactically train themselves to go to war in order to defend and liberate their town from its captors.
Red Dawn is a action war film directed by Dan Bradley, who is best known for being a stunt coordinator and second unit film director for several notable films. His previous works include contributions to the Spider-Man, James Bond, Mission Impossible, and Jason Bourne series of film. The film is written by Carl Ellsworth, who had written the screenplay for the films Red Eye (2005), Disturbia (2007), and Last House on the Left (2009).
The film stars a cast of young talent with include actors Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, and Connor Cruise, and with actresses Adrianne Palicki and Isabel Lucas.
After doing my research for this film, i had just found out that this is actually a remake of a 1984 film of the same name by director John Milius, which i am yet to see, so you probably wont find comparisons between the two here (originals are almost always better though, at least for me).
Anyway, i thought this remake by director Dan Bradley was okay but not quite. The film as a whole is probably geared towards a younger audience. The young cast keeps it fresh and current, but it’s also the young cast of characters here who kill a lot of the “believability” of the films plot. I mean come on, is anyone really gonna buy into a plot that has a group of inexperienced kids outsmarting an invading countries military force? It would have probably made more sense if this were branded as a comedy, so no normal thinking person would actually take this impossible plot seriously. It is a serious war film though, and it is what it is.
On a higher note though, the film is easy going and there is some entertainment to salvage here and you might just find yourself sitting through this from start to finish. It sort of reminds me of the film Toy Soldiers (1991), which was equally as entertaining because it also had that same kids-vs-hostiles theme. The whole experience is like watching a surprisingly okay B-movie HBO feature on a Sunday afternoon (if that makes any sense). Director Dan Bradley’s experience in stunt coordination is present in some of the nicely choreographed action sequences and shootouts, which are nowhere fancy and top notch, but just gives the film that little bit of entertainment value.
Directed by: Sheldon Candis
Starring: Common, Michael Rainey Jr, Danny Glover
Link to trailer on youtube.com:
Woody (Rainey), an 11-year-old young boy abandoned and left to live with his grandmother, gets a crash course on life and what it takes to be a man, after spending a day with his uncle Vincent (Common), an ex-convict looking to change his ways and leave his criminal past behind.
LUV is a drama film co-written and directed by Sheldon Candis. The film stars an impressive cast that include Hip-Hop rapper Common, young actor Michael Rainey Jr, and with supporting performances from actors Danny Glover and Dennis Haysbert. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
The characters are brilliantly acted by the films cast and that is probably the saving grace of this film. Hip-Hop artist Common has starred in several films before, but this may just be his best performance to date. Both Common and co-star Michael Rainey Jr put in excellent performances in this piece.
It’s a nice little film here from director Sheldon Candis. Its plot is nothing new nor original and overall is nothing great to get all excited about. Its a coming of age drama of sorts set within the African-American community, where a child learns the ropes from his ex-con uncle on what it takes to hustle and live a “thugs life.” This is no family friendly movie though, as most of what was presented here involved drugs, guns, beatings, killings, and a lot of negative images and values. Somewhere along the way though, one would realize that this just may be the reality of someone out there, and it is smart and thought provoking.
As interesting enough as it presents itself to be, the plot just doesn’t hold itself together with a few unbelievable “What the Fuck” twists along the way and a disappointing open ended ending.
The Master (2012)
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Link to trailer on youtube.com:
Freddie Quell (Phoenix), has just returned from his service aboard a Navy vessel during World War II. While trying to adjust to society, Freddie stumbles through several day jobs where he experiences recurring Posttraumatic Stress Disorder which lead to violent breakdowns. He then finds himself stowaway aboard a ship where he meets Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), a charismatic speaker and leader of a religious movement known as “The Cause.” Dodd takes Freddie under his wing as they travel together and spread their teachings.
The Master is a drama film written, directed, and produced by American film director Paul Thomas Anderson. The films plot is inspired by Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. Starring in the film are actors Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and actress Amy Adams. The trio main cast all received Academy Award nominations: Phoenix for Best Actor, Hoffman for Best Supporting Actor, and Adams for Best Supporting Actress.
Not my favorite of P.T. Anderson’s films, but one i did appreciate for the brilliant direction and the acting from the cast involved. P.T. Anderson’s directing here is poetic. The director at his best. His latest film is again brilliant and enigmatic, coupled with yet another mesmerizing musical score and visual frames. A solid cast who turn in excellent performances top off this strange yet entertaining arrangement of a film.
A somewhat return to sanity and a good comeback film for actor Joaquin Phoenix. Arguably the best performance of his career yet i’m still quite baffled still on how the actor lost out on the Oscar for Best Actor. I appreciate the acting chemistry between Phoenix and Hoffman in this. The film is more a character study than it is enjoyable for having a engaging storyline, thus, some good acting chops are needed to pull off the characters of the film. Amy Adams, though mostly in the shadows, manages to still nicely translate that strong presence required by her character. Watch out for the brilliant interrogation scene, as well as the jail argument between Hoffman and Phoenix, which were probably the films main highlights for me.
The story line is intricate and a bit of a confusion. Probably a sleeper if you don’t put much effort into breaking it down. Halfway through the film was when i realized that i had to dig deeper into understanding the relationships between the three main characters in order to get a sense of what was really unraveling before me.