Showing posts with label Jon Favreau. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jon Favreau. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Iron Man 3

With Iron Man 3 Marvel Studios found themselves in a somewhat precarious situation. Coming off the back of the super hit superhero extravaganza The Avengers, they had a lot to live up to and in a sequel to the poorly received Iron Man 2, they had some damage to undo. Stuck between a team of superhero rocks and an iron suited hard place they’ve managed to pull it out of the bag once more and produce a thoroughly entertaining action movie which is in my view, the best Iron Man movie to date.

Our arrogant, former playboy hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is now settled with his live in girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). While Potts manages Stark Enterprises, Stark himself tinkers in his basement on new designs and upgrades for his Iron Man suit. Unwanted flashbacks to the events at the close of The Avengers movie provide a distraction to his work and coupled with insomnia he begins to lose focus on what really matters in the life of Stark, instead focussing on his alter ego. With his dedication to Iron Man reaching addictive levels he finds he needs to focus when a new menace threatens the world in the form of shady terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and a small army of indestructible men whom he has at his disposal.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Identity Thief

Why didn’t I just listen? I have only myself to blame. No actually, I’ll blame my girlfriend as this film was her choice, but no, it’s not all on her, I have to shoulder some of the responsibility. At work Richard, the man behind I Liked That Film told me it was the worst film he’d seen all year and I’d listened to a couple of podcasts and read some reviews which stated similar. But still I went. And now I’ve added another few dollars to an ever expanding pot which makes this waste of talent (at time of writing) the second biggest box office draw of the year so far. How and why is this film so bad? All the ingredients are there. Melissa McCarthy is a fast rising comedy star who was great in Bridesmaids and stole her scenes in This is 40. Jason Bateman is one of the best every man-straight man types in Hollywood today. What happened?

The plot or should I say tenuous excuse to get Bateman and McCarthy in a car together for two hours is that Bateman plays Sandy Patterson. I know what you’re thinking; Sandy is a girl’s name. He must be some kind of girly man, right? Well if you think that’s funny then you’re gonna love the next couple of hours. So Sandy, ha, Sandy works in Denver at a job he’s good at but he doesn’t get the sort of appreciation he thinks he deserves (Amen, brother!). Sandy starts to notice that his credit limit is reduced and eventually his card is declined. He’s all like “What on Earth is going on? I only use the card for gas and coffee…” Meanwhile in Florida a woman (McCarthy) has stolen Sandy (Get it, like a girl’s name) Patterson’s identity and is using it to buy all sorts of hilarious items like hairspray and jet skis. Unfortunately the police can’t help because for some reason they’re not allowed to. So Sandy, wait, sorry. Sandy has to go to Florida himself and play bounty hunter by bringing the woman to Denver to explain to his boss that he’s a good boy really. Also there are bad guys with guns.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Iron Man

"Give me a scotch. I'm starving"

The first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Robert Downey Jr as billionaire playboy/weapons developer Tony Stark. Stark is presenting his latest weapon to the Military in Afghanistan when his convey comes under attack. Stark is critically wounded in the attack and while imprisoned by terrorists, fellow prisoner Yinsen (Shaun Toub) fits an electromagnet into his chest in order to keep shrapnel out of his heart. Ordered to build a sophisticated missile by their captors, instead the prisoners go about building an Iron suit which Stark uses to escape. Excited by the new technology Stark begins to develop the suit further but other parties are also interested in the idea.

Tony Stark is a character that Robert Downey Jr was born to play. After several years on the edges of Hollywood the role put him back front and centre and rejuvenated his flailing career. Stark and Downey have very similar traits and it feels as though Downey is enjoying the role. Paul Bettany is well cast as the voice of JARVIS, Stark’s computer. He comes across as robotic but with just a hint of humanity and emotion. Gwyneth Paltrow is also well cast as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts. She is sexy enough when she needs to be but you can understand to some extent why Stark hasn’t noticed her in that way. Their relationship is also very fun to watch and somewhat like a toddler and mother. It’s entertaining to watch her attempt to keep Stark in line and out of trouble.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Cowboys & Aliens

Its 1873 and a man (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert of the Arizona Territory with a strange metal bracelet on his wrist. He doesn’t know who or where he is and is soon attacked by a posse of outlaws. After disposing of his attackers he rides to Absolution where he is again set upon and ends up in Jail. While being transported to another facility, the entire town is attacked from the air by unidentified crafts. It transpires that Absolution is under attack by aliens who are abducting the townsfolk and the man along with local rich man Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), bar owner Doc (Sam Rockwell) and a mysterious woman called Ella (Olivia Wilde) set out to track the aliens and save the towns people.

There was a lot said at the time the film was released that it was a ridiculous idea to have cowboys battling aliens but to me it is no more ridiculous than having an alien film set in the modern day and is a refreshing take on the genre. The Western sets and costumes look great and most of the cast fit the bill of Wild West inhabitants. The only person who doesn’t is Olivia Wilde who looks completely out of place with salon shaped eyebrows and GHD straightened hair. While Craig and Ford et al look the part in their costumes, her tight and clingy dress doesn’t look right either. I think her look was misjudged in an obvious attempt to attract a teenage male audience.

Jon Favreau’s direction is fine and he balances the fast paced sci-fi action with the slower western style of wide open vistas and gruff dialogue. The aliens are also well designed and look scary in enclosed spaces. When out in the open they lose their menace slightly but still look good.

I thought that the acting was also fine. Daniel Craig produces a convincing accent and suits the role. Harrison Ford is also good and seems well suited to the role he is playing. Sam Rockwell is under used and Olivia Wilde does well in her few scenes in which she has to act. The supporting cast is excellent and helps to fill out the Old West world that the film creates.

So far I’ve had few complaints but my main problem with the film is that it’s really dull. There are aliens - Fighting cowboys - With lasers and stuff! But I felt really bored for most of the film and I was only really interested in finding out about how Daniel Craig came to be in the desert with a metal thing on his arm. I’m very surprised that the film wasn’t more exciting and it doesn’t live up to its title. Another problem was that the script made the action far too predictable. It is obvious for instance that Sam Rockwell’s inability to shoot will turn around and he will save someone. It is also obvious that Harrison Ford will admit to liking the Indian boy he bought up but seems to dislike. Also, there is a rather obvious mention of dynamite which comes back towards the end. The script is full of this sort of thing and everything is laid out in giant capital letters with few surprises or twists.

The film could learn something from Snakes on a Plane which is much more enjoyable. The film is played completely straight and I think it would have benefited from a bit of camp or even just a bit more comedy.

Overall the film has a really interesting idea at its centre and is well acted by a solid cast but doesn’t live up to its premise and takes itself too seriously.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Deep Impact

High School amateur astronomer Leo (Elijah Wood) discovers a comet on a collision course for Earth but he doesn’t realise it and sends his photos to an observatory where the find is undiscovered for several months. Meanwhile, reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) believes she has a scoop regarding a sex scandal but has actually stumbled upon E.L.E. the Extinction Level Event comet which is on course to strike the Earth. To attempt to combat the comet, the USA and Russia build a space ship which is landed on the comet’s surface to drill nuclear bombs deep under its surface in an attempt to blow it up and save mankind.

It’s unfortunate for Deep Impact that it was released during the same summer as Armageddon, a film which is probably better remembered, cost twice as much and had a better known cast. That being said, Deep Impact comes off well against the aforementioned film. It’s CGI has held up well and the various family goodbyes are very emotional. The plot unfolds at a decent pace and features a couple of twists. On the downside there are some quite sizable holes. Firstly, it is extremely unlikely that an amateur astronomer would discover a comet heading for earth, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Even if they did, the observatory they sent their discovery to would have more than one staff member and it would be thoroughly studied. Another problem is that if we were facing the end of the world, why would the Government only build one space ship? With all of the world’s resources at their disposal, why not build two and send them up a few days apart for backup? News network MSNBC also makes Tea Leoni their lead anchor for the biggest story in history despite never having done it before. How unlikely it that?!

The acting was mixed. I thought that Elijah Wood was alright and his girlfriend Sarah (Leelee Sobieski) was excellent. She bought a lot of emotion and sadness to some scenes. The crew of the space ship which featured Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Blair Underwood and Ron Eldard were all fine. They were all convincing as astronauts. Morgan Freeman was convincing and comforting as the US President although his main job appeared to be explaining the plot. It is a shame that lead actress Tea Leoni is so disappointing as it is extremely rare that an actress has such a pivotal role in an action-disaster movie. I didn’t feel that her performance was convincing as a reporter and she appeared to have little emotion given the circumstances. Overall I think that director Mimi Leder created an average disaster movie which is in no way great but passes a couple of hours. Leder’s record breaking success with the film however, (this was the highest grossing female directed film until 2008’s Twilight) is a damming statistic on the number of female directors working in Hollywood.