Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man (2008)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir

 

Plot: After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.


Tagline – Heroes aren’t born. They’re built

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:  Great Start to the Franchise

 

Story: Iron Man starts as billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is captured on a routine weapon visit to Afghanistan showing off his latest weapon, his capturer wants him to build a new weapon, but Tony was injured and is in shock at the number of weapons from his company they have.

Tony builds a suit which he will use to escape and save his own life, one which could be used to fight evil, he becomes Iron Man. His long-time friend Rhodey (Howard) is impressed with his new toy, and his partner Obadiah Stane (Bridges) wants to use the weapon to continue the war effort. Tony will have to learn the position he is know in the world to learn to protect it.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man

 

Characters – Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy engineer who has been developing the latest weapons to defend the home land, he looks down on most the people he meets including the soldiers showing around the warzone. He gets captured and designs a weapon that sees him escape, he makes himself Iron Man which will keep him alive, which sees him looking at life through different eyes, where he doesn’t want to supply weapons in conflict. Rhodey is the military best friend of Tony’s he uses the weapons created to help his men, he can get tired of Tony’s partying lifestyle. Obadiah Stane ran Stark enterprise after Tony’s parents death, he has mentored Tony in business, but is left with a difficult decision after Tony’s decision to stop making weapons. Pepper Potts is Tony’s assistant, she handles the affairs while he gets on with his business.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is fantastic in the leading role, we can believe his confidence and cocky nature that he is showing through the film. Terrence Howard is playing a more grounded character, he would go onto be replaced in this role, he just doesn’t have the complete opposite against that Robert brings. Jeff Bridges is strong as the villainous businessman who is controlled by greed. Gwyneth Paltrow does a solid job as Pepper, where she is going to become a character we get to know through the franchise.

StoryThe story shows us how Tony Stark went from businessman to Iron Man after learning the cost of his weapons which are being used on both sides of the war and must stop the man running his family’s company into the ground with these action. For origin stories we get to see the change in Tony’s mentality over the course of the story which is what will make somebody a hero. We don’t get the completely over the top destruction, with most of the fight scenes blending into the story where we see Tony learning how to control his suit. We get the first steps into the Marvel Cinematic Universe which brings the franchise to life with this just needing to give the hero an early villain that will make him a new hero in the world.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film comes war sequences and how Tony learns about his suits capabilities, the first mission shows what we are going to see in the future. The sci-fi elements in this film comes from how the suit is created to keep Tony alive and the new levels of technology involved.

SettingsThe film takes us to a couple of locations, Miami where Tony lives shows his playboy lifestyle, the Afghan locations show how the war is being fought with the two different sides and the same weapons.

Special EffectsThe effects used in this film show us the scale of what Tony will have do to survive, we have the idea of his heart that never looks out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Iron Man’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Rhodey isn’t the most interesting character in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful beginning to the franchise which would go onto change how cinema is experienced, it has the origin of an unknown character to the casual fans of comic book movies, which works for laughs and action, without being a comedy.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – S – The Sand (2015)

Director: Isaac Gabaeff

Writer: Alex Greenfield, Ben Powell (Screenplay)

Starring: Brooke Butler, Cleo Berry, Cynthia Murell, Dean Geyer, Meagan Holder, Mitchel Musso

 

Plot: After an all-night graduation beach party, a group of hung-over twenty-somethings awake to a beating sun, and a seemingly carnivorous beach that devours anything with a heartbeat that touches the sand.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Idea, Terrible Script

 

Story: The Sand starts when graduates Kaylee (Butler), Gilbert (Berry), Ronnie (Murell), Jonah (Geyer), Chanda (Holder), Mitch (Musso) and others have an all-night beach party the hangover is going to be the least of their worries.

The friends find themselves trapped on the whatever they can to avoid the sand which devours anything with a heartbeat that touches it, now the friends must figure out how to get off the beach before they can become victims of whatever is in the sand.

 

Thoughts on The Sand

 

Characters – College students, well we love them being the characters in horror films because even with their education they shouldn’t make panic filled decisions. Kaylee is the smartest and most responsible of the students who is looking forward to her final exams, Gilbert the big guy who gets wedge in a trash can, that is about his character rounded up, Ronnie is the one that just shouts out what could be causing the sand to react the way it is, we don’t really learn too much about any of these characters to be honest.

PerformanceLooking at the performances you can’t help but laugh because due to the awfully written script the actors don’t stand a chance in this film, the reactions from all are terrible, one character says they are in 1000x more pain than a jellyfish sting and it sounds just like they kicked their toe. The performance all around are terrible and you can’t see a single good thing about them.

StoryAfter trashing the script and performances this part will be strange, I did like the idea of the group of friends trapped on the beach with something waiting to eat them in the most painful way possible. I feel this compares to the Creepshow short with the friends trapped on the wooden island with the blob dissolving anything that comes into the water. The problem with the story comes from the characters involved who don’t make normal decisions, the logical ones are clear here and nobody bothers to take any of them one.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror does come from the fate the students will face if they touch the sand which dissolves anyone that touches it. The sci-fi side comes from just what could be in the sand is not of this world.

SettingsThe beach does make for a wonderful setting for this film because it is a normal location people go to and the new threat adds to something people could experience there.

Special EffectsThis is a low budget film so the CGI isn’t going to be great and you can see it through ever scene it is used in.

Scene of the Movie – Barrel of laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dialogue between the characters is so bad, it is either you slept with my boyfriend or is X alright just after they are dissolved.

Final ThoughtsThis film does have a good concept but it fails to use this idea to the full extent due to awful performance and dialogue between the characters.

 

Overall: Fails to use what is has, to become great.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Q – Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Writer: Nigel Kneale (Screenplay)

Starring: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, Duncan Lamont, Bryan Marshall

 

Plot: A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.


Tagline – Force more powerful than 1,000 H-Bombs unleashed to devastate Earth! World in panic! Cities in flames!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Filled Sci-Fi Horror

 

Story: Quatermass and the Pit starts when a construction team in London discovery dead bodies, which leads to Dr Roney (Donald), Professor Quatermass (Keir) and Colonel Breen (Glover) all being bought in to investigate the mysterious discovery, each with their own field of expertise for the unknown object.

Once inside there are only more questions to be asked and the strange effects happening to the people investigating adds to the mystery.

 

Thoughts on Quatermass and the Pit

 

Characters – Dr Mathew Roney is one of the team that is set to investigate the discovery, he takes and scientific approach to everything working with the historian to put the pieces together. Professor Bernard Quatermass brings the historical point of view to the table, wanting to study the discovery and using previous historical discoveries to help figure out the truth. Colonel Breen brings the military point of view often looking to use the quick answer over the smart answer. Barbara Judd is a reporter that is trying to put together a story for the public who believe this is an unexploded bomb.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast is great throughout, we believe the scientific figures, the military ones and the reporter looking for a story. the four main stars of the film know how to make the most of their scenes where their character needs to be the larger focus.

StoryThe story follows an object being discovered in London while digger to make the underground larger, we follow how the investigation to learn what this could be from different perspectives which shows how this would be handled in real life. We do have twists which comes from the discoveries going on, but for the most part this keeps things simple, with an air of mystery about what could be happening around the object.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror surrounding this movie comes from what could come from the object, it could bring horrific consequences, this plays into the mystery as we are left with the mystery behind what could be behind it. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the explanation to what could be behind the object and the potential of space being involved.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the underground, this is always a tight compact location which will add to suspense and horror in anything.

Special EffectsThis film was released in the 1960s, the special effects for the time were great, while we might look down on them now, it showed us just what was capable for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act which we are built up to nicely.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact they just look like grasshoppers and no one says this.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best hammer horror mystery sci-fi horror films out there, it keeps you guessing before letting everything out in the final act instead of giving away too much too early.

 

Overall: Must watch Hammer Horror

Rating

 

 

Rabid (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

Writer: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, John Serge (Screenplay)

Starring: Laura Vandervoort, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Greg Bryk, Stephen McHattie, C.M. Punk, Hanneke Talbot

Plot: What happens when you realize that to achieve your dreams you have to live a nightmare? Rose is a quiet, demure, unassuming woman in her looks and actions. Her dream is to become a famous designer in the fashion world, but a terrible accident leaves Rose scarred beyond recognition. She seeks out a radical untested stem cell treatment. The treatment is nothing short of a miracle and wallflower Rose turns into the belle of the ball. It all seems to good to be true. She is now everything she wanted to be. But everything in life comes at a price and this new found perfect life is no exception.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Best Practical Effects in Horror 2019

Story: Rabid starts when we meet shy assistant to a fashion designer Rose (Vandervoort) gets invited to one of the fashion parties, only for her to learn the motivation behind going, running from the party, being involved in a horrific car crash, leaving her jaw wired shut, while her jaw is being rebuilt. Rose is taken in by her foster sister and model Chelsea (Talbot) who is there for her, helping her find solutions including an experimental procedure that could re-construct her face.

The procedure is a completely success, making her even more beautiful than she was before, though it has come with a side effect, visions she can’t control, horrific ones, that seems to be blending reality with nightmares.

Thoughts on Rabid

Characters – Rose is the quiet assistant to a fashion designer, she has her own ideas that she does want to see made, the girls come to her to get small adjustments, but the designer treats her like a carpet. She isn’t seen in the same light as the models and often keeps to herself. She gets involved in an accident which first sees her horribly disfigured and secondly lose her job, desperate to fix this, she turns to an experimental procedure which fixes everything, giving her a new lease for life and a taste for blood. Brad is one of the co-workers that does try to help Rose come out of her shell by inviting her to the party before the accident. Chelsea is the foster sister to Rose that has been working with her too, she is the one that opens up her home after the accident, helping her get back on her feet, supporting her through the treatment, not looking away like most the others in her life would.

PerformancesLaura Vandervoort does give us a strong performance throughout, being able to balance the losing her mind and determined personality. Hanneke Talbot is strong too and the supportive friend, that does get to show the pushy personality her character has around Rose. Benjamin Hollingsworth does show us a strong friend or potential love interest in the film, while big names like Stephen McHattie and C.M. Punk make entertaining supporting appearance.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that sees her life turned upside down after an accident leaves her disfigured, only for an experiment procedure bringing out a new version of herself and an unwanted side effect along the way. This is a remake and one story that can remain similar is places, while bringing the social side of the film to new heights, the fashion world does make a wonderful backdrop for the story because it reflects the world that image needs to be fix with surgery. There are certain ways the story does feel weaker, that is mostly seeing how everything is spreading, which is important, but it doesn’t follow Rose, which is the important side of the story.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film comes from the real world situation that Rose goes through, with the accident before hitting the graphic violence of what is happening to Rose, which is also the sci-fi side of the film, the changes Rose goes through.

SettingsThe film uses the fashion world as the main settings backdrop, it shows us just how important image is to Rose and the people close to her.

Special EffectsThe complete highlight of this film comes from the practical effects, which look as graphic as they can, the injury suffered by Rose is one of the worst wounds you will see in this year’s horror films. We should give a shout out to the team (According to IMDB) Graham Chivers, Jeff Derushie, Anahita Loghmanifar, Emily O’Quinn and Omar Roessler


Scene of the Movie – The first reveal from the injury.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do move away from Rose, as the bigger problems spread around the city, we could have been given more fear from not seeing this, only hearing about it.

Final Thoughts This is a practical effects masterclass in horror, it will use some of the best you will see this year even if the story is a modernised look at a cult classic.

Overall: Bloody graphic horror.