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

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – I – The Invitation (2015)

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Screenplay)

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Aiden Lovekamp, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Jay Larson, Tammy Blanchard

 

Plot: While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Build, Nail Biting Conclusion

 

Story: The Invitation starts as Will (Marshall-Green) and his new girlfriend Kira (Corinealdi) get invited to Will’s ex-wife Eden’s (Blanchard) house for a mysterious gathering where Eden introduces her new partner David (Huisman), which soon turns into an invitation to join a cult for the guests.

As the night continues on Will becomes paranoid that there is an alternate meaning for the invitation but every time he believes he is about to prove the paranoia of the night, it all gets shut down and Will must start to face that he is grieving the loss of his son, or is he?

 

Thoughts on The Invitation

 

Characters – Will is the grieving former husband of Eden that attends a party hosted by his ex-wife which brings back the memories of his son, but he starts becoming paranoid about the reason for the party, he is the only one that thinks something strange is happening. Kira is Will’s new girlfriend that gets to meet his old friends at this party, she tries to be social even when his paranoia doesn’t help her get the welcome she desires. Eden is the host of the part, the ex-wife of Will’s that seems to have turned over a new leaf by joining the cult that she starts to recruit for with her new partner David.

PerformanceLogan Marshall-Green does a good job here because one moment in the film he is calm, then paranoid, then emotional and back to normal, this performance shows us a full range he must go through. Emayatzy is also good as the unknown element at the party. With Tammy Blanchard being the unhinged but at times calm host of the party.

StoryThe story circles around a party being held for old friends as the host has reinvented herself after the loss of her son, everything seems strange through the night until we learn about the cult she has become part of and wants the friends to become part of it but one man gets paranoid about what is happening during the night. It is easy to follow and you do spend most of the film waiting to see where it all ends up going which is rewarding by the end.

Horror/MysteryThe horror of this film comes from the idea that the characters are being recruited for a cult, while the mystery side of everything leaves us to figure out just what has been happening.

SettingsThe film takes place in one house that shows how a dinner party can turn sour as everything it not quite right.

Scene of the Movie – Not the drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a slow build up that does seem to give too many supporting characters screen time they don’t need.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror film, it does take time to build to the final act which is built through the tension that goes through the whole film.

 

Overall: Good horror that you get rewarded with by the end.

Rating

 

 

In the Tall Grass (2019) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Writer: Vincenzo Natali (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson, Will Buie Jr, Harrison Gilbertson, Tiffany Helm, Rachel Wilson

Plot: After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out…and that something evil lurks within.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Overly Confusing

Story: In the Tall Grass starts as siblings Becky (De Oliveira) and Cal (Whitted) are travelling cross country when they stop for a moment so the pregnant Becky can have her moment to recovery herself, before continuing on their journey, they hear a call from the tall grass of a little boy Tobin (Buie Jr) saying he is trapped in need of help, the pair head into the grass and soon become separated and lost in the grass too.

As night comes they learn they might not be alone in the grass and Ross (Wilson) Tobin’s father tries to help Becky, only for everything we have seen to get spun on us to be left wondering just what is happening in the grass.

Thoughts on In the Tall Grass

Characters – Becky is the pregnant lady travelling across country to start a life with her baby, her maternal instincts take over when she hears a young boy calling for help in the grass, which sees her get trapped, she experiences different pregnancy problems while trying to find her way out. Cal is the protect brother, who couldn’t win a fight to save his life, he wants his sister to date somebody with a future and an education. Ross is the father of Tobin who has gone too far into the grass before, he knows what is happening making him a real threat to the rest. Tobin is the little boy that is calling out for help, he desperate cries for help lead to the events of the film as Becky and Cal go in search for the answer.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances this is a hard one to hate or enjoy anybody in the film, nobody is bad, Laysla De Oliveira and Avery Whitted as the brother sister don’t have the best chemistry. Patrick Wilson does go full crazy for parts of the film and it is the best part to watch.

StoryThe story here follows a group of people that lost in tall grass which seems to have a mind of itself which will see them needing to figure out how to make it out alive. This is a story that does do a lot of confusing things because we do try to capture the magic of ‘Triangle’ only for it to be way to confusing for the most part because we are going over and over through different points of view which just doesn’t give us enough to work with because a lot happens in pitch black too which doesn’t make it clear just what was happening. This is a story you could break down and figure out what happened, but it isn’t a causal watch when figuring out the loops.

HorrorThe horror in the film is meant to come from the unknown in the grass and just what happens within the grass.

SettingsThe film wants to use the tall grass for the settings, I guess this is an American thing for it to be scary.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are mostly shock for gore, which are fine, but just don’t shock the way they want too.


Scene of the Movie – Ross finds a way in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many attempts to create a reset.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that just doesn’t get to any horror levels, if you have seen ‘Triangle’ you will have seen a much more interesting and better version of this story.

Overall: Just not Triangle.

Isabelle (2018) Movie Review

Director: Robert Heydon

Writer: Donald Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Amanda Crew, Adam Brody, Zoe Belkin, Sheila McCarthy, Krista Bridges, Alison Brooks, Booth Savage

Plot: A young couple’s dream of starting a family shatters as they descend into the depths of paranoia and must struggle to survive an evil presence that wants nothing more than their very own lives.


Tagline – Desire can get you past anything, even death.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Leaves You Feeling Empty

Story: Isabelle starts when the Kane couple Larissa (Crew) and Matt (Brody) suffer the tragedy of losing their unborn baby, Matt returns to work to help him through the events, while Larissa is left alone in their house, where she starts hearing the cries of a baby.

The more time Larissa stays in the house, the more she notices the eyes of the neighbour Isabelle (Belkin) watching over her, even visiting her, despite being wheelchair bound.

Thoughts on Isabelle

Characters – Larissa is the mother that loses her baby, she has experienced a personal trauma, one that is impossible to understand unless you have experienced, she does become paranoid after her neighbour starts watching her and seeing her around the house, leaving her wondering if she is being haunted or whether she is being haunted for real. Matt is the husband and lawyer that is starting a new job, he works to get over the loss, with it getting heavily teased that an intern is trying to seduce him. We could have seen him getting more stressed out at work, which does start to get hinted about. There is a lot we have had with Matt’s character that does seem to get forgotten in places. Isabelle is the neighbour who watches from the window, disabled being left wheelchair bound, she appears to be haunting Larissa despite her condition. Ann is the mother that is very quiet keeping to herself for the most part.

PerformancesAmanda Crew in the leading role is the best of the performers, she does make us understand just how much trauma she would have been through. Adam Brody does start the film well, but the less we see from the character the less he has to do, Zoe Belkin might bring the creepy look, but most of the actions are difficult to take seriously, mainly because of the CGI around it.

StoryThe story here follows a family that suffer the loss of an unborn child and the trauma they have been through sees the wife start to question whether their neighbour is haunting them or not. For the most part the story is a pretty routine horror, it would pass on the it is watchable even if you know where the story will go, the problem comes from the final act which just leaves you scratching your head more than feeling like we got an ending to the film. Certain side stories that get hinted at early on, just don’t seem to come to pass either which leave them feeling like we had a couple of needless scenes too.

HorrorThe horror does fall into the idea that there is nearly always something behind Larissa, we have elements of possession, but not enough to bring any true scares.

SettingsThe film does use the home settings for the film, which does see how Larissa is getting haunted in a place that should be safe.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel clunky too, most don’t look like they are on a strong level in anyway, looking like a stretch picture rather than actual effects.


Scene of the Movie – Meeting the priest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The final act.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does follow a routine, only for it to become predictable and when it tries to take a risk, it only confuses.

Overall: Routine Horror.

ISABELLE will be available on Sky Store, iTunes and UK digital platforms from 30th September

Investigation 13 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Krisstian de Lara

Writer: Rolando Vinas, Krisstian de Lara (Screenplay) Clay Smith (Story)

Starring: Meg Foster, Stephanie Hernandez, Patrick Flanagan, Robert Paget, Giordan Diaz, David Hernandez

Plot: A group of science students have discovered how to scientifically explain the paranormal. Their goal is to present their findings to their school board and petition to launch the very first parapsychology credited course at their university. Their thirteenth and final investigation lands them at Black Grove Psychiatric Asylum where they look into the urban legend of ,The Mole Man, an ex-patient of the asylum who is thought to live within its walls.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Just Another Paranormal Investigation Movie

Story: Investigation 13 starts when a group of students Melanie (Hernandez), Jerod (Flanagan), Nate (Diaz), Ernie (Ramos) and Terry (Alexander) get permission to investigate an abandoned psychiatric asylum for one night, one that saw another team simply vanish.

Arriving at the asylum the group are given the tour by Layla Parrish (Foster) with much of the focus on the infamous serial killer known as The Mole Man that escaped the asylum and with his escape saw a big change in everybody else in the asylum which led to the closure, can the students uncover the truth.

Thoughts on Investigation 13

Characters – Layla Parrish is the owner of the asylum, she will welcome the guests in to investigate, give the warnings and the history to the building. Melanie is the leader of the team, she has put in the requests for the investigation, brings the team together and is the one trying to prove the most for her class. Jerod is the other lead on front of the cameras in the investigation and like the rest of the team, we are getting Ernie and Nate who are the generic cameraman, while Terry is the one operating the remote cameras.

PerformancesStephanie Hernandez in the leading role of the investigation team is fine, which is going to be said for the whole cast, nobody does anything standout and most just struggle to make the true impact needed to make us understand the fear they are going through. Meg Foster does give us the creepy landlady performance, which is mostly explaining what has happened before in the asylum.

StoryThe story here follows a group of paranormal investigators that are looking into an abandon asylum in an attempt to redeem their own reputation after the last investigation went wrong. Well, where do we start with this one, for the most part this is everything we have seen in any and all paranormal investigation in an asylum movie, we get next to nothing original in this story, mainly because it is a location and story that has been done way too much before. We get the routine, set up the cameras, walk around a lot, watch the cameras, hear noises, before something big happens after one of the team goes missing. While this story does have an element which does come off original, it is the fact we have to get through the usual material to get here. We do get animation used to fill the back story, which is strange to watch at times, though it does give us the unsettling feeling the live action side lacks.

HorrorThe horror side of this film does rely on how you react to people trying to investigate an abandon asylum, it isn’t something we haven’t seen before when it comes to the horror though.

SettingsThe film is set in the asylum which is filled with the rooms we would expect to see, it does only have one way in and out, which does leave us wondering why they would agree to investigate a place without knowing the escape.

Special EffectsThe effects are limited, we don’t need to many, with a lot of the scene that do involve the animation, which covers up any effects needed.


Scene of the Movie – The animation spices up the generic story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get much new for the paranormal investigation side of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book paranormal investigation in an asylum movie, with the exception of the animation filling in the history of the asylum, we are given nothing new to type of movie.

Overall: By the book paranormal investigation movie.