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

 

 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

beneahDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Clark Gregg (Screenplay) Clark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Remar, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, Diana Scarwid

 

Plot: The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost – or that she is losing her mind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Thriller

 

Story: What Lies Beneath starts as Claire (Pfeiffer) and Norman (Ford) Spencer seem to have the perfect marriage as they witness their only daughter Caitlin (Towne) head off to college. They have recently had new neighbours Mary (Otto) and Warren (Remar) who Claire believes Warren has harmed Mary.

Alone in the house Claire starts to try and investigate what happened only to find herself haunted by strange goings on including her front door randomly opening. Claire starting to question her own sanity believes she is being haunted by a ghost and she thinks it is the neighbour she thinks got killed but the truth will leave her shocked.

What lies Beneath is the type of horror I love to watch where it is a ghost trying to communicate with a living person to get to the bottom of their death. The stand out thing is that we don’t have a slow build up we get straight into the paranoia level for Claire to end up in through the film. We are left guessing which is great as we do get a false lead to where the story is going. The fact this keeps us on edge makes this a top horror mystery to be enjoyed with all the chilling side.

 

Actor Review

 

Michelle Pfeiffer: Claire is the wife of Norman and mother of Caitlin who has moved to college, she finds herself alone in the house at times where she finds herself being haunted by a ghost who is trying to communicate with her and the truth will leave her wondering everything about her life. Michelle is great in this role filled with fear throughout.cliare

Harrison Ford: Norman is the university professor working in the field of genetics who has been leaving his wife in their home alone. He doesn’t believe she is being haunted and in fact thinks she is just reacting to being alone. Harrison is great as we are left wondering about his true nature throughout.norman

Diana Scarwid: Jody is the best friend of Claire who helps her try to get to the bottom of the hauntings in the house, she helps with the ghost hunting and is the supportive friend needed. Diana is good in the supporting role.

James Remar: Warren is the neighbour that Claire first suspects has killed his wife, he comes off abusive making him an easy false subject. James is good in this role which is only a supporting one.

Support Cast: What lies Beneath has a supporting cast that only help with trying to solve whether Claire is sane or not.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert gives us a horror mystery that keeps us guessing throughout with plenty of twists and getting straight into the action.

 

Horror: What lies Beneath has wonderfully built up horror with scares that use the jump scares correctly.

Mystery: What lies Beneath does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the film as we see everything unfold.

Thriller: What lies Beneath has you on edge once you learn the truth about what is happening.

Settings: What lies Beneath uses the lake house setting for the film which shows how isolated Claire really is feeling during her experience.
Special Effects
: What lies Beneath has good effects when needed but really uses the build-up for effects.

Suggestion: What lies Beneath is one for all the horror fans to watch (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Surprise in Harrison Ford Character.

Worst Part: Certain final effects look weak.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Tagline: He was the perfect husband until his one mistake followed them home.

 

Overall: Mystery horror that just keeps us guessing from start to finish

Ratingcard

One Hour Photo (2002)

logoDirector: Mark Romanek

Writer: Mark Romanek (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Dylan Smith, Erin Daniels, Paul Hansen Kim, Lee Garlington, Gary Cole, Eriq La Salle, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: Seymour ‘Sy’ Parrish (Williams) is a lonely photograph developer with over twenty years’ experience; he is now sat in an interrogation room being asked questions by Detective James Van Der Zee (La Salle). Seymour explains how he takes great pride in his work, but his pride taken him to obsession level with one such family. The Yorkin’s Nina (Nielsen), Will (Vartan) and son Jakob (Smith) a normal family, Seymour has created a fantasy where he is actually part of the family, but when Seymour starts seeing something wrong with the family he takes drastic action to save the family.

 

Verdict:  Creepy Thriller

 

Story: Looking into the mind of someone who takes great pride in their work but goes too far when taken away from that   work. The story is rather simple to follow as we see an innocent man just trying to show a family the truth about one’s wrong ways. We get to see how an obsession looks innocent but turns out to be questionable for those involved. We also get to see how someone’s mind can easily make up the fantasy rather than face the truth. What is bought up tension wise very well will not disappoint by the end, as what Seymour does is not unimaginable but in fact achievable. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Robin Williams: Seymour the lonely developer who has an unhealthy obsession with the family so much so that he believes he is part of the family, he loves his job and takes great pride in making sure everyone’s memories are developed to the highest level. Stunning performance from Williams, who is unrecognisable in the role. (10/10)

 williams

Connie Nielsen: Nina the wife of the family that Seymour believes he is good friends with and most of his action are to show her the truth. Good simple wife and mother role never needing to be anything more. (8/10)

 connie

Michael Vartan: Will the husband who Seymour doesn’t know as well but tries to build a friendship with so he could be part of the family, fills the role of the villain as such. Good performance but just needed to be a cheating husband without being anything else. (7/10)

 michael

Dylan Smith: Jakob the son of the family that call Seymour Uncle Sy, filled with innocence that shows compassion for Seymour. Good performance from the young actor. (7/10)

 

Director Review: Mark Romanek – Great direction to create the atmosphere to keep the story creepy but not twisted. (8/10)

 

Drama: The interaction between the lonely Seymour show that he has created a world of his own without even knowing it. (9/10)

Thriller: You just don’t know how far he will go once he finally snaps. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting adds to Seymour’s loneliness. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Unused apart from one dream sequence. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to be watching, it will shock with how simple people can be so obsessive without be a threat. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Williams.

Worst Part: The Boss

Scariest Scene: The first dream sequence.

Believability: The truth is this could be true. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No, but Williams performance could easily have got a nod.

Box Office: $52,223,306

Budget: $12 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: He knows where you live!

Trivia:After the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Robin Williams overheard viewers say that they forgot it was Williams in the lead role 15 minutes into the film. An observation that made Williams Proud

 

Overall: Stunning Performance for Brilliant Thriller

Rating 88

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay), Zak Penn, Joss Whedon (Story)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson

Story: S.H.I.E.L.D led by Nick Fury (Jackson) are trying to create an unlimited energy source. The attempts only bring back Loki (Hiddleston) and after turning Hawkeye (Renner) and Selvig (Skarsgard) sets out on world domination.

Fury has to bring together an elite team to take on Loki and stop his plan. The team included Tony Stark Ironman (Downey Jr), Steve Rodgers Captain America (Evans), Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff The Black Widow (Johansson).

With the added inclusion of Thor (Hemsworth) adds another realm after Loki, as he is wanted my Asgard for his crimes there.

Can all these huge egos come together and unite to take back the planet from an enemy with higher powers?

Verdict

Action: (10/10)

Special Effects: (10/10)

Costume: (10/10)

Sound: (9/10)

Suggestion: (10/10)

Best Part: The first glimpse of Hulk and the fight scene that follows

Star Performance Tom Hiddleston as Loki whose every line is so coldly executed to create the perfect villain

Favourite Character Hard to pick, as they are all equally as good as one another.

Overall: When it comes to family friendly superhero films they usually come up short and extra cheesy. This one has managed to put everything together to create the perfect family friendly superhero film. Every action sequence uses each character strengths to keep the action at the top level. The Banter level between the characters also works and keeps everything very light hearted. This will be enjoyed by all but may still end up only being the second best superhero film of the year.

Rating 91%

Thor (2011)

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg, Idris Elba, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Tabanobu Asano, Josh Dallas, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo
 
A team of astrophysicist lead by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) are in New Mexico researching unusual phenomenon. Jane has flown in Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) an expert on what could be happening. Also on her team is Darcy (Kat Dennings) are grad student who major is political science but was only student who applied to help. While the event is happening they drive closer and hit a mysterious man.

We get taken to Asgard the land of the Gods. We learn about how the ice giants tried to conquer all worlds only to be stopped by the Gods of Asgard and an agreement to stop war once the iron giants are about to be defeated. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) the king of Asgard has two sons that will one day take his throne, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). When some ice giants get into Asgard Thor takes his four loyal Asguardians Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Farndral (Josh Dallas), Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Loki and go to Jotunheim where the frost giants roam. A big battle starts before Odin save the Asguardians and Banishes Thor to Earth.

The mysterious man the scientist hit with their car was Thor and the event was him being banished. While rescuing Thor his hammer falls to Earth which brings out SHIELD lead by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). SHIELD take all of Jane’s research and quarantine the hammer location.

Where Thor is stuck on Earth his father Odin falls into a sleep meaning Loki becomes king of Asgard. When Loki becomes king his plan is revelled and his real father is also revealed.

Can Thor regain his power and return to Asgard? Who are SHIELD? this action adventure will answer all you questions in very entertaining style.

I watched this as someone who knows nothing about the Thor comics or myths so i enjoyed they movie for its own story. The story comes over very well filled with great action sequences and one liners that don’t put the story down. Chris Hemsworth does a brilliant as Thor in one of his first feature lead role. The story leads up to the eventual Avengers movie well too with Ironman, Captain America, Nick Fury, Hawkeye (who makes a cameo in Thor) and Hulk.

I personally think this is one of the best comic book superhero movies ever keeping me on the edge of my seat all the way through all characters are convincing and believable too.

My rating is 90%