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

 

 

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Caliee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth

 

Plot: Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.


Tagline – All Roads Lead Here

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Stylish Movie

 

Story: Bad Times at the El Royale starts as a priest Daniel Flynn (Bridges), a singer Darlene Sweet (Erivo), a vacuum salesman Laramie (Hamm) and a woman on the run Emily (Johnson) all arrive at the El Royale, a hotel that sits on the state lines of California and Nevada, the manager Miles Miller (Pullman) does every job at the hotel and not everything is as it seems.

As the night unfolds the guest turn out to have their own secrets with on bringing along the psychopathic cult leader Billy Lee (Hemsworth) who only makes this worse for the guests at the El Royale.

 

Thoughts on Bad Times as the El Royale

 

Characters – Father Daniel Flynn is an ageing man whose memory just isn’t what is once was, he has selected the El Royale for his own reasons, which will become clear, he comes off like the calm presence you would imagine any priest, with a dark past. Darlene is a singer that is dreaming of her own big break, she uses the hotel as her halfway point in her latest gig, she is easily the most innocent resident at the hotel this night. Emily comes speeding into the hotel, on the run from someone, she is trying to help somebody and will do everything in her power to save them. Laramie is a vacuum salesman that has a secret, one we learn early on, he ends up being the catalyst for everything that happens at the hotel. Billy Lee joins the hotel late, he is the psychopathic leader of a cult that enjoys to torture and put people through games for his own pleasure. Rose is Emily’s sister who has been sucked into the cult, she will following Billy to the ends of the Earth for her devotion to him. Miles Miller is the hotel manager, well the only member of staff here, he has the secrets which will only make his come off shady, though he past will be the thing that sets him free.

PerformancesWe have a wonderful cast here with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm giving us the performance we know from them, Chris Hemsworth continues to prove himself in a different genre once again. Newcomers Lewis Pullman, Cailee Spaeny and especially Cynthia Erivo who easily steals the scenes.

StoryThe story follows the group of strangers that end up at the El Royale hotel for one night, when the secrets of the characters comes out as the night unfolds which only gets placed in the middle of the battle with a cult leader who wants his members back. This story does keep you guessing and uses the different perspective of different scenes only adds to the story. We don’t seem to have a wasted moment here either which is important because the clues will be there ready for the completion of the film.

Mystery The mystery in this comes from learn each character’s motives for being in the hotel, we learn from each new revelation that, they have a different reason that will make them stronger and be able to twist what we first thought of the character’s actions.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in and around the hotel, the only time we leave is when we look at flashbacks to where the characters have come from. The hotel does have a stylish look which adds to the creepy nature of events within the hotel.


Scene of the Movie –
The roulette gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Could I find one? no.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful stylistic movie that has wonderful performances throughout, a story that keeps you guessing and even feels unique for a cinematic experience this year.

 

Overall: Must watch mystery thriller.

Rating

 

 

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Director: Michael Cimino

Writer: Michael Cinimo (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Catherine Bach, Gary Busey, Jack Dodson

 

Plot: With the help of an irreverent young sidekick, a bank robber gets his old gang back together to organize a daring new heist.


Tagline – Thunderbolt… the man with the reputation. Lightfoot… the kid who’s about to make one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Comedy Heist Film

 

Story: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot starts as we meet car thief Lightfoot (Bridges) as he stumbles into wanted criminal Thunderbolt (Eastwood) who happens to be on the run from Red Leary (Kennedy) and Eddie (Lewis) from a previous job.

When the unlikely pairing decide to work together to collect the money from Thunderbolt’s big heist they become friends and start to plan their latest heist with the original crew getting back together.

 

Thoughts on Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

 

Characters – Thunderbolt is the seasoned criminal, that reluctantly takes Lightfoot on his latest heist, he knows how the plan ahead and get away with hiding in plain sight. Lightfoot is the rookie criminal that falls into the connection with Thunderbolt as he helps him escape trouble, he talks his way into the next heist even if his mouth can get him in trouble. Eddie and Red are former partners in crime of Thunderbolt out to get their share from their last job, they have the history with him and will trust him to help get the next job done.

PerformancesClint Eastwood was one of the biggest stars in the industry when this movie was made, he works in the lead role shining next to the younger talent. Jeff Bridges showed us here that he was going to be a huge star, he has great chemistry with Eastwood too.

StoryThe story follows two new partners working on a heist together, in fairness there isn’t too much more to look at here, it plays out like you would imagine and sends the characters o a road trip adventure at times too. It is easy to follow and doesn’t offer many twists which makes this one that could be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film does work well without being needed too often which shows that the crime is the focal point of the film as most heist films should do.

SettingsThe film takes our characters on a road trip adventure as they look to escape the bad heist and head towards the next heist.


Scene of the Movie –
The first meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the book.

Final ThoughtsEasy to watch and enjoyable heist movie with a great cast that gives us a road trip adventure.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Against All Odds (1984)

Director: Taylor Hackford

Writer:  Eric Hughes, Daniel Mainwaring (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods, Alex Karras, Jane Greer, Richard Widmark

 

Plot: A gangster hires an ex-football player to find his girlfriend. When he finds her, they fall in love, and the twists start to appear.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisty Thriller

 

Story: Against All Odds starts as veteran American football Terry Brogan (Bridges) gets cu from his team, wanting to take legal action it is his former friend and gangster Jake Wise (Woods) that hires him to track down a woman Jessie Wyler (Ward) daughter of Terry’s former employer.

Terry ends up doing the job with both sides fighting to pay him to finds Jessie, Terry uses this as a chance for a paid vacation even after locating Jessie who he gets to spend time with and fall in love with. Soon not everything is as it seems and Terry finds himself needing to fight for his own life too.

 

Thoughts on Against All Odds

 

Characters/PerformanceTerry Brogan is a veteran American footballer, his career is about to be ended on the field due to injuries and after not saving money in his life, he finds himself with nothing. Terry finds himself needing to work for both Mrs Wyler and Jake Wise from different sides to locate Jessie but soon he finds himself in bigger trouble. Jessie is the daughter of the owner of the football team and former lover of Jake Wise, she has gone into hiding for her own reasons with Terry searching for her to hopefully return to the States. Jake is the gangster that has details on Terry which could ruin his legacy but offers him money to find Jessie for him.

Performance wise, Jeff Bridges is good as he always is through any film he steps into and shows that he was always going to be a big name, Rachel Ward is good but doesn’t reach the levels of Bridges and James Woods can always splay the creepy figure which is why we love him so.

StoryA former sports star needs money and takes a risky job for a shady figure to earn the money and not have his career exposed. This all seems like a simple enough story and one we can all follow nicely. We have twists along the way which try to put u in the wrong direction but otherwise everything is all simple enough to enjoy for an 80s style of film.

Action/Adventure/Crime/RomanceWhen we break down the genres we get plenty to go through but the reality is that because we focus on too many we don’t get a strong enough side to any of them with each part being the first part of the generic of any of them.

SettingsThe two main settings are LA which is the one we can all understand as being the glitz and glamour with the crimes taking place in while the Mexico setting shows us the calm before the storm.

Final ThoughtsThe 80s were a decade of films with unlikely heroes taking over the leading roles in action like films and this was no different, it can be enjoyed throughout the film.

 

Overall: Thriller that just says 80s all over it.   

Rating

 

 

Only the Brave (2017)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Writer: Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer (Screenplay) Sean Flynn (Article)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Andie MacDowell

 

Plot: Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.


Tagline – It’s Not What Stands In Front Of You, It’s Who Stands Beside You

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Man Versus Natural Story

 

Story: Only the Brave starts as we meet Eric Marsh (Brolin)a mountain hotshot firefighter superintendent with his trusted second lieutenant Jesse Steed (Dale) who get their chance to step up to the next level as the prepare for the wildfires which could take homes.

When Eric’s connection Duane (Bridges) gives his new which includes loud mouth Christopher (Kitsch) and recovering junkie Brendan (Teller) trying to prove his value to the team, they get their opportunity to prove their quality to the fire department as they end up battling one of the biggest wildfires in history.

 

Thoughts on Only the Brave

 

Characters – Eric Marsh is the leader of the group of firefighters, he has fought to get his team the chance to become a force known as hotshots, which means on the frontline, he will give everyone a chance to prove themselves, even if his own ideas could cause problems with their chances. His leadership skills make him the inspiration the unit needs. Jesse Steed is the second in command, providing the much-needed answers to questions he might be facing and advice to the crew. Amanda is the wife of Eric, the two have an understanding that shows she is prepared for him to not make it home one day, as she shows the independence needed as she works with helping horses which have been mistreated. Brendan is a young junkie, he becomes a parent and wants to turn his life around by joining the unit, this gives him the direction, mentorship and responsibility he had never focused on before in his life, this is shown with his relationship with Eric and with Christopher, the loud mouth of the unit that is willing to push Brendan as far as he needs to be pushed.

PerformancesJosh Brolin in the leading role fantastic, proving he can keep his performance reserved while showing he is the true leader of the group. James Badge Dale is always great in the supporting roles and this is clear once again. Jennifer Connelly also proves to be a great supporting performer here, even though part of her storyline isn’t as interesting as the firefighting. Miles Teller does continue to build up a reputation for giving good and different performances through the film. Taylor Kitsch also continues to rebuild his career after the reputation he once get branded with.

StoryThe story follows a mountain firefighting unit that prepare to become the next level, before they start battling the wildfires with each one giving them a new task to overcome. This is based on the real crew which became a close unit as they got closer to the action to try and protect the loved ones. This does show a lot of training, battling and preparing for a big fire and shows the bravery these men showed when it came to try to protect their town.

BiopicThe men involved in the firefighting unit are real, they risked their lives to save people and their homes. These men needed their story told and this gives them that.

SettingsThe settings used in the film show us the positions people will find themselves in when it comes to needing to protect their homes, we feel the intensity of the fires they are facing.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 20 minutes are must watch performance work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an amazing movie, I wasn’t expecting too much from this movie, but I was left drawn to the screen for the remaining of the film with the final 20-30 minutes being must watch.

 

Overall: Brilliant movie, a must watch for all.

Rating