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

 

 

Bumblebee (2018)

Director: Travis Knight

Writer: Christina Hodson (Screenplay)

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Dylan O’Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett, Megyn Price

 

Plot: On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.


Tagline – Every Hero Has a Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming & Delightful

 

Story: Bumblebee starts when Bumblebee is sent to Earth to prepare a base for the Autobots from the war against the Decepticons, getting injured in the landing he goes into hiding. Charlie (Steinfeld) is turning 18 trying to finish fixing a car that her and her late father worked on, she stumbles upon the Volkswagen Bug in a junkyard taking it home.

Learning that the bug is actually Bumblebee she finds a new friend, Dropkick and Shatter have been hunting down Bumblebee in search for the new base, with Agent Burns (Cena) working with them to stop humans getting caught in the middle of a war between the robot factions.

 

Thoughts on Bumblebee

 

Characters – Charlie is an 18-year-old girl still recovering from the death of her father, even though the rest of the family has moved on, she isolates herself from people working on fixing her car. She finds Bumblebee becoming her first friend as she tries to teach the robot about the world, she is the heart and soul of this movie because you feel each moment that tests her in life, as she needs to move on with her life. Agent Burns is a military man that is there when Bumblebee lands, he has spent time hunting down the robots he saw kill his men, wanting both answers and revenge. Bumblebee is a warrior back n Cybertron, he is sent to Earth to prepare for the next battle, only he loses he voice in the battle and his memory has faded, he goes into hiding until Charlie brings him out of his shell showing him what is worth fighting for on Earth. Shatter and Dropkick are the two Decepticons that are hunting down the Autobots before they can regroup, they know how to work the humans to get what they need.

PerformancesHailee Steinfeld gives us the best performance in any Transformers movie, she brings a heart to this character that we actually care about for the first time in the series. John Cena continues his rise in Hollywood giving us a good performance without needing to be truly tested.

StoryThe story follows Bumblebee who comes to Earth to prepare it for a new base for the Autobots and defend it from any of the Decepticons that could make the base known, he meets a human in Charlie who offers him friendship guidance and helps fix him. The unlikely friendship helps both the isolated figures learn their place in life which makes this one of the surprisingly refreshing stories of the year, for a big action film. the villains are only a smaller part of the war which is nice because we don’t need or want to see Bumblebee battle Megatron. We could sit here and complain about different aspects of the large scale of the story from the previous films, but we don’t need to, we also get a nod to a future character in the series. The best part of the story comes from the idea that everything becomes simple again which keeps us only focusing on one story between the Charlie and Bumblebee.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action when unleashed is good with the fights between the Transformers becoming easier to watch than previous films with each having their own ability in the fights to become stronger. The adventure takes Charlie from what she thinks is a dead-end life to learn to move on with life. The sci-fi side shows us the Transformers war we are going to be part of soon.

SettingsThe film puts us in San Francisco, well just outside with the locations of the beach showing us the beauty in the open road, which is what Charlie wants to be on.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant, the fights between the Transformers all feel flawless with the world they are from looking like everything you thought it would be.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why are they vehicles on Cybertron?

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best movie from the Transformers universe, it brings a heart and soul to the characters making you care about what will happen to them.

 

Overall: Wonderful and will you with a smile.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Zoolander 2 (2016)

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, John Hanburg (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig

 

Plot: Derek and Hansel are lured into modelling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy.


Tagline – Long time no Z.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful to Watch

 

Story: Zoolander 2 starts by filling in the events between the two films, Derek Zoolander has been left complete shame after his school collapsed days after opening, killing his wife, he has lost his child and now lives alone.

When Derek receives an invitation to Rome by Alexanya Atoz (Wiig) he must make up with Hansel (Wilson) who has lost his looks in the same accident that took Matilda, to make the impact in the modelling world again. While Valentina Valencia (Cruz) is investigating while popstars are being murdered.

 

Thoughts on Zoolander 2

 

Characters – Derek Zoolander has been struggling after his career crashed, a recluse from the world, he is drawn out for a new case which brings him to Rome o stop a new model terrorist act. Hansel was left scarred after the accident, also out of the business, now he is out of hiding to work with Derek one last time. Valentina Valencia is the Interpol agent trying to figure out who is killing popstars. Mugatu is back after being locked up for the time between the movies.

PerformancesThis brings sadness to me, talking about these performances because the first film is one of the better comedies released to the world. The performances from the returning cast are parodies of their original work, with the additions being annoying and poor throughout.

StoryThe story is strange because nothing happens for the first hour of the film, it does turn into the same idea again, villain trying to take control while the idiotic model tries to save the day. The story feels like a parody of the previous film which never gets to the levels it needs to.

ComedyNo it just misses on most levels.

SettingsThe film is set in Rome, this works for fashion world only.


Scene of the Movie –
They killed Justin Bieber?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest of the film.

Final ThoughtsOh dear God this was terrible, why do people keep making awful sequels to good comedies, just stop, let the original stand alone.

 

Overall: Avoid at all costs.

Rating

 

 

Mute (2018)

Director: Duncan Jones

Writer: Michael Robert Johnson, Duncan Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, Noel Clarke, Justin Theroux, Robert Kazinsky, Seyneb Saleh, Robert Sheehan, Dominic Monaghan

 

Plot: A mute bartender goes up against his city’s gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.


Tagline – He doesn’t need words.

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tonally Confusing

 

Story: Mute starts as we meet Amish man Leo (Skarsgard), working as a bartender in a futuristic world, filled with technology, to make his life harder he is a mute, he is reluctantly being bought into the technology world by his girlfriend Naadirah (Saleh), a waitress at the club they both work in.

When Naadirah goes missing, Leo goes on a mission to learn the truth about what happened to her, this includes dealing with gangsters, the fetish fans of the world and secret surgeons Cactus Bill (Rudd) and Duck (Theroux).

 

Thoughts on Mute

 

Characters – Leo is a mute Amish bartender that falls in love with a waitress, he isn’t happy to embrace technology as the rest of the world, which only holds him back, but he has taken to some which goes against his Amish ways. When his love goes missing he dives into world of gangsters to learn the truth. Cactus Bill is one part of the underground surgery team, he is loud doesn’t care who he insults as he is preparing to leave. He does the talking to cover up the reality that Leo can’t. Duck is the partner of Bill that performers the operations, he has a bad vibe about his charming personality.  We have plenty of colourful characters here which only bring us moments which are meant to stand out.

PerformancesThe performances are hard to fault in this movie, the actors do the best they can do with what they have. Alexander Skarsgard plays the role that is shown with his emotions and body language well, while Paul Rudd does the fast talking character well. We don’t get enough of most of the colourful characters we meet which doesn’t give them the time to shine.

StoryThe story is a mystery needing to be solved by an outsider to a criminal world. This is the basic side to everything as the colourful characters make each meeting feel like a clue for Leo, but this ruins the flow of the tone of the film as none of these characters remotely feel like they are from the same world. The story does contain twists, but they are not difficult to figure out and it goes on for too long being over two hours.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in the film follows us as we see if Leo can figure out what happened to Naadirah in a futuristic look at Berlin.

SettingsThe film does have a good look, trying to be futuristic, but more about being eco-friendly for the look.

Special EffectsThe effects for the movie are good for the most part without being used as often as you would imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many ends that just don’t need to be here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sci-fi movie that had all the interesting ingredients needed to make this stand out more, but it only ends up being basic with too many tonal issues.

 

Overall: Disappointing sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

David Lynch Weekend – Mulholland Drive (2001)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Robert Forster, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya

 

Plot: After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.


Tagline – A woman in search of stardom. A woman in search of herself – in the city of dreams. A key to a mystery – lies somewhere on Mulholland Drive.

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One Day I Will Understand This Gem

 

Story: Mulholland Drive starts as actress Rita (Harring) is involved in an accident but escaping the people trying to kill her. The apartment she takes shelter in is about to be taken up by aspiring actress Betty (Watts) who is staying in her Aunt’s apartment while trying to get on her feet. Director Adam (Theroux) is trying to get his next movie made but is being forced into casting Camilla Rhodes who no one can find.

Rita and Betty work together to find out the truth about who Rita is which brings them closer in an adventure across LA, while Adam is following a path to get his latest movie made and dealing with gangsters.

 

Thoughts on Mulholland Drive

 

Characters – Betty is the innocent young woman who arrives in LA hoping to making it in the acting world, but upon arriving she has an unexpected guest, she is kind natured and willing to help this stranger who ends up taking her to places she never thought she would go. Rita is the lady who has lost her memory, she is hiding out in the apartment that Betty is staying in and is helped along the way to regain her memory. Adam is a cocky director that believes he knows it all when it comes to making a film but he is pushed into making certain decisions which leaves him against what he wishes.

PerformancesNaomi Watts is great in the leading role working perfectly with Laura Harring as the two have great chemistry through the film. we get to see two different sides of the performance seeing how the two different sides of everything unfolds.

StoryWhat starts out as a simple idea of a mystery behind one woman’s amnesia takes a very different turn in the final act of the film which ends up throwing everything we thought we knew up in the air. Like a lot of David Lynch films you will need to watch the story a few times to understand everything putting the pieces together to make a film you can understand but that is why this is one for the brain to enjoy.

MysteryWe are left to figure out what happened, it does take time and I am sure on multiple viewings you will understand what happened.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which helps us understand the dreams and desires of the characters to succeed.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used a couple of times but the truth is they work very well through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Hitman’s mistake adds comic moment to a serious film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments leave you wondering what was that.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mystery movie that I enjoyed so much because it just keeps you needing to rethink nearly every scene in the movie to understand what you just saw.

 

Overall: True mystery brain tester.

Rating