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

 

 

Blue Iguana (2018)

Director: Hadi Hajaig

Writer: Hadi Hajaig (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Phoebe Fox, Ben Schwartz, Peter Ferdinando, Peter Polycarpou, Al Weaver, Robin Hellier

 

Plot: Ex-jailbirds Eddie and Paul are on parole and working in a New York diner. Their lives are a dead end. That is, until English lawyer Katherine Rookwood walks into the diner with an offer they can’t refuse.


Tagline – Mullets. Bullets. And One Gem of a Heist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Crime Comedy

 

Story: Blue Iguana starts when to ex-cons in New York Eddie (Rockwell) and Paul (Schwartz) are hired by a timid English lawyer Katherine (Fox) to do a job in England, it should be simple in their strength, only things don’t go to plan when local criminal Deacon (Ferdinando) gets involved throwing everything out the window.

To get revenge Katherine brings Eddie a new plan which will be a larger pay day and could set both sides up for life, can they pull off this job with their different mindsets.

 

Thoughts on Blue Iguana

 

Characters – Eddie is a thief out on parole working in a diner in New York, he is trying to go straight only for his latest job offer to take him across the sea to England. When it comes to making the deal, he is the smartest one of the pairing, he handles the combat better than anyone else on his team and is willing to say no if the deal doesn’t suit. Katherine is a timid lawyer that hires the two men to get a job done, she is strict with her rules and wants to get her own back on the people she is planning on stealing from, for some reason we have her eating in nearly every scene. Paul is the partner of Eddie, he is quicker to say yes, not knowing the art of the deal, he talks a lot more which can get them in trouble. Deacon is a local pub owner with plenty of criminal activities going on, he sports a proud mullet which sees him be aggressive towards anyone that fails him, even if he must answer to his own boss.

PerformancesSam Rockwell is front and centre of in this film, he is clearly the best part of the movie. Phoebe Fox is entertaining because she makes her character feel uncomfortable in the world she is entering, which adds the layers to her character. Ben Schwartz is meant to play a lot of comic relief, sometimes it works other times it just gets annoying. Peter Ferdinando makes the for villainous criminal with ease.

StoryThe story follows two Americans that get hired to complete a job in England which sees them put a team together to rob a diamond to help a timid lawyer getting her own back the mod boss that has put her through hell. This is a heist crime movie that does follow the traditions well, we try to give each character their own unique quirk which in certain moments does add to the comedy, in other times it just makes the story feel like it is dragging along. The world created is filled with the criminal world characters that does play into the story well, while seeing how each side operates gives us an insight into just how much it means to the characters involved.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in the film follows how the crime gets completed which is mostly fights when needed, they do work and make sense, the criminal world we enter does show us how everybody operates. The comedy is the biggest hit or miss which is disappointing in most places.

SettingsThe film is set in London which gets a chance to bring us British gangster humour for the most part, it shows the shady locations criminals would act in.


Scene of the Movie –
The Tottenham references.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The relentless eating scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun easy to watch crime comedy that gets plenty of British humour going on throughout, it is simple enough when it comes to story which isn’t going the bring anything new to the heist genre.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Mr Right (2015)

Director: Paco Cabezas

Writer: Max Landis (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth, James Ransone, Anson Mount, Michel Eklund, RZA, Katie Nehra, Jaiden Kaine

 

Plot: A girl falls for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw: he’s a hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him.


Tagline – They just might make a killer couple.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Mr Right starts when Martha (Kendrick) learns that her boyfriend has been cheating on her, looking to do something wild she joins her friend Sophie (Nehra) and Julie on a wild night. On the other side of the story Francis (Rockwell) an international hitman on a job in New Orleans who is also a target of Hopper (Roth).

The two meet and strike up a chemistry unlike they have experienced before. As the relationship blossom, Martha finds herself in the middle of a battle between old friends giving her the biggest rush of her life.

 

Thoughts on Mr Right

 

Characters – Martha believes her life is going well, that is until her boyfriend cheats on her, going through the emotions like any other broken-hearted person, she ends up going out her way to party. Meeting a new guy she seems to be rebounding perfectly only to find her life turned upside down as she ends up in the middle of the two waring assassins. Francis is an assassin that is in New Orleans, he kills the people that hire him and gets an instant attraction to Martha, he does want out of this world and is known to be one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Hopper has been tracking Francis for years, searching for a way to kill him, he can master of undercover.

PerformancesSam Rockwell shows us once again that he is easily one of the most versatile actors in the business, he knows he is having fun and shines as the assassin. Anna Kendrick once again shows she is wonderful in these rom com roles where she has a quirky side to everything. Tim Roth is great to watch to because his role gets laughs without any sort of interaction.

StoryThe story here follows an assassin that falls in love with a girl next door figure and their love is tested when the criminal underworld collides with romantic one. The story does get to poke fun at the genres that are colliding which gets plenty of laughs through the film, nothing runs out of the ordinary, even if Martha is a glorified damsel in distress needing rescuing from her new hero.

Action/Comedy/RomanceThe action lets Sam Rockwell turn fighting into a form of dance to stay ahead of his enemies, which is part of the comedy which comes from the colourful characters we are meeting through the film. the romance shows us just how much Francis will change to leave the world behind to be with Martha.

SettingsThe film is set in New Orleans which always makes for a great setting for the party scenes and date moments.


Scene of the Movie –
Pool fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The age gap between the two is one of the problems in Hollywood at the moment.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action comedy that gets the laughs needed to compliment the action without either side getting too much attention.

 

Overall: Action comedy that should be enjoyed.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – V – Vice (2018)

Director: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Tyler Perry, Jesse Plemons

 

Plot: The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.


Tagline – The Untold True Story That Changed the Course of History

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Biopic

 

Story: Vice starts in the 1960’s as Dick Cheney (Bale) is about to screw up his life with DUI after getting kicked out Yale, his wife Lynne (Adams) isn’t going to let him screw up her ambition to be involved in politics, a role a woman wouldn’t be able to do in this era. Dick sorts his life out and before long he is learning of Donald Rumsfeld (Carell) and after the Watergate scandal, he ends up landing the Chief of Staff role.

It isn’t long before this role disappears and Dick must rebuild his career, becoming a senator before the chair of the house, his political power is growing and when he meets George W Bush (Rockwell) he will get to a position he could never have imagined.

 

Thoughts on Vice

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, only loosely though. Dick Cheney was involved in politics from the late 60s under President Nixon, until George W Bush, he took many different roles through the years, but it was his ability to stay out of the public eyes that made him one of the most powerful men in the history of America. Lynne is the wife of Dick, she pushes him into the political career, knowing it is something she would never be allowed to do. Once in his career, she supports him on every decision he makes. Donald Rumsfeld gives Dick his first chance in politics in the white house, the two do work together through the years as Donald sees just how blunt Dick has become. George W Bush is painted to be the President that can be controlled by Dick, put in a place of power which he simply isn’t ready for, he does pick Dick to be his Vice President though.

PerformancesChristian Bale is truly fantastic in this leading role, the transformation he goes through, from his almost natural look to the old bigger Dick Cheney is unbelievable and you can see why he will be up for most of the awards.  Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell in supporting roles are all wonderful and completely embrace their characters.

StoryThe story follows the life and times of Dick Cheney from his early political run, to his many different roles before being talked out of retirement to become Vice President to George W Bush. This story is told to show the many different accomplishments Dick Cheney had in life, whether he did the right thing in different roles is a different question. We might jump over a couple of issues, but we are mainly here to focus on the Vice Presidency role which is the one he will always be remembered for, this is one that will leave you surprised and not hating the guy as much as you think you will going into the film, which does feel strange. If anything, this will show us just how important moments in history will be when you look back on them.

Biopic/Comedy/HistoryDick Cheney is one of the most ambition men in American political history, this gets to show us just how far he went for his role and how much control he was able to take with little effort. This is told in a comedic tone which does work for the film, mostly because you can’t believe just what he got away with in these roles.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that Dick Cheney was in during different times of his life, the film uses them to make each be realistic no matter what was going on.


Scene of the Movie –
The mid film credits.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are skipped over even if we get an introduction to certain roles.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most entertaining biopics of the year, you will want to watch each moment even if he isn’t the best man to be involved in human history, a place where people will look back at his actions with shock.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Humorous

 

Story: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starts as Mildred Hayes (McDormand) puts up three billboards in a quiet road questioning how Willoughby (Harrelson) hasn’t solved the case of her daughter’s rape and murder. Fellow officer Dixon (Rockwell) who has a chequered past is enraged by the signs, while officer Willoughby tries to clean up the situation and prove there isn’t enough to solve the case, but with his dying he does want to solve the case before he goes.

As the billboards stay up longer, the town starts to become divided on the support in catching the killer and Mildred does to extremes in her battle with Dixon to get the case solved.

 

Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Characters – Mildred Hayes is a mother that has run out of patience when it comes to the police finding the killer off her daughter, she did have the full support of the town, but this stunt pushes the people away even if it could get her the killer to identify themselves. Willoughby is the lead investigator in the case, he has done everything he could to solve the case, but he is now facing his own battle with cancer, while keeping the peace in the town. Dixon is the hot-headed police officer that clashes with Mildred and anyone who supports her in finding out the truth.

PerformancesFrances McDormand shows us that she can reach the Fargo levels whenever the material is given to her, as she shines through as the best part of this movie. Woody Harrelson is great again this year, showing us he can step into any role and be great. Sam Rockwell is wonderful too as we see that this cast is filled with talent character performers.

StoryThe story shows the extremes of losing a child, the stress of noting being able to solve one of the worst cases in the town. This does turn into a character studio on the people involved and how their lives need to move on without a chance of every being able to. It is hard to describe this story in much more depth because it is interesting, it does have a lot going on that keeps us wanting to see where the film will go.

Comedy/CrimeThis does use dark humour throughout as we are seeing the effects of the crime on people’s lives, don’t expect to see an investigation though, we are focusing on the relationship between the mother of the victim and the police.

SettingsThe film takes place in this small town where everyone seems to know everyone, so they have all felt the effects of the crime, this helps when things start to get exposed.


Scene of the Movie –
Window smashing, it is a well shot single looking take.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The answer is frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark humour that can be enjoyed by the fans of that genre, it does have a good subject matter but doesn’t get to a level in the story that I enjoyed watching.

 

Overall: Dark comedy through a serious subject matter.

Rating