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

 

 

Bill Murray Weekend – St. Vincent (2014)

Director: Theodore Melfi

Writer: Theodore Melfi (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Jaeden Lieberher

 

Plot: A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.


Tagline – With neighbours like these, who needs family?

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Comedy

 

Story: St. Vincent starts as we meet Vincent (Murray) a selfish man living in New York city, he has a hooker on call in Daka (Watts), he owes people money, drinks and gamblers. He gets a new neighbour in Maggie (McCarthy) and her young son Oliver (Lieberher) who are going to change his way of life.

With Maggie working to keep Oliver in school and away from her husband, which keeps her working late, giving her needing to turn Vincent to babysit after school, leaving Vincent to teach life lesson, while dealing with his own problems.

 

Thoughts on St. Vincent

 

Characters – Vincent is a lonely figure that drinks, gamblers and spends time with a hooker. He struggles for money and when he meets his new neighbour he ends up with a babysitting job, where he gets to teach life lessons which opens the doors to his own problems in life. Maggie is the single mother trying to keep her son with her as we as working a fulltime job, meaning she must turn to Vincent. Daka is a stripper and hooker that spends time with Vincent, she is also pregnant which has seen her job disappear, but her loyalty to Vincent comes through. Oliver is the young boy that gets taken in by Vincent to help cover for her mother’s work. He is the new kid at his school which he learns from Vincent how to fit in here.

PerformancesBill Murray is wonderful in this role, he must handle a mix of situations which only helps with the carefree style Murray delivers. Melissa McCarthy is always an actress I never have time for, but this is my favourite performance of her career. Naomi Watts never looks out of place in this role with her accent not missing once through the film. Jaeden Leiberher is an actor that has gone onto bigger things, this showed his potential.

StoryThe story shows us that you can meet people in life that are not what the cover seems, it has the idea of one man being down on life, but he has a story that he has never been seen by the people closest to him. A young boy is the person that learns the most as he must learn to grow up quicker than he should. This is a coming of age type of movie for Oliver which is important for him too.

ComedyThis movie does have good comedy coming from each moment that will make you laugh, it also has moments which you need feel.

SettingsThe setting works because it shows us how people in and around New York can live different lives.


Scene of the Movie –
The project.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The debt collector character seems to fade away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good and enjoyable comedy that shows the important side of life from the people you don’t think will be as big as people believe.

 

Overall: Comedy fans enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Writer: Craig Brewer (Screenplay)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Paula Jai Parker

 

Plot: With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.


Tagline – The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Insight to the Hip-Hop World

 

Story: Hustle & Flow starts as we see the everyday pimping life of Djay (Howard) forcing his prostitutes to do there thing with Nola (Manning) being he most requested girl, he has girls in the strip club too which Lexus (Parker) being the one he is closest too, he also has a pregnant one in his home with Shug (Henson) waiting to give birth.

When Djay meets an old friend Key (Anderson) he starts to have a craving to try and become a hip-hop star as the two work together to make song where he learns that Shug is the real talent in his household.

 

Thoughts on Hustle & Flow

 

Characters – Djay is a pimp going through a mid-life crisis, he is tired of struggling to make his girls collect his money and wants to try and new career as a hip-hop star, he must first shake his old ways though and accept criticisms for his vision. Key is a music producer for a local church, he comes from a very different background to Djay and is willing to give this music venture a chance. Nola is one of the prostitutes that is still working the streets she is his go to girl at the moment with the others out of the picture at the moment, she does get frustrated about being the only one on the streets though. Shug is the pregnant girl working for Djay, she shows herself to have real talent when it comes to singing which only brings the music alive for Djay.

PerformancesTerrence Howard in the leading role is great because we see his character’s full evolution through the story trying to find himself in the world. Anthony Anderson continues to show everyone he can be an great supporting performer while Taryn Manning and Taraji P Henson both show us they were going to go onto bigger projects.

StoryThe story shows us how a mid-life crisis can drive somebody to go down unusual paths with his Djay wanting to become a hip-hop star getting out of the pimping business. The story does break up into a couple of acts with the pimping business playing out like you would imagine, while the middle part of the film focuses for a long time on the making of the song which does go on longer than it needs too. With the third acting showing us just how difficult the industry is to get into. The idea that we can dream helps this movie out big time because it is important to see, though seeing just how far people will go for the dreams is the bleak side to things.

Crime/MusicThe crime world we see is just how the pimping world operates and how close to the line certain hip-hop stars can go to the law, this blends nicely with the music side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Memphis which shows us the difficult neighbourhood that Djay is operating in, it shows he tensions can fly and how the special want to get out of the place.


Scene of the Movie –
The club drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too long spent recording the song.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story about dreams and just how far people will go to try and make dreams come true, whether you will go too far too.

 

Overall: Dreams Big or fail.

Rating

 

 

August Rush (2007)

august-rushDirector: Kirsten Sheridan

Writer: Nick Castle, James V Hart (Screenplay) Paul Castro, Nick Castle (Story)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, William Sadler, Marian Seldes

 

Plot: A drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Fantasy Drama

 

Story: August Rush starts as we meet Evan Taylor (Highmore) a young boy at an orphanage who believes in the music to life as he dreams of finding his long lost parents. We flashback to the night Evan’s parents Lyla (Russell) a member of an orchestra and Louis (Meyers) a rocker from England.

Evan is determined to find out about his parents and sets out on an adventure with music guiding him to learn just who his parents really were. On his adventure Evan meets Wizard (Williams) who has been guarding other orphans in the big city who all have dreams of becoming musicians on their own and it is here where Evan learns to play the music he has only ever heard before.

August Rush plays into the idea music can bring everyone together regardless of the style it is always about just how it is played. We get to see how you can regret moments in life but the ones that are most important are were always meant to be. We get a story that shows us all how you can believe in your own dreams no matter who stands in your way. We also get a great performance from Freddie Highmore along with great performances from the supporting cast. This a film that went right under the radar and does deserve the time to go out and watch.

 

Overall: Delightful story that can be watched by all the dreamers out there.

Rating75

 

 

Terrence Howard Weekend – The Hunting Party (2007)

huntingDirector: Richard Shepard

Writer: Richard Shepard (Screenplay) Scott Anderson (Article)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Richard Gere, James Brolin, Jesse Eisenberg

 

Plot: A young journalist, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent embark on an unauthorized mission to find the No.1 war criminal in Bosnia. However, their extremely dangerous target decides to come after them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Story

 

Story: The Hunting Party starts by introducing us to our extreme reporters Simon Hunt (Gere) and his cameraman Duck (Howard) who put themselves in the most extreme warzones risking their lives. In 1994 Bosnia Simon reaches his limits after seeing the slaughter of a small village. We watch how the two go very different directions Duck gets a promotion and Simon goes off the radar.

The war over in the year 2000 Duck returns with young intern Benjamin (Eisenberg) for a story when Duck gets a visit from Simon who is looking for the notorious war criminal known only as The Fox (Kerekes). The three go on the adventure to uncover the war criminal with their liaison Mirjana (Kruger) as they go for an interview which is also a plan to capture him and regain the fame and fortune Simon once had.team

The Hunting Party is a loose look at what happened with a reporter trying to get his own personal revenge on a war criminal, I think that is the fair way to look at this one. The idea that reporters locate a war criminal works to an extent but the humour comes with how none of the military force seem to care about what is happened. The three have good chemistry which all helps with all the reaction to events. The down side for this film is that we just don’t seem to get pulled in enough for what happens with the story never believing what actually happened.

 

Actor Review

 

Richard Gere: Simon Hunt is a world renowned reporter that goes to all the warzones around the world collecting stories and awards. After he has a breakdown he goes under the radar before coming back into Duck’s life to finally capture the war criminal The Fox. Richard is good using his charm throughout the film.

Terrence Howard: Duck is the cameraman for Simon who went on all the stories, after Simon’s breakdown he gets the promotion and is enjoying the safer life, while returning to Bosnia for a story he has to team up with Simon one more time for the most extreme of all their adventures. Terrence is good in this role working well with Richard.

Jesse Eisenberg: Benjamin is the young intern who gets a chance to work with Duck in and Simon which will help with his much needed experience when it comes to getting into the world journalism. Jesse showed he was going to be a big star with this role.

Diane Kruger: Mirjana is a source in Bosnia she thinks the crew are CIA and tries to help them locate the Fox. Diane seems to only be in a few scenes and we don’t seem to see enough to give her fair criticism.

Support Cast: The Hunting Party has a supporting cast that includes all the different people that the crew really met on their adventure.

Director Review: Richard ShepardRichard gives us a light hearted look at very real situation that was much darker.

 

Adventure: The Hunting Party puts our character on a dangerous explosive adventure.

Comedy: The Hunting Party is told in a comical tone throughout.

War: The Hunting Party leaves us looking at the aftermath of war and how people are still too scared to worry about what happened.

Settings: The Hunting Party takes us to the areas involved in the Bosnia civil war as we see the effects it has had on the country.
Special Effects
: The Hunting Party uses good effects when need without turning to them.

Suggestion: The Hunting Party is one to try it isn’t the most exciting but it does what it needs to for basic storytelling. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Richard and Terrence have good chemistry.

Worst Part: Slightly slow and difficult to follow.

Funniest Scene: Indian UN guy.

 

Believability: Based on the real adventure I guess it is up to us to decide what we believe to be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: How can they find the world’s most wanted war criminal when the C.I.A. can’t? [by actually looking]

 

Overall: Fun look at how the media think the military characters are looking into war criminals

Ratingcard