“Iron Man 3” marks the beginning of what Marvel Studios is referring to as Phase 2 in their cinematic universe. Their first series of films culminated in last year’s “The Avengers”, where some of their most famous super heroes banded together to defend earth from a massive invasion. I will admit that I didn’t fall in love with the first phase of films, including the first two Iron Man films. I thought they were fun movies but not exactly in the same league as say “The Dark Knight”.
“Iron Man 3” is the best of the series so far and has me really psyched for this next phase of films. Writer and director Shane Black wisely has crafted a movie that mostly stands apart from the other Marvel films. One of the issues I had with “Iron Man 2” was that it spent too much time setting up the future. This third movie focuses on putting Tony Stark to the ultimate test by pitting him against a truly diabolical adversary.
Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin, a powerful terrorist who is unleashing havoc on all his targets. When Tony threatens him he reacts by destroying his home which unexpectedly results in Tony stranded in rural Tennessee. Not by accident I might add. The plot is complex and creative, complete with twists that nobody will see coming.
Guy Pearce joins the cast this time as Aldrich Killian, a scientist I cannot say too much about without giving away some of the surprises. Returning cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle as Pepper Potts and James Rhodes, aka, Iron Patriot.
Now as much as I like Jon Favreau, I much prefer what Shane Black has brought to this franchise. He has created a great story and merged it with some truly spectacular action sequences. The best being the moment when Iron Man must save over ten people who are falling from a crashing airplane.
Posted in Iron Man 3
Tagged 2013, @leslieadams1981, Avengers, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man 3, Marvel, Phase 2, Rebecca Hall, Robert Downey Jr, Shane Black
“Lawless” is a raw and authentic film about back woods moonshiners who made some good money during prohibition. John Hillcoat, the director of such films as “The Road” and “The Proposition”, brings his hard edged brand to the real life story of the Bondurant brothers who operated during a time when alcohol was illegal.
Tom Hardy, Shia Lebeouf, and Jason Clarke play Forrest, Jack and Howard Bondurant. Together they run a moonshine operation in a backwater town in prohibition era Virginia. Forrest and Howard are violent men who have no problem visciously murdering those who cross them, including the law. Jack definitley does not possess the nerve or the violent tendacies of his older brothers.
Things are good until a particularly nasty federal agent comes to town determined to shut them down. He is Charlie Rakes, played by Guy Pearce in a very slimy performance. He also has no problem torturing and even murdering people to get the results he wants. At one point he makes the term ‘tarred and feathered’ no longer a funny sounding prank.
The performances are all quite powerful, esspecially Tom Hardy as Forrest, the eldest brother. He has a quietness about him in most scenes but can quickly transition in to a fierce killing machine. He also has an odd way of grunting when he is not sure what to say that gets a few surprising laughs.
The whole production is very authentic. You can tell that the set designers, costume department and locations really put the effort in to making this time and place look as real as possible.
My problem with the film is that the story just never really seems focused. Characters seem to drift in and out of the story without making much of a mark. I also found the ending kind of a let down to be honest. I was hoping for more than just a bloody shoot out but it is what it is.
I guess in the end I admired more of the craft and the performances than anything. It is definitley not one of Hilcoats best films but does provide some nice adult entertainment in a summer full of super hero films.
“Lockout” is a total throw back to action heroes of the 80’s. Guy Pearce’s character, Snow, reminded me a lot of Snake Plissken and John McClane. In fact the plot of this movie is inspired by “Escape From New York” in many ways.
In the future, criminals are sent to a prison that is orbiting the earth. When the presidents daughter is taken hostage while on a humanitarian mission to help some of the prisoners who are losing their minds. This is when Snow is recruited. He is to get on board the prison ship and rescue her so that his own criminal record can be erased.
The rescue involves the usual series of shootings, fights but also includes space dog fights and a highly unlikely sequence where two people parachute from space to the New York and actually survive.
What I liked about this movie was the old school feel. The story was conceived by Luc Besson, who specializes in action films involving greasy characters and anti heroes.