Tag Archives: movie

Review: Iron Man 3 – In which the trilogy ends

Finally got to see Iron Man 3, it’s the third installment in to the Iron Man franchise, this film being directed and written by Shane Black. I’m a Shane Black fan, he’s done; the Lethal Weapon movies, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, The Last Boyscout…
In short, the third movie is about Tony Stark battling a new villain as well as personal demons.

The good; Robert Downey Jr, he carries this movie completely and thoroughly. His comedy timing and delivery is great, there’s some scenes in particular with a kid, but I won’t get in to it.

The scene where Iron Man has to rescue passengers suddenly ejected from a plane is great. There’s a real sense of geography and urgency amidst this chaotic situation and it’s pulled off very well.

The bad; it wasn’t the movie I had hoped for, not typical of Shane Black’s previous work. The twists and turns aren’t hard to spot, and much like The Dark Knight Rises, there isn’t much of Iron Man in this film. It seemed that there was too much to service in the story, you have the Extremis stuff as well as the Mandarin.

Overall, enjoyed it better than the second movie, but the first movie is still the best one out of the trilogy.
Again… wait till the end of the credits (as you should) for a tag at the end.

Review: Wreck-It Ralph wrecks the box office

I saw Wreck-It Ralph this weekend and apparently so did everyone else.  It’s about Ralph, the villain in an old 8-Bit game called Fix-It Felix Jr, who is fed up of being the bad guy, so he game jumps and decides to find his own destiny.

The Good:

Where to start… where to start… the humor is great, lots of stuff for the grownups who grew up with 8-bit games.  When they’re in Game Central Station there are a lot of characters from other games, Wreck-It Ralph is the Who Framed Roger Rabbit of video games.  I enjoyed seeing all the other characters throughout the movie, as well as the other arcade machines that pass time in the arcade.

The animation is top notch.  Each game is a separate world and the characters that inhabit that world behave and look differently.  An example is Ralph’s world, the inhabitants of the apartment of Niceland behave in short quick movements, almost with a staccato beat, which is very evocative of the 8-bit world in which their video game takes place in.  Then we go on to Hero’s Duty where everything is in high def with lots of action going on in the background.  Next we visit Sugar Rush where the world is made up of some form of candy.  A standard movie takes time establishing one world in which the protagonist lives in, with its own set of rules in the case of sci-fi or fantasy, but with Wreck-It Ralph we’re treated to at least three other worlds, amazing that the filmmakers were able to accomplish that.

My main praise for this film has got to be the story.  The story is what grabbed me immediately, from the beginning Ralph is a relate-able character and his journey is one that is simple yet complicated in its own way.  The arc of the story is very very similar to Brave and The Iron Giant.  The ending especially reminded me of The Iron Giant.

The Bad:

I don’t think I have anything to put here.  Only that people will immediately dismiss this film as being a cartoon and not an animated film.  “I don’t watch cartoons,” to those of you whom this applies to… I say, stretch your brain, and allow yourself to experience something new, it might shock and amaze you.  And if it doesn’t, then you have no soul and you should have a doctor look in to that.


I cannot recommend this movie enough.  There’s something for everyone, it’s a throw back to the 8-bit games that pioneered video game entertainment industry, as well as a commentary on the state of video gamer entertainment today, but above all it’s touching and moving in the right places.  I predict a best animated feature nom.

Another bonus is the short Paperman that we got before the main feature, what a pleasant little treat.

It’s also great to see all the other video games, here are some to name a few; Bowser, Paperboy, Ryu, Ken, Blanka, Pac-Man, M. Bison, Zangeif, Chung-Li, Sonic, Q*Bert, Frogger, Princess Daisy…


Frankenweenie is the latest from Tim Burton. From his previous short film, this feature length version is about a boy who loses his dog and longs to bring him back, a modern take of Frankenstein.

The good; it’s black and white, I mean, who else does black and white these days? Love the feel that it adds and you don’t even notice.

The film starts off right away introducing us to Victor, our main character, we waste no time connecting with him, bravo in the way they were able to pull that off. Granted, it’s sorta biased to people like me, film school graduates and what not.

At first I thought, “why make this a full length feature film, when the short film was fine?” But they made wonderful additions to fill the runtime of a feature. We get more characters and complications in the plot, building to a wonderful ending.

There’s a nice touch with the science teacher and his view on science. As Victor’s mentor he’s a shapeshifting one, you don’t know if it’s a good guy or a bad guy, he’s designed to scream bad guy but his message to Victor, as well as the audience, is surprisingly meaningful… wrapped in humor at times.

The bad; not much here, you either love Tim Burton’s character design style or you don’t. Personally, I didn’t mind it, but I can see it turning others off.
This isn’t necessarily a kid’s movie, I’d say it’s for mature kids, kids that can comprehend what’s going on, and see the deeper message behind the scary images. There are some frightening scenes, which help punctuate the message of responsibility and love.

Overall, worth watching. The setting is timeless, not exactly a period piece, but just a timeless suburban small town that may or may not have existed in history, except in the way that we remember it. It was also great to see the cast of the original short film thanked at the end. John August and Tim Burton have teamed up again for another success.



I attended a Q & A screening of Lawlesslast night, thanks to Jeff Goldsmith.  The film is another team up by director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave, who previously brought us The Road and The Proposition.  This film is based on the book entitled The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant.  It’s about the Bondurant brothers during the prohibition era in Franklin County Virginia, they make moon shine and have run ins with no so nice people.  The film stars Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska and Gary Oldman.

The good; it’s Hillcoat and Cave collaborating again, I love their movies.  They manage to blend two genres together, the western and the gangster/mob genre, this melding is much better than that of Public Enemies.
The acting is great, there’s a great sense of family with the Bondurant brothers, normally I don’t like Shia Le-Beef, but in Lawless he’s casted perfectly as the young brother Jack.
Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Forrest, the brains behind the operation, is wonderful, he reminds me of Clint Eastwood in a western, long stares with minimal dialog.
Guy Pearce plays Special Agent Charlie Rakes, and is creepy as all hell.

The action and violence is gritty and visceral.  It gives this film that wild west feel, where frontier justice ruled over any authority.  The pacing is methodical, but not to the point of being slow, and these moments are then punctuated with scenes of violence.

The music for the film is great as well, it’s done by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (non-comic book).  The score feels period appropriate but then there are songs with lyrics and even those songs are done as if they came from that time.  Great choices.

The bad; it does detract from history, but then again the movie is “based” on a true story.
There’s not enough Gary Oldman, his introduction in the film is superb, I wanted more of him.  We’re introduced to his character, Floyd Banner a wanted gangster, through the eyes of Jack, we see this brutal act of violence with a sense of longing and romanticism that influential youths have, this is what leads him down the road to criminal activity.

Overall a gem of a movie, I can’t wait to see Hillcoat’s next movie, I hope he teams up with Cave again.  During the Q & A Hillcoat mentioned that it’s hard for him to make films in this country, USA, cause there’s not enough time, things are rushed.  I couldn’t agree more.  When people talk about Grindhouse cinema, I might argue that that period of filmmaking never ceased, it just became the  norm.  I highly recommend this movie.

Oh and don’t sit next to old people during movies… during the Q & A this guy brought out a book and started reading…

The Expendables 2

The Expendables 2 opened this weekend.  I haven’t looked forward to a movie since The Dark Knight Rises, and boy did this movie deliver.  It’s about a team of mercenaries that get hired to recover something in a crashed plane, they wander through some third-world European country and find a bad guy that they need to take down.  Simple enough right?

The good; the opening sequence.  It starts off with a condensed version of the first movie, the team comes in guns-ablazing (as if there were any other way) and they pretty much decimate this Nepalese hide out.  Seeing this masterpiece in the Arclight Dome was perfect, the screen was adequately large so I could see all the bodies flying and being eviscerated, and then the sound was in my face!  It’s the only way to go.
What an opening to a movie, the thing felt twenty minutes long if it was a yard… is that a saying?  Explosions, body count, bullets, cheesy lines – The eighties are/is back, with a vengeance.

We get the old team back together with some additions and we even get more time with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The first film had all three of these action stars in one scene, the sequel integrates all them in to the plot, very very enjoyable.  The back and forth with Willis and Schwarzenegger during the shoot out is that first scene in the church amplified and then fuel injected, these guys are such great sports to have done that scene.

The action is amazing, they were able to re-create the tone and feel of the first movie, why can’t other sequels follow this mold?

Van Damne!  He’s in the theatres again!  And we also get Chuck Norris!  These are not spoilers, if you’ve seen the trailers and advertisements you know that these two are in this movie.

How did all these action stars come together to make this greatness?  Please give us a third one.

The bad; I don’t know if there’s much to put here.
I would’ve liked to have seen more Chuck Norris… I know that sounds weird, but with the tone of this movie, they really could’ve played up his part in it all.  It felt as though they only had him for a small window of time, because the bulk of his time is taken doing Total Gym infomercials, but most of his scenes he was in a cutaway of him shooting and kickin’ butt.  The only real time he was with the cast was his introduction.

Van Damne’s death scene was too short, I would’ve liked some more in his last fight.  The man can still kick, that’s for sure.
His hence men were lacking, there should’ve been a pecking order that the team had to work up to before they get to the big boss.  The first film had Stone Cold and Gary Daniels before you got to Eric Roberts, I wanted that repeated for this sequel.

Schwarzenegger mentions that he’s got his team waiting when he meets the Expendables team… what if the team from the first Predator movie showed up as his team, tell me you wouldn’t want to see that?

Overall it was everything I wanted and it certainly delivered.  So avoid this movie if you don’t want  your expectation met or if you weren’t around for the eighties action movie.  This sequel delivers and satisfies.

Official The Dark Knight Rises Trailer!

If you didn’t catch it with the new Mission Impossible movie this past weekend, then here is the new The Dark Knight Rises trailer!

It shows a lot more than the teaser trailer did. There’s more Anne Hathaway screen time, as well as the main villain Bane. And…a new Bat vehicle.

Summer 2012 can’t come any sooner!

Lance Henriksen and David Finch Are Coming to Long Beach Comic Con

Long Beach Comic Con – Lance Henriksen and David Finch are coming to Long Beach Comic Con on Oct 29-30, 2011.

I remember seeing Lance Henriksen spewing milk during his “death” scene in Aliens. Ever since then, I can’t drink milk without thinking of that scene. Of course, he’s been pretty active since that memorable film moment, appearing in many other movies, in TV series, even in video games.

In fact, LBCC is his last stop for his book tour of his biography, “Not Bad For a Human – The Life and Films of Lance Henriksen”. The book features art by several artists, including Eric Powell, Sienkiewicz, Mike Mignola, Tim Bradstreet, Ashley Wood, Kelley Jones and Tom Mandrake.

On the flip side, is David Finch who hasn’t worked in the film industry like Henriksen. He started out in Top Cow Productions on the popular Cyberforce title. Since then, he’s worked on various Marvel titles, such as Ultimate X-Men, Avengers, and World War Hulk. As of January 2010, Finch is signed onto DC as an exclusive artist. He’ll be writing and drawing a new series, “Batman: The Dark Knight”.

For more information please visit http://www.longbeachcomiccon.com/