Once again, Johnny Depp shows his talent for slipping completely into a character. What a shame that this character is almost completely unnoteworthy.
Mortdecai (the movie) wants to be a knowing send up of sixties caper movies, espionage thrillers and, possibly, the superb BBC series Lovejoy. Instead, it’s Johnny Depp plays the worst of Mr. Bean – in a Rolls.
Johnny Depp’s new film, Mortdecai, follows the very British and slightly dim Charles Mortdecai as he searches for a stolen painting that might have a code to a lost bank account containing Nazi gold. The trailer is amusing in a slightly off-centre manner, but it’s easy to see why it’s been scheduled for the boondocks date of February 6th, 2015.
Of course, one simply never knows. Does one? Check it out after the jump.
Marvel Studios continues to create ambitious, successful superhero movies with Iron Man 3 – the best of Tony Stark’s solo adventures to date. This time out, Stark is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of having his world upended in The Avengers – leaving him vulnerable both physically and emotionally.
While Iron Man 3 isn’t (quite) the movie that The Avengers was, it is an outstanding superhero movie that develops aspects of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in very human ways – thus anchoring the superhero exploits to a very relatable human being.
With the current trend of Hollywood movies, sequels have to follow a unique blend of key ingredients in order to make it taste good. First, it has to keep the spirit of the first film alive and well. Next, it has to bigger, better, and stonger than the last. The sequel has to give us that sweet taste that we want to come back for more. Finally, the next movie has to give you more insight of the characters we grew to know from the first movie then wrap it all up with a new story that appeases a newbie. While Iron Man 2 had some ups and downs like a rollercoasters, it still delivers high quality entertainment with its action scenes, less CGI, and solved the problems of the first Iron Man. Truly, this movie is the front runner of the 2010 summer of movies!
One of the hardest things to do in movies is create a sequel that equals or betters its predecessor. Iron Man 2 dos not meet that challenge – but it’s nowhere near being a bad movie.
The problem is that IM2 has to do a lot of things: it has to further the story of Tony Stark/Iron Man [Robert Downey Jr.]; it has to give us a bit more about S.H.I.E.L.D. – both in terms of the Avengers Initiative and introducing one of the agency’s top agents; it has to deal with Stark’s drinking and his relationship with his father – not to mention his relationship with his assistant, the uber-competent but easily flustered Pepper Potts [Gwyneth Paltrow]; it has to get Stark’s friend, Lt. Col. James, “Rhodey” Rhodes into one of the Iron Man suits; it has to introduce a new villain – and a competitor for Stark, and it has to do all this in just over two hours.
In my review of Iron Man during its theatrical run, after noting that the film worked mainly because of its honouring the source material from the Marvel comics, I wrapped up with:
“While the action scenes aren’t as accomplished as something by Michael Bay, they come off better because director Jon Favreau understands that it’s the characters that make everything else in the film work. He keeps the pace high enough to prevent lessening of interest and knows how to make the film’s effects serve the story. This is a film with surprising wit and genuine intelligence.”
Repeated screenings [twice more in the theater and twice more on DVD] convince me that I was remiss in grading the film a mere A-. Considering that the film’s only real flaw is that the big fight scene between Iron Monger and Iron Man is a bit clunky [which, when you think about it, is appropriate for the big, clumsy looking Iron Monger], and considering that the film translates extremely well from big screen to small, I have to revise that upwards.
Then there are the multitudinous features. How many are there? Check this out: Disc One: Eleven Deleted and/or Extended Scenes; Iron Man Adventures Teaser; Disc Two: I Am Iron Man [Seven Featurettes Documenting the Making if Iron Man: The Journey Begins; The Suit That Makes The Iron Man; Walk of Destruction; Grounded In Reality; Beneath the Armor; It’s All In The Details; A Good Story Well Told]; The Invincible Iron Man [Six Featurettes Covering the History of Iron Man In Comics: Origins; Friends and Foes; The Definitive Iron Man; Demon In a Bottle; Extremis and Beyond; Ultimate Iron Man]; Robert Downey’s Screen Test; The Actor’s Process [Downey, Jeff Bridges and Jon Favreau figure out a scene]; The Onion: Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer To Be Adapted Into full-Length Film; Galleries: Concept Art [Environments: Afghan Cave, Stark Estate, Stark Garage, Stark Industries; Characters: Iron Man, Iron Monger, Tony Stark]; Tech; Unit Photography, and Posters. There is no commentary track and that costs the Features grade.
The DVD’s menus are patterned after the 3D Hologram effects in the film and are both really cool and easy to navigate. The DVD comes in a standard box inside an embossed card stock slip cover.
After a year of speculation, spoilers, and marketing hype. The summer film season kicks off, not with a bang and not a whimper. One of my most anticipated films of 2008 – Iron Man is finally here in all it’s technicolor glory! I liked this movie a lot, technically it’s brilliant, acting is spot on, but it was missing something that I couldn’t put my finger on what. From the moment this movie was announced every decision by Director Jon Favreau has been spot on. Casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was truly inspired. This film rests squarely on Downey’s shoulders and he takes the ball and scores a touchdown. He was born to play this part. He’s perfectly sarcastic, vapid, yet brilliant and roguish. Could not have been happier with his performance. In the Pantheon of Marvel Characters, Iron Man was always a major player in the Marvel Universe, but he’s never been a fan favorite and recently Marvel has turned Tony into a completely unlikable, know it all dick. The movie version of Tony is more circa 80s Stark – pre-alcoholism.
When I first watched the trailer on my computer, it was the first time where I had concerns about this film. I thought it looked way too fake. But within the context of the film, everything works perfectly. Never once do you not believe that this suit is real. Favreau spends so much time showing the construction of this armor and the entire testing process that when we finally see him take off you buy into it. Stan Winston did an incredible job designing the Mark III Armor. It’s straight out of the comic book and is exactly how I always imagined Iron Man’s Armor in a live action film to look like. It’s a brilliant mix of CGI and practical SFX. But here’s my problem with the film, I kept trying to force a connection to it and wondering why I’m not LOVING this movie. I liked it a hell of a lot but didn’t LOVE it. I think it comes down to the lack of real tension. Everything felt slightly plastic and a little too technical. With no real peril or villains.
When Stark does his first bit of Super-Hero work it’s against some nameless terrorist group. That is not clearly defined or established enough to make us care. All of the violence is done off camera as well. This leads to several weird edit moments where Iron Man is blowing up bad guys left and right, we see the repulser blasts, stuff getting blown up, but we never really see the bad guys get what’s coming to them, it’s all done off camera. I’m not one who needs to see blood and guts, but in a film like this it lacks an edge that it sorely needs. It’s interesting the Favreau and his writers decided to go this route instead of using Iron-Man’s signature nemesis The Mandarin. He clearly wanted to focus all the attention on telling us who Tony Stark was before worrying about the villains. Which is where most Super Hero films falter. Now that we have a clear idea who Stark is, Favreau can use the next film to give us Mandarin. It’s funny, as an avid Iron-Man fan from back in the day, I can’t name any of Iron’s enemies, he doesn’t have a very good Rogues Gallery. Who would be good in this movie? Stiltman? Stingray?
The cast was perfect, Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes was done really well and Tony’s long suffering secretary Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) was nicely done. Jeff Bridges was barely recognizable as (Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger). The movie’s only down moment came in final fight between Iron Man and Iron Monger was disappointing at best. Turned into a really lame Transformers rip-off. Iron-Man is a great kick off to a front loaded Summer Blockbuster season and this is a fabulous start to the Iron-Man franchise. Bring on The Mandarin.
Final Grade A-
EM Review by
Originally Posted 5.2.08
Tony Stark [Robert Downey Jr.] is a hedonistic billionaire weapons manufacturer until a trip to Afghanistan for a weapons demonstration ends with him in the hands of terrorists. He builds himself a suit of iron armor to escape and goes on to put together a more refined version to enable him to save the people who have been put in harm’s way by his company’s weapons.
Iron Man is about a lot of things: a modern knight in shining armor; crazed ambition; superheroics; even innovative CGI [check out Stark manipulating CG plans as if they were the real thing]. Oddly enough, despite its political ramifications and good old-fashioned superheroic fun, in the end, Iron Man is about a guy who goes through a kind of reverse mid-life crisis. The hedonistic, irresponsible Stark metamorphoses into a more – dare I say – mature adult by deciding to kill his company’s weapons making business in favor of some thing more planet friendly.
Downey isn’t working in a vacuum, either. It’s been a while since Gwyneth Paltrow has glowed so brightly on the big screen – here playing Stark’s right-hand person with considerable aplomb [watching her keep Stark on his toes is a delight]. Jeff Bridges makes for an affably deceptive villain and Terrence Howard makes his small role as Stark’s best friend shine.
While the action scenes aren’t as accomplished as something by Michael Bay, they come off better because director Jon Favreau understands that it’s the characters that make everything else in the film work. He keeps the pace high enough to prevent lessening of interest and knows how to make the film’s effects serve the story. This is a film with surprising wit and genuine intelligence.