Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Iron Man 3

Directed by Shane Black
Written by Shane Black & Drew Pearce

     The Iron Man franchise from Marvel keeps trucking along with another mega blockbuster actioneer with Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man 3. It is just another big budget film. There was nothing ground breaking or substantial from a cinematic standpoint at all. I have not read or followed the comics, so there might be more or less there than I am aware of but this is just more escapist, CGI filled summer entertainment to feed the masses. Keep the money rolling in and the fans satisfied with enjoyable flying heroes and long action set pieces and all will be fine in Hollywood.
     I have never really been blown away by any of these films and never felt like I was seeing anything new. They are just films that sell an enormous amount of tickets and contain numerous amounts of action and battles. So what else to say about Iron Man 3. It was too long, boring and that ending seemed like it was never going to end. Nothing new about a battle between good and evil in a shipyard and loading dock. Disappoint ensues. Robert Downey, Jr., who is a very talented and acutely timed comedic actor is good but his talents would be better served in meaningful films. Wait, like is great turn in Shane Black's good film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the wonderful Zodiac from the equally wonderful David Fincher.
     The third, and even though rumors suggest this will be the last Iron Man film, I'm sure Marvel will flash those dollars signs in front of Downey and try and get him to return for a fourth installment, has Tony Stark/Iron Man going through a rough patch with his main girl Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and humorous bouts of anxiety. The story occurs after the events in The Avengers and Stark realizes  there are greater forces in the universe and he is only a man in an expensive suit. To avoid the ups and downs of love and the realities of life, he fills his time in his workshop until a new villain is upon him and the world, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). As the film goes on you do not have to be a rocket scientist to see where the story is going. Nothing new or original. Oh yeah. Downey I can see coming back for a fourth. That's too much money to pass up and that's pretty much all Hollywood is worried about right now. Thats completely evident with this film and series.
     Yes, yes. I am ranting a bit and Downey is still wonderful with his sarcastic wit and humor. There are some enjoyable, funny scenes with a younger kid played by Ty Simpkins. The timing is perfect and Simpkins goes word for word with the fast talking Downey when they are attempting to get through some small town moments. Ben Kingsley plays it well with a sinister tone and has a silly twist towards the end. Guy Pearce, who plays Aldrich Killian, is good in his role as a developer of an enhanced form of genetics that can grow body parts back. Actually, he works alongside Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) in creating and using this new technology that The Mandarin will use at his will. Blah, blah, blah.
     I never could get involved or cared for any of the characters in Iron Man 3. It felt basically boring and stupid. I am not at all familiar with the comics so I have no idea of how these plot lines and characters play out in some of the stories but this was just an over bloated Hollywood film that was strictly made to grow the bank accounts of its star and the studio, and keep eyes visually satisfied without thinking too much. I do not want to devalue the fact that there is anything wrong with action, CGI filled films that are mainly made for the masses and escapist cinema. Go and watch it if you like films that do not make you think and do not give any sense of the growth of cinema. It is just not my cup of tea, but it is what it is and nothing more. To each there own.

Film Trailers: A SERIOUS MAN

     Wednesday Film Trailers presents the Coen Brothers brilliant comedy A Serious Man. Coming off the huge critical success of the also fantastic No Country For Old Men, the brothers delivered a witty, somewhat autobiographical tale of growing up Minnesota. Parents are going through difficult emotional times, husband Larry Gopnik, played unbelievably well by Micahel Stuhlbarg, who is merely a mediocre, miserable college professor and the dead pan sophistication of what true comedy is and should be. This was considered minor work by many upon its release. It was not the swift thriller like the aforementioned No Country or Fargo but this is some of the brothers best work, right up there with Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski. A personal story about an under achiever and all the misery that comes along with a mid-life crisis. The Coen's, who have another film that is gaining widespread praise at the current Cannes Film Festival called Inside Llewyn Davis, seem so perfectly adept at pinpointing place, time and moods of the lives of there characters better than any other filmmakers working right now. Excellent filmmakers. Watch the film and enjoy the trailer!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Pain & Gain

Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

     Pain & Gain is based on a true story. A ridiculously, over-the-top true story of weightlifters who desire more out of life and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve notoriety and success. As I was watching this film, which is one of Micheal Bay's better films, even though there are not many, I could not believe that this actually happened. I know films embellish and over-dramatize true life stories but the fact these ignorant men pulled the robberies and murders off is quite ludicrous. It contains very serious acts of violence but the film is a full on action-comedy that contains some serviceable, comedic performances from Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie.
     Now, this film is about dumb people doing dumb things. There is little to no humanity or remorse on display and the main culprits are truly ignorant human beings. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a trainer at a gym in Miami, Florida. He is down on his lack of growth and wants to be successful. Financially successful. He vies for attending a self-help seminar, one delivered by Johnny Wu, played by the increasingly annoying Ken Jeong, and decides, with the assistance of fellow trainer Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and the new member to the gym, an ex-con Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) to achieve success through unsavory actions. The madness ensues and these three play out in the film like a pumped up, nineties version of the three stooges. There ambition has no intelligence in sight. It is all about the all mighty dollar and seeking the "American Dream" by not working for it at all.
    The trio kidnap, extort from business owner Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), he owns a sandwich shop, and audaciously spend all there stolen money which leads them down an absurd path to murder. They attempt to extort money from a Miami porn king Frank Griga (Michael Rispoli) and in this most ridiculous of scenes, they end up killing him with, ironically weights. All about that pain and gain.  I can't go on any further. That is the brunt of the story. These men are flat-out stupid and have no idea how deep and in trouble they are getting into. They want that mythical "American Dream" that, in their mind consists of money, women, a fancy house in a fancy neighborhood and being doer. Unfortunately, they do not have the intellect to achieve these on their own through education and patience. They are examples of Americans that are despicable and without any integrity or respect for other human beings. 
     Pain & Gain is your typical Michael Bay film. Low, slow motion pan shots circling the actors, beautiful girls wearing next to nothing and an extremely dark palette with shots of neon colors that fit the Miami vibe. It is a decent film coming from the director of those awful, mega blockbuster Transformer films and harkens back to the silly action-comedy ways of his Bad Boys films. Light on the heavy explosions and noise, and focused more on the dark humor and, in this case, archaic ways of the trio of weightlifters. This is not to say it is great film by any means, but for Michael Bay, it is fairly decent and funny.
     The actors are all sufficiently good in there roles. Wahlberg plays Lugo with the wide-eyed stupidity and distracted optimism of someone who thinks he is smarter than he actually is. Dwayne Johnson shows some better acting chops than any of his previous roles as the drug-addled Doyle. In a scene later in the film he is in prime form while attempting to eliminate any trace of the murder that happened to the porn king. He is an honest, weak-hearted individual that does not have the brains to make it in the real world and is better suited for himself, and society, behind bars. Mackie, however, steals the show. He is on his game in this film from the get go and really soaks in his characters level of incoherence and ignorance. He is gives the best performance in the film. The film also contains a great turn from Ed Harris who plays Ed DuBois, a private investigator who aids in bringing the brainless trio into custody.
     Pain & Gain, for all its worth is a film about the stupidity in doing tragic actions. A studio film that seriously downplays the severity of these idiots activities and the lack of humanity in it. There is no remorse from the trio of weightlifters. The film works since it plays off the intensity with the clueless humor. They become semi-successful by doing nothing, like a lot of people out there. It is a little scary to think that we can watch a film about deplorable people and find laughter in it. People were senselessly hurt and murdered for no other reason than the glorification of these morons egos and bank accounts. Is this the America we live in? Scary to think of that. Bay has avoided answering these questions but at the same time crafted a film that is decent for him, but minor in meaning and results, even if there were no intentions but to show ignorance in all its calamitous affliction. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Wednesday film trailers presents a tense little trailer for the indie film Berberian Sound Studio starring Toby Jones. Looks a little horror, B-movie and all suspense. Looks very interesting. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Ok. Meryl Streep is the best actress alive, maybe of all time. She is consistently fantastic in every role she is in, regardless if the film is good or not, example, The Iron Lady. The new trailer for John Wells' directed August: Osage County firmly puts Ms. Streep and Julia Roberts center and front. The film, based on the play from Tracy Letts who also wrote the screenplay, revolves around the Weston family who are brought back together after a family crisis and surrounded, or smothered, by the women who raised them. Another nomination for Ms. Streep is a done deal, even though the southern accent I'm not crazy about. A little too much drawl and whine but I'm sure it will work in the film. The film also stars the aforementioned Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Shepherd and Chris Cooper. The real actor to watch out for is Cumberbatch. Man is about to break out in a big way. Enjoy.


The trailer for the new film from Paul Greengrass (United 93 & The Bourne Ultimatum) has dropped. Captain Phillips stars Tom Hanks in the true story about ship captain Richard Phillips of the US flagged Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked by Somalian pirates in 2009. This was first US ship hijacked in over two hundred years. The trailer looks heavy on the intensity and suspense, and surely Hanks will be a prime contender for a Best Actor Oscar, along with his upcoming role as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. The film also stars Catherine Keener. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Film Trailers: GRAVITY

Alfonso Cuaron's new film Gravity finally has a trailer and it looks outstanding. I mean outstanding!!! I have been waiting two year for this film to come out and knowing my appreciation of Cuaron's past work, especially Children of Men and Y tu mama tambien, I can't wait. After viewing this trailer I felt excitement, fear and paranoia. Also, the best cinematographer in the film business Emmanuel Lubezki. Well, along with Roger Deakins. Enjoy.



Written & Directed 
Brandon Cronenberg

     It appears the body-horror fixation that encompassed so many of David Cronenberg's earlier films lives on with his son Brandon and his directorial debut Antiviral. A film that is by no means perfect but contains a steady mood of desperation and disgust. Brandon Cronenberg has crafted a cinematic experience that fills as if it just needed something more significant to happen to keep the tension precise but holds true to the feel and anxiety of terrors happening to, and within your body. The difference being that this is self-inflicted and full of celebrity obsession with a daft drive for a perfected, traumatic way of living.
     Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) is an employee at a clinic that sells celebrity viruses to obsessed fans that become infected with the disease themselves. The big celebrity is superstar Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) who is the object of every one's desire. Syd infects himself with a virus from Hannah that is killing her he must ascertain the real reason behind her ill fated demise. The catch is that Syd supplies viruses to illegal, underground groups that sell to rabidly obsessed admirers. When he is infected with Hannah's disease, he is a target from these groups that what her virus to sell at any cost, including Syd's life.
     Talk about an unsettling premise to begin with. I mean, there is no doubt this society has lost all of its will and desire for individuality. These people are cooking and eating pieces of flesh that have been genetically grown from popular celebrities. The mind is almost obsolete in this world with the exception of consistently making financial gains and becoming a mogul in the virus selling business. The film traverses the sadistic side of this world with much blood and graphic disease infections. One scene where Syd vomits blood and smears it on a blown up picture of Hannah is typically gross.
     The main issue with the film is the lack of any significant moment. The film is beautifully shot in an almost white out glimmer that exemplifies the blind sided life humanity has taken. The performance from Jones, although a little too mumbled at times, is solid and the mumbling is the lack of growth and decay of the human existence. I just literally couldn't understand him at times. Cronenberg expresses a society that is lost in moral ambiguity and lives in a state of complete unhappiness. This world is so displeased with life and obsessed with popular celebrities that it wants to infect their own bodies and lives with these viruses. Crazy, but true. The mechanics, style and fringe for the corruption of the body are there but the slow ride just does not completely add up in the end, although there is a great supporting performance from Malcolm McDowell. The film needed a little punch or surprise to keep the tension going and in full effect.
     Brandon Cronenberg has definitely got the talent and style of a director who has a distinct vision. The body horror fear is in full effect, much like his father's earlier films Rabid, The Brood, Scanners and Videodrome. His take on the degradation of society and the uncomfortable abuse people will inflict on themselves to be like someone else is delicately composed in his first film. The film just lacked a little bit of turn, maybe even a Hitchcockian twist that elevated the story to new heights beyond the deference to the unsettling, but desired horror of self-inflicted diseases. Cronenberg's Antiviral is a good start to what looks to be a promising career from the son of the great David Cronenberg. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Film Trailers: THE WORLD'S END

Film trailers for (Wednesday, a day late) is nothing more then the new film from director Edgar Wright The World's End. Five friends attempt an epic pub crawl 20 years after there first attempt but with other worldly complications. Wright. Pegg. Frost. Enough said. I loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Honestly funny absurdity. The completion of "the Cornetto Trilogy" is upon us on August 23rd. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saul Bass + Google

I love this Saul Bass google doodle in honor of his birthday today. Too bad the music doesn't accompany the video here. His work with Hitchcock is some of the best in film history.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Film Trailers: BOTTLE ROCKET

     Wednesday's film trailers honors Wes Anderson on his birthday. One of the directors, along with Quentin Tarantino, that really got me invested in film as more than a hobby, but as a passion and study. Anderson's films are often defined as "quirky" and that may be true, but they without a doubt hold the distinction of a true auteur. His films are aesthetically beautiful, artfully and meticulously framed, staged and detailed, and contain the brilliant Bill Murray in some capacity. Wes Anderson's films are uniquely funny with warmth and sometimes contain dark elements of the human experience, often depression and familial ups and downs. Many of these themes are present in most of his films but his first film, Bottle Rocket, is a crime caper that is full of misfits on-the-run from the law and hilarious situations of love and friendship. The film also introduced the world to the brothers Owen and Luke Wilson. One of my favorite films of all time and I hope everyone enjoys the trailer. Happy Birthday Wes.