Tag Archives: Robert Downey Jr.

Iron Man 3 Trailer

Here it is, the first full-length trailer of Iron Man 3! I have to say, it automatically has a much darker feel than the other two films — which I’m a huge fan of. This one plays off of last summer’s smash blockbuster, “Avengers,” which  was very fun. At the end of that film, Iron Man goes through a hole to another world. In this, we see that’s it has changed him. And, of course, this is the first appearance of his great comic book enemy, The Mandarin, played by Academy Award-winner Ben Kingsley. This film has massive promise.

Due Date

High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time.

Rating: 6 out of 10

There are some genuinely funny moments and excellent acting by both Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. And then there are moments where the I.Q. of this movie drops to a stupefying level.

The performances are always strong. Galifianakis delivers his usual witty, charming wackiness. He’s a really fantastic character actor, not to be outdone by Downey. Downey is the straight man, but a very unlikable, cold one. He’s a flat-out jerk in this role, but not in the funny way, like Bill Murray accomplishes so successfully. He’s just a jerk, and Galifianakis is the ying to his yang as an overly bubbly man child who has absolutely no boundaries or social graces. They play off each other very well in this disastrous road trip flick.

However, the movie takes some desperate swipes at humor in moments where it felt like they ran out of good ideas three quarters of the way through filming. It’s unfortunate, because it starts so promisingly and becomes so boring and moronic.

Due Date

Days before his pregnant wife’s due date, Los Angeles architect Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) is about to fly home from Atlanta when a series of unfortunate incidents land him on the “no-fly” list, forcing him to hitch a ride across the country with slacker Ethan (Zach Galifianakis). As Peter desperately tries to get home, he must deal with Ethan’s laid-back attitude, numerous delays and several mishaps in this road trip comedy. Jamie Foxx co-stars.

Rating: 4 out of 10

I soooo wanted this to be good. A buddy comedy with RDJ, Zach Galifianakis, and that cute dog. It should be funny right? It’s not. Not enough at least.

The odd couple works but the story gets too serious and the mishaps are too out there. The two strangers get thrown off a plane together and are forced to travel together in a rental car from Atlanta to Los Angles. RDJ is in a rush because his wife is about to give birth (that’s where the due date comes in). Along the way they (mostly RDJ) are shot, drink the ashes of Galifinakis’ dead father, are in a way-too-serious car accident, and get detained at the Mexican border.

I usually hate movies that are made up of a bunch of misunderstandings, when each one is more ridiculous then the next. And, this is a perfect example of all of that. It’s a big mess and annoying to watch. It’s too bad but this story was better the first time when it was called “Planes Trains and Automobiles.” Hollywood needs to stop remaking the classics.

Get your ruby slippers on for Oz overload

It seems like everything coming out of Hollywood these days is a remake, reboot, sequel or prequel.

One such movie that has escaped the same treatment — for the most part — is the classic “The Wizard of Oz,” aside from Disney’s 1985 “Return to Oz” and Motown spiritual, “The Wiz.” But that’s all about to change. Poor Dorothy and the gang are about to be reused, rehashed and recycled.

Following on the heels of the highly financially successful “Alice in Wonderland” ($1 billion worldwide) Hollywood is looking to cash in on older franchises — there’s even a new “Pinocchio” in the works. According to multiple reports, Sam Raimi of “Spider-Man” fame is set to direct a film starring Robert Downey Jr. as the Wizard during his days as a carney when he was taken to Oz and mistaken for a wizard. The film will be called “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”

There are other Oz-related projects in the works, like “Witches of Oz,” due out later this year. The movie follows the exploits of the grown Dorothy Gale, now a successful children’s book author, as

she moves from Kansas to present day New York City. Dorothy quickly learns that her popular books are based on repressed childhood memories, and that the wonders of Oz are very, very real after the Wicked Witch of the West comes after her. There are also plenty of rumors about a “Wicked” movie, based on the book and successful musical.

There’s also an animated film in the works called “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” due out next year that is directly based off the books by L. Frank Baum (see photo on left). There’s another movie in the works to star Drew Barrymore called “Surrender Dorothy.” Barrymore would play a descendant of the original Dorothy, in this case her great, great grand-daughter, who has to stop the original and not nearly as dead as we thought Wicked Witch of the West from taking over both Oz and Earth. Barrymore has said she wants to direct.

“Oz: Return To The Emerald City” is a Warner Bros’ Oz project. Return to Emerald City would have Dorothy Neil, a Chicago lawyer and granddaughter of the original Dorothy, transported to Oz with her boss’s daughter where they team up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to stop a new witch who threatens to destroy all the magic in Oz. Reportedly, this take originated back when comic book artist Todd McFarlane pitched the production company Thunder Road on an Oz film based on his very bizarre “Twisted Land Of Oz” toy line. Thunder Road passed on McFarlane’s take but were still interested in the basic idea on an Oz-update when “A History Of Violence” screenwriter Josh Olson pitched them a similar idea in a meeting. Thunder Road approached Warner Brothers, who snapped up the project. It is currently being rewritten and has no director attached.

Principle character sketches for Dorothy of Oz

The last Oz project is “Dorothy of Oz,” an animated musical film with a nice voice cast including Lea Michele of the popular television series “Glee” as Dorothy, Dan Aykroyd as the Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as the Tin Man and James Belushi as the Cowardly Lion. Based on a story by Baum’s grandson Roger S. Baum, Dorothy once again returns to Oz to help her friends stop the menace of someone known only as the Jester.

A couple of these films have a shot at being good. I really like Sam Raimi. But because of the overload of Oz movies coming out, some of these will be delayed, get lost in the shuffle, or just plain tank.

Some footage of “Witches of Oz.”

Top 5 comic book movies

This is a tough topic to tackle. It’s not because there’s a huge pot of truly great comic book movies. In fact, the film industry has crapped out careless comic-based movies without any respect to the fans and great respect to the possibility of turning a buck, as we discusses last week. This week, Matt and Brian compare their Top 5 comic book movies of all time.


5. V for Vendetta, based on the masterful graphic novel by Alan Moore, was treated with both care for the source material and respect for fans – both key elements to a comic film. Hugo Weaving brought great dimension to V with a dark passion for justice while combining elegant body language that gave depth to a character with no face. He also wasn’t afraid to add some humor. Natalie Portman gave another steady performance in a film by the Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry (better known for the Matrix series). All in all a stand out film for people who never even knew it was a comic and die hard fans of Moore.

4. Iron Man was my favorite book as a kid, and it killed me to rank this at number four. Jon Favreau shook off critics to bring a fun, multidimensional film about the complex character of Tony Stark, played with precision by Robert Downey Jr. Stark is an alcoholic, womanizer who deals weapons that kill people while facing down those demons as he becomes a hero. This was a great origin story supported by a cast that has never been matched in other comic films – Downey, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, all of who have been nominated or won Academy Awards. The only downfall was Terrance Howard, who was wooden and too chummy as Stark’s best friend Rhodey.

3. The Dark Knight is simply a great detective, noir film with excellent acting and superb directing. The show was stolen by the Joker, portrayed in the Academy Award winning role by Heath Ledger. Sadly, his death means the character will no longer exist in the series, brought back to life by director Christopher Nolan. This is a comic book movie that reaches a broad audience because it’s simply a good film with engaging characters, smart action, and villains that work. The scene where the Joker slams a thugs face down on a pencil was simply perfect.

2. Watchmen is a movie that will turn a lot of heads on this list, and perhaps rightfully so. However, the film was perfect in my mind. There was great respect given to the source material, which was the best selling comic book in history. The film looked beautiful and was no easy task to complete given the amount of characters and the depth they are given in the book. However, director Zach Snyder was wise to focus in on Walter Kovacs/Rorschach, who is the most challenging character to the viewer – he‘s a murderer of evil people, but still a murderer. There were several scenes that were directly taken from the pages of the books, including dialogue, which is something that really hasn’t been done before. The ending was changed, which made many comic fans complain, but was a wise choice. It still had the same result, but eliminated the giant squid – which wouldn’t have worked on the big screen.

1. Superman: The Movie was the first film to take the comic genre seriously, and it is a flawlessly made film. It is a charming, funny, exciting film with a performance by
Christopher Reeve that can never be matched. He was a bumbling nerd as Clark Kent, and graceful and beautiful as Superman. Margot Kidder was a feisty Lois Lane, who brought humor and romance to the story, while Gene Hackman brought a comical, but dark Lex Luthor. This movie has yet to be surpassed in the genre. Richard Donner clearly loved Superman and gave the utmost care in casting and writing this wonderful origin story of America’s most famous and beloved super hero.



5. Batman Begins: Christopher Nolan did the impossible. Within 15 minutes, he manages to wash away one of the worst film experiences ever in Batman and Robin by bringing us a gem of a film. This is Detective Comics: dark, moody, atmospheric, gripping, and rooted in a loose reality that we can believe in. The cast is superlative. Bale perfectly embodies the angst of Bruce Wayne along with the rage of Batman, Caine is brilliant as Alfred, and Cillian Murphy gives us a chilling Scarecrow. The lone miss in this film is Katie Holmes who comes in flat and nearly sinks any dramatic moment she’s associated with.

4. Iron Man: This is nearly as brilliant a comedy as it is an action film. Robert Downey Jr. carries this entire film and cements himself as an A list star who is gripping every time he is on screen. It’s an oscar caliber performance and a true breaking out for director Jon Favreau who previously was mainly known for his low budget comedy hit Swingers.

3. Spider-Man 2: By far the best of the Spider Man series. This takes Peter Parker in a much darker direction where he has to confront a crossroads in his personal life interfering with the gift that has been given to him to help save the world from itself. Most comic book films are at their best when the hero’s true fight is against their own demons and this is no exception. This film also gives us Alfred Molina in a terrific turn as Doctor Octopus who manages to grab our sympathy as well as our attention. That’s pretty impressive for a film about a guy with Spider powers.

2. The Dark Knight: The quintessential Batman film. Nolan essentially took a complex interwoven Scorsese film and managed to slot it in Gotham City. This film raises serious moral question about choices that people make when they are at their lowest and most desperate moments and how their instinctive reactions can label their good or evil. Of course, the puppet master in all of this is a sick and crazed anarchist that we know as the Joker who is played note perfect by Heath Ledger in an Oscar winning performance that can never be overstated as stunning and masterful. The plot weaves, characters die, decisions are made, and at the end few are left standing. It’s a must see for anyone who just likes good movies.

1. Superman: the Movie: I was torn between this and Dark Knight but I had to choose the originator of the serious comic book film. Before Richard Donner gave the Verisimilitude to Superman, comic books were known for Adam East’s Batman and George Reeves’ Superman. While entertaining, they were treated as a joke that never took the material more seriously than a comic strip. Donner changed the rules by taking Superman and placing him in an epic adventure the likes of Ben Hur of Lawrence of Arabia. We follow him from being a baby , to his teenage years at Smallville, to his rise as Superman with breathtaking cinematography by the late Geoffrey Unsworth(of 2001 fame). The cast is absolutely perfect. Christopher Reeve absolutely embodies Superman to such a degree that he never really broke out from the role. He WAS Superman. All these years later, when I hear John Williams score, I still believe a man can fly.

The Soloist

In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. Then he discovers Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent for the cello and violin. Lopez starts writing acclaimed articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help L.A.’s homeless and Ayers. But Lopez’s finds it hard to have the strength to keep helping Ayers’ when his mental illness turns ugly. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice).

Rating: 6 out of 10

I was looking forward to seeing Downey and Foxx on the screen together, and I wasn’t disappointed. The two have excellent chemistry and deliver both dramatic and humorous performances that evoke sympathy and admiration.

What holds this movie up is the length of the story. We are given flashbacks of Ayers life before he became mentally ill, homeless, and living on the street playing music. We’re also given a side story between Lopez and his ex-wife Mary Weston (Catherine Keener) and we’re not sure if they’re patching it up or if they hate each other. Lopez’s story is focused around his work, writing the articles about Ayers and feeling as if he’s taking advantage of his situation. Lopez is also torn about whether his help is actually doing anything for Ayers. There’s just too much going on. We get too many flashbacks that we really don’t need. We get that Ayers hears voices. We don’t need a dozen flashbacks to prove it. And the not-so-love story with Weston feels forced and slows the pace of the film.

In the end, there are some touching moments, but the films drags on for far too long. Or at least for a 117 minute film, it sure feels like it.

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Iron Man 2

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances — and confront powerful enemies.

Rating 9 out of 10

Tony Stark is delightfully unlikable.

He’s the rich kid with all the toys, whose so full of himself it’s amazing he didn’t spend his money and time making clones of himself rather than inventing a suit to help save humanity from war and poverty.

We see Stark as a more flawed character in this film. He’s more arrogant, more brash, and yet he’s weak. His suit is literally poisoning him, and he’s secretly trying to find the cure. He’s also botching things up badly with his love interest, Pepper Pots, and his enemy, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), is more powerful and dangerous than anything he’s faced. His business is also on the firing line as he faces serious competition from his rival (Sam Rockwell). His best friend Rhodes is also upset with him. Stark’s life is going to pot.

This movie develops Stark and the surrounding characters deeper than the first, which was forced to have an origin story. I walked out of the theater saying this movie was just as good as the first, which I gave a nine. The critics are off on this one, which have been giving it mediocre reviews.

Rating: 8 out of 10

I was sitting in the movie theater watching this film and saying to myself, “Why do I have this perma-grin when I watch an Iron Man film?”  Is it Favreu’s frenetic direction that never takes a front seat to the characters?  Is it Robert Downey Jr’s note perfect performance of the most likeable egomaniac of all time?  Is it the incredible ILM special effects that look better than ever?  It’s all of the above.

This is what a super hero sequel should be.  New characters, new challenges, and an upped ante of special effects with a more compelling villain than the first.  Speaking of the villain, there is not a better actor working today than Mickey Rourke and it’s so good to have him back.  Here he plays Ivan Vanko, the son of the man who invented the technology that keeps Tony Stark alive and he’s none too happy about the fortune and fame it has given him.  I could go on and on about the S.H.I.E.L.D. subplot, Tony’s challenges with not only his best friend but alcoholism, and the absolutely stunning Scarlett Johansson but I’ll just sum it up by saying:  Go See this movie! Is it as good as the first? No, but it’s damn close.

Top 5 reasons 3D sucks

3D films were first showed on mass scale in the 50’s, and come back every now and again, but usually to crappy movies that need a selling point, for example “Jaws 3-D” and this year’s “Clash of the Titans.”

Other movies like “Alice in Wonderland” and “How To Train Your Dragon” and most successfully, “Avatar,” joined a group of 3D films that have made up 33 percent of this year’s domestic movie gross, according to the The International 3D Society, and at one point were #1 at the box office 10 out of 14 weeks into 2010. The society also reports that opening weekend 3D ticket revenues are outpacing 2D ticket sales by margins of 2 to 1. The report states that Alice in Wonderland generated over $81 million dollars, or 70 percent of its opening weekend gross revenues, on 3D screens against $34 million in 2D domestic ticket revenue.

And we’re just baffled by it.

Here’s Matt and Brian’s top reasons that 3D is an overused, poor-quality medium.

5. Wearing glasses over glasses: We know this may sound silly, but as two people who wear glasses, it’s really annoying to have another pair of glasses over your glasses. They don’t fit over them well, bouncing around on your ears because the don’t fit well with the glasses that are already gripping your head. And having another set of glasses resting on your nose is uncomfortable. Plus, you have another layer of glass between your eyes and the 3-D glasses, so it skews the experience.

4. The cost: Depending on the theater you go to, it can cost an extra $5 to see a 3D movie. That’s just crap. The old cardboard ones worked fine, they were cheap, but more comfortable and you didn’t feel guilty about throwing them away. I can’t see why the theaters don’t just recycle the glasses, handing them off to the next audience after a cleaning. The films don’t take any special equipment, so there’s no added cost to them there. To me, this just wreaks of film studios trying to wring a few extra bucks out of crappy movies.

3. Headaches: This doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happens to Brian and lots of other folks. Why go to a movie if it just makes you feel crappy?

2. Poor quality:Avatar’s 3D was well done, and the list stops there. I’ve yet to see another 3D film that 1. was worth a shit and 2. was improved in any way from being in 2D. A lot of these movies have nothing added by the 3D, and we’re guessing a lot of them weren’t shot for 3D, but only to be later made 3D. “Clash of the Titans” had nothing added to it. Once and a while a pillar was in the forefront of the picture… Wow… a pillar. It’s like I’m really standing on Mount Olympus, surrounded by crappy acting and corny dialogue.

1. The movies suck:We know, we know. “Avatar,” which we had mixed reviews on, was pretty good. It was a solid movie with amazing special effects and it looked great on 3D.

But here’s a few examples of movies due out this year in 3D that will suck: “Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D” “Cats & Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore” “Friday the 13th Part 2 in 3D” “Piranha 3-D” “Jackass 3D” “Saw VII” and “Yogi Bear.”

This is a trendy medium that studios are leaning on to bring in some extra bucks during a tough economy, and we can’t wait for the trend to die.