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Average User Score: 6.5May 10, 2013Starkers!
The ultimate star vehicle for Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 3 is a hoot. It is fast, funny and totally dumb all at the same time. IStarkers!
The ultimate star vehicle for Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 3 is a hoot. It is fast, funny and totally dumb all at the same time. I think that Shane Black, the screenwriter and director this time around, must have had a whale of a time making this. No matter what else happens on screen, you're eyes are on Downey Jr he is just compelling to watch. His has a natural way about him that makes you think he is not acting, that he is deeply disturbed and it's all true. He illustrates the truth that if your central character is made of wood, your film is made of No other actor could fill his shoes on this, he is Iron Man, as he is so proud to claim.
The rest of the movie is fun enough, but total crap really. One exception there is a star cameo from Ben Kinglsey as 'The Mandarin.' Kingsley's role as a Bin Laden type illustrates the irony of the Christopher Nolan school of fake American heroes so perfectly, I wanted to laugh out loud. I will laugh out loud it was a brilliant touch. The best scene in the film is when Iron Man rescues 16 people thrown out of Air Force One at 30,000 feet. It is so unreal as to be.... well, unreal. But memorable as anything else in the two hours.
So hail, hail, Robert Downey Jr. He makes paint drying fun, and this movie would be a shambles without him… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Nov 9, 2012Sympathy for the Devil
Sam Mendes' James Bond makes the mistake of making the villain more compelling than the hero. Javier Bardem, onlySympathy for the Devil
Sam Mendes' James Bond makes the mistake of making the villain more compelling than the hero. Javier Bardem, only introduced a hour into the film, is so convincing as the bad guy, he makes the rest of the film seem very contrived. The film talks modernity through 1950's clipped Oxbridge tones. Dench, Fiennes, Wilshaw - it's Cameron toffs that dominate the screen. Only the plumber with the 00 prefix sounds 'working class' and he is a Scottish Laird -- even the black Moneypenny seems to have attended at last a Redbrick and Roedean. It starts well enough,with Bond killed by friendly fire. Then, without a word of explanation, he returns. How? A plot to kill M is hatched by deranged former agent Bardem.Trouble is, I found myself cheering him on. Wrong, huh? I preferred the emotional roller coaster of Casino Royale to this - I cared more about Bond and Vesper than Bond and M. Too much jingoism as well. I'd kill M too if I were in the service - heartless ****… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Nov 9, 2012Argo-Nuts!
Ben Affleck is the new Clint Eastwood, but better; not only is he the finest actor turned director, but he makes the barelyArgo-Nuts!
Ben Affleck is the new Clint Eastwood, but better; not only is he the finest actor turned director, but he makes the barely moving Eastwood look like an emoting Brando bellowing 'Stella! at the foot of the stairs. Wooden is high praise indeed for his lead (or is it lead?) performance.
Argo is his third outing and manages to surpass The Town and Gone Baby Gone. Affleck loves tightly plotted, unflashy thrillers, and this 'true story' is the tightest, unflashiest bit of brilliance yet. I thought he would do a George V. Higgins first, but no. Someone less good did Cogan's Trade. The story is a barely credible account of how a CIA man - with Canadian help - rescued 6 Americans from wacky Iran in 1980. It is nail biting, re-creates the mood precisely, and features great non-performances from the cast - it almost plays as a documentary in Iran, but that is down to the skill of the cast and Affleck.
Walking off with the acting honors are John Goodman and Alan Arkin, who, back in La La Land, supply a fake Hollywood backstory for the escape. They are funny, sharp and add the spice that the rest of the film deliberately avoids like poison. The script is exemplarly, tight, believable, and compelling.
Films this good never win Oscars. They are not flashy enough, emotional enough, and they never do great box office. But they do win Blockies - my own awards.
I am nominating Argo for Best Picture and Affleck for Best Director. It has a shot at winning both, depending on how the rest of 2012 goes.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7May 15, 2012The Other Scorsese
One Martin Scorsese uses cinema to make violent, 'realistic' films like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino andThe Other Scorsese
One Martin Scorsese uses cinema to make violent, 'realistic' films like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino and Goodfellas, while the other one makes gentle, thoughtful films like The Age Of Innocence, Kundun and Hugo.(He also makes music documentaries like Woodstock, Last Waltz and Shine a Light.)
This lavish 3D production is a labor of love devoted to the making of films, the true subject of Hugo. The story is about an orphan who lives in a Paris train station who carries on the family tradition of fixing clocks. In this tale, he turns his hand to fixing the broken life of Georges Meliere (Ben Kingsley), chased by the evil station master (Sacha Baron Cohen, wonderful) and helped by the young, female ward of the great cinema innovator. Who is it aimed at? It is too old for very young children, too slow for older children, and not adept enough to move many adults because of its almost cartoony style. It is like Frank Capra on acid, but not nearly as witty.
Nevertheless, it is enjoyable, brilliantly made, occasionally surprising and well played by the cast. One quibbling question: why are all the French people, English? Why not cast French people or Americans? Is it because Americans only belong in Type 1 Scorsese films?… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2May 15, 2012ittle Big Man Jo Nesbo, the latest Scandinavian thriller writer, lifted the spirit of Fargo and Harlan Coben in his thriller Headhunters, nowittle Big Man Jo Nesbo, the latest Scandinavian thriller writer, lifted the spirit of Fargo and Harlan Coben in his thriller Headhunters, now adapted into this superior Norwegian (!) film version. Roger Brown (where did he get such an English name?) is the small, successful, scheming headhunter who also doubles as an art thief.Brown lives over his head, has his gorgeous wife who towers over him, and a mop of ridiculous 1980's hair - so he's got to be head and shoulders above any other scalper. 'OK then,' as the Coen Brothers might say, but when he takes on the task of stealing from the hottest new prospect in town (who also owns a priceless painting he must steal), Brown's world starts to fall apart. The wonderful Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (of Game of Thrones fame)who plays the prospect, turns out to be a sexy killer. Roger (Aksel Hennie, brilliant) has to run for his life. His whole life falls to pieces - his partner killed, his wife seduced, even his precious hair is sacrificed. Brown battles against his new and altogether superior, antagonist. Surviving the initial onslaught, the little big man plots his revenge and triumphs over his adversary in a hugely entertaining conclusion. The only thing the film lacks is a heart. All of the protagonists are so deeply flawed, it is difficult to like anyone or believe anything. Though it is brilliantly tied up with some true romance, the fact is, when Roger triumphs, he barely changes from the wicked **** shown in the opening reel. Yes, he does give his now happy wife a baby, gets out of the art thief market, but still, goes back to the world of the headhunter with glee. Maybe this is a small price to pay for such a supremely entertaining thriller. Next year, the inferior US re-make awaits. See the original, dark and chilly as it is… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0May 15, 2012Digital Money Maker
This is the crash! Bang! Wallop! movie of the year. It's digital, it's funny, it's stupid and it's in 3D -the first mustDigital Money Maker
This is the crash! Bang! Wallop! movie of the year. It's digital, it's funny, it's stupid and it's in 3D -the first must see, post Avatar. Only if you don't know who each character is, or haven't seen their movies, you may be at a loss to follow (as if that matters).
Loki (see Thor) has made a deal to get revenge on Thor and the Earth (of course) by getting some ridiculous source of power to some very bad aliens. All of the Marvel heroes - flawed heroes all - have to first unite, then trounce the invaders. And they do and you know they will.
The script is way above average for this kind of film - think Iron Man witty. The cast is top notch - especially Mark Ruffolo (Hulk), Downey (Iron Man) and the redoubtable Samuel L. Jackson as the team leader (Fury). No doubt, Jackson has replaced Morgan Freeman as the black American god who can do no wrong. The effects are as good as they get, as long as you can focus your eyes. It is often like putting your head in a washing machine with 3D glasses on.
Joss Whedon wrote, directed and probably gave birth to this film all on his own, and he makes a good fist of it. Despite it's enormous length - 147 minutes of popcorn chomping, it keeps your attention and never takes itself too seriously. I only wish that poor Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) will take a serious part next - you know, like in Hurt Locker and the Town - to balance his all action man roles.
This film cost a fortune and will make a fortune. Trust me… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Apr 10, 2012Sweet Black Angels
Telling the story of the end of segregation in the American South through black maids in Jackson Miss. makes this filmSweet Black Angels
Telling the story of the end of segregation in the American South through black maids in Jackson Miss. makes this film moving, personal and a tad superficial. Much has been made of the patronizing structure-a young white woman, Skeeter, leads the women to contribute to her book -showing the strong, stoic black women as incapable or unwilling to stand up for themselves. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer give stand out performances as the maids, and wring all the audience sympathy you could imagine. Of course, given that this is a feminist tale, all the men are bastards or invisible, most of the women on the right side of the argument are brave and wonderful, and the women on the wrong side, poor deluded fools. Allison Janey -of West Wing fame- plays Skeeter's mother - the only 3D character in the piece, a genuinely confused character, and is a core part of the story of redemption.
This book and film is really about current US politics. The fight between right (Obama, the first Black President) and wrong (the same Southern fundamentalist racists we see today) is plain to the viewer, and like the historic 1960's battle, the audience is invited to support the right cause.
I liked the film despite its flaws, as I was on the right side of the argument then, and I still am. By the way, though I lived in NY in the sixties, I had a black maid when my mother went back to work in 1961. My own saint, Annabelle (who looked just like Minny) was fired in 1964 for stealing money after drinking a bottle of whiskey she pilfered from our house. I loved her anyway.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.6Mar 2, 2012Stinker, Failure, Loser, Die. Critics who mistake the withdrawn acting and glacial plotting for intelligence, class, realism and authenticityStinker, Failure, Loser, Die. Critics who mistake the withdrawn acting and glacial plotting for intelligence, class, realism and authenticity are pretentious **** This is one of the most dull and passionless films ever made. People like George Smiley and these awful spies may exist, but they are human vacuum cleaners, sucking up all the oxygen around them. Tomas Alfredson, who made the chilly Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In (much more original than this tosh) allows the frost to harden throughout this icy film. What a non-performance from Gary Oldman, who only 'ehts, dear boy' in a drunken scene with the flaming Benedict Cumberbatch, his hair all sprayed gold ('Will anyone think I'm gay?). Yet I am in a minority - the Brits have given this dross a 'Best British film' and Oldman has been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. This speaks volumes for film critics who mistake this class ridden, awful, dense and dull type of film for one that is complex, adult, well acted, brilliantly written, etc. It isn't any of these good things. There is nobody to like in this film, no human to empathise with, no thrills or excitement, no great lines, no great message - just 127 minutes that unravel in front of your eyes. I give it 20% for the director (he makes what he can out of the dull script and the deliberate non-performances) and for the ending which sees Colin Firth as the bad guy, thank God. Did I say I didn't like it enough?… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Mar 2, 2012Into Personal Hell Alexander Payne makes films like novels. Unlike most films made from novels, none of the clever writing or sub-text isInto Personal Hell Alexander Payne makes films like novels. Unlike most films made from novels, none of the clever writing or sub-text is missing - it's all there on the screen. His work is character-driven, with seemingly loose plots, and are aimed at adults. In a world of cartoonish, special effects driven films, it's a great relief that he is here. This is darker than Sideways, and in some respects, just as good. Hawaii may look like paradise, but for Payne, it's paradise schmaradise. Gorgeous George plays against type. He is a schlumpy lawyer from a deeply rich local family. His almost dead wife has had an affair behind his floral shirted back. Forced to get a grip on his kids and his life, Matt King (Clooney) succeeds in confronting all the **** he has been long avoiding, including his wife's lover and his own family. In the climax to the sub-plot that's the most obvious part of the film, he tells his extended family he won't permit the last piece of family virgin land to be exploited, so that they can all be rich. He tells them if they don't like it, they can sue him. He says goodbye to his wayward, dying wife in a scene that is moving and true to life. The human comedy is Payne's game, and it is unusual for a US movie with mainstream stars to feature death so prominently. But it works. The surface has rays of light through the Hawaiian clouds, but don't kid yourself. This is as deep and unforgiving as American films get. If you want jet black death, watch Bergman's Cries and Whispers. If you want Americano death, you get a shot of cream and whiff of sugar. Yeh, give George his Oscar already - he won't get one for Oceans 14, and he's not going to the Middle East again. And give Payne one for his screenplay.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.1Jan 23, 2012The Madwoman of No.10 A character portrait more than a biopic, The Iron Lady dramatises Margaret Thatcher's middle aged madness through theThe Madwoman of No.10 A character portrait more than a biopic, The Iron Lady dramatises Margaret Thatcher's middle aged madness through the perspective of her demented madness of old age. Many have asked if this film should have been made while she is alive - but the key source of insight is Carol Thatcher's account of her mother's dementia - so if her daughter can comment in public, so may the film makers. Meryl Streep's portrayal is uncanny, and especially effective in old age - the Thatcher we don't know. She and Dennis, the wonderful Jim Broadbent, are the only fleshed out characters in the piece. The rest are props to tell the story. And what a story it is - a story of grandiose self importance that always carried more than a shred of madness. The women involved - Streep, Lloyd (director) and Morgan (writer) create a classic 'women's picture' - one woman's struggle - to live up to the ideals instilled on young Margaret Roberts by her doting dad. Of course, everyone pales into insignificance for young Margaret by comparison (except the supportive Dennis). All men are bastards. In this world, there are no other women, except maids. Thatcher can say and do what she pleases, because she is so much smarter and better than anyone else. There is no collaboration with this psychotic woman, there is only her inevitable descent into madness as the Poll Tax is proposed, the final straw in her destruction of consensus Britain. Like Reagan, she is co-creator of the 2007 financial collapse - due to greed, the de-regulation of the financial markets, and the self -righteousness of the frankly bonkers economics of it all. So don't despair that the history is not quite accurate, or it doesn't really 'do justice' to her 'reign'. That's not the point. While the film tries hard to get the audience on 'her side' by implying her greatness and difference in almost every scene, all it does is demonstrate that Thatcher was always a madwoman on a mission - and now, we can say 'Mission Accomplished.' Right up there with The Black Swan - last year's portrait of a madwoman - Streep will walk down the red carpet with her Oscar in a few months.… Expand