Thursday, April 30, 2015

Iron Man 2 (2010)

“I wanna make Iron Man look like an antique.”

            Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has told the world that he is Iron Man. His confession about his superhero identity has not worked out too well for him. The U.S. government wants the technology of his suits so the military can turn them into weapons and he does not want the suits to be used as weapons for destruction. Tony’s mind is focused on helping to bring peace to the world. Another weapons entrepreneur named Justin Hammer also wants Tony’s technology to create his own weaponized soldiers and sell them to the government for an insane amount of money.
            In Russia a man named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) has built a similar reactor like the one inside Tony. Ivan uses the reactor to charge long electrified cables attached to a special pack. He had lived with his father Anton Vanko who has just passed away. Anton had worked for Howard Stark, Tony’s father, and blueprints for a project. Ivan wants to seek revenge for his father and go after Tony.
            Meanwhile, the palladium core inside the reactor that keeps Tony alive is poisoning him. He does not tell anyone this news. Since he is near death he decides to just live it up and go crazy. Tony does do one smart thing by appointing Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to be the new CEO of Stark Industries. The papers signing over the company to Pepper are brought in by a new employee named Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson). Tony being a man finds her incredibly attractive and hires her as his own personal assistant.
            Tony, Pepper, his security guard Happy (Jon Favreau), and Natalie travel to Monaco for the famous Grand Prix race. Justin is there as well and drives Tony up a wall. The palladium in his blood system is getting worse and this signals to Tony that his time on earth is not that long and for him to get into his race car he is sponsoring and drive it himself. In the middle of the race Ivan/Whiplash comes out onto the track. The head from his weapon burns his shirt off revealing the pack and electrical wires. The wires are so powerful they cut Tony’s race car in half. Whiplash goes after Tony and Pepper and Happy and Natalie but of course he is caught before anything major can happen.
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            Ivan/Whiplash is of course able to escape and does so with the help of Justin Hammer because Justin wants Whiplash to make the mechanical soldiers exactly like Tony’s Iron Man suit. Ivan just goes along with everything so he can get his revenge on the Stark family.
            Tony eventually finds an alternative to the palladium so he will not die. S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson comes back to try to get Tony to join the Avengers and so does Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). It is also revealed that Natalie is really Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow and she is also an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
            In the end, like any superhero movie, the good guy beats the bad guys and even gets the girl in the end. Only the girl is Pepper Potts not Black Widow.
            Iron Man 2 was alright. I felt a little bored with it. There were certain scenes that were dragged out. I liked Black Widow’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe but I felt it could have been done better. I know this is an Iron Man movie and not a full out Black Widow movie but to me they made Natasha look like a typical kick ass female in a superhero movie not a kick ass female that will come to be incredible in the later Avengers movies. I do not know if any of that made any sense. Since I like kick ass females Black Widow was my favorite part of the movie. Tony Stark continues to be both a good character and an annoying character. That being said Robert Downey, Jr. continues to be incredible as Tony Stark in every way. He IS Tony Stark. Iron Man 2 is a movie I do not plan on sitting through again in the near future. It is not terrible but it is not one that was really able to capture my interest. 
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

“What is it like? When it happens, what do you experience?”
“Remember those experiments we volunteered for at Harvard? Those induced hallucination? It's a lot like that, just a thousand times amplified. It's like someone poured a liter of acid into my brain.”

            The Incredible Hulk is an interesting character. A man, a calm moral man, turns into a giant green monster capable of killing and mass destruction. This monster and his destructiveness eats at the man who does not want to hurt anyone. I like that conflict of good versus… well in this story the Hulk is not necessarily evil he and he is not necessarily bad he is just destructive when he is angered.
            Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) in an experiment at the college he worked at, took a serum that would be used for the soldiers in the US army. The serum was radioactive to the extreme. It turned him into a giant aggressive green monster who rips apart the lab and seriously hurts his girlfriend and fellow scientist Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). The military wants Bruce in order to punish him for what he did and to also run a lot of tests on him.
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            For a few years Bruce has been living in South America where he has been living a stress free life and working on staying as calm as possible. He works in a bottle plant where he one day cuts his finger and a drop of his blood gets into the soda. Bruce halts production to get to the bottle but it does not work. The military and its general Ross (Betty’s father) have been looking for Bruce in all those years and word reaches him that some old guy was just reported to have drank some soda and experienced some weird things. The military tracks down the soda to the South American plant where Bruce works and sends in a tactical team lead by Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).
            The tactical team storms the plant which gets Bruce’s blood pressure going and thus turns the poor guy into the monster he hates. Of course Bruce manages to get away where he winds up in Guatemala. Emil for some reason I cannot remember gets super pissed with Bruce and the Hulk and now wants some of the same serum or a derivative of it that will turn him into a hulk-like creature as well.
            Bruce makes it back to the states to the college. He was trying not to be seen by Betty but she sees him and they get back together. General Ross has his team go to the college to get Bruce. Bruce then turns into the Hulk and fights everyone off.
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            Betty and Bruce make their way to New York City where they are to meet up with a guy whose code name is Mr. Blue. They track him down to a college. Mr. Blue has been working on a serum to cure Bruce. It almost works until General Ross again tracks him down and literally crashes the party. Emile is there as well. He wants Mr. Blue to give him more of the serum. He looks like a junky searching for his next hit. Emile gets angry and he turns into this really gnarly monster. As much as Bruce does not want to turn into the Hulk he feels he has to in order to take that really weird monster-thing that I cannot remember the name of, down.
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            I found The Incredible Hulk to be incredibly boring. There was no life in the characters whatsoever they were so blah.  I felt like there was nothing in them for me to really care about. The story did not move at a decent pace it was very slow and way too mushy. As much as I like Edward Norton and Liv Tyler as actors they did not fit very well in a superhero movie. The Incredible Hulk is not a superhero I would rush to see. I am sure it is ten time better than the Ang Lee version from 2003 but it is not an absolute must see unless you are a Marvel freak or really like superhero movies. 
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Iron Man (2008)

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“Iron Man. That's kind of catchy. It's got a nice ring to it. I mean it's not technically accurate. The suit's a gold titanium alloy, but it's kind of provocative, the imagery anyway.”

            When I was younger I always wished I had a brain for science and math because I was always terrible at both subjects. I gloriously failed math, well I passed but barely. Same with science I barely passed it. Oddly enough I think they are interesting subjects so I guess that is why I wished and still wish I had a brain for them. I imagine now what it would be like if I did have a math and science brain and how I could mix that with technology. I can tell you I would not be a broke ass twenty-something making a teacher’s salary as a museum registrar with an Art History degree. I would have a decent job able to pay off my student loans.
            Anyway, how cool would it be to be able to be so brilliant with science and technology where you can build all these mechanical objects that help the world? Or better yet you can build awesome things for yourself (I would build the most awesome computer system and home theater system… two of my absolute dreams in life to have an awesome computer system and a kick ass home theater). I would not mind being a female version of Tony Stark from Iron Man. But unlike Tony I would not want to be such an arrogant dick or build weapons. The weapons part really is not his doing so much since Stark Industries was set up by his father Howard. Tony turns his company around with making weapons when he becomes a victim of them himself in the first Marvel Studios movie Iron Man.
            Billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is in Iraq to give a presentation to the soldiers about a new weapon he has created. The soldiers do not really buy his presentation or him really. While driving Tony around the humvee he is in comes under attack. Tony makes it out and for cover but one of his own rockets finds its way towards him and it explodes releasing shrapnel. Next thing Tony knows he is in a room on a cot with something in his chest keeping him alive hooked up to a car battery.
            The bad guys who took Tony captive hold him in order to make them a weapon. As he is making the weapon the bad guys desire Tony realizes his new ticker can do much more than keep him alive. From metal scraps he builds a suit that can be powered by his new life source. With this suit he manages to get away from the bad guys.
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            With a new perspective, upon arrival back in the States, Tony tells the press and the world that Stark Industries will no longer be making weapons he now only wants to help people. One person that is very upset by this turn of events is Howard’s old business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Obadiah still wants the company to make weapons and wants to freeze Tony out. Tony does not see the old man as a great threat. He instead focuses his energy around making a suit like the one he created in the desert only better and more efficient. Tony makes a suit powered once again by his new life source that can fly, protect him from bullets, shoot bullets, navigate him, and so much more.
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            Obadiah shows his true colors when he wants Tony’s exact suit he made in the desert. The scientists working on Obadiah’s suit have no idea how it was made they are not Tony Stark. The old man blows up in fury and puts on the armored suit. Tony and his new suit are put to the test when he must a much bigger, angrier, hell bent Obadiah.
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            Iron Man was not a bad superhero movie. Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect Tony Stark no one else could have played the character any better. I do like how Tony created Iron Man as a way to make the world better after he saw what his weapons do first hand but I do think it is unfortunate that he had to have that experience. It is like with anything else in the world where some rich person is diagnosed with something and all the sudden they are all about that and do everything for that. It is not a bad thing but, not to sound like an asshole, that kind of bother me. Whatever, now Tony Stark is the hero Iron Man doing awesome stuff with the Avengers. All I can say was that Iron Man was good. It was well written and acted and directed but there was something about it that did not leave me an “oh my god that was amazing” feeling. I did not feel invested in it put it that way. Besides my feelings, Iron Man is definitely worth seeing. 
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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“This isn't the age of spies. This is not even the age of heroes. This is the age of miracles... and there's nothing more horrifying than a miracle.”

            Superheroes stories are fantastic especially the Marvel ones. I like how they take current events and issues and place them in this incredible world of heroes and villains. The story is told in such a way that you may not even realize it based off currents events and issues. When I watch a movie I want to get away from the real world I do not want to think about life outside of my focus of the story for however long a movie runs for.
            My favorite Marvel superhero is Captain America. He is my favorite because he is what America and its people should be. You could argue Steve Rogers is the ideal American man for the 1940s but I feel he is the ideal American man for any age. Steve is a good man he does not want to be a hero he just wants to do what is right and fight all the bad guys and the injustices of the world.
            Captain America: The Winter Soldier does not pick up immediately following The First Avenger. Some time has passed. Captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is running early in the morning around Washington, D.C. Since he is a super soldier he literally runs laps around a fellow, much younger soldier, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Steve is still struggling with the ways of his new world. He carries a notebook to look things up whenever he comes across something he does not know. At the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum there is an exhibit dedicated to his return and his service in the army during World War II. Everyone he served with lived to an old age and passed on except for him and his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who was one of the only Howling Commandoes to die in service. There is also a video interview with the love of his life Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) from 1953 discussing Steve and her founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. Peggy is still alive but not in good health. She talks to Steve and then quickly forgets him.
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            Steve’s mindset and morals are still kind of set in the 1940s. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows him a warehouse of weapons that could bring down a small nation. Steve does not believe in weapons like the ones he is being shown and neither in how they are to be used. When Fury questions him about his service and use of weapons during the War Steve rightly says that that was different there was a worldwide threat that had to be stopped at all costs. The threats that S.H.I.E.L.D are fighting now are top secret no one outside of the government knows about them.
            While driving back to S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters, Fury is attacked. He manages to just barely get away. He goes to Steve’s apartment and covertly tells Steve that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised no one is to be trusted. Fury is then shot at through a window. Fury dies at the hospital. Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has been working with S.H.I.E.L.D and was close to Fury. She is upset with Steve she knows he is hiding something.
            Steve eventually tells Natasha what Fury had told him before he was shot and they partner up to find out what S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing with the enemy HYDRA. They find that the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) has been working with HYDRA and their secret weapon The Winter Soldier.
            Throughout the events of The Winter Soldier Steve Rogers fights like the brave, loyal, protective man and soldier he has always been yet he struggles with the morals of fighting immoral people and an immoral government while his 1940s mindset still sees the black and white of a gray world.
            Marvel movies have the best casted movies ever. Chris Evans cannot in any way get enough praise for playing Steve Rogers/Captain America. I believe him as Steve Rogers as this loving, kind, good hearted soldier who wants to do what is right for others. Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow like no one else can. Black Widow is such an awesome character. When I watch her I feel like I can see she has some emotions in her and she is not all cold as ice and tough yet she still walks around and carries herself like she is cold as ice and tough. Do not know if that made any sense. I guess I could she walks around like a boss ass head bitch in charge with this great strut and look that could kill someone just staring at her yet underneath there is a smidge of a caring person underneath all that. I loved her friendship/partnership with Steve because that is exactly what their relationship was it was a friendship and a partnership there was no love/romantic feelings between them. That was so refreshing to see a male character and a female character working together and not have all the romantic feels attached. That made me so damn happy. Bravo writers. If you go back and read my review of The First Avenger you will know that I have a slight obsession with Agent Carter … ok, ok, I lied, I’m sorry. I have a HUGE obsession with Agent Carter. I LOVE the TV show Agent Carter and I love Agent Peggy Carter as a character. Along with Black Widow, the world needs more female characters like Peggy Carter in the world. Before I get on a tirade, Peggy was not in this movie too much since she was older. The scene where Steve goes to visit an old, sick Peggy was heartbreaking! God damn Hayley Atwell and her awesome acting for hurting my feels! Evans and Atwell were just killer on the feels in that scene. You can see his longing for the Peggy he knew and for a life they could have had together on Evans’s face. Ugh, I was like just, here, take my damn heart I do not need it do with it what you will. Emily Van Camp’s character Agent 13 had so much potential. She seems like she could become another bad ass awesome female character in the Marvel Universe. Anthony Mackie… total bad ass. I loved him and his character right from his first scene. I cannot wait to see more of him in the MCU.
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            The script was fantastic. The characters remained the same as we knew them before but they were given a chance to grow. I really liked the story because it really was a good guys versus the bad guys which was black and white. The gray was all the ethical and moral issues with everything the good and bad guys did. The direction by Anthony and Joe Russo was incredible because it captured all the emotions of every single character and all those moral and ethical issues they were all struggling with or working against.
            Captain America: The Winter Soldier perfectly expands and continues Steve Rogers’s and Captain America’s wonderful, truly patriotic story. Like The First Avenger I absolutely loved The Winter Soldier and I cannot wait to watch it again. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Silent Sundays: The Goat (1921)

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The comedy immediately begins in The Goat as we see Buster Keaton trying to get on a breadline. His character of The Goat was pushed to the back of a bread and soup line. He went a little too far and wound up not realizing that he was standing behind two male mannequins.
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            The Goat moves along on the streets. He comes to the window of a prison where a murderer named One Shot Dan is getting his photograph taken. Dan bends down just as the photographer was snapping the photo. The Goat walks away since there is really nothing much to see. Dan in the mean time manages to get away.
            On the sidewalk The Goat kicked away a horseshoe. A guy walking by picks up the horseshoe, kisses it, throws it, and winds up finding a wallet with a very nice chunk of money in it. The Goat frantically looks for the horseshoe. He finds it but instead of giving him good luck it right away leads to bad luck. The horseshoe hits a cop on the head. The cop chases after The Goat. Soon there is a group of cops chasing The Goat all over town. At one point The Goat manages to get the cops in a truck and the truck drives away. After successfully trapping the cops, The Goat sees a man roughing up a lady wanting her purse. He tries to stop the man but the man punches him out.
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            The cops manage to get out of the truck. The Goat gets on a train to another town away from the cops. His luck gets even worse when the newspaper reports about One Shot Dan’s escape and the photograph the paper is using is not Dan’s it is The Goat’s from when Dan bent down at the prison. Now the whole town is after The Goat especially this one guy who is absolutely hell bent on getting the reward money.
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            The Goat gets away from the guy. He has stopped in front of an apartment building. He sees a pretty girl coming down the street with a bag. He helps her with her bag up to her apartment. The girl and her mother have The Goat stay for dinner since he was so nice. Unfortunately The Goat had his back turned when the father came home. The girl’s father is the guy who is was chasing The Goat all day.
            Another chase between the supposed criminal and the man ensues and of course, this being a Buster Keaton movie, The Goat gets away and gets the girl.

            I enjoyed The Goat for two reasons: 1. It was only twenty-two minutes long. If you have ever read any of my other reviews I have ADHD my attention when not grabbed wanders so bad especially when a film is silent and unfortunately boring. 2. This is one of the better Buster Keaton films I have seen a while. I thought it was very comical and enjoyable. The Goat is Buster Keaton at his slapstick, deadpan, physically comical best. I got tired watching him run all over the place and winced when he fell and it looked like it hurt. The Goat is available to watch in full on YouTube. Definitely give The Goat a watch.