Category Archives: Movies

Iron Man 3: Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man

Summer-BB-Banner_LG

It’s been a year since the Avengers released in theaters, and two years since we saw Tony Stark taking down bad guys solo in Iron Man 2.  To say that this film was “highly anticipated” is an understatement; which is why I chose to postpone seeing it.  It did not disappoint, but it did cause me to scratch my head a few times.  So let’s delve in (Warning: SPOILER ALERTS included).

What I liked:

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the hero of this franchise and is as impressive and hilarious as ever.  RDJ reminds me of Johnny Depp in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow – no one else can play that role, and the same is true for Iron Man.  RDJ is Iron Man.

The movie is filled with pithy and perfectly delivered one-liners (“I loved you in ‘A Christmas Story’.”), which balances out nicely with the film’s dark premise.

Ben Kingsley was brilliant in his role as the villain, The Mandarin.  Kingsley is terrifying as he delivers threats to a distraught nation through multiple media messages and executes people without hesitation.  But then, [SPOILER ALERT] in a brilliant unexpected plot twist he is revealed to be merely an actor used to mask the real evil at work. Kingsley’s turn from the terrifying Mandarin to a drunk I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-is-going-on out-of-work actor is hilarious and the scenes highlighting this truth alone make the film worth seeing.

What I didn’t like:

The movie inexplicably takes place around Christmas time.  I found this odd. Why set the movie around the holiday season when it’s going to release as a summer blockbuster?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but [SPOILER ALERT] there wasn’t enough Iron Man in this film.  I’m not talking about Tony Stark, I’m talking about THE IRON MAN.  He’s absent for most of the 135 minute film.  I felt like I saw more of the Iron Patriot – a Iron Man look a like operated by Col. Rhoades (Don Cheatle) – who is disappointingly never really explained either.

Favorite Character: Iron Man.  BUT, the Mandarin and Harley Keener get an honorable mention.  Well done boys!

Favorite Line: “I’m gonna offer you the choice: do you want an empty life, or a meaningful death?” – The Mandarin.

Bottom line: The cast, special effects, script, and soundtrack were all to my liking.  I’m already annoyed with every successful franchise creating trilogies, but this one was worth it, and let’s face it, if they make an Iron Man 4 – I’ll be there, wearing two pairs of glasses (affirmative, plunk down the extra $8 and put on your 3D glasses for this one).

Additional Links:

Mark Ruffalo’s ‘Iron Man 3’ Cameo Explained by Dr. Bruce Banner

Gwyneth Paltrow Goes from “Most Hated Celebrity” to “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” in About a Week

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Ruby Sparks: My Valentine’s Day Tribute

On my 31st birthday I came home from work exhausted and overwhelmed.  I turned my Blu-ray player on – it’s a fancy Blu-ray player that accesses different apps including my Amazon Prime video queue.  I flipped through the various new releases, nothing jumped out at me… until I saw Ruby Sparks.  Best $3.99 purchase I’ve made in a while!

I’ve been meaning to watch this movie.  In fact, I tried to get several of my friends to go and see it in theaters, but they were either not interested, or we couldn’t get our schedules to line up.  Needless to say, it all worked out because I needed to watch this film on this night.  It was perfect and made my birthday feel a little more worthwhile (at the time I was having trouble deciding which was more depressing; turning 31 or the Tuesday it fell on).

What I liked:  Everything.  I know, that’s not a fair statement.  But I did.  I liked everything.  The script.  The characters.  The plot.  The locations.  The whole movie was a breath of fresh air, original, quirky, real and yet magical.

The story line follows a struggling author, Calvin played by the talented Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) who dreams about a girl, writes her, and suddenly *poof!* she appears!  Screenwriter Zoe Kazan plays Ruby Sparks and just seeing this single performance from her makes her a new favorite actress of mine.  She is fearless.

What I didn’t like:  I had to ponder this for a while.  There is a scene towards the end of the film involving Ruby and an older gentleman and a pool – that’s all I’ll say.  It struck me as an odd scene, but perhaps it’s odd because of an exchange Calvin has with an acquaintance directly beforehand.  Either way, it seemed an odd way to create the inevitable climax that followed.

Favorite character:  Every actor in this film gave a wonderful performance, but my favorite character is Harry, Calvin’s brother, played by Chris Messina.  His quips throughout the film made me grin and giggle frequently.  Harry is the only one that Calvin confides in about Ruby – so only he is aware that Calvin has created Ruby from thin air.

So if you find yourself at the end of a long day looking for something original, witty, funny, and well produced to watch, give Ruby Sparks a whirl.

Oh, and seriously… How adorable are these two?  Happy Valentine’s Day!


How to Train Your Dragon – LIVE

This morning my husband and I woke up earlier than we normally would on a Saturday to take our 4 year old nephew Landon into DC for DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular.  Landon developed a mild obsession when the movie came out on DVD and has watched it a million times.  The movie is fantastic, so when I discovered a LivingSocial deal in my inbox for the live performance, I knew we had to take Landon to see his favorite dragons, up close and personal.

Landon loved the performance, the acting was good and the visual effects of the stage were creative and engaging.  The best part of the show?  The dragons.  Huge animatronic creations that replicated the beasts from Landon’s favorite movie perfectly.  My favorite part of the show was the ending where a huge dragon chase ensues; it was beautifully executed.  There were a few lulls in the performance where I checked my Facebook and Twitter feeds – but the kids were engrossed so that’s all that matters.  Click here to read a fair review of the show by Entertainment Weekly (of which I am an avid reader).

A couple of tips/things you should know if you’re planning on taking children to see this show:

1.  Have them use the bathroom right before the performance (this might be a no brainer for parents – but for those of us with no kids on a full time basis it’s worth mentioning).

2.  Viking helmets are $20.00.  They are not cheap but cheaply made.  Save your money or buy a program instead.

3.  There were 2 technical difficulties during the performance that resulted in disruptive 10 – 15 minute breaks in the performance (this is in addition to the 20 minute intermission) though the adults found this irritating, Landon could care less, he was completely captivated from beginning to end.

4.  The show we went to had only a couple hundred people, which surprised me – since it was a rainy Saturday in DC.


Hungry Hungry Hippos

I never had the game growing up – but I would go see the movie (solely based on the movie poster, not the trailer).  Both are hilarious.

Did you know there was a movie called Hugo the Hippo that came out in 1978?  I can’t find it on Netflix but it sounds like a gem!


Angry Birds: The Movie (Trailer)

Hilarious.


The Odds are in Hunger Games Favor

Film review:

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What I liked:

I appreciate how the filmmakers balanced what could and what couldn’t be done.  Some elements of the book would be a cinematic challenge and instead of trying to pull something off with cheesy CGI effects they chose the path of caution and omission.  I would rather not see something my imagination concocted while reading a beloved book then see it cheesily (is that a word?) rendered on-screen.

The cast was fantastic, there wasn’t a single character that I found to be out-of-place and the acting was fluid and sound.  Jennifer Lawrence triumphed in the lead role of Katniss Everdeen, one of the more complex literary characters I’ve ever read in young adult fiction.  She was able to capture Katniss’ resolve and courage without making her come across as a “bad ass.”  Other noteworthy performances:  Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.  All three roles were executed beautifully by these actors and were true to their literary forms.

Finally, SPOILER ALERT

I enjoyed how the film took the audience behind the scenes of the operation behind the Hunger Games.  Seneca Crane, played by Wes Bentley, the overseer of the games was a more prominent character in the film than the book and this suited me.  Perhaps it’s because I am a producer but I loved to see how the Game Changers manipulated the arena and it’s inhabitants by pushing buttons and monitoring movements.  It fascinated me and was an element that the book never delves into (because it is told from Katniss’ perspective).

 

What I didn’t like:

SPOILER ALERT

Despite the appreciation I mention above, I have to say the muttations (weird-looking dogs) at the end of the film were disappointing as the hunger games reached their bloody climax.   I also didn’t like how the film spent so much time prepping for the arena and then zipped through Katniss and Peeta’s experience in the games once the announcement was made that two victors would be crowned if they were from the same district.  I don’t feel the film really developed their relationship enough to carry over effectively in the next film – where the real fun begins.  Finally, the camera work throughout the film was jumpy in a lot of places that “broke the spell” of the plot for me several times, most notably at the end when Cato, Peeta, and Katniss are battling atop the cornucopia.  I couldn’t figure out who was hitting who, with what, from where?!  Boo.

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Favorite character:

Haymitch – what can I say?  I love a sarcastic, troubled character that brings humor to awkward scenes.  Woody Harrelson was a natural choice for this role and he struck a great balance between being irritating and someone you want to hang out with socially.  There is an underlying story to Haymitch and Harrelson left the audience wanting to see and know more about his past and the time he spent in the arena.

 

Favorite lines:

Peeta Mellark: You’re our mentor! You’re supposed to help us get sponsors, give us advice.

Haymitch Abernathy: Okay. Accept the probability of your imminent death and know, in your heart, there is nothing I can do to save you.

Katniss Everdeen: But if that’s true, then why are you here?

Haymitch Abernathy: The refreshments.

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Bottom line:

The Hunger Games did a wonderful job of making one feel uncomfortable and disturbed about kids killing kids without being exploitative or gross.  I suggest you read the book first (the entire trilogy took me less than a week to finish) and head to the nearest theater to experience this film.

 

Additional Links:

The Hunger Games director says ‘no” to sequel

The Hunger Games District 12 is for sale – 1.4 Million Dollars

Box office update: ‘The Hunger Games’ fends off new competitors with $12.9 million on Friday

How ‘Hunger Games’ star Elizabeth Banks brought Effie Trinket to life


The Bourne Legacy – Official Trailer

Even without Matt Damon, this intrigues me.