Here's my quick review: This is the most "satisfying" superhero movie I've seen. [Luis was saying that it rivaled Batman Begins -- which I absolutely love -- but I feel that you can't really compare these films. BB is dark throughout, while Ironman is filled with fast-paced, irreverent (and sometimes goofy) wit -- save for a portion of the first act.] I don't like spoilers, so I'm giving nothing away here. Jon Favreau has always been one of my favorites, but he has gone way beyond my expectations. Not only is his directorial style refreshing and fun, but he got the best possible performances (some who went against type) out of all the actors -- Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, and Leslie Bibb (from Crossing Jordan). Roboticist geeks, unite! Stay after the credits for an intriguing revelation.
I loved it. What can I say... If you want to be conservative, it's among the top 3 best comic-book movies EVER. If you're an evolved fanboy like me, it's the best comic-book movie ever made.
I keep trying to watch Batman Begins again to be sure about my "ruling". And every time I see Katie Holmes, I cringe. Her acting is so atrocious that effectively kills her scenes with Christian Bale. She's like having frozen food in a 5-star, top of the line French restaurant.
And yes, Batman Begins is dark as hell and very stylized while Iron Man is almost "sterilized". And I don't have a problem with that, btw. For a movie about a guy in a super-strong metal suit, I'd say Iron Man is actually realistic and down to earth. Refreshing is the word.
I like the action in the movie, especially the one with the F22 Raptors. It's exciting without being Michael Bay-ish, awe-inspiring without being Spielberg-ish. It's what I like in summer movies with none of the weaknesses traditionally associated with summer fare.
If you haven't seen Iron Man, run to the theaters RIGHT NOW. The movie demands a nice screen, so choose wisely and make sure your theater has booming sound and comfortable seats.
originally posted on August 7, 2008
Luis and I saw Pineapple Express at a FIND (Film Independent) screening on Monday evening -- Q&A with director David Gordon Green (Snow Angels, a very different [and highly acclaimed] film). I haven't laughed so hard since the South Park movie :) I've always been a big fan of Judd Apatow's work (he produced this one) -- but there always seems to be a little lull in the story/action in his previous films. Pineapple Express was an "express" ride -- racing by without a moment's hesitation. Like Superbad, it involves a lot of male bonding. At one point in the film, I realized that if I was reading the script's dialogue, I wouldn't be able to tell whether the two main characters were male "druggies" in their 20s or pre-pubescent girls. When have you ever heard BFF ("best friends forever") being uttered by guys like these -- or any guys, for that matter?! Okay, it was really "BFFF" -- but the full acronym was never spelled out. For parents out there: Yes, this film's plot revolves completely around drugs and drug dealing, and the final act in particular contains a lot of violence -- so I wouldn't recommend this film for kids. However, the drugs form a backdrop and catalyst for an incredibly fun thrill ride that is really a "buddy film" taken to new heights ;) Think Fast Times at Ridgemont High on acid paired with Pulp Fiction.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
originally posted on August 14, 2008
Luis and I saw another FIND (Film Independent) screening on Tuesday evening. Vicky Cristina Barcelona begins with the initial black and white credits we've all become accustomed to in a Woody Allen film (containing a surprising number of familiar names; Woody clearly has a loyal crew). But from the first shot, the film seems fresh, different -- and outrageously funny. It's as if we all just dropped in on a situation that was already set in motion. The immediate use of narration (which continues throughout) really works on a comedic level. All the actors are amazing, which is to be expected; Scarlett Johansson has joined the echelon of Woody Allen leading ladies and is now following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. Johannson is joined by Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz, who all represent distinct facets of what could be one person. Javier Bardem gets to experience all these facets in scenarios that are either romantic, sizzling, goofy, or psychotic! This movie made me think of how a fragile relationship can be -- defined so deeply by the dynamics between the people involved. There has been a lot of talk about Woody Allen's decline during the last 20 years -- which has coincided somewhat with his abandonment of New York as a setting in favor of Europe. Vicky Cristina Barcelona should set this viewpoint to rest. He's back -- and he's more witty and sharp than ever. I should add that Barcelona is the perfect backdrop; I can't imagine Vicky Cristina New York :)