Guy Pearce

Iron Man 3

Year: 2013
Directed By: Shane Black
Written By: Drew Pearce and Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have been a little obsessed with the MCU lately. Along with Iron Man 2 I revisited this film too as it is the only other movie within the MCU that we didn’t own a copy of. Having not added the second film to the collection I didn’t add this one either because I can’t stand gaps within trilogies even if one of the films isn’t very good. When this movie came out I didn’t think it was good enough to warrant purchasing both films. I thought it was OK when it was released and I’ll maintain that impression after seeing it again. This movie is just OK and far from the best of the bunch when it comes to the 14 movies now within the MCU.

I remember when this film came out the tagline was something like “does the suit make the man or the man make the suit.” That was a huge theme within this movie as Tony again spends far too much time as Tony and not enough as Iron Man. It’s cool that Tony Stark can still be heroic without his armor but I didn’t go see the Iron Man movie to see Tony in James Bond mode outside the Mandarin’s house. I wanted more Iron Man after feeling like the second movie didn’t offer enough Iron Man action either. While I like the second film more now than I did years ago I still feel like this one had a lot more problems.

The problem with the scope of the MCU now has to be making these individual movies when they aren’t all together. For example where is Captain America when the President’s life is being threatened? Where was Iron Man when S.H.I.E.L.D. turned out to be heavily infiltrated by Hydra? Yeah it’s all about budget and contracts and you can’t have every character in every film but that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t really make sense. We are seeing that change as there is far more crossover with characters these days. I’m totally psyched for the third Thor film as it will feature appearances from both the Hulk and Doctor Strange.

I have always been a fan of Shane Black’s action films from the 90s. While usually credited with writing he has had a hand in many classic action films like Lethal Weapon, Last Action HeroThe Last Boy Scout, and one of my household favorites growing up The Long Kiss Goodnight. He was also the writer for one of my childhood/lifetime favorites The Monster Squad. So I’m a big fan of his work, but I don’t know that this Iron Man film lived up to some of those classics. Getting behind camera this time around Shane Black gave us a cool enough movie but nothing spectacular.

This movie doesn’t have the feel of a real MCU movie barring the presence of MCU characters. For example it doesn’t have a mid credit sequence that alludes to the coming films or future of the MCU. Its setting during the Christmas season for a summer release seemed an odd choice, out of place in the MCU which is usually has no association with holidays.

I think the problems with this movie in general starts with the story. It just isn’t big enough and too isolated to Iron Man specifically. After the second film there should have been more cross over with other characters. For example, Captain America’s third film featured an iconic comic storyline and turned into a huge spectacle. I think they could have put more thought into what to do for Iron Man’s second sequel. Granted you have Don Cheadle on board as War Machine/Iron Patriot but it just doesn’t seem like enough. After introducing Black Widow and featuring Nick Fury in the second movie this one is just too absent of other characters.

I also hate that Ben Kingsley was wasted as a pretend bad guy. He could have been much cooler than what they ultimately got with Guy Pearce. I don’t really care for Guy Pearce and nothing about that changed with this movie. I liked Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, but felt another rival weapons manufacturer for this movie to be redundant. I did like James Dale Badge as the top henchman. I have been a fan of his since he played Jack Bauer’s partner in season 3 of 24. Ben Kingsley isn’t just a top grade actor but he is capable of playing a great villain, if in any doubt check out this. This movie could have used a little Don Logan if you ask me, such a waste.

I consider this one of the weakest installments to the MCU, not a bad movie but simply not up to par with the other films. It just feels too isolated for a third installment. Tony has too many friends at this point to take on this problem on his own. Even if they couldn’t include other characters somebody else should have at least been referenced with the President’s life at stake. I think this movie is worth your time but it’s far from the top of the pack in the 14 movies now within the MCU.

 

Memento

Year: 2000
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan (screenplay) Jonathan Nolan (Short Story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Some movies challenge us as viewers.  They demand more from us than the typical film and we are required to give a higher level of our concentration to them.  This isn’t something the casual film-goer will always do but for those of us that do the reward is ever more fulfilling. Some of the most entertaining films are the ones that require us to think more.   This is one of those movies; a film on a platform all by itself and unlike any other out there.  On every level it is entertaining from the story, to the performances, to the cinematography.  This was an intelligent group of people boldly doing their own thing and proving themselves to be a new generation of filmmakers with the potential to take everything to the next level.

Of course everybody knows Christopher Nolan now.  His Batman films were incredible and left an impression on nearly everyone who saw them.  Nolan is certainly one of the most talented filmmakers out there right now and he proves that each and every time he gets behind camera. He proved it with The Prestige, with Inception, and he will most certainly blow our minds again with his next film Interstellar.  This film was his second but it was his first step into doing larger things.  Something that I think makes him so successful is that he has his own team that he works with together on everything.  Looking at the credits roll for this movie I see lots of names I recognize from his other films.  This was back in 2000 and so many of these people have stayed together to work on all of Nolan’s films.  Of course there are his wife and his brother who are always with him.  Emma Thomas serving as producer and Jonathan Nolan involved in writing. Other names that popped out were Wally Pfister and John Papsidera who have both worked on most if not all of Nolan’s movies since.  Though he wasn’t involved in this film Nolan typically uses Hans Zimmer to score his films.  There are no doubt plenty of names I don’t notice because I only see these in passing. In truth I know little about these people beyond their names and job title but that’s not the point.  My whole point is that continuity among the crew goes a long way in a director’s successful career. Nolan’s talent is immense and it’s such an exciting time to be a film fan specifically because of what men like him give us to look forward to.

This film is so unique, even for Nolan.  I love how progressive and gutsy it all is.  Nolan is such a confident filmmaker and that confidence can be seen in his work.  You have to believe in what you are doing to do something this different.  Nolan is a fearless filmmaker and has been wise in believing in himself.  The way this film comes together as it progresses is like a work of magic.  It has so many layers and is so exceptional on each and every one.  The story in this movie is terrific as is the story within the story.  The character they created in Leonard is so interesting and his handicap offers such a fascinating dynamic. I love how the film comes full circle with such clarity in the end and how splendidly the two stories merge into something bigger and even more shocking. This is a great thriller and unlike any other I have ever seen.  A great film from a great director who has so much more to offer us in the future.

I am not a fan of Guy Pearce but he is so perfect for the part in this movie.  I have always said his best attribute is walking around with a lost look on his face.  I think it was The Time Machine that gave me this impression of him as an actor.  It’s what I have come to associate him with over the years and I think it’s great to see it so effectively used for a role like this.  He looks a little ridiculous with that hairdo but the lost look on his face just fits so well.  I don’t like Carrie-Anne Moss either but actually think this was one of the better performances I have seen from her. She plays a great part and pulls it off well.  Joe Pantoliano is awesome in everything and no different in this one. He’s at his best when playing the shady character and he’s in his element in this one.  The role was small but I think Mark Boone Junior is great.  He has made plenty of roles his own but as an actor I always want more of him because he has a talent you can never have enough of.

I can gush over this movie to no end but it’s the type of movie you have to see for yourself.  It took me a long time to get around to seeing this one.  For reasons I can’t remember I snubbed it when people tried to tell me it was great back in the early 2000s.  It was sometime after the success Nolan found with the Batman franchise that I finally went back and saw what I was missing.  I had missed out on something exceptional and if you have never seen this movie you have too.  It’s worth your time to go out of your way to find it and watch it.  In fact everything Nolan and his crew have done is worth your time to seek out and watch.  He has a new film coming out later this year, Interstellar, and I have every reason to think it will be another mind blowing feature from the director who has quickly become the best at blowing our minds.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie was incredibly intricate. Every detail was so well thought through. What kind of brain can create something like this? I have to be honest. I have seen this film before, but it’s been a while. I ran a 5k the day we watched this, so I passed out half way through. Ryan filled me in and my brain is still trying to piece all the pieces together. I really like this movie and it is well worth your time to watch it.

mementoWhen I first looked at this poster, I wasn’t that impressed, but now looking at it a little closer, I don’t think it’s that bad. It shows a few characters and includes a few necessary props that are throughout the movie. The typography of the text is a written font to mimic the handwriting that goes onto the Polaroids the main character has to take to remember things, and although it maybe clever I find it too obvious and cliché. I think there are a lot of better ways to do this poster, but this isn’t the worst way either. I really just want more out of it, because there is so much depth to the movie itself, and this really isn’t beckoning me to go watch the film.

NEXT MOVIE: Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

L.A. Confidential

Year: 1997
Directed By: Curtis Hanson
Written By: James Ellroy (novel), Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I consider this to be one of the best movies I have ever seen.  It is a perfect movie and that puts it in an upper echelon with only a few others.  I see this movie in the same light as The Godfather, Casablanca, or Full Metal Jacket. Movies this good suck you in and make you part of their world.  They leave an impression on you and every time you see them they get better.  This movie is a hit on all levels and it blows me away every single time I see it. I think our timing to reach this movie in the collection is awesome because coincidentally we watched Gangster Squad last night.  That movie has a very similar story line to this one and watching them back to back has given us the opportunity to accurately contrast the two. Gangster Squad wasn’t that great and specifically once put up next to this one it seems like a horrible movie. It wasn’t a horrible movie, it just simply doesn’t compare to this one in any way, shape, or form.

This movie takes place in such an interesting time and place for our country.  Having grown up and spent my entire life on the east coast I have always had a fascination with the wild wild west.  Things were always done a bit differently out there as the rest of the country and authority slowly made their way over through expansion and development.  The West might be different altogether but there is specifically something different and unique about Los Angeles, and the whole Hollywood world.  Right and wrong are different there; it’s a world influenced by corruption, glamour, and greed.  It is influenced by the people that built it and to understand that you have to understand the people that built it.  The men who built the west were men who decided to go for a hundred different reasons.  They went for opportunity, they went to build a new life, and they went for the promise of work, gold, oil, and even fame. They came from all over the country and from a large variety of backgrounds.  They built something out there and the minute others started to notice what they had done they began looking for ways to move in and take advantage of the opportunities now available there.  Well like I said, things are different in the west.  Why let mobsters move into town and run the rackets when the local authorities can simply make all that money themselves? I know that this movie is based in truth but admittedly don’t know enough about the accuracy of it.  Nevertheless it is an awesome story and one that really does garner some more research on my part, eventually.

Curtis Hanson really hasn’t made that many movies that I found impressive but his name always immediately grab my attention.  No matter what else he has done, he was the guy that made this movie and doesn’t that say everything you need to know about him? His camera work and storytelling are so incredible in this movie.  I have always admired how he leads you through the crime scene at the Night Owl and you take everything in together with Detective Exley as he investigates the crime scene.  I love what he does with these three diverse and different police officers and how he manages to make us emotionally invested in all three of them. I love the arc each one of them has as a character and I love the men who were chose to play the parts.  I think the story in this movie is fantastic.  It’s so satisfyingly violent and intelligent at the same time with a little bit of sex and scandal thrown in for good measure.  It is a story that never fails to captivate and hold my attention.  The only other movie I really liked from Hanson was 8 Mile, and that is liked only from an admitted biased opinion based on being a fan of Eminem. Like I said though, it doesn’t matter what else Curtis Hanson has done.  He did this, and that gives him credibility for a lifetime as far as I’m concerned.

When discussing the cast I want to start with Guy Pearce as Detective Exley. Not because I think he was the best, in fact I really don’t like him at all, but his performance is seriously one of the best I have ever seen.  Detective Exley isn’t a likable character and you immediately begin to despise him. As the movie progresses you can’t help but feel differently and the more you watch the more you begin to like Exley.  Pearce plays the part so well and I am literally shocked to find myself so impressed with it every time I see it. He is such a little weasel till he interrogates the Night Owl suspects.  He is such a badass in that scene he doesn’t just deserve but practically comes through the screen and demands your respect by force.  Once he establishes himself as a badass he just continues to keep it up for the whole movie.  Whether he is shooting all of the bad guys, throwing caution to the wind to do what is right, sleeping with his rival’s girlfriend, or manipulating a massacre to his own advantage he is doing it all as a badass.  I love the respect he develops for his rival Bud White and the ass whooping he accepts when he knows he has wronged him.  I have never seen another movie where I saw what Guy Pearce did and thought “wow, he really did a great job in that movie.” I simply don’t like the guy and think he brings nothing to the table.  I can’t deny him this role though; he should have been nominated for it and taken the award home with him.  If he ever showed up for work and really brought it, it was on the set of this movie.

While I am incredibly impressed by the part played by Pearce my favorite is the most popular part played in this movie, by Russell Crowe.  This was Russell Crowe’s first major American role and it set the tone for his entire career.  He has been one of the best leading men of the last fifteen years because he is an outstanding actor. In this movie he burst onto the scene with aggression and brutality.  He plays the tough guy that is underestimated by everybody and proves to be much more than meets the eye.  As the movie progresses we see that he has the intelligence and detective skills to match his brutality.  The character then goes even deeper as we learn about his past and see his softer side when he is with Lynn Bracken.  When he confronts her after finding out about her and Exley you can feel his pain as his anger gets the best of him.  Another scene in which you feel his anger is that of the interrogation scene when Exley shines.  That scene showed us two things, one being that Exley was way more badass than we thought, the other being that Bud White is every bit the badass we think he is and more. This is one of Crowe’s finest roles and I think he also should have been nominated for the part.

I am and always have been a huge fan of Kevin Spacey.  The character of Lester Burnham he would play a couple of years later taught me quite a bit about life.  I do not know what has happened to him these days though.  He is an incredible and academy award winning actor who has simply fallen off the map for some reason.  The last thing I saw him in was Horrible Bosses and it wasn’t one of his finest roles.  As Jack Vincennes he is the sleazy cop that suddenly finds purpose in himself again.  He has been dirty for so long he forgot about all the right reasons he joined the force for in the first place.  As he begins to realize those things he starts to discover the skills that got him to the top and he uses them to do the right thing.  Until doing the right thing gets him killed that is.  That’s how it happens for the bad guy that decides to do good though, it’s an irony that is worth dying for to make that character a martyr. Vincennes became a martyr and a hero with his dying breathe by finding out the cleverest way to warn Exley. All past digressions forgiven, he died a hero and might have ended up with his name plastered somewhere in the city of Los Angeles. I don’t know what has been up with Kevin Spacey but I will always have my eye on what he is doing because within him are more performances of this caliber, I know it.

The rest of the cast was just as stellar and on point as the three most important I have already discussed.  James Cromwell is a fantastic actor and can play any part in any movie.  He can do it all pretty good but it turns out he can pull off mastermind villain pretty well as we see in this film. David Strathairn plays one of his best roles as Pierce Patchett. I have always liked Strathairn; he carries an air of dignity with him that makes him great for roles like this.  I am a big fan of Danny DeVito and like what he brought to the movie as well.  I have mentioned many times that I don’t like where his career has now led him but I think for the majority of his time in the business he has been very successful.

Kim Basinger won the Academy Award for this movie and was the only one to win the award for any of the performances in the movie.  I don’t understand that and practically consider it a crime.  I think she did a good enough job as Lynn Bracken but I don’t know how her performance warranted that kind of reward when some of the others weren’t even nominated. This movie was without a doubt her greatest performance as an actress but I don’t think she had much competition from her other roles.  Basinger is one of those women who made her career on her looks and not her talent and truthfully she has just never done it for me.

I honestly believe this movie is better each and every time I watch it.  As I already said I think this is a perfect movie and the fact that it seems better every time I watch it only reinforces that opinion.  As for Gangster Squad, it just didn’t have the raw and real element that this one had.  I knew things were going to be like that when we first met Josh Brolin’s character and he “Jack Bauer-ed” a room full of armed men. It’s just a bit too over the top and unrealistic.  When Bud White got angry he whooped ass on anybody within reach but not even he would have assaulted a crime base single handedly and walked out all hunky dory.  I think Sean Penn played an exceptional part as Mickey Cohen but even he was a bit over the top and exaggerated for effect. Gangster Squad is a film for the amateur movie fan but this movie is for those of us who really appreciate the art of film making.

This is a flawless movie and is without doubt worth your time.  It isn’t a movie that gets a lot of replay on TV and it isn’t brought up on a regular basis these days.  That is a crime.  This movie deserves its own three night weekend on AMC like The Godfather gets.  It’s that good of a movie and if you haven’t seen it I suggest you seek it out and take the time to watch it.  Incredible film that will always be one of my favorites.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ryan loves this movie and wrote a ton so in true Amber fashion, I will keep it short. This is a great crime movie. It captures your attention and keeps it throughout. The actors are perfect for their roles and do such a great job. It’s a really good flick that is definitely worth watching.

LAconfidential

Oh no. Another poster where they are trying to fit in way too many characters. This is not very successful either. Don’t miss the faded out guy right beside the word confidential. They also cut off Basinger’s head at the top with a solid black bar for the names. Bad call. The best thing about this poster is the marketing/advertising ploy behind the whole thing. Who is the target audience for this movie? Men. What do [some] men love? Boobies. That’s all any man really needed to see to want to see this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Lady in the Water (2006)

Prometheus

There will be a more in depth review of this film when we get to the “P’s” in our movie collection because we will own it.  I just really want to share a few thoughts with our readers because we just watched it and I think everyone should know how great it is.

I think the marketing for this movie was incredible.  The previews show you a lot of excitement without giving any hint to exactly what the movie was about.  That type of advertising reminds me a lot of Inception from last summer because it did something so similar.  It was very effective too because it builds anticipation for the movie while leaving a lot of surprises for you at the same time.  When I sat down to watch this movie I had no idea what it was really about. I went in knowing only the basics and that it was a prequel to Alien. I knew within the first five minutes that I liked it and that it was going to be awesome.  Some movies manage to convey that immediately, it works both ways though.  More often than not I can tell in the first few minutes that a movie is going to suck, but I’m glad there are still movies like this coming out that can actually surprise me.

I do not think this movie would have worked without Ridley Scott behind the camera.  I think that he is the only person that could actually make this movie and blend it so well with the original.  Everything looked so great and in the same fashion we saw over thirty years ago.  It has been a long time since Scott went back to his roots to make a Sci-Fi picture but he obviously still has that talent that made him a legend in the beginning. This movie will probably be very successful and I hope that success means we might see more of this to come from Scott.  As of right now I am going to really hope Scott comes back into the genre strong and does exactly what he did for it thirty years ago with Alien and Blade RunnerScott left a lasting impression on the genre and his films are both legendary.  Scott has made many great films throughout his career but I think it is rather obvious after this film that this is where he truly belongs.

The cast all did an outstanding job in this movie.  Michael Fassbender was specifically good, I think his role called for the most acting to be done as the android and he did it really well.  His face seemed so implacable throughout the whole movie and he spoke with such a great tone.  I am not a fan of Charlize Theron but she did an excellent job as well.  I think she was well suited for the role and appropriately cast. Idris Elba was great too; he played a smaller part but still managed to be a badass.  I think Noomi Rapace did very well as the lead; she could quite possibly be the new generation’s version of Ripley when all is said and done. Rapace is mainly known for playing Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. One way or another I think we will be seeing a lot more of her after this. I think Guy Pearce is wasted in this movie; I had to come home and look up the movie on IMDB just to figure out who he was.  I’m OK with that though, if he has to be in a film this great the less we see of him the better.

Overall I think this was a great movie and I hope I have encouraged all of you to give it a chance.  There aren’t many movies coming out these days that I think are worth your money to make the trip to the theater.  I can attest that this film is without doubt worth the ridiculous price of admission at theaters these days.  We watched it in 2D because we aren’t risk takers when it comes to 3D but if the 3D effects were good I would imagine this movie looked great in the format. If you watched the movie in 3D please let us know how it looked because if we make it back to see it a second time we might try it out