Sam Rockwell

Iron Man 2

Year: 2010
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Written By: Justin Theroux


This movie has long since been one of the few Marvel films that didn’t have a place in our collection. I saw it in the theater when it came out back in 2010 and I wasn’t overly impressed. I thought the lack of action and story direction was a problem for a sequel that didn’t live up to my expectations at the time. However, having recently watched Grace Randolph list it so high in her ranking of Marvel movies I decided to give it another chance. I found that I enjoyed it much more this time around and think I’ve been too critical of it over the last several years.

I think I was just too impatient as a viewer back in 2010. I wanted more from this film than it offered and the disappointment overwhelmed the whole movie for me. I always think a sequel should be bigger than the original and by extension have more excitement as well. This movie is a bigger story as Tony Stark struggles with the life threatening nature of his power source as well as trying to maintain what he has created with the Iron Man. Yet the movie is seriously lacking in action. The action scenes on hand are all great but there is a long lull in the middle with little actual Iron Man action baring his in house fight with War Machine. The fight between Whiplash and Iron Man on the race track was incredible and I think the climax battle in the end really pays off well.

I never care for a storyline in a comic book film when a character loses the ability to be the hero. Same thing in Spiderman 2 when Peter Parker loses his power and gives up being Spiderman for a while. For me, when the hero ceases to be a hero and becomes a regular person it takes away all the excitement. You know they will eventually get their powers or abilities back and the time in between is just something to wait out.  This is a different situation but when I watched this movie back in 2010 I felt like Iron Man slowly being poisoned to death took away from what could have been more actual Iron Man action. Watching it this time around was different though and I could find more appeal to the film.

I initially hated the scene in which Tony gets hammered, pees in the suit, and then fights his newly cast best friend. It was just such a low point for our hero that it rubbed me the wrong way. Yet weighed against potential death it makes much more sense. Wouldn’t we all lose it a little bit and get crazy if we knew we were going to die? I can appreciate it more this time around too knowing that it echoes a story line in the comics in which Tony Stark was struggling with alcoholism.

I am not a huge Terrance Howard fan by any means but I didn’t care for the recasting of Rhodey. In truth I am a bigger fan of Don Cheadle but his casting breaks the continuity of the films. I didn’t care for the recasting of Edward Norton in the MCU either but that proved to be a success as Mark Ruffalo did a fantastic job with the part of the Hulk. I think it’s impressive how Marvel can do that and maintain success. Guys like Terrance Howard and Edward Norton were cast early in the process of building a cinematic universe. Hindsight is 20/20 though and given a chance to go back I think both would have done whatever necessary to make the relationship work.

I am a big fan of Sam Rockwell and liked him in the role of Tony’s rival Justin Hammer. I think it was really cool that the character was name dropped recently on Netflix’s Luke Cage and hope that means there is a potential return to the MCU in the future. Don’t know how he would be utilized but the MCU is really in need of more recurring villains. There’s no chance of return for Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash but he made waves with some really cool scenes within this movie. The fight on the race track with Tony’s briefcase suit was specifically awesome.

This movie was critical in the advancement of the MCU on the road to The Avengers. By introducing Black Widow and giving more screen time to Nick Fury they started laying the foundation for the connective tissue of these movies. There is also a reference here to Captain America’s with Tony using a prototype version of his shield at one point. It expanded the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. and gave it more history with Howard Stark being one of the founding members.

I don’t think this movie measures up to its predecessor but I do think the movie is better than I gave it credit for when it first came out. This movie led directly into The Avengers as arguably the most important stepping stone in creating the MCU. I don’t know that I agree with how high it was ranked by Grace Randolph but I can at least see now why she had it so high. This movie is worth your time if for no other reason than if you see one movie in the MCU you should have really seen them all. Marvel has made history with their creation of a cinematic universe and everyone is trying to copy them now.

Matchstick Men

Year: 2003
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Eric Garcia (book), Nicholas and Ted Griffin (screenplay)


Recently I saw an episode of Community that pondered the question “Nicolas Cage: good or bad?” I thought the whole thing was hilarious because when reviewing Cage movies in the past I have talked about how great he can be in some films and how hopelessly awful he can be in others.  On the show the question proved to be too much for even Abed Nadir to handle.  Scary stuff in truth because if Abed couldn’t handle it then not even Cage himself should broach the subject.  Nevertheless it is a very compelling question about an actor who has made over 70 films in the last thirty years.  It is interesting indeed to see an actor achieve the highest honor in film, the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1995 and follow it up the way he did. With his performance in Leaving Las Vegas Cage beat out Tom Hanks (who was going for his third straight win with his role in Apollo 13) and followed it up with The Rock. While I have always personally loved that film it is what it is, and I was twelve when it came out so naturally I thought it was awesome. The Rock was just a cheesy action movie but it wasn’t all that bad and it paired him with Sean Connery. More or less I think it was an acceptable idea for Cage to win such a prestigious award and then branch out into a new genre that was looking for new heroes as the regulars (Schwarzenegger and Stallone) were getting too old.  However, then in 1997 he starred in Con Air…….now what is there to say about that one? A cool cast all around but Cage was so specifically bad in that movie it made the whole thing a joke.  I actually referenced it specifically in our review of Lord of War saying that Cage could be great but you just never knew when he was going to do something like this:

Cage is certainly an interesting actor and maybe one day someone will succeed where Abed could not in answering that question posed by Community, but I’m not driving myself crazy trying to figure it out.  I ony bring it up because when it comes to this film I don’t really think there is much more to talk about beyond Cage.  It’s a good enough movie and everybody does their job well but as it goes with movies about con men the story is generally the same.  If you have seen one you have seen them all because there isn’t usually anything fresh brought to the table.  You might see some cool new cons but at the end of the film our characters have betrayed one another and the big shocker is not shocking at all.  Despite that I love this film because I think it is one of the films that will make you lean toward “Good” when trying to tackle that unsolvable Nicholas Cage question.  I think Sam Rockwell is exceptional in it and expected so much more from him after this.  It has sadly been quite disappointing to see his career never take off quite like I imagined it would ten years ago.  In this movie he is smooth and cunning as the protegé that has much more going on than he lets on.

I specifically thought Alison Lohman was incredible in this movie and like Rockwell I don’t know why it didn’t lead to greater things for her.  Rockwell however has still found marginal success here and there while Lohman has fallen off the map completely, not acting at all since 2009.  I read that she was twenty-two when she played this part and got the role by showing up to her audition dressed like a fourteen year old.  Apparently Ridley Scott was surprised when he found out how old she actually was and obviously she made an impression with her audition.  She had incredible chemistry with Cage and brought a lot to the film.  I also relate to it more now maybe because I have daughters myself. The father-daughter aspect of the film really gets to me and makes the movie more significant to me personally.  Regardless how it transitions into my fondness for Alison Lohman as an actress I still think it is unfortunate she isn’t out there making movies anymore.  I think this film proves she has plenty of talent and hopefully one day she will be able to showcase those skills again.

Ridley Scott is a director you can have faith in.  When he makes a movie you know it’s going to be made right and every once in a while one of them will absolutely blow you away.  No director is without his busts and Scott is not immune.  He has his fair share of films that weren’t successful but I think his successes far outweigh them.  I have always considered him the better of the two Scott brothers.  While I wasn’t specifically a fan of his younger brother I was still sad at the news of his passing a couple of years ago.  He was a good filmmaker and it was an unfortunate loss.  In this film Ridley Scott did a great job.  He specifically pushed for the ending to correlate with the book in which Cage’s character loses everything.  Producers didn’t want the “hero” of the film to end up like that and initially the script called for a different ending.  I think Scott made the right call and compensated the producers with a final scene in which we see Cage has moved on and into better things.  I like that ending better because his character didn’t deserve to win. As viewers we need to keep in mind that while we are enjoying watching this character he is still a seriously awful guy.  Con men are piranhas that prey on the weak and feeble.  There is nothing noble about them and every one of them out there deserves to lose everything and then be caught.

I don’t consider this film to be exceptional but it is entertaining and I enjoy it.  Little else matters right? I may not be willing to tackle the unsolvable question about Cage but I will be the first to point out where he is “Good” as opposed to “Bad.” At the end of the day I am just more interested in appreciating what he is good at and happy to ignore what he is bad at.  So maybe he takes an easy paycheck and makes a bad movie far too often.  The man is in the game to make money and he isn’t getting any younger.  Cage is great in this movie and I for one am happy just to appreciate his compelling and considerate performances.  This is a cool movie and I think it is more than worth your time to see.


This is one of my favorite movies in our collection. I remember the first time that I saw this and thinking how great Nicholas Cage was in this movie. I found him to be incredibly believable in this role. I was drawn in and interested from the very beginning and I really like how the whole movie played out even in the end. This is one of those movies that not a lot of people have seen or even know about really, but it is a really interesting flick.


There is absolutely nothing exciting to me about this poster. I feel like someone used a few photoshop filters and effects and viola! you have…this. It includes the main players of the movie, which is good, but I really have no allusion to what this movie is about. It doesn’t even give you a reason to want to see the movie. The typography of the title is killing me. I really dislike it. I just overall really just don’t like this poster at all. I don’t think it does this film justice. I think a better solution to this poster would be to see Nicholas Cage smoking in his superbly clean house maybe beside the dog which shows some cash and the gun hanging out. See, now I am interested. I think this design is lazy.

NEXT MOVIE: The Matrix (1999)


Year: 2001
Directed By: David Mamet
Written By: David Mamet


This is a movie of great one liners with clever and witty dialogue all throughout the movie. It’s a movie that will keep you guessing with many twists and turns. Its cast is made up of mainly older actors who prove that they still had plenty to offer. I think the most important thing about this movie is that it is cool; its coolness factor makes it significant if nothing else does.

This was written and directed by David Mamet who has been involved with some really great TV shows.  Specifically The Unit and one of my all-time favorite shows The ShieldI always think films that are written and directed by the same person have a special quality to them and that is there in this one.  Mamet wrote a really interesting story and he found some quality people to bring it to life.  I am a big fan of Gene Hackman and I think with this movie he proved that in 2001 he still had it.  As it is put in the movie “he’s so cool that when he goes to sleep the sheep count him.” This wasn’t the only great performance Hackman turned in at the plus 70 age range, but it is one of the last films he made.  Hackman was a great actor and I really miss seeing him in movies.  I have never been a big fan of Delroy Lindo but he isn’t a bad actor and does well in this movie. I think Danny Devito is great as the dangerous fence.  I am not a fan of what he has done on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia so I like a movie like this one that reminds me what he is capable of. I am a fan of It’s Always Sunny, but not the part that DeVito plays as Frank.  Frank has progressively gotten weirder and grosser to the point that his character as a whole only brings the show down now.

In the supporting roles of this film I really like Sam Rockwell.  I have always been a fan of his and I was really looking forward to what else he had to offer around the time this movie came out.  I don’t know why but for whatever reason his career seemed to move in reverse as the 2000’s progressed.  I am not really that familiar with Rebecca Pidgeon beyond this movie but I don’t know that I have to be.  She is a real badass as Hackman’s girlfriend/wife/whatever and the one that really keeps you guessing the whole time.  I don’t really like how her character panned out but I thought she was sexy in the role and fit well with the cast.

This is a movie that I found impressive the first time I saw it and I still enjoy it.  It doesn’t garner enough of my enthusiasm now having just reviewed a different but similar film in Heat.  Heat is an entirely different film altogether but they are both about criminals pulling heists so the similarity is there.  I think this movie has too much that just works out too perfectly for the characters involved but that is the main flaw.  There is also some poor audio with background music playing over dialogue but I think that is simply the work from a less seasoned director in Mamet.  I do think Mamet did a good job otherwise though and he wrote a great story.  This is a cool movie and I think it is worth your time if you have an opportunity to see it.


I actually really like this movie. It’s a little long, but it’s worth the time. I am a big fan of Gene Hackman, so I could watch it for that reason alone.

I really like the design for this movie. It is set up in a grid-like structure that was pretty popular around the time that it came out. I also like the use of typography in the top right corner. The last names have hierarchy over the first names of the big names of the movie. (haha) The only thing I find really inconsistent with it is that Hackman’s face looks posed and purposeful, while the other faces are scenes from the movie. I feel like they should have either gone with all faces, or all scenes. Other than that, I like this one.

NEXT MOVIE: Hellboy (2004)

Galaxy Quest

Year: 1999
Directed By: Dean Parisot
Written By: David Howard and Robert Gordon


When I was working at Action Video twelve years ago this was one of the family friendly movies I played frequently in the store.  I thought the movie was funny and it provided me many hours of both background noise and entertainment during the work hours when I was sixteen.  I have always loved this movie and still find it funny when watching it now. The cast is made up of great actors who in some cases are so surprisingly funny.  I’m also married to a big time Star Trek fan so I especially like a movie like this that is more or less a parody of that series.

I grew up watching Home Improvement so I have always been a Tim Allen fan and specifically like him in this movie. He is really natural in this leadership role and does a great job heading this fantastic ensemble.  Sigourney Weaver is great in this movie, she can be so funny and so attractive sometimes.  She has such a funny role as the hot woman from the show who didn’t actually do anything but speak to the voice activated computer. What surprises me is how funny she actually is though, I usually associate her with more serious roles so it was a pleasant surprise. Alan Rickman is awesome, I have always liked him in anything he was part of and this is no different.  Rickman is hilarious in the role of the Spock-like Dr. Lazarus. I like seeing the diversity from him as an actor when he can be so funny with a role like this.  I think two of the best roles in the movie go to Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell.  Shalhoub is just so casual and nonchalant no matter what is going on in the movie and it’s really funny.  My favorite scene is when everyone is freaking out while they are trying to land on the alien planet but Shalhoub is just sitting there with a goofy smile on his face eating candy.  Sam Rockwell playing the part of the no name guy from the show that gets killed on landing parties is great.  When he realizes that he is the character that gets killed on the alien planet and starts freaking out it’s so funny.  There is one scene where he looks at everybody and demands to know if anyone there knows his last name, and nobody can answer.  These characters are not only all funny individually but they had great on screen chemistry that made the movie work really well.  Enrico Colantoni plays one of the main aliens and he is very funny in his role as well.  There is also a much younger Justin Long in this film playing the part of a big fan that struggles to get the attention of his idol Captain Nesmith.

This is a fun and funny movie that I really have always enjoyed.  Not only is this one that I enjoy myself but I look forward to watching it with my kids one day as it is a film you can watch with your children and still enjoy.  The humor in this movie can resonate with both fans of Star Trek as well as the people out there who never saw the show.  This movie didn’t make any serious waves when it came out and it didn’t win any awards but I think it is worth your time.  For a fun and simple movie that you can just sit back and enjoy this is one you need to check out.


I don’t care who you are, this movie is funny. I guess technically, if you have never seen Star Trek, then maybe you won’t get all of the humor, but nevertheless this movie is funny. Ryan introduced me to this movie before he made (yes, MADE) me wach all of the Star Trek movies. I didn’t really understand all of the humor at the time, but I really like Tim Allen and you can never go wrong putting Sigourney Weaver in anything sci-fi, spoof or not.

Is this movie a little bit cheezy? You bet it is. Is it still worth the time? Absolutely. What are you waiting for?

NEXT MOVIE: The Game (1997)