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Iron Man 2

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As an exercise, instead of writing my own review from scratch, I will read my friend Ben’s review and respond to it:

I feel that Ben was unduly harsh on this trifle. Iron Man set the bar high and showed how “Batman” did not need to be so sad about not having his parents around. In fact, I think where this film slips up is in trying to show the professional John Slattery as a well-meaning father who sent a message to his dying son in the future…even though he knew not that his son would be dying. Possible? Yes. Plausible? No. With that said, the best moments come from the implausible ones here, contrary to the best parts in the other Marvel films.

I agree that Gary Shandling was good in the end, but casting him just made me think, oh that’s Gary Shandling, not a US senator. Moving onto the other “good” actors, I was annoyed at how Marvel treated Terrence Howard, whose Rhodey at least seemed to have some connection with Tony Stark, in a way that Don Cheadle’s did not.* Sam Rockwell has been hailed as a good actor, but I find him forgettable, as was the case here. Mickey Rourke is a good actor, but his character seems to lack substance.** While I think that his plan was truly to show the Iron Man was mortal and thus expose him to attacks from all sides, that all changed when Justin Hammer–Sam Rockwell–springs him from prison. He is a simple, drunken, bird loving Russian. But the film just plowed along checking to see if its tenuous threads remained tied together or not.

I would also like to comment on the marketing within the film, which Ben, as a tool for the capitalists would, avoided the subject completely! This movie was made to introduce the Black Widow–Scarlet Johansson–and to make money. With the special effects and stars they succeeded. Justin Hammer says, “I wanna make Iron Man look like an antique,” and the suit in this one makes the original movie look like joke. As I have said for years, I want to see Neo fight Agent Smith, not CGI Neo fight. That was often the case in the original Iron Man. But back to the money, I was surprised that I did not see as many Acuras, since SHIELD rolls up everywhere in those. And in that Russian hovel, the Vankos–Mickey Rourke & Yevgeni Lazarev–drank Русский стандарт (Russian Standard)! That is finally available in the US, but it is the FINEST RUSSIAN VODKA. This made as much sense as Tony Stark craving Burger King when he got back from Afghanistan, as if he lived in a Los Angeles bereft of In-N-Out Burgers. Despite all the commercialism, I still enjoyed watching this and it made me want to re-watch The Avengers.

**½

* For a great Don Cheadle performance, watch The Guard.
** For a terrible Mickey Rourke performance, watch The Expendables. He was so bad in it, they did not invite him back for the sequel. If only they would have done the same to Sly Stallone.

Prometheus

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****

A king has his reign, and then he dies. It’s inevitable.

This film takes that premise and applies it everywhere. To top scientists, to businessmen, to humanity and to the gods themselves. And Ridley Scott spits in the face of that line. Was Ridley Scott the king of Science Fiction? Alien then Blade Runner are considered two  greats. He followed those up with Legend and Black Rain. Legend starred Tom Cruise. Yeah, Ridley Scott and Tom Cruise made a movie and you have never heard of it. I am sure it’s wonderful… But that is not death. Death is Black Rain starring Michael Douglas, which is like an unfunny  Collision Course. Sure he resurrected himself with Gladiator, but his run in sci-fi was done. And then he awoke from his slumber, like a crew member of Prometheus or of the Nostromo before/after that. And we all hoped he would wake up a Ripley and not some punk who gets killed at the first sign of trouble.

The manifestation of that desire for another Ripley–Sigourney Weaver–had two options to play itself out, based on the trailer. There was Noomi Rapace, whose Dr. Elizabeth Shaw appears to be somewhat gentle, and there was Charlize Theron, whose Meredith Vickers has an icy and almost military beauty. It turns out that they are both great and one of them turns out to have a little Ripley in her, if you know what I mean. Do not read too much into that, neither gives birth to Ripley…or at least I do not think so.

That lack of clarity, even at the end of the film, reminds me of the awful The Matrix ad campaign. “One cannot be told what the Matrix is,” was a lie. On the other hand, if you have seen the trailers for Prometheus you have seen too much of the plot. So F-U Fox studios for being a bunch of stupid-o’s and giving away that much. The film is still worth watching and there are surprises and answers aplenty once the Prometheus arrives at its destination. There just are not enough answers.

I loved the cast, I loved the pace, I loved the scares, I loved seeing this in 3D on the big screen, and I hope that Michael Fassbender gets the recognition he deserves for his role as David. He is like a taller (Sir) Ian Holm, if you know what I mean! But seriously, he plays a robot and this is a prequel to Alien. That is one answer that I can give you, I just wish I had more for myself.

The Dictator

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***

You’re HIV-Aladeen.

The reason I wanted to watch this movie was because Jason Mantzoukas went on a podcast I listen to and regaled me with stories of getting the job and adlibbing with Sasha Baron Cohen. It was that relationship that tied the movie together and elicited the biggest laughs.

The podcast was Sklarbro Country and Mantzoukas is Rafi on The League and hilarious therein. This also looked like it could be the best film of the talented, but wasted on crappy comedies, career of Anna Faris. So why not? Even Brüno was pretty funny so I went in hoping for Admiral General Aladeen to be Borat, if Borat had actual power.

This romantic, yet at times disgusting, comedy has some excellent misdirections, for which the director, Larry Charles, probably deserves credit. The best thing about this movie is how it did not waste the amazing collection of credited, and uncredited, talent.

Air Force One

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Get off my plane!

Is there really any other choice when it comes to quotations from AF1? In lieu of reviewing this patriotic and ra-ra inducing Harrison Ford vehicle, I will tell the story of the first time I saw this movie. I saw this in high school with my friends and I got my first experience with urban movie watching. When the excellent Gary Oldman was about to die at the hands of President James Marshall, just after he said his immortal words a large Black woman said, “Oh! You know he dead!” My friend Ted still says it to this day. And if you were there, you might say it too. I know I do. ***