Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

“If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”
– Tony Stark

SYNOPSIS: Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City. – via IMDB

Okay, so I finally got to this. I was not super amped to hear there was going to be yet another Spider-Man, because seriously, how many different ones? So I didn’t rush to the cinema for this and didn’t lap up all the news, except that a lot of people said it was good and that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man of all time. Well, uhm, no, actually. The movie is generic as all hell, and while Holland is good, Garfield still remains the Peter Parker/Spider-Man king to me. But we will get there.

I found this to be… so generic and forgettable and bland. Sorry, but I did, and I know this opinion probably won’t make me super popular among the “Marvel is King” crowd, but yeah. Okay, I know we didn’t get yet another origin story, and I am down with that and all, but I really don’t see the point of another Spider-Man movie just yet. Also, this movie is Tony Stark/Iron Man heavy, and instead of being a drawback (as it sometimes can, sometimes we just want to see the new movie), it actually helped a lot in this one, gave me something to look forward to. Tony and Pepper were what kept me watching, and I was thrilled to finally catch a glimpse of Pepper lately, it’s been too long.

Back to the movie… generic. The score wasn’t amazing, the movie was standard, it was overly long for what it was, it was annoying, Ned grated on me, too, and yeah, I don’t know, it was just totally unnecessary, in my opinion. I also didn’t like the new suit essentially being a Spider-Man one with the same inside engine type thing as the Iron Man suit and (seriously, Karen????) and so super tech heavy?! I didn’t really have fun with this, either. Most times you can at least have some mindless fun, but this just felt forced.

I don’t really have much to say about this except that it was passable. Yes, put together well and all that, it still doesn’t make it a good movie, and still a totally pointless affair for me. And no, I do not think Hollander is the best ever Spider-Man, but he is good.

January Blind Spot Review: Swingers (1996)

swingers posters

“Everybody steals from everybody, that’s Hollywood.”
– Trent

SYNOPSIS: Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene. – via IMDB

swingers so money

GRADE 7Alrighty, so I can finally cross this off of my to watch list, and goodness knows it has been on there forever because I like both Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. I found this to be entertaining but not great, though it did have places where it slumped a bit, which was disappointing. I found the antics of these guys to be so crazy, but on the other hand, I could understand it. These guys have uprooted their lives to make it big in show business, but it is not as easy as it would seem. They have settled into a rhythm of “fake it until you make it” and have built up night life and partying for themselves to sort of live their dream. These guys are at that age where pretty  much every human being finds themselves in life – wondering what you are doing and where you are going, both in life as well as your career. The performances were good, and watching these guys trying to figure things out with each other was pretty good. Just the way some things were said made me laugh quite a bit, and money has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Mike annoyed me somewhat by being so exceptionally hung up on his ex – he was so whiny. I sort of got what his friends were going through, being irritated and exasperated about that situation constantly coming up. It made him someone I just wanted to slap, and watching him grow and change was not always a gratifying experience. Until the last third, that is. Then it was great to see the changes in him, and how the relationships shift between him, his ex, his friends. The humour, while good, it a little stiff in places, but that might have to do with how the times have changed. Overall, I found the film to be decent, and I am happy to say that I have watched it now when I get asked (trust Murphy, it won’t be frequently anymore now that I can say I have).

Rapid Review: Chef (2014)

chef poster

“I may not do everything great in my life, but I’m good at this. I manage to touch people’s lives with what I do and I want to share this with you.”
– Carl Casper

SYNOPSIS: Carl Casper is an acclaimed chef with a family life that seems as decaying as his artistic freedom. Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned his cooking of food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts. Now with his career ruined, Carl’s ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms. Now with his young son, Percy, and old colleague, Martin, helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion. With Percy’s tech savvy and Martin’s enthusiasm, Carl finds that he is creating a traveling sensation on the way home. In doing so, Carl discovers he is serving up more than simply food, but also a deeper connection with his life and his family that is truly delicious in its own way. – via IMDB

chef food

GRADE 8This is something I have been waiting a while to look into (sounds like so many of the movies I have been watching recently), mainly because I really enjoy Jon Favreau’s work. Plus a food flick? I was not sure  how this was going to work, but it came back with solid reviews, and let me tell you, with good reason. I think Favreau is actually a pretty damn good actor, and his skills were out on display here. I thought he was a fantastic chef, and his character made me laugh and exasperated the hell out of me because he was relatively miserable (by his own choice), and really did not focus on his son.

Granted, there is nothing revolutionary about this story whatsoever, but Favreau pulls it off, making it sweet, heartwarming and funny. The performances all round were so good. Scarlett Johansson again managed to not work on my last nerve (she is really going back to where I used to like her), John Leguizamo delivers such a likable character that gave me plenty of laughs, the friendship between him and Carl really was something to check out, Emjay Anthony was adorable as Carl Casper’s son, Robert Downey Jr had a great little cameo and Dustin Hoffman really was not a very nice guy – though I loved his Stones quote, of course.

chef dancing

One thing Chef did super successfully was the social networking integration (specifically Twitter in this case). Usually that is something that is never pulled off properly in movies and instead adds to serious annoyance levels, but in the case of this it was done properly, adding to the story and not taking away from it. It was a wonderful journey to undertake with Favreau and his portrayal of Carl Casper, moving from depression to losing everything to working to get his life centred again, repairing his life, so to speak.

I would highly advise, however, that you eat something prior to viewing or have a magnificent mean/sandwich/whatever when you are watching it because just watching that food the whole way through really got me hungry. Serious food porn going on here.I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the direction, the score and camerawork for this. Again, while predictable in places and nothing we have never seen before, Chef carries itself well, and is definitely something to see! 

Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 poster

“Ladies, children, sheep… Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing.”
– The Mandarin

I am back… at work, that is. I really needed the time off. Boy, was it worth it. I got to watch some amazing and some (really) not so amazing films, some series, I read, I studied (truly… hem hem), watched Iron Man 3 and I got showered with tons of awesome gifts. More films for my personal collection, books that I have been eyeing for a long time among other things, as well as a lifetime supply of candy (I lie… it might last until the end of the week). But back to the issues at hand. Iron Man 3

Billionaire playboy and engineering genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is still battling with his emotions from what happened with the Avengers in New York. His girlfriend, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is doing her best to run Stark Industries as well as keep Tony satisfied, but there seems to be a shift in their relationship. Restless, anxious and sleep deprived, Tony starts tinkering on a new project – armour that will call to his body from his mind, as well as work and act without his physically needing to be inside of it. The Mark 42 armour seems to be working… shiftily. He is obsessively building more Iron Man suits. Tony has finally realized he is not untouchable, and wants to keep the most important person in his life safe at any and all costs. Pepper meets with an old contact from Tony’s past, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who offers Stark Industries to invest in his think tank idea Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Pepper politely declines.

Iron Man 3 Pearce and Paltrow
“The whole world’s gonna be watching.” – Aldrich Killian

A new terrorist has taken the reigns and he goes by the name of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). He is so undercover and unknown and untraceable, the world is sure that they have met Iron Man’s match, though his best friend, Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle) tells him to stay out of it, being military business and all, Tony is drawn into the fight when another close friend of his, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is caught in a bomb blast – a terrorist attack. Happy was very on edge with Aldrich Killian and the company that he kept, and investigated a little bit more by accident. Tony publicly announces to the press that he is on a revenge mission for the Mandarin, and gives his home address.

Chilling with the prodigal

As much as Tony tries to protect Pepper, his arrogance and anger brings down a world of suffering, and he is forced to run for cover when his home is bombed and demolished and he is presumed dead. Hiding out in Tennessee with a young  boy named Harley Keener (Ty Simkins), Tony starts to fix up his suit as well as prepare to return to Pepper, who has been kidnapped by the Mandarin’s people. Tony discovers that the bomb blasts that have been popping up all over the country due to the Mandarin are caused by soldiers that were a part of the Extremis program, a tissue regenerative program for the human body with strength effects and more, headed up by his old flame Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). The Mandarin group wants Tony to fix the kinks in the Extremis program, and soon.

Iron Patriot

When the Iron Patriot armour is stolen from Rhodey, Tony and Rhodey need to get together to recover the armour, and stop the Mandarin group from continued terror attacks, while simultaneously saving both Pepper and the United States president. Will the team be able to do it, and will Tony be able to settle down and be far less anxious in life, continuing smoothly with Pepper? Will they be able to save the president and the love of Tony’s life, while stopping the Mandarin and the crazy attacks that he exacts with calculated brutality, not stopped or challenged at any turn?

“Things are different now, I have to protect the one thing that I can’t live without. That’s you.” – Tony Stark to Pepper

I reckon Iron Man 3  earns a 6.5/10. I mean I walked in with the knowledge that this would be the closer, and I was very excited to see what would come, and after all the reviews and the anticipation, I was entertained to a degree, but not like I thought I would be.  Iron Man 3 was just vastly different from its predecessors. You can see a distinct change in the direction (missed Jon Favreau). The cinematography was good, the effects were solid, but I felt that the story needed to be tightened up a bit more – especially the whole villain plot. Read around and all and the general consensus seems to be that they jumped into the Extremis plot way too quickly, that is why is seems holey at times. Robert Downey Jr. was great, naturally, and Gwyneth was definitely Pepper, but things were a bit… different with them for this one, which is what the film was going for, I am sure. I really didn’t like how closely this was linked to The Avengers (we all know I am such a fan). Once again, there was some pretty good humour in the film, and Tony and Rhodey together was hilarious, I would expect nothing less from their dynamic, but there was a lot of forced humour and even more that fell flat. There was this distinct feeling of something missing, though, and I am not one hundred percent sure what that was. And the Iron Patriot? Just let him be the War Machine! However, I was glad the patriotic armour was limited to Rhodey, I like the hot rod red and gold for Tony, that is just Iron Man. Also missed the music from the older movies, such as the ACDC, the Black Sabbath, that was really great for me, but removed for this one. Don Cheadle had a much bigger role this time, which was also pretty cool. Guy Pearce was definitely good in his role, he is a very good kooky person, and plays that misunderstood genius very convincingly, though he was criminally underused. Ben Kingsley came as a surprise. Not as an actor, as always he was great, but his character took me slightly aback, I think they completely crippled that story arc. Overall, not a bad watch, just really not in league with its predecessors, and a rather disappointing way to close down the trilogy.

Review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

iron man 2 poster

“I’ve successfully privatized world peace.”
– Tony Stark

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back, six months after announcing to the world that he is Iron Man. This announcement was not taken lightly, and as much popularity as Tony has gained, he has made enemies, and the American Government is getting slightly antsy by his unwillingness to turn over his Iron Man technology to the military. Lieutenant Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle) steps up to assist Tony, who has other plans.

Ivan Vanko
Nothing quite like whipping up a Grand Prix track

Tony has discovered that the mini arc reactor that he built to keep the shrapnel from the explosion in Afghanistan from reaching his heart is slowly but surely killing him. The palladium, to be precise. That which is keeping him alive will also cause his slow and excruciating death. Tony appoints Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) to be the new CEO of Stark Industries, which she finally accepts. Naturally, her position needs to be replaced, and Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johannson) steps up to the plate. Rhodey knows that Tony is dying, a fact that he is not willing to share with anyone, and soon he is off the rails, thinking like a dying man, and a selfish one at that. A Russian by the name of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) builds his own arc reactor to power his very own version of a suit… one with whips. He enters the States, not to kill Tony, though it surely would have been a bonus, but to prove that gods, too, bleed. He wishes to shake the faith of the nation.

Iron Man 2
“You’re out of control, okay?” – Pepper

Hammer Industries CEO, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), assists Vanko is escaping authorities after his capture in hopes that he can make a deal with him: perfect his useless Iron Man suits. The two come to an agreement, and Vanko begins work immediately, all the while everyone outside of Hammer’s immediate crew think that Vanko died in a bombing in his prison cell. Hammer hopes to present the new suits at the Stark Expo as soon as possible. Vanko, however, has plans for automated drones, not suits. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D steps in to tell Tony to get his act together and to do so, soon, and puts Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) on the case to keep an eye on him. Tony finds out that Natalie is actually Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. The Avengers Initiative is brought up again, but more so to prove to Tony that his father was a greater man then even Tony gave him credit for. Delving into the past, Tony discovers new things about his father, who gives him the technology to create a new element. This element will save Tony, and stop the poisoning of his body while simultaneously keeping the shrapnel from reaching his heart.

Iron Man 2 fight scene
They have the moves

Will Tony be able to hang onto the Iron Man technology without sharing it with anyone, including the military? Will Vanko build Hammer the suits he so sorely wants,  and what will Tony do with his new found health, step up to the podium as Iron Man successfully, get the girl and put a stop to the weak imitations of his suit that are rapidly gaining momentum?

A 7/10 for Iron Man 2. It was so damn entertaining. I laugh all the time at how Pepper can royally freak out at Tony, but he does not seem to mind (let’s chalk it up to the textbook narcissism, shall we?). But she doesn’t even do it lightly, either. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is absolutely brilliant, sweet and crazy all at once, and it is nice to see him have a larger role in this film. I was very sad to see Terrence Howard replaced as Rhodey, but Don Cheadle does a fine job. I really loved the way the whips looked in this movie, they were done so well. Was a pretty cool concept, I will grant that. I was particularly amused by the court opening in the beginning, and could not stop laughing at the Monaco Grand Prix track, the reactions were simply stunning. The humour was pretty sharp in this one again, and Gwenyth Paltrow is such a perfect fit for Pepper. The cast is really put together well, and I like the way you get a little inroads to War Machine. Pretty cool. Two down, one more to go as soon as it touches down here!