Posts Tagged ‘iron man

06
Jan
09

Ten Faves from ’08

I don’t know about you, but I was disappointed.

 

If the question is, “What did I expect from the films of 2008?” my answer would be, “A better film year than 2007.” Not to say that 2007 was bad; the tail-end of it made up for most of that year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of 2008.

 

“Indiana Jones 4” (aka “Indy Gets an X-File”) was ludicrous if not insulting. And speaking of “X-Files” the return of Mulder and Scully to the screen was warranted, but the story wasn’t. “Speed Racer” could’ve been more fun, “Prince Caspian” could’ve used more characterization and plot. “Untraceable” was among those movies that couldn’t have been saved, period.

 

However, it wasn’t all bad. “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” proved that superheroes can rule the day, if not the box office (although “Hellboy 2” was underrated). Pixar pixel pixies made mechanics emotional with “Wall*E.” Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t just make “Iron Man,” he made “Tropic Thunder” as Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method-actor who undergoes pigmentation-surgery to portray a black Sergeant in Vietnam. And “City of Ember” was the best and most-overlooked kids’ movie.

 

In alphabetical order, here are my Ten Faves from ’08.

 

bank_job1“The Bank Job” – I caught this one on DVD. After I finished watching it, I kicked myself. This movie was interesting, fun, and a great throwback to the Seventies.

 

 

 

 

city_of_ember“City of Ember” – Thoughtful, well-made post-apocalyptic kids’ movie. I was surprised.

 

 

 

 

 

dark_knight“The Dark Knight” – This movie is entirely on a different plain of filmmaking. Kudos to Christopher Nolan on doing such a great job and to Heath Ledger, who gave one of his best performances ever (and his last).

 

 

 

 

hellboy_two“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – Fun fantasy film from Guillermo del Toro. I really enjoyed this one. “Hellboy” is beginning to grow on me.

 

 

 

 

iron_man“Iron Man” – A great popcorn blockbuster movie to begin the summer with. Robert Downey Jr. was nothing less than perfectly casted. Jeff Bridges had fun being the bad guy.

 

 

 

 

leatherheads“Leatherheads” – Another overlooked movie. George Clooney spent years trying to bring this one to light. It’s funny, quirky, zany, screwball… and made football interesting.

 

 

 

 

son_of_rambow“Son of Rambow” – British indie about kids who learn to make film, not war. Great fun and a tribute to filmmaking (moreso than “Zack and Miri”).

 

 

 

 

transsiberian“Transsiberian” – Emily Mortimer steals this movie from Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley. A great follow-up to “Session 9” and “The Machinist,” also directed by Brad Anderson.

 

 

 

 

tropic_thunder“Tropic Thunder” – I initially thought this was shallow at first, but repeated viewings on DVD make this one even better.”I’m the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude!”

 

 

 

 

wall_e“Wall*E” – Wall*E is the story of the little robot that fell in love. Environmental and biological themes abound but don’t get too preachy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all, folks. See ya at the movies in 2009!

-Chas

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14
Aug
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part III

When we last left off, Big Willie-style Fourth o’ July was goin’ on, and “Hancock” had one of the largest opening weekends of the summer. Let’s see how other movies have fared…

 

The next weekend released one of the better movies of July: “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” What shocked me were the differing opinions between the critics and the audience on the weekends. The critics hated “Hancock,” but loved “Hellboy 2”; conversely, the public went and saw “Hancock” and didn’t turn out for “Hellboy 2” like I had expected. Another release for that weekend was Brendan Fraser in “Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D,” which I was told you really DID need 3-D glasses for.

 

Eddie Murphy’s comedy “Meet Dave” opened at $5.2 million.

 

“Mamma Mia!” had an impressive opening as it could have hoped: $27,751,240. Why? Because of its competition: “The Dark Knight.” “TDK” kicked “Iron Man” and “Indy 4”’s opening weekends, raking in $158 million. It has since set box office records the least of which was biggest weekend box office opening. Whether it was the fact that it was a sequel to “Batman Begins,” or Heath Ledger’s last movie, or simply people who enjoy the work of Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight” has held the number one spot at the box office for the last month.

 

Believe it or not, I really DID want to believe, but the new “X-Files” movie let me down. With an opening of $10 million for the weekend, it was beaten out by the Will Ferrell/ John C. Reilly comedy “Step Brothers.” Whether it was the plot of “X-Files,” the fact that it’s been years since the series has been on the air, or maybe there are that many more fans for Ferrell and company as opposed to “The X-Files.”

 

We got a third “Mummy” movie, which was a slight disappointment at the B.O., only taking in $40 million. Its competition, “Swing Vote,” had one of the lowest openings for the summer as well. Was it the reviews of “Mummy 3” that kept people away, or are we already done with the franchise?

 

Batman continued his grip on the number one spot and if any movie could thwart him, it was “Pineapple Express.” However, Judd Apatow and company couldn’t pull that off, but did take in $23 mil for the weekend. Their competition, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” brought in $10 mil.

 

Will anything break Batman’s stranglehold on the number one spot? This week we have the premiere of “Tropic Thunder.” If “Pineapple Express” couldn’t do it, this is the last chance.

 

Here are the rundown of the numbers for the summer:

 

Biggest Openings of the Summer:

 

“The Dark Knight”                    $158,411,483

“Indy 4”                                   $126,917,373

“Iron Man”                               $102,118,668

“Wall*E”                                  $63,087,526

“Hancock”                               $62,603,879

“”Kung Fu Panda”                    $60,239,130

“Sex and the City”                    $56,848,056

“The Incredible Hulk”               $55,414,050

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $55,034,805

“Wanted”                                 $50,927,085

 

 

And the Top Ten Cumulative for the Summer:

 

“The Dark Knight”                    $448,886,084

“Iron Man”                               $316,590,841

“Indy 4”                                   $314,819,219

“Hancock”                               $222,625,918

“Kung Fu Panda”                     $211,507,723

“Wall*E”                                  $211,332,152

“Sex and the City”                    $151,838,609

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $140,117,978

“The Incredible Hulk”               $133,932,430

“Wanted”                                 $132,802,780

08
Jul
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part II

Part I was a quizzical look at the Studios “search for more money.”

 

Welcome to Part II.

 

Have the Studios lost or gained for the summer of 2008? A lot of this is based on expectation. For example the new-kid-on-the-block Marvel Studios raked in money hand over fist with the release of “Iron Man.” In three days it took in $102 million; not bad.

 

Warner Bros. flooded money into “Speed Racer;” something to the tune of $250 million ($150 mil for the movie, $100 mil for the marketing). Unfortunately “Speed” lost gas quickly. It’s opening weekend it made $18.5 million and has so far accumulated $42.7 million. I don’t think you can blame it on the current fuel prices.

 

Disney packed a punch with its release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.” Opening at Number One with a take of $55 million, “Caspian” held pretty well against its competitors and stayed in the Top Ten for a good month+. So far it’s made $138 million.

 

“Dr. Jones” set the summer’s 3-day box office weekend total. While $126 million is a lotta moolah, the Studio was disappointed it didn’t rake in its “projection” of $150 million. While it had a bigger opening weekend than “Iron Man,” it currently trails Tony Stark and company cumulatively by $5 million.

 

“Sex and the City.” I was really floored that this movie didn’t do better than it did. Opening weekend it made $56 million, beating out “Indy” by $1 million (in its second weekend). I was expecting “SATC” to make at least $100 million; every woman in my office area was planning on seeing it. Maybe it would have made more money if it had gone to Cable and was on Pay-Per-View. HBO would’ve raked in the cash…

 

In a summer that has fuel prices skyrocketing and pools shutting down, what do you do with the kids? The answer: go see “Kung Fu Panda.” This is the “little movie that could.” Studios had no expectations whatsoever on this kids flick and were pleasantly surprised (or dismayed) that its weekend box office was $60 million. That was higher than the opening for “Made of Honor,” “What Happens in Vegas,” “Speed Racer,” “Prince Caspian,” and “Sex and the City.” “Panda” continues to martial the art of box office earning with $193 million.

 

“The Happening” was released against “The Incredible Hulk.” This is a prime example of either not having enough faith in a movie (releasing it against something you KNOW will make money) or having too much faith in a movie (releasing against a movie that you think you can top). Either way, “The Happening’s” box office wasn’t happening; it made $30.5 million (but that was better than “Speed Racer’s” opening) The “Hulk” smashed the abomination of “The Happening,” taking in $55 million. Its current take is $124 million.

 

Another TV show-to-movie, “Get Smart,” was a disappointment; $38 million the first weekend. While it has climbed up to $100 million, it’ll probably make its profit from DVD sales and going to Cable. Meanwhile, “The Love Guru,” has crawled under the carpet making less than “Made of Honor’s” first weekend with $13 million. Ouch.

 

A kids movie versus a graphic novel-based movie. I was thinking that “Wall*E” would’ve kicked the box office for $100 million, but I was off. Taking in $3 million more than the opening for “Panda,” at $63 million the Earth’s last remaining robot did pretty well. “Wanted,” directed by the guy who did “Night Watch,” and “Day Watch,” held its own, taking in nearly $51 million. Going up against a kids movie, that’s impressive.

 

Which leads me to our stopping point: the July 4th weekend. With fuel and food rising and rising in cost, an unstoppable war, unemployment increasing and a nation standing on the edge of Depression, what can you count on? A blockbuster Will Smith Fourth of July movie. That movie: “Hancock.” Critics panning this movie didn’t stop everyone from seeing it; $66 million in three days. I was disappointed in the fact that I saw a commercial claiming that “Hancock” made $107 million. That took 5 DAYS to do. “Iron Man” made $102 million in 3 days…

 

Watch for Part III, where we’ll look back at July and Part IV where we gage summer’s final results. Until then, here are your Top Ten Lists:

 

Top Ten 3-Day Weekend Openings for Summer 2008

 

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull              $126,917,373

2. Iron Man                                                                             $102,118,668

3. Wall*E                                                                                $63,087,526

4. Hancock                                                                              $62,603,879

5. Kung Fu Panda                                                                    $60,239,130

6. Sex and the City                                                                   $56,848,056

7. The Incredible Hulk                                                              $55,414,050

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian                              $55,034,805

9. Wanted                                                                                $50,927,085

10. Get Smart                                                                           $38,683,480

 

 

Top Ten Cumulative Box Office Totals for Summer 2008

 

1. Iron Man                                                                             $311,758,000

2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull              $306,428,521

3. Kung Fu Panda                                                                    $193,221,867

4. Sex and the City                                                                   $144,891,325

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian                              $138,780,000

6. Wall*E                                                                                 $127,196,028

7. The Incredible Hulk                                                              $124,841,395

8. Hancock                                                                              $103,877,446

9. Get Smart                                                                             $98,100,652

10. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan                                         $94,773,156

 

 

 

Will “The Dark Knight” strike a blow to “Iron Man?” Will “Hellboy 2” raise any hell? Is there any truth out there for “The X-Files?” And hey, how about “Tropic Thunder?”

 

Stay tuned for Predicting the Box Office III !

 

To be continued…

16
Jun
08

In Passing… Stan Winston (1946-2008)

 

 

Special effects master and makeup artist Stan Winston passed away last night at the age of 62. Winston’s start was doing gargoyle makeup for the 1972 TV movie, “Gargoyles.” From there he would do makeup for such movies as “The Wiz,” “The Thing, “Edward Scissorhands,” “Pearl Harbor,” “A.I.,” and “Constantine.” He’s more renown, however, at being the special effects guy for, “Aliens,” “Leviathan,” “The Relic,” “Predator,” “Constantine,” and the recent “Iron Man.”

 

Best wishes and deepest sympathies for the Winston family.

 

For more information, check out the L.A. Times article at:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2008/06/stan-winston-de.html

 

Stan Winston’s IMDB resume:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0935644/

 

Special thanks to Mike Sampson at JoBlo.com for his post on this.

06
May
08

Marvel at the Box Office

 

 

 

Can I get some points for double-entendre?

 

With the release of “Iron Man,” (the first film solely financed by Marvel) having grossed over $100 million in the first weekend, the question comes: what’s next? It seems that Marvel is planning on tying all of their movies together, with the coupe de grace being an “Avengers” movie. With this summer’s “Iron Man” containing Nick Fury (agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and “Hulk” containing a scene with Tony Stark, Marvel is weaving their characters/franchises much like the comic books.

 

So what else should we be expecting? Here’s the rundown of what’s on Marvel’s plate. Please acknowledge beforehand that no release date is final, and that not all of the productions may follow through:

 

         Punisher: War Zone. Ray Stevenson is the titular hero going up against Jigsaw (Dominic West). Directed by Lexi Alexander (“Hooligans”). Release date is December 5, 2008.

         X-Men Origins: Magneto. Self-explanatory. Directed by David S. Goyer (“The Invisible,” “Blade Trinity”). Set for release in 2009.

         Spider-Man 4. No details. Set for release in 2009.

         Silver Surfer. Directed by Alex Proyas (“The Crow,” “Dark City”). Set for release in 2009.

         X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Directed by Gavin Hood (“Rendition,” “Tsotsi”). Hugh Jackman is helping to produce. Characters to include: Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), Sabretooth (Live Schreiber), Beak (Dominic Monaghan), and Gambit (Taylor Kitsch). Release date is May 1, 2009.

         Luke Cage. Tyrese Gibson in the title role. Directed by John Singleton (“Four Brothers,” “2 Fast 2 Furious”). Set for release in 2009.

         Nick Fury. Samuel L. Jackson will play the titular character, which incidentally became based on him. Set for release in 2010.

         Iron Man 2. Downey said he would be back and Paltrow has signed on for 2 sequels. Aside from that, I pretty much expect just about everyone to return. No official word on what it’s about, but the release date is set for April 30, 2010.

         Thor. Based on the Norse god. It’s being directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust,” “Layer Cake”). Release date is June 4, 2010.

         Captain America. Although dead in the comics, Nick Cassavetes (“The Notebook,” “Alpha Dog”) is bringing him to life to exact some American justice. Set to be released on May 6, 2011.

         The Avengers. Nick Fury, Ant-Man, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man… will they all appear? Scheduled for release sometime in July 2011.

         Ant-Man. Dr. Hank Pym is a scientist who develops an instrument that can communicate and control insects. Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”) is set to direct. No given release date.

         Iron Fist. Ray Parks is the Martial Arts superhero. Directed by Steve Carr (“Next Friday,” “Daddy Day Care”). No release date given.

         The Hands of Shang-Chi. A young Kung-Fu master finds out that his dad is World Enemy #1. Directed by Woo-Ping Yuen.

 

What do you think? Which ones will you go see? Comment back!

 

Don’t forget to check out “Hulk” in theatres on June 13, 2008!

02
May
08

Movie Review: Iron Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

The popcorn superhero summer blockbuster you’ve been waiting for.

 

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges. Directed by Jon Favreau.

 

This movie doesn’t waste any time.

 

But let me get to the story: Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) was the son of Howard Stark, who blazed forth a career in weapons manufacturing, in the process creating Stark Enterprises. Tony grew up a math/science prodigy, eventually taking over the business at the age of 21. His partner was Obadiah Stane (Bridges) who ran the company between Howard’s death and Tony’s ascension. Tony grew up designing some of the top weapons systems in use.

 

“Hey, get to the part where he becomes Iron Man!” – some fanboy behind me.

 

Alright, alright. So we see Tony as he is now: an alcoholic, womanizing billionaire playboy who can’t go anywhere without having a fifth of scotch. After testing his new missile, Jericho, the military envoy he’s in is attacked and he’s taken hostage. For three months he designs a giant robot suit (instead of another Jericho missile) with parts from his own weapons. He escapes and is eventually rescued by his military friend Jim Rhodes (Howard).

 

“Dude, be Iron Man already!” –another fanboy.

 

Anyways… Stark comes back and wants to make the world a better place, citing the fact that his weapons are being used to murder innocent people. He is locked out by Stane, who has been double-dealing weapons under the table. With the help of Pepper Potts (Paltrow) he gets back on his feet and designs what is to become Iron Man. After a “test” run in a small Middle Eastern town, Iron Man is green for Go. Trouble is that Stane gets his plans on the “original’ Stark made, and creates Iron Monger. Inevitably, there is the face-off between the two.

 

“Oh! Yeah!” – someone is geeking out because Starks is adding the “custom colors.”

 

I honestly liked this movie. For starters, I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie until the 2/3-of the-way-through point, which is a good thing (especially for the superhero genre). Favreau did a great job in making Stark someone you should hate, but had sympathy for. I never read “Iron Man” growing up. If I was a lot younger, or had seen this movie when I was a kid, I would’ve been more inclined to read the comics.

 

I’m sorta at a loss here. I want to find something overly wrong with this film, but can’t. I hate to be surrounded by people and everybody praising that ONE thing; I like finding something that could’ve been done better. It could’ve been a little less popcorn-y, it could have strayed from the “superhero” formula, etc. But then, it wouldn’t be this film. In my opinion, this ranks up in Top Superhero Flicks list with “Superman,” “Batman Begins,” and “Spider-Man.”

 

Kudos to everyone involved. Great storytelling. The soundtrack really fit the movie. Also, congrats to Marvel for releasing this as their first SELF-FINANCED movie. Downey is great, Howard is good, Bridges is having fun playing the bad guy, and Paltrow makes me wish I was Chris Martin.

 

Time will tell as to how it will stack up with other superhero films, but it’s already farther than “Daredevil,” or Ang Lee’s “Hulk.”

 

My grade: A.

 

“Dude, if you are a fanboy, you’ll need to stay ‘til the end of the movie. Trust me.” –actual guy in theater. No joke.

 

Stay after the end credit credits whereupon you’ll see Tony Stark come home to find someone looking out his living room window. That man is Samuel L. Jackson, and he’s playing Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

29
Apr
08

May 2008 Movie Releases

 

 

 

 

“Iron Man” – Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark. Based on the comic book superhero. Opens May 1, 2008

 

“Made of Honor” – Patrick Dempsey’s best friend is Michelle Monaghan and upon returning from a business trip to Scotland, she’s engaged! And she wants Dempsey to be her maid of honor! But Dempsey is in love with her! Will I make it to the trash can in time before I puke? Opens May 2, 2008

 

“Son of Rambow” – British indie flick about a pre-teen kid in the 1980’s who is filming his own action movie, despite the fact that his stuntman/camera guy is of a different faith. And as usual, everyone wants to be in the movie. Opens May 5, 2008

 

“The Babysitters” – Katherine Waterston is a high school senior that picks up a few bucks by babysitting then goes for the gold with the children’s parent, John Leguizamo. She soon enters a spiral of hooking up her girlfriends with “upstanding” family men. Will there be an Unrated version of this? Opens May 9, 2008

 

“Redbelt” – Chiwetel Ejiofor is a martial arts instructor who saves the life of a Hollywood star and is propelled into a big time martial arts fight that he doesn’t want to do anything with. Was Van Damm-age asking for too much money? Directed by David Mamet. Opens August 21, 2008

“Speed Racer” – Here he comes… here comes Emile Hirsch . Yes, Emile Hirsch is Speed, Christina Ricci is Trixie, Matthew Fox is Racer X, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman are Speed’s parents… I’m gonna watch it for the visuals. Opens May 9, 2008

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” – It’s been 1 year for the kids, and about 1300 years for Narnia. Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund return (the actors playing them as well) to a different Narnia. Check out the trailer! Opening May 16, 2008

“What Happens in Vegas” – Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher wake up to find that they’re married to each other. Not based on a Britney Spears stunt… Opens May 16, 2008

 

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – I don’t care what it’s about; I’m camping out for tickets! Star Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Jim Broadbent. Opens May 22, 2008

 

“How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” – Three generations of Mexican women struggling with romance. Stars Elizabeth Pena and America Ferrera. Nothing witty here. Opens May 23, 2008

 

“War, Inc.” – John Cusack is a hitman hired by Dan Akyroyd to kill a Middle-Eastern oil minister. Think “modern ‘Grosse Pointe Blank.’” Also stars Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff. Opens May 23, 2008

 

“The Foot Fist Way” – A martial arts instructor catches his wife cheating and goes on a downward spiral until he finds redemption. Supposedly, this movie was left for Adam McKay and Will Ferrell to watch and they watched it 10 times in a row before buying it. Opening May 30, 2008

 

“Meet Dave” – Formerly “Starship Dave,” Eddie Murphy is a giant spaceship inhabited by miniature aliens, the commander of which is Eddie Murphy. Uh, yeah. Opening May 30, 2008

“Sex and the City” – If you know anything about the HBO show, you’re doing better than me. Opens May 30, 2008

“The Strangers” – Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are a couple who move into a new house, only to be told that they are going to die. Supposedly inspired by real events. And I thought MY neighborhood was bad… Opens May 30, 2008