Monday, 29 April 2013

Is he Iron or just Man?

Iron Man 3 Review
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Guy Pearce
Rebecca Hall
Sir Ben Kingsley

This will be a first for my reviews. There will be spoilers, that's right ladies and gentlemen....spoilers.
Why is there going to be spoilers? because this was a very special film, for a number of reasons. I will start with the most obvious and of course the one that has a lot of fans worried. Is this Robert Downey Jrs last rodeo? Could the 'Iron Avenger' go the way of 'Doctor Who' and 'James Bond' and get a face lift? There is a not so subtle message going through this film the whole way through," the end is coming". There is a sense of finality to this film and in my is not a completely welcome one, but this may just come from a love of this character and the level of respect Robert Downy Jr. has brought to the role.

It has been a couple of months now since 'The New York Event', Tony has kind of gone into "workaholic mode", why? Because if you died fighting aliens with a Norse God,a super soldier and a giant green goliath you might start thinking......I really need to get better, you know so I don't die again. Tony has now fully embraced his 'superhero' alter ego and completely done away with the party king he once was. This is both a good and bad thing, good, because this has now led to the birth of some his most interesting "children". Bad because his sleeping pattern is now...non-existent. 
Rough night.
Now across the world, is 'The Mandarin' a truly horrific man in the same vain of Osama Bin Ladin and to a lesser extent Bane, that's right, Bane. This man is a symbol of pure evil, his almost Shakespearean swath of destruction is horrifying all the world but especially America, since his attacks all seem to be directed toward the citizens of the U.S.A. Tony then decides that after a particularly personal attack that 'The Mandarin' is his to take down. Thus begins a somewhat bastardized combination of two celebrated stories of 'Iron Man'. 'Demon in the bottle' and 'Extremis'.

With Shane Black as director you know that you are in store for something special, something that will have its own unique signature. There is  lot more comedy than you expect and it is welcome but at times un-welcome, but more on that later. If anyone has seen 'Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang' you know what this guy can do with dialogue and Robert Downey Jr. The nods to the events of 'Avengers' are very welcome and treated with tender loving care. There is a character, 'Harley' played by Ty Simpkins that just gives Tony some of the best scenes that don't involve fire breathing Australians or an army of 'Iron Men'. The action is top notch, the kind you expect from the third outing of a character like 'Iron Man'. Everyone has grown into their character, so Tony, Pepper, Happy and Rhodey feel like returning friends. While Guy Pearce and Sir Ben Kingsley hold their own, especially as the film builds to its climatic, 'Battle of Evolution'. That final battle scene shows what the entirety of the 'Transformers' film franchise should have been, take note Michael.Then there is the after credit scene, pure gold, just pure gold.
It's known as the 'Heartbreaker'....Nice.
When writing a review about a film like this, especially a film I discussed with film buffs all over Dublin, I have to be very careful. I have to really look at everything, and so here is the bad, yes there is bad, 'Iron Man 3' is not indestructible. With so much, comedy, going on you feel that the gravity of the situation is sometimes lost, I am not saying that I didn't enjoy the comedy of the film but this is the third film, lets really show everyone why 'Marvel' is known as the 'House of Ideas'. The panic attacks that Tony had were far more comedic than I think they should have been, I have seen panic attacks and there is nothing funny about them. Tony died, lets really see the torture he's going through lets show the man behind the suit. It was good at the start but went a bit slapstick by the end. Also I was a little disappointed with 'The Mandarin', when all is said and done you wish you had never seen the man behind the curtain, this may just be the purist in me, which I never thought I was. One final note, Rebecca Hall. 'Maya Hansen' was not done well, her introduction was awful, "Tony I know we haven't seen each other in thirteen years and I know I am dropping by at a really odd time, but I need you to come with me".......Come on!!!

A lads night out.
Shane Black has done it, he has made a third superhero film that is the best of its trilogy. Many will compare 'Iron Man 3' to 'The Dark Knight Rises', if I had to choose I would choose 'Iron Man 3', what about you?

I hope that Robert returns, he is 'Iron Man' after all. I mean I get it, I can see where people get the idea that 'Iron Man' is done, but if I can say one thing. We only just saw the end of 'Mark I', I'm looking forward to 'Mark II'.

See you soon dude.

Friday, 26 April 2013

'Man of Steel' Campaign.

The Fortress of Geek Campaign!

This is it, hours, days of work that culminates with this "campaign" I have begun. I am hoping that a combination of my fandom, my artistic skill and The 'Dark Ones' own luck, that I will get an interview with Henry Cavill, star of 'Immortals', 'The Tudors' and the upcoming spectacular, 'Man of Steel'.

Now as you all know, I've already begun the campaign, with teaser posters, my own little article about why 'Superman' has been so important to me for so long and I've been helping with various other events that are boosting the presence of 'Superman' around the net.

I hope that you enjoy this campaign design I have gone for, please spread the word if you have been affected by this in anyway, good, bad, whatever I hope you get in contact. I would love to collaborate with any and all other K-fans out there, so here is the campaign I have designed. Hope you like.

I went with this design because I toyed with the idea of no one knowing who this being was.
Very U.F.O  like if you know what I mean.

This one is basically a go between, I enjoyed the sunburnt

This one wasn't anything major, just a kind of blurred motion .

This one is kind of my favourite. I went with the God motif. He cannot be viewed by mortal eyes, he will burn you.

And then there was technicolour. I love it and I hope you K-fans out there too.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Is it time for a change?

Ratchet and Clank's most dangerous adventure.
'Ratchet and Clank', two absolute gems of the 'Playstation' generation have tackled countless foes. Toppled empires and traveled through space and time to reunite, as any true friends do. They, along with 'Jak and Daxter' have given me unforgettable hours of nonsense and fun. Have they ever hit a bum note with any of their titles, in my opinion, no, like wine they've not aged but matured even though their humour might not be called that. Their villains are unforgettable, their adventures outrageous and their weaponry.....sublime.
With Ratchet and Clank up first, Jak and Dax will follow.
Then today, 23rd of April the gaming society and the world at large were given something, something that has never really happened before. A game series that will transition into our cinema screens, but with one major difference. The entire cast from the game series is returning with the same creative team.

The lads....Ratchet didn't always pick the best allies....I mean c'mon Nefarious.
This is a game changer on so many levels, not just because a successful game to film transition could really pave the way for other game films, such as 'Mass Effect', 'Uncharted' and 'Assassins Creed'. With actors like James Arnold Taylor and Nolan North, the pedigree of V/O talent has never been higher and this will allow for a film/game experience that could change the landscape of the multi-media world forever. God speed 'Ratchet and Clank'. If you pull this off who knows where we could be headed next.

My very own 'Man of Steel' Poster.

Here it is, my contribution to the Man himself.
I would like to show that there are fans all over the world and I am one of the biggest.
I hope this gets me noticed as this is part of a collection of pieces I will do for 'Man of Steel' that will hopefully culminate with an interview with Henry Cavill.
Pray for me, cheers :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

When a poppy blossomed in a lighthouse.

'From Up on Poppy Hill'.
This is a place where spiders go to retire and dreams bloom.
Recently I came into the knowledge that there was a film festival going on around Ireland. A 'Japanese film festival'. I was blown away by the pedigree of talent on show. There were films based on video games, and unlike western films like 'Doom' or....'Resident Evil', they were given the proper respect to the source material. From what I have seen of 'Ace Attorney' there is respect, humour and over the top action, much like the 'DS' game it is based upon. However I am not here to discuss 'Ace Attorney', though I do highly recommend it, I am here to talk about 'Up on Poppy Hill', another entry into the fantastic collection of 'Studio Ghibli'.

When I booked my tickets to see 'From Up On Poppy Hill' I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The experience at the 'Lighthouse Cinema', which until then I had never been to, was superb, the audience itself was filled with people discussing 'Bioshock' and 'Pokemon'. I was with my people and it was just fantastic. 

Today, as a celebration of seeing a 'Ghibli' film for the first time in the big screen I will review not only the film, but the whole experience. From the concession stand guy giving me his opinion on why the 'Lighthouse cinema' is superb to the manager of the cinema singing us the melody that represented the 1964 Olympic games that inspired this particular 'Ghibli' film.

The lads are a bunch of gossips.
As we all settled into our multi-coloured seats, I know, we were treated to a wonderful back-story by the manager of the 'Lighthouse Cinema'. He explained that 'From Up on Poppy Hill' was a film about nostalgia, about simpler times and a loss of innocence. This was due in part to the 64' Olympic games in Japan, but it was also due to the modernization of Japan and all its cities for the Olympic games. 1964 was the year where everything changed in Japan, the bullet train construction, the eyes of the world were upon Japan and they had to impress. It was out with the old and and in with the new, and what this film shows is that is not always for the best. It is here that we are introduced to Umi, a high school student who, with her family are living through this era of change and handling as well as possible. Through Umi's eyes we see how this generation are far more respectful of the artifacts of yesteryear, and this is where a most unconventional battle is waged, by the students of the 'Quartier Latin'.

Sarah Bolger, Irish born and raised is a fantastic actress, she brings such a warmth and tenderness to 'Umi'. Her journey through the film is superb, her heartache, her love, oozes from the screen. Anton Yelchin of 'Star Trek' fame is on top form as our other lead, 'Shun'. Charismatic, earnest and downright cool, he is the rebel with a cause that earns the ladies affections and the lads respect with his first "jaunt" on screen. Then there is the scenery, the picturesque view and setting that slowly gives way to "modernization" and you can see it in every scene where there is a cars engine discharging. It is a wonderful process that shows the passage of time and then there is the 'Quartier Latin', a structure that houses not only an eclectic group of misfits but also houses memories and that is what everyone is trying to preserve in this film, memories.
The scenery jumps out and grabs your imagination and doesn't let go.
Well I hate to do this, especially to a 'Ghibli' film, but there is a few problems. The main one that stuck out to me was the 'soap opera' style drama that plays out as the film progresses to it's end. The melodrama of the whole conflict did feel a bit forced and when it all plays out I hope that you'll also understand the problem. As an extension of this problem there is the level of communication that these characters possess, if they simply had sat down and talked their problems out a lot of the conflict in this film could have been averted.

As one of the few 'Ghibli' films that has grounded itself in the real world it was given an unenviable task, and it has excelled with flying colours. The simple fact, when a film can make cleaning a manor a highlight of an already impressive film you know you're on to something, special.
Smooth, simply smooth.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A Very Special Birthday.

Kal-El, Clark Kent, Superman.

He is a man of many names, of many identities. There is however one consistency about him, his dependence. You can have the dark brooding vigilante any time of the week, me, I will always go with Clark. His stories always intrigue me, whether he is outwitting  inter-dimensional imps to battling apocalyptic doomsday weapons. 

Clark Kent has always been a hero of mine, he is a God who chooses to live as a mortal. He could easily be an Olympian level athlete but he chooses for a simpler life. Some people say he became Clark Kent out of some sick joke. That 'Clark Kent' is his caricature of the human race, I don't see it that way. Yes "Clark" can be a fool but there is a wonderful sense of innocence and mercy to him. This is something that you would never see with any of the other superheroes. 'Clark/Superman' try to see the best in everyone, even in his rogues and he has some of the deadliest ones out their.

As a birthday wish to the 'Man of Steel', I am going to run down my five personal favourite moments in 'Superman' history that have personally touched me. I begin with number five.

5. When Clark met Bart.
In season 4 of the award winning 'Smallville', Clark began to notice that he wasn't alone in the world. There were other "people" out there, and when he met them they usually did not play nice. His first encounter was with a smart ass pick pocket named 'Bart Allen', someone who could pick pocket him, actually pick pocket Clark Kent. It was a revelation, it was hilarious, it was 'Impulse'. It was the beginning of a much larger universe for Clark, it was fantastic to see another 'DC' superhero translate into live action as well Bart had, and it wasn't the last we'd see of the scarlet speedster. 

4. The Suit makes the Man.
When the 'New 52' happened there were a lot of radical changes to the status quo of the 'DC' universe, the 'Justice League' no longer existed, so when 'Batman', and 'Green Lantern' headed to Metropolis to find 'The Superman', neither of them had any idea what they would find, and so Superman showed up blasting the two of them away and showcasing what can only be described as Kryptonian battle armour. Gone were the red trunks, which have been replaced by a sleek nano suit which reacts to Superman's DNA. How he came to this suit was as interesting as its design.

New duds, for a new 'Man of Steel'.
3. A 'Kryptonian' dog is a 'Kryptonian' man's best friend.
As I read 'Action Comics' over the past year I noticed something that really irked me. Where was 'Krypto' the super dog? We had teasing images of him on Krypton saving his family from 'Phantom Zone' criminals such as 'General Zod', since then nothing. Then a couple issues back Clark faced down a "Phantom" from the 'Phantom Zone' and he would have been trapped forever in that hell hole if it wasn't for the timely arrival of 'Krypto'. The hound once again put himself in harms way for his master and almost lost his life in the process. When all was said and done Krypto was safe and Clark finally had a living, breathing piece of home( 'Supergirl' doesn't count because lately she has been a bitch and don't even get me started on 'Superboy').

That's a good boy.
2. The Last Son and the Dark Knight.
This is one of the most defining moments of Superman's history, when he met his polar opposite, the vigilante that stalks the night of Metropolis' sister city, Gotham. When Superman met Batman, worlds collided and neither man was the same for it. There are many different iterations of when they met, my personal favourite would be the animated series. The episode 'World's Finest' is well written, with dialogue that pops and jaw-dropping action. It was exactly what a 'Superman/Batman' fan wanted out of a clash between these two titans.

You can't have the day without the night.
1. Dad
The saddest moment that impacted Clark and all his fans, was the moment that Johnathan Kent passed away. He left the world a legacy that will live on in comic history for a long time to come. His teachings on values and understanding made Clark Kent the man he is today, not only that but he has what can only be described as the greatest father/son relationship in most mediums. When he dies in 'Smallville' your heart will break along with Clark's, it doesn't matter how many times I see it, it always brings me to tears.

That is the reason why 'Superman' has survived for so long, because he has a heart, no disrespect to all the 'Walking Dead' comics or 'True Blood' novels but these are fads, fleeting moments in literature, they will never have what Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created 75 years ago, heart. 

There's no Justice for WB cartoon.

This is but a fraction of the diverse cast.
Almost a year ago a new WB cartoon series premiered on television. This amazing cartoon series showcased a vast and interesting cast of characters that any comic fan would love to see come to life on-screen. What television series am I talking about? 'Young Justice', a television series based in a newly introduced DC universe. Universe 16.

It had fantastic writing, real emotionally driven characters who you really cared about. They delved into the deep history of the DC universe. From A-Z they showcased characters that had never graced our screens before, characters like 'Aqualad', a hero who was without a doubt one of the most interesting and multi-layered characters of the series. We also got Connor Kent,'Superboy', a hero that has graced the DC multi-verse for decades and has been a fan favourite for a very long time. It was this care to detail and love of the source material that really showed in each and every episode.

That's right, 'Static Shock' is there as well 'Beast Boy' and 'Blue Beetle'.
From 'Robins' irreverent wordplay to 'Kid Flashs' constant back and forth with both his allies and enemies there was definite care given to the dialogue. Which in my opinion was highly appreciated. 'Young Justice' was a series that did not spoon feed us, there was loss that truly hit home. We wept as we lost characters that we had grown to love. This was a series that finally knew what we wanted out of a comic book series, and unlike 'Avengers; Earths Mightiest Heroes' the animation was outstanding.
Three generations of 'The Flash', you get that nowhere else and that  is why it has to come back.
The action sequences were well put together and the plot, though it moved at times at a snails pace, was always top notch. The villains were fantastic and they never went for the obvious ones, 'Joker' was in one episode and he was ridiculous and over the top which was exactly what we wanted. 'Lex Luthor' was a semi-recurring villain while we were given deep and meaningful back-story's to villains like 'Sports Master', that's right 'Sports Master' and you know what, they somehow made him a credible villain who felt like a genuine threat. If you can do that to him, I mean what can't you do?

However there comes a time when studios and networks make decisions. They make gut wrenching, idiotic decisions based on the sales of a toy line, not based on the audience or popularity of the series itself. Cartoon Network decided that 'Young Justice' had run its course, two seasons was long enough for them and also they needed a new 'Batman' series because obviously he hasn't had enough exposure in the media, I mean sure he has had eight feature films, countless animated series and animated films and many more on the way but hey what is one more? We need innovation and more and more iterations of 'Batman' is going in the wrong direction. We need this series to return to our screens, it had the perfect balance of humour and drama, you cared for every character that graced the screen and the included every 'Robin' bar Damian, that's right, Jason is in it, granted he is dead but come on that is one of the defining features of his story.

 I hope you have enjoyed my little rant and I also hope that you have a look at this series, and please don't watch 'Beware the Batman'. Seriously that''s what it is called, I know I say don't watch it but do what you want, for all we know it could be decent.
No Robin, and it is in CGI......

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Double Feature continued...
'G.I Joe Retaliation'

Here it is, the second part of  my 'Double Feature', hope you relaxed during the intermission, hope you refreshed your  drinks, said hi to your friends and then got yourself back here. My next review concerns Danny Boyles next film, 'Trance'. We  have all seen this  man's work, it has broken boundaries, re-defined genre stereotypes and it has astounded millions in one night. To say  I was excited for this film would be an understatement.

Directed by: Danny Boyle
Starring: James McAvoy
Rosario Dawson
Vincent Cassel

Smooth criminal.
Danny Boyle has always pushed his audiences perception of what can be done through the medium of film. With '28 Days Later' Danny re-defined the zombie genre, breathing new life into a dead  franchise and simultaneously giving Cillian Murphy  his big break. With films like 'The Beach' and 'Slumdog  Millionaire' he showed us the many facets of humanity. It's dizzying highs and it's destructive lows. He has shown us the sun in all its destructive wonder with 'Sunshine' and he has demonstrated the  absolute depravity of man in 'Trainspotting'. Where would he take  us next?  

Lads, what are we lookin' at?
Don't worry I wouldn't deprive you of  the surprise of what  happens in this depraved and stylish jaunt through a human being. James McAvoys, Simon, is a charming character who through a series of events finds himself embroiled with Frank, Vincent Cassel, and his group of art thieves, he has helped them steal a valuable painting and unfortunately he has forgotten where he hid said painting, enter Elizabeth, Rosario  Dawson, to help Simon find his way.

Right, lads something is wrong with this picture.
James McAvoy has once again surprised me. With roles in 'X-Men: First Class' and 'Wanted' I worried that Hollywood had got its claws into James McAvoy  and turned him into your run of the mill pretty boy with a gun. This film proved to  me that  James McAvoy is one of the best actors I have seen in a long time. Simon is a fantastically layered individual, full of complexities and emotion that he is a treat to watch. His personal journey throughout the film is wonderfully plotted out. Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel do not allow themselves to be completely overshadowed though, Elizabeth and Frank are very interesting characters, each with great scenes which allow their  quirks to  really shine through. Th pacing is very well done, the score is superbly dark and moody and the structure of each scene is fantastic. 

Even the greatest of films has flaws, and this one is no different. 
Danny Boyle has unfortunately fallen into  a trap that most directors of his kind fall into. This film, though fantastic, is not as original as you  would hope from a  Danny  Boyle film. He has allowed for some cliches  to creep into his work, and I can't lie at one point it  did feel like a soap opera, a fantastically acted one, but a soap  opera none the less. 
Rosario Dawson really surprised me, for two reasons.
The simple fact is, regardless of what  I tell you about  this film you  will see it. That is Danny Boyle for you.

Rosario Dawson momentarily freaked me out, you'll understand when you watch the film.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Double Feature.
'G.I Joe Retaliation'

A couple of days ago I had the idea that I would try  and watch two films and then pit them against each other. The films I chose were, 'G.I Joe Retaliation' and 'Trance'. Two  very different films, yet one is being cited as a huge crowd pleaser and the second, a dark horse, an unsure bet. I wanted to see what it would  be like to review two films, compare them on their  merits and then decide for myself which was the better. I know what you're thinking, "really, these two, there is no competition". That  is the point regardless of my opinion and in the end, my choice I want to give you guys a proper insight, free of spoilers, into these two films, giving you the knowledge to make a well informed decision, and as G.I Joe will tell you,"Knowing is half the battle". 

'G.I Joe Retaliation'.
Directed by: John M.Chu
Starring: Dwayne Johnson
Ray  Park 
Bruce Willis

I  am choosing this image for the  simple reason, it  is the best thing in my review.
Right so, 'G.I Joe', an interesting idea. A bunch of plot shielded "soldiers" who take on a fictional terrorist organization code named 'Cobra'. Its conception was formed through 'Hasbro', the toy company. That's right, the same company behind 'Transformers'. You are probably wondering why I am talking about a toy company in a film review and you would be right to wonder, the reason? This is not a film, this  is another excuse  to tell the world how awesome an "American" army is. I can't remember why I went to the first one but  I did, so to keep in continuity with that I decided I would go to the second film.

He's not Joseph Gordon Levitt anymore, one of the best decision Joseph ever made.
To explain the plot  I will  have to  spoil the first one a little bit, so if you  want to be surprised avoid reading this next bit. The president of  the United States is a 'Cobra' agent. There, done, the most complex point in the film and it was set up in a previous film. The plot follows the "Joe's", some time after the events of  the previous  film. 'Duke'(Chaning Tatum) is now  in charge of the team and he, 'Snake Eyes', played by  the fantastically deadly Ray  Park and 'Roadblock' played by Dwayne Johnson. Quickly the Joes world is turned topsy turvy when they are attacked mercilessly by an unknown force while simultaneously being condemned by  their  government. Thus begins a series of ridiculous events.

These characters have the most interesting journey and it takes  a backseat to , well you'll see.
Ray Park,Ray Park, Ray Park. Best actor  in this entire  film and best thing as well. He has the best lines in the film,  has the best scenes and he does all his  own stunts.His interaction with every other character is absolutely fantastic. Not every scene is his however, Byung-Hun Lee who  plays 'Storm Shadow' has an excellent introduction and then there is Adrianne Palicki and her red dress, superb.

Well, here we are but you knew that we  would get here and that we would be here for awhile, so lets dive in. The sickeningly sweet interaction between Duke and Roadblock is so  
bad that you know what is coming for one of these characters as the movie trundles along.  The dialogue is terrible and will have you laughing, not in the good way, while the acting can be ridiculously over the top and nothing ever  really feels genuine. I will give you one tip that I learned from this movie and that is when your army is decimated and your on the run from government, head to "the hood" because they will always help. This alternate world has really been messed, first off France lost the eiffel tower and in this movie Europe lost England. Seriously, it happens and then fifteen minutes later when the film ends it seems to be completely  forgotten about. Between a very weird,extended cameo from Bruce Willis to a villain slo-mo walk away that takes up the final ten minutes of  the  film. I am not kidding, clock the walk away, all he is doing is slowly walking away from the action to a helicopter, that has a huge design flaw.

There is nothing to  say.
Let me start with saying, bad films can be fun, the evidence is there in film like 'Evil Dead 2' and 'Black Dynamite'. Films that know that their plots are outlandish and their characters ridiculous but  because they  don't take themselves seriously they hit on a wonderful chord that moviegoers adore.This is not one of those films.

England and France are so messed up now.