Posts Tagged ‘Robert Downey Jr.’

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Oktober 15th, 2010


Throughout this partly autobiographical film, writer-director-lead character Dito Montiel tries very hard to push the boundaries of cinema – with often disastrous results. Through the story of how he abandoned everyone at his Brooklyn home when going to Los Angeles and how he returned when his father was very sick, he tries to present a message that is completely lost in the over-ambitious, often pretentious drivel the film largely resorts to. There is a good story somewhere and a few scenes hint at what could have been possibly in that story about growing up in hard times, but the film is much too clever for its own good to ever reach the heights it aspires too.

Random Observations:

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints at the IMDb

The film is based on the book Montiel wrote about his life, where apparently the title makes some kind of sense. Here, it is just more pretentious drivel.

The cast is headlined by the solid Robert Downey Jr. and includes a for once middling Shia LaBeouf. Considering that he is normally the worst actor of his generation, that is quite an accomplishment.

Considering that Montiel first made his name (and a lot of money) through music, it probably would have been a good idea to explore that theme somewhat more than in a few throwaway lines.

Iron Man 2 – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, Mai 11th, 2010


After the success of the first Iron Man film, a sequel was quickly produced, once more attempting to create a mixture of light-hearted, comedic entertainment and a gritty action film, which means that the film is on the middle ground and doesn’t really work as either. This time around Robert Downey Jr., who plays the narcissistic Tony Stark with his usual charm, thus easily being the best thing in the film, sadly has to surrender some screen time to villain Mickey Rourke and a large big-name supporting cast. Through all this, he develops a self-destructive streak that simply doesn’t fit with the tone of the film, thus creating a film that never manages to truly pull the viewer in. The film is often funny and the special effects sequences (that which used to be action set pieces before everything became CGI) are solid, so watching the film is not a waste of time, but it’s also hardly more.

Random Observations:

Iron Man 2 at the IMDb

Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard as Iron Man’s sidekick, supposedly over a contract (i.e. money) disagreement.

Some other illustrious cast names: Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson as well as director Jon Favreau.

Marvel is really pushing that whole “one gigantic franchise” thing. The film references several of their other comic book superheroes, all in the set-up for the 2012 release of The Avengers.

Weird Science – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, März 17th, 2010


In 1985, two teenage outsiders with no friends and especially no girlfriends decide to create the perfect girl from scratch with the help of a computer. Since this is a comedy, this works perfectly and the new girl makes sure that they develop from helpless dorks into socially accepted, self-confident young men. The film, written (supposedly in two days) and directed by the master of teen comedies John Hughes, is supremely silly, yet still often quite funny and oddly sweet – in other words, it’s a typical John Hughes film. It’s not his best and there are some stretches that are painfully bad, but for simple entertainment, this is pretty good.

Random Observations:

Weird Science at the IMDb

Robert Downey Jr. is in this and while I was aware that he had a career back in the 80s, it still is decidedly odd.

Did anyone else see the John Hughes tribute at this year’s Oscars? I like his films and I’m sure he was a great guy, but wouldn’t have a place in the “In Memoriam” segment been enough? This was just painful – and much too long.

Anthony Michael Hall in his mid-twenties was the perfect teen geek.

Sherlock Holmes – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, Februar 9th, 2010


When I first read that Guy Ritchie, the guy behind the vastly overrated gangster comedies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, was making a Sherlock Holmes movie that would focus on the action hero aspect of the character, I expected something terrible. But due to great casting (Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law AND Mark Strong? You wouldn’t even need to add Rachel McAdams, I’m in!) and good advance word, I actually wanted to see this film. A big mistake. The film is every bit as horrible as expected, a generic action thriller with nary a good moment. Holmes detecting mostly consists of smelling stuff, hitting men bigger than him and being outsmarted by every second person in the film. There are 60 original Holmes stories, so there really was no reason for the film to create some crazy conspiracy story that barely makes sense and is riddled with plot holes. That Ritchie’s directing is at best mediocre I expected, but it was actually painful to watch how he managed to reduce the great cast to horrible actors. No matter how you feel about the real Sherlock Holmes, avoid this film. How it ever came to be successful is a mystery that would have even intrigued the great detective.

Random Observations:

Sherlock Holmes at the IMDb

Hans Zimmer’s score is nominated for an Oscar. It was certainly very effective in calling attention to itself, but I wouldn’t consider that a good thing. If you notice that the music does not fit the scene, you are taken out of it. Also: who the hell thought that some Irish folk music  would be good for the end credits?

I have to admit that there was one redeeming factor to the film: the exchanges between Holmes and Watson were often quite entertaining. But that was not nearly enough to save the film from being horrible.

There are many more bad things about this film I want to address, but I fear that I might have a heartache if I continue thinking about the film. So for now, be warned to stay away.

Adventskalender 14

Montag, Dezember 14th, 2009

Click the link to open the fourteenth door. Klick auf den Link, um das vierzehnte Türchen zu öffnen.

(weiterlesen …)

The Incredible Hulk – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, November 19th, 2009


Made only five years after Ang Lee’s Hulk flopped, this reboot tried to please the fans of the comic book about the scientist who turns into a green monster whenever he gets angry. And please the fans it did, which speaks volumes about them. The film starts promising enough with the by now usual superhero movie trope of investigating what it means to be “special” and some nice scenes set in South America, before it becomes an action spectacle that is beyond silly, marred additionally by some of the worst CGI seen in recent mainstream productions. Ang Lee’s Hulk may not have been very good, but compared to this film, it’s a masterpiece.

Random Observations:

The Incredible Hulk at the IMDb

Edward Norton took over from Eric Bana for the lead role. In some scenes, he is wearing glasses. With glasses, he has an absolutely striking resemblance to Gary Oldman. Scary.

Liv Tyler as the love interest is about as miscast as is possible. Her damsel in distress persona is annoying at best, in the supposed to be emotionally jarring scenes of the film it’s beyond bad.

The film is part of Marvel’s attempt to turn all their most popular comic books into money-spinners, if at all possible connected. That means that it alludes to, among other Marvel properties, the infinitely better Iron Man by having a small Robert Downey Jr. cameo. As the linked review will tell you, however, I didn’t really like Iron Man all that much either. But it still is much better than this film.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, Oktober 24th, 2009


Petty criminal Harry is promised to be the next big star in Hollywood, but for that to become true, he has to take detective lessons with Gay Perry. But what starts out innocently enough soon turns into a major murder mystery, when they pull a dead girl from the trunk of a sinking car. But before Perry has a chance to put it right, Harry gets them further involved to impress his high school crush Harmony. Written and directed by Shane Black, best known for creating the Lethal Weapon franchise, the film is a crime comedy that is often bracingly funny, has a very complicated plot that could be right out of a hard-boiled detective story (yet is well aware of that), and is carried by a wonderful Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role.

Random Observations:

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang at the IMDb

This is a typical example of a film I want to love, but can’t. There are so many great ideas here, there is so much I enjoy, and yet ultimately the experience is spoiled by some minor things, most of which I can’t even name yet alone explain. This is also why I watched the film again – hoping to like it more the second time around. I didn’t.

The film is “based in part” on a novel called “Bodies Are Where You Find Them”. I can’t help but wonder which part.

Minute Movie Review – Zodiac

Samstag, Mai 23rd, 2009


The case of the serial killer in California that called himself Zodiac is still notorious today because he kept a public profile with letters announcing his killings and because the case was never solved. The film is a detailed retelling of the events and of the men investigating them. In the last third, when it turns to the frantic investigation of cartoonist Robert Graysmith, upon whose book the film is based, it turns into a genuinely gripping thriller, despite the fact that the outcome is more or less known. Sadly, the film has already run for almost two hours at that point. It’s not a bad film, but apart from the running time it’s a pedestrian thriller that are a dime a dozen.

Random Observations:

Zodiac at

The film is directed by David Fincher, who is generally considered a great filmmaker, but who I consider vastly overrated. Neither Se7en nor Fight Club are particularly great (though at least both are not bad) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is just a prime example of pandering to stupid viewers.

For some strange reason, this is the third film starring Elias Koteas I’ve seen in a week. He is also in Crash and The Thin Red Line. This doubles the total number of films I’ve seen him in.

And speaking of things that have nothing to do with the film itself: This is the 300th post on this blog. I thought about writing a special celebratory post, but I’ll save that for the 500th.

Minute Movie Review – Tropic Thunder

Mittwoch, Mai 13th, 2009


A movie about the making of a movie, Tropic Thunder tells the story of what happens when a novice director sets out to make the most expensive war movie. The comedy written and directed by and starring Ben Stiller, manages to poke fun at Hollywood and movie-making as well as the nature of celebrity and acting. The film drew some criticism for having a white actor appear in Black Face and the heavy use of the word “retard”, but since both occur to make jokes at the expense of neither black people nor mentally handicapped people, it is undeserved and should not distract from your enjoyment of a solid comedy.

Random Observations:

Tropic Thunder at

The movie starts with fake trailers for movies starring the main actors. Method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) is in a film about a gay monk, starring “Five Times Academy Award Winner Kirk Lazarus and Teen Choice Award Winner for Best Kiss Tobey Maguire”. I knew I was going to enjoy that movie when I heard that.

Especially funny is Tom Cruise’s performance as a overweight, balding, “slightly” crazy Studio Mogul. Cruise is barely recognizable in the make-up.

I’m not a big fan of Jack Black, but when he is set opposite actors that calm, his “bubbly personality” is bearable. That doesn’t make, however, the “jokes” for which the film uses him the least bit funny.

Minute Movie Review – Iron Man

Donnerstag, Mai 22nd, 2008


Tony Stark is the owner and chief engineer of a weapons manufacturer. He’s also a playboy and all around popular guy. But when he sees firsthand what his weapons do in Afghanistan, he decides to change his ways. No more new weapons – only a suit to make him Iron Man, protector of the disenfranchised. The first summer blockbuster of 2008, Iron Man focuses on the change in personality and shows Tony Stark more out of his super suit. Played with his usual mix of charm and deeper personality defects by Robert Downey Jr., he as well as the movie are gritty and dark, yet entertaining enough to make up for the relative lack of action.

Random Observations:

Iron Man at

While it is obvious that director Jon Favreau and the other people responsible for this film tried to do what Christopher Nolan did with Batman Begins, it is also painfully obvious which of the two has the real film-making chops. No, I’m not talking about Favreau.

What is it with comic book adaptations and the painfully awful names? Who would ever name their daughter “Pepper”?

I was really proud when watching the movie for immediately recognizing Terrence Howard. My pride was slightly diminished when I saw the end credits and Jeff Bridges’ name there. He looks odd bald.

After all the critical praise and commercial success I really tried to like this movie, but I just couldn’t. It’s not bad, just not very good either.