Tag Archives: fran kranz

Ironman 3 a dissapointment?

Just saw Ironman 3 last night, and wow did I enjoy it.  I’m not going to say I love it yet, I want to go see it again to really get a feel for it.  I think the biggest hurdle this movie has is the fact that it’s not a superhero movie anymore.  It’s much more of a thriller, maybe a little Jason Bournish, with a mystery all through it.  This is not a review, this is purely a comparison to the Ironman Franchise, including Avengers.

This is the mis steps Ironman 3.  This is a mixed complaint, but the movie doesn’t have a really fast pace or great story structure.  There’s no 3 act template so the movie, probably on only the first viewing,, doesn’t seem to have a direction for a lot of it. The story is also very untraditional.  A british screenwriter Drew Pearce wrote the script with Shane Black and you can really feel his hand here.  It feels like a new franchise, and a new character.  there’s also a real lack of action during the beginning. Also the snappy dialogue is gone and it’s more of a dry wit sort of thing, so it’s not as funny, whilst still being pretty funny. The complaints that I have are more in the comparison with The Avengers then Ironman 2.  There’s also a character moment that I won’t spoil that personally I enjoyed, but I can understand why people found it unsatisfactory.

Now the positives, and there are many, is that this is the most mature Marvel film out of the bunch, and while I did complain that Tony Stark wasn’t swarmy or Jokey enough, that’s the point, he’s not the smooth talker anymore, we get a little bit of it in the beginning, but now he’s out of his element.  The humor is darker and more specific dialogue then the rapid fire style of the first two.  But Ironman 2 was too jokey with lazy humor, people talking over each other, and it really wan’t all that funny.  This is a new side of Tony Stark, much more vulnerable and frightened almost frail portrayal.

This movie is ultimately a left turn for the franchise, instead of being a traditional action movie, it’s a thriller.  As a thriller it’s pretty bad ass, It wasn’t very convoluted it has good villains, really good acting,and a real sense of threat.  Most of the time Ironman is in a defective suit and can’t fight the way he usually does adding a sense of danger, that was missing in Avengers and Ironman 2.  Also the villain to me hands down is a mass improvement for the franchise, much more clear motivations, and a plan that’s actually excellent.

Basicaly all my complaints with Ironman are in comparison with Avengers, it was hard to top and I don’t think they were trying to do that, I think they were trying to make a tony stark centric story and focus back on the characters.  In comparison with Ironman 2, it’s a much more superior film, in almost every fashion.  So for anybody wondering it’s better then Ironman 2 not as good as Avengers.  If you come in expecting Avengers you will be utterly disappointed. I’m finding more things to appreciate it the more I think about it

Advertisements

GangSter Squad, the entitled of bloggers, and the dumbing down of movie audiences

There’s a certain entitlement you get when you attach yourself to a particular group of people. Not only am I a film buff, but I am also a Blogger, so needless to say I have my nose pretty far up in the air.  A big problem I have is judging people based off their taste in entertainment.  Now this isn’t just me in person or anything it’s usually somebody raving about a movie that I deem is terrible.

Now I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to not only filming but creative writing, so I can consider myself a somewhat authority, whilst not being supreme.  Just like how somebody who plays Sports, watches sports, and play fantasy league is the authority on Football.  But when I think a movie is all around bad, and I see a Facebook update about how good it is I wince.  Maybe even roll my eyes, and sometimes I have to remind myself that liking a bad movie isn’t a reflection of intelligence, just like liking a good movie or a movie I deem good make me any smarter.  There’s just a lot of factors that go into a good movie that other people don’t recognize or even look for.  Story Structure, Editing, Pacing, etc.  And there’s nothing wrong with anybody enjoying anything.  I liked For Colored Girls , as an absurd comedy, but I’d still watch it again.  Sometimes I wonder where does the general audience fall on movies, and if they know something is bad.

There are certain movies I hate.  Generally speaking they’re usually really lazy, or have bad logic or character motivations. Basically if you have potential you use it.  My least favorite movies are the ones that get by solely on having an ensemble cast.  Expendables and Red come to mind.  To me both extremely mediocre movies that have no business on anything other then a Redbox Exclusive.  The reason I hate these movies is because of the lack of effort.  Say what you will about Twilight, it’s polishing a turd.  The best Twilight movie you could make would be a self aware parody of itself.  There is no real way to make a good Twilight movie.  But when you have a cast full of superstars, there’s absolutely no reason you should squander such talent.  There’s no excuses.

So coming back to this wonderful audience who I constantly remind myself, I am not better then them, I wonder when does an audience stop appreciating a movie on a purely visceral or base experience and when does it begin to become a good movie for them?  All the time, I look at the number one movie in the U.S. and think “wow that’s a shame”.  But who says Audiences are going into Transformers to see Citizen Kane.  With Movies like Stark Trek, Avengers, and Fast and Furious you can have exciting action and still have a good movie with it.  Not every movie has to be an Oscar Film.  And hell most of the films getting Oscars, I don’t think deserve them either. Hollywood can’t win with me.  But maybe some audiences like movies because they’re tailored for them, just like naturally I was going to enjoy Avengers.

That being said, a movie that I openly despise is coming out on Bluray recently.  The movie called “GangStar Squad” is everything I hate about a movie while admittedly being not bad.  Maybe I was disappointed, this has maybe one of the greatest ensemble cast of the year.  There was a lot in place to make this a good movie.  Great actors, a new director who had a hit with ZombieLand, and really interesting marketing.  The trailers led me to believe this was a really smart tongue in cheek homage to classic gangster movies, while discussing itself as a generic action movie.  What I got was the generic action movie.

Let me talk about on a purely non biased non personal level what’s wrong with this movie. First off everything is a cliche.  EVERYTHING.  If you played a drinking game with water, how many times you can call how a scene will play out you’d  overdose on water.  I’m meeting the movie on every level, but it just sinks.  At a certain point I just said to myself ” If the action is good we’re okay” but no the action scenes are boring, and filmed flatly.  It’s all cookie cutter and dull.  The performances are okay, and the script is absolutely anemic.  No character development , just cliches, can’t blame the director , but he’s losing credibility with me by the second.

Now the reason part of me hates this movie is because of what it represents.  The audience wash’t coming out saying ” oo that was fun” they are saying “that was a good movie” , now this has happened before, but it’s usually a specific audience, say tweens coming out of twilight or black people, i’m black it’s okay, out of  a Tyler Perry film.  This movie gets off purely on it’s star power , and marketing rather then any actual quality.  And I get that some people don’t watch as much movies as me, probably doesn’t recognize some cliches, but I can’t point out how many moments are stolen from other movies.  Is what’s considered a good movie becoming less and less selective?  Or do people really vote with their wallets.  Overall, I just have to remind myself, in retrospect it doesn’t really matter, Audiences will see what they want to see , and really bad lazy movies will be #1, great movies will struggle in the box office, and occasionally you’ll get a Limitless and Source Code which will outperform expectations critically and finically, one can only hope Audiences and Snobby Film Buffs like me can try to see eye to eye more.

Why Tropic Thunder Should’ve Won An Oscar

In 2008 There was two geek properties that had a match lit under them.  On of these properties was The Dark Knight.  Everything about this movie was on point.  The Marketing was great, it had a great director, but what really set it off was it’s iconic villain. The Joker, who has steadily changed the face of villains for time to come.  He was smart, funny cool, and had a real distinct look about him.  Most of all he was terrifying.  Everything about this performance was on point.  The voice, the clothes, the posturing, even Heath Ledger’s unfortunate passing bled into the mystique of the character.

The other geek property which set fire to the industry if not more so.  Ironman was a slightly smaller hit, I remember when it came out everybody referred to it as ” better then Spiderman”  Ever since TDK came out there was a blatant turn on spiderman by the general public , but before that it was the pinnacle of superhero movies.  Ironman ushered in a wave of spinoffs prequels, and worked in the concept of a shared universe among movies which had only been hinted at before.

Ironman ultimately got overshadowed by TDK, but not completely gobbled up like The Incredible Hulk.  In retrospect I prefer Ironman over The Dark Knight, and my love for Robert Downey Jr. blossomed.  Later that summer Tropic Thunder came out.  A movie directed by Ben Stiller, which I thought I would hate, but actually liked it okay.  Everytime I see it I find new things to love about it and it gets better every time, but one thing that stood out was Kirk Lazarus as an Irish Award season darling, who was playing a black soldier in a Vietnam war movie.  It sounds dumb, and it was, but in the best way possible.

Now I’m going to be hypothetic as I would never take an Oscar from the Great Ledger, but let’s say Heath hadn’t tragically passed, who he had deserved an Oscar? Any other year I’d say yes, but here I  gotta say no.

Ironically everything you can say good about Heath’s performance you can say about Downey’s.  Heath Stole every scene he was in, he had several ticks, he made the movie.  Same can be said as Robert.  Only one was funny and one was terrifying.  There’s even a level of make up that adds to the parallel performances, and makes them more interesting aesthetically.  Nominations were announced and Robert got himself nominated for an Oscar for best supporting.

To me the best thing about Robert’s performance is the layers of character and irony. ” I’m a dude playing a dude disquised as another dude”.  It’s a real statement on actor’s and the ways actors get Oscars.  In some ways it’s an Oscar bait performance mocking oscar bait performances.   You have the total unrecognizable transformation, the make up, and the double accent.    Same can be said as Heath’s performance. Except one is the definitive supervillian and one is black face.  You can’t sum up RDJ’s performance in one sentence and do it justice.  It’s a parody of Russell Crowe and Daniel Day Lewis, it’s also a statement on how actors transform themselves whilst having an actor transform himself, it’s also a statement on how far actors are willing to take risky career choices for an Oscar, whilst once again having an actor take a risky career movie, it’s also a parody of Robert Downey Jr himself, it’s also a metaphor for not knowing who you really are. The fact that the Academy actually nominated this performance is hilarious in itself.

The Joker is just crazy, which can be interesting and is, but Kirk Lazarus is also crazy, and we really delve into his character’s psyche.  We get a very subtle understanding of why he does what he does, and we understand this.  The Joker doesn’t really get any real explanation, and why that makes for him being more captivating it doesn’t add for a more fleshed out character, which to me lends itself to a better performance.

5 Reasons Cabin In The Woods is the best horror movie of the last decade

2012 was a really weird years for movies. After a great year in 2010 where every Oscar movie ended up on my Bluray shelf, and then 2011 where we got at least two great movies a month, 2012 is really a let down. Until April the best movie I’d seen all year was 21 Jump Street. No mistake it is a really good movie, but as a film buff it feels awkward to list a Channing Tatum movie as the best of the year. Then the wonderful Cabin in The Woods came out. Even knowing to be surprised it still threw me for several loops and I was smiling the entire time. It’s almost a pastiche of other scary movies. Name your top 10 horror movies and it either references them and then upstages them and then switches to another sub-genre. But a lot of people who wanted a standard horror movie where disappointed. Here’s why they’re wrong.

1. The Characters

Cabin in The Woods is all about making a movie that pretty much goes back and makes excuses for why most horror movies suck. Usually in a horror movie the characters are cliche, annoying, or stupid doing stuff the audience wouldn’t. Here the characters are labeled as cliches , Stoner, Slut, Jock, Nerd, but they’re given so much personality they feel relatable. The more you like the characters in a horror movie the more tension the scenes bring in. The main complaint people has is the movie isn’t scary. For me it’s scary because I care about the characters and nobody feels safe.

2. The Acting

The entire cast shines here. There’s not a single lead who feels like they’re not pulling their weight. Chris Hemsworth solidifies himself as a leading man given the scenes an added sense of charisma and humanity. Richard Jenkins is hysterical and incredibly sympathetic in his role. The one who completely carries the movie is Fran Kranz as The Stoner. He’s the funniest character and he’s also the avatar for the audience.  Embodying the frantic tone of the movie and actually growing as a character as the movie progresses he’s my choice for best supporting actor for this year, aside from Micheal Fassbender in Prometheus, nobody else has this much screen presence in a movie that i’ve seen for a while.

3. The Writing

The screenplay co-written by Joss Wheedon, the director/writer of the Avengers, is probably the best of the year. It works on every level, dialogue, story structure, character development, etc. They even subtly put in references to other horror movies, like Evil Dead, also one of my favorites. The script is flawless and since Joss Wheedon already got nominated for Original Screenplay for Toy Story, I’m hoping this movie also gets The Best Original Screenplay nomination. What really shines is the premise. So many movies take a great premise and then drop the ball. This takes it’s premise throws it through the fourth wall, bends it, and makes it it’s bitch, and then flips it on it’s head. In a very smart move they don’t give the cabin any exposition, but they give a lot of set up. It’s a lot like Inception, just tossing the audience into the movie without explaining anything then letting them slowly digest it. Except this movies from 2009 and is ahead of it’s time. It’s predictable, but in the best sense, letting audience figure out what’s going to happen and rewarding them for doing the work. Nothing happens in the movie that isn’t explained by an earlier scene, and figuring that connection out makes the movie that much more satisfactory. Some people have to have their hand held through the narrative, but for seasoned movie goers they’ll have a vague sense of what’s going to happen building up the anticipation. By the end of the movie you understand fully what’s going on. Just like with Avengers it feels like they just say in a room and said “What if”. Except most directors wouldn’t put those “What if”s in a movie. Not Joss Wheedon. The movie also points at other horror movies and says “here’s where y’all messed up”, explaining why characters do dome stuff in horror movies. First it works as a Cabin horror movie, then as a zombie movie, then as a survival movie, then as a psychological horror movie. It sticks to a sub genre , bodies it, and then keeps going. Also one thing I really love is the script actually makes them seem like they actually go to college instead of the audience being told “They’re from college check out the letterman”. Just a little something I liked.

4. The Monsters

The most inventive thing about this movie is it’s monsters. The main course what everybody came to see. And wow I don’t want to spoil anything, but let me say, for anybody who just wants to see deaths, these are the best. This is has the same amount of any given slasher franchise packed into one movie. It’s really smart and then in the best way it gets really dumb and just gives the audience exactly what it wants. The best part is you’re given forewarning of every creature earlier in the movie, making it more exciting. To give an example there’s a family of zombie rednecks and one of their weapons is a bear trap on a rope they use to swing at people. Every monster in the film feels like it has a backstory. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the ingenuity.

5. The Humor

Now this is where people usually disconnect from the movie. I’ve heard so many times “It’s was a comedy, not a horror movie”. Well no, not really. The comedy comes from the characters and the dialogue. And all the physical jokes are in the deaths. That’s really any horror movie though, especially 90’s horror. I haven’t seen a single horror movie that people liked that didn’t try to be funny. And the comedy makes the characters feel like real people. I don’t even like using the word “comedy” there aren’t any fart jokes or any slipping on a banana peel jokes, it’s jokes you’d make with a friend if you where clever enough. And half the time that shit that’s funny I’m not even supposed sure it was intended that way, it’s just the audience is having such a good time they find reasons to smile. And even as a comedy it’s better than most of them. A comedy essentially needs the same thing as a horror movie. Like able characters , and motivation that makes sense. In that sense it’s a great comedy and is pretty much the funniest movie i’ve seen this year. The humor also helps with the pacing, making scenes that are for narrative set up come more to live. Even compared to the best horror-comedies like Shaun of The Dead and Evil Dead 2, it’s funnier and is more ambitious, and is my favorite horror movie ever.