REVIEW: ‘Iron Man 2’

Director:
Jon Favreau
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr.
Don Cheadle
Scarlett Johansson
Gwyneth Paltrow
Sam Rockwell
Mickey Rourke
Samuel L. Jackson
Rated: PG-13

Iron Man has finally returned, but did this film live up to its original.

The movie takes place after some time has past since Tony Stark revealed to the world that he’s the hero Iron Man. In light of this, Stark holds a large expo to not only tout his technology, but also inspire other scientific achievements.

However, problems for the metal clad protagonist start to mount quickly. A new villain named Whiplash (Rourke) with a vendetta against Stark’s family teams up with a rival technology CEO, Justin Hammer (Rockwell) to eliminate Iron Man. Additionally, Stark is suffering from a new disease caused by his arc reactor in his chest and he’s unsure of what to do. Plus, the government begins to distrust Tony.

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REVIEW: ‘Kick-Ass’

Director:
Matthew Vaughn
Cast:
Aaron Johnson
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Chloe Moretz
Nicolas Cage
Rated: R

Bar none, “Kick-Ass” is one of the best comic-book films ever made.

The film tells the story of Dave Lizewski (Johnson), a high school student and avid comic book reader who eventually decides to become a superhero himself. After some stumbles along the way, Dave establishes himself with a suit and the name Kick-Ass and ends up becoming an internet sensation.

Initially, Dave enjoys the newfound fame, but trouble shows up, too. By being a superhero, Dave get the attention of the mafia as well as a father-daughter vigilante duo who go by Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit Girl (Moretz). This all leads to Dave feeling in over his head.

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REVIEW: ‘From Paris with Love’

Director:
Pierre Morel
Cast:
John Travolta
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Kasia Smutniak
Richard Durden
Rated: R

John Travolta characters sure love to swear these days, first “Taking of Pelham 123” and now this.

“With Love” follows the character James Reese (Meyers), an intelligence agent who’s about to step up with a promotion as he works in France. As this is happening, Reese is partnered with another agent named Charlie Wax.

Despite Reese having reservations about Wax for his peculiar methods, the two partner their way through their mission to stop a terrorist attack.

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REVIEW: ‘The Book of Eli’

Director:
Albert Hughes
Allen Hughes
Cast:
Denzel Washington
Gary Oldman
Mila Kunis
Ray Stevenson
Rated: R

January isn’t usually a month with the best theatrical releases, so it’s always great seeing one that bucks the trend.

“The Book of Eli” follows the titular character played by Washington. Taking place in a post apocalyptic world, Eli is a wandering warrior trying to go out west and deliver a book. Along the way, he has to avoid and fight off groups of other survivors.

As the film goes on, Eli gets into a small town run by a man named Carnegie (Oldman). Carnegie seems to want to partner with Eli at first, but the two eventually enter a conflict as Eli is unwilling to relinquish a prized possession.

“The Book of Eli” fantastically brings western and samurai story aspects into a sci-fi setting, ultimately making an exciting and fresh action picture. There’s the ‘man with no name’ type character, a wandering fighter just passing through a small town with a corrupt leader, it’s simply classic.

The movie also brings up the topic of religion and how different people view it and interperat its use in society. This is mainly seen through the characters Eli and Carnegie and their opposing sides on how to use religion and it adds another layer to the film overall. This isn’t to say the movie is an overbearing religious picture, though, because it’s far from it. The aspect of religion here is used as point to push the plot forward, rather than to convince an audience of something.

This film likely wouldn’t have worked as well as it did, though, if it wasn’t for the performances. Fortunately, the film features Washington who gives a solid performance. While it’s not up there with some of his award worthy material, Washington still has a ton of screen presence, offering charisma, charm and a sense of righteousness to his character.

Oldman was also fantastic as the villain Carnegie, providing a perfect opponent to Eli. In this future, Eli and Carnegie are two of the older survivors and they both have a higher intellect than those around them, but they disagree on a number of matters. Oldman really sells this character, who on the surface seems like a civilized business man but is far more deadly and corrupt.

Another fantastic aspect to the movie is the action. As previously stated, the movie takes elements from western and samurai films, and this includes the combat. Eli both fights with a big machete that’s practically a sword and he also has some exciting shootouts.

“The Book of Eli” is a really strong, exciting action film that pays homage to multiple genres and is raised up more by its veteran actors. 4 out of 5.

REVIEW: ‘Daybreakers’

Director:
Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
Cast:
Ethan Hawke
Sam Neill
Willem Dafoe
Rated: R

Vampire fans should certainly be pleased with this new film.

In this alternate reality, the majority of Earth’s population have become vampires and because of the subsequent immortality, the world seems to be at a state of peace.

However, as the events of the film pick up, it’s revealed that the human population has dwindled so much that vampires are running out of blood. For this reason, a government employee named Edward Dalton, played by Ethan Hawke, is curious for a solution, but his search leads him to more unexpected discoveries.

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REVIEW: ‘Terminator Salvation’

Cast:
Christian Bale
Sam Worthington
Moon Bloodgood
Helena Bonham Carter
Anton Yelchin
Rated: PG-13

“Terminator Salvation” is a pretty good action movie, just not the best “Terminator” movie.

The film follows a grown up John Conner (Bale), now a military officer in the human resistance against the machine army controlled by the Skynet program. Because Skynet is constructing new terminators, the battle for humans is even more uphill.

Meanwhile, there’s another character named Marcus (Worthington) who wakes up with no memory of the entire war and is trying to survive.

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