Tag Archives: guy pearce

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Note: This will be as spoiler-free as I can possibly make it. If there’s something I just can’t avoid, I will warn you before you read on.

To say that Iron Man 3 was an anticipated film would be an incredible understatement. Marvel’s first follow-up to last year’s incredible The Avengers (my review), this film had quite the expectation to live up to. Did it? For the most part, I think so.

Iron Man 3 picks up presumably a few months after the events of The Avengers, with Tony and Pepper back home in Malibu, but something’s different…Tony can’t sleep. Haunted by the alien invasion in New York and determined to protect “the one thing [he] can’t live without,” Pepper, Tony spends all of his time designing and building new Iron Man suits and fighting off panic attacks. To put things in perspective, the suit in The Avengers was Mark VII, while his newest suit in this film is the Mark XLII (that’s 42, for those not versed in Roman numerals). When a terrorist calling himself The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) hits Tony close to home, he must overcome his personal struggles in order to protect the woman he loves and to stop the imminent threat of The Mandarin. Along the way, we are introduced to blasts from Tony’s past, including Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen and Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian.

Much like Christopher Nolan’s final film in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises (my review), this is an Iron Man film with more Tony Stark than Iron Man (in fact, there are quite a few comparisons that could be made to The Dark Knight Rises, but I’ll save those for another time) – but don’t worry, there are still plenty of great moments with the suit. I personally really enjoyed seeing more of Tony Stark as Robert Downey, Jr. Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, as we see a more humanized version of the character. He is a real person who struggles with real people problems just like you and me, bringing  an interesting contrast between Tony Stark as Tony Stark and Tony Stark as Iron Man and a lot more to the table than just RDJ flying around in a suit behind a mask. He has a scene or two with Don Cheadle as Col. Rhodes in which both men are without their suits and are forced to rely on their own abilities and instincts to solve their problems rather than rely on their armor. RDJ’s likability in the role shines brightly throughout the film, with another side of the character coming out with the introduction of a new character, a boy named Harley (Ty Simpkins). Harley’s father left him seven years previously, and his mother works at night, so he is often alone. When Tony Stark steps into his life, he’s dragged into Tony’s mission. Stark treats Harley like an adult, which, though it sometimes means he makes snarky or “rude” comments (including a quip about how leaving is what fathers do and that he should man up and suck it up), it shows that Stark respects Harley enough to speak with him honestly and as an equal. The banter between these two characters works incredibly well, with their time onscreen together being some of the best moments of the film. Guy Pearce does an admirable job in his role, though I don’t want to delve too much into his character…spoilers and all that.

Almost every film comes with its disappointments, and Iron Man 3 is no exception. The funniest film of the three, I actually thought that the writers tried to bring too much humor to the table, with some of it feeling forced or unnecessary. I don’t want an Iron Man film that is taken 100% seriously, but I do think that the film as a whole could have survived with fewer attempts at getting a laugh. For reasons that I won’t list here, I was very disappointed with Ben Kingsley’s character, The Mandarin, and, while I thought that Guy Pearce did a decent job as a sort of supplemental villain, a better Mandarin would have been preferred. Lastly, Gwyneth Paltrow, though she does a fine job as a dramatic actress, is not an action star and should not have ever been given the opportunity. That being said, the chemistry between her and Downey, Jr. is palpable and never feels canned, instead flowing rather naturally between the two actors in a great way.

I didn’t fully flesh out my complaints due to spoilers, but, as I said, I enjoyed the film for the most part; in any case, it was a huge improvement over the awful Iron Man 2, so we should all rejoice for that. Six years after the release of the first Iron Man film, Robert Downey, Jr. continues to slip as effortlessly into the role now as he did then, and it manages to be a worthy followup to The Avengers. With decent performances all around and an enjoyable score from Brian Tyler, Iron Man 3 pleases for the most part and leaves me hoping that we see plenty more of Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in the future.

-Chad

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

MPAA: PG-13 – for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content

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The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

I’m not familiar with the Alexandre Dumas novel on which this film is based, so I can’t tell you how accurate this book-to-screen adaptation is exactly. As its own entity, however, The Count of Monte Cristo – starring Jim Caviezel, Richard Harris, and Guy Pearce – is at least somewhat enjoyable.

Honestly, I was confused for the first third or so of the movie. I don’t know if it was a lack of me paying attention or if the film itself was confusing, but, either way, I was confused. I didn’t know exactly who was who, I didn’t know what was going on, and nothing really made any sense until Caviezel’s character was thrown in prison, where we were introduced to Richard Harris. From then on, the movie got moderately better. Harris, who would die within a year of this film’s release in theaters, gives a memorable performance as the man who helps Caviezel to escape. He is fun and whimsical in his old age, but he manages to gather our respect both as an older man and as a former priest. When he escapes, Caviezel saves the life of a man named Jacopo, who becomes his faithful companion. The two of them return to Marseilles, where Caviezel, after finding the treasure that was described to him by Harris’ character, becomes the “Count of Monte Cristo” and plans to exact his revenge on those who betrayed him.

The more I try to type this out, the more confused I get. I understand the plot well enough, I suppose, but nothing seems to flow. Caviezel’s performance isn’t particularly memorable, nor is Guy Pearce’s. The relationships between the characters seem forced and difficult to believe. I’m sure that Dumas’ original novel is excellent, but, looking back on this film, the only enjoyable parts that I can think of involve Richard Harris. While a re-watch may change my mind and clear up some of my confusion, right now I can’t think of anything that would make me want to watch it again. It’s not that it’s a bad film; it’s just boring and nothing special.

-Chad

Rating: 2 (out of 5)

MPAA: PG-13 – for adventure violence/swordplay and some sensuality


Bedtime Stories (2008)

I’ve always felt that there is a difference between “good movies” and “movies that people enjoy”; for example, I don’t think anyone would argue with me if I said that Bedtime Stories, starring Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Russell Brand, and Guy Pearce, wasn’t a “good” movie, but I must confess – I enjoy the heck out of this movie.

I blame my love for this film on the likability of Russell Brand and Keri Russell. Brand has several delightfully quotable lines in this film (“I actually like ketchup on my face because it’s rejuvenating for the skin!”) that never fail to make me laugh, even on repeated viewings. Keri Russell, however, is charming and beautiful; I’ve been a fan of hers since I first saw her in August Rush, and she makes me smile every time she’s on screen. With fun stories told by a better-than-he-has-been-in-his-last-few-movies Sandler, cute kids, and an even cuter Bugsy, there’s plenty to like about this movie.

However, as I said before, this film wouldn’t typically be considered a “good” film. Sandler doesn’t come across as the kind of guy who should be telling kids bedtime stories. The voice-over from Jonathan Pryce is fine at the beginning and end, but there are a couple of instances in the movie when, as the narrator/Sandler’s father, speaks directly to Sandler’s character…it’s the one moment in the film that really irritates me. The story is cliche, the cause of the stories coming to life is never explored, and it is, admittedly, decidedly juvenile as a whole.

But none of that keeps me from chuckling every time Skeeter sees Bugsy’s eyes for the first time or when Rob Schneider makes an appearance as a Native American horse trader or when Russell Brand’s character wakes up from his so-called “sleep panic disorder”. Bedtime Stories is a kids’ movie through and through with some silly slapstick and obvious bits intended to make children laugh, but perhaps you’ll be able to find something to enjoy in it; as the Marty Bronson says in the film, “your fun is only limited by your imagination”.

-Chad

Rating: 2.5 (out of 5)

MPAA: PG – for some mild rude humor and mild language