Iron Man 2 – Review

The flamboyant billionaire with his superhero armor returns with Iron Man 2. The sequel has more of everything i.e., more characters, more action sequences, more destruction with more things being blown up, impressive special effects and cool moments.

As I didn’t follow the movie gossips and was only focused on the electric whips of Mickey Rourke while watching the trailers, I only learnt during the movie about Don Cheadle playing Col. James ‘Rhodey‘ Rhodes character replacing Terrence Howard. This came as a surprise as I wanted to see Howard in the Iron Man Mark II armor after he said “Next time, baby!” in Iron Man (2008)

The world knows the ingenious engineer, flamboyant billionaire and the ladies man – Tony Stark is Iron Man as he revealed his identity in Iron Man (2008). Iron Man 2 starts with a grand entrance of Tony Stark in the Iron Man armor to re-institute the Stark Expo in order to continue his father’s legacy.

U.S. administration exerts pressure on Stark to hand over the Iron Man suit to them for military usage and for the country’s welfare. However, Stark refuses declaring that he and the suit are one and claims that his competitors are years away from successfully recreating the technology.

Meanwhile Stark is also dying; he is slowly being poisoned by the palladium in his arc reactor and after several attempts he fails to find a cure. Due to his severe condition he appoints his former personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as the CEO of Stark Industries and replaces her post with Natalie Rushman. Scarlett Johansson who plays Natalie, has something peculiar about her and she is not just another slinky recruit wearing tight outfits.

With all this happening, Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) makes his appearance at a Grand Prix in Monaco flaunting his armor suit equipped with an arc reactor and is armed with two electrifying whips.  With his electric whips he rips Tony Starks racing car into pieces. The background score as Whiplash whooshes his whips in the air is still going on in my head.

Mickey Rourke, remember him from his movie “The Wrestler,” for which he got nominated and won some awards, makes the perfect demented baddie from Russia. His body is entirely covered with tattoos and he has a dreadful Russian accent – “I want my burrd (bird),” – one of his dialogues.

The coolest thing you witness after the entrance of Whiplash at the Grand Prix is the portable Iron Man armor. This briefcase version of the Iron Man’s suit is totally awesome!

Sam Rockwell plays the character of Justin Hammer, the comical, nerdy rival industrialist to Tony Stark who later joins hands with Whiplash to defeat Tony Stark and the Iron Man.

Nick Fury (Director of S.H.E.I.L.D.) played by Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eye-patch has a limited role in the film; he only shows up in the film’s second half.

To sum it up, Tony is not the only one who has the arc reactor technology; he is being poisoned by the arc reactor and needs a cure; he needs to defeat Whiplash who after joining hands with his rival industrialist Hammer is building something more powerful and superior; S.H.E.I.L.D. has been keeping an eye on Stark; Government and military want the Iron Man suit; who exactly is Natalie and what’s her role.

Anticipation from Iron Man 2 had been high for months. While some critiques say that the plot could have been better and lab, lab, lab… I say the movie delivers what the fans want. I like the flashy character of Tony Stark and look forward to seeing more Iron Man sequels in the future.

My Rating: 3/5

Kenneth Peter —

Iron Man 2 Movie posters taken from www


How To Train Your Dragon – My Review

How To Train Your Dragon was unexpectedly a delightful film to watch. At first I wasn’t interested, after reading the synopsis I felt it would be a good watch, but after watching it, it was much better than I thought it was going to be. It’s fresh, magical, beautifully animated and a touching family film. It proves that DreamWorks can give some serious competition to Pixar.

DreamWorks? Pixar? If you are a fan of animation, you may want to note down the names of two of the biggest animation studios. In 1995, Pixar gave us the first computer animated film – Toy Story, a groundbreaking film that totally changed animation. Both of them have gone head to head for over a decade. Below are names of some of their biggest films:

Wow! Till 2009, I have a copy of all the titles (sniff!) Now you can pick the animation film you liked and then decide which animation studio is your favorite.

Coming back to – How To Train Your Dragon, the movie is about a young Viking boy Hiccup, who aspires to hunt dragons like his brut father Stoick and someday slay the most dangerous dragon ‘Night Fury’ which has never been hunted before by any of the Vikings.

During the opening battle with the dragons, Hiccup tries to help his village and shoots down the ultra-destructive dragon – Night Fury. Hiccup excitedly runs to tell everyone, however no one believes him. Next day, to get the proof of his hunt, Hiccup goes to the woods and finds the downed dragon, which is unable to fly due to a broken tail. Hiccup forces himself to kill the beast but instead he frees it allowing it to escape.

From there, Hiccup and the dragon, he calls Toothless become friends and Hiccup helps the dragon re-learn how to fly by attaching an artificial tail fin. Hiccup learns all about dragons, what they like, hate and are afraid of and uses this information to rise to the top of his class in a dragon fighting school. Above all, he learns that dragons are not at all brutal and finds out the secret as to why the dragons keep attacking their village for food. However things change when Hiccups father finds out about his son’s pet dragon.

If you have ever kept a pet you will definitely love Toothless. DreamWorks fabulously showed the dependent and caring friendship between Hiccup and Toothless. The animation looks outstanding, especially the landscapes shown during the flying sequences which may remind you of James Cameron’s  ‘Avatar’ – remember the mighty dragon Toruk, that only five Na’vi had ever tamed and then our hero Jake goes on to tame the dragon.

How To Train Your Dragon stands tall, however I’m restlessly waiting for Pixar’s Toy Story 3 to be out in June.

My Rating: 4/5

Kenneth Peter —

Green Zone (2010) – My Review

I keep myself low on the rough ground as I’m badly wounded. I’m surrounded by several corpses of dead soldiers. A grenade has just landed near me; my movement is being watched by a sniper. As I lay here, I tell myself – This is one hell of a game!

Games like Call of Duty give the feeling that you have been plopped into a World War-II film. You are exposed to different weapons like M4A1, P90, Uzi, M21, RPG-7, Desert Eagle etc; you know who a sniper is, where he is likely to be positioned and how to bring him down. To me, watching war films are similar to playing PS3 as the action, locations and sound effects are almost identical.

Well I’m not going to talk about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or any of the other games in this genre. This post is about Matt Damon’s Green Zone, a war film set up in Baghdad. Another war film also based in Iraq that I had recently watched was – The Hurt Locker. Sadly I learnt of its existence only after it won 6 Oscar Awards in 2010.

In Green Zone, Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, head of a WMD-finding unit in Baghdad. Their mission is to find Weapons of Mass Destruction at alleged sites, but they always find the sites empty. After repeated failures, Miller smells a rat and at a debriefing session he raises the point that the majority of the intel given to his team was inaccurate. However, senior officers debunk his theory saying that the intel is well vetted and cannot be wrong.

After the debriefing, Miller meets a CIA official Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) who tells him that the next site he is going to investigate is also empty, as a team had already searched there some months ago. Brown informs that the intel given is part of a cover-up and Millers investigation was just a formality to mislead the people.

Miller goes on a task to trace the original source of the faulty leads. He is assisted by an Iraqi citizen who becomes Miller’s translator known as “Freddy”, he also leads Miller to the hideout of General Al-Rawi.

Earlier in the film, the character of General Al-Rawi, the right-hand of Saddam Hussein was introduced. A meeting takes place in one of his safe-houses in Baghdad, to discuss the invasion of Iraq. Many of his comrades propose fighting other Iraqi and American forces; however Al-Rawi suggests that they should wait until the Americans make the Iraqi army an offer to join their forces.

Another important character in the film is Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) the man responsible for the US Invasion of Iraq. Poundstone’s ‘inside man’ known as “Magellan” had given him the information about WMD’s  presence in Iraq in a meeting that was held in Jordan before the invasion.

We also have Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan) a corrupt foreign correspondent of Wall Street Journal who keeps repeating the US Government’s claims about WMD rather than investigating it’s authenticity. This throws light on how sometimes media works in order to increase their readership.

The only character that I liked in the film was Freddy (Khalid Abdalla) – the same guy we saw in The Kite Runner. He gives us a glimpse of what was going through the mind of a regular Iraqi guy during the US invasion and the amount of frustration and insanity the war had brought to their country.

Director of Green Zone Paul Greengrass, also known for directing –  The Bourne Supremacy (2004) & The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) offers his typical shaky-cam technique in the film. To sum it up, the movie is about – Corrupt Government officials, nowhere to be found WMD’s, soldier on a look-out for more work than just his mission, finding Magellan, emotional good guy Freddy, fat running Al-Rawi and corrupt journalist.

My Rating: 3/5

Kenneth Peter —

Cop Out (2010) – My Review

I remember watching a number of ‘buddy cop’ films where you have two conflicting personalities working together to solve a crime – one serious cop accompanied by a wilder, dimwit or cartoonish cop.

Some of them that I remember are: National Security (remember Martin Lawrence saying “Why, ’cause I’m black guy?”) Bad Boys, Rush Hour, Men in Black and Wild Wild West

Cop Out is the latest entrant to this subgenre starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. It also stars Seann William Scott, a small-time crook with ‘Spiderman Skills’ i.e. wall climbing skills, who acts as their assistant from time to time.

Jimmy (Willis) and Paul (Morgan) are detectives with NYPD celebrating their ninth anniversary as partners. Jimmy’s daughter is getting married and he promises to pay for his daughter’s big fat wedding no matter how pricey the ceremony is. He refuses to accept financial aid from his ex-wife’s second husband Roy (Jason Lee – the weird guy in Alvin and the Chipmunks)

Jimmy plans to pay for the wedding by selling his rare baseball card. Unfortunately,  the card gets stolen and gets in the hands of a Mexican Drug Mafia who has a liking for antique sport collectables. Together, the two cops set out to recover the card from the mafia.

Cop Out has both action and hilarious jokes. There are a couple of funny moments, like the interrogation by Paul in the beginning and parts where Paul gets worried that his wife is cheating on him. The film however fails to offer anything different in the genre, but it sure made me laugh out loud!

My Rating: 2/5

Kenneth Peter —

From Paris with Love (2010) – My Review

Pierre Morel who earlier brought us — The Transporter, District 13 and Taken now offers — From Paris with Love

The misleading title gave me the impression that it was a romantic comedy set in Paris, until I heard the loose cannon, special agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta) say “Do I look like I play board games?”

James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is the personal assistant to the U.S. Ambassador in France. Along with his diplomatic post, James has a side job i.e., of a low level agent with the CIA and has a dream to become one of the top-notch agents with the agency. That’s not all, this guy has everything going his way as he also has a beautiful French girlfriend. While celebrating a great evening with his girlfriend, James gets a call from the CIA offering him his first senior level assignment. His first job is to go to the airport to help his partner, stuck at the customs.

His partner happens to be trigger-pulling, hell-raising, wise-cracking, Royal Burger loving, crazy undercover special agent Charlie Wax, sent to France to stop a terrorist attack. Travolta gets better and better with every movie, he has a shaven-headed, bearded look in the film. His argument at the airport with the custom staff was hilarious. Together Charlie Wax and his sidekick James Reece go on a shooting spree hunting mafias and terrorists through the Parisian underworld leaving piles of bodies wherever they go.

Charlie Wax discovers that James is wired and the terrorists have been keeping track of his movements by the help of someone very close to him. Soon after that James who is in total shock (Think John Mayers song – Assassin, suits the moment perfectly) learns that the terrorist are targeting the US summit and a suicide bomber has already reached the place.

The film has mostly received negative reviews; some say it’s a racist brainless flick with no substance, while others say its absolute nonsense but great fun.

Agree that the film is brainless and full of murder & mayhem, but it’s a brilliant late-Friday-night action blast that one would definitely enjoy with friends over a couple of beers.

Favorite Part: When Travolta shoots Nichole in the head (Damn!!!)

Fav Quote: Do I look like I play board games?

My Rating: 2.5/5

Kenneth Peter —

Shutter Island (2010) – My Review

US Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner come to Shutter Island that is home for the Criminally Insane Prisoners. The Island, they learn is a place to conduct experiments on humans. The two US Marshals are brought to the island to investigate the case of a missing patient Rachel convicted for murdering her three children, but they fail to get answers as nobody says much about the disappearance.

Teddy’s wife Dolores was murdered by one of the inmate of Shutter Island – Andrew Laeddis, and finding him is the main reason for Teddy to be on the island. As the two Marshals dig deeper, Teddy begins to get migraine headaches, he gets demon hallucinations of his wife and a little girl, he takes asprins or pills given by a shady doctor (Ben Kinsley), he is warned by other patients to get out of the island while he still can… if you watch the film closely, observe everything happening and being said, the film no longer remains a thriller.

Shutter Island has been home to experiments on insane patients in order to cure them, everything that happens on the island is nothing but an experiment and so is DiCaprio…

In the end, it’s revealed that Teddy is actually a delusional mental patient on Shutter Island and is actually patient number 67 named Andrew Laeddis. He murdered his weird, insane and depressive wife Dolores after she drowned their three children. Dolores had earlier burned down their house forcing the family to move to a cottage near a lake.

Teddy Daniels or Andrew Laeddis has been a mental patient at the hospital for almost two years. The doctors decided to try a role-play experiment on him as Teddy was living in a delusional fantasy that he was a US Marshal investigating the case of a missing patient Rachel and finding Andrew Laeddis the guy responsible for setting up his house on fire that killed his wife. He was doing this in order to escape from reality.

The role-play plan works – and Andrew is retold what has happened to him. He accepts that he murdered his wife as she had drowned their three children.

However, the final scene, right in the end of the film appears to be a little confusing. Andrew relapses to his delusional state of US Marshal Teddy Daniels and says “He rather die a hero than a monster.” It is implied that he is faking his relapse so he will not have to deal with the mental anguish of his act as he feels personally responsible for his wife murdering their children.

“Why are you all wet baby,” asks Ben Kingsley to DiCaprio, is the only funniest line in the film.

DiCaprio has acted well, but nothing beats his role in “The Departed”

My Rating: 3/5

Kenneth Peter —

The Book of Eli (2010) – My Review

I learnt about the film through an advertisement I saw on facebook. The advt displayed the movie poster which showed Denzel Washington in the middle of nowhere wearing flashy sunglasses. There was also a brief synopsis about the film that read…

A post-apocalyptic Western, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

This was enough to get me excited to watch the flick, hey it had a powerful star-cast Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and… will include Mila Kunis as I liked her role in Max Payne.

It didn’t strike me, that the book in question could be the ‘Bible.’ I assumed it was some book that provided sacred knowledge to humans about how to restart a civilization after an asteroid collision, alien takeover, destruction of the earth due to global warming or something (had watched 2012 and Star Trek, few days back, hence the ideas).

The film opens with the strangest and scariest looking cat getting speared for food. Its post-nuclear holocaust America, things are desolate, only a handful of people have survived, there’s scarcity of food and water to an extent that people have become cannibals and kill for water. Eli (Denzel Washington) is a lone wanderer carrying the sacred book, making his away to the west after having a prophecy. Along the way he demonstrates uncanny survival and fighting skills and defeats a group of highway bandits within seconds.

Eli enters into Carnegie (Gary Oldman) town in search of water and to recharge his iPod (hey that too was worth a million gallons of water as it was the last and only iPod). Carnegie learns that Eli was a literate man and an outstanding fighter he asks Solara (Mila Kunis) his blind wife Claudia’s daughter, to seduce Eli into staying back. Eli turns her down, but before they eat he says a prayer. Next day Solara prays with her mother, and Carnegie realizes that Eli has a copy of the Bible. Carnegie an opportunist, has been searching for the Bible post the holocaust to use it for preaching the right words to the people who do not know anything about religion. He wants to use the Bible as a powerful preaching tool to gain followers for himself and takeover other towns. He asks Eli to hand it over to him but Eli denies and tells him that his heart will know where this book belongs and is needed,  before he walks away. Carnegie attempts to stop Eli, having all his henchmen fire at him, but Eli avoids the gunfire and shoots most of Carnegie’s henchmen, even shooting Carnegie’s leg with a shotgun and walks away.

Solara leaves her town and decides to follow Eli on his journey. Wounded Carnegie also follows Eli with an army of gunmen. After tracking Eli and Solara, a shoot-out ensues leading to the capture of Eli and Solara. Carnegie threatens to kill Solara, which prompts Eli to hand over the Bible. Carnegie shoots him in the stomach and leaves, taking Solara with him. While in transit, Solara escapes and drives back to help Eli. Carnegie returns to his town with the Bible. Solara finds Eli on the way and they continue west until they reach the Golden Gate Bridge, then they row to Alcatraz where they find a group of survivors dedicated to preserving pre-war knowledge. Eli tells the guard that he has a copy of the King James version of the Bible, and they are allowed in. Inside Eli dictates the Bible word to word to the curator before dying from his wounds. Carnegie has the Engineer open the Bible but is distraught to find that it is in Braille, and his wife refuses to read it to him and says “I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have what you want so close, yet it might as well be a million miles away”

The movie was a unique combination of violence and spiritualism. It gave me an overwhelming urge to start reading the Bible. Some prayers were also recited in the film, really liked this particular line from Eli’s prayer ‘Thank you for any good I may have done, I am so sorry about the bad.’  Overall worth a watch, it’s a Denzel Washington film folks!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Kenneth Peter —