Kurt Russell kicking ass, Robert Downey Jr being his famous metallic self and a nice dose of seasonally inappropriate Muppets add up to a fun VoDFather this week.
The tale of Wyatt Earp is one some of cinema’s heaviest hitters have taken on, be it Henry Fonda, James Stewart or Kevin Costner among many others. The personal favourite of those I’ve seen is Kurt Russell’s sympathetic badass in Tombstone, where he is joined by an amazing cast of character actors to tell a take on the story.
Wyatt and his brothers, played by Bill Paxton and Sam Elliott, set up shop in a small town hoping for a peaceful middle age and later years. Things start well enough as they take control of the town’s police department but soon enough trouble rears its head when a bunch of no-gooder’s, led by THE MIGHTY POWERS BOOTHE and ably assisted by Michael Biehn among others, look to cause havoc. Along the way Earp kindles a friendship with Val Kilmer’s Doc Holiday also and the reluctant Doc decides to help Earp in his battle for a peaceful life.
Just look at all those names, Paxton, Elliott, Biehn, THE MIGHTY POWERS BOOTHE. That’s as solid a cast as you could get for a male-oriented action picture in the early 1990′s, hell I’d pay good money to see it now nearly 20 years later. All are in their element, with a fairly clear difference between good and evil making for characters who symbolise honour and integrity but also trouble-making and wicked ways. All actors are on top form and in capable action direction Cosmatos’ hands (although I believe it’s generally acknowledged that Kurt Russell story-boarded and made the decisions on a lot of the scenes) you have an old-school feeling action picture which doesn’t aim to make you think, but certainly doesn’t insult the intelligence either.
It also has this.
It’s really easy to hate on Iron Man 2, and I did my fair share of it upon release. My initial review for this site all those moons ago back on release wasn’t too harsh with a 7/10 rating but upon evaluation I found myself cooling on it and joining with the general hate, some could well say backlash, which hit the film in the weeks after. It is a film in which all the players are too confident in its success. The Marvel heads and Jon Favreau uncomfortably clashed on trying to make an actual Iron Man film which could also build bricks towards The Avengers, resulting in a film which felt like a trailer for something bigger though in fairness if it wasn’t for the negativity which resulted here, Thor and Captain America probably wouldn’t have had such attention paid to their screenplays - resulting in adventures which do feel more solid as standalone fare.
Upon a rewatch in the lead-up to The Avengers though, my opinion on the film has settled into the comfortable realm of “hey, that’s actually pretty good”. Yes, Robert Downey Jr is doing his usual thing but when that meshes so well with the character he’s taking on, I’m OK with this (though his more anachronistic take on Sherlock Holmes is something I understand people having a problem with). He’s ably assisted by a Don Cheadle who convinces as a hardline military man more than Terrence Howard and Sam Rockwell does a good line in basically being Tony Stark but a bit shit. There’s also solid action with the Monaco sequence being one of the best in any Marvel Studios film although yes, everything around Mickey Rourke’s character after this scene - be it the tired action of the climax or the bizarre bird sub-plot – scream all kinds of wrong.
It’s certainly a mixed bag but if you haven’t taken on Iron Man 2 in a while, it might be time for a re-assessment.
OK. It looks to be a fine weekend of late-Summer weather in the UK this week. As I type this, it is early September and nowhere near Christmas. In writing this, I am as bad as those supermarkets that put out Christmas decorations for sale the day after the August Bank Holiday. In my defence though, this is new to LOVEFiLM and I absolutely adore this film so hell, I’m putting this in.
The best of the 90′s Muppets big-screen output by a stretch, The Muppet Christmas Carol sees the full weight of Disney’s resources combined with the Henson magic we all know and love to craft a respectful but irreverent take on the classic tale. Michael Caine is given some great crotchety material with only a rather sudden turn from mean to jolly which doesn’t quite gel well enough spoiling the broth. While none of the other human cast are all that memorable, it doesn’t matter as we are guided through the story by Gonzo and Rizzo The Rat. They do a great job in taking away the tension for younger children, though I love the moment late on when they say it’s too scary and they’ll meet as at the end, something to say “this shit’s getting real” very effectively for the family audience. All the usual favourites pop with Kermit and Miss Piggy taking on Mr and Mrs Cratchit and Statler and Waldorf in a genius move becoming the Marley brothers.
Filled with wonderful production design, a number of memorable song and dance numbers and a general spookiness which never really stretches the certificate but at least makes an effort, this may be one for a few months from now but if I had the time, I’d stick it on right now.