Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick-Hitters of Recently-Seen Films

Here are a few flicks that I've watched in the last few weeks...

The Avengers (2012): This was maybe the fifth time I've watched this movie, and I still love it. It's a ton of fun, and it's really no mystery why it ended up as the third-highest grossing movie of all time.

For a non-comic aficionado, it's just a fast-paced, exciting action tale with fantastic characters, interesting personal dynamics, and excellent fights that range from great one-on-one punch-ups between superdudes (and a dudette)  and large-scale showdowns with hordes of aliens. In between the well-paced fisticuffs are Joss Whedon's slick dialogue, which I always enjoy. For the action/adventure genre, it's right up there with the all-time greats.

For a former comic fanboy such as myself, it's even more appealing. Joss Whedon channeled both his love of comic heroes and his abilities to use them in great stories, and he used them to produce what to me, along with The Dark Knight, is the strongest mainstream superhero film ever yet produced.

I'll never get tired of this one.

Iron Man 3 (2013): This second viewing of mine helped redeem this movie to me. A little bit.

When I saw it in the theater last year, I was disappointed. Upon a rewatch, I actually find it decent. It's not as good as the first one, and it's far better than the second. Decent.

The basic plot is solid. Guy Pierce's Killian character is much stronger and more engaging than either bad guy in Part 2. The humor is also in better shape in Part 3, as there are fewer outright goofy moments, and more elements that are organically fun. Ben Kingsley's is definitely a high point.

There are still weaknesses to it. There are certain plot points that simply don't hold water, and there are parts of the movie that drag a bit. Still, it's a solid entry into the Avengers' canon, and one that any person who's enjoyed most of the other films in the series should have fun with.

Down By Law (1986): I really like most of the Jim Jarmusch movies I've seen. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is good, solid, cool fun. I think Dead Man is an underrated excellent movie. So, I decided to go back and check out one of the director's earliest films.

It's great.

It's about three aimless miscreants - A pimp, a DJ, and an immigrant card sharp (played by John Lurie, Tom Waits, and Roberto Bernigni - yes, think about that cast for a second) - who end up in a tiny jail cell in New Orleans together. Most of the film follows their interactions in their cell, their subsequent escape and attempts to find freedom through the dangerous swamps of the bayou.

There is a little bit of character study, but mostly it's just hilarious. If you know the cast at all, you can imagine that, in the right circumstances, it could be magic. Well, it is. Highly recommended.