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SPLINTER CELL Finds New Writer; Tom Hardy Still Attached

Source: /Film

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Tom Hardy Interested in Playing THE PUNISHER

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Mad Max: Fury Road is Furiously Fantastic

It was over 35 years ago when writer-director George Miller introduced the world to Max Rockatansky, who you might know by the name of Mad Max. The cynical drifter was originally played by Mel Gibson and first appeared in the 1979 Australian movie titled after the character. Mad Max, grossed significantly at the box office and eventually became the first of a trilogy, being followed by two films: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thuderdome. The entire series met critical and financial success so it’s no surprise that three decades later, George Miller has brought Mad Max back to the big screen in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road

Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road follows Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) who unintentionally joins a rebel named Furiosa (Charlize Theron), in a mission to return to her childhood homeland.

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Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 flies on screen nearly five years after the first film, and it is the best Iron Man movie by far. Iron Man 3 not only earns top spot on my Iron Man list, but also earns top spot of what I’ve seen this year. The mediocracy of 2013 has hopefully came to a screeching halt as this new intense-action hits theaters everywhere. It was 1963, when Iron Man made his first appearance in the comic book world, and Iron Man 3 is the perfect way to celebrate the character’s 50th birthday. This is only Shane Black’s second feature film as director, following Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), but this bang is so loud it’s already being heard around the world.

Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man 3

Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man 3

Since he fought along side The Avengers in New York, billionaire playboy, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) can’t sleep. The man also known as Iron Man hasn’t fully suited up because fear is holding him back from being the hero he really is. Stark seems more concentrated on building more suits rather than wearing them. Even when partner, War Machine (Don Cheadle), now known as Iron Patriot, tries protecting the United States, everyone wonders about Iron Man. However, Tony now must make a decision when terrorist, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), surfaces. Even with the fear that he can’t protect his love, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), he knows the country needs Iron Man. After Tony’s good friend, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is injured in one of Mandarin’s “Lessons,” Tony address The Mandarin and the rebirth of Iron Man begins.

Iron Man 3 has been the best thing I’ve seen all year. Now, it’s only five months into 2013, but from what I’ve seen so far, Iron Man 3 is the one to see. After the disaster that is Iron Man 2 (2010), this third installment is a breath of fresh air. Interestingly enough, Iron Man 3 takes a different route and makes a movie about Tony Stark instead of Iron Man. After he nearly faced death in New York, Tony hasn’t been the same. A large portion of the movie is about Stark overcoming his anxiety and fear of losing the people he loves, especially Pepper. The movie has a slower pace, but eventually builds up to one of the best conclusions in comic book movie history. Iron Man 3 also offers a mesmerizing score in the background and strong performances in the foreground. This film brought excitement and entertainment back into theaters and produces one of my favorite comic book movies to date.

It is easy to say that Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Iron Man. After watching him play the role in four different movies, I can say he is one of the best actors who has portrayed a comic book hero on screen. It seems so natural for Downey to play a witty and sarcastic playboy, however, in Iron Man 3 he does something different. This picture truly concentrates on Tony Stark’s sanity and how he feels that he’s losing it. Downey plays Stark completely different for a portion of the film, acting scared and lost, and he performs it just as well as the witty playboy; however, the smart aleck Tony Stark still manages to appear and get some jokes in. Downey, as usual, is an absolute joy to watch, but in Iron Man 3 he has some competition. The Mandarin is played by Sir Ben Kingsley, who is one of the best character actors still working today. Ben Kingsley makes this thrill ride that much more entertaining. He  is similar to Tom Hardy’s Bane, and creates a voice that captures a different evil. It is unsettling and watching him at times is terrifying (no comma) as he doesn’t even blink while pulling a trigger. He becomes one of the best villains in the comic book world, and leaves the audience wanting more of him. Finally, I feel the need to give Don Cheadle a small note for delivering a strong performance. Not as good as Downey or Kingsley’s performance, but one worth noting. He provides a decent amount of comedic relief, while still portraying a real hero. There is something about Don Cheadle that makes me think of a hero. He just has that honest, good hearted look about him. When he is in the new “Iron Patriot” suit, he couldn’t be anymore of an American hero. Watching this trio interact is a blast, and their chemistry explodes, leaving the third Iron Man to be the best one yet.

One surprising element of Iron Man 3 that is equally as powerful as some of the performances is the score from Brian Tyler. This movie is easily the best scored from the trilogy, and it really helps the film. I can barely remember the scores from the first two Iron Man Films, but the music in the third one truly stands out and brings excitement and other emotions. Some of the composition made my hair stand up as Stark finally faces some demons, and it did nothing but enhance this wonderful picture. While the score made the background, the face of Iron Man 3 is the visual effects. The visual effects from this picture are absolutely stunning, and had my eyes glued to the screen. This picture amazed me on almost every level, and it is no surprise that its visual is one of its strongest punches.

Iron Man 3 did not only offer a strong score, fantastic visual effects, and unlimited amount of fun, but it also offers one of the best, action-packed finales in comic book movie history. The excitement and intensity that I felt in the last thirty minutes of the film was unbelievable. I am amazed by how many times I was simply left in awe. The movie’s strongest element has to be how well it paced itself as an action movie. Iron Man 3 is filled with nonstop action, which is usually the better route to take. There are two major action sequences, and two or three smaller ones. One can be found in the beginning of the film, and is the same one from the trailer. That particular action sequence was vividly intense, and is amazing to see unfold. It’s breathtaking when Iron Man fully suits up for the first time in the film. The second major action sequence is the film’s finale. The movie’s brilliance comes from making the audience wait for the action they want. Anticipating the explosion of turmoil makes Iron Man 3’s finale such a phenomenal one. The movie makes you wait for a real action sequence. Feeding us little at a time then serving us the biggest plate of ass-kicking I’ve ever seen. Watching it unfold is just breathtaking and energizing. When the audience and I cheered during the final showdown, I felt what everyone should feel when watching a superhero movie. It was the same feeling I got when I first opened a comic when I was a kid; pure astonishment.

Iron Man 3 is simply incredible. It is the best Iron Man movie, and the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. It brings us one of the best action packed finales I’ve ever seen. With a mesmerizing score, Iron Man 3 becomes one of my favorite comic book movies of all-time.  Iron Man 3 is solid as steel- or iron that is.

 

3.5 out of 4

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

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Lawless

Based on the 2008 novel, The Wettest County in the World, by Matt Bondurant, comes a crime-drama about bootleggers in Franklin County, Virginia. Director John Hillcoat, brings this novel to life along with writer Nick Cave and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme. This prohibition time piece, tells the story of bootleggers and corrupt cops, and the fight for true justice. Lawless stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, and Jessica Chastain. This picture also stars Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Dane DeHaan.

Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy in Lawless

Lawless tells the story of the three Bondurant brothers, Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy), and Howard (Clarke), who are bootleggers in the “Wettest County in the World”-Franklin County, Virginia. Forrest is the leader, Howard the muscle, and Jack is more of a helping hand, however that all changes when a new deputy, Rakes (Pearce), steps into Franklin County. Rakes, along with some new authorities, want to cut in on the bootlegging scandal, but when the Bondurants decline, a war begins. Now, Jack wants to standup and take charge, and the Bondurant brothers must do what they can to defend their business and protect the ones they love.

Lawless is both a complete surprise and a bit of a disappointment. This new John Hillcoat picture, is highly intriguing, filled with beautiful cinematography, and has a powerful cast with strong presence. On the other hand, the film has everything it needs to be one of the best pictures of the year, yet it isn’t. Lawless simply, stops itself from its full potential, and makes some decisions that most viewers will have a hard time swallowing. The action sequences aren’t often, but intense and mesmerizing when they happen. The film’s finale has to be one of the most entertaining showdowns that audiences have seen all year, and is one that will leave viewers on the edge of their seat.

This crime-drama is a film that is performance driven, without the strong cast in its corner, it may not have been as good as it was. Shia LaBeouf seems to really take a leap, as he attempts to stop costarring with the computerized robots, and leaves audience with a satisfying performance. His performance isn’t the best in the film, but it will have viewers saying, maybe Shia can really act. Matt Hardy will be a crowd favorite, as he plays a character who can be ruthless and at times cynical, yet humorous and one many people will connect to. Hardy is no doubt one of the most promising actors in Hollywood today, and each film just makes it more of a fact. There are moments were the audience may lose sight of his character, yet the performance is enough to reel them back in. Guy Pearce also gives a thrilling performance, as a terrifying authority, that seems to have a dead soul. While watching the film, Waltz’s performance in Inglourious Basterds came to mind, and though Pearce’s performance isn’t nearly as good, it is in the same ballpark. Pearce will definitely get a rise from the viewers, and almost becomes the favorite actor in the picture, however he makes a close second. Gary Oldman is the hidden gem of Lawless, he in total may have fifteen minutes of screen-time, yet his performance will wow the audience, and have them begging for more. Oldman’s character will bring a chill to the viewers’ spine, and will make them wonder, why is isn’t in the picture more. Mia is breathtaking, as is Chastain, yet watching Mia and Shia share the screen felt touching, and heartfelt. For example, as Shia gets Mia away from her father, and they drive off in his new car, their chemistry melts through the screen, and makes viewers wonder if she is worth more than moonshine to him.

Another surprising factor of Lawless is the film’s visually beauty. It might take a while to appear, but as the film progresses, it becomes more and more stunning. The film has a set tone, which tends to be a bit dark, yet their comes the shots of Franklin County, that will stop viewers in awe. Delhomme truly brings the allure of the county alive, even while men are being killed and blood is staining the town. This imagery alone makes the movie surprisingly better, yet it does start to burry itself, keeping from being the phenomenal picture it should be. Lawless fascinates itself with minor subplots, or interesting to show the audience, but takes them off their main course. At times, these great characters seem to become a bit bland, even though they could be some of the best characters on screen this summer. Overall, Lawless is a great film, that will excite and entertain you, though it might not fully connect to its viewers. The biggest flaw is the picture, is instead of being apart of the film, it feels your just watching through the window. This works for some films, however in this picture, viewers just want more, they want to truly be in this world, yet for some reason, they can’t fully connect.

 

Lawless has the elements along with the potential to be one of the best films of the year, however it isn’t. It just falls short, and really only scratches the surface of how great it could have been. That being said, Lawless is still entertaining, it has some good and some great performances, intense action sequences, and the film has a mesmerizing look. However, it at the end, it only feels satisfying, and leaves viewers saying, “Only if…”

 

3 out of 4 stars

 

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

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The Dark Knight Rises

In the epic conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, comes one of most monumental pictures of the year. The highly anticipated picture, The Dark Knight Rises, brings the Batman trilogy to an epic conclusion and gives audiences one of the best Batman films ever made. Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, along with David S. Goyer, The Dark Knight Rises is a suspenseful, thrill ride that viewers will not soon forget. Director, Christopher Nolan, gives one thing to the Batman films, that they have never had before, consistency. The consistency, of never losing the standard, and having all three films soar beyond expectations. The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, and Anne Hathaway. This third and final film also stars Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman.

Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises

It has been eight years since Joker brought terror to the streets of Gotham, and since Harvey Dent filled the city with hope and courage. Gotham is now in a place of peace, after Harvey Dent’s death, a law was generated that took the majority of crime out of the city. However, with the removal crime came the disappearance of the city’s guardian, Batman (Bale). However, after nearly a decade, a monster named Bane, surfaces to destroy the city that Batman and Commissioner James Gordon (Oldman) have worked so hard to protect. Along with Bane, comes the suspicious behavior of a woman named Selina Kyle (Hathaway), who tries to obtain Wayne’s fingerprints. With fear beginning to flood the city, Bruce Wayne must make the hardest decision of all, and pick up the cape and cowl, and again become…The Batman.

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is a breathtaking picture, filled with action and suspense. It is a fine example, very much like The Dark Knight (2008), of a near perfect picture that will remain in the minds of viewers for years to come. Nolan’s trilogy truly has stamped itself into the history of cinema, giving audiences one of the best trilogies in the past two decades. From the strong, visual attraction to the mesmerizing acting, to a well written script, The Dark Knight Rises goes beyond just pleasing audiences. The movie also owes a great deal to composer,  Hans Zimmer for an amazing score that helps drive the film. Sometimes the right music can make a film more powerful, and this film has the best score in the trilogy. This picture will move audience and brings the story of The Dark Knight so much deeper, than ever before.

As in the other Batman films by Christopher Nolan, the performances always stand out, truly bringing life to the picture. Actor, Michael Caine, brings such an emotional performance, he can bring tears to viewers eye, numerous times in the picture. The chemistry between Bale and Caine, has actually gotten stronger, and this time brings some of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the picture. Anne Hathaway gives a surprising performance, as she successfully becomes Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman. Though many doubted her, when she was casted for the role, she will let no viewers down. Hathaway easily transforms into a seductive, and highly entertaining character, that balances the line of good and bad. Her chemistry with Bale also shines brightly in this picture, as both Wayne and Kyle, and as The Bat and The Cat. As tension and attraction grows stronger between the two, it makes the fight scenes that much more captivating, when they are behind their masks. For instance, in their first fight, the two not only battle each other, as well as helping each other, their morals are also clashing. Gary Oldman, becomes such a humane character as Commissioner Gordon, maybe the most humane character in the series. Oldman battles to defend his city, though he may do it against his morals and beliefs, he transforms into the hero of Gotham, though there is a man in a cape protecting it. He makes his usual, minor character, become one of the most likable roles in the entire series, because of how pure and true Oldman makes the character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard are breaths of fresh air, each both in their first appearances in the trilogy, instantly become apart of Batman’s world. Cotillard is mysterious, and passionate, as she is destined to join Wayne Enterprises, as well as be with Bruce Wayne. She is filled with hope, and believes in the town of Gotham, yet holds something within. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a wonderful job as a young Gotham cop, who searches for the Batman, and looks to give hope to Gotham, just as Dent did, only not many are listening. Levitt is passionate and such a driven character, leaving audiences only wanting him to have more screen-time. Tom Hardy gives a pretty solid performance as the big, monstrous Bane. Surprisingly, Hardy gives a little life into the character, giving him enough to make him more than just a tough guy. Hardy gives Bane purpose, however it may be a little too late when audiences see this side of this character to redeem him. Now, as much as people complained about the infamous “Bat-Rasp,” it’s wild to think people aren’t protesting the film because of just how annoying Bane’s voice is. The odd, out of place voice, makes Bane look like a puppet, simply acting like he’s speaking. Finally, Christian Bale gives another memorable performance as The Dark Knight. Bale goes through emotional hell in this film, and the depth that viewers needed from a Batman film is finally delivered in this picture. Bale shows pain and defeat in this picture far better than any previous film. The film truly poses the question “Why do we fall?”, reminiscing the thought of facing defeat in order to concur.

The Dark Knight Rises does however struggle to get to the amazing resolution. The writing and dialogue is beautiful, but toward the middle of the picture it does seem to drag. Though the film successfully shows Batman’s battle to “find the fear,” it struggles to keep the viewers entertaining during Bane’s reign. However, when the film nears its climatic ending, the film soars, and brings everything together perfectly. The film has twists and turns, to keep the audience on their toes, but unfortunately waits until the end to bring their viewers to the edge of their seats.

What makes truly makes The Dark Knight Rises such a phenomenal picture is that unlike any Batman film before, this film captures and translates the spirit of the main character, Batman. This picture actually captures the essence of the hero, which truly empowers the character, and in turn empowers the film. The Dark Knight Rises symbolizes so much, standing for the fight of good and evil, and standing for what people believe in. The film represents morals, and reminds audiences to fight for and protect what they love, as an army of cops charge and army of terrorists and criminals. Nolan actually translates the spirit of Batman, it doesn’t matter who is in the Batsuit, or which villain The Caped Crusader is after, its the spirit of Batman that gives hope to the fearful, and helps the fallen stand. The trilogy is very much a journey through Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the guardian of Gotham City, and this epic trilogy ends, completely understanding the character and visualizing everything Batman and the films stands for.

 

3.5 out of 4 stars

 

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

 

 As a Batman Fan: Though above is my perspective of the film as a movie lover, let me share my thoughts as a Batman fan. The Dark Knight Rises is one of my favorite Batman adaptations ever made. Though the film strays from true origin stories or things of that nature, like said in the paragraph above, the film finally understands the greatest hero in the world, which in turn makes it that much better as a Batman film.

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