Monday, May 17, 2010

Popcorn for One: IRON MAN 2 & Paranormal Activity on DVD

Popcorn For One:

IRON MAN 2 I finally had a chance to see the second film in the Iron Man Trilogy (?) and seemingly the third film that will lead up to the AVENGERS movie. Next up, I believe will be THOR, which will be followed by CAPTAIN AMERICA. (If you haven’t been following things on line, you may be interested to know that hints/clues about upcoming events are planted in this movie.)
Basically, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has discovered that the energy supply that powers both his suit and his heart may actually be killing him. Meanwhile, elements of the U.S. military and some others in the government feel that Stark should not be the only one who has access to his technology. One of his few military allies, and friend, Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle, stepping up nicely in the role) seeks to warn Stark that his continuing grandstanding will end badly. Events really begin going downhill when a Russian scientist, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke, being really creepy), who blames Stark’s father for the failure and fate of his own father, recreates the device that powers the IM armor. Finally, a rival of Stark, Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell, who researched the role by watching episodes of the old BATMAN TV-show), allies himself with Vanko and uses Stark’s own technology against him. Huge Iron Man/War Machine (with Rhodey inside), Hammer-drone battles take up the later part of the movie and it is worth having sat through some slow stuff mid-film to get there. A happy ending with hints of things to come for most of those involved.

You get some nice moments with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson, never called Black Widow in the film that I can recall), both of whom may be showing up in later films prior to AVENGERS. Although, I’m know that Fury will, as he seems to be the one heading the Avengers Project, it wouldn’t make sense to have Natasha show up in a single film and then disappear. Whether Johansson would want to do the role again, is up to her I guess. Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan and the film’s director) along with Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) are also back this time out, with Favreau having a bit more screen time and even an action sequence.
Hate to sound like most of the other viewers in the Blogger-verse and YouTube, but I didn’t find this film as solid at the first. Still, I’m glad that I paid to see it, since I know it will be a major topic of conversation in San Diego.

Remote Viewing

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: I had several friends recommend this film ever since its theatrical run and another added her recommendation after seeing it on DVD. Along with the positive reviews that YouTubers did I figured I would check it out and I’m glad I did. I guess you could call it a less rural and higher grade video kind of BLAIR WITCH. (We’ll not discuss the alleged sequel to that film, thank you very much!) By which (no pun) I mean that a similar hand-held video technique is used, with most of the more intense scenes done at night.
Katie & Micah (played by Katie Featherston & Micah Sloat, respectively) are living together. Katie claims to have experienced strange things since she was a child, eventually leading to a fire at her home. She reveals to Micah that she has the feeling that things are happening at night. In order to see if they are or not, Micah purchases some camera equipment to tape them as they sleep. Minor noises and items which appear to move are the first indication that Katie may be correct. As the month progresses, so do the noises and disruptions in their lives. When a psychic seems unable or unwilling to help them, Micah decides to take matters into his own hands. Things only get worse, up to the final night when things come to a shocking conclusion.
The DVD I watched had both the theatrical release and an alternate ending. I think the director was smart in going with the ending that most people eventually saw, although both are effective.
If you like ‘scary movies’, I certainly recommend the film. Don’t expect the type of FX, make-up and photography you get in most Hollywood productions. This is a low-budget production and looks it. Wisely, the folks who did the film use those very things to produce a pretty, good movie. I’d give it a Thumbs Up.

IRON MAN 2 - SPOILERS: 1) Watch for the second (third if you were paying close attention to the HULK film) appearance of a certain shield in Stark’s lab. 2) Try to check out the map with areas designated with circles, behind Fury as he talks to Stark. Possible hints at the homeland of future Avengers. Africa? Hmmm… 3) Sit through the credits. ‘Nuff said!!