REVIEW: IRON MAN (2008)

 

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Terrence Howard (The Brave One)
Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Contagion)
Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)
Shaun Toub (Lois & Clark0
Faran Tahir (Supergirl TV)
Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Jon Favreau (Daredevil)
Tim Guinee (Blade)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Samuel L. Jackson (XXX)
Nazanin Boniadi (How I Met Your Mother)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)

MV5BMTUzODkyNDE2OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzEzNTIzMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) isn’t just an industrialist or one of the most brilliant minds on the planet: he’s practically a rock star. C’mon, when was the last time you saw a billionaire weapons manufacturer on the cover of “Rolling Stone”? Following in his late father’s footsteps and mentored by Stark Industries CEO Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), Tony keeps the world safe for democracy — and rakes in eight figure paychecks and a parade of “Maxim” cover girls in the process — by engineering the most efficiently destructive arsenal that the U.S. military has ever had at its fingertips.During a trip to Afghanistan to show off the latest and greatest missile technology that Stark Industries has on the table, Tony’s convoy is attacked by an underground group of soldiers using his own weapons against him. Despite being on the brink of death from the shrapnel embedded deep in his heart and kept alive only by a jury-rigged electromagnet in his chest, Tony is ordered by his captors to recreate the Jericho missile. Tony’s brilliant mind immediately starts spinning — not to build a missile but to create a suit of armor that’ll carve through the waves of heavily-armed thugs and get him and his newfound friend Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub) far out of harm’s way. Fueled by months of bottled-up rage and the miniature arc reactor that keeps the shards of shrapnel from skewering his heart, Tony does manage to escape in his armor, and the devastation he’s seen his own weapons wrought makes him vow to leave that life of arms manufacturing behind.Stane nods his head when Tony drops that bombshell in a press conference, asking the weaponeering wunderkind to lay low for a few months while he smooths things over with the company’s board of directors. Tony uses that time to rebuild and refine his armor technology, assembling a more efficient arc reactor and learning to fly with boot-jets and flight stabilizing gauntlets. He’s not setting out to build a weapon, but when Tony learns that his company’s hardware is being sold under the table to butcher untold thousands of innocent people, he slips on his newly-crafted armor to destroy every last trace of that arsenal. This attracts the unwanted attention of the U.S. military — including Tony’s old friend Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard) — as well as what’s left of his captors in Afghanistan, who start piecing back together the scraps of the ramshackle suit that Tony used to escape.Robert Downey Jr. is the most inspired casting choice for a superhero flick since Christopher Reeve back in the Superman days. Even before the camera pans over to Downey’s face for the first time — when all we see is a hand holding a glass of scotch, with chunks of ice clinking around as a Humvee bounds up and down a barren stretch of Afghan desert — he is Tony Stark. The smirking charm, that swaggering confidence, a brilliance that he tends to keep restrained until he’s off by himself…Downey’s so perfect in Iron Man that it’s hard to believe the script wasn’t written with him expressly in mind. One of the hallmarks of a truly great superhero story is if it’s still compelling when the character isn’t in the suit, and that’s certainly the case here.Still building it for most of the movie — but some of Iron Man’s best moments are when he’s working out the kinks in the hardware. Tony’s inventiveness and half-bungled experiments in refining the tech in the Mark I armor score some pretty enormous laughs while also bringing out that wide-eyed sense of wonder I had reading comics growing up. As for the supporting cast, Gwyneth Paltrow — looking more drop-dead gorgeous than she ever has on-screen — captures the dogged loyalty of Tony’s right-hand, Pepper Potts, while infusing her with a charming sort of awkward energy.MV5BMTMwOTIwMTk2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDEzNTIzMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Iron Man is and always will be one of my all time favorite movies.

REVIEW: BITCH SLAP

CAST

Julia Voth (Lilith)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
America Olivo (Mission Impossible 5)
Michael Hurst (Death Warmed Over)
Ron Melendez (Children of The Corn 3)
William Gregory Lee (Dark Angel)
Minae Noji (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Renee O’ Connor (Boogeyman 2)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
Zoe Bell (Death Proof)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)

920x920Bitch Slap is everything you think it is. Girls. Guns. Catfights. Explosions. Lesbian romances. A story of bad guys, booty, alliances, betrayals, and secrets. It’s being billed as, “a post-modern, thinking man’s throwback to the B movie/exploitation films of the 1950s – 70s.This movie is irredeemably enjoyable, preposterous in both its story and its characters yet magnetic as a satire disguised as a schlocky male fantasy. It tells the story of three bad girls, all smoking hot, who find themselves in a plot to extort diamonds and weapons from an underworld kingpin, whose identity is a secret. The redhead is Hel, presumably short for Helen (Erin Cummings); she seems to be the leader of the group, tough but levelheaded, able to see the big picture and plan accordingly. The blonde is Camero (America Olivo), an oversexed hothead who’s on medication. She’s one of those people that hates everyone and is mad about everything, and has the dialogue to prove it. The brunette is a stripper named Trixie (Julia Voth), always upset, always overwhelmed, always wanting to play by the rules.1Every opportunity is taken to flaunt their feminine assets, and boy, do they have them – a basic shot is a slow-motion close-up of heaving breasts and deep cleavage, although some time is set aside for bare legs. There’s never a moment when they aren’t wearing high heels or don’t have makeup painted on their faces. And then there are times when they pause to do a little manual labor, such as digging in the middle of the desert. My, but it’s burning hot, and … is that a bucket of water sitting there? Maybe they should splash each other playfully in order to stay cool. Things will heat back up later on, when Trixie and Hel discover that their feelings for one another are deeper than they first imagined. That’s about when the situation goes completely out of control. Loyalties change. Identities are revealed. People get shot. Things blow up. And catfights.Intertwined with this is a ridiculous but somehow appropriate subplot about a notorious criminal known only as Pinky, never dealt with directly and never seen but fabled to be the most dangerous criminal mastermind who ever lived. When Trixie innocently brings up the subject, Hel and Camero speak in the same tones as someone telling a ghost story around a campfire. “Many believe Pinky’s a phantom,” says Camero. “Others think he sold his soul to the devil. I think he IS the devil.” Maybe so; a flashback sequence shows a silhouetted figure going nuts with what appear to be samurai swords, used to decapitate people left and right. Do we ever discover what Pinky looks like? With such gorgeous women displayed on the big screen, can you honestly say that you care?
When this movie is not going out of its way to be sexy, then it’s being incredibly goofy. Take Olivo, for example; the angrier she gets, the funnier she becomes, not only because she spews unbelievably inane profanity, but also because her character is the most aggressive. Bitch Slap is  indeed a great film, projected up on the screen in all its violent, foulmouthed, double-D glory. also Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, and Renée O’Connor all have cameos in Bitch Slap.