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Sunday, 2 May 2010

Iron Man 2

Poor Tony Stark. The magnet in his chest is slowly poisoning him, the US Government was his Iron Man suit, and an angry Russian man wants to hit him with a whip.

That's the entire plot of Iron Man 2. Iron Man was always a weak concept and stretching it to two films was always going to be a challenge. The problem with Iron Man is he is essentially a very dull superhero. Alter ego Tony Stark is very entertaining, but as soon as he puts on the suit, he's just a boring robot.

Don't worry though - to snazz things up a bit, this time there's ANOTHER boring robot. AND THIS ONE IS GREY.
The world's most boring colour.
PLUS to make thigs even more boring, the most Tony does during the film is build a special triangle. He does this with the aid of a mystery new element that his dad hid in a rubbish papier mache model village. That is where I hide all my myserty new elements.


yes he kills some bad robots. But those robots' only mission was to kill him anyway - they weren't out to destroy the world or anything. I don't see why he should get a medal for moping around his flat whining for 2hrs then building a triangle.

And that's the problem really - nothing is at stake in this film. Tony is the only one under threat, and if he's not worried about it, why should we be?

The only conclusion i can come to is that the film is really about beards. Why does every villain Iron Man fights have to have a beard?

Mickey Rourke has a beard. Jeff Bridges in Iron Man 1 had a beard. Why does Iron Man only fight men with beards? What's his problem with beards? You can't accuse him of being beardist because he too has a beard! Maybe he just wants to be the only man on earth with a beard and has vowed to nobble anyone else who dares to grow one.

IN OTHER NEWS: Sam Rockwell (no beard) is amusing as a sort of gay version of Tony Stark, but it's a shame that Scarlett Johansson is reduced to the director's idea of a perfect woman - a secretary for 99% of the movie who then changes into a leather catsuit for no good reason, complete with obligatory bra shot.

Here is a picture of her in the catsuit. (couldn't find the bra shot)

Mark Out Of Seven: 4

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Superman Returns

Superman Returns begins as our hero gets back from a holiday in space to find no one really missed him. Even his ex-girlfriend Lois Lane is married off to the bloke who plays Cyclops out of the X-Men.

She obviously has quite bad taste in men - they are two of the dullest super-heroes ever.

Superman was always boring because he was invincible, which made sorting out any world-threatening problems pretty simple.

The other boring thing about Superman is his non-disguise. Some idiots like to mock the people of Metropolis for not realising that Clark Kent is Superman. After all, his disguise consists solely of a pair of glasses and some hair gel. Superman has seen Batman's disguise, you know. He's seen it and he still decided to just go with the glasses. They are a lot easier to take on and off. Also Superman wears his costume under his clothes which is a bit risky if he ever goes to the gym or spills coffee down his shirt. BUT Superman does not NEED a disguise because no one expects him to have a secret identity! Why would you expect that? You would expect it off Batman precisely because he -does- wear a mask. But because Superman doesn't, people just think he is Superman all the time, with no alter-ego. (If Batman tried beating people up without his mask on, people would just say 'why is millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne doing that?. And why is he hanging around with Robin?')

So now you see why Superman's "non-disguise" is so clever.

Anyway, in this film, Lex Luthor invents some sort of magic island out of space crystals.


The only people in the film that actually know or care about the island scheme are Superman and Lois Lane. And that is only because they happen to be around at the time. Despite Lex Luthor repeatedly telling us 'billions of people will die!' there is never any sense of real danger - all he does is make an island in the middle of the ocean - made of kryptonite (which, by the way, is harmless to all humans).

Oh well, at least by making it out of kryptonite Lex has stopped Superman from simply picking it up and throwing it into the sun, right?

Sorry - what's that? For some unknown reason the kryptonite doesn't affect Superman when he's underneath it? Unlucky Luthor! You forgot about that didn't you? In your face!

(Watch out for the especially pointless part of the film here when Superman flies to the island, rescues Lois, then she flies back to the mainland, then suddenly changes her mind, flies back to the island AGAIN, picks up Superman, flies back to the mainland with him, and then he changes his mind and flies back to the island. AGAIN.)

Actually, the kryptonite must have hurt Superman a little bit because he has to go to hospital afterwards to recover. It must be because of all the special anti-kryptonite poisoning medicine they have at all earth hospitals. It is standard. So Superman lays in a hospital bed for a bit and then he is okay again, just enough time to annoy Lois, taunting his presence in her face before flying off, leaving her confused and heart broken.

Superman Returns is supposed to be about old lovers returning and stirring up old feelings. But this theme is left completely unresolved. Lois is still in love with Superman but she also quite likes her husband, so everyone is left a bit miserable at the end. Thank God that evil island was sorted out though. I was worried about that.

Mark Out Of Seven: 2

White Noise

Is White Noise a scary film? Not really, only if you are scared of watching blank videos. In fact, if you wanted, you could experience all the thrills of White Noise in your own home by leaving your TV set on after 3am.

But what if a slightly aggressive voice spoke to you from the TV in the middle of the night? Would you be scared then? Because that is exactly what (sometimes) happens in White Noise.

Architect Jonathan Rivers loses his wife in a mysterious car accident and discovers he can still communicate with her spirit by Electronic Voice Phenomenon - recording and replaying hours and hours of "nothing" on cassette tapes and videos to capture voices from beyond the grave.

Just like Bill Odie would rather spend an afternoon with a red-crested meadow lark than any real human being, Michael Keaton would prefer to watch endless videos of static rather than spend time with his young son. (Here in lies the real moral of the film - don't get so obsessed with grief over the dead that you forget the living.)

However all is not as it seems as Jonathan's messages are invaded by some evil ghosts with slightly aggressive voices! They use words like "PIG!" and "ROT!" and even "BASTARD!" which worries Jonathan no end.

(BTW: Watch out for Keaton's "sceptical" face, it's a good one. Sceptical is quite a hard expression to pull off, but Michael does it superbly. Try it for yourself and you will see what I mean. He also does "obsessive" and "confused and also bit scared" quite well too. I bet he spent 6 months working as an architect just for the 30 seconds he appears on screen looking at those blueprints. He is such a professional.)

So who are these evil ghosts and what do they want? And are they responsible for the recent spate of murders in Jonathan's village? (Clue: yes)

It's easy to compare White Noise to The Sixth Sense - A grumpy man investigates a strange spooky phenomenon which gradually becomes more and more odd until the (boring) truth is finally revealed at the end in a series of rubbish flashbacks - but while The Sixth Sense twist is blindingly obvious from the beginning, at least it has an actual twist.

In the absence of one it tries to shove in every stock "surprise" ending in the book leaving a stupid mess that doesn't really make any sense. In the end, not even the wide range of expressions of Michael Keaton can save White Noise from its destiny in the bargain bins.

Mark Out of Seven: 4