Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Let me preface this mini-review and say that I’ve seen it twice. I unexpectedly got screening tickets for Tuesday and had already booked opening night with a few cousins. I haven’t read any of the Iron Man comics and was introduced to the character through Jon Favreau’s excellent trilogy opener in 2008. I didn’t enjoy Iron Man 2 half as much as the first so I was a little nervous about where they’d take the third film. I need not have worried. Director Shane Black is a perfect fit and has produced what, to my mind, is a match for the first film.

I won’t go into the plot in detail but the character of Tony Stark is far more vulnerable than at any point in the previous movies. He suffers from insomnia after the events in New York (Avengers Assemble) and is struggling to get a handle on things as a serious threat to America, in the shape of The Mandarin, emerges. The dialogue is razor sharp throughout and Downey Jnr is forced to do more than just jump in the suit and wisecrack. Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley are excellent and Gwyneth Paltrow gets a beefier role than at any time before. The action and CG are stunning, particularly as Iron Man plays a version of Barrel of Monkeys in the skies above Florida. You’ll know it when you see it. See it on the big screen if you can but it’s kicked off what is certain to be a big year for blockbusters with Star Trek: Into Darkness and Superman inbound.

Oblivion

Oblivion
Caught Oblivion last week with a few friends and I was the only one to like it. They actually thought I was trolling them. It tells the story of one of the few remaining drone repairmen assigned to Earth, its surface devastated after decades of war with the alien Scavs. Jack, played by Tom Cruise, discovers a crashed spacecraft with contents that bring into question everything he knows about the war. The best thing about it? The visuals and sound. It won’t be remembered as a great sci-fi but it’s a good one.

Side Effects

Side Effects

Saw Side Effects this evening. Rooney Mara plays a young woman whose world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist (Jude Law) has unexpected side effects. I won’t say anything more about the plot as it would spoil it but I’d recommend catching it. Rooney Mara is excellent plus this is touted to be Soderbergh’s last movie.

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty

I was lucky enough to see the Irish premiere of Zero Dark Thirty tonight in the Lighthouse Cinema (cheers Sean). It chronicles the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.

The film follows a CIA operative, Maya, through the torture of detainees, intelligence gathering and a lead she thinks may bring them to bin Laden. It’s not easy to watch at times (scenes of waterboarding especially) but I think Katherine Bigelow has done an even handed job. The acting is spot on and the last 30 minutes will have you gripping the seat even though you know the outcome already. Definitely recommended.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I hadn’t heard much about ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ before I was looking for cinema options this afternoon. It tells the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. The film shows how much of his life has been dedicated to his craft and I don’t think I’ve ever watched a more focused individual. His sons are both sushi chefs and, to be honest, weren’t given a lot of option as young men. Alas, this it’s a lovely tribute to a guy who has honed his skill over 75 years. A truly amazing achievement in any line of work.