IRON MAN 3: CFQ Spotlight Podcast 4:18.1

Robert Downey Jr. casts an acidic glance on superheroics in IRON MAN 3.
Robert Downey Jr. casts an acidic glance on superheroics in IRON MAN 3.

It’s felled the likes of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men. It’s a more daunting foe than Lex Luthor, Bane, and Magneto combined. It is, of course, the third installment of a superhero franchise, and now it’s time for comicdom’s snarkiest hero to face the figurative music in IRON MAN 3. With Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, and Gwyneth Paltrow returning to their roles as, respectively, Tony Stark/Iron Man, James Rhodes/War Machine (here redubbed Iron Patriot), and Pepper Potts/Pepper Potts (somebody’s gotta stay in civvies), plus Ben Kingsley donning a bin Laden beard and a Hugo Weaving/Agent Smith drawl as the politically-incorrect terrorist the Mandarin, and with direction by pop-ironist Shane Black, can this third go for the power-assisted crime fighter break film’s most notorious curse? Turns out Cinefanatastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons form a decidedly mixed jury on that front, differing on whether IM3 is one of the best comic book films to come around in a while, is just solid if undistinguished entertainment, or is an affront to all right-thinking fans of Marvel’s steeliest superhero. The conflict will be resolved with a massive, twenty minute fight scene, heavily enhanced with CG. (No it won’t.)
Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.

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Cowboys and Aliens: Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast 2:29.1

I've Heard of Iron Horses, but Iron Dragonflies?: Daniel Craid and Harrison Ford (way, way back there) undergo future shock in COWBOYS AND ALIENS.
I've Heard of Iron Horses, but Iron Dragonflies?: Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford (way, way back there) undergo future shock in COWBOYS AND ALIENS.

It’s genre-meets-genre at your local multiplex, and not since Gene Autry faced down an advanced, subterranean civilization in PHANTOM EMPIRE has the American west faced such daunting enemies as are encountered in COWBOYS AND ALIENS. With Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig bringing steely resolve to their roles as bitter foes forced to set aside differences in order to ward off an impending invasion of vicious, and quite greedy, aliens, the film — under the direction of IRON MAN’s Jon Favreau — is an intriguing mix of western conventions and summer blockbuster thrills. Join special guest Orenthal Hawkins as he joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons in a debate over whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as well as an exploration of why aliens always seem to be on the short-end of the evolutionary development chain, and a discussion of whether there are better ways to build secure, interplanetary vessels.
Also in capsule reviews: Larry and Dan discuss the low-budget, alien invasion film ATTACK THE BLOCK, and Dan gives his take on the experimental fantasy-drama, THE FUTURE.

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Shane Black for Iron Man 3?

 

Shane Black
Shane Black

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON) has met with Marvel Studios executives to discuss the possiblity of directing IRON MAN 3.
They’re assuming that if  Black is signed as director, he would also write a draft or new screenplay.
Thus far, Marvel/Disney has kept a tight lid on any possible storylines for the next film, which Jon Favreau decided to leave in favor of another Disney project.
Choosing Shane Black as director might be a good fit, as he and star Robert Downey Jr. have worked together before, on KISS KISS, BANG BANG.
The article stresses that there has been no decision as yet, and that other directors are under consideration.
Black is currently writing a live-action screen adaptation of the DEATH NOTE manga/anime for Warner Prothers, and has been developing a DOC SAVAGE project with Sony/Columbia.
IRON MAN 3 is currently slated to be released  May 3rd, 2013.

Favreau Confirms: Off 'Iron Man 3'

FavreauVia his Twitter Page, Jon Favreau confrimed the rumors that he will not be directing IRON MAN 3.

“It’s true, I’m directing MAGIC KINGDOM, not IRON MAN 3. I’ve had a great run with Marvel and wish them the best.”

It’s not known exactly why Jon Favreau left the project, though there were some signs that he was less than thrilled with Marvel Studios pland for the film. Earlier this week he was quoted at MTV.com as saying:

“In theory, IRON MAN 3 is going to be a sequel or continuation of THOR, HULL, CAPTAIN AMERICA and AVENGERS. That whole world … I have no idea what it is. I don’t think they do either, from conversations I’ve had with those guys.”

NY Magazine’s Vulture, which broke the story, speculated it could also be about salary. It suggests that Marvel/Disney didn’t want to pay the $12-15 Million director’s fee (plus percentage points) Favreau would likely demand, after providing two big hits for Marvel.
Of course, Hollywood being a business, Jon Favreau’s next project, MAGIC KINGDOM, is a family adventure film for Walt Disney Pictures (who now own Marvel), which apparently will feature the Disney Studio’s characters and theme park.
Maybe Favreau simply wants to do something different, rather than another go-round with comic book superheroes. He’s been there, done that, and probably has the tee-shirt as well.

'Cowboys and Aliens' – Trailer

Here’s the trailer to COWBOYS AND ALIENS, Universal Studios adaptation of the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
Screen 007 Daniel Craig stars as Zeke Jackson, a hunted gunfighter caught up into a strange extraterrestrial invasion of an Arizona town in the days of the old West.
Also starring Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, and Sam Rockwell.
Directed by IRON MAN’s Jon Favreau.
Due in theaters July 29th, 2011.
 
 
Via Box Office Spy

Sam Rockwell to Tackle Cowboys & Aliens


Actor Sam Rockwell
Actor Sam Rockwell

According to The Hollywood Reporter Sam Rockwell (IRON MAN 2, MOON) has signed on for Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN 2, ZATHURA) upcoming sci-fi film, COWBOYS & ALIENS. He’ll be joining an already star studded cast which includes the likes of Harrison Ford (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES) and Daniel Craig (THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE INVASION).

Rockwell is to star in the upcoming superhero film, IRON MAN 2, which was also directed by Favreau, so the two must of hit if off pretty well. COWBOYS & ALIENS is a graphic novel adaptation in which a group of angry extraterrestrials invade the Old West. Writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof have had to work with Favreau to re-imagine the role of ‘Doc’, a bartender who helps our heroes battle the alien nasties, for Rockwell to boost his screen time and change his appearance from a heavy-set boozer.
I’m quietly anticipating this one and the addition of Rockwell to the cast can only be  a good thing. COWBOYS & ALIENS is set to start shooting in June.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron_Man_2_poster

A worthy if not spectacular successor, IRON MAN 2 recaptures all the wit and exhuberance of the original

Before 2008, who really cared about Iron Man, one of Marvel’s minor characters – perhaps best known for the Black Sabbath song heard so prominently in the film’s trailer. Who knew who director Jon Favreau was? Even Robert Downey Jr. – a respected and well-known actor – hadn’t achieved Hollywood blockbuster status yet. The release of IRON MAN changed all of this – not only earning almost $600 million at the international box office, but also becoming one of the most critically lauded comic book adaptations ever, one that demanded a follow-up.
However, when the inevitable cries for a sequel were heard, things quickly became troubled: Favreau’s unlikely to return as director; oh no, he’s back. Terrence Howard has been fired; he’s to be replaced by Don Cheadle. Emily Blunt’s been cast; oh wait, she’s off the project. With all the issues of casting, production schedules, and who got paid what, it’s a minor miracle that IRON MAN 2 even saw the light of day. Thankfully, the sequel has emerged from the other end of the tunnel with all the wit and exuberance of the original intact – a worthy, if not spectacular, successor to IRON MAN.
IRON MAN 2 picks up six months after Tony Stark’s revelation to the world that he is the metal clad hero of the title; in the interim, his ego has inflated to even larger proportions than previously thought possible. Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko, a criminal Russian physicist, is planning revenge against the Stark family, and rival entrepreneur Justin Hammer is growing tired of Tony’s media dominance. The film opens, somewhat strangely, with its worst scene: Vanko tending his terminally ill father in Russia. There is so much over-the-top Russian stereotyping (Vanko drinking vodka from the bottle in a snow drenched, crummy apartment building) and hammy acting (Mickey Rourke’s Darth Vader moment) that it’s embarrassingly bad. Fortunately, after this false start, the film quickly drops us headfirst into the Stark Expo, a sequence energized by the blisteringly sounds of AC/DC.
iron-man-2The original IRON MAN wouldn’t have been nearly as good if it were not for the characterisation of Tony Stark as a man with an egotistical, eccentric, yet brilliant mind, and Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect actor to embody that personality. The enthusiasm and maddening determination he brought to the role made the film, and the same is true for the sequel. Downey’s performance in IRON MAN 2 is ridiculously enjoyable to watch; he’s probably responsible for at least half the film’s entertainment value. That said, the new additions to the cast manage to grab their own share of the spotlight.
Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard as Lt. Col. James Rhodes, outdoes his predecessor by miles – not just because his character is given more narrative prominence but also because Cheadle is the all-round better actor, bringing a greater sense of authority and, when needed, comedic charm to the character. Mickey Rourke (save for the aforementioned emotional outburst) adds just the right amount of weird to his villainous Vanko, delivering some of the script’s best lines. Sam Rockwell excels as the tragically comic Hammer, a man desperate to outdo Stark but without the necessary means, and Scarlett Johansson delivers a surprisingly kick-ass (and not so surprisingly easy on the eyes) turn as Tony’s new assistant, Natalie Rushman.
Favreau retains his knack for entertaining, kinetic action sequences. The director has always injected his fight scenes with a sense of humour, and these moments elevate IRON MAN 2 a level above just being men in robot suits smacking one another. It’s the first outburst of flames, during Stark’s eleventh hour decision to compete at Monaco, that really stands out, however. Vanko (in his new Whiplash persona) enters the course on foot, tearing up high-powered cars left and right with a thoroughly frightening sense of determination, all shot in brilliantly realised slow-motion. During this moment, we most fear for Stark, and it’s a truly breathtaking piece of cinema.
Iron-Man-2-Black-Widow-scarlettLater, Scarlett Johansson also gets in on the action, infiltrating Hammer’s facility. We watch as she effortlessly cuts through security guards one by one, like a hot knife through butter. It’s an impressively choreographed and memorable sequence, one that will leave audiences with their jaws  resting firmly on the floor.
The special effects are also impressive. Although the CGI in IRON MAN was mostly up to the code, there were a few rough moments. With IRON MAN 2 this is no longer a problem: the technical and visual achievements rank among the best to date, investing every scrape, blow and explosion with believability.
This is not to suggest that IRON MAN 2 over-relies on pyrotechnics. The script is as sharp as ever. Stark’s witty banter with his detractors remains a highlight, especially when in two particularly hilarious scenes wherein Stark goes toe to toe against Senator Stern (Gary Shandling) and Nick Fury (Sam Jackson gets a lot more screen time round, and the film is all the better for it).
Pacing, on the other hand, is the weakness in IRON MAN 2’s armor. The narrative initially feels jet-propelled, but after Whiplash’s first attack on Stark the story becomes a little muddled, scattershot, and (dare I say it?) boring. At mid-point, there are several plot threads developing simultaneously, none of which are exceptionally interesting or well executed, and it begins to feel as if the second act is treading water in anticipation of the climax. When the battle sequence finally arrives, it’s highly enjoyable, but (just like the first film) it is over far too quickly.
This leads to my next criticism: lack of threat. There is one point, and one point only, during which the audience is in any real doubt as to whether Stark will make it out alive, and that is near the beginning. After that, IRON MAN 2 becomes very predictable: you realise that none of Iron Man’s opponents are going to put him in any tangible danger. Fortunately, these issues dim but do not destroy the overall impact of this amusing and exciting slice of blockbuster superhero cinema.
Untitled
IRON MAN 2 (2010). Director: Jon Favreau. Writers: Justin Theroux (screenplay) and Stan Lee (original comic books). Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson.
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Noah Ringer on for Cowboys & Aliens


Actor Noah Ringer
Actor Noah Ringer

The folks over at Variety have the scoop that Noah Ringer has been cast in Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN) next film; COWBOYS & ALIENS. Ringer is a relative unknown but after being given the lead role in AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER by M. Night Shyamalan he will be staring in Favreau’s upcoming sci-fi/western hybrid.

COWBOYS & ALIENS is being adapted from the comic book of the same name which implies a rather simple ‘cowboys defend Earth from aliens story’ but in fact is something much more interesting. In the comics the twist is that the aliens end up invading the Old West and colonising the area just as the real life settlers did to the Native Americans. It definitely sounds like an promising concept and one that’s in safe hands with Favreau on board to direct. It’s not clear what role Ringer will be playing yet but he’ll be joining a impressive cast that already includes Harrison Ford (INDIANA JONES, STAR WARS) and Daniel Craig (CASINO ROYALE, LAYER CAKE).
COWBOYS & ALIENS is set for release on the 29th of July, 2011.

Ford Officially on board for Cowboys & Aliens


Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford’s (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES) involvement in Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN, ZATHURA) sci-fi western, COWBOYS & ALIENS, was confirmed today by the director on his Twitter account. Rumours have already been circulating
as to whether Ford had been cast in the film but now Favreau has officially let the cat out of the bag.
Ford will act alongside Daniel Craig in the comic adaptation in which cowboys try to fend off extraterrestrial being in the old west.  The plot sounds like a lot of fun and Favreau has more than proved himself as a director whom is up to the task. The addition of Ford to the cast could be the icing on the cake, provided the veteran actor lets loose his funnier side that, frankly, has been missing for far too long.
COWBOYS & ALIENS is currently in pre-production but already has a release date set for the 29th of July, 2011.