Friday, May 31, 2013

Sydney Film Festival: I Am Divine(2013)

Year: 2013
Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Cast: Divine (archive footage), John Waters, Ricki Lake
Screening at the Sydney Film Festival on the 15th and 16th of June 2013. For times, venues and tickets please see here

If you don't know anything about Divine, prepare to be shocked. If you do know about Divine, you know she can always be trusted to shock.

I Am Divine is the feature length documentary about the legendary underground cult figure that will be screening at this years Sydney Film Festival. Being as it is about Divine, it goes without saying that this isn't a run-of-the-mill movie star documentary, as absolutely nothing about Divine was run-of-the-mill. Prepare to be shocked, but also prepare to be in awe at one of the best made and interesting celebrity documentaries you will ever see.

Born Harris Glen Milstead, Divine was the larger than life transvestite who appeared in John Water's films of bad taste and became a cult celebrity. Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary shows us how a slightly feminine boy from Baltimore became the drag queen who starred in numerous John Waters films that both appalled and enthralled. There are interviews with Waters and many of her co-stars including Ricki Lake, as well as interviews with those who were closest to him including his late mother and his first (and only) girlfriend. We have a look at Divine's most outrageous moments and find out who the man behind Divine really was.

Anybody who is familiar with Divine will know that the type of entertainment she served and the movies she made with John Waters are very much an acquired taste. This documentary contains much of the footage from these films and her live shows so if you are easily offended or have a weak stomach, be prepared. You will more than likely see things on screen you never though you would ever subject yourself to watching and feel extreme discomfort as a result. However, all bad taste aside, this documentary is definitely worth a view. I Am Divine is absolutely intriguing and thoroughly entertaining. Divine wasn't by any means an ordinary celebrity and her rise to fame and way of life was anything but a typical Hollywood story.

Like any good documentary should do, you finish watching I Am Divine and feel like you know so much more about the subject than you did before. That is, if you weren't a Divine fan before. I Am Divine will absolutely thrill Divine fans and any fan of John Waters' films. No matter whether you had never heard of Divine before or you are a die-hard Pink Flamingos fan, you will be entertained as well as informed. Divine lived such an alternate existence that it is impossible not to be drawn into exploring his world, twisted as it may have been.

The guests in the documentary are all very credible sources as the majority of them knew Divine first hand so you know that what you are hearing about her is not just hearsay. It is all accurate and is the result of wonderful resourcing and research.

I Am Divine as a film itself slots itself in nicely with the Divine film catalogue. The way in which it is made gives the impression that the documentary is a John Waters film and was made in the same time period that Divine was in the business. This is achieved by using the bright pink italic writing that was used for Divine to introduce each interviewee.

This documentary, as well done as it is, still may not be for everyone. If you are among the very easily offended and grossed out, than the things you may see may overrule the point of the film. If you can see past these things or they match up to your sense of humour, then you will see I Am Divine as a great celebrity bio.

No matter how scary and strange you find Divine, you still can't tear your eyes away from her. I Am Divine is a fitting tribute to a star like no other.


The Sydney Film Festival will run from the 5th-16th of June 2013.  Click here for the official website and more information.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Introduction to the 60th Sydney Film Festival

We are very excited to announce that in a little less than a week, Movie Critical will be covering the 60th Sydney Film Festival!

This is a very exciting time. As I am from Sydney, this is not the first time I have attended the SFF, but it will be the first time I have been able to cover it for Movie Critical and in great detail. I am so excited to be able to tell you all about the biggest film event in Sydney's calendar year and share with you not only reviews from all the films I see, but also photos and my experiences at these screenings, the red carpet events and all the happenings from the Festival Hub which will be located at lower Sydney Town Hall. It is going to be a great week and a half.

Firstly, let me give you a bit of information about the festival. SFF was founded in 1954 and was held in four venues over four days. There was 40 films screened and the 1200 tickets for the event sold out. There is a great free e-book on the official SFF webpage available to read which is available here.

The 2013 SFF will have over 150 films with over 260 screenings. The number of films showing this year is more than any other year so far. Nashen Moodley became director of SFF in 2012 and is the current director. Only two days ago after I expressed on Twitter how excited I am about the festival next week and Moodley tweeted me back letting me know that he is also very excited!

There are three competitive sections of SFF. There is the Official Competition which this year contains twelve films, the Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize and the Dendy Awards For Australian Short Films. Apart from the competition films, there are notable feature films and shorts showing. Many of these screenings are Australian premieres.

Like any great festival, SFF isn't just restricted to the screening venues. There are going to be talks given by film buffs and academics and also by many of the film directors who are part of the official competition. During the festival, I am lucky enough to be attending the Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture given by the incredible film critic, David Stratton and special guest, Australian actor, Jack Thompson.

The place to be is going to be the Festival Hub! This place sounds like it could well be my heaven on Earth. The Hub will have free exhibitions, talks, screenings, shows, parties and DJ's. I am looking forward to attending their Film Club, which takes place daily at 5pm. I'll be there! Come say hi!

I'm going to try and see as many films as I can at the festival this year so I won't give you my official list of films I will be seeing as of yet. Please join me for this very exciting week and a bit when the world of film comes to Sydney!

I have already reviewed two films which will be showing at SFF this year.

Only God Forgives is part of the Official Competition. Please feel free to read my review here

Greetings from Tim Buckley is a feature showing at SFF. Please feel free to read my review here

The Sydney Film Festival is taking place from the 5-16th June 2013. Screenings are taking place at the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George St, Dendy Cinemas Opera Quays, Hayden Orpheum Cremorne and Art Gallery of NSW.

For tickets and to find out more about SFF, please see their official website.

If you want to find out more about the Festival Hub, please see here

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sydney Film Festival: Only God Forgives (2013)

Year: 2013
Director: Nicholas Winding Refn
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringami, Rhatha Phongam
Screened at the Cannes Film Festival on 21st May 2013
Will be screening at the Sydney Film Festival on the 15th and 16th June. See the Sydney Film Festival website for venues and tickets here
To be released nationally in Australia on 18th July and USA on 19th July 2013

Only God Forgives was one of the most highly anticipated films of this year's Cannes Film Festival. Director, Nicholas Winding Refn took home Best Director of the festival in 2011 for Drive. It was for this same film that Ryan Gosling received widespread acclaim. One would want believe that this combination would again produce something special.

The reality of Only God Forgives is that it is certainly very special when it comes to it's cinematography and sound editing. It is also certainly an unforgettable film, just perhaps not in the right ways.

American Julian (Ryan Gosling) is living a self imposed exile in Bangkok where he runs a boxing club, which is a front to his drug peddling business. When his brother, Billy (Tom Burke) is murdered after he kills a young prostitute, his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives from the USA to retrieve her eldest son's body. She wants revenge for whoever did this to her son and wants Julian to be the one to avenge his brother.

Only God Forgives can be an incredibly complex film at times, when it doesn't have to be. The cinematography is absolutely amazing, but it does feel as though Refn does try to do a bit too much. There are a lot of scenes and shots in the film which just complicate what your interpretation is of what you are seeing and makes you confused. What Refn is trying to do is show what the characters are seeing in their mind, but it just complicates things. There are also underlying themes to the film according to Refn's directors notes, such as the idea of a man wanting to fight God, but these themes are hard to distinguish through the clutter.

There are two features of this film that stay with you long after you leave the cinema. The first being that lack of dialogue. The characters, in particular Gosling's Julian have very little to say throughout the film and little emotion is shown. All emotion is shown in the most subtle way and you have to really search the character's face to find how they are really feeling.

Something that is really not done in a subtle way is the violence. Only God Forgives is truly not for the faint hearted. There are some very, very intense torture scenes. The film maybe didn't need to be quite so violent. That's not saying that the film shouldn't have had violence in it because the subject matter does require violence, but just not as overboard as what it went. The extremity of the violence again takes away from the film as a whole and instead of remembering it for what it is about, it is those stomach churning torture scenes you remember.

Yet it is the film's cinematography and sound editing that save the film. The ability to make ugly seem beautiful as a result of the choices in camera choices and the positioning of the actors in their location is a rare, rare thing. The sound editing is amazing the way it makes you feel as though you are watching something life changing (whether you are or not).

Ryan Gosling does carry the film well with a controlled performance. However, his character is not the most likable. The lack of dialogue and the lack of real emotion leads you to wonder if you really know anything about this character at the end of the film.

Kristin Scott Thomas is so disgusting that she is brilliant. She is the mother from hell. It is a role like nothing she has ever done before and Scott Thomas does it so well. Her dialogue is so trashy that it is funny, but you can also sense the danger oozing out of her.

Vithaya Pansringami, who plays Chang, the policeman who kills Billy, is very interesting to watch on screen. He is evil, but you see his inner turmoil coming through in certain scenes, especially where he is singing.

You may not remember Only God Forgives for being one of the best films of the Cannes Film Festival or Sydney Film Festival, but it is unlikely you will forget it at all. Extremely powerful, just perhaps not in the right way.


You may have also seen Ryan Gosling in .....
The Ides Of March  as Stephen Meyers
Drive as Driver

You may have also seen Kristin Scott Thomas in......
Nowhere Boy as Aunt Mimi

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sydney Film Festival: Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012)

Penn Badgley Sings in 'Greetings From Tim Buckley' Trailer!

Year: 2012
Director: Daniel Algrant
Cast: Penn Badgley, Imogen Poots, Ben Rosenfield, Kate Nash
Limited release now showing in the US. To find out which cinemas this film is showing at, please see here
Showing at the Sydney Film Festival on the 7th and 15th of June. Please see here for tickets and venues

Greetings from Tim Buckley is not your typical biopic.

This is set to be the pick of the upcoming Sydney Film Festival for music lovers, especially fans of both or either Buckley's. It is not the biopic you may be expecting if you want to look at their whole lives, as Greetings from Tim Buckley looks primarily at one stage in Jeff Buckley's life with some flashbacks to a certain part of Tim Buckley's life. However, the main reason everyone should see this film is to witness an absolutely incredible performance by Penn Badgley.

In 1991, Jeff Buckley (Penn Badgley) receives a call asking him to attend and be part of a tribute concert to his father, 60's musician Tim Buckley (Ben Rosenfield). Jeff battles with his emotions leading up to the night because of a father who died when he was only eight years old and didn't particularly feature in his life before then. He and production assistant, Allie (Imogen Poots) explore the New York of his father as Jeff decides whether he wants to pay tribute to a father he never knew.

What many people will find with Greetings from Tim Buckley is that this film only covers a few days in the life of Jeff Buckley. It is not a life story about Tim or Jeff. We get an idea of what both of their lives were like in the time periods we don't visually see, but it is a very small time period we are seeing on screen. Some people may find this makes the film quite slow and perhaps even boring. Nothing really ground breaking happens in these few days, but this is more a tale of personal growth for Jeff Buckley.

Fans of either of the Buckley's will love this film, particularly those of Jeff. The movie does complete justice to Jeff Buckley. It is important to remember for those fans before you walk into the cinema that Greetings from Tim Buckley is not completely historically accurate.

Fans of live music and the genre's which the Buckley's dwelt in will really enjoy a fantastic soundtrack. Not only is the end concert scene wonderfully recreated, but the use of Tim Buckley's music throughout is well done. Particularly the scene when "Once I Was" is playing on a video and the song continues as you see Jeff's inner turmoil at being faced with showing support to the man who never did him. And no, you don't need to be a fan of or even know anything about Tim or Jeff Buckley in order to understand or enjoy the film.

The impression of using a hand held camera in filming works at times in the film, but can also seem a bit dizzying and makes it a bit harder to focus.

The reason everyone should see Greetings from Tim Buckley is to see the incredible power of Penn Badgley. Many people only think of Dan Humphery from "Gossip Girl" when they think of Badgley, but there is nothing "Gossip Girl" about him here. Badgley IS Buckley. His performance is wonderful. The only flaw being that when you compare him to Buckley, Badgley's speaking voice is quite a bit lower.  He comes across so natural and you truly believe you are watching Jeff Buckley perform. You have one of those moments when you go away and listen to a Jeff Buckley song such as "Last Goodbye" or "Hallelujah" and you see Badgley singing...until you see a picture of Buckley again to rectify that. Badgley sang every one of the song's his character sings in the film and you couldn't distinguish between Buckley or his singing, he is just spot on.

Imogen Poots plays her role as Allie with ease and so naturally. Her character is sweet and extremely likable. Ben Rosenfield does well as Tim Buckley, but it is Badgley's moment in the sun.

Greetings from Tim Buckley is the film all music lovers will be lining up to see at this year's Sydney Film Festival, but such an incredible performance by Penn Badgley should be witnessed by all.


On a side note....

For those who don't know a great deal about Jeff Buckley, here is a YouTube clip where he talks about and sings songs from his 1994 album, "Grace".

Such a shame such a wonderful talent died so young at age 30. He was working on his second album when he drowned after a night swim in Wolf River, Memphis Tennessee.

The Sydney Film Festival will be running from the 5th-16th June and we will be covering many of the wonderful films which will be screening there. Please stay tuned.

Sydney Film Festival Official Website

Friday, May 17, 2013

Un bonheur n' arrive jamais seul (Happiness Never Comes Alone)

Year: 2012
Country: France
Director: James Huth
Cast: Gad Elmaleh, Sophie Marceau, Maurice Barthelemy, Francois Berleand
Limited release Australian theatres 30th May 2013

If you are starting to get a bit tired of watching the action blockbusters which grace our film more often that not at this time of the year and drama films are just a tad too emotionally taxing, then Happiness Never Comes Alone may just be the break you are after.

Happiness Never Comes Alone is an incredibly simple fun film with an extremely easy story to follow. It doesn't delve deep into your emotions or leave a lasting impression, but it does still give some great laughs and some beautiful moments in amazing Paris.

Sacha Keller (Gad Elmaleh) is a free spirited bachelor who writes jingles for commercials by day and plays piano at a jazz club at night in exchange for an open bar. He feels like he has got it made, until by chance he meets accident prone Charlotte (Sophie Marceau). The two instantly fall for each other and they seem like they are made for each other. However, things become complicated when Sacha discovers that Charlotte has three of the things he is terrified of, children. Not only that, but she is the ex-wife of one of his company's biggest and most powerful clients.

Happiness Never Comes Alone is a very simple film. It is nothing that we haven't seen before, but still has a certain charm to it. Because of this lack of originality, you do leave the film trying to figure out what the whole point of the film was and what is the lesson you are supposed to be taking away from it. Of course, there is the common theme we see in romance films that the two people in love will always be in love no matter what. You can probably take away the idea that anyone can change their lifestyle when the right person comes along, but you are still waiting for something a tad more insightful to hit you.

Yet, it is the humour and visuals of the film which keep the film from becoming a dud. The script is really very funny in parts with some great one-liners (especially when Sacha likens Leonard to "a little Philip Seymour Hoffman"). The antics of Sacha with the children are hilarious as are Charlotte's string of unfortunate but hilarious accidents.

The cinematography is also quite beautiful and shows off Paris. In particular, the scenes which are set in Sacha's Montmarte apartment show the Sacre Coeur Basilica in the reflection of his window. A great way to show off the beauty of the city.

One thing about the film is that it's soundtrack is perhaps not used in the most effective way. In two particular scenes which are when Sacha and Charlotte meet for the first time and the final scene, they use a love song turned up to drown out any other sound. It is meant to enhance the emotion in the scene, but it is not done in a subtle way at all. When the music starts, you are waiting for something funny to happen because it is so blown out of proportion.

Gad  Elmaleh doesn't do an altogether bad job as Sacha, but it isn't a particularly emotional performance. He doesn't connect with the audience on an emotional level at all really, whether it be with Charlotte or with her kids. Sophie Marceau does do better and you can feel her love and pain in every scene she is in. Her Charlotte is an extremely likable character. The chemistry between Elmaleh and Marceau is completely enthralling.

Whether or not Happiness Never Comes Alone leaves a lasting impression on you, it does bring a smile to your face. Sometimes simple is just what we need in this harsh world.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Year: 2013
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Alice Eve
Now showing in Australian, New Zealand and UK cinemas
USA release 17th May 2013

After 2009's Star Trek, it became evident that you don't need to be a Trekkie in order to appreciate the film and the same can be said for Star Trek Into Darkness.

J.J. Abrams is perhaps the most in demand director in Hollywood at the present time when it comes to sci-fi and he shows in this film why that is. Star Trek Into Darkness can be watched and enjoyed by those who are not usually sci-fi or Star Trek fans. Keep in mind though, don't expect to understand who the characters are and what they are about if you haven't seen the first film or past members of the Star Trek family.

Captain of the USS Enterprise James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) loses his position on his ship after violating prime directive in order to save Spock (Zachary Quinto). A new and dangerous enemy by the name of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) has emerged who has a grudge against Star Fleet. The Enterprise sets out to seek Harrison and have instructions to fire all 72 torpedoes which are on board on sight. Harrison has a few surprises up his sleeve when he, Kirk, Spock and Nyota Uhura ( Zoe Saldana come face to face with each other.

Star Trek Into Darkness is an absolute treat for Trekkies, sci-fi fans and those who enjoyed the 2009 film.  The enjoyment of this film isn't restricted to those three watching categories. It has some incredible action scenes and amazing special effects. This film has more action than what many genre action films have. The sound effects are also pretty incredible that accompany the special effects, as well as being on the brink of deafening. The CGI is also amazing and the recreation of the future of San Francisco incredible.

The screenplay isn't bad. The story is easy to follow and perhaps a tad simple, but that is fine because it is executed in spectacular fashion. There are some good laughs at the hands of Kirk, Spock, Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg).

The only real problem, if you can call it that, is that unless you have seen any of the Star Trek films, you may not enjoy this film as much as you could. The storyline itself isn't much of a challenge to understand, but it is the characters that are not able to be enjoyed for who they are. However, this is the same in any type of film in a series. It is not a major problem, but it does help to have that reference at hand.

Benedict Cumberbatch is the absolute star of the film. He is just so interesting to watch on screen and steals every scene he is in. You cannot tear your eyes away from him. The scene in which he talks about losing his crew is so powerful. Cumberbatch is brilliantly evil.

Chris Pine does well in his role, perhaps better than he was in the 2009 film. Zachary Quinto is very, very good as Spock. His dry sense of humour is fantastic and the moments when he breaks his Vulcan mode he is fantastic. The chemistry between Pine and Quinto is great, as is that of the two and Karl Urban.

Star Trek Into Darkness lives up to it's expectations of being one of the biggest blockbusters of the season. It is worth all the excitement. If action is what you want, J.J. Abrams provides.


On a side note.....
This is completely off topic (well, not completely), but when I saw Star Trek Into Darkness and saw Zachary Quinto on screen for the first time, this is what I thought of.

"The Big Bang Theory" has a lot to answer for when it comes to Star Trek! And when thinking about Leonard Nemoy, this is the scene I thought of.

I'm not quite sure that Trekkies will be completely impressed that I have used this space to show Star Trek references in "The Big Bang Theory", but they are always good for a bit of a giggle!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Hunt (Jagten)

Year: 2012
Country: Denmark
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lasse Fogelstrom, Alexandra Rapaport
Limited release in Australia currently showing
Limited release in the USA 12th July 2013
Available to purchase on DVD from Amazon here

What happens to the people who are accused of a terrible crime, but are actually innocent?

This notion is explored in The Hunt. The film shows how innocent until proven guilty is the way it may work in the legal system, but in the mind of members of society it is more guilty until proven innocent. The Hunt gives us plenty to think about when we leave the cinema and also makes wonderful viewing with some incredible performances.

Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) has had a rough time after losing his job as a teacher and having to fight for custody of his son, Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrom). Things start to look up for him when he starts work at a kindergarten and starts dating Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport). Just when it looks like things may just be on the right track, one of the children at the kindergarten accuses Lucas of something terrible. Lucas is innocent, but it will take a lot more than his word to make everyone think otherwise.

The Hunt deals with the confronting subject that is pedophilia, but it doesn't deal with the act of paedophilia. It deals with how people react to the accusation of it. We see how the family of the victim deal with it and how the people around the accused act towards them. What the film also looks at is what happens to the accused who are actually innocent. Even if they are not charged as being guilty and the accusation is still there, they might as well still be guilty. People change around them and their whole world is turned upside down by a lie.

So the film isn't really as confronting as it may sound like it is going to be as it is not graphic. It just really challenges your mind. The Hunt does have a thrill to it, as you are completely unsure how it is going to finish  and what will happen to Lucas.

The Hunt puts Danish film making on show. It has a wonderful combination of magnificent direction, cinematography and acting. The Danish wilderness is transferred to the screen beautifully. The hunting scenes in the snow are truly breath taking.

It was for this film that Mads Mikkelsen was nominated for and won Best Actor at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and rightly so. He commands the audience's sympathy right from the beginning of the film. You feel so much pain for this poor man who has nothing go right for him at the hands of someone else.

The other star of the film is little Annika Wedderkopp who plays Klara, the little girl who tells her classmates that Lucas exposed himself to her. You think about a little child who has innocently told a lie which has had a major impact, and even though it was done without her knowing the full implications, you still feel dislike. However, it is so hard to be mad at Wedderkopp. Apart from the fact that she really is a little cutie, she plays the role with such purity that she is impossible not to like. You actually do feel sorry for her by how awkward she seems in the whole situation. It's incredible for such a young little girl to give such a beautiful performance.

It isn't just these two who give amazing performances. Lasse Fogelstrom is fantastic as Marcus and Thomas Bo Larsen, who plays Klara's father is also incredible.

The Hunt is so special because it approaches a subject from a different angle than the way it is normally talked about. It makes you ponder what you would do in the same situation and how you would behave towards someone who was accused of something, but proved innocent. Would you still treat them as if they were guilty and refuse to believe they are innocent in order to prevent yourself from guilt? Or would all be forgotten?


On a side note....
It's incredible to think that here we are talking about Mads Mikkelsen being named Best Actor at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the 2013 festival is only days away from starting.

Even though I am on the other side of the world, it is always a very exciting time of the year for me. Any film festival is an exciting time really, but Cannes is one of the most, if not the most prestigious of them all.

I love hearing about who the winners are and which films are making their debut. I always get to find out what amazing movies I have to look forward to. And of course, there are always the films that I thought I was looking forward to but if the word from Cannes is unfavourable, then I might not look forward to it as much. Doesn't mean I won't go and see it and make my own mind up though!

For a link to the list of films involved in this years Cannes Film Festival, please click here for the list on Film Ink.

You may have also seen Mads Mikkelsen in......
Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky as Igor Stravinsky

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Iron Man 3

Year: 2013
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall
Now showing in cinemas everywhere

Normally as movies progress to the sequel and beyond, there tends to be a decrease in the quality of the films. This is just an assumption you take with you to a film, especially when going to see a third installment of a film and the sequel really wasn't that great.

That is why Iron Man 3 is such a delight.

No matter how good the trailer looked, you were always weary about Iron Man 3, especially after the disappointment that was Iron Man 2.  However, there is no need for concern. Iron Man 3 is the film you wish was the Iron Man sequel. Unlike Iron Man 2 which was all over the place, Iron Man 3 is clean cut with a great screenplay and is just all round entertaining. A great film to kick off blockbuster season with.

Iron Man 3 picks up when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has returned from his alien encounter in New York and is struggling to come to grips with his anxiety issues. A new enemy has emerged in terrorist, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and when he hits a little too close to home and Happy (Jon Favreau) falls into a coma, Tony seeks revenge on The Mandarin. He soon finds out that he has more enemies than just The Mandarin that he needs to worry about.

The screenplay (written by director Shane Black and Drew Pearce) for Iron Man 3 is extremely impressive. There are twists and turns galore and some real surprises during the film. Unlike many action blockbusters, there is more to this film than just the action and special effects. Of course these are also amazing, but the story is completely intriguing. You could probably categorise Iron Man  3 as an action/ thriller as Tony Stark does channel a bit of his inner Sherlock Holmes (funny about that).

Shane Black is to be given huge credit for what he has done with Iron Man 3. Not only is the film well directed, but the decision for Jon Favreau to step aside as director after the first two films gave Iron Man a breath of fresh air and doesn't make us feel like the film is trying to achieve what the previous films have done. Iron Man 3 is a good film in it's own right and works as a stand alone film. Therefore, even if you haven't seen the first two films you can understand and enjoy the third film.

One expects that the special effects and action are going to be pretty impressive in a film like this, and they are. The sight of Stark's Malibu mansion tumbling into the ocean is pretty incredible and let's face it, Iron Man is just a great special effect in himself. There are several other amazing moments in the film, but many which cannot be spoken of without giving too much of the film away.

Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. The character is absolutely his own and even  though you sometimes wonder if Downey Jr. is just playing himself, he is still just fantastic on screen. Stark has so much character and is just great fun to watch and cheer for. There are moments throughout the film when Downey Jr. reminds us what a brilliant actor he really is.

Another cast member who shines in Iron Man 3 is Guy Pearce. Pearce plays Aldrich Killian, a scientist who encountered Stark back in 1999 and has an eye for Stark's girlfriend, Pepper Potts ( Gwyneth Paltrow). Without giving too much away, Pearce plays evil well. His performance is by no means forced and he just seems so natural in the role (one hopes that that isn't the case!)

Gwyneth Paltrow isn't bad. Her and Downey Jr. have great on screen chemistry. Ben Kingsley is great, as one always comes to expect from him. Ty Simpkins, who plays Stark's unlikely partner in crime Harley, is very good and one remembers him long after walking out of the cinema.

Iron Man 3 is the film Iron Man 2 should have been. However, it doesn't really matter as we are happy it happened whether it be second or third in the Iron Man order.


On a side note...
One thing I was impressed with was how tactfully Iron Man 3 linked in with The Avengers.

Marvel really have a good thing going at the moment. Their superheroes are going from strength to strength (excuse the pun) on the big screen and will continue to do so. Three members of The Avengers, including Iron Man have films coming out in the next year. The sequel to Thor, Thor: The Dark World is due to be released in October this year and the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is currently in production and to be released in April 2014.

The Avengers 2 has been announced and has a scheduled release for 2015 which many people may find exciting. I am interested as to how they are going to tie all the characters in again. People who have seen Iron Man 3 will understand why I am watching this space with interest.

One thing is for sure, superheroes are alive and well in the movies.

You may have also seen Robert Downey Jr. in.......
Sherlock Holmes  and Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows as Sherlock Holmes
Iron Man 2 and The Avengers as Tony Stark/ Iron Man
Chaplin as Charlie Chaplin

You may have also seen Guy Pearce in.....
The King's Speech as King Edward VIII
Prometheus as Peter Weyland
Lawless as Special Deputy Charlie Ranks

You may have also seen Ben Kingsley in....
Hugo as George Melies