[Iron Man 2]

Iron Man 2 does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a fun bit of summer blockbuster fluff, full of snappy comebacks and explosions, and without any real sense of weight, unless you count the weight of excess characters. If we’re comparing Robert Downey Jr vehicles, Sherlock Holmes, while ridiculous, totally wins thanks to the fun of the rapidly-becoming-text Holmes/Watson. (“It’s our dog!”)

Tony Stark, ladies man, man’s man, man about town tries to get a bit of character development via some manpain courtesy of his father, an underused John Slattery (Mad Men’s Roger Sterling). It doesn’t really take, which doesn’t matter, as director Jon Favreau has a bunch of other little plots and big action sequences to throw at us. The Monaco showdown, introducing us to Mickey Rourke’s Russian gangster-with-highlights, comes first of three battles, and though it makes pretty much no sense it’s definitely the most effective. By the end of the movie, it’s tiresome seeing more stuff getting destroyed. We know Tony’s going to make it through — it’d be damned hard to film Iron Man 3 without him — so there’s not much actual tension, just a lot of cars being blown up.

The supporting cast is great, if poorly used: Don Cheadle (bizarrely replacing Terrence Howard — I had no idea they were interchangeable) has nothing to work with but makes an effort nonetheless, Gwyneth Paltrow is fabulous as always as the ultracompetent Pepper Potts (I would very much like her to organize my life, thanks), and Scarlett Johansson is virtually wasted until her third act crowning moment of awesome (better late than never, I suppose). And in a production where people were clearly having a blast, no one but no one is having more fun than Sam Rockwell as a slimy rival businessman. I would have been quite content to watch a movie just about him.

That said, I had fun. I didn’t check my watch, but I didn’t remember a single quip five minutes after it ended. I’ve seen better action movies, and I’ve seen a lot that were worse. So it goes.

PS Where the hell is Nick Fury’s damn cigar? Seriously, people.

[July, July. More or less.]

As soon as I hit post on my last in-theater entry, I remembered that I had forgotten to include Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It’s the first of three Miyazaki films that the Northwest Film Forum is showing this summer. I had intended to see them all (the other two are My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, both of which I own), now I think probably not, as they appear to be showing them all dubbed.


The voice cast for Nausicaa included Edward James Olmos, which had the effect of compelling one to declare “so say we all” after half of his lines. Which is unfair to the movie. It was a bit slow-moving for me at times, but the character of Nausicaa herself is basically the most kick-ass heroine ever, so it didn’t matter.

This weekend Several weekends ago I finally caught up with the rest of the world and saw Iron Man. It was a huge amount of fun. I don’t know anything about the Iron Man mythology, but I do know that staying through the credits is worth it.

Next up, the highly anticipated My Winnipeg. It’s allegedly a documentary. It is definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. It did not actually teach me anything about Winnipeg. I am okay with this.

Then this week, like the rest of the world more or less, I saw The Dark Knight, which I have a whole laundry list of issues with, but I can say that the experience of seeing it in IMAX was pretty freakin’ amazing. (Dear lord. It’s currently ranked #1 on IMDb. That is such crap I don’t even know where to start.)

Finally, last night I went to a midnight of The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Because I am crazy. It was … not good. But I will admit that I was totally into it, even though the plot made absolutely no sense, and that I was utterly delighted by the sheer quantity of Callum Keith Rennie in it. Scruffy! Evil! Speaking Russian! He was pure win.

Aside from Callum, it’s strangely off. It has weird issues of sexuality & Catholicism. We’re supposed to believe it’s set in Virginia, but the BCness of it is overwhelming. And let’s not even talk about the final shot, FOR THE LOVE.

But, big-screen Callum. Yay.