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Posts Tagged ‘collectibles’

Robert Downey Jr. Tapped to Star In Iron Man

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

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Yahoo! News is reporting that Robert Downey Jr. will be “suiting to star in Iron Man“, Marvels next movie based on the super-hero character. Read on:

Robert Downy Jr. is suiting up to star in “Iron Man,” a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics character.

Jon Favreau is directing the Paramount Pictures release. Filming is slated to begin in February in Los Angeles.

Downey will portray Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Using his intelligence and ingenuity, Stark instead builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. Upon his return to the U.S., he uncovers a plot with global implications and must don his armor and protect the world.

The comic debuted in the 1960s, and Iron Man’s origin involved Stark being a prisoner of the Viet Cong. The movie version will be set in today’s geopolitical climate.

Budgeted at more than $100 million, it marks the first feature film to be produced independently by Marvel Entertainment, which previously licensed its characters, such as “Spider-Man” and “X-Men,” to other studios.

Marvel president of production Kevin Feige said the filmmakers looked for the best actor to embody the character.

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Review: Open Season

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

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Among animated movies, Open Season manages to stand out; delivering substance as well as style. Read on:

Recently, we expressed gratitude over the fact that computer-animated movies have become so ubiquitous and unspecial that they are no longer “event” movies, but rather generic family films that will soon disappear like the majority of their hand-drawn predecessors. This feeling disappeared, however, when we realized we would still have to see and review them in their increasingly lackluster glory. Open Season, featuring the voice talents of Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence, is the most recent of these efforts.

Thankfully, generic and unspecial have long since become de rigeur for studios in search of maximum profits at minimum risk; as such, those terms now more often represent a simple and resolutely “safe” adventure that will sustain preadolescent attention spans for 100 or so minutes at a time — which ultimately is a role that Open Season fills quite nicely.

Lawrence and Kutcher play Boog and Elliot, a bear and a mule deer, respectively, who find themselves unlikely partners when Boog’s human owner Beth (Debra Messing) reluctantly agrees to return her charge to the wild. While attempting to return to civilization, the two soon encounter a cross-section of crazy animals, including an irascible squirrel named McSquizzy (Billy Connolly), a tough-talking beaver named Reilly (Jon Favreau) and Ian (Patrick Warburton), Elliot’s rival for doe Giselle (Jane Krakowski). But before they can make proper friends with this veritable wildlife preserve, they discover more profound danger in the form of human hunters — one of whom, named Shaw (Gary Sinise), has specific designs on seeing the dynamic duo stuffed and mounted on his wall.

If there’s an immediate feeling of familiarity to this story, it’s because you’ve definitely seen it before; Madagascar and The Wild, to name but two recent examples, also followed this same fish-out-of-water formula. As such, the real question becomes not what story they are telling, but how they tell it, and directors Roger Allers, Jill Culton and Anthony Stacchi do their best to breathe new life into the material without going straight for the to-the-minute pop culture references or even the sappy, indulgent melodrama that lesser filmmakers turn to as a catch-all for imminent cheesiness.

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Review: The Last King of Scotland

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

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The Last King of Scotland belongs to Forest Whitaker, but the rest of the cast give stellar performances as well. I see Oscar nods for Whitake here. This is a “must see” movie. Read on:

Based on Giles Foden’s novel of the same name, The Last King of Scotland is a gripping work of historical fiction that explores the reign of infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and the moral disintegration of a good-hearted but callow young Scottish doctor who becomes the ruler’s confidante.

Directed by documentary filmmaker Kevin Macdonald from a screenplay adaptation by Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock, The Last King follows Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) who comes to Uganda in the early 1970s to work at a missionary clinic just as Amin (Forest Whitaker) takes control of the country in a military coup.

After tending to an injured Amin, Garrigan soon finds himself the apple of the dictator’s eye and eventually his closest advisor. A product of the British army, Amin has a fascination with Scottish culture and customs after serving with Highland regiments. He gave his sons Scottish names and incorporated Scottish dress and bagpipes into Ugandan military processions. Nicholas ultimately becomes like a son to Amin, and the young doctor is too starstruck to see the cruelty of the man he once thought was the hope of his new homeland.

When Garrigan finally realizes how close to the devil he has allowed himself to get, it’s almost too late to extract himself from the situation. Nicholas’ moral blindness and reckless behavior triggers brutal repercussions; only historical events beyond his control can possibly save him.

Amin is not portrayed as merely a bad guy. He is a multi-faceted person, vicious at one moment and a big teddy bear the next. He genuinely loves his country and despises the British who helped create him. In an interesting commentary on post-colonialism, the film shows how both Nicholas — a Scot — and Amin — a Ugandan — are products of British rule. Yet Nicholas is ultimately no better than all the other white men who indulged their base natures at the expense of Africans.

Garrigan may have come to Uganda to help people, but — like a corporation there to exploit the locals for their natural resources — he seduces local women and enjoys the good life that his association with Amin provides him, all the while remaining blind to the brutal truth. It’s not until he causes others to suffer that Nicholas realizes what he’s become.

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