Mini-Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens

If you’ve seen the title of this movie, you know it involves two very different things – Cowboys and Aliens. Not hard to comprehend, right? So when we went to see the film, starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde, I pretty much knew everything I needed to know.

In the wild west, a cowboy (Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere with a metal bracelet on one arm and no idea who he is, why he’s there, or where he came from. Amnesia is a wonderful thing. When he’s discovered by a small group of riders who think he may be an escaped fugitive and try to take him into custody, the cowboy takes them out handily, takes some clothes, a hat, a six-shooter, and a horse, and heads in the direction of a nearby town one of the men mentioned.

Craig was great in this opening scene, staying silent for most of the first 5 minutes of the film. And it’s the little things like the opening scene that made this movie much more enjoyable for me than the big battle scenes between aliens and humans. There’s a scene later when Ford’s character is sitting near a fire, cutting pieces off an apple, and gives one to the kid in the party – again, no words are spoken, but there’s a bond formed there that transcends the spoken word.

Is it a fun movie? Absolutely. Is it one of the best of the summer? I think it’s definitely in the middle of the pack somewhere. I’d like to have seen more of the quieter scenes interspersed among the bigger set pieces, but it was fun.

I’d give it a solid B and may consider picking it up on Blu-ray when it’s released in a few months.

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Trailer Time: Cowboys & Aliens

Now this trailer in contrast to the Green Lantern one hits me like it could be a lot of fun. Cowboys & Aliens pairs Daniel Craig (James Bond in Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale) with Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark) in a western involving aliens directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man). That’s some serious name dropping there. Let’s add to the list – Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, and Paul Dano are also in the picture and it was written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindelof.

This one hits theaters on July 29, 2011 and looks AWESOME!

Here’s the synopsis according to IMDB.com:

The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents-townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors-all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

Watch and leave a comment about what you think. 🙂

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Movie Review: Iron Man 2

Hi all!

Was I excited by the fact that Favreau and Downey Jr. were at it again with the next installment of the Iron Man movie franchise? Of course I was! It’s been two long years since we last saw old Shell Head kick some butt on the big screen. Worldwide Iron Man made about $600 million and I know I contributed to that by seeing it in the theater a couple of times and buying the DVD…

So how was Iron Man 2? Well, I’m sorry to say that it was good, but not great and definitely not as good as the first one for me. Was it still entertaining? You bet! I expect it to beat the first one in terms of ticket sales hands down.

[rating:3/4]

As most of you know (unless you were hiding in a cave a couple of years ago), Iron Man ended with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) announcing to the world that he is Iron Man and the suit isn’t simply a bodyguard. Though most of the world was pleased with this, it turns out (surprise, surprise) that not everybody is a fan. The sequel picks up about six months after the first one ended.

The gang is back – Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and Happy Hogan (director Jon Favreau)… And there are some new faces. Jim Rhodes (now played by Don Cheadle who picks up where Terrence Howard left off), Natalie/Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, who surprised me in this role in a good way), Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell in a beautifully over the top performance), and Ivan Vanko/Whiplash (Mickey Rourke, who stole the show when on screen)…

It took a while for this film to get going for me. But once it gets going, there’s no turning back. The main players – Downey, Jr., Jackson, Cheadle, and Rourke dominated the screen in every scene. I was happy to see Favreau back as Hogan in a meatier role and Scarlett was stunning as the Black Widow. If there was a surprise in the film for me, it was her.

The whole Cheadle vs. Howard debate never really happened for me. I like Cheadle. He brings a solid presence to the role of Rhodey that I never really felt with Howard. But I did I think Paltrow was lacking in this one a bit. Somehow she never gained that witty exchange between Potts and Stark and whenever she was in a scene it was a bit of a buzzkill for me.

Once the action starts going – from the scenes during the race in Monaco to the explosive finale – it seriously grabs your attention and only lets up a bit here and there. At least that’s how it felt to me.

I know Iron Man 2 has had some mixed reviews. And my opinion is mixed as well, but I enjoyed it, will see it again, and will purchase the DVD when it’s released. A solid 3 out of 4 stars for me. So I think it’s definitely worth seeing. The only debate now is whether to see it in IMAX or on the regular screen the next time I want to see it!

What did you think? Leave me a comment with your review below!

–Fitz

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