October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Hollywood Movie Roundup: The New Iron Age


Stand clear everyone, the big guy has landed and the only ones brave enough to share the same weekend are a bunch of babies. Hollywood’s Summer season has officially arrived in the form of one of the most highly anticipated sequels ever.


Director Jon Favreau returns with star Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, the man in the iron suit. Also returning are Gwyneth Paltrow and, in an expanded role, Samuel L. Jackson. Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson join the cast, and Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard, sending the star power even farther into orbit. Actor-writer Justin Theroux (“Mulholland Drive” as the former, “Tropic Thunder” as the latter) wrote the screenplay.

The first “Iron Man’s” surprising success has left it little room to catch anyone off-guard and that’s clear in the reviews. Critics across the board are saying the film is more (in some cases, much more) of the same yet falls short of its predecessor. The only variance comes in the degree to which the embrace the “more.” The biggest fans, such as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, hail Downey’s performance. A little less enthusiastic are Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, who faults the movie for being “more about iron than men,” and  A.O. Scott of the New York Times, writing that “you’re left wanting more, but not quite the ‘more’ ‘Iron Man 2′ works so hard to supply.”

There are no contenders or pretenders to the box office crown this week, which IM2 was fitted for the moment Paramount placed it on the release schedule. The only real competition is with “The Dark Knight” and its record $158.4 million opening in 2008. IM2 opens on more screens than any movie in history and prognosticators have it pulling in between $140 and $160 million, even without the higher ticket prices it would have commanded had it been released in 3D. It opened last week in some overseas markets and may top the $300m mark globally by Sunday. The only other film opening on more than 500 screens is Focus Features’ documentary “Babies,” that follows four newborns from different parts of the world (Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, San Francisco) until they take their first steps. True counter-programming.


About Kevin Crust

KEVIN CRUST is a Southern California-based writer and editor of the Eclectic Odeon Review, an online guide to seeing movies in Los Angeles, launching in March 2010. In 18 years at the Los Angeles Times, he worked as a copy editor, senior researcher and staff writer. For most of the past decade, he was a key part of the Times' award-winning film department, coordinating the Calendar section's popular Sneaks issues, writing columns on alternative cinema and DVDs, and reviewing hundreds of movies. His work has also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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