July 10, 2015

Tag Archives: robert downey jr.

The Ten Best Action Movies of the New Millennium

Who doesn’t love a good action movie? They’re among the most fun that Hollywood has to offer, particularly when they’re of a high quality. Later on this week, a reportedly amazing new one in Mad Max: Fury Road is hitting theaters, so to prep us all for that experience (I see it later on today, so yay for that), I wanted to do a countdown of the recent best that the genre has to offer. Essentially, every action flick since 2000 was eligible, and I whittled that down to a top ten list. It’s hardly the definitely “new millennium action movie” list, but I think it’s a pretty solid one, to say the least. You’ll be able to see the list below, which could very well be amended once Mad Max: Fury Road comes to town…
Here now are my picks for the ten best action films since the year 2000:
10. King Kong – Peter Jackson’s unneeded remake of the classic action adventure turned out to be my favorite version of the story, go figure. The special effects are extraordinary and watching Kong interact with the world through Andy Serkis was a real joy. I may be in the minority here, but I absolutely loved it. It manages to stand alongside the all time classic original.
9. Kick-Ass – It hasn’t quite held up as well as the initial viewing suggested, but Matthew Vaughn’s deconstruction of the superhero origin story is a ridiculous amount of fun. The main pleasures are watching Nicolas Cage not play Batman, along with Chloe Grace Moretz giving a nomination worthy supporting turn as Hit-Girl. That initial magic wasn’t captured by the sequel, but that takes nothing away from this one.
8. Looper – Not only is this a great action flick, it’s also the best film of Rian Johnson’s career so far and a amazing time travel tale as well. It’s nearly perfect, offering up one of the best performances to date from both Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as Bruce Willis. A modern classic, it basically demands that you honor it for its inventiveness and effectiveness.
7. Black Hawk Down – I’d have put this higher if not for the fact that it’s less fun due to the tragic real life story that inspired it. Still, this is one of Ridley Scott’s best and the most effective war movie since Saving Private Ryan. It’s so visceral and well made, […]

“Avengers: Age of Ultron”: Ranking the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Folks, t’s almost time for the Avengers to assemble. Yes, with Avengers: Age of Ultron set to hit theaters domestically on Friday, I wanted to take a look at the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) so far and rank them in order to see the best of the MCU to date. They haven’t made a bad film yet, so that makes this a particularly enjoyable task, basically having to separate the solid from the very good from the great. Count me in for something like that all the time, though today it’s particularly apt to do the MCU with Avengers: Age of Ultron fresh in my head from a recent press screening.
One thing to keep in mind is that this list is going to change in a hurry. In just a few months, Ant-Man will be the other 2015 release from Marvel, and from then on we’ll be at Phase Three of their grand MCU plan. That will bring Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange in 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the untitled new Spider-Man movie (rumored to be called Spider-Man: The New Avenger), and Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel in 2018, and finally Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 and Inhumans in 2019. Basically, expect this list to get updated more than once in the years to come…
Here now are all of the current installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranked:
11. Thor: The Dark World – If this is the worst that Marvel can do, we’re in a good place. Thoroughly acceptable but without much of a spark, this sequel has Thor pretty much doing the same thing as in the first one. The enjoyably larger role for Loki saves it from turning into a slog.
10. The Incredible Hulk – More a byproduct of not knowing how to use Hulk properly than anything else, this shows Marvel as a studio still finding their footing in the world. The fact that it’s more or less not referred to at all in the canon of the MCU should be telling, though it’s not unenjoyable at all. Still, this and the title above are the clear weak links.
9. Iron Man 2 – The one film in the series that got too concerned with setting up The Avengers, there’s plenty to like here with Tony Stark/Iron Man just as fun as always. […]

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” begins to roll out worldwide

All this week, we’ve seen Marvel slowly begin to allow reviews to trickle out about Avengers: Age of Ultron, in advance of the global release this weekend, followed by the U.S. next week. So far, the early word has been pretty solid, with some out and out raves and almost no outright detractors. After how big a smash across the board The Avengers was, seeing the sequel apparently continue the trend is a solid sight to behold. Marvel continues their perfect record and comic book fans get another top tier piece of entertainment to enjoy. The summer movie season is about to begin folks…
You’d basically have to live under a rock not to be fully aware what this film is about, but at the off chance you don’t, I’m more than willing to provide a quick primer. Continuing the Marvel Cinematic Universe and working not only as a sequel to The Avengers but also Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this flick sees the team of superheroes faced with a dastardly Artificial Intelligence named Ultron (voice of James Spader). As such, it’s up to Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemseworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), along with newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), to save the day. Hayley Atwell, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Colbie Smulders, and more return as well. Joss Whedon once again co-writes and directs. All told, it’s probably the largest scale comic book film to date.
What Avengers: Age of Ultron is doing now is setting up the next phase in Marvel’s giant plan, culminating in the next Avengers flick, which is a two parter. Sure, it’s a few years before Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 hits in May of 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 in May of 2019. Those films will basically result in a whole new direction for the company, or at least we assume. At the very least, they will mark Whedon turning over controls of the flagship Marvel franchise to veterans of Captain America: The Winter Solider and next year’s Captain America: Civil War, the Russo brothers, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. They’ll be the big shepherds from here on out, with Civil War upping the ante presumably from Age of Ultron and whetting the appetite for both parts of […]

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON World Premiere

“When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Chris Evans as Captain America. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Patricia Whitcher, Stan Lee and Jon Favreau serve as executive producers. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015″
To learn more go to AVENGERS – AGE OF ULTRON
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Extended Movie Clip

Avengers: Age of Ultron interviews – Downey Jr, Hemsworth, Evans, Spader, Ruffalo, Johnasson, Renner

Shailene Woodley and “The Fault in Our Stars” rule at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards

Last night, the 2015 MTV Movie Awards were held, with Amy Schumer given the hosting duties (hopefully in preparation for one day hosting the Oscars) and a wide variety of films up for honors. Frankly, it was a better group of nominees than usual for MTV. That being said, the winners more or less were who you expected them to be. Luckily though, the most successful film of the night was The Fault in Our Stars, which happens to be a phenomenal movie, in addition to being pretty MTV friendly. That’s a win/win situation for this particular awards show, if you ask me.
I usually don’t pay too much attention to this awards show, but over the past few years, they’ve been doing a better job with their nominations. A lineup for Movie of the Year (their Best Picture slate) this time around was American Sniper, Boyhood, The Fault in Our Stars, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Selma, and Whiplash. Give or take a title or so here, that would represent the sort of diverse lineup that some have suggested the Academy needs to strive for with Best Picture at the Oscars. They’ll never tilt that far towards the blockbuster/mainstream, but for a lesser body like the MTV Movie Awards, it’s a pretty respectable lineup.
In terms of their winners, they mostly came up with strong choices. The Fault in Our Stars took Movie of the Year, while Bradley Cooper won Best Male Performance for American Sniper and Shailene Woodley took Best Female Performance for her role in The Fault in Our Stars. Woodley was also given the Trailerblazer Award and shared Best Kiss with her costar from The Fault in Our Stars Ansel Elgort. Robert Downey, Jr. was given the Generation Award and Meryl Streep was awarded Best Villain for her work in Into the Woods. Those were the “prestige” winners of note, while you can also applaud Channing Tatum winning Best Comedic Performance for 22 Jump Street. It’s hard to not be at the very least satisfied with those picks.
On the flip side, this is still the MTV Movie Awards, so there were plenty of wins that were iffy at best, or just catered to teenagers. They’re not worth getting into, as you’ll see them below in the full list of victors, but they don’t dominate the lineup like they might have […]

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner – Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer

Marvel Studios presents ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Chris Evans as Captain America. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series ‘The Avengers,’ first published in 1963. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ on May 1, 2015.
Cast:Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård with James Spader and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Ten candidates to host the 88th Academy Awards

As always seems to be the case immediately after the Oscars, a lot of chatter has turned to who should be the next host of the show following Neil Patrick Harris’ turn on Sunday. Honestly, the Academy Awards doesn’t actually need a host, but since they’re committed to the idea, it makes sense to really shoot for the moon next time out. I’ve never disliked any of the hosts (yes, I even found James Franco and Anne Hathaway to be fine), but I’ve also never really been over the moon for any of them. As such, I didn’t have to think too much in order to find a bunch of worthy names that I wish the Academy would consider. Below you’ll see ten of them, but trust me…there are plenty more than just these men and women.
Here are the ten individuals that I think could knock the 88th Oscars out of the park:
10. Billy Crystal – When in doubt, why not go back to what you know works? There are other options I could have listed here, like Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, or even Harris again (I’d easily be the most willing to give Seth MacFarlane another crack at it, even if it seems he’s one and done), but I have a feeling that we haven’t seen Crystal’s last turn at this gig. He wouldn’t be an exciting or sexy pick, but he’d do the job with a consistency that the Academy craves.

9. Sarah Silverman – Given the chance, I think Silverman could really do a great job with this big stage. Sure, she’s dirtier than most previous hosts, but she has a unique personality that could be well suited to a slight roast of Hollywood. I doubt she’d get the call, but I think it’s one that Oscar should make.

8. Kevin Smith – Hear me out. Quietly, the filmmaker has become an incredible interviewer on his many podcasts, someone who speaks with a genuine affection and love for cinema. For Hollywood’s biggest night/their prom, shouldn’t the MC be a big fan of the movies too? They’ll never even consider him, but they should.

7. Jimmy Kimmel – I think if it weren’t for the fact that Kimmel already hosts a post show special, he’d already have been given the gig. He’s a low risk choice that could wind up paying bigger dividends than expected. Of all the people on this […]

The tenuous nature of being an early Academy Award frontrunner

It’s hardly a brand new sentiment to express, but you really can never script Oscar season. No matter how you think the awards race is going to go, at least to some degree it always turns out different. This year is obviously no exception, so today I wanted to take a look at how the various frontrunner have changed throughout the season. In some cases, we’ve seen top tier contenders hold strong all year, but the frontrunners have shifted for sure. In a few instances, the early favorites didn’t wind up nominated at all. That’s just how the season goes. We’re deep into phase two now, so it’s a perfect time to look back at what things were like at the start of 2014.
Obviously, you never truly know what’s going to happen during an Oscar race, especially when you start out in the early days of the season basically just going on log line or pedigree. Every so often you can hit on one fairly early on (like Argo in my case, which was the rare occasion when I was out front on something), or at least suspect that it could turn into a winner (with 12 Years a Slave), but most of the time the ones you think will be nominees don’t even come close. It’s the uniqueness of trying to predict what a voting body will like a year in advance. As you’ll see below, some of the main Academy Award categories this year could have had a very different look to them than we ultimately had.

Take a look:
Best Picture – There was a time when Unbroken was thought to be almost unbeatable in the Best Picture category. Other non nominees heavily spoken of early on were Big Eyes, Fury, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Jersey Boys, and so on. Of course, once Cannes hit we all thought Foxcatcher was a surefire nominee, and we all saw what happened then. Boyhood was something I and many others figured would get in, but the frontrunner? Never in a million years would that have been a smart bet. Go figure.
Best Director – It’s pretty much the same her with Best Director. Names like David Ayer (Fury), Tim Burton (Big Eyes), Clint Eastwood (Jersey Boys), David Fincher (Gone Girl), Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) were bandied about, but this appeared to be Angelina Jolie’s to lose […]

Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart to appear on the Hollywood Film Awards November 14th on CBS

Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart to appear on the Hollywood Film Awards November 14th on CBS.
Special Musical Performance by Janelle Monáe
The 2014 Awards Show will be Hosted by Queen Latifah and
Broadcast Live from the Hollywood Palladium
The Hollywood Film Awards today announced additional stars scheduled to appear at the inaugural broadcast of The Hollywood Film Awards live from the Hollywood Palladium, Friday, November 14, 2014 (8:00-10:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Host Queen Latifah will welcome Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart. Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe will also take to the stage for a special musical performance. They join previously announced guests Gerard Butler, Robert Duvall, Michael Keaton, Julianne Moore, Jack O’Connell, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, Jean-Marc Vallée, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season™, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 17 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars.
Historically, the Hollywood Film Awards has celebrated some of the biggest names in film. Previous honorees include: Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Russell Crowe, Penelope Cruz, Robert DeNiro, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kirk Douglas, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Jack Lemon, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, Julia Roberts, Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank, John Travolta, Christoph Waltz, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams and Robin Williams, among others.
The Hollywood Film Awards kicks off at 7:30 PM live ET/delayed PT on CBS with a special half-hour red carpet show featuring fashion and interviews with the stars as they arrive. Following the Hollywood Film Awards broadcast, the festivities will continue with a live one-hour show that will feature interviews with honorees and look back at the evening’s highlights. “CBS This Morning” anchors Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King will host, (10:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT).
The Hollywood Film Awards, founded in 1997 by Carlos de Abreu, who also executive produces, is produced by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco and R. A. Clark are executive producers along with de Abreu.
CBS Extended Primetime Schedule for Friday, Nov. […]

The Toronto Film Festival will again play host to scores of Oscar hopefuls

With today’s announcement that David Dobkin’s film The Judge will open the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, I figured that it was a good time to talk about the TIFF lineup. That Robert Downey Jr. vehicle will seek to become an awards player, and it’s not alone. Each year, scores of titles descend on Toronto in order to distinguish themselves to Academy members and various precursor voters everywhere. The festival has a solid history of producing Oscar nominees, though the big time competition this year from the New York Film Festival will certainly shine a light on just how essential a stop this fest still is. For now though, it’s a big one, and well worth a bit of discussion.
As mentioned above, the opening film is The Judge, which could be a Best Actor player for Downey Jr. or perhaps even a Best Picture contender if it’s better than expected. It’s definitely one of the most anticipated flicks starting up their run at the festival, along with the closing selection, which is Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos. Along with those two, the highest profile titles include Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild, Jason Reitman’s Men, Women, & Children, Liv Ullmann’s Miss Julie, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, and James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything. Each of these is considered a major awards hopeful to one degree or another, so it’ll be their first test of viability. Strong reactions set it off on a path to potential Oscar glory, while mixed to poor reactions could sent it straight down the drain into oblivion.
Other big debuts at the fest will be Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Mike Binder’s Black and White, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Equalizer, Ed Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice, Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club, Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, Chris Evans’ directorial debut Before We Go, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy, Barry Levinson’s The Humbling, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, as well as other works like The Drop and The Imitation Game, all of whom have some level of awards hope to them. Most won’t take on that kind of narrative, but at least one or two will, so it becomes almost a game trying to figure out which ones it will be ahead of time.
The other titles of note are Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher of course, along with David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, Mike Leigh’s […]

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