Short Cuts (1993)

Short Cuts
Director: Robert Altman
Writer: Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
Based on: short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Zane Cassidy, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, Huey Lewis, Annie Ross, Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry,
Seen on: 20.10.2018
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Plot:
Nine intersecting stories of people in Los Angeles during the Medfly epidemic: Ann (Andie MacDowell) and Howard’s (Bruce Davidson) child (Zane Cassidy) was in an accident just before his coma. Police man Gene (Tim Robbins) cheats on his wife Sherri (Madeline Stowe). Lois (Jennifer Jason Leigh) works for a sex hotline, much to the dislike of her husband Jerry (Chris Penn). Doreen (Lily Tomlin) and Earl (Tom Waits) have a good marriage, at least as long as Earl is sober. Honey (Lily Taylor) and Bill (Robert Downey Jr.) are housesitting. Stormy (Peter Gallagher) is struggling with his divorce from Betty (Frances McDormand). Zoe tries to connect with her mother Tess (Annie Ross). Claire (Anne Archer) and her husband Stuart (Fred Ward) are invited to dinner by Marian (Julianne Moore) and Ralph (Matthew Modine). Stuart, Gordon (Buck Henry) and Vern (Huey Lewis) are looking forward to a long-planned fishing trip.

Short Cuts was really painful: a film filled with unlikeable men who behave like assholes and somehow we are supposed to think think that’s funny and/or interesting? No, thank you and I mean that in the harshest possible sense.

The film poster showing a fractured red heart in front of a white background.
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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Sean Gunn, William Hurt, Letitia Wright, Carrie Coon, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Anthony Mackie, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 2.5.2018

Plot:
Thanos (Josh Brolin) has reached the final stages of his plan: he will collect all of the Infinity Stones and with their power reshape the universe after his own ideas. The hunt for the stones makes him cross paths with the Avengers on Earth, as well as the Guardians and the Asgardian refugees in space, leading to them coming together in a desperate effort to stop him and his plans.

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of more than a decade of films. That alone makes it a momentous, if not to say monumental film. And it’s not bad per se, but it does feel like a step down from the recent absolute highlights that were Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Director: Jon Watts
Writer: Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher FordChris McKennaErik Sommers
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Cast: Tom HollandMichael KeatonRobert Downey Jr.Marisa TomeiJon FavreauGwyneth PaltrowZendayaDonald GloverJacob BatalonLaura HarrierTony RevoloriHannibal BuressAngourie RiceMartin StarrMichael ChernusLogan Marshall-GreenJennifer ConnellyChris Evans
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 18.7.2017
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Plot:
Peter (Tom Holland) is excited about the new superpowers he has gained and wants to become a proper superhero, like Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who recruited him not too long ago. But now Tony is keeping him at arm’s length and Peter is supposed to keep a low profile and go to high school, when he just wants to be properly heroic Spider-Man. When a new villain makes an appearance, Peter can’t keep still, though. Something needs to be done. And if nobody else does it, he will.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is entertaining and fun and has its fair share of problems. I enjoyed it, but not without reservations.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr.Sebastian Stan, Scarlett JohanssonAnthony Mackie, Don CheadleJeremy Renner, Chadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandDaniel BrühlFrank GrilloMartin FreemanWilliam Hurt, Marisa TomeiJohn KaniJohn SlatteryHope DavisAlfre WoodardStan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2016

Plot:
After the recent events surrounding the Avengers, the UN feels it necessary to institute some kind of regulation for the action of superheroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who feels guilty about all the damage, destruction and death that happened on his watch and due to his decisions, thinks that’s a very good idea, while Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fears that they will cease to be an effective task force, bogged down by bureaucracy, if they have to wait for approval by somebody else. And who’s to say that that somebody will make the right decisions and work for the right things? This disagreement causes a schism in the Avengers – a schism that only gets broader when Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is accused of planting a bomb in the UN meeting where the regulation is to be discussed and Steve wants to protect him at all cost.

I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far, the films were always entertaining, even if varying in quality. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, [or with Guardians of the Galaxy although that isn’t that closely connected] they started to stumble, though and those smaller missteps are starting to get more notable the longer the series goes on. Civil War proves that: while it was far from awful and delivered on many counts, I felt more unsatisfied with it than with most of the earlier MCU films.

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Chef (2014)

Chef
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, John LeguizamoEmjay Anthony, Bobby Cannavale, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Peters
Seen on: 9.6.2015

Plot:
Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is a passionate chef, but his boss Riva (Dustin Hoffman) wants him to stick with the tried and tested menu – always. That brings him an abysmal critique by Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), the most important food critic. After fundamentally misunderstanding twitter, Carl transform that critique into a public feud with Michel, ultimately leading to him losing his job. Suddenly Carl has all the time in the world. Taking a recommendation from his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara), he goes back to his roots and re-builds his career with a food truck that he takes on a cross-country tour, helped by his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and his friend Martin (John Leguizamo).

Chef was an entertaining film, although it felt to me like Favreau made a film where he out-latinos all the latin@s in it – which was very weird, if not to say problematic.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett JohanssonJames SpaderAaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth OlsenPaul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 26.04.2015

Plot:
The Avengers – that is Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – have become quite a team. In their most recent take-down of Hydra men, they managed to get back Loki’s scepter. Before Thor can take it back to his world, Tony and Bruce ask to analyze it and they discover a form of intelligence inside of the scepter. They decide to use it to try and create an AI as a defense program. They succeed and said program – Ultron (James Spader) – comes to life. Unfortunately he has his own vision of what a safe world looks like and the Avengers have to face Tony’s and Bruce’ creation.

I really loved the last Avengers movie, and this sequel has many of the same strengths. Unfortunately it also has a lot more problems than the first one, especially when it comes to plot and character development. Nevertheless I really enjoyed myself.

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The Judge (2014)

The Judge
Director: David Dobkin
Writer: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio,Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, David Krumholtz, Denis O’Hare

Plot:
Hank (Robert Downey Jr.) fled from his hometown and his harsh, strict father (Robert Duvall), a well-respected judge, as soon as he was able to and never returned. Now a successful lawyer, Hank finally has to make the trip back home after his mother dies. But practically as soon as he arrives, his father becomes a murder suspect, forcing Hank to stay longer and not only confront his feelings about his father, but also his two brothers Dale (Jeremy Strong) and Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio), and even his old girlfriend Samantha (Vera Farmiga).

I wouldn’t have thought it possible that a film with that cast could ever bore me – because if all else fails, there’d still be this brilliant cast to watch – but thanks to a really bad script and uninspired direction, the film managed just that.

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Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby‘s comic
Sequel to: Iron Man, Iron Man 2 [here are all my Iron Man reviews]
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer and [SPOILER] Mark Ruffalo
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
After the events in The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is at least as shook up as his entire worldview. He tries to deal with things by tinkering around with his Iron Man suits but he doesn’t really get anywhere with it. In the meantime, a terrorist keeps setting off bombs and they aren’t close to finding him yet. In a bad mood, Tony challenges him and gives him his home address. And suddenly things get very personal indeed.

Iron Man 3 was very enjoyable and entertaining and far from being as dark as the trailer made it seem. I did have a couple of issues with it, but mostly it’s a wonderful continuation of the series.

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Re-Watch: Iron Man (2008) + Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man / Iron Man 2
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway / Justin Theroux
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby‘s comic
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard / Don Cheadle, Jeff Bridges, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, John Slattery, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here are my other reviews.]

Plot:
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the kind of guy Bruce Wayne always pretends to be: Rich, constantly drunk, an ass. Now take away the social consciousness of Bruce Wayne and add “manufactures weapons” and technical genius and you know Tony Stark.
That changes pretty drastically when he’s abducted in Iraq and forced to build a rocket for a group of terrorists. Instead of building what they ask for, he builds a hightech suit of armour and makes himself a superhero on the way. But becoming a superhero doesn’t come without its costs.

I guess since it’s not the first time that I’m watching the films, nobody will be surprised when I say that I like them. And I really do.

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Love & Distrust (2010)

Love & Distrust (it’s a short film anthology with the following segments)
Segment The Summer House
Director: Daisy Gili
Writer: Ian Beck
Cast: Talulah Riley, Robert Pattinson
Segment Blue Poles
Director: Darcy Yuille
Writer: Stewart Klein
Cast: Sam Worthington, Hallie Shellam
Segment Grasshopper
Director: Eric Kmetz
Writer: Eric Kmetz
Cast: James Franco, Rachel Miner
Segment Pennies
Director: Diana Valentine, Warner Loughlin
Writer: Eddie Adams, Marcus Kayne
Cast: Amy Adams
Segment Auto Motives
Director: Lorraine Bracco
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., James Cameron, Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, Jim Rash, Tate Taylor

Plot:
In Summer House, Jane (Talulah Riley) tries to get away from her ex Richard (Robert Pattinson).
In Blue Poles, country guy Miles (Sam Worthington) picks up hippie hitchhiker Libby (Hallie Shellam).
In Grasshopper, business man Travis (James Franco) forgets his cell phone on the train which is found by punk Terri (Rachel Miner).
In Pennies, Charlotte (Amy Adams) has to come into some money really quickly for the sake of her daughter. Unfortunately, she’s only a waitress.
In Auto Motives, we see various people in different situations involving cars.

I got drawn in by the impressive cast list in this collection. Unfortunately that seems to have also been the only criteria in the choice of putting those originally unconnected short films together in one film. There is no thematic arch whatsoever, but even taken on their own, the films are absolutely damn weak.

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