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Fri06052020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Kevin Corrigan, who has made a career out of playing an annoyed grouch, gets a chance to really shine in Results, a funny comedy about a man who suddenly becomes rich—and has no idea what to do with his money or his life.

Corrigan plays Danny, a newly divorced man who has come into an inheritance. It’s a lot of money, but it hasn’t changed his disgruntled and confused attitude toward people—an attitude that isn’t helped by a lot of pot-smoking and drinking.

Danny decides he’s going to try to buy his way back into shape, so he goes to a local gym, where the owner, Trevor (Guy Pearce), takes fitness a little too seriously. Kat (Cobie Smulders) is assigned to Danny as his personal trainer. She makes house calls; they start smoking pot; this all leads to complications.

Corrigan is dead-on funny here, making every moment he is onscreen worth something. Pearce gets a chance to show his comedic side, and while he’s mostly playing the straight man, he still garners some laughs. Smulders is a revelation, showing she has a real talent for oft-kilter characters.

There are a couple of plot elements that don’t work, however. Trevor has a fantasy world he goes to when he closes his eyes; this gimmick isn’t funny and feels out of place. However, the compelling cast powers through any problems.

Results is available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

Published in Reviews

In a post-economic-collapse Australia, Eric (Guy Pearce) stops for a drink in a dirty bar—and promptly has his car stolen. He gets a truck in exchange for that car, but doesn’t care, and immediately begins a relentless pursuit of his vehicle.

Along the way, he picks up Rey (Robert Pattinson), an injured brother of one of the car thieves. They form a strange alliance that results in many deaths during the pursuit of the automobile.

With The Rover, David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) has made a moody film utilizing an uncomfortable-looking Australian Outback. Pearce delivers some of his finest, fiercest work since the underrated The Proposition, while Pattinson is extremely good as the simple, messed-up Rey. The film also features Scoot McNairy, an actor who is piling up the great performances, in a small but very noticeable role as Rey’s brother.

The film is full of stark imagery, sudden violence and dirt. Everything is covered in dirt. The grime suits the story—a story that proves you don’t need a heavy, complicated plot to make a good movie.

The Rover is now playing at the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 760-770-1615).

Published in Reviews

Hateship Loveship is a strange movie. It’s just a hair away from being terrible due to its crazy subject matter, yet thanks to some great performances and solid direction by Liza Johnson, the people behind this one pull off an impressive high-wire act.

In one of her best performances to date, Kristen Wiig plays Johanna Parry, a lonely caregiver who winds up working for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte), an older gentleman taking care of his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld) after her mother has died. Sabitha doesn’t like having Johanna around, so she and a friend (Sami Gayle) tease her in a very peculiar way: They pretend to be Sabitha’s addict father, Ken (Guy Pearce), and write love letters to a completely convinced Johanna. In fact, Johanna is so convinced that she moves into Ken’s abandoned hotel without him even knowing.

This incredibly awkward situation is handled so well that Hateship Loveship becomes a good, heartwarming movie instead of an ugly, unbearably uncomfortable one. Much credit goes to Johnson and screenwriter Mark Poirier (Goats, Smart People) for finding much sweetness in what could’ve been a very sour affair.

Wiig has taken some great risks since leaving Saturday Night Live. It is fantastic to see those risks paying off.

Hateship Loveship is available via various online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

The third Iron Man film regained some magic after the enjoyable but inferior Iron Man 2. That’s thanks in large part to director Shane Black, a man who has great chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. Just watch their Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for proof.

Things get dark this time around, with Downey’s Tony Stark suffering anxiety attacks after the events of The Avengers. The world is being terrorized by a strange sort called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a cloaked psycho who uses television and the Internet to hold the world at ransom.

After a battle that annihilates his California abode, Stark finds himself on the road and hiding out with a kid; this leads to some funny banter. Guy Pearce shows up as a potentially bad guy, and Gwyneth Paltrow gets a chance to put on a suit and kick some ass.

As far as action goes, this film really delivers the goods. Stark must face off against some crazy, fire-breathing mutants that are capable of regenerating when they lose a limb. There are a whole bunch of new suits and gadgets flying about, and many pretty explosions. Downey, as usual, anchors the whole thing with a fun performance.

This might mark the end for Downey in solo Iron Man films, but he has signed on for more Avengers movies—so he remains Iron Man.

Special Features: They include commentary with Shane Black and writer Drew Pearce, a bunch of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a gag reel and deleted scenes.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Shane Black, writer of the screenplays for Lethal Weapon and Last Action Hero, made one of my favorite directorial debuts with 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I thought it marked the arrival of a true directorial force.

Then he basically disappeared.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang featured the best Robert Downey Jr. performance ever put to screen. Maybe Downey agrees with that statement, because he pushed for Black as his director on Iron Man 3. Thankfully, he got his wish.

Iron Man 3 is as good as the first film, and markedly better than the OK second installment; it’s just slightly inferior to last year’s The Avengers. Like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it features dark humor, and gives us a protagonist that is slightly unreliable.

The film opens with a few mistakes Tony Stark made a long time ago, and sets us up for the perils Stark is facing today. Chief among his enemies is The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a tripped-out version of Osama bin Laden who executes Americans on TV and openly taunts the president (William Sadler).

Another big enemy would be Tony Stark himself, because he’s battling panic attacks and insomnia after the events of The Avengers. These blows to his mental and physical capacity lead to mishaps in his laboratory, and a pretty scary moment when one of his suits pounces on Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in their bedroom.

Chief among Stark’s flaws has always been his vanity, which leads to him calling out The Mandarin, resulting in all kinds of hell fire coming down on his West Coast compound. Stark winds up going deep undercover, and at one point has a kid sidekick (Ty Simpkins). The kid-sidekick stuff sounds like it would be lame, doesn’t it? However, Black and Downey Jr. have a way of taking conventional crap and having a lot of fun, so the kid is cool.

Iron Man 3 piles on the villains and potential villains. In the intro flashback, we meet nerdy Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who is working on some really big genetics project. Stark blows him off so he can sleep with Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), another scientist.

James Badge Dale and Stephanie Szostak are on hand as Mandarin assassins who have the power to heat up their bodies and regenerate limbs when they are lopped off. They reminded me a bit of Robert Patrick in Terminator 2 with their unstoppable evil, although their performances contain a little more depth.

Paltrow is allowed to play with her character a little more in this installment, as Pepper goes through all kinds of tribulations. As with Tom Cruise, Paltrow’s public-image garbage tends to distract from the fact that she can act up a storm, and she’s typically great in this one. Don Cheadle gets limited screen time as Col. James Rhodes/War Machine/Iron Patriot, but he makes the most of it.

As for the Mandarin, Kingsley has a lot of fun—in ways you won’t expect. The Mandarin is one of the more unique villains to arise from the Marvel movie franchises, and he takes some major detours from his comic-book incarnation.

Black and Downey faced a rather daunting task: How do you bring the Iron Man back to Earth after The Avengers, which involved aliens, a Hulk, a Thor and Scarlett Johansson in tights? The answer: You allow Downey to riff; you surround him with a cast that matches his brilliance; and you allow the Stark character to remain human and vulnerable.

The action scenes are stellar. One scene, involving a high-altitude rescue after a bunch of people are sucked out of a plane, is the best of the franchise thus far, and the finale is a rouser. Let it be said that Black manages an excellent balance of action and character development, with every major character getting satisfactory screen time. Black and Downey are a great screen team, and that’s apparent in Iron Man 3.

Next up for Tony Stark will be Avengers 2, and then who knows after that? This one is going to be a bitch to reboot when Downey Jr. decides to hang it up.

One last thing: Stay for the credits, will you? Despite many Marvel movies offering after-the-credits surprises, I still see a parade of people getting up and walking out as the credits start. You paid for the seat and perhaps the funny 3-D glasses, so stay put until everything fades to black.

Published in Reviews