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Iron Man (2008)

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Before we saw the pattern repeated ad nauseum.  Before the idea of an entire Marvel Universe existed.  Before Disney took over. 

There was Iron Man.  And, for many, there was also Robert Downey, Jr. suddenly not being a tragic punchline.

Robert Downey, Jr.'s career had begun to recover before Iron Man.  Tropic Thundercame out the same year, and he had both sobered and up and somewhat come to grips with how he was destroying his life.  For me he had been interesting at one point - Natural Born Killers instinctively comes to mind - but for the longest time I found myself being more interested in his dad's weird, independent art films than him. 

What we did have with the junior Downey as a millionaire playboy with some major substance abuse problems whose dad had been an innovator of sorts, but who himself at that point had become less of a prodigy even if he did have more to offer than what you saw on the surface.  That his own personal life in some ways mirrored Tony Stark con…

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

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The majority of James Bond films have had little to nothing to do with the books.  Some characters, locations and general plot points are kept, but the movies and Ian Fleming's original novels and short stories are two different creatures.  The other thing you realize early on, especially as new actors began taking on the roll of the world's most famous secret agent over the years, is that internal consistency is also rather shaky.  Still, after James Bond finally finds love and gets married, only to have Blofeld and his henchwoman kill his new bride shortly after the wedding at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, it frustrated me that it affected the following movies so little.

Turns out that was not always the plan.  When George Lazenby was still attached to Diamonds Are Forever it was supposed to be the main theme - Bond taking revenge upon Blofeld for Tracy's death.  A number of things happened in the two years between the movies: Lazenby, upon some bad ad…

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

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Ant-Manwas far from one of my favorite Marvel movies.  I thought of it as Deadpoollite, as the Ryan Reynolds film was already being talked up at the time Paul Rudd's superhero hit the big screen.  It felt like Marvel introduced Ant-Man in an attempt to jump on the humorous anti-hero bandwagon, and maybe try to do an end-run like Deep Space 9 did with Babylon 5

For me, the character was barely interesting.  I believe a typical Marvel cameo was thrown in for no reason (something that they seem to have been avoiding in recent films), but largely it felt like it had nothing to do with the larger story they were trying to (sporadically) tell.  That was until Ant-Man became the cameo, showing up to lend his aid to his favorite star-spangled hero in Captain America: Civil WarHere Ant-Man revealed his power to grow in both directions, and was more interesting in the few minutes of screen time he had than in the entire solo movie.  It didn't help that Ant-Man meant sitting through…

Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)

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Test audiences.  Just have to love them.  Drag in random people off the street, a number of whom think magic is Satanic, nudity will make degenerates of our children and that the louder the movie is, the better.  Unfortunately, the opinions of these random people result in major changes in movies, or in completed films never seeing the light of day. 

Such was the fate of Nothing Lasts Forever.  In all honesty I cannot understand why executives would drag in tests audiences for this.  It's a small budget art film by former Saturday Night Live writer Tom Schiller, paying tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood while taking some jabs at people who think that art happens by osmosis.  It's amusing, cinema fans would love it, and once it gets over some initial silliness it is quite enjoyable.  However, no one would mistake this for a mainstream box office film, even with Bill Murray making an appearance.

Adam Beckett (Zach Galligan) wants desperately to be an artist, but can't f…

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)

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I recently read an article on Cracked that stated that no matter how you feel about Paul W. S. Anderson's films he has a knack of filming spooky corridors.  So, of course, as I finally reach the end of the Resident Evil series, I find myself looking at corridors, hallways and passageways.  And, lo and behold, that laser corridor from the first movie shows up once again.

This leaves me tempted to speak about the passage of time between the first and final movie.  About the twists and turns through which this corridor has led us.  I guess I could say I have been in it for the long hall.

But that would leave me negating the fact that, as good as this is for the end of this expensive (and successful) string of b-movies, that reaching the end of the line once again exposed a number of the frustrations that have popped up throughout the entire series.  On top of that there are plenty of problems this time around as well, not least that it looks like it was edited by a hyperactive five-…

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

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It may come as a surprise that "nerd rage" is not really anything new.  It didn't really get a name in recent years, but it is definitely a thing that has affected film franchises (and definitely book series and comic book franchises) for decades.  One of the worst cases in the past was when Sean Connery decided to call it quits on playing James Bond.

Connery started getting sick of the character while filming Thunderball, and things only got worse with all the publicity surrounding You Only Live TwiceThough offered an outrageous amount of money to return for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Connery walked, and the search for a new Bond was on.  Eventually that search resulted in casting an Australian car salesman and model named George Lazenby.

Lazenby had absolutely no acting experience, and largely bluffed his way into the audition.  Still, his dedication resulted in him landing the role and a seven-movie deal.  Unfortunately, the nerd rage settled in, with Br…

Bad Taste (1987)

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Every director has their starting point, and often it is a labor of love.  Rarely a masterpiece, and Bad Taste definitely isn't, but typically a budding film maker will learn a lot about what they can do and can't do, and many ways to overcome the latter.  It's that one film that you make on weekends with your friends, most of you playing multiple roles and taking on many roles on and off the camera. 

And, if you are in New Zealand, you may just find yourself getting some government funds and a pat on the back even if what you are making is a violent alien invasion comedy. 

Bad Taste took four years to make.  In that time, one of the cast members got married, left the production, got divorced and returned.  Hairstyles, sock colors and other continuity errors pop up.  The actor playing the lead villain passed away.  Ultimately, the result was a movie that laid the foundation for director Peter Jackson to make the movie Braindead (released in the United States as Dead Alive)…