Iron Man

“Ant-Man” film review

In short, Ant-Man was more enjoyable than I thought it’d be. In fact, it’s excellent. While Avengers: Age of Ultron almost collapsed underneath its sheer girth with all the characters and plot threads, Ant-Man benefits greatly with just four core cast members, all new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It works very well as a stand-alone film, just like Guardians of the Galaxy. There are nods to the other movies and of course its original source material, but they don’t confuse audiences who aren’t a follower of this mega-franchise.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a former systems engineer who just left prison after serving a sentence for petty theft. After he discovers a suit that allows him to shrink in size but also become physically stronger, he becomes a part of a “save the human race from their own demise by stopping a weapon getting into the wrong hands” plot that becomes much bigger than him (ha!). Guiding him is scientist Hank Pym (Michael Dougles), who became the original Ant-Man in the ‘60s after mastering the [INSERT SCIENCEY-FICTIONEY STUFF] that makes the shrinking ability possible. His estranged daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), along with his former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) have taken over Pym’s company and pushed him out. There are fantastic side characters, but these are the four that matter.

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During this heist movie, arguably the biggest theme is family, especially with father figures. Lang’s wants to be the hero his young daughter thinks he is (she’s currently in the care of Lang’s ex-wife and new fiancé), and Pym has a strained relationship with his daughter and Cross, who Pym once saw as “the son he never had”. Cross despises Pym yet at the same time wants his approval so badly, that he’s willing to revive his mentor’s dangerous secretive technology.
All the personalities are brilliant. You root for Lang, because he made a terrible mistake and wants so badly to make everything right. Cross’s demeanour may be one of the most bloodcurdling in the entire MCU, yet he’s not some crazy super villain trying to conquer the world. Pym’s arc with his daughter becomes the most satisfying in the picture, and both are just bad arse characters.

You may be sick of origin stories at this point, but I doubt most non-comic book fans had even heard of Ant-Man, so watching him learn how to shrink in size, control ants and attack targets so much larger than him is simply thrilling to watch. The script and ideas are on point, and the sight of a vicious fight scene at microscopic size on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set was hilariously awesome. Despite the stakes of the heist hinging on a potential dangerous weapon, the characters are so good you just worry whether they get out alive, rather than if we all do.

Ant-Man is a superb motion-picture. For some, the superhero featured in this film seems a tad lame, but trust me, just go see the movie and you’ll change your mind. A great script, great cast, great action and a running time that doesn’t drag on at all, just go see it.

Rating: 4.5/5.

“Iron Man 3” review

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If you think they were going to downscale Iron Man after The Avengers than you were wrong! Iron Man 3 is here and it blew away all expectations!

Tony Stark is experiencing post-traumatic stress order after “New York”, which refers to the alien invasion that occurred in The Avengers. His ways of dealing with this stress takes a toll on his relationship with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.  After his home is destroyed by a huge threat, he sets out to get revenge on those responsible and to protect America from the Mandarin terrorist group that has blown up a series of bombs on American soil.

The beginning was slow. Real slow. We go through a flashback to 1999 to introduce a couple of characters. Maya Hansen, one of Stark’s one-night stands, is a scientist who invented the Extremis, which is a treatment that can regenerate crippling injuries. Aldrich Killian, a disabled scientist, wanted Stark and Hanson in his company, but Stark rejected the offer and humiliated him in the process.

Even after this flashback, the story continues to be a slow starter. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. The jokes don’t stop, and I think this has the funniest dialogue of any Marvel film adaptation. This film is over two hours long, and I just did not want it to end. The plot may feel overwrought at times, but it’s not too difficult to follow. Action movies have the ability to make you think in your head “Oh my God, this is just so awesome”. I thought that multiple times, because these action sequences did not let up. Tony Stark did not stop being Tony Stark, which is great because Robert Downey Jr does a fantastic job with the character.

I remember loving Iron Man 1 and The Avengers, but I also remember not liking Iron Man 2 for reasons I can’t recall…I will remember how good Iron Man 3 is for a very long time.

It’s not all perfect; I picked up a few flaws, but almost everything else I overwhelmingly view positively.

Downey Jr once again plays a great starring role as the one and only Iron Man. The film starts off a bit slow, but once we finally get into the swing of things, we don’t look back because we simply can’t resist the awesomeness inhabiting our screen. The only way I possibly couldn’t recommend this is if you have a very strange dislike for Iron Man, The Avengers or superhero movies in general. To everyone else: you should have seen it by now!

Rating: 4.5/5.

I also would recommend you read my friend Pigeon’s review too, he is a film/TV university student, so he knows what he’s talking about!

Black Sabbath 2013 Melbourne concert review

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“Let’s see those fucking hands!”

“Everybody jump!”

“Is everyone having a fucking good time?”

“I can’t fucking hear you!”

Ozzy Osbourne loves to please a crowd. After nearly four decades of waiting, Black Sabbath finally returned six feet down under to Australia with three out of the four original members.

Firstly I’d like to congratulate alternative rock supporting band Shihad for giving me a great first impression with incredibly loud guitar music! I’m keen to check them out, because they have such a fiery energy.

Opening with sirens blazing, the Black Sabbath went straight into ‘War Pigs’ and Ozzy’s voice sounded surprisingly in good shape for a 64 year old. That’s not to say he was in top form the entire show, unfortunately. The band did not shy away from smiling at each other, displaying just as much excitement about the reunion as the fans.

After getting through a few old favourites, we were treated to the world premiere of a new song off their upcoming album ‘13’, entitled ‘Loner’. During this and the other two new songs, the crowd were either eagerly listening or eagerly grabbing a drink. I think that’s unfortunate because I can always appreciate new material.

During ‘Black Sabbath’, the crowd took out their phones and lighters to lighten up the joint…as well as their own joints. It’s been a while since I’ve had to experience second hand smoking in a crowd. A personal highlight for me was Geezer Butler’s bass solo at the start of ‘N.I.B.’. That’s some fine finger picking skills right there and it certainly left me inspired.

‘Fairies Wear Boots’ is my favourite Sabbath song, and I enjoyed every minute of Tony Iommi’s metal pumping riffs. Ozzy then left the stage to let the other boys jam to ‘Symptom of the Universe’ and then just left fill-in drummer Tommy Clufetos to play a rather lengthy solo. I thought this was a bit strange due to the controversy surrounding original drummer Bill Ward. Clufetos may not be a member of the band, but I guess it’s nice that his existence is acknowledged.

Returning to play ‘Iron Man’, the crowd was incredibly excited to hear one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time played by the great man who penned it. It’s a riff so iconic that Ozzy had the crowd sing along to it.

‘Paranoid’ ended the show on a high note, with the crowd jumping about, singing along, and realising that this was their last chance to crowd surf. I am a relatively new fan of Black Sabbath, so I avoided watching their live videos to make the concert a fresh experience, and the show ended up being even better than I expected!

My friend Pigeon also had a great time, except for a random person in the crowd making him feel rather uncomfortable. During ‘Snowblind’, Iommi opened with that great riff and everyone started to jump. Pigeon stopped jumping, but the middle-aged man in front of him kept on bouncing very close to Pigeon, like he was grinding him. To make matters worse, his long oily hair was snowing dandruff and smelt terrible. You could say Pigeon experienced “Snowgrind”. Hehehehe. Something happens to him almost every concert, so go follow his blog at Pigeon Stories for reviews and more hilariously embarrassing tales to show your sympathy (or lack thereof).

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this. Did you agree, disagree? What are your experience with Black Sabbath and are you looking forward to the new album? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

Rating: 4/5

Here’s the setlist, with my favourite moments in bold.

  1. War Pigs 
  2. Into the Void 
  3. Under the Sun 
  4. Snowblind 
  5. Loner  (World Premiere)
  6. Black Sabbath 
  7. Behind the Wall of Sleep 
  8. N.I.B. 
  9. End of the Beginning 
  10. Fairies Wear Boots 
  11. Symptom of the Universe (instrumental)
  12. Drum Solo 
  13. Iron Man 
  14. God Is Dead? 
  15. Dirty Women 
  16. Children of the Grave 
  17. Paranoid (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)