The Place Beyond the Pines is Derek Cianfrance second directorial film and it is an amazing piece of cinema. Its also a strong piece of drama that hits you hard. It deals with the consequences, relationships with fathers and sons, about legacy and a story that can reverberate throughout generations.
I was emotionally engaged with this film through all three story acts. Its a powerhouse of a cast that play realistic characters which make you care about them. Every actor/actress is almost flawless. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper make another outstanding performance. Ray Liotta gives a great and an unnerving performance. I connected with each character especially Dane Dehaan's character. The stunt work is also great. It has an incredible raw chase scene between Gosling and Cooper.
A lot of people had problems with the third act of this film. I didn't, I felt it was as great as the first two acts. All the problems I've heard are self explanatory. Both Aj and Jason live in the same city, of course they're eventually going to run into each other. It was complete coincidence and I bought it, as you should and of course I have known these types of people they were portraying. Its an ambitious and beautiful story more than deserving the two full hours of your time. Its the best film I've seen this year so far.
Like most people I was anticipating the next chapter in the Iron Man series. The first one was exceptionally great, as far as superhero films are concerned . The second installment was enjoyable to me even though its universally frowned upon. Now, after The Avengers we finally have the third installment of Iron Man. Is it good? No. Not to me.
There are some fantastic moments in this movie. Tony Stark's home getting demolished by "The Mandarin's" men as Tony saves Pepper Potts in slow motion was visually stunning. At that point it was a five star movie for me, as far as summer-action-blockbuster standards. The fight between Iron Man and "The Mandarin" was really fun. Especially having Pepper Potts save Iron Man in the end. Robert Downy Jr.'s performance was superb yet again. The interaction between Tony and the child has good humor but almost pointless. All the action sequences were great but that was it. Everything else was underdeveloped, confusing, and extremely frustrating.
Once we get to the middle point of this movie we are given the "big plot twist" that gives M. Night Shamalama-ding-dong a run for his money. I have never read a single comic book or have any knowledge of who the Mandarin is. Through out the first hour this villain is brought out to be an extremely heinous terrorist. Then, it turns out he's just an actor, a giant ruse. It was so terribly confounding. It didn't make any sense to me. Yes, it was funny but at the same time I was so frustrated and upset of a cheapened character. I'll admit it was an original plot twist but it just didn't work for this concept. From that point everything was underdeveloped and pointless. Absolutely nothing was explained.
Besides Tony Stark and perhaps Pepper Potts every character was underdeveloped or had no real exact motive to their actions. Rebecca Hall's character was completely pointless everything she did was pointless. Guy Pearce's character had no real motive to create evil superhuman soldiers. The only real motive I could think of was how Tony had left him on the roof by himself. Really? That's the reason why he has to make himself superhuman and make a superhuman army and kill Tony Stark? The "project extremis" was never explained at any point and it was an underwhelming concept in general. Why should I care about these characters or find any antagonist or their actions remotely interesting?
There was a scene where Iron Man had to save thirteen people that were falling from a crashing plane. That sequence was looking to be the best scene in the entire film. Yet again it was cheapened by the following scene. Tony wasn't even in the suite, he was controlling it like some sort of video game. Another baffling scene was during one of the final confrontations. Where Tony and Don Cheadle's character are surrounded by the "super soldiers" . At this point Tony Stark had called in his own army of Iron Men to save them. I was only thinking, "So why didn't he use them before?" There were numerous occasions were he could have used them. If it was explained in a quick line then that was very poorly executed. After its all done, Stark and Potts have an intimate moment and decides to neutralize the Iron man suites in mid air as some sort of fireworks scenery. Why?
The comedy was okay at best. Nothing really made me laugh hysterically. The story and the characters were poorly written, underdeveloped and pointless but the action sequences were very entertaining. The ending montage was even more confusing and unexplained and rushed. I really felt this movie was incomplete and had unfinished writing. This is a kids movie and it was fun but I was expecting at least a good enough story with good enough characters and i didn't even get that. The action is all it has going for it.