Tag Archive: guy pearce

iron man 3Dir. Shane Black
(2013, PG-13, 130 minutes)

The first thing that came to mind while watching Iron Man 3 was how much better superhero movies need to get about women. Just one day ago I watched the terrific second part of Feminist Frequency’s critical analysis of the problematic roles of women in video games, and here is a movie that makes her point for her.

There are two major female roles. The first, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), more or less runs Stark Industries and manages Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) dysfunctional life, but before long she is damseled by the screenplay – that is to say, she is kidnapped and rendered helpless so that male characters can fight over her. Pepper gets two moments of heroism, but both are the result of technology or augmentation inflicted on her by male characters.

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Dir. David Michôd
(2010, R, 113 min)
★ ★ ★ ★

Animal Kingdom begins with possibly the best opening scene from any film I’ve seen in the last year. It introduces us to a teenage boy, Joshua Cody (James Frecheville), watching a television game show alongside his mother. But what appears to be a mundane scenario is revealed to be something quite different, something traumatic and sad. The rest of the film functions much the same way. As Joshua tells us early on, his experiences seem normal to him as he’s experiencing them. He settles into the status quo, and though he knows there’s something not quite right about his family, he doesn’t see how drastically his life is about to change.

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Dir. Tom Hooper
(2010, R, 118 min)
★ ★ ★

The King’s Speech is burdened with self-ascribed import. It tells the story of King George VI, who ascended to the British throne in the years leading up to the Second World War. He suffered from a stammer that, at the dawn of the age of radio, crippled him as a leader. But of course by then the British monarch was a figurehead who, as George himself admits at a moment of self-doubt, appoints no government and makes no command decisions. As the symbolic representative of the British people at a time of crisis, his words had meaning, but the film almost gives us the impression that George’s improved speech all but won the war. As he steps out onto his balcony, received by his adoring subjects, the film seems to say, “Problem solved! War’s over! He successfully read a prepared statement!” (The specific words chosen for that statement seem irrelevant to the story; all we’re told before it’s put in the King’s hands is that the speech was approved, by someone or lots of someones who presumably know about such things as proper word selection at a time of war.)

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