Five Reasons You Should Go See Iron Man 3

On Monday night, I had the pleasure of taking B to a press screening of Iron Man 3.

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I questioned my sanity on taking an almost 7-year to see the movie without screening it first, but then realized that a) I would probably let him go see it anyway (he’s seen all of the other Marvel movies) and b) it would be really nice to spend some quality time with him. Plus, I’m trying to score some last minute points for Mother’s Day (ahem, which is May 12th).

I was a little tentative going into this movie. I loved Avengers and the first Iron Man movie, but I was kinda “eh” on the second one. I don’t really remember many details from it, except that it involve race cars and Mickey Rourke. I’ve seen it more than once and that’s still my recollection of the plot. So basically, I went in with low expectations. HOWEVER, I was pleasantly surprised — and here’s why.

1. It’s fun and it’s funny.

We all know that Robert Downey Jr. is great at playing Iron Man. He definitely brings a special kind of wit and charm to the movies, but I felt like this movie was just plain fun and there was a lot of humor. Truthfully, I don’t see Marvel movies for the plot or the because I am a super fan. I go for the fun and stay for the hot guys (and girls). This movie brought the fun. It was also funnier than any of the previous movies. It was like all of the all characters also discovered their sense of humor.

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2. The bad guys keep things interesting.

I know absolutely nothing about comic books, but I do know there a little bit of a twist to the whole “Mandarin/Extremis” storyline that people may not expect. Since I am not a die-hard, I loved it – but if you are a stickler for the how the movie matches up with the comics you may not be crazy about the change. One thing you can’t deny though is that Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, and Rebecca Hall (among others) each bring a little something interesting to the “typical” bad guy role.

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Ben Kingsley, in particular, is a standout — he pretty much steals every scene he’s in — and rightfully so.

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3. RDJ + a little kid = pure magic

A good chunk of the movie involves RDJ interacting with a little boy, Harley (play by Ty Simpkins), with STELLAR comedic timing.

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He’s adorable and they have great chemistry together. I think it works because Tony doesn’t treat the kid like a kid (why would he?). I will warn you, from a parental point-of-view, that at one point he calls the kid a “pussy” — which, I’m pretty sure is as vulgar at the movie gets. B has no idea what that means, it didn’t really phase him, but it did kind of surprise me!

4. RDJ = Don Cheadle = Buddy Cop Throwback

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After watching the comradery and banter play out between between RDJ and Don Cheadle throughout this movie it shouldn’t be surprising that the writer/director, Shane Black (who might be a little bit obsessed with Christmas), also wrote the first Lethal Weapon movie. Tony Stark and James Rhodes (War Machine/Iron Patriot) get to build on their relationship together in this movie and it definitely feels a lot like watching Murtaugh and Riggs do their thing — and a that’s a good thing. I wasn’t sold on Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2 (he replaced Terrence Howard), but he is given a lot of good material here and runs with it.

5. There’s A LOT of action

This is NOT a slow movie, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. We start with Tony and Pepper’s house in Malibu being blown up — and that’s just the beginning. I did see this in 3-D, but I can’t really tell you what was so 3-D about it (so save your $$). The “Extremis” special effects are very cool and the whole “Air Force One” being blown up scene (which is featured in a few of the trailers) could have been SUPER cheesy, but instead I found it cheerworthy.

Not to spoil it, but if any of you are really looking to seeing Gwyneth Paltrow hurt, on fire, and/or with her sports bra on (or if you REALLY hate her) – you will be very happy.

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If you are like me and actually like GP – you will also be happy because she continues her great chemistry with RDJ and takes on a lot more here than in the past movies. It’s reported that RDJ pushed for her to have a bigger role in the film, so all of you haters (and lovers!) can thank him.

There are a few things that I didn’t LOVE about the movie (mainly, I’m not 100% sure what happened to Guy Pearce’s character) but I do recommend going to see it. It doesn’t necessarily build on the Avengers plot line (there is zero S.H.I.E.L.D. presence) – but “the other guys” and “New York” are mentioned and Iron Man has some definite PSTD related to what happened in New York throughout the movie.

And of course, you MUST stay through the end credits to see the final clip. It’s short and sweet, but definitely made everyone smile.

So do you go see it? Do I really have to answer that question? Of course you do.

Disclosure: While my guest and I were given free admission to this movie, I did have to pay for my own popcorn… and the review and opinions in it are my own. 

Four Score and Seven Years Ago… {Lincoln Movie Review}

When I think of Abraham Lincoln three things come to mind 1) honest 2) abolishing slavery and 3) Gettysburg Address. I actually love history (we’ve discussed how I am a nerd, right?), but going into this movie I had a very simple view of Abraham Lincoln. I have now been enlightened.

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What I discovered and loved about Lincoln is that while he was a great orator and story teller, Lincoln was also a politician…just like the rest of them.

The focus of this movie is the last four months of Lincoln’s life or rather what happens during the last four months of his life (to say the movie is solely about him would be a lie). It’s the end of the Civil War – the North has the upper hand and really, Lincoln could have ended it whenever he wanted. But, there’s that whole 13th Amendment thing. Lincoln needs it to pass it through the House of Representatives before he’s willing to to talk peace. He feels (and sadly, probably rightly so) that if he doesn’t end slavery now, he’s not going to end it after the war is over. {Just think about that for a minute.} Everyone thinks he’s nuts. In order for this to happen he needs at least 20 votes/abstentions from the Democrats (remember when Republicans were the liberal party?) and Lincoln needs to do anything and everything he can to get those votes. ANYTHING.

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This is where the (amazing) supporting cast comes into play. A large chunk of this movie consists of a bunch of white men, with crazy facial hair, screaming at each other in a small room. I’m sure you’re thinking “Michelle, I would rather watch cheese mold”, and it really could have downhill quickly, but I assure you, it’s captivating. Tony Kushner’s screenplay is fast paced and witty (I was surprised at how much I laughed) and in the end I waited with baited breath to hear the final vote from these men… even though I knew the end game.

Woven into the passing of the 13th Amendment is Lincoln’s story. You see both sides of Lincoln — the great orator and storyteller (who, does happen to tell some great stories throughout the movie), as well as Lincoln at home – with his children, with his wife, and with his closest confidants – where you see the drive, the passion, the focus, and the sadness of his life. This story could not be told without Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln — his portrayal is just that amazing.

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That is NOT a drawing.

There are also some great supporting actors. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddus Stevens is a huge standout as a hardcore Republican abolitionist who spars with Lincoln at times because of his passion. He completely steals every scene that he’s in and even made me cry near the end of the movie (spoiler: I cried a lot).

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James Spader is also a scene stealer (playing W. N. Bilbo – one of Secretary of the State Seward’s henchmen) – who almost made me cry tears of laughter. I mean, just look at that mustache…

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And while Joseph Gordon Levitt had a very small part as Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, he had one of the most disturbing and emotional scenes with Daniel Day-Lewis and completely held his own. It was through their scenes where you saw that Lincoln was, indeed, a vulnerable man.

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I watched this movie the day after election day, so I might have in a slightly emotional state and mindset, but it was definitely a reminder. A reminder of where our country came from, how far we’ve risen, and how far we still have to go – especially when it comes to equality. But, it also made me think about how far one person’s determine can go and how much progress can be made when there is compromise.

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My verdict? Go see this movie (I know, I say this a lot, but I REALLY REALLY mean it). Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis make it big-screen worthy. Be prepared for some lengthy speeches and a lot of talking, but also a lot amazing history. Oh, and don’t forget to bring tissues. Even if your date makes fun of you.

While I did receive free admission to this movie for myself and a guest – all opinions and recommendations are my own.

Three Things Thursday

1. I feel like the school year just started – but report cards for the first quarter came home yesterday. How is that possible? The good news is that I feel like less of a failure of a parent this year. B’s teacher had nothing but nice things to say about him – including how great he is in class and how well he’s doing academically. Whew. This might be because we’ve threatened his free time if he makes us look bad (not really, but we will put his toys in a long extended time out) or because his teacher has been teaching for more than a year.  There are always areas to work on – but he’s 6, not 15 with an attitude problem. I’m very thankful!

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One thing we didn’t know about (and thank goodness for this parent/teacher meetings) is that he has a hard time seeing the board – and he sits in the front of the classroom. So guess who has an appointment at Target Optical this weekend? I’m not surprised really. I’ve worn glasses since I was 9-10 (and now contacts) and I think Dan was even younger. It’s hereditary kid.

2. I went to another advanced screening of a movie last night  (I feel very spoiled lately!). This time it was for Lincoln – directed by Steven Spielberg starting Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and just about every male character actor from any TV show that you’ve watched in the last 5 years (seriously, the cast was amazing).

I’ll do a full review soon (it’s in Limited Release starting tomorrow and full release next Friday), but I will say I was surprised at how I enjoyed it and how much it made me reflect. I’m not surprised at how amazing Daniel Day-Lewis is in it. He full embodies Lincoln and his method acting is impeccable. He’s much prettier than Lincoln really was (especially in the eyes), but he looks SO much like him it’s truly eerie.

3.  I’m officially in the 2nd trimester now (there’s some “debate” on if the 1st trimester of pregnancy ends the 12th, 13th, or 14th week) and as if it’s right one schedule the cravings have started! As of right now, I am seriously craving lemons (especially lemon water) and salmon (which is REALLY weird because I normally don’t like salmon at all).

Fulfilling a serious craving.

Also exciting — it took three pregnancies, but I FINALLY found maternity jeans (and black pants!) that are long enough to wear without having to suffer from “low crotch syndrome.” The best part is that these pants (these from Motherhood Maternity) cost $35-40. I have several pants from the Gap (bought during previous pregnancies) that I can wear – but I have always had a hard time finding black dress pants and jeans. Why are they so hard to find??? Aren’t they a necessity? Plus, pants at Gap cost $70-80. Umm, no thanks!

Three Random Questions: If you were glasses – at what age did you start wearing them? Who’s your favorite all-time, never miss actor/actress? How much would pay for pants? 

“I’m Gonna Wreck It!” {Wreck-It Ralph Review}

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Disney’s newest animated film: Wreck-It Ralph. We’ve actually been talking about this movie in our house for months – it’s right up the boys alley – so almost everyone was excited to go.

So, how can I explain this movie? Well, for one Wreck-It Ralph is to video games what Toy Story is to toys. Now, I’m not saying it’s as GOOD as Toy Story – but the concept and the video games worlds are pretty creative.  And – like Toy Story – it has a great story at the heart of it.

You see, like toys, video games characters live in their own world. Once the doors to arcades close, the video game characters lead their own lives. They take trains through power cords — and all meet up in Game Central Station.  They go to Bad-Anon meetings at Pac-Man’s place. They visit Tappers for some drinks.

Wreck-It Ralph is about Ralph. He’s the bad guy in an 8-bit Donkey Kong-like video game “Fix-It Felix.” Like many people when they turn 30, he starts to question the life he is leading: Who he’s friends with, where he lives, and if he’s achieved his goals. Bottom line: Ralph is not happy merely being the bad guy. He begrudges Fix-It Felix for the charmed life he lives and thinks that if, he too, could earn a medal the other characters in his game (the Nicelanders) will respect him. So he takes action into his own hands, which of course leads to loads of trouble.

I really don’t want to reveal too much of the plot. Part of the fun is discovering the characters and the worlds they live in. The three video games that consume the majority of the movie could not be any different from one another, which makes for very diverse animation styles. This includes the 8-bit world of “Fix-It Felix” (the quirky movement of the Nicelanders and Felix are a nice touch!), a first person shooter, game hilariously called “Hero’s Duty”, and a Mario-Cart like race world (with a touch of anime) called “Sugar Rush.”

I’ve seen a lot of family movies this year and I’m willing to say that was definitely one of the best (if not the best). What makes it so good?  For one – the characters and the actors. John C. Reilly (Ralph), Jay McBrayer (Felix) , Sarah Silverman (Vanellope von Schweetz), and Jane Lynch (Sargent Calhoun) ARE these characters (and to Disney’s credit they look like them too). The humor is also really well done. There’s a good amount of adult/over-the-kids head humor (and video game throw back) to entertain all — and enough glitz and glam to keep my never-interested-in-anything-on-the-TV 3-year old completely enthralled for 90 minutes.

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Ultimately, what I really enjoyed about this movie is that it has a lot of heart, but it’s not done in a cheesy way. It’s about friendship, standing up for what you believe in, and being yourself even if you’re different. Yes, it’s a Disney movie, BUT it’s the kind of Disney movie we haven’t seen a long time. Welcome back Disney! I knew you still had it.

I’m bad and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.

Are you planning on seeing Wreck-It Ralph?

While I was provided free admission for myself and three guests to this movie, I did not get free popcorn and all opinions and recommendations are my own!

Busy Week

This past week was a blur. I have been busy before — busier in fact than last week — but last week really knocked me on my ass and I’m still recovering.

It started slow on Monday – and thankfully I went to bed early because the rest of the week I was not so lucky. Tuesday kicked into high gear with meetings at work (our client was in town!) and an amazing dinner at Hillstone with my coworkers.

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Where I mainly took pictures of dessert. By the way, I NEED to go back for more Apple Cobbler. AMAZING.

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Thank goodness I am not a food blogger.

It was my suggestion to go here because a) it’s truly one of the nicest restaurants/views we have here in Orlando and b) almost nobody else had been! I think I converted a few people (they especially liked that we could bring our own wine and they would uncork it for free).

Wednesday meant more intense (and very productive) meetings at work and then I supposed to go this Lady Bloggers Meetup at Stardust. Instead, my car died at Jackie Jovi’s house and I spent most of the evening with her. I seriously owe DadJovi some cookies or cake because he stood out in the pouring rain and cleaned my battery terminals – and then finally jumped my car. Spoiler: I didn’t have to spend the night.

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Yes, that is DadJovi in the rain.

We ended the night with ride around town and Pei Wei. Not the night we envisioned, but still fun!

That night I didn’t sleep very well, but I still enforced my 5:30am workout (that I skipped the day before), so I was in RARE form on Thursday. I’m fairly certain that my coworkers were about to throw me out the window because I was so loopy. BUT I made it through the day. Of course, I didn’t get to go home and go to bed early. No, instead I took my family to an advanced screening  of Wreck-It Ralph. Damn commitments.

I’ll officially review this next week, but my quick review is that you must add this to your list of movies to see in November — kids or no kids. It was a lot of fun and Disney proved that still have that magic touch, yes – without Pixar.

Of course, I woke up late on Friday and rushed around to make it work. It was also a random breakfast potluck and I HAD to make a pit stop. Good thing my coworkers are easy to please (and our work coffee is SO crappy).

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Friday night my mom stayed over and that led to yep, you guessed it – a busy Saturday. There was baseball, and dance, and a quick cardio/upper body workout followed by lunch at my favorite bakery. Oh, and then we all sang that damn Polka-Dot Afro Circus song for the rest of the day because we watched Madagascar 3. DADADADADADADA CIRCUS DADADADADADA AFRO CIRCUS AFRO CIRCUS AFRO POLKADOT POLKADOT POLKADOT AFRO!!!!!!!!!!

You’re welcome (if it’s any consolation, I’m singing it again).

After the kids went to bed I was a SUPER party animal and made a trip to Dick’s and Target.

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There are a lot of “That’s what she said.” jokes I could make about Dick’s, but it did fulfill my every {sporting good} need.

That leads us to today. Sweet Sunday. I was all set to wake up early today for my 10 miler, but the alarm went off and I did not get out of bed. Instead EVERYONE slept in and I finally got up about an hour later. I can’t say I didn’t need the sleep. Thankfully, it wasn’t one of those morning where it was 8am and already 85 degrees. Nope, it was actually 58 degrees when I left the house!

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I did 10 solo miles and while the last 2 miles really killed my hips, I felt much stronger than I did just 2 weeks ago and there was not one single moment that I thought, “I hate running.” Progress!

This afternoon I happily attended Victoria’s baby shower.

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It was a fun afternoon shower where Victoria scored some AWESOME gifts! Also, she looks AMAZING. I know she doesn’t feel like it, but she might be the cutest pregnant woman ever.

And now what I am doing?? RELAXING. Yes, I have hours of TV to catch up on and an hours of sleep I am never getting back. Not that I’m complaining – I had a busy, jam-packed week, but I can’t say I didn’t have a lot of fun!!

So what’d I miss? Anything exciting going on out there?