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“Your Highness”
a review by Darby O’Gill

A ye old tale from long ago, of two brothers, one brave and true, and the other… Well, a bit of a lazy sissy boy. Your Highness is from the same people that brought you Pineapple Express, and although the title would lead you to think otherwise, the movie has nothing to do with pot. The aforementioned sissy boy, Thadeous played by Danny McBride, lives the luscious life of a prince, without any of the pesky responsibilities. That’s largely in thanks to his older brother Fabious, played by James Franco, who is next in line to one day be King. With the no pressure, or real purpose, Thadeous spends his days frolicking with his servant Courtney, played by Ramus Hardiker. That’s not to say that Thadeous doesn’t take himself seriously. He believes that he is much braver and better suited to one day be King. He’d be wrong, but none the less he still believes it. But, when his brother’s fiancé is kidnapped by an evil wizard on the day of their wedding, the King decides that it is high-time that Thadeous prove himself on a proper quest, and Your Highness is the story of that quest.

I’ve got to say, I didn’t think this was going to be anything more than a bunch of dick and fart stoner jokes, but it turned out to be more of a throw back to films of old, like The Princess Bride or Clash of the Titans. The good one! (Not that 3D piece of shit from a few years ago.) I was really shocked! I wasn’t the biggest fan of Pineapple Express. I thought it was funny and had it’s moments, but not a classic by any means, and I think the same is true for Your Highness. Although, I did like it a lot more than Pineapple. Danny McBride is great! He’s at the top of his game, and doing what he does best. The relationship between McBride and James Franco is outstanding! And, Franco continues to surprise me! He’s the kind of actor I don’t think of very often. That is, until I’ll hear about him in a movie, and think that doesn’t sound like something I can picture James Franco doing, but then he’s great! And, where do we even begin with Natalie Portman?! Say what you will about her Oscar win, she was hands-down last year’s MVP. She’s had three back-to-back movies come out in the last three months, and they were all good! Do you know how hard that is to pull off? Some people can’t even put out one good movie a year. Your Highness is not Oscar worthy, but much like Paul, it’s a fun ride that will make you laugh.

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“Iron Man 2”
a review by Darby O’Gill

A lot of things can go wrong, and often do, when making a comic book movie sequel. But gladly none of those things seem to be happening in Iron Man 2. Most comic book movies, namely the 1990’s Batman sequels, tend to find themselves spreading their stories ridiculously thin when adding way too many new characters to a storyline, but director Jon Favreau somehow manages to avoid this pitfall. Not only does Iron Man 2 work, but it also manages to do so while maintaining it’s fast pace, and it’s very well executed sense of storyline. Even with a handful of new characters being introduced, at no point does the audience, or the storyline for that matter, feel bogged-down by a bunch of origin story telling. I think Iron Man 2 should be the text book example of how to tell complex storylines to an audience without spoon feeding them at the same time.

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., not only finds himself dealing with the U.S. Government wanting the ownership of the Iron Man weapon, but also the fact that the very thing saving his life, could very well be killing him at the same time. If that weren’t enough, the Avenger Initiative has also started to lose their faith in him as a proper hero, and begin to question his future role in the Initiative. Topping it all off, Stark finds himself paying for the sins of his father, and dealing with a new enemy known as Whiplash, masterfully played by Mickey Rourke.

Now I figured with the addition of so many new characters, characters we’ve already met like Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, would become secondary characters; making way for the new ones. But, I’m glad to say this wasn’t the case. Pepper’s character plays just as big of a role, if not bigger, in this film as she did in the first film. Also Don Cheadle’s replacement of Terrence Howard as Lt. Col. James Rhodes was seamless. I really liked Cheadle’s choice to play Rhodey the exact same way that Howard did. It really made the role more about the character, and less about the actor playing the character, which is not something all actors would choose to do. Scarlett Johansson is well under played as the Black Widow, but in a good way. The movie doesn’t rely on her as new eye candy, but rather uses her as needed for the story, which is a refreshing change of pace for movies like this. Which brings us the show stealing performance of Sam Rockwell; I don’t know what else to say other than… Wow! He really does bring his ‘A’ game to his performance as Stark Industries’ rival competitor, Justin Hammer. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. That guy needs to work more! Last but not least, Robert Downey Jr. continues to effortlessly capture the essence of Tony Stark, a role he was clearly born to play.

Is Iron Man 2 better than Iron Man? It’s hard to say. They’re two completely different movies. In the first Iron Man, there is this nice slow story pace that helps to ground the movie, but in Iron Man 2 you hit the ground running and it just feels right. With most sequels it’s easy to say which one is better, but with this one it’s truly is a continuation of the original movie, and feels like they are one and the same. Yes, I do realize that I just contradicted myself by saying they’re completely different and yet the same movie, but it’s true. I really hope all the other franchises out there are paying attention, because this is how it’s done. I think it’s safe to say that the 2010 season of summer movies is officially upon us, and the bar has been set very high thanks to Iron Man 2.

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