Screening Room: “Iron Man 3”

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**IRON MAN 3** (PG-13)

Robert Downey, Jr.'s charisma and snarky sense of humor are as valuable as the stupendous special effects in "Iron Man 3," exactly the kind of movie fare that Summer was made for.

Made for what? Boredom. Headaches. Confusion. In "Iron Man 3" Tony Starks as played by Robert Downey Jr. is having a series of panic attacks. Why? I'm guessing he can clearly see this profitable franchise jumping the shark and sinking into the abyss.

Action-packed and often funny, "Iron Man 3" continues in the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the original mega-hit. Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce are suitably menacing as the villains and People Magazine's Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Gwyneth Paltrow, gets some eye candy support from the lovely Rebecca Hall.

Nothing happens that you haven't seen before. Gone is the excitement and wit. More problematic -- gone is the billion-aire playboy's swagger. Dude has been reduce to fumbling and moppy nutty professor. And remember when your favorite sitcom would begin to stank and a young kid was added to help create a boost. Well they do the same here. They added an obnoxious kid.

The movie manages to make us occasionally believe that the characters are actually in small feat for a comic book movie. It's no classic, but "Iron Man 3" is a very entertaining bit of pulp fiction.

Pulp Fiction? Quentin Tarantino is rolling over in his grave and he ain't even dead yet! File "Iron Man 3" next to "The Godfather 3" "Back to the Future 3" and "Return of the Jedi." All fails and the weakest links of their trilogies. Also the forced terrorism story thread, especially in the aftermath of Boston, will produce many to cringe. Clunky, noisy and too many robot suits.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags



Magnolia Pictures


Terrence Malick is undoubtedly one of our finest filmmakers. Sadly, “To the Wonder,” his latest effort, is so obscure and enigmatic that it nearly seems like self-parody. Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem mostly mill around looking solemn while off-camera narration waxes poetic about love and loss. Apparently, Malick intended for us to experience the feel of the movie rather than its story. “To the Wonder” is pretty to look at, but a frustrating exercise in self-indulgence.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags


LD Entertainment


Modern technology can be a wedge between people rather than an effective mode of communication. That, essentially, is the theme of the disturbing film “Disconnect,” a multi-story film that’s similar in structure to the Oscar-winning drama, “Crash.” Jason Bateman, Hope Davis and Paula Patton are a part of an impressive ensemble cast. Although the intriguing story lines descend into melodrama before they’re tied together at the finale, “Disconnect” is an involving, well-acted opus.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags


Magnolia Pictures


“No Place On Earth” is a harrowing documentary that tells the true story of a group of Jews who hid from the Nazis in a cave in Ukraine for 18 months during World War II. The survivors share their vivid memories and their recollections are illustrated by extensive dramatic reenactments. “No Place On Earth” is an inspiring story of endurance that more than overcomes of the filmmakers' shortcomings.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

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