On DVD & Blu-Ray: September 24, 2013

When Iron Man 3 opened and Eiffel 65's hit "Blue" from 1999 begins to play as we see the Marvel and Paramount logos flash up on the screen it was clear we were in for a little something different this time around. I haven't read many comic books and out of the ones I have, none of them have ever been an Iron Man comic, but at the end of the day it feels like that if there were a film that was able to get as close to the spirit of its source material (or even the artistic medium originally used for that matter) that it might be this one. Granted, I have nothing to base that on, but it is simply a gut instinct in that the tone of this film is very light in its banter, very quick in its wit, and also more personal at the same time than I ever expected it to be, especially considering the obvious point that it's a massive summer blockbuster. While Iron Man 3 didn't exactly live up to the expectations I was holding for it, it instead rerouted them and delivered a story that was more on the opposite side of the standard super hero flick spectrum while still containing enough explosions and fight scenes to appease those that go to these kinds of movies expecting nothing more than that. Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) took over for Jon Favreau (who still shows up to play Happy Hogan) and took on writing duties as well and delivered a very Shane Black-esque script with plenty of self-referential dialogue and a large scale action set piece every twenty minutes or so. I enjoyed the film immensely and found Robert Downey Jr. as good as ever as Tony Stark, but despite all the flash and bang it still felt like there was something missing, or maybe that's just because Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk didn't bother to show up. Full review hereB

The Kings of Summer was one of the first out of the gate, but was the last entry in 2013's summer coming-of-age tales that I was able to view. While it is difficult to say one is better than the other, what The Kings of Summer has going for it is a distinct set of style. In his feature debut Jordan Vogt-Roberts has enlivened the typical going-ons of the doldrums of summer to a couple of teenagers by infusing it with a lively sense of location and purpose in character that isn't so easily defined in script form. Not to take away from the script which has given the director and his stars solid, genuine characters to work with and a wry sense of humor that consistently surprises with its timing and wit. While the most obvious culprit of this highly funny film comes in the form of Moises Arias's odd man out Biaggio (and he is so awkwardly hilarious and random it will be what you take away from the film), but I was more surprised at the level of inclusion that Nick Offerman's character received and the level at which Vogt-Roberts seems to have allowed him to let his own sense of humor run free. At its core, The Kings of Summer is as much a story of childhood friends and making memories as it is the story of a father and son relationship that has had an unbelievable amount of strain placed on it due to the loss of the wife and mother in the scenario. Both Offerman and other feature newcomer, Nick Robinson, who plays his son Joe bring a covered mournfulness to their performances that tell us early on their is something more to who these people are and that we should stay engaged to get to know them better, watch them grow and come to realize how special and how humble it is simply living in the now. Good news for audiences is that it isn't tough to stay engaged given the caliber of inventiveness, writing and performances on display here. That it doesn't suffer from fatigue is a minor miracle, that it manages to turn out a few memorable moments to define itself bodes all the better for it. Full review hereA-

I caught this one near the beginning of the year and for the most part had forgotten I'd gone along with this little investigation. That isn't to say it isn't an interesting little film that may or may not be a little delusional, but it is slightly forgettable. I'd only recently sat down and finally watched Stanley Kubrick's The Shining in one viewing from beginning to end without interruption and without saying it should be understood I'll need to go back and watch it several more times to understand the mythology that has grown around all of the directors films since their initial release. What Room 237 does though is attempt to dive in and dissect every single aspect of that Kubrick film and make connections that have things to do with topics that could be a bit of a stretch, but all in all it forms the basis for a well put-together documentary that is worth a look, at least once, especially if you love film and crave to know more about the universe and mythos that exist around Kubrick's films. More than anything though, the film serves as a reminder of just what a master of the medium Kubrick was. What other director can you think of that has made or is making films today that will still have people talking about a movie twenty-three years after its release and fourteen years after their death? The list would be extremely short, if there were even a list at all and as I watched Room 237 all I could really concentrate on was the fact he'd created this reputation, he'd crafted these films not just to exist as entertainment, but to start conversation and that is what true art is intended to do, right? To help grow the minds of us all. Kubrick certainly did that and this film is a testament to how well he did it. Sure, a few of the interviewees sound a little off-centre and some of the theories have slim support, but it's engaging and leaves you wanting to discuss it with fellow cinephiles. Job well done. B

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