Friday, May 3, 2013


IRON MAN 3 opens in theaters today.  This franchise also enters the dreaded "PART 3" territory where a lot of film series tend to falter.  This is usually a point in a series where the first signs of a noticeable decline or staleness can tend to appear.  But this isn't always the case.  There are some "PART 3" installments that have bucked the trend.  So far, early reviews show that IRON MAN 3 has indeed been on that side of things.  I decided to have some fun and give out my 10 favorite part 3 films (I prefer to use the term "favorite" over "best" when applicable.  This reflects my opinion, not a general one).  What are some of yours or ones that I didn't mention?

Without further they are...unranked and in alphabetical order.  One disclaimer: I'm leaving off ARMY OF DARKNESS as I just wrote extensively about the EVIL DEAD series and wanted some others to get a fair shake.

Time has been kind to this one.  Initially, upon release, i think this film was a shew in for the weakest entry.  Going from the effects heavy, futuristic and quite nostalgic thriller in Part II to a calm, character driven, comedic western seemed like a big drop off.  But in reality, this movie is much more true to the spirit and tone of the original.  The 2nd film became a dark, gloomy adventure the first film never was.  Its still a highly entertaining film, but its littered with plot holes and uses your love of memories of the original for a lot of good will (although, i do think its cool).  The closing chapter shows the history of Hill Valley and return Doc and Marty's relationship back to where it was in the first film.  This is a charming little film and a nice close to the series. And that flying time traveling train engine at the end that people find silly or stupid?  Well, the first film was trying to end on that same beat, but they ended up sequelizing it.

There was a time when Kevin Smith wasn't despised.  He was actually quite loved by those who claim they are too cool for him now.  Following the disastrous MALLRATS, Kevin went back to the indie scene and made one of the best films of his career (maybe the best, depends on your taste).  Some of the "intro to lesbians" stuff may seem silly or CBS-like now, but back then this was very taboo and territory that films weren't covering much at all.  This third film in the Jersey series also toned down favorites Jay & Silent Bob to 1 scene, but its a damn good scene with Silent Bob's best speech.  The end gets a little messy, but I think it works "enough".  And, with as much drama that floats around there's balance, because its a pretty funny movie, too.  Its also a really honest one too.

I recently covered this once during the retrospective, but it must be stated again.  This is one of the best part 3's of all time.  It is SOOOO close to living up to the original.  So damn close.  But, its also one that I might feel like watching over the first.  Every thing just clicks all the way to the end.  Which, its gotta end somewhere and it doesn't do any damage to the extensive goodwill it built up throughout.

I know I ragged on this one when I did my retrospective last year.  I think my point was moreover that I didn't think this film was the definitive and best Bond of all time.  I got a little carried away with trying to convey that (I also ranked it a tad lower than i should).  There's some issues I have with the film, but I still rather enjoy it.  And I can't deny its an incredibly iconic film and launched Bond from cool series to franchise infamy.  And in terms of where it was regarding the series in 1963 (when there were only 3 films) it was much better than DR. NO

Harry Potter got a nice and welcomed makeover when it ventured into Part 3 territory.  Auteur Alfonso Cuaran injects his craft all over the film and for the better.  While there's nothing wrong with the tone and look of the first 2 films, the series needed somebody to mature the series as they were approaching darker and more adult material in the coming chapters.  It also gave the series a fresh new look as opposed to generic-looking fantasy blockbuster.  While some twists and turns may be confusing to those not familiar with the source material, the film is confident and stylish enough to sell it successfully.  This film bridged the series to the next level and I think garnered more interest from people who may not have batted an eye and thought these were "kids movies" beforehand.

Which is better, Raiders or Crusade? Flip a coin for me.  This adventure gets back to what made RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK so great.  Instead of venturing with Marion, Indy teams up with his father, in a career reviving performance from Sean Connery.  The film may not feature the grit of LOST ARK, but it's rich in character and charming humor.  The opening sequence is fun, but gets a bit forced and silly with some unnecessary origin things falling like dominoes, but its harmless.  This is a big budget blockbuster movie serial in the form of a movie and i love it. 24 years after seeing this in the theater, I'm still thrilled and fulfilled to the highest degree.  At one time, Indy rode into the sunset, unquestionably on top.


The final film in Chan-wook Park's "trilogy in theme" Vengeance Trilogy is overshadowed like the the first film in it by the super popular OLDBOY.  But, unlike Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance is just as good as Oldboy.  Its a much different type of film, going more for art house fair, but this film works in a different fashion.  It also gets pretty deep in tackling its key issues and has much more to think about about the film and within yourself following the credits than "Wow! What a twist!" that Oldboy had.  Not knocking Oldboy here, I love that movie.  I'm just saying Lady Vengeance deserves a fair shake as well.  It seems to go unnoticed. The film is stylish, thoughtful and just looks absolutely beautiful.


 The best Freddy movie?  Most people polled will answer "yes".  While I still find the original very good, there's some dating and bad acting time has not been kind to.  I'm guessing younger generations aren't going to find it as scary or "great" as I once did.  Dream Warriors pushes Freddy to his peak.  This film manages to walk the line of scary and darkly humorous Freddy Krueger perfectly.  It also does something very few horror sequels ever do.  It instills us with a cast of new fresh faced teenagers that are actually well written (character development, there's a few embarrassing lines of dialogue here and there) and we give a crap about.  This movie delivers some good scares and terrifying atmosphere but also is a lot of fun.  There's some great practical effect work going on throughout the film.  The marionette death still gets under my skin to this day.  And that Dokken song rocks.

Predators is one really fun Saturday afternoon kind of movie.  It successfully manages to play as a sequel and kind of reboot this series to a new audience.  I know some have issue, but I love Adrien Brody's ridiculous performance here.  It really adds some B-Movie level of goofy fun to something that's style suggests a more serious tone. Not a huge named cast, but they all manage to stick out in their own way.  The movie evokes a lot of what you loved about the first Predator while carving everything into its own.  I was really hoping we'd see a 4th one and am surprised we haven't.  This movie didn't cost that much money and made profit domestically plus a solid overseas buffer.


Nope, I'm not a hater.  I enjoy this movie just as I did growing up.  This seems like the one to "be cool" and bash of the original trilogy.  I'm not one of those people  This film is incredibly entertaining and well paced, making it a have more rewatch value than A NEW HOPE.  It features an abundance of practical effects, puppetry and costuming that we, as old school film geeks, pine for nowadays.  RETURN OF THE JEDI also features some of the most notable and best action sequences in the entire STAR WARS saga.  The film also evokes the grimmer tone of EMPIRE but reinvigorating the fun sense of adventure the first had.  It even does a fantastic job of pushing things to the brink of making you think that the good guys might just not have enough to pull it off (at least in my youth it always did).  Yeah, there's the Ewoks.  They never really bothered me, but it seemed sometime after THE PHANTOM MENACE they became more of a glaring issue with folks.  Whatever.  I equate their victory over the storm troopers to that of being really good at a sports video game and then someone who's never picked up a controller before comes in a beats you.  Their unorthodox style throws you off and it always seems to best you, because you're more used to the regulated play and this wild card is busting your balls and you're annoyed and you just can't do anything to stop it.

I think RETURN OF THE JEDI is a damn fine finish for the STAR WARS TRILOGY.  From Jabba's palace, to the sail barge, to the speeder bikes, to the evil choir chanting during Vader and Lukes saber battle to Han Solo's smug grin when the Ewok's pop up, I have nothing but good vibes from this movie.  And from 1983-1999 nobody ever dogged it or called it a bad film.  I still don't.

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