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3 items from 2006


Downey is 'Iron Man' for Marvel

29 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Robert Downey Jr. is suiting up to star in Iron Man, the first feature film to be produced independently by Marvel Entertainment. Jon Favreau is directing the movie, which will be distributed by Paramount Pictures. Downey will portray Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Using his intelligence and ingenuity, Stark instead builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. Upon his return to the U.S., he uncovers a plot with global implications and must don his armor and protect the world. The comic debuted in the 1960s, and Iron Man's origin involved Stark being a prisoner of the Viet Cong. The movie version, written by Art Marcum & Matt Holloway and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, will be set in today's geopolitical climate. »

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Downey is 'Iron Man' for Marvel

29 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Robert Downey Jr. is suiting up to star in Iron Man, the first feature film to be produced independently by Marvel Entertainment. Jon Favreau is directing the movie, which will be distributed by Paramount Pictures. Downey will portray Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Using his intelligence and ingenuity, Stark instead builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. Upon his return to the U.S., he uncovers a plot with global implications and must don his armor and protect the world. The comic debuted in the 1960s, and Iron Man's origin involved Stark being a prisoner of the Viet Cong. The movie version, written by Art Marcum & Matt Holloway and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, will be set in today's geopolitical climate. »

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Children of Men

4 September 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

VENICE, Italy -- In his gripping new thriller "Children of Men", director Alfonso Cuaron takes the classic movie formula of a cynical tough guy required to see an innocent party to safe harbor, and shoots it to pieces.

Based on a novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the film works both as a thriller and as a satisfying political and social drama. It should prove a winner at the boxoffice in all territories.

Set in 2027, with the world gone to hell in a handbasket, the film paints a bleak portrait of a future in which complete global human infertility has meant that no babies have been born anywhere in 18 years. Disease is rampant and military governments everywhere are out of control even in the U.K.

Former activist Theo (Clive Owen, in top form), now a bored civil servant, finds himself in the thick of the resistance when his former lover, rebel leader Julian (Julianne Moore), persuades him to obtain transit papers for a young woman, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) who must flee the country.

With vivid imagination, Cuaron plunges the reluctant hero and the girl into a terrifying chase that takes them from the fearful squalor of a terrorized London to a nightmarish refugee camp with both soldiers and rebels trying to kill them.

According to Cuaron, and his exemplary cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and production designers, Geoffrey Kirkland and Jim Clay, the London of 2027 will be a far cry from the city seen in recent films by Richard Curtis and Woody Allen. Dressing real locations to look as awful as possible, the English capital has never appeared so grim.

When a Fleet Street cafeteria is blown up just after he's walked out the door, Theo is reminded of just how bad things are. A fan who only wanted an autograph has just assassinated the world's youngest person, an 18-year-old, and the dead boy is mourned just like Princess Diana.

Julian's request that Theo use his connections to obtain a travel pass for the young woman comes with a chunk of cash but it's clear he has other motives, and so does she. When things go wrong, Theo takes the girl to the country hideaway of his only real friend, a retired newspaper cartoonist named Jasper (Michael Caine, having a great time), who looks after his invalid wife and smokes a lot of dope. Trouble soon arrives, however, and after that there's barely a pause for breath.

Cuaron and his co-screenwriters do the important little things that help make characters believable and take sufficient time to register the deeper impact of things that are troubling the world. They make a place without children's laughter truly a place of horror.

The sign over the refugee camp saying Homeland Security is a sly touch and there's a splendid sequence in which Theo goes to visit a wealthy contact at the revamped Battersea Power Station to the sound of King Crimson.

Owen carries the film more in the tradition of a Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda than a Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford. He has to wear flip-flops for part of the time without losing his dignity, and he never reaches for a weapon or guns anyone down.

Cuaron and Owen may have created the first believable 21st-century movie hero.

CHILDREN OF MEN

Universal Pictures

Strike Entertainment in association with Hit and Run Productions

Credits:

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Writers: Alfonso Cuaron & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby

Based on the novel by: P.D. James

Producers: Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Hilary Shor, Tony Smith, Iain Smith

Executive producers: Thomas A. Bliss, Armyan Bernstein

Director of photography: Emmanuel Lubezki

Production designers: Geoffrey Kirkland, Jim Clay

Editors: Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Cuaron

Music: John Taverner

Cast:

Theo: Clive Owen

Julian: Julianne Moore

Jasper: Michael Caine

Kee: Clare-Hope Ashitey

Luke: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Patric: Charlie Hunnam

Nigel: Danny Huston

Marichka: Oana Pella

Syd: Peter Mullan

MPAA rating: R

Running time -- 114 minutes »

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3 items from 2006


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