Robert Downey Jr

Open Road Films

If someone said in 2001, “I bet this Jon Favreau guy — the star, writer, and director of Made – is going to help turn Marvel into one of the most successful film studios ever,” you probably would’ve written them off as insane. When you think about it, though, Favreau exhibited a voice for character, story and comedy in Made and Swingers that was well-suited for the Marvel universe. His sensibility made Iron Man a hit, impacting the tone and spirit of the Marvel films that followed. After his one-two punch at Marvel and a crack at a high-concept western, Favreau has returned to his roots with Chef, a film about a creatively unsatisfied cook, Carl Casper (Favreau), who also has to reconnect with his son. Some say the film is really about a filmmaker frustrated by the system, but, first and foremost, it deals with the important choices in life a creative has to make. “I knew I wanted to talk about the balance of career and family,” Favreau tells us. “By the time you hit my age, those little decisions you’ve made really affect your life and you think, ‘How did I end up here?’ A lot of people are confused by where they land. Often when you put all your effort into your career, it’s not as satisfying, because you don’t have that base and foundation.” What is success without people to share it with? It’s an age old theme, but it’s something that Favreau hopes resonates.

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Chef trailer

“Be an artist on your own time! It’s my restaurant!” Metaphors are cool, okay? Similes and parallels and references are awesome literary devices that can often work wonders when translated into different realms of art — like filmmaking, where traditionally written nods to other things and people and senses can be portrayed visually. Or, in the case of Jon Favreau‘s Chef, they can be shown quite overtly, because there’s little doubt that the filmmaker’s latest outing is its own giant reference to the Hollywood machine that he is still a part of. Favreau pulls triple duty on the film — he wrote it, directed it, and stars in it — and it’s clearly a passion project for him. But how much of it has he pulled from his own life? In the film, Chef Carl Casper (Favreau) is a talented cook who gives into the demands of his boring boss (played by Dustin Hoffman, which sounds awesome) and subsequently biffs things big time. An unfavorable review sinks Carl, and he attempts to rebuild his life and career — one ruined by critics and people who don’t want to let him do his own thing — by setting out to make his own food in a rehabbed little food truck. The food truck may as well be the indie movie of the chef scene, and Hoffman might as well be wearing a shirt that says “executive producer” on it. See what Favreau’s cooked up (and how many parallels you can find with Hollywood) with the very first […]

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elementstruth-1

Like many readers of this site, I love comic books. I grew up reading them, so when Hollywood finally started to really get superhero movies right in the mid-to-late 2000s, I was overjoyed. Of course, I had been enjoying superhero movies long before Iron Man and The Dark Knight. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I grew up watching superheroes on television and in the movies when radiation was the key element of heroic transformation and spandex was the fashion standard. Going back to the 80s, these comic book movies have their own Kryptonite that causes problems for them. It seems that one of the best ways around a mysterious substance or miracle solution is to encounter an unknown element, or to discover a new one if you don’t have the expertise to just create it in your own home laboratory. And this got me thinking… where do all these unknown and new elements come from?

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ironman3-commentary1

Much like The Avengers last summer, Iron Man 3 was the undisputed box office champion of the season in 2013. Building off the good buzz from The Avengers and the events in the end of that movie, Iron Man 3 offered the new director of the series Shane Black a chance to take Tony Stark to new places. Namely, he got him out of the Iron Man suit and toyed with the notion that Tony Stark was the real hero, even without all the technology. Following up two massive movies before it, and one of the biggest box office successes in history as an ensemble piece, Iron Man 3 was still a bit of a gamble. It paid off for all the parties involved. However, when Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce recorded their commentary to the film, the film had not yet proved itself completely. They had only been open for a week overseas, with the American opening on the horizon. Sure, it was a huge success at that point outside of the U.S., but so was Battleship. Still, Black and Pearce move through the commentary with confidence that it’s a hit, and that gives them the stones to explain why they chose to change some character elements from the original source material and why there were about as many revisions to the scripts as revisions to the Iron Man suit in Tony’s basement. Iron Man 3 comes out on DVD and Blu-ray next week, so take a few […]

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ironman3

Given the $1,212,448,523 or so [according to Box Office Mojo] that Iron Man 3 has already made from playing in theaters, chances are it’s a movie that not too many people saw the trailers for and decided they’d just wait to catch it on DVD. No, not only did comic book and action movie geeks go out to see this thing on day one, but in subsequent weeks they dragged their families, their friends, their imaginary girlfriends, and possibly even their elderly neighbors out to take in additional Iron Man screenings, and at this point just about everybody on the planet has already seen it. That doesn’t mean Marvel Studios doesn’t still want you to cough up some extra cash to own it on your home video platform of choice though, so in order to entice Shellhead-heads to head out to their local retailer and pick up their copy of Iron Man 3 when it hits stores on September 24, they’ve leaked a couple of the special features that you’ll be able to find on the discs early. Click through to whet your insatiable appetite for superheroics with a deleted scene and a gag reel.

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Iron Man Extended Look

Today in life imitating art news, Robert Downey Jr. is one step closer to becoming an actual genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. Forbes has released their annual list of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors, and the Iron Man star comes in at a firm number one, having made $75m between June 2012 and June 2013. There is no contesting that Downey Jr. is box office gold. He has starred in six films that have all grossed over $500m, and The Avengers and Iron Man 3 both earned over $1b during their runs. The Avengers, the third-highest grossing movie of all time, featured Downey Jr. once more in his beloved Tony Stark role – and it’s easy to argue that he stole many a scene throughout the blockbuster.

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avengers

Word around the campfire has been that Robert Downey Jr’s contract to play Tony Stark ran out after he starred in Iron Man 3, and the question of what that means for the future of the Iron Man franchise, as well as for future Avengers movies, has largely been lingering. Surely after the money-making bonanza that was The Avengers, Marvel wouldn’t let one of the most integral pieces of their puzzle walk away. But, on the other hand, after making them so much money Downey was likely going to be asking for a pretty penny to come back and do more, and Marvel has been notoriously stingy negotiators. The fact is, people’s worries about future Marvel movies having to go forward without Iron Man, or at least with a different Iron Man, weren’t completely unfounded. Today those worries can be laid to rest, however, because we’ve finally gotten word that Downey will indeed be coming back to play Tony Stark in more Marvel movies. In fact, he’s going to be coming back to play Tony Stark in at least two more.

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downeyfavreau

What is Casting Couch? It’s your place to catch up with all of the casting news that broke over the weekend. Just a couple days away from the Internet and you missed news involving Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and Samuel L. Jackson. Catch up! One of the biggest reasons Robert Downey Jr. is experiencing a huge career resurgence right now is that Jon Favreau fought to cast him as the lead in the first Iron Man movie. After Downey killed it in that movie and he and Favreau made about a gabillion dollars together on it and the sequel, one would imagine a lifetime friendship was forged. That’s why, even though Favreau’s next film is a little indie dramedy he’s starring in himself called Chef, he’s still able to call in a big favor and have a huge star like Downey join the ensemble cast. Variety reports that Downey is now on board to work in the film alongside actors like Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Cannavale.

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Iron Man Question

Robert Downey Jr. isn’t contractually obligated to appear in any more Marvel films as Tony Stark. That’s the only concrete fact as of right now, even as contract negotiations are underway to bring the actor back into the suit for The Avengers 2 and 3. Those seem fairly likely, but it’s unclear how committed to Iron Man 4 Downey Jr. would be. Marvel head Kevin Feige has vaguely promised more stand-alone Iron Man movies, hedging the claim by adding, “Who will be in that movie and who will be a part of that movie? Who knows. And how far down the line will it be? Will it be right after Avengers 2, will it be a few years after Avengers 2? Who knows. For as advanced as we are in terms of the advanced planning that we do, we’re already looking out to 2015, 2016 and that’s further than most people look out. Beyond that, we’re still not sure.”

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Iron Man 3 Iron Patriot

Spoiler warning: There will be spoilers. Since 2008, a great deal of ink (or, at least, the Internet’s equivalent of ink) has been spilled on the political weight of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films. From the depiction of post-9/11 trauma and Batman’s Patriot Act-style tactics in The Dark Knight to The Dark Knight Rises’s ideologically incoherent depiction of Gotham’s Occupy-enabled descent into a metropolitan anarchist dystopia, multiple theories and debates have assessed where the Nolanverse lies on the 21st century American political spectrum. The self-serious tone of these superhero films lend themselves to similarly solemn allegorical readings – Nolan’s Batman films are inferred as brimming with meaning and intent by virtue of an auteur director envisioning an alternative vision of America on a mass scale. But most political readings of the Dark Knight films inevitably encounter contradiction – the ambivalence of these films always fails to match their allegorical promise. The Robert Downey, Jr.-led Iron Man series presents itself as lightweight, goofy summer entertainment, a media object designed to be consumed passively rather than interrogated for its layers of meaning. But Iron Man has explored far more legible, richer, and more interesting politics than its darker counterpart. Its two directors (Jon Favreau and Shane Black), while talented, are situated less as auteurs and more as contributors to a collective, synergistic corporate vision. Iron Man’s politics, while often foregrounded narratively, are presented as a set of ideological assumptions rather than an active investigation of contemporary political tensions. And that’s exactly what makes […]

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Brian Tyler

Iron Man 3 hits theaters this Friday, but you can already get the soundtrack composed by Brian Tyler. While the music of the previous two Iron Man movies was rooted in rock and roll, the newest entry  ushers in a new era of Tony Stark, and Tyler rises to the challenge of creating a more epic sounding score to accompany this change in tone. Tyler and I discussed his sound profile for a new era of Iron Man, the process (and importance) behind creating a memorable theme, and the joy of recording in the same studio where an iconic film score was made.

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review iron man 3

We can probably all agree that Iron Man 2 is the Green Lantern of this particular franchise in that it just isn’t good. There’s a lot going on and even more characters to keep track of, but none of it congeals into anything remotely compelling or more than slightly entertaining. Well the good news is that Iron Man 3 is a better movie. The bad news is that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot. As befits the third film in a comic book franchise, our hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is finally being forced to look within for his greatest challenge. He became a hero in part one, fought off powerful enemies in part two and is now coming to grips with the toll his superhero lifestyle has incurred. The events in The Avengers have left Stark suffering from PTSD, insomnia and anxiety attacks, and his romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is on the rocks. Coincidentally enough, his beautiful Malibu mansion is heading the same direction courtesy of two new threats. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is a jihadist of indiscriminate ethnic background with a penchant for blowing up Americans, and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is a hotshot scientist still smarting from one of Stark’s pranks many years before.

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Iron Man

Every Sunday we bring you a new list of great scenes — we call this little series Scenes We Love. From the remembrance of Sundance’s of yesteryear to the best of Michael Bay’s movies, we’re always trying to share a bit of that movie-loving spirit through the moments that make these characters memorable. This week’s person of choice is Iron Man, a character that first appeared on the pages of Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963. Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Iron Man is the alter ego of billionaire Tony Stark. In his 50 years of existence, Mr. Stark has battled a lot of villains, wrestled with his own demons and had his share of feminine conquests (as any great playboy billionaire would). But his life on the silver screen has been only heating up as of late, propelled by Marvel Studios‘ choice to let Iron Man lead the way as their first film as an independent studio. They cast Robert Downey Jr., brought in Jon Favreau to direct, got Paramount to throw a good bit of money at it and the rest was history. This week, Tony Stark will make his fifth film appearance since 2008. That is, if we include the post-credits scene in The Incredible Hulk. Of course we do. So even though it’s recent, his run on the big screen has been rather prolific and beyond entertaining. It’s the reason that we’ve chosen to single out the five scenes we love most from […]

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hr_Iron_Man_3_36

Not sure if you’re going to hit a midnight screening of Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3? On the fence about doling out the cash for an IMAX screening of the latest adventures of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)? Feel like your walls need some help looking their absolute coolest? We can fix all of those things for you. IMAX has long given out special posters for select midnight screenings, and while that tradition is (sadly) ending with next month’s Iron Man 3, they’re going out with one hell of a one-sheet. Designed by renowned comic book artist Jock, the very cool final poster will only be available to attendees of 12:01 IMAX shows of the film on May 3rd (and, you know, to people who are quick on the Ebay draw). Is your local theater participating? Find out by clicking here. [Press Release, via ComingSoon]

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Iron Man Extended Look

On May 3rd, Tony Stark gets a fourth chance at a first impression. Despite three films where Robert Downey Jr. has brought Marvel’s Iron Man to life in a way that owns his shoot-from-the-hip personality, there have also been three very different Starsk so far. The first was a surprise. A serious take on what could have been a cartoonish character, pushing personal limits and regaining his stature. The second was a boozing failure who captured redemption at the cost of a messy story. The third came in The Avengers where the Stark we always knew existed finally broke through his sarcastic shell to prove selfless in the face of daunting impossibilities. And now Shane Black has entered the picture. The stellar writer/director will undoubtedly have yet another avenue for Stark to head down in Iron Man 3. To get a glimpse of that avenue, here’s the brand new trailer:

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Robert Downey Jr

What is Casting Couch? It’s a column that’s trying to talk about casting news on a day when Oscar nominations are king. Pity it. Paul Thomas Anderson is the sort of filmmaker who casts amazing actors in his movies and then directs them to the best performances of their careers. From Philip Baker Hall in Hard Eight, to Tom Cruise in Magnolia, to Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, to Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, this has always been true. According to Showbiz 411, Robert Downey Jr. may be adding his name to that list soon. They say that he and possibly Charlize Theron are looking like they’re going to be the stars of Anderson’s upcoming adaptation of reclusive author Thomas Pynchon’s novel, Inherent Vice. If this ends up being true it would, of course, be completely awesome for film fans, and probably be the biggest thing that’s happened to Downey’s career since he got cast as Iron Man. That’s a win-win for everybody.

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A Look Back at the Cinematic Facial Hair of 2012

The movies released in 2012 have been notable for many reasons, impacting or reflecting news events both positively and negatively. It’s also seen new innovations, the most notable being the first release of a film in 48 frames per second. However, cinematic historians will also look back on 2012 as being a banner year for facial hair. The entire crew of Film School Rejects relishes glorious facial hair (and yes, that also includes the ladies on staff). We all wish we could have half the style that characters in the movies this year displayed on their lips, chins and cheeks. Now, as the year draws to a close, we reminisce on the many styles we’ve seen on movie screens in 2012, and maybe give some tips on how to grow your own face so glorious.

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Pinocchio

Early this year Tim Burton said he wouldn’t know a good script if it was thrown at him. Based on some of his recent works, that self-deprecation rings a little too true, especially considering how all over the place Dark Shadows was. Frankenweenie was a return to form for clean, simple, if slight, storytelling, but now it appears that Burton’s attempting to step up his game on the script front. Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller took a crack at Burton and Robert Downey Jr.‘s potential Pinocchio project early on, and now another screenwriter of equal talent is getting involved. Frequent Matthew Vaughn collaborator Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, The Woman in Black) is close to signing on to pen a new draft for Warner Bros.’ live-action version of the classic puppet tale. According to THR, Goldman’s involvement may seal the deal with Burton and Robert Downey Jr., who both have yet to officially sign on. Burton and Goldman have had ties before, so her involvement makes sense beyond her talent for genre films. If the project moves forward, we’ll see Downey playing Geppetto, who goes on a journey to find the missing Pinocchio. This isn’t the only Pinocchio film in the works either, as Fox has The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto and Guillermo del Toro is working on a stop-motion animated picture. I would usually take a del Toro interpretation over a Burton one, but with his project drawing in such reliable screenwriters, it’s hard not to gain interest in a Burton film which may actually have a story.

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Sylvester Stallone in Cobra 2: Axing for Trouble

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news roundup that’s jam-packed with updates about big star doing big things. Look at this list of names! There’s barely a second-stringer on there. When you shoot as many people in the head and blow as many things up onscreen as Sylvester Stallone, every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from all of the insanity and do a quiet little indie drama. So, according to Variety, that’s exactly what he’s doing with his next film, Reach Me. Written and directed by Stallone’s Cobra co-star John Herzfeld, Reach Me is an ensemble piece about a group of characters who were all touched by a self-help book that was written by a reclusive football coach. There isn’t yet any word on what role Stallone will be playing, but, for the sake of his old knees, let’s hope it doesn’t involve any running. Those hobbling away from the explosion scenes in the Expendables movies are starting to look pretty painful.

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This would appear to be the week of Iron Man 3, at least where marketing is concerned. Yesterday we showed you a look at the teaser for the trailer that will debut online tomorrow morning. Today, we get something that will last a bit longer: a number of images from Iron Man 3 that show some of the most buzzed about elements from the film. There’s also a very fancy teaser poster. All of which can be seen right after the jump, alongside first looks at Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, an official shot of the Iron Patriot armor and a little bit of the new Tony Stark haircut.

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