Iron Man 2 is Jon Favreau’s much anticipated follow-up to his 2008 blockbuster. Iron Man 2 recast Robert Downey Jr as the billionaire inventor/superhero. Also reprising her role is Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Mickey Rourke stars as villain Ivan Vanko complete with  uber Russian accent and electrified whips. James Rhodes played by Don Cheadle is the military liaison to Mr. Stark, but Cheadle is not very convincing and he comes awkward in the role. Director Favreau should have let Terrence Howard reprise this role, he  was much more believable as Stark’s uncomfortable best friend.  Surprisingly this movie is not about Ivan, or even explosions. This film is less about Iron Man and more about the appeal of Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey is a great actor, so the guess had to be that if Downey was in it the movie the story came second, you could just piece together a story, throw in pieces of conflict, flirt with an obvious love story that never really develops and voila you have a blockbuster. The box office tally will no doubt tell if the guess was right. No one will cringe at the needless use of comedy, no one will bat an eye that the so-called super villain had about 5 minutes of super villain screen time. I don’t think that anyone will mind that Ivan built his own arc reactor and power suit in his basement, but yet the government is still trying to have Tony Stark hand over his Iron Man suit.

Note to self:  Build Arc reactor in basement, then mow lawn.

In this sequel Anthony “Tony”  Stark just doesn’t give a shit, really. He is a big-time playboy, a trillionaire and a superhero what is there to be worried about, oh yeah his pesky heart. Tony Stark is an over-the-top arrogant, smug, unapologetic ass all the way up until we find out that wearing the Iron Man suit is killing him. Yeap he’s dying and rather quickly to add to the drama.

This movie is based on a comic book and all of the comic book geeks will be glad that their adolescent fantasies are now on the big screen, a feeling which I too experienced when I first saw the Silver Centurion armor. Although the Black Widow story line is spot on, Iron Man 2 as a movie is barely in the Marvel Universe, it is almost pure soap opera, which is probably why they kept referencing other Marvel’s other characters and films.

It’s not that the movie needed more action, it just needed a better story. The middle sags as Hamlet broads, but there just isn’t enough story to go around, well at least not enough to get the ensemble cast enough time to shine, especially Scarlett Johannson. I was sufficiently wondering where the movie was headed by the time Ivan Vanko a.k.a “Whiplash” shows up walking around slicing and dicing cars on the Monaco raceway. But even while he was doing that I was wondering where was the officer who tasered that 17-year old kid at the Philadelphia Phillies game.

Everything about Iron Man 2 from the music to the fight scenes to the actors are solid and unimpressive, except for Robert Downey Jr who saves or should I say makes this film, much in the same way Johnny Depp does the films he stars in. Director Jon Favreau plays footloose and fancy free with the dialogue as he goes with a more heart less suit theme. I am not kidding when I say that Iron Man gets maybe 20 minutes of screen time. These actors don’t compliment each other well. The moralizing from the first movie sadly has been removed in exchange for a larger cast and little direction. Iron Man, as marvel superhero’s go, is already on the lower rungs and this movie, while not terrible, does nothing to bolster that position.

Iron Man 2 gets a7.5 out of 10 and that’s my FilmWord.

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‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’, is the sequel to Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie “Why Did I Get Married”. As many of my readers my know I try not to review Tyler Perry’s films because I have previously been compared to him, in some regard, and most of my reviews, while honest  have not been flattering.  The formula here is the same, couples bickering, exploiting emotions, and all of the marriage challenged have moral, ethical and relationship issues that usually get resolved by the time the movie is over and always with one character who is so horribly flawed that they are beyond redemption.

Honestly, Why Did I Get Married (2007) is when I thought that Tyler Perry had finally shown growth as a director, so I wanted to see this movie. The sequel’s story, though predictable, moves better than most of his films and the subject matter is still shallow. His films have marginally gotten better, but here we are almost 10 movies in and still Tyler Perry refuses to enlist real help with his film making.

This film picks up three years after the first movie, the four couples have moved on with their lives and are now taking their annual vacation. The location this time? The beautiful Bahamas. The couples all seen to be doing fine. Therapist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) have the perfect marriage and are moving on after the tragic death of their baby boy Noah. The workaholic Dianne (Sharon Leal) and her husband Terry (Tyler Perry) now have a little boy after Dianne had surgery to reverse the tubal ligation. Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are newlyweds and have moved from Colorado to Atlanta and have a little boy. Troy’s inability to land a job has put stress on the couple a matter which is complicated when Sheila’s ex-husband Mike (Richard T Jones) crashes their vacation. The ever mouthy Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White) are dealing with infidelity issues.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ shows each of these couples attempting to portray that they have happy marriages, but before the vacation is over as we find out that real trouble is brewing. When the couples return home is where the couples face their problems head on.  Janet Jackson gives a nod to Tiger Woods in some very dramatic scenes. This film is where Janet turns in what I think is her best performance as an actress, sadly their isn’t much to see here. Now before you start thinking “he’s hating”, let me finish.

To say that this movie is cliché  and over the top are understatements, but what did you expect?  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat and the characters feel like they are on a stage instead of a beautiful island. There are several moments in this movie that will tug at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. This is a film about relationships, love lost and found. Mr. Perry has continually assaulted my film experience since his arrival, and this movie is not totally good news for those waiting for the recently announced film “For Colored Girls”.  I said all of that to say that there is something about seeing the screen full of black actors and actresses that is refreshing… liberating even. There is something special about black people not being afraid of being black. This fact is something my fellow film critics will never get. Yes the Tyler Perry brand is formulaic and there are many things that can be said about his directing, writing  and acting. However, there is one word I have never heard someone say in regard to Tyler Perry, and that word is “Fearless”. And fearless is exactly what Tyler Perry is.  That is what ‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ fully shows.  Fearless is what Mo’Nique showed by acting in Precious. Fearless is what Lee Daniels showed for directing that movie. They are all unafraid. So in that regard Tyler Perry thank you.

This movie gets a 7 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This film is in theaters.

Learn Here is a handy list for all of the men out there who have absolutely no idea what they are doing in a relationship. Also this list is for those who have no clue what a woman actually means when she says:

Fine.
This word is used to end an argument, when they are right and you need to shut up.

in Five or Ten Minutes.
If she is getting dressed, this is half an hour if you are lucky.

If she says this while you are watching the game then you have just been given a 5 or 10 warning before you’ll be helping her around the house.

Nothing
This is the calm before the storm. This means “Everything” and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with “nothing” usually end in “fine”.

Go Ahead.
Think Dirty Harry. This is a dare, not permission, Don’t Do It!

Books that are changing everything

What does your friend do for a living?
You can’t get IT, but he sure can.

Whatever.
Basic fuck you. This is usually said when it is time for your argument to go away.

I’ll do it today
This means that she has until tomorrow.

Whatever you want to do, honey.
This means that you get to choose, but choose her suggestions, so that she can enjoy herself as well.

That’s Okay.
It’s not okay and you will pay for this later. If this is said in bed then she’s consoling you because you Can’t Finish.

Can you do this for me?
Sounds like you have an option, you don’t.

Nevermind
Whenever this word is used it indicates that she is frustrated that you are not seeing her viewpoint.

I’m fine.
If she responds to one of your questions, with an “I’m fine”, it usually means that she’s not and you may need to rectify the problem.

I’m not ready for a commitment.
At least not with You.

Do what you want.
And you’ll pay for it later.

I want to have sex
We had a great evening. I am really feeling you. I want to be closer to you. Loosely translated- I’m Horny.

We need to do something with this kitchen.
I want a new house.

Do you like this recipe?
I hope so because it was easy to fix, so you’d better get used to it.

I’m not yelling.
Yes I am yelling.

I’m just going to stay at home and relax
So you’d better find somewhere else to be.

I think you’re adorable.
Sorry fellas but this means you are in the “Friend Zone” and that is where you’ll stay. Forget about whatever you thought was happening, it’s not going to work out. You are just a friend.

I like you.
While this sounds like an easy statement to comprehend, it is usually interpreted as ‘I’m still feeling you out’.  But saying “I like you” doesn’t mean ‘I’m ready for a commitment’. Loosely interpreted “right now you are on my good side”.

Loud Sigh
Although not actually a word, the loud sigh is often misunderstood by many men.  This means that she thinks that you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here arguing with you over “Nothing”.

SighRoll
From my new book It Ain’t Just The Size. This is an eye roll with a sigh. Highly Dangerous. This is used as a final warning because you have ignored other advanced warnings to leave her alone, see “stop talkin’ to me fucker look”.

Stop talkin’ to me Fucker Look.
A look that is Self Explanatory

Tapping of the Foot and or Finger nails against hard surfaces.

You have gotten on her nerves and you need to stop now.

Thanks.
Fellas TRY NOT to read too much into this one and just say you’re welcome.

I hope this list helps you out, because we all know that some of you really need the help.

Learn ManSpeak

The Man Rules

The concert begins

on wood, dirt, blacktop, concrete

even packed snow.

Participants come in all shapes,

sizes and colors.

From all walks of life they come,

They come to show their affection,

Their love.

Do You have the love?

Center stage is 96′ by 50′

The performers are chosen

and take their places.

All eyes follow the orange sphere.

Running, spinning, leaping

Grunting, sweating, passing

Execution, chants, shouts

Breakaway! Explosive.

Timeout…

Do you have the Love?

Offense is Learned,

Defense is pure hard work

Can you feel the ebb?

The flow?

The Momentum of game one

with 81 more to go.

Old, New, Schooled

Post up, cross over

Black Mamba take over

Pull up jumper,

Power, Finesse.

The score is tied, 16 seconds left,

can’t rest.

Slam, Bank, Luck, Skill

Inside, Outside

Block, Steal

Cheers rain down from the sky

Cameras flash from nowhere,

Posterize.

Do You have the Love?

Penetrate, fake, jab step

hang time, pass dish

don’t foul, rebound,

fast break, barely miss.

Half court trap, or full court press?

Triangle, Isolation… Wrong guess.

Step back Three silence

…swish.

Beautiful.

I Love This Game.

MG Hardie © 2010

Every day countless authors make the error of thinking that covers don’t matter, well at least it appears that they think that it doesn’t matter. But that is precisely the point, how much time and thought you put behind your book cover can directly translate into sales. It can not be understated that your book’s cover is the most effective sales tool you have. Making an appropriate cover can be very tricky but it must be done.

But what is a good book cover? If you go to your local book store you will see hundreds of approaches to this question. Some try a minimalist approach, while others try to connect to the buyer through images. It is a new day and age in America, times are tough for everyone, so your book cover must say to the consumer “I am worth your disposable cash”.  It is also a new day in publishing, but what still seems to be true is that sex sells. The overdone shirtless model and uncovered sensual body parts still move books from the shelves, but this is not always the case.

Early on in the publishing process you’ll need to decide between photos, illustrations, sketches, computer generated images, 2 color, 4 color, or subliminal messages. You will have to decide on color schemes, what colors looks great against this background and whatnot. The type of cover you decide on usually depends on what kind of book you are publishing is it for children or is it very adult. It can also depend on what everyone else in the marketplace is doing. However, by going against the grain is where the unique cover can really stand out.

Available Now

If you don’t have a background in graphics and design it may cost you a little, but you can find many reasonable designers that will give you an original work for as little as $80 or as much as $1500. When I designed my book cover, for EveryDay Life, my mindset was that I wanted to create a book that people could have out on their coffee-table and not feel embarrassed or ashamed about having it out. So for me it started with the question of “Book cover to sell Vs. book cover as Art” I chose Art. Some authors want the cover images to convey what was inside the book and for me, the cover was the longest segment of the publishing process, aside from the actual writing of the book of course. You must decide on the best approach for your work.

Remember that your book will be judged by its cover. If the brick and mortal stores see any hint of an unprofessional cover, a cluttered front, if the cover screams I chose the wrong font because have no idea what I am doing, or my little sister created this cover, your book will be on Special Order so fast your nose will bleed. Error are unavoidable, but I can’t say this enough proofread everything and I mean everything.

Also do not neglect the book spine. Spend as much time creating the book spine as the front cover. You want to be able to read the title on the spine, but keep the same color schemes and fonts. Once the front cover gets someone to pick it up then it is the back cover that hooks them. What goes on the back cover? The synopsis, reviews of previous books, an author photo, bio and any blurb from noted professionals in the business. Usually white type on darker backgrounds is very readable. Make no mistake the back cover is where you will win over the audience.

  

 

I am the thunder, the sky

I am the stroll along the shore

when the tide is high.

I am direct dark and collective,

not now, but I am funny

and I remain reflective.

I am struggle from start to last

A complicated forest

Simple as a blade of grass.

I am peace. I am love.

Consumed with post-conventional thought

send down from up above.

I am a son and a brother.

I have long admired my father

and always will cherish my mother.

I am hope. I am change.

I am continually conflicted.

I am contrary. I am strange.

I am aware. I am alone.

I am the opalescent one

through who light is shown.

I am an enigmatic vibrant seed

I am an incarcerated soul

now freed.

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire It's going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire
It’s going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these great movies have enriched many lives. So, decided to created a list showcasing some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they all are worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection.

30. House Party (1990)

The parents are gone and the Kids will Play. This film introduces people not only to Kid N’ Play, but also the new feel good Hip-Hop lifestyle.  This is a cheesy hip hop flick that was well cast, with endearing characters.

29. City of GOD (2002)

The images, sound and style are the most unique features of this film about Brazil. Honestly what you come away with is that the greatest violence of all, is poverty.

28. Fear of a Black Hat (1990)

This is a side-splittingly funny mockumentary about the imaginary hard-core rap group NWH (Niggaz With Hats). The documentary tracks NWH’s rise and fall from stardom. Be careful this movie is filled with parody and satire.

27. Hustle & Flow (2005)

A tale of a pimp in the middle of a mid-life crisis who decides he wants to be a rapper. Just when you think the film can’t get any better, it surprises you.  Just when you thought that it was safe to go into the hood they make a film like this one. This is an in your face unique portrayal of a hood film.

26. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)

This documentary provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. This movie is a hip-hop tribute while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood.

25. Menace II Society (1993)

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life. This is another Urban Film, but much more hardcore than ‘Boyz N the Hood’. This movie is about drugs, gangs, and violence. It is as real a movies get with this subject matter.

The Butler

24. The Butler (2013)

After leaving the South as a young man and finding employment at an elite hotel in Washington, D.C., Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is hired as a butler at the White House. Over the course of three decades, Cecil has a front-row seat to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office. However, this is a turbulent time for the black community and his role in the White House leads to tension at home, alienating his wife (Oprah Winfrey) and causing conflict with his anti-establishment son.

23. Krush Grove (1985)

This movie is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings, up-and-coming manager Russell Walker has all the hottest acts on the record label Krush Groove records, including Run-D.M.C., Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Kurtis Blow, while Rick (Rubin) produces their records. When Run-D.M.C. has a hit record and Russell doesn’t have the money to press records, he borrows money from a street hustler, and the Hip Hop industry is born. The movie outpaces other good movies such Beatstreet, and Breakin’ because it shows that music is a business.

22. This Is It (2009)

This film is a compilation of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his “This is it”. A tour he never began because of his unfortunate death. This film reveals the music, the talent, and the man that was Michael Jackson. This well-rounded look at the man who changed the entertainment industry forever, is definitely a must see, if for the music alone.

21. Friday (1995)

I would have loved to put this movie up higher on my list it one of my personal favorites. Friday lets the audience into the lives of two friends who sit around smoking weed on a Friday. Sounds simple enough, but then we are greeted to crazies, moral dilemmas, life lessons and gun battles. This movie is often real and always hilarious.

I would have liked to put stand up offerings in the listing, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Dave Chapple, Richard Pryor, Eddie Griffin, Tyler Perry…there are just too many comedies to include and still get a well-rounded list. i will say that Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious.” is probably the best stand up ever. If you look at a film like Boomerang you can see the early diversity of Mr. Murphy Boomerang is one of the first films to portray blacks in non-traditional urban roles.

Honorable Mention: Carmen Jones, Baby Boy, Poetic Justice, Jason Lyric, and the best of those type of movies was Set it Off


MG Hardie (join the fan page)

Part 2 Part 3