Firas Rashid

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‘Iron Man 3’ review: Robert Downey Jr. becomes the latest lethal weapon

<i>Iron Man</i> has always been the smartest of Marvel’s film franchises. From the very beginning, it matched Robert Downey Jr.’s effortless charm with a subtle hint of social commentary (Tony Stark is a weapons manufacturer who learns to give back to humanity after an electromagnet is plugged into his …

'Fast & Furious 6' review: all roads lead to explosions

There are a lot of things to say about <i>Fast & Furious 6</i>, which opens this weekend. We could talk about cars, or explosions, or the many new and interesting ways cars can explode now, in 2013. We could discuss new characters, familiar faces, and dead characters who are now alive again. We could …

'Monsters University' review: Pixar makes prequels look easy

The film industry is obsessed with prequels, but there's one tiny problem: they rarely work. We know the eventual fate of the characters, so there are no stakes. We want to know more about iconic heroes, but seeing their backstory kills gravitas and mystery. From <i>Star Wars</i> to <i>Prometheus</i>, the …

'World War Z' review: Brad Pitt’s zombie thriller is a scary summer surprise

Sometimes a movie surprises you. Something you thought was going to be a mid-summer slog or an underwhelming riff on familiar themes turns out to be something more. Familiar tropes are reinvented, a tired villain gets new life, and presumed lines of safety are crossed. You find yourself in the …

'Pacific Rim' review: epic, ambitious, and accessible

Whether or not it sounds like damning the film with faint praise, the greatest virtue of Guillermo del Toro’s <i>Pacific Rim</i> may be that you can always understand what’s happening, what the characters are doing, and why they are doing it. After what seems like years of convoluted megamovies whose …

‘R.I.P.D’ review: when ghostbusting stops being fun, and starts being terrible

It’s weird, watching the opening scenes of a movie knowing the protagonist is about to die. It’s even weirder when he’s already dead. Yet that’s how <i>R.I.P.D</i> opens, with Nick Walker, played by Ryan Reynolds, explaining as a very large man leaps over his head that he’s going to tell us how he died, …

'The Wolverine' review: a samurai redemption story

Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine has always been one of the most enjoyable elements of the <i>X-Men</i> film series, but recent movies have failed to match the quality of the actor’s own efforts. Brett Ratner’s <i>X-Men: The Last Stand</i> was a dumber, shallower adventure than Bryan Singer’s first two entries, …