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REVIEW – Justice League

November 18, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns
Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Edited by: David Brenner, Richard Pearson, Martin Walsh
Cinematography by: Fabian Wagner
Music by: Danny Elfman
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Morton, Amber Heard, Billy Crudup
Based on characters from DC Comics
Year: 2017

 

Finally, right? I think I finally understand now why DC/Warner Bros feel as though they have to catch up to Marvel now that Justice League has been released after years and years of development and false starts. It’s been a rocky road for DC, to say the least, and it’s hard to fault people for continually pointing this out. The studio has largely been reticent to move away from their bread and butter of Batman and Superman (and characters closely tied to them, as was the case with Suicide Squad), and even their efforts to set themselves apart from Marvel, tonally, has been met with criticism for emulating the grimdark tone of Christopher Nolan’s exceptional Dark Knight Trilogy films, regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. As a result, general reception of nearly all their films, with the notable exception of this year’s Wonder Woman, have also been decidedly negative to mixed, at best (though I still generally like Man of Steel, despite its obvious flaws). Come to think of it, that can actually be said all of pretty much all of their non-Nolan-helmed films (a pretty damn big exception, mind you) since 1992. But now – finally – everything has come together in Justice League, the film that finally unites worlds in live action, as we’ve all been hoping to see. Was it worth it? Does it make the pain of watching DC limp through all those years of trials and errors feel worth it? Read more…

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REVIEW – Wonder Woman

June 6, 2017 1 comment
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle
Screenplay by: Allan Heinberg
Story by: Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs
Edited by: Martin Walsh
Cinematography by: Matthew Jensen
Music by: Rupert Gregson-Williams
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis
Based on DC Comics characters created by William Moulton Marston
Year: 2017

 

Seventy-five and a half years. That’s how long it has taken for Wonder Woman to finally get herself a film of her own. Twelve years. That’s how long it’s been since the release of Elektra, the last major superhero film starring just a major female superhero in the lead role and not as part of a team of predominantly male heroes. Five. That’s the number of films I count from Wikipedia’s list of superhero films since 1920 that have starred solely a female lead: Supergirl (1981), Tank Girl (1995), Barb Wire (1996), Catwoman (2004), and Elektra (2005). It’s six only if you count the TV movie Witchblade (2000), which acted more like an extended pilot episode. While comic books have always had their own struggles with female representation, film adaptations (and even some original works) have always seemingly struggled more, largely because a lot more is riding on them ($$$). For some reason, executives just never really saw these properties as being as marketable (i.e., profitable) as their male counterparts, and it seems as though the aforementioned films have stood as evidence of why that is the case, both in the execs’ eyes and, sadly, in the eyes of many in the general audience. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Suicide Squad

August 11, 2016 3 comments
Suicide SquadDirected by: David Ayer
Produced by: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle
Written by: David Ayer
Edited by: John Gilroy
Cinematography by: Roman Vasyanov
Music by: Steven Price
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Adam Beach, Jared Leto, Ben Affleck
Based on characters from DC Comics
Year: 2016

 

Well, DC, at least you’re making money off this one (so far…?).

Don’t get me wrong – Suicide Squad is nowhere near the overlong, overstuffed disaster that Batman v Superman was. That movie was crammed with events, aggressively downbeat, and was edited to the point of absolutely no breathing room in its theatrical cut. (I still haven’t seen the extended cut.) Suicide Squad, by comparison, is lean, surprisingly fun, and – most importantly – its story is coherent. Why, then, the disappointment? Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

March 26, 2016 6 comments
Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeDirected by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder
Written by: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Edited by: David Brenner
Cinematography by: Larry Fong
Music by: Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Tao Okamoto, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey
Based on characters from DC Comics
Year: 2015

 

Well, this was pretty much was what everyone was fearing it would be… Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Man of Steel”

June 18, 2013 9 comments
Man of SteelDirected by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Deborah Snyder
Written by: David S. Goyer (screenplay), Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer (story)
Edited by: David Brenner
Cinematography by: Amir Mokri
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Starring: Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayele Zurer, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff
Based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Year: 2013

 

That ringing in my ears right now? It’s from seeing Man of Steel, one of the year’s biggest tentpole films, one that is already breaking the record for the biggest June first weekend box office previously set by Toy Story 3. If you came out of Superman Returns seven years ago (Has it really been that long?) feeling like you had been ripped off in the action department (justifiably), then this is the Superman movie you’ve been waiting for. It seems almost repentant for the past films’ lack of scale in regards to their depiction of Superman’s power and compensates for it with some of the most kinetic, cataclysmic action that you’ve ever seen in any superhero film, including The Avengers. You may even be a bit overwhelmed. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “The Dark Knight Rises”

July 25, 2012 9 comments
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Produced by: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas
Written by: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan (story)
Cinematography by: Wally Pfister
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman
Year: 2012

 

Foreword

In the wake of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, I felt a bit odd about writing my previous review and preparing for my next, as I was writing it in the late night hours as the events were unfolding, unknown to me until the next morning. Much of what I wrote about The Dark Knight reflected a lot of what was happening there, none of it necessarily original or new information, but it was stirring, all the same.

I had no common connection to any of the victims there beyond our similar interest in seeing this new Batman film, all of us anxious in seeing how this trilogy would end, and, unfortunately, many of them never got to see this film, and many more will forever see this film and be reminded of the horrible things they saw that night. What was supposed to be night of fun and entertainment turned into a nightmare, and it affected me, and still does a great deal the more I hear about the events, much more than I thought it would — not because I thought of myself as some tough, emotionless, apathetic person but because it made me realize how even the most mundane things we take for granted can connect strangers based on a mundane commonality.

This just happened to revolve around a movie theatre, a highly anticipated film, and audiences across the world who waited, maybe not in the same proximity, but with the same spirit that united us all in excitement and, unfortunately, also in an unexpected tragedy. In that spirit, if there is anyone out there who is reading this and was affected in some way to those events, I hope you know that, even if I don’t know you, I send my prayers and condolences to you and your families.

Review

Let me just say this now: Christopher Nolan is destined to go down in history as, if not one of the most influential or important filmmakers in blockbuster history, at the very least one of the most revered and respected. The man hasn’t made a bad movie in… well pretty much ever! Some have varied in quality and appeal, of course, but none have been able to cross the general consensus threshold of being considered anything less than a quality film: FollowingMementoBatman BeginsThe PrestigeThe Dark KnightInception. All masterful works of not only high art, but high entertainment. No other filmmaker since maybe Spielberg has managed to pull this synthesis of style, spectacle, and skill as well as Nolan has. And now, with The Dark Knight Rises, we have been given this amazing film that not only provides plenty of thrilling action, but is also an intelligent and thought-provoking conclusion to what will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest film series of all time, The Dark Knight Trilogy. Read more…

Special Review: “The Dark Knight” – An Essay on Ethics and Excellence

July 20, 2012 11 comments
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Produced by: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven
Written by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer (story)
Cinematography by: Wally Pfister
Music by: Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts, Ng Chin Han, Nestor Carbonell
Year: 2008

 

Can a film based on a comic book superhero really be considered a “masterpiece”? Even up until and including the amazing Batman Begins, this was a hard question to answer. While certainly a great feat of audience-pleasing entertainment and thoughtful craftwork merging together, Batman Begins was certainly more like a skilled adaptation of a popular character’s story than it was a profound examination of humanity. While this doesn’t inherently disqualify it, the film’s appeal and impact is limited somewhat as a result. The film was largely a study on how one man is driven to the point of becoming a masked vigilante, striving to become a symbol of hope and justice in a city infested with criminals and the morally bankrupt. Yes, Begins had scatterings of a universal message regarding the redemptive ability of humanity, but overall, it really was mostly Bruce Wayne’s story — and that’s really all it had to be. Read more…

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