Man of Steel (2013)
After another long absence, time in which I had exams and disappeared of the face of the Earth, I am finally back with a new film review for you guys. Even better, it is a new release review. If you are a comic fan, like me, than you probably invaded your nearest cinema to see Man of Steel on the 14th of June. I did not manage to go on the release date to see it, but I went the next day in Harrow, London at the shopping centre… here’s a photo :).
To be honest, I am not a Superman fan, mostly because he looks like one of the Geordie Shore dudes and… he is a Big Pansy. He is incredibly strong and is meant to be almost invincible yet he gets his ass kicked by a large number of villains and gets saved by Batman… who is a HUMAN BEING. He has everything: adoptive parents, a girlfriend and he is accepted by the whole planet Earth, yet he still wines about his planet being destroyed, it is so annoying. He has everything while poor Bats has no parents and goes through traumatizing experiences and he still is the better hero – not being subjective at all and I do not have a crush on a fictional character…ok, maybe I do. Some will say that I am being unfair compering Batman with Superman, but people these two superheroes are the most striking cultural icons produced by DC that influenced entire generations since the 30s. When something threatens the world these are the heroes that save it, they are the founders of the Justice League, they need to be compared and analyse because they have a great influence in forming a child’s view of the world – if you are interested in comic influence on the masses check out Fredric Wertham, 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent.
To make things clear – after ranting like a crazy person for half of this post – I do not hate Superman he is a fascinating superhero with a good story, I am just not a big fan of him for the reasons I stated. I really hoped that Man of Steel (2013) would be a great film, because Superman never had one and he really deserves one, but it was just plain ordinary. Nothing special most of the time and just bad at others – spent half the film cursing the director Zack Snyder and the other DC for not doing it right… again. It just seemed so cheaply made, you could see that the set was made out of plastic and the special effects were just as lame. Another thing I hated was the way they approached the relationship between the Daily Planet journalists, they tried to make it a dramatic moment when the woman gets trapped under the wreckage, but it did not make any sense because the audience was not properly introduce to them and it felt like your being pulled out of the main event to watch something irrelevant. Also I have a few questions for the people who choose the extras – Where in the name of God did you find those people? – Did you just went into a McDonalds and asked who wants to be in a movie? Those people in the attack scene did not look scared at all, at best they look confused, especially the black woman, her face was so funny and out of place that I struggled not to LOL.
The battle at the end is meant to be epic and leave you wanting more and talk about it for weeks, was downright disappointing – I am not going to go into detail because I do not want to spoil this film even more for you- what I am going to point out is the flawless logic of this director. Superman leaves Lois Lane (Amy Adams) at a part of town that is completely destroyed and goes on to do his business and ends up in opposite location from her. Still she can see him and she gets to him just in time… in seconds… in the opposite part of a giant city… please explain Mister Snyder how is that physically possible?
The things that I did enjoy about this film, was the story itself. They manage to present Superman’s story in a serious, not something to be taken lightly way and me gusta that. It made Clark very likeable and you could relate to him more. The flash backs made you understand the begging of the film and his quest and you kind of feel sorry for him:(. The cast was very well chosen – except the extras – we are presented with Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer and Russell Crow. I can honestly say that Henry Cavill for the role of Superman was the best decision, I really, really loved his interpretation of the character – congrats to you sir.
To finish this post I just want to state that this film is just bad. Not as bad as the previous ones, but after seeing the films from Marvel, everything under that quality is just a waste of time and money! Hope you guys enjoy this post, sorry it took me ages to post something and I am really going to try to post something on Sunday. Do you have any suggestions what I should review next?
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Teen movies, as well as comedies, are rarely astonishingly good and I always try to find the ones that are worth watching. After doing a little bit of research I have come to the conclusion that the best years for teen movies were the 80s. Films back than reflected the issues teenagers go through in a serious, structural manner, putting them in the environment that mirrors their distress. They took all the negativity and sorrow and combined it with the rebellious and comic side of youth and so managing to create films that affect you, changing your perspective on things or at least to take them in regard, and entertain you with scenes filled with the beauty of being a teenager.
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American comedy-drama film written and directed by John Hughes. This man is known as the king of teen movies, a name well deserved because he directed or scripted some of the most successful teen films of the 1980s such as: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. Most films today regarding teenage issues are put in a superficial way, making most of the time, the young ones seem self-involved obsessed with the idea of losing one’s virginity. John Hughes films are so much more than that, they analyse all the struggles teens go through, from parents ignorance to love and betrayal.
The Breakfast Club is my most loved teen movie off all times, it presents the coming of age of five high school students, which are from different cliques, report for detention on a Saturday morning. These kids know each other, but rarely interact and now they are forced to spend eight hours together, which will change their lives forever. The teacher in charge of the detention asks them to write an essay about who they thing they are, regardless of the fact that he has already labelled them all – “criminal” John Bender (Judd Nelson), “athlete” Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), “brain” Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), “basket case” Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), and “princess” Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald).
I found the plot of this film unique and fascinating, in eight hours, the students do everything there is to do in forming a friendship at that age. They fight, exchange secrets, do acts that are against adult approval, experience love, but at the end of the day they are conscious that their friendship will not exist anymore once the detention is over. The scenes cut from a serious moment between the group, to a hilarious one in which they either run from the teacher in the school’s halls or Bender going through the ventilation shaft. This film is the pick, of what a teen movie should be about, not only is it well written and put together, but the sound track goes perfect with the scenes, the actors seem natural in their role and it is really well filmed. I am fascinated by it and if you guys have not seen it yet, I suggest you watch it – believe me you will not regret it.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Continuing from where I left last week, the second film from 2012 I watched and will be commenting on is Silver Linings Playbook. This motion picture was directed by David O. Russell, whose films may never won an Oscar, but if you are an ambitious little actor/actress and you want to win the nomination for the best actor/actress of the year this is the director for you. This man directed seven Oscar nominated actors for best performances, such as: Christian Bale (aka Batman), Amy Adams (aka Giselle from Enchanted), Melissa Leo (aka Ray Eddy from Frozen River), Robert De Niro. Names that shows us, that Mr Russell does not work with scraps from the bottom of the barrel.
The plot is ingeniously put together and lets you gain a sympathetic and analytical perspective of the characters. This film tells the story of a man that went through a mental meltdown and how he manages to overcome his issues. The narrative is so well written that it actually managed to make me laugh out loud, and it came to no surprise when I discovered that this film is an adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel that bears the same name as the film. Lately Hollywood has lost its imagination and almost everything it produces is either an adaptation or inspires itself from real life events.
Silver Linings Playbook begins by presenting us Patrick Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) in a mental institution going through his daily routine there. He is released from the hospital by his mother and put in his parents care. We are informed that he has been in that institution for eight months due to a violent outburst, when he found his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) cheating on him with a common work colleague. When he returns his father (Robert De Niro) informs him that his wife moved away and that she has a restraining order against him. Despite that, Patrick is convinced that Nikki will take him back if he does everything she ever wanted from him.
He attends dinner at his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) where he meets Ronnie’s sister in law, Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany’s husband has recently died and soon after, she lost her job, events that led to a neurosis, similar to Patrick’s. They develop an odd friendship and Patrick sees an opportunity to talk to Nikki through Tiffany, who promises to give her a letter from him. In return he needs to participate with Tiffany in a dance contest. Everything is going fine until his father asks him to go with his big brother and friends to a Philadelphia Eagles game, on which he has bet all of his money as a good luck charm. Patrick skips practice with Tiffany and gets in a fight with some racists toughs. His father loses the bet and his temper, arguing with everyone including Tiffany. This next part is the climax of the film, where after the argument that Tiffany has with Patrick’s father, they decide to make a parley in order to win all the money back.
I loved this movie because it is fun and sad at the same time, causing a combination of emotions while you watch it. The acting is incredible and it feels so natural that is draws you, it makes you lose yourself in the film. Cooper and Lawrence mirror the characters from the book so well that they seem to fit together like two puzzle pieces. The script is incredibly well written, the jokes make you laugh, which I consider an accomplishment. In arguments every line seems meticulous put in place allowing you to feel the tension. It is not enough for a film to be either filmed well, have a good script or good actors. An incredible film needs to have all this factors ingeniously put together, and ladies and gentlemen, this one right here has it all.
The only issue I had with it was the ending, it just seem to sudden and left a few questions unanswered. In the end Tiffany and Patrick end up together, which was obvious from the beginning that it is going to end like that and I do not mind it, but something is missing. This man obsesses about his wife the whole film and then when he finally sees her at the ending, he goes to her whispers something into her ear and leaves after Tiffany… It just leaves you with a feeling of emptiness and asking yourself: What? This is it?
Overall this is the best American comedy I saw in years and I am sure I will not see one of its kind very soon. It show that in order to have a good comedy, you need to combine it with a good drama, otherwise it is simply superficial and alienating.
I went through my watch list on IMDb last night and two films from year 2012 caught my eye. The one I am going to talk about today is Prefect Pitch. This motion picture was directed by Jason Moore, which you probably only heard of him from directing the TV series, Dawson’s Creek, from 2001 until 2002. This is his first feature film and honestly, I think, it is quite mediocre. Do Not let the IMDb rankings fool you – because they are incredibly good, or the cast which at first sight might seem impressive, but it is not.
Our protagonist is a freshman at Barden University, named Beca, starring Anna Kendrick who you might remember from the Twilight saga. Beca is rebellious young adult, who comes to Barden only because of her controlling father, who is against the only thing she wants, to go off to LA and get a job in the music industry. So daddy makes a deal with her, that if she truly gets involved in college life and by the end of the year she still hates it, then he is going to help her move to LA. Some other incidents happen; one especially involves a shower duet of David Guetta’s – Titanium, which makes Beca decide to become a member of the Barden Bellas. What are the Barden Bellas, one may ask? Well friend, they are a collegiate, all-girls a cappella singing group, stuck on old female pop music. In other words they are a Glee club and believe me when I say this, from this point on, this film is full of Glee. If these characters are not singing, they are either trying to overrule or sabotage each other and of course fixated on some singing competition.
What I did enjoy in this film is the idea of the battle of the sexes. In order to win the a cappella competition, these girls must defeat a rival all- male a cappella group. Put the protagonist’s love interest in the rival group and Boom, you have a contemporary Romeo and Juliet situation. There are elements such as these, that would make this musical comedy as good as it claims to be (another one would be that it is an adaptation of Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction novel, also titled Pitch Perfect), but the mediocre acting, narration and even filming of it, just makes this film a Hollywood mainstream teen comedy – which is making me have flashbacks of Hillary Duff’s films. What is truly well done are the singing scenes. They are well fimled, good choreography and singing, but the songs are as mainstream as this film.
You can make a game out of counting how many sex and misogynist jokes the character s, Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) make, or how many times you hear, “We play music without any instruments. It’s all from our mouths. “. Still you go through with it all waiting to see one of the teams win aaannnnddd it does not happen. I am not going to ruin the ending for you guys, but if you do decided to watch this film I suggest you do not over think it and just enjoy it as it is.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
I feel obliged to start this new post with an apology, because I skipped blogging for a few weeks. So here it goes: “Sorry I have not wrote a thing since February, I am still at University and had to prioritize my studies, but Spring Break is here so I am back.” To avoid this in the future I decided to make a blog time table, so you guys will get new posts every Thursday and Sunday. Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get back to movies.
After reading Dracula, I continued on the line of gothic monsters and their adaptation to film, so this week I decided to talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). This is the first adaptation for the screen of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). This is an American film, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Fredric March as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde, role that will earn him his first Academy Award.
Both the film and the book made me feel like I was being attacked by an arsenal of Freudian theories. The film especially, starting even from the first scenes, in which we are shown Jekyll lecturing at the University about issues concerning the self. I was like, just give him a beard and a pair of glasses, and you are done with it. After that it goes on about the repressed self, showing Jekyll as the Son figure who desires his fiancée, Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart), but he is stopped from fulfilling his wishes by the Father figure, General Sir Danvers Carew (Halliwell Hobbes). Like a child who wishes to fulfil all its needs and escape punishment, Jekyll creates a potion, which brings out the evil side of the human self, and names him Hyde. The film also re-enacts the Madonna-Whore Complex by presenting the character of Muriel as the virginal figure and that of the bar singer, Ivy Pearson (Miriam Hopkins) as the whore figure. Because of its open sexuality and loss morality, the whore figure is destroyed in the end by the monstrous Hyde. What I found interesting is that in the novel, these female characters are missing and there is a constant male dominance concerning the plot.
The story is presented from Mr. Gabriel John Utterson’s point of view, which is Jekyll’s friend and lawyer, and he analyses the mysterious character of Mr. Hyde, especially after Hyde murders Sir Danvers Carew, action which happens at the ending in the film. Also the character of Sir Danvers Carew gains more importance in the movie than it has in the novel, and Mr. Utterson’s character is completely erased from the film. I found the script of the film quite well written and helps to point out the Freudian theories, and if Nosferatu was a silent film, this one, is one of the first to have sound. The acting gets better, not so exaggerated as the ones from the silent era, and the special effects are hilarious. I found the character of Hyde quite funny looking, just as the novel describes him, like an ape. What did you guys thought of it? What is your favourite adaptation of the novel? Please Comment and let me know.
Like most folks in their youth, I had my gothic faze and due to certain circumstances I had to relive it recently- but without the fun stuff like dark cloths and makeup. The topic I will be revising today will be the myth of vampires and its entrance in the cinematic world. Why vampires you may ask? That is because as I said above I recently got into gothic again but only literature wise. After reading one of the first novels presenting the myth which is Bram Stocker’s “Dracula” (1897) I went in the search of the first adaptation of the film which is F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” from 1922.
The interesting fact about this film is that due to copy right issues the director had to change the names and certain scenes from the novel, even so the film was destroyed because it did not receive authorization, but a few copies were saved. Because of this now there are a few versions of Nosferatu and there are some discontinuities in the film due to the lost or damaged footage.
It does not follow the exact story line of the novel and many of the important characters are either eliminated completely-such as Quincy Morris- or their importance is being minimalized- such as Abraham Van Helsing. This gives it a more simple feeling, easier to be understood by the mass audience of the time.
The film is a silent classic in which we are presented with the freshly married couple Ellen (Greta Schröder) and Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) that are separated while Hutter goes to Transylvania to take care of estate business with Count Orlok (Max Schreck). My opinion about it was that the exaggerated gestures and the narrative made the film seem like a parody of the novel, but the use of German Expressionism and the aesthetics of the actors gave the feeling of fright that this sort of genres should.
This great combination of humour and horror is what makes this film unique. If you are a vampire fan and you are upset with what Hollywood has done to them lately, then I suggest you try and watch this film. It a great change of pace from all the modern technology and special effects and reminds us all what are vampires all about. Other films that suggest you check out are:
• Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
• Vampyr (1932)
• Dracula (1931)
And my favourite adaptation- Dracula (1992)