ENJOY THE MOVIES
Zack Snyder's latest Superman incarnation, Man of Steel, may prove that not all superheroes can be made over in the modern superhero style. The genre has become darker, richer in themes, and more complicated over the past few years. With the help of The Dark Knight's Christopher Nolan as producer and his trusty screenwriter David S. Goyer, Snyder planned to create a Superman film to match. What they didn't count on is that the ultimate do-gooder may not be capable of such a treatment. In a genre that now highlights a hero's shortcomings and tarnishes their morality, is it possible to show the darker side of a being who has only one weakness and who is supposed to be the beacon for truth, justice and the American way? Read on!
Shane Black's Iron Man 3 pays homage to the grittier Iron Man found in comic books by forcing him to use all of his talents in order to save the day. Instead of solely relying on pure power and awesomeness, Black's Iron Man focuses on a multi-dimensional Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) inside the suit — one who can draw on his mechanical genius, super-powered technology, and detective skills to defeat the enemy. But the film plagues him with several human problems such as regret, anxiety, and relationship issues. These help the film present the fullest Iron Man yet - which couldn't make this Marvel nut any happier. More below!
This week Tony Stark will be the big hero on the big screen in Iron Man 3, but Jackie Robinson was quite the spectacle to see blazing around the base-paths in 1947. His energy and strong attitude led him to take greater risks than the average ballplayer. In fact, he garnered a league best of 29 steals, and, as Brian Helgeland's recent movie 42 would like you to think, ole Jackie never got caught once. he real Jackie Robinson may not have too many skeletons in his closet, but this film paints him as perfect as his stolen base record. But there's something to be said for the fact that his "perfect record" was due to the fact they didn't keep "caught stealing" as a statistic back in 1947. In reality, he was caught 11 times. Yeah, so what?
Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful is a mediocre film. While the film is surely entertaining, there isn't a whole lot to compliment. Most reviewers were quick to point out the dull script, the placid acting, and the overall lack of energy (all of which is understandable), but when looking at the views on the computer generated visual effects, we find the topic is divisive. Those who enjoyed the film touted its wonderful visual effects, while those who were less enthralled by it cried out for mercy from the seemingly neverending dull CGI landscapes, sometimes no better than a canvas backdrop. In a strange way, both viewpoints are correct.
In 1994, Quentin Tarantino stormed into the mainstream with the dark, twisted world of Pulp Fiction. Two years later, another powerful and independent-minded duo of directors gripped audiences with their own dark comedy set in the far north, Fargo. The Coen Brothers and Tarantino have since been turning genre after genre upside down by tearing them apart and then blending them into single films. Now in 2012 we find the Coen Brothers and Tarantino have both decided to take on a similar classic genre. This time, the Coen Brothers would come first with their 2010 remake of the classic John Wayne Western True Grit, and Tarantino would follow suit two years later with his own homage to the genre in Django Unchained.
Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) has checked his list once, has checked it twice and is now gonna decide who's naughty or nice. Poor Mr. Takagi (James Shigeta) has unfortunately been deemed naughty for not assisting in this holiday heist and has been handled accordingly. Just like Father Christmas, Hans labors relentlessly to prepare for one glorious night in which he can bring an awfully large present to his loyal elves country-less mercenaries. Hans and his cronies all arrive by a train of unmarked vehicles in place of a bell-toting sleigh and come up from the underground parking lot instead of down the chimney. Read on!
In the historical drama Lincoln, director Steven Spielberg puts children in the forefront to tie President Lincoln's (Daniel Day-Lewis) personal life with his political life. This move allows for an easy explanation for Lincoln's strong push to pass the 13th amendment while also giving a fair playing field for actor Daniel Day-Lewis to capture an intimate side of the mythical figure. The now infamous words from the 16th president in the film, "shall we stop this bleeding" refer directly to the loss of life and dignity in the Civil War, but also refer more to the youth of the United States who were fighting or would be fighting in the war.
With the Awards Season heating up, now seems like a decent time to dig deeper into Flight. Director Robert Zemeckis pitches a curveball in his first live-action film in a while, testing the limits of what an audience can take in watching an alcoholic fail over and over. Whip Whitmore (Denzel Washington) is the worst kind of human being on film since Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) in Young Adult. Both seem to be self-centered shells of people, but whereas Young Adult threw no lifeline for the entirety of the film, Zemeckis opens with a moral question that casts a shadow on our interpretation of Whip. Continued below.
This year's Argo is the most recent example of a growing, modern storytelling technique. Director Ben Affleck avoids the traps that historical, larger-than-life stories are cursed with by employing the substory. This narrative style is used to investigate smaller unique stories that take place within the backdrop of a larger historical event. The stories themselves tend to be strong enough to stand alone, but are interlaced with a powerful historical landscape that intensifies their meaning. This eliminates nearly every issue an epic presents. It forces filmmakers to be focused and avoid drawn out backstories and contrived romances.
In 2013, MGM and Screen Gems are set to release a remake of the beloved horror classic Carrie with Chloe Moretz taking the place of Sissy Spacek. This has some fans of the original film and Stephen King novel asking "why?" Brian De Palma's original 1976 film captured the telekinetic teen story completely and artfully. Its 90-minute run time almost feels too long to cover the tiny plot line, yet the film holds our attention from start to finish. He does not dawdle, instead De Palma moves swiftly from one iconic scene to the next. The film is thick with themes of innocence, guilt, blood, and sexuality all of which play into the ethos of the story, blanket the screen and allow the film to rise above the usual King adaptation. Read on!
In 1993, Robin Williams starred with Sally Field in Mrs. Doubtfire, a quirky, heart-warming film about a divorced dad who pretends to be female housekeeper in order to keep seeing his kids. It's the epitome of 1990s hijinks. In a television landscape filled with "Family Matters," "Full House," and "Boy Meets World," it isn't any wonder that one of the top blockbuster films of the time would mimic these shows by combining outlandish shenanigans with intense family drama. Even though the film is chained tightly to its own era, there is a strong heartbeat that allows its message and comedy to slide through time. Read on!
In honor of Robert Zemeckis’ newest film Flight, I felt it was time to take a look back at his career defining trilogy Back to the Future. It has been over 12 years since he has directed a fully live-action film and I hope it was well worth the wait (read Jeremy's review here). Zemeckis’ opening film in the trilogy is about values. More specifically, the film is about certain humanistic values that are consistent throughout generations. Values such as ingenuity, loyalty, courage and friendship appear to be timeless (no pun intended). As Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) transcends time, his strong personality and basic intrinsic American values allow him to maneuver through the past seamlessly. As he evolves, we begin to realize that Marty encompasses nearly every dimension of American culture - not just the positive aspects either.