16 July 2008

Spiderman 3

Not as bad as I remember, not as good as Spiderman 2.

If Venom had been the cliffhanger of this film, that would have been fantastic.

Instead, it shows up as an after-thought. Too much hollywood in this one. Not enough Sam Raimi.

15 July 2008

Superman Doomsday

I have never been much of a Superman fan. He's boring, perfect, and capable of saving the world -- but doesn't do it. He's the proto-typical Christ-figure, sent here by his father, to save us from ourselves... but only to a point.

And this last part disappoints. Superman never kills evil dictators, he never cures cancer, and he never undoes the effects of third-world poverty. He is, by every description, a phantom in his own world, devoid of responsibility and courage.

However, he is continually painted in an heroic light, showing the world his best qualities when the forces of "evil" demonstrate that saving kittens from trees isn't in Superman's purview, but cosmic battles are. In the end, the greatest Superman stories cannot match the greatest Batman stories, because his priorities are so alien to ours.

All of that said, I loved this cartoon. It showed me why a story about someone infallible can still be good... it's just harder to do. In Superman Doomsday, an ancient menace -- a super soldier -- wakes and ravages Metropolis, forcing superman to go toe to toe with a beast beyond his means. Drawn from the Death of Superman comic series, but made smarter for TV and contained with a 90-minute story, Superman Doomsday tells two stories at the same time.

It reveals the frailty and human-like qualities of the Man of Steel (something few stories have done well before) and it pulls back the curtain on the not-so-complex romantic relationship between Kal-El* and Lois Lane.

Filled with more violence and action that I ever could have ever imagined in a Superman comic (there is blood, people die, children's lives are threatened, superman kills), this movie did not disappoint. However, while watching it my mine did wander and I asked myself a few silly questions about "what if Superman were real?"
  • How much monetary damage did he just do to Metropolis?
  • Was anyone working on the 50th floor of that building the just collapsed?
  • Who built those robots?
  • Why doesn't Lois really ask Superman what she wants to know? I know she's a woman, but she's also a reporter. C'mon. Really.
  • Seriously. That's a lot of money to rebuild that street, those buildings, and those tanks.
  • What were those cops thinking, trying to handcuff Superman?
That's all for tonight. I would certainly watch this again and I think if you like Superman, this is an even better story that you're used to. For those of us that don't like him, this is a B+ film, capable of being an A if they just found a way to make Superman "grittier."

* Superman's Kryptonian Name

13 July 2008

Tell no One (Ne le dis à personne)

I was in Pasadena today and I caught this two-year old French film at the Lemmle on Colorado and El Molino (if you're not from Socal, that's all gibberish).

François Cluzet plays Doctor Beck, dealing with the death of his wife... eight years after the fact. Marie-Josée Croze plays the dead wife and Kristin Scott Thomas ... um... speaks French.

There's some lesbian kissing in the film and some non-arousing nudity.

The move is billed as a thriller -- which takes about 30-40 minutes to get started -- and says that it never lets up -- which is true until the final 15 minutes of very very very long and tired exposition as the Doctor is TOLD everything that happened... which is just a sad, sad way to end a movie this good.

Bad writer. No baguette.

I was also disappointed that the movie was never as tense as it lead on. I was never nervous that Beck would be hurt (the people chasing him clearly want to KNOW something, so he's never in mortal danger) and he always has one of four people to help him out... that's a lot.

Truly, the only tension is whether or not he can make a 5pm meeting in the park.

Rounding out the cast, François Berléand plays another veteran cop in a system marked by corruption and bureaucracy... and only he believes the protagonist to be innocent. Ugh. I could have slept through all of his scenes.

I love Berléand, normally. But as soon as he shows up, I know what he's going to tell me.

In the end, it's a great film. Well-acted and well-directed, Tell No One is the smart film watchers "chase across the freeway" movie. The action is limited, but when it's there, it's very very smart.

I hope I haven't rambled, and I think I was careful not to give anything away. It's out on DVD in the fall, I think.

Hellboy II

The most disappointing film since Indy IV.

So uneven. Such poor dialog. Such a joke of a movie... how do you go from Pan's Labyrinth to this?

Seriously. This guy needs to stop writing scripts and just direct.

Reminds me of all the lame from a Star Wars film.

My wife fell asleep during the movie... and I envy her.