4 posts categorized "Superhero"

June 16, 2017


WonderWomanPosterAs boring and flavorless as a three-day-old grilled cheese sandwich that’s been left out in the sun, “Wonder Woman” is yet another reminder that the superhero genre is a lost cause. How much longer can Hollywood pursue this thematically bankrupt and soulless children’s movie genre is anyone’s guess. There needs to be a 10-year moratorium on CGI. I'm not kidding. Lars Von Trier could make films for the rest of his career based on this one's budget, and they'd all be 100 times better.

The filmmakers here (director Patty Jenkins — “Monster”) set modern feminism back a hundred years in more ways than one. The narrative backdrop is World War I. Cough. It took the screenwriters putting the story back 100 years so they could have good guys and bad guys completley removed from the complex problems of the modern world. "Innocent women and children are dying." Uh-huh. Got it.

Characters speak with laughably wandering accents that point to poor preparation on the part of actors and filmmakers alike. Newbie screenwriter Allan Heinberg crafts dialogue that puts fish to sleep. The pacing and editing is so slack that any chance of dramatic suspense is out the window long before the film’s excruciating 141 minutes gratefully ends. Here’s a movie that not even Hollywood’s best editor could find something resembling mediocrity could extract. The best thing the movie has to offer is Lindy Hemming’s inventive costumes design for Gal Gadot’s heroine of (ostensibly) lesbian descent.


Rated PG-13. 141 mins. (F) (Zero stars — out of five / no halves)

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August 30, 2012


Dark Knight RisesDisconnected significantly from the flow of logic between the first and second installments of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” films, “The Dark Knight Rises” is a disjointed mess. Plot inconsistencies from the last two films — about things such as the performance of Batman’s hi-tech armored suit — arise when he battles the least charismatic, or knowable, villain of any of the Batman movies, dating back to Joel Schumacher’s four installments.

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Tom Hardy’s hulking Bane gets lost behind a cloistering mask that covers his face below the eyes due to a beating his character received while imprisoned in the Middle East many years ago. The mask ostensibly holds Bane’s face together and enables him to breathe. Even more suppressed is any context for Bane’s desire to wipe out humanity via a nuclear bomb, which he aimlessly transports around the streets of Manhattan for a few weeks in one of three decoy trucks.

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For such a bloated movie — it runs a ridiculous 165 minutes — you’d think the screenwriters (Nolan and his brother Jonathan) could at least manage to weave a proper narrative together. Robert McKee won’t be referencing “The Dark Knight Rises” in any of his screenwriting seminars. The best thing “The Dark Knight Rises” has on offer is Anne Hathaway’s butt-in-the-air silhouette as her Catwoman speeds around Manhattan on Batman’s mean-machine motorcycle.

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Unreliable characters saturate the story. Catwoman has more in common with a black widow than a feline when it comes to loyalty. Her alter ego Selina Kyle is a hypocrite thief who betrays Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne every chance she gets. For his part, Bruce Wayne proves himself to be a terrible judge of character. His misplaced trust in Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate, a corporate mover-and-shaker for clean energy, takes a heavy toll. Worse yet, Bruce Wayne betrays Alfred, his most trusted confidant and assistant, in an impulsive fit of anger. Batman doesn’t make for a very persuasive anti-hero this time around. There isn’t much to like or respect in this latest incarnation of a crime-fighter who we discover during a ghostly visitation by Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul, was built for failure from the beginning.

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Christopher Nolan’s outspoken defense of fans that rained down threats on critics of the movie before they had even seen it, speaks to the bullying hype surrounding the film. The film’s odd pokes at political exploitation — regarding the battle being waged between the world’s 99% and their elite corporate oppressors — come across as half-hearted attempts at pandering. Even without the Colorado shooting tragedy that will forever haunt “The Dark Knight Rises,” the film represents a soulless and gratuitous ploy that favors flimflam over substance. There’s something gross and mean in the way Nolan approaches the material. It’s not an entertaining or enjoyable film to watch. The only likable characters are secondary roles. You keep wishing that Morgan Freeman’s Fox, Michael Caine’s Alfred, and Joseph Gordon-Levvitt’s police officer John Blake would co-opt the story.

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The bottom-line is that Christopher Nolan is a better director than he is a screenwriter. He specializes in plot holes and logic gaps in the same the way that M. Night Shyamalan toys with hackneyed suspense device. It would be good if Christopher Nolan didn’t make anymore Batman movies. The world could certainly use fewer comic book movies. It’s just sad that Nolan had to take so many talented people down with him in a movie that sinks under the weight of its own pretentions. You can sit through “The Dark Knight Rises” once, but you’ll never want to see it again.

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Rated R. 95 mins.

2 Stars

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June 04, 2011


Colesmithey.comAs predicted Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are outstanding in their respective roles as young versions of Erik Lensherr and Charles Xavier, respectively. What isn't so predictable is what an impressive job of dynamic storytelling the filmmakers execute for this prequel storyline to Marvel's celebrated "X-Men" comics.

With more than a tad of an anti-authoritarian, anti-militaristic messages, director/co-screenwriter and Matthew Vaughn juggles numerous characters, emotionally palpable subplots, and fascinating visual realities like Robert Altman on steroids.

Mutant Rivalry Origins Revealed in 'X-Men: First Class' | Voice of America  - English

The story moves from '40s era World War II to the Cold War of the '60s. Kevin Bacon chews some delightful scenery speaking German as Sebastian Schmidt (AKA Sebastian Shaw), a Josef Mengele inspired Nazi doctor who physically and mentally abuses the boyhood Erik Lensherr to a horrific degree.

Erik can move metal with his mind. This is a big deal. Adult Erik is on a revenge mission to hunt down and kill Dr. Shaw. Erik is pretty much a badass.

Pin on Nudes

Cut to the mutant brother/sister duo of Charles Xavier and Raven (magnificently played by Jennifer Lawrence). Raven is a lusty blue-skinned shape-shifter. Charles is on his way to being a professor of microbiology. He leads with in intellect and ego. She leads with her lips. He is a "telepath" who can read minds with an interactive twist. She can instantly alter he appearance to look like anyone. A CIA investigation into Dr. Shaw's diabolical plans involving nukes brings the existence of mutants to the Government's attention.

Matthew Vaughn Plots X-Men: Second Class - HeyUGuys

An assemble-the-team plotline makes way for a small team of attention-grabbing mutant characters that include the energy-throwing Havok (Lucas Till), sound-blaster Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), adapt-to-survive Darwin (Edi Gathegi), a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-inspired Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Angel (Zoë Kravitz) a winged fire-spitter. "X-Men: First Class" is a meaty comic book spectacle movie you can sink your teeth in. John Mathieson's cinematography is gorgeous. The editing team of Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith keep the action ticking like a Swiss clock.

James McAvoy Circling Different 'Trance' Role Than Michael Fassbender

Rated PG-13. 130 mins.

4 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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