Thursday, June 20, 2013
Ever since I had watched that final scene in The Matrix, where Neo takes off in flight, I knew the special effects were there and just waiting for a good Superman script to allow it life. But, alas, it seemed as if it was never meant to be.
Enter Christopher Nolan, giving Batman new life with his Dark Knight trilogy and cementing his roots into the filmmaking ground while making tons of money for Warner Bros. in the process. He could do no wrong in the eyes of the WB execs and was allowed free reign with any project of his choosing. So when it was announced that he would “godfather” a new Superman film as a producer, I had some small hope starting to grow inside me. Little by little, over the last couple of years, we heard tidbits of info, a not-too-interesting teaser trailer that had risen doubt in my mind, and finally a full-fledged trailer that made me curious, until Man of Steel was released to us…
Yes, after over 30 years of a Superman drought, we get Zack Snyder and David Goyer’s vision—or shall I say reimagining—of the DC superhero that may be setting the upcoming Justice League movie on its way to us.
But that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves. First, let’s get into Man of Steel…
…without spoilers, I promise.
To synopsize, the film is a complete reboot, starting with the origin of Superman/Kal-El, as he’s born on the alien world of Krypton. As war begins on the planet, his parents, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara (Ayelet Zurer), knowing that their planet is doomed—because of the pending destruction that led to the war initiated by Genral Zod (Michael Shannon) and his soldiers—they send their son off into space to reach the planet of Earth for a chance to live out his life. As General Zod, along with his remaining soldiers, is arrested and tried for his crimes, he’s sentenced to the Phantom Zone. On Earth, the adult Kal-El (Henry Cavill), not knowing his origin and identifying himself as Clark Kent, raised by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), is on a journey, taking odd jobs around the country, to find out who he really is. As his journey comes to an end and he finds out who he is, he then finds himself at odds with our country’s military and a returning threat that found its way from Krypton: General Zod.
I didn’t want to give away too much about this film, which is why I went with a quick plot summary and didn’t give away too much detail on the story. But going into this movie, I was completely mesmerized from start to finish.
I felt there was a good balance while the story played out and moving to Kal-El/Clark’s adult years as he travels the country, trying to find his way on earth. I mention balance, because there are equal parts of present-day story, as well as flashback scenes to Clark growing up in Smallville.
Now I have to admit, at first, Henry Cavill, as Superman, was a concern for me going into this. When I found out the character—being such an American icon—was being played by a British actor, it sort of bothered me. But by the time we see him play out the first heroic act in the film, I was totally okay with him and his portrayal, looking forward to upcoming sequels and the planned Justice League movie.
Kevin Costner really turns in a great performance as Jonathan Kent and I actually wish we had more of his character interacting with the actors playing the 9-year-old and 13-year-old Clark Kent (Cooper Timberline and Dylan Sprayberry respectively). But the flashback scenes we get from him were stellar accomplishments and made us understand how he—as well as Diane Lane as Martha Kent—was a key character in Clark’s upbringing.
Finally, Amy Adams as Lois Lane was really interesting and the character arc was something we’ve never seen in any Superman incarnation on television or film. The chemistry between Adams and Cavill was
Rounding out the cast in Man of Steel: Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Antje Traue as Zod’s right-hand woman Faora-Ul, Harry Lennix as General Swanwick, Richard Schiff as Dr. Emil Hamilton, and Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy.
So, what’s my final “bit” on Man of Steel?
Watch out, Marvel…DC is making a comeback!
Thanks for reading!
You can reach me on Twitter: @CinemaBits
at 5:59:00 AM
Friday, June 7, 2013
Being a big fan of 2012’s V/H/S, when the sequel hit OnDemand circuits yesterday, I gladly paid the ten bucks to order it in for the night. The first one was such a fresh take on the “found-footage” type films, making it more believable how these scenes were caught on film, having novel ideas on reasons why cameras are present rather than just some schmuck lugging around a camcorder when he should be running for his life.
The same can be said for 2013’s V/H/S/2, where the film has some pretty cool concepts on why a camera is recording what we see.
Now, straightaway, I’ll say that this outing wasn’t as good as the first film. Without getting too much into it, I’d say the first film had better story concepts for each tale and we’d gotten better shocks from it as well. V/H/S/2 has some shocks, but they’re more of the gory and visceral type, making us want to turn away from the screen instead of enjoying a good, yet resigned, jump scare. In comparison, part one had me wanting more at the end of the film; part two…well…I was satisfied, but I accepted the ending.
In the wrap-around plot, “Tape 49,” a guy and girl are checking out a house, looking for clues on the disappearance of a college student. Just like the first film, they enter the house through a window and find a room with a bunch of televisions displaying static screens with white noise. Stacks of VHS tapes are piled
The actual first story, “Clinical Trials Phase 1,” a man is in a doctor’s office, being looked over and examined. It becomes clear that he has received an artificial eye that contains a camera and records everything the man sees. Upon leaving the clinic, he notices a young lady staring at him as he leaves out the door and she comes into play a little later in this
So, onto “A Ride in the Park.” I liked this one a lot as it was a fresh idea on how to make a film with a zombie’s point-of-view. With the popularity with these Go Pro cameras with hikers, bikers and all-around adventurers, these cameras can be mounted anywhere to give the viewer the feeling they were riding a bike or jumping off a cliff or zip-lining through a forest or whatever the escapade may be. In this little ditty, a biker is getting set to ride a trail through the woods, with his camera mounted on his helmet, when a lady comes bursting onto the trail before him, screaming about her boyfriend. The biker stops, all the while we see what he sees, and tries to help the lady as he sees she looks wounded and bleeding. He hears noise coming from
The next tale, “Safe Haven,” a group of three guys and one girl decide to film a news documentary of a known Indonesian cult. During this outing, the footage is shot with the news cameras, as well as a few spy cams. Hoping to get a look at what goes on within the compound, the crew goes to the leader of the cult to
One of the more engaging stories in this anthology is “Slumber Party Alien Abduction.” The novel idea with the camera work, again, utilizes the Go Pro type of camera, this time strapping it to the family dog. At a family cabin near a lake, the parents of two boys and a teenaged girl leave for the night, leaving the girl to be in charge of the boys. As expected, the girl’s boyfriend shows up and the boys are forgotten. A couple of the boys’ friends come over and they start playing pranks on the girl and her boyfriend. One prank involves the
As a whole, the wrap around story is pretty interesting, but it almost seems to duplicate what we saw in the first film. I thought they could’ve changed it up a bit instead of the same story of some people sent to an abandoned house to look for something. Yet, it still had a good creepy feel to it as we saw things in the background that the character didn’t see. Each story had its own style and really didn’t disappoint, but it seemed to go for gore rather than an interesting story. I guess it just seemed predictable and I never felt surprised like I had in the first film.
The artificial eye story could’ve added a little more to it, to make the gory ending seem like that was the only thing to do. Maybe if he experienced more mayhem for a few nights to show us he had no choice but to do what he did, it’d make it more believable. I’ve got to give the director props for trying to tackle this one, because an eye doesn’t move around like someone holding the camera. Yet, you’ve got to suspend disbelief, especially when they include the guy’s blinking—very nice touch.
I wish the ending of the zombie biker could’ve been foreshadowed somehow, but the ending was still a nice touch and a twist to the zombie lore.
The story of the cult being filmed for a documentary was pretty good, but I kind of wished it was featured in English so we didn’t have to read subtitles and miss some of the action on the screen because of it.
Finally , the alien abduction was pretty awesome, showing only enough of the aliens to creep you out. Was it me? Or did that blast of noise accompanying the bright lights of the aliens sound like the horn from the Creeper in Jeepers Creepers?
Overall, this is a worthy sequel and I’ll, more than likely, buy it on Blu-Ray when it’s released. It’s worth the OnDemand purchase and, if it’s released in your neck of the woods, worth the theater admission price as well.
My final “bit” on V/H/S/2?
I hope they continue this franchise and keep making quality sequels. No need to polish it up to give it a more Hollywood look, because it’ll go the way of the Paranormal Activity dodo. As long as they keep the look of watching something on VHS, it’ll keep a faithful audience. When—or if—V/H/S/3 comes out, I’ll definitely shell out another ten dollars to see it. Magnet Releasing has definitely given us horror hounds something to look forward to, helping the horror genre come back full force.
Thanks for reading!
You can reach me on Twitter: @CinemaBits or you can email me at Cinema Bits!
at 10:35:00 AM