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Man of Steel Trailer 2 Impressions

You know you’re on the internet when you yourself begin jumping on multiple bandwagons (yes, “you”).  Hardly a day after a new movie trailer hits the net and half my film oriented subscriptions have their impressions up.  But I have something worth talking about with the first full-blown (and widely available) trailer for Man of Steel.  Although I’m hesitant to call this a trailer, simply because it feels like an extended teaser trailer.  Outside of the fact we have a more–you guessed it–realistic, grounded origin story, we’re not exactly handed a whole lot of plot points.  Obsessed viewers might be able to piece stuff together from the end montage, but many of us less discerning viewers take at face value.  A lot of it almost boils down to action, action, conflict and action.

But hey, that last minute sure looks nice.  This is one potential advantage to a more realistic reboot: by the time everything has been set up, we as the viewers are all the more invested when things finally liven up.  I hope this is the case because, frankly, Superman has never been that interesting to me.  Might as well throw out that I’ve only seen Superman Returns from start to finish while I’m at it.  Heck, I’ve been so sheltered from the original movies that when someone brings up the popular score I either nod, shrug or think “which score was that?”

Point is, I’ve never felt motivated to watch Superman; yet Man of Steel is at least doing a better job grabbing my attention.  Early on we see Clark in a disagreement with Kevin Costner over what I assume is the fact he saved a bus full of children.  Clark feels he should do the right thing while Costner essentially tells him it might have been best to let them die (no joke).  At least now I know who not to trust my kids with when disaster strikes.  With that in mind, I’m wondering how they’re going to handle Clark’s identity as Superman.  I don’t recall any shots in which he’s wearing glasses, so will he be completely open and public about it?  Could make for an interesting dynamic, especially since Green Lantern took a similar approach but didn’t take it very far.

Yet the real question on my mind is how Henry Cavill can handle being the Man of Steel.  Cavill is still a bit of a no-name in Hollywood, and the only film I’ve seen him in is Immortals.  Let’s just say neither him nor the film itself left me craving more.  I haven’t heard anyone mention a great previous performance by him which, combined with the horrible response to this year’s Cold Light of Day, still leaves me skeptical.  Not to mention Cavill gets maybe two lines in the trailer, both of which are narrated.

As you can probably tell, Man of Steel continues to leave me with more questions than it does answers.  I’m not sure it even answered anything after the first trailer, since I got a similar feel from that one.  I am enticed to see how this movie will play out and will likely catch it opening weekend.  This is a tough trailer for me to judge since so much of it is visual with very little of our lead star showing or saying anything.  For now, I just hope I don’t end up feeling like the kids on that bus prior to being saved.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Blog, Impressions

 

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Quote Review: 21 Jump Street (2012)

“They teenagers, man. They really stupid.”

There isn’t much room for another adaptation or update like 21 Jump Street to stand out in overly crowded field.  The laughs and fun are certainly present, but it hardly trumps most of the average, molding comedies as of recent.

 
 

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Theater Feature: The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s safe to say that many haven’t gotten over the fact we’re already getting a Spider-Man reboot half a decade after Spider-Man 3.  I for one am in the minority of people who didn’t mind the third film, even if it was the weakest in Raimi’s trilogy.  Not to mention we sort of got a reboot with The Incredible Hulk five years after the Ang Lee version, and I don’t recall many people complaining about that.  But I digress.

Needless to say, when The Amazing Spider-Man was announced, I simply rolled my eyes and spewed a “screw you, Hollywood” phrase so unoriginal it’d probably make them sigh in response.  Then footage started coming out and while I still wasn’t entirely sold, my enticement at least crept upward.  Generally speaking, the early reviews have been favorable, though I’m surprised people aren’t more immensely gratified.  Then again, the two sites I consistently visit have glowing reviews for that abominable Katy Perry movie, so I took the reception with more than a single grain of salt.  Thankfully, two YouTubers I’m fond of (Chris Stuckmann and Jeremy Jahns) both had great things to say about the movie, so I went in quite hopeful.

The end result: I freaking loved it.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the film covers very familiar territory, especially at the beginning.  Yet what ultimately matters is just how well everything is told, which The Amazing Spider-Man accomplishes very successfully.  Aunt May and Uncle Ben felt way more developed in this film, which makes the subsequent events hit that much harder.  The level of depth and interaction between them and/or Peter is so much more realized and complete than the Raimi version.  Another area the film really works well is the chemistry between Peter and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, which is so much more believable and strong than Peter and MJ in Raimi’s trilogy.  The fact Emma’s a way prettier face than Kirsten Dunst is a nice plus too.  What’s more is that Andrew Garfield is a way more interesting Peter Parker and Spider-Man.  Sure, Tobey Maguire might come off to some as the quintessential Peter Parker, but Garfield’s performance is just more interesting and varied.  As a result, we identify and grow to like him even more.

All of this is even more important when the story has to be told, because without investible characters there’s not much left to care about.  I came to love these characters, their interactions and the entire movie so much that I didn’t want it to end.  I can already tell that this is one movie I’ll be watching over and over on Blu-ray simply because it does so much so well.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I liked this movie more than The Avengers.  Yes, send the outburst-filled posts my way, my mind is clear.  The Avengers might be the bigger, more action-oriented film but when you break it down The Avengers is superhero action done right, whereas The Amazing Spider-Man is a superhero story done right altogether.  Of course the action scenes and final 30 minutes of The Avengers is better than any of the action here, but there’s simply more (and arguably better) development in the latest Spidey iteration.

There were honestly very few things I didn’t like about the film and I have no major qualms.  Anything holding the film back simply involves our villain, the Lizard.  He’s not a bad villain per se, but there’s a good chance I won’t remember him much down the line.  The CGI is really most apparent when he’s on-screen and his shifting motivations are very jumbled to say the least.  In many ways The Lizard is merely a plot device, which I suppose is a serious problem, but it does lead to an at least decent climax, so I’m not too bothered by it.

Even if you’re a huge fan of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, I think this version by Marc Webb is definitely worth your time.  The cast and characters are great, the story holds up, the action and choreography all suffice and it ends in a way that keeps us guessing.  I can safely say that I’m all for this version and can’t wait to see just where it’ll be taken next.

 
 

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Sci-Fi Reboots: Dredd vs. Total Recall

This is Law-Kall!

If there’s any reboot that people are bound to flock to this year, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man.  Marc Webb’s take on the comic book hero is pulling an Incredible Hulk on us by coming just five years after its spiritual predecessor.  Early reviews have been positive enough to guarantee that, unless it happens to bomb worse than Raimi’s castration of Venom, we’ll see at least one sequel.

But while Spider-Man joins Batman and the Avengers for the summertime superhero infestation, two films set for a later release have caught my eyes.

First we have the remake of Total Recall, this time seeing Colin Farrell follow up Arnie’s role from the 1990 version.  Like most of the reboots and updates we’ve seen, Len Wiseman’s Total Recall looks darkly dystopian.  So no, it hardly looks any different from all the other films that have ripped off Blade Runner for the past 30 years.  But if we were sick of the same things, film and sports would be as dead as knock knock jokes.  And let’s be honest, good as the original Total Recall was, it hasn’t exactly aged well; not to mention the fact it’s an above average mill of one-liners.  Though I’m not anticipating this to be to Philip K. Dick’s story as The Dark Knight is to Batman, a modernization doesn’t seem as pointless as many other recent sequels, remakes and spin-offs.  The remake looks more level-headed to say the least, and though Farrell wouldn’t be my first choice, he can do well with the right material and director.  Although I don’t think anything he does in the future will top Phone Booth.

Based on the trailer, the Rekall place Farrell visits might not be directly in-line with the people hunting him down.  This could make for a small scene versus business dynamic, but knowing the source material it’ll probably wind up being one of those double agent (or double company?) scenarios.  Either way, I hope we get some creative divergences from the original.  In particular, I’d like to see a twist to the original ending.

Then we have the remake of 1995’s infamous Judge Dredd adaptation.  The remake’s clever, shortened name?  Dredd.  Does this mean the film itself will be half as long?  Now if one of these sci-fi films will truly benefit from a newer, darker look, it’s definitely Judge Dredd.  There were two things Total Recall definitely had over Judge Dredd: the story actually required paying a bit of attention and it managed to be good in spite of the one-liners.  Even with the slated September release date, we hardly got a poster of Dredd until recently.  Now that we (finally) have a full-fledged trailer, we can see just how different and similar the film is simultaneously.  On one hand, we should be getting a more investible environment and story here.  And on the other it looks just like–you guessed it: any other Blade Runner inspired film.  One of the many things comic book fans weren’t so fond of in Judge Dredd was the fact Stallone took off the mask/helmet (we’ll call it a masket).  This time, however, Karl Urban of Star Trek, Doom and The Lord of the Rings will play judge, jury and executioner with the word being his masket never comes off.

One potential qualm I already have with the film is that I’ll always be able to tell Urban is acting, since he’s clearly trying to gruff up his voice.  But hey, it’s a step up from Stallone’s “law” and “I knew you’d say that” deliveries.  Beyond that, we have the usual mix of incredible technology but slum-ridden cities for the setting.  The drug used in the film (literally called “SLO-MO”) will probably appeal to some of the more…laid back audience members.  What I’m most curious about, as one who never read the comics, is how identifying with the characters will play out.  Just from the costume design, the judges scream symbolism of the law’s power, which not everyone is always so fond of.  And yet the people they’re against are being played up as the antagonists, so it might make for an interesting anti-hero scenario.

I doubt either film will leave a particularly big splash at the box office, especially since, after The Dark Knight Rises, our wallets will likely be gasping.  But in a summer littered with comic book superheroes and stale comedies, I’m up for a bit of standard, decent sci-fi flair.

Which do you think will stand above the other?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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Quote Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

“Careful, humans don’t like smart ape.”

Though still under a ‘suspension of disbelief’ field, Rise of the Planet of the Apes does an incredible job at utilizing potential which, frankly, doesn’t seem present or possible. The amount of investment and care which the film offers to its viewers is leagues beyond what many acclaimed dramas can accomplish. Tense, gradual build-up to the continually gripping action scenes within the last half hour also helps it feel that much more rich with content. In all, it’s another huge surprise for the summer of 2011 and is among the best that the year has to offer.

Did you enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes?  Leave your thoughts and comments below!

 
 

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