Continuing my series of DC reviews is the movie which started the DCEU and, in all honesty, the Superman movie that audiences asked for. What I mean by that is that DC tried a more quiet, classic Superman film with more focus on the characters than the action and special effects when making Superman Returns. Who here has seen Superman Returns? Not many people, and that’s what the financiers looked at when trying to catch up to the MCU. Why WOULDN’T they go the exact opposite route after that?
This movie is basically an origin story for Superman. Krypton is destroyed, Superman lands on Earth and learns his heritage, then fights Kryptonian criminals who want to destroy the world. He’s not quite a superhero in this movie since he focuses more on fighting the villains than saving people. There are 2 exceptions to this, the first being him taking 5 seconds to save a falling soldier, an incident that he remains stone-faced throughout, and 1 other example which I’ll get to later. I don’t care too too much about this since Superman was still getting used to his role and the full extent of his powers, so it’s not exactly a negative for me.
I’ve seen this movie three times now. Once in theaters where I actually started to fall asleep (a first). Once after it was put on HBO Now to see if I missed anything redeeming. And once to write this.
Who’s wanted to see Batman and Superman fight each other? What’s that? Everyone born after 1939? What a letdown!
There is a lot wrong with this movie. There’s the stitched together story, the forced cameos from the future Justice League (save Wonder Woman), Batman the Bullet Farmer, Superman not growing from his experiences in Man of Steel, lack of color, and the most painful Lex Luthor portrayal I’ve seen in a movie. Also, kryptonite. I am so sick of kryptonite. Use your imaginations to find other ways to fight Superman!
The sad thing is that I can forgive all of that because of the good elements.
I actually like Sharknado and, to a lesser degree, Sharknado 2. It’s a ridiculous idea with ridiculous execution and the acting is actually a little above what one would expect from a Syfy original movie. You have sharks in tornadoes? Blow them up! More sharknadoes? Freeze them! You know what? Let’s just fly a helicopter into a tornado filled with sharks!
With Sharknado 3 the idea began to get stale, so The Asylum (the studio that made all these movies) decided to make it even more ridiculous and we got sharks IIIIN SPAAAAACE! I’m not a rabid fan of the first two movies by any means, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever rewatched Sharknado 2, but 3 gave me the ironic impression that it was being taken too seriously. The Asylum knew this was their next cash cow and put too much effort into the making of these movies, so that it comes through in the movie itself, which makes all the ludicrousness seem out of tune. They tried too hard to keep people watching this series.
Sharknado 4: The 4thAwakens is where it got sad. Yes, the title did its job and warned us of the Star Wars references, but OH MY DEAR YODA! Not even Spaceballs parodied Star Wars this much! Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m a huge Star Wars fan and after the first five minutes and 3,812 references I was sick of it. And it kept going. And going. And going. I wanted to shoot a proton torpedo into its reactor just to end it.
It’s like the creators decided to recreate the shots from The Revenant and insert dinosaurs from an early-2000s direct-to-DVD CGI feature. Never before have I so wanted to look at pictures of the backgrounds from an animated movie. It’s a shame that there were characters.
Now imagine an hour and a half of that.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before: a young animal protagonist tragically loses his father, winds up far away, meets a companion, then eventually finds the courage to return home. The Lion King similarities are really distracting, the flood that kills the father even looks like a herd of wildebeests (yes that’s the correct spelling) considering that it was colored brown and had trees sticking out of it like antlers. Also, what’s that other dinosaur movie? Oh right, Jurassic Park! Lots of shots were taken from Jurassic Park and its sequels.
I’ve been waiting since January to do this review. Now that M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Split has been released on DVD/digital media, let’s talk about it.
Split is about three girls (the most prominent being Casey played by Anya Taylor-Joy) who are kidnapped by a man with multiple personalities (James McAvoy) for a purpose which is slowly revealed throughout the film. What follows is a slow burn of a thriller which makes the audience wonder if McAvoy’s psychologist (Betty Buckley) can unravel what’s happening in time to save the girls.
I enjoyed this movie when I saw it in theaters several months ago. The acting for the most part (particularly from James McAvoy) is great. This guy deserves some kind of award for this/these role(s). Most importantly you get the impression that each of these personalities is a whole character, not just a name with a gimmick. That’s impressive for a character with twenty-three personalities. Two of three most prominent of these are Dennis, a man obsessed with cleanliness, young girls, and looks like the real-life BTK killer (who is also named Dennis), and Hedwig, a nine year-old boy who has one of the best scenes in the movie. The one which got under my skin the most, however, was Patricia. She gives a constant impression of being unstable yet fully dedicated to acting calm to cover it up. Throughout the running time there are long shots where you see McAvoy’s speech patterns, voice, and body language change as he goes between different identities.
After her excellent performance in The VVitch Anya Taylor-Joy delivered again with her role as Casey, a character shrouded in even more mystery than any of McAvoy’s. I’ll be going into spoilers later on, but I will say you feel a chill as you learn more about her. Betty Buckley was also engaging as McAvoy’s psychologist Dr. Fletcher, bringing an intelligence and compassion to probably the most weakly written of the three leads. I say weakly written because a lot of her dialogue is awkward and roundabout (much like this sentence) and, as has been pointed out to me, she should have questioned her patient with an unhealthy obsession with young girls when she saw on the news that three young girls were kidnapped.
There are two types of lights that we see in the sky. The first is primary sources of light such as the sun or other stars, objects which create their own light. The other type is secondary sources, which reflect light from primary sources. Even though the moon is a secondary source, it is still brighter than most stars to us.
When you ask someone to name a Batman movie, they usually will say The Dark Knight or Batman (1989), to most people the two best films. Surprisingly, however, after these a lot of people will say Batman and Robin, widely considered one of the worst movies of all time. Why? There are plenty of other Batman movies, all of which are better quality.
The most obvious reason is because this movie succeeds so well at being bad. Plenty of critics, Youtubers, etc. have pointed out the reasons why so I won’t go into much detail here. In short the dialogue is a series of one liners, it’s impossible to take Batman (or any characters except Alfred) seriously, and the tone feels like a Looney Toons short. Despite all this, it’s not funny enough to be a clever comedy like the 1960s TV show which I greatly enjoy. Whether something is very good or very bad, as long as it’s extreme enough to stand out it gets attention.
Not everyone watches Batman and Robin itself, however. This movie has led to multiple parodies and comedic reviews, almost all of which are better than the feature itself. One of my favorites is a review by Nostalgia Critic which includes several comedic outbursts and lampooning of the obvious flaws in the film. In this way the infamous Batman and Robin is similar to the moon. Its brilliance is not its own product, it’s from other people’s witty observations of it.
This is a movie that is fun to watch with friends. You can create good jokes and laugh with whoever is around, and you’ll have fond memories of the occasion as a result. It is rare to find such a universally agreed about resource for comedic material. Just…don’t watch it alone.
I’ve watched a fair number of foreign films and TV shows in my life, particularly anime. These days which anime I watch mostly depends on what’s on Hulu and Netflix, and almost all of it is subtitled. Sometimes its ideal for the show or movie, other times I find myself wishing it had been dubbed over. This leads to the question: which is better?
In general, there is no answer between the two. The best option, of course, is to be able speak the movie or show’s original language, though this isn’t a reality for an American audience. Since the majority of foreign films and TV shows I watch are from China and Japan, I will be focusing on works from those countries with one important exception from American cinema which I’ll get to later.
My first exposure to a foreign movie was probably the Godzilla franchise, of which my favorite installment is Godzilla: Final Wars. I’ve tried watching this same movie both subbed and dubbed, and I vastly prefer the dubbed version as is the case for all Godzilla movies I’ve seen. So dubbed is better, right? Not so fast, because I’ve also seen both versions of Kung Fu Hustle, and the jokes are MUCH funnier in the subbed version. OK, maybe subbed is better for comedies and dubbed is better for action movies? No again, as from what I’ve heard Pokemon: The First Movie was deeper and more interesting subtitled compared to the dubbed version I saw (which was borderline infantile in its dialogue). Continue reading “Dubbed vs Subbed, The Foreign Film Dilemma”