Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

PG-13, 151 Minutes, 2016

uRUJzQY.jpgI grew up watching Batman and Superman. First it was The Superfriends, the quasi-Justice League show full of cheese. Then reruns of TV’s Batman and its corniness. As a pre-teen and teen I was a huge Justice League comics fan with a variety of super-heroes teaming up to fight world shattering human and alien villains. As an adult, I read fewer comics, but have seen nearly every DC comics animated, live action TV, and cinematic incarnation and have appreciated stories from the lighthearted to the more intense. You might say I’m the perfect candidate for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the bridge movie from Man of Steel to The Justice League.

Except I’m not. Reflecting the darker comics of Frank Miller and other writers, the current incarnation of DC Superheroes is very dark. The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan was absolutely brilliant, but by The Dark Knight Rises, the widespread civilian causalities and lack of any humor made for a bit of a slog.

Now DC is trying to jump start its late-to-the-game movie empire by having Zack Snyder continue this dark trend he presented so mediocrely in Man of Steel. First, let’s be honest. Zack Snyder isn’t such a great director. 300 was an unexpected action fest, but hardly a classic. Watchmen didn’t live up to expectations. He is serviceable. And he loves long and dark films.

If you love the dark tone of Man of Steel with hundreds (but realistically thousands) of innocent lives lost and the ridiculous ending of Superman out-and-out murdering Zod, Batman v Superman may be for you. But if you like your superheroes to be heroes – praiseworthy exemplars of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, than this movie will disappoint.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Star Search

Sally FieldSo I saw a lot of celebrities on the Red Carpet from the bleachers. It wasn’t always easy. Some were in a big ole hurry. And the carpet was jammed with people, so it easy to miss someone – especially a man in a regular tux. So when Aaron Tveit walked by on the carpet, I’m sad I missed him, but I can see how he was overlooked by everyone. (Just as his amazing performance in Les Misérables wasn’t given its due)

Of the 25 nominees for director and acting, we saw 21 of them. The only ones we never saw apparently did not walk the carpet: Denzel Washington, Emmanuelle Riva (no surprise), Michael Haneke, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. There is a side door off of Hollywood Blvd. for people to come and go without touching the press or the crowds.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Part 2

The Red Carpet for Real

After 7 hours, it was finally happening. While people had been walking down the carpet clearly dressed for the Academy Awards for a long time, we now had a collection of known quantities around the Carpet ready for action. (Al Roker, Kristen Chenoweth, Robin Roberts, Kelly Rowland, Michael Strahan, etc.) Never saw Ryan Seacrest though – he was much closer to the beginning of the carpet.

Ballot BoxThe first “famous” (non-“reporter”) people were the Ballot Box guys walking their precious cargo with great determination. And then doing it again for a better camera shot.

Then we had a series of interviews with nominees…but not the ones we wanted. Still, it was nice to hear from Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, who looks like he is 20, Michael Dana, composer of Life of Pi, Rich Moore, director of Wreck-It-Ralph, and…okay, I wasn’t that interested either. The banter was basic and we wanted the A-Game.

And then superstars of Hollywood were upon us.

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Argo – No Spoilers

One of the joys of the movies is ignorance. Sometimes the less you know the better off you are. So this is a spoiler free (I hope) review of Argo. I won’t even use one of the great lines of the film that fits well into a blog just out of consideration for you.

Here’s 7 things to know (since there are 7 key people in…oh I say too much):

1. It’s based on a true story. But stop learning about the story and go in with a little knowledge as possible.

2. The 70s were full of drinking, chain smoking, ugly cars, big lapels, poor means of reaching people by phone, and grainy footage – all wonderfully recreated for the film.

3. Ben Affleck is not a stupendous director. But he makes eminently watchable, enjoyable, and tense films (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and this).

4. This was the best film I have seen so far in 2012 and is a lock for a Best Picture nomination. It might even win.

5. Alan Arkin is ridiculously great in this.

6. John Goodman and Bryan Cranston are pretty excellent too. But not Arkin-good.

7. The film is tense ALL THE TIME.

Go see it. It is fun, enjoyable, dramatic, original, and well-worth it. Plus there is a deluge of seemingly great films coming. Get a jump on it and go see Argo ahead of the rest.