If the new film Man of Steel is any indicator, then it’s true: DC doesn’t really get Superman anymore. At one point, they did. When Superman first appeared in 1938, he was a quintessential crime-fighter. He replaced the beat cops and detectives of classic crime comics with something new and exciting, an outsized and morally superior force for truth and justice. On the brink of an impossibly ugly world war, Superman was simple, beautiful. DC had it on lock back then. But now DC has no idea what to do with this guy.
So I won’t bury the lead. This is the End is the kind of thing you do when you’ve grown so successful, you stop worrying about what you shouldn’t do. In the case of this movie, permanent collaborators Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan think they can make an action movie. But they can’t. (more…)
One answer might be that it’s supposed to just be a fun action story. Another might be that it’s necessary set-up for the bigger events unfolding in later films. Either way, the film doesn’t quite get there, instead being too big to be pure fun, and too pointless to be epic. (more…)
I’ve always been a fan of traditional Indian music. I used to search Limewire for long live recordings of ragas and tabla solos. The best recordings combined severe technical proficiency with a fun, improvisational feeling. The rhythms and melodies were complex, but there was something very satisfying and whole about the compositions, no matter how fractured they could appear if you thought too much about what time signature they were using.
Welcome back to the not-entirely-irregular feature that I’m calling “Unexpected Pleasures.” It’s about trying things that I might otherwise dismiss to discover the joys hidden inside. Send suggestions to email@example.com.
The Footloose remake that just came out last week opens in the only way it ever could: a pretty slavish, but clean and stylish, recreation of the titles of the original, which was a series of close-ups of dancing feet. This opening certainly prepares us for what is to come, as it’s not the only slavish recreation we’re going to see (those of you that were into the original will see familiar angry-warehouse-dancing, confetti-storms, and even a rusty yellow VW Bug).
But then, maybe if this remake was a little MORE slavishly dedicated to shot-for-shot re-creation, it’s pleasures might be easier to discover. (more…)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the tale of an ape, given the gift of hyper-intelligence, at the tipping point between evolving and maintaining his animal nature, caught between something bold and new and something simple. It’s oddly apt that the film itself also teeters between bold and simple. It’s got the simple appeal of a nostalgia-fueled action film, but it’s also reaching for something more complex and lasting. Let’s see where it comes out…
Remember that classic scene in E.T. where the government agents violently interrogate and then kill Elliot’s school teacher? Or remember that scene in The Goonies where Chunk’s dad and Mikey’s dad expose their history of mutual hatred? How about that scene in Close Encounters where the aliens eat human flesh?
Yeah. Neither do I. But apparently J.J. Abrams does. (more…)