Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Joel Cohen & Alec Sokolow
Bill Birch & Geoff Johns
Also looking for pdf copy of the Julie Hickson-Tim Burton BATMAN treatment.
The Three Stooges (2012)
Pass on this and watch the real shorts instead
As a lifelong Three Stooges fan, and over 20 year member of the Three Stooges Fan Club, this movie by the Farrelly Brothers was a complete failure. Not once in the over 200 shorts and feature films the real Three Stooges made did they ever mock religion. Yet a major part of this movie, is to, maybe not bash Catholicism, but certainly to insult it. Casting Larry David, someone openly hostile to Catholicism, as a nun named after a Nazi, is tantamount to putting David Duke in black-face to portray Bill Cosby.
As for the actors playing the Stooges, they were not very convincing. It seemed like they were doing a Saturday Night Live parody instead of portraying characters. At times each of them nail their respective Stooge voices, and perhaps even mannerisms, but overall they come off like they are in an SNL skit instead of a major motion picture.
As for the plot (something of a rip off of "The Blues Brothers"), it is divided into three acts. Act I, not counting the rampant jabs at Catholicism, seems more like The Little Rascals than the Stooges. In fact, you get the feeling the Farrellys really wanted to do a Three Stooges-Little Rascals team up film. As I said, the film doesn't really bash Catholicism as much as just mock it. Only Larry David's character is truly offensive. The other nuns, while stereotypes, are not really mean spirited (even Kate Upton's bikini moment at the end of the movie, which is totally different than the scene used in the trailers, actually plays as "cute" rather than "malicious"... although her very wooden acting is another matter). There is a scene where the Stooges attack Brian Doyle Murray as a priest that is questionable. Part of the problem of the film is that it tries too hard to inject some heart tugging melodrama into the story, only to fall flat every time.
Act II is perhaps the best part of the film, with the Stooges doing some classic bits and routines, but things really start to drag in Act III, as most of it is unbelievably spent promoting the TV show "Jersey Shore". The failed attempt at melodrama kicks in again, and there's a happy ending.
Overall, I would suggest if you want to see an excellent Stooges movie, pass on this one, and get the DVD of "Meet The Baron"(1933), perhaps the Stooges' best feature film, starring Jimmy Durante and Ted Healy. It puts this weak remake to shame. Or better yet, get a volume of "The Three Stooges Collection", and enjoy their classic Columbia shorts.
Batman and Robin (1949)
The inspiration for the the 1966 series
This serial is essentially the prototype for the Adam West TV series. Robert Lowery plays a nondescript Bruce Wayne and a business like Batman who is a deputized officer of the law, and pulls some of the most unlikely things out of his cheap looking, plain belt, such as a gas mask that looks like it was made out of a drinking straw, and a full size blow torch. Ironically, Adam West, in his autobiography, said plans were made to bring Lowery on the show as Bruce's often mentioned (but never seen) uncle, but the concept never came to pass.
John Duncan's Dick Grayson and Robin are both far more mature that either Burt Ward or Douglas Croft, and he's also a lot more dull. Lyle Talbot's Commissioner Gordon is flat and one-dimensional. Jane Adams plays a very forgettable Vicki Vale, and Eric Wilton plays an Alfred who looks very much like the TV show's Alan Napier, but has little to do except wear a spare Batman costume when required to, much like a few episodes of the TV series.
The villain is a masked mystery man called the Wizard who has some outlandish scientific devices. Presumably, the plot is a mystery to figure out who the Wizard is, but the detective work leaves a lot to be desired.
The costumes and budget are worse than the 1943 serial, with Batman's cowl looking like a Halloween devil mask, but it is cool to see that huge bat across Batman's shirt a la "Batman Year One". The only advantage either serials' Robin costume has over the TV series is the longer (and in John Duncan's case, dark - presumably green) cape vs. Burt Ward's short, almost feminine cape, and the boots vs. Ward's elf shoes.
There is no Batmobile, as both Bruce and Batman drive the same plain gray Mercury convertible, and the Bat-Signal appears to be the size of a portable TV set.
The serial has some good moments, and you can really see how the TV series was a camped up version of it, but its just not nearly as fun or entertaining as the 1943 serial.
The original Batman is a blast!
Despite a non existent budget and Trick-or-Treat costumes, this serial is very entertaining and faithful to the early comics. Lewis Wilson plays a definitive Bruce Wayne, bringing the character to life for the first time on film as a bored and somewhat shiftless playboy. His Batman is dark and grim, yet fun, able to shoot off one-liners with Robin. But when he threatens a thug he's holding hostage in the Bat-Cave, Batman means business. His Chuck White disguise is the forerunner of Matches Malone. The design for Batman's costume is far superior to the Adam West TV show costume, however the tailor did not have the proper materials or measurements to make it fulfill its potential. The utility belt is perfect, though.
A twist in the legend has Bruce a government agent, predating Marvel Comics' SHIELD concept by decades. As such, he is assigned to capture the Japanese terrorist Prince Tito Daka, played by J. Caroll Naish, in an over the top performance that could be the blueprint for the villains of the TV series, and virtually all live action comic book villains.
Douglas Croft plays Dick Grayson as a carefree teenager who still has sense enough to warn Bruce not to take his playboy masquerade too far. His Robin is a wisecracking daredevil who seems both younger and far more capable than the TV show counterpart.
Beautiful Shirley Patterson plays Linda Page, Bruce's love interest with some real emotion. William Austin makes such a perfect Alfred, that DC redesigned the comic book character to resemble Austin (previously, Alfred was drawn to look like Alfred Hitchcock).
The serial introduces the Bat-Cave and its grandfather clock entrance, which would be added to the comics, but Bruce's limo doubles as a nondescript Batmobile. There are some good gimmicks, such as a car that repaints itself and has revolving license plates, and Daka's alligator pit. Another thing I really like is, even in costume, Batman and Robin still call each other Bruce and Dick. Its a subtle touch of sophistication.
Sadly, there are some racist moments against the Japanese, but this serial must be watched in the context of World War II. The narration does mention how FDR and the US government put many Asian-American citizens into detention camps (just as Hitler was putting Jews into concentration camps), a fact ignored by most modern history accounts for fear FDR's image being tainted.
The racism notwithstanding, this is a very fun serial and one can easily imagine kids in the 1940s cheering and applauding Batman and Robin, and booing and hissing Daka and his henchmen (and probably cheering the one henchman who turns on Daka, in a moment of patriotism). It is unquestionably superior to the 1949 serial, which was much more mundane and dull.