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Wonder Woman (2017)
A solid entry in the DCEU...for once
(Originally posted from confessionsofasavagemind.blogspot.com)
The DC Comics Extended Universe of films has been so an abysmal drag as a film goer. Man of Steel was all style and no substance, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was a dull snoozefest, while Suicide Squad was the cinematic equivalent of injecting liquid Lucky Charms into your brain. However, I am here to say that DC and Warner Brothers has finally produced a good movie to their resume. That comes in the form of Wonder Woman.
Earlier this summer, I was very cynical about Wonder Woman's chances of being successful at all. I predicted it could be one of the biggest flops of this year. In hindsight, I will admit that my view might have been slightly misogynistic. In all fairness though, there has never been a movie with this kind of budget not only centered around a woman but directed by a woman. The studio system has forever sold us, the moviegoer, the idea that a film directed or about women cannot be a box office success. That being said, the ideology needs to change to a film can be a box office success no matter what the topic or who directs it, as long as the film is well made. Wonder Woman has proved this to me and should be noted for its cinematic achievement.
Now, after the praise, I will say one thing: Wonder Woman is a good movie. Not a great movie, but a good one. I think that the film has gotten grossly over-hyped because of how amazing it is in comparison to the other DC films. It's like comparing a tortilla to moldy bread. There's nothing wrong with the tortilla, but it's a hell of a lot better than some moldy bread. I don't hate the film for the exact template of generic superhero movies (one that was perfected by Marvel) It succeeds at being a solid entity. The film also does a better job of selling its themes of the morality of war and the nature of humanity far better than most Marvel movies. It is to be noted that even though the film had three story credits, Allan Heinberg is the only credited writer for the screenplay. As many of these big budget films go, there are several ideas on how the film should go. The studio then gets several screenwriters to write several different screenplays. The studio then takes the best parts of each screenplay and then creates Frankenstein's monster out of the remains. So it was to my surprise when the story was actually cohesive and well thought out. The film is not only a good superhero film but a good war film. Director Patty Jenkins adds the proper feminine touch that is so needed in gritty war films, as Kathryn Bigelow proved in The Hurt Locker. One problem that arose for me in the film is the lack of consequence of the violence of war. Yes, some disturbing images were shown in the film to try and get this point across, but the lack of bloodshed I found disturbing. There is a theory that young people who kill because of what they have seen in the movies would understand the severity of using guns. Some movies such as Deadpool and Logan have proved that violence can work in blockbusters, so why would Wonder Woman avoid it?
In terms of performances, I thought the show was completely stolen by Gal Gadot. When Gadot was chosen for the role, I was entirely unsure if she could overcome her looks to give good performances. After all, many performers whose physiques are aesthetically pleasing rest on the laurels of their looks far too often. Gadot proves this through the absolute charm and wit she shows with a combined sense of naivety and strength exuded in her performance. Chris Pine did actually well considering he has always reminded me in looks and performances of one of the puppets from Team America: World Police. The current superhero films are still lacking some truly great contemporary villains, however, and I am disappointed again by Wonder Woman. No other performances particularly enamored me, as my eyesight was always drawn to Gadot the entire length of the film.
Overall, Wonder Woman hits every note it needs to hit with strength, poise, and grace. It is truly a crime that this film was director Patty Jenkins first film since she wowed audiences with her horrific biopic Monster. Jenkins puts out a strong case against industry sexism while producing a solid superhero film.
Baby Driver (2017)
(Originally posted from confessionsofasavagemind.blogspot.com)
The summer blockbuster season has become somewhat of a bore for me. The major films released this summer have been generic, bland, and unexciting as they can be. To prove my point, the fifth Transformers film was just released to audiences' and critics' dismay everywhere. During the summer, I rarely even find myself at the theater due to the little variety of choice and depth of whatever hundred million dollar tentpole film is currently plaguing every theater around me. I had even stopped watching movies almost entirely due to this fatigue. I am happy to say that Baby Driver is the film that rejuvenated my love for movies.
Preemptively, I will tell you that I will give you no plot description of the film. I knew next to nothing about the film besides the fact it was a heist film. I highly recommend going into the theater with a blind eye to reading or looking up anything about the film besides the showtimes. (Yes, that means no trailers too!) I cannot possibly describe this film. Yes, it is a basic crime and heist film. However, it breaks so many genre conventions that it is unacceptable to disrespectful tot he film to refine it to one genre. The best comparison I could give is if Heat, Bonnie and Clyde, An American in Paris, Reservoir Dogs, and Drive had a cinematic orgy and produced this child. The film is so fast-paced that you can hardly breathe. The suspension of disbelief, or how much you actually believe the story that is taking place on the screen, is flawless within the film. I came into the theater with about a million and a half different thoughts running through my head, and every one of them was silenced when the lights were dimmed. In all of the quick action on the screen, the film makes time for a real heart and story in its pseudo-musical style. This is executed by some of the sharpest and effortless editing and cinematography that this film critic has ever seen.
The casting in Baby Driver was absolutely divine. I cannot think of one character or actor who was misplaced or a weak link within the film. Writer-Director Edgar Wright delivers the sharpest dialogue and story of his illustrious career. That is saying something incredibly large coming from the director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World's End. Wright cements himself as one of the best minds in cinema. I mourn for his version of Ant-Man that Marvel canned after the studio would not allow him the creative control he was used to. Wright has been working on Baby Driver as an entire project since 1995, aka the entirety of my life. To see his uncompromised vision come to the screen as a real joy. It is also a real message to producers to stay the hell out of visionary directors' way (I'm looking at you, Disney) Edgar Wright can not only direct any genre but spawn entirely new ones as he does with this movie.
There are very rare occasions where a film can take me from cinematic nihilism to enjoying the true art that goes into these incredible pictures. I haven't felt a true joy from a film till the two or three times I saw La La Land. There are absolutely no faults with this film. It wins not only a perfect score from me but the (tenative) rank of the best film of the year.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Give me more monkey!
One of the first classic films of cinema I remember identifying with was King Kong. When I was in the years of my early childhood, I was fortunate enough to get on the Kongfronatation ride at Universal Studios when it was still functional. That sparked an obsession. I will never forget the sheer disappoint I had in my heart when I heard that my classmates in elementary school booed a screening of the original 1933 Kong. To me, this was a great monster movie, and there is no way that anyone could possibly hate it! To make it short, I have always had a deep love for King Kong, and was obsessed with how he was to be depicted. When the 2005 version of Kong was released, I remember leaving the movies uninspired, even at the age of 10. To me, they had ruined my idea of how our giant simian friend was depicted, and I was greatly disappointed. So, of course, when Kong: Skull Island was released, I knew I had to see it.
Kong: Skull Island is the second entry in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures shared Monsterverse. the first entry was Godzilla (2014), which I felt to be slightly underwhelming. My sentiment has always been that in any monster movie, human conflict always drags down the true nature of the monsters. the whole plot of a family trying to be reunited in Godzilla warranted several eye rolls from me as an audience member. To be perfectly honest, I am not even sure we need the shared cinematic MonsterVerse. It seems that every studio is trying to find a way to copy Marvel's model that has made them billions of dollars. That being said, I think it is making individual films more and more uninspired, as they become part of a much larger and unnecessary vision.
One thing I will say for the writing of Kong is that the human characters were uninspired and unmemorable by the end of the film, I could maybe name one of the main characters. That is how easily forgettable they were. Incredibly underdeveloped and mundane, I never felt a real reason to care for these characters. Being as there was no central protagonist, the fractured lives of a cast of characters made me ignore them completely. Also, I felt the that there was very little conflict resolution for most of the characters. also, the studio shamelessly cast Chinese actress Tian Jing in a bit role. This is obviously to appeal to the Chinese and global audience, which is becoming more and more of an issue in contemporary blockbuster filmmaking. This is especially problematic when Chinese companies are starting to take majority control in major Hollywood studios. For example, Legendary Studios, that produced this film, is now owned by Chinese investors. In the next couple of years, China will be the biggest box office in the world, even surpassing the United States. This means that studios will do anything they have to to reach this giant global audience to maximize box office profit.
I will say that Kong Skull Island tried desperately to develop some real relevant socio-political themes, even having John Goodman mutter the line, "There will never be a crazier time in Washington." The setting of the Vietnam War was present, as much as they tried to force is. There were consistent homages to classic movies depicting the Vietnam War, such as "Born to Breed" engraved on one of the soldier's helmets. in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, Private Joker's helmet has "Born to Kill" written on the side of it. Also, it is very apparent that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has seen Apocalypse Now many times. This very evident throughout the film. the production team even had a poster made that looks somewhat familiar.
All the elements of a Vietnam War movie are there. From thematic elements of war vs. peace to a blazing soundtrack of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Kong: Skull Island tries desperately to fit into the aesthetic. However, I am not sure that it successfully accomplishes this goal in the slighest. There is something to be said for the classic 1930s setting that Kong has always had, and without it, I felt as if something was missing entirely. There were homages to the original film subtly sprinkled throughout, but they felt too subtle to even notice.
Now that I have spent the last two paragraphs slamming what I really did not like about the movie. throughout mostly choppy dialogue, there were some moments of brilliance in the dialogue, mostly spoken by John C. Reilly's Captain Hank Marlow. Also, the battle scenes are breathtaking. As I have always felt the monsters, not the human should be the focus of the movies. Humans are mostly unnecessary. I don't go to see these movies to learn about human interest causes; I go to them because I want to see monsters blow things up. Kong really brings to the front the brutality and cruelty of the monsters that reside on the island with striking and surprising violence.
Overall, Kong: Skull Island is a decently fun movie. It is great to see on a big screen and it is moderately enjoyable. However, I do think that it is a very flawed and undeveloped film, and is not any way, shape, or form an innovative action film in the slightest.
The best superhero movie since The Dark Knight
The superhero genre has become pretty dull and generic. The DC Cinematic Universe has become nothing besides a flaming dumpster fire and although Marvel's movies are fun, the lack innovation and stick to the same formulaic approach that has made them billions of dollars. Before any of you say it, Deadpool was not an exception because it made a few dirty jokes. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy superhero movies, but I understand that they lack anything that makes them remotely interesting as films of substance. That was until I saw Logan.
Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine since I was five years old in 2000. The year is 2017, and I am now turning twenty-two this June. Throughout my life, I have seen four different Batmen, three Spidermen, two Supermen. However, there has only been one Wolverine. There will only ever be one Wolverine. Logan is Jackman's final farewell to the role that made him an international superstar. Jackman's commitment to the role has been admirable, even sticking with the X-Men franchise when it hit rock bottom in the mid to late 2000s with X3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Eventually, the franchise rebooted itself to its former glory with X- Men First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Even the better X-Men films, which I give lots of credit to developing the modern formula for superhero films, really lacked a certain sense of pizazz. Every movie had the protagonists saving the world from (insert generic force here) at the last possible minute when it seemed all hope was lost. However, Logan takes a different approach. Instead of trying to save the world entire, Wolverine is only looking out for a single girl and an aging Professor X. As a result, the film is much more personal the consequences feel much more dire, even though less is technically at stake. Director James Mangold had obviously thought this through after the incredibly average showing that was The Wolverine in 2013. I always knew Mangold had the talent to deliver a truly excellent, character driven movie due to his magnificent work on the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. Logan also fit into the aesthetic of a 1950s Western so well. When the comparison was drawn within the film to classic American Western Shane, I immediately felt the connection. Many films try to fit into a certain form, and fail so badly, (see my review of Kong: Skull Island). However, Logan fits the form so flawlessly, you forget you are watching a superhero film. The gruesome violence of the R-Rated Logan gives the film a certain grit that Shane does not have. In this way, the film explores the primitive side of Wolverine that is reminiscent of Spaghetti Westerns while maintaining the morality and ethics of the American Western
There has been constant praise to Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart over the years for their depictions of the seminal X-Men. However, it is 12-year-old Dafne Keen who steals the entire movie. If anyone knows me, I am incredibly critical of most child performers. I find them a giant nuisance and they have actually changed my opinion of a film due to a child actor's performance. (ex. The Babadook) However, Keen adds an almost Chaplin-esque quality to her performance as X-23. She is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Also, it is known by many that I am a giant opponent to the overuse of computer graphic imaging within a film. That being said, the CGI creation of X-24 had me absolutely startled. For maybe the first time ever in a movie, my cinematic eye couldn't tell whether a character was actually there. This is a sign of amazing visual effects, something that the Academy should not ignore come Oscar season.
I have roughly seen about 1,350 movies in my life. Of that list, I had only cried in 26 of those movies. Damn if Logan is only the 27th film to pierce my cold, cinephilic heart. I found myself crying like a small child I had not cried in a movie in a theater since 2012 at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The film manages to be so personal and touching that it defies genre types. Very few superhero movies have actual consequences. I mean c'mon how many characters has Marvel brought back from the dead? Logan chooses to close out the X- Men of our childhood in about the best possible cinematic ending.
Logan is the best superhero movie in years. In fact, it would be fair to put it in the same class as The Dark Knight as an innovative and exceptional superhero film. I found myself scoffing at Logan's Oscar chances before the film, but I honestly believe this could be the first superhero film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and I would be perfectly fine with that. If any combination of Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, or Dafne Keen were nominated for Oscars for their exceptional performances, I would be their biggest supporter. If you only want to see one big budget action movie this year, do yourself a favor and choose Logan.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Try the grey stuff it's delicious
The first thing you should know before seeing this movie is it is not the original film. throw all concept of the original film out of your mind, because of you compare the two films, you will be monumentally disappointed. Nostalgia plays a big part in why we love the movies from our childhood, whether or not they are truly actually good. However, the original animated Beauty and the Beast was a masterpiece of animation. It was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. I know it is hard to try and drop comparison, but please, try to do it, and think of this film as its own entity.
This version of Beauty and the Beast clocks in at just over 2 hours, nearly forty minutes longer than the original film. In the film, they deeply explore some more of the themes of feminism and misunderstanding that the original just glances over. Some of the exploration of the past really works well. However, some sequences fall flat, like the exploration of the Parisian windmill. Not everything necessarily needs explaining within a film, and it almost felt as if the writers assumed the audience was a little dumber than they actually are.
One aspect of this film that drove me crazy was the visual effects. Don't get me wrong, there moments where I was very impressed by some of the lavish effects. That being said, there were many times it was just plain overkill. The Be Our Guest sequence featured far too many flashing colors that made me think I was developing either ADHD or epilepsy. I felt the computer graphic image rendering to be nothing more than sloppy. the wolves in the movie made me wonder how any computer artist could think that the work on them was remotely good enough to put on the screen. That is how fake and unrealistic they looked. I found big problems also with the design of the Beast. When doing my research, I found that director Bill Condon wanted to create the Beast with skilled makeup rather than CGI. However, Condon's request was overpowered by the studio heads in charge of the film, I wold have much rather had a practical made Beast because his face was at time frighteningly terrible. I gave praise to Logan's visual effects yesterday, and how well they were done. Beauty and the Beast brought back to why I hate bad CGI more than nearly anything else in film, as it can ruin so much within a singular movie. Finally, some of the interactions between the furniture and the live actors felt clunky to me as well. Many shots in the film had me question director of photography Tobias Schliesser's credentials as someone they did not pick up off the street on the day production began. Many of the pullback shots were so out of focus of the characters that you could hardly see the character singing. Seeing as Beauty and the Beast is the most expensive musical ever made, I truly believe they should have put more time and effort into the visual effects.
A major criticism of the film came in the casting of the actors, and their inability to sing or fill the roles of the original voice actors. Here's the deal. Voice actors only have to worry about their voice. That is the only thing they have to contribute to a film. Of course, their voices are going to be better than live action actors, who have many more dimensions to their performances. Yes, many of the actors in Beauty and the Beast are not trained singers by any means sans Audra McDonald. However, they give very solid performances of the songs. Original songwriter Alan Menken even wrote some new songs for the live action film. Are they slightly forgettable? Yes. However, they are decently enjoyable tunes. The original songs have stood the test of time of the past twenty-five years. They are bound to be more memorable songs. Much of the casting was pretty spot on, in my opinion. Emma Watson did a wonderful job exploring the feministic side of Belle, showing the characters quiet strength in not only her acting but vocal performance. There was no performance I think in the film that really held it back. I still wish Jean Dujardin was cast as Lumiere over Ewan McGregor, but you can't always get what you want. Josh Gad is once again a scene stealer as the more flamboyant model of LeFou. Also, if you cannot handle a homosexual subplot for not even four minutes of a film, you should not see movies. The "gay Lefou" storyline was blown so far out of proportion by the media that you hardly even recognize it in the film.
Not enough praise is given to the technicians who create so much of the films we see and get so little of the credit. The same goes for Beauty and the Beast. The set design and costume design was lavish and distinguished, and should definitely be recognized by The Academy for Oscar nominations.
Beauty and the Beast has moments where its brilliance shines through. However, many parts of it feel clunky and too in your face. Overall, it is an above average musical that is enjoyable throughout. If you must compare it to the animated class which it is based, I give you this shocking thought: Remakes are very rarely better than the original, and this film is absolutely no different.
A breathtaking look at the fragility of the gay, black man
Today, there aren't many movies that do something that very few if any films have done before. After the 100 years of films, many story lines, plots, and themes are absolutely exhausted. Why do you think that we are feeling such fatigue of superhero films currently. However, today, I am here to review a film that actually breaks many barriers, and that film is Moonlight. An independent release, Moonlight may not get much attention by audiences. However, critics have lauded it as one of the best movies of the year. Curious as to why it was so heralded, I went to check it out. Upon completion of the film, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. After spending many pensive hours considering the film, I realized that it not only did it meet my expectations, but it exceeded it.
Moonlight follows the tale of a young, black man by the name of Chiron. He grows up in the inner cities of Miami. Chiron is pretty independent as a young man, taking care of himself while his mother works. He finds an unlikely role model in local drug dealer, Juan. Juan gives him some sense of independence, and in a way, takes care of him. Juan tells him on a beach in Miami, "At some point you've got to decide for yourself who you gonna be. And let nobody make that decision." The film continues to follow Chiron as he grows up, evolves, and shows how he struggles with multiple adversities. For the sake of spoilers, I refuse to give away how the plot unfolds, any further, but this movie deals with several difficult topics.
One topic the movie writes so smartly is addiction. Naomi Harris, who is best known for her work in the Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond movies plays Chiron's drug addicted mother. The character of the mother is based on the mothers' of director Barry Jenkins, and playwright Tarell McCraney, who's unpublished play was the basis of the screenplay. Addiction is prominent in Chiron's life, even as begins to make his own choices.
In the world of men, fragility is not something often depicted. Traditionally, men in movies are shown as tough, strong, and unbreakable. This is especially the case of black men that appear in movies. Moonlight breaks this trend, by showing, a pensive, weak boy in Chiron, who is desperately seeking guidance and love. He seeks this through various outlets, including some homosexual ones, as he continues to grow up. The film is an important step of African American cinema, as I can't really think of other movies that depicts not only a gentle black man who could possibly be gay, but the film not once mentions the topic of race. To many, this could be perceived as ignorant of African American problems, but to me, it speaks volumes. African American women struggle with so much more than simply racism. It seems that Hollywood forgets this when making movies depicting everyday struggles of African Americans. Yet here is Moonlight, a wonderful masterpiece that beautifully depicts a young man's struggles. And yes, he happens to be black. Moonlight is not only an achievement of film, but an achievement of film history.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
A technically great action film
The age of great action movies is virtually over in America. Let's face it, movies like Terminator 2, Aliens, Die Hard, and Rambo were all entities that, no matter how any unnecessary sequels the studios behind them chose to make, spiritually ended in the 80s and 90s. Many times, modern action movies are simply the run of the mill superhero movies that fit into some greater cinematic universe. The new dominant "action" franchise is the endless teenage boy wet dream saga that is the Fast and Furious series. The last great action movie I had truly seen was probably Skyfall in 2012. That is until John Wick: Chapter 2.
The first John Wick movie was a solid run of the mill action movie. I thought the premise was slightly uninventive and storywise, very predictable. However, the second movie I felt was an interestingly developed story. John Wick is now a fully developed character and in hindsight, that's what the first film was trying to do. I always say that stars do not make a movie, but the talent behind the camera. these technical achievements make this film stand out among many boringly average action movies. Director Chad Stahelski and writer David Kolstad return for the sequel. Interestingly enough, Stahelski was Keanu Reeves stunt double for The Matrix Trilogy, which is frequently cited as some of the greatest action films. It is Stahelski's background in what makes stunts look so effortless. The real amazing work in John Wick: Chapter 2 comes at the hands of director of photography Dan Laustensen. I had previously applauded Laustensen's work two years ago in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. The way he is able to capture the hues and lights is an incredible capture of the modern neo-noir style, highlighting shadows and their opposition to the light. The real sequence that blew me away was the use of mirrors in one sequence of the movies. No spoilers, but the way the camera captured these mirrors. The sets in this movie done by Letizia Santucci and David Schlesinger are some of the best designed sets I have seen in quite some time. Most of the film is done in old fashioned practical effects, rather than showing off overly flashy and dull computer graphic imaging. CGI has become a huge cop out for many action movies, and it is always nice to see a return to the old-fashioned way of doing effects.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is The Empire Strikes Back to this saga. In some ways, it leaves you with more questions than answers. The film follows in the style of an old serial film being set to a violent aesthetic and violent setting. this film's technical achievements allow me to give it a much higher score, as it chooses to stand out from the crowd.
Get Out (2017)
An All Time Great Horror Comedy
I always say that horror and comedy have a very thin divide between them. In both genres, you are trying to get an extreme reaction out of your audience, whether it be laughs or screams. This may be why writer/director Jordan Peele, half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, was able to make such a smart and well-executed horror/comedy.
Get Out has a simple premise. A black man falls a white girl, and goes to meet her family. He is nervous about her family's reaction due to the fact that his girlfriend has never dated a black man. As he goes from his comfortable urban setting to the country bumpkin locale of her family's home, he begins to feel unsettled by her family's attitude, and the behavior of all of the African Americans in the area. There are multiple ways in which Jordan Peele deals with modern racism that incredibly intelligent.
Some of the all-time great horror films have dealt with race as a subtext. Both Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of Dead have subliminal racial contexts that take some reading into. Get Out brings race issues into the forefront as the central conflict of the plot. As we of course understand, racism has quite changed since 1968 and 1978, when the first two Dead movies were made. In Get Out, the subtle racism of modern is depicted. The details of this film are what make it executed so well. Throughout the film, small little allusions to stereotypes to slavery are a constant throughout the film, if you are perceptive enough to pick up on them. Peele said that he wanted to make a movie we would all want to watch twice, and he definitely succeeded with his precise placements of minuscule, but important details. Many times, statements we make, we truly do not believe they are racist, even though we are trying to connect and relate to another human being. This film brings these to the forefront, to be examined by its audience. also, the film challenges the stereotypical role of the African American man in the horror movie and tries to change this context within the bounds of the film.
What really helps Get Out is getting Oscar and Golden Globe nominees like Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, as well as rising stars like Allison Williams and Lakeith Stanfield in your horror movie. Many times, studios are just concerned about how they can make a movie for as small of a budget as possible so they can maximize profit. The studio is not concerned usually how good the movie is, as long as it makes money. these shoe string budgets usually do not have the room for great talent in front of, or behind the camera. Maybe Get Out can prove to studios that this talent is necessary to make the horror film great again. as a sidenote, I love that some old white studio heads had to approve a lashing criticism of the subtle racism of white people. Viscerally, it appeals to me for some reason.
Get Out has put itself among the all-time horror greats while being intellectually engaging, and roaringly funny. This probably the best horror comedy since Cabin in the Woods. If a movie makes you hate the ways of the race you were born as by the time the credits role, it has succeeded in its purpose.
Man of Steel (2013)
Man of Steel? Man was that disappointing.....
I walked into Man of Steel chomping at the bit for the film to begin. The moment it started, it just started wrong and never got much better. Let me praise its few positives first. Wonderful fight scenes and special effects. That's it. The pacing was all wrong of the film. It jumped around too much from different time periods in Clark Kent's life, and before it could answer questions about what I had just seen, it moved on to something else and didn't explain that scene at all. Some of the scenes were just confusing and unexplained. the character performances were all boring with not one bit of character development. Superman was almost a silent film star as the ghost of Russell Crowe you wish would just evaporate already had more lines than Superman it seemed. It was so dark and dry, not in the delicious way that made The Dark Knight an excellent film. it seemed to want to ride on Nolan's trilogy too much. To compare this film to any of Christopher Nolan Batman movies is blasphemy. I would compare it more to a Michael Bay Transformers film that just is a reason to show off what special effects can do without telling any kind of a real story. If this is a start to Justice League, God save that poor DC Universe.
Casablanca is a film that never loses one bit of any emotion or wit that it was originally written with. This classic tale of romance contains the timeless theme of the nearly hopeless struggle of getting over that one ex that still captivates you, even though you ended poorly. Bogart gives the performance of a lifetime as Richard Blaine. There's a real sense of bitterness and dismay that no other actor could come close to capturing. Ingrid Bergman becomes one of the most beautiful creatures to ever grace the screen as the breathtaking Ilsa Lund. you can really see her heart breaking throughout the movie in the way her eyes move as she tries to pick between her husband, Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid who gives a great performance as the well respected war hero), and her former lover, who now has become a crotchety old drunk. Claude Raines steals every scene he is in, and offers some of the snappiest dialogue ever seen in film. This is by far one of the greatest films ever made.