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One of the Year's Best Films
17 July 2008
I was completely stunned by the ferocity of "The Dark Knight". I've yet to wrap my head around it all. Christopher Nolan has upped the ante in every possible way. The muscular storytelling, intense action, impeccable production, direction, and the ensemble cast, are all on their best game. Ledger is a revelation. Arguably, it's his best performance, and the performance of the year. His Joker will live on as the most vital villain to hit the big screen in years and for many, many more years to come. The magnitude of the finale in 'Knight' is emotionally deep, haunting and inspiring. "The Dark Knight" will rattle the senses and linger in your thoughts long after.
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A Joyless Return *Spoilers*
2 July 2006
Singer has turned SR into a sappy, joyless soap opera, using the greatest mainstays in soaps: a scorned woman and questioning a child's paternity.

At the end of "Superman II," after his powers are returned he says he'll never leave again. He's also known as someone who never lies, established in first film, so how is it that all of that is disregarded? The dutiful Superman would never leave his adoptive home planet unguarded for any length of time, much less five years and after the events of SII. Superman is an alien from another planet with a different DNA and molecular structure, so how can the kid be his? Even if they expect us to buy that Clark was human in SII when he slept with Lois, how would the kid still be born with abilities? You can't have it both ways. If Superman is an alien which he is, there's just no way he can procreate with a human. The molecular chamber only took his powers away. If they're now saying he was somehow turned human then there's no way the kid should be superhuman. Most importantly, why would Singer want to undercut the significance of the main character by saddling him with a kid with similar powers. Not only that, Superman is now more grounded, and less unique. What is the point to being Superman? There's a lot of drama that can be had from his feeling like an outsider and trying to find his place in his adoptive society. Imagine a god that may feel inadequate, unable to give Lois what another man could, that he can do almost anything except have a child. Or even the responsibility of the public seeing him as a god and all that entails. What's the sequel going to be, a live-action version of "The Incredibles"? On the technical side, the effects for the most part are proficient CGI. Even Superman himself in some scenes, and his fluttering cape in others. Although like in the Spider-man movies, the CGI rendered character is never really convincing. It's like watching a video game avatar. I read or heard there were a lot of practical effects but that's not really the case. The bullet-time effects have been done and seem dated. None of that matters because the film has a pall over it where one can barely see what's going on. The cinematography is dark. The whole movie, even in the daytime has an overcast, murky feel to it. The sound was great, though.

Brandon Routh had very little choice but to mimic Reeve's performances. In this he was just preprogrammed, bringing nothing of his own charisma to the roles. The suit is fine but the textured plastic appliques reminded me of Spider-man's quirky suit. Bosworth's performance is generic. Her Lois is in name only. She was miscast much like Katie Holmes in "Batman Begins", much too young for what the pivotal role calls for. Bosworth seems in a daze the whole time. Her chemistry with Routh is dry. Reeve and Kidder were a delight when they were together as both Lois and Clark and especially as Superman. Their chemistry was almost magical. Luthor's plan is idiotic and nonsensical. It doesn't make him look smart which is a key component of his character. Spacey is fine but it seems he's in a different movie playing by himself. Parker Posey is at least sympathetic, but I have to ask myself why she would want to be in Lex' presence when she's clearly not impressed by anything he does. Is she in it for the money or just all the free cute dogs she can have? The fact that his henchmen are silent is eerie. It didn't make sense that they are so lifeless and give Spacey almost nothing to play off of. The movie just gets weird with an overextended ending and too many overt Christ/resurrection references, whereas Donner kept any Christ references almost subliminal. This Supes is strange because he almost appears to be impressed with his own celebrity, gazing at the cheering crowds and almost proud of his TV coverage, whereas Reeve's Superman seemed to find the attention curious. His spying on Lois and Richard is creepy. Superman doesn't need to spy on his loved ones, he's too EARNEST for that. Just because you could know everything doesn't mean you should.

Singer does succeed in showing that even a human can be super, i.e. Richard rescuing his family. That is lovely. It's a perfect example of how action can service the story. It exemplifies how committed to Lois and their child he really is. Singer doesn't succeed in engaging us with the action scenes. I sat there looking at them but not in awe of them. It's just Superman doing everything I know he can do. There is no inventive or interesting twist to anything he does, like when Superman in the first film became part of the tracks so that the train wouldn't derail, or his creating the dam before the waters can wipe out a town. Metropolis has no character, very much like Bosworth's Lane, in name only. There is no hustle and bustle, vibrancy or any technological advances that might make it unique. Although Donner substituted NYC for Metropolis, you knew in the back of your mind it was the crossroads of the world where Superman would exist.

Clearly, Singer has a love for the original films on the surface, but he should have mined more of the source material - the comics, as Donner did for inspiration. Donner's films were joyful, even inspirational. Singer's stands as a reverent monument to the first films but just like a museum or church where you gaze at it respectfully with clasped hands in front of you afraid to touch anything. Well, we already got a sneak preview of the title of the sequel, "Superman Lives". Too bad he doesn't live in this one.
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Wonder Woman (1974 TV Movie)
I Really Liked Crosby,,,
13 September 2005
I saw this movie when I was a kid and was very disappointed that Cathy Lee Crosby looked nothing like Diana Prince, not even the costume! But I did like her portrayal of the Amazon Princess. She was strong, warm and really endearing. And I really liked the rivalry storyline between Diana and her "corrupted" sister who was lured by the things she could get for herself now that she was away from Paradise Island. That was very interesting because it wasn't resolved, her sister denounced how she was raised and Diana kept firm to her own beliefs. They agreed to disagree and there was still a mutual sisterly respect in the end. A little bit of depth in an otherwise shallow attempt at a pilot with a charming lead actress.
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Fantastic Four (I) (2005)
One of the Worst Superhero Movies of All Time
7 September 2005
One of the worst superhero movies of all time. Shoddy production values, terrible script, bad director, acting and cheesy special effects. It nearly sets back progress that's been made by better, recent superhero movies like "Batman Begins" and "Spider-Man 2". Even the production values and effects in "Batman & Robin" are better and that's one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Tim Story attempted a comedy and failed in that respect too because audiences ended up laughing at the movie's silliest moments, rather than with them, like when he gets Alba's Sue Storm to undress in public or seeing Johnny Storm's naked torso for half the movie. And this movie was marketed as a kid-friendly family movie?
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Batman Begins (2005)
The Dark Knight Returns
28 August 2005
"Batman Begins" finally has captured the true spirit of the character of Bruce/Batman from the comics. This live-action adaptation has been smartly directed, scripted, and cast to produce the more realistic dark nature of a human hero out to avenge his parent's murder with every criminal that threatens his Gotham City. It's the best of all the Batman movies, and stands tall next to the godfather/blueprint of all superhero movies, 1978's "Superman". Where "Superman" left off with a more campy telling of it's superhero, 'Begins' ushers in a more adult, serious take on it's mythic hero, dispensing with any camp and treating Batman seriously, grounding him in a more realistic environment that is more accessible for the audience without dumbing down the story.
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