Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Justice league 2017

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

You can say a lot about the lackluster of appeal the majority of movies DC has eked out has, but I do admire how devoutly DC sticks to Zack Snyder. Whether it is detrimental or genius or blindly devout, they are sticking with this guy and we must all just deal with it. Patty Jenkins did a fantastic job with Wonder Woman, and she’d be a strong contender for any DC material out there, but I guess these guys are just not ready to let a woman do the job she’s certainly qualified for and choose a lesser able man to do it.

BUT, despite what the internet is telling you (Seriously people, you don’t have to hate everything just because it’s fun to smack down films), Justice League qualifies as one of the better DC movies. Certainly second to Wonder Woman, but compared to the joke that was Suicide Squad (which I didn’t hate completely) and the absolute disaster that was Batman vs. Superman (I’d like to forget that one completely), the Justice League is nearly Oscar material in comparison.

Snyder, who I’d like to say at this stage it can’t all be his fault, has a distinct modus operandi. The excessively dreary dialogue and repressive atmosphere that makes you question why you ever liked movies, the irritatingly long fight scenes (remember Zod vs. Superman? FML), the monumental and recurring and completely unnecessary GCI. It’s exhausting, but up until this point DC has not suffered at cinema. They have likely noticed how much more popular their competitor was, and it was a really good decision to attempt some lightheartedness while also keeping the signature dark style.

JL2

However, only one of these irritations became a reality. The fight sequences were handled ridiculously quick compared to Batman vs. Superman as well as the drawn out Superman film in 2013. There were attempts at humor, which worked for the most part. The story was less cluttered and the dialogue had a clear direction. The CGI was the main culprit and was horribly abused. Since Henry Cavill is on the poster, it can be safely deduced that he’s in the film, so that is not a major plot spoiler I’m giving you now (or if it is you lack deductive skills). Followers of Cavill on Instagram will know that he’s sporting a moustache for an upcoming Mission Impossible film. (He, and maybe Tom Selleck, remains the only men to successfully WERK the moustache) He was contractually obliged to keep said moustache throughout shooting, and when Justice League reshoots clashed with the ‘stache, the powers that be decided to CGI the shit out of Cavill’s face. The results are startling, leading many people to wonder if he is, in fact, Human Shrek. The scene where his face is altered is clearly visible and terrible work – I can’t imagine how that got approval. His resurrection is fake and devoid of feeling because of CGI-Superman. I was confused in cinema – his face was distorted and it looked terrible. I sat in the second row of the cinema (was fully packed), so got a very close up and disturbing view of CGI-Superman. Even knowing now why he looked like that does not make it better in any way.  He had a whole lot more teeth than what is usually visible on his beautiful and talented face. That said, Cavill is a superb Superman – he has the gravity required for the success of the role and certainly looks the part. It also takes a whole lot to convince me that Jason Momoa is the second prettiest thing on screen.

JL3

Justice League is miles, and I mean MILES, better than Batman vs. Superman. Ben Affleck has become more comfortable as Batman, he has some believability in the role now, and manages to inject some humor and sarcasm into his portrayal that was desperately needed. He has injected a humanity into his portrayal that was absent in BvsS, something that made him that much more a success of a character. There are also multiple mentions to the fact that the reason he’s a superhero is because he’s rich, which got some chuckles from the crowd. Ezra Miller is a great Barry Allen – he’s so hilariously young and awkward and he is responsible for making the movie more lighthearted. I’ve been pained by Miller in the past – his usual roles are so weird and whiney, but he was an excellent choice for this role. I could have done with some more backstory on Allen, as well as with Cyborg (also an excellent casting choice in Ray Fisher), and the delicious Arthur Curry (Momoa). They showed enough of him to make me excited to watch Momoa as Aquaman for that origin story. It struck me that it was the first time I heard Momoa actually speak English (his other native tongue being Dothraki), and for his major return to the spotlight this seems to be a great role for him.

Wonder Woman returns to Gotham, and her work is questioned by Batman, who displays into the White Man syndrome fantastically. He queries why she hasn’t been a beacon to people, never considering that she gets to make that choice herself. All her actions are basically only to show how strong her male colleagues are, and when Aquaman (Jason Momoa) sits on the Lasso of Truth, her beauty is complimented whereas Superman, Cyborg and The Flash have their abilities complemented, a sure sign that a male director called the shots. I love Gadot as Wonder Woman, and it is an unquestionably the better film. I’ve seen some unhappiness by the Amazonian’s decidedly smaller costumes, and it’s true – Themyscira underwent a troubling fashion change at the hands of Snyder.

I cannot stress enough how good the casting is in this film. Ezra Miller impressed me to no end, and he has a quirky banter with his team mates. He even manages to be endearing. Momoa is well, Momoa, big and manly and tough. The glimpse into the underwater world we will get to visit in Aquaman was beautiful, and I can’t wait.

A not so good thing about Justice League is the utterly forgettable Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). He’s poorly introduced, and for all the hard work in keeping the “boxes” safe, he just smashes through all lines of defense. He is also yet another CGI villain from DC. His vampirish followers are slightly scary. His end is ridiculous and leaves room for so much open ended questions. Where did he even go? That end is also preposterous – as my friend pointed out we have all these super-humans battling Steppenwolf and the second Superman pitches everything is saved? What is the point of the Justice League then? How about the incredible Cyborg? The warrior Wonder Woman? The Flash that is seemingly only as fast as Superman, eliminating the need for him almost entirely? Aquaman that saves the team from certain death by water?

I’d love seeing a more realistic villain – this guy was so vague about his purpose and half the time he was a secondary focus point. Can we maybe have less CGI villainy and more real-human villainy? I hope with Lex Luthor in the credit shots we are going to have that the next round.

I enjoyed JL – it is not without flaws but it is the first real attempt DC made to correct their ensemble films. It’s been a good year for these guys and I’d love to see what they conjure up next year.

Have you seen Justice League? Leave your thoughts below

Rating: 7/10

Advertisements

Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal animals

Plot: A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.

Nocturnal Animals is self-indulgent, narcissistic bullshit. It is also incredibly dull. I’m surprised it got such a good feedback – I watched it specifically because of said good feedback. Instead I watched some weird shit for two hours without a proper ending. For a film written and directed by a fashion designer the main character spent the majority of the film with lipstick that didn’t suit her features. It is a small thing, but it made me hate this film even more.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

The acting is the best part of Nocturnal Animals but it isn’t enough to save the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is persistent in his mission for me to like him, and so far he is winning. I’ve inexplicably never liked him much. Maybe because until recently I only saw him in Donny Darko, which is the strangest film I’ve ever watched and that is saying something. Southpaw impressed me despite such deliberate emotional punches, and I’ve since been getting more exposure to this man. I liked him here too – he had a character that underwent great development and he handled the phasing well.

The story makes a valiant attempt at being mysterious and fails admirably. It tries to be artistic and visually stimulating. Its opening sequence is a desperate visualization of the attempts to make this film more than it is – a self-indulgent expedition of Tom Ford. Ford can be glad his fashion designs aren’t this desperate to be liked or he’d have failed as a designer a long time ago.

NA1

Nocturnal Animals has a litany of celebrities taking part and they have no idea what to do about it. Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson have the most screen time, and they do their best to make their characters work. Taylor-Johnson proves that he is more than just a pretty face. He’s a creepy mcCreeps in here, and I was so freaked out by his strange and awful character and felt dirty every time he was on screen. Amy Adams had the hardest work set out for her – to make the selfish Susan worthy of our empathy. It is hard to sympathize with a woman whose unhappiness stems from every decision she ever made. She had a good, kind man who she left because he wasn’t successful. She’s led a life she swore she wouldn’t, choosing a rich man who sleeps around over a poor man who loved her. Her treasonous acts reach unparalleled heights for which we judge her harshly (well, I did anyway), so sympathizing with her was really hard.

Michael Shannon is such a serious looking bloke, and thus all these serious bloke roles suit him well. He’s this strange cop in the story, with his own little built in mission, and I enjoyed him immensely.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I marginally liked the story more when I realized what was going on. I’ll say this – it is stories within a story. The within story was better than the actual story. It was a meaty revenge piece. It disappointed, but it remained better than the obvious story. I’ll stop using the word “story” now, because it is starting to irritate me.

The cast that gets a few seconds on screen – Isla Fisher, Michael Sheen, Pam from True Blood, Jenna Malone – so much to work with and yet so little attention paid to them. I love Michael Sheen now, my Underworld exposure made me team-Sheen, and I was happy to see him only to be disappointed a few scenes later.

Nocturnal Animals is way too long. I just wanted to get to the end, and then the end sucked so much I felt even more aggressive. It’s an open ending, and we all know how I much love that. Sure, I’ll think a bit about what I watched but dammit, give me a proper ending or watch me rage.

I consider this movie a terrible waste of time and am still upset that I will never get these hours back. The only good thing I got from this was writing this review, it was my catharsis to this terrible piece of shit.

Rating: 4.5/10

#100HAPPYDAYS ROUND 2: DAYS 61-70

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another 10 days worth of happiness, posted on my Instagram account. I am almost done now, and I can’t wait to have another successful happy days behind me.

61

Day 61: Did a Parkrun and got some excellent step counts in. Woohoo!

62

Day 62: My mom got me this France mug. It is now my favorite mug.

63

Day 63: No visit to Nelspruit is complete without a trip to the coffee shop around Bestie’s house, and we went three times. Because coffee is delicious.

64

Day 64: Besties birthday!!! We had delicious steaks at Cicadas in Nelspruit. This is Steak with Halloumi, bacon and Onion jam. Salivating.

65

Day 65: After an astonishing day of bad service, we licked our wounds at Cicadas with Strawberry Daquiries and Burgers. SO GOOD, with excellent service

66

Day 66: We got our movie day in with two old favorites. The two new films (Chef and Arrival), now joins the favorite list.

67

Day 67: A fun birthday braai with illuminating new terminology learnt!

68

 

Day 68: Remember my project on day 58 – check how it grew!

69

Day 69: Roadtrip home. It was such a wonderful visit, thanks bestie!

70

Day 70: More rings from Woolworths. These are so me!

What have you been up to lately?

Movie Review: Arrival (2016)

arrival-banner

Plot: When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

Since I haven’t read one bad review about Arrival and about ten million people asked me whether I’d seen it, I was really rather excited to get to this. I also loved Sicario, which at that stage had been my exposure to director Dennis Villeneuve’s work.

Arrival is one of the most unique and well thought out films I’ve watch in ages. It is some of the best work I’ve seen from 2016, and would certainly have altered my Top Ten list of 2016. Villeneuve has a talent to direct the dark and dreary. His signature style is tense and the subsequent underlying tension makes him a formidable force to watch in the future. He knows how to get the most intense emotions from his films’ stars, most evident in the way Amy Adams, Jermey Renner and Forrest Whitaker portray their part of Arrival.

"Story of Your Life" Day 37 Photo: Jan Thijs 2015

I guess I see now why people were so riled up when Amy Adams was not nominated for best actress. She was fantastic as Louise, a linguist who is tasked to extraterrestrial beings when they mysteriously appear in random locations across the globe. The lingual exploration was fascinating, which explored the dissection of communication and language. It made me realize that we take language for granted and how it forms and changes us. Talking is so natural, we rarely pause to consider how remarkable it is that we are talking.

I am also appreciative that Villeneuve once again provided a film with such a strong female lead. He obviously has an appreciation for strong female characters – can we have more of him please?!

arrival2

I always feel like a complete noob when talking about CGI. Visual design is one of the areas where I truly have no experience in (or a desire to get experience in). My adventures into more serious films have shown me however how much tone and proper CGI can affect a film. Arrival has incredible CGI. The Aliens are formed in a way that is slightly revolting and highly fascinating, light years away from our perception of beady eyed human forms. There is a particular scene with Adams that was mesmerizing – I get goosebumps just thinking about it. The directing also is sad and heavy and dark, and impresses the sadness which Adams’ character carries with her.

The eventual conclusion to this two hour masterpiece will stay with you – I am still wondering about the implications of it all. The focus, despite the entire plot, is not truly on the Aliens. It is more about how would we even talk to Aliens should they arrive on the planet.

Rating: A well-deserved 9/10

Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

movies-logo

Movies:

BEauty poster

Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

One day

One Day (2011): HATED IT.

basic instinct

Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

twilight-graphics-twilight-new-moon-840934

Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

Eclipse

Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

Hes-Just-Not-That-Into-You-2009

He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

warm-bodies-10

Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

DUFF4

The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

Blood wars

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

chef

Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

arrival-banner

Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

Drive

Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

The guest

The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

Prisoners-E invite R2

Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

PPZ

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

CSL

Crazy Stupid Love (2011): I definitely need to review this film again – It has been ages since I’ve posted it on my blog. One of the most inoffensive romantic comedies produced in later years, this movie will make you laugh and relate with some character in here.

Nocturnal animals

Nocturnal Animals (2016): This is my new hated film. Gosh, what a spectacular waste of my life. Pretentious bullshit.

 

books

Black-Hills

Black Hills – Nora Roberts

This is a particular favorite book of mine. I enjoy Dr. Lillian Chance – she is passionate about her work in the refuge she built and is smart and cool.

born-in-shame

The Concannon Sisters trilogy – Nora Roberts

While I do enjoy this series of books – Born in Shame, Born in Ice and Born in Fire, they certainly aren’t my favorite of the author. However, her love for Ireland does show when reading this, and I particularly enjoy the description of the scenery.

series

2bg

Two Broke Girls Season 4 and 5

I’m enjoying myself way too much with this comedy. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I end up really laughing at it.

What did you do in April?

Watched, Read, loved: March 2017

March2017

Here is my monthly rundown of what I was up to the previous month. Right now it is still pretty much only addressing entertainment, but I hope to add some more life things into it soon too. Please feel free to comment below if you’ve seen any of these, or just to say hi!

movies-logo

Southpaw poster

Southpaw (2015) – I love a good sport movie. Even though they are all pretty much the same story, I’m always caught up. It was no less with Southpaw, and even though Jake Gyllenhaal irrationally annoyed the shit out of me, I really enjoyed this one.

letters-to-juliet-015

Letters to Juliet (2010) – Amanda Seyfried delivers another charming performance. Objectively I know this isn’t a strong film, but it is so feel good I actually couldn’t care less about ratings. It is foolishly optimistic and cheerful, and a great film to watch if you are feeling down.

The-Wedding-Singer-movie-poster

The Wedding Singer (1998) – The 90’s atmosphere, combined with a surprisingly affable Adam Sandler and an adorable Drew Barrymore, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Definitely one of the best Adam Sandler films I’ve ever seen.

My_Best_Friends_Wedding

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) – I HATED the ending and I really disliked the main character. What a stupid movie.

enchanted

Enchanted (2007): This spectacular Disney production made me so happy when I watched it again. It is on a grand scale and very elaborate and so lovely to look at.

underworld

Underworld (2003), Evolution (2006), Rise of the Lycans (2009), and Awakening (2012)

After years of ignorance I am finally familiarizing myself with this franchise. I had a great time with all these movies. Seline is such a strong female character and saves herself and her love more than once, and the feminist in me was cheering all the way.

four

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Continuing on this journey to watch more romantic films that are seen as classics, I got to see this. It was… okay. Hugh Grant really was quite the adorable English actor in his prime, and it is easy for him to be quietly charming. Andie McDowell also had no clue how to act. I’m not sure if she’s ever had a clue in that regard, but it really is prominent here.

zac efron

The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One  is not by any means the worst Nicholas Sparks film – Best of Me still holds that title – but what is most notable is the awful acting. Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron just don’t gel together. I’m forced to ask whether Zac Efron actually has a brain – there is nothing shining behind those pretty blue eyes. Sure, he’s cute and ripped, but his attempt at a tortured marine invoked less sympathy than concern about synapses firing at an appropriate rate. Schilling, yeah, also pretty bad. They also have zero chemistry and the scenes looked stage and neither actor really wanted their hands on each other. Okay, I’m done. But sheesh.

Kong

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island is what it was supposed to be: a nice action packed adventure with a handsome cast and a big gorilla. Ticked all the boxes for me, excellent popcorn entertainment.

Power rangers

Power Rangers (2017)

I had not planned going to cinema for this. I would have preferred John Wick, but I was sorely outvoted by a bunch of 30 year old men who wanted to watch Power Rangers. There is something to be said for nostalgia. I ended up having a decent enough time – I  was unaware up until this point that Power Rangers could be made into something that resembles a non-cheesy film. I’m still shocked.

books

The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts: Stars of Fortune, Bay of Sighs and Island of Glass

I read these three books in the span of two weeks and I don’t regret one second of it. It is the most fun I’ve had in ages with Nora Roberts’ fantasy work.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Half-Blood_Prince

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (JK Rowling)

The penultimate book in the best series to have ever been written is overshadowed in intensity only by the last book. Half Blood Prince is consistently one of my favorites. It features the more mature trio, naturally Dumbeldore’s death and the discovery of the reason behind Voldemort’s apparent immortality.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling)

Horace Slughorn returning to the castle to fight, Snape’s secret, Fred dying, Lupin and Tonks, Colin Creevy being tiny in death, Kreacher’s bullfrog voice, Dobby’s death, Hagrid throwing MacNair, Molly vs. Bellatrix– the last hundred pages of this book is nonstop goosebumps. I get tears in my eyes every time. Every. Single. Time. Deathly Hallows binds every single event that occurred in Potter from the very first page of The Philosopher’s Stone to the very last page of Deathly Hallows in a neat bow. This is truly the best thought out work I’ve ever read by an author.

angels-fall-nora-roberts

Angel’s Fall (Nora Roberts)

I really enjoy reading through my Nora collection at least once a year. Right now I’m with Reece and Brody, and I particularly enjoy the book – I like both main characters, the setting, the plot and development of said plot.

Movie Review: Batman vs. Superman (2016)

BATMAN-SUPERMAN

Plot: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

Rating: 6/10

If we could rate Batman vs. Superman solely on the thigh muscles of Henry Cavill, displayed in tight leather pants, then the most awkward attempt at block buster creation would have ended up with a much higher rating than it currently holds, especially on Rotten Tomatoes, who is leading the angry mob with a nice little 30% rating on there. I was feeling a bit meh towards the film when I walked out of cinema, but have to admit I was slightly shocked at the hate I saw online while doing my usual post-film Googling.

Is it 30% bad? No. It might be the biggest wasted potential of the decade, but it is not worth such a harsh rating. Some things worked really well. Henry Cavill is the most Superman-looking Superman that has graced our screen in a long time, and while his character is shrouded in guilt and really, let’s be honest, needing to man the hell up and stop pitying himself, Cavill is as entertaining as Superman as he was in Man of Steel. Ben Affleck is surprisingly good. Look, I enjoy Affleck very much. He’s a talented actor and comes across as a fairly decent human being. I was not convinced of his ability as Batman, because Batsie is dark and Ben Affleck just seems so nice even when he is trying to be not nice. Yet Affleck portrays Batman with underlying anger and menace that I never thought was possible. He was one of the best things in this dismal movie.

What went wrong?

Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg. I called this mistake in casting he second it happened. He’s twitchy, he’s whiney, he is not marginally charming in this role. What I liked about General Zod in Man of Steel is you could root for him, understand on some level why he was doing what he was was doing. Lex Luthor in BvsS is silly, stupid and twitchy. He barely gives any reason why he is acting like he’s acting, and it constantly feels like he has a tiny-man syndrome and is angry at the chiseled looks of Clark Kent and the adoration humanity has for him.

There is no story. Seriously, the film, starting out darkly with (yet another) backstory on Bruce Wayne looked enticing but quickly developed into a mess. There are kitchen timers, wheels being beaten into submission, Lois Lane throwing the one object that can kill a Kryptonian being into some pool (that appears from nowhere). Even Batman eventually needs to check in what is going down at the end of the film.

I discovered that I dislike Zack Snyder. A man of his wealth and fame will hardly care what I have to say, but looking at the films he made up till now makes me realize that I kind of feel about him like the internet feels towards Michael Bay. Poorly written material with violent scenes seems to be his biggest thing, and it always reflects poorly. This is no different just as MoS was no different – fight scenes that takes way too long to flesh out and then falls flat. The big fight between Batman and Superman started out animatedly enough but ends up with Lois breaking it up. FFS.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Lois Lane and Martha Kent constantly needs saving. They have zero girl power. Can we have the sassy Lois Lane from Smallville, please? Amy Adams… yeah. I find her relatively decent as a rom-com character but she needs way more spunk as Lois Lane if she wants to continue in the role.

But, what worked?

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I can’t wait for this movie.

Holly Hunter as Senator Finch. I could moan for days that she was badass but not used enough, but I won’t, because she had a hard stance when she was on screen and was girl power through and through. Go team!

The score. It is Hans Zimmer everywhere and it is dramatic, lonely and astonishingly beautiful.

batfleck

Ben Affleck as Batman. It worked, as mentioned above, surprising everyone. I wouldn’t completely be against a standalone movie here, but not sure if it would qualify as necessary.

batman-vs-superman

heeeybatman-v-superman-02

heeeyyyyy

Henry Cavill as Superman. Good golly, yes please. He didn’t get any character development in here, and I didn’t appreciate the Christ-attributes that was given to him, but he continues to work well as the local Kryptonian.

The quick spotting of Aquaman. Does anyone fully understand my level of adoration for Jason Momoa? It’s unnatural and unhealthy. I can’t wait.

The bottom-line

I think the critics are being unnecessarily rude about this film, and their harshness is uncalled for. It might be a good plan to scrap Jesse Eisenberg and Zack Snyder and to follow a straight line of comic book back story. There are enough things that work in here to make the exhaustive time of the film slightly tolerable. Go watch it, get your own opinion and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong about it.

Batsie

American Hustle (2013)

American hustle poster

In 1978, con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) at a party. They have an immediate connection and start a relationship. When Irving tells Sydney what he does for a living, stealing cash deposits from people looking for a loan, he thinks she hates him when she leaves. She returns as English aristocrat “Lady Edith Greensly”. Together they scam and work together and though Irving loves her he is hesitant to leave his solipsistic wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) because he knows he will lose contact with her son Danny who he loves like his own child. Rosalyn knows her husband is up to no good and threatens to report him to the police if he leaves her.

Richard “Richie” DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent, pretends to apply for a loan and when Sydney takes the deposit from him she is arrested and locked up in a cell. Irving is highly upset that she is in isolation and accepts a deal with DiMaso to help them arrest four conmen, caught through their superior skills in the business. Richie believes that Sydney is English, but not an aristocrat and no one informs him otherwise. Sydney is furious with the idea and wants to flee the country with Irving but he doesn’t want to leave because of his son. She tells him that she will do the deal but she is done with him and he can stand and watch as she manipulates DiMaso into liking her.

Irving employs the help of his friend, a man who pretends to be an Arabian Sheik (Said Taghmaoui). The Sheik is “looking” for investments in America. They target the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), a man who really wants the best for his community and has been unsuccessfully campaigning to reopen Atlantic City, something he needs spans of cash for. Richie wants to make Carmine the target of the operation, but Irving and Richie’s boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K) object to this. Sydney, who is still getting back at Irving, helps Richie manipulate the lady who does the FBI cash wiring and wires 2 million dollars into an account to back their story that they have the cash to give out loans. Anthony Amado, Stoddard’s boss, hears of Richie’s plans and goes over his head to approve Richie’s endeavours.

Richie, for all his eagerness, is still a newbie when it comes to operations. His over eagerness causes Carmine some alarm and he leaves, but Irving rushes after him and apologizes, and Carmine says he will do business with them only if he exclusively deals with Irving.

Richie goes behind Irving’s back and switches his Sheik with a FBI-agent who can barely speak the language. They arrange Carmine and the new Sheik to meet at the airport and they are invited by to a casino party hosted by Carmine. Victor Tellegio (Robert DeNiro), a Mafia overlord, is at the party and Irving is upset that they are now dealing with mobsters. Things nearly go south when Tellegio can speak Arabian. They are narrowly saved when a drunken man arrives and disrupts the meeting. Richie agrees to a 10 million dollar transfer to prove they are legitimate, once again something the neither FBI nor Irving cleared.

nailpolish

At the casino party, Rosalyn meets mobster Pete Musane (Jack Huston) who she starts seeing behind her husband’s back. She mentions to him she is sure Irving is working for the IRS, and Pete threatens Irving but he assures Pete they will prove the investment is real. Irving, furious, confronts Rosalyn and she claims she did it because he makes her feel unloved. She agrees to keep his secret but says she think it will be better if they get divorced.

Richie admits to being attracted to Sydney. She confesses her real identity, and he becomes agitated and violent. Irving arrives and throws Richie out of the room, calming Sydney down while sorting out most of their problems. He assures her when it is all over that she, he and Danny will find a way to make a life together.

Richie and Irving videotape a number of Congress members receiving bribes. Richie gets yet another 2 million dollars allocated to the project to prove they are legitimate. A handover meeting is attended by Richie and Irving and Tellegio’s lawyer, Alfonse Simone (Paul Herman). Alfonse promises a number of criminal activities not knowing he is being recorded

Will Carmine be locked up as well? What will Tellegio do when he finds out he is being double crossed? Will Rosalyn really leave Irving, letting Sydney be with him? What will happen to the out of control Richie?

Rating: 6.5/10

I really don’t understand why everyone has been raging about American Hustle. I found it way too long, dragged out and then the ending rushed, and a very simple story at the end of the day.

However, the acting was outstanding and the costumes beautiful. The movie was stretched out over two hours and it was highly unnecessary with the tale being told.

American Hustle had a power-packed cast; something I feel can be detrimental to the story. Sure, it attracts a lot of interest, but fresh faces can give fantastic performances too. Christian Bale here stood out as the best of the cast as always. I love how he is always willing to go the extreme for his roles and he did it once again here. Jennifer Lawrence played her seemingly typecast role as a crazy woman well, and she was quite funny with her constant habit of setting everything on fire. Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper also gave good performances, with Bradley’s ‘fro stealing the moment. I thought Jeremy Renner did such a good job as the Mayor. The Mayor was mostly an innocent, good man, caught between the desperate attempts of the FBI to capture someone. Renner is quite a good actor and I’m tired of seeing him underdeveloped. I sincerely hope that this will be the beginning of good things for him.

So, basically alright but not worth the hype.

Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)

man_of_steel___wallpaper_4__blue__by_visuasys-d65dwim

The planet Kryton faces extinction when its core becomes unstable, after years of abuse of natural sources. General Zod (Michael Shannon) disposes of its council, and scientist Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife Lara send their son, Kal-El, the only natural born in centuries, to earth, infusing his cells with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race, making him their hope for future generations. Zod and his followers are sent to the Phantom Zone after he murders Jor-El, but after Krypton explodes, they are freed and can start hunting for Kal-El.

Meanwhile, Kal-El has been raised in Kansas as Clark Kent, by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Clark has developed superhuman abilities, because of his Kryptonian physiology compared to Earth’s. He gradually learns to harness his abilities, but never fully reveals himself as his father taught him the danger of exposure.

Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane systematically searches for Clark after he saves her life. She goes on the distinctive trail he has left during his lifetime, and eventually finds him even though he went through a lot of trouble to protect his identity. When she demands the truth, he shares it with her, eventually making her see the truth in his father’s plea for secrecy.

When Zod finds that Kal-El is on Earth, he demands that Clark is handed over to him, or he will attack Earth. The FBI arrests Lois when they learn that she knows exactly who Clark is and where he hides, but Clark hands himself over to them to ensure her safety. Now the questions are: Is Zod as evil as we think he is, and will Clark manage to save planet Earth?

Cast members:

Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/ Kal-El

man-of-steel-trailer

I cannot describe how well this man fits into his role. It was simply outstanding. He portrays Clark Kent, from his Kansas roots to his alien parentage to perfection. He is such a sad, sad character. He manages to show how alone Superman really is, even though his earthly parents always loved him. Not only is he ridiculously good looking (it had to be mentioned and appreciated); his looks are so typically Superman that during a few scenes I thought he looked quite like Tom Welling. It is a rare occurrence that a character can be this well cast.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane

To me, Lois had always embodied a feministic, outgoing and slightly aggressive spirit. In Man of Steel, Amy Adams portrayed a more vulnerable persona. For Ms. Adams it was quite a good acting stint, as she usually is rather good in every role she does, but to me she wasn’t what I thought Lois should be. Any opinions on her portrayal? Please share in the comment section!

Michael Shannon as General Zod

Fantastic portrayal! He is such a formidable enemy. I was incredibly impressed by him. He really became a pain in Superman’s ass, as a good villain should. I felt sorry for him at the end, since his genetic programming limited him to think of the human race’s survival.

Man-of-Steel-EW-2-Zod

Russel Crowe as Jor-El

Russel Crowe is always awesome, and his portrayal as Jor-El was no exception. His love for his son is so obvious, yet he offers up Cal-El to save their race. He managed to be both father and warrior and scientist, and really impressed me (again).

Rating: 8/10

I really enjoyed this movie, and found it one of the best cinematic experiences for the year. I have previously expressed how much I enjoy Superhero movies, but let’s face it: not all Superheroes were created equal. I expected Man of Steel to be as funny as Avengers, but it was not. That is not a bad thing – in the end I enjoyed it because it was slightly more depressing. It steers more to the Dark Knight oeuvre, which makes logical sense (DC-sense that is) and also, it would be completely unrealistic for a man to be incredibly happy if he was the last of his race to survive. I would really recommend this movie to everyone. It is worth every penny spent.