REVIEW: BLUE CRUSH

Starring

Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Matthew Davis (Legacies)
Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar)
Sanoe Lake (Rolling)
Mika Boorem (Along Came a Spider)
Chris Taloa (Into The Blue)
Kala Alexander (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Faizon Love (Elf)

Mika Boorem, Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake in Blue Crush (2002)Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake) are best friends. They raised Anne Marie’s 14-year-old sister, Penny (Mika Boorem), ever since their mother took off to Las Vegas with a boyfriend who was uncomfortable with the idea of having the two girls come along. While Penny is at school, Anne Marie, Eden and Lena work as maids at a large resort hotel, but more importantly, they are surfers. Anne Marie rises every morning before dawn to train for her surfing comeback, and was once considered a rising star in women’s surfing and competed as a youth, but an extreme wipeout and near-drowning incident temporarily halted her career, and left her with deep-seated fears. Her friends, especially Eden, have encouraged her to try it again.Mika Boorem, Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake in Blue Crush (2002)Anne Marie has been invited to join in an upcoming surf competition at the famed North Shore surf spot, Pipeline. She hopes to gain the attention of sponsors and get herself and her friends out of the near-poverty they are living in. As the Pipeline competition gets closer, she struggles to keep Penny under control and deal with her own personal issues.Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush (2002)At work, Anne Marie meets and catches the eye of Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis), a National Football League quarterback in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl (it is hinted that he plays for the Minnesota Vikings). Matt is there with several of his rowdy teammates and instantly becomes attracted to the surfer. Through a series of “chance” encounters, she agrees to teach him how to surf for $150 per hour, and brings Lena, Eden and Penny along for the ride. When she goes to Matt’s hotel room to get the money, they kiss as a call comes and Anne suspects that it is his wife but he promises it is his niece. Later they sleep together. Her acceptance of a non-local begins to cause friction between her and many of the young men in her surfing social circle. Anne Marie faces more problems when she and Eden argue about Anne Marie’s lack of dedication to training for the Pipeline contest due to the sudden appearance of Matt. She also has to hear demeaning comments from several of the other football players’ wives and girlfriends staying at the hotel about how she is undergoing the “Matt Tollman makeover” while attending a luau at the resort.Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake in Blue Crush (2002)Anne Marie confronts Matt about their situation and soon resolves to step up her game, as she finally commits herself to the Pipeline Masters. On the day of Pipeline, Anne Marie wipes out during her first heat, but advances to the next heat after narrowly beating pro surfer Kate Skarratt. She is shaken, but Matt tells her a story about his first game as an NFL quarterback and helps her regain her wavering confidence. Determined, but still afraid, Anne Marie returns to the water. Competing in the same heat is Keala Kennelly, one of the first professional female surfers, playing herself. While Keala surfs the first few sets of waves without wipe-outs, Anne Marie still has inhibitions about riding one, visions of another near-drowning incident holding her back. Keala finishes her turn, then paddles out and takes Anne Marie under her wing and encourages her to take the best wave of the day, on which Anne Marie manages to score perfectly. Although she does not advance to the next heat, she has regained her lost confidence, but also attracted the notice of sponsors, one of which includes an offer to join the Billabong women’s surf team.Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake in Blue Crush (2002)This movie has a simple plot line that is executed perfectly. Blue Crush is a straight forward, no BS kind of movie that is short, sweet and to the point and it has just enough surfing action to gage your interest.. The actresses/actors do a great job of conveying the sincerity of their characters, and their situation is very believable.

REVIEW: MOVIE 43

CAST

Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow)
Greg Kinnear (Ghost Town)
Common (Wanted)
Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Kate Winslet (Divergent)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Naomi Watts (King Kong)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Chris Pratt (Passengers)
Kristen Bell (Bad Moms)
Seth MacFalrane (Family Guy)
Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Charlie Saxton (Hung)
Leslie Bibb (American Housewife)
Uma Thurman (KillBill)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Will Sasso (Happy Gilmore)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad)
Chloe Grace Moretz (The 5th Wave)
Odessa Rae (Hard Candy)
Terrence Howard (Iron Man 2)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Tony Shalhoub (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Gerard Butler (Gamer)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls)
Halle Berry (X-Men)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn)
Julie Claire (Devious Minds)
Stephen Merchant (The Office)
Johnny Knoxville (The Last Stand)
Richard Gere (Primal Fear)
Julie Ann Emery (Fargo)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
Jarrad Paul (The Grinder)
Katrina Bowden (30 Rock)
Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
Julianne Moore (Carrie)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Fisher Stevens (Hail, Caesar!)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)
Julie McNiven (Doom Patrol)
Jimmy Bennett (Orphan)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Emily Alyn Lind (Revenge)
Martin Klebba (Project X)

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Movie 43 is a series of different skits containing different scenes and scenarios.

Movie 43

The Pitch

The film is composed of multiple comedy shorts presented through an overarching segment titled “The Pitch”, in which Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid), a mad screenwriter, is attempting to pitch a script to film executive Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). After revealing several of the stories in his script, Wessler becomes agitated when Schraeder dismisses his outrageous ideas, and he pulls a gun on him and forces him to listen to multiple other stories before making Schraeder consult his manager, Bob Mone (Common), to purchase the film. When they do so, Mone’s condescending, humiliating attitude toward Schraeder angers him to the point that, after agreeing to make the film “the biggest film since Howard the Duck”, he confronts Mone in the parking lot with a gun and tries to make him perform fellatio on the security guard (Will Sasso) (Wessler had gotten on the lot by doing the same thing) and kill him if he does not make the film. Wessler tries to calm Schraeder down with more story ideas to no avail, but Mone pulls out a gun and shoots Schraeder to death. The segment ends with it being revealed that it is being shot by a camera crew as part of the movie, leading into the final segments.

Alternative version (The Thread)

The structure of the film released in some countries, like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, differs. Instead of a pitch, the films are connected by a group of three teenagers searching for the most banned film in the world, Movie 43, which will ultimately lead to the destruction of civilization. Calvin Cutler (Mark L. Young) and his friend J.J. (Adam Cagley) make a video in the style of MTV’s Jackass and upload it on YouTube where it instantly reaches over 1,000,000 views. This turns out to be an April Fool’s prank from Calvin’s younger brother Baxter (Devin Eash), who cloned YouTube and hyper-inflated the views while working on his science project. Calvin and J.J. attempt to get revenge. They tell Baxter of a film that’s so dangerous it will cause the annihilation of the world. The movie is known as Movie 43. While J.J. and Baxter look for Movie 43 on Google, Calvin retrieves Baxter’s laptop and loads it with viruses from porn sites, and masturbates to the naked women on the porn sites in a bathroom. Baxter finds hundreds of results for Movie 43 on a website referred to by him as a dark corner of the Internet. They find the sketches starting from the 43rd search on the list of results. As he and J.J. keep watching videos, they are interrupted by a man known as Vrankovich (Fisher Stevens) and a group of Chinese mobsters (Tim Chou and James Hsu) who are tempted to find Movie 43, even going as far as to take J.J.’s classmate Stevie Schraeder (Nate Hartley), film executive Griffin Schraeder’s oldest son, hostage. Vrankovich warns them that if they find Movie 43, civilization will be left to ruins. They ignore his claims and keep searching. They eventually find the real, the one and only Movie 43, which turns out to involve Baxter as a profane commando who leads a group of recruits to survive after the world has ended. As Calvin finishes ruining Baxter’s laptop, their mother (Beth Littleford) enters, wearing the same shirt and shorts that the porn site women wear, causing Calvin to flip out, have visions, and find semen from his erect crotch on his hand in shock and horror. Afterward, a deadly earthquake rumbles and mankind is lost. However, a few years later the only survivor, a crippled Calvin, finds Baxter’s laptop still working despite viral infections. He watches the last remaining skits on the laptop. This version of the film was released in the U.S. as part of the Blu-ray Disc of Movie 43 as an unrated alternate cut of the film

The Catch

Beth (Kate Winslet) is a single businesswoman who goes on a blind date with Davis (Hugh Jackman), the city’s most eligible bachelor. When the two arrive together at a restaurant, Beth is shocked when he removes his scarf, revealing a pair of testicles dangling from his neck. Over dinner it confuses her that Davis fails to acknowledge his anatomical abnormality, and that nobody seems to be surprised by it. When two friends of Davis (Roy Jenkins and Katie Finneran) come by, one of them convinces him to give Beth a kiss. Davis agrees, but when he kisses her, his neck-testicles are dangling near Beth’s mouth, causing her to scream and budge out of the kiss.

Homeschooled

Having recently moved, Sean (Alex Cranmer) and Clare (Julie Ann Emery) have coffee with their new neighbors. The neighbors, Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) have a teenage son, Kevin (Jeremy Allen White), whom they have home-schooled. Sean and Clare begin inquiring about the homeschooling, and the numerous manners in which Robert and Samantha have replicated a high school environment within their home, going as far as hazing, bullying, and giving out detentions, are revealed. They also throw high school parties and Samantha instigates Kevin’s “first kiss” with him. Visibly disturbed, the neighbors end up meeting Kevin, who says he is going out and gives them the impression that all is fine: until he reveals a doll made of a mop with Samantha’s face on it, referring to the doll as his girlfriend.

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The Proposition

Julie (Anna Faris) and Doug (Chris Pratt) have been in a relationship for a year. When he attempts to propose to her, she reveals to him that she is a coprophiliac, and asks him to defecate on her in the bedroom. Urged by his best friend Larry (J.B. Smoove) and others to go along with it, he eats a large meal and drinks a bottle of laxative prior to the event. Wanting foreplay, Julie is angered when Doug wants to finish, and she runs into the street. Chasing after her, he is then hit by a car and graphically evacuates his bowels everywhere. She cradles him and apologizes; covered and surrounded by his excrement on the road, she exclaims that it is the “most beautiful thing” she has ever seen and accepts his marriage proposal.

Veronica

Neil (Kieran Culkin) is working a night shift at a local grocery store. His ex-girlfriend, Veronica (Emma Stone), comes through his line and the two begin arguing, which soon turns into sexual discussion and flirtation as they lament over their relationship; unbeknownst to them, Neil’s intercom microphone broadcasts the entire explicit conversation throughout the store, where various elderly people and vagrants tune in. After she leaves in tears, the customers agree to cover his shift while he goes after her.

iBabe

A developing company is having a meeting in their headquarters over their newly released product, the “iBabe”, which is a life-sized, realistic replica of a nude woman which functions as an MP3 player. The boss (Richard Gere) listens to his various workers (Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi and Jack McBrayer) argue over the placement of a fan that was built into the genital region of the iBabe, which is dismembering the penises of teenage boys who attempt to have sex with them. The board members then agree to strongly emphasize the dangers of the product via its new commercials.

Superhero Speed Dating

Robin (Justin Long) and his cohort Batman (Jason Sudeikis) are in Gotham City at a speed dating establishment seeking out a bomb threat by their nemesis, Penguin (John Hodgman). While Robin attempts to connect with various women through speed dating including Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) and Supergirl (Kristen Bell), Batman encounters his ex Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb) and attempts to stop Penguin from detonating Supergirl, who later turns out to be the Riddler (Will Carlough) in disguise, which Batman already knew and was screwing with Robin, who kissed “her” moments before unveiling.

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Machine Kids

A faux-Public service announcement about children stuck in machines and how adults’ criticism of these particular machines affect the feelings of the children stuck inside the machines. This commercial was paid for by the “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Inside Machines”.

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Middleschool Date

Nathan (Jimmy Bennett) and Amanda (Chloë Grace Moretz) are watching television after school at Nathan’s house as their first “middle school” date. When they begin to kiss, his older brother Mikey (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) enters the living room and makes fun of them. Amanda then discovers she is menstruating and tries to hide it, and when Nathan sees blood on her pants, he panics and believes her to be bleeding to death, causing a debacle, which would later have Nathan and Mikey’s father Steve (Patrick Warburton) and Amanda’s father (Matt Walsh) involved. Amanda calls them out on their stupidity and feels embarrassed to know that she’s getting her first period in front of them and they don’t know what to do about it. When she leaves with her father, Nathan yells that the process of keeping the lining of her internal organs intact by inserting his erect phallus into her vagina is much too complicated and Mikey agrees. Steve cheers them up by farting in front of them. As Mikey goes to the bathroom, Nathan and Steve watch a game on television, which has a very graphic Tampax commercial in which a girl gets eaten by a shark due to her menstruating.

Tampax

Another faux-commercial involving two women who go swimming in the sea. As the women submerge into the water, a great shark suddenly appears and eats one of the women. A tagline appears, reading: “Tampax. Now Leak-Proof”

Happy Birthday

Pete (Johnny Knoxville) captures a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for his roommate Brian (Seann William Scott) as a birthday present. After tying the leprechaun up in the basement, they demand he give them a pot of gold. The obscene leprechaun threatens that his brother is coming to save him. When he arrives, Brian and Pete are shot at but ultimately kill both leprechauns. At the end of the segment, Pete reveals he has also caught a fairy (Esti Ginzburg) who performs fellatio for gold coins.

Truth or Dare

Donald (Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a date together at a Mexican restaurant. Tired of typical first dates, Emily challenges Donald to a game of truth or dare. She dares him to grab a man’s buttocks, and he follows with daring her to blow out the birthday candles on a blind boy’s cake. The game rapidly escalates to extremes, in which both of them get plastic surgery and tattoos, and humiliate themselves. When Donald and Emily arrive back at Emily’s apartment, they praise their date. Donald tries to kiss her, but she rejects him, claiming she’s not attracted to Asian men (which he was surgically altered to resemble). It is revealed that she was joking and invites him to have sex with her as she shows him her enlarged breasts.

Victory’s Glory

Set in 1959, Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) is lecturing his all-black basketball team before their first game against an all-white team. Worried about losing the game, the timid players are lectured by the coach about their superiority in the sport over their white counterparts, which he expresses vulgarly. When the game ensues, the all-white team loses miserably yet rejoices in a single point they earn.

Beezel

Played mid-credits, Amy (Elizabeth Banks) worries that her boyfriend Anson’s (Josh Duhamel) cat, Beezel (an animated cartoon), is coming between their relationship. Beezel seems to detest Amy and anyone who comes between him and Anson, but Anson only sees Beezel as innocent. One day, Amy witnesses Beezel masturbating to summer vacation photos of Anson in a swimsuit. Beezel attacks her and violently urinates on her. Anson still finds his pet innocent but Amy threatens to leave if he doesn’t get rid of Beezel. Caring more about his relationship, Anson agrees to find a new home for him. That night, from a closet, Beezel tearfully watches the couple make love (whilst sodomizing himself with a hairbrush and dry humping a stuffed teddy bear). The next day when it comes time to take Beezel away, he is nowhere to be found. Amy goes outside to look. Beezel then runs her over with a truck and attempts to shoot her to death with a shotgun, but she chases him into the street and begins beating him with a shovel, which is witnessed by a group of children attending a birthday party at a neighboring house. When Anson approaches to see what is happening, Amy tries to explain Beezel’s motives. Beezel acts innocent and Anson sides with his cat. The children of the party then attack and murder Amy for beating up Beezel, stabbing her with plastic forks. Anson grabs Beezel, as Beezel again fantasizes about French kissing his owner.

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Find Our Daughter

In this segment that was cut from the film, Maude (Julianne Moore) and George (Tony Shalhoub) are looking for their breast-flashing daughter Susie (Jordanna Taylor) with the help of the private eye (Bob Odenkirk), who is behind the camera with only one clue which is a small video that features their daughter. The scene was released on Blu-ray.

Necrophiliac

This segment cut from the film stars a necrophiliac who worked at a morgue and had sex with the dead female bodies. The scene was included on the Blu-Ray release.

This film gets a lot of negative reviews, and I can see why – it’s definitely a marmite type ‘love it or hate it’ film. I doubt there’s any room for a grey area. Slapstick, crude toilet humour delivered in a very clever fashion. This isn’t so much a film as it is a series of interlinked sketches with an all-star cast

 

 

REVIEW: WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON!

 

CAST

Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Nathan Lane (The Producers)
Sean Hayes (Will & Grace)
Gary Cole (Crusade)
Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk The Line)
Kathryn Hahn (We’re The Millers)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious)
Paris Hilton (Veronica Mars)
Wendy Worthington (Bones)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)

MV5BMTYyNDY3NzI0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU0OTQyNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1528,1000_AL_An old-fashioned comedy geared towards teens, “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!” didn’t connect with audiences, but this lightweight comedy deserved a bit more of a following. The picture is certainly no classic, but there’s a few appealing performances, clever gags and occasional moments of sharply funny dialogue. The picture stars Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush”) as Rosalee Futch, a small-town West Virginia cashier smitten with movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel  “Transformers”). When Hamilton’s agents decide that his days of wine and women are over, they come up with a contest idea where one winner will be flown out to go on a date with the actor. Watching from the sidelines is her co-worker, Pete Monash (Topher Grace), who’s never told Rosalee his feelings about her.

While the date goes well, there’s something about the pure, West Virginia goodness of Rosalee that appeals to Tad, prompting him to purchase a place in her small town and spark a war between him and Pete over Rosalee. Standard romantic comedy fare, but played well.

The film’s performances go a fairly long way in pushing the film past the fact that most will feel as if they’ve seen some variation of this story a thousand times. Grace (of “That 70’s Show”) amps up his usual delivery and timing, resulting in some terrifically funny moments.  I greatly enjoyed Bosworth in “Blue Crush”, where she portrayed that character with a great deal of determination and heart. Here, her small town character is sweet and genuine, topped off with Bosworth’s charm and smile.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! is a nice, sweet little movie with a few big laughs, fine performances and charm.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN RETURNS

CAST

Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Kate Bosworth (Wonderland)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
James Marsden(X-Men)
Parker Posey (Blade: Trinity)
Frank Langella (All Good Things)
Sam Huntington (Fanboys)
Eve Marie Saint (On The Waterfront)
Marlon Brando (The Godfather)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Tristan Lake Leabu (While The Children Sleep)
Jack Larson (Adventures of Superman)
Noel Neill (Superman 1948)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)
Dan Ewing (Power Rangers RPM)

brandon-routh-in-superman-returnsSuperman Returns opens in a world without a Superman. The Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) left Earth without a word of warning, spending the past five years investigating the ruins of his home planet of Krypton. The world he left behind has suffered in his absence, prompting an embittered Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) to pen a Pulitzer Prize winning article titled “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman”. He’s able to return to his life in Metropolis as Clark Kent with ease, but the world he knew has changed. Lois now has a fiancé (James Marsden), the nephew of Daily Planet publisher Perry White (Frank Langella), and she’s also mother to a young, asthmatic son. Most of the world at large is thrilled to have Superman return as its savior with the exception, of course, of Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey). Fresh out of prison and flush with cash, Luthor has discovered Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and schemes to use its advanced alien technology to wipe out most of North America and create his own continent.Bryan Singer isn’t a director shamelessly trying to cash in on a high profile franchise. This is clearly a movie by someone with boundless passion for the material, and Superman Returns is a worthy follow-up to Richard Donner’s films. Singer has done a remarkable job staying true to Donner’s vision from a quarter-century earlier while still feeling rooted in the here and now. Most of the campier elements from the earlier movies have been gutted. Ned Beatty’s Otis has been discarded, and Superman Returns’s equivalent of Miss Teschmacher has been dialed down a few notches, even if the character is still ultimately useless. Kevin Spacey’s spin on Lex Luthor is faithful to Gene Hackman’s performance while having more of a menacing edge. Spacey’s Luthor seems like a genuine threat in Superman Returns, not just a wealthy, eccentric goof, and his eventual confrontation with the Man of Steel in the finale is wincingly brutal. I’m not entirely sure why he’s convinced a barren, uninhabitable rock of an island would have any resale value, but that’s beside the point.Taking the reins from the late Christopher Reeve after his near-legendary turn as such an iconic character must have been indescribably daunting, but Brandon Routh does a tremendous job as both Clark Kent and Superman. His Kent in particular is a seamless transition from where Reeve left off and is a pitch-perfect recreation of the nervous energy and awkwardness he brought to the character. Routh does play a very different Superman, however. Superman may be a strange being from another world, but Reeve exuded the kind of warmth you’d expect from someone embodying truth, justice, and the American way. Routh’s colder, more alien Superman is in keeping with the tone of the story, where he’s been removed from humanity for five years and feels detached from the world at large, but I didn’t feel nearly as strong an attachment to him.maxresdefault

Routh is about the same age that Reeve was when cameras started rolling on the original Superman film, but he looks so much younger that it’s easy to forget occasionally that this is supposed to be Superman Returns, not Superman Begins. I have some slight misgivings about the way Superman was handled in this film, but if the rumors of an impending sequel are true, I’m looking forward to seeing what Routh brings to the character the second time.
Kevin Spacey and Kal Penn in Superman Returns (2006)
With most action movies, it seems as if a small army of writers scattered themselves across a conference table, brainstormed the most elaborate, over the top, effects-driven sequences they could imagine, and then haphazardly tossed together a story to string ’em all together. I was left with the opposite reaction to Superman Returns. Singer paints Superman as some sort of messianic figure who’s a savior, not a fighter, and he literally doesn’t throw a punch in the entire movie. There are several phenomenal effects sequences that are certain to get pulses racing — the world’s re-introduction to Superman as he rescues a plane that’s careening into the stratosphere, steadying a crumbling Metropolis as Luthor sets his megalomaniacal scheme into motion, and sparing hundreds of millions from certain death in the film’s closing moments — but those really just see Superman intervening as disaster looms. Only a bank robbery has Superman struggling against an actual opponent, although even much of what happens there is passive; Superman just stands there and lets ricocheting bullets do the work for him. I’m not trying to downplay what an adrenaline rush these sequences are, but one of the most frequent criticisms of Superman Returns has been its lack of action. I admittedly did not find the movie at all dull despite the lack of Kryptonian soldiers or twenty story robots.Lois is in love with Superman but never felt it thanks to the utter lack of chemistry between Bosworth and Routh. At least Margot Kidder managed to sell Lois as a spunky reporter, but Bosworth doesn’t even attempt to capture that sort of tenacity. Bosworth also seems much too young for the role; she looks like she may have just gotten her undergraduate degree in Journalism, but a seasoned, Pulitzer Prize winning writer? Not so much. Bosworth is passable but instantly forgettable. Giving Lois a son also strikes me as a misfire. Hollywood has been churning out action sequels for decades now, and in the history of cinema, there have been two…maybe three…cases where adding a kid into the sequel wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. For some inexplicable reason, directors are determined to keep trying, and Lois’ wheezing tyke is as ill-conceived an idea as ever. Give the audience a little credit for being able to suss out the kid’s parentage from word one too.Bryan Singer’s sequel inhabits the same world as Richard Donner’s films, but the core of the story is almost excessively faithful to the original. A spaceship crashes to Earth from the long-dead planet of Krypton. Superman makes his presence known to the world by rescuing intrepid reporter Lois Lane from a mishap involving an aircraft. He later has a rooftop interview with Lois and whisks her across the night sky. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor schemes to cash in on the creation of new beachfront real estate at the cost of untold millions of lives, and he has his ditzy but good-hearted moll feign danger as a distraction for a theft. Luthor gets his hands on some Kryptonite to bring Superman to his knees near the climax, and it all ends with the Man of Steel soaring heroically into space. Roll credits.8610986058_9dfa00c53c_bI didn’t have a problem watching Superman Returns a few months after Donner’s Superman, but sitting through the two back-to-back would undoubtedly inspire a nasty case of déjà vu. Sometimes its adoration of Donner’s original works incredibly well, though. It’s a thrill to hear John Williams’ instantly recognizable orchestral score again, and reincorporating some digitally manipulated archival footage of Marlon Brando is a clever and effective touchstone.film_supermanreturns_featureimage_desktop_1600x900The movie is littered with subtle nods to various incarnations of Superman, from the casting of Noel Neill and Jack Larson to an homage to the cover of Action Comics #1 . For months, I’d heard Superman Returns praised, assaulted, analyzed, and dissected from every conceivable angle. It’s such a polarizing movie that I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be when I got around to seeing it, but I never expected to feel so completely indifferent. Superman Returns is a movie I appreciate on a great many levels, but for something so enormously anticipated, just being okay doesn’t seem like enough.

 

REVIEW: LOOK, UP IN THE SKY! THE AMAZING STORY OF SUPERMAN

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Starring

Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns)
Mark Hamill (Star wars)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Noel Neill (Atom Man vs Superman)
Jack Larson (Adventures of Superman)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Annette O’Toole (Smallville)
Adam West (Family Guy)
Margot Kidder (Superman)
Jackie Cooper (The People’s Choice)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush)
Sam Huntington (Fanboys)

Brandon Routh in Superman Returns (2006)The trick with releasing a documentary about the history of Superman a mere week before “Superman Returns” arrives in theaters: you don’t want to make it feel like one big commercial for the new movie; you need to find a healthy balance between fun and informative, being careful that you don’t wind up being fluffy or stuffy; you don’t want to make it feel like one big commercial for the new movie; you need to present enough new material so you’re not merely rehashing facts that everybody already knows and clips everybody’s already seen.George Reeves and Noel Neill in Adventures of Superman (1952)In fact, Burns goes the completely opposite route (although he does bring us Kevin Spacey, star of the New Hit Movie, for narration duties); in just under two hours, he and his crew offer up the most complete history of the character I’ve ever seen. We get it all in extreme detail, from Shuster and Siegel’s original “Super-Man” short story (the name was used to define an evil psychic) to long discussions on George Reeves and Christopher Reeve to DC Comics’ ups and downs with the character on the comics page. For the newcomer, you get a detailed examination of the Man of Steel’s many changes over the decades; for the hardcore Supes fanatic, you get ultra-rare clips of the 1950s “Superboy,” “Superpup” (in which little people wore dog costumes!), and the infamous musical comedy “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman!,” seen here in a television adaptation starring David Wilson, who could not dance, as a dancing Superman. (A word of warning: Think of the worst thing you can possibly imagine. Now think of something even worse than that. Push yourself hard to think up something even worse still. Beyond that, dear reader, you will find “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman!”)Kirk Alyn, Don C. Harvey, Jack Ingram, Noel Neill, and Lyle Talbot in Atom Man vs. Superman (1950)“Look, Up In the Sky!” works best in its first hour, when time is spent detailing the history of the comics, radio shows, cartoon shorts, serial, movie (“Superman and the Mole Men”), and TV series – perhaps because by the time we turn our attention to the 1978 film “Superman,” we’ve seen a lot of this stuff before, either in previous documentaries or as DVD bonus features, unlike the earlier projects, whose behind-the-scenes shenanigans have remained relatively unseen. When the movie spends plenty of time on the Reeve era, one gets the feeling that Burns is holding back, perhaps not wanting this portion of the timeline (with its ample archival material) to overshadow the rest of the story, perhaps not to repeat too much of what’s already been seen elsewhere, or perhaps to leave a little something for the supplemental sections of the forthcoming deluxe DVD releases.Christopher Reeve in Superman II (1980)Also, the documentary struggles in how to deal with the rest of the Reeve era. How to discuss Richard Donner being replaced on “Superman II” with Richard Lester without making either Donner or producer Ilya Salkind (who, after all, were both kind enough to be interviewed for this film) look bad? How to discuss the negative responses to “Superman III” and “IV” without delivering a drubbing so terrible that potential customers might not want the box set come autumn? Heck, how to discuss “Superman III” and “IV” without showing any of the behind-the-scenes material that made the look into the first movie so interesting? And what do you do with “Supergirl,” a movie for which Warner Bros. obviously declined any effort in obtaining rights, other than to brush it off with a couple sentences of narration and a few stock photos?Christopher Reeve in Superman II (1980)By the time we hit the late 1980s, it becomes obvious that Burns has become rushed for time yet is obligated to tow the company line – he glosses over such important information as John Byrne’s critical 1986 relaunching of the character, while giving plenty of extra attention to the late-80s syndicated series “Superboy,” a show nobody remembers that much, but hey, Warner Bros. just released the first season on DVD, so we better hype it up.Richard Pryor, Christopher Reeve, Larry Lamb, and Christopher Malcolm in Superman III (1983)We get an awkward potpourri, with Burns taking the time to discuss such important matters as the death (and, natch, rebirth) of Superman and the wedding of Clark and Lois, both which temporarily helped to boost comics sales, but then becoming very unsure as to how to handle the 1996 animated series and its follow-ups, concluding with the current “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon. (Both are mentioned, but in an ill-fitting obligatory tone.) “Lois & Clark” also gets a solid mention, but it again feels as if Burns is walking on tiptoes, trying to avoid anything that might wind up on a future DVD collection. (There’s also an extremely odd breakaway to discuss 9/11, which gets tied back to Superman in the flimsiest of manners, as if Burns is now simply grasping wildly in an attempt to retain some connection with the viewer, or show the relevance of a character that at the time wasn’t much in the pop culture forefront.)Annette O'Toole, Christopher Reeve, and Paul Kaethler in Superman III (1983)The last chunk is spent singing the praises of “Smallville” and “Superman Returns,” and it’s here that it becomes very clear that the movie should’ve stopped somewhere around the mid-90s mark. There’s not enough distance to properly analyze the impact of “Smallville,” and the facts get purposely fudged to make the series feel more important than future generations may believe. (Getting the largest ratings of all shows on the WB sounds more impressive than it really is.) Without any chance at hindsight, there’s no proper way to honestly gauge how the series fits into the history of the character, but instead of omitting anything, Burns merely turns on the hard sell.Brandon Routh in Superman Returns (2006)And then comes “Superman Returns,” and Burns is left with the unfortunate job of pushing it without sounding like he’s pushing it, showing clips without giving away too much, making this present-day release sound like part of history. (Most awkward moment: Spacey refers to himself in the third person.) On the plus side, you do get to see the crazed ramblings of producer Jon Peters, who admits to having had some very bad ideas in his decade-long trek in bringing Superman back to the big screen; one wonders if anybody slipped him a copy of “An Evening With Kevin Smith” as a wake-up call.