Saturday, March 20, 2021
Superhero movies, in general, seem a little silly to me because the superpowers these characters have are often physically impossible, which makes them fantasy films. Why not instead watch movies about real heroes doing real heroism? However, I'll make an exception for Superman because he is an iconic (American) character that I grew up with.
The 2016 movie Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is entertaining, and even more so the Ultimate Edition that I just streamed on HBOmax. I did not go see the 2017 Justice League movie because the reviews were mostly negative, but the internet mob spent 4 years campaigning for "The Snyder Cut", and seventy million dollars later they got it on HBOmax. Unlike the 2 hour theatrical version, the Snyder Cut is 3 hours and 54 minutes long and it is a blast. It is divided into six parts because reportedly they were considering making it into a miniseries. However, I never got bored with this version. It kept my rapt attention. As soon as one part was done I wanted to see the next part.
Although there are many differences between this version and the original theatrical release, the biggest is tone. It is more serious, darker, and less funny. The longer version also allows for the characters to be better developed.
My only gripes with this movie are minor. Zack Snyder is a big fan of slow-motion and as others have pointed out, he overdoes it. There is also a scene that hits us over the head with a message about poverty, which is okay, but it takes us out of the moment.
Justice League Snyder Cut: All Differences From the Theatrical Version
Posted by John Coffey at 11:30 PM
Cutting to the chase, I like this movie much more than the average critic. It only scores 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. The biggest problems with the film are that it spends a very long time on setup, you almost need a roadmap to follow its multiple storylines, it is intensely violent, occasionally brooding, and the payoff is overloaded with special effects. However, I like the payoff, and I think that when the story is not being overly convoluted that there is a richness to it. There are many emotional moments that go by quickly, but they work if you are paying attention. Due to the complexity of the film, you really have to focus to keep up, but I like a movie that engages the brain.
Many people did not like Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, because he is not the typical intellectual scheming Lex Luthor. He is more manic, like a mix of Lex Luthor and the Joker or the Riddler. However, I think that Eisenberg's manic performance here is fantastic. Some of his dialog is the best in the movie. His character is key to the entire film.
Portions of the dialog with the extra characters seem overly simplistic, which is an annoying trend that I have noticed with other superhero movies.
The "Ultimate Edition" adds 30 minutes to the original runtime, making it almost 3 hours long. However, the Ultimate Edition restored scenes and storylines taken out of the original for time. The result is less confusing and richer in detail.
Posted by John Coffey at 8:30 PM
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
People on the Internet have a remarkable amount of power. When the first trailer appeared for Sonic The Hedgehog, the animation of Sonic didn't look quite right. It was kind of creepy. So people complained en masse. The production studio was so affected by this that they spent an extra $10 million over their $90 million budget to fix the animation, and the result was a kid's movie that surprised the critics by actually being good. It wasn't great, but it was passable entertainment.
The 2016 Zack Snyder movie Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice was fairly good, but the follow-up 2017 film, Justice League, was a disaster. Zack Snyder had to leave the project before it was finished due to the death of his daughter. The movie was finished by Joss Whedon, who has done great work on television and in the Marvel films, but his cut of the movie didn't quite work. As a result, there was an Internet campaign to, "Release the Snyder Cut", even though such a thing probably didn't exist. People were saying that it would never happen. However, the campaign never stopped, which lead to $70 million being spent so that Zack Snyder could release his version of the film on the 18nth of this month on HBO Max, an online streaming service. The early reviews are in, and the critics for the most part like the new version.
Gina Carano is a former wrestler who did a fairly good job of playing the character Cara Dune on the Star Wars streaming series, The Mandalorian. (I can't recommend this series enough.) However, she got into it with some fans on Twitter about her posts not being politically correct, which led to a several-month-long campaign to get her fired. I think that Gina Carano did nothing wrong, but Disney eventually gave in and fired her. Now, the same outrage mob is trying to go after Bill Bur and Rosario Dawson, both of which have also played on The Mandalorian. Meanwhile, Josh Whedon has fallen out of favor with the public for alleged bad behavior.
Posted by John Coffey at 1:53 AM
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
So I resisted at first watching Queen's Gambit, but as a drama about chess, it is good. There is also a major theme about substance abuse. These together make a pretty good story.
Obviously, there is also a theme of female empowerment. This is interesting because during the 1950s and 1960s in which this story takes place, there weren't that many women chess players and none at the higher levels. Things have improved quite a bit since then, first with the Polgar sisters becoming top tier players, and more recently with Chinese star Hou Yifan. Yet, chess is still a game dominated by men, maybe because women find it less interesting. Men more than women prefer competitive sports, especially one as egotistical as chess.
Posted by John Coffey at 7:43 PM