Consisted of three glasses of whiskey, half a container of chocolate ice cream, and three slices of pizza. In that order. Throw in a stripper and a speedball and you’ve got Charlie Sheen’s diet throughout the 80’s/forever.
Saw Man of Steel last night and I’m pretty conflicted about it. Actually, with the exception of saying that it was entertaining, the film repeats history by proving that no one has quite figured out how to adapt our most American and iconic superhero from the page to the screen. So, why was MoS mediocre at best, treyf at worst? Zach Snyder. That’s why. Snyder is a hack of a director who doesn’t know how to tell a story. He can shoot an extended action sequence, but even then he’s a one trick pony. One of the film’s most annoying traits is that quick zoom that Snyder used too much, as if you held your finger on your camera’s zoom button for longer than desired. One moment deserved the technique. Just one. The battle sequences were drawn out, bloated, repetitive, reliant on environmental destruction/explosion, and featured some of the worst product placement in recent memory. Whether anyone likes to admit it, the film’s story and visual realization borrowed heavily at times from Thor and The Incredible Hulk - the fight scene in downtown Smallville seemed almost identical to the showdown near the end of Thor; Clark’s Everyman journey in the beginning felt like a regurgitation of Bruce Banner in South America. Speaking of not going anywhere, but this film has about as much character and plot development as the federal government has leaks. As much as the film exploits Henry Cavill’s obscene anatomy, it fails to provide Supes with any interesting character to interact with. Whether it’s Zod, Jor-El, the Kents, Perry White, or even, unfortunately, Lois Lane, the film is bursting at its seams with flat characters. Everyone could’ve disappeared from the film except Superman and the Phantom Zone rejects and it would’ve progressed just about the same as with the rest of the cast. All the time in which Clark wasn’t on screen just felt like a waste; like nothing was gained. While I understand that there is indeed a plot (Zod’s men wanting to resurrect Krypton on Earth) it seemed sophomoric compared to how other superhero films have carried out stories where the Earth is about to perish in ways that seemed much more interesting and intelligent. Man of Steel could be understood by an 8 year old, and I don’t think intelligence above that is required for the film. Maybe I’m spoiled by the intellectual gravitas of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Maybe I’m spoiled by the depth of characters seen in Singer’s X-Men films. Maybe I’m spoiled by the story development of The Avengers. Maybe. Or, maybe I just had too much hope that this would break the curse of Superman films that fail to achieve a greatness that our Kryptonian savior deserves.
P.S. The Jesus allegory was almost unbearable in MoS. I wanted to shout “Really?” when Superman defended his status as an Earthling by saying he’s been here for 33 years. It seems that the status of the Messiah is equivalent to that of a truly great Superman film: it just hasn’t shown up yet.
He would be Michael Sassbender.
Oscillating between the inferno of a career and the paradiso of something unattainable, Don Draper finds himself in the same place as Dante’s Pilgrim, halfway through life, alone in the wilderness. Throughout the course of the two hour season 6 premiere, there’s a sense that things are in motion without actually going anywhere. It’s because they’re not. Roger Sterling’s musings during a session with an analyst reveal a seemingly nihilistic attitude toward life, that it’s nothing but doors, bridges, and windows that open up and then shut behind you; that all the major events in life are nothing but pennies that we pick up on the street and then continue on our path toward Death. And Death, my favorite subject, comes up in almost every scene in this episode, whether it’s in the form of literature (Dante), a funeral (Roger loses his mother), or a doctor (Arnold Rosen). Along with the mentioning of Death is the denial of it, as the conversation arises after Don unsuccessfully pitches an ad for Hawaii in which the paradisiacal neophyte to our nation is a jumping off point - a chance for the individual to get to heaven, their paradise. In that sense, Hawaii, Don’s vacation, is more of a purgatorio than anything else. Death becomes the thing that Don struggles to sell, the hotel reps being uncomfortable with the possibility of people reading into the ad and finding suicide, because it’s the thing that people are surround by, which has always been the case, however, but the events of the late 1960s have made it seem more ubiquitous than ever. It’s everywhere to the point where Roger can’t feel anything after his mother passes away, much like Meursault in Camus’s The Stranger. This focus on death for the beginning of a season seems appropriate when considering that this is the penultimate season of the show - Mad Men is aware of its own eminent demise. And because of that, as well as the turbulence of the end of the 60s, I’m guessing that it’s now 1968, we’re going to experience these characters in this transition period - midway through their lives, in the wilderness of death.
August: Osage County (dir: John Wells), starring Meryl Streep, written by Tracy Letts
The Counselor (dir: Ridley Scott), starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, written by Cormac McCarthy
The Grandmaster (dir: Wong Kar-Wai), starring Tony Leung, written by Wong Kar-Wai
Gravity (dir: Alfonso Cuaron), starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, written by Alfonso Cuaron
The Great Gatsby (dir: Baz Luhrman), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (*fuck anyone who takes credit for the script)
“Her” (dir: Spike Jonze) starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, written by Spike Jonze
I’m So Excited (dir: Pedro Almodovar) starring Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, written by P. Almodovar
Inside Llewyn Davis (dir: The Coen Bros.) starring Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham, Carey Mulligan, written by The Coen Bros.
Labor Day (dir: Jason Reitman) starring Kate Winslet, written by Jason Reitman
Monuments Men (dir: George Clooney) starring George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchet, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, written by George Clooney
The Nymphomaniac (dir: Lars Von Trier) starring Charlotte Gainsborough, written by L.V. Trier
Old Boy (dir: Spike Lee) starring Josh Brolin
Only God Forgives (dir: Nicolas Winding Refn) starring Ryan Gosling, written by N. W. Refn
The Place Behind the Pines (dir: Derek Cianfrance) starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, written by D. Cianfrance
Stoker (dir: Chan-Wook Park) starring Nicole Kidman, written by Wentworth Miller
To the Wonder (dir: Terrence Malick) starring Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams, written by T. Malick
Trance (dir: Danny Boyle) starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel
Twelve Years a Slave (dir: Steve McQueen) starring Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Untitled Woody Allen Film (dir: Woody Allen) starring Cate Blanchet, Alec Baldwin, written by W. Allen
The Wolf Of Wall Street (dir: Martin Scorsese) starring Leonardo DiCaprio, written by Terrence Winter
Grand Budapest Hotel (dir: Wes Anderson) starring Adrien Brody, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Willem Defoe, Harvey Keitel, written by W. Anderson
Anchorman: The Legend Continues (dir: Adam McKay) starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, written by A. McKay
Iron Man 3 (dir: Shane Black) starring Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, written by S. Black