Sunday, March 27, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Not since the egregiously awful 2013 version of The Lone Ranger has there been a worse story surrounding an iconic character than presented in Director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
This film is a vile and shameful way to kill off Superman. 

Oh, should I have said “spoiler alert?”  No, the creators of this nonsensical piece of tripe don’t deserve to have their story protected. And, my readers know I don’t give away plot points unless there are gross violations of filmmaking.
Here, there is a mishmash of idiotic happenings that defy any concept of logic.  For example, humanity turns against Superman because he, supposedly, killed some terrorists with bullets.  Since when would Superman need bullets to kill someone?

Superman turns against Batman, the savior of Gotham, because it dawns on him after so many years that Batman is a vigilante.  What is he?

When Batman subdues Superman with kryptonite, he relents because he learns they both have mothers with the same first name.  Really!!?

Snyder had so many great performers to work with and he dared to immerse them in this crap!

Look, for the most part, the actors, especially Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Gal Gadot do a wonderful job, as does the Effects crew.

But you couldn’t come up with a more shameful end to Superman.

 If Trump has won you over, you’ll probably enjoy this negative look at the world.

For the sake of the actors and crew, I’ll, at least, give Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice a 2 out of 5.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My Golden Days

Writer/Director Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days (Trois Souvenirs de Ma Jeunesse) is an interesting and effective film by a very interesting and effective filmmaker.
Diplomat Paul Dédalus (Mathieu Amalric) is stopped by authorities as he tries to enter France after several years in Tajikistan and other remote posts because his identity is a match of someone else, a man who has been dead for a few years.  As he deals with his doppelganger, he reflects on 3 significant memories of his youth.

Desplechin’s story is replete with allusions and references that will elude most any viewer except the Writer/Director himself.  Attention to these has made him and his Editor Laurence Briaud miss some pieces of the present day story such as how his having given away his identity to someone else was resolved, but these are forgiven for the gift he has given the viewer.   

 The gift comes in the most significant memory...that of his first love.  The story of Young Dédalus (Quentin Dolmaire) and his girlfriend Esther (Lou Roy-Decollinet) is the most engaging segment of the film.  The actors are absolutely splendid, especially given that this is the first film for both of them.

I give  My Golden Days a 4.1 out of 5.


Director Robert Schwentke’s Allegiant is a solid B-grade action film for fans of the Divergent series.
In this, the third in the 4-part series, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her boyfriend Four (Theo James), along with a small band, escape the confines of the Chicago wall in an attempt to find the Council that has been testing the city’s inhabitants.  Their efforts are met with harrowing surprises that put them in even greater jeopardy than they ever had been.

Cinematographer Florian Ballhaus and Production Designer Alec Hammond have done a great job in capturing the bleakness of the post-Apocalyptic world of Allegiant and the script by Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage includes solid action sequences.

The problem is the casting of Jeff Daniels as the heavy.  Compared with Kate Winslet in the previous chapters and Donald Sutherland in The Hunger Games franchise, Daniels just isn’t mean or scary enough.
I give Allegiant a 3.5 out of 5.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Usually, too many writers spoil a film, but Writers/Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore, along with a writing team, included Jared Bush, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, Jennifer Lee, Phil Johnston and Dan Fogelman have created this year’s first perfect movie with Zootopia. 
This film about a young rabbit named Judy (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), who wants to be a policewoman in the city of Zootopia where both preditor and non-preditor animals live in harmony, is Disney at its very best.
Hats off to everyone involved for a wonderfully exciting and action-packed story that is tender and uplifting, as well.

Plus, the animation is superbly engaging.

See it whether you have kids or not.  I give Zootopia a 5 out of 5.  

Embrace of the Serpent

Writer/Director Ciro Guerra has created a haunting story of exploration in the Amazonian jungle with his film Embrace of the Serpent.
An Amazonian shaman named Karamakate (Nilbio Torres) who is the last of his people, takes a sick German explorer (Jan Bijvoet) and his aid (Yauenkü Migue) on a quest for a mystical herb that may cure him and, 40 years later, when his mind is feeble    (played by Antonia Bolivar), takes another German explorer (Brionne Davis) on a quest to find the last tree, bearing that same herb.

What this film excels at is in giving an accurate and poignant depiction of how Western Man, with his enterprise and religion, has gone about destroying the jungle and its people, the consequences of which affect the entire planet.

Cinematographer David Gallego and Production Designer Angélica Perea have done a fabulous job in giving the feel for both the early 20th Century and mid-20th Century.

I give Embrace of the Serpent a 4.4 out of 5.