OK, I swear I will talk about this movie as much as possible without mentioning that Hulk. Although this is a reboot from that movie, I’ll give it as much consideration as I can on its own terms.
But did we really need another movie?
GTA4 is a game you have to spend a lot (a lot!) of time with. Rockstar built a big, impressive approximation of New York City that’s a joy to cruise around in with your top down, at night, Jazz Nation Radio cooing Chet Baker or Miles Davis softly through your speakers. Or R. Kelly, or Stevie Nicks, or David Bowie. Ah, I didn’t like the radio selections at first but they grew on me except, uh, the Puerto Rican rap station. C’mon, how many rap stations does a GTA game need? Anyway, there’s a lot to see and a lot to do, stuff I didn’t try to discover yet. The game’s been out a while now so you probably know what I’m talking about. I’ll try not to regurgitate the billions of other GTA4 opinions out there … instead I’ll address the numerous hyperbolic exultations of the game’s brilliant plot and flawless gameplay.
YEAH I SAW KUNG FU PANDA WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT?
In my last article on one of this director’s films, I don’t think I elaborated on Akira Kurosawa’s filmmaking style. Let me correct that omission here: he’s slow. Pretty damn deliberate in his pacing. It seems like every movie he makes feels about 3 hours long. Even his Macbeth adaptation Throne of Blood, which clocks in at under 90 minutes real-time. But he also makes several movies which actually ARE three or more hours long, so Kurosawa-time isn’t always a bad thing.
Now, Dreams was made during Kurosawa’s late career, after his attempted suicide and around the time when he was being propped up by his successful New Hollywood admirers, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Coppola helped produce Dreams and Lucas’ ILM special effects company helped glitz it up a bit. Was it worth all the effort?
The back of the DVD case reads: “When Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp (Reginald Denny) is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission. But the tip is a set-up by four of the most powerful villains ever, who seek to defeat the Dynamic Duo once and for all! Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, the fearsome foursome intends to take over the world! Can the Caped Crusaders use their high-flying heroism and groovy gadgetry to declaw Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), ice the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), upstage the Joker (Cesar Romero), and stump the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) in time?”
Holy camp classic, Batman! If that doesn’t sound like a fun time, what does? Batman and Robin, four villains and a deadly dehydrator?! Sounds like director Joel Schumacher time-traveled to the 60s with the moisture-robbing plot device from Batman Begins in tow! Sounds like something … meant to be laughed at … on purpose. Hm.
While in my pupae stages I thought this movie was just poorly conceived, like a bunch of guys went out to make a really epic Batman movie and failed miserably. I was used to the Batman in Batman: The Animated Series and Tim Burton’s movies, where he’s a dark, brooding anti-hero spending every agonizing moment of his miserable life stewing in the childhood memory of the murder of his parents. If Adam West’s Batman witnessed such tragedy in his youth there’s no sign of it. He prances, flirts, waves his arms in the air as he leaps around and everything in the Batcave is obsessively labeled, even the water cooler – the Bat Water Cooler. He’s still a bit unhinged but he’s nicer about it in this version. Now that I am older and wiser I can appreciate the beloved hero in his various interpretations, especially this warm-hearted, well-written goofy version. He’s a farce, a parody of action/adventure yarns, one that actually influenced the comic books to take on a less-serious tone, and it managed to increase sales and popularity of the character.
Based on the 60s TV series, Batman the Movie is the first in my new series of superhero movie reviews that will continue right up to my inevitable review of anticipated The Dark Knight, out July 18th. I’m a tremendous Batfiend bristling with excitement for the new release, so it’s with great pleasure I stalk, glide and pratfall down the memory lane of Gotham Cities past. Welcome to the latest installment of …
My love for fantasy has been well-documented. So of course I went and saw Prince Caspian. I went and saw The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, too! And I wasn’t sure what to make of that one. It hit all the beats of the book, which I appreciated (I became a big Narnia fan in 4th grade), but something was amiss. It just looked so… fake. So cheap. The actual CG was decent (impressive, even). But Narnia just didn’t feel like a real place. Granted, WETA took things a few (thousand) steps above those stupid BBC movies, but Narnia still looked like a soundstage covered in soap flakes half the time. And the child actors could be so wooden. The ones playing Lucy and Edmund were well enough to make do with, but Peter and Susan had approximately zero personality. Almost any scene with all four of them trying to act like a family was like a charisma vacuum. But it had a fantastic villain in the White Witch, played to the nines by the inimitable Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton. It entertained juuuust enough to make me forgive the fact that the story is such an obvious metaphor for Jesus’ resurrection. And the fact that Santa fucking Claus shows up. So how does the sequel stack up?