Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman Returns - 88%

Superman .. Oh man I have been waiting for this movie for so long. Superman, the Movie and Superman II have always been 2 of my favourite movies of all time. That's because they set the standard for what a good superhero movie should be. Since the first superman, we've our share of hit and misses - Misses: Superman 3 and 4, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin - Hits: Batman Begins, The Crow, X-men and X-2, and of course the Spiderman movies. Spiderman 2 is really like the closest to being the perfect Superhero movies thus far, but Superman I and II has always held a special place in my heart. Why? Because of the meticulous handling of the myth and the respect that was given to the superhero. A marvelous cast that brought the Superman universe to life. And to top it off, an excellent score written by John Williams to honor the most powerful of all the superheroes.

And after Christopher Reeves' uncanny portrayal of the Superhero (no doubt in part due to his "Superman-ish" looks), and Richard Donner's wonderful interpretation of the character, it has become almost an impossible feat to top. And in light of all the other more "earthbound" superheroes' successes, Superman seems like a character that is "out of times" and almost too outlandish to be brought to the screen anymore. He just wasn't cool anymore.

Playing with that idea, Bryan Singer, concocted a story that saw the "Man of Steel" coming back to a world that has moved on without him. A world where our alien child, who was brought up as a human being, trying to fit in. Superman as a man, who's lover has moved on with another. That is the basis behind the new movie "Superman Returns". And on most front, the movie is a success. It pays homage to the Richard Donner versions and also makes references to the comic books.

So what's satisfying about this version of superman? For a geek like me, there's much to like. It is like a fan movie made by a fan. Bryan Singer obviously knows his history of the character and he throws tons of references to Superman I and II movies. As one who literally memorized every moment of the first 2 installments, it was great to hear all those familiar references. For instance, how Lois was asking about how many "f"s are there in "catastrophe", Clark using the word "swell" and Lex asking "What did my father say to me?". There are plenty more so I won't try to spoil it for the fans. Everytime a reference was made, it felt so much of a kick. However, the bad part of it was it made me difficult to see if all these lines actually served to make the film better or worse for a viewer who's unfamilar with aIl these dialogue and references thrown in. As I try to imagine it, it might have actually made certain scenes look really awkward if they do not know the background behind it - kind of a double edged sword.

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor and Parker Posey as Kitty totally stole the show. In my opinion, they delivered the best lines in the film and also the best performance. Kevin's Lex was a little neurotic like Gene's but darker. Parker gave an outstanding performance with the nuances of a conflicted female sidekick.

Special effects wise, this is certainly one of the most impressive flicks to have grace the silver screen. In fact watching the "digital projection" of this film is a must if you can have access to it. The HD DVD version of this movie when it arrives later this year is sure to drive the sales of the players. The first airplane rescue scene is one of the most exhilarating action special effects sequence ever made and is designed to be watched IMAX style. It really blows the mind. And the way it kinda served as a grand entrance to Superman after such a long departure, was extremely apt. And the flying scenes? Awesomely breathtaking. The flying shots makes everything in matrix look like childs play.

Now what's not to like? Well, for one, I felt the biggest drawback of the film was the age of the main characters. Routh and Bosworth looked just too young for the roles they play. Lois was like an immature reporter, not hard nut cracking. Routh's Clark also was lacking in personality. He didn't seem to make a big distinction when playing Clark versus Superman. It makes it unbelievable that people couldn't see Superman and Clark as one. Reeve's Clark was different enough to convince audience of the possibility that everyone in the film was fooled. But not this one. I just hope that Routh would work on creating a more distinct Clark versus Superman in the next installment. As for Bosworth, I hope she'll mature a little more. The way she appeared helpless when arguing with Perry White just seemed ... wrong ...

Well, Superman Returns is a great movie to watch. More than being an action flick, this is more a romantic drama than anything else. Some guys might find it boring, or draggy, but these are probably the same guys who made the same complaints on Spiderman 2 - which was a great movie by the way. Still, Superman returns felt somewhat incomplete and I suspect it is deliberate. There are too many things to establish that will serve to make a very interesting sequel. Bring it on!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Superman .... Returns

Ok guys and girls ... have a few ideas for Superman returns ...

how many of you are interested in gathering to watch Superman Returns premiere?
310pm Marina GV ... Digital Cinema .. 28th June

I am going to get tickets .. and who's interested .. drop me an email at, and I am planning to buy the tickets real soon.

And another "Superman returns" night. Where we watch Superman 1 and 2, then we head to the theater to catch "Returns".

Propose the date and email me.

Update : Superman returns day ... Saturday 1st July
Watch Superman 1 and 2 from afternoon ... then break for dinner ... then head to watch "returns" night show.

:D ..... almost 8 hours of superman :P ....

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Omen - 84%

The 666 .. number of the beast .. Satan's Day blahblahblah ... it basically translate to ... a day for a good horror movie :) So how good was it? It was pretty mighty good I might say.

So what's the story about? A high ranking official's wife, had a stillborn and the he was persuaded by a priest to swap his dead baby for someone else's. Little does he know, that this baby was the son of the devil! (Dramatic music!!!) So well, and the story chronicles the "younger years" of the Devil's son, Damien.

What really works? The casting was excellent. The story is a little absurd, by today's standards that is. I mean, c'mon, how easy is it to convince someone to pick up someone else's baby with just words from a priest you have never met before. Wouldn't you at least have gotten his contact? But the acting from the amazing cast made it all believable. And comparing the older version with the new one, I would say the new version bettered the old one by being more "believable".

However, this also works against the movie. The problem is the actor Damien, is too well cast. You know he's the freaking devil the minute he appears. I mean, c'mon, right from the start! But the nice thing about the old version, was that throughout the film, you kept wondering, how could the little boy turned into the devil it suppose to be? You actually watch the film hoping that it will turn out to be the opposite. But this new updated version, damn you just want to kill the little boy the minute he appears. So in a way, there're no twists, and it is basically the old version with an updated look and tempo.

However, even if I did not watch the original, this movie would still have worked. The story was reasonably well told. The fact that he followed the original very closely, even using the same script, made the holes in the plot somwhat forgiveable as it made me think in 1970s mode.

But for a good June scare, this one's a good one to head to. ;)

Friday, June 02, 2006

X-men: The Last Stand - 75%

Is this truly the last stand as the title hints? Is this the end of the X-men franchise considering that Bryan Singer has left the project? I'd say judging from the box office performance over its 1st weekend, the dead can rise from its ashes like the pheonix did. Anything is possible with the power of money :)

So what is X-men the last stand about? It is about Phoenix coming back, while Magneto tries to rally the mutants against the Humans .. while the Humans have created an anti-mutant vaccine and finally how all these culminate into an all out battle where tons of characters get killed off. So did I give away too much? Nah ..... think of it as a mutant war brewing and the movie is about how it gets there.

And man ... this one is like a rojak (mess) of X-men all rolled into one. So many mutants out there they try to feature, yet many of them were so fleeting. But they do taste pretty sweet when the scenes are right. One conflict in the movie I really liked was how they dealt with the idea that, if you're given a chance to be less unique an individual than you are, would you? And there really was no straight answer to that question, especially if your "uniqueness" does not contribute a sense of positive reflection upon yourself. For instance, if you could throw fire, you might choose to keep it, but if you couldn't touch anyone at all or you may kill them (including the ones you love), would you give up that lethal "strength" of yours? Too bad it seemed a little underexplored, and it didn't really fully developed its idea. Maybe a part 4 would deal with it more?

Then there're the campy 1-liners .... Why do they wanna dumb down the characters with all these shitty 1-liners? Who wrote those "Batman & Robin"-ish rubbish. They really do detract from an otherwise a really seriously good movie and dragging it into mediocrity territory. Luckily the good things in the movie overwhelmed the potential pitfalls.

So have a good fun time, and enjoy this crazy romp at the theaters. And please wait till the credits finish rolling. ;)