Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice / ***½ (PG-13)

Bruce Wayne/Batman: Ben Affleck
Clark Kent/Superman: Henry Cavill
Lois Lane: Amy Adams
Lex Luther: Jesse Eisenberg
Martha Kent: Diane Lane
Alfred Pennyworth: Jeremy Irons
Perry White: Laurence Fishburne
Senator Finch: Holly Hunter
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot
Wallace Keefe: Scoot McNairy
Anatoli Knyazev: Callan Mulvey

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film directed by Zack Snyder. Written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Running time: 151 min. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality).

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has been critically reviled. I expected to be in the critic’s camp on this one. I hated, hated, hated Zach Snyder’s “Man of Steel”. I revisited it a couple of weeks ago. It did not improve upon a second viewing. I’ve rarely approached a film with such dread as I did BvS. I have rarely been so pleasantly surprised. Ben Affleck is all the Batman and Bruce Wayne I wanted him to be. Henry Cavill is given a little more to do with Supes this time. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane even receives a little character development. And, I think even the critics who hated the movie think Gal Gadot kicks ass as Wonder Woman.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—March 2016 Week 3

Featuring the films:
The Covenant (2006) *
Bloodsport (1988) *
Good Will Hunting (1997) ***½
Big Game (2015) **
Pee Wee’s Big Holiday (2016) **  

Truthfully, it was not a good week of films in The Well. As such, I believe this week’s entry will be brief (This will also hopefully allow me to catch up again, since I’ve been running about a week behind for the month of March).

Renny Harlin’s Abercrombie & Fitch-inspired teen witch horror flick “The Covenant” and the world’s introduction to Jean Claude Van Damme “Bloodsport” were both watched expressly for the podcast “How Did This Get Made?” Needless to say, they were both just awful. The action adventure “Big Game”, from “Rare Exports” director Jalmari Helander, in which Samuel L. Jackson plays the POTUS being hunted in the Scandinavian wilderness, and the Netflix original “Peewee’s Big Holiday” each have their admirable aspects but just didn’t quite get there in terms of overall recommendation.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—March 2016 Week 2

Featuring the films:
Space Station 76 (2014) ***½
Wishful Drinking (2010) ***
Man of Steel (2013) *½
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) ****
Magic in the Moonlight (2014) **

Week 2 of March was five movies. Pretty simple. Pretty good.

“Space Station 76” was the surprise of the bunch. It’s set up like some sort of period space adventure spoof. With a costume and production design straight from the mid ‘70s, the movie begins like some sort of spoof exploring social issues that couldn’t have been mentioned at that time, like the class system, female equality in the workplace and homosexuality. As the plot moves along, however, its approach to these social issues becomes more serious and it turns into a serious drama with the flavoring of a movie like “The Ice Storm”. This might be a transition some audiences can’t make. It is quite unclear exactly for whom this movie is made, and yet it worked quite effectively on me.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—March 2016 Week 1

Featured shows and films:

Scream Queens, season 1 (13, 45-min. eps. 2015) **
The X-Files, season 10 (6, 45-min. eps, 2016) ***½
Agent Carter, season 2 (10, 45-min. eps. 2016) ***½
The Age of the Medici, mini-series (3, 90 min. eps. 1972-1973) **
The Witch (2016) ****
Gandhi (1982) ***½

It was a light week—lots of extracurricular activities for the kids this week—but I did finish up a few television shows and took in a couple of heavy investment movies. “Scream Queens” was a show I started watching as it aired and just had too much trouble getting into it. It seemed to suffer from a similar problem from creator Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s other horror anthology series “American Horror Story” in that each season seems to be too saturated in ideas and not enough in substance. The fact that “Scream Queens” is a comedy horror anthology helps in that respect, which is why I finally returned to it. After four or five episodes it seemed to calm down a little with turning in every horror idea the writers could think of, but as is also always the case with “American Horror Story” it seemed to take far too long to wrap things up. It would’ve worked much better with 10 episodes than it does with 13. It’ll have to have a damn good cast and very interesting premise to get me back in next season.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—February 2016 Week 4

Featured films:

One Million B.C. (1940) ***
Under the Volcano (1984) **½
Judgment at Nuremburg (1961) ****
Running On Empty (1988) ***½
The Gunfighter (1950) ***
Eddie the Eagle (2016) ***
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tiger: Sword of Destiny (2016) **

It was a movie a day week. Can’t complain about that. I started the week off with a movie I fully expected to hate, the original Hollywood take on the origin of civilization in “One Million B.C.”, but its naïve take on caveman life was surprisingly entertaining with virtually no modern language dialogue. Sure the dinosaurs were obviously domesticated lizards with prosthetics and I’m pretty sure PETA would’ve had a problem with their treatment had they been protecting animals in films in 1940. It’s ridiculous, but fun.