Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Director: Zack Snyder. Screenplay: David S. Goyer, Chris Terrio. Starring: Ben AffleckHenry Cavill, Amy AdamsDiane LaneLaurence FishburneJeremy IronsHolly HunterGal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg. IMDb: 6.6. RT: 27%. My rating: 2.5/4. Budget: $250 mln. Box office: $873 mln. A mystery documentary on how to spend $300 mln and make a dull film.

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– We’re criminals, Alfred. We’ve always been criminals. Nothing’s changed.
(Batfleck’s rant)

So… here’s supposed to be a review of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and I would like to be honest with it – I have little to say this time. This poster expresses my emotions pretty well. Why so serious?!

Sure, this film received fare more hate it deserved, but… it is indeed pretty dull and boring. Not bad – it has a lot of spectacular moments, which is a must with a budget like this. Especially the final battle when Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman fight together against Doomsday.

And the new batsuit? It’s prettu cool! Although I don’t get why Batman needed shining eyes. There’s a lot of awesomeness in this film, which however stops the same moment as… the characters stop fighting and start talking! Hugging, moaming, kissing, put whatever you want here… oh, boy! It is so pretentious. Amy Adams was particularly annoying – nothing in common with her marvellous performance in “Arrival“.

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So the overall feeling I had after watching this was “meh”. That’s it. It’s much better than “Suicide Squad” which was just horrible (except for Margot Robbie, of course), but it’s still one big “meh”, especially because Zack Snyder can be a very good and creative director – I really adore “Watchmen“… and “300” was a visual feast, so “BvS” will be more or less enjoyable for anyone who enjoyes Zack Snyder’s films.

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Why so serious?

I don’t want to start ranting about how awesome were the 90-s blockbusters bla-bla-bla because every decade has its highs and lows and I hate this nostalgia bullshit, but productions like these really make me lose faith in Hollywood, especially taking into consideration how many useless remakes, sequels, reboots and other franchises-wannabe were released in last years. So far “Justice League“, the next installment of the DC Universe, doesn’t seem to be too convincing either.

The cast is theoretically superb (a selection of a dozen best actors Hollywood currently has, even for some secondary roles we have Jeremy Irons or Laurence Fishburne), but it doesn’t help. The characters are not believable and feel 2D. Totally wasted. Batfleck was nice, surely quite a convincing Batman (I still prefer Christian Bale though, as Affleck doesn’t have enough darkness in him for this role and often looks like a plumber billionaire), Jesse Eisenberg was largely criticized for this role (he played Lex Luthor, the main badass) but I thought his idiotic lines brought at least some humour in otherwise boring-to-death dialogues.

And Eisenberg was surely better than Jared Leto’s ridiculous Joker.

So the acting was… fine. Gal Gadot was particularly charming.

The writing was bad and I really felt sorry they had to say those lines. It’s like, you know, watching your favourite actors and really feeling ashamed for what they’re doing… Ever happened to you? As for the rest… The score was good. The visuals were awesome. But it doesn’t save the film. “BvS” can be summarized with one word – overcalculated. It is easy to feel that all the darkness in this movie was calculated and feels artificial, compared to Nolan’s trilogy.

The production wasn’t easy though and the film was in a development hell for years. Nothing really worth your attention here. The film is also a rare Hollywood blockbuster that has a R-rated Director’s Cut so I even included it on my list of all R-rated superhero movies ever released (44 titles!).

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You cannot fight the boring dialogues of this film.

The pacing and the editing are messy. Moreover, every 10-15 minutes the music becomes quiet, the camera stops jerking and the characters slow down and start throwing litres of pathos off the screen, talking about justice, love, delusion… Why?! The person responsible for these lines should be fired immediately. If someone removes these parts, it will be an awesome flick.

Yeah, literally cutting every scene when the characters open their mouths and just leaving the action scenes would make it a pretty cool film. Taking into consideration that there is really a lot of cool action, that movie would last at least an hour and a half, precisely enough for a cheesy 80-s action movie! Otherwise I …

Spectacularity: 3/4 (for the action scenes); 1/4 (for everything else)
Acting:  3/4
Directing: 3/4
Originality: 2/4
Pathos level 4/4
Final vote: 2.5/4

…but it is a perfect movie to watch when you’re cooking something, by the way. So each time when the characters start talking, you can take your eyes off the screen and concentrate on what really matters. Now I wonder whether “Justice League” can beat that?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind / posters

This “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” poster is just a masterpiece… Unfortunately, I couldn’t find its author or a high-res printable version.

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And some other beautiful posters and artwork of this cult film.

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If anyone finds the the first poster’s author/high resolution version/where I can buy it, please let me know (the same goes for other posters) . It’s weird that so much beautiful artwork is done and then most of it just disappears without any trace even if one is willing to pay for it…

Apart from a couple of official posters which are lovely but just copy a famous scene, this is the only one I found for sale here on Amazon:

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M. Night Shyamalan / posters

Curious fact – M. Night Shyamalan co-wrote “Stuart Little“. Yes, that 1999 movie about a talking mouse that grossed $300 mln and now is rated 5.9 on IMDb, released same year as “The Sixth Sense“. Since then he never did a comedy film again.

While doing recently “Top 17 Highest Grossing Horror Movies“, it was a nice surprise to find out that three movies on the list (“Sixth Sense“, “Signs“, “The Village“) were directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Yes, I did watch them but had no idea that all of them were that successful commercially, and must admit that I didn’t really follow his works in the late 2000-s (post-“The Village” films), like many of you, I suppose.

Now he made a commercially successful comeback with “The Visit” (I haven’t seen the film, but it grossed $98 mln on a $5 mln budget!) and – of course! – “Split” which was widely successful from all points of view and which I have yet to review, but one thing caught my attention while reading the film’s excellent review here – the posters.

The film was mostly promoted with these 2 posters…

…while there was in fact another artwork and I seriously think it may qualify as one of the best posters of 2016 because it explores the films idea just brilliantly:

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As for the rest of M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography, there weren’t so many impressive posters, but here are a few that I find curious:

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And one more thing. While I find the poster of “The Happenning” quite dull (the movie where Mark Wahlberg talks with a house plant, begging it not to kill him, just to find out it’s a plastic plant), there is one interesting detail that I noticed when the film was released but was subsequently removed the the marketing campaing (except for the Spanish poster).

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See those small white writings? It says “We’ve Sensed It” / “We’ve Seen The Signs”, making a clear reference to M. Night Shyamalan’s two other movies. It is just a marketing trick, obviously, but I haven’t actually seen many posters connected in some way to the previous movies of the same director.

Moon / posters + Duncan Jones’ next film, Mute

A bunch of posters for “Moon“, one of the best sci-fi debuts ever.

The original poster is still my favourite though:

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Duncan Jones’ 4th film, sci-fi noir set in 2052 Berlin “Mute“, will be released next year, and he describes it as a spiritual sequel to his debut, hinting that both movies share the same universe. He has been planning it since 2003 and it seems this time the visuals will not be prevailing over the content, like it happened with “Warcraft“, Jones’ 3rd film (an nice flick for any “Warcraft” videogame fan, but less so for everybody else). “Mute” is distributed by Netflix and stars Paul Rudd, Alexander Skarsgård and Justin Theroux.

Really looking forward to it.

Arrival / posters

Just as the eponymous album of Public Image Ltd., “This Is What You Want…

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…This Is What You Get”.

As much as I loved the film and consider it the one of the best science fiction movies of last years, the official poster was a little… in-your-face? I didn’t feel like that before watching the film as it intrigued me (and it still does), but now I have doubts that this poster will become iconic.

This one is my favourite so far:

“Arrival” didn’t spawn a big amount of fan art or fan posters either (which isn’t a good sign). All other posters just are a rehash of three elements – the banana-shaped spaceship, Amy Adams with an open mouth and the signs of the alien language. These are the only nice designs I found:

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There was also a small curious controversy I must’ve missed with the posters before the film’s release:

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On the left pic you can see Hong Kong’s background with artificially added Shanghai’s Pearl Tower. The error was fixed in 24h.

Robots get bullied!

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Found via Sam’s article on “Ex Machina” and “Westworld”.

Stephen Hawking said: “The short-term impact of A.I. depends on who controls it; the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.”

Atlas Robot by Boston dynamics is learning how not to fall when being bullied:

This is how desperate it looked several years ago, when the robot wasn’t able to pick itself back up:

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Alphabet Inc. (read “Google”) sold Boston Dynamics several months ago though, after owning it for 4 years.

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BFI London Film Festival 2017

While I am incredibly happy to see a Russian movie (of the same name as My Bloody Valentine’s epic work!) to win The Best Film Award at BFI London Film Festival 2017, Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” and Yorgos Lanthimos’ (“The Lobster“) “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” really make me wanna strain at the leash.

Both have awesome posters, by the way.

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Yesterday was the last day of the BFI London Film Festival 2017, which ran between 4-15 October 2017, and I thought I would comment on the Best Film Award winner, on some other nominees, as well as on some of the films that took part in various special galas. The films of the Festival reflected today’s global challenges, while also emphasising various nations’ peculiar traditions and highlighting truly personal stories behind broader themes.

I. Official Competition – Best Film Award: 

Winner – “Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev)

Coming from Andrey Zvyagintsev, the man behind such critically-acclaimed films as “Leviathan” (2014) and “The Return” (2003), “Loveless” is another well-made film about a couple who lose their son during difficult time of divorce. “Loveless” has already made commotion (in a very positive sense) at the Cannes Film Festival, and all points to a…

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High-Rise / posters

4 bloody lovely posters for “High-Rise” that I must have missed when reviewing Ben Wheatley’s surreal film. The last one has some very curious details.

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High-Rise” a bloody mess of a dystopian movie based on a novel by J. G. Ballard, but it had its moments. And it also had Tom Hiddleston, Siena Miller, Jeremy Irons and absolutely beautiful although rather lifeless visuals.

 

A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibet) / posters

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This is not a Soviet film as you might have thought, but a Soviet poster for “A Trip to Mars” (“Himmelskibet“), a silent 1918 Danish film, one of the earliest productions in space travel sub-genre of science fiction. It’s interesting to note that Denmark didn’t make another science fiction film until the 60-s.

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This original poster was cool, but not as the Soviet one.

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Pay attention to the writings.

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I won’t review it since this oldie is mostly interesting for cultural reasons and cinephiles (I’ve already covered “Aelita“, a silent Soviet movie about, guess what, also a trip to Mars! It seems like people really preferred Mars to the Moon), but moviessilently.com did a terrific film analysis, here are some highlights:

  • “The spaceship is called the Excelsior but it looks more like a fat little airplane.”
  • “It seems that Mars was once warlike but then some guy showed up and said, “Hey, what if we make love and not war!”
  • “The performances are very… European, especially among the human characters. There was a tendency in European silent cinema to treat film acting as a series of poses, which leads to a choppy set of movements as the performers check items off the list. “Let’s see, I need to be excited then determined then indignant…”
  • “The first key problem with the film is that modern science fiction fans have seen this scenario before but always with a twist.”