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?

Chronicle

chronicle-movie-posterDirector: Josh Trank. Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw. Budget: $12 mln. USA, 2012. IMDb: 7.1. My rating: 2/4. Sci-fi thriller about great power and zero responsibility.

– Apex predator…
– What?
– I’m an apex predator!
(the teens are over-estimating their competence)

– Wow, look, a rave.
– Oh, wow, look. A nerd with a camera.
(nerds are trying to be cool)

”…the actors screaming occasionally only made things worse.”
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”The worst film I have seen in ages. Spectacularly annoying idiots yelling at each other.”
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”Enjoy trolling? Enjoy watching people get trolled? Here’s your movie. For the average Joe, this will be an enjoyable movie. For the superhero fan, this could be a cult classic”
Richard Reilly

”It was intense and dark. SEE THIS MOVIE everybody. I saw this thinking it was going to be awesome. But I was wrong. It was 10 times better than I expected. My new favorite movie.”
Jesse Popin

“Chronicle” was made in the wake of a huge success of superhero movies and is kind of an alternative view on superheroes. Other notable examples were “Defendor” (which surprisingly had incredible emotional depth provided by Woody Harrelson), “Super” (ultra-violent but touching superhero parody in Troma style with an amazing Rainn Wilson) and “Kick-Ass“, but these 3 wonderful flicks were all made in a more humourous vein. “Chronicle” is dark, realistic (as far a movie about superpowers can be considered realistic) and feels different both from Marvel/DC stuff or a big array of a more independent production like ”Dredd”, ”Watchmen”, and other R rated stuff. In a nutshell, it’s just a movie about a bunch of normal teens that have no idea what to do with their powers.

Dane DeHaan, with his permanent ”oh-I-just-finished-a-3-day-bender-and-do-not-intend-to-stop” face expression should play serial murderers and psychos, not galaxy saviors or troubled teens that we should feel pity for.

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Kung Fury

posterDirector: David Sandberg. Starring: David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, David Hasselhoff, Andreas Cahling. Sweden, 2015. Budget: $630,000. A faithful dedication to the best & the worst of the 80-s, rage mode on.

– Fuck! That’s a laser raptor. I thought they went extinct thousands of years ago. What year is this?
– It’s the Viking Age.
– That explains the laser raptor. Fuck! I went too far back in time.
(a dialogue between Kung Fury and Barbarinna)

– I’m disarming you.
(Kung Fury, before ripping off Nazi soldier’s arm)

– Open the doors, Hoff.
– I’m sorry, Fury. I can’t let you do that.
– Open the doors!
– Did anyone tell you… not to hassle the Hoff 9000?
(Kung Fury is convincing the car computer Hoff 9000 to open the door)

”Kung Fury” is a fucked up version of the dorkiest things about the martial arts movies and the 80-s/90-s pop culture you could’ve ever imagined. Thor showing off his over-sized breast muscles? Check. A slot machine “Hoff 9000″ (built by Hitler to reestablish his power) goes rogue revenging the world? Check. ”The Matrix” parody in the goofy 80-s à la Van Damme style? Check. Tyrannosaurus vs Nazi soldiers? Check.

Growling “I’m disarming you” with Batman’s voice to an enemy with a gun and then just tear the poor man’s limb off to use it as an airscrew? Check!

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Female sci-fi costumes & sexism in modern cinema

Let’s start at the very end.

Exposing various female body parts is a recurring motif in cinema and science fiction. It’s cheap. But if the movie sucks, how else you attract the guys in cinemas?

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Now let me explain how I came to this…

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Peter Stormare / Constantine

While “Constantine” wasn’t a perfect movie, Peter Stormare’s performance there was a true delight, as always.

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It’s funny though that in a Keanu Reeves’ film – Tilda Swinton, Rachel Weisz and Peter Stormare weren’t even mentioned on the posters – he was easily outplayed by their performance. I think the best Stormare’s role was as a cold-blooded weirdo in “Fargo”, and that was wa-ay different from “Constantine”.

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Well, Reeves’ eternally doleful and dismal face expression barely changes from one movie to another. But we can forgive this guy everything for “The Matrix”, don’t we?

Turbo Kid

turbo_kid.jpgDirector: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Starring: Laurence Leboeuf, Munro Chambers, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Edwin Wright. Canada (Quebec), New Zealand, 2015. Budget: $60,000. IMDb: 6.7. My rating: 3/4. An eccentric childish post-apocalyptic sci-fi with lots of gore.

– I thought all robots were evil.
– Depends on the model.
(The Kid and Apple are getting to know each other)

– You want to see something cool?
– I always want to see something cool.
(a conversation between The Kid and Apple)

“Turbo Kid” is  a faithful homage to the 80-s, a naïve love story occasionally slipping into a gory bloody post-apocalyptic trash. Sounds dorky? Well, it looks dorky too, and is entertaining as hell from the first frame.

The film doesn’t hesitate to borrow everywhere it can, but you don’t blame kids at the nearby playground for copying chases and fighting they saw on the TV screen, do you? Especially if they have a super-blaster-glove and BMX bikes.

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Dredd

Dredd

Poster by Jock.

Director: Pete Travis. Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Domhnall Gleeson. USA, 2012. Budget: $45 million. IMDb: 7.1. RT: 78%. My rating: 3.5/4. Gritty dystopian cyberpunk at its finest.

– Negotiation’s over. Sentence is death.
(Dredd)

– I was wondering when you’d remember you forgot your helmet.
– Sir, a helmet can interfere with my psychic abilities.
– Think a bullet in the head might interfere with them more.
(a dialogue between Dredd and the rookie Judge Anderson)

– I am the law.
(Dredd)

It’s not like I’m keen on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings… but how often does it actually happen that a reboot of a non-Marvel/DC superhero movie has 78% RT and 7.1 IMDb, outgunning by all means the so-bad-that-it’s-good 1995 version?

You’re right – almost never. “Dredd” is probably the only decent superhero sci-fi flick released since Marvel/DC brainstormed (brainwashed?) the world. It seems though that nobody noticed that (myself included, till yesterday).

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Lazer Team


Director
: Matt Hullum. Starring:  Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, Michael Jones, Colton Dunn, Allie DeBerry, Alan Ritchson. USA, 2015. IMDb: 5.7. Budget: $2.4 million. My rating: 3/4. Action sci-fi comedy about four losers saving the world.

– My calculations show that, scientifically, we’re screwed.
(Neil)

– Guys, guys, guys. Help, help. Hagan, I promise I won’t try and bang your daughter.
(Zach)

It’s going to be a tough one. Probably I have never seen a movie that borrows so much elsewhere while still has its own little charm. Bashed by critics and mostly loved by the public, it holds the record as the highest-funded film through Indiegogo. With a decent amount of dick weird humour and tons of pure geeky fun, ”Lazer Team” may not always convert quantity into quality, but it’s itching to start a fight. If you adored stuff like ”Paul” or ”Iron Sky” (and I bet you did…) and are ready to embrace “21 Jump Street”-style humour, here’s a new piece of nerdy sci-fi awesomeness. Add ”Galaxy Quest”, some warm 80-s low budget sci-fi feel and here we are.

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