Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Now Playing

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previewing Man of Steel, This Is the End, Before Midnight, and Frances Ha

 An alien comes to save us all as we dance to the end of the world at twilight.  Here are the new releases for this week.

 

MAN OF STEEL

 

A young journalist is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race. *

 

The Good – It’s Superman’s turn in the reboot factory, although unlike some other franchises (Spider-man for one), this one I feel is deserved.  The last good Superman movie was the 1980 blockbuster Superman II.  The rest were lackluster to say the least.  The most recent try was Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns which turned the Man of Steel into some creepy child stalker.  That wasn’t the intent of the filmmakers, but it still gave off that vibe.

 

This new one comes from the same minds that brought us the recent Dark Knight Trilogy.  Christopher Nolan may only be a producer for this film (Zack Snyder is the director.  I’ll get to him in a bit) but his fingerprints can be felt in every aspect of the production.  It tries to be more grounded in reality.  I don’t know if this approach could work for a movie about a man who can fly, but it is an interesting approach.

 

Then we come to the cast.  Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, and Kevin Costner all turn up in some form.  All are great actors.  Then there’s Lexington native Michael Shannon taking over from Terrance Stamp as General Zod.   This is one casting choice I am really behind.  There needs to be more Michael Shannon being awesome in movies.  I have a feeling he’s going to be terrifying.  I can’t wait.

 

The Bad - Zack Snyder, fresh off his horribly misogynistic Sucker Punch, looks to return to some kind of relevancy with this new film.  I have to say, the trailers make the movie look outstanding to me but that can be one of the problems with Snyder.  His films take a more style over substance approach that tends to call more attention to him than the material.  Watchmen was based off a deep and acclaimed graphic novel, but some of the choices he made as a director took away from the impact.  I’m looking at the change in the ending and the terribly miscast Malin Akerman as prime examples.  Yes, it may look pretty but if there is nothing behind the visuals, then we are left with nothing.  That being said, I do love his remake of Dawn of the Dead and 300.  So I’m thinking this film should right Snyder’s ship.

 

The Ugly – I actually recall going into the theaters and seeing Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.  It almost turned me off to movies all together.

 

Man of Steel is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language.

 

THIS IS THE END

 

While attending a party at James Franco's house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse. *

 

Brief Thoughts – While I may have been apathetic towards recent comedies (The Internship, Hangover Part III), I feel this one I can get behind.  Some of the top comedic talents in Hollywood all get together to play horrible versions of themselves during the apocalypse.  I crack up whenever I watch this trailer.    I’m wondering which actor, if any, will live to see the end.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing this sometime this weekend.

 

This Is the End is rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.

 

BEFORE MIDNIGHT

 

We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. *

 

Brief Thoughts – If you like your movies filled with people talking about the mundane aspects of everyday life, this movie could be for you.  That’s a bit harsher than I intended but it’s true.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be a good film.  The third in Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), this film has been garnishing great reviews, including a rare 4 star from Reelviews James Berardinelli (a critic whose preferences skew close to my own).  I’ve always wanted to see the other two films, but haven’t had the chance.  Either way, it looks interesting.

 

Before Midnight is rated R for sexual content/nudity and language.

 

FRANCES HA

 

A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. *

 

Brief Thoughts – I don’t like it, although I’m struggling to figure out why.  I think it’s because I can only take a certain amount of quirk before I tune out (which is why I can’t make it through an episode of The New Girl).  Just everything about the main character is a turn off.  She dances like Elaine from Seinfeld and appears to be oblivious to everything around her.  This is the impression I got from the 2 minute trailer.  The final product may not be as blunt but I can’t help it if it doesn’t work for me.

 

Frances Ha is rated R for sexual references and language.

 

That will do for this week.  Tune in next time when zombies eat out neighbors.  Until then, I can’t stand to fly.  I’m not that naïve.

 

*all movie summaries taken from IMDB.com

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