This Week in Geek (28/03-03/04/16)

Buys

This week, got a trio of DVDs: Wild Tales, Avengers Age of Ultron, and Raising Arizona; and Cubicle 7 sent me the hardcopy of the Tenth Doctor Sourcebook for the Who RPG!

"Accomplishments"

In theaters: If you don't want to suffer through a 2-hour podcast about Batman v Superman: Dawn Will Never Come Because DARRRRRRKKKK!, here's a capsule review ;-). Zack Snyder's dismal lack of pacing and weak understanding of the material he wants to adapt sinks this bloated whale carcass of a film already compromised by Goyer's fatally convoluted and contrived script. And yet, I liked the actors/characters a heck of a lot (yes, even the jaded "Goddamn Batman", and top marks for Wonder Woman, now can't wait for her movie), so I wish they'd been in a better movie. Part of the problem, I think, is that Warners are in too much of a hurry to get their franchise going and the Justice League elements (including Diana, no matter how much I liked her) are awkwardly plugged in. And if like me, you're tired of Infinity Stone flashforwards in Marvel movies, you're going to hate the Apokolips/Crisis/Injustice foreshadowing in this movie; we're just not invested enough in this world yet to care about hints to something that HASN'T actually been brewing for a while. Confounding. And if you've got kids under 13, heed the PG-13 warning. It's so close to being an R, it's easy to see how the Special Edition DVD will get there (and fans of the bloat, I think it'll clock in a 3 hours!). But it's not so much that it's too violent for kids or that there's almost nudity in it, it's that the ethical questions asked will bore, confuse and repel (adults too, because the answers aren't well thought through). I think kids would want to see their heroes come alive on the big screen, but this about the failure of heroism. If Snyder wanted to do a thinking man's superhero movie, he should have started by being a thinking man himself is what I'm saying. Reach|Grasp ratio is way off.

DVDs: The classic 1951 production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire had director Elia Kazan get his theater cast together again (all but Jessica Tandy as Blanche, who had to give her role up to bigger star Vivian Leigh) four years after they'd made it big on Broadway. It made Marlon Brando a movie star. Hadn't seen the film in a long time, but it and the play have real staying power. Kazan's noir lighting, strong focus on Blanche and rightly too (in the theater, your eye goes where you want it to, and apparently that was Brando), and sexy jazz score all add something to what was already a complex piece of psycho-poetical drama, on the surface about a woman going mad and pushed over the edge by her sister's brutish husband, but at least on one level about the mythical South and what you find when you scratch at its veneer. Powerful as straight-up drama, filled with characters whose portrayal is at once deceptive and honest, sympathetic and repugnant. You'll discover nuances every time you watch it. The DVD includes several excellent featurettes on the director, the Broadway show, the film adaptation, its censorship issues, the music, and Brando (along with his screen tests for Rebel Without a Cause). Disappointingly, the commentary track just features slightly longer versions of the interviews used in the featurettes and feels repetitive. There are also outtakes (some film, some audio only), but not the funny kind - for completists only, I think).

2 comments:

Toby'c said...

I had no major complaints about Batman v Superman. It's not one that I'll be coming back to regularly (unlike, say, the DCAU episodes "World's Finest," Superman: Doomsday or The Dark Knight Returns movies), but it didn't bore me at all and it didn't actively piss me off (unlike a couple of recent Marvel movies).


A Streetcar Named Desire is among my favourite plays (thanks to English Literature in Year 11), and one of my favourite movies of the 1950s.

Michael May said...

"If Snyder wanted to do a thinking man's superhero movie, he should have started by being a thinking man himself is what I'm saying."

This is the Quote of the Month.

 

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