drama, movie, movie review, thriller

December 26th, 2017 Movie – Syriana

syriana

Well, I find myself finishing up with the letter “S” today. Once again, I find myself with a movie that I never saw in theaters, though I had several friends saying it was really good. So based on their recommendations, I decided to pick up a copy on the cheap when Blockbuster was going out of business. I think I might have to figure out how many of my spur of the moment Blockbuster purchases during that time period were based solely on friends’ recommendations. Anyways, let’s get down to business with today’s movie, Syriana.

The plot: CIA agent Bob Barnes is in Tehran, Iran to participate in an arms deal. After inspecting the two anti-aircraft missile for the sale, Bob notices that one of the missiles is taken into the back of the store while the other is taken outside by the two men that bought the weapons. After getting his money, Bob heads to the back to investigate what is happening with the second missile, only to be held at gunpoint as the second missile is taken away so Bob leaves out the front door, disregarding the two arms dealers as they are killed by the explosive he secretly placed inside their missile case. Meanwhile, Connex Oil is losing control of oil fields in the Middle East just as a smaller company, Killen, won drilling rights in Kazakhstan. The Connex board decides to form a merger with Killen and hire a DC law firm to help smooth the way. Among the people involved is Bennet Holiday, who is there to help smooth things over with the DOJ and help assuage anti-trust fears. Elsewhere, Bryan Woodman, an American energy analyst working in Switzerland, is ordered to attend an emir’s party and offer him the services of their company and when he says he can’t as it is his son’s birthday, his company offers to send them with him. Back in DC, Bob’s superiors are nervous as Bob keeps asking about the missile theft and has written an official memo regarding it. They promote him to a desk job in the hopes it will keep him out of trouble but Bob’s tendency to speak his mind causes problems. Elsewhere, Pakistani workers board a bus to go work at a Connex refinery only to be told they have been laid off due to the Chinese outbidding Connex for the rights to the refinery. As Saleem and his son Wasim walk back to their lodgings, Wasim tries to figure out what to do for a job. In Spain, Bryan and his family arrive at the plaza and Bryan is told the emir can’t meet with him, as he is busy meeting with some Chinese delegates, and so Bryan is forced to give his presentation to some of the emir’s representatives. As the emir and his son, Prince Meshal, show the Chinese how they can keep watch over all of the compound using their remote cameras, not noticing that one of the lights in the pool is broken. As Bryan heads back to rejoin his family, he is attracted to a commotion at the pool and discovers that his oldest son has been electrocuted. In Pakistan, Wasim continues to try and find work and is told to learn Arabic if he wants a job, but as he goes to attend the school, he ends up being beaten. In DC, Holiday attends a meeting at the DOJ, where they tell him that they feel someone in Killen had bribed the Kazakhstan officials in order to get the contracts and are trying to find out who it was in order to prosecute them. Bob is ordered to oversee the assassination of Prince Nasir, the emir’s oldest son, and is told he has been financing terrorists. Bob goes to see his friend, who is a retired agent, and is told to check in with Hezbollah when he gets to Lebanon, so that they know he isn’t working against them. Meanwhile, Bryan attends a meeting with Nasir, who offers his company $75 million in his country’s oil interests as compensation for their part in his son’s death. Bryan is upset at first, insultingly asking what he will offer for his other son, but when he learns that Nasir actually wishes to advance his country’s growth, instead of letting it stagnate like his father has done, he accepts the offer and offers Nasir some advice. Bob arrives in Lebanon but when he gets there, he finds himself grabbed and taken away to a secret meeting with the Hezbollah leader. Back in Pakistan, Wasim and his friend are approached by a man, the same man Bob saw take the missile, who begins speaking with them and tries to convince them to join him. In Lebanon, Bob meets with a mercenary named Mussawi to help him kidnap and kill Nasir. Bob heads to Beirut to oversee the operation but when he reaches his hotel room, he finds himself attacked and kidnapped by Mussawi, who proceeds to torture him and is about to cut off his head but he is stopped by Hezbollah. Back in DC, Bob’s superiors get wind of what happened and Mussawi’s threats to tell people of Bob’s attempt to kill Nasir. Wishing to keep it in the dark that the assassination was US sanctioned, they decide to blackball Bob and make him out to be a rogue agent; revoking his passports, locking him out of his computer, and starting an investigation into him. Elsewhere, Holiday finds proof of payouts from a Killen executive to Kazakhstan and confronts Danny Dalton, the man who authorized the funds. Elsewhere, Nasir learns that his father is passing him over to replace him as emir in favor of his brother, whose views more closely resemble his own as opposed to Nasir’s more progressive views, so Nasir tries to organize a coup to usurp his father’s power. Barnes speaks with his friend to find out who is the one blackballing him and arranges a meeting with Dean Whitting, the head of the law firm backing the Connex/Killen merger and a member of the CLI (Committee to Liberate Iran), and threatens his family until he agrees to arrange for Bob’s investigation to be stopped and his passports reinstated. At the same time, Holiday meets with Jimmy Pope, the head of Killen, and tells him that Dalton will not be enough to stop the DOJ’s investigation and Killen asks if the second body could be someone in his firm, to which Holiday agrees providing the name was big enough. Holiday goes with his mentor Sidney Hewitt to meet with Leeland Janus, the head of Connex, and while there, explains the situation with the DOJ and then informs him that Hewitt had arranged an illegal deal for another pipeline to occur during the sale. Hewitt is turned over to the DOJ as the second body, which stops the investigation into the merger and Leeland is honored as the “Oil Industry Man of the Year”. Meanwhile, Nasir is heading out to lead the coup and Bryan, who has been acting as an advisor, rides with him but when they are stopped by a large herd of goats, Bryan switches cars so that Nasir can ride with his family. Bob arrives in the Middle East and goes to intercept Nasir’s convoy, attempting to warn him of the assassination attempt but he is too late, as a drone strike blows up Nasir’s car, killing him and his family, and Bob as well. Meanwhile, Wasim and his friend have been radicallized and using a bomb fashioned from the anti-aircraft missile, pilot their boat towards a Connex-Killen oil tanker and blow it up. Bryan survives the blast and heads home to his family while funerals are arranged for Nasir, as well as Bob.

Syriana met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience, Syriana is both a gripping geopolitical thriller and wake-up call to the complacent.” George Clooney suffered a spinal injury during a stunt and, due to the weight he gained for the role, he was bedridden for a month and suffered migraines, causing him to miss out on doing promotional work for Ocean’s Twelve. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $94 million off of a $50 million budget

This is a good movie but I feel like it was made overly complicated and more confusing than it needed to be. The acting was good, with George Clooney (Bob) and Jeffrey Wright (Holiday) doing great jobs in their roles. Matt Damon (Bryan) was also good, though felt a little mechanical at times, while Alexander Siddig did a much better job portraying Nasir. The story was pretty good but all the different storylines that were going on made it a little confusing to follow, as they were forced to bounce around the different plots and couldn’t really focus on any one point for too long. The special effects and the drama were both effectively used throughout the movie and did help move things along, but the bouncing story line really did hurt it. A good movie but definitely something you will have to focus on in order to understand everything going on.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, drama, movie, movie review

December 25th, 2017 Movie – Swingers

swingers

You have to love those movies that seem to define a generation. Today’s movie is definitely one that seemed to resonate with my generation. I lost count of the number of times I have heard someone saying “That’s money!” or “Vegas, baby!” over the years. I will admit that it took me a while to get the references, as I didn’t end up seeing this movie until several years after it came out. Once I did, however, I decided to buy a copy of my own to keep so I could watch it whenever I wanted too. Now let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Swingers.

The plot: In Los Angeles, Mike Peters, a struggling comedian, is sitting in a diner with his friend Rob and complaining about how he misses his ex-girlfriend Michelle, who is still in New York. When he gets home, Mike contemplates calling Michelle but calls his friend Trent instead, who convinces Mike to go to Vegas with him. When they get there, Mike immediately loses $200 on a high stakes blackjack table and heads down to a lower risk table for the rest of the night, where he manages to get some of it back. After collecting his night’s winnings, Mike wants to go home but Trent convinces him to stay by talking with a waitress, Christy, and asking her to get a friend and go out for drinks with them when her shift ends. The two meet up with Christy and her friend Lisa and Christy invites them back to her place, where she ends up hooking up with Trent while Mike talks with Lisa about his ex, then interrupts Trent and Christy so he can use Christy’s phone to call Michelle. The two leave Vegas and end up talking on the side of the highway, where Trent tries to convince Mike that he needs to get over Michelle as he is better off without her. Mike hangs out with Rob, Trent, and their friends Sue and Charles, where they decide to head out to a Hollywood party. At the party, Mike attempts to pick up a girl, with Rob acting as his wingman but he gets shot down as he doesn’t drive an expensive enough car for the girls’ tastes. Meanwhile, Trent manages to get a girls phone number but then immediately rips it up as he walks away from the girl, causing the guys to chastise him. They leave the party and head to a club for some cocktails, where Mike actually ends up hitting on a girl named Nikki and getting her number. As they are leaving, some guys bump into Sue and they end up arguing and as things start getting heated, Sue pulls out a gun and chases off the men. The other guys chastise Sue over his actions, with Rob and Charles leaving, and Mike walking away in anger after Sue calls him out for how he has been pining over Michelle for 6 months. When Mike gets home, he ends up calling Nikki and leaves her several messages until she eventually picks up and tells him to not call her again. Mike is feeling depressed and considers moving back to New York but Rob comes over and talks him out of it, telling him how he actually is doing good for himself right now. Mike decides to go hang out with Trent and finds him and Sue playing video games with the guys that they got into the argument with at the club. Sue says that they ran into them the next night and apologized and realized they had a lot in common and started hanging out. Sue then apologizes for what he said to Mike and they patch things up. Mike, Trent, and Sue head out to a dance club and while they are there, Mike notices a girl at the bar and begins talking to her. He learns that her name is Lorraine and she is in a similar situation as him and she asks him if things get better. Lorraine asks Mike to dance and they end up heading out onto the dance floor, with Trent and Sue happily watching their friend. Afterwards, Mike walks Lorraine and they make plans to get together again and as they are eating breakfast, Trent and Sue congratulate Mike on seeming to be getting his life back on track. The next day, Mike receives a call from Michelle and he starts to talk with her but when he gets a call from Lorraine, he hangs up on Michelle so he can focus on building a relationship with Lorraine.

Swingers was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” Funny, heartfelt, and effortlessly cool, Swingers made stars out of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, established Doug Liman as a director to watch.” The scene where Mike and Trent were talking on the side of the freeway was actually done illegally, as the crew not only did not have a permit but filming is not allowed on that particular highway. Doug Liman decided to shoot anyways, even when police showed up, and covered it up by leaving the camera running while not looking through the viewfinder, and using a microphone in the car instead of a boom mike. The movie was a box office hit, earning $4.6 million off of a $200,000 budget and helped launch the careers of Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Rob Livingston and director Doug Liman.

This is a great movie to watch. Jon Favreau (Mike), Vince Vaughn (Trent), and Rob Livingston (Rob) were all great in their roles, as was Heather Graham in her brief role as Lorraine. The story was well written, with Favreau adding a lot of realism to the script by using his own experiences from when he first moved to L.A., where he had broken up with his own girlfriend before the move and his friends helped him get over it. The music in the movie was pretty good, being a mixture of classic 40’s and 60’s swing/lounge music with some more modern music from the mid-late 90’s swing revival, a revival that coincided with the release of the movie (though there is no direct correlation between the two). A great movie and definitely one that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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drama, movie, movie review, thriller

December 24th, 2017 Movie – Swimfan

swimfan

So, I have a lot of movie. Pretty sure that goes without saying at this point. Now the thing about having so many movies is that they have a tendency to trigger various memories; whether it is of watching the movie itself or something that reminds me of it. If you are wondering what that has to do with today’s movie, the simple answer is that I have no memory of this movie. I don’t remember getting this movie and the only thing I can think of to explain how I came about owning it is that it is a movie left behind by my ex in the divorce. Well, guess I have to figure that out another day as right now, I need to watch today’s movie, Swimfan.

The plot: Ben Cronin is a star swimmer for his high school swim team and when he shows up for practice, his coach informs him that scouts for Stanford will be at the next meet. Josh tells his friends, who all congratulate him though his rival Josh says he might steal all the attention when he races. Afterwards, Ben talks with his girlfriend Amy about the situation, as she plans on going to college in Rhode Island and is worried about what the distance will do to their relationship, even considering switching schools and attending Berkley so they can stay close together. Later that day, Ben helps out Madison Bell, a new student that just transferred there. The next day, Ben almost hits Madison with his car and after apologizing, gives her a ride home. When he gets home, Ben notices one Madison’s notebooks was left in his car and when he opens it, he finds it full of music notes, with his initials written on one of the pages. Ben heads over to give Madison her notebook back, awkwardly talking to her cousin Christoper Dante, who is also a classmate, before she shows up and asks to go get some food. The two head out to a diner and Ben ends up telling her about how he used to be involved with drugs and stealing until a short stint in juvie helped him straighten out. Ben tells her that he has a girlfriend but says Josh would happily go out with her but she says she isn’t interested in Josh. Ben wants to take her home but she convinces him to take her back to the school pool, and they end up having sex in the pool. Afterwards, Ben takes her home and they agree to keep it their secret and just be friends. The next day, Ben is already feeling guilty about what happened after talking with Amy on the phone, and oversleeping and missing morning practice. That night, Ben goes to a party at Amy’s house and Amy introduces him to her new friend, which happens to be Madison. Ben tries to avoid her but Madison continues to heavily flirt with him and tells her that she left her panties in his truck, prompting Ben to race outside and stop Amy from moving his truck. Madison continues stalking Ben, sending him emails and instant messages on his computer and pager, all of which cause Ben to start doing poorly in practice, causing his coach to chastise him. One day, Ben comes home to find Madison in his home talking with his mom and he asks his mom how long she has been there. Feeling like the situation is getting out of hand, Ben is surprised to find his inbox full of emails from Madison, some of them containing nude pictures she sent him. Ben is further confused when he sees Madison at swim practice, but she has apparently started dating Josh. Some time later, Ben is leaving practice to go to work when Madison approaches him and asks if she did anything wrong and not to worry about Josh but Ben says he is trying to stay away from her but she doesn’t seem to be getting the hint. While at work volunteering at the hospital his mom works at, Ben is passing out medicine to the patients when one of them goes into cardiac arrest. Ben swears he checked the meds at the nurse’s station and that someone must have switched the meds in his cart but he is still fired from his job. Ben races back to school and confronts Madison, telling her to stay away from him and not to contact him anymore. He then heads to Amy’s work to try and talk to her but she is busy and says they will talk before class in the morning, unaware that Madison is watching them. The next day, Ben goes to talk with Amy but finds her in tears and she slaps him, and he learns that Madison already told Amy about sleeping with him. Feeling ostracized from his friends, Ben tries to patch things up with Amy but she refuses to see him. The day of the big swim meet, Ben is pulled from the line-up as his pre-race urine sample tested positive for steroids. Seeing that Madison had disappeared from the crowd, Ben confronts Josh, thinking he helped her but Josh shoves him into the pool and says he is losing it. When Ben gets home, his mom asks if he is using drugs again and Ben says he isn’t and asks that she leave him alone so he can try to get his life back on track. He goes to see Amy and tries to tell her everything but she doesn’t believe him and asks that he leave. Meanwhile, Madison and Josh are making out but when Madison accidentally calls out Ben’s name by mistake, Josh realizes Ben was right about Madison and leaves her. The next day, Ben goes swimming in the school pool and finds Josh’s body floating in it and Ben is suspected of killing him due to his past. Trying to prove his innocence, Ben sneaks into Madison’s room and discovers steroids as well as a collection of items and newspaper clippings dedicated to him. Christopher finds Ben in Madison’s room and quickly drags Ben into his room and hands him a book before having him leave out the window so that Madison doesn’t find him. Back in his truck, Ben finds the book contians clippings about a man named Jake Donnelly and Christopher meets with Ben and takes him to New York to see Jake. Ben finds Jake is in an assisted living facility, completely comatose and learns that Jake was in a car crash but his girlfriend survived without a scratch. While Ben is gone, Madison steals Ben’s keys to his truck and uses it to run Amy off the road after school. Ben’s mother pages him and when he calls her, she tells him about Amy and how the police are looking for him. Ben tries to warn her to keep Madison away from Amy but the time runs out on his quarter. At the hospital, Madison is posing as a doctor and heads towards Amy’s room, intending to kill her, but she pauses when she hears Jake Donnelly’s name being paged to come to the nurses station. When Madison gets there, she sees someone wearing Jake’s jacket and thinks it is him but when she follows him out to the parking garage, she discovers that it is really Christopher in disguise. When she goes to kill him, Ben stops her and threatens to kill her but she says she knows he won’t kill her. When Madison says that she killed Josh and tried to kill Amy for them, Ben reveals that he had his friends tape her confession, which they give to the police. Madison is taken away by the police but as they are stopped at a railroad crossing, Madison grabs the gun from the cop in the back with her and proceeds to kill the police. Since her parents are out of town, Amy is taken to Ben’s house to recuperate and Ben apologizes for his actions harming her. When he hears the doorbell ring, Ben goes to answer it but finds nobody there. When he heads back inside the house, he sees his mom lying on the kitchen floor just before someone knocks him out. When he comes too, Ben checks to make sure his mother is still alive, then goes to check on Amy only to find her missing. Ben goes looking for her and Madison and finds them at the pool, with Madison having chained Amy to a chair. Madison demands that Ben tell Amy that he loves Madison instead of her and when he refuses, she pushes Amy into the pool. Ben dives in to rescue her, and picks the lock on the handcuffs so he can bring her back to the surface. Madison attempts to attack Ben with a pool skimmer but he grabs the handle and drags her into the pool. Madison attempts to grab onto Ben, as she can’t swim, but Ben is easily able to avoid her and drags Amy out of the pool and revives her, leaving Madison to drown. Some time later, Ben watches a swim meet as a spectator, then heads out to his truck, where he joins Amy and they head off to start a new life together.

Swimfan was panned by the critics, holding a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A Fatal Attraction rip-off, Swimfan is a predictable, mediocre thriller.” Except for the scenes inside Madison’s house, all of the scenes in the movie had a light blue tint added to them, to simulate being under water. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $34.4 million off of a $10 million budget, nearly a third of it coming from it’s opening weekend, where it was #1 at the box office.

I think this movie could be considered an accurate representation of everything that is bad with teenagers. This really is a bad movie. The acting was terrible, with everyone being completely shallow and really displaying no real character development. Speaking of shallow, that is pretty much exactly what the plot was; a very shallow attempt at trying to make a compelling thriller but falling on it’s face. Everything was so predictable that I actually fell asleep at one point watching this because it was soo boring. The lighting for the movie, with the blue tint everywhere, was actually kind of interesting but not enough to help this movie. In the ocean of movies out there to watch, do yourself a favor and swim on past this one.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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drama, horror, movie, movie review, musical

December 23rd, 2017 Movie – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

sweeney todd

My apologies for the lateness of today’s post as, due to the holiday craziness, I had to go into work today. Anyways, today’s movie is one that I honestly wasn’t all that interested in seeing. Now, that may come as a surprise to most people because this seems like it would be right up my alley and normally you would be right. However, I am not really much of a fan of musicals in general and have to be in the right frame of mind to want to watch one. Still, I had several friends telling me that this was a good movie and I would enjoy it so I decided to go ahead and pick up a copy of it during the Blockbuster binge. Now let’s see if they were right as I watch today’s movie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

The plot: In Victorian London, Sweeney Todd arrives in town, accompanied by a young sailor named Anthony Hope. Anthony is excited about being in London but Todd is more melancholy about it and warns Anthony that London can be a treacherous place; telling him a story about a man named Benjamin Barker, who had been falsely accused of a crime by a judge so that the judge could seduce Barker’s wife Lucy. The two soon part ways and Todd makes his way down Fleet Street to Mrs. Lovett’s meat pie shop, where he used to have his shop on the second floor. When Todd enters the shop, Mrs. Lovett gives him a meat pie, warning him that they are “the worst meat pies in London”, then has him follow her to get a drink to wash the taste out of his mouth. Todd asks about the shop up the stairs and Mrs. Lovett tells him that it is empty, as most people say it is haunted. She tells him that after Barker was exiled, Judge Turpin continuously came round the shop to try and woo Lucy but she refused him. One day, Turpin sent his henchman, Beadle Bamford, to bring Lucy to him, under the pretense of their being a mistake in Barker’s case and he might be set free. When Lucy arrives at Turpin’s house, she finds a party going on and is given a drink and Turpin proceeds to rape her as the other party-goers laugh. Hearing this, Todd gets enraged and Mrs. Lovett recognizes him as Barker. When Todd asks about Lucy, Mrs. Lovett says she drank arsenic and killed herself after the rape and that Barker’s daughter, Johanna, was adopted and raised by Turpin, prompting Todd to swear revenge on those that wronged him. Mrs. Lovett takes Todd upstairs to his old shop, which Todd hesitantly enters, and gives him his old straight razors, which she had hidden underneath the floorboards as she has long felt an unrequited love for Barker. Meanwhile, Anthony is wandering around London when he sees Johanna sitting at her window sill and becomes enamored with her. As he stares up at her, a homeless woman asks him for some change and he hands her some, then asks about the house and the woman inside. The woman quickly leaves as Turpin opens the door and invites Anthony inside, where he threatens Anthony and warns him to stay away from Johanna before having Bamford throw Anthony out of the house. The next day, Mrs. Lovett takes Todd to a market, where an Italian barber by the name of Adolfo Pirelli is selling hair tonic with the help of his assistant Tobias “Toby” Ragg. When Todd calls the tonic a fake and challenges Adolfo to a shaving contest, asking Bamford, who had been wandering the market, to serve as judge. Todd wins the contest and as he thanks Bamford, he invites him to his shop, offering a free shave when he visits. Meanwhile, Anthony continues to watch Johanna from the street and Johanna appears to return his interest, unaware that Turpin is watching Johanna from secret spy holes in the house. As Todd gets impatient for Bamford to show up, and makes his plans for Turpin, Anthony shows up and asks Todd for his help. Anthony explains that he has fallen for Johanna and wishes to save her from the man that keeps her and tells them that Johanna had dropped a key out her window so he can help her escape. Since he doesn’t know anybody in town except for Todd, he asks if he can bring Johanna here for a a few hours while he arranges transport out of the city, not knowing that Johanna is Todd’s daughter, and Todd says yes. After Anthony leaves, Todd and Mrs. Lovett see Adolfo and Toby approaching the shop and Mrs. Lovett heads down to head them off, then invites Toby to have a meat pie while Adolfo speaks with Todd. Inside Todd’s shop, Adolfo reveals that his name is really Davy Collins and he threatens to reveal to Bamford that Todd is really Barker, as Davy used to be Todd’s assistant when he was a boy. As Davy continues to threaten to blackmail Todd, Todd knocks him unconscious with a tea kettle, then hides the body in his trunk when Toby goes to check on him. After Toby leaves, Todd opens the trunk and as Davy starts to climb out, Todd quickly slits his throat with a razor. Meanwhile, Turpin has finished court and as he is walking home, he tells Bamford that he plans on marrying Johanna. Bamford congratulates him and after commenting on Turpin’s stubble, recommends he go see Todd for a shave. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett goes to check on Todd and is shocked to learn that he killed Adolfo but when she learns that he tried to blackmail Todd, she is ok with it. Todd wants to kill Toby as well but Mrs. Lovett convinces him to let Toby help her in the shop. Suddenly, Todd sees Turpin and Bamford approaching the shop and he has Mrs. Lovett quickly leave while he makes sure to hide any evidence of Davy’s murder before Turpin walks in. Turpin is not impressed with Todd’s shop but as Bamford recommended him, asks Todd to give him a shave, then tells Todd that he plans to marry his ward. Todd proceeds to shave Turpin but as he prepares to slit his throat, Anthony bursts in and tells Todd that Johanna has agreed to elope with him, not realizing Turpin was sitting there. Turpin angrily tells Anthony that he will never see Johanna again before telling Todd he will never enter his shop again. An enraged Todd yells at Anthony to get out of his shop, then rants to Mrs. Lovett about going on a killing spree when Mrs. Lovett asks what they should do about Gary’s body. Todd says they should wait until it is late and go bury the body but Mrs. Lovett suddenly thinks it is a waste of good meat and they decide to use the bodies as part of her pies. Back at Turpin’s home, Turpin confronts Johanna, who is packing a bag to elope with Anthony, and has Bamford send her away. Anthony sees Johanna being forced into a carriage and yells at Turpin to tell him where she is going before he chases off after it. Back at his shop, Todd fashions a swivel chair connected to a trap door, so that after he kills his victims, they can be dropped down into the basement, where Mrs. Lovett proceeds to place them in her meat furnace. With the influx of fresh meat, Mrs. Lovett’s shop begins to prosper but she is constantly throwing the homeless woman out, who has taken a serious interest in the shop. Sometime later, Mrs. Lovett takes Todd on a picnic and explains her wish to take him away to the seaside and get married but Todd is still focused on getting his revenge on Turpin. Meanwhile, Anthony has discovered Johanna has been placed in an insane asylum and goes to Todd to ask for his help in getting her out. Todd tells Anthony to pose as a wig-maker’s assistant in order to get access, as wigs are made from the hair shaved off the inmates, and Anthony happily leaves. Todd then writes a letter to Turpin, telling him that Johanna will be at his shop that night and asks Toby to deliver it to Turpin. Toby does so and when he returns, he voices his suspicions of Todd to Mrs. Lovett and promises to protect her. When he sees that Mrs. Lovett has Pirelli’s purse, he tells her they have to leave, as he believes Todd is dangerous, but she calms him down and says she won’t let anything happen to him. Mrs. Lovett then tells Toby that she will show him how to ake the meat pies and takes him down to the basement. Down there, she explains the smell away as coming from the sewers, then shows him how to use the oven and operate the grinder and leaves him down there before heading back upstairs. She tells Todd about Toby but before they can head downstairs, they are confronted by Bamford, who is there due to complaints about the smell coming from Mrs. Lovett’s chimney. Todd convinces Bamford to go upstairs with him to get cleaned up, unaware that the homeless woman is watching him. In the basement, Toby discovers the bodies and is shocked when Bamford’s corpse falls from the trap door so he hides as Todd and Mrs. Lovett enter the basement looking for him. Meanwhile, Anthony had used Todd’s idea and is able to free Johanna and they head back to the shop, with Johanna disguised as a sailor. Finding the shop empty, Anthony has Johanna wait there while he goes to get a coach and after he leaves, Johanna begins examining the Todd’s pictures and razors. When the homeless woman enters the shop, Johanna quickly hides in Todd’s chest to avoid being seen. Todd finds the woman in his shop and asks who she is and the woman asks if she knows him when Tod hears Turpin’s voice calling out to him from below. Todd quickly kills the woman and dumps her body down the trap door before Turpin enters. Todd then tells Turpin that Johanna has seen the error of her ways and will be there to go home with him. Todd then convinces Turpin to let him shave him and once he has Turpin in his chair, he reveals his identity to him before stabbing him repeatedly in the throat and sending him down the trap door. As Todd feels his task is finished, he hears the chest open and he sees the disguised Johanna staring at him. Todd grabs her and, not recognizing his daughter, is about to kill her when he hears Mrs. Lovett scream and he tells her to forget his face before heading downstairs. When he enters the basement, he goes to help Mrs. Lovett deal with the bodies but as she opens the bakehouse oven, the light from the fire falls onto the body of the homeless woman. Todd stares at her and realizes the homeless woman was Lucy, and Mrs. Lovett had lied about her being dead in order to keep Todd to herself. Todd pretends to forgive her and asks her to dance with him but as they dance, he throws her into the over and burns her alive. Todd then goes to Lucy’s body and cradles her as he weeps when Toby, who had been hiding in the sewers, emerges and quickly slits Todd’s throat before leaving, leaving Todd to bleed to death over Lucy’s body.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Full of pith and Grand Guignol grossness, this macabre musical is perfectly helmed and highly entertaining. Tim Burton masterfully stages the musical in a way that will make you think he has done this many times before.” Helena Bonham Carter was pregnant with her and Tim Burton’s second child while filming this and complained about how the size of her breasts noticeably changes during the movie, as the filming was done out of sequence. The movie was a box office success, earning $152.5 million off of a $50 million budget and garnered several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Art Direction, as well as a Best Actor nomination for Johnny Depp.

My friends were right, this was a good movie. The acting/singing was really good, with Johnny Depp (Todd), Helena Bonham Carter (Lovett), Alan Rickman (Turpin), and Jamie Campbell Bower (Anthony) all did a good job in both their roles and their singing. I really liked the story as it did a good job of explaining everyone’s character and motivations for their actions. The special effects regarding the blood and deaths were a little over the top but I felt like that was a good thing in keeping with the musical aspect of the movie. Meanwhile, the dark lighting, set designs, and costumes only made the contrast of the blood (and there was a lot of blood) that much sharper, which added more of an impact to the deaths themselves. I know musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and neither are horror movies, but this is a pretty good combination of both that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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adventure, crime, drama, movie, movie review

December 22nd, 2017 Movie – Swamp Women

swamp women

Just when you thought we were getting out of the swamp, another movie pulls us back in. Today’s movie is an early work from Roger Corman, and one of the movies that gave him the nickname “King of the B-Movies.” I remember seeing this on MST3K years ago and thinking that it was just terrible. I ended up owning this movie when I bought a box set of Roger Corman movies a few years ago. Let’s see how bad it is without Joel and the bots cracking jokes during it as I watch today’s movie, Swamp Women.

The plot: In New Orleans, a geologist named Bob Matthews is wandering around Mardi Gras with his friend Marie and tells her about a plot of land he is testing for oil out in the swamp. The two encounter a pickpocket named Charlie and Bob manages to catch him and turn him over to police to be booked. As Charlie is being booked, Lt. Lee Hampton is talking with Captain J.R. Goodrich about the missing diamond from a heist. Goodrich decides to send Lee undercover into prison, where she is supposed to get close to the women who stole the diamonds and go with them when they escape, in the hopes they will lead her to the diamonds. Inside the prison, Lee is made roommates with the diamond robbers, Josie Nardo, Vera, and Billie, and tells them she knows how to get out of the prison and has someone leaving a car for her. She will take them with her if they give her a cut of the diamonds. Wanting to get out of prison, the three women decide to go along with the plan and after climbing over the fence, they find the car just where Lee said it would be. As Lee is driving away, Josie is giving her directions to where they stashed some clothes and weapons and then they head out into the swamp to retrieve the diamonds only to have their boat spring a leak on them. Suddenly, they see a boat, with Bob, Marie, and a driver inside, heading towards them and they flag it down. When Vera tries to force them out of the boat, she ends up shooting the driver but before she can kill the others, Lee stops her and wrestles the gun from her. After Bob and Marie are taken out of the boat, Vera attacks Lee before Josie breaks it up and asks Lee why she stopped Vera from killing them. Lee says that they could be useful in case they run into trouble and Josie agrees to the idea. As they make their way down the swamp, Vera continues to pick fights with Lee, while Billie starts flirting with Bob. As they make camp for the night, the girls start talking about what they will do with their shares of the diamonds. At some point during the night, Billie attempts to seduce Bob but Vera grabs her and the two start fighting until Josie breaks them up. The next morning, Marie attempts to steal the boat but when Josie spots her and shoots at her, she ends up falling into the water. Lee jumps in to try and save her and Bob convinces Josie to free his hands so that he can help but they are too late as an alligator ends up eating her. When they make camp for the night, Lee secretly approaches Bob to check on him and he tells her he knows she isn’t like the others and kisses her but Lee pushes him away quickly as Vera approaches. After they keep making their way through the swamp, they eventually reach the spot where the diamonds are buried and Josie, Vera, and Billie quickly hop out of the boat to dig them up. Lee checks on Bob, then heads over to help and they soon find the chest and Josie shoots off the lock. Vera and Billie end up fighting over the diamonds and Josie breaks it up, threatening to kill them both if they don’t get it together. After making camp for the night, Vera quietly grabs the guns from the other girls while they are sleeping and then grabs the diamonds. She then approaches Bob and convinces him to go with her, threatening to shoot him if he refuses, and they quietly leave camp. When the others wake up and discover their guns and the diamonds are missing, Josie is curious about why Vera didn’t take the boat and figures that Vera wants them to follow after her so she can kill them. They eventually find Vera perched in a tree, with Bob tied up to the base of it, and Josie comes up with a plan. Fashioning a spear to use, Josie has Lee and Billie distract Vera, allowing her to throw the spear at Vera. As the girls distract Vera, a rattlesnake approaches Bob and threatens to bite him. Vera sees the snake and goes to shoot it when she is struck by the spear but she still manages to kill the snake before falling dead from the tree. The girls grab Bob and the diamonds and continue making their way out of the swamp, Josie starts getting suspicious of Lee’s refusal to kill anyone and decides to test her by telling her to kill Bob, with Billie agreeing with Josie. When Lee argues she doesn’t want to use a gun as it would attract attention, Josie pulls out her knife and plans to kill Bob but Lee begins fighting with her. Billie attempts to shoot Lee but Bob slams into her, throwing off her shot. Lee and Bob manage to knock out the two crooks and embrace and as a police boat shows up, Bob says he will stand by her side as they approach it.

Wow, this really is a bad movie. The acting was incredibly stiff and honestly pretty bad all around. The story was pretty basic but the execution of it just seemed to jump around all over the place. The lighting was pretty annoying as I know some aspects were supposed to be in the night but it was still daylight. The fight scenes between the women were pretty poorly choreographed to be honest and some of the other effects felt lacking. I did think the interjecting of wildlife footage, such as the alligators and birds in the swamp, was actually pretty good, but the scene with the rattlesnake next to Bob looked incredibly fake when compared to the footage of the snake on it’s own. I love Corman films but even I have to admit that this is one better watched while it is being “riffed”.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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action, animation, drama, movie, movie review, sci-fi

December 16th, 2017 Movie – Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

superman batman public enemies

While I have always been more of a Marvel Comics guy as opposed to DC, I have read some DC comics over the years. I remember reading several comics as a kid featuring 2/3 of DC’s famed trinity, Batman and Superman. The two have teamed up in the comics numerous times and had their own series once or twice, with a recent one starting up in 2003. Today’s movie is actually based on that series, taking the first 6 issues and turning them into a new animated movie. While it takes place during DC’s new animated universe of movies, it is technically not a part of the DCAU but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying today’s movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. 

The plot: As the country finds itself in the grips of a crippling economic depression, Lex Luthor runs for president under a 3rd party bid and ends up winning the election. During his inauguration speech, Luthor comments on the aliens and superheroes who act above the law and says he has formed his own official task force, consisting of Captain Atom, Power Girl, Black Lightning, Katana, and Major Force, to deal with any problems and if the other superheroes don’t fall in line, they will be punished. Some time later, Superman is dealing with a high speed car chase when he is confronted by Captain Atom, Power Girl, and Major Force. Captain Atom wants Superman to admit that he was wrong about Luthor but Superman says Luthor is up to something and refuses to trust him. Meanwhile, Luthor is in the war room with his Chief of Staff, Amanda Waller, watching telemetry on an approaching Kyptonite meteor, which is the size of a small continent and heading straight towards Earth. Luthor plans to blow the meteor up with missiles before it reaches Earth but Amanda suggests using some of the Superheroes to deal with it. Luthor admits that he only created the task force so that the heroes wouldn’t be working against him but Amanda persists, saying he only wants to do it himself to get all the credit. Luthor holds a press conference about the approaching meteor and asks Superman to meet with him so they can discuss the situation. Batman and Superman are watching the press conference in the Batcave and Batman tells Superman that Luthor isn’t lying about the meteor but he is working on his own way to deal with it along with an associate. Superman decides to meet with Luthor in Gotham but as they talk, Superman starts to feel weak and he grabs Luthor, only to discover that one of Luthor’s Secret Service Agents is Metallo, whose Kryptonite power source is the reason Superman is feeling weak. Luthor leaves as Superman and Metallo begin fighting, with the fight taking them to the local cemetery. When Metallo appears to have the upper hand, Batman shows up to rescue Superman but Metallo takes a shard of the Kryptonite that Batman had broken off of him and uses it as a bullet to shoot Superman. Superman falls into an open grave and as Batman jumps in to help him, Metallo buries them both alive. Batman uses an explosive charge to blow a hole underneath them into the sewers and when Metallo, who heard the blast, goes to investigate only to find the empty grave, then turns when he sees someone standing behind him. In the sewers, the wounded Superman and Batman make their way through the sewers to the Batcave, where they are met by Alfred and Alfred proceeds to tend to their injuries, including removing the Kryptonite from Superman. Superman and Batman watch a news report where Luthor says Metallo is dead and blames Superman for the murder. Showing edited footage from his meeting with Superman to serve as proof about his claim, Luthor places a $1 billion bounty on Superman’s head before ending his speech. As the press leave, Luthor starts to open his drawer to reveal a hypodermic gun filled with Kryptonite but before he can use it, he is interrupted by Power Girl, who pleads Superman’s innocence. Batman and Superman head to Star Labs so Batman can access their data on the meteor when Superman smells something and discovers Metallo’s body in the morgue. Batman discovers that the Metallo was killed by a radioactive blast but before they can inspect any further, they are confronted by some guards. Superman flies them out of there but they are attacked by Silver Banshee. As Superman deals with her, Batman is confronted by Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, and Icicle but he is saved by Superman. The two heroes then contend with Mongul, Solomon Grundy, Lady Shiva, Nightshade, and Gorilla Grodd before they find themselves surrounded by more villains out to collect on the bounty. They are eventually saved by Captain Atom but as Superman goes to thank him, Captain Atom, accompanied by Power Girl, Major Force, Katana, Black Lightning, and Starfire, says he has a warrant for Superman’s arrest. Meanwhile, Luthor flies out to a military base to oversee the launch of the missiles but along the way, he starts getting a headache and Waller starts to get worried about him. Back at Star Labs, Superman and Batman fend off the attacks of Captain Atom and his team, with Power Girl, whose loyalties are divided, shouting out a warning to Superman when Captain Atom is about to blast him. Superman eventually flies around at super speed to create a whirlwind to disorient the heroes while he grabs Power Girl and makes his escape with Batman. Arriving at the Daily Planet, Superman asks Power Girl why she helped them and she says it felt right and she doesn’t believe he killed Metallo. Batman asks her about Luthor and she admits her unease around him but before the can talk anymore, they are confronted by Captain Atom and his task force again. During the fight, Batman realizes that Major Force was the one who killed Metallo and goads him into admitting it. Power Girl, angry over being used, attacks Major Force and punches him hard enough to rupture his containment suit. Black Lightning creates a force field around him to contain the energy and Captain Atom, having heard everything, absorbs it, with the resulting explosion rendering Captain Atom injured, but alive, while Major Force is no more. Back at the military base, Luthor, Waller, and the generals watch as the missiles head towards the meteor only for the meteor’s high radiation levels to destroy the missiles before they impact with it. Batman, Superman, and Power Girl reach the base and then they have Power Girl head off to another location while Batman and Superman make their way to the base, only to be attacked by Captain Marvel and Hawkman. Meanwhile, Luthor gives  a speech to try and calm the people, claiming the missiles were a research mission and the true rescue effort will be commencing shortly. When Waller goes into his office to confront him, she discovers Luthor injecting himself with a mixture of steroids and Kryptonite, which has affected his mind. Luthor plans to let the meteor hit the Earth, then rule over the surviving people, with Waller playing a role in that new society. Luthor is called away to meet with Captain Marvel and Hawkman, only to discover it is Batman and Sueprman in disguise, as they were able to beat the two heroes with Power Girl’s help. The confront Luthor about the data on the meteor but Luthor wipes his computer hard drives, preventing them from getting the needed data. Waller shows up and hands Batman a flash drive with the data, begging him to save them, and Superman and Batman quickly leave and head for Tokyo. Waller orders the general to arrest Luthor but he quickly runs back into his office, where he injects himself with more Kryptonite before donning a power suit and fighting his way out of the base and taking off after the two heroes. Superman and Batman arrive at the factory/home of Hiro Okamura, the Japanese Toyman, and find Power Girl waiting for them in an outer chamber, as Toyman’s teenage hormones had gotten on her nerves. Batman and Superman head inside and give Toyman the data, who starts to load it into his computer so he can program his giant rocket, which is fashioned as a combination of Batman and Superman, to take out the meteor. Luthor arrives at Toyman’s base and quickly takes out Power Girl, then begins fighting Superman, knocking Batman away when he tries to help. Luthor then confronts Toyman and destroys the computer, stopping Toyman from programming his rocket. Batman heads to the rocket and prepares to fly it himself to destroy the meteor, saying goodbye to Superman as he prepares the rocket to launch. Luthor tries to stop Batman but Superman stops him, then attacks him in a rage due to Luthor’s part in Batman’s suicide mission. The two take to the skies in their fight, eventually making it back to the US before Superman is finally able to bring Luthor down. Out in space, Batman pilots the rocket towards the meteor and it detonates, with the explosion being seen back on Earth. As the people all cheer the meteor’s destruction, Superman punches Luthor into a building as Captain Atom and Power Girl arrive at the scene. Power Girl tells Superman that Toyman says there might be a chance Batman survived and he Quickly flies off, while Captain Atom grabs Luthor and has him locked up for his crimes. Flying up to the rocket’s debris, Superman finds Batman within the rocket’s escape pod, which is shaped like a combination of both their logos. Superman flies the escape pod back to Earth and lands in Metropolis, and as the two heroes see a helicopter carrying Lois Lane flying towards them, Superman invites Batman to come eat with him and Lois but Batman heads back to Gotham and disappears as the helicopter lands and Lois heads towards Superman and the two embrace.

This is a really fun movie to watch. The voice acting was great, especially since they had Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Clancy Brown all reprising their roles from as Superman, Batman, and Luthor from the original Batman/Superman/Justice League cartoons from the 90’s/2000’s. I also liked that they brought back CCH Pounder to reprise her role of Amanda Waller, while Xander Berkley and Allison Mack did good jobs in their roles of Captain Atom and Power Girl. The story was pretty good, though I can’t say for certain how closely it matches with the comics as I haven’t read them yet. I liked that they kept the friendly, semi-combative banter between Superman and Batman, showcasing the mutual respect they have for each other. I also liked how Luthor accuses Superman of being driven mad by the Kryptonite while he himself is actually the one going mad. The animation was really good, though some of the characters, like Power Girl, looked a little too angular in their design. Minor flaws aside, this is a good movie and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, drama, movie, movie review

December 10th, 2017 Movie – Superman

superman

As the year comes to a close, I find myself coming up on a week full of superhero movies. And not just any superhero, but movies featuring the man many people consider to be the first superhero, Superman. Now I remember first seeing this movie as a kind on TV and enjoyed the hell out of it. I have watched it several more times over the years whenever it would come on TV but never thought about buying it on DVD. Turns out that was a good thing as my mom ended up buying me the box set of movies for me for Christmas one year. So now it is time to go up, up, and away with today’s movie, Superman.

The plot: On the planet Krypton, Jor-El presents the evidence to the Council against General Zod, Ursa, and Non, a trio of Krptonians who attempted to overthrow the Council and rule in their stead. After being pronounced guilty, Zod asks Jor-El to join him or else he will get his vengeance on him and his heirs but Jor-El condemns them to imprisonment in the Phantom Zone. Afterwards, Jor-El speaks with the council about his belief that the planet will be destroyed soon but they refuse to believe him and threaten to imprison him in the Phantom Zone if he causes a panic. Jor-El promises to keep quiet over the matters, then heads to his home, where he talks with his wife Lara about sending their son Kal-El to Earth so he will survive the planet’s destruction. Finishing construction of the crystalline life pod, Jor-El and Lara place Kal-El in the pod, as well as a crystal containing all of the known knowledge of Krypton, then sends the pod to Earth, just as the red sun expands and causes Krypton to explode. As Kal-El travels through space, Jor-El’s voice speaks to him, telling him about Earth and the differences he will face when he gets there. Kal-El’s ship crash lands in a field outside Smallville, Kansas, where a passing couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, see the spaceship crash and think it is a meteorite. When they check the site, they found Kal-El, now a toddler, starting to climb out of the hole in the ground and Martha, who had always wanted a child of her own, pleads with Jonathan to keep the boy to raise. Jonathan starts to argue against it but as he is changing a flat tire on their truck, the jack slips and and the truck starts to fal on him but he is saved by Kal-El, who is easily lifting up the front of the truck. The Kents decide to keep the boy and raise him as their own, calling him Clark. As years pass, Clark is now a teenager and has a crush on his classmate Lana Lang, but it is an unrequited love as she is dating someone else. After racing home after school one day, he talks with Jonathan, who is working on some farm equipment, about the struggles he is facing fitting in with everyone while he has to hide all the things he can do. As the two head back up to the house, Jonathan has a heart attack and collapses to the ground, with Martha’s scream alerting Clark to what happened. After the funeral, Clark agonizes to Martha over the fact that he has all of these powers but couldn’t save Jonathan’s life. That night, Clark hears a voice calling out to him, guiding him out to the barn, where he finds a glowing green crystal in the remains of his spaceship. The next day, Clark says goodbye to Martha, telling her that he spoke with a neighbor to make sure she had someone helping her, and she tells him both her and Jonathan knew the day would come and tells him he always has a home there before the two embrace. Clark makes his way up to the North Pole, and after being guided to a particular spot, he throws the crystal out into the frozen land, where it sinks into the snow and causes a massive, crystal structure to appear. Heading inside, Clark activates some of the crystal banks and is greeted by a holographic image of Jor-El, who tells him of who he is and proceeds to teach him about his powers and responsibilities over the course of 12 years, after which Clark is shown to be wearing a blue and red suit with a red cape and the House of El family crest on his chest. Clark heads to Metropolis, where he gets a job at the Daily Planet as a reporter, meeting his editor Perry White, photographer Jimmy Olsen, and fellow reporter Lois Lane. Lois isn’t too happy about Clark being assigned to her beat, attempting to embarrass Clark in front of Perry, but Clark starts to win her over with his good natured ways. After leaving work, Clark is talking with Lois when a man attempts to mug them and Clark tries to talk the man out of it. When Lois drops her purse and kicks the man when he goes to pick it up, the mugger accidentally fires his gun and Clark quickly catches the bullet, then pretends to faint so Lois won’t think anything strange occurred. Meanwhile, two police detectives follow a man named Otis, hoping he will lead them to his boss, the notorious Lex Luthor. As they separate, one of the detectives follows Otis down to some subway tracks, where Otis heads into a secret doorway, but when the detective tries to follow, Luthor, who was watching from hidden cameras, activates the hideout’s defenses to push him away from the door and into the path of an oncoming subway car. Inside his lair, Luthor’s girlfriend, Eve Teschmacher, isn’t happy with Luthor killing the cop or their living underneath the subway but Luthor says it is all part of his plan. Some time later, Lois heads up to the roof to catch a ride via the Daily Planet’s helicopter to the airport for a story but a cable becomes ensnared in the landing struts, causing the helicopter to crash back onto the roof and dangle over the edge. Clark is leaving the building when he notices the commotion on the street as everyone is looking up at the helicopter and, seeing Lois in danger, he quickly heads into a building’s revolving door, spinning ti faster than the eye can see as he changes into his costume and flies off. As Lois falls out of the helicopter, Clark saves her, the grabs the helicopter when it falls and places them both back on the roof. As he starts to fly off, Lois asks him who he is and he tells her he is a friend, then he flies off while Lois faints on the rooftop. Clark then heads off and stops some other crimes, as well as helping get a little girl’s cat out of a tree, then rescues Air Force One when a bolt of lightning takes out one of the engines. Later, Clark heads back to the Fortress of Solitude in the arctic, where he speaks with Jor-El about what he did and Jor-El cautions him to keep his secret identity intact, otherwise people would be asking for his help 24/7 while his enemies would try to hurt him by going after his loved ones. The next day, everyone is talking about the flying stranger and Perry orders his reporters to get details on the mystery person. While Perry is talking, Lois opens a card she received, asking to meet at her place that night and she realizes it is from the stranger. That night, Lois dresses up for her interview and when Clark appears, she asks him some question while also flirting with him. During the course of the interview, Clark lets slip that he has a problem seeing through lead, and reveals that he is from the Krypton. Clark then takes Lois flying through the sky before returning her back to her apartment and flying off. After he leaves, Lois decides to call him Superman, and starts working out the idea for her story when Clark shows up, reminding her that they were supposed to go on a date. After Lois’ interview is printed, Luthor, Otis, and Teschmacher read the article and Luthor realizes he knows how to stop Superman. He shows them an article about some meteorites that were found and tells them the meteorites are from Krypton, which would be toxic to Superman now, and they could hide them in a lead cigar box so that he can’t see inside. Some time later, Luthor and Teschmacher cause a distraction in front of a military convoy carrying a nuclear missile, allowing Otis to sneak on board the truck and reprogram the missile but when he meets back up with Luthor and Teschmacher, Luthor realizes that Otis screwed up so they cause a distraction on another convoy so that Teschmacher can reprogram that missile correctly. The next day, Lois is out on assignment in the West, doing a story on a land fraud scheme as someone is buying up a lot of worthless land, with Jimmy going with her. Perry calls Clark into his office to talk to him when Clark hears a high pitched sound, followed by a message from Luthor, telling him that he will be releasing a gas that will wipe out half the population of the city. Clark quickly changes into Superman and leaves, then flies over the city and searches for Luthor’s hideout. He eventually locates it and burrows underground into the subway tunnels and heads towards Luthor’s base, easily making his way through his defenses. When he arrives at Luthor’s base, Luthor explains his plan to Superman, telling him how he bought up the land out west, then plans to detonate a 500 megaton bomb inside the fault, setting off an earthquake that would destroy the West Coast of California while making his property the new West Coast. Luthor then explains that he hijacked the military missiles and has one of them heading to the fault while the other is heading towards Hackensack, NJ. Superman looks for the device to detonate the missiles and thinks Luthor has it hidden in a lead chest but when he opens, he discovers contains a piece of Kryptonite that Luthor had stolen from a museum. Luthor then attaches the chain with the Kyptonite around Superman’s neck and throws him in his pool to drown. As he walks off, Teschmacher says her mother lives in Hackensack and asks Luthor to stop the missile but he refuses. Teschmacher goes to the pool and tells Superman she will save him if he saves her mother first before saving the West Coast and when he agrees, she dives into the pool and saves him, kissing him before removing the Kryptonite from around his neck. Superman flies off and manages to catch the missile heading for Hackensack, flying it up into space to detonate harmlessly, but while he is doing that, the second missile strikes the fault and activates an earthquake. Superman rushes there and works on repairing the damaged fault, then deals with the disasters that were caused, including fixing the Golden Gate Bridge, and stopping the flood caused by the broken Hoover Dam. While this is going on, Lois’ car falls into a crevice and she ends up suffocating from the dirt falling into her car. When Superman finds her car and drags it out, he pulls her lifeless body from the car and after holding it for a few minutes, cries out in grief and quickly flies into the air. As he is flying, he hears the voices of both Jor-El and Jonathan speaking in his head, giving him conflicting thoughts on what he should do, but Superman refuses to let someone he cares about die again. Superman begins flying around the Earth, causing it’s rotation to reverse, which causes the recent damage to the area to be as if it never happened. Once that happens, Superman flies around the Earth to restore it’s rotation back to normal then flies down to ensure that Lois is safe. After speaking with Lois and Jimmy for a few minutes, Superman flies back to grab Luthor and Otis and take them to prison, then flies off to orbit the Earth, looking for more people to help.

Superman was well received by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Superman deftly blends humor and gravitas, taking advantage of the perfectly cast Christopher Reeve to craft a loving, nostalgic tribute to an American pop culture icon.” This movie marked the first time that the “S” on Superman’s chest stood for a Kryptonian family crest, an idea, along with several other aspects, which has since been integrated into the comics and subsequent adaptations. The movie was a box office success, earning $300.2 million off of a $55 million budget.

I will admit that it has lost some of it’s appeal to me over the years but this is still a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Christopher Reeve really turning in an iconic performance as the legendary character while Gene Hackman was almost as good as Luthor. Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Margot Kidder (Lois), and Jackie Cooper (Perry White) were also good. The story was good in regards to the origin story and Superman making his way to Metropolis, making the one change of having Superman never using his powers as Superboy and only using them when he gets to Metropolis as an adult. However, one aspect of the movie that I didn’t like, and even as a kid I knew didn’t make sense, was the whole Superman flying around the Earth and reversing it’s rotation. Even back then, I knew that what he was doing wasn’t going to be able to turn back time. That aspect aside, the rest of the story was good and very enjoyable. The special effects really were pretty good and they did a great job with the inside of the Krypton city, though the outside did look a little cheap. A good movie and one that really set the standard for all other films to follow.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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