#SuicideSquad Trailer NEW. Fan Reaction?

Warner Brothers just posted their new Suicide Squad trailer today.

Here’s what people are saying on Twitter:

jokersuicidesquad.jpg

Movie Review: CAPTAIN AMERICA, 2011

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

CAPTAIN AMERICA, 2011
Movie Reviews

Director: Joe Johnston

Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Dormer, Richard Armitage, Dominic Cooper

Review by Mark Engberg

SYNOPSIS:

After being deemed unfit for military service during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty — a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals. His first mission: to combat the Nazi propaganda effort headed by Johann Schmidt (Weaving), also known as the Red Skull.

REVIEW:

Check your thesaurus for the word “patriotic” and you will find that every synonym perfectly typifies the character of Captain America.

“Patriotic: Chauvinistic, devoted, dedicated, dutiful, jingoistic, nationalistic, statesmanlike, zealous.”

Yup, that’s him, all right. But chauvinistic? No, Chris Evans’ rendition of the 1941 comic book icon is too much of a sensitive and caring male superhero to be considered a chauvinist.

In an age when political pressures stalled the direct involvement of women in the military, new recruit Steve Rogers maintains persistent and loyal eye contact with his female superior, SSR officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). And he is even more faithful to his fellow Brooklyn buddy, Sgt. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).

As far as personality goes, he’s a kinder, gentler Captain America.But those familiar with the history of this superhero know that this is only the tip of the iceberg (get it, fans?). This is a humble beginning of the character, who was created by legendary Marvel Comic gods Joe Simon and Jack Kirby seventy years ago in order to stir up some fervid patriotism among the nation’s children during World War II.

Through seven hard decades, Captain America has suffered imprisonment, torture, suspended animation, degradation, and even death. In terms of pop media, he actually suffered a fate worse than that when WWII ended: People began to forget about his character and he seemingly vanished in the 1950’s. It wasn’t until March of 1964, when his frozen carcass was found in a floating iceberg, that he resurfaced as the leader of The Avengers.
At first, I rejected the studios’ choice to cast 30-year-old Chris Evans as the celebrated hero. For one thing, he already played Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch in “The Fantastic Four.” Any Marvel fanboy who says that’s insignificant is lying. Secondly, I always envisioned the time-honored Captain as an older and wiser soldier; someone who could embody the leadership of John Wayne, the campy loyalty of the G.I. Joe team, and the athletic prowess of Batman.

In all honesty, I was thinking Brad Pitt would be perfect for the part. His memorable portrayal of Lieutenant Aldo Raine in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” was already an R-rated, masochist Captain America who carved swastikas in the bad guys’ foreheads. George Clooney could have been another viable candidate if he had not humiliated himself in 1997 with “Batman and Robin”.

The logic behind these casting choices relates to the fact that the Captain America of today has been through hell. Like his country’s perpetually diminishing respect around the globe, this hero has survived insult and onslaught. Therefore, it should be a tough and seasoned veteran handling the performance of this great American warrior.

But that’s not what “The First Avenger” is about. These are his formative adventures from long ago, when military colonels were funny like Tommy Lee Jones and American ideology was at its zenith before we went crazy with power in Southeast Asia. Johnston’s introduction to this saga seems to catch the Captain in his most vulnerable and obedient years. Maybe we’ll get to see him become more of the dynamic leader he was always destined to be in “The Avengers”, which will place the period piece character into a modern time frame.

Tommy Lee Jones is in his comfort zone as the intimidating Colonel Chester Phillips. Like Agent K in “Men in Black” or Sam Gerard in “The Fugitive”, Phillips has a way of barking orders in a condescending yet subtle manner that depicts humor as well as bravado. His alliance with Dr. Abraham Erskine (the seemingly omnipresent Stanley Tucci) creates the country first-and-only “super-soldier” when the 90-pound Rogers is injected with super-serum and lit up with vita-rays.

The all-time accountable villain actor Hugo Weaving wears his best nasty face (literally) to play Nazi officer Johann Schmidt, who eventually will become the Red Skull. He and his men steal a mysterious cubic prism from a Norwegian castle early in the story.

Naturally, this “jewel of Odin’s treasure room” is merely a MacGuffin used to motivate the mad scientist villain towards his destructive goal. Since Weaving is so well versed as a diabolical supervillain, it’s only naturally to cast Toby Jones as his sniveling sidekick. Jones, who marvels in these kinds of roles (he played Karl Rove and Swifty Lazar in the same year), brings a simpering Renfield quality to Weaving’s Nazi Dracula.

Like Johnston’s underappreciated previous action flick, “The Rocketeer” (1991), the film has a ton of tight action sequences that are presented in a much more discernible and entertaining way, rather than the contemporary blockbusters (cough, cough, Transformers). In other words, you can actually follow the action and catch your breath between the explosions because there is an unfolding storyline.

Even more appealing is the fact that these action/chase sequences are evenly timed out to honor the tradition of 1930’s film serials. Spielberg himself paid respect to the cliffhanger style of fragmented short movies when he made “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1982.

Chris Evans is no Indiana Jones, but the dramatic timing of action is not far away from those golden fight scenes. Modern action filmmakers could learn a thing or two from the pace of action in “Captain America”, instead of burying their audiences with overlong apocalyptic destruction of cities in 3-D.

Speaking of which, I saw this movie in 3-D and I would politely advise against it. The movie is great fun and about as cheesy as a Hasbro cartoon. But like every other action film I’ve seen since “Avatar”, the 3-D effects just aren’t worth the headache and diluted color palette that suffers in the transformation. Ever feel like you’ve been under a fluorescent light for two hours when you’re handing back your glasses? I do.

I didn’t see “X-Men: First Class” or “Green Lantern” so I can’t say “Captain America” is the best superhero movie of the summer. I can say that is an improvement for Marvel Studios after “Thor”, which was fine, if not a bit too cosmic and surreal. Fans won’t have to wait too long to catch either of these heroes again Joss Whedon unites them for “The Avengers” next year.

Now that we’ve all been briefed about Captain America’s past missions with “First Avenger”, we can determine what he can do for contemporary America today. Let’s have him start by saving the economy.

This late note is for those who have already seen the picture: SPOILER ALERT.

Is there anything funnier than the kid who gets thrown into the water by the fleeing bad guy? In all my life of watching action hero movies, I have never before seen an innocent bystander get thrown into the lake . . . WHO CAN ACTUALLY SWIM! This quick joke made me laugh out louder and harder than anything else I’ve seen this summer. I wonder if anyone else got the joke.

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Movie Review: IRON MAN 3 (2013)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

  MOVIE POSTERIRON MAN 3, 2013
Movie Reviews

Director: Shane Black

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Review by Matthew Toffolo

REVIEW:

Tony Stark uses his ingenuity to fight those who destroyed his private world and soon goes up against his most powerful enemy yet: the Mandarin. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has literally everything a man could ever want. More money and fame than he knows what to do with, a great girl (Gwyneth Paltrow), an amazing house and even better toys and to top it off when he’s not jetting around the world as a billionaire playboy he’s the superhero Iron Man. But when a crazed terrorist (Ben Kingsley) starts blowing up pieces of the world Tony begins to realize he may be up against the one thing even he can’t handle: the second sequel.

Third time’s the charm, isn’t that how it goes? Except usually not, at least as far as film franchises go. Third time is usually where the gasp of creativity that breathed life into the series to begin with finally starts to run out, leaving the filmmakers with one of two possible options: either keep repeating what has worked already on larger and larger scales ad nauseum, or break the series apart and come at it from a brand new angle.

Very few series opt for option two, since it is a very risky proposition at the best of times. At best you’ll generally get some sort of middle ground in between options 1 and 2 – which pretty well sums up writer-director Shane Black’s (“Lethal Weapon,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”) stab at “Iron Man 3.”

He has, like many before him, decided to focus on what has worked in Iron Man before and provide more of it. Fortunately for him what worked before has been less big effects or ideas and more along the lines of star Robert Downey, Jr. doing what he does. Like no other actor in a superhero film (except perhaps Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker), Downey has made both the character of Tony Stark and the role of Iron Man his, and most of the joy of these films is watching him swagger and strut and attempt to hide Tony’s many faults through snark and arrogance. Of course, Downey has done this three times already now so he can do Iron Man in his sleep if he has to.

Fortunately, Black is not going to let anyone rest on their laurels. He’s given a real think at how to advance an Iron Man story beyond what has come before and the result is not only the cleverest action beats in the series to date, but the most work Downey has had to put into them. In fact, for all the many dozens of suits of armor flying around through the film and all the people wearing them (at one point it seems as if the entire cast is put into a suit at one point) Iron Man 3 actually boasts the least Iron Man of the series to date.

After brazenly calling out The Mandarin on live TV, Tony’s home soon comes under attack and is destroyed, leaving him on his own with only his mind and his wits to help him figure out what the Mandarin is up to and what it has to do with an old girlfriend (Maya Hall) and a shady think-tank called Advanced Idea Mechanics who have been cooking a up a means to make the human body stronger and better called Extremis.

It’s a bit of a gamble but it works as Downey is actually more relatable and more fun to watch out of his armor than in it, and he’s helped but tight script from Black and screenwriter Drew Pearce who have applied a liberal dose of comedy relief that has the benefit of actually being funny.

On the downside, along with the armor, a lot of Tony’s supporting cast tends to come and go for long periods, particularly once he disappears into rural Tennessee to follow up a lead. Sure they get stuff to do – Happy follows some suspicious characters and sets the plot in motion, Rhodey once again backs Tony up during the action finish after doing little else the rest of the time, and Pepper actually gets into the action movie game for the first time, particularly during the middle segment when she briefly gets a suit of her own.

But then they disappear so that Downey can go off and trade quips with a 10 year old for 30 minutes. Which is, it must be said, far better than it sounds due to Stark’s inability to actually be sappy but it’s still hard to feel like you’re being gipped somehow. After two films setting these characters up and making you care about them, they are shipped off because now no one knows what to do with them.

Those are generally small quibbles, though, as “Iron Man” continues to set the bar for Marvel’s solo superhero films through a combination of wit, charm and out and out entertainment. It’s not quite as good as “Iron Man 2” – but then I’m one of the few who thinks Iron Man 2 is the best of the series – but it’s not far off and certainly does no shame to the series. I don’t know how many more of these they can make, but so far it doesn’t look like they’ve run out of steam quite yet.

 

 

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

Movie Review: IRON MAN (2008)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

IRON MAN MOVIE POSTER
IRON MAN
Movie Review

Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges,
Review by Salome Bell

SYNOPSIS:

When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.

REVIEW:

You can’t send a boy to do a man’s job, and you can’t put a man in a role that calls for him to be smarter than he is.

Fortunately for “Iron Man,” Robert Downey Jr. carries enough weight for any ten metallic suits, and seems like exactly the kind of guy who could build them

Popcorn movies have a tendency to underwhelm, but “Iron Man” has managed a pretty miraculous feat — to sneak in almost under the radar with few television ads and deliberately vague trailers, and to be the best flick I’ve seen this year and a natural to go on my list of top comic book films of all time.

Everything works. The casting is perfect. Paltrow shines as the essential but overlooked Poppy Potts, despite a last-moment shoe choice that says just about everything you can about fashion victimization. Jeff Bridges has just as much chemistry cast as the mentor/father figure to Downey Jr.’s obsessed Stark. The script is everything you could want — witty, intelligent, and steering clear for the most part of the usual comic cliches.

Even the ubiquitous Stan Lee cameo is a treat, which I will not spoil. .

If there’s one thing I could criticize, it’s that the story bogs down briefly while it shifts its bearings between Stark pre- and post-captivity, where it seems to be reinventing its moral center, much as Stark is at the same moment. Current films self-consciously walk the thin line between portraying the U.S. as a benevolent superpower or as a force just as prone to cause problems as solve them. “Iron Man” knows certain people have to die, and that because it’s a comic book movie, it has to relish the manner of those deaths to show off Stark’s new invention. But it never feels comfortable; in these years since the fall of the U.S.S.R., Hollywood is still searching for the perfect hateable villain.

But, smartly, things get personal and everything falls as snugly into place as Iron Man’s hydraulic armor. This film thunders through to the end, at once a flick that a newbie with no clue about Stark or Iron Man’s pic-lit roots can love while providing enough insider tips of the hat to thrill the fans with the feeling that, “Yes, Victoria, there is a Santa Claus watching over Marvel Comics movies.” The effects are seamless and organic so you feel every bump when Stark hits the ground (or a concrete wall), and Favreau has a brilliant touch with injecting just a little bit of humor into the darkest scenes. “Iron Man” is going to do well, really well, at the theatres, and it’s a movie not only a fan will want to own.

3 1/2 stars out of 4!

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

Movie Review: Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

STAR WARS, 1977
Movie Review
Directed by George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford
Review by Andrew Kosarko

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

SYNOPSIS:

As the adventure begins, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), an impulsive but goodhearted young man who lives on the dusty planet of Tatooine with his aunt and uncle, longs for the exciting life of a Rebel soldier. The Rebels, led by the headstrong Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), are fighting against the evil Empire, which has set about destroying planets inhabited by innocent citizens with the Death Star, a fearsome planetlike craft commanded by Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and the eternally frightful Darth Vader (David Prowse, with the voice of James Earl Jones). When Luke’s aunt and uncle are murdered by the Empire’s imperial stormtroopers and he mysteriously finds a distress message from Princess Leia in one of his androids, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), he must set out to find Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), a mysterious old hermit with incredible powers. On his journey, Luke is aided by the roguish, sarcastic mercenary Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his towering furry sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as they run into a host of perilous situations while trying to rescue the princess–and the entire galaxy.

REVIEW:

A long time ago, in a Hollywood far, far away…..George Lucas was an innovative film maker. Well, I’m a little shocked. I can’t believe this film series has been reviewed yet. So I’m doing it before anyone else beats me to the punch. I also think it’s kind of interesting seeing as I’m one of the few people to “review the first Star Wars Film” after the prequels have come out. So lets get into it, shall we?

The Story: The perfect depiction of “the heroes’ journey.” Anyone who has an interest in storytelling should study this film along with the ideals of the Heroes’ Journey. The structure is perfect. There’s never a boring moment, the story is always pushing forward and revealing more and more about our characters. Those characters are also, near perfect with defining attributes that you would never question their purpose of involvement. Luke Skywalker is at the start of his journey under the guidance of Obi-wan Kenobi. Accompanied by our outside eyes and ears, the druids of C3PO and R2D2, they join forced with the rugged pirate Han Solo and his furry side kick, Chewbacca. Not only does Lucas have excellent stories to tell, but he tells it in a masterful of ways. Chewbacca never speaks a word of English, nor has subtitles and yet we understand everything he’s saying by others’ retorts. Same with R2D2. Obi-wan is wise and mysterious, teaching without teaching. Han Solo, well, one of my favorite words in my reviews is “badass.” And there is no other word that can describe him. And last but not least, we have our strong heroin who is just as tough, if not stronger, than her farm boy brother. The real strength in this film is the story. Luke progresses from farm boy, to new adventurer to growing hero, to a savior of the rebellion. And of course, no one can forget the greatest villain of all time, Darth Vader. It just doesn’t get more evil and sinister than him.

Acting: In the documentary, “Empire of Dreams” which I would suggest to anyone after they’ve seen the Original Trilogy, Carrie Fisher speaks of George Lucas’ dialogue; “You can write this stuff but you can’t speak it.” Which is why the acting is so extraordinary in this film. It’s the same dialogue in the new prequels, but notice how it’s not hard to listen to when Luke or Leia speak it, opposed to Hayden Christianson.

Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker – Now, Star Wars, in a sense, is “before my time.” I know absolutely nothing of Mark Hamill’s early work. All I know is he did a Christmas episode with the muppets and later went on to portray the voice of the Joker on Batman the animated series. Nevertheless, Hamill is the perfect casting for the young farm boy with a heart of gold and the naïve courage to march into a detention center.

Carrie Fisher / Princess Leia Organa – Now I wasn’t around during the feminist era, but I’m sure this was a product or lightning rod of it. Fisher plays the role strong and intelligent. She’s a damsel in distress, but she fights back instead of waiting for the hero to come save her. She is the personification of the Rebellion.

Harrison Ford / Han Solo – I know this role has lead to so many other things for Ford, but I don’t think he’s had a better role. Blade Runner comes close, but still. Han Solo is his defining role. He’s smart, charming, clever, bold, head strong and selfish. I can’t think of a more enjoyable role to play without being a bad guy.

Alec Guinness / Obi Wan Kenobi – The man delivers every line like it’s Shakespeare, and it was just what was needed seeing as these films are the closest we’ve gotten since Billy-Bob Shakespeare put his pen down. Guinness is strikes us as honorable, wise and trustworthy from the second he shows up. Although, to this day I still wonder how he made that weird ass whistling noise to scare off the sand people.

Directing: “Faster and more intense” was Lucas’ main direction to his cast. Which I wish he could have resurrected that phrase when directing the slow prequels. He’s at his best here with the limitations that he had to deal with. This was hard, dirty, gritty rough hands work. Which is one of the strengths of the film. It’s realism in it’s production design and even in the visual and special effects. Lucas did the best he could with what he had.

Cinematography: Old school 70’s cinematography. While there isn’t any really ground breaking shots or techniques in the realistic shots, it’s still well covered.

Production Design: Very strong. It’s futuristic, er, well, in this case, historic. Well, it’s far more advanced than what we ever, at the time of it’s release, thought possible. Or even dreamed. Yet it has a slightly gritty look to it. Not a Bladerunner look per say, but still, not sterile either. It really helps establish the world(s) that we’re playing in as believable.

Editing: For the most part it’s sufficient for what it does. I still don’t know how the shot of the storm trooper bumping his head on the door when they bust in and find C3PO and R2D2 was left in, but ok, whatever. Where I do have to give it some credit is covering the lightsaber duel between Vader and Kenobi. Guinness being his age and only instructed in proper swordsman ship was limited in what he could do (Check out some of the special features and the footage from it all). The edit makes it look like he still has some fight in him.

STAR WARS IMAGESScore: One of the truly remarkable aspects of the entire film. It lifts the material from the scale of amazing to epic. John Williams hit two big scores (no pun intended) in this era with both Star Wars and Jaws. He establishes himself as one who doesn’t resort to gimmicks and remains with the classical approach to music writing, while keeping in tune with the emotional context of the story.

Special Effects: Now this is what’s groundbreaking. There’s a great collaboration between the production team and the visual effects team. The ships combined with the green screens and compilations of layers create some of the most realistic and invigorating elements in the film. The shots and editing can’t really be complimented, seeing as most of them are ripped off from old stock footage of dog fights.

In closing: The beginning of great film making starts here, and ends in the same place. George Lucas both created the most amazing aspects of the film world and then bastardized them by abusing them too much. Letting them spew out into other films and basically demolishing the “aww factor” in movies. The work done in this film was earned and hard done. Lately the cinema business has become lazy and cheaper with the same mind set. Sadly, it takes all the fun out of the movies. Regardless of it’s lasting effects in movies, this film still stands the test of time. It’s engaging, entertaining, interesting and fun. And it’s got a little bit, ok, a LOT of moral lesson whipped into it. But it’s neither preachy nor too subtle. Star Wars is the movie of our century. It still effects film making today, and will remain to for many years to come.

 

 

 

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Movie Review: BATMAN RETURNS (1992)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

BATMAN RETURNSBATMAN RETURNS, 1992
Movie Review

Directed by Tim Burton
Starring: Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfieffer, Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

The Caped Crusador (Michael Keaton) is pitted against the demented, ravenous Penguin (Danny DeVito), a pitiful, orphaned psychopathic freak who once went on a baby-killing spree, and a “power” hungry capitalist villain Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). As the two criminals plot to gain domination over Gotham City, BATMAN must plot to stop them. Cat Woman (fearlessly and fabulously played by Michelle Pfeiffer). She is the slinky, sharp-clawed alter-ego of Shreck’s secretary Selina. Batman must overcome his own dark past, and his present love entanglements, to rid Gotham of it’s evil enemies.

REVIEW:

People who like this movie seem to like it because it screams Tim Burton left and right. Some people who absolutely hate this movie, hate it because it’s not Batman. I may be the only person who sees both sides of the light.

The Story: Now one who’s a hardcore Batman fan can see where this was once a Batman story. And in some ways, it still is. The Penguin is on a quest for political power through means of intimidation, greed and corruption. Max Schreck is a capitalist helping the Penguin lie his way to the top. All Batman fans knew that originally that was going to be Harvey Dent and that Selina’s kiss of death at the end was supposed to scar the corrupt D.A. into two-face. I’d say the only down fall from the story is that there is no real arc for Bruce/Batman and there’s a bit too much focus on the villains as opposed to Batman (a problem that seems to be inevitable in Batman sequels.) That and Catwoman’s creation…..that was little much. Getting licked back to life by cats is a little too “I wanna kill the Spider, you wanna kill the spider” for me.

Acting: By my opinion alone, I think this is some of the best character acting in a Batman movie up until Ledger in The Dark Knight. Keaton does a great job as the distant, brooding Bruce/Batman yet gets some spunk in his life with Selina. Pfieffer does a great job at contrasting her before and after transformation as the sexually explicit Catwoman. She’s by far the most accurate of portrayals in the whole film. And Danny DeVito threw so much of himself into the freak Penguin that he scared a monkey shitless (no lie.). Christopher Walken, get this, actually acts in this movie. There are very little Walken-isms in this film and I’m still amazed at his actual ability when I watch this.

Directing: Ok Tim, here’s where you catch some heat. The sets are amazing, the story is alright, the direction of some of the characters…….not so accurate. Batman, as highlighted in Christopher Nolan’s series is not a killer. Yet, in this film, he sets a man on fire and throws a man down a shaft with a bomb attached to him. Can you say “oopsie?” You got away with it in Batman ’89 because the killing of the Joker was accidental and not intentional but this time, it was intended. Now the heat you catch for “freaking” the Penguin, in my opinion, is unwarranted. Chris Nolan can un-permawhite the Joker and get away with it, but if you add an elongated nose and disabled flipper hands, it’s a bastardization? That’s unfair in my opinion. And it fits well into the Gotham that Burton has created.

Cinematography: Perfect fit for the Burton Gotham. Stark black and whites. Shadows all over the place (some great throw backs to the Batman 60’s TV show at one point) and it’s wonderfully covered. Not too many close ups, not too many wide shots. It’s just well shot.

Production Design: Again, amazing. Not as perfect as the Batman ‘89’s Gotham, but still ranks up there higher than the newer franchise at capturing the “gloominess” of Gotham. Everything is just a bit too “new” and clean and shiny. That’s the only problems with it.

Editing: Well edited all around. There wasn’t a point where I felt it was choppy or out of place. Everything is covered well and truth be told you never really get bored with anything that’s going on. The marks of good editing in my opinion. Score: Danny Elfman does it again. Expanding on his original Batman score, he really hits a high point with this one. Gloomy, dark, and gothic. It doesn’t get any more Batman than that.

Special Effects: Where there special effects in this one? I can’t really tell. I mean the make-up department does a fantastic job. But as far as the rest of it goes, a lot of it is so well masked that you really think everything that’s going on is real. Explosions, bat-boats, and giant rubber duckies. It works.

In closing: Batman Returns catches a lot of heat because of it’s stylistic differences from both the comics and the original Batman film. But in Burton’s defense, he’s an artist trying to create his own original piece of art. It works as a Batman movie on some levels and on others it fails. Same as Chris Nolan and Joel Schumacher’s entries. It’s just the way adaptations work. I think some great additions were made, and some essentials were left out. But overall, I can sit back, watch Batman Returns and be entertained. It may not be perfect in what people hoped it would have been, but it is one solid piece of work. Burton committed himself to his own originality, which in turned, made him a greater film maker or the bastard director of Batman. You be the judge.

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Movie Review: BATMAN (1989)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

BATMAN MOVIE POSTER
BATMAN, 1989
Movie Reviews

Directed by Tim Burton
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton and Kim Basinger
Review by Mike Peters

SYNOPSIS:

Gotham City is under siege. Criminals and corrupt officials rule and the innocent are left defenseless. Crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) and his right hand man, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) are the true leaders of this city. They rule with an iron fist. However, Jack is eventually set up by Carl and is forced to fend for himself while on a routine mission at Axis Chemicals. This is where Jack, on the verge of escape from the police, first encounters Batman. Batman prevents Jack from escaping by dropping him into a vat of toxic chemicals. Jack reemerges as The Joker and vows to destroy the city of Gotham and Batman. Batman, on the other hand, vows to save the city from the corruption of crime and from the unstable actions of The Joker.

Review:

In recent years, comic book fever has hit Hollywood. Every sort of superhero has popped up in celluloid from Spiderman and Superman to Daredevil and Ironman. This genre has quickly become a bona fide financial juggernaut. As the films continue to be released and the quality continues to diminish, one starts to ponder the validity of these once iconic figures. Originally created to cope with the stress of war and famine during the 1930s and 1940s, these characters once represented hope and faith for a nation in a stage of turmoil. Now that these characters are merely exploited for financial reasons, they tend to lose what they once stood for. Their honor and truth are stripped from them by greedy capitalists.

Prior to the bombardment of the superhero films, studios were extremely hesitant to green light any film based on a comic book. These films were not viable entities and were not considered serious modes of art by many critics. Superman was released in 1978 and was a major hit but as the sequels continued, the product diminished and the film eventually ended its embarrassing run with Superman 4: The Quest for Peace in 1987. As the hoopla quickly subsided and the crowds diminished, so did the superhero film.

This posed serious risk for the film version of ‘Batman’. Having bought the film rights in 1979, producers Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan (and eventually Peter Guber) struggled for nearly ten years to bring the caped crusader to the big screen. However, after numerous changes to the script, director and actors, the film finally was green-lit and was set for release on June 23, 1989.

Tim Burton, known for his work on Beetlejuice (1988), was a surprise candidate to some but eventually was hired on as director of this big-budgeted film. This did not sit well with some industry professionals as they were concerned with how this former artist from Walt Disney would handle the dark world of Batman. The character had changed so often in the past fifty years that many were unaware of how the film would go about depicting the legacy of the caped crusader. With a great amount of stress on his shoulders, Burton persevered and decided that he was going to introduce the world to a reinvented Batman. Having been greatly inspired by Frank Miller’s 1986 comic ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”, Burton aimed to create a bleak and unrelenting landscape for his ‘Batman’ film. Gone were the days of the psychedelic camp excesses of the 1960s television series starring Adam West (Batman had become a joke of sorts with his portrayal in this series). Instead, Burton vowed to once again honor the ‘Batman’ story with the respect and admiration he felt it deserved.

Batman is a story about the good and evil in everyone. Bruce Wayne (A.K.A. Batman), is a character haunted by the murder of his family. He was defenseless during their attack and the traumatic situation has left him a vulnerable soul. He is a brooding, melancholy individual who has never been at peace with who he is. Attempting to escape his pain and self loathing, Bruce Wayne transforms into the crime fighting idealist known as Batman. Crime destroyed Bruce Wayne but Batman vows to destroy the crime.

Jack Napier, on the other hand, is a cold and calculating master criminal who aspires to be the top dog. His ambitious nature and his arrogance are, however, his downfall. Having had enough of Jack, Carl Grissom vows to rid himself of him forever. After being dropped into the vat of chemicals, Jack is transfigured into a demonically possessed, fun loving, insane criminal mastermind. The Joker becomes Jack’s alter ego and though he is as ambitious as Jack is, The Joker is the antithesis of him in regards to personality, demeanor and appearance.

Thus, the performances from Keaton and Nicholson are crucial in the understanding of the motives behind these two characters decisions. Bruce Wayne is clumsy and reserved but Batman is fearless and heroic. Jack is a vindictive but controlled man. The Joker is uninhibited and sadistic. Both Bruce Wayne and Jack Napier are the complete opposite of their alter egos. They are allowed to live out their fantasies as a result of their defined title as outsider. The fact that Bruce Wayne lives on the outskirts of Gotham City is highly symbolic of his ostracized role in society.

Keaton is restrained (reserved) and slightly comedic in his performance. In a sense, he plays the straight man to Jack Nicholson’s over the top portrayal of The Joker. With Keaton playing it straight, Nicholson is allowed to chew the scenery with relish (and boy does he ever). Perhaps this is the most fun any actor has ever had at portraying a role. The Joker is demented but goes about it with such an uncontrolled giddiness that Nicholson’s performance borders on flamboyant. However, Nicholson does steal the show and truly deserves top billing. He brings life to the film and, to some, is more of an interesting character then Keaton’s Batman. Whereas Keaton needs to be the brooding, reluctant hero, The Joker adds flavor to an already spicy role.

The characters exist in an urban hell. It is a city devoid of life. Highly reminiscent of Metropolis (1927) and Blade Runner (1982), the film oozes bleakness. The darkness is highly representative of the character’s emotional detachment to life. Production designer, Anton Furst, beautifully depicts a city being eaten away at its core by creating a cold and sterile environment. It is highly reminiscent of a hopeless world. That is until Batman vows to battle the crime infestation of the city.

Anton Furst’s production design goes hand in hand with the dark, visual scope of Tim Burton. Burton’s zealous in creating a dark world has become a common distinction amongst his films. The darkness that seeps through the crevices of his films may appear to be bleak and unmanageable but he always allows for the chance of hope and redemption to surface. Aiding Burton’s visual extravaganza is the score by Danny Elfman. From the beginning of the film, Elfman presents a raucous and riveting musical accompaniment that truly gets ‘Batman’ off to a quick start. Aided by the artist (formerly known or known or whatever he is now) Prince, the music helps to drive the story forward and assist during some of the lulls experienced in the film.

Batman is in no way a perfect film. There are many plot lapses and the film is not as deep as Christoher Nolan’s superior, albeit completely different Batman Begins (2005), but the film holds a special place in my heart. I grew up with this film and to this day it still makes me excited when I watch it.

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com