Saturday, July 29, 2006

"ALFIE"

Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Sienna Miller, Omar Epps, Nia Long


"A player until he got played!"


Alfie



What's it all about, Alfie?

Well if you judge it by this film.

I would say it is ALL about Jude Law.


Jude Law looking gorgeous in metrosexual clothes.
Jude Law talking straight to the camera with a twinkle in his eyes.
Jude Law having romps with different women.
Even without appearing naked in any of the shots.
Jude Law's lovely accent and toothy grin.
Jude Law on a trendy vespa like scooter traipsing all over New York.
Jude Law romancing women as Mick Jagger sings "Blind leading the Blind".
Jude Law as a charming limo chauffeur.
Jude Law looking vulnerable after a health scare.

Jude Law, Jude Law and more Jude Law.

Yes it is all about him.

Alfie in this modern version is transported to America but still retains his Brit accent. Still fashionable, awfully charming and looking like he stepped out of the pages of GQ magazine, despite being a mere limo driver, take note! Yet despite his dandy womanizing ways, he remains oh so humanely vulnerable. You simply cannot hate him for being such a cold hearted slug who has huge commitment issues. You sort of feel sorry for his lonesome fate.

The abrupt ending does have you wondering just as Alfie did.

"What's (this film) all about?"

"MANHATTAN"

Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Meryl Streep, Mariel Hemingway

Manhattan, New York



According to this article, "Manhattan" is ranked 10th in the list of the 50 films to watch before you die. So I was in luck when shuffling through TV channels last night, I chanced upon the Lifestyle Channel showing this Woody Allen classic.

It is shot entirely in black and white, the setting is in the 70s and of course, the locale is New York. Any film written and directed by Woody Allen normally deals with human relationships. Or his view on what relationships are supposed to be, how marriages work or don't work, the wheeling and dealings of the human psyche when it comes to connecting with other people with the intention of establishing (or not) any type of relationship (romantic, platonic or sexual) .

His usual style of portraying a man eternally questions himself with regards to everything from the women he falls in love with ... to the movies he watches ... brilliantly shines in his portrayal of Isaac Davis.
A divorced New Yorker involved with a young girl (gasps, she is only 17!) yet he also actively pursues Mary who just happens to be the mistress of his best friend. A role played magnificently by the quirky Diane Keaton.

I have to admit since this is one of his earlier movies, his character is not as neurotic and self absorbed as the ones in "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Husbands and Wives". But oh have no qualms about it, Isaac Davis is a flawed character and one only Woody Allen can get away with.

Allen's main cinematic influences are noticeable in this film. He even went as far as enumerating them in one distinct scene where his character has an epiphany regarding what truly matters in his life. To name a few: Frank Sinatra, Groucho Marx, Marlon Brando as well as Swedish movies.

His brand of comedy is reminiscent of the old Groucho Marx movies tinged with a bit of Chaplin. Woody Allen once acknowledged in some article I read a long time ago, he tries to imitate the style of these two great comedians in most of his movies. In "Manhattan" he succeeds with aplomb. Perhaps that's where he got the idea of filming this film entirely in black and white, imbibing it with a poignancy factor.
The music of Gershwin persists in several key scenes in the movie.
I particularly like the melodic rendition of "Someone to watch over Me" complimenting the gorgeous shots of New York at night.

Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy (who was seen recently in X Men: The Last Stand as Warren Worthington, Sr.) and a very young Mariel Hemingway - all talented actors in their own right essay good supporting roles to Woody Allen's Isaac Davis.

The clever way of combining witty dialogue with scenes of Manhattan in black and white, accompanied by a musical score of Gershwin songs conducted by the great Zubin Mehta as well as a good ensemble cast all contribute to making this romantic comedy - one of the best Woody Allen movies of all time.

Hmm now I still have about 38 more films to watch judging by the abovementioned list so ... Bring it on!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"THE GREAT RAID"

Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, Connie Nielsen, Cesar Montano

"The Most Daring Rescue Mission Of Our Time Is A Story That Has Never Been Told."

greatest rescue in US military history


I remember a few years ago when it was reported that Cesar Montano, who is a big action star here was to be part of this Hollywood movie. Every newspaper featured various articles about him. Everyone was making a big fuss about his first break into Hollywood. Then filming started in Australia because sadly due to the political turmoil in this country, it wasn't safe for production to be shot here. Soon enough, the film was all set for release but got postponed indefinitely till no one actually gave a damn anymore. It gathered dust in some studio in the US. Cesar Montano came back here. Promptly got stuck playing action hero roles in lousy local films. Or worse he faded into TV roles with sad oblivion. I think it was eventually shown here at the cinemas sometime late 2005 or was it early 2006, I forgot. I finally got to rent it from the video store this week and I'd say it was long overdue.
"The Great Raid" is a film that depict important events in our history which are long forgotten but definitely need to be told. It helps us better understand our democracy which we tend to take for granted nowadays.
The Philippines as a country has been through several years of Spanish colonial occupation, Japanese war atrocities then the American invasion under the guise of supposedly liberating us from the evil Japanese imperialist empire.

But anyways this film is about a rescue mission to save the American POWs who survived the brutal Bataan death march. There were about 150 - 200 American soldiers rotting in a Cabanatuan prison camp who have been waiting for 3 years to be rescued. News of the return of General Macarthur (who abandoned his troops to hie off to Australia) in Leyte made the Japanese forces desperate to pull out. They started killing most of their captured POWS in very sadistic and brutal manner. In a prison camp in Palawan, they ordered the prisoners into air raid shelters, dosed them with gasoline and set them on fire. Shooting the burning men who tried to escape out of the horrific inferno.

The beginning of the film was peppered with actual black and white footages of the events. The Bataan death march, the landing of McArthur in Leyte then it slowly fades into a sepia toned background to depict the story behind the rescue mission. We are introduced to the men who will lead the mission. It also focuses on some of the POWS at the camp and even inserted a subplot featuring some love story which I think was Hollywood's idea to sneak in a female character. Normally in war movies, women are just decorative pieces portrayed as nurses or wives back home waiting anxiously for their husbands.
The main core of the film though is the small band of rangers who will get to accomplish the greatest raid in US military history. Men driven not by glory for publicity sake but driven for glory within their heart and soul. Perhaps guided by the slogan ... "Leave no man behind".

This film is fraught with flaws no doubt about that. It is pretty obvious it was a low budget movie with no big name stars in the cast. Yet it succeeds in showing us an important event in history. It succeeds in its own unique way. There are some explosive scenes, nostalgic scenes of ancient Manila when it was still considered "The Pearl of the Orient", scenes of jungle warfare, scenes of dreadful prison camp conditions. All very simple yet still managing to convey the essence of war torn Philippines.
The mixed cast of American and Filipino actors blend well together. Benjamin Bratt and James Franco do well without drawing much histrionics and basically just portray brave soldiers who had a mission to fulfill. Joseph Fiennes though is pretty much just lying around as one of the prisoners afflicted with malaria. A pity since he could have done a lot more and his acting range was rather limited with this role. Oh of course as expected, Cesar Montano did pretty good as the leader of the underground guerilla Captain Juan Pajota.

It is a painful part of our history when the imperial Japanese forces treated the Filipinos with bestiality. It is something I have never forgotten till this day. Stories related to me by my father about the animalistic atrocities committed by the Japanese still haunt me and will do so forever.
So in that regard, I am glad that this film despite not raking in millions at the box office both locally and in the US was made to educate us and remind us to never take our freedom and democracy for granted.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST"

Johnny Depp, Keira Knighley, Orlando Bloom, Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport, Stellan Skarsgard, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin McNally


Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex

Capt. Jack Sparrow

Well lookie here, he's back! Aye, Captain Jack Sparrow!

I love this sequel more than the original. More laughing out loud moments, great special effects, the plot is well developed. The musical score is beguiling with picturesque cinematography, shots of the deep blue sea, a dreary swamp as well as lusciously verdant islands. There are new fascinatingly engaging albeit yucky characters (Davey Jones crew and those hungry cannibals) complete with grim infested dirty clothes and cavity laden bad teeth. Captain Jack Sparrow takes us on a new treasure hunt across the seas. Encountering shipwreck after shipwreck with good thrilling action filled moments, it was a blast.

Ultimately, Johnny Depp is magnificent as ever as the merry little pirate with heavy kohl eye makeup. He totally cracks me up with his cynical one liners, his silly antics and his swagger walk.

Certain characters from the original film are also back. Lovebirds, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. Captain Jack's Black Pearl crew. Ragetti and Pintel, those two characters who in the original film kept invoking 'parlay'. A pompously conniving English, Lord Cutler Beckett. A smaller role for Governor Swann, Elizabeth's father. Even Norrrington is revived. Elizabeth's former fiance who is now portrayed by the dashing Jack Davenport.

One thing hasn't changed though, Orlando Bloom still doesn't know how to act. He is so bland, he projects no charisma and his weak voice is almost like a whimper. I certainly don't understand the adulation he receives from fans. Everytime he was in the frame, I would nudge my sister and roll my eyes as if to say 'pffft he is so blah'.

The entire film is such a visual treat, a typical Hollywood blockbuster which one naturally doesn't take seriously except to be entertained for 150 minutes. Everything you would expect from a pirate movie.

This review has been nothing more than an excuse to bombard it with links to various articles about Johnny Depp, who I totally adore.
So I conclude by saying I can't wait for the last installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and for the return of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Buggeroo! Ships Ahoy!

Monday, July 24, 2006

"FIREWALL"

Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Alan Arkin, Virginia Madsen

"Everything he loves is about to be used against him"


Firewall


The plot of this film has a typical mediocre storyline. Bad guys invade main character's house to take his family hostage. They will be used as pawn for main character to do some criminal activity on their behalf. In this case, he must access the main server of the security system of the bank where he works. Then transfer loads amount of cash to bad guys offshore bank account. This being the 21st century, criminals are now cyber thieves, hackers who steal virtual cash as opposed to actually holding up a bank and making do with heavy bags filled with bulks of cash. Of course, complications will arise. Main character won't stop at anything to get every single member of his family in one piece. Even if it means main character is huffing and puffing and can barely kick ass, he accomplishes the task. Hurrah happy ending. You stretch your arms above your shoulders. Big yawn factor.

Harrison Ford should really think of making movies where he doesn't have to physically tackle bad guys. Somehow, the thought of him reprising his Indiana Jones character makes me cringe. In "Firewall" he is the VP of Security of a bank yet most of the time, he is ineffectual. As a father whose family is under grave threat, he takes a pretty long time to figure out what to do. It almost comes across as if he doesn't really care nor value the lives of his wife and kids.

The only good thing about this movie was Paul Bettany. His portrayal of Billy Cox as a polite hostage taker with a mean streak of character embedded in his personality was pretty plausible. It didn't hurt either that he has a wicked accent. But I hope he doesn't get typecast as a villain in all his forthcoming movies. He has the potential to be a good leading man like his role in Wimbledon (although Kirsten Dunst as his leading lady totally ruined it for me). The movie about a has been tennis pro which was also directed by Richard Loncraine.

I'm relieved I didn't catch this film in the cinemas or else I'm pretty sure I would have fallen asleep. I also know the moment I walk out of the theater as the end credits roll by, I would have forgotten about it almost immediately. Except in this case I am now stuck with an image of the aged and anguised face of Harrison Ford trying his darnest best to rescue his family from the bad guys. Ugh!

Friday, July 21, 2006

"CASANOVA"

Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Lena Olin, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Omid Djalili

"A partially true story about lies told,
virtue lost and love found"


Giacomo Casanova


Casanova's name is now synonymous with a lothario who seduces women. Well, of course he does more than just seduce them but you know what I mean.

In this delightful movie about him, Heath Ledger does justice to the role. He is charming, ruggedly handsome, has a mischievous grin and is quite adept with a sword. A dashing swashbuckling hero who has the right amount of charisma to charm the ladies. The setting is in breathtakingly panoramic Venezia (Venice), Italy. During an era known for lavish parties, a string of very fascinating characters like The Doge, Bishops and Counts, colorful yet stuffy attires, ornately designed edifices, gaudy mansions and palaces as well as a period in history when the Roman Catholic church was very powerful.

The supporting cast which consisted of good talented actors such as Jeremy Irons, Lena Olin, Oliver Platt among others were all such a delight to watch. Perfect comedic timing, delivering witty dialogue and simply blending quite well in such scenic cinematography. I was especially amused by the character of Lupo, Casanova's servant/partner in crime/sidekick. He managed to flesh out an otherwise inconsequential character. His antics were quite funny.

You would think that a film about debauchery and passionate romps would be vulgar to watch yet Lasse Hallstrom's masterful direction presented us the audience with a nice weave of artistry that blends with a flowing story line and a lot of chuckle moments.

I've been meaning to catch this film ever since I knew that Heath Ledger would be in the lead role. But somehow when it was shown in the cinemas, I believe I was out of town or something I don't remember. He has this raw energy which is present in whatever role he portrays. I've been his fan since I saw his well crafted performance in that heroic epic "The Four Feathers". Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller as Francesca Bruni share an apparent chemistry that sizzles on screen but not from sexual undertones but through their witty exchange of dialogue. They looked good together as a couple as opposed to his leading lady in "The Four Feathers", Kate Hudson but hey I'm not reviewing that movie so I better just leave it at that.

The word that keep coming to my mind when I think of this film is whimsical. Beautiful costume design, gorgeous cinematography, grand Baroque musical score, excellent bunch of talented cast and a refreshing love story that transcends time.
Oh I thought it was really hilarious whenever they used the word "fornicator" several times in the course of the film.

Holy Damnation! What a blasphemy!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"SHOPGIRL"

Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzman
"Relationships don't always fit like a glove"

Mirabelle Buttersfield



Mirabelle Buttersfield has a unique quirky name. She sells expensive gloves in a little corner of the ladies fashion department in a ritzy store, Saks Fifth Avenue. An average looking girl who wears dresses reminiscent of the 70s era. She also dabbles in strange black and white drawings to express her artistic side. She meets Jeremy at the local laundry shop, they go out on a few dates. Nothing serious though.
Then an older man in his 50s starts pursuing her, showering her with expensive gifts, taking her out to dine in fancy restaurants. But whatever they share, Ray Porter has one condition - it would be a strictly no strings attached relationship. I guess you could call it an open relationship. But as the film unfolds, it is obvious both parties involved have developed feelings for each other but despite and inspite of these emotions surfacing they try their darnest best to stick to the condition. There is an underlying complexity factor which only two mature adults can handle. But given the fact that one of them is a young impressionable girl with a good head on her shoulders, it is much harder for Mirabelle to accept the terms attached to the relationship. At first I found it creepy that Steve Martin was actively pursuing a woman who is young enough to be his daughter. Then I realize that there are certain things that simply happen for a reason (whatever that may be), so slowly the two main characters simply grew on me.

In this film adapted from the novella written by Steve Martin himself, a book I admit I've heard of but never read, there certainly is a Lolita-esque theme. Older lonely yet successfully rich guy meets lonely bored saleslady named Mirabelle Buttersfield. It is cute in a quirky sense sort of love story. A love story that does away with the mushy factor although there are scenes of dining in expensive restaurants, giving of romantic gifts but there is also an extra something that embellish this relationship.

I admit I haven't been a big fan of Claire Danes in any of her movies. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that she did publicly insult the Philippines when she came here to shoot a film. I just felt she was rather apathetic in her acting, always bland with no panache. But as Mirabelle Buttersfield, she was perfect. Her almost expressionless face did justice to the role. Steve Martin in the same way as Robin Williams in any serious role can be quite creepy, by default. I almost expected him to make a funny face, crack jokes and/or amuse the audience with his funny antics. His portrayal of Ray Porter is subdued with a stoic indifference that calls for a lot of sympathetic votes. In short, he was quite endearing.

Suffice it to say, I love this film. It is a unique love story about loneliness as well as about people establishing connection at a deeper level which tugs at my sarcastically stoic heart. You know for someone like me to admit something like that, it must mean I need to get my pulse checked. It is rare that I am drawn towards mushy romantic love stories but then "ShopGirl" isn't an ordinary love story, after all.

I end by quoting my favorite line in the movie. In a pivotal scene towards the end of the film, the narrator says:
"As Ray Porter watches Mirabelle walk away he feels a loss. How is it possible, he thinks, to miss a woman whom he kept at a distance so that when she was gone he would not miss her. Only then does he realize that wanting part of her and not all of her had hurt them both and how he cannot justify his actions except that ... Well... It was life."


Ok all together now .... Awwww how sad!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"THE LADY IN THE WATER"

Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, M. Night Shyamalan, Jeffrey Wright,


"Time is running out for a happy ending"


THX Cinema 3, Glorietta 4
Invitational advance screening



Story

Yay so I won 2 tickets for the advanced screening of Manosh's (yes I address M. Night Shyamalan that way) latest offering, "The Lady in the Water".


Facts:
1) The film is based on a bedtime story that Manosh told his kids.
2) It stars Bryce Dallas Howard who also appeared in his previous film, "The Village."
3) Manosh has a bigger role in this film. He plays a pivotal character quite essential in the grand scheme of things as they unfold in this fairy tale story.
4) This is his first film that doesn't have a twist.
5) Don't judge a movie by its theatrical trailers/previews.

The bedtime story occurs in an apartment complex called The Cove which is run quite efficiently by a simple man named Cleveland Heep. As most of Manosh's films goes, the setting is in Philadelphia. There are a whole bunch of real persons as well as fairy tale characters who inhabit in the Cove. The main character though is a water nymph called Story who lives beneath the swimming pool. Story is brilliantly portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard aka as Ron Howard's daughter. Her pale, gaunt feature with long curly tresses makes you think she is really a nymph, a persona from what else a fairy tale. Paul Giamatti as your everyday lonely miserable man who tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy in his life as the superintendent of the apartment complex is very believable as Cleveland Heeps. A man with a dark tragic past who has somehow blocked it out of his system. A character anyone can truly emphatize with. The ensemble cast, a whole bunch of different people from all walks of life as well as from different races that live in The Cove all play essential roles who in each way contribute to make this bedtime story quite fascinating to watch. But the one part which got to me is the underlying theme which Manosh effortlessly conveyed through this film. The 'everyone has a purpose in life' message is clearly the main point. So if you can understand that message, you can be excused for rolling your eyes in disbelief about creatures like narfs, a dog like animal and an underwater world.

Q & A:
1) Was it as good as "The Sixth Sense"?
No
2) Is it as creepy as the trailer/preview likes us to believe?
No
3) Does it have an implied meaning?
Definitely
4) Did you like the film?
Yes I did
5) Would you recommend it?
My answer(s) would be:

  • If you truly appreciate the abundantly ingenious talent of Manosh, watch it.
  • If you don't believe in 'meaningful' fairy tales, don't watch it.
  • But if like me, your reason to see movies is to find some hidden meaning to life. As well as try to figure out how that implication can in some way or the other may or may not shape my life as an individual then by all means, watch "The Lady in the Water". You will definitely savor it in the deep recesses of your psyche!
  • Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    UNITED 93

    "September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked. Three of them reached their target. This is the story of the fourth."

    Cinema 5, Glorietta 4


    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


    I distinctly remember where I was on September 11, 2001. My family and I had recently moved back here to Manila on September 8. We were living in a rented condo unit still dazed with jet lag, trying to get our bearings back while re-adjusting to life back here in our homeland. At 9 pm local time, we had just finished eating dinner and I switched the TV on. I am a CNN freak so I always watch the news network. I was at first astonished about the breaking news. Apparently there were sketchy reports that a small plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. But a few minutes later, we all caught the horrifying image of another huge plane crashing against the second World Trade Center Tower. There was a lot of confusion, the CNN news reports were still being verified. For the next few months, I was totally drawn to the events unfolding in New York.

    We all now know that 4 planes were hijacked.
    Their pilots were viciously murdered by those involved.
    The passengers were unwilling victims in these atrocious acts of violence.
    But.
    We still don't know what truly happened on those flights.
    Until this film boldly attempted to re-enact the final moments of the passengers on United 93, a routine flight from Newark to San Francisco.
    The whole movie is based on facts provided by the families of the passengers who received frantic phone calls from their loved ones. Messages expressing their love for their families and friends were all recorded. Heartbreaking phone calls of people who knew they were never going to see their families again. Since the flight was delayed by several minutes, the passengers onboard United 93 had heard through their families back home about the collapse of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. So the heroic efforts of a few passengers on board to thwart the evil intent of the hijackers is commendable and laudable to say the least. They had to be stopped at all cost from reaching their target destination, Washington. They were brave enough to overpower the 4 muscle hijackers a term which National Geographic coined to identify them in a documentary I watched a few months ago.
    United 93 also shows us the air traffic controllers who maintained a calm demeanor to resolve the issue of having 4,200 planes in US air space on that day. They were able to ensure that none of those planes would feature in air collisions with each other. A very arduous task indeed. I remember watching a John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton film about ATCs called "Pushing Tin". It was a realistic portrayal of how difficult it is to be an air traffic controller. "Pushing Tin" was peppered with common terminologies that ATCs use in their daily job.
    Paul Greengrass, the director also focused on the military side during the incident. It almost seems like the higher ups failed to totally defuse the situation because it didn't act fast enough. I'm sure these are confidential and top secret activities. I somehow wonder how the director was able to gain access to these reports. Maybe it was just added in to provide some dramatic angle to the movie. Who knows?

    United 93 is a difficult film to watch because it is painful to relive such really horrible acts of pure evil. It isn't just another Hollywood version of some surreal incident. The director was thorough in his research and contacted each of the family members to ask them about each passenger aboard United 93. He showed us the faces behind the names of the victims of that terrible tragedy. Even the terrorists involved were shown as human beings with fears and trepidation ruling in their hearts before they perforated the tragic tasks at hand.
    I also like the fact that he used real ATCs and airline crew to star in this film. They were there on the ground and provided valuable support to those caught in that terrible incident. It has a documentary feel to it yet you also know that it is a film with actors re-enacting the final moments of those ill fated passengers of United 93.
    It was gripping, provocative and very disturbing yet you cannot NOT watch this film. I recommend it because it is important that we never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. Even though it has been almost 5 years now, there is still a very raw and real threat in place not only in the US but anywhere in the world where freedom and democracy reigns.

    Friday, July 7, 2006

    SUPERMAN RETURNS
    Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington, James Marsden

    Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex

    Superman is Back

    Yes, Superman is back after a 5 year absence/hiatus from saving the world against every imaginable disaster. Superman has always been my favorite superhero. He can fly. He has X Ray vision. He can hear everything. He is faster than a speeding bullet. He is the savior of humankind. He represents peace, justice and goodwill among men. Every bulging inch, the superhero that he is.

    In this film peppered with all the Computer Generated Images possible, Superman is back in form. His alter ego, Clark Kent as usual has this 'idiotic' look permanently pasted on his face. He is hardly shown doing his work as a reporter. I don't think he even sat down in front of a computer to file any stories. He is always away saving the planet. His beloved Lois Lane is now a mother to a precocious son, Jason. She is engaged to be married to Richard White, a genuinely likeable dude. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor managed to get out of prison on a lighter sentence. He also schemed his way into inheriting the vast fortune of an old lady. Just perfect for him to come up with a plan to build a new continent, never mind if billions of people will die in the process. With an entourage of menacing thugs to do the dirty work for him and a ditzy girlfriend in tow, Lex Luthor seemed invincible.

    Let me now enumerate what I liked about this film.

    1) The original film score by John Williams. It was given a more upbeat tune and it totally added a certain oomph to the entire film. The blaring loud 'tan ta ta tan' gave me chills. Factor in the fact that in the cinema where I watched, I could actually feel the treble of the sound system. It was exhilarating.
    2) Bryan Singer inserting portions from the original film. He stayed true to the theme for continuity sake with a Marlon Brando voiceover. Showing us scenes of Superman as a boy leaping through the cornfields in Smallville was a neat trick. It gave the film some vital background information about the Man of Steel. It created good character build up to his persona.
    3) Of course, action scenes where Superman is seen rescuing, saving humankind from disasters is always a pleasant visual treat. This time he goes global by putting out fires in France, averting some disaster in Greece and he was even seen in Manila, the Philippines. Heh! I didn't see him here. He must have been darting around faster than a bullet.

    Some kinks I noticed.
    1) The pace was a bit slow especially in the first part of the film. Lex Luthor roaming, gathering enough ammunition to hatch his evil plan was boring. There were times I tried not to fall asleep.
    2) The cast. Brandon Routh surely looks the part. He is tall, has a prominent jawline, his hair is sleek. This time he sports a darker shade of red (maroon) in his Superman attire. His cape was darker too and quite flowingly fluid and you can actually hear the 'shish' as he flew in the sky. Yet there were times when I noticed some love handles around Brandon Routh's waistline. He doesn't have perfect abs to cause some ripples in his Superman suit. His acting was somewhat rigid. He lacked the sparkle and twinkle in his eyes as Superman. He wasn't as engaging a personality as Christopher Reeve was when he was Superman. I also didn't feel any chemistry between Superman and Lois Lane. It must have been there somewhere but I didn't sense it at all. Kate Bosworth is a refreshing presence almost luminous in certain scenes. Yet there was something lacking in her portrayal of Lois Lane. As Lois Lane, she lacked the inner desire to yearn for Superman which I guess is natural since he did abandon her and just left without saying goodbye.
    Most of all, I am disappointed with Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor. Well sure he was villainous enough. But not in a threateningly menacing manner. I don't know. I expected Lex Luthor to show more angst, more anger towards Superman but sadly in this film he was just a caricature type. I have no doubt that Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor but his Lex Luthor was rather weak almost wimpish.
    3) The plot line. Lex Luthor's plan to build a new continent using the crystals from the planet Krypton wasn't well developed. As I sat there watching all I could think of was "Huh, is that it? Is this what Superman came back for?" But I guess, Bryan Singer didn't want to muddle up the story too much. He chose to focus on Superman returning and trying to rekindle his 'love' for Lois Lane.
    4) Introducing a side plot that involves the kid of Lois Lane was such a teaser for a sequel. The kid didn't really say much, he was mostly in some catatonic state. Perhaps he was still too young and not fully aware of his 'super' powers. The mere presence of a child ruined it for me. My vision of Lois Lane has always been of a woman who lovingly aches for someone she cannot have. That eventually she and Superman will just fly around somewhere and be together in their own little universe. But it is the 21st century after all, even Lois Lane can be a single mother raising a child.

    In conclusion, this film had very good entertainment value. It was exciting to be entranced for 2 1/2 hours by a superhero who has the cunning ability to make us feel safe. That no matter what happens, we need not fear because Superman will be there for us.
     

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