Superman Returns

Bryan Singer has done it again. At first I cringed at the thought of someone besides Christopher Reeves playing Superman. But Brenden Routh surprised this superhero fan! He not only mastered the iconic Superman and Clark’s mannerisms, but even his voice! The first scene he spoke in, I got chills. I’m convinced no one else could have filled the Man of Steel’s boots like Routh.

Kevin Spacey did a spectacular job as Lex Luthor as well. Of course, Singer had the part with Spacey in mind. But Spacey embodied the villain with a much darker, vengeful way than Gene Hackman. He masters everything he does.

While I was impressed with Kate Bosworth’s acting as the spunky, fearless Lois Lane, she still didn’t look anything like Lois. I was already disappointed with that aspect going in though. Her fiancé, Richard White, played by James Marsden (of X-Men fame) had a much larger role in the movie than I expected. He and the rest of the supporting cast were exceptional in their parts.

The story rivals the two original Superman films. There is plenty of action, drama, clever humor, and romance. The movie lasted two and a half hours, and I can safely say that no part of the movie dragged. I can’t imagine any part of it being cut or shortened. I’m not going to give anything away for those who have yet to see it, but a couple twists and surprises are entwined in the story as well!

The special effects and cinematography were brilliant also. Singer did an amazing job! I give Superman Returns an A.

Underworld: Evolution

Underworld: Evolution was a bit different from the first movie. This film was able to delve deeper into a more complex story. Whereas, the first Underworld had to introduce all the characters so the story couldn’t be as deep.

I had my doubts as to how the second movie would hold up against something as new and fresh as the first one. But I wasn’t disappointed. The action was even more intense, the scenes a little a more gory. The special effects were great (especially, on such a small budget), with bigger, badder monsters this time around. We get more of a back-story on the original vampire and werewolf. And we get to see Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael’s (Scott Speedman) relationship develop further. Though there wasn’t a lot of talking in the movie other than Selene’s narration, the acting was exceptional as well. Specifically, Marcus, played by Tony Curran, was a wonderfully, complex tortured-soul. I love when you can somewhat sympathize with the villains. It makes them much more believable than just soulless monsters.

This movie was quite a bit darker, but just as fun as the original.

Zathura

I was able to see an advanced screening of Zathura last night. And I was surprised to say the least. Zathura was much better than I thought it’d be. I was assuming it’d be just a remake of Jumanji but for children. And while, of course, the game-coming-to-life aspect resembled Jumanji, there the similarities stopped. Zathura’s story revolves more around two constantly-bickering brothers and their relationship with each other. The youngest, Danny, finds a game down in their creepy basement. And after his first turn, they find themselves in an outer space adventure. The boys must survive a meteor shower, a defective robot, evil aliens, and their own strained relationship, aided only by a stranded astronaut.

The story is very touching, with a couple fun twists thrown in. The movie was very action-packed and suspenseful, but even the Gorgons (the lizard-like aliens that attack them) are toned-down and almost muppet-like as to not scare younger children. This is definitely a movie for all ages. The only complaint I had were the few swear words that parents might need to talk to younger children about later. I saw a mother in front of me lean over to talk to her 6 year old girl after the youngest brother, Danny, swore at his older brother.

The two boys Jonah Bobo/”Danny” and John Hutcherson/”Walter” were amazing young actors and very convincing as brothers. And the supporting cast of Dax Shepard, Tim Robbins, and Kristin Stewart were great as well. Since the entire movie remained solely in and around the house, no other actors were even seen.

Zathura is a fun, science fiction, action, suspense, drama, comedy, family-friendly movie.

Greatest Game Ever Played

 

Well, this week is the week for sneak previews! I got to see The Greatest Game Ever Played last night, Oliver Twist tonight, and tomorrow night is Into the Blue. Then of course, Friday is Serenity. 4 movies in 4 days! If I didn’t love movies so much, I might be burned out on them.

The Greatest Game Ever Played definitely surprised me. The movie was funny and heartwarming, a pure feel-good movie. I love leaving the theatre with that feeling. This movie is based on a true story about Francis Ouimet, a poor American boy who had a passion and talent for golf. His father didn’t approve of Francis’ dreams; and being working class family was an obstacle as well. But still, Ouimet gets the chance to play as an amateur in the 1913 US Open along side his childhood idol.

Francis Ouimet is played by the Disney Channel’s own Shia LaBeouf who does a wonderful job of making his character lovable and relatable. His ten-year-old caddie, Eddie, was played by Joshua Flitter, who stole the show in many scenes!

One of my favorite things about this film though, was the unique, artsy film effects of the golf games. Even for people like me who don’t care for golf, the way this movie flowed and the great camera shots, made it much more interesting and fun to watch. Many times I found myself holding my breath when someone was making a putt.

This was a wonderful, wholesome family movie that seems to be so rare nowadays.

Brothers Grimm

Well, the Brothers Grimm wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. And I don’t know why the director, Gilliam, was complaining about the PG13 rating that they received. This movie is definitely not for young children. Stories in books aren’t as scary, but when you see something on screen it brings a different reality to it. Some of the gore could have been cut out, and it could have been still pretty creepy.

Matt Damon and Heath Ledger were perfect in their roles, and made a great team. Damon played the level-headed older brother who is always ready for action, and Ledger played the scholarly brother that loves fairy tales. There was a great blend of action and comedy. It reminded me a lot of The Princess Bride. Except in this movie, the suspense was pretty much non-stop.

And yet, for some reason, I still felt like something was missing. I was a tad disappointed with how the fairy tales were mentioned. I expected a little more, I guess. It’s hard to say anything more without giving away any spoilers. But overall, The Brothers Grimm was a very fun, entertaining movie. And it made me want to reread some of the Grimm fairy tales.

Fantastic Four

 

The Fantastic Four was… well… fantastic! It was everything the comic is, but brought to life. Casting was exceptional. They couldn’t have found anyone who looked and acted more like Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic than Ioan Gruffudd. Reed is the distracted, quiet genius who finds himself the reluctant leader of the Fantastic Four. Michael Chiklis played the more difficult role of Ben Grimm/The Thing, who turned into a rock-man, the only one of the four who can’t turn his power on and off. I had reservations about Jessica Alba playing Susan Storm/Invisible Woman; but I have to say she did a great job as well. Susan not only plays the mothering, nurturing-role as the only female of the group, and older sister of Johnny, but she also holds her own as a brilliant scientist and powerful hero. Of the four though, I think that Chris Evans actually became Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and did the best job of bringing his character to life. Johnny is the playboy, thrill-seeker who loves the media attention, and loves torturing Grimm in endless pranks and jokes. Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom is played by Julian McMahon, who also does a great job as the Four’s benefactor-turned-villain.

The beginning of the movie seems a bit rushed. There are no slow parts in this movie. But I see where they needed to hurry with the events leading to the accident that changes them, just to get on with the rest of the story. Plus, with 4 people in leading roles, instead of 1 or 2, it’s harder to get into each character’s story. But with sequels already planned, they have plenty of time for more character development. This movie is mainly about how the Four get their powers, how they deal with them, and the beginning of the first super hero family.

Don’t expect the Fantastic Four movie to be like Batman Begins. The mood is completely different. Marvel takes a different approach with their comic book characters. Where DC characters, like Batman, tend to have darker stories and are more dramatic and mythological; Marvel is usually more comedic and light-hearted. The Fantastic Four is probably the funniest comic book movie ever made, without getting too cheesy. Plus it’s family aspect makes it unique as well.

The special effects for this movie were a huge challenge. Chiklis had to don a bulky rubber suit, that looked remarkably realistic as orange rock. Mr. Fantastic’s stretching was a concern of mine. I hoped it wouldn’t look too campy or cheesy. That, too, was well met. I was really impressed with all of the effects in this movie, especially The Human Torch’s fire property.

All in all, the Fantastic Four was an excellent movie and a lot of fun.

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