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Holy Hollywood, Batman!

So…Ben Affleck is the new Batman. My brain has been whirring with thoughts on this ever since I found out yesterday morning, but I thought it would be safe to sleep on it before I made any comments. Sleep achieved. Here we go, kids…

Let me first bring out the disclaimer that I really like Ben Affleck. I think he’s an excellent filmmaker and a pretty good actor. Argo  was my favorite movie from last year, so I was overjoyed when it won the Oscar for Best Picture. Despite what I’m calling a “rough patch” of acting choices in the early 2000’s, Affleck’s work of late has been pretty remarkable. 

All that said, I’m having a really tough time wrapping my head around the idea that he’s going to be donning the pointy cowl. Some of you regular readers are already aware of my undying love for the Batman. I think part of the problem here is that I just can’t picture Affleck in the suit. I can see him as a Bruce Wayne type, but that’s as far as I can mentally go at this early stage.

Maybe we’ve been ruined by the perfect casting of Christian Bale as the previous incarnation of our hero. That Christopher Nolan storyline (and the 3 movies) lived in its own separate universe as opposed to the previous Batman films which all sort of latched on to one another. Bale was Batman! 

I think we’re so embedded in Nolan’s universe, that it’s hard to see the other potential Bat universes that are out there. I love the Nolan universe! I really don’t want to leave. But I know that I have to in order to move on.

 I’ve decided that I’m probably underestimating Affleck. After all, when Michael Keaton was cast as the Bat for the 1989 Tim Burton production, people freaked out. Mr. Mom / Beetlejuice was going to be Bruce Wayne??!! It didn’t even compute. And guess who is my favorite Batman after Christian Bale? Yep, Keaton. Maybe we are in the same boat here with Affleck. So, after much thought, I’ve decided that I won’t be one of the naysayers. I’ll lend my meagre support to Mr. Affleck. Good luck to you, sir!

 Besides, this casting decision isn’t for a stand-alone Batman flick. It’s a Batman and Superman movie that will act as the sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel. I confess that I have yet to see MoS. It’s on my Netflix queue. That counts for something, right? I digress.

If Batman and Superman team up in the movie, then okay, cool. That will be interesting to see how the smartest man in the world works with the strongest. However, if they clash…if they find themselves at odds with one another, oh boy! I’ll be the girl cheering for Batman. If Affleck’s the one in the suit, I’ve still got his back.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Halloween!!! I love October. I love how the temperature drops, how it gets darker earlier, how the leaves change, etc. I even have a list of movies I work my way through every year in anticipation of the greatest holiday this side of Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. So for right now, while I work on the next review to present to you good people, here is my list of must-see movies for October.

Oh, and before I get to that list— and yes, I do realize that I killed the moment there—I just wanted to point out that I’m not big into ghosties or slasher films. I don’t like any Japanese horror films either because they truly freak me out. I never got more than ten minutes into The Ring and have no plans to find out what happens in the remainder of that film. As a child, I was completely terrified by Ghostbusters and The Lady in White. After seeing the former, I was convinced Slimer was going to come out of the faucet, and I can’t remember what frightened me about the latter other than it did.

That said, I’m sure my personal list isn’t very festive for some folks, but to each their own. And now, without further ado and in no particular order:

1. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I mean, how on earth could this not be watched at least 2 or 3 times this month? It’s the greatest TV special ever in terms of Halloween.

2. Shaun of the Dead. Funniest zombie movie I’ve ever seen. Bonus points because Bill Nighy is in the movie.

3. Underworld. Sequels aside, this first endeavor in the franchise was a pretty groovy movie. Extra Bill Nighy bonus points.

4. Sleepy Hollow. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp took a favorite story and made it even better. It’s creepy, silly, and cool. Extra points given for Christopher Walken and his pointy teeth.

5. 28 Days Later. They are infected zombie-like people, not zombies. Doesn’t really matter. It’s not the infected you need to be scared of.  Its sequel, 28 Weeks Later, is pretty good too.

6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Actually, it’s okay to turn this off right after Tim Curry sings “Sweet Transvestite” because after that, in my opinion, the movie gets dull pretty quickly. Up until that point, however, it’s a blast.

7. Clue. I know it’s not exactly a Halloween movie. But, it is a good murder mystery movie (and a fun board game as well). I watch this one every Halloween.

8. Arsenic and Old Lace. Maybe for the fact that it’s set on Halloween, or that two little old ladies turn out to be innocent-looking serial killers, but this slightly creepy screwball comedy is an annual favorite.

9. Meet Me in St. Louis.  Most people would consider this a Christmas film since the famous “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” song is in it. But the Halloween section where little Margaret O’Brien’s “Tootie” works herself up to be the most horrible is the best part. Also, it’s a little scary that the children of the neighborhood are building bonfires on the street.

10. Army of Darkness. Why this one? Because it’s a classic. Any of the other movies in the series (Evil Dead; Evil Dead 2) could just as easily sit in the #10 spot, but Army of Darkness is the most fun of the three. From this movie, you know that you “shop smart; shop s-mart.” You know what a boomstick is. You know or maybe think you know the magic words to safely collect the Necronomicon. I could go on for days about the wonderfulness that is Bruce Campbell, but I won’t. If you aren’t sold on Bruce by now, I worry about you.

And for the Meh Movie of the list………………

11.  The Queen of the Damned. I actually saw this movie in the theater. For the most part, the movie is just silly. It’s nothing like the book, and the characters feel more like caricatures than anything else. Still, it’s vampires, and some of the music is okay. I do like one of the music videos Lestat’s band does. It’s in the style of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari which is a very creepy silent film. If you can’t seen that little gem, you need to go find it.

Wolverines and Spiders and Bats—Oh My!

So the new Spider-Man movie releases this week. If you’ve read any of the coverage on this film, you’d know that folks are a bit divided on it. Is it a wise move in rebooting a bankable franchise so soon? What does this say about our Batman prospects since the last installment of that franchise releases this summer?

Bruce is so cool.

I’m a little bit unsure about seeing The Amazing Spider-Man. I sort of feel it is too soon. But then again, the last movie was so bad that I haven’t seen it since that initial ill-fated trip to the theater. Not even Bruce Campbell’s shining beacon of a comedic cameo could save this film. While I enjoyed that scene, along with Topher Grace’s jangly teeth as Venom, and James Franco’s character development as Harry Osborn/ New Goblin, the rest of the movie was pretty much worthy of being in one of my reviews.

First of all, there were too many villains. What allowed the first two Spider-Man movies to work was the concentration on one villain. That’s what went wrong, in my opinion, with the Batman franchise once Joel Schumacher took over. His first foray, Batman Forever, introduced both The Riddler AND Two-Face. We could have done without Two-Face completely. I think it was more of a “how many Bat-villains can we fit into this movie” type thing. Schumacher did the same thing again with Batman & Robin. This time, we had to deal with Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. The movies began to feel more like the Adam West TV-show, and a lot less than the darker storyline that Tim Burton had brought to the screen. I know there are a lot of Burton version naysayers out that, and that’s their opinion. But I think Burton saw the darkness in Batman and put his own spin on that.

Christopher Nolan has also seen the dark side of the Bat, and his versions while not phantasmagorical like Burton’s, are certainly not campy like Schumacher’s. Thank goodness. His movies have been gritty and dark, full of stressful situations and tough decisions. In his movies Batman never has it easy. Every obstacle is a test, and there are no correct answers. But more to that later. Back to the spider issue.

I love Sam Raimi. He’s just awesome. I love the Evil Dead movies, and so I was eagerly on board when the first Spider-Man was released back in 2002. The movie was really cool, and when Spider-Man 2  came out a couple years later, I was happy to go see it. I liked that one as well. But something happened around the time of the third film. I don’t know if it was the studio thinking “Bigger = Better= $$$$$$$$$” or issues with the script or what. But aside from the multiple villain mistake, this movie was all over the place. There was a musical dance number in the movie for Pete’s sake!!! I still cannot get over this. Also, Peter Parker had emo-hair and I swear I saw eyeliner on the boy.

And I’ll be honest here. I like Tobey Maguire, but I’ve never been a big fan of him as a superhero. He just seemed too docile. Now, I know Peter Parker is an every-guy and that’s part of the appeal to the character, but I never saw that drive in him. I never saw that need for revenge coupled with the need to defend people from criminals and ne’er-do-wells. This should have sprouted after the death of his uncle at the hands of a man Peter would have caught much earlier and giving us the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing. I know it was there, but maybe it was just too subtle. I just didn’t see it.

And that’s sort of why I’m onboard with Andrew Garfield as Peter/Spidey in the new version. Garfield looks gentle but at the same time, I can see a little edge to him. Did you see him in The Social Network? Most folks did. Now go rent the first Red Riding movie. Edge. Not super-sharp and dangerous, but edge nonetheless. I feel the drive might be there in this movie, with this Peter Parker.

I plan to rent The Amazing Spider-Man. I hope the movie does well, but Spider-Man isn’t my guy. My guy is Batman.

Maybe something isn’t wired quite right in my brain, but I love that man. Spider-Man is, above all else, a do-gooder. Superman, while really cool, is a boy scout. Batman….Batman is vengeance and Sherlock Holmes and obsession and all sorts of mysterious emotional baggage. He’s like a shadowy spy. He’s James Bond without the fanfare. He fights evil without having any kind of superhuman/alien powers. His superpower is his mind. That’s just Andrea-candy, that is.

What about the bad-boy thing? Could it be that? Maybe a little, but really who out there doesn’t find Wolverine to be the #1 pick over Cyclops? I dare you to bring that person to me, and when you do, I’ll call them a liar.

I’ve sort of digressed from my opening bit about the new Spider-Man movie. I’m not sure what point I was making. Oh yeah–is it a gamble? A little bit, but I think to the legions of Spider-Man fans, it’s a no-brainer. Like with me and my Bat, they’ll be in line for any incarnation of their hero. Me? I’m waiting for later this month when I can watch my hero. In the meantime, I’ve got Batman: The Animated Series on my Netflix queue. I hope my next disc gets here soon.