Archive for July, 2012

Batman Returns

I am Catwoman. Hear me roar!” spoken by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1992 superhero film Batman Returns directed by Tim Burton.

Thank heavens film has come a long way since the Batman sequel in 1992. Perhaps cool and kinky at the time, but today Michelle Pfeiffer’s cringe-worthy take on Catwoman would be laughable and most certainly would not suit Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman franchise. In anticipation of the The Dark Knight Rises’ Popcornography review, I thought a look at a past memorable Catwoman quote would be most appropriate. The Dark Knight Rises features the new and rebooted Catwoman which is played by Anne Hathaway. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman would most likely give Christopher Nolan a heart attack as her performance is so far removed from the “realistic” direction taken with his entire reboot. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, does a remarkable job but for more on that you will have to wait for the EXCITING review (coming soon). For now enjoy the above quote and the below screenshot of Pfeiffer as Batman Return‘s Catwoman.

Kinky? Horrendous? I can’t decide.


Of course, I could always continue talk about the unspeakable horror that was the 2004 Catwoman movie, but I won’t. I won’t because Popcornography likes to pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s that bad. My heart goes out to oscar-winner Halle Berry for agreeing to participate in that atrocious piece of garbage. Bad BAD life choice Berry. For shame.

Oh by the way please take note of the missile-bearing penguins in the Batman Returns poster seen above. Nolan would rather die before he makes use of missile-bearing penguins?! Like Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, it is all just TOO much and TOO bizarre.

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The Dark Knight

In giddy anticipation of the new installment of Vlermuisman, Popcornography has decided to pay tribute to old Heathy (R.I.P.) with today’s I see Dead Posters. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight, and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t have, there are things that you should know. Firstly, Christopher Nolan is a genius. Secondly, Heath Ledger’s take on the infamous Joker villain was absolutely awe-inspiring. I miss you Heath. And lastly, super hero movies are currently so trendy largely due to the success of Nolan’s direction with the reboot of the Batman franchise. The Dark Knight Rises, the latest and last installment, opens this week and we can expect that it will not disappoint. So get involved and the review will be a long shortly.

Oh by the way. How awesome is this poster? Gritty, dark and horrifying while referencing one of the more memorable Joker quotes. Bravo Nolan. Bravo.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

If what I think is happening is happening, it better not be.” spoken by Meryl Streep in the 2009 animated comedy film Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Different and eccentric, Fantastic Mr. Fox is definitely one of my favourite animated films of all time. Its offbeat humour, interesting characters, whimsical soundtrack, old-school animation technique as well as touching story results in a warm-hearted and hilarious adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic. The moody adolescent son, alone, is enough reason to give this film a look-see. Also, expect to be saying “cuss” a lot after watching this film. Fantastic Mr. Fox is charming as hell and deserves attention.

A taste of the delightful soundtrack: Kristofferson’s Theme

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

F@*k! Seriously? It’s like you’re photoshopped!” spoken by Emma  Stone  in the 2011 romantic comedy film Crazy, Stupid, Love.

As Emma Stone has been wafting around Popcornography of late (see The Amazing Spider-Man Review), I thought today’s Quote of the Day could be inspired by Miss Stone herself. Crazy, Stupid, Love features hot men, humorous leading ladies, emotional turmoil and almost everything one would expect from a warm hearted rom-com. This scene is endearing as you watch Ryan Gosling reveal his vulnerability and most importantly his chiselled physique. Emma stone is praised for her charm and charisma. Shirtless Ryan perplexes Emma. Emma is perplexed. As are we.

The Amazing Spider-Man

This review has caused many internal struggles here at Popcornography. There is something that you should know about me. I love Spider-Man. As a chubby toddler I had many Spider-Man costumes and themed birthday parties. There may have even been a Spider-Man piñata… Anyway, I have watched every screen adaptation of the wall crawler, even the one that pre-empts Tobey’s iterations. I severely recommend you do not look up that particular adaptation. I expected, as a result, that this review would be somewhat biased. Despite this, I am surprised at how blasé I feel when drafting the review of The Amazing Spider-Man. It was entertaining yes indeed. But will it stand against Marvel’s significant success with Avengers, or the imminent new instalment of Vlermuisman? Unfortunately, no, it will not. There are various pitfalls as well as an overall familiar feeling that hinders The Amazing Spider-Man from reaching the heights anticipated by the Spidey reboot.

Director Marc Webb’s (fitting) adaptation of the Spider-Man franchise falls somewhat flat predominantly because the film feels so predictable. The Amazing Spider-Man relies heavily on plot points recycled from Raimi’s 2002 adaptation. This occurs because the origins of Spider-Man are once again retold. These plot points are dragged out over two hours and done so in far greater detail than what was previously done in approximately forty minutes of the original. This would be fine but the details that are significantly fleshed out remain unanswered and I found myself having trouble caring about them. I am tired of directors dangling carrots this season. What is going on? I am not a donkey. Essentially, The Amazing Spider-Man feels like a repackaged version of Raimi’s original and thus fails to deliver on the expectations generated by media hype. Secondly, the world seems to have gone insane over super hero movies that are set in realism. Gone are the days of the overly stylized Gotham city or the concept illustrations that are pulled directly from their comic origins. Nowadays the trend is to retell super hero stories, make them plausible and portray them in a universe with ever increasing amounts of grit and realism. The Dark Knight succeeds in this regard tremendously with its “real world” design. However, in terms of the Spider-Man character this doesn’t quite make sense.

Sexy Screenshot Number 1:

Sexy Screenshot Number 2:

Sexy Screenshot Number 3:

It pains me to say this but I was very unhappy to revisit the Spider-Man origins. Batman was in dire need of a reboot after how ridiculous the last instalment became. Remember Doctor Freeze and Poison Ivy? What was that about? Concurrently, as horrific as Spider-Man 3 was (see The Amazing Spider-Man Preview), redoing the Spider-Man origins was a mistake. Uncle Ben is back with his responsibility lectures, there is high school bullying, Peter acquires/masters his powers, the villain initially concerned with the greater good turns evil etc. Does this all sound familiar? It should. If I have to hear about Uncle Ben dying one more time, I am going to spin in circles and scream. When this plot line began to play out during screening, I thought to myself, surely not again? This very linear and predictable Spider-Man plot I can recite in my sleep and it definitely does not make any of my (spider) senses tingle. Was it really necessary to repackage the Spidey origins when this had been adequately portrayed in the not too recent past in Spider-Man 1 and 2? In terms of a franchise reboot you want new angles, plot points, direction etc. Webb gives you the same repackaged story and despite the fact that is done very well, it is just too familiar and thus (dare I say it) boring.

Which Uncle Ben are you again?

The Amazing Spider-Man, however, is still very entertaining and in some ways surpasses the direction taken by the original tenfold. Andrew Garfield really impressed me in his portrayal of the character. He has a slightly different take on Spidey and this is quite refreshing. Even without his powers, Peter will stand up against school bullies and is portrayed as a far more angst ridden teen than old nerdy Tobey was back in 2002. Spider-Man, himself, is also portrayed in a more realistic way. He is now vulnerable and gets hurt… A LOT. In fact  I struggle to remember moments when Garfield is not beaten, bruised and/or bleeding. Shame, Spidey really does have a rough time in this flick.

Peter, you are bleeding.

Peter, why are you still bleeding?

Peter spends a fortune on band aids.

Oh, and Peter skates now. Angsty.

Emma Stone, to put it simply, makes it unbelievably difficult not to adore her. The introduction of Gwen Stacy as opposed to Mary Jane is refreshing and true to the original comics. Her inclusion adds to the authenticity of the new iteration and is perhaps the only interesting aspect of the new origin story. Garfield and Stone are amazing together. Their quirky, yet endearing emotional development is fantastic and perhaps my favourite part of the reboot. Considering that Webb’s other projects include 500 Days of Summer, the love relationship between the protagonists is very similar with regard to its cutesy and offbeat development. When Emma Stone guffaws, I become weak at the knees. She is just so lovely. I love her.

Endearing, offbeat and cutesy romance is the best kind of romance.

Uncle Ben and Aunt May give fair performances. Peter and Uncle Ben’s relationship is not as well explained as in the original. The only time I found myself interested in Uncle Ben’s rebooted death was when Sally Field breaks down. When Sally Field is distressed, my heart bleeds. Nora Walker knows how to evoke emotion and does so tremendously.

Please don’t cry Sally.

The villain which appears in The Amazing Spider-Man is the Lizzard who unfortunately falls prey to typical Spider-Man-villain rules.

Step 1: Good scientist trying to aid the world.

Step 2: Oh dear, horrific accident.

Step 3: Oops, I’m now a mutant.

Step 4: Darn. Cue the rampaging.

Does this still come across as tragic? Sadly not. The way in which he speaks to himself towards the end of the movie is very reminiscent of Norman Osborn or the schizophrenic Green Goblin played by Willem Dafoe from the original. The Lizzard is also done entirely through CGI and looks merely adequate at the best of times. The Spider-Man universe is filled to the brim with many villains with interesting backgrounds. Webb could have drawn from any of these. However, the Lizzard is, once again, just more of the same and as a result is not very interesting. Rhys Ifans does a fair job in portraying the character, however, I left feeling very underwhelmed in terms of the villain.

You mean premature human testing wasn’t successful? What?!

Another little issue occurred towards the end of the movie when some friendly construction workers decide to help Spider-Man. Not only have we seen the public help the hero’s quest in previous iterations, this particular sequence unfortunately resulted in giggles as opposed to cheers. I hate cheesy moments such as these. It isn’t exactly a deal breaker but this scene is irritating. I was irritated. I am now irritated again thinking about it.

There is a lesson to be learnt here. For reboots to be successful, a director doesn’t have to go dark like Christopher Nolan. Not everything has to be dripping in grit and realism. The new Superman film, Man of Steel (being directed by Zack Snyder) will most likely fall prey to this trend as Snyder is known for his stylized and course films i.e. 300, Sin City, Suckerpunch etc. Marvel’s Avengers was so refreshing because it didn’t follow this currently trending guideline. Sadly, The Amazing Spider-Man did. As much as I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, I feel that going back to origins story 101 was unnecessary and wasn’t told in a manner which was particularly interesting or unique. I know in my preview, I bashed Tobey considerably. I feel bad. Sorry Tobey. Tobey is still the definitive Spider-Man and, in my mind, his origins story was sufficient. Perhaps with the origins out of the way, Webb’s next installment may be more along the lines of what a reboot should be. We can only hope. It’s not going to change lives and it definitely won’t surpass the next installment of Vlermuisman but is it the most entertaining thing currently on circuit? Yes definitely.

Check out The Amazing Spider-Man trailer: 

Moulin Rouge

Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love!” spoken by Ewan McGregor  in the 2001 musical drama film Moulin Rouge.

Duh-rama! Set in the turn of the century Paris in the Bohemian yet derelict district of Montmartre, Moulin Rouge centres around the Bohemian ideals of truth, beauty, freedom and love. Christian and Satine struggle to hide their forbidden love which results in one of the most memorable and devastating climaxes in film history. This film remains an all time favourite solely because the entire film is produced on a such an inconceivably grandiose scale and is nothing short of spectacular spectacular. Baz Luhrman is truly a genius. Additionally, this film is just too deliciously dramatic for words. Violence, passion, obsession and distressed hookers all are heavily present in Moulin Rouge and should not be missed.

It is hard to forget Christian and Satines’ struggle even after that credits begin to roll. The score which occurs during the credits is haunting and reminiscnent of Luhrman’s overarching vision for the movie. Check out below.

Baz Lurhman’s Bolero:

I have watched this movie perhaps more than any other and every time I leave wondering why I put myself through this pain. No matter how many times I watch this, Nicole Kidman always dies. It’s frustrating. However, the music, visuals and compelling love story continue to draw me back. It seems I will be haunted by Christian  and Satine until the end of my days.

Why you are gasping again Nicole? Why?!

This story is about

Truth, Beauty, Freedom

But above all,

Love

Requiem for a Dream

Harry… can you come today?” spoken by Jennifer Connelly  in the 2000 drama film Requiem for a Dream.

This quote may seem random. However, when contextualized in terms of the film and its placement therein, it deserves noteworthy mention. By this point in the film, you have witnessed how Harry and Marion are unable to escape the downward spiral of drug addiction. Put simply, you have already been emotionally violated numerous times by director Darren Aronofsky. Harry and Marion are separated in their desperate efforts to satisfy their insatiable addictions. The quote occurs during a telephone conversation between the distressed lovers when their circumstances are most dire. This is the scene that gets me every time. Jennifer Connelly in distress is not good for my emotional well-being. This is one of those movies that stays with you long after the credits roll and keeps you awake at night. Despite how distressing this scene is, the film continues to grow increasingly traumatizing until its dramatic conclusion. Old ladies go cray cray and undergo electroconvulsive therapy whilst others lose limbs and resort to degrading sexual conduct in return for drugs. It’s not easy to watch, especially Jennifer’s story. Point is, this movie doesn’t put you in a happy place. It’s hideously disturbing and will trap you in a glass case of emotion… but it’s awesome.

Hugs not drugs:

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