Tagged: Amy Adams

Box Office Democracy: Arrival

I went in to the theater knowing less about what Arrival was and what it was about than any movie in recent memory. I had skimmed the first few sentences of the Wikipedia page but only knew the absolute broadest strokes. I was beyond pleasantly surprised; I can’t recall being so enthralled by a movie that was so far off my radar since Drive. Arrival is the best kind of science fiction that provides us with some fantastic things and concepts, but what it really tells is a mundane story through a fresh lens fantastically well.

Arrival has the kind of plot that sounds boring in summary— a linguistics professor is called to translate the language of a visiting alien— but ends up working well. The movie got me thinking about linguistics and the intricacies of language more than I have since I decided not to take an introductory level class in the subject back in college. There’s an inherent tension involved in any alien encounter, and something about the way the score does string hits that kind of sound like the way the aliens talk gives even the safest moments a hint of looming doom. There’s this overlay of global tension, that other countries might attack their local aliens and that this will spark a war for some reason, but none of that ever feels terribly compelling. I care about the characters they’re making me care about; I don’t care about vague threats that never make much sense.

There’s a turn in the story— I don’t want to call it a twist; there’s a massive shift in perspective in the third act. I usually don’t care about spoilers but I won’t give this away because I appreciated that I came in to Arrival with very little idea what the movie was about. The third act is brilliant, it’s clever, it’s suitably science-fiction-y, and it puts the whole film in to sharper focus. (This might be getting too close to what it is but I’ll never pass up a chance to give Zack Snyder grief: Arrival makes Watchmen look terrible.)

There aren’t enough good things to say about Amy Adams and the job she does here. She nails the big moments like being afraid of the aliens the first time she meets them and the big moments of grief and sadness, but the bigger moments seem easy. The small moments are what set the whole film apart. There’s a moment where she struggles with her hazmat suit the first time she has it on, the weight and the cumbersome nature seem to be smothering her and it communicates how awkward and massive that moment must have felt in a way that slack-jawed awe never would. There’s this need to lace so many touching moments with a sense of bittersweet inevitability in retrospect and it’s there, and it’s heartbreaking, and it’s beautiful. Forest Whitaker is excellent and Jeremy Renner does some of the best work I’ve ever seen from him, but Amy Adams is special in this film.

Arrival is an incredible science fiction film. Easily the best entry in the genre since Ex Machina although they’re nothing alike so there’s very little basis for comparison. With six weeks of allegedly top notch movies still to come, Arrival is comfortably on top of my list for best film of the year. It’s a haunting film that commands attention when on the screen, but more importantly infests your thoughts for days after.

Box Office Democracy: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

There is a scene near the end of Birdman’s second act where Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) delivers a brutal tirade against the idea of theater criticism. He talks about how safe the life of a critic is and how audacious it is of them to judge the work of actors. This puts me in a bit of a precarious place as a critic because these are words coming out of a strong character in a brilliantly executed film and they’re basically calling me an asshole if I have a problem with any of the performances in this film. Fortunately I have hardly any complaints about Birdman, acting or otherwise, and I can continue my life as a critic free from fear of the ire of Michael Keaton. (more…)

Man of Steel Fan Event let the Audience Ask the Questions

Man of Steel Fan Event let the Audience Ask the Questions

Yesterday, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Man of Steel Director Zack Snyder sat with special host Kevin Smith for an exclusive fan event on Yahoo! Movies. The cast and crew talked all the things Man of Steel, in anticipation of Tuesday’s home video release of the summer blockbuster.

The event also included a featurette of the sit-down discussion between Zack Snyder and Michael Shannon about the making of Man of Steel.

Martha Thomases Stands for Hope

Thomases Art 130621Late to the Man of Steel party, but I am compelled to weigh in. Here are my thoughts, which I don’t think are spoilers, but be warned if you’re squeamish about such things.

When I worked at DC in the 1990s, I was known as the person who liked Superman. Which is odd, really, because without Superman, there would be no DC. In any case, the consensus was that Superman wasn’t cool because he wasn’t dark or broody. Over the next decade, Superman became cool, not only in the comics, but also on a top-rated television program. People stood on line at Macy’s anchor store for the chance to meet editor Mike Carlin.

And then Superman Returns bombed, and the conventional wisdom was that Superman, as a character, needed to be dark and brooding after all. He had to be made “modern.”

Anyone who was reading Superman before John Byrne’s 1986 reboot will remember a dark and brooding character. The late, pre-Crisis Superman was always thinking mournfully of his lost planet, his lost birth family, his lost adopted family, and his sense that he could never have a family of his own. Alan Moore captured this brilliantly in his 1985 story, “For the Man Who Has Everything.”

This film is certainly dark. In a recent interview, Bill Nye said, “Space brings out the best in us.” But not, apparently in our production design.

On all of Krypton, it seems, the only colors are blacks, grays and metallic. There do not seem to be any blondes. We don’t see any vegetation above ground, and the Kryptonians we see wear either armor with capes or robes that appear to be ceremonial. It’s beautiful, but it really took my out of the movie, as I wondered how any civilization could be so determinately dreary. I suppose it’s possible that an entire planet could have its own art director to show how Seriously Dark and Mature they are, but to me it just seemed like the everybody went Goth at the same time. When we have the big reveal of Kal-El’s Superman suit, I wondered when Jor-El had discovered blue and red.

Amy Adams is a delightful Lois Lane, maybe the best I’ve ever seen. Her performance is completely believable as a hard-charging, ambitious reporter. She never plays girly or helpless. I only wish she would give lessons to Maureen Dowd.

Laurence Fishburne is a terrific Perry White. If only he had more to do.

The real hero of the movie, to me, is Christopher Meloni, in his most memorable movie role since Wet Hot American Summer.

Which brings me to my biggest regret. The body count in this movie is ridiculously high. The final battle over Metropolis must kill hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people. And it’s not just Zod and his minions who destroy. Superman topples his share of skyscrapers. My Superman would have moved the battle to an ocean. The ending, to my mind, is completely out of character. I know it’s been done in the comics, but there was immediate fall-out and regret, which we don’t see here.

It’s especially disturbing, given that Warner Bros. apparently went out of their way to market this movie as something traditionally religious families would enjoy. The script makes a big deal about Clark being 33 years old (which seems to me to be too old for Clark to be so naive, but I’m not in film marketing), Even if one can ignore the Jewish roots (which, before that, were Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian) of most of the Superman mythos, one would still notice the tug-of-war between Jonathan and Martha Kent over whether Clark should stay in or out of the closet about his differences.

Maybe this is the problem. Maybe trying to make a film that will appeal to those too self-conscious to be hopeful at the same time trying to appeal to evangelicals produces a mush.

Or maybe the creative team needs another film to find their legs. That’s what happened with Batman.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

The Point Radio: DROP DEAD DIVA Among The Living

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It’s a TV series about a woman who dies and is brought back into a totally new life, so how ironic that DROP DEAD DIVA was cancelled after four seasons, then revived for a fifth on Lifetime. We talk to the shell shocked cast and creator about where they are going from here. Plus GHOST RIDER back in court, Roger Corman decides to share and SONS OF ANARCHY gets a comic,

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Who Knew Their SUPERMAN & Who Will Be WHO?

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There is a lot riding on MAN OF STEEL – ranging from making Superman a successful movie franchise to starting the path to a line of DC superhero films. So with so much at stake, you might be shocked to hear who decided to follow the path of there character from TV & comics, and who did not. We’ve got the confessions from Henry Cavill to Russell Crowe to Amy Adams. Plus more on SyFy‘s second season of CONTINIUUM and who really will be the new DOCTOR WHO?

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Just How Different Is MAN OF STEEL?

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It’s finally for MAN OF STEEL to hit theaters and make it’s mark among super-hero films. We start our in depth look talking to Henry Cavill, Zack Snider and Amy Adams about just what the changes are to the Superman mythos. Plus SyFy‘s CONTINUUM hits a new season and we’ve got an exclusive preview with star Rachel Nichols, but is SyFy also dumping WAREHOUSE 13? We’ve got the answer.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Watch the final “Man of Steel” Trailer

CCI: Man of Steel Teaser Poster Arrives As First Footage Debuts

From Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures comes “Man of Steel”, starring Henry Cavill, directed by Zach Snyder. The film also stars Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Henry Lennix, Christopher Meloni and Laurence Fishburne. In theaters June 14th.

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Watch the new trailer for “Man Of Steel”

For those of you that can’t wait for the weekend to see it in front of The Hobbit, we have the new trailer for next summer’s Superman movie, Man Of Steel, starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Christopher Meloni, and Russell Crowe, written by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, and directed by Zack Snyder.

Useless trivia: it’s been 34 years and one day since Superman: The Movie was released.

Review: ‘The Muppets’

Review: ‘The Muppets’

There has been a tremendous amount of talk in our world about reboots, successful or not, and I just got back from experiencing the year’s single best relaunch of a tired property. Deb, Kate, her guy Mike, and I saw The Muppets and pretty much smiled all the way through, guffawing with pleasantly regularity and wiping away a tear every now and then.

Ladies and gentlemen, please pay attention, because this is how it’s done.

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