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Non-Review Review: Man of Steel

There are moments of brilliance in Man of Steel. I like the golden-hued Malick-esque glimpses of Middle America, evoking the work of Norman Rockwell. (Indeed, the earliest glimpse of Clark Kent’s life on Earth seems to evoke Teacher’s Birthday.) I like the decision to cast Jor-El as a pulpy science hero rather than a stand-in for God. I like the way that the movie embraces the concept of exceptionalism, and doesn’t shy away from the American ideals embodied in Superman’s mythology. I appreciate the development of the Kents into more than generic slices of apple pie.

However, for all of these lovely moments, there’s a sense that Man of Steel resents the fact that it is a superhero origin film. It’s easy to understand why. Superman origins are a dime a dozen, and it’s hard to imagine anybody could be unfamiliar with the broad strokes of the story. However, Man of Steel does find an interesting and nuanced angle on that first crucial Superman story… only to become something radically different. A little under half-way through, the film morphs into a big budget superhero spectacle, sandwiched between the outline of an origin story and chunks peppered throughout like some form of tossed salad.

Man of Steel suffers because it’s a lot less interesting than it might have been, and it revels in that comfortable blockbuster mediocrity.

High flyin'...

High flyin’…

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Non-Review Review: Final Destination

I am actually quite fond of the original Final Destination. Don’t get me wrong, it has its flaws (and some very fundamental ones at that) and the sequels drove the concept into the ground, but it actually has a fairly original premise for a teen horror movie. I’m fond of horror as a genre, and I’ll freely admit that I’m quite exhausted by the perpetual cycle of slasher movies or ghost stories or ghost story slasher movies. Instead of adhering rigidly to the conventions of the teen horror film, Final Destination feels like something of a breath of fresh air. It’s a well-constructed teen horror movie, even if it does fall into many of the same traps and issues.

Ali onboard…

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the m0vie blog: 1,000th Post Spectacular!

I know it’s just a number, but I’m still proud of it. We’ve been going just under two years and it’s been a wonderful two years at that. This week alone I’m doing my bit to help restore a classic film (The Sound of Fury) while taking a look at classic neo-noir (an oxymoron? perhaps, doesn’t make it untrue) – to say nothing of being longlisted for several prestigious Irish Blog Awards (including best post, best pop culture blog and best arts & culture blog). Next week I’ll be blogging at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival – including Japanese gangster film Outrage, Spanish thriller Agnosia, Irish horror Wake Wood and the premieres of Unknown, The Adjustment Bureau and many more. Oh, and I’m popping up as an Oscar pundit in the Metro next week as well (and honoured at the invitation from Ross & Ross).

You know what? I love it. I can honestly say that this blog has allowed me to embrace my love of film that I never would have otherwise. I would have still been a film buff and film fan, but I don’t think I ever would have grabbed film in such a strong and aggressive way. It’s been a pleasure to write for this blog, and I am honestly thankful for everyone who has clicked across it: those who liked, those who hated it – those who offered honest sage advice on how to improve.

Thank you, all, for popping by. It has been my pleasure to have you. So, whether you’re a casual reader you clicked on the headline, or somebody who checks the blog a few times a week, thank you so much. The joy I get out of this is the chance to engage with other people.

My head is full of lofty ambitions – I suppose that everybody’s head is. The thing that I aspire to is to get somebody to read one of my posts, scratch their chin and go, “you know, I never thought of it like that.” If I can do that for even one reader, I’m a happy man. (That said, if somebody wants to offer me a job where I can do this for a living, I won’t say no.)

A very special thank you goes out to all those who have been so supportive about this whole blogging thingy, especially when it interferes with real life. Especially the better half, for her patience, consideration, wit and wonderfully constructive (but never mean-spirited) criticism. If it’s witty and you read it here, I probably stole it from her.

Anyway, it’s just a number. The world keeps spinning. Here are some other statistics, since we’re in a numbers mood this afternoon:

  • 654 (days blogging)
  • 1.52905 (average number of posts per day)
  • 10.7 (average number of posts per week)
  • over 1,500,000 (words blogged)
  • 1 (number of Stetsons I own)
  • 2 (versions of the film Watchmen I have seen)
  • 6.2 (average number of minutes between random film trivia)
  • 8 (items in this list)

Thanks for checking us out, and stick around. We’re got some good things on the cards for the next little while here.

Other random things that happened in the world on 17th February:

  • Prohibition formally ended in 1933, the first edition of Newsweek was published the same day
  • Robert K. Preston stormed the White House in a helicopter (twice) while Nixon was in Florida in 1974
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt was born in 1981, Michael Bay was born in 1965 and Michael Jordan was born in 1963