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Superman: The Animated Series – Blasts From the Past, Parts 1 & 2 (Review)

To celebrate the release of Man of Steel this month, we’re going Superman mad. Check back daily for Superman-related reviews.

Blasts from the Past feels like it should be a better episode. After all, Superman’s relationship with his Kryptonian heritage should be fodder for good drama. If you read Superman as a parable for the American Dream – the story of an orphan from far away who comes to America and makes something of himself – it’s always fascinating to look at that story from the other direction. What are Superman’s ties to Krypton, a planet destroyed before he could speak? Does he define himself as Kryptonian?

Some versions of the character’s mythology suggest that his outfit is Kryptonian armour. Most recent takes on the character suggest that the famous “S-shield” is the emblem of the House of El. There are a lot of interesting questions about how an alien from a dead world who has become the protector of Earth must see himself. Is he one or other, both, or neither? Most interpretations seem to opt for “both”, although the suggestion is that Kal-El leans more heavily towards Earth.

Blasts from the Past should be a vehicle to explore this, bringing back two Kryptonian characters and allowing Superman to interact with them. At the very least, perhaps it could be an exploration of how much a childhood on Earth changed Superman. Instead, it feels like a rather bland rehash of Superman II, just with some names changed.

Red sky in the... well, eternity, I guess...

Red sky in the… well, eternity, I guess…

 

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Watch! New Man of Steel Trailer!

Warners have released another trailer for the upcoming Man of Steel. Most of the marketing has focused on Henry Cavill’s Superman, which makes sense for a number of reasons. Most obviously, this is his movie. Secondly, the film has to lift the pop culture stigma surrounding Superman. Third, the film seems to hinge on Superman’s character arc – which shouldn’t really be worth noting, but it’s nice to see Superman as more than a two-dimensional archetype.

The latest trailer, however, focuses on a part of the film I am actually really excited about. Michael Shannon is a superb actor, and I’m interested to see his take on Zod. Zod is a character who has had difficulty catching on in the comics, despite the fact that they seem to introduce a new version ever five years or so. The character just lives in the shadow of Terence Stamp, arguably providing the first truly iconic supervillain performance, and one which I’d argue holds up today.

Shannon doesn’t seem to be going for imitation, which is a good thing. I want to see his own stamp on the character. This trailer teases that quite well. I like that Zod is emphasising the “Superman as outsider” thing, and also that the movie seems to presenting Zod as an alien invader to Kal-El’s alien altruist. It’s a nice way to cast Superman’s character into contrast. Anyway, check it out below.

Watch! Trailers for The Impossible and Song for Marion…

I love me some Terrence Stamp.

Okay, a lot of that love is rooted in the fact that he was cinema’s best comic book supervillain for well over a decade, playing the iconic Zod (of “kneel before…” fame) in Superman II. However, as I grew older, I came to love spotting Stamp in all manner of roles – whether serious, comic, subversive or even random. Whether it’s small roles in comedies like Yes Man or Bowfinger, or leading performances in films like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I just have a massive fondness for Stamp. (It’s a fondness, I must confess that extends outwards to other British actors of his generation, including Malcolm McDowell and Patrick Stewart.)

Anyway, I just received this trailer for Song for Marion, and it looks like it could be fun. Stamp plays a grumpy old man who gets involved in his wife’s choir. Oh, and Christopher Eccleston plays his son. It’s strange, but somehow brilliant casting. Anyway, the clip is below.

There’s also this trailer for The Impossible, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. It’s the story of a family struggling to survive the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I’m very curious to see how this plays out, because it’s a premise that really needs to be handled with a great deal of care.

Non-Review Review: The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no more f%$#ing Abba!

The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert is one of those wonderfully fun and upbeat little movies that often can’t help but draw a smile from even the most cynical of viewers. Despite a somewhat bitchy and frothy exterior, the film is a charming little road movie about a quirky little pseudo-family unit making their way through the heartland of Australia.

Bus-ted...

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Tell Them I’m Coming: The Power of a Tagline…

I have a confession to make. I have never seen The Limey. It may seem like I’m overreacting with that shameful confession, being only one of millions of film fans who have somehow stumbled through life without ever seeing that particular relatively unimportant Steven Soderbergh film, but let me put this in context. A good few years ago, I was browsing the video store and I stumbled across the relatively bland cover to the film, which smacks of an old-school exploitation vibe. On it, a very old (yet nevertheless bad ass) Terence Stamp is taking a moment out of what seems to be some very important business to have a quick sly cigarette (very much a politically correct faux pas these days). Anyway, it wasn’t that image which struck me of itself. It was the tagline. “Tell them I’m coming,” Stamp’s voice seemed to read the promo aloud to me. And, strangely, despite the fact I left the videostore without it, that tagline has stayed with me.

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Non-Review Review: The Adjustment Bureau

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

One of the joys of a film festival like the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival is that you get to see films that take you by surprise. Sometimes they are small foreign dramas which will never get a major release here, and thus haven’t been discussed to death on-line or in-print, but occasionally it’s a movie premiere of a big upcoming release which will impress. The Adjustment Bureau is hitting screens around the world next Friday, but film fanatics in Dublin were treated to a sneak peek (the movie’s second public screening and the first in Europe). As a movie that I honestly wasn’t expecting too much of, based on the trailers in front of every major release since last August that seemingly couldn’t decide on the genre of the film, what did I make of it?

A bathroom break...

I loved it.

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