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Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006)

Kraken: Tentacles of the DeepKraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006)

Starring Jack Scalia, Victoria Pratt and Charlie O’Connell

Written by Nicholas Garland, Sean Keller and Brian D. Young

Directed by Tibor Takács

Thanks to the wonders of TiVo, I was able to sit down and watch Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep Saturday afternoon. The movie, which stars Jack Scalia, Charlie O’Connell (Sliders) and Victoria Pratt (Mutant X), was originally titled Deadly Water until The SciFi Channel held a contest to rename it. 1Despite the title, the featured creature is never referred to as a “kraken” by any of the characters.

Archaeologist Nicole (Victoria Pratt) is not Indiana Jones, but she’d like to be. 2At one point, Nicole declares that an artifact “belongs in a museum.” She’s traveled to Desolation Passage in search of an ancient bronze mask she hopes will lead her to a legendary opal. She is dogged in her quest by Maxwell Odemus (Scalia), who plans to secure the opal in order to regain favor with his family back in Greece.

Dashing marine photographer and all-around nice guy Ray (O’Connell) offers to help Nicole after the skipper of her boat is killed by a giant squid. Unbeknownst to Nicole and her crew, Ray has his own agenda: his parents were killed by a giant squid in Desolation Passage over a decade ago, and Ray’s got a taste for calamari with a side of revenge.

As SciFi originals go, Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep is pretty mediocre. Apart from the obvious Indiana Jones ripoff (sorry, homage) and the low-grade computer-generated sea critter that changes size from scene to scene, the story is just generally weak. For instance, Nicole maintains that the squid may be the embodiment of Scylla, a figure from Greek mythology. Scylla was a beautiful nymph transformed into a hideous sea creature by the sorceress, Circe. Nicole adds the element of the opal to the myth, claiming that anyone who possessed the giant gem was ultimately slain at sea by a giant squid. This explains why the squid attacks Nicole and her crew when they’re exploring the sunken Chinese freighter (which was also attacked by a giant squid) that contains both the mask and the opal, and it certainly makes sense that the squid would attack Odemus’ men when they attempt to recover the opal after blowing up Nicole’s boat.

Even the hapless teenagers who are attacked halfway through the movie have managed to earn the squid’s ire: they inadvertently stumble on the remains of Nicole’s nosy underwater camera, the very thing that awakened the cantankerous cephalopod in the first place.

But why attack Ray’s parents at the beginning of the movie? They didn’t possess the opal, nor were they attempting to find it or even in danger of accidentally stumbling upon it. It’s just a random attack on some innocent people who are trying to enjoy their vacation. Of course, it gives Ray a reason to want the squid dead, but it’s one of those annoying inconsistencies that turns a passable story into a bad one.

In the end, the bad guys are all killed, a couple of the good guys manage to escape, and the opal sinks back to the bottom of the passage, where a host of tiny squid swim around it in preparation for Kraken 2: Deeper, Tentacles, Deeper!. 3SciFi Channel’s first original hentai movie.

1 Despite the title, the featured creature is never referred to as a “kraken” by any of the characters.
2 At one point, Nicole declares that an artifact “belongs in a museum.”
3 SciFi Channel’s first original hentai movie.

Shatner DVD Club: Three Months

For my birthday this year, Laura bought me a membership in the William Shatner DVD Club. Since then I’ve received the following DVDs in the mail:

  • Immortel (2004) – This French film — directed by Enki Bilal, who also created the comics upon which the movie is based — is an interesting blend of live-action and computer-generated characters set against an almost entirely computer-generated backdrop. In the year 2095, the ancient Egyptian gods have reappeared in a pyramid hovering over New York City. The hawk-headed god Horus is being judged by Anubis and Set, and has seven days to… well, that would be telling. The story is bizarre, but nothing compared to the visuals, which range from stunning to jarring. Settings and vehicles are stylistic and work well, but most of the computer-generated characters just don’t mesh with their live-action counterparts.
  • Falcon Down (2000) – This bonus DVD was shipped with Immortel. Pilot Hank Thomas (Dale Midkiff) is recruited by Maj. Robert Carson (William Shatner) to steal a top secret plane and microwave weapon before both can be sold to the Chinese military. As techno-thrillers go, it’s no Hunt For Red October, but it’s got some decent aerial sequences and special effects. The story has a few twists and turns, but nothing truly surprising. There’s some docuentary-style footage that really doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the plot, and the movie would have been fine (if shorter) without it.
  • Close Your Eyes (2002) – Also known as Doctor Sleep, this one is a supernatural thriller in which hypnotherapist Michael Strother (Goran Visnjic) has a vision of a young girl who escaped from a serial killer. Together with policewoman Janet Losey (Shirley Henderson, who plays Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films), Michael follows the trail of the killer, who believes he has unlocked the key to immortality. Close Your Eyes is a fairly competent and gritty thriller, with a decent story that delves into the supernatural without going overboard.
  • Ginger Snaps (2000) – I haven’t watched the DVD yet, but I saw Ginger Snaps on The Independent Film Channel a few months ago. Unfortunately, I also saw the sequel, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed, around the same time and I remember very little about the original. The story involves a teenage girl who, after being bitten by “something” in the woods, begins to undergo a transformation that’s almost as bad as going through puberty. I’ll do a mini-review after I’ve had a chance to watch the DVD.

I should be receiving another movie from the club in the next week or so. It will most likely be Butterfly Effect (starring Ashton Kutcher), the Japanese disaster film Virus, or it2i2, an independent film that has been described by the London Times as “The Da Vinci Code meets The Matrix, only with a lower budget.”

Two-Minute Review: Snakes on a Plane

After we saw Snakes on a Plane last night, Chris Miller and I did a quick, two-minute audio review which has been posted to The Round Table and Escape Pod feeds. If you’re subscribed to either of those (and fans of speculative fiction should definitely be subscribed to Escape Pod), it’s probably already in your podcatcher. If you’re not a subscriber, here’s a direct link to the review.

Movie Review: Snakes on a Plane

Snakes on a PlaneSnakes on a Plane (2006)

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Flex Alexander, Keith Dallas, Lin Shaye, Bruce James, Sunny Mabrey, Casey Dubois, Daniel Hogarth, Gerard Plunkett, Terry Chen, Elsa Pataky, Bobby Cannavale, David Koechner, Todd Louiso, Bryan Lawson and Fat Albert.

Directed by David R. Ellis.

Normally, I watch movies to escape reality. The characters and situations captured in celluloid are larger than life and fantastical, far removed from the people and events that I encounter on a daily basis. Snakes on a Plane, however, is different. As outlandish as it may seem, I found the movie to be a chilling reflection of a terrifying incident from my own past.

I don’t recall who first discovered that the ceiling in my parents’ basement had become home to a number of snakes, but some of my memories of removing those snakes are quite vivid. The serpentine squatters ranged in length from ten inches to nearly three feet and we extracted a total of twenty-four of them from various hidey-holes above our heads.

Though he is not an FBI agent, my father—like Agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson)—quickly took control of the situation, directing the removal process and even constructing extraction tools designed specifically to reach into the nook and crannies in which the vipers hid and retrieve them with minimal risk to life and limb.

The serpents in Snakes on a Plane are certainly more aggressive than those we evicted from the basement ceiling, not to mention more numerous and in most cases considerably larger. Another significant difference between the movie and my real-life experience (apart from the obvious lack of a plane in the latter) is the amount of profanity uttered by Samuel L. Jackson. Seriously, my father could show him a thing or two about the effective use of colorful metaphor in problem resolution.

Uncanny similarity to my own life aside, Snakes on a Plane is a fun movie.Unless you’re the guy behind me who, as the end credits began to roll, complained to his enthusiastic friend that it was “retarded.” It had everything I expected (snakes, plane, Samuel L. Jackson, profanity, and ass-kicking) and a little bit more (Mile-High Club, yappy dog, perturbed Brit and SnakeVision™).

The story (yes, there’s a story) concerns Agent Neville Flynn attempting to escort Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Sean is a vital witness against crime lord Eddie Kim (Bryan Lawson), who arranges to have a large number of snakes released on Pacific Flight 121 in order to cause a fatal crash into the Pacific Ocean. It’s not the most direct method of eliminating a witness, but Eddie definitely gets points for creativity.

Once released, the snakes are attracted to the pheremone-laced leis each passenger received when boarding the flight. The first kill (speaking of leis) occurs in one of the lavatories, where an amorous couple’s coupling is cut short by a slithering voyeur who drops in through the smoke detector. The flight attendants are serious when they warn against tampering with those, and the penalty on Pacific Flight 121 is death.

The snakes continue to kill people in a variety of clever, amusing and visually-disturbing ways.Actually, there are only two ways the snakes kill, aren’t there? They either use their strong coils to squeeze the life out of their unfortunate prey or—more commonly—strike with their fangs, pumping neurotoxins into the victim’s blood. The clever, amusing and visually-disturbing bit is where the snakes choose to bite their victims. To make matters worse, the slithering serpents slip into the plane’s electrical systems and cause all sorts of trouble with the avionics. Bad is being on a plane with snakes. Worse is being on a crashing plane with snakes.

Once Agent Flynn gets wind of the problem, the asp-kicking commencesYeah, I went there.. Flynn’s initial weapon of choice is his handy taser, which he wields with all the flair and style you might expect from a Jedi Knight brandishing a lightsaber. The taser is soon replaced with a broken bottle, a makeshift flamethrower, a spear gun and eventually a semi-automatic pistol as Flynn makes it perfectly clear that he is not at all happy that the aircraft has been overrun with reptiles.

Snakes on a Plane is cheesy, but it’s big budget cheesy, like gourmet Velveeta. It’s a lot of fun to watch, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and delivers exactly what the title promises. On the entirely arbitrary, unpatented, untrademarked 27-point KJToo rating system, I give Snakes on a Plane a very respectable 22.

Samuel L. Jackson: 8 – “You either want to see that, or you don’t.” Jackson has a great attitude about this movie, and he plays exactly the character I wanted him to. The only reason he doesn’t get the full nine points is that he let that punk-ass hip-hop star (Flex Alexander) get the drop on him.

Snakes (on a motherf***ing plane): 7 – For the most part, I thought the snakes looked pretty darn good except for a few scenes where some of them were clearly computer-generated. Also, I wasn’t always clear on their motivations. Sure, they were attracted to the pheremones in the leis, but I just wasn’t feeling it. They did manage to startle me a couple of times, though, so I won’t ding them too much.

Audience Participation: 7 – Normally, the only thing I want to hear out of the audience is nothing. Tonight, however, I was surprised to find that I was clapping and cheering right along with the other moviegoers when the title appeared on the screen, and then again when Samuel L. Jackson appeared, and then again when we caught our first glimpse of the snakes. There were a few occasions when the audience was a little too enthusiastic, though, and I missed a few lines of dialogue that were buried beneath the cheering.

Coming Soon: Snakes on a Plane

This is what I had to say (in the KJToo forums) about Snakes on a Plane back on 03 October 2005:

There are apparently snakes. On a plane.

That’s the actual title of the movie, by the way. Snakes on a Plane. Why is Samuel L. Jackson in this movie? Does he owe someone a favor and/or vast amounts of money? Maybe he lost a bet.

The director, David R. Ellis, has mostly done stunt work. That doesn’t bode well. He was also a second unit director on Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone and The Matrix Reloaded, so maybe… wait, The Matrix Reloaded? Gah. Forget I said anything.

Still, Snakes on a Plane has a certain traffic accident appeal to it. Or maybe it’s more like the sensation you get when you’re looking over the edge of Niagara Falls. You know, there’s part of you that just wants to jump into the raging water, even though you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that to do so would be Bad with a capital B.

Four days later, I read an interview on Collider.com with Samuel L. Jackson and this quote caught my eye:

Samuel L. Jackson: You either want to see that, or you don’t.

Mr. Jackson’s attitude about the movie was enough to make me reconsider my initial trepidation. When you’re talking about a movie called Snakes on a Plane, there really shouldn’t be any question in your mind about what you can expect to see. Consider On Golden Pond. There’s a title that reveals little — if anything — about the content of the movie. How would you, as a potential viewer, know if On Golden Pond would be of interest to you? Well, you’d have to watch a trailer, or maybe read a summary of the plot. Snakes on a Plane has a summary of the plot built right into the title, and “you either want to see that, or you don’t.”

As someone who has watched nearly every snake movie aired on the SciFi Channel in the past three years, I would definitely fall into the “want to see that” demographic; but watching King Cobra for free on the SciFi Channel and shelling out eight bucks to see it in the theater are two very different things. There’s no way I’m plunking down eight of my hard earned dollars for the privilege of watching the monster-of-the-week movie on SciFi.

That’s where Samuel L. Jackson comes in. His mere presence is enough to elevate Snakes on a Plane from “I’ll watch it Saturday night on SciFi” to “I’ll pay to see it in a theater.” Maybe not for you, but certainly for me; maybe not for every movie, but certainly for Snakes on a Plane.

Plus, Snakes on a Plane is something of a phenomenon; a movie that generated an almost instant cult following before a single frame made its way to the Internet. The buzz created last fall was enough to make the New Line keep the original name (they had considered changing the title to Pacific Air 121) and even shoot some additional scenes to—get this—increase the gore and profanity in order to bump the MPAA rating from PG-13 to R.

Samuel L. Jackson is on a plane with snakes. You needn’t be Nostradamus to predict that the presence of snakes on the plane will not make Samuel L. Jackson happy. Is it worth $8.25 (plus $1 Fandango processing fee) to see just how Mr. Jackson deals with the snakes? I’ll let you know Friday morning.

Movie Review: Ultimate Avengers 2 (2006)

Ultimate Avengers 2 (DVD)Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (2006)

Starring Justin Gross, Grey DeLisle, Michael Massee, Marc Worden, Olivia d’Abo, Nan McNamara, Nolan North, Andre Ware, Dave Boat, Fred Tatasciore, James K. Ward, Jeffrey D. Sams, Dave Fennoy, Howlin’ Mad Murdock and Luke Skywalker.

Directed by Curt Geda and Steven E. Gordon.

Before I launch into my review of Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, I want to mention that my seven-month-old son, Kyle, loves the Ultimate Avengers series, as evidenced by this photo. 1I’d say he eats it up, but that would be going too far.

And another thing: if spoilers make you want to smash puny humans, you may want to stop reading now.

Rise of the Panther is the sequel to Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, which was based on The Ultimates a re-imagining of Marvel Comics’ popular long-running series, The Avengers. If you were a fan of The Avengers or other Marvel (Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) titles between the mid-1960’s and the turn of the century, these aren’t quite the heroes you may be used to.

The story continues where the first Ultimate Avengers movie left off: after defeating the alien Chitauri, Captain America is haunted by events from his past, Hank and Janet Pym continue to have marital difficulties, Thor is rebelling against his father, and Bruce Banner is imprisoned in a special S.H.I.E.L.D. holding cell to ensure that the Hulk will not wreak further havoc.

Unbeknownst to the heroes, Herr Klieser—the Chitauri shape-shifter who has taken the guise of a Nazi officer—survived his encounter with the Avengers. Kleiser has surfaced in Wakanda, a small, insular African nation not unfamiliar with the alien invaders. Kleiser clashes with T’Chaka, the king of Wakanda who—in the guise of the Black Panther—also acts as its protector. T’Chaka is killed in his encounter with Kleiser and his son, T’Challa, ascends to the throne.

T’Challa travels to the West to solicit the advice of Captain America. The Avengers are only too eager to eliminate the Chitauri threat in Wakanda, but all outsiders are treated as enemies. T’Challa risks losing the throne if he allows the Avengers to set foot on Wakandan soil.

The Avengers, aware of the threat the Chitauri represent, are determined to help the Wakandans fight off the alien menace. This leads directly to the Avengers getting their collective butts handed to them on a vibranium platter by the crafty Wakandans.

To make matters worse, Kleiser masquerades as the Black Panther in order to gain access to the Avengers’ ship. The Chitauri causes all kinds of trouble before escaping in a small landing craft just before the ship is destroyed. The Avengers go limping home with a major morale problem, Janet Pym in a coma and Iron Man needing some serious body work.

Eventually, the Wakandans come to their senses, thanks largely to the giant Chitauri ship that parks itself directly over the country and covers the sky with a translucent green membrane from which descend thousands of ships and multi-legged ground assault vehicles.

Of course, the only way to defeat the Chitauri mothership is to fly into the belly of the beast and cut out its heart. There are two analogies to this: the assault on the second Death Star and Will Smith’s assault on the mothership in Independence Day. In this case, Iron Man is the Milennium Falcon and Hank Pym is Jeff Goldblum. Or maybe Iron Man is Lando Calrissian, the gamma cannon is a computer virus and Hank Pym is Nien Nunb. It’s also possible that Hank Pym is Pinocchio, but then things start to get complicated. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s been done.

In the end, Hank Pym sacrifices himself just to show Janet that he’s a real hero, the Chitauri are defeated, Thor defibrillates Iron Man with mystical lightning and an Uru hammer, Bruce Banner hulks out and escapes his prison, and Captain America starts macking on the Black Widow. Hello!

All in all, Rise of the Panther isn’t bad. The animation is on par with the first installment, if not a little better; the voice acting is just as good, but the story could have been stronger. I’m also noticing a pretty significant departure from the story presented in the comic books (though I am a few issues behind on The Ultimates 2, as I’m waiting for the next trade paperback to be released), particularly in the areas of “babes with whom Captain America is hooking up” and “heroes who are not breathing anymore.”

There is no commentary track on the DVD, nor is there a trivia track such as there was on Ultimate Avengers: The Movie. Special features include a featurette on The Ultimates with commentary by creators Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and others, “The Ultimate Gag Reel,” which contains some amusing “outtakes” from Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, the “What Avenger Are You?” DVD-ROM game, 2This appears to be identical to the game that was included on the Ultimate Avengers: The Movie DVD, right down to the fact that I’m Iron Man. I. Am. Iron Man. and first looks at two upcoming Lions Gate/Marvel animated features: Iron Man and Doctor Strange.

1 I’d say he eats it up, but that would be going too far.
2 This appears to be identical to the game that was included on the Ultimate Avengers: The Movie DVD, right down to the fact that I’m Iron Man. I. Am. Iron Man.

Preview: Hellboy: Sword of Storms

Though I don’t own any of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy graphic novels, I absolutely loved the 2004 movie starring Ron Perlman as the titular character. Perlman and several of his live-action co-stars are lending their voices to two animated Hellboy movies. The first, Sword of Storms is set to premiere on the Cartoon Network in late October 2006. The second, Blood and Iron will debut early in 2007.

I’ve previously linked to the production diaries of Tad Stones, which feature all kinds of behind the scenes insight into just how much work goes into creating an animated feature. Now there’s an official site for the animated movies, GoToHellBoy.com, featuring descriptions of the movies, downloadable wallpaper, AIM buddy icons and a teaser trailer for Sword of Storms.

The screenshots and animation look fantastic, and there’s just no way you can go wrong with Ron Perlman as Hellboy and John Hurt as Professor Bloom. What I find interesting is that Doug Jones will be providing the voice of Abe Sapien, the amphibious BPRD agent known as “Blue.” In the live-action movie, Doug Jones portrayed Abe on screen, but David Hyde-Pierce (Frasier‘s Dr. Niles Crane) provided his voice.Doug Jones will also provide the voice of the Silver Surfer in the sequel to Fantastic Four.

Can you tell I’m looking forward to seeing these movies on Cartoon Network? Well, I am. Almost as much as I’m looking forward to their eventual release on DVD (in February and June of 2007) and the second live-action movie, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.

Movie Stuff: Godzilla, War of the Worlds (the other one) and Hudson Hawk

There is plenty of air at the International House of Johnson, but as I have mentioned previously, it is not conditioned. This leads to a hot, muggy house (93°F yesterday evening), which in turn leads the occupants of said house to do one of two things: sit around and watch television while they melt, or escape to cooler surroundings. In the past three evenings, we have achieved escape velocity, fleeing to the Miller residence, Don Pablo’s mexican restaurant, and the Arabica coffee shop in Wickliffe.

Prior to our evening excursions, however, I spent a good deal of time this past weekend watching movies and guzzling iced tea. On Saturday afternoon I watched the 1998 Dean Devlin/Roland Emmerich version of GodzillaCommonly referred to as “the American version.”, a movie of which—unlike the apparent majority of its audience—I am a fan.
Godzilla DVDI think I like the Devlin/Emmerich version simply because it doesn’t try to be the classic Toho Godzilla. As much as I enjoy watching a guy in a rubber suit crush a model of Tokyo underfoot, that’s not what I’m looking for from an American movie released in 1998. I have nothing against Toho continued to produce and release that kind of movie, but I expect something different from the guys who brought us Stargate and Independence Day; 1For the record, I enjoyed Independence Day (or “ID4” as they call it in the street) when I first saw it, but I can’t watch it anymore; it simply doesn’t stand up to multiple … Continue reading I expect something fast-paced with a lot of slick special effects, and that’s just what they delivered.

Perhaps it was the campy dialogue and performances (especially by Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Hank Azaria) that turned audiences against Godzilla, but here again is where I appreciate the lengths Devlin and Emmerich went to in order to differentiate their film from its Japanese predecessors. The classic Godzilla films are campy in their own way, but not intentionally; the actors are always stoic and serious when faced with the problem of a giant lizard tromping through Tokyo or battling a flying turtle. In contrast, the creature Devlin and Emmerich’s Godzilla isn’t inherently campy, but the people upon which it threatens to tread most certainly are.
H.G. Wells' War of the WorldsNext up we have H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds, starring C. Thomas Howell as the astronomer who runs away from Martian invaders a lot, talking to soldiers and confused Australian priests while trying to get to Washington, D.C. I must admit that I’ve never read H.G. Wells’ novel, but I hope his original story isn’t as desperately boring as this particular movie incarnation.

Part of the problem is that George Herbert (C. Thomas Howell) doesn’t have much of a personality; his sole purpose is finding his wife and son in Washington, D.C., and why the various other characters take any interest in him—beyond the fact that he’s a scientist—is a mystery. The people George meets along the way aren’t terribly interesting, either. Sgt. Kerry Williams (Andy Lauer) is probably the most likeable of the bunch, but his role is ultimately pointless. Pastor Victor (Rhett Giles) babbles relentlessly, proclaiming that mankind should not believe that God hates us and those the “demons” have killed are in a better place… right up until something awful happens to him, at which point he flips like a blueberry pancake down at the local IHOP.

I’m guessing that the filmmakers wanted H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds to be a character study wrapped in science fiction, but the whole thing is so ponderous and heavyhanded that it doesn’t work. When the ungainly, five-legged beast finally lumbered to its anti-climactic close, I was only too happy to instruct TiVo to delete it.
Hudson HawkLast but not least in the overheated movie marathon was Hudson Hawk. Like Godzilla, this is a movie about which I seem to hold the minority opinion: I really like it. Hudson Hawk is probably the second most underrated comedy of 1991. 2The first being L.A. Story. From the opening and closing narration by William Conrad to the candy bar codenames of the CIA operatives to Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello singing “Swing on a Star” while they rob the auction house, I enjoy almost every aspect of the movie.


There are three things that bug me about Hudson Hawk:

  1. The smirk on Bruce Willis’ face on the DVD cover.
  2. The “hat convention” line.
  3. Anna’s (Andie MacDowell’s) dolphin impression.

That’s it. Even Sandra Bernhard, whose voice alone is usually enough to drive me straight up the nearest wall, is perfectly cast in Hudson Hawk. That alone is nothing short of miraculous, 3Coincidentally, David Caruso’s turn as the silent Kit Kat marks the only role he’s ever played in which I didn’t feel like removing his smirking lips with a belt sander. but pairing her with Richard E. Grant (who also appeared in the single most underrated comedy of 1991) was sheer brilliance. The interplay between their characters (Darwin and Minerva Mayflower) is over the top, insane and simply hilarious. Similarly, Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello have great chemistry together, and they are both at their comedic best.

Hudson Hawk. I like it.

1 For the record, I enjoyed Independence Day (or “ID4” as they call it in the street) when I first saw it, but I can’t watch it anymore; it simply doesn’t stand up to multiple viewings in my eyes.
2 The first being L.A. Story.
3 Coincidentally, David Caruso’s turn as the silent Kit Kat marks the only role he’s ever played in which I didn’t feel like removing his smirking lips with a belt sander.

Movie Review: Superman Returns (2006)

Superman Returns (DVD)
Superman Returns (2006)

Starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Sam Huntington, Eva Marie Saint, Tristan Lake Leabu, Marlon Brando and Skeletor.

Directed by Bryan Singer.

If there’s one thing that bugged me about Brandon Routh as Superman, it was the forehead curl, that little spiral of hair that—along with the lack of glasses—completely differentiates Superman from Clark Kent. Over the past several months, I’ve heard my fellow movie geeks tear the new supersuit to shreds, declaring that the shade of red used in the boots and cape are too dark, the boots themselves appear to have been stolen from Wonder Woman, and the supersymbol on the chest is too three-dimensional. But I was fine with every aspect of the new Superman’s look except that forehead curl; the damn thing looked out of place on Routh, even in the very earliest images Warner Brothers released. On screen, it looks like a piece of black ribbon candy. Clearly, Superman is using some sort of Kryptonian pomade.

Hair aside, Routh is an excellent Man of Steel. When the Last Son of Krypton speaks, his voice is so reminiscent of Christopher Reeve in the same role that it’s enough to send chills down my spine. As Clark Kent, Routh doesn’t remind me of Reeve quite so much, but still gives a good performance; once it’s up, up and away time, however, he’s simply stunning.

Yes, Brandon Routh is Superman. Unfortunately, the plot of Superman Returns is Kryptonite. [WARNING: If spoilers are your Kryptonite, you may not want to read further.]

Continue reading Movie Review: Superman Returns (2006)