Man of Steel Forced To Share The Spotlight With The Dark Knight

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With the recent announcement of the Man Of Steel sequel and the revelation that it will be a matchup between Batman and Superman, there was disappointment expressed by some fans. They complained that Superman will not be getting his own sequel movie and instead will have to share precious screen time with the Dark Knight.

affleck batmanThere is some validity to these concerns since now, for many, this movie will be seen as the next Batman movie instead of the second Man Of Steel film. Also, the speculation about who will be playing Batman (now known to be Ben Affleck), as well as how Batman will be portrayed will take away much of the needed attention from Superman when it should be instead focused on building Superman’s new universe. It has been a while since Superman has been relevant and Man Of Steel was successful in reestablishing him as a viable action hero. Superman is entitled to his own solo movies and not have to share the spotlight with a character that could upstage him. Now, the momentum has been halted and Superman will have to wait until after this new movie or even after the Justice League movie is eventually released to get another solo movie.

But that won’t be until 2017. By then, the movie-going public could be tired of comic book movies and be ready for something else. At the same time, I can sort of understand why Warner Bros. is doing this: The Avengers.

The movie studio saw The Avengers’ box office returns and how well received it was with the public. worlds finestThey want their own super hero movie mashup and don’t want to wait for another Man Of Steel movie followed by a standalone Batman movie to introduce their other main character. Marvel had time to do this with the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America movies coming out one year at a time. DC doesn’t really have time to do this with The Avengers: Age Of Ultron coming in 2015. They need something to compete with it, and a movie with Superman alone might not be enough. So we get Superman vs. Batman, which has generated a lot of buzz and excitement.

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Hopefully it will help to create a new and exciting DC movie universe that will allow Superman to eventually have his own proper sequel. More importantly that sequel should continue Superman’s interesting character development that Man Of Steel has started.

C.S. Link

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Ben Affleck Is The New Batman!

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In a stunning move, Ben Affleck has just been picked to play Batman for the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel. This is a truly stunning and daring casting pick considering how reviled he was for playing Daredevil a few years ago.

In fact, for years Affleck has gone out of his way to disavow his role in Daredevil and inferred that he was done with playing superheroes. His Hollywood career seemed to have suffered for playing the blind superhero, but he was able to switch gears and built an impressive resume as a film director. This culminated with his acclaimed directing job for the Oscar-winning film Argo. So for him to go back and playing another superhero, especially a high-profile one like Batman is a puzzling move.

Perhaps Warner Bros. threw a lot of money at him and he changed his mind. This is just speculation, but maybe he was offered a shot at directing the impending Justice League film and him playing the Caped Crusader was part of the deal.

batsIn a press release posted on Facebook, director Zack Snyder stated that “Ben provides and interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bear the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

This casting choice literally comes out of left field considering other more visible candidates seemed to be in the running to play Batman. It’s a bold and risky move that can alienate many fans. Can Ben Affleck pull it off? Will he be the next Christian Bale or the next Nicolas Cage? Does this also mean he will play Batman in other films? Stay tuned, same Bat time…you know the rest.

Waldermann Rivera

Top 10 Dystopian Films

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Some of the best sci-fi films present dark futures depicting societal and social collapse. They serve as a warning to us with their vivid imagery of how things may go horribly wrong in the future. Dystopian depictions are a mainstay in sci-fi films with Elysium being the latest to feature a broken world thanks to humanity’s abusive and negligent ways. Keep in mind these are different from post-apocalyptic films where civilization has fallen due to war, alien attacks, and other catastrophes. Here are the best films of this sub-genre.

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10. TIE: The Hunger Games/V For Vendetta: In The Hunger Games, poor districts in Panem, a futuristic North American nation, are forced to send young people to participate in deadly games. Contrasting these backwards districts is the opulent and morally corrupt Capitol that seems like a futuristic Rome. That and the combination of the intrusive and empty media coverage of the games is quite a damnation of this future society. V For Vendetta is an adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic book mini-series about a future London ruled by a brutal, Orwellian regime that subjugates its citizens. V (Hugo Weaving) is a mysterious anarchist out to topple the despotic government via acts of terror and sabotage.

idiocracy 29. Idiocracy: Mike Judge directed this humorous look at our future that satirizes our current obsession with sex, violence and consumerism. In Idiocracy, unintelligent people are out-reproducing smarter people today. Eventually by the 26th century, the dim-witted will inherit the Earth as society declines due to stupidity and low-brow tastes. Their only hope lies with a modern-day soldier (Luke Wilson) with average intelligence who is frozen and revived into this dumb society.

8. THX 1138: George Lucas made his directorial debut with this film about a futuristic, underground society controlled thxby oppressive AIs. The stark, monochromatic production design added to film’s unnerving atmosphere. Robert Duvall stars as the title character, who along with other citizens, is kept in a passive drug-induced state of mind. One day, THX 1138’s drugs wear off, allowing him to feel emotions. When he fails to function properly in the cold, sterile society, he is arrested, but his new emotional state enables him to rebel against the system.

7. Escape From New York: Kurt Russell stars in John Carpenter’s classic tale of an America where crime is rampant and New York City has been turned into a penal colony for hardened criminals. Russell is Snake Plissken, a former vet-turned-criminal who is forcibly deployed into Manhattan to rescue the president of the U.S. (Donald Pleasance). Carpenter’s vision of a nightmarish New York alarmed many who were convinced the city was headed in that direction. Maybe they should’ve been concerned about Detroit instead.

6. Elysium: The world in Elysium is an overpopulated and polluted nightmare. Los Angeles in 2154 looks more like a third-world country with bombed out and decaying streets and shanty homes. Basic necessities like proper housing and healthcare are rare commodities. As in many of these dystopian films, the elite live in a separate, idyllic society; in this case an orbiting habitat. Even though Elysium has a heavy-handed message about the haves and have-nots, its harsh depiction of a ruined Earth will resonate with viewers.

walle 35. WALL-E: This animated classic from Pixar is about a lone robot cleaning up an abandoned and overly polluted Earth in 2805. For the first half of WALL-E there isn’t any dialogue as the titular robot explores the dun-colored and filthy landscapes. Somehow, WALL-E is able to experience emotions and appreciate the remnants of a now-gone civilization. Eventually he discovers humans, who have been taking refuge aboard a luxurious starship. But humans over the centuries have become morbidly obese and atrophied thanks to their too-convenient lifestyle provided by service robots. It’s up to them to learn to be fully human again.

4. A Clockwork Orange: Stanley Kubrick directed this bleak and desensitizing look at the nature of clockwork 2violent behavior and society. Its opening scenes, which featured tight, unnerving closeups of Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a young, vicious gang member are haunting. In the future, violent gangs freely roam the streets of London. Dosed on drug-laced milk, these gangs rob, rape and pillage without abandon. What was jarring and disturbing for viewers was the use of classical and Broadway-style music as these young thugs committed violent acts. Eventually, Alex is captured by authorities and is brainwashed to abhor violence with unfortunate results.

3. Soylent Green: The film’s shock ending overshadowed the bleak portrait of a future where overpopulation and scarce resources are strangling society. Despite Robert Thorn’s (Charlton Heston) famous last lines in the film, the rest of Soylent Green is compelling to watch. Resources we take for granted like food and living space are rare, while the streets of New York in 2022 are depressingly crowded and decaying. What’s really touching are Edward G. Robinson’s final film scenes. In despair over the true nature of the Soylent Green substance, his character chooses to be euthanized and is treated to hauntingly beautiful images of a once-pastoral Earth. These scenes still resonate to this day, as does Thorn’s warning to the ignorant masses.

children of men 22. Children Of Men: By 2027, humanity can no longer reproduce, causing a downward spiral for civilization as it becomes clear humanity will soon be extinct. Terrorism and anarchism are commonplace as disorder inevitably takes hold in society. Reminders of a more civilized time are spotted and add to the bleak tone since they reinforce the notion that humanity’s days are numbered. Clive Owen plays an embittered government bureaucrat who finds a cause to believe in. He encounters a pregnant woman who represents humanity’s best hope, and is forced to protect her from various radical factions. Children Of Men’s director, Alfonso Cuarón shot the film using a harsh, realistic tone that engages viewers and brings them into the action. This was best seen in the film’s third act, which takes place in a hellish refugee camp that is attacked by the British army.

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1. Blade Runner: Ridley Scott’s dystopic masterpiece proves that just because the future may have flying cars and cool neon lighting, it doesn’t mean it will be bright. Taking place just a few years from now (2019) in an overcrowded and drenched Los Angeles, Blade Runner wasn’t a simple shoot-em-up with Harrison Ford’s character chasing down evil androids. Blade Runner is rather an ambitious example blade runner 3of future noir combined with a moody, smoky atmosphere, ethereal score and ambivalent characters. In the film, Ford plays Deckard, a former cop drafted to hunt down rogue, illegal humanoids called replicants. While everyone in the film wonders if replicants have souls, the humans should’ve reflected about their own souls. Blade Runner resonated with so many not just because of the above reasons but for its intricate and crumbling cityscape. It almost seemed beautiful, even though it represented a world that had seen better days.

Lewis T. Grove

Elysium Is Neill Blomkamp’s Uneven Second Effort

elysium posterDirector Neill Blomkamp has returned after his triumphant debut film District 9 with his sophomore effort Elysium.

The film takes place in the year 2154 in Los Angeles and a giant orbital space habitat called Elysium. Earth is overpopulated and overpolluted, it’s a literal hellhole. Think of Brazilian favelos, mixed with dusty shantytowns and that is life on the planet. There’s little vegetation, rubble is everywhere and the landscape is overrun with desperate people. Meanwhile, life is idyllic up in Elysium. The habitat is a luxurious refuge for Earth’s richest elite with beautiful mansions, perfectly tended yards and gardens, and the best that money can buy. Including the best health systems that can rebuild damaged bodies and cure cancer. As expected, not everyone can afford to live in Elysium, even though everyone on the ruined Earth want nothing more than to go to the habitat.

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Elysium stars Matt Damon as Max Da Costa, a former criminal who wants to eke out an honest living as a laborer at a robotics factory. His ultimate dream is to be able to afford a ticket to Elysium. It takes an industrial accident to accelerate that ambition. Max is dying of radiation poisoning and like everyone  living on Earth, there is little that can be done to help him. Max’s only hope is to somehow make it to Elysium and its miraculous medical services.

In a desperate move, he offers his services to a local crime boss that he once worked for named Spider (Wagner Moura). One of Spider’s illegal activities is to try to ferry Earth citizens onto Elysium.  Usually, these efforts fail, thanks to the diligence of Elysium’s defense secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster).  ????????????????She is willing to go to extremes to keep out riff raff from Earth, which includes having illegal shuttles shot out of Elysium’s skies. After the latest round of shuttles are destroyed, killing dozens of people, the president of Elysium (Faran Tahir) warns her that her job is in danger. Angered by the politician, Delacourt arranges for a coup to replace him by having the habitat’s computer system rebooted. She enlists the services of John Carlyle (Willaim Fichtner), the CEO of Max’s company, to develop a software program to carry out her coup. This program, along with other valuable data like bank codes, are stored in Carlyle’s brain.

Enter Max. Spider wants him to steal software information from any high-level executive’s brain to get rich. He has an exoskeleton and cybernetic implants surgically attached to Max, who targets Carlyle because he blames him for his dire situation. After shooting down Carlyle’s shuttle, Max is able to download Carlyle’s data, but winds up being targeted by Delacourt’s favored mercenary, a nutjob called Kruger (Sharlto Copley). This merc is a true sociopath, who reeks of barbaric lunacy. There hasn’t been a villain this insane or vicious on film since the Joker in The Dark Knight. Continue reading

Doctor Who! Who Really Cares? It’s The Companion Behind The Doctor That Makes The BEST Doctor

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Since speculation among Doctor Who fans about the 12th Doctor has ended (with Peter Capaldi picked), we now are left with the question “What will this more mature actor bring to this role?”  Most Americans don’t really know this actor’s work other than he played the dad in the Doctor Who episode “The Fires of Pompeii”. CAP However, most English actors are superb with their accents that sound so smart and make acting seem natural. This only leads me wanting one more thing. My wish is that the 12th Doctor’s companion brings humor and depth to future episodes like some of my favorite companions.  Here are some of my favorite and not so favorite companions.

What a wild, wonderful ride we had on the TARDIS until Clara Oswald, the stodgy, sensible (in other words: boring) governess, happened upon our lives. Gone is the rapport so desperately needed to keep the Doctor human. Gone is the banter that keeps us wanting more of the Doctor and his companions. Be it Rose’s dewy-eyed stare and less than average intelligence that points out the weakness of being too serious. Or Donna Noble, a strong-willed woman, who establishes a relationship based on humor and friendship. Or most spectacularly the Doctor’s wife, Dr. River Song. The latter embodied the essence of what a superior man should strive for in a relationship, which is not a robot, but someone with a brain and a wicked sense of humor. Song’s first minute of screen time delighted and intrigued us and kept us wanting more from finding the ancient writings translated to “Hello Sweetie” to “spoilers”. She literally had us at “Hello”.

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Well, the only thing left to do is to reminiscence about the prior companions that made watching Doctor Who a treat instead of feeling like a church sermon. Once, the preaching starts about the Time Lord’s curse of superiority, it’s time to call it quits.  If we really want to hear about how bad mankind is we only need to watch our local news. In the meantime, here’s a plea to showrunner Steven Moffat. Please keep us riveted with more wonders like flying sharks that lunge surprise attacks, or a Scrooge that changes his history by viewing his past. We want more imaginative stories like having River Song marrying the Doctor so she could ultimately save him in a twisted scheme where she seemingly killed him to preserve space and time. Make us scream for some spoilers by creating a chemistry between the Time Lord and his companion. It brings the Doctor down-to-earth as a person, not just in the physical sense with the TARDIS.

Gwen McLernon