Archive for July, 2013

They got Superman wrong. Again.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

I’ve tried and tried to write a review of the steaming turd known as Man of Steel. I can’t do it, a written explanation of what’s wrong with it read aloud would take longer than the movie.

Because I love the Superman mythos too much and am too close to the subject matter, I’ve decided instead to highlight two scenes, one which sinks the movie and one which could have (almost) saved it, and by saved I mean doubled whatever its final box office gross will be.

Clark, inexplicably miserable after saving the lives of two dozen men on a burning oil platform is shown walking around a family’s house. He has pants but needs a shirt, so he ‘borrows’ one folded on the tailgate of a car. I waited patiently for the next moment when Clark would see some sort of yardwork or project that the homeowners had left halfway completed and finished it at superspeed as payment, but it didn’t happen. Due to the dreary, depressed tone of the movie I knew there would also be no later scene of Clark shipping the laundered clothing back, maybe with a little thank-you cash. No, in Man of Steal, Clark is a common thief. A quarter of a million dollars spent creating a movie, including meticulous Easter eggs to delight the nerds, and nobody involved remembered that while humans steal, Clark Kent/Superman DOES NOT steal. Ever. It’s as egregious an error as having Batman grab a machine gun and kill a criminal.

So what might have saved Man of Steel? 

A recent, far better movie called Chronicle, about three teens who develop telekinetic powers, has a scene where they use their powers to fly around. They whoop and holler through the sky and have a great time, like real people would. When Clark dons the suit the first time, it’s starting a job. He practices speeding around, joylessly. There’s maybe a split second when he cracks a smile, but that’s it. We’ve seen better flying, done more creatively, in dozens of other movies. 

A scene missing from MoS more than any other is Clark admiring earth from space. Superman Returns had one, but it failed because it depicted Superman as messiah, towering over the earth.

Superman should simply have floated there, awestruck. He can’t do it all, but he’s here to do what he can, earth is his home. Because he was raised with the best values humanity can offer, he is humbled by the very planet he could easily rule with a steel fist. Even the suit is optional for such a scene, it would have been far more striking to have Clark floating there in normal clothing, perhaps with a backpack slung over one shoulder. (That would have been a far more impressive movie poster too).

A floating-above-earth scene probably wouldn’t have redeemed this clumsy disaster movie, but it would have provided a reason for Clark to save earth from Zod and partially justify the endless and callous destruction to come.

So there you have it, the scene that ruined this movie’s depiction of Superman and the nonexistent scene that would have almost redeemed it.

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Dexter Season 8 is Great!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Well, here we are, one-third through the final season of Dexter. I’d no idea the series had begun, then caught up in one fell swoop. So far it’s enjoyable, the ‘worst’ season of Dexter is still better than 99% of the schlock out there and for me Dexter has no bad season.

I confess my assessment of Season 7  was rather harsh. Season 8 has ‘solved’ most of the logical problems presented at the end of Season 7 with little asides. Somehow Matthews is back at work, Masuka may or may not have a sperm-donor daughter (with eyes as soulful yet haunting as his) to keep him occupied, Batista glazed over dead-and-gone La Guerta’s files, actually finding the search warrants for both Deb and Dex among her things and tossing them aside (is he still running the damned restaurant)?

Hannah aka Blondie McPoisoner is still out there. There’s enough going on that her return is unnecessary.

I’d written at the start of this year: I will be insulted if Jaime hooks up with Quinn. Yep, here at Dexter Inc. we’re too lazy and cheap to hire another actor, so we’ll just hook these two up. Convenience!

Observing them interact in Season 8, I stand by my original statement. Having these two characters meet cute IS convenient for the writers, as it gives sidelined Batista something to do and a way to create a flimsy triangle of ‘tension’ between Deb, Quinn and Jaime.

For Quinn, a seasoned older ‘player’, to be in a relationship with Jaime is farcical. Quinn goes through girls her age like Kleenex, and after being with Deb, a fellow cop and cursing male fantasy, Jaime is just window dressing. (Off the subject, am I the only one who thinks Quinn looks terrible this season? Like the actor is doing heavy drugs and drinking in real life)?

I like Dr. Vogel (or as various characters refer to her, simply “Vogel”). Charlotte Rampling brings some dignity and class to the series and steals every scene. I would enjoy being in a menage à AARP with her and Helen Mirren.

Season 8’s story arc is engaging so far. Bringing in Vogel was a stroke of genius. Her reveal to Dexter that she created Harry’s Code brings an epic feeling back to the series and somewhat atones for turning Dexter’s character from serial killer to plain vigilante the last few seasons. (The use by Vogel of the term ‘psychopath’ makes me cringe. Using it to sell her books is logical but it’s not a definition used by the medical community). Deb’s erratic behavior has made for some entertaining moments but thankfully Vogel is there at least attempting to help her, otherwise Deb would be exhausting to keep up with.

Dexter is, well, Dexter. Without Michael C. Hall’s genius, the series would have fizzled years ago. Loyalty to and sympathy for Dexter/Hall from fans remains at an all-time high.

I’m glad I waited until watching episode 4 before writing this review, because my only real complaint with the show, and not just this season, is the lack of electronic surveillance on Dexter’s part. As proven last episode, hidden cameras are the number one enemy of plots in the Dexterverse.

Think about it: if Dexter had installed hidden cameras in his apartment before or even after the Ice Truck Killer left a doll’s head in his freezer, he would have seen Biney’s face before Season 1 was halfway over.

Now, in Season 8, Vogel is inexplicably staying in the same dwelling even though The Brain Surgeon has delivered THREE separate packages. Aside from the insanity of her continuing to stay there, a hidden camera on Vogel’s stoop would have made Dexter’s life a lot easier, huh?

SPECULATION AHEAD.

I would gamble that Vogel will reveal herself to be a psychopath by the end of Episode 8. It’s entirely possible she will try to kill Deb or give her up to The Brain Surgeon, so Dexter won’t be distracted by anything but getting revenge. Batista or even Matthews could get curious about La Guerta again.  As for the series’ ending, it would be better not to kill Dexter off.  Stay Tuned.