Monday, July 10, 2006


2007 Release
Michael Moore updates the progress of his new documentary, "Sicko", a "comedy about the 45 million people without health care in the richest country on Earth."

Like it or not
Inconvenient Truth gets something of a positive endorsement by none other than a conservative Baptist, writing for (extremely) conservative Baptist Press. Here's my favorite sentence: "Like it or not, Al Gore is helping to remind Christians of an important duty."

Article 19 Film Recommendation: Superman Returns
I'm curious what a real Superman/comics afficionado (that's you, Doug) thinks about Superman Returns. I thought it was good, but not great. The special effects were remarkable--some very cool things to watch, and beautiful images. The story is fun and mostly standard for this kind of thing, with a few things to think about (though they don't quite bear fruit for me) if you're so inclined. Much has already been made of the Christ references in the film, and I was skeptical about that going in--sounds a bit much like a 9th-grade English class response. But it's pretty unmistakable.

So, what's my problem with the movie? If the action and writing are fun and pithy (though tries too hard to fit in with the earlier Superman movies...I prefer the Batman Begins approach, willing to carve out some new angles. This new Superman looks and sounds as much like the Christopher Reeve version as he can manage), the effects are marvelous and the acting is just fine? Why do I so prefer the Batman films, or the Spiderman series?

It may just be a Superman thing. As much as I have the reputation otherwise among friends and family, I'm not one of those mid-movie questioners. Suspended disbelief is one of my favorite states. So this didn't bother me so much during as after the movie: Superman simply has too much power. I mean, he can turn back time by making the Earth spin backwards (Superman I), put out fires with his breath, fly as fast as he ever needs to, lift anything he wants, can see through most anything, and according to this film, can really hear, well, everything--floating above the Earth at the ready, listening to every cry for help, again, God-like.

So, why isn't he listening to Lex Luthor devising his plan? Why doesn't he fortify his hideaway better, or, I don't know, put it on the moon, since he knows Lex knows about it? Why not turn back time more often, since he can? I mean, no doubt people died and Metropolis suffered alot of destruction essentially because of him and his feud with Luthor. Sure, he saved the random falling person while he was flying to the disaster point. But tell that to the people that surely didn't make it, or to the city that has to rebuild for something that was really his fault (I won't ruin the reason why Luthor is even out of prison, easily the stupidest plot point in the film.). So, his powers are god-like but his decision-making abilities are suspect. And that would make for some interesting drama, that conflict, except that it's never acknowledged.

I like the Batman and Spiderman characters because they're so human. There's a bit of personal angst there driving their super-ness. They're imperfect as people and as heroes. Their burdens are multiple and complex; plus their powers are limited. Sometimes they have to, you know, out-think the other guy, not just blow really hard. Superman's human-like troubles revolve around his love for Lois, which reduces him to an emotional 13-year-old at times. With that weakness and Kryptonite, the plot options are pretty limited.

So, it was fun. But for superheroes, I prefer Batman (abit darker and more clearly fallible character), Spiderman (more anguish balancing alter-egos), or even X-Men (more stuff to think about, although the Magneto character clearly suffers too from too much power.) And if you're going for the mythological, Christ-reference approach with Superman, go all the way, and for grander purpose. Not just some passing religious imagery.

Weekend Box Office
1. Pirates 2 (record-setting)
2. Superman Returns
3. Devil Wears Prada
4. Click
5. Cars
12. An Inconvenient Truth (still pulling $1 million weekends. If you haven't seen it yet, you must!)

Since last week, I've seen Superman Returns, read The Omnivore's Dilemma, and bought a handful of new CDs, including Frank Black's new 2-CD album. SO, lots to talk about over the course of the day.

But, what have you been listening to, watching, reading?

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