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12:12 PM on 07.04.2013

Man of Steel - My Thoughts


Now I don't want to make this a whining, negative moan-fest about why the Man of Steel didn’t wear red pants or something. So instead of concentrating on the stuff I didn’t like in the reboot, I’ll focus on areas of the original 1978 Superman that did it BETTER.

And it did a lot better, let me tell you.

First let me say I didn’t hate Man of Steel. It was okay. Alright. It didn’t inspire almost any emotion from me save for an unnatural attraction to Zod’s sexy second in command Faora.

Yet herein is the problem. It didn’t move me. I wasn’t filled with awe, or a desire, that wish to fly with Superman. It didn’t make me feel bad for an outcast on an alien world unsure of his history or his future. It didn’t dazzle me with spectacle. It didn’t do anything that the original Superman did.

Rewind 35 years and we’re really making people believe a man can fly. Yeah it looks a bit slow and silly now, but that smiling wink to the camera at the end, the literal save-the-cat moment earlier, it all sums up what Superman is and should be – someone who is fundamentally good and is at peace with himself being that shining beacon of hope (and 
the American way).



It is laden with hope, bright colours, humour and what super heroes are famed for – saving people.

An element sorely missing from Man of Steel was the duality of Clark Kent and Superman. The film effectively rendered them the same character. Yes we got the whole inner-turmoil element of Superkent not knowing what he should do but feeling like he should do something etc etc. But it wasn’t framed in a real and traumatic-enough way. Instead it just seemed like a high concept teen drama. And they’ve done that with 
Smallville.

Reeves added an element of pathos to his portrayal of Kent – the nerd with the heart of gold, gunning for Lois Lane, while playing second fiddle to Superman’s smouldering prowess. Like has been said before countless times Superman is the real person – Clark Kent is the mask. None of this is in Man of Steel.  Most of the characters are highly incidental – two dimensional place-holders to indicate threat or a change or location.

The obvious style and tone comparison obviously the Nolan Batman movies. Not surprising considering he co-wrote and produced Steel.  Now Batman worked because his pain is very real, very dark and quite relatable. The Man of Steel’s isn’t. He’s an alien with power to help people yet he doesn’t (at least not for a while), and even when he does it seems to cause him more pain than joy – a clear difference from the Superman and Batman that we know.

Another divergent element is the trigger of his ascension from man to man of steel – the death of his Father. This is the same as Superman. However in Superman it is something Kent cannot control and thus denotes the entire subtext of the film – with all his power he couldn’t stop his Father from dying. He cannot control destiny.

Man of Steel plays it in another way. Here Kent could have prevented it, but doesn’t, thus setting up the whole guilt trip that follows him into adulthood. Both are tragic moments, both relatable. But one is a sacrifice, the other is a life lesson and by time we see Kevin Costner die (spoilers) we already know that Superman is going to become Superman.

Finally, what Man of Steel forgot were my two favourite elements of Superman. First, the theme. Hans Zimmer is a great composer, yes, but he makes mood music, 
atmosphere music. He doesn’t write good themes.

Want to argue with me? Fine then… hum the theme. Go on, I bet you can’t because I bet you can’t remember it.



Now try the definitive John Williams one. It is iconic. While Man of Steel was not the 
right movie to have such a bombastic and hopeful theme, it did lack a good score (in my opinion).

Secondly you barely sore the Steely Man fly. Yeah he did a bit, but it was either wide or long shots, or super close ups. It was so heavily CGI’d as well, and it did not fill me (or seemingly any other cast member) with the “OMG a man can fly” feeling. Superman did.

Okay so I liked some things. The epic super-battles were awesome and befit the scale of the character’s power. On the ground, Super-baddies vs. Marines sort of reminded me of games like MG: Revengeance etc. In the air it was a crazier Matrix Revolutions.

The casting was great – I enjoyed a few cameos from the BSG crew, though Fishbourne was underused. Cavill was good, as was Michael Shannon’s Zod.

Everyone’s costume save Superman’s was great (his looked so bleached of colour it looked navy crimson and ochre, not blue red and yellow).

I guess Man of Steel is just following the trend set not by other Superhero movies, but by superhero comics in general – it’s gone from the Golden era of bright primary colours to bleak Frank Miller grittiness. Which is probably why I don’t pay much attention to modern comics.

The movies don’t have to be that way, though. They don’t have to be like Man of Steel. They can be bombastic, colourful, humorous and successful.

Just look at the Avengers.



Originally posted on my blog at: http://moviebastards.com/   read


9:53 AM on 06.23.2013

My First Short Film

Hi guys, 

Just wanted to shout out about my first foray into short film making. I'll probably do a much longer blog post charting the entire process at some point, but I just wanted to get it out there for the time being. 

Official Webpage Link.

Facebook Link.

Movie Link.

It's flawed, it was a total pain in the ass to get made, and it taught me very valuable lessons about the whole process. But I'm also proud. I've been involved in loads of misfires start-ups that go no where and I'm just glad to get it to this point. 

On to the next one!

  read


5:13 PM on 11.19.2012

Words of Crom Episode 3 - Call of Bond



Hi there,

I usually post on Destructoid for this podcast, but this one featured more movie related stuff (namely Bond and Star Wars).

Feel free to listen to some angry opinionated Northerns tearing each other new ones over the minutiae of movies and geekery.

Enjoy!
http://soundcloud.com/wordsofcrom   read


12:33 PM on 04.14.2012

a cunning blog presents...Tripped

Crazed Drug Moments in Movies

Taking drugs on the big screen is not new. Often glamorised, parodied, or lamented, movie heroes and heroines using narcotics can also provide the inexperienced viewer insight into what a trip might actually be like. It also grants directors a unique situation where more non-conventional effects and techniques can be used. Funky lighting, distorted sound, CGI, puppets – all have been employed to explain the unexplainable. Beneath are just five of my favourite freak-out scenes from a host of doped-up films throughout the years.



An ever popular favourite of cinema exploration is the subject of the taboo. From the peep shows of the late 1800’s, to the stark (at the time) violence of Hughes’ Scarface, over to the crass gorno of Human Centipede, cinema explores the gamut of the unspeakable and the inexperienceable.

Drugs are no exception to this.

Much maligned in media, drugs can be both incredibly dangerous and incredibly fun. And much like skydiving I suspect a lot more people would like to try them but are otherwise too concerned with the risks. While we could argue that most people take drugs everyday (beer and coffee anyone?), there is still a line between what is legal and what isn’t. What is known and what is unknown.

Cinema has used drugs to both scaremonger and fascinate audiences forever. Chinese Opium Den (1894) could be perhaps traced as the first example of a film used to explore what it is to be involved with drugs. Nowadays we have the likes of Pineapple Express where smoking weed is the primary backbone of the (flimsy) plot. Let’s not even mention Cheech & Chong.

It doesn’t always have to be consensual drug-use either. How many heroes have we seen smashed off their faces after being dosed by some exotic pill, poison or psychic power?

Looking here you can see there are a lot of “drug films”. Each will of course provide you with a different insight into the whole process and the whole experience of drug-taking, for better or worse. None of course will replicate the real thing, naturally. But beneath are five of my favourite, and dare-I-say perhaps most accurate attempts in druggy cinema history.

5 – Chopper


Clip here

I love this little sequence. First it’s just so incidental, like they’re having a simple smoke or a coffee. Secondly it starts off with a seemingly easy special effect. It appears they’ve just sped up the film. But wait...what the fuck...how are their mouths matching the dialogue?! Such a simple effect really captures the intensified speed while under the influence. And you’re still left baffled how the hell they did it.


4 – Easy Rider


Clip here

Easy Rider annoyed me as a young cineaste. Much similar to 2001: A Space FUCKING
FREAKOUT or Performance, it melded a pretty standard plot with a lot of crazy metaphysical shit. As I was (and still am) in my Arnie-is-the-greatest-cinema-icon-of-all-time phase, I didn't dig the film as a whole. On the other hand though the crazy New Orleans drug scene I could appreciate.

While it wasn’t as badass as riding around on motorcycles or anything, it did provide young me a glimpse into what taking drugs was all about, and why it can be really, really stupid to do it in a graveyard. According to legend the film stock was accidently over-exposed and this along with some quick editing created a wholly bad ride. Also Hopper and co. were apparently totally tripping off their tits in this sequence (and for most of the actual film). No shit.


3 – Crank


Clip here

Ah, Crank, my beloved. Simply the best post-millennium action film to date. Disagree, and not only will I scoff in your foolish face, but I’ll get old Chev Chelios to show you the error of your ways. Crank – come on it’s got drug slang for a title! Of course it features drugs. Dear Mr. Chelios is poisoned with a drug that will kill him unless he can keep his heart-rate sky-high. So he basically shoots himself with a meaty cocktail of adrenaline, coke, speed – anything he can get his hands on.

He even gives his old George Best (...chest people, keep up) a quick blast with a defib kit. The camera work is frenetic, as is snappy pacing. The colours, the sound, everything is jacked in an effort to raise your own adrenaline. I especially love the hand-held work as he enters the bar at the beginning. But the ultimate trip old Chev takes is on the oldest opiate in the book – the love drug. And what’s more crazy than having sex in front of a load of Asians?


2 – Dead Man’s Shoes


Clip here

Paddy Considine infiltrates a gang house and spikes the tea with a mean special brew of hallucinogens. Sitting down to relax, weirdness begins to happen. First it’s a communal visit to the bathroom – for safety’s sake, as Paddy could be anywhere. Switching from paranoia to obsessive compulsivity, they then rigorously clean the kitchen with the pan-handed grace of a gaggle of simpletons. The Speed-wrought energy kicks in then so it’s off to the living room for a spot of weightlifting to some classic mindless trance. Muddled speech, bad vibes, and a loose face follow as the trip turns bad. Only after total loss of motor control does Paddy the Avenger finally appear.

“Get up and dance at my fucking party”.


1 – Fear & Loathing Las Vegas


Clip here

What else could be number one? A film less about the actual destination but the journey itself, Fear & Loathing Las Vegas charts the furious binge habits of one Hunter S. Thompson at the height of his shamanistic gonzo powers. Featuring a bald Johnny Depp and a fat Benicio Del Toro, we are thrust deep into a world of ether abuse, acid excursions and human body-parts. What is actually a story about a botched attempt at finding the American Dream is really wall-to-wall freakiness.

Animated bats, crazy mating lizards, melting carpets, White Rabbit, and touchy-feely Gary Busey cops all inhabit the landscape of the insane. It would be impossible to pick a favourite drug clip from this film. Skipping into the movie at any point and you’ll probably find either character high on something. Let’s settle for the scene during the D.A’s conference on marijuana addicts. Hilarious.


Honourable/Dishonourable Mentions

Batman Begins – Not for the freaky Scarecrow stuff, but when Bruce get’s blazed on the blue flower juju - Neeson’s flashy eyes, the throbbing room, BATS. We’ve all been there.

Big Lebowski – Bit conflicted that I didn’t put this in the top 5.

Casino Royale – Love the camera work and acting when Bond leaves the card table to throw up his poisoned drink.

Trainspotting – If this article was about best overdoses, Trainspotting would be number one.

Breakfast Club – Weed makes you want to dance?!

New Jack City – Crack, kids, makes Chris Rock cry. So don’t do it, m’kay?   read


3:56 PM on 11.24.2010

A cunning blog presents...Best Ever Film Stingers

  read


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