Casino is more than a reboot: It’s also a kind of origin story, based on the first Ian Fleming novel. As such, it’s the story of how James Bond lost his soul, or whatever was left of it, at the very moment when he dared to hope for redemption.
The negative buzz around the new Fantastic Four is so radioactive you could almost expect to develop superpowers just by reading about it. Ah, but that’s old-fashioned talk. In the 1960s radioactivity was mysterious and eldritch, capable of producing all manner of hulks and spider-men and what have you. In the 1950s you could even get godzillas.
Thanks to this film, I’ll be adding “Shrinking World Syndrome” to SDG’s Very, Very Little Movie Glossary.
A Superman movie for our times — but is that a good thing? Man of Steel: my “Reel Faith” 60-second review.
To borrow a line from Man of Steel producer Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight: This isn’t the Superman movie we need, but it’s the one we deserve.
Star Trek Into Darkness outdoes its predecessor in most respects, except creative ambition.
Evil Dead in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.
For all that, the new film bungles who Spider-Man is, where he’s coming from. This isn’t the only problem (there are notable issues around the plot and the interpretation of Spider-Man’s reptilian foe, the Lizard), but for me it’s the most intractable, because it undermines the hero’s moral center.
This is quite deliberately not a reboot or reimagining or any such thing. Perhaps we can call it a revisiting. Like this summer’s charming Winnie the Pooh (also from Disney), The Muppets is a happy throwback, very much of a piece with material that my generation grew up with, eclipsing the lameness of recent direct-to-video efforts. Who would have thought two classic family franchises that have lain fallow for so long would be reborn in the same year?
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a smartly made, effective movie — but what sort of movie is it, exactly?
Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh is an unexpected gift, an unlikely return to a magical and gentle world that belongs so firmly to the past that I would have thought the journey all but impossible.
Despite missteps, X‑Men: First Class succeeds in doing in some measure for the X‑Men what J. J. Abrams did for Star Trek two years ago: Not only does it bring new energy to a tired franchise, it reinvents a familiar cast of characters in unexpected ways, laying the foundations for the defining relationships and conflicts of later chapters, while telling a ripping story into the bargain.
And so, for the first time in forever, we have Star Trek really and truly boldly going where we haven’t been before — taking Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Checkov on a brand-new adventure for the very first time. Before you know it, you’re getting to know old friends in an entirely new light. It’s like what Alan Moore said about Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns: “Everything is exactly the same, except for the fact that it’s all completely different.”
Although most viewers will probably find The Incredible Hulk diverting but — after a strong first act — forgettable entertainment, for Hulk fans smarting from the limitations of the Ang film, it may just be balm for the soul.
It’s tempting to call Batman Begins the Citizen Kane of super-hero movies; at any rate, it’s the closest thing so far.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.