Saturday Double Feature: Suicide Squad (2016) And…

ssp01Hey! It’s Saturday. That means it’s time to pair up another couple of films for a Saturday Double Feature.

I’m cheating a little bit this week, since today’s feature movie has already finished it’s theatrical run, but since it’s just come out on disk in the past few weeks, I’m declaring it recent enough to qualify.

One of last year’s most anticipated movies among genre fans, and also one of the biggest disappointments was Warner Brothers’ Suicide Squad. This was hopefully going to be the movie that, after the bleakness of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman brought some light and fun to the DC comics movie universe. The cast looked good, the trailers gave some hope, and then…

And then the movie finally arrived.

Sigh…

No, it wasn’t as dark as its predecessors. As a matter of fact it had some pretty good moments. Instead it committed an even worse sin.

It was, overall, boring.

Yeah, I’m not sure how you take a premise like this and turn it into the kind of slog that we got (a problem that is not ameliorated in any way by the extended cut). Actually, I take that back, I do know how – you do what they did with this movie – instead of taking the Deadpool route and simply embracing the ridiculousness of the premise and going completely over the top with it, you try to fit it into the “real world” where it just doesn’t belong.

Anyway, here’s the trailer:

So in thinking about this movie and its premise – take a bunch of thieves, murderers, etc. and give them a chance to – perhaps not redeem themselves, but at least do some good and perhaps shorten their sentences, it occurred to me that there was one movie that would fit alongside Squad pretty well as part of a double bill – 1967’s World War II -set feature, The Dirty Dozen which starred Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Robert Webber, and Donald Sutherland as a team of criminally misfit soldiers sent on a mission from which few, if any of them, were expected to return.

Take a look:

Okay, so that’s my pick for a double feature pairing with Suicide Squad. What do you think? Got a better or different idea of something to go along with it? If so, let me know in the comments below or over on the DurnMoose Facebook page.

Which Movie Superman Is Really Super? Here Are Some Interesting Box Office Numbers

sm1As anyone who knows me or who has read much of my writing here will know, I’m not one who is all that concerned with box office returns. As a matter of fact, I think that the current emphasis on opening weekend returns is one of Hollywood’s current biggest problems. However I found this chart from Box Office Mojo very interesting.

For those who didn’t do the click through, the chart is a comparison of the box office takes for the various Superman movies from Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman through 2013’s Man of Steel. Not surprisingly, MoS comes out on top ($291,045,518 gross) due to rising ticket prices, the 3D price effect, etc.. However, when one adjusts the 1978 film for inflation, its $134,218,018 gross becomes $476,072,500, by far outstripping the latter version, and that’s despite it only playing on 817 screens as opposed to the 4207 screens that were showing Man of Steel. Even Superman II, once adjusted, boasts a box office take of $323,000,500, an almost 50 million dollar higher return.

Of course, one of the reasons I’m interested by this is that it backs up something that I’ve long felt. (That’s right, in time honored tradition, I’m going to use these numbers that agree with me to prove my point. But hey, if you don’t like that i’ve got two answers for you: 1) my blog, my rules, and 2) if you care to make a counter argument, there’s a comment section both below and on the Facebook page where I not only welcome you to but invite you to do just that.)

sm2I’ve made no bones about the fact that I absolutely despise Man of Steel, and that I think that the problems with the movie are inherent in it from the screenplay up. I also have often cited it as a perfect example of what is so wrong with so many not just superhero movies but movies in general today, i.e. the darkening and cynical take on those characters that are supposed to be heroes. Too often characters that are supposed to be heroes, that are supposed to be those that are looked up to and are supposed to be exemplary are either made out to be much less than that, or are made into parodies of themselves so that they are no longer characters that give not only our children, but anyone, something to look up to. (For an example of the “parody” style hero I’m talking about just look at the Johnny Depp-starring The Lone Ranger. Or, actually, no, don’t I’d hate for anyone to have an excuse to accuse me of encouraging them to sit through that absolutely wretched mess of a film.)

Anyway, one of the responses that I often face when I voice my complaints about MoS is “So are you suggesting we go back to the 1978 movie? Is that what you want?” Well, no, not necessarily, but I do think it provides a much more entertaining take on the character, and I know that I would much rather have Donner’s take on the guy in the blue and red suit be the one that is remembered than Zach Snyder’s. And – here’s where I use those Box Office Mojo numbers to my advantage – it appears that I am far from alone in that.

sm3The other thing that that question assumes is that it’s simply an “A or B” type question. In other words, it sets up what is known as a false duality by assuming that  any Superman movie has to be one or the other, and that there can be no middle ground. Actually. I would love to see a more modern take on the Superman mythos that uses today’s special effect technology to it’s full advantage. The point that I’m arguing is that that can be done without betraying what is most central to the character, and without turning him into someone that simply is not Superman. Nor am I arguing that every character needs to be as bright and shiny as Donner’s take on the “big red S”. I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan‘s take on Batman (even though I found The Dark Knight Rises to be extremely problematic, bit again, that’s more a problem with the screenplay than anything else), and despite my extreme wariness about everything else we know so far about the upcoming Superman vs Batman movie I am very much looking forward to Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman, because that darker tone absolutely fits that character. He’s always (well, almost always) been almost the flip side of his brighter DC counterpart. That’s a huge part of why the two characters work so well together because of that contrast. And if one should ever be an influence on the other, it is not Bruce Wayne’s vengeance seeking vigilante that should be dragging Clark Kent down to his level.

But hey, that’s just my opinion. Or is it? After all, in this case, for a change, I’ve actually got the numbers to back me up.

Idris Elba Rallies The Troops – Brand New Trailer for Pacific Rim (2013)

One of the smartest things that the creators of Pacific Rim have done is not to try to tie it in to any previously established continuity or characters. Though it obviously wears its influences on its sleeves, since they obviously had their own story they wanted to tell, they thankfully didn’t try to use the name of a previously established  character or franchise to hide behind in order to do that, allowing the movie to stand or fall on its own. (And yes, I’m looking at you, Man of Steel and any number of other “remakes” or “reimaginings”.)

Look for it (and me) in theaters July 12th.

Saturday Double Feature: Man of Steel (2013) and…

Saturday on the blog means Saturday Double Feature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before.. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

This pairing was actually kind of tough to come up with, as my feelings about Man of Steel have changed so much over the course of hearing about it, seeing trailers, and then watching the actual movie. Let’s go ahead and take a look at one of the trailers:

Yeah, did you happen to note that part where the female villain says “for every human you save we will kill a million more”? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens in the movie. And this supposed “Superman” in the film does absolutely nothing to stop it. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I’m so late getting this double feature pairing up today is that I wound up spending a lot of time trying to convince myself not to go with a pairing of this movie with the original Japanese Gojira, the movie that in American hands became Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

Yeah, all that death and destruction that’s being rained down on Tokyo? That’s nothing compared to the devastation that occurs in Metropolis. As a matter of fact, at least in Gojira we get scenes of evacuation that show there might be some survivors. In Man of Steel we get only what has to be a three-mile wide crater where the heart of the city once stood, and the destruction comes on so quickly that its obvious there was no time or way for people to escape. And to make things worse, our “hero” never really seems to even care or take notice of the mayhem his personal vendetta is causing. Really, it’s that bleak a film, and that misguided a take on what is supposed to be the exemplar of what a hero should be. And that’s only one of the many, many problems with the movie, and far from the most egregious, (that comes at the movie’s climax) but I’m not going to into them all now.

In the end, though, I finally decided to go a different route, and pair this terrible, terrible take on “Superman” (sorry, but I really can only refer to the main character of Man of Steel by that name by surrounding it with quotation marks) with something of a palate cleanser.

1951’s Superman and the Mole Men was actually the first theatrical feature film based on the Superman character. There had been a couple of movie serials before it, and the fabulous Fleischer animated shorts, but this was the the first real feature. It was also used as a kind of pilot for the Adventures of Superman TV show, and features the same main cast. I couldn’t find an actual trailer for the movie online, but here’s the first part, and the rest, if you’re interested, is easy to find on YouTube:

So what do you think? Have you seen Man of Steel and think I’m being too harsh on it? Or do you agree with mu take? (And I’ll tell you now that this is far from the last that you’re going to hear from me on it, but I’m still working on my full review.) Either way, please let me know in the comments below, along with any ideas you might have for other pairings with Man of Steel or for other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

You Won’t Believe a Man Can Fly – A Quickie Review of Man of Steel (2013)

Obviously this guy just got out of the ssame movie I did and is hanging his head in shame.

Obviously this guy just got out of the ssame movie I did and is hanging his head in shame.

It’s going to take a while for me to fully articulate just how I feel about Man of Steel and the reasons I feel that way, and I’m probably going to hold off on writing a full commentary until more people have had a chance to see it, but my very first, right-out-of-the-theater impression is that it is everything that I feared when I heard Zacz Snyder and Christopher Nolan were teaming up to take on Superman and worse. Yeah, it’s really that bad.

And that’s just a damn shame.

Here There Be Dragons (Or At Least a Dragon’s Head) – The First Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Makes its Debut

Okay, I admit it. I’ve yet to sit all the way through any of the Lord of the Rings movies. And considering what I heard about the first Hobbit movie I doubt that that’s likely to change with this one. Probably someday when this trilogy is wrapped up I’ll sit down with all of them and just run through the whole sequence, Still, there’s no denying the series’ popularity, so, since I am your loyal servant here (well, sometimes, anyway) I give you the new trailer for this year’s entry, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

Presumably, you’ll be seeing this in all of it’s glorious wonder ahead of Man of Steel this weekend, and the movie itself is scheduled to be released this year on my birthday, December 13th.

“We Have To Believe” – New 13 Minute Publicity Short for Man of Steel (2013)

If, like apparently everyone else in the western world, you’re just drooling with anticipation for next Friday’s release of Man of Steel, and just can’t get enough of the trailers and publicity for the movie, here’s a 13 minute short publicity feature made just for you:

I know I should be more excited about this movie than I am, but at this point I’m simply reserving judgement until I’ve actually seen it. A silly idea, I know, but…