When you attempt to make a sequel, prequel or remake a classic film, the critics will be out with talons, salivating to tear apart every aspect of the film. And when you tackle a movie as beloved as The Wizard Of Oz expect even more criticism. This of course does not stop Hollywood brass from doing all they can to make a buck based on former greatness.
The latest attempt to do so is Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful. This is the prequel to The Wizard Of Oz. It is the story of how a traveling magician and illusionist Named Oscar (nicknamed Oz) is carried away to the magical land of Oz, much like Dorothy would be later on. Once he arrives in the land he is greeted by Theodora ,a witch who who thinks he is there to fulfill a prophecy and rule the land. She believes him to be a great wizard sent there to destroy a wicked witch that is ruling the land with an army of men and flying monkey’s. He sets out to kill the wicked witch to claim the fortune of the wizard as a reward. When he discovers Glinda, whom he believes to be the wicked witch, he finds out she is in fact the good witch. A power struggle ensues with the help of the good people of Oz leaving him in control of the Emerald City and the land of Oz.
James Franco’s performance feels a bit over the top and almost campy, while it may be intended it still seems to take away from the film just a bit. He is supposed to be a show business man and yet he is a bit of a con man as well. This does prove to be the weakest part of the film tho which is actually a positive thought.
The highlights performance wise are that of the three witches played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. But the true star of the movie is the CGI and special effects, most notably that of Oz’s companions Finley and China Doll. The life like way Finley speaks and moves has set new bars in motion technology.
The story is quite predictable without it making the story seem to drag along. It is as entertaining as it could be when held up in comparison to The Wizard Of Oz. It explains some of the most loved parts of the original movie with a sense of new movie story telling. The dialogue and sense of humor that overlays the movie will keep young ones engaged as well adults. Also much like the original, do not be surprised if children are scared at certain aspects of the movie.
All that being said expect an entertaining and enjoyable movie that is visually stunning and an elegant ride that leads you straight into a classic story.
This week we re-boot the podcast with a more organized format and quality! Ben and I (Marc) discuss what we found interesting in the area of Movie and TV news. We then move on to what we can’t stop watching this week. There is a nice clip of my interview with Allison Janney just before we launch into our main topic, our top 5 working directors. We then recap some of Love Your Movies Facebook chatter followed by a preview of what is coming out this week.
Be sure to join in all Facebook discussions for mentions on the podcast and if you want send in questions, comments etc via email if you want at Loveyourmovies@yahoo.com.
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It is my humble opinion that no movie has more to live up to this year than Man Of Steel. There are three reasons for this thought and the first one is the fact that Superman is the ultimate comic book superhero. He is the most famous and people that know nothing about Superman know who he is and what he can do. The second reason is that Christopher Nolan is the producer and his name is all over this movie despite not writing or directing it. What Nolan was able to do with the Batman franchise set the bar so high, it’s conceivable that no comic book or superhero will ever live up to that. Finally is that the TV show and original 1978 Richard Donner movie are iconic. George Reeves in the 1950’s was the first Superhero to show up on television and Christopher Reeve was a star making moment. With fellow cast member such as Academy Award winners Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, along with a script written by Oscar winner Mario Puzo of The Godfather fame, not to mention John Williams classic score.
That being said and noted, Man Of Steel is a fantastic movie that not only adds depth to the origin and beginning of Superman it adds, all be it small amounts of, reality to the story. Now when I say reality take that for what it’s worth. This is the story of an alien baby raised as human with powers no human could ever posses. The movie is designed to do one thing and that is set up a series of sequels and possibly a Christopher Nolan blessed adaptation of The Justice League.
Man Of Steel begins on the planet Krypton with Jor-El before the high counsel explaining what must be done to save his planet that is doomed for destruction. When general Zod attempts to overtake the counsel he is sentenced to a life of being outcast in a black hole, yet knows that Jor-El holds the key to his races survival and vows revenge and to extend his races existence. Kal-El (Superman’s given name) is cast down to earth to help the planet and because he has the ability to blend in on the surface. After he has discovered himself and his purpose and powers Superman is still unsure what he should ultimately do. When general Zod comes upon earth asking for Kal-El to surrender himself and battle ensues in Smallville, Kansas and later carries over to Metropolis. Unsure if he means well or if he means harm, the government is deployed to stop Zod. Superman does all he can to save earth from Zod’s destructive plans.
Superman is an icon and there is no one that can deny that, so undertaking a challenge like this was extremely risky but director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan do pull it off.
Keep in mind that the story of Superman is full of logical holes and therefore any film ever made will be as well. With that in mind all should be taken in by the story and effects and ability of Superman because that is what makes him so beloved anyway. If anyone chooses to pick apart the story or even compare it to it’s wonderful start in films you will be disappointed. Entertainment is goal number one with Man Of Steel and it pulls out all the stops. If you love the Clark Kent aspect and the anonymity he posses you may have to wait a while but you will see. It doesn’t have John Williams classic theme or for the most part any of the cheesy lines (although there are a few) but it none the less is truly a Superman movie that erases the terrible memory of Superman Returns and brings the ultimate hero back to the screen in a good way.
With performances by Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Amy Adams and the always underrated Michael Shannon, good enough to not make you fumble and distract from the story line, you will be engrossed no matter what you feel after you will be engaged. Russell Crowe as Jor-El had large shoes to fill following Marlon Brando but he makes the character his own. More details are given origins and and things you thought you knew are given clarity.
Superhero and comic book fans will flock to the theaters to see Man Of Steel, the down side is it will be compared and dissected beyond belief instead of taken for what it is, and that is a great story of a hero and man many wish truly existed. Sit back and enjoy all aspects of Man Of Steel because it’s worth the buck it cost for your seat.
Allison Janney is the award winning actress best known for her role as C.J. in Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. She has quietly carved out a very impressive film career as well with roles in American Beauty, Juno and The Help.
Janney’s newest film, The Way Way Back stars Steve Carrel , Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell along with Janney. It is a coming of age story that takes place during a young boy’s summer vacation and the unlikely relationship he forms.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Janney about her new film and her career. Below you will find the audio of the interview, it runs about 10 minutes long. I hope you enjoy it!
After nearly 12 years of scattered work which did include a short lived series on HBO, entitled The Mind Of A Married Man, Mike Binder would return with his most acclaimed cast to date and most interesting and possibly challenging film yet.
The Upside Of Anger stars Kevin Costner as an alcoholic ex-baseball player turned radio DJ and Joan Allen the newly alcoholic scorned wife of a husband who has apparently left his family for a younger woman, leaving his wife to finish raising their four daughters. When Costner discovers Joan Allen’s situation, a reluctant kinship is formed between the two until the true cause of Joan Allen’s husband’s disappearance is discovered.
The story centers around a woman who just wants to be sad over her apparent situation and a man of fame who ultimately wants to be forgotten by everyone including himself at times. The other central character is that of the self medication choice the two have made and that despite being a perfect match for each other, they are also toxic for each other. As their lives unfold and they grow closer along with experiencing tragedy together they seem to help each other.
With fantastic performances from everyone, especially a young and lesser known Evan Rachel Wood as “Popeye” the youngest of the sisters as the story is really told through her eyes that appear to be wise beyond her years, The Upside Of Anger is probably the best title in that it truly explains the complexity of a life that they thought was complex enough already.
Binder was at the time concerned that Costner would not be interested in once again playing a baseball player. His fears were releaved when Costner told him if the script is right and he likes the material he doesn’t care what the character does for a living. Joan Allen was a natural choice for Terry Ann. The two had worked together on the film, The Contender with Jeff Bridges and she had hoped Binder would be able to write something for her in the future and a better part, she could not have gotten.
It really is Binder’s finest film up to that point and is amongst his best over all. Despite the seriousness of it’s over subject matter, humor once again does not elude Binder’s script and film. It is his most polished film and most perfectly made. Binder appears in the movie as the womanizing Shep, Costner’s radio producer. Displaying the wit and underrated acting ability that landed him his series with HBO that unfortunately was cut short.
In honor of the new look of the website, the podcast will return and be completely overhauled as well. We will be recording most monday nights with podcast postings to follow in the next few days. We are looking for segment ideas and are open to anything. If it sounds good we will give it a shot and see the response.
Some of the ideas on tap are periodically taking a film and dissecting every DVD chapter one at a time. You can suggest a movie or choose from our personal movie catalogs which mine is currently available for viewing on the home page and Ben’s is soon to follow.
We are also considering once a month or so taking a well-known and respected actor or director or two and breaking down the majority of their work.
We are very interested in having as much reader interaction as possible, be it through Facebook, Twitter or the site itself. We encourage followers of any outlet to comment with all thoughts, GOOD OR BAD.
So like I said we are recording this monday and are looking for ALL of you to have a say and participate! We look forward to hearing from you!
You may notice we have a new look. Thanks very much to Chris from cpkfolio.com for our new style. We hope all will enjoy it as it makes mobile viewing much better and more pleasurable for you to read and Love Your Movies anywhere. Again thanks to Chris and hist talents and we highly encourage you to contact him for any design work you need!!